Another year, another Year In Review. Can you even believe it? I never can, the end of the year always sneaks up on me. From the time school starts back up until now it’s a whirlwind and before I know it, the holidays are over and it’s the beginning of a new year.
And I wrote 2,386 words to tell you all about it.
While 2017 had it’s fair share of ups and downs — as all years tend to do, overall it was pretty darn good to us. We have our health and each other so really what is there to complain or be ungrateful about? I will however say that it went by even faster than the year before. Like a speeding train, 2017 was definitely by far our busiest year yet. Having young teenagers who play mulitple sports and have social lives that I’m kind of envious of, makes it for a year that goes by in a blur.
Before I get into our personal year in review, let’s talk about SS for a moment. This year I shared 136 new recipes plus I re-made and reshot a bunch of old ones too. Most weeks I shoot anywhere from 3 to 5 recipes and try to blog at least 3 to 4. So even though I’m 9 recipes shy from the prior year, what I did post I’m super proud of. I had a personal goal for 2017 and it was to push myself blog more creative recipes and take bigger risk and honestly, this is my favorite year of food thus far.
Here are a few of my personal favorites.
Spicy Ginger Sesame Chicken Stir-fry
Healthy Kale Caesar Salad (with Tahini Caesar Dressing)
Lemon Rosemary Chicken Noodle Soup
Red Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Mandarin Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
Easy Chicken and Rice Enchiladas
Chicken Shawarma Wraps with Lemon Tahini Yogurt Sauce
Roasted Beet Salad with Avocado, Goat Cheese, Candied Walnuts and Honey Dijon Vinaigrette
North African Spiced Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Harissa
Cantaloupe and Prosciutto Arugula Salad
Grilled Sticky Sweet Chicken Skewers
Grilled Zucchini with Lemon, Garlic and Parmesan
Watermelon Feta Salad with Honey-Candied Pistachios
Sweet Potato Wild Rice Arugula Salad
Salsa Verde Chicken Tortilla Casserole
Goat Cheese Cheese Cake with Tahini Shortbread Crust
Oven Tandoori Chicken with Mint Yogurt
Whipped Blue Cheese Crostini with Pear and Honey
Cider Mill Doughnut Bread Pudding with Butter Rum Sauce
Homemade Three Meat Bolognese Lasagna
Roasted Garlic and Rosemary White Bean Dip
Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-fry
I think we can agree that it’s been a delicious year.
Whenever Pat has both good and bad news, I always ask for the bad news before hearing the good. I’d rather rip off the bandaid so to speak. So I’m ripping off the bandaid on 2017 and hitting you with the not-so-great part of our year.
2017 was the year of everything breaking. You’re thinking I’m exaggerating but I’m not. It started with my Keurig, always exploding the pods, not brewing a full cup and constantly leaving coffee grounds in the bottom of my cup. I replaced it a total of 2 times this year until I gave up on Keurig 👋🏼 and bought this (above) Cuisinart Coffee Bar (affiliate). It’s fairly new but so far I LOVE IT! The water heats up quickly and brews the best tasting cup of coffee I’ve made at home in years. I especially love that I have the option to brew a pot for company or just make a single cup for myself.
Then you might remember me writing about how our well broke. We were out of water for 6 long days, getting the runaround before we found a company who could come out. It was probably the most frustrated I’ve ever been. I couldn’t cook, wash clothes and we had to brush our teeth and wash our hands with bottled water. I’ve never appreciated having running water until this happened.
A few weeks later, towards the end of summer (and of course during a week when the temperature reached 90°) our central air unit blew a fuse in the basement. Pat having a lot of heating and cooling experience, diagnosed the problem and in 2018 we will be buying a new unit. With fall approaching, it was silly to buy a new unit right before winter.
And then in early fall, Pat worked hard moving our washing machine and dryer into a large storage room in our basement. Before our laundry room was up stairs in a closet type pantry inside the kitchen. While this was super convenient, it could be noisy. Since we plan to gut and remodel the kitchen in the next year or so (we shall see) we first needed to move out the washer and dryer. Pat hooked up the electrical, installed the dryer and cut the pipe for water, and then had a friend come over to sweat the pipe so water could flow to the washer. He did so much and it looks amazing!! I don’t even mind going up and down a flight of stairs to wash and dry a load.
BUT not even a week after he did all this work, my washer broke. It wouldn’t finish a load and there would be a ton of water still in the drum. It’s was only 5 years old and after Pat and I took it apart, cleaned it and put it all back together (thinking it was clogged and couldn’t drain), it took a Maytag repair guy to tell us it wouldn’t be worth it to fix. A $900 washer we bought 5 years ago wasn’t worth fixing😳. We couldn’t wrap our minds around it, but a new washer we did buy.
I’m not even kidding, back to back to back things breaking. 💸💸💸 You know that saying, things happen in threes? Believe it.
Now onto the highlights of 2017! My favorite part.
2017 started out with Malloree donating 14 inches of her beautiful hair. After years of having really long hair, Mal decided that she has had enough and wanted to cut it off and donate it. After some help from our friend and hair dresser (Hi Nancy!) Malloree decided she wanted to be sure her hair went towards wig for a child, so Wigs for Kids was it.
I was not expecting it to be so emotional. I have a video of Nancy cutting off Mal’s rubber-banded sections of hair and me trying not to lose it. But of course I did. It was a mixture of knowing at 12-years-old Malloree was being so incredibly generous, crossed with years of loving and knowing her with all that hair and now it was being cut off. Mal shed a few tears too, but after that day we all decided it was a good decision. It made her look a little older and to this day she doesn’t regret it one bit and even said she would do it again.
Malloree also had a great year in softball. In the winter she played indoor travel softball with her team and ended it by being in 1st place. Then spring she played for her middle school team and then immediately went back into summer travel ball. She had games throughout the week and just about every other weekend was a two-day tournament.
I have a couple favorite memories (of many) from this year; the first is when she finally was put in to pitch a game and she killed it – winning the game!! Mal was given the game ball signed by her teammates and coaches. So cool! The second was when she was subbing in on a different travel team within the organization and Mal hit a line drive into left field (close to the third baseline) earning a three run double. I have the video and the cheers in the crowd still give me the chills.
Mal also had a great year playing 8th grade volleyball. Her biggest moment was scoring 9 aces in a row putting us in the lead to win a game against our rival team.
Malloree also turned 13 this October. What-the-what? She wasn’t supposed to get older, I made her promise me when she was six!!
Speaking of getting older. Haileigh is now a 16-year-old and can drive! We spent a lot of hours together in the car over the last 6 months (50+ to be precise) and at first I was terrified, but now I have full confidence in H to drive safely and responsibly. I’m still scared and probably always will be, but she’s such a mature and responsible teenager (a far cry from how I was) and we trust her completely.
Earlier in the year, Haileigh played for her high school softball team, making captain of JV and subbing in on varsity when needed. Haileigh played in the varsity game that the won the metro league title. It was a pretty big deal since it had been 40 years since the the last time our school won that title, back in 1977.
And just when we thought her travel softball years were over, Haileigh is playing one last season of travel softball with her coach from two summers ago, before hanging up her helmet. She made the decision to play (winter and summer) travel this year (2018) instead of high school (spring) softball to focus on her classes/grades. Haileigh’s schedule is pretty intense with AP government, AP language, Honors algebra, Spanish IV, Chemistry and MME prep which gets her ready for the SATs. Her two AP classes count towards college credits so she is determined to end her Junior year earning those. Of course we fully support her, she has played softball since she was 5-years-old and her future is so much more than softball.
In 2018 Haileigh will be college hunting. Just typing those words makes my stomach drop. Haileigh is still deciding if she wants to go away to college or stay and commute from home. As much as it kills me to think of not seeing her everyday and know she’s safe and sleeping under my roof, I think she would benefit from living the college life and going away (actually that’s more Pat than me, but deep down I know he’s right). Of course, this is her choice to make and I’m so excited to tour colleges with her.
Either way, Pat and I couldn’t be anymore proud of our girls. Smart, caring, generous and confident — we feel so lucky to be their parents and couldn’t ask for better daughters.
One of the best purchases I made this year (besides that coffee bar I mentioned) was a MacBook Pro (affiliate). Oh my goodness it’s the best computer I’ve ever owned! Quick story: in October of 2015, when I was in Utah with a bunch of my blogger friends, we were all sitting around a huge dinner table talking shop and everyone (and I mean everyone) had a MacBook but me. My laptop was older but it did the job, well until I shut it with a pen inside and broke the screen, putting a white line right down the middle. I was never so happy to break an electronic in my LIFE.
If I could sum up my year, I would say that I was either at a softball field or on our lake.
Pat and I spent just about every evening we could fishing, it was what we looked forward to every single day. When Pat would get home from work, we would inhale dinner then pack up our poles, tackle box, towels and head out saying ‘sayonara’ to Haileigh and Malloree. We both caught a ton of crappie, me an occasional bass but Pat mainly caught large mouth bass and a few good size pike.
I officially no longer need his help taking the fish off my hook, I’m such a pro😜! But he did show me how to remove the hook if the fish swallows it – not my favorite but I can do it. We never kept any fish, just threw them back in the lake, but it was so much fun and sometimes competitive (but mostly fun).
While Pat was hunting, I took Haileigh and Malloree out to dinner and to see A Christmas Carol at Meadowbrook Theatre. I had gone when I was a teenager and loved it, so I made a girls night of it and got us front row tickets. We were SO CLOSE! It was cool but when the “fog” would roll in, we could taste it which was not-so-fun. In the end, they loved it and we had such a fun night!
The holidays went by in a blur of food and wrapping paper but I cherished it. I’m so extremely lucky for my friends, my family and to work from home and not miss out on any of these precious moments. I don’t take any of it for granted because I know Pat and I are heading into the last years of them living at home before heading off to college. So we plan to make the most of it.
In 2018 my plan is to give this blog a mini update and redesign, making it more user friendly. I want to learn and dabble in video – I think. I’m a little late to start and still a bit reluctant but if I can make just one video, I will call it a success.
With that said, Thank YOU for stopping in day in and day out to read the posts, make recipes and leave comments or send email. I cherish you and the time you take to support my passion, this blog. I hope you all have an amazing 2018 and that it brings you joy, peace, love and laughter.
From my family to yours, Happy New Year!
Want to read my past year in review posts? Here are the last 7 years. 🙂
Be sure to follow me on twitter and instagram!
My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance!
[this post contains affiliate links.]
Buy the Cookbook: Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy Now available on Amazon »
THANK YOU in advance for your support!
Naaaw, happy new year to you, too, Laurie, and thanks for being such an awesome food blogger and an important part of my life! You rock! May all your 2018 goals be achieved!
PS And keep us posted on how you’re liking that coffee bar:)
Thank you so much, E! Happy New Year!!
Happy New Year Laurie and continued success in 2018. Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with us. I enjoy reading your blog every day!
Thank you so much, Julie! Happy New Year!
What a treasure you are leaving for your kids with these year end reviews. Not to mention giving your followers a glimpse into your day to day. I for one somehow missed the Firecracker Chicken! Time to add the ingredients to my shopping list!
Thank you! I only wished I had started sharing the family/personal stories in those early blog years . Enjoy the recipe, it’s one of our favorites!❤️
Wow! It really has been an eventful year for you and your family. Wishing you all the best in the new year, and looking forward to being able to follow along!
Thank you, Jane! Same to you! ❤️
Happy New Year! You were the first food blog I ever followed and will always be my go to! Thank you for the fabulous recipes and stories! Enjoyed your (lighter) chicken enchiladas tonight!! ❤️xoxo
Thank YOU, Jennifer! Happy New Year!
I don’t think I’ve ever commented before but I really wanted to say thank you. I know this is your job, but there aren’t a lot of jobs that are essentially a gift to people and that’s what your blog is: you GIVE AWAY your content every single week. And it’s amazing, reliable, delicious content. Thank you for the work you put in and the gift you give your readers.
Many blessings (and functioning appliances) in 2018!
Aw thank you so much, Katelyn! Happy New Year! ❤️