Saturday, July 6, 2024

The Cozy Chronicles (the afternoon hours edition)


Happy Saturday, friends! I was reading a book this week and was inspired to start a new series here on my blog—I'm calling it The Cozy Chronicles, because being cozy isn't just in one particular season. We can do little things everyday to make our homes into the havens that we desire—and this month I'm talking about the afternoon hours. Here are a few things I do each afternoon, whether I'm at home or if I'm coming home from work.

1. I come inside and immediately start putting my things away while the dogs are outside running off some energy. I don't always want to do this, but I've learned that it's best for me to do this right away so that I can get it done and enjoy the rest of my day at home. (I also am the type of person who unpacks luggage immediately upon arrival back at home.) I only work part-time three days a week, but I still manage to have a lot with me when I go to work, especially if it's not a busy season there; I take a bag full of things to occupy me to prevent boredom if that's the case. I wash out my cups and refill one with water, I put all of the things back in their place that I'd taken with me (Bible, journal, pens, gratitude journal), I hang those items up in the hall on our coat rack, then I refill the water bowls for the dogs. 

I love to come in and sit down for a little while; my feet usually hurt from the tile floor that's at work, so it feels great to prop them up for a bit. Usually I spend this time listening to some kind of instrumental music; sometimes I'll read a book and other times I may fall asleep for ten minutes, depending on how I feel or if I'm tired from the night before. 

On the subject of naps, I used to take a twenty minute nap everyday, but since we've gotten our new mattress that I talked about last month, I no longer nap everyday because I'm resting better. That being said, some nights I don't sleep as soundly, so I may be tired after work. I kind of listen to my body about this; if I feel tired, I let myself fall asleep for ten or fifteen minutes. 

I read an article that talked about this, and the author mentioned that if you let yourself sleep laying down for more than twenty minutes, you're doing more harm than good. He said that if you're going to nap, make it one that you're sitting up in a chair and not laying down, and to not sleep for more than twenty minutes, otherwise you'll feel sluggish for the rest of the day. The article went on to say that the right kind of (power) nap actually boosts the functioning of your brain! There is certainly nothing wrong with someone needing a nap every so often, and I think it just depends a lot on age, how you're feeling physically (and emotionally and mentally), and your own chemistry makeup. I am one who has always required a little more sleep than some people, but some people aren't like that.

Now, back to my post...

2. If you remember from the second edition of this series, I talked about making strides ahead of time to make a future time easier, and I do that in the mornings before I leave, so that my afternoon is more pleasant. So, before I leave home in the morning, I clean the kitchen, empty the dishwasher, and I set out the ingredients for our dinner. This makes it really nice coming home in the afternoons, especially when I've worked all day on Thursday. Anything to make things more pleasant and run more smoothly is something I will always be on board with. 

3. I have my meals scheduled out for the week, so that dinner is never stressful. I meal plan using the notes app on my phone, so I always know what we're having very quickly. Depending on the time of year, our meals vary. In the fall and winter, I use my Crock-Pot more; in the spring and summer, I'm more likely to make fare that is lighter. Now that we're only four at home, and three on the nights that Todd works, I have gotten to where I cook a big family type dinner on Mondays. We'll eat leftovers during the week, and on the other nights I might make something more for Graham and Jonah, if I know they'll be at home; this would be something Todd probably wouldn't eat, so I do this on the nights that he works. Whatever I make for them, I adjust it for myself since I try not to eat things like pasta or carbs very often. Whatever we eat, I take it easy on myself and don't use the oven too much when it's a hundred degrees outside. I'm all about using the air-fryer these days!

4. I clean up immediately following dinner, and I put the leftovers away before I forget. I have found that even if someone will be eating later, I'll just make them a plate, cover it with foil, and store it in the microwave to help keep it warm; that way I can go ahead and clean up. I love to get everything clean once again, and then sometimes I'll light candles around our home. I keep one in each room, but I'll light one in the kitchen, and one or two more in the living room. I love a cozy atmosphere at all times of the day and throughout the year! 

5. I said this same thing last month, but I love to do the things I love in each phase of my day. If I haven't already gotten into my comfy clothes after getting home from work, I'll do that after dinner. I'll sit and read sometimes, or I'll turn on a show or movie while I work on my blog from my laptop. I love to do this all throughout my day and week, and I'm constantly editing the ten drafts I have going at all times. I have learned that blogging is almost like a full time job, if you post daily and read others' blogs, and keep up with your own comments. At the very least, it's a second part-time job for me, because I probably spend about twenty hours each week writing, editing, adding pictures and links, and composing future posts. I don't consider it work, though, because I love it so much; it's one of the things I do to relax and unwind.

I have a notebook that I use to help me keep up with my posts, and I've talked about it before in this post that I titled, Behind the Scenes Blogging. You can click that title to read it, if you haven't already done that.

I've been using this notebook since the fall of 2021 or 2022; it's just a regular composition notebook that I only use for my blog and for keeping tabs of the books that I read each month. 

Other things you can do to add ambiance (a word I often substitute for "cozy") to your afternoons and early evenings that I don't always do, but that are great honorable mentions:

  • treat yourself in some way to reward yourself for a great day (I love to write, read, or watch shows/movies that I love)
  • light candles
  • treat yourself to an afternoon drink of your choice (cold coffee is my favorite right now)
  • meet a friend for afternoon coffee, appetizers, or an early dinner
  • instead of cooking, enjoy a date night
  • ask for help with the cooking in your home, especially when there's more than two adults and picky eaters
  • keep quick, easy, healthy options on hand (I like to keep things like taquitos in our freezer for a healthy and quick dinner option on the nights when I'm not at home)
  • meal plan for a month or two at a time and have a conversation about it with the people in your house
  • be flexible in your plans

That last one has been life changing for me; I'm never solidly stuck on one plan for each day. I've learned to be flexible over the years, and it's saved my sanity on more than one occasion! I cannot recommend this enough. 

I also recommend communicating often! If you're burned out with meals, cooking, or meal planning, talk about it with the people in your house. Ask for their help, and set a cooking rotation. And then when it's their night, step away from the kitchen and let them work without butting in. It doesn't matter if they use the wrong pan or if they load the dishwasher wrong way; in the grand scheme of life, this is nothing of utmost importance. If people don't know that you're burned out, they won't offer to help. When they help out, don't nag them to death or they'll stop helping. Try it and see for yourself; I promise that you'll never regret asking for help. This was a valuable lesson that I have learned over the years, and I never mind admitting that I'm overwhelmed or burned out and in need of help.

If you'd like to read the first installment in this series—The Practice of Being Content— just click here
The second installment is all about morning routines, and you can click here you can click here to read.

Thanks for stopping by on a Saturday to read my bonus posts! I'm so thankful for each and every one of you. Love to all! 


  1. I love your Cozy Chronicles and I do much of the same. It will be not too long from now that I go from zero to 60 when school starts. My summer routine/rhythm is similar, though. Why only enjoy things in the summer? This is why I get up early enough to have ME time all year round. I need to delegate jobs to my kids who will be at home. I have already told them if we are switching back to Kroger (they miss the Kroger products) they have to do the pick ups. I am planning to walk to school this year. I think that will give me another enjoyable moment in my day and our traffic is going to be even worse next year. I have to get a cute backpack, water bottle that won't leak just for my backpack (I leave my Stanley at school), and sneakers that don't look too frumpy. We will see what happens in the dead of winter.
    It sounds like you've figured out a good way to deal with varying numbers of people in your home. Leftovers are a hard thing for me because they often go wasted. I hate that.

  2. Other people´s schedules/habits are interesting to read about! I find it cozy (well, enjoyable anyway) to not clean up right away after dinner. Rather, I like to relax for a little while. But I am also not a neat freak so an activity that is not cleaning is going to sound better to me than any cleaning activity. I like a clean kitchen, don´t get me wrong, and do clean my kitchen but that is not my first priority! Everyone is wired differently and even has different needs like you mentioned sleep needs. I find that subject fascinating- how varying amounts of sleep people need. I am a poor sleeper which stinks in many ways but I don´t seem to need much which is good. The subject of blogging is interesting, too. I have never blogged as much as I have recently but I have never had this much free time with as little responsibility which has freed up a lot of time for me. I can imagine how much time you spend writing as much as you do (I am glad you do it!!). Like I said, I find it all interesting- reading about other´s habits, interests, things they do. We are all trying out best and that is all that counts! Have a great rest of your weekend!

  3. This is such a great series! I rarely ask for help with actual meal prep because anyone in this house immediately just goes to "we'll get take out then!" if I don't feel like cooking but I definitely rely on them for menu ideas and for keeping me informed of who is going where what nights so I'll know how many I'm cooking for (or if it's even worth cooking!). Sadly, leftovers do not work as a back up dinner idea since most of my boys will eat it for lunch and even breakfast the next day. It's rare for leftovers to last even 24 hours. I am one of those people that can not nap; I inevitably feel tired and cranky the rest of the night no matter where I nap or for how long. But I will happily go to bed early-- sometimes as early as 7:30! But I do try to make time each afternoon to sit in the shade on the deck and read my book to unwind before starting dinner. I'm trying to get myself back into my walking habit; I felt so much better after walking in the afternoon but a few really hot and miserable days in a row knocked that routine out of me and I haven't made it a point to set that back into place yet.

  4. What good cozy tips! I agree...cozy is a year round thing and yes, blogging is a part-time job! I rarely cook these days and rarely take naps. One would think I would have more things accomplished, but I give myself lots of grace. Happy Saturday!

  5. The tip on asking for help is something I'm always working on. I tend to get burned out and then get resentful...not fun for anyone. I loved reading about your cozy evening routine. I also like to clean up right after dinner.

  6. Your afternoons sound lovely.
    That is great that are sleeping better because of your new mattress and are napping less. I always feel sluggish after a nap so might have to try having one sitting up.
    I couldn't be without meal planning! It does make things run more smoothly.
    You are so organised with your blogging. I work a week in advance if I am lucky.

  7. Great post, so many good tips.

  8. Chair naps are my favorite naps! Preferably on a Sunday during the fall - with a cool breeze coming through the window and football on the TV


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