As we start the new year, a pause to look back at my most-read posts of 2023. And then a few musings on my intentions for 2024.
Christmas With the Family
Christmas with the family was a whirlwind of wild joyous activity… even though we barely left the house.
We were 8 adults, two babies, three dogs, and two cats. Phew!
This is how it went:
They cooked. And ate. (Oh, so much food!)
They played. Laughed. Napped. (The adults too!)
They sang. Even danced!
They wrapped, then opened, gifts.
They hugged. And snuggled. (Adults and babies!)
They did lots of laundry. And dishes. (Thank you, John!)
They gathered around the table. Lay on couches, beds, the floor. (Lots of floor time with the babies.)
They chased the cats. (The dogs, that is…)
They rode the Peloton. Went for walks and runs outdoors. One even swam in the icy ocean.
And they talked — a lot.
I think (and hope!) they had fun. I know I loved every last bustling moment.
But then, before I knew it, they gathered their belongings, piled in cars, and headed out.
And I was left behind, with the echoes and remains of all their doing.
In addition to a very heavy heart.
And also, as inevitably happens when so many travel and gather, a head cold.
So I have spent this week laying low.
Nursing both my stuffy head — and my heart.
Finally, though, I am feeling a bit of my energy start to return. The pull to start the new year. To look ahead and plan.
But first, one last look back at 2023, and my top 10 posts of the year!
2023 Top Ten Posts
Thank you for showing up here in 2023! I, most certainly, would be nothing without all of you. It really does mean so much to me that you take the time to read this blog. I hope it always brightens your day in some way.
This “Top Ten” list is based on page “views” per Google analytics. That means these are the blog posts YOU visited the most!
Do you have a personal favorite from 2023?! I would love to know!
Without further ado, here they are in reverse order from 10 to 1!
Memorial Weekend is here and the guest cottage is ready for summer visitors! Today you are invited to come for a virtual overnight stay! Welcome to Maine! I am so happy to see you!
Summer is guest cottage season! I love standing at my kitchen sink at night, looking across the field, to see lights on up there. In this post, join me for a virtual overnight stay!
“The holiday season is over. Let’s move forward into the the new year! Here are some things I have on my mind heading into 2023!”
This was my first post of 2023. Last year at this time I was not recovering from a houseful and a head cold, so I had more time and energy to think about what I wanted for the new year.
Rereading this post, I am happy to say that I was able to follow through on most of my intentions for 2023.
Of course the highlight of the year was the birth of our first two grandchildren — James and Poppy. It is hard to believe that they had not yet joined us last year at this time! What an absolute joy they were to have here for Christmas!
“It’s a snow day! Join me for breakfast by the fire, a peek at my winter mantel decor, a romp outside with the dogs, some of my favorite blogs, and warm cookies straight out of the oven!”
I love a snow day!
We have had only a couple light dustings so far this winter. It seems we don’t usually get much snow until February or March here — right when I am starting to think about spring…
We do have the possibility of snow this weekend. I am ready for it! I need to wear my jammies inside out on Saturday night! (Did your kids do that?!)
I shared some of my favorite blogs in this post, so you should definitely check it out!
“If you build it, they will come. This has been the driving philosophy behind the home we have created here on the wild coast of Maine. Here is its story!”
This post, and Chasing a Dream: Our Coastal Maine House Story Part 2 tell the story of how we found our property here, renovation of the guest cottage, and construction of the main house. It includes so many great before and during photos!
Writing it was such a walk down memory lane.
I often can’t believe that I live here on this beautiful coast and that I am known to so many as “Molly in Maine”.
It truly is a dream come true!
I hope this series will encourage you to chase after your dream!
“From the weird to the fantastic, common to rare, old to new, and junk to treasure, you can find it at Brimfield! Whatever your style, they will have something for you!”
In May. I checked a trip to the huge Brimfield Flea Market in Brimfield, MA off my bucket list.
In this post I shared my tips and recommendations so you can plan your own Brimfield trip. I also shared all the treasures I brought home with me!
“My mom has been gone for almost four years now, but she lives on in me and in her antique collections and furniture that now fill my home.”
This was a particularly meaningful post for me, and I am so happy that you all enjoyed reading it.
My mom had an impeccable eye for antiques — particularly blue and white transferware dishes. I loved sharing some of her special pieces with you.
I also wrote about her legacy now that I am a grandmother too.
Don’t miss this special post!
“A little bit cozy for winter and a little bit fresh as we look towards spring: join me for a look around my February living and dining areas!”
This was a fun post! Winter is long here in Maine. As we get further into it, I always feel the need to freshen things up a bit, while still keeping it cozy.
Some of my tips from this post might work for you now too, as you start to undecorate from Christmas.
“Greenery, pinecones, oranges, sea shells, driftwood, plenty of blue with pops of green and orange, and even a pair of classic LL Bean boots all combine for a cozy cottage Christmas on the Maine coast!”
This post was actually from December of 2022, but its popularity continued throughout 2023.
My Christmas decor from last year was also a favorite of mine. You can see in this post that I went with a similar color scheme and themes this year!
“A Limelight hydrangea hedge is easy to grow and adds beauty and interest to your garden and home all year! Here’s how I did it!”
I am a novice gardener, but I have had great success with my hedge of 26 limelight hydrangea bushes that lines the base of the deck. In this popular post I share everything you need to know to plant and care for your own limelights.
They truly are the garden gift that keeps on giving all year round!
Let’s go hunting for vintage and antique treasures, and then I will show you how I styled my finds around the house for a late summer refresh!
The late summer mantel display I created with driftwood, mussel shells, seaweed, and a lifesaving ring wreath, was a favorite of mine.
But this post ended up in the #1 spot — by quite a bit — due to some kind of internet glitch. Somehow a large number of very brief views were registered on this page over a 24-hour time period.
I obviously always prefer real readers to bots or glitches, so why don’t you click on the link and take a brief journey back to summertime on the Maine coast! You won’t be disappointed, I promise!
Having take a look back at 2023, I am now ready to move forward.
I am not one for specific “resolutions”; I prefer the word “intentions”.
So, here are some things I am hoping and planning for in 2024.
Time with family and friends
I would like to continue my efforts from 2023 to spend time with family and friends — here in Maine or wherever they call home. I often find it hard to leave my little slice of heaven here, but I want to be better about this.
Making the effort to get together with local friends during the quiet of a Maine winter is particularly important too.
I am kicking off the new year with a trip to Minnesota at the end of this month to celebrate my grandson Jamie’s first birthday!
Wow, does time fly! All the more reason to make sure I seize the moment!
I already feel like I have a pretty healthy lifestyle, but it is important to me to make an annual commitment to continuing to live this way.
I ask myself each day WHEN I will exercise, not if. And as I age, I want to continue to focus on adding strength work to my cardio.
This year I also want to add more protein to my diet. As a vegetarian, this can often be difficult. Yesterday I ordered some protein powder to try in my morning oatmeal.
Do any of you have any suggestions for how I can increase the non-meat protein in my diet?
I am definitely a person who craves order, but somehow things seem to easily get out of control in my home.
I made some strides in 2023 — reorganizing the pantry and the coffee/tea cabinet. A plumbing disaster in the basement led to a partial basement clean out.
But there is still MUCH work to be done in the basement, so that is on my list for 2024.
As well as: the kitchen spice drawer, hall closet, all bedroom closets, and mudroom cabinets. And I would love to find a better solution to storing off-season pillows, covers, and throws.
This is the fun stuff! And the things I am most excited to share with you here on the blog!
- Mudroom update
- Paint and carpet stairs
- Den update
- Wall project in the primary bath
And who knows what else will strike my fancy this year!
A major goal for me this year is to grow this blog.
I hope that will be a good thing for both me and you!
This Week into Next
After a week spent mostly on the couch blowing my nose, drinking hot beverages, and bingeing The Golden Bachelor, I am ready this weekend to transition my decor from holiday to winter.
A recent purchase from a local fabric store has inspired the direction I will take in the kitchen and dining room.
And since I finally got my sewing machine fixed, I will be working on a few small projects this weekend for that.
We have snow forecast Saturday night into Sunday, so it should be a perfect time to settle in and fluff (or de-fluff) the nest.
And then next week, I am back out into the world, ready to embrace 2024!
For next Saturday I will be writing a post on window treatments in the house, including some beautiful new drapes! Can you guess where I hung them?!
The week after, I will most likely be sharing how I changed things up for winter in the living/dining/kitchen.
That’s it for today, friends. I need to go make myself my 5 zillionth tea of the week.
Wishing you all a happy and healthier-than-me start to 2024! I can’t wait to share this year with you!
Love and peace,