Favorites of 2016

It's that time of the year when we reflect on all that the year has brought. Okay, so I might be a week or so late but bear with me, I'm doing what I can.

Hopefully for you, like me, it's mostly good. I think it's nearly impossible to have a year where nothing goes wrong or when you experience pain. If you've had that - kudos! But personally, I'm okay with a few down moments. Those are the moments that challenge and inspire me to reach for the good and choose joy anyway. 

But this list? This is my list of the favorite moments, items, and what-have-yous from 2016. These are the things that made 2016 what it was. Hopefully I don't get all sappy on you. 

And just a heads up: There may be some affiliate links sprinkled in here. Affiliate links don't change your price at all, they only provide me a few pennies from each purchase to keep going. So thanks for using them! You can read the whole disclosure policy here

1. Starting this blog!
I officially launched in February and have been so humbled by the amount of love you have all shown me. Thanks for your comments, encouragement, and readership. I'd love to get to know you all more. I'm still getting the hang of things but I'm really enjoying the chance to share my heart and passions with all of you. 

2. Sweaty Bands
These little babies have made me so happy! My hair was driving me nuts during workouts and these have no trouble keeping all my little wisps of hair out of my face. Plus they are so incredibly cute! I wear them all the time, even when not working out, and get compliments on them constantly. Micah got me two more for Christmas and I love them!

3. Fun hair
I decided to fully embrace my silly personality this year and let my wild side show. I have had multi colored hair, sunset hair, galaxy hair, and I can't even count how many other styles. I've picked out my next combo so now I just need to set up a date to get it done. 

4. Sewing
I brought out my sewing machine more this year than I have in the last couple years combined! I made four car seat ponchos plus a new cover for my boppy. I had forgotten how much I love sewing! I told Micah I want to try and snag some really cute fabric this year to make pj pants (and maybe a nightgown) for Christmas pjs next year. If I give myself all year to do it then maybe I can get it done! Right?

5. Painting
I had never considered myself a painting person before, that was all my sister, but I decided to give it a try this year and discovered I really enjoy it! I've got nothing compared to most artists but I enjoy the outlet it gives me and that I pushed myself to try something new. 

6. Contigo Coffee Mug
Micah got me this mug for Christmas last year and it has become my favorite travel mug this year. I don't even bother with the others. It keeps my coffee warm, even on bitterly cold days, and with the locking feature I don't need to worry about spilling when I knock it over. If you drink anything hot while on the go you really need this mug. 

7. Cast Iron skillets
We've cooked with cast iron for several years but this year we expanded our collection a bit and really do a lot of our cooking with them now. I think one of my favorite foods to make with the pans is pizza! I love how crispy the outside of the crust gets while the inside is still chewy. The key is to keep the pan in the oven while it preheats so it's nice and warm when you put in the crust. It will start to bake while you add your toppings and finish perfectly. Yum!

8. Embracing adventure
Life with five young kids often means chaos and running in every direction. This year I decided to be a little braver and take them places! I set a goal of taking all five out BY MYSELF once a week during June and we had a blast. And I learned that it isn't as crazy as I had built up in my head. They are good kids, they know how to listen... usually ;)

9. Loving my Actual Life
I'm not sure how many more times I can praise this book before y'all get sick of me! This book really came at the right time because it helped me understand what God was telling me: Love the life you have - not the future life you think will happen or the ideal life you dream of, but the real life around you - and it has changed the way I view everything. This is the life God has blessed me with and it is AMAZING, even with all its crazy, loud, frustrating, and goofy moments. 

10. Prismacolor Coloring Pencils

Micah got me the 72-count set of these for Christmas and I'm in love! I had a few singles back from Micah's architecture days and they are so smooth and clean for fine drawings. Now that I have a full set I am coloring as much as I can squeeze in. It's usually after the kids are in bed, the dishes are done, and any writing I need to do is done all before Micah gets home from work... so it's only happened a couple times since Christmas. But I can't wait to spend even more time learning how to blend and shade to create amazing pictures. 

11. Working out

After spending the first year and a half of the twins' lives focused on everything else my fitness life took a back seat. In 2016 I finally prioritized exercise again and made it through P90X. I learned loads about myself and loved how strong I felt when I finished. Now I just need to get my shoulder healed back up so I can get back to more intense workouts rather than the lighter ones I've been doing. 

12. This Is Us

Are you watching this show? It's fantastic. We decided to check it out after it had been on for several weeks but thankfully we were able to catch up on it from the beginning. I'm itching to watch last night's new episode! We've laughed, we've cried (seriously!) and we've fallen in love with the characters. 

13. Mega cookie pans

It's another Christmas gift but they quickly jumped to the top of my kitchen list. These Wilton Mega Cookie Pans are incredible. I have yet to have anything stick to them, even burnt sugar (don't ask). Seriously though, the sugar wiped right off without any scraping or effort whatsoever. AMAZING! Plus they are HUGE which means I can fit loads of buns, cookies, fries, or nachos on one pan. They fit perfectly in my oven, too. I'm pretty sure no other pan I own can compare to these. 

14. Salad Spinner

We splurged on a salad spinner this year - and by splurged I mean we snagged it from Kohl's with a 30% discount and birthday Kohl's cash for about $10 - and it has totally changed how often we eat salad. I never realized how much of a difference water on lettuce leaves makes! The dressing sticks to the lettuce better and the leftover lettuce lasts longer! We can cut up lettuce and eat it for several days without leaves turning brown. We've also used the spinner to get extra moisture out of homemade hashbrowns

15. MOPS

I don't know how I would have survived motherhood so far without finding an fantastic support group. I have made amazing friends and gained such confidence as a mom, wife, and woman. We've laughed together, cried together, and done life together. I'm so thankful for the moms that continued to invite me so many years ago and that I finally took that brave step back in 2010 to attend my first meeting. 

16. Choosing Joy

This is the absolute best part to come out of 2016. Yes, there are still times when I've got a bad attitude and yes, there are times when I want to hide from life, but overall? I have learned that there is always, always, always something good happening. It could be something small such as the silly laugh of your child or a hot cup of coffee. Taking photos and making notes of the little wonders as they happen is an excellent way to focus if you are struggling on choosing joy. And stop by every Monday where I share my favorite moments from the previous week! 

 

I'm linking this up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday.

 

What were your favorite moments, products, and memories of 2016? Did you learn anything about yourself during the year? Did you find a can't-live-without-it item?