Monday, December 30, 2019

Scenes from a Christmas ♥

Hello Friends! 
Have you all survived the holidays?  Despite my mom being in the hospital we had a nice Christmas.
Christmas eve we spent with Rob's family at my brother in laws.  We celebrate the feast of the 7 fishes, which (as a seafood lover) I really enjoy!  The food is so delicious.
John had a wonderful time with all his cousins.  It was a fun night.
Christmas day we slept in a bit.  I made cinnamon rolls and the three of us opened presents.  My favorite gift was my very own electric kettle! Don't laugh...I've been wanting one for ages and let me tell's amazing! ♥
I made a little Christmas dinner of roast chicken, stuffing, garlic bread, cranberry sauce, and veggies. We ate, watched A Christmas Story, and napped.  After dessert we visited my mom, who was in good spirits. My sister and Dad had dinner with her at the hospital earlier in the day.  To their surprise is was GOOD!  : )  We had a good little chuckle about that. 
Later Christmas night we went back to my brother in laws for coffee, more dessert, and Tombola, an Italian bingo game.  It's tradition to play it on Christmas night.  It's a lot of fun ♥
Friday night we celebrated my nephew Anthony's 12th birthday with pizza and cake!
And FINALLY yesterday afternoon we were off to my mother in laws for her annual Christmas lunch and gift exchange.  It's much more low key than Christmas eve and we all enjoy it very much. I made raspberry thumbprint cookies and everybody loved them. 
Rob's parent's house is so beautifully decorated.  This year my mother in law made snowman boxes to wrap the kids gifts in.  They looked adorable around her tree ♥
(She also made a really cool appetizer which I'm totally coping next year : )


And that's a wrap on Christmas 2019.  I missed having my mother home, but we made the best of it.  And you want to know something else?  She's coming home in 10 days!!!!  We are welcoming 2020 with some great news.  She's been working so hard at her physical therapy and getting stronger everyday.  She cannot wait to get out of the hospital : )
I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and are enjoying this lovely week leading up to New Years.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas! ♥

Merry Christmas Eve! ♥
It's finally here.  This past week has gone by so fast.  In some ways  I feel like because of everything that's been going on in my family I've missed the entire Christmas season.  I'm sad about that but I am looking forward to New Year's and starting fresh on January 1st.  We are making the best of things and grateful to be where we are.  Unfortunately my mom will not be home for Christmas, but hopefully soon afterwards.  She's being well taken care of at the rehab hospital and is doing very well! Every day she is getting stronger and we are so proud of her! 

So although our Christmas has been different this year, I have managed to squeeze in a few traditions.
Last night we went to our favorite Christmas place, Edaville Railroad.  We go every year with friends and this year was no exception. We saw Christmas lights, took a train ride, saw Santa, and had hot chocolate & warm chocolate chip cookies.

 It was freezing cold, but it felt good to feel some Christmas cheer ♥

John and his friends rode the Ferris wheel.

Too high and COLD for me, but he had a blast!


I love this picture of John so much (on the right) taken at Edaville in 2017, I had him recreate it.  What a change in him in just 2 years! (it makes me happy and sad at the same time )


My favorite part! So good!

It was a beautiful clear night. 
We got to see a gorgeous sunset as we took a train ride around the lake. It was all lit up with light and looked magical!

Back at home I was able to watch my favorite Christmas movie, The Holiday.   I love this movie so much. There is just something about it...the setting, the music, and the story.  My heart melts for this movie.


 Iris's English cottage is the home of my dreams...: )

Last week was also John's Christmas concert at school.

He and his friend Sean are the two senior drummers this year.  

They did such a great job! 

 I didn't have time to do much baking this year but I did manage to make this peppermint fudge.  It's John favorite and he asked me to PLEASE make some for Christmas eve.  How could I not?  It's so easy and YUMMY!  (It's a Pioneer Woman recipe with only 3 ingredients! Recipe HERE if you need a last minute dessert!)

And here we are.  Presents are wrapped and stockings are stuffed, all ready for tonight.  We will be spending a quiet day at home on Christmas Day.  I bought our favorite cinnamon rolls to have for breakfast while we open presents.  After dinner we'll head up to the rehab to visit my mom.  My Dad and sister will already be there, as they are offering a Christmas dinner for family members.  It's such a wonderful thing to do.  My heart goes out to all of the people in the hospital who can't be home with their families on Christmas. We'll have a late celebration once she gets home.  For now we are just grateful she's here ♥

Whatever your plans, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with the ones you love!  That's the most important thing, isn't it?! 

Merry Christmas, my friends! I hope Santa is good to you!

 I'll be thinking of you all! xoxo

Monday, December 16, 2019

Keeping it Simple ♥

Hello everyone and happy Monday! 

I hope you all had a nice weekend! Hard to believe there is only one more weekend until Christmas.  I am doing my best to keep up with things without driving myself crazy. 

There was a moment last week where I took a deep breath and realized if things are not the same this year, well....that's OK.  We will survive!  And we are surviving : ) 

Thank you all so much for messaging me and checking in on us during this time.  My mother is doing better (prayers answered!).  She's been moved to a rehab hospital for physical and occupational therapy. Unfortunately she'll be there for a few more weeks, but the important part is she WILL come home.  Our Christmas will be slightly postponed....but again...that's OK! 

To be honest I'm getting used to the idea of a simpler holiday.  Once I allowed myself to do that, I felt better.  I'm focusing on John, friends, family, spending time with people, taking care of myself, and less time on running around, fighting crowds, and spending loads of money.   I saw this on Facebook the other day and it really spoke to me.... 

It's so true! 

I hope you all have a wonderful week!  I will be drinking lots of hot chocolate, wrapping a few gifts, enjoying the lights on my Christmas tree, and watching Christmas movies with my family... all with a heart full of gratitude.  

Love you all! xx 

PS. did you know that my mom has the prettiest window sill in the hospital? 

Well, she does 

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

It's December!

Hello Friends! 

I looked up today to breathe and discovered it was December.  

My family and I are in a much better place than we were in November.  My mom is steadily improving and within a few days she'll be moving from the hospital to a rehab where she'll have physical and occupational therapy.  From there she'll come home! We feel so blessed.  Oh how far she's come from the ICU unit at the hospital. She's still got a long way to go, but she is getting there.  We've learned to appreciate the little things.  We've learned the power of prayer.  We've learned that life is a beautiful precious gift <3

I feel like I've emerged from a dark room that I've been stuck in for 3 weeks.  I've come out of the room and all of a sudden it's Christmas time! It snowed! Christmas may be a little different for us this year, but that's OK.  Some things may have to be done on a smaller scale. I might not have time to decorate like I usually do, and I may have to stop at the bakery and pick up a dessert instead of baking one, and my Christmas cards might be a little late...but it's all OK. 

The important things will be there.  Family, friends, good food (yes that's important : ) a happy 12 year old boy, and my Christmas tree, which I managed to put up and decorate last weekend. 

This morning I went out early to catch up on some Christmas shopping and I actually found myself humming to a Christmas song.  I haven't hummed or even listened to any Christmas music in a while.  It felt good to feel happy again.  I treated myself to a cinnamon roll to celebrate the feeling.  Oh yes, things are definitely looking up!  : ) 

This is my mom's Christmas tree in her hospital room.  It was given to her by a friend and she loves it.  (it's boxwood branches, so pretty!).  She got some beautiful flowers and poinsettias also, but gave them to nurses who took such good care of her.  She's bringing her tree with her to the rehab.  I hope she won't be there for long.  We are all hoping she'll be home for Christmas! 

I hope you are all doing well.  I am happy to be back here and look forward to catching up with all of you!  Have a wonderful day!  XOXO

Friday, November 29, 2019


Thanksgiving was very different for me this year.

My mom is in the hospital.  She's had 2 surgeries within the last 11 days.  Surgeries that we didn't expect.  Surgeries that will affect my mom for the rest of her life.  She needs time to recover, heal, and adjust.  It's been an emotional and draining 11 days and no doubt we have more struggles ahead of us.  My mom is still in pain and that's the hardest thing to see. 

And yet, with all that she is going through, I have never felt more thankful.  

I am thankful to still have my mom with me.  I am thankful we will spend Christmas together, because I know things could have turned out differently.  I am thankful for my mom's surgical wounds because they mean she will heal and get better.  I am thankful for the outstanding doctors and nurses at the hospital who have given her such good care.  I am in constant amazement of them. I am thankful for my mom's strong faith that has given her so much comfort during these dark days.  I am thankful for family and friends who have prayed for us and given my family so much support.  I am thankful for the thoughtfulness of friends and family who have brought us food and checked in to see if we needed anything. I am thankful for my work who has been so understanding and flexible with me during this time.  I am thankful for all the messages, texts, tweets, and comments from my online family.  I have felt your love and support and I cannot thank you enough. 

My mom's hospital room overlooks a little white church across the street.  I've looked out her window a million times over the last 11 days.  I've seen the sun rise and the sun set. One particularly dark and scary day it was raining. 

My mom was in surgery. 

and then this happened....

a beautiful sun and the sign of a new beginning.

Thank you all so much. 
  I am so very thankful for YOU ~ 

Danielle xo 

Monday, November 18, 2019

In the Middle... ♥

Hello Friends!

Happy new week! It's been cold and gloomy here but it's OK. It just makes home more warm and cozy. The river out back has frozen and there is that faint smell of "snow" in the air.  The ground is crunchy!  I wore a scarf and gloves for the first time on Saturday.  Winter is coming 

When I wake up it's still dark out.  I thank God for a husband that wakes up early and makes the coffee. #littlethings

  I take my first cup back to bed with me and stay there until the sun comes up. 
It's a nice routine : )  

November is peaceful.  It's the calm before the rush of December.  

From every window we see leaves blowing by.  The birds and squirrels are going crazy.  They know  what's coming and they are preparing.  Soon out these sliders all we'll see is white!  

For now I like the color.  Day by day it changes.  

Hot tea in the afternoon is a must this time of the year.  My mom's kettle is never cold.  

Oh the leaves.... Did we not just rake you away?  Yup.  They always come back.  Sigh.  

So here we are, dead in the middle of November and I started my Christmas shopping. John and I went out for the day on Saturday.  He helps me so much with gift ideas!   I repay him with lunch and frozen hot chocolate (peppermint mocha for me : ). 

I am a sucker for the mall at Christmas time! I just LOVE the Macy's display.  Every year I have to stop and stare at it.  BELIEVE.  I do!!!  

Whenever I think of Macy's I imagine myself in another time, all dressed up (hat, gloves, heels, long coat, the works) going shopping at "the department store".  I buy things like neckties, and perfume, and scarfs. All in cute little boxes.   I wish I lived back then.  Now I'm pretty much a hot mess running through Target.  It's not as dreamy....but I get the job done!  

We stopped in at our favorite Christmas store to see the decorations.  I've been going here since I was a kid and it's become a yearly tradition to visit at least once during the holiday season.  It really gets us in the spirit.  

 Sadly we don't stop to visit Santa anymore, but he gave us a wave as we passed by.  He knows we were there  

This place (named The Christmas Place!) has the biggest room of Christmas trees! It's magical.  

I was able to snap this picture of John that I absolutely love!   It's rare that I get one with such a nice smile on his face!  Especially in a Christmas setting. 

This is a Christmas card picture contender for sure! 

We picked up a few gifts and I am happy that I've officially started shopping!  After a few hours it was time to go back home and get warm.  However, I'm officially in holiday mode now 

I picked up this bag of fresh cranberries when I was grocery shopping.  For some reason I only see the fresh ones at holiday time.  I love them  SO much!   I decided to whip up Susan Branch's Christmas Coffee cake - which by the way I think is good anytime... but the smells fit my mood perfectly.  It has apples, cranberries, cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar.... it's heaven on a plate 


I'm enjoying the last days of my fall décor.  As much as I love it, this weekend it will all be packed away because my tree is going up on Saturday.  I know it's controversial but I'm a "before Thanksgiving" tree person.  I like it all done so we can enjoy the Thanksgiving Day parade with my tree twinkling and my Christmas candles burning~  

That's how I roll and I'm happy about it : )  

However..... I've already started in the bedroom!  A few Christmas/winter touches that I couldn't wait to put out.

I'm loving the coziness!!!!!  

The pillow and fleece throw are from HomeGoods.  I couldn't resist. I've never decorated my bedroom for the holidays before and I was so excited I couldn't wait : )   

I mean....this tree 

So I guess you could say I'm living in the middle.  Fall + Christmas = the best of everything! 

At least for one more week!  

Have a happy Monday everyone! 

Stay cozy and take care of yourself! You are worth it!