Man, after taking a blogging break over the holidays, writing up a Year in Review post like this sure makes up for it. I swear it took me forever. There are many perks to keeping an online journal of some of our daily adventures, and one of my favorites is that it becomes a wonderful diary of things we have done, places we’ve visited, food we’ve loved, and the many memories we’ve created along the way. Because without it, we definitely would have forgotten some of what 2013 was.
2013 was a pretty awesome year. The below are just some highlights I pulled from 300+ posts, but there were a million and one things that I didn’t mention below or that I didn’t even blog about. Big things, little things, important things, nonsensical things. We laughed. We cried. We laughed till we cried. We had quiet times and loud crazy times, and our first real vacation in four years. We took a few road trips, and I met up with one of my favorite bloggers in Florida. Milestones and silliness were shared, and we relished in family and friends. We made new friendships, and strengthened old ones. We entertained large parties, small parties, and parties of just the three of us. We dove head first into animal rescue, and fostered, transported, and worked adoption events like it was our job. We helped save animals, and gave away pieces of our heart.
With a brand new year ahead of us, and a ridiculously clean slate in the offing, I hope for much more of the same. We focused on little things that were big things, and that has made all the difference. Like our holiday break. I hoarded vacation days like it was my job, so I could take off for most of the kids’ break from school. And we had no plans. Sure we had little adventures during our ten days together, but it was also filled with no schedule, no alarm, no commitments, just being together. And it was awesome.
This year, I plan to continue to simplify, continue to focus, and spend most of my time with laughter and love. Cheers to 2014.
And now a few highlights from 2013…
The start of the year brought about one of our favorite go-to recipes for giant chocolate chip cookies, a visit to meet Jack Hanna, a delicious black-eyed pea recipe (and that’s saying alot), and lessons from the heart on parenting with purpose.
I read Donald Miller’s book (among 30 others) and loved the underlying theme of saying yes more, fell in love with this super simple, super delicious Lemon Garlic Flounder recipe, visited a new-to-us children’s museum in Paramus, celebrated Madeline turning five with a birthday party at an animal shelter, discovered a new frozen yogurt place in Morristown, had some delicious Baked Chicken Buffalo Bites, enjoyed Valentine’s Day, created a scrumptious recipe for Bleu Cheese Stuffed Crust Buffalo Chicken Pizza, and went to our first Monster Truck show.
We celebrated Easter and my youngest niece’s baptism, checked out a new kebab restaurant, made string art at a Girls Night In, celebrated Nick’s D.A.R.E. graduation, had the best chocolate pudding ever, tried Millie’s Old World Pizza & Meatballs (oh how I miss carbs!), had more lessons from the heart, fell in love with a new sushi restaurant and a new recipe for healthy and delicious Thai Turkey Burgers, and we kicked off Spring Break.
We made cereal necklaces (perfect for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day holiday!), recapped our visit to the Atlantis Aquarium in the Bahamas, read a book by Brandi Glanville (of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fame), enjoyed a delicious recipe for Turkey Salsa Salad, talked about some of my favorite photo apps, visited a 9/11 Memorial Park, and shared our visit to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
I surprised the kids with a weekend trip to DisneyWorld and I reviewed our visit to Disney’s Kona Cafe and SeaWorld, enjoyed delicious Zucchini Pasta, saw Nick really come into his own, did a 5K for MS, made Gwyneth Paltrow’s Turkey Meatballs, snuck mushrooms into my kids’ bellies, celebrated Mother’s Day and family time, enjoyed Stuffed Zucchini, had first kiss discussions, created a recipe for the folks at Foods from Chile, and recapped our Spring Break cruise.
Madeline graduated pre-school and Nick graduated fifth grade, we visited the World’s Largest Frying Pan, a 34 foot tall statue of Mary, and the Baltimore Zoo (where we fed giraffes, rode elephants, and brushed goats), devoured Portobello Cap Pizzas (ok, well I did), found new ways to enjoy asparagus (yep, just me again), talked about hitting the pause button, and reviewed one of my favorite books from 2013.
I celebrated 43, found a new Buffalo Chicken recipe that we loved, watched Nick get through a week of the Junior Police Academy, made a simple craft with the kids, devoured S’mores Nutella Pizza and Seared Scallops, did the Color Me Rad 5K, checked out a new fun froyo place and a new burger joint, got addicted to Mock Shrimp Risotto, checked out the world’s largest tooth and the tallest Buddha, got some circus lessons and horseback riding pointers, had our Rainbow Cake party and Fourth of July festivities.
We shared about our snowball experience in Baltimore, recapped our Ripley’s visit, and discovered Cauliflower Pizza Crust. I took the kids to their first air show and Madeline shows me she knows what’s what. We had some Greek Turkey Burgers, tried a new recipe from a new cookbook, checked out a new burger place, made marinated olives, celebrated Nick’s 11th birthday, and my weight loss (which is now up to 53 pounds!).
We made an epic pancake cake, enjoyed a quiet and perfect beach day, and celebrated my Dad’s birthday with an awesome two layer fudgy cake. We checked out a train exhibit, created a healthy recipe broccomole, and visited the Stickley Museum. We went to Dorney Park and the Lost River Caverns, started the school year in new schools, visited a fish hatchery and, unfortunately said goodbye to our dog, Rosie.
We celebrated Halloween (and thankfully without a snowstorm or hurricane), had fun boo’ing our friends, enjoyed chocolate covered Oreos, Cinnamon Crescent Rolls, and our new favorite Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies. I got my first tattoo (blog post coming one of these days), we survived a corn maze and recapped a new-to-us farm visit.
We celebrated Thanksgiving, cooked with Captain Morgan rum, ate comfort food via mashed potato patties, talked about the Tooth Fairy, attended a Bacon Festival, and made Bacon Crackers as part of an All Things Bacon party.
Christmas, of course, more baking with Captain Morgan, our third Annual Thanksgiving Bloggers Feast, and the most delicious Baked Buffalo Chicken Salad that ever was. We visited Santa, discovered a new favorite recipe for bacon, a new favorite way to serve broccoli, and new ways to enjoy melted Brie.