It might be mid-January, but it’s not too late to note the best of 2022. Maybe this seems like a silly practice, or even a veiled attempt at bragging? Still, reflecting on the surprises and blessings of the past year helps me look forward with hope. Every year– no matter the struggles and heartache– holds a wealth of joy. And 2022 was a good one.
As always, these are in no particular order except for
One and Two. Wells and Lars were by far the greatest new additions to our family. It’s been the year of babies, of spending every family event just admiring our three little wonders. We are all completely obsessed with these darling babies.
Three. Gabe coming home
He’s even sweeter than we remember
Four. Hans getting into UNC. The hand of God. He’s made so many friends, loves his studies and is thriving in every way ❤️
Five. BYU Nursing School. You can’t imagine Mary’s stress over applying to this competitive program– especially as a freshman. She just finished her first semester of nursing, works at Utah Valley Hospital and as a Physiology TA, and LOVES everything about health care (slightly obsessed).
Six. Stef and Heather bought a house 🏡 Wells needs room to run!
Seven. Xander and Madi bought a condo 🏡 Remember how I talked about getting a real estate license two years ago? That really came in handy this year.
Eight. Fritzie surprised us every single day
Nine. Gabe and Mary living a parking lot apart ❤️ Gabe’s a freshman, Mary’s a sophomore and they both live in Glenwood with just a parking lot between them. They are so good to each other– so kind, cooperative and supportive. Does my mama heart good.
Ten. Zoey living with us. Darling Zoey moved in this summer, spread sunshine all over, then moved into her own apartment in December. We’re grateful she’s still so close.
Eleven. Hans wins the National Collegiate Pickleball Championship. So, Hans plays pickleball; he loves pickleball, but he never tried out for a team. Then, at UNC his ratings were high enough to get recruited to the collegiate team. When they offered to take him to the National Championship in Austin, TX, Hans told me, “It’s going to be so much fun, but we’re not going to win.” They did. And then walked in a parade playing pickleball backwards over a banner. Hans wants you to know he didn’t play in the championship match, but hey, even if you’re not the quarterback, you claim the win, right?
Twelve. Erik became Pomby Fritzie came up with the name, and Erik plays the game. Watching Erik become a silly, sweet, giddy grandpa is one of the greatest joys of my life.
Thirteen. Writing a novel. i’ve been talking about writing books since I was five years old. Although I’ve contributed to several books, I’ve never written one of my own. After so many starts and stops, I’m finally writing something I love. Hoping to finish the first draft in the next few months (I just had knee surgery, so I’m looking forward to lots of writing time).
Fourteen. Mary and the temple
Fifteen. Orange Theory. In 2021, when I was WAY too busy, I told myself I’d join a gym and do some cross-training in 2022. I’ve always loved to run, hike, ski (give me all the cardio), but I knew I needed to get stronger to fight off osteoporosis, balance issues, muscle loss and all that. I’ve LOVED Orange Theory. It’s fast, efficient, and I’ve made so many friends. I could talk about it all day long, so be warned. 😉
Sixteen. Volvo and Scandinavia When someone totaled my car in 2021, we didn’t couldn’t find a car to replace it. Happily, we did a Volvo pickup in Sweden. The Swedish government pays for your airfare, hotel, meals and car insurance and it actually cost less than buying a car in SLC. 10/10 would recommend. Also, I ended up with plug-in hybrid, which I love.
Seventeen. Ben and Sammie’s rose arch & kitchen and completely dreamy house. They’ve lived in their house for just over a year, yet they’ve managed to transform the kitchen, playroom, bedrooms and yard (they planted 21 roses!). It’s gorgeous and I can’t wait to see what they do next.
Eighteen. Pirate Ships in the pool On the fourth of July, I pulled an old pirate ship out of our Playmobil bucket for Fritzie. Soon, the boys were asking, “Do we have any more old ships?”
They spent two hours playing pirates in the pool. As Sammie said, “this might be the most Lehnardt thing ever.” And for me, it was one of the happiest memories of the year.
Nineteen. So much baking. Goodness, we baked a lot this year. The girls text and the family text were filled with ideas, recipes, where to buy necessary ingredients. We found/invented/perfected recipes: Biscoff Cheesecake, Hazelnut Tart, Salzburg Torte, Mozartkugeln, Blueberry Tart, Morning Rolls, Lemon Tarts and so much more. I’ll add more recipes to the blog soon, makes them easier to find.
For the Biscoff Crust
- 50 Biscoff cookies (I buy the cookies at Walmart)
- 10 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoon granulated white sugar
For the Biscoff Cookie Butter Cheesecake
- 32 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated white sugar
- 1 cup Biscoff cookie butter
- ⅓ cup sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
For the Biscoff Cookie Butter Topping
- ¾ cup Biscoff cookie butter, melted
- whipped cream for decoration (optional)
- Biscoff cookies for decoration
For the Biscoff Cookie Crust
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Pulse the Biscoff cookies in a food processor until finely ground
- Add in the melted butter and sugar and pulse until combined
- When your pan is prepared, press the Biscoff cookie crumbs onto the bottom and about an inch up the sides.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then let it cool completely.
For the Biscoff Cookie Butter Cheesecake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees if not still preheated from the crust.
- In a stand mixer, mix the softened cream cheese and granulated sugar together until everything is smooth and there are no lumps.
- Add the Biscoff cookie butter, vanilla and sour cream to the cream cheese mixture.
- Next add in the eggs one at a time to the cheesecake batter, ensuring that each is fully mixed in before adding the next.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan with the crust. Place cookie sheet in the oven and pour hot water in the pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. When 1 hour is up, turn off the oven and crack the oven door open using a wooden utensil. Let the cheesecake stay in the oven for 1 more hour. The cheesecake will continue to bake as it is cooling.
- Once the 2 hours are up, remove the cheesecake from the oven and go around the edges of the pan with a butter knife to loosen the crust from the sides of the pan. Let the cheesecake cool completely on the counter, and then refrigerate until cold, at least 8 hours. (I usually bake the night before and let it refrigerate overnight).
- Once the cheesecake has chilled, carefully remove it from the springform pan and transfer it to a serving plate.
For the Biscoff Cookie Butter Topping
- Pour the melted cookie butter on top of the cheesecake. Return to fridge.
- Once the cookie butter is set, remove the cheesecake from the fridge and pipe swirls of whipped cream around the edges of the cheesecake. Decorate with Biscoff cookies, then serve!
Twenty. My knitting renaissance. I’d forgotten how much I love knitting and this year I dove right in. Every car ride, every flight, every Saturday night movie, I was busy with my needles. Back in the day, I made sweaters, these days I’m addicted to mittens and slippers and, of course, baby sweaters.
Twenty-One. The room. When Hans and I drove across the country to UNC, I warned him, “I’m making your room my office.” After years of service as the favorite bedroom for Ben, Stefan and Hans, I’ve converted it to my own little haven– I painted the desk and half the walls, put up flowery wallpaper, changed out the lighting, and finally found a place for my favorite tea set. It’s heaven.
Twenty-Two. Four days of empty nest Everyone keeps asking if we’re empty nesters. I don’t think that’s true until your kids all have a house of their own. Still, after sweet Zoey moved out in December, we had four whole days of empty nest before Gabe and Mary arrived home from BYU.
I think our house will continue to be busy for a while yet. Still, I have had more time with just Erik. And here’s the good news. I really like him.
Here’s to a happy new year to you full of of joy and surprises ❤️