Wednesday, January 12, 2022

My 16 Favorite Fall, Holiday, And Winter Things

 

Time has flown by. We traveled, learned, wrote, worked, and all of life's great things. Somehow, despite making lists upon lists of the things I've absolutely loved, I failed to actually share those things. Everything from unexpectedly amazing winter coats to shows and movies to stream to things that have made our lives easier. Here's a look at some of the things that made my list the last several months:

1.) It's winter and there's really no better time to curl up in a warm blanket and watch TV. Some of the good ones: Virgin River (Netflix), Being The Ricardo's (Prime), Creamerie (Hulu - I can't decide how I feel about this one, but I can't stop thinking about how I want a season 2 to clear up the cliffhanger), the Harry Potter special (HBO Max), and tick, tick...Boom! (Netflix).

2.) We've enjoyed many good eats the last several months as well. Kava DSM has a healthy, tranquil vibe that I've spent time just sitting in the space, sipping a smoothie. While in Chicago, we discovered La Fournette in Old Town. I personally recommend the raspberry jam filled beignet. Eileen's Cookies provided yummy treats for us during the holidays. I love their to go tubs, but their sugar cookies are my ultimate fave. Smoothie bowls, beignets, and cookies may keep me full, but Starbuck's peach tranquility has kept me warm on chill days.

3.) When the minis and I needed new winter coats before heading off on our fall road trip, there were zero sales in our usual stores. Instead, I gave Amazon essentials a try and I couldn't be more pleased. The puffer coats are thin, but extremely warm. Water resistant and (so far) hold up well whether it be from hiking, snowboarding, or general roughhousing in the backyard. All of that for an excellent price point. I bought these winter coats in the off season and got them for around $20 a piece.

4.) The Art Institute is one of our favorite museums in Chicago. Barbara Kruger has an amazing exhibit running through January 24. Our thirteen year old fell in love and said words that you would hear from any reviewer, including, "riveting," "powerful," and "thought provoking."

5.) She and Him put on an amazing Christmas concert at the Chicago theater. I'm a big fan of the band regardless of what they're singing, but their Christmas tunes are some of the first I listen to each season. Ingred Michelson had a new Christmas album out. The minis felt the song Merry Christmas, Happy New Year was a must listen. Meanwhile, I'm eagerly awaiting Friday when the newest Lumineers album Brightside is released. 

6.) On a fall trip to Waubonsie State Park in southwest Iowa, I stopped at the cutest roadside apple orchard called Mincer Orchard. They only take cash and we had limited amounts on us, so we got a few varieties of apples to try. I have no idea what variety I ate, but it was by far the best apple I've ever eaten. I can't wait to return to this family run orchard this fall.

7.) I was skeptical about making hot cocoa bombs at first. Though they are extremely time consuming (but obviously I'm making them again for Valentine's Day), they aren't difficult in the least thanks to these trays. I have another set ordered before we make our Valentine's Day batch to hopefully help with the time aspect of it.

8.) Christmas brought new electronics to our household. I'm extremely happy with my brand new hp laptop that doesn't have to be plugged in at all times. The minis are thrilled with their new Acer Chromebook. They love the touchscreen feature because they seem to forget their laptop screen isn't touchscreen.

9.) Daycare received many new toys for the holidays (check out what daycare received here). One of everyone's favorite is the giant rock a stack. Thinking this would be a great toys for the babies and one year olds at daycare, it's mostly played with by the toddler and preschool crowd. They tend to get creative with the rings, using them as bracelets, anklets, necklaces, and occasionally (when I can't stop it in time) throwing devices.

10.) I love the ease of delivery services. I also love a good deal. The best deal I found for dog food is through Petco. Buy seven bags, receive the eighth bag free, as well as free repeat delivery right to my door every six weeks. 

11.) Nearly nothing beats a cuddly baby. Nothing beats a cuddy baby with soft clothes. Zyte baby makes incredibly soft and easy to clean infant and toddler clothing. Stock up because orders of $85 or more get free shipping.

12.) As it's title suggests, this really is the best sugar cookie recipe ever. We've now made numerous batches of sugar cookies with this recipe and it will forever be my go to. 

13.) Sensory toys such as pop its have become popular in the last few years. The new pop puzzle was a last minute buy and probably everyone's favorite. From the oldest to the kindergarteners who attempted to solve it, it's been the most played with amongst the school age kids at daycare.

14.) Everyone knows some of the best sales happen the day after Christmas. That's how we have accumulated a (slightly un-) healthy amount of holiday decorations. This year we were after these giant Christmas lights. I'm happy to report that we now have enough to put on our house three times over next year.

15.) We're back to spending our winter in our house and with that comes puzzles. We have plenty to keep us busy, but one of my favorite is this vintage newspaper puzzle

16.) Wi-Fi Connect was a lifesaver for our big fall trip. The minis were able to do schoolwork easily during our driving days. Admittedly, we had a free trial offer to use, but I will definitely be looking into it again for our upcoming road trips.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

New Year's Weekend

 

New Year's Weekend was actually cousins weekend. We kept things casual for NYE and New Year's Day. NYE Day we watched movies at home and then played games with cousins (who were in town) until midnight. New Year's Day we slept in, made food, and then went sledding with cousins. 

The kids had sparkling rose and the adults had champagne. Everyone got a cheers and a kiss at midnight.

It may have been below zero for sledding, but that didn't let it stop us! Actually it did stop me for a bit because my glasses iced over and I had to walk back home to put my contacts in. Luckily we were sledding on the hills at the school at the top of our street, so it's not like it was a huge deal. Of course, by the time I got back to the sledding fun, kids were ready to come back to my house, so basically, I just spent the time walking back and forth from the sledding hill to our house. 


We gave them a surprise NY Day. We had them convinced we bought them Lego sets, which we did, but they were little sets that were on clearance at Target. Sometimes, in the throes of parenting, you just have to mess with them a little bit to give yourself a laugh. No one cried, so I don't foresee this one being talked about in a therapist's office.