What an amazing year, welcoming our son Huxley to the crew. I can’t imagine life without him. We had a pretty good year, made lots of memories, lots of laughs and tears, but we made it another trip around the sun. Can’t wait to see what 2023 has in store for us.
Happy New Year!
If you are curious, check out the Best of 2021 here.
For the first time in five years, I have decided to try a new planner for the new year. The planner I decided to go with for 2023 is from the Passionate Penny Pincher planner. I follow the PPP on both Facebook and Instagram, she has so many great ideas, recipes, etc. The planner can be found here. The planner has the same overall look / vibe as my previous planners, but the inside layout is a little different.
I’m excited to try this planner out, to change things up a bit from the Happy Planner I usually use. For each week, it has a list of daily things to do each day, and then next to each day are 3-4 bullet points to do each day as well. I feel like this might help me with things to conquer household wise.
The only thing I’m not too sure about is the amount of space for each day. I have each family member color coded, and I feel like the amount of allotted space isn’t going to be enough. But we’ll see how it goes!
In the beginning pages of the planner, there are two pages of stickers, and a few blank stickers to add in my own things.
I’m also excited about the weekly home projects to tackle; they are all listed on each week in pink, but they are also all listed on this page for the entire year with the dates too!
I’ve never really been a personal goal type of person, but this page might get me to start. I love how the entire year is on one page and can easily refer back to each month.
I use the monthly view for bills, I have stickers for the paydays and then I handwrite in all of our bills on the date they are due. I don’t have them listed on this month yet but wanted to show what it looks like. In the left-hand side where it says notes, is where I’ll write in things I want to remember to do or schedule for that month.
In my office, I have a basket of previous planners. I don’t know why, but I keep them! Some of my friends used to say, “if you need to know what happened on Tuesday, March 5th, 2019, Mandy could tell you!” Haha! I have tried to convert to electronic calendars, but I just can’t. I will always be a paper planner girl. And I love it.
If you are interested in this planner, you can check it out here. Use code CELEBRATE2023 for 20% off your order!
Happy What’s Up Wednesday! On the last Wednesday of every month, Shay and Sheaffer host a link up party of what’s going on with you right now. It’s a little food, a little family, a little what we’re wearing, a little what we’re doing, a little what we’re watching and a little bit of everything else all in one post. I thought it would be fun to join along!
Tacos – we typically do something Mexican themed on Tuesdays Chicken – regular Tyson chicken with seasoning of choice, with Chick Fil-a sauce Pizza – on Fridays, we alternate Papa John’s or LaRosa’s Pork Loin – Christmas Eve dinner Ham – Christmas Day dinner at the firehouse
We didn’t get to see Santa this year, for Huxleys first time and Hadleys 8th time! The weather caused the place we go to close down, so no Santa this year. Thinking about how we’ve taken Hadley every year since she was born!
I rarely get my nails done, but when I do it makes me so so happy! I need to try and get them done more often.
Enjoying all the festive time together, even with the teenagers lol It’s been fun to see Huxleys first Christmas, and Hadley getting so excited over so many things. Love this time of year and watching all the magic through our kiddos eyes.
Hadley has been on Christmas break a whopping three school days, and I’m already dreading the day she goes back to school. She is the biggest help with Huxley, she has no idea. I love it when she is home and off of school.
My favorite post of the year, the “best of” post! Going through all the photos from the year, and picking out the best ones, and thinking of a caption for each one. It takes a long time, but it’s my favorite post for the year!
Planning our New Year’s Eve! My husband works this year, so it’ll be just me and the kiddos. I love to plan a few things to do with Hadley. We usually bake the traditional Greek New Year’s cake, have a few decorations, and just make the night fun and special.
I’m not a huge book reader, I wish I could get into it without falling asleep! I’ve been super into the Christmas movies, from the traditional ones to the sappy Netflix ones. I love them all this year!
Right this minute? Four Christmases movie, my favorite part is when Reese Witherspoon is holding her sister’s baby and Vince Vaughn spits out his drink and acts like he’s vomiting. It makes me laugh out loud every time I watch it!
My usual leggings are pretty much my standard go to. Lately, I’ve been wearing Christmas tops, workout tees, and a Bengals hoodie.
Celebrating the New Year with my favorite kiddos!
Always love a fresh start, let alone a fresh new year! Getting my planner all organized and some meal planning.
After so many shipping delays, I’m waiting for my basic planner to arrive that I’ll be using for my blog. I keep the blog separate from my personal everyday life planner. It helps me organize blog posts, so I’m anticipating getting that planner ready for the new year.
Last weekend we had a Christmas party for my husband’s fire department unit. It turned out so fun, and everyone had a great time! Here are the details!
We started out with having some festive treats and drinks. First up, boozy Christmas cherry bombs! These were so easy to make, and they tasted amazing. You can soak them in whatever alcohol you prefer, I chose to follow the recipe and used vanilla vodka. They were amazingly easy!
Next was another snack called Santa crunch popcorn. The only part that took a little bit of time was sorting out the green and red M&M’s since our local Kroger was out of the pre-sorted ones. Hadley had fun sorting them for me, while watching The Office on her iPad. After the candy-coated popcorn dried, I sorted them into separate bags.
The Santa coke cupcakes were the most time consuming, but the most festive out of all the snacks! Each one is a mini-Coke can, you tie a black ribbon around the can, and use the tops from each can as Santas belt buckle. The Santa faces came with the website where I found the recipe at, you just cut each one out and tape or glue it to the can. And the one thing I’m not good at, is piping icing but I think it turned out okay.
Red velvet cake pops. I don’t follow a recipe for these anymore, they are too easy. You can use whatever cake mix flavor you like, whatever frosting flavor you like, whatever sprinkles you like. Super easy.
The mini-Christmas cookies are from a local baker that bakes out of her home. I won’t share where these are from because they were not that great tasting, but they looked amazing! I always have a hard time finding cookies that look fabulous, and taste great too!
All the treats were on our side shelf in the office.
We had two tables set up in addition to our dining table. It never fails, anytime we have people over everyone always congregates in the kitchen. After I win the lottery, my future dream home kitchen will be ginormous! Kevin ordered a bouquet of flowers just for the party, they added a little festive touch to bar cart. What is not pictured on the bar cart, were all appetizers! I can’t believe I didn’t take a photo! We had a Christmas tree shaped charcuterie board, Christmas tree dip with vanilla wafers, graham crackers, and pretzels, cashews, and pizza croissants.
My daughter is not a huge fan of dresses, or girly stuff to some degree, so it’s almost impossible to get her to dress up for things. Unless she has to, like for her First Communion next year haha. I had ordered these Bro and Sis shirts for Christmas but thought she would wear that over anything else so that’s what happened. They looked cute together.
We catered Chipotle for this party, and this is the look on my face when I went to pick up our order. Long story short, but when I went to pick up the order, they handed me everything and said it’s all there. So, my trusting self left Chipotle, and did not even look at the order. I get home, which is only about a 5-minute drive anyway, and they only gave us one of the two orders! Oh my goodness I wasn’t happy. I drove back to Chipotle, spoke with the catering guy and turns out he only printed page one out of the two pages of my order on his printer. I had to wait another 20 minutes for them to make the second order, when I had placed this order online a week in advance! Nothing I can do, but it was frustrating at the time.
My favorite thing I made for this party were the Christmas cookie shots! I failed to take a good photo of them, but in the second photo below you can see the tray filled with shot cups with a rim of frosting / sprinkles on top. These are called a Christmas cookie shot from Buffalo Trace. The recipe didn’t call for a rim of frosting, but I added it for a festive touch. All I did was put the shot cups in vanilla frosting, and then dipped them in a bowl of sprinkles. Every single one of these were gone by the end of the night, they were that good. We made Hadley two of them filled with her favorite raspberry lemonade, she loved it!
Hadley played a few rounds of Uno and was having a ball. She can hold her own, and it was super cute to watch her play with all adults. We were supposed to have a few kids around Hadleys age come to the party, but that couldn’t happen at the last minute. Hadley still had fun amongst all adults. It was nice to meet Kevin’s unit outside of the firehouse, and to get to know some of the wives. I’m so glad they all came!
Recapping our week on the blog! Christmas crafts, class party, nail day, festival of lights, and getting ready for Santa.
Monday December 19 Started the week off with some elf shenanigans, all Kevin’s idea which I love how he sometimes just does things on his own because he knows how much Hadley loves it. When Hadley got home from school, she was on full Huxley mode. She gave him her attention until he went to bed basically. Just love her.
Tuesday December 20 Hadley couldn’t find the elf before she left for school, he was chilling on the banister. Huxley has still been refusing his bottles lately, but we finally bought the bigger size nipples. Poor guy was drinking out of 3-month-old ones! Aunt Amy dropped off some Christmas crafts for Hadley, and she had a ball making them. Before bedtime, Hadley and I played some rounds of Uno while Kevin gave Huxley a bath.
Wednesday December 21 Hadleys last day of school before Christmas break! We gave her some black boots she desperately needs for the winter, her feet grow like crazy. I was able to volunteer for her class party at school, I did the pin the hat on Santa game it was fun watching all the kids interact with each other. After a half day of school, I surprised her by going to get our nails done! Kevin and I are trying this new thing with Hadley this year, once a month at or around her birthdate we are going to do something with her one on one. It can be as simple as playing a board game, but it’s the point of making it one on one time with either Kevin or I. She was so excited. Hadley got her toes done since she bites her nails, I’m not paying for her to get her nails done haha, and I got my nails done. The nail tech did a great job with our Christmas requests! Later on in the day, we met our cousins for the festival of lights. It was kind of cold, but it was fun. We didn’t stay long because the train ride line was insanely long, and because of Huxley too.
Thursday December 22 Huxley tried these teething sticks by Gerber, he liked them a little bit. I don’t think he was sure what to do with it, they were disgusting to me because they remind me of raw hides you’d give your dog, all slimy and gross!
Friday December 23 In the morning, we woke up to the blizzard of 2022! Snow and ice everywhere, it was a mess. Icicles on our “older” windows, as I shoveled half the driveway my hair started to freeze. Hadley and I made cookies for Santa, she picked out the ones he would like and poured his glass of milk for him. After the kids went to bed, Santas elves put all the presents under the tree.
Saturday December 24 Christmas Eve was a little busy! We started our morning with doing our Christmas with just Kevin, myself, and the kids. Then we went over to our cousins for my side of the family Christmas, and then my parents and brothers family came over to my house to do Christmas. Busy for sure! Huxley didn’t know what to do with all the activity. It was great to see everyone, but it was a very long day.
Sunday December 25 Christmas Day morning, we hung out, opened toys, and just relaxed. For dinner, we went to the firehouse! Hadley had so much fun she didn’t want to leave, but we had to because I didn’t want to leave too late with the roads potentially being black ice.
Happy Monday everyone, hope you have a great last week of 2022! And as always, thanks for reading!
Puts his head on my shoulder before bedtime. Loves to read the same books. Eats more real food than baby food. Clothes are 18-24 months. Crawls on all fours and is super-fast. He is never not moving. 2 teeth on the bottom, and four on top are pushing through. Diaper changes are hard as ever, all he wants to do is be on the move. Refuses his bottle some days. Reaches for his bed when it’s nap/bedtime.
This year we used the company Simply to Impress, which we have used before a few times. I’ve always been happy with how they turn out.
The cards always arrive in such a cute and festive box!
For this year’s picture, we were all at a friends bonfire and we asked some lady to take our photo with the fall foliage in the background. We weren’t color coordinated, we weren’t dressed up, we were all wearing whatever that day but for some weird reason I just love this photo. It was way less stressful to use a photo like this, than to coordinate outfits, fight with Hadley about doing her hair, what shoes to wear, all the things that come with taking a photo for a Christmas card.
Recapping our last two weeks on the blog, so be prepared for double the amount of photos! St. Nick, birthday dinner, movie night, blood draw, Christmas concert, UC basketball game, and more.
Monday December 5 When I went into Hadleys room to wake her for school, I found her with half the covers on the floor. Took Huxley to get the second part of his flu shot, not sure why they do them in two parts now maybe it’s just a new thing with babies. Anytime we are cooking something on the stove, Huxley is obsessed with looking at what it is. He wants to be held the entire time something is on the stove, it’s so funny!
Tuesday December 6 St. Nick came! After school, Hadley has been practicing counting money since they are doing it in school. She’s doing so well with it. Huxleys stocking came the day after St. Nick, not like he will notice though right? I was amazed I found the same exact stocking to get for him as the rest of ours!
Wednesday December 7 After Huxley went to bed, we put our Christmas jammies on, watched a Christmas movie, and started a puzzle. Part of our Christmas bucket list.
Thursday December 8 We all went to Hadleys all school mass, she loves it when we are able to go. For dinner, we met my parents for dinner to celebrate Hadleys birthday. She got the game Mario Kart for her Nintendo Switch; she was so excited we let her play a little bit before bed.
Friday December 9 Occasionally on Fridays, we’ll do a movie night. We don’t always do this, but I try most weeks. For tonight’s movie, Kevin was home, and he stayed up and watched the entire movie! He’s not a movie guy, which is unfortunate because I love movies!
Saturday December 10 Huxley almost always wakes up smiling every single time, either from naps or the next morning he’s usually all smiles.
Sunday December 11 More often than not, Huxley hasn’t been drinking his entire bottle. I don’t know what it is, because he used to down the thing like it was his last drink but now, he fusses with it and it’s super frustrating. Sometimes Hadley helps and she can get him to drink a little more. Brady and Natalie came over, and Brady was such a sport with Hadley like all day long. He helped her figure out some of the games on her switch, played the games with her, and just hung out with her a good chunk of the day.
Monday December 12 Snitch the elf made a snow angel in a pan of sprinkles! Huxley got his blood drawn, for this study we are in. It is my least favorite thing to watch your infant baby get their blood drawn. I feel so helpless. Huxley sitting on the kitchen floor, staring up at the stove waiting for someone to pick him up to watch.
Tuesday December 13 Snitch the elf knows what’s up for taco Tuesday at our house! Huxleys new thing is he’ll put his hands up in the air at the most random times. Hadley had her Christmas concert at school, one was during school hours and the other was at night, so we divided and conquered. Kevin went with his parents during the day, and in between everything we had our chimney swept. And then I went with my parents to the evening concert, that way Huxley could stay on his schedule for the most part. He’s not going to know he missed her concert!
Wednesday December 14 Snitch the elf brought Christmas jammies for both Hadley and Huxley, but they weren’t the best quality that’s for sure. When I put the pajamas in the wash, and dried them, they came out looking like they’d fit a baby doll. Oh well. Hadley lost her fourth tooth (I think), she has all four on top missing. I went to a University of Cincinnati basketball game with my brother and had so much fun! We ate at this pizza place beforehand and ran into Alex Meacham, he was doing his podcast and interviewing a past basketball player Eric Hicks. Back in the day when I went to UC, I used to love Alex Meacham, hell I even bought his book he wrote a million years ago. He is still super into basketball and has season tickets to UC. I haven’t been to a UC basketball game in what seems like years, it was cool to see the new arena and just spend time with my brother.
Thursday December 15 Kevin was off more than usual this week, so Hadley was loving every second of it. She wouldn’t leave his side on the couch. Kevin tried to make this amazing dessert, that didn’t turn out so hot. He took cans of condensed milk, boiled them, and they were supposed to caramelize. Hope he tries it again, because I’m curious what it was supposed to look like!
Friday December 16 Movie night for the second week in a row! She loves not knowing what the movie is, this week it was Home Alone. Every night before I go to bed, I go into Huxleys room and check on him. When I saw him lying on his back, with his arms behind his head, I had to take a picture, it was so cute.
Saturday December 17 Our backyard is a zoo in itself sometimes, we saw wild turkeys just truckin’ along. We hosted Kevin’s fire department unit for a Christmas party at our house. Hadley was a huge help; she sorted the M&M’s into red and green since I can’t find them already sorted at our Kroger. I made some yummy things; I plan to share more this week, but it was a great time! It was nice to meet some of the fire fighters, and their significant others.
Sunday December 18 Gingerbread house day! Why do these things always fail? I think they make some that already connect together, and all you do is decorate, I need to find one of those for next year. There is Huxley begging to be picked up so he can see what’s going on with the oven. One of the firefighters’ wives literally just had a baby, so she couldn’t come to the party, her husband came for a little bit, and she brought us this cute Christmas tree wax warmer. We used it all day on Sunday, it smelled pretty good!
Happy Monday everyone, hope you have a great week! And as always, thanks for reading!