Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

Wishing you all the happiness and blessings this lovely holiday has to offer...

From my h♥me to yours...
Merry Christmas!
I hope you enjoy your day with the ones you love ♥ 

Monday, December 19, 2016

One week to go...♥

It's the week before Christmas and I don't know about you, but I'm getting excited.  Are you ready? I still have a few finishing touches to get done this week, but overall I'm feeling pretty good. 
This week I still have to squeeze in a haircut and one more trip to the mall.  I think I can do it ♥

In between wrapping and baking, here's a few snaps of what's been going on around here the past week.... 

We had a snow day on Saturday and some of us really enjoyed it!

He's been waiting all summer for this!

While the boys were outside in the snow I was cozy warm inside making French toast and hot chocolate.  Snow days call for comfort food!

Snow day essential!

By Sunday the rain had washed it all away, but we enjoyed the view while it lasted.  I played Johnny Mathis Christmas music all morning in the kitchen and it felt like a winter wonderland : )

This weekend I made a batch of these easy stuffed mushrooms.  If you ever need an idea for a quick appetizer here's my secret.  I sautéed the mushroom caps in oil, butter, and garlic.  And then I topped them with Stove Top stuffing (yup, that's right!) If you want to dress them up a bit you can sprinkle them with shredded mozzarella cheese and heat them in the oven.

Bon appetite!

And speaking of little bites...

I had my work Christmas party on Tuesday night and I totally indulged on appetizers! I think I could live on appetizer food alone if I had to.  So good!

I spent a few quite moments at my parent's house....

Before helping decorate their tree. 

In 42 years I've never missed decorating this tree.  It's my favorite tradition!

Last weekend was absolutely freezing, but the cold weather didn't deter us from our annual Christmas visit to Edaville Railroad to see Thomas the Tank Engine and the all the Christmas lights!

Bundled up like an Eskimo and didn't mind one bit!
You should have seen what I looked like! LOL

So pretty at night.


John and Gordon....
Some things he'll never outgrow ♥

Back home for tea and cranberry cake.  All the goodness of the holidays. 

From my home to yours, I hope you are enjoying these last days of holiday preparations.  Remember to take a moment for yourself and breathe.

Next week, when it's all said and done, we can sleeeeeeep! ♥

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The most wonderful time of the here ♥

Hello my friends! 

I can't believe (as I type this) today is December 7th and we are one full week into December.  What have you been up to? 

Over the past two weeks I've been busy shopping and wrapping and probably, out of excitement, not getting nearly enough sleep.  Holiday preparations can be fun, but also a bit stressful. Sometimes I have to tell my self to stop....regroup...and relax.  

Rudolph was on the other night, and we did just that.  Everyone on the in the middle ♥ 

Here is our Christmas tree.  Every time I look at it I'm reminded of all my Christmas's gone by.  

I've had this Minnie ornament since I was in high school.  

I love her ♥ 

This box of my grandmother's glass ornaments is one of my most treasured possession.  My mom gave them to me after Nana passed away.  I have vivid memories of helping decorate her tree with these ornaments.  I always put them high so they won't get broken.  They are worn and faded in some spots and that's just the way I like them ♥ 

I've gotten a bit of help with my wrapping.  This is our elf Zip. Her brother Zoom is around here somewhere.... He's a bit more mischievous than she is.  They watch over John and keep Santa posted on everything that goes on in our house.  They've also been known to follow him to school and hide in the coat closet. I hope they never go away : ) 

We had our first snow this week! It was just a dusting and within a few hours it was gone.  It was around just long enough to put a pretty coating of frosting on the holly bush.  

John was dancing around the yard as if we had 3 feet of snow! Not to worry, I'm sure there will be more to come ♥ 

Is there anything better than coming home after a long day and finding a package on your doorstep? Nope!

A gift from my sweet far away friend has me in the mood for baking! I can't wait to use this cupcake kit!!! ♥

Back out to the stores I go for more shopping.  Gingerbread lattes and chocolate croissants is my fuel! 

The mornings are dark and cold but so much more cozy with glowing Christmas lights around the kitchen window.  It's makes it so hard to leave in the morning. 

Yes, you do....♥

Things are moving quickly these days.  John is preparing for his drama show next week.  The Jr. drama group is doing A Christmas Carol (21st Century style). I'm not exactly sure what that means but I can't wait to find out. And while he's preparing for that, I'm preparing to make my first Christmas Day dinner ever at our house. 

The lists are out of control around here! ♥ 

I hope you all are enjoying these fast paced days of the season.  Remember to stop, regroup, and relax....
Let's make this time last as long as possible. 

Maybe with a blueberry muffin and some cocoa by the Christmas tree ♥

I'll be back soon with a some home baked treats for you! ♥ 

Have a happy day! xoxoxo

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving! ♥

Well, tomorrow is Thanksgiving! Wow, wasn’t it just Halloween? 

And since Thanksgiving is a celebration of blessings I wanted to be sure I took the time to tell you how thankful I am to you all ♥

To all my virtual friends  whom I’ve become so close with over the years.  I so look forward to hearing from.  You have enriched my life in endless ways and for that I will be forever grateful ♥

I will think of you tomorrow morning as I take my first sip of coffee and turn on the Christmas tree...

 I will think of you as John, Rob, and I have cinnamon rolls for breakfast and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV.  I’ll think of you as I gather around the table with friends and family and say grace.  I’m sure I will eat too much turkey, but I’ll save you a piece of homemade pie!

 And when it’s all over and I lay my head down to sleep (and no doubt my FULL belly)  I will count my blessing and you can be sure you will be included! ♥

Happy Days to you, lovelies!  Cheers! Xx

(p.s I'm also grateful to pinterest for all the beautiful vintage pictures... : ) 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Italian Bean Soup & the begining of the season...♥

On a blustery November day is there anything better than a pot of soup bubbling on the stove?
I don't think so either.  I was home this past Friday because of Veteran's Day and because it was so cold out I made up my mind first thing in the morning that I was going to make soup ♥

Soup is one of those meals you can make once and then feed on it all week. A bowl here and a bowl there.... It's so warm and comforting to have a hot bowl of soup. 

It really is good for the soul ♥

I made this bean soup, which is a favorite of ours.  Beans are so hearty and good for you.  Rob loves them and so does John.  I don't think he realizes they are actually healthy and I'm not going to be the one to tell him.  Why ruin a good thing : )

The recipe comes together quickly and is very delicious.  Perfect on a windy autumn day.... the kind where you could almost see Pooh Bear flying by the window,.... 

2 (15-oz.) cans cannelloni beans, drained, rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained, rinsed
2 tsp olive oil
2 med carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 med celery stalks, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1/8 tsp black pepper

Mash 1/2 cup of drained beans. Set aside.  Heat oil in a large saucepan over med-high heat.  Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic.  Cook 3-4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring frequently. 

Add all the remaining ingredients including the mashed beans and whole beans.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes.  

Garnish with some Parmesan cheese and some crusty bread and butter on the side. 

Enjoy ♥

**you can adapt this soup and add any veggies you want - In the past I've added cooked broccoli, green beans, and even little potatoes.  Anything will work **

And here's my little boy today, growing up way too fast. We had a lovely weekend that seemed to go by way too fast.  Mondays are coming quicker and quicker these days. And with that, I'm starting to feel the "shift".  The shift that tells me Christmas is coming.  It's my siren song!  I heard my first Christmas song on the radio Saturday and that was that.  I'm hooked!

I made a decision last year that this year I was going to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving. Yes...I'm turning into one of THOSE people!  Don't get me wrong, I haven't done one bit of shopping yet (although I am guilty of list making...).  The reason I want to put my tree up early this year is because I always seem to feel rushed. This year  I want us to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in our pj's by the Christmas tree.  We can have our late night pumpkin pie by the twinkling lights of the tree.  How festive!  I won't have to think about when can I squeeze in decorating in between shopping and wrapping and baking. I want to enjoy the process ♥

I was nervous as to what Rob would say about me wanting to put the tree up so early but when I told him he loved the idea! He even got into the spirit himself and hung the lights outside already! Yup, I definitely married the right guy! ♥

I have a few days off this week, so tomorrow it begins. Beloved fall will slowly fade away for another year and Christmas will magically appear ♥ ❅☃


Have a happy week my dear friends! As always, thank you for vising me today. 
I am so grateful for you! xo

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Rainbow Connection ♥

I think I must have been around 9 or 10 when I first heard Karen Carpenter sing.  I remember my parents had a 45 record of Top of the World that I would listen to on the living room stereo.  I had no idea who she was or what she looked like, I just knew she had the most beautiful voice I had ever heard. 
When I was in my early teens I bought a cassette tape of The Carpenters Greatest Hits.  I listened to it so much I practically wore it out. And then came the Christmas album, Christmas Portrait, which is still my favorite holiday album of all time. Every Christmas I would check it out of the library and listen to it over and over.  Oh, how I loved it so!  It wasn't until I was much older that I learned how sad she was, how she had anorexia, and died so young.  This was before the Internet so information didn't travel as quickly as it does now.  All I knew is that I loved her voice, and Rainy Days and Mondays was my song in junior high.
You know how certain songs stir up nostalgia in you? Whenever I hear a Carpenters song I am instantly taken back to those early days when I was hearing Karen for the first time.  Listening to her now with my adult ears my heart breaks for her, but my little 12 year old ears only hear happiness and joy coming from the little cassette player in my bedroom. 
So why am I telling you this? Well, on Friday I accidentally came across a Carpenters recording that I had never heard before.  It's another song that I LOVE and I couldn't believe that I had never heard this version before. 
One of my favorite songs is The Rainbow Connection, from the original Muppet Movie (1979).   I have heard many, many versions of this song over the years and  aside from Kermit himself, none as beautiful as The Carpenters. 
There's something about the words to this song and the feelings it stirs up in me that makes me so comforted to hear it.  I think about the innocence of my childhood when my parents were young and I had not a care in the world.  I loved the Muppets (still do!) and seeing The Muppet Movie for the first time on HBO was such a thrill! (we had just gotten cable) Remember Kermit riding his bike? I still don't know how they did that :)
So now that you understand my love for these two can image my joy when I stumbled across a YouTube video of The Carpenters singing Rainbow Connection. I was so emotional my eyes filled with tears ♥
I wanted to share with you the link to the song so you could hear it for yourself.  I hope you listen and enjoy it.  It's my way of bringing us together. 
If my life had a soundtrack, this song would be it.
In these uncertain times we live in I hang on to the things that comfort family, my friends, and my memories ♥
I'm sure John will have his own nostalgic moments like I do someday. 
And that's a really nice thing to think about....♥
Have a wonderful Monday, friends! I'm so grateful for you! xx
the lovers, the dreamers, & me