Christmas 2014

Christmas has come again! One fun tradition we started a few years ago was Christmas Eve church with my two best friends and their families. None of us ever had big Christmas Eve plans, everything was Christmas Day, so we started going to church together. It’s turned into an annual tradition. Liv and I getting ready to go…


The three of us typically have a nice dinner at home after church and the tradition has been crab legs the past few years.  YUM!  After that we usually watch a Christmas movie and hit the hay so Santa can come.  Which is of course when the real work begins!  I do think we have the pets all set!


Bill and I open our gifts on Christmas Eve, another tradition we started after having Olivia. Her gifts are the only ones under the tree on Christmas Day so this is the nice, tidy calm before the storm!  The weeks of shopping and wrapping are complete.


Good morning!  Time to open presents!


I will spare you the million pictures I took of present opening and just share a couple!



Molly REALLY wanted her presents!


After the fun at our house it was time to head to Pani’s house for the day!  Whose gonna clean this up?!


Oh look, more presents!  :)


Grandma and her girls!


My mom started a tradition several years ago of family gifts.  The Galganskis and the Denhofs always get some sort of fun family gift.  Years past have been things like gym memberships, an RV rental and camping trip, Cedar Point Trip, a weekend in Detroit and Tigers game.  Always awesome stuff we can do as a family.  Sometimes there are clues involved as we try and guess.  Here we are trying to figure out what this gift is all about!


Hmmmm, we still aren’t sure!


We put the clues together and figured it out!  A trip to Mackinaw Island complete with dining and bike rentals!  Boy, do I have a pretty awesome mom!  ♥


Some more present opening with Meg and her new headband!


And Suzie-Q got the Thal’s box this year.  A box that has been passed around for YEARS!  The receiver has to give a gift in the box the next year!


Mom and Craig taking a festive picture in their Santa hats.  We were lucky to have Craig join our celebration this year since he is usually out of town.


Just a Molly & me selfie.  She was a good girl at grandma’s house!


Last but not least, the ladies in our matching hats!


I do have a couple more pictures and these are from the Denhof Christmas.  We were the hosts this year.  Hear are the little kids getting their gifts.  We separated them from the teens this year and did a fun game with the older kids.  Wish I’d taken a picture of that!  It was pretty funny!


And then after everyone left, Olivia got to open her presents from Aunt Anne. ♥


Another fun and blessed Christmas with family.  What could be better than that?

December 2014 – A Month in Review

Just a quick overview of this month excluding Christmas because it’s a post in itself!  The first fun thing to happen this month was Olivia bringing home the class ”pet”!  Thankfully it’s not alive.  It’s a little plastic monster named Spike.  And he had to do everything with us all weekend!


I got the upstairs tree up pretty quick this year!


Just a random picture of Molly begging.  Pretty much a constant around here.


Olivia’s class did a holiday play this year.  A Wish to be a Christmas Tree.  It was adorable!


Another random pet photo (Frankster).  I think I took a lot of random photos this month due to getting a new phone.  Testing out the camera!


So the way Christmas fell this year, Olivia had several days off before Christmas and it was great.  We had a lot of time to do fun things that we otherwise couldn’t fit in!  We watched a lot of Christmas movies together!


We took a long trip out in the middle of nowhere to see the house with 100 inflatables!  It was actually pretty cool to see!


We also had time to make lots of cookies!


I did a lot of wrapping of course.  I hope everyone thinks my gift tags are as cool as I do!


Having Liv home also means messes that appear out of nowhere.  Like this one shortly after she promised to keep her room clean….


This year Molly decided to give a gift to our mail lady since she has treated Molly so good this year!


One last thing we had time to do right before Christmas was make a gingerbread house!  It was pretty fun and I was surprised how cute it turned out!


One last picture……Molly enjoying sleeping with her new friends!


Now on to Christmas…….

Olivia’s Birthday Trip to Chicago!

We had to postpone Olivia’s birthday trip until Bill felt better but that was OK, it gave us something to look forward to!  It was our first time taking the train to Chicago and now that we have done it I don’t think I’d go any other way.  Olivia was mesmerized for quite a while just watching out the window.


This guy did a lot of snoozing…..


Train selfie :)


Liv loved our view from the hotel.


First thing we did was get some lunch and Rainforest Cafe was the birthday girl’s pick!


Then the rest of the afternoon was spent shopping on Michigan Avenue with the highlight of course being the American Girl Store!


A picture with our new friend back at the hotel.


The view at night was so pretty but the fog cut off the tops of all the tall buildings.  The most shocking thing was when it started getting dark around 3:30-4.  I’ve never been in Chicago this time of year before so I never thought about just how early it gets dark in the early days of Winter.


We spent our second day at the Museum of Science and Industry.  What a cool place. I hadn’t been there since I was in middle school.  And it just so happened they had a Disney exhibit while we were there.  It could not be more perfect for us!


Our favorite Disney ride…..well one of them anyway!


They had a lot of very cool original costumes from Disney movies.  Our favorites were Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean and Santa’s costume from The Santa Claus.


Cinderella’s Castle made out of Legos…


Walt and his awards and honors….


Then we hit the rest of the museum and learned all about farming, space exploration and all kinds of cool stuff!




There were so many awesome Christmas trees too!


It was a great weekend and I think Chicago is one of Olivia’s new favorite places!  Happy 9th birthday to my sweet girl!

November 2014 – A Month in Review

We started out this month with a fun birthday celebration at a neighbor’s house.  As we were chatting she came to the realization that I’d never seen her ”shoe wall”.  To say I was curious would be an understatement.  I had to share the photo.  It was as wonderful as I imagined it would be!


My Christmas cactus started blooming this month!  I started calling it a Thanksgiving cactus since it was in full bloom right around then.  Then I stumbled upon this article by a botanical expert only to find out that it actually IS a Thanksgiving cactus and that most Christmas cactuses sold in the United States are technically Thanksgiving cactuses. Just a bit of trivia for you that I found very interesting!


Here is Livy writing me a bit of poetry one night.  She wrote a poem called ”Why You Shouldn’t Watch Honey Boo Boo”.  I could not stop laughing.  She has no idea just how on point she is!


I just had to take a quick picture of this bathroom art I put up in Olivia’s bathroom, it’s so cute!


So there were not too many photos in the middle of this month due to another health crisis at the Denhof house.  We’ve figured out we are just going to have one major one each year as seems to be our trend.  And it seems to alternate between the two of us!  Long story short, after collapsing in an airport it was discovered that Bill had a virus attacking his inner ear causing him to be very ill.  It was two rough weeks and then gradual recovery but he has made it.  During that time, my duties as nurse were complicated by the vast number of prescriptions!!


Just a picture of the pets getting ready to rumble.


It was Olivia’s 9th birthday this month!  We planned a big trip to Chicago and to the American Girl Store only to have to postpone due to Bill’s illness.  I felt so bad to top it off I had the flu on her birthday.  We still made it as fun as we could with a trip to Toys R Us and cake and ice cream with Pani and Craig.  Pani did her usual Zehnder’s cake.  She asked if they could do a Minecraft cake and they said no problem, they’d done plenty.  After picking it up she called me in a panic fearing it was the ugliest cake she’d ever seen!  I assured her that Minecraft is indeed ugly and Olivia would love it……..which she did!

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I love this picture of Olivia sleeping in her hat.  We were under a high wind warning and it was just nuts outside.  She was having trouble falling asleep but apparently this helped her cope!


One thing I find very strange is I have not one picture of Thanksgiving!  Not one!  I am guessing it was because of dealing with Bill and everything but we still had a great Thanksgiving hosted at my house as usual but I have no idea where the camera was!  So I will round out this month with a picture of Liv’s little tree.  We always kick off our holiday decorating with her little pink tree!


October 2014 – A Month in Review

We were able to finally go see our beloved Spartans this month!  Or should I say I was. Bill has of course already gone a couple times.  Anyway, as I was preparing for tailgating I got out my old MSU table that Nana gave to me when I left for college.  I had forgotten all about the note on the back.  She is a funny lady!


Just a random sky shot one night on our way home.  I swear I see the most beautiful sunsets in the fall.  And no, I have no idea why it’s tiny, lol!


This sign came in at work and I could not resist.  It could not be more me.  Hey, at least I know I have a problem!


Shortly into the month the Halloween festivities began.  We were BOOed!  We have a great neighborhood and wonderful neighbors!


And speaking of the wonderful neighborhood, I was coerced into being the chairperson for the neighborhood Halloween Party.  I have been very active in the party planning in years past but have never chaired it and I’m not sure I will again.  Fun?  Yes!  But way more work than I anticipated.  I did have plenty of fun prepping the crafts and treat bags……and sampling a little candy too!

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The party was a big success and the weather actually cleared up just in time.  And Olivia’s costume arrived just in time too!  I didn’t have the time or energy to make it this year but did add some details of course!  A pretty cute little pink pirate I think!!

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The local firetruck was not available to lead our costume parade this year so the local sheriff was nice enough to help out.

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My goofy friend and neighbor, Kristin, had the pleasure of riding with the sheriff and had a little power trip going with that siren and speaker, lol!  And I think the cop is actually attempting a little photo bomb here.  He was pretty funny.


The hayride is always a favorite!


The crafts and games were lots of fun….

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And this is our ”scarecrow tree”.  What is a scarecrow tree you might be wondering?!  Well it is our version of an angel tree.  Our neighborhood adopts a family every year for Christmas like many people do.  We like to start the kickoff every year at the Halloween party since we have a captive audience so it turned into a scarecrow instead of a Christmas tree.

DSC_0112Here is Olivia with her little buddy Jackson from down the street…


The last party picture is of these wonderful teenage girls who so graciously helped me run the crafts and games.  They struck quite a pose for me and it still cracks me up.

DSC_0122I could not resist taking this picture.  This is the first time this has happened in YEARS!!  Especially in our area where gas is notoriously high.  I seriously cannot remember when I have seen it below $3.00 but it has been a long time!  Little did I know that was just the beginning!

I had to share my work of art from Paint and Pour this month.  I finally went with adults and painted one myself instead of hovering over Olivia’s shoulder.  It was so fun!  And when I was finished I thought it was horrible but then when I woke up in the morning I thought it wasn’t so bad.  I’m still not hanging it anywhere, but it could be worse!  I was doing a lot of pouring along with my painting, that’s all I’m gonna say.


Another fun event we had this month was crazy hat night for our bowling league.  Our team made these matching hats.  Pretty funny.


As usual I had to make Olivia a matching treat bag for her costume and finished it just in time.  Perfect for a pink pirate!


And we finally had time to make the festive cupcakes that were in our boo bucket.  So cute!


And as Halloween arrived the weather was even more miserable than last year.  We thought the rain was bad, well this year was snow and wind.  Just lovely.  But the party at school sure was fun!

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And here we are before heading out into the snow.  Liv’s buddy Jackson from down the street stopped over too.  Pani and Craig braved the weather with us as well.  I would say we did 5-10 houses before Olivia asked to go home.  We still had fun but I wasn’t complaining when she asked to go home!


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September 2014 – A Month in Review

Well the back to school season sure came fast and furious this year! I know I keep blaming so many things on the weather this year but it really has had a ridiculous effect. Summer barely got going and bam it’s September. Just crazy. Oh well, maybe Summer will show her face next year!

Prior to school starting, we received a letter from Olivia’s teacher that she was supposed to bring in a recent, close up picture of herself for a project on the first day. As I started going through pictures I was shocked I didn’t really have anything that was decent and close up! I am still shaking my head over that one. It hardly seems possible. So we decided to quickly take some pictures.  Got this cute picture of Olivia that would do the trick.

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Then Liv decided she wanted her pets in the pictures too.  Molly wasn’t really feeling it but she went along with it like she does with most things.


And then there was Frank.  I crack up every time I look at it.  The fact that Olivia is smiling so sweetly makes it even funnier.


And then what do you know, it’s the first day of third grade.  THIRD GRADE PEOPLE!  I can’t take it.

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A few days after the first day of school was the first day of gymnastics.  I think she’s found a new love!


I had to include this picture I took with my cellphone in the Meijer parking lot.  A terrible storm was rolling in and we were racing to get home before it hit.  We didn’t quite make it and it was a little scary.  Not to mention the storm knocked out power for 24 hours prompting us to purchase our very first generator!  You would think it was because we were worried about our fridge or maybe wanted lights and heat.  Ummmm…..nope.  Bill wanted to watch the Michigan State game in the comfort of his own home.  And we did eventually hook up the fridge.  :)


School picture day!


The highlight of our month was our weekend in Detroit.  We spent a day at Greenfield Village.  We then stayed the night at the Henry Hotel and went to the Tiger’s game the next day.  We had a blast.  All three of us fell in love with Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum this summer and couldn’t wait to get back.  I hadn’t been there since I was a kid and Bill had never been there! I can’t believe we never thought to take Olivia before now.  It was fun to see her enjoy it so much.  We are kind of obsessed now and plan to go back for Christmas!  I apologize in advance for the number of pictures but we just love it!

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We loved taking a ride in an old car and saw many cool places along the way….

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Love this.  I agree Mr. Payne.

My favorite little cottage and it’s beautiful gardens….

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So I went nuts for Edison’s Laboratory.  I just loved this place.  I can’t explain it but there was just an amazing feeling in there and I could have stayed forever.  The chair in the foreground is nailed to the floor.  It was the chair Edison sat in when Henry Ford showed him his re-created laboratory.  After Edison left, Ford had it nailed to the floor with instructions it never be moved.


Just a cool windmill.

Some of Bill’s favorite cars…..

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Flying high!

DSC_0074Just hanging out in an old 50’s living room….


On to the Tiger’s game…..


JV.  Liv’s favorite!


Oh yeah, and Santa Claus was there.  Now I know what he does with his time off!


All in all it was a super fun weekend!

I just had to share this picture. We have a sweet friend who recently went on a Disney cruise and brought back a cool pirate bandana for Disney’s biggest fan.  :)


Last but not least is a beautiful sunset.  There have been so many gorgeous sunsets lately and I can’t get enough of them!



Happy Fall Y’all!  :)


August 2014 – A Month in Review

We had the pleasure of starting off this month with a girl’s weekend up north!  Olivia and I along with our neighbor friends Kristin and Avery headed up for a long weekend of fun on the beach!  Olivia and Avery had lots of fun playing in the sand and making up all sorts of games.



We also were lucky enough to have amazing weather that allowed us to go sailing!  I love sailboats but they are so much work.  Thankfully Craig and mom handled most of that!

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The girls thought it was pretty cool!

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The even spent a little time below deck playing cards!


As if on cue Olivia says ”Pani, are you sure you know what you’re doing?”  :)


Then Olivia had a turn at helping steer the boat!


Thanks Pani and Craig for a super fun day!


This is a random picture but I just couldn’t believe she put this on in the middle of August.  I could hardly take it!


Labor Day weekend seemed to come early this year.  The weather forecast was not ideal but that did not stop me from heading up north.  And I’m glad I did because the weather was much better than they predicted!  And we had the best warm water, big wave night of the whole year.  The big waves and warm water are my favorite combo and it really doesn’t happen that often.  Excuse the amount of photos I am going to post of this but we just had so much fun!!!  And as usual were fully clothed.  That seems to have become part of the fun for Olivia!

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Seriously.  So. Much. Fun.

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My last pics this month are of my latest craft project!  I made a driftwood sun to hang over my bed up north.  I really love how it turned out.  Now I just need to make something else for over the other bed.  I brought a bag of wood home to see what I can come up with when I am trapped inside this winter!