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!  


Thursday, November 14, 2019

My Biggest Struggle

Tuesday was not a good day for me.   I woke up at 4 o'clock in the morning with that anxious pit in my stomach that I know so well.  It comes and goes in waves.  Tuesday morning it was there in full force.  
What triggered it? Could be anything. Or nothing.  John was not feeling well the day before.  He was running a temperature and I was pretty sure he was going to have to stay home sick on Tuesday.  I was worried about him missing a test.  Was he concerned? No. But I was.  My mom also was not feeling well.  I was hoping she was getting a good nights sleep.  Was she still awake? Should I check? Over the weekend I started thinking about Christmas gifts. Who to buy for and what to buy? Will I have enough time for shopping?  Will they even like what I pick out? The holidays can get stressful that way. Will all the Halloween candy I've been sneaking every night make me fat? Yes, probably. Wish I had a piece right now. 
And so on and so on. And so on...

Stress and anxiety can be brought on by the littlest things.  Little things in my mind that escalate into big things. I am the type of person who worries about everything.  Sometimes I worry so much I make myself ill.  My whole life I've battled stomach aches and headaches as a result of stress.  The good news is now I know that when I'm having a bad moment or a bad day it IS only temporary and it WILL pass.  My Tuesday 4 am experience resulted in many cups of coffee, me pacing around the kitchen for a half hour, consumption of more Halloween candy, and going outside into the freezing cold to take some deep breaths....which actually did help.  John woke up early still not feeling well.  He took the day off from school and I decided to take the day off with him.  I had emotionally drained myself with mindless worries and needed to recharge.  

Unfortunately this is a pattern with me.  I am telling you this because if you also struggle with stress or worries of any kind, just know you are not alone.  It happens to many of us and we all have different ways of coping.  I find comfort in appreciating the little things.  A pair of cozy pajamas, a cup of hot herbal tea with lemon, a steaming hot shower, putting my worries aside and getting lost in a good book or TV show. These ordinary things can take on a whole new meaning if you approach them as therapeutic. Sometimes it takes taking a day off from work and staying home and hibernating before facing the world again.  I find comfort in my family and friends.  Hearing John's laugh, a text from a friend to say hello, watching a Hallmark movie with my mom.  All these things calm my nerves and the wave passes.  

By Wednesday John was back to school feeling better and so was I.  In the back of my mind all my worries are still swirling around.  They are never really gone, but I've pushed them aside for now.  It will be OK.  I will get it all done.  I will find ways to take time for myself.  I will appreciate the little things.  John can make up his test. My mom is doing fine.  She didn't sleep great but she had a nap the next afternoon.  Christmas will come whether I finish my shopping or not.  I've always managed to get it all done and I will this year too.  As for the Halloween candy....well, I should probably lay off the Kit Kat's.

Today I had to run a quick errand at Whole Foods.  I had only a few minutes because from there I was picking John up at school.  As usual I was running late and time was tight. It was very busy and all the customers had seemingly overflowing shopping carts.  I was literally buying one thing.  Oh no.  I'm going to be late picking up John.  Why did I try to squeeze this errand in?...was all that was going through my mind.  Just then a very nice man (who had a full cart!) let me go in front of him.  I was so happy.  He had no idea what a relief that was for me. Little acts of kindness like that can mean to world to someone.  I try to remember that as I go through my days.  Maybe I can help someone like that man helped me today.  He relived my stress and reminded me that there are still nice people in the world.  

If you struggle with worries like I do just remember the wave will pass. You will find something good in your day.  Even if its just something small.  
It will help you get through it. 

Let yourself recharge and tomorrow will be a better day!  


Monday, November 11, 2019

Baked Egg Breakfast Sandwiches! ♥

Hell Friends! 

This past weekend I tried my hand at baked eggs in the oven.  I had no idea how easy it was!  

I got this idea from one of Rob's cousins, who every year when we go on summer vacations makes the whole family egg sandwiches for breakfast.  I've been wanted to try making them for ages.  Honestly I don't know why I waited so long. 

They were a cinch to make and John & Rob absolutely love them! 

All you do is grease a muffin tin with nonstick spray....

Crack an egg in the cup and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 mins.  

I tried mine 2 ways.  One I left as is....and one I scrambled up with a splash of milk. 
Your choice on however you like your eggs 

I seasoned both with salt and pepper too! 

While they are baking toast your English muffins (or toast, bagels, or biscuits : ) 

 When the eggs are done pop them out of the tin and place on the buttered muffin. 

Top with a slice of cheese~

(add bacon, sausage patty, avocado...whatever you like!) 

Top with the other half of buttered muffin and Enjoy!! 

So good!! 

I really like these as a quick on the go breakfast! Pinterest tells me I can make a bunch ahead of time and freeze them but I haven't tried that yet.  If you have please let me know they turn out, what a time saver that would be : ) 

Happy Monday Everyone! I hope your week is off to a good start! 


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Happy First Week of November! ♥

Hello Friends! 

Well, another Halloween has come and gone! 

2015 vs. 2019 

We had a fun night.  Despite some stormy weather, nothing would stop this guy from trick or treating.  Yes, our Halloween's are a bit different now.  He no longer needs my hand to guide him from door to door, and prefers to go with his "buddies" than boring old mom.  But I'm always there in the background watching...and picking the peanut butter cups out of his bag.  One because he can't eat them...and two because I love them!  

My friend Courtney puts out an amazing spread of Halloween treats before trick or treating. 
We look forward to it every year! 

The kids had a ball.  I'm so glad he hasn't outgrown it yet : ) 

Am I the only one whose been living on a steady diet of  peanut butter cups and Milky Ways?  I can't be!  All I do is complain about it, yet I can't stop. 

This pace will continue until New Years! 

The days are getting really chilly now.  We've had our first fire in the wood burner and I've smelt that hint of frost in the air.  Change is coming.....

I'll still enjoy lovely fall afternoons with chocolate chip cookies and Snoopy 

And a steaming bowl of turkey chilli (easy recipe linked here if you're interested

We turned our clocks back on Saturday so it's dark by 4:30.  The nights are long.  More time for this... 

I'll soak up all the last bits of Fall because you know what's right around the corner??? 


(I may or may not have already started listening to Christmas music.... just saying! )

My tree goes up in two weeks and I'm pretty excited about it.  

Happy first week of November! The official start to all things holiday!

Get ready! XO