just a little january.

this month has been a little quiet here on the blog, so i’m breaking up that silence a bit.

how are you all feeling about this month? i’ve been feeling really GOOD about 2020 – a fresh month, a fresh year, a fresh decade.

take a look at what we’ve been up to…

we rang in the new year at home, surrounded with family and friends, some new and some old. good food, drinks, music, and watching the ball drop…no better way to celebrate starting a new decade.

a new year, and i’m still using ways to document our months. groovebook is still my go to. so simple – just an app that lets you put all your photos in a monthly book for $3.99 a month with free shipping. want to try it? use my code: GOODWIN5000 for a free book!

i’ve been adding books to my list that i’d like to read in 2020, and a friend recommended the website thriftbooks. used books for a great bargain with fast shipping…i’d check it out if you also enjoy reading. what is on your reading list for 2020?

we’ve made time at least once a month to just get out of the house and enjoy a fun date night. we’ve been enjoying being able to spend some alone time together. got any ideas for fun date nights? we’d love to add some to our date-night bucket list.

i’ve really been enjoying cooking lately; i like trying and making new recipes for the family. what are some of your favorite recipes that your family enjoys? i recently shared my chicken parmesan recipe here. if you try it, let me know what you think!

last week, our little one came down with the flu and strep. poor thing had to miss school for almost a full week. and as much as i enjoyed the extra snuggles with her , it’s awful seeing your child sick and feeling helpless. luckily she’s on the mend after lots of bubble baths, naps, and medicine.

my favorite part about this month is all the time we’ve been able to spend with family. we celebrated my mom’s birthday and met up for lunch, and then our usual football hangouts. i’ll never take this time we get together for granted.

how’s your january been? hope you’re avoiding the cold and making the best out of your new year.

till next time!

our christmas: 2019.

i feel like with all the anticipation and excitement of christmas, it seems to take forever for the day to finally be here and then once it’s here, it’s gone in the blink of an eye.

i can’t believe the holidays are over; and with this year being even more special, i hate thinking about how fast it went.

we had a busy few days…wrapping last minute gifts, preparing the house to host, and the holiday events, but i would’t change them for the world.

christmas eve is easily one of my favorite days to spend with family and continue with our traditions. we had the morning to get last minute things done around the house, and then around lunch time family started showing up.

for lunch, we had baked mostacciolli, ham sandwhiches, salad, garlic bread, and the most delicious desserts. all the kids were super excited about opening gifts, so as soon as lunch was over, we let them all open their presents.

i’d say they were all pretty happy with what they got based off of the grins on their faces.

i love that all the cousins got to spend christmas eve together and create those memories.

around dinner time, my family came over for our annual christmas eve traditions. we typically always choose something fairly simple and non-traditional to make for dinner…this year we decided on homemade pizzas. for being the first year, and never attempting them before, they turned out really well and the kids even enjoyed them.

every christmas eve since i can remember, we’ve always opened a few gifts from family members. we sit around the tree and one-by one open one. it’s always enjoyable to see what each other got.

before we knew it we, were watching christmas movies and realized it was time to get the kiddos to bed. but not before they put out milk and cookies for santa, and carrots for the reindeer. i just love how excited they get for this!

once the kiddos were all tucked in and sound asleep, the adults stayed up and had game night. we played one of our favorite card games well into christmas morning.

we went to bed with everything prepared for the next morning, with plenty of gifts under the tree. we were going to have some very happy kids in the morning.

i swear i’m only a morning person on christmas, and apparently our kids are too, because they sure were bright-eyed and ready to go super early.

family stayed over the night before so as soon as everyone was awake and ready to go, we all sat around the living room and started with our stockings. probably an unpopular opinion, but stockings are one of my favorite parts about christmas.

our family probably does it a little different than most, but we then went around one -by- one and each opened a gift, starting with the youngest first. i love that we do it that way just so we can see everyone open what they got, especially the kids.

we spent a good two hours opening gifts, laughing, and enjoying the looks on the kid’s faces when they got something that they really wanted. the aftermath of gifts and wrapping paper in our living room was no joke.

before everyone left, we made some cinnamon rolls for breakfast and enjoyed the rest of christmas morning together.

christmas 2019, was one for the books and without a doubt my favorite one thus far. i loved spending all the time with family and making memories that we’ll cherish forever.

from our family to yours, we hope you had a very merry christmas a wishing you all a wonderful new year!

a christmas cookie tradition.

christmas traditions are my absolute favorite; especially doing the traditions that i remember doing with my family growing up and now being able to do them with my own family.

ever since i can remember, my mom, sister and i would get together and spend a day before christmas baking copious amounts of cookies. we’d make a game plan of the ones we wanted to make each year, either from recipe books or our favorite family recipes passed down to us.

this year was no different, but rather than doing it at my parent’s house, we did it at ours. lot’s more counter space and much easier with the kids if they wanted to run around and play.

before all the “hard work” we set up a bloody mary bar; perfect drink for the morning and to enjoy while we got to baking.

we were absolutely that family that bought matching christmas pajamas to wear for christmas, but decided to throw them on for cookie baking too…festive and fun!

we scored these on black friday from meijer, surprisingly. they’re super comfy and had all of our sizes. and i’m always a sucker for that buffalo plaid pattern!

grandma always takes the reins on making the dough for the sugar cookies. they’re not the easiest to make, but the girls sure love making and decorating them ever year.

we made quite a few different kinds this year…peanut butter blossoms, sugar cookies, mounds, puppy chow, chocolate covered pretzels, no bakes, and butterscotch no bakes. we sorted them all into tins to share with friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors.

it was even a great day for football as the bears played the packers, so after all the baking was done we relaxed a bit and watched the game together.

this time of the year is my favorite; i love all the extra time we get to spend with our families.

what are some of your favorite holiday traditions that you do with your family?

thankful thursday.

happy thankful thursday. cheesy? yes, i know. but lately, and especially today being thanksgiving and all, i’ve been feeling especially grateful.

it’s so easy to lose sight of everything we have and those in our life in the midst of a chaotic life. but today, i wanted to focus on the positive things and write about what i’m thankful for…

today, i’m thankful for my family. for the holidays bringing us all together and the time we can share. until you’re older and everyone’s lives are going a million different directions, i don’t think you realize just how much you cherish every moment you get together.

a job that i love. i can’t tell you enough how much better your life is when you wake up every morning knowing that you’re going to a job that you actually enjoy. i enjoy what i do and am so fortunate to work with people that i can consider friends.

my relationship. everyday i’m thankful for him walking into my life. he motivates me to do better in life; he inspires me to be a better version of myself. he was the love i needed when i didn’t know i needed it and i’m in love with the life we’ve created together.

lastly, i’m thankful for our kids. they’re feisty at times and a bit of hard work, but i wouldn’t want them any other way. they constantly make me smile and i’m proud to call them mine.

what are you thankful for?

a photo journal – summer 19

the summer of 2019 is officially over for me as my girls have started back up with school. this summer had its lows, it’s highs. and everything in between. but looking back at all the pictures that i’ll be sharing in this post, it was the best summer of my life.

so many life changes occurred, so many new adventures, but i smiled more than i ever have before. this summer is one i’m definitely going to miss.

throughout this post i’m going to be sharing lots of photos from this summer and telling you all about the things i did.

that being said, this was my summer of 2019.

i brought in the very beginning of summer by turning 30. i struggled with the idea of turning thirty so much, but it truly has been the best year of my life thus far. being thirty, i see a woman who has grown and changed so significantly. i can see a shift in my confidence, my purpose, my passions. most importantly i see a woman who has learned the importance of patience, kindness, an open heart, and love. i love this chapter of thirty so much.

i got to celebrate my thirtieth at one of my favorite places with one of my favorite people. cubbies, beer, and dancing; truly my best birthday yet.

my girls got to come to my work for “bring your child to work day”. they got to see a day in the life of what i do and enjoyed it so much. i love working for a company that offers so much to their employees and their families.

i got the opportunity to travel to austin for work and made a little getaway out of it. the whole experience was amazing and if you haven’t been to austin, i’d highly recommend it. i can’t wait to go back!

i’ve never been kayak fishing and jumped at the chance to go one day this summer with my dad. we didn’t catch anything, but it surely was relaxing and memories that i’ll have forever with him.

our family reunion took place this summer in missouri. we only get together for it every five years, so it was something we were all really looking forward to. i’m already looking forward to the next one and seeing everyone together again.

we celebrated kaylei turning 11 with our closest friends and family. she enjoyed her ‘art’ party and sure got spoiled.

we spent a weekend up in minneapolis to catch a preseason game of the vikings. if you’ve never been to an nfl game, go! the whole experience was so surreal and something i already want to do again. and to set the record straight…i’m still a bear’s fan.

and lastly, i moved. new town, new adventures. and boy, am i sure excited to write this chapter.

first day of school interviews (2019).

just like every august, we’ve done everything we need to do: gathered new school supplies, spiffed up the school wardrobe… however, this year was a little different for my girls as they both started new schools in a new district. this year we ventured to roscoe; a new elementary school and dare i say it…middle school.

i think i was more nervous than they were…but they were so ready, so confident. this momma was proud of them, pulling back their hair, laughing their crazy laughs, and most importantly just being themselves on their first day at their new schools. i am so looking forward to watching more of them and the lessons that they learn – both in school and in life. Roscoe, we’re ready for you!

my girls started sixth and second grade this year. we kicked off the new year with some of our typical “first day of school photos”.

and just like previous years, we made sure to do our first day of school “interviews”.

i asked both of my girls these questions and i thought i’d share with all of you:

Kaylei

  1. name: kaylei
  2. age: 11
  3. grade and teacher: 6th – mr. lovgren
  4. what i want to be when i grow up: recruiter
  5. favorite color: yellow
  6. favorite movie: san andreas
  7. favorite place to be: at starbucks
  8. favorite food: frozen yogurt
  9. favorite subject in school: math
  10. what do you love: my family

Mahkena

  1. name: mahkena
  2. age: 7
  3. grade and teacher: 2nd – mrs. binning
  4. what i want to be when i grow up: a starbucks employee
  5. favorite color: pink
  6. favorite movie: home alone
  7. favorite place to be: at target
  8. favorite food: candy
  9. favorite subject in school: art
  10. what do you love: dogs

“say yes to one more book, one more hug, one more kiss goodnight, tuck them in and snuggle them tight. one day you will tuck them in and they’ll be grown. they will smile and tell you they can do it on their own.”

a photo journal – wahl family reunion

our second wahl family reunion took place this month; we’re trying to keep the tradition of organizing one for every 5 years. this years took place at a koa campground near st. louis, missouri.

the location was perfect; you could rent a site to tent or park your camper at or they also offered little cabins available to rent. we decided on a camping cabin that had the cutest front porch. the best part was mazi girl was also allowed to stay there as well.

the actual reunion took place friday through sunday, but we made a little vacation out of it and drove up a few days early to spend the extra time with family.

one day we made a trip to the st. louis zoo. it was perfect because it had free admission and wasn’t too far of a drive from camp.

i love being able to watch my girls grow up with my cousin’s kids. it reminds me so much of the summer vacations we would go on to see the wahls growing up.

we spent a lot of time visiting with everyone, playing bags and basketball, and just sitting around the fire roasting marshmallows and chatting.

we couldn’t let the weekend go by without grabbing a few photos of our giant family in our matching shirts.

our shirts turned out so great this year…thank you ben for organizing it all!

“we put the WAHL in grizWAHLds”

the campground we stayed at was awesome and offered so many amenities for the kids…wagon rides, a jumping pillow, and a swimming pool were some of our favorites. and we definitely had to take advantage of the snow cone truck on our last day there.

see you all again in 2024, wahls!