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?

november favorites

in all seriousness how it it almost december? this truly seems like the quickest year ever, but i feel like i say that every year around this time. i’m so excited for what’s coming up though…the holidays are some of my favorite moments of the year.

i wanted to share with all of you a few of my favorites from this month; a few new, a few old:

e.l.f poreless putty primer

this stuff is phenomenal. i can tell your right now, i will never purchase a different type of primer, ever. it’s a super affordable dupe of the tatcha primer and so comparable. it goes on light, leaves my skin feeling soft, and doesn’t leave any creases throughout the day.

get it here, and only for $8!

burlington

i think i’ve shopped at burlington maybe twice throughout my entire life, but recently all four of our kiddos needed snow gear, and with needing so much i looked around for good deals. i priced around for snow pants, snow boots, and mittens and burlington by far had the best deals.

i feel like burlington is one of those stores that are easily forgotten, but i’d highly recommend them for winter gear bargains!

doordash

doordash is a food delivery service that i recently tried out. the very best part…it delivers chipotle. i’m a sucker for some chipotle and if i have the opportunity to get it without having to leave my house…you betcha i’m all over it.

use this link to save $15 off on your orders through the doordash service!

houseplants

everyone that knows me, knows that i LOVE houseplants. i have quite the variety within our home…cacti, aloe, monstera, snakeplant, etc. i love everything about them; the aesthetic that they bring, the way they make our home feel, and the added benefit of them cleaning the air. it’s a great way to bring the outside in.

if you don’t have any, you should pick some up. i guarantee you’ll love having that added touch within your home.

why i love fall.

there is no denying that i love fall. everything about it from the crisp autumn breeze flowing in through the open windows, cuddles under the cozy blankets, and football. how can you not love this season?

before we know it, we will be flipping our calendars and the cold winter months will be upon us. in the mean time, i wanted to share a peak into my fall and some of my favorite activities that made it so memorable.

trips to the farmer’s market

i love everything about farmer’s markets. the atmosphere, the fresh flowers, the food trucks. this year i got to take my oldest for a bit of one-on-one time and we enjoyed that time together with some delicious tacos and picking out a pumpkin for our front porch.

family halloween costumes

yes, i’m that cheesy mom and have always wanted to be that family that dresses up together. for this year’s trick-or-treating at the campground we dressed up as minions and the kids got spoiled with tons of candy.

pumpkin carving

you can’t have fall without some cute pumpkins sitting on your front porch. as messy as the process is, carving them is all the fun, especially when you’re doing it with your favorites.

adult trick-or-treating

yup. if you haven’t experienced adult trick-or-treating yet, you’re missing out. i look forward to this event every year with my parents at a campground that they visit, but this year was extra special and definitely going to be hard to beat.

decorating for fall

i love all that fall has to bring, especially the home decor. we decorated the front porch with our carved pumpkins and a few things that have been picked up from craft fairs. our table was also festive with the fresh bouquet of flowers we brought home from the farmers market.

now that i’ve shared some of my favorite memories from this fall, what have been some of yours?

september favorites.

autumn has arrived and october is basically here. spooky season is well upon us.

that means it’s time to get all cozy under some fuzzy blankets and leave the windows open.

but first, let’s take a step back and reflect on what i’ve been loving these past couple of months…

groovebook

i’ve used groovebook’s app for well over a year now and still have yet to be disappointed by it’s service.

simply put, it’s an app that allows you to choose up to 100 photos a month from your phone and print them in a book. they’re shipped directly to you and for only $3.99 a month.

interested in trying it out? you can find more about it here. you can use my code: GOODWIN5000 for a free book!

walmart grocery pickup

one word…genius. a mother must have invented the idea of grocery pickup service; one that was exhausted of dragging their kids though the stores and long lines.

i honestly haven’t stepped into a grocery store to do my bi-weekly grocery haul in months. what’s easier than ordering what you need online throughout the week, driving up to the store when it’s your time for pick-up, and someone loading your car with all your groceries? and for FREE!

seriously. do it. and while you’re at it, use my code: http://r.wmt.co/v/Shayla_1 to save $10 your first order.

magnetic eyeline & eyelashes

i wanted to try them out and see what the hype was all about. i’ve worn them for a few days now and have zero complaints. they stay on all day, they don’t irritate my skin, and they’re super affordable.

i found mine here on amazon and love them!

ellen tracy lipstick

need some new lipstick that is super pigmented and great for fall. get these!

a set of four for under $10, you can’t beat that!

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.”