Saturday, January 30, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 30: Little Details ♥

Day 30 is Little Details.  Aren't these cows cute? I totally love them! My mom painted them on the wall of John's room right before he was born.  She painted cows, pigs, cute little sheep, ducks, apple trees, and one donkey ♥
John would lay in his crib and look up at all the animals that Nana painted.  I can remember him pointing to the cows and saying "moo" over and over again!
Fast forward eight and a half years and the cows are still here, with their cute pink noses. John has moved into a bigger bedroom and this room is now a computer/craft/sewing/catch all kind of room.  It's a little bit of everything and a whole lot of nothing. 
We've been talking recently about painting the walls and turning it into an office.  I would like to get a new desk and new curtains.  I have a nice rocking chair in the corner and would love to get a floor lamp beside it so I could read in here.  The only problem is....I have to paint over the cows.... ; (
It makes me sad to do this.  All the hard work and details my mom put into this wall., not to mention all the joy it brought John as a baby. 
But I also know I can't have cows on my wall forever....or can I? What to do, what to do??? 

Friday, January 29, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 29: Soft ♥

Day 29 is Soft.  I've been waiting for this all day.  Wrapped in a cocoon of soft blankets with my book. 
This. Is. Heaven.
Happy Friday Friends! ♥♥♥

Thursday, January 28, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 28: Quiet ♥

Day 28 is Quiet.  Van Gogh's Starry Night has always been a favorite of mine.  It reminds me of that feeling you get when you look up at a night sky and realize just how small you are. 
Yet there is something very magical about the stars.  The quiet will speak to you, if you take the time to listen. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 27: Hands ♥

Day 27 is Hands.  These little hands are the hands of an artist.  They are learning new things every day.  Their talent never ceases to amaze me. 
They are also Never Ever clean. 
I love these hands! ♥

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 26 : Clouds ♥

Day 26 is Clouds.  Today was overcast and I couldn't get a nice sky picture so I'm throwing it back to our Disney trip last August.  This was at the France pavilion in Epcot.  We each got a pastry and sat by this waterfall to rest.  It was so HOT that day but the clouds were beautiful. Of course they were....they are Disney clouds! ♥

Monday, January 25, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 25: Hibernate ♥

Day 25 is Hibernate.  I love that word....  If hibernating for the winter was an option (and how lovely that sounds) I would like to be tucked away in a cozy spot with a stack of books like this one.  I picked it up at the library yesterday because  I liked the cover.  I'm just starting it tonight and I really love it so far.  Fairy Tale.... What's not to love? ♥

Sunday, January 24, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 24: Icy ♥

Day 24 is Icy.  Yes it certainly is!
It's snowy and icy here tonight.  The trees look like they are sparkling. 
It's also a full moon ♥
This picture looks like it should have been taken at Christmas time.  Weird thing is that on Christmas it was a balmy 60 degrees!
It's been such a mild winter that we just noticed last night (during the storm) that we never took our patio set in! Oops!
That's first on the to-do list as soon as all this melts!
 Happy Snow Days! (although part of me is California dreamin....♥ )

Chocolate Chip Bisquick Cake ♥

John has been home sick for two days.  The sickness has slowly moved through the entire 3rd grade and this week was our turn.  I took him to the doctor yesterday because I was afraid he had an ear infection or strep throat.  The good news is that he doesn't have either of those things! Just a bad cold/virus that has to take its course.  I'm spoiling him with hot chocolate and lots of homemade treats it's no wonder he doesn't want to go back to school! ♥
I wanted to put the oven on today and bake. Something. Anything.  When I'm home during the day in the winter I like to have the oven on.  I went flipping through some old cookbooks and I found this recipe that I had earmarked (who knows when - ago). Since I have Bisquick in the house I decided to make this cake.  I don't usually have Bisquick on hand, but I had bought it to make a quiche a few weeks back and still had some left over.  Bisquick makes the best quiche. {you can check out my quiche recipe here } And chicken pot pie too. 
But anyway, here's the cake I made. Very simple and the oven provided the perfect temperature of coziness for our kitchen...♥

Recipe from The Hershey's Chocolate Lovers Cookbook....a book that's been in my kitchen for eons!

2 cups all-purpose biscuit mix (I used Bisquick)
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees. 
Grease an  8 inch round baking pan.  I had a heart shaped pan in my pantry so I used that ♥

In a medium bowl, stir together biscuit mix and sugar. 
In a second bowl, slightly beat the egg.  Blend in milk and oil.  Add to dry ingredients.  Stir until just moistened.  (Batter will be lumpy and that's ok.)
Stir in chocolate chips. 
Spoon batter in prepared pan.
Bake 25 - 30 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
The heart pan I used was 9" and I baked my cake for exactly 25 minutes.
The cookbook suggests you serve with strawberries.  I didn't have any on hand so a dollop of whipped cream worked just fine for us. 
The cake is dense and tastes like a delicious chocolate chip muffin. 
Here's hoping the winter colds haven't hit your house.  If so - hot tea and this cake definitely helps!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 23: Still Life ♥

Day 23 is Still Life.  For my still life photo I decided to post a picture of this little face because there is a storm raging outside right now.  I don't know how much snow we have at the moment but it's been coming down for several hours.  We are safe in our cocoon, and that's where we will stay.  As long as the Netflix doesn't go down, we'll survive! Stay safe everyone! ♥

Friday, January 22, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 22: Black & White ♥

Day 22 is Black & White. It's ten o'clock at night and I'm sitting in bed eating chocolate pudding with whip cream.  Why? Because I'm and adult and I can..... : -)
Welcome to the weekend! ♥

Thursday, January 21, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 21: Texture ♥

Day 21 is Texture.  This is the frayed edge of a chenille scarf that my mom knitted for me years ago.  I wear it around the house when it's cold. Goes great with my pajamas.  It's so soft and I'll never give it up : - )

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 20: Retail Therapy ♥

Day 20 is Retail Therapy.  This is a tough one because I haven't really bought anything in a while.  By the time January rolls around the last thing I want to do is go shopping.  However, when I think about retail therapy, I don't necessarily think of clothing.  For me, it's more about treats for myself that make me feel good.  The last item I bought for myself was when I was Christmas shopping.  I picked up this big, brown pillow for my bed. Why, you ask?  I've been wanting one of these for so long! I'm not in love with the color, but it doesn't even matter.  It's soft (chenille) and cozy and very comfortable when I'm reading in bed.  I pair this with my heated blanket (see day 11 :)  and a good book and I'm set for the evening ♥
On a side note can you believe it's January 20th already? Where has this month gone?  I am really enjoying this photo challenge! It gives me a focus for the day and something to blog about.  With the month almost coming to an end I am starting to think about another challenge for February.... ideas?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 19: Candlelight ♥

Day 19 of the photo challenge is Candlelight.  We have lots of candlelight, especially in the winter.  It is very cold tonight.  So still outside and I can actually smell the snow coming.  The candles make it feel warmer in here : )
John Steinbeck said "What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness."
Quite right, John ♥

Monday, January 18, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 18: Cozy ♥

Day 18 is Cozy.  Another easy one.  We woke up this morning to a few inches of snow on the ground and lots of wind = a winter wonderland!  Very pretty but very cold.  My favorite infinity scarf (from Khols) and boots are what's keeping me cozy today....

We are expecting more snow this weekend, so I don't see myself taking this scarf off any time soon! xo

Sunday, January 17, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 17: Family ♥

Day 17 is Family.  Here is a picture right from the pages of my scrapbook of my parents at my Mom's prom in 1960.  I have always loved this photo! They look like they are right off the set of Happy Days! I mean, look at those fabulous outfits! : )
My parents often talk about the wonderful and fun times of the 50's and 60's. I wish I could have experienced it.  They got married later that year and that was the beginning of our family.... ♥

Saturday, January 16, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 16: Brightness ♥

Day 16 is Brightness.  I decided that every week when I grocery shop I'm going to get myself a little plant or bunch of flowers to decorate the house.  I picked up these mums last night for only $4! We woke up to a dreary, rainy/snowy day and these beauties are making my day.  Something about yellow blooms in the middle of winter, when everything is brown,  just makes me smile : )

Friday, January 15, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 15: Darkness ♥

Day 15 is Darkness.  My Yankee Candle snowman tart burner is glowing in the darkness tonight.  I got this as a Christmas gift from a coworker (and friend : ) a few years ago.  I love how the snowmen have little sparkles in them.
Soon the days will be lighter longer and it won't be so cold, but we aren't there yet. 
Dreaming of bright & sunny Spring days?
 Yes I am ♥

Thursday, January 14, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 14: Comfort Food

Day 14 of my photo challenge is Comfort Food.  Easy one! Is there anything more comforting than a big plate of pasta with homemade marina sauce and freshly grated Parmesan cheese? Not for me! This is the food of my childhood ♥
Side note: This was actually my lunch today.  I stopped by my parents house during lunch break and my Dad gave me the leftovers of their dinner last night.  My mom made the sauce with ground sausage and it was SO GOOD.  I was having a stressful work day as it was and this lunch totally changed things around.  Funny how that happens : ) 
Also, an amazing thing about having lunch with my parents is that I get treated as well as my son. 
Here's my dessert....
Jell-O with fruit and whipped cream, which I think also qualifies as comfort food...
Thanks Dad ♥

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 13: Winter Selfie ♥

Well, day 13 called for a "winter selfie".  I'm so awkward at this, but here I am... Hello : ) 

I don't know how "winter-y" my photo is, so I thought I would share a few pics I took this morning.  We woke up to a light dusting of snow.  Very pretty, but VERY cold and icy today. 


My backyard.... ♥

Lunch today was steaming hot tomato soup! It was so good and warmed me to my bones! When I am at work I need to have the comforts of home. 
It makes the day much more enjoyable, don't you think?

Stay cozy friends!
And if you are living in a warm climate right now....well...I'm jealous! ♥ xo

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 12: The Sun ♥

Day 12 is The Sun.  It's trying to peer through the clouds (at lunch time).  So pretty, yet it's freezing here today.  The calm before the storm.  We are expecting snow tonight!

I'm off to keep warm with my electric blankie : - )

Monday, January 11, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 11: Relax ♥

Day 11 is Relax.  These days I relax at night with my favorite Christmas gift from Santa (a.k.a. Me).  It's an electric throw blanket.  I curl up on the couch and read my book or watch a movie and I'm nice and toasty....literally! It's so warm and cozy, especially on freezing cold nights like tonight.  There is always someone trying to steal this blanket from me! ♥

Banana French Toast in a Mug...♥

Good Monday Morning!
I hope your week is off to a great start.  It's very cold here so to warm up I thought I would share with you this recipe for French Toast for one! Looking to treat yourself? Well, here you go! I heard about this recipe on one of my favorite podcasts Meal Makeover Moms.  Janice and Liz are the best and taking everyday recipes and making them over into healthier versions.  They also have some great shortcuts - like this one.  If you want a hot breakfast and don't have the time (or desire) to take out the frying pan, then this is for you.  It's so easy.  I made it twice this past weekend. 
French Toast in a mug.....who knew?
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 ripe banana, mashed
2 tablespoons low-fat milk
1 slice bread, cut in 1/2 pieces (the recipe called for wheat bread - I used Italian bread)
a few pinches cinnamon
1/4 blueberries or sliced bananas (optional)
Spray the inside of a microwave safe 12 oz. mug with cooking spray.
Place egg, banana, and milk in a bowl and whisk until well combined.  Stir in the bread and cinnamon until the bread is covered with the liquid and then transfer the mixture to the mug. 
Microwave until the egg is cooked through, about 90 seconds.  If the egg is set, remove from microwave. If not, cook another 20 - 30 seconds (in 10 second increments).  Keep a watchful eye on the mug.  If you see the French toast rising stop the microwave.  You don't want a mess : )
Remove and top with optional topping - blueberries, bananas, or anything you like. 
I added some maple syrup. 
I couldn't believe how quick and easy this was.  Totally satisfying and a great way to start the day ♥ 
Happy Monday my friends!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Jauary Photo Challenge Day 10: Work ♥

Day 10 is Work.  I took this photo on Friday .  It's prisms that hang in the atrium of the foyer.  The colors reflect differently at different times of day.  This was taken at dusk.  It's usually what I'm starring at while waiting for the elevator : - )

Saturday, January 9, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 9: Routine ♥

Day 9 is Routine.  Every Saturday John and I do two things.  I take him to drum lessons (which isn't as horrific as it sounds!) and then we go to the library.  It's a nice little routine for us.  He gets cookies from the vending machine and I secretly wish I was librarian.
I'm so happy that libraries still exist.  I mean, think about it.  We are being allowed to borrow books, movies, CD's....all for free! Nothing is free anymore. It's a wonderful thing. 
I've always had a love for libraries.  I enjoy the quite atmosphere the most.  And the feeling I get being around all the book.  So many choices! There's something for my every mood, my every desire, my every need.  The library I go to also has a place where local artists can display their art. And in the summer they have music concerts as well. There's always something going on.
Back in the day, the library was my Internet.  It's where I went whenever I needed information.  I remember writing papers here, studying for tests, and looking up books in the card catalog. It's hard to imagine a time when we didn't have the world at our fingertips....a click away.  
Sometimes on rainy days I go just to browse around.  I've found some great books just scanning the shelves. 
Saturday library days will hopefully be in my routine for a long, long time ♥

Friday, January 8, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 8: Away From Home ♥

January Photo Challenge day 8 is Away From Home.  Well, here it is.  This is where I am most days when I am not at home.  It's not glamorous, but it pays the bills : )
Happy Friday Friends! Have a lovely weekend! ♥♥♥

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 6: Remnants of December ♥

Photo challenge day 6 is Remnants of December.  This candle grouping on my coffee table is the only thing left in my house that says December.  Christmas is packed safely away until next year.  I'll keep the candles just a little bit longer though.  The Ho Ho Ho pillar is new this year.  I love the glitter : )

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 5 : Weekend ♥

Day 5 of my January photo challenge is Weekend.  With the bitter cold temps the past few days I'm already getting cabin fever.  Hoping it warms up over the weekend so I can take a nice walk somewhere. Even if I have to bundle myself up like an Eskimo, the fresh clean winter air is bliss in my lungs!
As a matter of fact, I went on a walk yesterday....well, I started to.  I had an idea that I wanted to take a walk down by my favorite summer spot by the ocean.  There is something about visiting the ocean in the winter (even when it's freezing) that is very peaceful to me.  On my way there it started snowing.  Here is a little video I took of me walking through the park towards the ocean (in the snow).

You may recognize that bench in the video.  I have taken many photos sitting in that exact spot.  This is a small beach that mostly harbors boats.  In the summer I like to sit here and watch the boats coming in and out (headed for Boston).  It's very rocky so it's good fun to walk along the shore looking for shells and glass.  I have wasted many a day away here.  It's a much different experience in the winter, but the water is still beautiful and peaceful.  It was so cold that I couldn't stay long.  Besides, I had a steaming café mocha waiting for me in the car ♥

Monday, January 4, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 4: Morning ♥

Day 4 of my photo challenge is Morning.  Cleaning and getting back in the swing of things today. It's bitter cold out today but you would never know it by the pretty morning light shining through the windows. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 3: Evening ♥

Day 3 of my photo challenge is Evening.  This is me every every evening standing in front of the stove waiting for the kettle to whistle.  Since tonight is Downton Abbey night (yaaay!) I'm having tea in my favorite Union Jack mug ♥

And speaking of Downton, here is a video that I thought was hysterical!  It's the cast of Downton reading their lines with American accents! It's not quite the same! LOL ♥

Saturday, January 2, 2016

January Photo Challenge Day 2: Resolutions ♥

January photo challenge day 2 is Resolutions. One of my many is to take better care of my skin.  I am very guilty of falling asleep at night without washing my face.  It's so bad! I started using this serum from Sephora  under my Olay moisturizer and I really love it.  My skin is typically very dry and this is making it feel so much better.  I certainly can't turn back the hands of time, but I'll give it my best shot! : )

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year & a January Photo Challenge ♥

Happy New Year Friends!
I can hardly believe it's 2016!

How did you celebrate? I'm sure you all were doing something fabulous.  I was too.  I was fabulously in my pj's by 7 and on my couch all snuggled in for the night by 8.  We had pancakes for dinner, played a few games while we sipped our tea, and for the first time ever - John stayed awake to see the ball drop! He was so proud of himself.  In my world, that's pretty fabulous ♥

Once in my lifetime I would like to be in New York City on New Years Eve.  I would like to see the ball drop, hear the cheers, and try to catch flying confetti in the sky. Tonight the sweet sound of Frank Sinatra's New York New York played in the background as over 1 million people celebrated at the stroke of midnight.  That sounds pretty fabulous too ♥

Truth be told, I've never really been much of a New Year's eve person.  I love the idea of starting a new year with a clean slate. A new beginning with goals.  I spend the week between Christmas and New Years thinking about all the things I want to start, end, or change come January 1st.  The problem is that by the time its New Year's eve I'm too dang tired to do anything....hence the pj's by 7.  December is so busy that by the time the 31st rolls around we are more than happy to stay cozy at home and watch movies. 

So that's what we did ♥

And speaking of new beginnings, I decided to try a January photo challenge.  I found this one on Pinterest that looks really fun. 

Polka Dot Cottage photo prompts for January 2014. Theme: Winter! Hashtag #pdcwinter:

I'm going to post my pictures on Instagram & Twitter everyday as well as here on the blog.  If you would like to play along just use the hashtag #pdcwinter

The challenge comes from the blog Polka Dot Cottage. Lisa posted it last year for 2015, but I decided to follow this one because I love the choices.  ♥

So day 1 (that's today : ) is New Beginnings.  I wanted to post a picture of The Desiderata poem because to me  nothing says New Beginnings like this. I can't think of a better mantra to start January with...

Be cheerful.  Strive to be happy ♥

I hope your 2016 is off to a fabulous start!

See you on day 2 ~

(from Susan Branch's Book of Days on my kitchen counter : )