Dear 2016, You were interesting...

Dear 2016,

Wow, you sure flew by! I feel like I was just doing my year in review post for 2015 and now I'm taking a look back at this year. Doesn't this happen every year.? Yes, but this one felt particularly fast!! My word for the year was "grow" and that definitely describes what I went through. Growing is sometimes painful and other times it's a great experience. I've definitely had a mixture of both this year.

I started a new business venture in January and it was pretty dang terrifying. I was so nervous about what people would think, how I would make it work, and if I would be successful. I pretty much doubted myself at every angle, until I really started to fall in love with what I was doing. I'm working on let people's negative opinions roll off my shoulders (sometimes more successfully than other times lol). I also learned that I CAN be successful in this business! Who knew?? :)  If you asked me in January if I thought I would still be doing this business in December, I would have said no lol....boy have things changed! I really can't imagine my life without it. I'm excited to see what my business will look like at this time next year!

2016 also proved itself to be a year of waiting. We've waited such a long, long time to have a baby and we keep hitting roadblocks. Thankfully, we have really good doctors that are helping us to have the best possible chance to start a family. I'm so grateful for them. So again, we will put our trust in the Lord and the people He places in our lives. We will wait for this perfect little one to join us one day in the future. Some days this waiting and hoping is just harder than other days. :( Some days, I'm super optimistic and joyful. We will continue to pray that we will be able to start a family very soon. Your prayers are always welcome and appreciated!

We thought this would be the year that we purchased our first home. Well that didn't happen... not even close. What we did find was a cute little house for rent in Point Loma that was right in our price range and gave us everything we were looking for... a garage, a yard for the pups, parking, etc. Plus we can ride our beach cruises all over Point Loma. YESSS! So am I bummed that we didn't buy a house? Yes and no... I think we are right where we need to be.

2017 is going to hold BIG changes for us. If you know me at all, you know that change terrifies me lol. That being said, the times when I've been put in new and semi-uncomfortable situations, are when I've met the most amazing people. So will I kick my feet and whine a little lot... yup, but I know change is for the best. So 2016, thank you for the new people you brought into our lives, thank you for the good times, and even the harder moments too. 2017 I'm ready for you! Bring it on! :)

Christmas 2016 Recap

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones. I still can't believe it's over. I get pretty depressed the day after Christmas because there's such a buildup and then bam, it's over! I'm trying to stay in merry spirits today though :) I started my day with a workout, quickly stopped at a couple stores, read for awhile, and now I'm getting ready for a night out with some friends. Stay away, Christmas blues! :)

We got to Vegas on Wednesday night and were able to have dinner with our families. My brother in law just got back in town, so it was great to spend time with him too. Thursday we went shooting for a couple hours and holy moly it was cold. I've been spoiled by the San Diego weather and was freezing lol. I would never survive in the midwest!

On Friday, we went bowling and had dinner at Coyotes. We go bowling every Christmas season and it's always a blast. I was pretty terrible at taking pictures, but you get the idea :)

On Christmas Eve, we started our morning in Boulder City at the Coffee Cup. Mark biked there from my parents house and met us. The food was delicious!

We went to an early church serve at four and then had a yummy dinner at my parents house. The Haneys and Mark's mom and brother joined us. We always have a good time when we are all together.

my dad photo-bombed :)

I borrowed Bob's Christmas present :)

Christmas day was spent opening presents, partaking in a yummy breakfast, a family trip to the movies to see Passengers, a nice ham dinner, and then a game night. We had such a wonderful time and like I said, I'm depressed that it's over already. I'm trying to soak up my last week of break :)

Christmas House Tour 2016

I absolutely LOVE decorating for Christmas. It makes everything seem so cozy and warm. I decorated pretty early this year because we aren't home very long to enjoy it.  We head home the week before Christmas and that only gives us 3-4 weeks to have our Christmas decor up around the house.

I've slowly been collecting Christmas decor each year, so my house is no where near complete. Hopefully one day, it will be fully decorated at Christmas time. Here is what we did this year...

Next year- I want to change out the items that are being used as book ends. I didn't want to make it TOO girly though lol

I LOVE this snowman. He was new this year too,

I've had the trees forever, they were from Target.

We don't have a fireplace so I have to improvise :) Also, I made the little frame with the ornaments. My mom made one too and hers is WAY better!

I have a thing for woodland animals and owls. Can you tell??

new addition this year

these two are also new! From Rod Works in Vegas. I LOVE that store. 

This nativity was given to me by my mom. I love it! 

This is a mish-mash of things in my office. My mom made spray painted the wine bottles white and we added some greenery to the top. For next year, I'll add the letters to spell noel. 

We have a few things in the kitchen but they aren't shown here. I forgot to take a picture... whoops! Next year :) I hope you are all having a great Christmas season!

Our Very Christmasy Weekend Recap

Happy Monday everyone! What a fun and Christmasy weekend we had. We started the weekend with a date night to see the Nutcracker. Every year, we try to go but the timing just never works out. I'm so excited that this year it finally did. We had a quick dinner and then headed to the theater. The show was absolutely beautiful and really put us in the Christmas spirit.

Afterwards, we went to iDessert in Little Italy and had the most delicious crepes. YUM!

Saturday morning was spent working out and running errands. Then we packed up our overnight bags and headed to a birthday party with Dina and Will. We stopped by the party for a little bit until we got back on the road to head to DISNEYLAND!! The four of us have been trying to go together so some time now but it just never seemed to work out. I was sooo excited that it was finally happening!

We got into the park around seven, just in time for all the night time festivities. I love Disneyland at night and I love it even more during Christmas time. It's just so beautiful! Here are a bunch of pictures from our night.

The next day we headed into the park around 9 am and holy moly it was packed. We only went on a few rides because things kept closing and the wait times were just insane. We still have a beautiful morning in the park though.

We ended up at the ESPN Zone to watch the Chargers v. Raiders game. We played some arcade game and hung out until half time. Then we made our way to back to San Diego.

It was such a fun weekend and my Christmas break is off to a wonderful start! Have a great day.

My Christmas To-Dos

I have several things that I want to do before Christmas is here. Let's jump right in:

1. Make the Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls:

I will be the first to say that I really stink at baking. I usually over-mix things and they become dense, don't rise, and/ or look super funky. My sister and I once made cookies that resembled one giant pancake. I don't know how that happened. Anyways, the only way to get better is to practice right?? Well that's just what I'm going to do. First on my list, are these cinnamon rolls. I've wanted to make these for years and I think it's finally time. This isn't something I normally eat but why not splurge a little for this festive time of year?? I'll let you know how it goes.

2. Ice Skating

Mark and I seem to miss all the Christmasy festivities because he is usually gone right up until Christmas. Well this year, we have a little less than a week in SD to have some Christmas fun and I'm taking full advantage. There is an ice skating rink set up close to our house but I REALLY want to go to the rink at the Hotel Del. I know it's going to be amazing there.

3. Yearly Ornament

Every year we get a special ornament that signifies something that we've done that year or somewhere we have visited.  Last year, we got a really cute one from Disneyland since it was our first time going together. This year, I'm not sure what we are going to get, time will tell!

4. Finish Christmas Shopping

I am almost done with Christmas shopping, hallelujah! I actually really enjoy buying presents for people but I have a few people that I can't figure out. Can't I just buy everyone the things I love... books and skincare lol?  I'll figure it out! :) I'm almost done with stocking stuffers too. I just need a couple more items.

5. The Nutcracker

We are going to see the Nutcracker tonight! I am so excited!! I've wanted to go for a few years but it never seems to workout. We bought the tickets last minute, because we weren't sure if it was going to work out. It will be fun to dress up and have a Christmasy date night, especially since I will be depressed that we won't be in Vegas at my parents Christmas party. This is the first time we've missed it in years. Mark actually surprised me the first year we started dating, and showed up at my parents party. Such great memories!

I'm linking up with some of my faves today... September Farm, The Farmer's Wife, A. Liz Adventures, Hello Happiness, and Carolina Charm. Have a great weekend!

Hot Chocolate & Marshmallow Cookies

I was in the mood to bake this weekend so I went on the hunt for a yummy new recipe. I found these hot chocolate and marshmallow cookies on pinterest and they did not disappoint. They aren't overly sweet and really do taste like hot chocolate! On my 2nd batch, I left them in the oven too long, after I put the marshmallow on top. They started to slide everyone and look crazy haha! So just leave them in for the recommended four minutes. :)

Here is the recipe:

1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon bakin powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (packed) brown sugar
3 eggs, at room temp.
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
30 marshmallows (I didn't use this many)
7.5 ounce semisweet chocolate bars cut into 1/2 inch squares

1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate chops on medium low heat, stirring frequently. Once melted, remove from burner and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

3. In a mixer, mix together the eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add the cooled melted chocolate. Lastly, add the dry flour ingredients in two batches, into the dough. **The dough will be very thick, almost like a cake batter. Allow to chill in the fridge for an hour.

4. Once the dough is chilled, line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place them 2 inches apart on the parchment paper. Slightly flatten with a spoon.

5. Back at 325 degrees for about 12 minutes or until the cookies edges start to crack. While they are baking cut the marshmallows and stick one square of chocolate in the cut side.

6. Once the cookies are done, remove from the oven and stick a marshmallow on top (chocolate side down). Put back in the oven for 4 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer to a cooling rack.


My Christmas Wish List 2016

So year after year, my Christmas list becomes more and more boring haha. I debated not putting the bundt pan on there but I really do want one lol, I just never remember to buy one for myself. I'm not a huge baker but I really love monkey bread and I can totally make that in a bundt pan. :) I also LOVE getting new cookbooks. I've heard great things about Danielle Walker's new cookbook, Celebrations.

The waffle maker is a must! I really stink at making pancakes but I can't screw up a waffle lol! A bunch of my paleo cookbooks have yummy looking waffle recipes that are healthier than the regular version. Can't wait to try those!

I'm always in need of new workout clothes because I wear them all the time. I'm not saying I workout all the time haha, but I'm in workout clothes a lot. I'm hoping with some new clothes, I will have more motivation to workout too. I also want new Zella leggings but they don't have a very good selection in the high waisted crop version. I've found that I feel much more secure in high waisted workout pants. Also, most of them have mesh on the legs and I already have those in black. I'm keeping my eye out for some new options.

I've gone back and forth about the Cricket vs. Silhouette for years. I feel like the Silhouette will suite me better and I can see myself using it a ton. I know I will for sure use it weekly for my planner stickers and I can think of about a dozen crafts I want to do. This is a pricey present, so I'm not expecting it. A girl can dream though, right??

I talked about this portable phone charger in my girlfriends gift guide. I just think it's adorable and sooo helpful to have a portable charger. I would have loved one this weekend in Disneyland. I don't need this specific one but it is pretty!

I also forgot to add a couple things. This is my favorite candle of all time. I'm obsessed with the scent and it only comes out around Christmas. This is a great gift for anyone on your list too. I've also been eyeing the Harry Potter illustrated books too. They have this one at Costco right now but I'm linking the Amazon version. :)

What's on your Christmas list this year??

My Favorite Christmas Books

As a teacher, I am a HUGE fan of children's books and Christmas books are my absolute favorite! I have a ton that I like to read to my students and these are my top choices. Some of these are focused on the true meaning of Christmas and some are based on Christmas traditions or Santa. There's a wide variety here and something for everyone!

Weekend Recap {Disneyland at Christmas}

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend. I'm still recovering from my day at Disneyland. I know that seems a little dramatic but holy moly my legs are sore and I'm exhausted lol! If you've never been to Disneyland, it's amazing but also very tiring.

We were able to get to the park right after it opened and hit all the major rides pretty quickly. Even though waking up early isn't fun, it's so worth it to be able to ride everything right away. Stephanie and I are pretty much on a mission as soon as we step foot in the gates lol!

This is absolutely the best time of year at Disneyland. Everything is decorated and the parades and shows are even better than normal. We stayed until after World of Color and got home not long after midnight. It was a full day but such a blast! Here are some pictures from our fun!

My partner in crime

Matterhorn is always our first ride