2022 has been a big year for our family! We have had some pretty exciting things happen and I thought it would be fun to walk you through all the highlights of 2022 and what we have planned for 2023!

Bentley got an amazing job!

At the end of 2021, we were advised right before Christmas that the company Bentley was working for was downsizing and as Bentley was the last one hired, he was the first to go. This was particularly devastating for us because Bentley had given up another long term good job to accept this job. It also is not the type of news you want to receive heading into the Christmas season.

Thankfully by March, Bentley had found an even better job and this time with a fantastic group of people. He is building a 20 unit townhouse complex (The Nest at Findlay) and is really enjoying being back in commercial construction!

The Nest on Findlay Kelowna

We finished the pool

This job was gruelling, from start to finish. We only took on this huge project with the idea that each one of us would help. We spent every evening and weekend working on the pool. Unfortunately, just before we were to start the tiling process, I received deep 2nd and 3rd degree burns from a hot water bottle that burst in my lap. I was bed ridden for almost two months while the burns healed.

So that meant we were one man short. It was very hard on me to watch Bentley and the kids working so hard on the pool. Thankfully, we got it done by the beginning of July and really got to enjoy the pool through the summer and deep into the fall.

Infinity edge pool at Sweet Valley Acres overlooking a lake

I finally started pursuing my dreams

In July of this year, I had the opportunity to travel to Atlanta, Georgia to attend a bloggers’ conference where I learned so much. I also got to connect with the wonderful friends I made through social media and various bloggers’ group – I really owe everything I am doing in the blogging world to these wonderful women and KariAnne of Thistlewood Farms.

Haven conference & blogging friends
Starting at top left clockwise: Me, Wendy, Missy, Susan & Regina (Erin hadn’t arrived yet)

Below is one of our dinner’s out with our delightful waiter, Niko from Bistro Niko. I would have to say the meal I had there was the best I have ever had!

Dinner with my blogging friends at Haven
The Tribe from top and then left to right: Niko, Susan, me, Regina, Missy, Erin (missing Wendy)

The most exciting part of this trip was that I got to meet with a Senior Literary Acquisitions Editor from a US publisher to talk to her about the books I was writing and planned to write. The meeting could not have gone better! She directed me to focus my attention on a book I was writing for 8 to 12 year olds, but also to keep writing the books for the younger ages and to start working on some home and garden books. I was extremely thrilled!

Did I mention that the hotel I stayed in was gorgeous? This is a two story waterfall/garden on the hotel grounds (Grand Hyatt Buckland). The whole trip was wonderful!

Hyatt Atlanta Waterf eature

A long overdue road trip

My son, Noah and I always like to do a little 2 day road trip down to the US but with all the covid problems and prior to that he had been in school, we hadn’t been able to do that trip for many years.

We finally got to go this fall and did we ever have fun! Noah and I love the simplest things in life, like fields that go on forever, big skies, sand dunes, tiny towns, and sketchy second hand stores. We love the unexpected.

On this trip, we visited Spokane and loved the big waterfalls that run through the city. For the very first time, we got to try Chick-fil-A and was that ever delicious. We also got to shop at Hobby Lobby and that was amazing. I picked up a lot of home and Christmas decor. The trip was a complete success!

Noah hit it big on YouTube

As I have shared, Noah is and always has been very much a tech genius! We run to him with every tech related problem we have and he patiently helps us but also explains very well so that we can fix it the next time.

Noah is educated as a web developer but has also decided to pursue his dreams. First, he started with streaming and then moved on to producing videos of how to 3D model on his computer and then print them on his 3D printer.

When he switched over to YouTube, he started with the mask of the hit show “Squid Game” and quickly had over 800,000 views and almost 5000 subscribers! That is unheard of for a first video. He is known as Purple Toaster on YouTube and here is a link to his channel.

Purple Toaster's 3d print of the Squid Game mask

Jenna achieved three major milestones

First, she wrote her final exams to obtain her Architect’s license. After 7 years of schooling and 2 years of work experience, she was eligible to write. She will find out her results in February, 2023.

Secondly, due to covid her graduation from the Masters of Architecture program had been delayed. This November, they finally had a make up grad and we were so excited to see her walk across the stage and receive her Masters Degree.

Finally, her boyfriend planned an elaborate day for her which she thought was a belated birthday present, but in fact it all led up to an engagement proposal. A helicopter, a huge exclusive winery that is under construction and a secret photographer were all involved to make this day memorable. And guess what? I didn’t blow it! She had no clue what was happening so that made it even more special.

Jenna and Scott's engagement proposal

Looking back on the blog

I thought it would be fun to share with you, my top 5 most viewed posts of 2022.

No. 5 most viewed – Hampton Style Home Tour

Beach house exterior shows a shingle style hope with a covered deck, look out, and white trellises

This post was all about what inspired the design of our house along with a home tour. Click here for the post.

No. 4 most viewed – A Front Door Wreath Alternative for Spring

A green and purple plaid painted wooden purse is stuffed with creamy colored roses and pink delicate flowers. A strap of purple daisies is used to hang the wreath alternative.

I created this wreath alternative from a little wooden box I found at Walmart. Click here for the post.

No. 3 most viewed – Winter Tree Decorating

Winter tree decorated with dried fruit, acorns, pinecones, acorns and wooden stars

This is a more recent post so you may remember it. This was all about creating a winter tree and making almost all of the decorations. Click here for the post.

No. 2 most viewed – A Fun & Easy Bunny DIY

Easy Easter Bunny DIY

I am so surprised that this post made it into the #2 position but it sure was cute and so easy to make. Click here for the post.

No. 1 most viewed – Romancing a Vintage Window

Vintage window decorated for Valentines

Personally, I love this post. It was so much fun to make and can be changed up very easily. It even has a love letter from Johnny Cash! Click here for the post.

Here is what I have planned for 2023!

Writing and illustrating the book!

The other thing I love to do is to paint and I am so excited that I will be illustrating the book I am writing! It is colorful and magical!

Wedding preparations

Jenna and I will be attending wedding conferences, picking flowers and designing the whole garden area. Did I mention they are going to get married at Sweet Valley Acres – up at the very top where the lakeviews are even bigger than they are at the house.

I have ordered so many seeds and this year will be our experimental year. They will not be getting married until July, 2024 as caterers, photographers, etc., were already booked for 2023.

I will be taking all of you along for all the wedding planning and am so excited to get going but here are a few highlights from Jenna’s idea boards.

Wedding aisle
Wedding tables

More landscaping

While we finished the pool, we did not get to the side yard so this spring, we will be diving right into that. I have so many beautiful plans for this terraced area and of course, will take you along for every step of it.

Finishing off the games room

Some part of our home are still not finished but hopefully this is the year that we get it all done. First off there is a games room and bathroom in the basement. We have all the materials and cannot wait to get started.

Virtual Book Club

This is one of my most exciting new adventures! I have joined with three amazing bloggers for a Virtual Book Club where we will read and examine a book and then bring it to life on the fourth Thursday of the month in the form of home decor. Then on the following Saturday, we will share a recipe, beverage or some food related item from the book. I think this is going to be so fun. We have already chatted about what each of us is doing and it is all so different. I think all of you are going to enjoy seeing our different perspectives and perhaps we will inspire you to read the book!

Be sure to check each of the ladies out by clicking the link in the photo caption below.

Virtual book club bloggers
From left to right: Lynn from Living Large in a Small House, me, Erin from Erin Evolving and Cindy from Reinvented Delaware

First up for January is Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express”. It is set in the 1930’s on the luxurious Orient Express train which traveled between London and Venice and further on to Istanbul. The train is caught in heavy snowfall and cannot carry on. During the night, one of the passengers is murdered. The book then follows a private detective, Hercule Poirot as he tries to determine who the murderer is.

It has been such a treat to research the decor and menu of this elegant train. The timeless glamour of art deco is breathtaking. I am looking forward to sharing my interpretation and that of my fellow bloggers.

A big thank you to all of you!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! When I look at my open and click rate, I am thrilled. I would not keep doing this if it wasn’t for all of you who continue to open my emails and look at the blog. I am truly grateful for each one of you!

Going forward, I have a request

As this blog is truly for all of you, I would love it if you would comment below or message me on what you would like to see me cover – any projects, our lives, the area we live in…you name it, I will do my best to do a blog about it.

My wish for you

I sincerely hope that each one of you has the opportunity to follow a dream in 2023 – something that makes you excited to get up in the morning for.

I also hope that you each are surrounded in love, have excellent health and are prosperous in every area of your life.

What do you think?

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  • Bentley
    December 29, 2022

    Bravo! Well done. Love the stories and pictures. Wow you have a lot going on. I pray you will have a prosperous 2023

    • Crystal
      December 29, 2022

      Thanks honey! Everything I accomplished was due to you and the kids!

  • Gretchen
    December 29, 2022

    Crystal, I am continuously amazed by your many talents. Real estate, photography, decor, styling, writing,, gardening. The list goes on and on. I really enjoyed this end-of-the-year blog post. I look forward to learning more about your book club/re-creation as well as Jennas wedding plans!
    And as always I love seeing and learning more about your beautiful home and gardening!

    • Crystal
      December 29, 2022

      Thank you so much Gretchen! You are absolutely the kindest most wonderful woman out there. I am so thankful we met and I love seeing your beautiful ocean views, the boats that get stuck, your flowers and beautiful photography and your rock star husband! Most of all I love getting messages from you. Wishing you the very, very best in 2023!

  • Sue at Blu
    December 30, 2022

    What a wonderful year! Haven is always a highlight for me. You’ve got some exciting plans for this new year. Reading is on my list somI am excited about your group!

    • Crystal
      January 4, 2023

      Thanks so much Sue! We will be looking for guests each month so keep that in mind if you would like to join in!

  • Kim Hume
    December 30, 2022

    What a wonderful post, Crystal! You have so many exciting things to look forward to in 2023! I look forward to seeing all that’s in store – and getting to know you better as we learn and grow alongside each other!

    • Crystal
      January 4, 2023

      Thanks Kim! I do too! 2023 here we come!

  • Diane
    December 30, 2022

    What an amazing year you had Crystal — all fabulous with the exception of a small but painful explosion — YIKES!

    And 2023 sounds even more amazing. I LOVE your book club group. You couldn’t ask for better partners and such a fun idea! I can’t wait to follow along.

    • Crystal
      January 4, 2023

      Thanks so much Diane! I am so honoured to be part of such a fantastic group of ladies!

  • Susan
    December 30, 2022

    I enjoyed seeing a snapshot of your year! I also liked hearing about your Haven experience. I’m going this summer and am really excited about it.

    • Crystal
      January 4, 2023

      I sure hope I can go to!

  • Wendy McMonigle
    January 7, 2023

    Such an eventful year you had, Crystal. I especially love the pool and the fact that we met in person. I look forward to seeing us all continue to grow this year.