• Courtney J. Hall

Monthly Round-Up: January

The first month of 2021 is over. My Christmas decorations are still up (fortunately, I decorate more for "winter" than for "Christmas" so I can get away with being lazy in that regard) and Valentine's Day - and a particularly milestoney birthday - are rapidly approaching. No, I won't tell you which milestone. And no, I'm not looking forward to it. The only good thing about it is that my sister decided a few years ago that she would help me celebrate this birthday by taking me to Prince Edward Island for the complete and total Anne of Green Gables experience. Of course, this was before we knew a global pandemic would happen. Hopefully sometime this year, Canada will start allowing Americans in again, and I can realize a nearly-lifelong dream of experiencing Avonlea in real life.

Looking for ways to spend cold, possibly snowy days for the next few months? Read on!


As longtime readers of this blog will know, I'm always late to the game when it comes to new movies and TV shows. Add to that the fact that I feel completely overwhelmed by Netflix and all of the other streaming services out there, and I almost always resort to my Old Faithfuls - Friends, The King of Queens, Seinfeld, and other long-over sitcoms that I can keep on in the background while doing other things. But last week I remembered having heard good things about Virgin River, a Netflix series based on a series of books by Robyn Carr. It only debuted in December 2019, so I'm not that late, and with only two seasons on which to catch up, I'll be there waiting on season 3 with the rest of you probably by the end of this week. It's deliciously soapy without being over-the-top melodramatic, enjoyable acting from a diverse cast of characters (even if the characters themselves aren't always enjoyable), and just plain binge-worthy. In a time where everyone I know is raving about Bridgerton, which I surprisingly and sadly just couldn't get into, I'm glad to have something I can talk about.


Comfort food weather is in full swing, and I've got a long list of soup recipes I want to try. First up was this tomato soup that looked like it would help me use one of the several pounds of gnocchi I bought last summer when they were on sale for 50 cents per 1-lb box. Bonus - it's vegan, which helps me feel like I'm making better choices than the downright horrible ones I made over the holidays (okay, over 2020 as a whole).


My mother-in-law, who is one of the sweetest women you'll ever meet, is also one of those people who appreciates a homemade gift over something soulless and mass-produced. Whenever her birthday rolls around, I try to bake her something to let her know how appreciated she is. This year, with a jar of homemade Amish apple butter in my cabinet, I set about making these apple butter cookies - half sugar cookie, half snickerdoodle, with a delicious apple-cinnamon flavor, she absolutely loved them. I can't wait to try them with pumpkin butter!

That's all for January! How did you spend the first month of 2021?

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