Friday, December 2, 2022

December is here! ♥





Hello Friends! Happy December! 

It's such a nice feeling waking up to a Christmas tree in the house.  The first thing I do in the morning is switch it on so it glows and lights up the room.  I think my favorite time of day in December is early morning with the tree, when it's still quiet and the sun hasn't risen yet.  It's nice to spend some peaceful moments watching it sparkle.  December days can be so busy and hectic.  My to do list is overwhelming sometimes so it's important for me to ease into the day.  Everything will get done eventually.  For now it's just me and the tree.  Even though all the decorations are up and we've been watching Home Alone and Elf on repeat, I'm still amazed it's already December.  As a child time stood still this time of year.  It took FORVER for Christmas to come. As an adult, time slips away so quickly.  I feel like in a blink it will be New Years.   

I'm excited it's finally December so I can start my Advent calendar!! We got two this year and I've had them tucked away for weeks, just dying to crack into them.  John has a chocolate one and I got myself (Merry Christmas to me!) this cute English Tea Shop one.  I'm obsessed with their teas lately and this calendar has some flavors I haven't tried yet.  

 


I got it off Amazon (here).  

It's so darling! 


 

Yesterday's selection was a cozy winter chai.  So good! I've already peeked (of course I did) and today's tea will be "festive spice" which by the smell I think will be a cinnamon based tea. It's lovely to have a treat to look forward to everyday.  It's the little things, right?! 


            

John said his chocolate yesterday was just "ok" so I'm hoping today's will be a little tastier for him.  Speaking of tasty, I wanted to share with you a quick meal I made this week, which by the way is my lunch today.  Chicken broccoli and ziti. It's such an easy pasta dish!  I top it with toasted breadcrumbs like my mother always does and had a salad on the side.  I made a homemade vinaigrette for the first time and that went over very will too : ) 



Tomorrow there is a Christmas Bizarre at John's school that we are going to.  I love seeing all the homemade items.  Years ago my mother did craft shows at Christmas time.  She would spend months painting and sewing various things to be sold.  She loved it, but I know how much work went into it.  It was a labor of love, that's for sure.  Last year I picked up a few painted ornaments and some fudge.  If luck is on my side, the fudge lady will be back this year.  Fingers crossed! 

Have a wonderful and festive weekend, friends!  

Stay cozy! xoox 

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping ♥


Hello Friends! Happy Wednesday! 

Here's a question.  What do you do with half a can of pumpkin??  That was my dilemma this weekend.  Don't you hate it when recipes only call for half a can of something? Like, let's use the whole can, shall we?! Not always. 

 My mother had some leftover pumpkin from a dessert she made for Thanksgiving.  She gave me the can and said that she was sure I would be able to use it (i.e. she was graciously unloading it on me:).  My first thought was of course pumpkin pancakes, because that is my go-to for leftover pumpkin.  But since I've been having 4:00 tea time I need to have something to go with it.  Tea and cake.  It's a thing.  So pumpkin coffee cake it is!  I got the recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction.  Every recipe from her site is amazing so I knew it would be good. Right down to the crumb topping and drizzled icing on top.  The recipe calls for 1 cup of pumpkin.  Beautiful, because that's exactly what I had. 

So yummy and moist and perfect with a cup of tea.  

I've also been picking at it for breakfast with my coffee.  That's why I love coffee cakes.  
They can be breakfast, snack, or dessert! 

I've linked the recipe (here) if you have half a can of pumpkin that you need to use or you just want a treat. Or both 



Can you believe tomorrow is December 1st?  I'm excited to start my advent calendars tomorrow.  I've been looking at them for a month now! LOL  



Have a wonderful day, friends!  It's about to start pouring rain here.  

Stay cozy!!! xoox 

Monday, November 28, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving and a festive weekend! ♥

Good Morning lovely friends! 

 I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.  I for one, am still full!  We spent a fun day at my brother in laws on Thursday.  It was a beautiful sunny fall day here and everything I wanted Thanksgiving to be. We ate, drank, told stories, laughed, and ate some more. I can imagine all of you sitting around your family tables doing the same thing.  That is certainly something to be thankful for and brings me such joy to envision. 

One of the best parts of my day was taking a walk around the neighborhood between dinner and dessert to digest and literally make room for pie.  I always overdo it on holidays....but hey, who doesn't?  Why do I love dessert some much??? Help me. 

I did not brave any stores this weekend (not up for that chaos!) but I will admit to buying a few things online this morning : )  The holiday season is officially here, so why not get a deal or two!  I'm almost done with my shopping and that brings me a huge sense of relief!  I'm looking forward to enjoying December as peacefully as I can without worrying about standing in line at some crowded store at the mall.  Thank you to whomever invented Amazon.  It's a wonderful thing, isn't it? 



Our table ~ 




My plate.  I love turkey dinner! 


We spent the rest of the weekend putting up the tree, decorating the house, and eating leftover pumpkin pie.  As you can see from this photo I'm eating half slices, so there's that...: ) 




    
We also watched this movie.  It's a sequel to A Christmas Story.  Ralphie is all gown up!  I loved it.  It's was so cute and heartwarming. It's on HBO Max.  





There is something magical about waking up to a Christmas tree in the house.  




And all our little treasures that come out for only a few precious weeks a year.  




And so it begins.  Thursday is December 1st.  The countdown is on. 





I hope you all had a great weekend and are getting off off to a good start this week.  I'm sitting here quietly in my office, surrounded by Christmas lights and drinking a peppermint mocha.  I can't escape it, so why not embrace it.  This week I have several appointments and things that need to be done, but I'm adamant about starting my days slow and steady and keeping calm.  I will also have my 4:00 afternoon cup of tea everyday no matter what. Time to put on some nice music and get to work.  Love you all! 

Stay cozy!!! xoox 

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Quotes from people I love ♥

Hello Lovely Friends! 

Today I was thinking.... 

If I had to pick names of people that influenced my childhood, kept me company, opened my imagination, helped me feel safe, and brought me endless joy, these four would be at the top of my list...









What a gift they all have given me.  As an adult I still feel it. 

My childhood heart thanks them very much 

So tell me, whose on your list? 

Happy Wednesday Friends! 

Stay cozy ~ xoxo 

Monday, November 14, 2022

Lemon Scones ♥

Good Morning lovely Friends and happy Monday! 

I hope you all had a nice weekend.  
Mine was very nice and as always, went by too fast.  Saturday John and I went out and did some errands.  We make a coffee stop, checked some items of our Christmas list, and went to the library.  That seems to be our Saturday routine as of late.  I love that he still loves to spend time with me so I'll take it for as long as I can get it.  We drive, drink coffee, & listen to music. The car is where all our deep talks happen too, so you never know where the conversation will go : )  
After lunch he had CCD and mass. This spring he'll make his confirmation.  I feel like only yesterday he was receiving first communion.  Where does the time go? 

After mass he and a few friends were invited to another friends house for pizza. Perfect.  Rob and I had a nice dinner and then I started watching The Crown.  That continued on into Sunday.  I did some cleaning, some baking, and then on with the show!  It's so good.  

It's been a while, but I have a recipe to share with you today!  It must have been all the "afternoon teas" on The Crown seeping into my self conscious, because I was craving scones.  I scanned my pantry for ingredients and luckily I had everything I needed.  I saw two beautiful lemons in my fridge just waiting for me...so lemon scones it was!  

I found a recipe on Allrecipes.com and let me tell you, this is the easiest recipe AND these scones are delicious. They came out SO GOOD.  I cannot stop eating them! They are not too dry, full of flavor, and highly addictive. I have them on a plate on my kitchen table and every time I walk by I break off a corner and start nibbling.  I am not kidding! :) 


~Here is the recipe if you want to try them ~ 

♥ SCONES: 

3 cups flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/3 tsp salt

3/4 cup cold butter, cut into cubes

9 tbls milk

3 tbls fresh lemon juice

2 1/2 tsp lemon zest

1 1/2 tsp vinegar 


♥ GLAZE:

2 cups confectioner's sugar

1/3 cup melted butter

2 1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

added water, if needed  

* for the glaze I only used 1 cup of confectioner's sugar and 1/4 cup (4 tbls) of melted butter.  I didn't want the glaze to be overly sweet and I also didn't want a ton left over, which is what usually happens.  After I added the lemon juice and vanilla it was a tad thick so I added a few drops of water to thin it out.  It worked out perfectly *




Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder & soda, and salt together in a large bowl.  Mix in the cold butter with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  I use my fingers! 
Whisk milk, lemon juice, zest, and vinegar in a small bowl. 
Stir into flour mixture until dough is moistened.  

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly, 5 or 6 turns.  Pat or roll dough out into a 1 inch thick round.  Cut into 8-10 wedges (mine were on the larger side so I only got 8).  
Arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake 12 -15 minutes until edges are brown. Let cool completely before glazing. 

For the glaze, mix all ingredients and drizzle over scones.  

Enjoy!!! 



Yummy! 🍋



I will definitely be making these again.  If you are a lemon lover like me I know you'll devour these.  I just had half a one for breakfast and I'm going back for the other half when I refill my coffee.

My agenda for today is work, work, and more work.  I'm sitting here in my little home office, cozy as a clam.  I'm about to put some music on and try to get through this Monday.  I'm thinking roast chicken for dinner tonight and brownies for dessert.  Sounds like a plan 

Have a great day friends! 

Stay Cozy! xoxoxo 

Friday, November 11, 2022

Self care during the holiday season ♥

Hello Friends! Happy Friday 

Well, there's no denying it.  It's that time of year again. As much as I love Thanksgiving and Christmastime, if I'm not careful it can get very stressful.  I always find myself rushing around and feeling envious of others who seem to be enjoying the season more.  Time seems to fly for me, while others are doing something festive and amazing every day...or so it seems. Sometimes too much planning can make things even more chaotic and that's the complete opposite of what I am trying to achieve.  My main goal this year (as it is every year...I keep trying!) is to keep things simple.  Simple gifts, simple décor, simple living. Be present every day. What do we really NEED anyway? Not much.  Except each other.  And maybe some good pie : ) 

Here are 5 things I'm doing this month to keep my stress levels down....

Reading and listening to audio books - I've leaned from past mistakes that I have to take time for myself or else I will burn out.  Reading and listening to books it a great way to take me out of a stressful mood.  I love cozying up at night with my book and a cup of tea, and just escaping life for a little while. I also like to put earbuds in, hit play on my audio book, and bake something delicious. Books settle my busy mind and that's so important during holiday time so I don't obsess over every little thing. I just finished "The Couple Next Door" and I really enjoyed it.  Now I'm searching for winter and holiday themed books.  Any recommendations? 

Limit social media - Have you ever looked down at your phone, started scrolling, only to realize that an hour or TWO have passed??  This happens to me more often that I'd like to admit.  As much as I love Instagram (and I do!) because I love connecting with my friends and seeing what wonderful things they are up to, Instagram also has a way of making me feel really bad.  It's so easy to fall into a "comparison trap." Social media tells us what we should be doing, eating, decorating, buying... and so on.  How can I keep up with all that? Especially during the busiest time of the year.  It's exhausting.  Lately I've been leaving my phone in another room at night while I watch TV.  It's shocking how many times I go to reach for it during a commercial or a lull in a show. I want to get out of that habit.  I find I am enjoying my shows even more because I am not distracted. (have you been watching the new season of  The Crown yet? I'm loving it!)  On the flip side, blogging I love.  Reading & writing blogs is so enjoyable and relaxing.  I wish more people would bring back the simple art of blogging instead of searching for instant gratification of social media.  I'm not saying I'm going to abandon it completely, I'm just cutting back a little and it's making a big difference in my mental health. 

Taking walks - Let's be clear about one thing.  I hate exercise.  My husband for example, loves to workout.  That's his self care.  He works out everyday.  Sometimes twice a day.  He's the guy that searches for a gym on vacation so he can workout.  That's him and that's ok.  That's not me.  I do, however, love to walk. Getting outside and breathing in fresh air is an amazing reset for me, especially when I'm stressed.  I like to do it only in the morning (don't ask my why).  I take coffee with me, so let's not call this a power walk by any means, but more like a walking meditation if that makes sense.  I like to go down by the ocean and walk along the shore. I listen to music, a podcast, or my current book.  It reminds me that I don't have to be working, or doing laundry, or cleaning, or taking care of people every second of the day.  Sometimes I can just be alone and enjoy a nice walk by myself.  

Planning ahead - Remember that saying from elementary school "proper preparation prevents poor play"  That's me in a nutshell! One of the most stressful things for me is shopping!  Its the thing I hate most. Not gift giving. Shopping. I hate that all the holiday emphasis is on it.  Once I have all my gifts at home ready to wrap is when I can finally relax.  These days my shopping always starts at home.  Online has made things a lot easier for people like me, however I do sort of miss the the old days of "browsing" at the mall.  That no longer exists for people, which is kind of sad.  There is too much rush around it. Too much aggravation and too much fear.  Added to the fact that the news tells us that there is basically a shortage on everything so we better get stuff NOW.  So far this year I'm doing well.  I said I was going to start shopping early and I actually did. Checking things off a to-do list is one of the most satisfying  things in the world! : ) I remember when I was a kid my Dad would shop for my mother's Christmas gift on Christmas eve! Can you imagine? He did it every year.  He loved it.  It was his little tradition.  Just thinking about being that last minute has me breaking out in hives! The main thing I did for myself in this category this year is I let go of searching for the perfect present.  I've found over the years that people are so grateful no matter what they get.  The pressure to be perfect lies on me.  I'm no longer doing that and shopping with my heart instead.  

Getting more sleep - This is a big one.  During the holidays I always lack sleep.  I stay up late wrapping gifts, baking, writing cards, etc. because "I don't have enough time during the day."  I end up looking and feeling like a zombie.  Not a festive look.  I decided if it, whatever "it" happens to be that day, doesn't get done before bed time, then it's not getting done that day. I cannot sacrifice my sleep.  There will be time tomorrow. Things always have a way of working themselves out and getting done.  I've pushed sleep and getting rest to the top of my priority list over the holiday season.  I think its the most important thing I can do for myself. 

Some honorable mentions....

Hallmark Christmas movies, peppermint mocha coffee from Dunkin Donuts, and new makeup are also things that make me happy, relieve stress, and help me enjoy the busy holiday season! 

Thanks for visiting me today and listening to this pep talk to myself as I prepare for the holidays.  I want the bring back the simple days of Christmas.  Bake some cookies, visit some friends, get some rest, and enjoy every lovely minute. 

Have a wonderful weekend friends!  

Stay cozy!!! xoxoxo 

Thursday, November 10, 2022

A Sneak Peek ...♥

 Hello Friends!  

I thought I'd give you a little sneak peek into my new home office space.  We recently cleaned out a walk in closet off of our kitchen and converted into an office/storage area. 

I'm still in the beginning stages of moving in, but am loving it so far.  I need to get a proper desk and some wall décor.  I think I would also like to replace this rug with something more oval shaped.  What do you think? 

Behind my chair is a little alcove where I have a filing cabinet and a few other things stored.  When you enter the closet on the right there is some shelving that we are using to store paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and soaps.  It's sort of a catch all pantry.  

I'm already thinking about decorating in here for Christmas. I can visualize one of those skinny trees in the corner and lights around the window.  

Doesn't everyone decorate their home office pantry?  :) 




I love the light coming in from the window.  It's so warm and cozy in here.  The best part is I'm just steps away from the kitchen (i.e the coffee pot : ) 

For the last few years I've been working in a corner in my bedroom so it's such a treat to actually be able to leave that room and "go to work" in an area designated just for that.  It makes a huge difference in productivity.  I also enjoy writing my blog posts right from this space 


I'll keep you updated as I continue to work in here.  If you have any suggestions please let me know! 

Have a wonderful day friends!  

Stay cozy!