7 Quick Takes: Christmas Card Edition

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7 Quick Takes

My first round of Christmas cards (~110 of them) has been dropped in a few of the mailboxes in my subdivision. (We spread them out so as not to clog the slot on the dropbox where our mailbox is.) Here are the things that allow me to do that many cards in the matter of a few hours.

Also, there will be some Amazon affiliate links because I am an Amazon associate. (It supports my bullet journal habit.)

— 1 —

Photo cards from Shutterfly. I don’t have a Costco account, so Shutterfly is my BFF. I buy myself $25 gift cards for about 5-6 months during the year and those pay for my cards as well as any photobooks or prints of pictures that I need for the holidays.

Walgreens also usually has deals on photo cards as well.

— 2 —

The ability to order stamps by mail. The USPS website gives you the option of buying stamps online. You do have to pay shipping (usually $1.30), but that is worth avoiding long lines at the post office at this time of year. I usually order stamps with my November paycheck or get last year’s design over the period of a few months.

— 3 —

A big surface. I usually take over the dining room table at home or a table at $tarbux for this purpose. This allows me to create a system to streamline the process.

— 4 —

Envelope moisteners. These are invaluable, incredibly cheap, and save your tongue from papercuts it might get from licking all those envelopes. I’ve used this one and this one before.

— 5 —

YouTube. I didn’t watch anything on YouTube while doing them this year because I was watching my sister-in-law chase my nephew around. (My nephew is almost 18 months old and enjoys running at lightspeed around our house because we have an open floor plan that creates a track for him.) In previous years, I’ve watched lectures by Fr. James Martin S.J., Fr. Greg Boyle S.J., and various TED talks as well as Viperkeeper videos.

— 6 —

Microsoft Access. I keep a master list on OneDrive in an access file. You can even create forms in Access that allow you to put in information quickly. (I’m a Microsoft Access junkie.)

— 7 —

Avery.Com templates. Avery.Com has some really cool label templates that you can use when you create an Avery.Com account. I use their labels, so I can just put the label name in, and it gives me designs for that size of label.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: Christmas Gifts That Matter Edition

7 Quick Takes

With Thanksgiving being next Thursday, it means that Black Friday is afoot and the Christmas shopping season is starting. Instead of braving the malls and dealing with crush of people, I thought I’d give you seven gift catalogs. There are SOOOOOO many more, so I’ll link the extra ones in Take #7.

— 1 —

Kiva.Org Kiva gives you an opportunity to participate in microlending. A $25 loan can be made to people in 77 countries, and the people are using the money for things like education, starting businesses, repairing houses, buying equipment to expand businesses, etc. I tend to lend to Muslim women in the Middle East. When the loan is paid back, they can cut you a check for the $25, or you can re-lend it. The day I find out that I have $25 in my Kiva account is always a wonderful one because I get to find another person in whom I can invest. In the last 13 years, I have made 22 loans and only one person has defaulted. (Truthfully, I have no regrets there because I don’t lend money that I can’t afford to lose.) Even in my most financially destitute times, I have always re-lent the money because it makes me feel like I can do something in the midst of hard circumstances in my life.

If you want to gift someone the opportunity to make a loan, click here. If you want to buy products from Kiva artisans, click here.

— 2 —

Heifer International. Heifer International has branched out from donating livestock to empowering women and caring for the earth. I used to gifts shares of animals to people for holidays, and I’ve tithed to them on and off for years.

Their gift catalog is here.

— 3 —

International Rescue Committee. The International Rescue Committee helps people whose live and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to rebuild their lives. Their stuff tends to pop up a lot on my Facebook wall, and their gift catalog was one that I knew I had to include. I think my favorite gifts give girls the chance to go to school. Various celebrities and businesses have put together gift collections of projects they support. This is a group that does a lot with refugees, which warms my heart greatly.

Their gift catalog is here.

— 4 —

Donors Choose. Donors Choose is one of my favorite groups. One of the people in my church’s choir had a project funded through them, and it was amazing to get to be part of that. I know some of the kids benefitted by that project, and I’m planning on helping to fund a couple of projects at my local middle school. You can get gift cards from them that allow the recipient to fund part of a project of their choice.

Stephen Colbert is a HUGE supporter of theirs and funded every project in South Carolina several years ago. He is on the board and had the pleasure of announcing that the company Ripple and its executives donated enough last year to fund EVERY project on the site.

To purchase a gift card, click here.

— 5 —

Catholic Relief Services. I’m among a handful of non-Catholics who do Quick Takes, so I wanted to share the CRS gift catalog in case people want to give to a Catholic organization. Like many of the others, there is a large spectrum of areas in which they work and gifts at many different price points. Notable ones include a welcome kit for victims of trafficking that has basic supplies for them to help them feel comfort after their escape, health exams for kids, and school uniforms. (To be perfectly honest, some of the gifts are making me teary because I wish I could buy one of each.)

Their gift catalog is here.

— 6 —

Save the Children. You can send a kid to camp, buy a soccer ball for a kid, help create a community book bank, and comfort a migrant child among other things.

Their gift catalog is here.

— 7 —

Everything else. Here are the other ones I didn’t have the space to explain.

International Justice Mission
Outreach International
World Vision
UNICEF Inspired Gifts
Oxfam

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: Why I Am Tired Edition

7 Quick Takes

Only five takes today because I’m exhausted.

Also, just a head’s up that this post contains Amazon affiliate links.

— 1 —

This is my reality. I live in an area with a lot of people who may/may not be documented.

— 2 —

22q clinic appointment. It was a long day. Thankfully, the psychologist we saw cued the team to the fact that Daniel was going to lose his Jesus if he had to stay in an exam room until 5:00, so they came and walked around Ocean 8 with us (outpatient clinic floor) with us. They also came as fast as they could in succession. We got out around 3:30 instead of 5:00 or 5:30. We got bits of good advice, and we have a referral to a medical genetics specialist because there are a few other clinically-significant genetic “differences” that need to be looked at.

They’re also going to try and get some genetic tests for me to find out if I’m the 22q person and also to see if there is some clinically-significant stuff for me. They’ll have to send me to the UW for that though because Seattle Children’s only deals with kids.

— 3 —

Advent devotional book. I’m putting together an Advent devotional book for church and I got everybody’s devotions from them last week and this week. I’m happy that I only had to write 5 of them (out of 25). Still, it’s a lot of work, and I have to talk to our treasurer on Sunday about getting it printed at Office Depot.

— 4 —

Work. Most of my work this week was teaching my Accounting students how to sort through inventory valuation in a perpetual inventory system… which was relatively new to me because my book normally had periodic inventory for the problems. The college-transferable course does perpetual inventory, which I kind of like better because you’re keeping a running tally of what you have. My only complaint about the book and software program is that the tables for inputting the information do not make a good separation between the days, so the Inventory on Hand column kind of runs together.

At least I was able to teach myself how to do it relatively quickly!

— 5 —

Insomnia. I haven’t been sleeping super well lately, so mornings have been horrible. I didn’t have anything after Daniel’s occupational therapy appointment this morning, so I drove to the local park-and-ride and listened to today’s Pray As You Go devotion… and ended up falling asleep for 90 minutes. It was kind of nice actually, and I might have to unplug myself again next Friday and go find a place to curl up and read. I’ve got a few books to finish… or in which I need to catch up.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: Halloween Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Halloween Take #1. My conspiracy theorist costume.

My costume.

— 2 —

Halloween Take #2. Here is a close-up picture of some of my conspiracy theories.

A close-up of my costume.

— 3 —

Halloween #3. Even my prince of darkness got in on the action! (And yes, he is planning to kill me while I sleep.)

Minion and me.

— 4 —

Halloween Take #4. I made my dad a pumpkin pi(e).

The pumpkin pi(e) I made for my dad.

— 5 —

An explanation. Three years ago, one of my baristas did an aluminum foil hat for Halloween and I had been wanting to try it. I also put ~30 labels all over my body with the names of various conspiracies. The aluminum foil hat was actually super easy and it fit over my bun. I didn’t wear it all day because it was really hot, but it did the trick.

— 6 —

Coffee Take #1.

Yeah, this is totally me...

— 7 —

Prayer request. Please keep the Witte family in prayer as they bury little Preston today. They were one of our amazing church families in Minnesota, and my heart breaks for them. Also, please wear blue for him today if you can.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook: October 27, 2019

For Today… October 27, 2019

Simple Woman's Daybook

Looking out my window… sunny. It’s deceptive because it looks warm while it is a bit chilly–about 46F.

I am thinking… about all those affected by the wildfires in California.

I am thankful… to not be in California right now with the fires and power outages. PG&E should be facing criminal charges for the crap their horrible equipment is creating. If they had actually maintained their equipment appropriately and updated safety measures, California wouldn’t be facing this problem.

One of my favorite things… crocheting while watching YouTube.

I am wearing… blue long-sleeved shirt and black khaki-type pants. As usual, I am barefoot.

I am creating… a charcoal-colored ribbed hat.

I am watching… various things on YouTube.

I am hoping… for a good resolution to a situation on my mind. (I’d talk about it, but that would violate some privacy policies and put me at risk of litigation.)

I am learning… that I really need to read EVERY part of a pattern.

In my kitchen… yet to be determined for dinner tonight.

Shared Quote… “Crowley had always known that he would be around when the world ended, because he was immortal and wouldn’t have any alternative. But he hoped it was a long way off. Because he rather liked people. It was major failing in a demon. Oh, he did his best to make their short lives miserable, because that was his job, but nothing he could think up was half as bad as the stuff they thought up themselves. They seemed to have a talent for it. It was built into the design, somehow. They were born into a world that was against them in a thousand little ways, and then devoted most of their energies to making it worse. Over the years Crowley had found it increasingly difficult to find anything demonic to do which showed up against the natural background of generalized nastiness. There had been times, over the past millennium, when he’d felt like sending a message back Below saying, Look we may as well give up right now, we might as well shut down Dis and Pandemonium and everywhere and move up here, there’s nothing we can do to them that they don’t do to themselves and they do things we’ve never even thought of, often involving electrodes. They’ve got what we lack. They’ve got imagination. And electricity, of course. One of them had written it, hadn’t he… ‘Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.'”
? Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

A moment from my day… A lot of churches are celebrating Reformation Day today and my former priest posted this today. I’m kind of dying of laughter while watching this…

Hosted by The Simple Woman.

7 Quick Takes: Things on My Mind Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Why do cats pick the most inconvenient place to sleep? Currently, my prince of darkness is curled up on my feet, which is not the most comfortable place to have him. CATS!

— 2 —

My post-op appointment on Tuesday. My lovely Ukrainian OB/GYN showed me pictures of my insides at my appointment on Tuesday. Apparently, my adhesions were more serious than they expected and they were also taken aback by the vascularity they found, so my surgery took longer than expected. It was strange to see pictures of my ovaries–I expected them to look a bit different. In any case, he was happy with the progress of my healing and took the time to answer my questions. He has a very dry sense of humor, and it was good to see it come out. If I need any further treatment, I will request him specifically.

— 3 —

My students. I have several students who are receiving Accounting help from me and one who is getting general computer help. My mind is pondering ways to help them as well as the predicament one is in. (I just sent that student a “pep talk”.)

— 4 —

My CPAP mask. My old one was irritating me, so I decided to try a new one. I think it might grow on me after I get through this first adjustment period.

— 5 —

My crocheting. I made a fatal mistake in a crocheting project and had to frog the whole thing… twice. I’m on try #3 and it just might work out for me. I need to just do that at home and bring my nephew’s baby/big boy blankie when I work with students as that one is more brainless crocheting.

— 6 —

Daniel’s 22q clinic appointment. It’s a “clinic” appointment, so we’re going to be there for HOURS while specialists come in and out of the room.

— 7 —

Local elections. We have an unqualified outsider seeking to unseat our mayor… who was qualified BEFORE she was elected, has gone back to school and achieved MORE qualifications in her two terms as mayor, and who is supported by the town police and firefighters. I’ve lived in Mount Vernon for longer than our mayor’s challenger and *I* am more qualified for the office than she is, so I can’t understand why she is bothering to run.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: YouTube Channel Edition

7 Quick Takes

I thought I’d share some of my favorite YouTube channels with you.

— 1 —

SixBlindKids SixBlindKids is quite literally a family with six blind kids. 🙂 They have a biological son who is older and sighted, Joe (the dad) has a son from a previous marriage, and the rest of the kiddos were adopted overseas from various countries except for one who was adopted domestically. Most of the younger six have at least one other issue (autism, CP, intellectual disabilities, etc.), and all but one are young adults now. They are the coolest people and it’s amazing to see how they do things. The episode posted today is them wandering the Homesteaders of America 2019 Conference.

— 2 —

World’s Strictest Parents. World’s Strictest Parents is a 10+ year TV show in which unruly teenagers from various countries are sent to families with strict parents to learn what it is like to live in a strict family with rules and boundaries. The American version used to be broadcast on CMT. Every Saturday, they have a full episode from one of the international versions.

— 3 —

Megan Fox Unlocked. Megan Fox is a Mennonite millenial mom with two precious kids in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I love watching her videos because she’s interesting, she’s always really upbeat and positive, and she’s great about answering questions based on her life.

— 4 —

Lynette Yoder. Lynette Yoder grew up Amish until she was a teenager when her ENTIRE CHURCH went Mennonite. She grew up in Ohio and Canada, but she now lives in Florida. I love watching her videos to learn about sewing, food, homemaking, and Mennonite life. She was one of Megan Fox’s inspirations in starting a YouTube channel, and the two of them did a collaboration this year!

— 5 —

Vinteheiro. Lord Vinteheiro is a Brazilian pianist. I can identify a lot more classical music that isn’t by my favorite composers after watching some of his videos. What impresses me is that he plays while staring sideways at the camera… which involves an insane amount of muscle memory!

— 6 —

Talking Kitty Cat. Sylvester is a snarky black kitty cat whose human puts voices and words in his mouth. He reminds me of someone, but I can’t think of who…

— 7 —

la harpe de melodie. This is the channel of a harpist who was a doctoral music student at USC. (I found out who she actually is online, but I am not linking her by name as she does not attach her name to her YouTube site.) I love her channel for lots of early music and folk music.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.