Earlier this month, I celebrated my friend Adrienne’s birthday in true Adrienne style with an immersive adventure. This time we got ourselves locked up in jail for the Shawshankd cocktail experience. The show is inspired by the movie and was fun and laid back. Our group had a blast because we all embraced the role-playing aspect of the night. The strong drinks were a bonus.
This past June, I participated in the St. Jude’s Baking Challenge. I thought it could be something I could do with my parents and my husband, but it just turned out to be a solo mission. I didn’t mind, I got to eat everything, and I shared with as many people as I could. Each week I had a different baking challenge. In week 1, I had to make cookies, and in week 2, it was pie. In week 3, the challenge was bread, and in week 4, I had to make a cake.
Week 1: Lemon cookies
Week 2: Apple pie
This was my first time making an apple pie. It wasn’t as complicated as I thought if would be.
Week 3: Banana Bread
I didn’t have any eggs, so I substituted them with olive oil, and it came out fine.
Week 4: Cake, but I switched it up and did strawberry cupcakes with chocolate frosting.
Overall, the challenges were fun but most importantly, I raised $120 for St. Jude’s!
My daughter Maxine celebrated her first birthday on December 19. She is growing up so fast. I really can’t believe it! My cousin’s girlfriend told me about a fun Chinese ceremony when a baby turns one. It’s called the zhua zhou ceremony, where symbolic objects are laid out in front of a baby to grab. Whatever the baby reaches for and plays with can indicate future employment prospects or interests.
We are a little late, but I thought it would be fun to do! I researched and found more information and potential objects to use via Gathered Gifts’ blog story.
Here is a list of some objects and meanings.
I substituted the following:
Abacus to Cash; Paint Brush to Hair Brush; Calculator to Whiteout; Chicken leg to Bamboo; Lego to Puzzle Piece; Microphone to Fan; Stethoscope to Thermometer; Sword to Shield
Moment of truth. Maxine’s top three…
1. Shallot = Intelligence
2. Measuring tape = Designer/Architect
3. Shield = Law enforcement
Rounding out top 5…
4. Cell phone = Tech Entrepreneur
5. Celery = Industrious
Not bad! LOL. I can’t wait till she is older to see what she likes and is passionate about.
Last year, my Dad fractured his hip, and for five months, he stayed in a hospital, a long-term care facility, and then a rehab facility. This was all through COVID restrictions, and I couldn’t visit him. It was tough, and I know it took a toll on my Dad. I wish that there were more opportunities to connect.
GlamourGals is a nonprofit that provides programming for elderly residents. They currently help reach out to isolated seniors through their #mydearfriend program, where individuals can write notes to senior citizens in need of some care and comfort in various facilities. This is my second batch of letters within the year, and I enjoy it. These cards are geared towards Valentine’s Day and Galentine’s Day, but you can make cards year-round.
If you want to do some good on your own or with friends, consider making cards or having a card-making party! Here is where you can find out more information.
This month, I took part in The Sweet Frugal Life’s January Pantry Challenge, where I took an inventory of what I had in the pantry, fridge, and freezer to make dishes. I wasn’t super strict with it and only made a handful of meals, but I still consider it a success!
The main takeaway from my experience; I have a lot of soup in my pantry!
I didn’t know that advent calendars were a big deal. Last year, I bought a chocolate one for both my mom and me to enjoy the season. I was pregnant, about to pop, and covid restrictions were still in effect, so I thought the calendars could be something we could do together even if we weren’t in the same place. Each night, my mom and I would find time to talk and enjoy our little treat. We loved it!
I loved it so much I kind of went advent calendar crazy this year. I got a calendar for my parents, husband, my baby, my husband’s niece, and nephew, and even the cats have one.
My mom and I love chocolate, so I got a Godiva calendar for us. Dad wanted in, too, so he has his own as well.
My husband is really into whisky, so I got him Flaviar’s Whiskies of the Galaxy calendar.
Maxine is almost one, so I decided to get her a stuffed animal calendar that could go on the Christmas tree.
The cats will be sharing a Fancy Feast calendar.
I got Andrew’s three-year-old niece a Disney advent calendar that will have a different story each night.
Andrew’s nephew is ten, so I chose a calendar that is a little more hands-on.
Halloween this year was pretty amazing. It was just the right amount of activities for the entire family.
As a Halloween/Fall activity, I like to carve or decorate pumpkins. This year I didn’t get around to carving myself but we made it an activity for my husband’s niece and nephew.
I also decorated some pumpkins with some stickers.
The night before Halloween, as a date night, my husband and I did a virtual Halloween Scavenger Hunt with Watson Adventures. It was pretty tough! The hunt had a haunted theme and we visited various websites with some kind of scary involved. What made it tricky was some of the questions involved us navigating links with virtual tours and 360 views that can be difficult to find and figure out on a laptop. Our daughter was also still awake and would not fall asleep. We had the lowest score of the night but it was still fun.
The best part of Halloween was dressing up Maxine. She was the cutest baby leopard. I also had her in pumpkin pjs the night before Halloween.
On Halloween, instead of trick or treating, we did a virtual experience instead, and enjoyed a bubble show from Bubbledad. Maxine had no idea what was going on but it was cute to see all the kids who zoomed in participate in the interactive portion of the show. The kids got to make their own bubbles by using a cardboard tube, straws, and socks.
To cap the night off, I had myself a delicious treat from Pecking House.
Next year, I want to aim to dress up as a family and enjoy trick or treating or attend a party.
It’s been a minute but I’m back! Life happens and sometimes you just have to keep your head above water.
Celebrating Halloween is usually hit or miss for me. This year, I celebrated by carving pumpkins! I don’t have any memory of doing this when I was younger so I was truly excited. I would have loved to have gotten my pumpkins from an actual farm but it wasn’t in the cards. Got mine at Home Depot.
Here are some pictures of my husband and I having a blast.
The final products:
Mine, the true classic…
My husband brought out the creativity…
So happy how they came out!!
I want this to become a family tradition, even get other family members involved!
We didn’t dress up this year but our cats had no choice.
I was expecting them to fight me on this but they didn’t even meow! I dare say they might have enjoyed it.
I look forward to the flower show each year. It always makes me think of spring. The beautiful flowers are a tease of what is to come and a reminder of what I will never ever accomplish in my own garden and I’m ok with that :).
This year’s theme was ‘Once Upon A Springtime’ and it definitely had the fairytale look down with a storybook entrance, dragon and villain throne lol. I especially loved the detail on the throne and overall loved the lovely flowers. Here were my favs.