November 2023 goals

6 November 2023

In reflecting on this month, one thing rose to the surface: I get by with a little help from my friends. Katie hosted our chocolate chip cookie party. Stephanie stepped in last minute to help me set the Articles Club table, and she, Pressley, and Stacy are writing sections of the Articles Club guide. I think asking for help makes a lot of people uncomfortable (my husband included!), but for some reason, I enjoy receiving help almost as much as I love giving it. (This is even more unusual because I’m an introvert and an Enneagram 5, types that often prefer to go it alone!) I’m rolling some thoughts around and have a blog post in the works on this topic, but in the meantime, let’s take a look at November…

A bag o’ library books riding shotgun for my bookworm. I think it might be time for another installment of June’s Favorites, yes?

On my calendar:
— Voting, always.
— Thanksgiving in the Florida Keys with my side of the family! This is a belated 40th anniversary trip in honor of my parents, and we are all very excited.
— Beginning my 2024 PowerSheets. I chose Jade!

What I’m loving right now:
— I made a quick mention of this in a past post, but if you have kids and a road trip in your future, I want you to know about The Night Train, an audio story our family listened to this summer and loved. The older two are quite excited to listen to The Merry Beggar’s other long-form story, their version of A Christmas Carol, this Advent. (My vision is for them to cozy up and listen to it around the fire while I cook dinner – we shall see how it pans out! :))
— I read this essay (Atlantic gift link) by Colin Campbell, about losing his two teenage children and how we can better respond to our own grief and the grief of others, and knew I wanted to share it with you. Then this expansive interview with Colin on one of my favorite podcasts brought it to mind again. So, take your pick – essay, podcast interview, or the full-length book.
— I’ve been making my Black Friday shopping list, and am hoping this sweater will be on sale. It is so lovely! Also eyeing these holiday Lake Pajamas. If they’re sold out, I may just go with these ones!

As a reminder, you can find allll the things I’ve loved over the last few years neatly organized right here!

What you’re loving right now:

This is where I highlight a few items here that have been popular in the last month with fellow readers, based on my analytics. Here’s hoping this will help you find something you’ll love!

What we use to keep our dresser drawers organized
— These white wood and linen bulletin boards, which we use to display kid artwork
PowerSheets. So happy it seems many of you will be joining me in 2024!
— The Yoto, which Shep and June both listen to daily (she has an original and he, a mini – the mini has the same functionality, it’s just smaller and less expensive!)
— Shep’s fly velcro sneakers

What I read in October:
Morning Star | The conclusion to the Red Rising trilogy. I’m glad I finished it! Tons of battles, lots of twists and turns, and a satisfying conclusion. However, it was QUITE the contrast with my next read…
At Home in Mitford | …this one. I first read a Mitford novel back in high school, because my grandmother loved them. My pal Stephanie reminded me of the series (she reads them every year!!), which inspired me to put one on my 2023 reading list. I picked it up a little early in honor of our trip to the Boone area, since the series is set in a town inspired by Blowing Rock.
The Vanderbeekers Lost and Found | I just love these books. This was one of my favorites in the series so far, even though it has some sad moments. I appreciate that the author doesn’t shy away from including the hard, but instead shows us how a family can move through it.

My reading list for 2023! I’m 20 / 24 so far for the year – two months to go!

Revisiting my October goals:
Write and design the Articles Club guide (I made an outline and handed out assignments to willing members. Grateful to make this a collaborative project!)
Edit Sheptember, Volume 5 (I chose a song :))
Host the chocolate chip cookie party (Done! It was sweet. Recap to come soon!)
Tackle Annie’s closet
Organize the gift storage
Send care package to our college babysitter (Yes! See last year’s here.)
Finish our 2015-2019 photo album (Progress! I finished years 2015 and 2016. It is slow going!!)
Execute an extra-special setting for the 8th anniversary of Articles Club (Yes! See it here!)

November goals:
— Submit all passport paperwork for the kids’ passports and my renewal
— Tackle Shep’s closet
— Finish writing and design the Articles Club guide and list it for sale
— Finish our 2015-2019 photo album
— Design and order our Christmas card and newsletter
— Edit Sheptember, Volume 5

Gift guides are on my mind! I’m planning to write posts about what we’re actually giving our kids this Christmas, what’s on my wish list, and stocking stuffer ideas for kids and grown-ups. I know they’re not for everyone, but if they’re for you, is there anything else that would be helpful? And what’s your preference on timing – ASAP? Or closer to Black Friday? Beginning of December? Feel free to share your thoughts below or anything else that’s on your mind!

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November 6, 2023 9:19 am

Can’t wait to hear about the chocolate chip cookie party!

I LOVE your gift guides and “what we actually bought” posts. They are my favorite gift guides – by far! I would vote ASAP, my holiday shopping is nearly done! Plus, sales seem to be starting earlier and earlier, so it’s nice to make the lists early :)

Rebekah Louise Murphy
November 6, 2023 9:25 am

Very excited to see your Keys trip recap as we are going there in January! And are you guys planning an overseas trip? Would love a post about traveling overseas with kids!

November 6, 2023 9:33 am

I definitely vote sooner than later for the gift suggestions! It’s helpful to have ideas to share with grandparents. Also..interested in your ideas for international travel with kiddos!

For the Mitford books, they definitely get better as you go through the series!! I loved reading them as the characters developed over the years. I actually have an old Mitford village from back in the day that my kids play with.

November 6, 2023 9:55 am

I love your gift guides! They frequently inform my own “wish list” that I can pass along. The sunhat, melamine plates and platter, Julie Voss earrings, have all been put on my wish, and now things I love list! Looking forward to getting ideas for my toddler and family members this year.

November 6, 2023 11:04 am

The picture of the library books makes me giddy! I’m reading through The Magic Tree House series with my 1st grader and really loving it! And yes to a post about more of June’s favorite reads! Gift guides are really fun! I’ve found multiple things for my kiddos from your past gift guides so bring EM on :)

And I am super excited to hear about the Chocolate Chip Cookie party!

November 6, 2023 11:25 am

Hi Emily! Over the years of making special videos for your kids (Sheptember, etc), have you updated your process at all? We’ll be making our first video next month and I’d love to hear if you have any new best practices? This post ( is a great foundation!!

November 7, 2023 10:29 am
Reply to  Em

Wonderful. Thanks, Emily!

November 6, 2023 11:42 am

I would LOVE to see your gift guide ASAP since I do most of my gift deciding and buying in November. Thank you so much for sharing! Also, I’m so excited you’ll sell a guide for your articles club! I have been considering something similar to start in 2024.

November 6, 2023 12:19 pm

One more thing, can you share a review and favorites for the yoto player?

November 6, 2023 4:28 pm
Reply to  Em

Seconded! Maybe with your thoughts on how it works for different ages (we’re considering it as a gift to our older kids when our new baby arrives in the spring, but wondering if they’ll be old enough for it (they’ll be 4 and 2.5 when baby comes). We’re almost entirely screen-free at home so bringing any kind of thing-that-talks-and-plays-media into the picture feels scary, but we also really like the idea and want to get something that our kids might enjoy when they drop naps and switch to quiet time.

November 6, 2023 1:09 pm

Thrilled to be asked to help, always :)

I would also like to hear more about your experience with/thoughts on a Yoto player! Foster adores music, but I’m not sure if audiobooks will hold his attention yet.

November 6, 2023 3:05 pm

Looking forward to your Article Club Guide! I started my own Article Club this past summer and it’s been mostly a success! Hopeful your guide can make the experience even better!
My local library bookclub read a Mitford book several years ago. Our regular group was all women with just one man. The librarian had asked for people to share a favorite book for the group to read and our male member picked At Home in Mitford! Unexpected but I thought it was so sweet.

November 6, 2023 3:11 pm

I hate shopping and therefore LOVE your gift guides. I have no shame admitting how many of your carefully curated ideas I’ve used! :-)

November 7, 2023 5:50 am

I love your holiday posts! I buy items from your gift guides almost every year. I agree with others who have said ASAP- I try to finish holiday shopping before the week of Thanksgiving. Thanks for asking!

Divya Varghese
November 7, 2023 11:35 am

ASAP on the gift guides please!! I’m always on the lookout for a good sale! Also, could you possibly include what card games/board games your kids are in to? We want to begin a family game night tradition. Thank you!!