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2024 Plans and More | Our Prairie Nest
2024 Plans and More

We are well into 2024 and it has already been a little bit of an adventure! My son got his driver’s license which activated Worried Mom Mode. But he seems to be doing just fine, driving himself to and from work, and wherever else he pleases. We had an awful cold snap and treacherous snow early in January. Now we’re experiencing much warmer late winter weather.

Of course, the big news at the start of the year was the recall election in Plattsmouth. Many people worked hard to fight against an extremist school board member and won! The voters showed that they wouldn’t stand for censorship and prejudice. This means all of us are now watching our school board races very closely. In Plattsmouth, it appears that there are only two Christofascists on the ballot, and they are Ralph Riedel and Erin Anthony. They both supported Terri Cunningham-Swanson’s book banning endeavor. Erin’s husband, Robert Anthony, is also a trash human being who runs a hate group.

A site called Nebraska Meadowlark did a detailed piece on the entire matter, including the crazy language these people use, like “It’s not a ban; we’re ‘curating’ books.” Obviously, that’s complete BS. Christofascists and Moms for Liberty are shoving their personal beliefs on everyone else, and let’s not get into the fact that Moms for Liberty isn’t about actual liberty or freedom or rights; they just believe in controlling everyone else, like typical small-minded conservatives.

Generally, I don’t care what these crazies believe or don’t believe. I don’t care that they’re homophobic and racist, and if they are teaching their children creation myths instead of science. Whatever. I’m all about live and let live. They can live their small, scared, hate-filled lives as long as they keep it to themselves. That’s not my problem.

But when they start banning books, discriminating against people of color and LGBTQIA people, pretending racism doesn’t exist, trying to control women’s bodies, or doing anything else that pushes their irrational fears and conspiracy theories on everyone else, they make it my problem.

Election night was equal parts terrifying and exhilarating. We won and I took several positives away from the experience. First of all, there are so many wonderful, smart, caring people here and I’m so glad to have met or deepened my acquaintance with them. Second, if not for a small echo chamber of hateful extremists, I would probably have never read many of the books they were trying to ban from the school libraries. The books I chose to read were fantastic! I had already read a number of the ones on her “no-no list,” because my favorite series was on there. I also read The Hate U Give, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Triangles, and they were all poignant stories about the experiences of racism, growing up, and dealing with struggles and challenges in life.

It goes to show that just because you don’t like something, that doesn’t mean you have a right to deprive everyone else of it. The same goes for all of us. I’m so proud to be part of the group of incredible people who stood up to this nonsense.

Another wonderful thing that came out of the experience was my decision to start participating in both my school’s PTO and a grassroots organization that stands by public schools, teachers, and students. This continued devotion of my time and energy to positive endeavors is another way I get to step up and do good things for my community.


What else has been going on? Well, I fully finished two cross-stitches: “Suffrage Act” by Little House Needleworks and “More Than Yesterday” by Stitchrovia. Currently, I’m working to complete “Summer Quaker” by Lila’s Studio. After that, I have 4 other projects to finish. I think I’ll focus on “Mother’s Arms” by Mirabilia, because I’ve had it sitting since about 2015. I didn’t put it in time out or anything like that. Life was just incredibly busy for me at that time and cross-stitching wasn’t much of a focus for me. It’s essentially a full coverage piece, so I think it will be good to complete it because I have an enormous one from Heaven & Earth Designs that I would like to start later this year. I also have the Modern Folk Embroidery 2024 SAL – “No Time Like the Present” – in progress and intend to finish it before the end of the year.

Besides those WIPs, I have about 16 other patterns that I’d like to do eventually. The full coverage is going to be a years-long investment of time and energy. There are smaller ones on my list that I may work on, but I don’t like having too many WIPs. Whether it’s my writing or stitching, being able to start something new is an incentive to finish a project.


I decided not to read as many books this year. Instead, I’m focused on only reading books in series that I’m currently enjoying or books that have been on my list for a while. I read House of Flame & Shadow, the third and possibly last of the Crescent City books. For now, anyway. Sarah J. Maas said her next book will bring us back to the ACOTAR universe, so I’m excited about that! Iron Flame is still sitting on my dresser, waiting to be read. Oops. I had preordered it and started reading the day it arrived, and that’s when one library hold after another became available to me. Now I’m ready to pick up Iron Flame again and get into it, but part of me wants to maybe wait until closer to the end of the year, depending on the release date for the next book in the series.


My genealogy goals are a variety of specific to vague. There are two writing goals: complete my family history book (exactly what it sounds like, some memories and thoughts for my children and potential grandchildren) (link grandchildren video) and refine an article I wrote about an ancestor to resubmit to a periodical for publication.

There are a few projects on my genealogist to-do list and I started delving into one recently. I’m trying to determine the maiden name of my ancestor, Elizabeth (unk) (Parks) Johnston. All I have on her is approximate information – about when she was born, a span of years during which she may have died, when she may have married her first husband based on the birth years of her children, etc. This is a whole other post, so I’ll get into it eventually.

All in all, 2024 seems to be a year of simplifying. I don’t want to do too much. Last year was a whirlwind and I want to take it down several notches, relax, enjoy my hobbies and my family and friends. Things feel different this year and many of my priorities are shifting.

December Journal | Our Prairie Nest
December Journal

Here is my belated look back at December 2023. It was a month of anticipation for a number of reasons – all of our birthdays, anniversary, holidays, the recall election… There was so much going on, that December went by in that fast-slow way a time full of waiting for big events does.

We had our usual Yuletide fun – purchased a fresh tree and decorated the house, wrapped gifts, and ate delicious food. My son turned 21 and I turned 49, and made everyone promise me a big, big, BIG party in 2024. There was some chaos in the month with various meetings, but it was also easy to get everything done since we had practically no snow. Winter break was nice, because I was so done with waking up early four days a week to bring the kiddo to school.

Of course, she was stoked about the holidays and Yule gift opening was pretty much all about her. Not that any of us mind. We love seeing how happy she is when she opens presents and discovers what’s been waiting for her under the tree. Normally, I spoil everyone else, but this year I felt spoiled myself for a change, which was nice.

For our 13th wedding anniversary, my husband gave me the 2024 Modern Folk Embroidery SAL, No Time Like the Present. I was eager to get a New Year’s Eve start on it, so I started it on December 31, 2023. I also received 3 cross-stitch patterns that were on my 123Stitch wishlist: Away We Ride by Blackbird Designs, Mother’s Tree by Lavender & Lace, and Old Nantucket by Little House Needleworks. Of course, I’m already making plans as far as fabric and threads to stitch all of them, but not this year. I’m not a person who likes to have too many projects going on at one time. These are set aside for when I’m ready to start them.

Our partner visited for New Year’s Eve weekend and we had a lot of fun bopping around Omaha, shopping here and eating there. It was a fun way to start 2024 and I’m looking forward to seeing him again soon. <3


In December, I read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. It was okay for me. Nothing phenomenal. By the end of the year, I read a little over 30 books. My goal was to read 2 a month for a total of 24, so that was an unexpected number.

In 2024, I’m going to stick with books in series that I want to keep up with, and maybe the occasional recommendation. I also have a small wishlist on Overdrive for ebooks I would like to read, most of which are Witchcraft-related.


December was a slower month for cross-stitch because I was pretty busy. There was some time to work on Summer Quaker by Lila’s Studio, which is coming along quite nicely. My ocean has waves, now! It’s still a super fun stitch for me.

At this time, I have 5 cross-stitch projects in progress: No Time Like the Present by Modern Folk Embroidery, Summer Quaker by Lila’s Studio, Wild Trio by 2x2StitchArt, Ice Snake by KitsbyAStitch, and Mother’s Arms by Mirabilia Designs. I’m considering leaving Mother’s Arms unfinished, because it’s not calling to me the way it once did, but we’ll see.

I’m currently working on a really cute small, as well, called Midnight Juice by BrainSplash, and I should have it done by the end of this month (maybe even the end of this week). I think I’ll go back to Summer Quaker after that. I have a list of about 16 to 20 patterns I’d like to start, but I would rather complete what I have in progress first. The only start I have in mind for this year is Suffrage Act by Little House Needleworks, since it’s a presidential election year.


We played our usual campaigns – D&D, Genesys, and Cyberpunk – but with many breaks due to holidays and family time. I expect to wrap up the D&D campaign that I’ve been running. There are probably about 3 or 4 more sessions left to do so. I’d like to take a break from DMing or GMing anything in 2024 and probably beyond.

Anyway, that was my December! January started off busy, busy, busy, and we are just now finding time to relax and wind down from the holidays and visitors. I’ll probably work on a separate post about 2024 plans, because I’m looking to keep things simple in 2024. 

November Journal | Our Prairie Nest
November Journal

Ah, November. The month when the holiday season really ramps up and, for some, causes more stress than usual. Thankfully, that’s not how we roll here. Samhain (October 31) is what I consider the beginning of our winter holiday season, and Thanksgiving is a relaxing break from the daily grind. November was, for me, a damn good month. I finally got some much-needed downtime, and really savored everything about November.


In November, I read Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, one of the books on the “no-no list” of many Moms For Liberty folks and other similar people on a crusade to ban books from libraries. There is nothing objectionable in this book. The sex isn’t graphic. Yes, it happens. Yes, the characters refer to it. But it’s also such a small part of the story, that clearly the pearl-clutchers are intentionally ignoring the rest of a funny, sweet story to make… well, I’m not sure what point they’re trying to make. These people really need to calm down.

I received my pre-order of Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros, but didn’t get very far because other books – borrowed from friends or the library – kept coming my way. So I prioritized the borrows. I’ll get back to it before the end of the year, I hope!


I finished Stay Gothy by Grandma Be Wildin. She’s such a cute goth Morton’s Salt Girl, and I stitched her on Picture this Plus 14 count Aida in Dawn. The are a few things that I changed. I changed “Gothy” to “Salty” and left out the backstitching.

Stay Gothy | Our Prairie Nest

It’s absolutely adorable and I love her. She just needs the perfect frame. Now I’m working on the Ouija Board by the Witchy Stitcher.


There was much less gaming throughout November with the holiday weekend and work commitments. I think once January comes around, we’ll get back to regular sessions of all three games.


In November, I spent a weekend watching the first part of the final season of The Crown. At least, I think it was November. It may have been the first Saturday or Sunday of December, considering how perfectly relaxing and low-key both weekends were!


November had the slower pace I wanted so much. I also volunteered at the Scholastic Book Fair for a day, and that was a lot of fun. It was a little daunting, because I got conflicting instructions on how to check out books for teachers. But I would really like to do it again and get better at the whole process. The person who manages everything about the book fair has been doing it for years and told me she’s looking for a replacement. At the most recent PTO meeting, I offered to be that person. That, however, is a task for the new year!

For now, I hope for more of the same in December – quiet and cozy, with delicious holiday food, family time, and finishing various projects. 2024 is a job for future Wendy.

June Journal | Our Prairie Nest
June Journal

June passed in a blur and I’m not complaining. It was hot, which I don’t enjoy. I am definitely not a “summer person,” but I always try to find enjoyment in it, rather than complain about it. Summer is inevitable, after all!


This month was hit and miss for reading. I started with Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn and loved it. Four middle-aged women celebrating retirement from their career as assassins suddenly find themselves targeted for death by the very organization for which they worked. It was such a fun read – witty and fast-paced. 

I then read Weyward by Emilia Hart, which also has themes of women’s empowerment. The blurb was promising, but story was slow and felt disjointed. I didn’t really enjoy it, but the ending was satisfying.


In June, I continued working on Summer Quaker by Lila’s Studio and made an okay amount of progress. Pages 3 and 4 are complete. As of today (this picture is a few days old), I am almost done with page 2, and started on page 1. I also have some progress on pages 5, 6, 7, and 8. It would rock to complete Summer Quaker by the end of August, but I’m not going to pressure myself to get it done during the season. 

Summer Quaker | Our Prairie Nest


My D&D 5e campaign continues slowly, mostly because of scheduling challenges. But we manage to play once or twice a month. We had a literal “rocks fall, everybody dies” session, which was fun for me. It’s great when everything goes smoothly and easily for the players, and they are rewarded for their planning. I think it’s important for some sessions to be fun and easy, and others to be challenging and frustrating. I used to do XP levelling, but I’ve embraced milestone levelling and I feel like that works well, too.

The Genesys campaign is leading us to a necromancer and, possibly, a cult looking to resurrect a long-dead dragon general. At the end of June, that same group also rolled up characters for Cyberpunk Red. That campaign began July 7 and, well, I think I’m a little busy on Fridays and Saturdays, now. 

I haven’t been playing much as far as video games, other than doing my dailies on Animal Crossing. I just purchased Spiritfarer, but I’m not sure when I’ll start it.


I haven’t watched many shows or movies, but that’s because I prefer spending time outside, as long as it’s shady and cool, bringing my daughter swimming, visiting the library, or watching YouTube. On YouTube, I don’t subscribe to many channels. I like to keep it to 20 or fewer. The channels I follow are fellow Witches, Flosstubers (cross-stitchers), genealogy, Rachel Maksy, and Critical Role.


June has been a low-key summer month. We’ve stayed around town because we have a pool and beach here in our neighborhood/HOA. We went to MysticFest in Council Bluffs on June 4. We were there for our bake sale table for Spiral Scouts, which is our circle’s main fundraiser. My daughter had fun shopping all the different booths. She also did a good job of making change for people who stopped at the table to purchase baked goods. My husband made a huge batch of Snickerdoodles to contribute to the table and it was a good time.

June was a much better month than May. I don’t know what it was about May, but it was an oddly rough month. As I said, I’m not a “summer person” but I’m doing my best to take it for what it is, and make the most of it. I prefer slow living anyway, and June was a good month for it.