List, 2018: January Plans

January, 2018. Finally. December was a really long and trying month. I won’t write a separate post bout December’s progress because basically everything proposed in this post was accomplished.

Now I’m planning my first month of the new year. It promises to be different.


The main exertion of January is to pull together all files and financials from the previous year.

I use a Net Worth template similar to this which I keep current monthly.

That’s my exertion at work and at home.  Everything must be accomplished by the end of the month — payroll forms, business tax reconciliations, general ledger spreadsheets.


I’m going to outline our thesis for studying Latin music. Charlie and I have the opportunity to research music for a week firsthand on an island in the Caribbean.

We also expect to learn how music fits into the life of the country.

We’re really excited to add salsa, mambo, and cha cha cha to our repertoire and to learn the origins and modern players.

We will also be brushing up on our Spanish this month.


Feast of the Epiphany party on January 6.

Invitations have been sent.


Listening to lots of musica latina (Latin music).

Hoping to have enough music under our belt to take some lessons — Charlie on keys. I plan to learn some vocals.

Exterior Outsourcing 

Medical tests for my doctor who is determined to keep my chart up-to-date.  That’s why I rarely visit him. He seems to think I’m getting older.


I plan to return to the gym early in the month.  I am now pneumonia-free and have regained much of my energy. I need to be ready to do a lot of walking early in February.

I had advanced to level 12 before my December decline.



Easy and Economical Favor

We’re having a party on January 6th celebrating the arrival of 3 kings to the Christ child.

We’re planning to chalk our front door.

One tradition often observed on this day is the chalking of the door. The front door of the house is marked with chalk either on the door or over the door with the year and three initials in this format: 20+C+M+B+18.

A simple party favor.

The letters above the door stand for the initials of the Magi – Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar, and also stands for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, Latin for “May Christ bless this house.”

I printed 10 tags to a sheet on yellow card stock.

I made tags with the Publisher program — 10 to a sheet — printed back and front.  The tags tell the meaning of the initials on the door and have a blessing on the reverse to recite while marking the door.

The chalk can be any color — I chose white.

I purchased some simple white chalk — 16 pieces for 99 cents — and tied on the tags with black and white string.

A simple blessing covers both the structure and every person who lives within or visits.

I hope to have a few left over to give to some special friends who are unable to attend the party.

Do you have any special rituals that you follow at your home?

Epiphany Feast Invite

Since the Feast of Epiphany is 2 weeks away I had to make a really quick invitation.

I chose a half-sheet size so I could print 2 per letter-size card stock.

I usually make invitations on Publisher. I chose a custom paper size of a half sheet of letter paper — 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches.

This image of the Magi traveling in the desert with no transparency.
The picture at 40% transparency.

I used a picture of 3 magi and a caravan riding through the desert as the background to fill the entire card. So printing would show clearly on top of the picture I set the transparency at 40%.

The font is Blackadder ITC.

I added 3 text boxes with invitation, place, and time.  Since most people have been to our home before details like directions are unnecessary. However directions and a map could be printed on the back.

To some folks I sent a text.

Some invitations are handed out as printed cards, others are sent as emails or texts.  Responses are already coming in.

How do you invite people over?

5 Days Until Christmas

Final choir rehearsal tonight for 2 Christmas Eve services. After those services both Charlie and I can relax and enjoy Christmas.

I’m the gift buyer and wrapper in our family.

All my gifts have been bought and delivered.

I’ll work on something like this.

Now I need to finalize the Christmas decor, mantel, tablecloths, etc.

The dining room where we’ll enjoy Christmas dinner.

Happily we’ve been invited to a large Christmas dinner with friends. We just have to provide some music.

What is your favorite holiday food?

First Party of the New Year

Tonight I had a notion that we should have a get-together early in the New Year.

Popovers are an easy party food.

A couple years ago we had a New Year’s morning party where we served only popovers and beverages.  It was a hit and easy to pull off.

Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th.

But I don’t like to repeat parties exactly the same from previous ones so I looked more closely at the calendar.  Actually my first action was to get Charlie and Sug on board.  The three of us are a great entertaining team.

This image of the Magi traveling in the desert can help me with a color scheme.

So January 6th is Epiphany, the feast day that commemorates the visit of the Magi to the Christ child.

The Adoration of the Magi by Albrecht Durer

We’re planning to invite people from many different constituencies. Design themes might include stars or camels or gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I’ll try to come up with something.

Galette des Rois — puff pastry with almond creme.

I also like to find out if there is one special food that is unusual and unique to the event.  In Europe Epiphany is often celebrated with galette des rois, or King’s cake.  Unlike the king cake used at Mardi Gras, this king’s cake is a puff pastry tart filled with almond creme.

These three Kings will figure in the decor.

I have less than 3 weeks to get this party planned. I need to put myself in high gear.

Do you party at the New Year?

Setting Up the Wreath Factory

It seems we’re still having a wreath-making party today even though may invitees have called out sick.  I can totally understand their dilemma.

Getting ready to wreath.

Charlie has set up the card tables as work spaces and all the ingredients are ready.

Recipe for 1 dozen muffins makes 6 dozen mini-muffins.

The soup is simmering and muffins are in the oven.

One for me, one for a friend.

Hoping the healthy ones who show up will consider making two advent wreaths: one to have and one to give.

First Sunday of Advent starts tomorrow. How to use an advent wreath can be found here with pertinent scripture and devotionals.

Hoping your weekend is full of joy.

A Small Set Back

I haven’t done much this week — only the bare necessities — because I have a touch of pneumonia.

We’ll be making wreaths on Saturday afternoon.

After seeing my doctor of over thirty years I’m on the mend so we will still have our advent wreath making get-together on Saturday afternoon.

I’m going to cut more arborvitae..

I need to cut a few more greens and do some shopping.

Hoping to find wild blueberries in the frozen food section of Trader Joe’s.

On Saturday morning I’ll make corn chowder and blueberry muffins.  I’m planning on tweaking my own recipe for corn chowder. I’m going to try America’s Test Kitchen blueberry muffin recipe for the first time.  If it’s great I’ll let you know.

Do you have a great muffin recipe?