Back in the saddle again... I took a much-needed and appreciated break in November, so come the end of December I needed to get back to work. 2022 was good to me work-wise - here's hoping 2023 is as rewarding!
I carried two books around with me all month - one in my car and one when we traveled - and I didn't open either one. As I usually do around January 1st, I've vowed to read more in the coming year.
We watched LOTS of the World Cup, including the final (which was undoubtedly one of the greatest football games of all time). It's always kind of sad when an event of this magnitude comes to an end, but the end of the men's World Cup was a little easier to swallow because the women's World Cup starts in just a few short months.
We watched quite a few Christmas movies this December - old favorites like Home Alone and Home Along 2, Elf, and The Grinch, as well as new hits and misses. We all loved Spirited with Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds, and Hallie and I liked both Single All the Way and The Noel Diary.
We didn't a chance to watch the new Santa Clauses series, The Hip Hop Nutcracker, Scrooge: A Christmas Carol (the new Netflix version), and A Nutcracker Christmas, so those are on our list for next holiday season (or July, when we're hot and tired of summer).
Post-Christmas, Hallie and I have been enjoying Girl Meets World (we finished Boy Meets World, and I highly recommend watching this series first because doing so makes it SO much more fun to watch the adult versions of the main characters and when guest stars show up) and I watched The Good Nurse. I'm still not quite sure what to make of this movie...I didn't realize it was based on a true story, and I'm hoping to understand it a bit better after I watch the documentary about the crimes.
I'll tell you what I wasn't listening to...a new season of It's A Wonderful Lie. I was SO disappointed that they didn't release a new season, and I'm desperately hoping the creators/hosts bring back this podcast next year. And I've messaged them to tell them that. 😉 (If you listened to this podcast previously, will you also message and ask them to bring it back? Please?)
(See Trying/Using below.)
My sister bought me P. J. Salvage pajama pants for Christmas. She wasn't sure what size to buy, so she picked two different designs/styles in two different styles and let me choose. I liked them so much that I kept both and Venmo-ed her for the second pair. (This is the first pair - I can't find the second pair but they were similar except for not having bands at the bottom of the legs.)
I bought these snow pants for Hallie and we both really like them. If you're looking for an affordable pair for skiing or just playing outside in the snow, these have the "Erin's seal of approval" for winter wear. (I bought this pair for Tom, Will, and my dad, and while I like them, I don't like them as much as Hallie's pair.)
I bought these mittens (large for Tom and Will, medium for me and Hallie) for all four of us, and found them to be a very solid option given the relatively low price. Bonus: they have a pocket for hand warmers!
A fun way to see the snow pants and mittens.
I picked up these boots at Von Maur (on clearance, so not for the price they're listed for at this link) and they're both cute and comfortable. I've also learned, since purchasing them and while finding a link for this post, that they're also water resistant - a great feature for our winter here in Texas.
I recently discovered Feltley, a small, local business specializing in handmade felt garlands, balls, and jewelry. I picked up a couple of her garlands - a Halloween one as well as a gingerbread one for the Christmas season - at a holiday market right after Thanksgiving, and now I'm going to need garlands for all holidays and seasons. (If you'd like to browse Feltley's designs, you can find them online here and/or follow them on Instagram at @feltley.official.)
A while back, two of my friends - Jenn and Carla - started taking pottery classes. Since embarking on this artistic journey, both have become incredibly good and Carla has started her own business: Salamander Hands Pottery. (You can find them online here and/or on Instagram at @salamanderhandspottery.) I ordered these two mugs - one for me and one for my MIL - from Carla for Christmas, and they're absolutely gorgeous.
Jenn made me these beautiful pieces for me for Christmas - they're perfect.
In need of a compact, cordless vacuum and don't want to spend $500 on a Dyson? So far I've really liked this Shark Navigator.
Last but not least, in preparation for Will's high school soccer season, Tom and I are now the proud owners of these stadium seats. We've used them once and they were quite comfortable, and we're hoping that they'll help us keep our butts warm once the temperature drops and we have to sit on cold metal while we watch games. (For club soccer games we sit in lawn chairs, but for high school soccer games we sit in stadium stands.)
My sister made this Zuppa Toscana recipe on Christmas and it might be my new favorite soup. We made a couple of slight adaptations, but she's made the soup multiple times and said they didn't affect the taste. (We cooked the sausage and onion ahead of time, as we were making a big batch for a number of different recipes. We used precooked bacon, chopping it up right out of the refrigerator and then letting it cook to a little crispier in the pan. Finally, we left out the fennel because my mom didn't have any on hand.) I'm going to experiment with the recipe a bit this winter, trying to cook the meat ahead of time but then the potatoes in the crockpot. I'll report back on whether or not this is successful!
Feeling Good About
- I love quirky talents like this guy's.
- This guy suddenly and unexpectedly became a cat/kitten dad and it changed his life in the best possible way.
- This little boy and this little boy, both of whom are going to be the best big brothers.
Cheers to the end of 2022...on to 2023!