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.



  1. Hi Melanie! I hope you are having some relief from the plantar fasciitis. Hopefully you have a good podiatrist! I'm like you - I like to get Christmas down and put away. It is nice to have some extra lights in the house though, and we have been turning on the LED lights in our windows every night, but we have changed the lights from Christmas red and green to January blue. My husband really likes to have those lights on since the LED lights stay in the windows year around and it only takes a click on the remote control to change the color of the lights. The hike you went on looks so nice! You went quite a distance. We used to hike with our children on New Year's Day when we lived in Arizona. I love all your plants. They look amazing. Mine don't seem to do well here in the winter and I am not sure why. I hope you have a great week. So glad to see that Clementine is still hanging on! See you again soon!

  2. I used to have a diffuser like yours and it was my favorite.
    We have a heated throw that the dogs love. I do too. 
    I am so glad your foot is feeling better.
    I love the idea of a sacred day. I definitely want to do something like this. Thank you for the reminder. ❤️

  3. All my Christmas is down and just trying to stay positive in the new year for these first months of winter. Glad you are doing better with the fasciitis. That can be so miserable. How nice you and Brian could walk the park all by yourselves. I bet that was an awesome feeling. Happy New Year have a great week. Hugs. Kris

  4. Most of my Christmas is down and packed away. The trees are still up, dressed in lights only. It's been so dark and dreary here, we figured what's the rush. Like you, we hate this time of year, with its frigid temps. I just got a diffuser, never had one before, looking forward to opening it up and giving it a try!

  5. So glad you were able to take your traditional New Year's Day walk before the snow arrived. The first few days after I defrock the house of its holiday look feels spare and bare, but then I settle into a new kind of coziness and contentment.

  6. I'm just now catching up with my favorite blogs after being away for a week. I'm so glad you found relief for your plantar fasciitis. I'm still battling with mine, although I think it may be some kind of general tendinitis, the discomfort seems to move around a lot.
    I took down our Christmas decorations before we left, and now it's time to put up a few things for Winter. Like you, I like to have lights and a cozy wintery theme. Today is a good day to do some of that. I've been starting my day with reading, and suddenly the morning is half gone. Better get a move on!

  7. It sounds so cozy there in the Comfy House! Like you, we have a heated mattress pad, but we only turn it on for 5-10 minutes while we’re getting ready for bed. It’s enough to wiggle into with pleasure, and keeps me from getting overheated, which is always an issue with me! I love how we both quickly grow weary of Christmas decor. I banish mine with joy!


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