Monday, January 8, 2024

lights, blooms and staying cozy

Hello friends, and happy 2024! This first week of January has rushed by in a blur. But a good blur. Lots of friend time and some fun activities. Oh, and I'm happy to report that the plantar fasciitis that I had in my left foot right after Christmas (I mentioned it in my last post) only lasted a couple of days. I did a bunch of stretching exercises I found online, lots of massage and ice, and that all seemed to work. I've also learned I can't go shoeless in the house anymore like I used to - I need cushioning. I hate wearing shoes in the house ~ I've always been a barefoot girl. Getting older does some fun things to your body. 😉

Back to the new year: Our tradition on the first day of a new year is to take a hike in the nearby State Park.

We basically have the entire park to ourselves because it's closed on New Year's day. We park on a nearby side street and walk in through the side entrance. Talk about peaceful! We feel like we're the only people on earth. Just us, nature all around us, and the occasional bird chirping.

Here in northeast Illinois, we never know what kind of weather we're going to have on January 1st. A few years ago when we were about a mile into the park, we got pelted by an ice storm. Other years, we've had light snow on the ground.

This year, we got lucky with mild temps and no snow. We hiked about four miles. (And for the next two days, my shins were killing me!)

Here inside Comfy House, Christmas decor started coming down on December 26th. Those of you who've been with me for a long time, know this is my norm. I feel that Christmas is over and I get tired of the clutter. I enjoy starting over with a fresh, clean look for the new year. But because January and February are such gloomy months here, I like leaving up little lights and candles to add some warmth and coziness to the house.

I left some green bottle brush trees on the mantle too, and brought out a couple of snowmen.

I even left up little snowflake lights in the bathroom. Why not warm up that dark space, too?

I needed a new essential oil diffuser and decided on a glass and wood one. Glad I did because I love the way it looks. It seems to diffuse stronger than my previous plastic diffusers, too. You can change the color of the lights on this one, which lends a pretty glow in a room on an otherwise dreary day. A little PSA: please research which essential oils are OK to diffuse if you have pets. Some can be toxic to them!

Interesting how my plants that bloom are all all doing so right now: the shamrock plant (Oxalis)...

African violet...

and Christmas cactus. Maybe somehow they know that we need some color and cheer on these gray winter days.

We're expecting our first winter storm tonight into tomorrow evening, with 5-8" of wet, heavy snow and up to 40 mph winds. Then another winter storm bringing much of the same on Friday. After that, frigid air will move in and we'll be below zero (F) at night. THIS is the kind of weather I loathe. 

Clementine has the right idea with her heated cat bed. I have one, too. Not a cat bed, hee hee, a heated bed. We have an electric mattress pad which I turn on high an hour before we get in bed. Feels so good to slide into a warm bed on these cold nights. I then turn the heat off, but the bed stays warm long enough just to drift off into blissful sleep.

Maybe with all this snow and frigid air coming our way, it'll give me an excuse to stay home and get some organizing projects done, as well as working in my art journal again. Perhaps have more of a Sacred Day as my blogging friend, Jennifer talks about ~ something we all need.