Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Orange Marmalade Cake ♥ (Susan Branch Recipe : )

Hello Friends! 

I hope you are doing well.  It's hard to believe that we are in the second half of September already.  For me it's been a total blur.  With my mother sick and us going back and forth to the hospital and now the rehab, I've totally lost track of time.  Thankfully I had decorated for Fall early because here were are.  See, I knew my anxiousness would come in handy.  

Speaking of my mom, she's doing better every day.  It's a lot of work but she'll get there. She's showing a lot of progress building up her strength, and I know that's because of her will to come home.  I just got back from visiting her.  I brought her a piece of cake and a hot chocolate.  Something, anything, other than rehab food is a treat, and homemade is even better.  I brought her one of her mugs from home to drink the cocoa in and she loved it.  

Hang in there mom, you're doing great!  

Around the house we are trying to keep as much normalcy as possible.  We are trying to eat well and get enough sleep so WE don't get sick.  Tis the season, you know! I light my candles everyday and keep the house as cozy as possible.  This week we've been watching all the Muppet Movies.  Most of them are on Disney Plus and the ones that aren't I checked out from the library.  They are so cute and funny, with a lot more adult humor than I remember.  

It's the pick me up we all need right now : ) 


It's still warm here but I'm finally starting the feel the shift.  It's getting darker earlier now and it's chilly in the mornings when I drive John to school.  I love that first inhale of fresh air early in the morning.  I'm not seeing much color on the trees yet like some of my Instagram friends are, but I know it's coming.  I'll be patient : ) 

I like to wear an old black cardigan sweater over my pj's when I come out in the kitchen to get coffee.  Lately I've been waking up at 5:30.  Rob is just leaving for work then.  We spend a few minutes together and then I sit and drink my coffee for a bit before John gets up for school.  It's dark and quiet and quite lovely in my opinion.   I do love to sleep but getting up early has it's advantages.  Don't tell anyone, but I'm starting to like it.  Have I become a morning person??  Possibly. 

Speaking of the cake I brought my mom, I want to share the recipe with you.  It's from Susan Branch's Website and it's wonderful!  In fact all her recipes are wonderful, but this one....chef's kiss to the air! 

Orange Marmalade Cake! 

Whenever I make a Susan Branch recipe I picture her in her adorable Martha's Vineyard kitchen.  She has the stove of my dreams and the cutest curtains on her windows.  She's baking, listening to Frank Sinatra, a kitty at her ankles, and all is right with the world. 

At least in that moment 


I don't think I've ever made a recipe with marmalade before.  I had to buy some special just for this recipe.  It reminded me of Paddington Bear! 

The batter was gorgeous with little flecks of orange and lime zest.  

While it baked I made the glaze.  

More marmalade (ala Paddington!) confectionary sugar, and butter!  So good! 

Drizzled over the top.  Yes please! 

What a lovely cake to have with coffee, tea, or in my mom's case HOT CHOCOLATE.  We are fans over here.  I bet you would be too! 

It's very easy to make. Like I said, the only thing special I had to get was the marmalade.  Here's the recipe if you want to give it a try: 

For the cake: 
1 1/2 sticks of butter
3/4 cup sugar
zest of a lime
zest of an orange
3 eggs
1/3 cup marmalade
2 tbls freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream the butter and sugar for 5 minutes until fluffy.  Beat in the eggs.  Stir in marmalade, juice, and zest.  
In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients. Fold into wet until just combined.
Put in greased loaf pan and bake 50 minutes or until knife comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn on to rack.  

For the glaze: 
In a small saucepan mix 1/3 cup marmalade, 1 tbls butter, and 1/4 cup confectionary sugar.  Stir until smooth.  Drizzle on to cake letting it drip over the sides. 

Cool completely before serving. 

Make one for yourself and one for a friend. It's a very cheery cake and I think a perfect gift. Susan Branch just gets me.  I say it every time.  She's the best.  

Thank you for stopping by today friends, and thank you for your continued prayers and well wishes for my mom.  They are working 

Have a great day!  Next week is officially autumn and I cannot wait. 

Byeeee! xoxox

Monday, September 11, 2023

Catching up on a Monday ♥


I wish I could say it's finally feeling like fall, but unfortunately it's not. John's first day of school was 95 degrees and it just got worse from there.  Here I am all ready to pull out my cable knit sweaters and corduroys. I guess I'll have to wait a little longer.  Mr. Weatherman says it's going to start cooling off this week, so hopefully now we can ease into the correct season. Today is rainy and gloomy, but I'll take that over hot and humid any day.  I'm happy to say that even despite the heat, John's first week of school was great!  He's loving his classes and teachers.  So far this year is looking good 🤞

In other news...

Those of you that have been around here for a while know the health struggles my mother has faced over the past few years.  Well, last week she had a little episode at home which landed her in the hospital.  Thankfully she is OK now and has been transferred to a rehab faculty for a few weeks of physical therapy to regain some strength before she comes home.  She is honestly the strongest person I know and I can't wait until she's home and we can have our morning coffee break at the kitchen table again. 

Here's John bringing her flowers to the rehab on Sunday.  

It really made her day 

To keep my mind busy during the week I tackled a project I had been putting off for months.  Cleaning and organizing my jewelry box.  Turns out it was therapeutic and the most enjoyable few hours I had all week.  Jewelry boxes are time capsules holding so many memories. 

I've had this Christmas charm bracelet since 7th grade!!  I'm so happy I still have it.  

I organized everything and even hung up my bracelets and necklaces so they will be in my view (and not get tangled).  I am hoping this will prompt me to wear more jewelry.  If it's out of site I forget all about it! 

And probably the most precious thing I found at the bottom of my jewelry box.  

Isn't it the truth?

I don't remember saving this (Its a quote on a Salada tea bag tag ....remember those? :).

It went right back in the box where I found it.  Some things need not be touched.

I hope all is well with you, my friends. 

And any prayers for my mom would be appreciated 

Thank you!! Xx 

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

11th Grade! ♥

And just like that summer is over and a new school year begins.  

The first day of 11th grade.  I can hardly believe it! I couldn't be any prouder of this boy!

 The years are passing too quickly, and I cherish each and every one.  

This morning we got up extra early to have a coffee together, like we did all summer.  We said our prayers for happy and healthy year, and off he went.  

With a second coffee to-go, just like me  : ) 

Here's to a great year!  Last one before he's a senior.  He's ready, but I'm certainly not! 

(also ignoring the fact that it's 90 degrees and humid out...Fall weather is coming!

September 4, 2013 

Friday, September 1, 2023

A Day in Plymouth, MA ♥

Hello Friends! Happy September 1st! 

September has finally arrived.  It's still hot and humid here and John is still trying to live in endless summer. He starts school on Tuesday and is hanging on to every last second of vacation.  I honestly don't blame him, however my heart is officially in Fall mode now and I love it.  I wait for it all year and I couldn't be more at peace with it. 

On Wednesday my friend Julie and I took our boys on a little day trip to Plymouth.  I say day trip like it's a far away place.  Plymouth is under an hour from my house. I don't know why I don't visit it more.  Sometimes you forget what's in your own backyard, if that makes any sense.  There is so much history in Plymouth.  You can feel it in the air.  The harbor area is absolutely beautiful and there are so many quaint shops to pop in and out of.  After 5 minutes I made a mental decision to come back at Christmastime to do some shopping. (I saw a few gift ideas!) It's quintessential "New England" and the square is something out of a Hallmark movie (and you know how I feel about that : ) 


It was a warm day, overcast, but thankfully didn't rain on us!  We parked on the waterfront, right in front of the Mayflower II, which is a replica of the original Mayflower.  Steps away is the famous Plymouth Rock.  It's the first spot the Pilgrims touched land in 1620.  The rock is much smaller than you think it would be, but the significance of it is beyond measure.   

We had the best time walking around town, poking in and out of shops, and finally ending up at an ice cream candy shop that a friend of Julie's recommended.  It was divine! 

At one point we stumbled upon a secret garden! 

Well, it wasn't really secret, but it was awfully pretty! 

There are statutes and memorials all over town.  It's really nice to see them up close.  So many times you drive by things but never really stop and look at them.  It was nice to take a leisurely day to appreciate a part of my home state.  

There are many museums and other memorials to visit that are all incredible and very informative....but we were in more of an outdoorsy mood and wanted to take in what was outside.  

And then it was on to the sweet shop.  John said it reminded him of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.  They make everything right there on side.  I wish this picture had smell.  Oh my days it was heavenly.....

Some of us got ice cream and some of us (me!) got iced coffee with whip cream.  It was yummy.  And then I spotted something I've been wanting all summer....

Salt water taffy! I missed my chance to get some when were in Cape Cod a few weeks ago and have been kicking myself ever since.  I was so happy to take a bag home before summer officially ended. 

*sidenote* they were DELICIOUS and are already gone!*

Thank you for a lovely day Plymouth! I will see you again soon. 
Maybe for a seafood dinner, who knows?? : )  

Happy Labor Day Weekend Everyone! When I was little I remember always watching the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon Labor Day Weekend.  Does anyone else remember that?  It was exciting to see what celebrities would come on an make donations.  Those were the days before the internet and social media, when celebrities were still "mysterious" and to see them live was something special.  My, how times have changed!

Have a great day friends!  Rob and John are going to a concert tonight (that was part of John's birthday gift) so I'm on my own for the evening.  I have the whole TV to myself but I'll probably just curl up with my book and fall asleep.   Exciting I know, but honestly, I've been looking forward to it all week! 


Friday, August 25, 2023

If at first you don't succeed....keep baking bread ♥

Hello Friends! Happy Friday! 

I woke up to a dark and stormy morning. I lit my kitchen twinkle lights and poured a cup of hot coffee.  I added a dash of pumpkin spice creamer and here I am.  Loving every minute.  And it's Friday to boot!  I've had a busy work week and I'm so happy that it's finally winding down.  

Why does coffee taste so much better on cold dark mornings? I don't know why, but it just does.  

One of the highlights of my week was a delicious loaf of sourdough bread.  Yes that was a highlight.  I'm clearly overly excited about this bread but I have good reason.  After a year of trial and error I think I finally figured out how to make sourdough.  I'm a work in progress but this one was the best I've made so far.  

Baking bread is a labor of love.  Especially sourdough.  It can't be rushed, which is something I enjoy about it. I love making the dough and waiting for it to rise.  I love when it finally becomes a smooth loaf to shape, score, and bake.  And let's not forget the absolute blissful aroma of baking bread.  It's something no candle can even come close to.  I've had flat starters, bread that didn't rise, and worse.....bread you could build a wall with. I've even burned loaves and had to through them out.  Heartbreaking. 

I'm so happy I didn't give up! 

I posted this picture on Instagram and a few of you have asked me for the recipe.  Here is the one I used.  


This loaf was almost too pretty to eat.  ALMOST. 

It was so good and I want to make another one asap.  This little loaf of bread has kickstarted me into comfort food mode.  It's time for chicken pot pies and pot roasts and soups!  I think Fall and Winter is the best time of year for cooking.  Get out your stretchy pants Ladies! The time has come and there's nothing we can do to stop it  :) 

Have a great weekend friends! We have nothing special planned, which means it's going to be a comfy and cozy few days spent at home 

I hope you enjoy whatever you have planned.  It's almost September! xoxo

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

A Beautifully Ordinary Weekend ♥

Hello Friends! 

Well, we've reached the point in the summer where things are starting to wind down.  I feel the need to get whatever I had put off this summer done as soon possible because August is slipping away.  And as much as I love the Fall, I will miss our carefree relaxed days of summer.  Yesterday I took John for his yearly checkup needed for school, a sure fire sign summer is ending. Next week is the dentist and we need to pick up some school supplies.  It's happening. As always it went by too fast and I can hardly remember what I did a month ago.  

Our goal for the next two weeks is to be happy and enjoy our last days of summer vacation.  We do have a few events planned to make it special, but as you know, I do love the ordinary things.  For me, that's what makes our days perfect.  

This past weekend was beautifully ordinary.  On Saturday John and I ran some errands in the morning.  He treated me to a Dunkies pumpkin spice coffee which was a perfect way to start the day.  We share a love of coffee now and I'm slowly converting him into a pumpkin spice lover too :) We went to Walmart, the grocery store, and a thrift store.  Another love we have in common.  Searching for treasures. In the afternoon I started pulling out some of my Fall décor.  I lit an apple scented candle and went to work dusting off surfaces and happily decorating with red, orange, and yellow things.  I put the Hallmark channel on to keep me company. It made me happy 

Sunday we all got up early and went to mass. There is something about an early morning mass that I really love.  The world is still quiet and peaceful.  We had a delicious breakfast afterwards at one of our favorite diners, followed by a walk in the park.  It was a beautiful day to boot! One of those late summer days where you can feel the coolness of September coming.  

In the afternoon I made zucchini bread which made the house smell incredibly good.  I puttered around the house, did some laundry, watered my plants, and then we all sat in the family room and watched some TV.  Dinner was a roast chicken and tomato salad with tomatoes from my father in laws garden.  

Rob and John took a walk after dinner while I cleaned up and then it was time to settle in for the night.  Did I mention I finished Where the Crawdad Sings! LOVED IT! I'm curious to watch the movie to see if it holds true to the book.  I hope so!  Sunday night I started The Only One Left by Riley Sager.  I'm loving it so far.  It's got some creepy spooky vibes to it, which is what I'm looking for this time of year.  I paired it with a cup of Earl Gray tea.  Heaven : ) 


It doesn't get more ordinary than that.  And I wouldn't have changed a thing. 

And now it's new week.  Let's soak up these last days of August with pleasure, one day at a time. 

Have a wonderful day, my friends! 

Byeeeeee xoxox 

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Happy 16th Birthday John! ♥

Hello Lovely Friends! 

So this happened yesterday.  My John turned 16!!!  I have a 16 year old.  It's still a bit weird to say :)  

I feel like lately everything is a milestone in his life.  Working his first job, drivers ed, and now turning 16.  I'm so proud of him and delighted that he had a very happy birthday yesterday. 

I was even more delighted that he chose to spend the day with his dear old mom : )  We had a great time.  We went to the mall first to do some shopping and then saw a movie.  Disney's Haunted Mansion, which was very cute btw!  We grabbed some lunch and stopped by the bakery so I could pick him up a birthday cupcake! Yes, he's still my little boy, even though he's not so little anymore. 

Dinner was pizza (his choice) with my parents and a yummy Boston Cream Pie cake that they picked up for him.  It was delicious!  

He really is the kindest boy. Sweet, intelligent, caring of others, and very funny. He loves music (all kinds!), movies (all kinds!), values his friends and family, and loves being home.  Now that he's older we drink coffee together, he makes me breakfast sometimes, and in no time I'm sure he'll be driving me around instead of me driving him.  It's not so bad :)

And although I'm sad he's not a baby anymore, I've enjoyed every step of him growing and look forward to seeing who he becomes. 

I know it will be something great 

For his birthday gift Rob is taking him to a concert in September.  George Thorogood and the Destroyers.  (If that name doesn't sound familiar to you, he sings "Bad to the Bone"...I'm sure you've heard it :)  Those two share a love of music and saw him last year and had the best time! He can't wait to go again.  With his birthday money and money he's made this summer he's going to buy himself a new phone.  His first adult purchase.  

Another milestone. They keep coming 

 Happy 16th Birthday John!  We love you 

Have a great day Friends! xoxox