Finding the Joy

I know a lot of people who find November to be the saddest month, as everything turns cold and grey.

But I love November! It’s actually my favourite month. It’s my birthday month, which always feels exciting and fun and leads me to reflect on my life and the past year, usually with positivity. There’s tons of leftover Halloween candy to get through, plus birthday treats, and Diwali usually falls in November too (it was this past weekend), so the food is good. Christmas season officially opens after my birthday but I can usually sneak in a bit of shopping and card writing before that, so the whole month starts to feel festive.

Plus, I have a lot of very cute jackets and adorable ankle boots that are only suitable to wear in Ottawa in November and April, so it’s officially Cute Jacket and Little Leather Boots month, which is awesome.

So I’ve been in a cheerful mood, and I wanted to blog about all my favourite November things that are making me super happy right now.


Christmas Advent Calendar Boxes

My kids like an advent calendar but due to food allergies they can’t really have a chocolate or treats based one. Up until now I’ve bought them a toy-based one like a Lego one or a Funko Pop one. These were a hit when they were young but now they are older and less enchanted with getting more stuff every day.

So I wanted to do a food one for them, and I wanted it to be cute, so I downloaded these three adorable printable box sets from the Etsy shop Little Llama Shop (bonus: she’s Canadian!).

My friend Sheila (hi Sheila!!) wanted the link after seeing them in Instagram so I have shared it here, but I warn you – the assembly time on these is crazy. After printing them onto cardstock at Staples, each set probably took 5-6 hours to cut out, score, fold, and then glue together.

So it’s not really a project I would recommend unless you really, really want to do it. But I’m super happy with them, they are so cute, and it kept me busy and cheerful for several evenings at home. Hopefully they will be reusable for a few years to come, at least.

Watching Star Wars with Captain Jelly Belly

I love Star Wars, and that is an enormous understatement.

The oldest kid, Captain Jelly Belly, loves Star Wars too, maybe even more than I do. He paid, with his own money, to get a couple of months of Disney+ so he could binge watch all the Star Wars content.

This led to a lengthy debate between us on how to rank all the Star Wars movies, and to settle our disagreement, we agreed to watch all 9 of the central story films and then discuss each, and it has been SO MUCH FUN. It’s one of those things where you experience the true joy of having had children. We are about halfway through and I can’t wait to watch more.

(He still believes that Revenge of the Sith is the best movie. He is very wrong, but he has at least managed to convince me it belongs at the #4 spot, behind A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, and the super-divisive The Last Jedi. Please do feel free to debate us in the comments.)

Reading Poetry in the Bathroom

I’ve gotten really into poetry lately and I’ve bought a few books of modern poetry, pretty much exclusively by women but I think that is a coincidence. I leave these books in the bathroom and a few times a day I go in there and read a poem and then think about it until my next visit.

Hopefully that was not too much information. Really I want to convey the fact that a few poems a day has brought me a lot of joy, and I find it to be really fun, and I recommend.

(Titles I thought were awesome include New American Best Friend by Olivia Gatwood; Tell Me by Kim Addonizio; How to Avoid Huge Ships by Julie Bruck; Good Bones by Maggie Smith; Devotions by Mary Oliver.)

Holiday Programming

Netflix has already started with holiday-themed romantic comedies and I am salivating. Little Miss Sunshine (my rom-com partner in crime) says I have to wait until after my birthday on Wednesday to dig in.

But I plan on watching every cheesy one I can get my hands on. They are, for the most part, pretty awful. But does that stop me from watching and enjoying, with a hot chocolate in hand, next to my gas fireplace? No, it does not.

Scented Foaming Hand Soaps

We went to the mall on the weekend to do some Christmas shopping, and I went into the Bath and Body Works which is a place I usually never go. But I had remembered that a few years ago, someone gifted us a foaming hand soap from there in a Christmas scent, and we all loved it.

It turns out you can get 5 foaming hand soaps for $25 so I did, in fun festive scents like Candy Cane and Sweater Weather and Vanilla Snowflake, and I placed them all around the house at various sinks so you can go through the house on a Scent Adventure now. It is fun! And our hands smell really good!

New Books

For some reason, I have not really felt like reading during the pandemic. But I bought myself a new I Spy book for Halloween – this one – and it was so fun. Little Miss Sunshine and I used to do these all the time when she was younger, especially in the afternoons after school or while waiting for a doctor’s appointment, and we both loved them. We still do the Christmas one we have ever year. I think I might buy more.

I also got this awesome book for myself for no reason – Timeline of World History by Matt Baker. I watch his YouTube channel faithfully – it’s called Useful Charts – where he puts together timelines of history and family trees of famous historical figures. (Bonus: he’s Canadian, so there’s even some Canadian content on there!)

You can buy his charts as posters but this is the first time he has bundled several into a gorgeous hardcover book. It has four big fold-out poster-charts along with a bunch of associated stories about people and times on the charts and if you have a history lover in your house, GET THEM ONE.

Christmas Shopping and Card Writing

Lastly, it is officially Christmas Gift Shopping time and that always makes me so happy. I love the gift giving! Mostly I love the gift-picking-out. I went to the mall this past weekend and got pretty much everything for my nephews and nieces, and looking at the items and thinking about bringing up my Huge Bin Of Wrapping Paper and digging in is making me happy.

Plus I think I Christmas Cards might see a resurgence this year. I love sending cards and I bought some pretty ones and I am cheerfully singing Christmas songs as I think about filling them out and posting them and people getting them in the mail and smiling. And maybe we will get a few, too.

November, man. It feels hopeful, and happy, and joyful, don’t you think?

3 thoughts on “Finding the Joy

  1. Oooh I love this post so much. I also am a fan of the Bath and Body Works soaps, their scents are divine. I also read one poem from Devotions every day before my yoga practice; I started doing this when the pandemic hit and I started practicing at home instead of the studio. Love Mary Oliver!

  2. Thanks for sharing your November cheer! And the recommendation for Timeline of World History (got Randall Monroe for the kids last year). Happy birthday!

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