Welcome to the New Year.

I do think New Year’s resolutions can’t technically be expected to begin on New Year’s Day, don’t you?  Since, because it’s an extension of New Year’s Eve, smokers are already on a smoking roll and cannot be expected to stop abruptly on the stroke of midnight with so much nicotine in the system.  Also dieting on New Year’s Day isn’t a good idea as you can’t eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover.  I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second.  ~Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary

I laugh so hard at the quote above from the always hilarious Bridget Jones. Of course, I don’t smoke, nor do I drink anywhere near enough to have a hangover in the morning, but she’s generally right. The partying doesn’t usually stop at midnight! Nor does your regular schedule resume in the morning on January 1st. This isn’t, of course, true for all people. Normally, Nate would probably have had to work yesterday. But with some finagling, his dad gave him the day off, which I thought was incredibly sweet of him. We then spent most of the day out on the snowmobiles. Despite the cold — it was only 5 degrees when we left at 1o am — it was a wonderful day. I ache all over yet again, but one of the awesome things about snowmobiling is that by the time you get home, you’re so wiped out you can’t do much and then you go to sleep early. We were both asleep by 8:30 pm. Nate started work around 5:30, but I lay in bed drifting in and out of sleep until shortly before 8 am.

As far as we both know, he’s going to get most of the weekend off, so we’re hoping to get more time on the trails on Saturday. We went 92 miles (and all within 10 miles of home) yesterday, and we hope that maybe we can get 200 in this weekend! That’s basically an all day ride, but there are plenty of stopping places (gas stations and bars) so we’ll be able to get something to eat and drink when we need it! I’m excited.

In the meantime, it’s snowing again!!!

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New Year’s Eve: Goodbye 2012!

Obviously, the world didn’t end before Christmas. I knew it wouldn’t, because God tells us that no one will know the day or the hour that Jesus comes back. So I am quite willing to put my trust in Him and laugh at the end-of-the-world theories.

But now it’s New Year’s Eve! The year ending always feels like such a big event, doesn’t it? I don’t know why, but it does.

At any rate, it’s time now to list some of my goals for 2013. Yesterday I posted my book list, which is something I’ve been doing for a few years. Reading is my biggest passion. Writing is a close second. But I also have a passion for so many other things. My interests are incredibly varied, which always ends up meaning I don’t concentrate on any one thing for very long, which I don’t like at all. It makes me feel that I neglect my interests and passions, which is a terrible feeling. I’m not necessarily good at managing my time (though I have gotten better over the past few years), and then I try to do everything at once, and…well, that doesn’t go all that nicely.

Thus, one of my goals for the coming year is to manage my time better, in all things that I do. This just takes thought and willpower.

Other than that, I have set myself a goal of getting in shape. I don’t say back in shape because I was honestly never all that fit to begin with! I love hiking and camping and being outdoors, but I never really equated that with exercise. Plus, as I said above, reading is my favorite thing to do. So… But my husband is an outdoorsy kind of guy, and I really, really, really want to be able to keep up with him more so than I can already. And I ache all the time, so regular cardio exercise and stuff like yoga will help that! I really like the physical exercise of yoga. It’s more like strengthening than anything else, and that’s always a good thing. Plus it teaches you to listen to your body, and I think everyone would be a lot healthier if they could pay more attention to what their body needs instead of what they think it wants. Big difference right there. That leads me to my secondary goal under getting in shape: eating right. I eat pretty healthy food, as far as my actual intake goes. But the thing that I have a hard time with is that I so rarely eat at regular intervals. Eating breakfast is something I haven’t done regularly in years, and Nate doesn’t eat breakfast much, either. So I guess I should say that not only do I plan on eating better, but I’m going to help Nate to eat better, as well.

I have a few other goals, like sticking with a cleaning schedule instead of trying to do everything in one day, taking up knitting again, teaching myself crochet, playing the piano (and other instruments) more often, taking a walk every day it’s not gross weather outside, and doing more sewing projects.

Together, Nate and I are going to spend more time outside, as well as checking out cool places and museums together. We watch a lot of tv in the evenings, which is fine sometimes (especially if it’s Doctor Who, haha), but when the warmer weather and longer days come around again, we hope to remember more often that the outdoors calls to both of us. 🙂 Of course, we’ve been outside more in the last few days because it’s snowmobile season!! Gahh, I love it so much.

I realize this is an incredibly long post, but sometimes it’s hard to articulate exactly what you want to. Plus, I’m a writer. Oh yeah, that’s my other goal: write something every single day. Blog post, poem, short story, journal entry, fragment of a novel, etc. Just write.

So.

Hopefully you have a fantastic end-of-the-year celebration with lots of champagne and laughter. Happy New Year’s Eve from us (Nate and Beth) and see you next year!

If the Packers don’t win this game…

…I don’t know what I’ll do. It’s not looking so hot for us at this point. I mean, yeah, we’re in the playoffs, but the Bears won, so…

UGH. UGH UGH UGH.

Yes, I get worked up over American football. Sigh.

In other news, I’ve been working on my list of goals for 2013. For the moment, I’ve just written up the list of books I hope to read next year. I won’t post the entire list here because I have a book blog. You can find the post here: Enthralled by the Written Word. As you may have noticed, I have a penchant for lists. Writing lists is one of my favorite things to do. Thus, a reading list as well as various other goal lists.

Also, we have so much snow now. It’s pretty awesome. And it’s going to be SUPER COLD for the next week, so I think the snowmobile trails will be excellent for awhile.

And the Packers FINALLY got a touchdown! Okay I’m happy now. Still losing at this point, though…

At least we’re getting winter this time.

You know what I wish? That it would snow all winter long. I’m not even kidding. It wouldn’t have to snow 24/7, obviously. But the last week has been awesome. I dearly hope that continues into January. Nate and I went snowmobiling the last two days and it was so much fun. The best word to describe it is exhilarating. It’s also beautiful, especially when we’re riding the trails on the state land through the Kettle Moraine Forest. Yesterday it was snowing while we were out and I couldn’t get over the beauty. If only there were a way to completely block out the sound of the sleds so that I could feel the silence. But I like the sound, too.

It snowed all day yesterday. It’s still snowing now. Not nearly like last week Thursday, but hey, more snow is always nice. A friend and I were going to have a coffee date this morning, but decided staying at our respective houses and reading was a better idea. Besides, then I don’t have to try to get out of the driveway. Or pretend my body isn’t aching ALL OVER. Good aches, though. That’s what snowmobiling does to you.

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Anyway. A new year begins in a few days! Are you ready for whatever 2013 may bring? I have a lot of hopes, dreams, and wishes. As do we all, I’m sure. I also have a few goals set for myself, which I will be posting about soon.

Twenty-five Days of Christmas Cheer: December 21st (Happy Solstice!)

I’m fairly certain that we got more snow here yesterday than we got all last winter. It snowed for a little more than 24 hours and the total snowfall seems to be about 15-16 inches. Not very far south of us, there wasn’t nearly as much. Though it was nasty out, I feel blessed to have gotten so much, since you all know by this point that I love snow.

So, we have come to the shortest day and the longest night of the year. From here on out, the days get longer! And of course (as I knew) the Mayans were wrong. Come on, people. I wasn’t even going to say anything about it since it was so obvious that nothing was going to happen. But yeah.

And now the true rush begins. Christmas Eve being on a Monday can really throw things off, because the weekend has just finished. Just don’t forget the real Reason for the season in the midst of your last minute shopping, baking, and cleaning!

Twenty-five Days of Christmas Cheer: December 20th

It’s been snowing since a little after 10:00 last night. We have close to ten inches (by my estimate, anyway) and there’s no sign of it stopping. I’m so happy!!! I am, though, praying hard for my dear husband, his dad, his uncle, and the other milk truck drivers on the road. Nate claims he likes driving in snow, which I believe, and he’s good at it, but at the same time, anything can happen.

Also, it’s my sister’s 22nd birthday today, and since I know she reads this…. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HEIDI!! 🙂

So.

Since shoveling the driveway at this point is a terrible idea — I’d get nowhere — I think it’s time to throw the rest of my apron together and get that Christmas baking done! And, you know, go enjoy the snow at some point. Get all bundled up and run around in it like the five-year-child that I am at heart.

White Christmas “Snow” Song

(Note: I don’t honestly know why I was able to embed a video once and now I can’t. Any suggestions?)

P.S. I really wish I had a camera because my posts would be so much more interesting. I even know exactly what camera I want, but it’s not cheap. Ah well. Soon.

Twenty-five Days of Christmas Cheer: December 19th (The One About Snow)

There are many reasons I love living in Wisconsin. One of them is that we get blizzards. I know, that sounds really weird. But I’m one of those rare people that would rather be enjoying snow than sitting on a beach. I hate sand. And the sun is never good to me. And beaches are so rarely quiet. The silence of a snow-covered forest gets me every time. Snow makes everything beautiful. Yes, it’s hard to drive in. sometimes impossible, and with the blizzard moving into the area tonight and tomorrow, I will be praying hard for anyone on the road, especially my husband, his dad, and the other milk truck drivers who have to pick up that milk no matter what.

But we still love snow here in Wisconsin. Most of us do, anyway. Because now it is certain that we will have a white Christmas, and we can always hope that the snow that blows in tomorrow will stay all winter long. (And that we get more!) Last year we missed out on the winter recreation. There wasn’t enough snow at any one time to do anything. Our snowmobiles sat in the garage, and the ski hill (which we’ve never used, but still) had to make snow in order to operate. I wanted to cross-country ski, but not even that could happen last winter!

So, with the blizzard on the way, with the possibility of nearly TWO FEET of snow, I’m doing some Christmas shopping today and hopefully going to be baking tomorrow. Though that may have to wait…if it’s as windy as they say it’s going to be, we may lose electricity. Good thing I have a huge supply of candles. Maybe I’ll make tomorrow into a Little House on the Prairie kind of Christmas. For that, I have the perfect recipe. (These are amazing, by the way. And because there’s no egg, you can eat the dough!)

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Heart-Shaped Christmas Cakes

“Mary and Laura pulled out two small packages. They unwrapped them, and each found a little heart-shaped cake. Over their delicate brown tops was sprinkled white sugar.”
Little House on the Prairie

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You will need:
½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
Flour for sprinkling
Granulated sugar for sprinkling

Measuring cup and spoons
Large mixing bowl
Mixing spoon
Floured board
Heart-shaped cookie cutter, about 2 or 3″ across
Cookie sheet
Pot holder
Wide spatula
Wire rack

Heat the oven to 325%.

Beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla together until they are light and fluffy. Stir in the flour.

On a floured board, pat the dough out in a circle about 1/3″ thick. Cut out shapes with the cookie cutter. Sprinkle the tops with granulated sugar. Put the heart shapes on the cookie sheet and bake them for about 15-20 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Take them out of the oven and sprinkle more granulated sugar on the tops. Carefully remove the cakes from the cookie sheet with the spatula and put them on the wire rack to cool.

Makes about 12 cakes.

Recipe taken from The Little House Treasury by Carolyn Strom Collins and Christina Wyss Erikson.