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  • Writer's pictureAmanda & Joe

Looking Ahead with Our Year In Review 2021 Recap

Updated: Mar 18

Looking Ahead with Our Year In Review 2021 Recap - amanda macgregor - joseph centineo - food allergy recipes

2021 ended with a very uneasy feeling for us. December was a very difficult and emotional month, especially for me. I wanted to write this recap blog before 2021 ended, but as the end of the year kept creeping closer and closer, and with me not fully in the right mindset, I decided it was too late to write this blog.

As we closed out the first month of 2022, I realized that just because last year ended on a low note for us, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate all the accomplishments and milestones we hit throughout the year.

Ready to finally give the year proper closure, I give you our 2021 Year In Review!

Looking Ahead with Our Year In Review 2021 Recap - amanda macgregor - joseph centineo - food allergy recipes

Just like most, we started 2021 at home. After 9 months in quarantine, we were starting to become a little too comfortable with our routine. So comfortable, that I had gotten a little too relaxed with my food allergy checklist for products we always use. The start of the year kicked off with my first allergic reaction since 2019.

After that scare, it was uphill from there. We celebrated our first Valentine’s Day as husband and wife, rang in our 1-year wedding anniversary, and updated the kitchen!


The kitchen project we knew we wanted to do the day we put the offer in on the house. After (almost) two years here, with one of those years being our “stay-at-home” and “work-from-home” lockdown, we were finally ready to get this project underway! It was such a wonderful moment to see our vision come to life.

Looking Ahead with Our Year In Review 2021 Recap - amanda macgregor - joseph centineo - food allergy recipes

Another house success was our backyard garden. We spent a lot of the winter reading, researching, and watching videos on how to optimize our garden for our area. We learned everything from proper composting to which plants flourish best in our zone. The garden beds were such a huge success this year, even to our backyard bunny who had babies in our strawberries. We ended up building a third bed for the next garden season. Joe also installed a sprinkler system that was a huge help with hydrating our garden, newly planted trees, and grass.

Looking Ahead with Our Year In Review 2021 Recap - amanda macgregor - joseph centineo - food allergy recipes - new jersey

By spring, it seemed as if everyone was starting to feel comfortable again with the gathering. Our calendar was quickly starting to fill up. While I was still fighting the fear of attending large gatherings, Joe and I talked about still trying to get our friends and families to come over and finally see the house, even if it was just an outdoor, spaced-out gathering. However, little did Joe know, I was already in the plans to do so….as a surprise for his 30th Birthday.

Looking Ahead with Our Year In Review 2021 Recap - amanda macgregor - joseph centineo - food allergy recipes

I arranged a golf outing with him and his friends to get him out of the house while setting up for his party, with the help of his parents, my parents, and my sister. It was our first planned event since the wedding and I was definitely feeling the pressure of making sure everything went just right for Joe. Luckily, the surprise went well and the party seemed to be a great time for all in attendance.

With our birthdays being exactly 3 months and 3 days apart, and knowing how quickly time has been moving lately, Joe was quickly feeling the pressure to return the favor. I assured him that he did have to reciprocate and throw me a surprise party too. Instead, we agreed on a smaller gathering to celebrate my 30th birthday and make it Gilmore Girls-themed.

The theme seemed to be the true surprise, as most were excepting me to do my typical Halloween-themed celebration or FRIENDS-themed, but Gilmore Girls has a special place in my heart and it only felt appropriate to ring in my next decade celebrating this mother-daughter centric show. We turned the backyard into our own mini-Stars Hollow and lived my small-town TV show dream for that night.

Another party we got to get in was my sister’s surprise bridal shower. After spending most of the summer planning and creating the decorations for her party, it was such an exciting moment to see her reaction to her owl-themed shower. It is safe to say she had a HOOT!

The last event we got in for 2021 was Thanksgiving dinner. This was the third year we hosted Thanksgiving, but the first year in the new kitchen. Luckily, the dinner gathering was small and allowed us to get a feel for the new set-up. Now knowing where our kinks are, we are already smoothing out the plan for next Thanksgiving, to make it our biggest and best one yet (as long as the world’s condition allows for it).

Even with all these fantastic events and celebrations, this was my favorite part of 2021: getting my cats back at home! During my parent’s process of moving (and moving closer to us!), Joe and I had the honor of welcoming in all my rescue cats.

Preparing for their arrival, Joe was showing concerns about how my allergies would be with seven cats staying at our house. We made sure to make a strict schedule for dusting and vacuuming, as well as eating a low-histamine diet and keeping up with all my eczema remedies. I wouldn’t say it was a perfect three months with seven cats; I did have a flare-up or two here or there, but, overall, it ended up being a lot better than we anticipated.

One cat I was very excited to be reunited with was Nala. She was my first rescue and has been with me since 2009. When moving out, leaving her behind was one of the hardest things I had to do, but I knew she would be happy staying with my mom and her cat siblings. I was over the moon to have her at my house now, even if it was supposed to only be temporary. However, temporary quickly became permanent.

Joe and I started to notice something wasn’t right with her. She was the only cat who adjusted just fine with the sudden change in environment so I didn’t peg that but feared it was something more. After a couple of vet visits, she was diagnosed with diabetes.

Due to her recent diagnosis and Joe and I still working from home, my family and I agreed to keep her here with us so we can give her her required treatment. Everything seems to be going smoothly, until December.

Once more, we started to notice something was off with her again. After another set of vet visits, she was diagnosed with liver and gallbladder issues. Wanting to do my best to keep her happy and as comfortable as I could. I spent most of December by her side, doing just that. It has been a very rough time for me, but I am soaking up every moment I can get with her.

Looking Ahead with Our Year In Review 2021 Recap - amanda macgregor - joseph centineo - food allergy recipes

*Update: Nala sadly passed away on February 21st, 2022. She fought hard and she fought until the very end. We miss this strong and darling girl every day but are honored by the memories she made with us.*

As we closed out 2021 with many emotions, we are starting to look forward to the brighter plans for 2022. More to come soon, but, until then, wishing you all a happy and safe new beginning.

Hugs & Cookies

Amanda and Joe

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