Friday, September 13, 2019

Happiness is....September Days ♥

September days make me happy 

The weather is getting cooler and there is a slight scent of apple in the breeze. I take deep breaths outside and it renews me.  What a beautiful time of year! 

We are finally getting settled into the swing of our new routine. Morning school runs, extra curricular activities, and evening homework have to be worked in to our schedule.  Last night was "parents night" at John's school.  An evening I always enjoy because we get to meet the teachers and hear about all the things the students will be learning this year. 
He's growing up so quickly and I'm just trying to keep up : ) 

Everyday I remind myself to slow down and enjoy all the moments. Especially the little ones.  
For they pass too quickly, don't they? 

My daily mantra is this: 

Don't get caught up in the hustle and bustle.  Take time to read books, watch TV shows, be cozy, take a walk, treat yourself to a croissant at the bakery.  Everything will get done.  Do not stress.  

Good advice.  Am I right? 

My favorite time of day is the afternoons after I pick John up from school.  On most days, for 2 hours it's just him and I.  I make us a snack and we unwind and talk about our days.  He shows me funny videos on his phone or we'll watch a show together.  We may or may not almost doze off... : )  
It's a well needed rest before dinner and homework.  

This weekend I plan on cooking up something yummy in the crock pot.  I'm not sure what it is yet, but I am going to figure it out as soon as I hit publish on this post.  I have a busy Saturday with a haircut appointment, getting my car an oil change, and a bunch of errands to run with John.  A hot meal bubbling away in the crock pot when we get home will be a lifesaver.  It's comfort food season and I couldn't be happier!!  My mom also asked me to make an apple pie for my sisters birthday dinner on Monday night.  It will be my first pie of the season! 
The first of many I'm sure 

So many reasons to love September.  We are entering cozy season.  Sweaters (or in my case cardigans!), crunchy leaves, pumpkins, Charlie Brown everywhere, warm slippers, cool mornings, Frank Sinatra singing  Moonlight in Vermont to me in my car every day...
Let's make it last as long as we can, ok? 

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!!!  I'm off to sift through my crock pot recipes. 

Wish me luck!


PS. put a dollop of whip cream in your coffee, top it with a dash of cinnamon, light a candle, and click the Moonlight in Vermont link above for some beautiful music & inspiration.  Enjoy!!!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Pumpkin Donuts (baked) ♥

With the weather being so beautiful and fall-like this past weekend I couldn't wait to get in the kitchen and bake.  I had a can of canned pumpkin in the pantry that I was dying to crack open.  Rob was looking forward to watching football on Sunday and John had his cousin Anthony over to play (excuse that's he's 12 it's called "hanging out"...: ). I've made that mistake before. Either way, it's still I right? 

Anyway, they were both occupied and I thought an afternoon treat might be in order.  My first thought was pumpkin bread but then I came across this easy recipe for pumpkin donuts!  My eyes glazed over.  Donuts it is! 

I have a donut pan that I got at Target a few years ago.  It makes making donuts very easy.  They are just like little cakes really.  Little cakes that are glazed and delicious!  

The recipe I used comes from  I only altered it slightly.  I added a dash of cinnamon to the batter because I believe all fall baking should include an extra dash of cinnamon. And when I made the glaze I added a few drops of maple syrup for some added fall flavor.  I was very pleased how it all turned out! 

If you want your home to smell like autumn and you have a donut is the recipe. 
It's very easy and so worth it! 

2 cups all purpose flour 
1/2 cup packed brown sugar 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup pumpkin puree 
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 butter, softened 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray your donut pan with non stick spray. 

Stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, PP spice, salt, and baking soda until combined and there are no lumps. 

In a separate bowl beat pumpkin puree, eggs, milk and butter on low speed until combined.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet until batter is formed.  

Spoon into donut pan.  Bake 8-10 minutes, until donuts feel firm
(and spring back when you touch them).
*mine had to cook for about 11 minutes but that could be my oven.  just keep your eye on them* 

While they are baking you can make the glaze.  

For the glaze you will need:

1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tbs water
1 tsp vanilla extract 
a few drops of maple syrup 

Whisk all the ingredients together with a wire whisk.  

When the donuts come out of the oven let them cool for a few minutes and then remove from the pan.  
Dip warm donuts into the glaze and then place on a wire rack or baking sheet to allow the excess to drip off. 

After that it's open season...if you haven't nibbled already....which you probably have : ) 

These didn't even make it off the rack before they were scooped up by little hands.  

Enjoy with coffee, like I did or a cup of tea or glass of milk.  They are really yummy and definitely hit the spot.  I LOVE the taste of pumpkin and I can promise you'll be seeing a lot more pumpkin recipes on this blog in the coming weeks.  

Do you love pumpkin as much as I do??? 

Have a wonderful Monday everyone!  Thank you for stopping by today! 


Friday, September 6, 2019

John's First Day of School ♥

Well, it's that time of year again....


With a backpack full of sharpened pencils, notebooks, and folders, John started 7th grade on Wednesday.  He was excited and nervous! (and a little sleepy : ) 

My boy looking so grown up! 

All of us Moms and Dads stood off to the side as the class lined up.  All of us in disbelief at how much our kids have changed and grown.  It's certainly bittersweet 

I'm happy to say he had a great first day!  There weren't any major complaints so that's a positive sign.  We are off to a good start! His teacher is very nice and I'm hopeful it's going be an exciting, fun, interesting year. Fingers crossed!  

(I remember not loving 7th grade. 
I was extremely awkward and obviously not as cool as this bunch : ) 

The weather has been on our side too.  It's getting cooler I'm seeing little signs of the changing seasons.  

 Yesterday as soon as I got home from work I changed into my pj's, lit a pumpkin candle, and put a meatloaf in the oven.  John had books to cover and I did some meal planning for the weekend.  

The only thing missing was an apple pie  

Don't you just love comfort food season? 

 This weekend we have no big plans.  More of this I hope! 

Happy Friday Friends!  Have a cozy weekend! 


Monday, September 2, 2019

Would You Believe...?

Happy Labor Day Everyone! I hope you all enjoyed a nice day off!

For today's post I am taking an idea from my dear friend Billie Jo (visit her lovely blog here).  She did a post on her blog last week titled "Would You Believe" where she listed some surprising facts about herself.  I love reading these kinds of posts getting to know people better and seeing how we relate, so I thought I would give it shot. I don't think she would mind if I stole her idea.... so here goes...

Would you believe....?

-Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  I also really love grilled cheese sandwiches. 

-I know every single episode of The Waltons and have the biggest crush on Richard Thomas who played John Boy.  I just love him so much!

-Given the chance to vacation anywhere in the world I would choose Disney World.  (Ok, maybe this one is not that surprising)  My dream job was always playing Snow White in a Disney Parade.  It was a sad day when I realized now I'm too old...: (

-I have never read any of the Harry Potter books or seen any of the movies.

-I do not like driving and am a terrible driver (I will admit it, but don't tell my husband I admitted it :)  The worst is parking.  You can always tell my car in a parking lot because I have a hard time keeping it straight.

-I am obsessed with game shows from the 70's.  My favorites are Match Game, Password, and Family Feud.

-If I start reading a book and can't get into it I will return it to the library, unfinished.  No Shame.

-Any chance I can, I will use paper plates because I hate washing dishes.

-I will NEVER leave the house without make on.  Period.

-I eat cereal every night before I go to bed (sometimes in bed).

-I love award shows and cry at acceptance speeches.  The Oscars are my favorite.

-I used to decorate cakes and at one time thought about starting my own cake business.

-I'm not a good swimmer and small boats freak me out a bit.  I love going to the beach but never go in the water.  Only up to my knees if it's really hot. I never dunk under water.

-I don't enjoy any sports.  Being from Boston this is practically a sin.  I will root for the Patriots and Red Sox because they are our home teams but honestly, I couldn't tell you the difference between a touch down and a home run.  While Rob is watching Football on Sundays I'll be in my room watching Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel. That is my kind of sport.

-My favorite concert I've ever been to was Tony Bennett.  I was probably the youngest one there and it didn't even matter.  When he sang Fly Me To the Moon it was magical.  

-I am left handed.

-I am an excellent card shuffler.  It's my secret talent. 

Would you believe all this? Well, it's true! 

Have a wonderful week everyone! 


Saturday, August 31, 2019

John's 12th Birthday and Decorating for Fall ♥

Hello Friends! 

Well, here we are at the end of August.  Where did the month go?  It seemed to go by in a flash... 

John turned 12 on August 16th. (12??? I can hardly believe it!) We spent the day in the city, walking around Faneuil Hall Marketplace, and going to the New England Aquarium (where I literally saw the biggest turtle I've ever seen in my life!)  It was alot of fun.  That night we had dinner with my parents. John requested take out from his favorite restaurant and cheesecake for dessert! The following Sunday he invited some friends to a local place for laser tag and arcade games. 
He's had this same group of friends since kindergarten and it's so nice to see them all together, growing up before my eyes! Such a nice group of boys.  John is very lucky! 

The next Sunday (yup, this birthday celebration is still going on.....) we invited the Giannandrea side of the family over for pizza and ice cream cake.  In case you are wondering, Dairy Queen makes the BEST ice cream cakes! I highly recommend them!! 

And finally we were done with the birthday! WHEW! The longest celebration in history! lol 

And just like that, my 12 year old starts 7th grade on Wednesday! I'm not ready for this..... : ) 

After all the birthday celebrating I decided it was time to get ready for school.  On Monday we had our annual marathon school shopping day, followed by lunch.  I enjoy checking things off the school supply list.  John enjoys lunch!  He's less than thrilled that school is starting back up again, and I totally don't blame him.  It's been a good summer ♥


Around the house I've slowly been transitioning to fall.  It started with a candle.....


and a cup of pumpkin spice.....♥


Today I added a bit more....




I've missed these colors! Little pops of orange, red, and yellow tucked into every nook and cranny.  It's really starting to feel like fall now!

And then there's this....which I am not responsible for in the least...♥


And that's how I'm wrapping up August! Tomorrow is the first of the month and I'm all ready for fall!

Happy September 1st everyone!

 I hope you all had a great summer! ♥


Friday, August 23, 2019

Blueberry Pie Oatmeal Bars

Hello Friends! 

 I am writing you tonight from the comfort of my cozy bed.  It's been a long week and I've been dreaming of this moment since Monday.  I was on the go all week, busy at work, and the worst part is that it's been so HOT here.  I'm talking over 90 degrees for days on end.  The air is thick and humid.  It feels yucky to be outside. By this point in the summer I'm over it.  Not to say I didn't love this summer.  It was wonderful....but it's time for it go.  The heat makes me tired and I feel like lump.  It's time for cozy sweaters and crunchy leaves.  I'm so grateful I live in an area where the seasons change.  I don't think you can really appreciate a season if you have it all the time.  It's got to go away so we can miss it.  I went grocery shopping tonight and when I was walking to my car I saw that it was dark out and it wasn't even 8pm!  We are losing light and that's the first sign change is coming. 

Because it's been so hot  I haven't had much energy for baking.  I've really missed it too.  This week I was determined to get back into the kitchen.  I enjoy having homemade desserts after dinner and I love trying new recipes!  I was surfing around Pinterest and came across this recipe for Blueberry Pie Oatmeal Bars that looked interesting.  Its one of those 4 ingredient recipes that is so easy it's almost criminal.  Perfect for when you don't really feel like doing much work but want something homemade.  I had all the ingredients on hand so I thought I'd give it a try.  

They came out delicious!  A slice of blueberry pie, in a bar....: ) 

The recipe comes from Mom on Time Out blog  (I adapted the cooking time slightly : ) 

1 yellow cake mix
2 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
3/4 butter, melted 
21 oz can blueberry pie filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper or spray with non stick spray.
Mix cake and oats in a large bowl. 
Add melted butter and stir until crumbly. 
Firmly press down half of the crumbs into the bottom of the pan.
Carefully spread the blueberry pie filling over the crumb layer. 
Spread the remaining crumbs over the filling and press down gently. 
Bake as directed according to the cake mix box.  
(mine baked for 30 minutes)  
The top layer will be golden brown : ) 

Let cool completely before cutting.  Store in the refrigerator. 

(I imagine any pie filling would also work.  These would be yummy with cherry, apple, or strawberry filling, don't you think?)

John absolutely loved these! I plan on making them again when he starts school to put in his lunchbox. 

These blueberry bars are the best kind of dessert because they are perfectly acceptable for breakfast also. Nice with with a cup of coffee or tea.  Not too sweet, but hit the spot when you need a little something.  I really loved them! 

Little by little, as fall approaches I will be getting back into baking.  I currently have canned pumpkin in my pantry and I'm not afraid to use it! : ) 

I'll be working out my "end of summer funk" by taking John back to school shopping on Monday.  At least one of us is looking forward to it (me!).  He's got a week and half left of vacation and let me tell you, he's clinging to every minute.  He celebrated a birthday last week and I'll tell you all about it next time. I can't believe he's 12!!!  

Have a great weekend everyone!!  xoxo 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Weekend in The Berkshires ♥

Hello Friends!  

I am just back from a wonderful 4 day weekend spent in Stockbridge, MA.  A beautiful quaint area tucked in the western part of our state.  Every summer Rob's family does a family getaway.  For the past several years we have gone to New Hampshire.  This year we changed it up a bit and tried a new place (for some of us, anyway).  I had never been to  the Berkshires before.  I was pleasantly surprised by the charming shops, beautiful views, and quintessential New England feel.

We were only a 5 minute walk from the famous Red Lion Inn, which we had lunch at on Friday.  Our rental was a very old home - with secret passages, multiple doors, and even a phone booth in one of the closets??  It was decorated with Normal Rockwell artwork, who is the hometown celebrity in Stockbridge.  I was lucky enough to visit his museum on Saturday and I enjoyed every minute of it! What a great and talented man he was!

That evening we packed a picnic and went to hear the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood.  It was an amazing experience.  Maybe not so much for the kids (whom I heard yawning through most of it....: )  but for the adults it was quite a show. 

Our final day was spent my favorite way, meandering down old streets, browsing shops, and eating ice cream.  We even took a little nap in a screened in favorite room on the house.   The weekend started off hot and humid (which I did not enjoy) but luckily the temperature dropped a bit on Saturday and by Sunday I even felt a hit of fall in the air.  It was a fun weekend spent with family, playing games, eating good food, and catching up. It made my heart happy to see John having quality time with his cousins, some he only sees a few times a year.  They rode bikes, went on a hike, and stayed up to the wee hours of the morning laughing.  For me, that was the best part of the trip.

Our home for the weekend.  On the right is the screened in porch. 

It was so comfortable! 

Walking around the town I kept thinking about how pretty it must be in the Fall and then I came upon this river.  I could totally feel FALL here! : ) 

Our picnic at Tanglewood courtesy of my sister in law! My favorite meal of the trip!
It was as good as it looks! 

The grounds were gorgeous! 


All of us! (I am hiding in the back : ) 

It was good to get home on Monday. I layed down and took a 2 hour nap!  I was back to work on Tuesday feeling refreshed. 

Only 2 more weeks of summer my friends (because on my calendar once it's September, summer is over!).  Fall is right around the corner, and I personally cannot wait!