Tag Archives: January

Things to do in January

I don’t know about you, but putting away the holiday decorations nearly does me in every January.  The gloomy weather and a cold I can’t seem to kick (kids and their germs, I tell ya) aren’t helping.  

Winter Elizabeth is a lot less fun than Summer Elizabeth.

things to do in january

Semi-related: Winter Elizabeth somehow lost one of her children’s birth certificates. Not my finest work.  Hence, baby Nick and I made our way to the registry office at City Hall today.  As much as I would have rather stayed home, curled up on the sofa with a blanket and a book…

  1. One-year-olds don’t do that.  They just don’t.
  2. An object in motion stays in motion… while staying put is a great way to lose momentum.  And I’d already lost the birth certificate, so…

I couldn’t help but brighten up a bit as we approached City Hall, though.  I love the juxtaposition of old and new less old buildings.  I like seeing tourists milling about. I like the buzz of it all.  

Once we finished the grown-up business part of our outing, I figured we may as well embrace a bit of adventure, too.  We were bundled up and had plenty of snacks, why not?

mother juice unicorn blood

We split a cup of Unicorn Blood (yes, really… it’s a delicious mix of beet, carrot, celery, watermelon + pineapple) from Mother Juice at the Boston Public Market, walked along the Greenway and did some people watching at Faneuil Hall.  A little adventure was the perfect antidote to my winter mood.

matthew hoffman greenway art

So good, right?  Click to learn more about MAY THIS NEVER END by artist Matthew Hoffman currently installed along the Greenway.

For me, keeping busy (especially with good, fun, interesting things… not just boring, necessary things) goes a long way in keeping the winter blues at bay.  In that vain, here are a few things to do in January.

THINGS TO DO IN JANUARY

  • Get outside for a walk to improve your mood + overall health.
  • Take an art class. (Creative Bug is my favorite source for online classes– I gravitate toward the painting and drawing classes, but you’ll find really accessible courses on knitting, sewing, collage, drawing, etc.)
  • Or take a yoga class.
  • Join in a day of service on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  You can find projects in your community here.
  • Put together a new playlist (Stevie Wonder on repeat here currently).
  • Celebrate an obscure January holiday (I’ve got big plans for National Popcorn Day on the 19th… mostly, my plans involve me + eating popcorn).
  • Unpack your holiday decorations.  No one can deny the magic of twinkle lights.
  • Ride the subway (i.e. the T) sans pants… or don’t. 
  • Spend an afternoon at a museum.  The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and The Clark Art Institute are my (Massachusetts) favorites and I’ve been dying to take the kids to the Children’s Museum.  
  • Refresh your walls with some new (or DIY) artwork.  What you look at all day matters, obvi.
  • Get outside for another walk.

P.S. While the acronym SAD is sort of laughable, Seasonal Affectedness Disorder and winter depression are no joke.  Please don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it. <3

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your January to do list?

Today: January goals (and a printable calendar).

Hello from the other siiiiiide of New Year’s Eve.

(For the record: Now that we’re nearing a month of newborn-related sleep deprivation, everything I say and do is the funniest thing ever… to me, at least.  It would seem my siblings feel differently.  Either that or their phones are broken in such a way that they cannot reply to my hilarious bitmoji texts.)

January goals and a printable calendar

january goals and a printable calendar

Materials used: Micron pen (black 01), Sakura Koi Coloring Brush Pens, Winsor and Newton Professional Watercolors, random craft paint (acrylic), good old Microsoft Word (for the calendar table)

My questionable comedienne status aside, it is New Year’s Day and I’ve got January goals and a printable calendar to share with you.  Rather than setting year-long resolutions, I’m sticking to monthly goals and intentions.  Mostly because I can barely imagine what tomorrow will bring, let alone how many days I can deprive myself of Diet Coke come November.  

The calendar is a part of a larger goal I have to both make and share more art.  Please feel free to share, download and print as you like.  Consider it a gift to offset the un-funny Adele joke above.  And unless I completely space out, I’ll draw and paint a new calendar for you on the first of each month.

click here to download your free, printable January calendar

Here are the rest of my January goals, semi-organized for your reading pleasure.

Family

  • Celebrate Grace’s 2nd birthday in style (…whatever that means)
  • 2 trips to the children’s library
  • Photograph Grace and (baby) Nick and send out New Year’s cards/birth announcements (we sort of missed the boat on Christmas cards)
  • Listen to Serial with (adult) Nick each week (Nerdtown, USA: Population of 2)

Wellness

  • Schedule doctor’s and dentist’s and vet’s appointments for the beginning of the year
  • Get back in the workout groove (after being cleared to exercise at my six week postpartum check-up) and share weekly round-ups for accountability and motivation
  • Drink fewer than 600 Diet Cokes a week
  • Wear FitBit every day (this feels like a do-able precursor to setting a daily step or sleep goal)
  • Set aside 10 minutes each day to make something (and make peace with the fact that these “somethings” will likely take days or weeks to be finished products)

Home

  • Throw out, recycle or donate everything
  • Make a list of specific spaces in our condo to tackle and start chipping away at the decluttering
  • Hire a new housecleaner (we parted ways with ours in December, and I am not an especially talented duster… and let’s just say, both are evident)
  • Participate in Apartment Therapy’s January Cure

Community

  • Join a new parish (this is sort of major, and in the works — we love our current parish, but will be moving to one in our own neighborhood this year)
  • Participate in at least one of my fitness group’s social activities (the group has monthly birthday parties for kids, a mom’s night out, recipe swaps, etc.) rather than ducking out right after the workout, as I’ve done in the past #awkwardfaceemoji
  • Share at least one friend’s blog post or project per week

Here’s to a productive, happy, healthy, sort-of-hilarious month.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s On Tap for your January?

Today: Vegan red lentil and lemon soup.

As someone who lives in fear of leaving home with the flat iron plugged in and at full power, I’ve always been terrified of crock pots, slow cookers, and similar devices that are intended to be left on, conducting heat, electricity and other fire starters whilst you’re out of the home. [That was a long sentence.]  The idea that I could return to our condo, though, after a full day of work to find hot meal waiting for me?  Well, that sounds like a miracle.  Especially if one assumes I have not burned down our building in the process.


Last fall, the team at Ninja Kitchen invited us to a demo of their new Ninja Cooking System, which is sort of like the mother of all crock pots.  It doesn’t just cook meals and keep them warm, it has settings for sauteeing, searing, and steam-infused baking and roasting.

Ninja Cooking System

The Ninja team (I picture them wearing all black, all the time) was kind enough to send me the product once it was released.  As soon as the box arrived, Nick was making all kinds of meat stews or ribs or whatever in it.  Meanwhile, I kept a safe distance.  And an eye on the fire extinguisher.  And a vow to not leave the condo while that thing was on.


And then Kelsey sent me a recipe for vegan Red Lentil and Lemon Soup.  First thought: Marcel the Shell.  Second thought: I need to make this.  I fired up the Ninja and (hiiiiiiiiiiiiiyah) got to work.

Red Lentil and Lemon Soup

vegan red lentil and lemon soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (I used 4 cloves… let’s be serious)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

vegan red lentil and lemon soup

Directions:

  1. [This can be done on your stovetop, if you’re using a traditional crock pot.] Pour oil into pot, set to stovetop high and heat oil.  Add carrots, onions, garlic, and salt to pot.  Cook uncovered for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.  Stir in cumin.
  2. Stir in lentils and broth and heat to a boil.  Set to slow cook low for 5 to 7 hours.  Cover and cook until lentils are tender.  Stir in lemon juice before serving.

Notes: For my fellow gluten-challenged friends, Arrowhead Mills makes red lentils that are certified gluten-free, and slow cooker-friendly.  I included some fresh thyme when cooking the vegetables, and topped the finished product with a drizzle of chili oil.  The more kick, the better.  

Could I have made this on the stovetop in far less time?  Yes, probably.  Would our condo have smelled like cumin and garlic all afternoon?  Probably not.  While there was still plenty of hands on time involved, it was nice to sit back and relax while the Ninja did its thing.  One major bonus: there was only one pot to clean (and the Ninja’s non-stick interior made for an easy clean up), as I was able to saute my veggies and cook the soup right in the cooker.  My usual soup-making adventures are much messier.  And much more low-tech.

I am easing into the idea of leaving the cooker on while I am out.  With two weeks left in January (Slow Cooking Month, apparently), I just may get there.  If you’re looking for more slow cooker recipes, Julie is hosting a Crock Pot Challenge and has posted some great ideas.

For the record:  I received this product at no charge.  I was not compensated for this post, and per yoosh, my opinions are all my own.  Oh, and remember: safety first, fun food second.

Also On Tap for Today:

Are you down with the slow cooking?  Feel free to share a favorite recipe.  Or safety tip.