Monday, December 31, 2018

Christmas Break 2018

Hey everyone! Happy New Year's Eve!

Before the clock strikes 12 and a whole New Year is upon us, I want to share a little bit about our Christmas break. This is going to be a long post with lots of pictures!

Let's start all the way back at Nick's work Christmas party.

The Christmas party for Nick's coworkers was an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party and, Nick actually won first place for the most unique Christmas sweater!

We had so much fun at the Christmas party this year! After the party we went to Round One, an arcade in the mall, and stayed overnight at a hotel. It felt like a mini vacation! We had such a great time!

Right before Christmas break officially begun, Piper's preschool class had a Christmas party of their own. I was so happy it was on a Friday, so I could attend, as well!

The kids did a little activity and participated in a gift exchange! It was so much fun for the kids!

The weekend before Christmas day, we got together with my dad, stepmom and siblings to bake Christmas cookies and exchange gifts! It was so nice to do this during the weekend - our time together was much less rushed compared to previous years.

The day before Christmas Eve, my family served at the Christmas at the Warner event. Nick, my mom and I all helped seat people during the event. We love Christmas at the Warner and we are so blessed to have been able to participate in a small part of it!

On Christmas Eve, we visited my mom's side of the family in the early afternoon and then, went to my in-laws for the evening. The time with family was spread out well and, we all had a great time with one another!

When we got to my in-laws later that night to exchange gifts, we were each greeted with a new pajama set as soon as we walked in the door. A lot of laughs were had!

When we got home on Christmas Eve, we set out cookies and milk for Santa.

On Christmas day, we resolved to stay at home, with no plans to go anywhere else. This was our first year staying at home, without any place to be other than with each other. OUR FIRST YEAR DOING THIS, EVER! It was SO nice to just wake up, open gifts and let Piper enjoy all of her new toys. Nick and I really enjoyed playing with her new toys, too (haha). We all stayed in pajamas for most of the day, and just soaked up the day with our family at home. It was so cozy and wonderful!

During Christmas break, we played a lot of new games, visited a lot of friends and, did a lot of fun things - like going swimming at the YMCA!

Christmas break was an amazing time spent with friends and family! It was exactly the kind of respite we needed. I spent a lot of time in prayer during Christmas break, during which time God blessed me with some much needed clarity. I am looking forward to 2019, having much more clear intentions for the life God has called me to live and feeling confident in His calling for me in this season.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

iPhone X

I am “writing” to you now from my favorite spot in the house. I am sitting in the living room on the couch with the leg rest up, and with all of the Christmas lights on around me. The room is dimly lit by the glow of the Christmas tree and the lights strung along the fireplace mantel. Our house is never as cozy as it is on a winters night.

I finally received a new phone this week after a couple years of dealing with my previous one. I used to have the iPhone 6 with only 16g but I have needed a new update for about a year now. I was unable to mute my phone without going through some odd back door way, using a triple click of a button. I also did not have enough storage left to update the software. I have upgraded to the new iPhone X and let’s just say that I hope I won’t have to upgrade my phone for many, many years. This phone and I have a five-year plan together. It’s not a contract or anything, it’s just how long I hope to get out of it before needing a new upgrade.

I might have been able to do this on my previous phone, I never really checked into it, but I am actually speaking to text right now, from my new phone. I used to be able to produce content five days a week for my blog, but since I started working part time at the end of summer, the timing of posts have been sporadic. I am hoping that now I found this “new” feature I will be motivated to update my blog even more often.

The thing that I am most excited about with this new phone is the ability to take some good quality photos, conveniently. My old phone did not take the best photos and given the life stage that I’m currently in (being a mom to a three-year-old and working part time) I use my phone way more often than my DSLR camera. It’s just more convenient and more practical to use my phone when taking pictures in most situations, which was a big factor of my decision making process when going to purchase this new iPhone X. It’s well known for taking great pictures! Here is a picture that I took in a dimly lit room earlier tonight.

Probably not the best example of what the iPhone X can do since the photo is so dark but, in knowing the lighting situation, I think it turned out pretty great! More than anything, I am most excited about updating my blog from my phone, quite easily! Hopefully you’ll be hearing more from me soon, because of it!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Meal Planning in December

With all of the friendly gatherings we have scheduled in December, trying to stay on track with our meals has proven to be tough. One thing that always helps me to make better choices come meal time is actually taking the time in advance to plan out our meals.

This Week's Dinner Schedule:

Sunday: Zuppa Toscana

Monday: Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

Tuesday: Full Staff Meeting Dinner

Wednesday: Steak Salads

Thursday: Sesame Chicken with Broccoli and Rice

Friday: Steak Salads

Saturday: Christmas Party Dinner


Whenever I go to plan out our meals for the week, I mainly focusing on dinner plans. I would love to get to a point where I plan out all of my meals for each day but, that doesn't happen very often. I usually just track as I go. 

Today's full meal plan is looking like this, so far:

Breakfast: Chocolate Banana Smoothie

Lunch: Zuppa Toscana

Snack: Ritz Cheese Cracker Sandwiches

Dinner: Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

Snack: ... to be determined according to how many calories are leftover

Going back to the week ahead, there are a couple dinners that I won't be making for myself this week, which can make it tough as far as "staying on track" goes but, I am not going to let that take away from the nice treat it will be! The church that I work for always provides amazing dinners (Tuesday) and, I am really looking forward to the Christmas Party that my husband's employer puts on each year (Saturday)!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Our Winter Fun Checklist 2018

It's kind of hard to believe that the winter season hasn't even officially begun yet (not until December 21st) because of all of the snow that has already fallen in our area. Between the early snowfall, the Christmas shopping and, the calendar change to December, I'd say it's "winter enough" to start making a winter fun checklist for our family!

our winter fun checklist

bake a pie from scratch
silently watch the snowfall from under a blanket
Take our Annual Christmas light drive with the family
make so much  soup
enjoy a hot candlelit bubble bath
decorate our home with "all of the" lights ü
Lay under the Christmas tree (try it!) ü
Listen to a ridiculous amount of Christmas music ü
catch snowflakes on our tongue
bake cookies with family & friends
build a snowman
Make a snow angel

As you see, a few of the items on our winter fun checklist have already be checked off!

With snow coming so early, so did some of the Christmas spirit in our house. I love how cozy our home feels with the lights around the fireplace and the Christmas tree all lit up. While I'm sure the tree will come down soon after the holiday, I think the lights around our fireplace will be up as long as the snow is falling.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

First things first - the week before Thanksgiving my 3 year old came home from preschool with a painting of a turkey done with her hand and, I just had to share it here for my future self to look back on. How sweet is this?

Before too much more time passes, I am here to share some pictures from our Thanksgiving day!

On Thanksgiving morning (with cute bed-head and all) Piper and Nick made our annual Thanksgiving breakfast (ham and cheese souffles). Piper was so proud of herself for helping make breakfast (and we were proud of her, too)! She loves helping with most of our meals and we love creating these memories of cooking and baking together as a family.

Thanksgiving morning smelled like oven-baked goodness and chai tea latte as Piper, Nick and I streamed the Macy's Day parade from YouTube. (Side note: I love how we can stream YouTube on our tv, especially since we haven't had cable in probably two-three years, now. Don't panic - we have Netflix and Hulu!)

Instead of making a dish to take to Thanksgiving lunch at my mom's house and dinner at Nick's Busha's house, we ordered a large pumpkin roll to share at both places! While I love to cook and bake, ordering this pumpkin roll from a new bakery in town made me happy in knowing that the purchase blessed the family who just opened a new bakery and also blessed my family's bellies at the same time.

I am guilty of not taking enough pictures after we left our house on Thanksgiving day but, instead, spent all of the time together in the moment with our loved ones. Here are a few from my phone:

A couple days later, on that Saturday, I cooked my own very first Thanksgiving dinner for our little family. 

It turned out really well and, we have frozen leftovers (stored in pot-pie form) that will provide about 4 more meals for us... one day. That is, when we get our craving back for Thanksgiving type food! We have definitely had our fill, for now.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Avoid Losing Sight of Your Goals

It's the first week of December and I've created an image below of what I have hung in my bathroom to help keep myself on track for the month ahead. If you find it helpful, please feel free to copy and print for yourself!

The image includes a list of my goals for the month, an inspirational motto, a place to record weekly weigh-in's, a small calendar to track vitamin intake and, a bible verse to reflect and pray on daily this month.

One of the downfalls to accomplishing my goals is the fact that I easily lose sight of the goals I've set for myself. I am hoping that by having these reminders taped on the mirror in my bathroom, that I will be well reminded.

I'll be searching for ways that I'm working toward my goals every day. Today, I'm realizing that creating this visual falls under both my intentional planning and accountability goal for the month. This is a good reminder that just because December is the month of holiday parties, Christmas cookies, etc., it doesn't mean that I should take a break from making and reaching goals to better my health. Even the smallest steps in the right direction (like printing this visual), add up.