Goodbye 2018– Hello 2019

Goodbye 2018– Hello 2019


I typically post a yearly recap on the blog on the last day of the year, but this time I decided to try things a little differently. I wanted to share our favorite memories and even some not so memorable things with everyone and share how much Product Review Cafe has grown in just 12 months.


I will start at the beginning:

We rang in 2018 with a few friends and extended family. It was a great time but was the start of our youngest’s first ear infection which we thought was teething at the time. I remember being terrified when he started to become very ill from it and ended up in Urgent Care.

January was off to a rocky start but we were ready to conquer the world.



Typical Valentine’s Day celebration with my favorite boys. My husband surprised me with some of the most beautiful flowers. It is amazing what having something bright and alive in your home does for the spirits, especially in the middle of Winter when it’s cold outside and things seem so dreary and Spring weather feels a million days away.


Our baby turned 1. The party theme was sock monkey and it was great to have everyone together to celebrate a full year of life to our very last baby. We had a light meal and our home was filled with love and laughter.


The mountains of West Virginia called and we took off once again. Traveling with 2 kids and dog was definitely something memorable but we made the best of it and captured some amazing photographs of the boys enjoying one of our favorite places in the world. Mountaineer fever was strong and we were finally able to vacation with both of my parents. Mom had not been on a vacation since I was a teenager and we won’t talk about how long ago that was.

Fast forward to June:

Our oldest turned 5 with a San Fransisco 49ers football theme party. Again bringing our favorite people over to celebrate another year of life for him was amazing. He requested pizza and chicken wings for his party food and I even carved a watermelon into a football helmet. (Thanks Pinterest!!) We had a pull apart cupcake football and this Mama was feeling really creative and the party was a huge hit.


July 4th is always both a fun and sad day for me. We always gathered around my grandma for her birthday on the 4th and had a cook out or brought over food for her to enjoy. I make it a point now to just stay at home for the most part and enjoy our little family. This year I kept things pretty simple and we used our outdoor cook top and made foods. Of course there was watermelon and there is nothing more sweet than seeing kids enjoy the sweet summer treat.


This is a month I debated skipping right over and not talking about here. It was filled with a lot of sadness here. Our German Shepherd and the first pet I really had with Patrick started to go down hill. I knew in my heart we were losing him and we wanted to make sure that we spent as much time with him as possible. We pampered him a lot, extra baths, brushing, treats galore and the last moments with him are some that I will treasure for a very long time. Unfortunately we lost Riley. The days and weeks that followed his passing were some of the saddest we have had in this house in a long time. It was like losing a family member and honestly it still stings. He left behind his partner Kate and she mourned as if she were a human who lost their spouse. We still have days where she is very sad and lonely even having Buddy here to play with. Becoming a 2 dog family has been weird to say the least. I owe thanks to everyone who sent cards, condolences and even special mementos to keep Riley’s memory alive in our home.


We were really ramping up the efforts here on the blog for the holiday season and things were rolling in that needed reviews. I was quickly burning out as this isn’t my only job. I also do some freelance writing on the side and that position was taking up a lot more time than it had in the past and I seriously knew some things needed to change but didn’t know where to turn.


Jack decided that we needed a family theme Halloween. The boys were Mario & Luigi and I became Princess Peach with the help of Amazon and some makeup tutorials on YouTube. I hadn’t dressed up like that in ages and honestly it was a lot of fun. The boys were showered with candy and I felt like at any minute it would start to come out of our ears. We shared with our postal carriers, FedEx and UPS drivers and even gave a 1 bag to my parents to enjoy.


Thanksgiving, 3 jobs between Patrick and myself and other commitments left me a mess. I mean an absolute wreck. I needed extra help and knew that I had to reach out on social media and find some blog contributors. I was thankful to have 2 people who picked up really fast on a tutorial that I drafted and these girls have been my lifeline. They have been a listening ear, they have had open hearts and they were a huge part of the Holiday Gift Guide this year. Without them I may have lost my entire mind. I am so thankful for these ladies and their commitment to the blog and eagerness to learn the ropes.


What a month December was. On the first the mountains called for the 2nd time in 2018. I was going to wipe a few things off of my bucket list and Jack’s too. I spent my birthday with extended family and doing some local shopping. Patrick and I spent the evening in the rental home’s hot tub, I drank wine, we had pizza, we had cake and I hadn’t felt that loved on a birthday in a long time. Now don’t get me wrong I know I am loved but this year just seemed extra special.

We visited areas in West Virginia I had not been to since I was a lot younger and took a snow covered hike to Blackwater Falls with Jack. He has now hiked to the falls in every season in just 5 years of life.

Christmas was a bit of a bummer as a stomach virus hit Jack really hard the day before Christmas Eve and we had to cancel and postpone plans. We still have a Christmas celebration coming up on the 5th.


I want to thank everyone who even visited the blog one time over the course of 2018. The year was a roller coaster at some points but at the end of the day I look back and we are so blessed and so thankful. I can’t wait to see how 2019 turns out.

Samantha hails from Virginia and is a proud wife to a retired Deputy Sheriff and mother to two amazing little boys named Jack & William. A veteran product reviewer; Samantha has been reviewing products for 12 years and offers high quality product reviews with original photography.

Samantha hails from Virginia and is a proud wife to a retired Deputy Sheriff and mother to two amazing little boys named Jack & William. A veteran product reviewer; Samantha has been reviewing products for 12 years and offers high quality product reviews with original photography.

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