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!

a recap of our year – 2019.

2019 started off challenging, but has ended being one of the very best years. i’m taking this year as something that i will look back to, and be grateful for where it took me.

and in 2020, i’m ready for more, more of this happy life.

i took a few minutes to look through my year in photographs, and wanted to share some of my favorite moments with you.

little miss mahkena turned 7; it’s so hard to believe she’s already that old. we celebrated with a disneyland-themed birthday with some of our friends and family, and that girl sure got spoiled.

the girls and i moved into our own little place in town. we knew it was only temporary so we weren’t too picky when looking for a place to rent, but it sure turned into quite the perfect little home for us three, and mazi girl.

i had a work conference in austin, texas that i had the opportunity to attend. john was able to join; we went down a few days early and made a vacation out of it. it was so nice to get away together and enjoy some texas sunshine.

welp, it was inevitable. this was the year i turned 30. and as much as i dreaded it, it turned out to be the best birthday ever. we spent it in chicago and attended a cubbies game.

every five years, my family has our family reunion and this june it was held near st. louis. we drove up the wednesday before to spend a bit more time with family. we rented this little cabin and spent our days swimming, at the zoo, and just catching up with everyone. we’re already looking forward to the next one.

and just like that kaylei turned 11. before we know it we’re going to have a teenager and i’m so not ready! we rented the community room in town and had an art-themed birthday party. i loved that some of her friends from school were able to join us.

the girls and i moved up to roscoe, in with john and the kids. we were super exited about the move and as a little nervous as they were, i think the girls were excited to start new schools.

i got to attend my first nfl game, and even though it wasn’t the chicago bears, i thorougly enjoyed watching the vikings play. i’m already looking forward to going to another one, and hopefully soon!

we were excited about trick-or-treating this year. with 6 of us and everyone being a good sport about the entire family dressing up, we had some fun. we went as minions for trick-or-treating at the campground and went with grinch, dr. suess, and winnie the pooh characters for the night of halloween.

with the holidays coming up and needing photos for our christmas card and wanting new canvases to hang up within our home, we had leigh photography take our family photos this fall. she did such an amazing job at capturing us all.

we spent thanksgiving together with our families and made sure to continue with our tradition of shopping with all the crazies on black friday. needing anything or not, i love that we still continue to go every year and enjoy all the people watching.

we ended the year with lots of family time for christmas. we made sure to take part of all the holiday festivities from cookie-baking to wearing matching pajamas. there is nothing better as a parent than watching the joy on your kids faces on christmas morning. having us all together is my favorite.

2020, this is our year.

recipe: cream cheese white chicken chili.

need a simple, chili recipe that pairs perfectly with football sundays?

my family has an amazing white chicken chili recipe that they’ve made for years; it’s hearty and delicious. this weekend i was in the mood for some chili and decided to take the old recipe, tweak it a bit, and make it more my own.

it turned out so yummy and i think will definitely be a repeat in our home. the best part…it’s all made in the crockpot!

wanna try it? i’ll share the recipe down below and be sure to let me know what you think if you give it a try.

ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz. can of black beans
  • 1 package ranch dressing mix
  • 1 15.25-oz. can of corn (i prefer sweet corn)
  • 1 10-oz. can of rotel tomatoes (diced, with green chilies)
  • 1 lb of skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese
  • 1 cup of water

instructions:

  1. place the chicken at the bottom of the crockpot. i seasoned the chicken with a bit of salt and pepper; completely optional.
  2. drain and rinse the can of black beans before pouring it over the chicken, then top with the entire two cans of corn and rotel tomatoes. do not drain either of these. the juice from these help provide some of the flavor.
  3. top with the remaining seasonings and the packet of ranch dressing mix. add a cup of water and then stir together.
  4. lastly, add the cream cheese block right on top, close the lid, and let it cook on low for roughly 6 hours.
  5. once those 6 hours are up, remove the chicken and shred, then place back in the crockpot and stir.
  6. before serving, i added some sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese on top and loved it. i’d recommend, but only if you desire.

hope you try it out and enjoy this simple chili recipe!

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.

10 things i love sunday.

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hello friends, and happy sunday.

i came across a post like this recently, on a beautiful mess’ blog, where the 10 things i love sunday shared ten random things that are currently going on in your life, or things that you’re currently loving.

here are my ten:

1. my coworkers

not many people can genuinely say that their coworkers are their friends; fortunately; i’m one of the lucky ones. i’m so appreciative to have these girls in my life. i’m always guaranteed to have lots of laughs when they’re around, and lately, they’ve been some of my biggest supporters.

2. fall felt fedora hats

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i’m typically not a hat person, but fall fedora hats might have just changed that.  they dress up any outfit, and a huge benefit: they tame down my afro. it’s a win-win.

3. campground trick or treating

every year we go trick or treating at the campground my parents are usually visiting. this year we had a unicorn and a cubs player that got carted around in the golf cart. it had rained previously in the day, making it a little bit of a muddy mess, but what fun is camping without it.  its been a fun tradition with my girls and i enjoy all the adult alcoholic treats too.

4. country music

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i’ve always listened to many different music genres, but lately country music has always been playing. especially mr. kane brown; a recent favorite of mine.

5. the fall season

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i’ve always loved the fall season, and this year is no different. the cooler weather, the autumn scents, and the fall wardrobe…just a few of my favorite things.

6. watching my youngest attend cheer clinic

my youngest has always loved gymnastics and cheerleading, but has always been too afraid to try them out. every year our town’s high school cheerleader’s put on a cheer clinic for those that would like to participate and i finally convinced her to do it this year.

they spent one evening after school learning two routines and a dance, and then performed it during the halftime of the friday night football game. she was so proud to wear her new shirt and matching big bow and show us all that she learned. that little girl’s smile is so contagious!

7. coffee

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need i say more?

8. my new game day hoodie

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i am obsessing over my new game day hoodie that i ordered off of a shop on etsy.  the material is so soft! i’m going to be definitely ordering more in all different styles.

9. amazon 

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amazon has been my lifesaver lately, especially for my girl’s halloween costumes. this year they will be where’s waldo and a bunny, and nowhere has them! amazon came in clutch once again!

10. watching the bears game with friends

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last weekend i went and joined a coworker at a local bar to watch the bears football game and had such great time! football, beer, food, and great company…how all sundays should be spent!

30 before 30.

 

i’m a lover of lists and enjoy being able to cross things off of them once they’re complete. it keeps me on track and motivated to get things done.

me turning 30 is scarily just around the corner for me; i’m already dreading it so much.

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i’ll be 30 in less than 8 months and am not sure why i’m just now sharing my 30 before 30 list with all of you. but what time is better than now?

1. create a blog

2. visit another country

3. go on a plane

4. get a tattoo

5. buy a house

6. take a pottery class

7. plant a garden

8. go to a nfl football game

9. get my bachelor’s degree

10. see the ocean

11. visit an art museum

12. watch the sunrise and the sunset in the same place

13. watch a movie at a drive-in

14. swim under the stars

15. take a wine and painting class

16. take a yoga class

17. find an active hobby…cycling or running

18. go on a girl’s trip

19. have a booth at a craft show

20. learn to do a handstand

21. do something that terrifies me

22. dye my hair a different color

23. ride in a side-by-side

24. go on a road trip with no planned destination

25. go on a scavenger hunt

26. journal weekly.

27. let go of a floating lattern

28. do a wine tasting

29. pay for a stranger’s meal

30. kick off my 30’s with an adventure

*those in bold i’ve been able to accomplish