Thursday, December 28, 2023

My Christmas 2023 ♥


Hello Friends.  Merry Christmas.  I didn't take many photos on Christmas this year.  Somehow it didn't seem fitting.  To be totally honest it was the worst holiday I've ever had.  It was odd, different, and sad.  No matter how hard people tried, there was an emptiness that could not be filled.  It never will be. 

 Looking back now I see there were some moments, very few, that I did smile.  That for a brief second I forgot....and it was Christmas. But then I remembered again and all I wanted to do was crawl into bed. But I didn't.  I was happy when it was over. Relieved.  And now I can say, I survived.  We tried and did our best.  The best we could under the circumstances. I ordered food in and we stayed cozy and watched movies.  And we prayed.  

With the help of family and friends, near and far, we tried to stay upbeat.  We talked about my mom and told funny stories.  I guess that's what people do in these cases.  That's really all you can do.  I love Christmas.  I don't want to not love it.  So I'll continue to love it.  For my mom.  

A few things that brought me joy....generous gifts from family & friends.  Special ornaments that she loved.  And a book from my dear friend that is bringing me so much comfort.  

I'm grateful 

This bookmark was painted by my talented niece who clearly knows me well! 

My mom made these snow people.  She used to sell them at craft fairs years ago.  This year I put mine in my bedroom.  They have always made me chuckle : )  

We didn't have a white Christmas.  We had frost and then rain.  

Maybe next year 

And now I move forward.   I want to feel like myself again.  Get back to baking and all the stuff I love to do.  My mom will always be with me.  I know that.  She loved all the things I love.  We had that in common. 

People say in time I will feel better. Little by little I'll get there, like so many of you already have 

Thank you to everyone who reached out me on here, Instagram, or text.  It means the world to me to know I was in so many of your good thoughts and prayers this Christmas.  We really are a beautiful community here, aren't we : ) 

So what's my plan? Well, these days I don't plan too far in advance, but I do know my immediate future (i.e tonight) consists of finishing The Crown, Christmas leftovers, and being as cozy as humanly possible under a blanket on my couch.  This week has always been my favorite week of the year.  Everyone seems to slow down and now it's needed more than ever.  The stillness and calmness is a beautiful thing.  Winter is my favorite season for that exact reason. It's a time of reflection and recharging the batteries (and boy do I need that).  Like every year, I bought myself a nice new planner.  I've been enjoying filling in special dates and things to remember going into the new year. 

I do hope you had Merry Christmas and enjoyed all the celebrations! I hope you ate good food and spent time with your loved ones. 

Happy new year friends!  What are you doing new years eve? I got new sweatpants just for the occasion! :)

Love to all! and thank you 

Thursday, December 14, 2023

My Mom ♥

It's hard for me to comprehend that I am actually writing this, but I wanted to let you all know, my friends and dear readers of this blog, that my mom passed away last week.  As you know she had been sick.  In and out of the hospital for the last few months and as hard as she tried, her time came.  The time to be with her family, my sister, her parents, and all her friends that went before her.  She's happy now.  Not sick or in pain.  She's finally at peace. 

It's been very difficult for us.  I still can't really come to terms that this has actually happened.  Everyone is telling me in time it will get better.  I know that's true, but right now it's tough.  It's long days and even longer nights.  My heart breaks for my Dad, who cared for her day and night.  It's quiet now and the house feels empty.  I miss my mom. I always will. 

She died on a Wednesday.  It snowed that morning.  It was the pretty kind of snow that lightly covered the trees.  I remember looking out the hospital window thinking how pretty it looked and how she would have thought so too.  We spent the whole day with her that day, talking to her and holding her hand.  She knew we were there.  And then, after we all left and she was alone she drifted away.  I can imagine the joy she felt to see my sister again, who she missed so much.  She's dancing now, strong, with two legs.  We'll be ok.  It will just take time. 

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers over the years.  It has meant so much to me (and to my mom, who was my biggest supporter of this blog). 


Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Thanksgiving is next week?! ♥


Hello Friends! I took this photo from Pinterest.  It's it pretty?  I loved it and thought it was so appropriate in capturing November.  It's moody and dark, but still cozy and whimsical.  I can't believe next week is Thanksgiving.  Normally at this time I would be in a much different mindset, but because of everything that's been going on at home I've decided to take an alternate route. A much easier one.  It was my husband's suggestion and I must admit I had already thought of it but didn't say anything.  I made the decision to order a Thanksgiving dinner - all prepared and ready to go!  Shaw's Supermarket had a great deal.  A fully cooked turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls AND a pie.  I'm picking it up on Wednesday. Sometimes you have to do things to save time and make your life easier.  I'm going for it.  As Rob says "how bad could it be?"  I have faith its going to be great! I may add a veggie or two and I'm planning on making my own apple pie (the dinner is coming with pumpkin pie).  I'm just happy my family will at be home and together on Thanksgiving.  As soon as I made the decision not to cook I felt a wave of peace over me.  Who knows, maybe it will be so good I'll do it again next year?? We'll see.  Fingers crossed! : )

In other news John had a band concert last Sunday.  He did so well.  The school provided them tuxedos.  I have to share a picture because when we were outside taking it all I could think about was how the neighbors must think he's going to a prom! lol 

He looked so handsome! 

He's tucked in the back on drums and you can hardly see him back there (back row, center, left), but we could certainly hear him.  He did an amazing job.  The school music program has been so wonderful over the years.  He loves it.  They are now practicing for the Christmas show in December.  I hear the big number is Sleigh Ride.  I'm looking forward to that! 

And speaking of Christmas.....

Just when I said to myself I was going to wait until after Thanksgiving to start decorating.....nope.  I went to attic to get one thing and then couldn't stop.  I hung garlands around the windows in the kitchen, hung lights in my office, and put up this little tree on bedside table. Just seeing the little bits and bobs around the house made me happy.  Christmas decorations are such a mood booster, aren't they? And we all need it right now.  

I'm going to do more this week, little by little, until all that's left is the tree...that's my favorite.  

Have you decorated yet? 

The weather has been very cold (finally!!).  On our nightly walks I've been wearing a scarf, gloves, and last night I broke out the ear muffs. John gave me an "are you kidding me" eye roll, but I didn't care.  I was nice and toasty.  I love the cold weather and I'm so happy it's here.  One of my neighbors put a Christmas Story "leg lamp" in their front window.  We laughed so hard last night when we saw it.  I'll try to snap a picture of it if I can do it nonchalantly and show you.  I don't know this neighbor but I wish I did.  I think we would be friends : ) 

The ground is covered with frost in the mornings and I've been using my automatic start to warm up the car before the school run.  John and I both have hot coffee to sip on the way.  Yesterday when I got home I noticed this one rose still thriving in the front yard.  She's the lone survivor.  I don't know how long she'll last with these frosty mornings but I'm rooting for her! 

And now I'm off to have a favorite snack. An orange and a square of dark chocolate.  They really are lovely together.  I hope you all are doing well and enjoying the beautiful month of November.  The December rush will be here soon! Have you started shopping yet? I'm happy to say I have. 

Thank you for visiting me today.  Have some hot chocolate, get a warm blanket, and watch a Christmas movie.  I want to watch The Holiday this weekend.  It's one of my favorites and always leaves me dreaming of Christmas in the English countryside.   Someday! 

Stay cozy friends! And thank you all for your continued well wishes and prayers for my family.  

Love you! Xx

Friday, November 3, 2023

10 Things I Love ♥

Hello Friends! Happy Friday!  ♥

Before I get into this post I wanted to give you a little update.... My mom came home from the hospital on Wednesday night.  She's being treated with antibiotics and doing much better.  She has a physical therapist, occupational therapist, and visiting nurse that have been coming to the house for checkups and therapy.  So far so good! We have a long road in front of us, but we are heading in the right direction. Thank you for all your blessings.  We have felt them!

With that being said, I am full of gratitude this week.  I was trying to think of something to write about today and it seemed only fitting to do a "10 things I love" post.  I always say it's the little things in life that bring the most comfort and joy.  A really big chocolate chip cookie.  A warm, soft blanket.  Your favorite movie on TV just when you need it most.  Those things are the best things.  What would life be like without them? 

Here are ten VERY random things I currently love:  ♥

Dark chocolate.  I have one square a day.  It's delightful...especially when I dunk it in a cup of tea. I look forward to it every afternoon. Yum. 

Amazon, QVC, or any home delivery service.  It's hard to remember a time when Amazon didn't exist.  I currently have a cart full of Christmas presents ready to be ordered.  What a feeling to know packages will come right to my door and I never have to leave the house.  No crowded stores or waiting in long lines. RELIEF!  I'm even considering ordering a Thanksgiving dinner this year (fully cooked and ready to eat). What a time saver.  Our grandmothers may not approve, but I do : ) 

The Libby App.  Have you heard of this?  I'm sure I've talked about it before.  It's an app that hooks into your local library.  You can get books, magazine, audio books, all for free.  All you need is a library card.  I am obsessed with it!  I am constantly listening to audio books while I work and it's wonderful to be able to get them for free through my library.  I just downloaded a book called Don't Let Her Stay.  I love thrillers and so far this one is really good! 

Hot Cider.  Every fall we make hot cider.  I take store bought apple cider, add orange juice, cinnamon sticks, and cinnamon.  I heat it on the stove and pour it into my favorite fall mug.  Its the most comforting drink on a chilly October or November afternoon.  It's fall in a cup. And it makes the kitchen smell good too.

Baking Bread.  I've talked a lot of my love of bread making on this blog.  I have a deep love of dough. LOL  This year for Christmas I'm treating myself to a Food Nanny dough hook.  There is nothing like homemade bread. It's better for us and the act of making it is almost as good as eating it.  I find it very therapeutic and it brings me joy.

Panera Bread's Autumn Harvest Soup. Run to Panera and get a bowl ASAP. You're Welcome! 

Words With Friends.  I'm back on this app again.  I do my words throughout the day.  I'm currently in three games.  Let me know if you want to play : ) 

Neutrogena Hyaluronic Acid.  I've been using this on my face under my moisturizer for the past few months.  It adds extra hydration to the skin (something I really need!) now that the weather is changing (and my aging skin is changing!).  Don't let the name scare you.  It's very gentle and I've notice my makeup is looking a lot better since I've been using it.  Sharon left a comment on my blog a few weeks ago about doing a fall/winter makeup and fashion post.  Thank you Sharon, it's coming!  ♥

Vintage Jazz on Spotify.  There is something so nice about jazz music.  It creates the perfect background and sets the mood for a fall day.  I've been listening to a Spotify playlist called " Autumn Vintage Jazz" all week.  It's beautiful and brining peace to my days.  There are also some really nice ones on YouTube too.  In a few weeks I'll switch to "vintage Christmas Jazz"....haha

And speaking of Christmas...

Hallmark has started it's Countdown to Christmas.  All Christmas movies all the time.  I know some of you are rolling your eyes.  Yes they are corny and predictable but I like corny and predictable.  We need more if that in our lives.  Better than real life I say.  My favorite movies are the Lacey Chabert ones.  If I had to pick an actress to play me in my life story, she would be the one.  And you best believe it would be set in the cutest Christmas coffee shop or bakery you can imagine.  I love her and I love Hallmark.  IYKYK  ♥

Watching Hallmark Christmas movies is getting me excited for the holidays but I still have a lot of fall left in me to enjoy.  The next few weeks are some of my favorite of the year.  The stillness of early November is something to appreciate before the rush begins. You know what? decorations don't have to go up on a specific date.  And I've decided to allow myself to accept help when I need it.  

I am going to try to take it slow this year  ♥

Thank you so much for visiting me today.  I'm off to put a lasagna in the oven for dinner tonight.  I'm so glad the weekend is finally here.  I'm praying for good health and strength for my mom this weekend.  And John has a band concert on Sunday afternoon that Rob and I are looking forward to attending as well.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! xoxo 

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Update ♥


Hello Friends! Happy Halloween and Happy November 1st 

September and October looked a lot different to me this year and in some ways are a blur.  I apologize for my absence here these last few weeks.  My poor mother, who is literally the strongest person I know, has really been struggling.  Since I last posted she has been in and out of the hospital twice battling a bad infection that has attacked her immune system.  She is currently in the hospital again and we are awaiting test results on how to treat it.  The last time she came home and was able to get home care.  I am praying we can go that route again.  Its been an emotional roller coast ride and I know I have to be strong for my family, especially my Dad.  I just want her to get well and be comfortable and happy at home. If you are the praying kind, I ask that you keep my mom (and Dad) in your prayers.  They are the best people I know who have given so much to their family. I pray for strength every day to know what to do and how to do it.  I understand this is a natural course of life.  It's just really hard when you are going through it.  

One day last week John and I went for a walk around the neighborhood.  I needed to get out of the house for a few minutes and get some fresh air.  To my surprise I looked up to see that fall had finally arrived.  I'd been so preoccupied I almost missed it.  We walked in the crunchy leaves and I smelled the crispness in the air and someone must have had a fire burning because I smelled that too.  It was really lovely and just what I needed in that moment.  

Last night was Halloween.  John carved his pumpkin and I cooked the seeds (which I've been snacking on all day).  He went to a friends house last night with some buddies to hang out and play video games.  He had a great time and I'm SO glad!  We are trying our best to say positive as well as keep normalcy and traditions.  Our neighborhood was full of trick or treaters.  For the first time in forever I put a bowl of candy outside with a "help yourself" sign.  My Dad was at the hospital with my mom and since I live upstairs I didn't want to be running up and down every time someone was at the door.  I could hear all the chatter and laughter from the the little ones outside which made me smile.  Needless to say at 8:00 when all was quiet I went out to retrieve the bowl and it was completely empty.  

It was a BIG bowl too : ) 

I hope we have a little bit of fall left to enjoy before the snow comes.  I'm hearing my corner of the world is in for a lot this year.  My mind is already drifting to the holidays now.  Food and shopping and all the things. I'm going to do my best to make it as special as I possibly can.  Because I'm grateful. Family and friends are everything to me.  And that includes all of you.  

Sending you virtual hugs  

Stay cozy my friends! I'll be back soon! 

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Cozy October! ♥

 Hello Lovely Friends! 

As I type this post I am cozy warm in my home office.  It's raining today so it's a bit gloomy and I have little pumpkin lights strung over the window.  It's giving the room a warm orange glow that I am really enjoying. In case you hadn't figured it out already, I am a lighting person.  I love twinkle lights and little lamps and mood lighting.  Anything resembling candle light (or actual candle light) I'm here for.  I detest bright lighting and I recently saw on YouTube that you can actually paint your lightbulbs to create a softer glow.  Whose doing this?  Have you ever heard of such a thing? I hadn't but you better believe I'm going to try it : )  

This weekend I took an hour to myself and pulled out all of my warm sweaters and pajamas and socks.  I fluffed them all up and brought them to the front of my drawers.  I folded and put away anything resembling summer until next year.  It's cozy time now.  Sweater weather has arrived.  I put an extra blanket on the bed and made a mental note that it's time for me to get new slippers.  Holiday ones perhaps.  I like to get mine at the Hallmark Store.  They have so many cute ones.  And I live in slippers.  Cardigans and slippers. 

Two of my favorite things 

These colors make me so happy : )

I just made myself a steaming cup of Earl Gray Tea.  You all know how much of a coffee girl I am, but in the afternoons and evenings I do love a hot cup of tea.  Especially this time of year.  Lately I've been obsessed with it.  I love all kinds of tea but my favorite is Earl Gray.  I like it with milk and sugar or a little bit of honey.  So good.  There is one pumpkin muffin left and I'm saving it for Rob so I just grabbed two biscottis from the panty to dunk in my tea.  I'm also a dunker.  I live on the edge :)  

Thank you so much to everyone that reached out to me about my mom.  She's doing ok.  She has a nurse, physical therapist, and occupational therapist.  It was slow getting started, but now they come here to the house a few times a week (each!).  She's being well looked after, that's for sure.  It's definitely a slow process but she's improving.  I'm just glad she's home and is able to recover and be comfortable in her own house with all of us around her.  Yesterday I brought out the storage bin with all her Halloween decorations. She pointed to where she wanted the stuff to go and I put it there.  It was fun and really make all of us feel good and festive.  Things like that are really important. 

 I think so anyway.  She does too. 

Isn't this cute? She painted it a long time ago : ) 

And that's where I am today friends.  I just finished working for the day and it's almost time to start dinner.  I'm roasting chicken thighs and potatoes tonight which will make the kitchen smell like heaven.  Last time I made this it was a big hit so hopefully this time it comes out just as good! : ) 

  **update - this was last night and it came out YUMMY!**

I'm going to finish my tea first and see what's on QVC.  I love QVC btw!  I've been watching it for years.  For some reason it's a comfort to me.  My favorites are the cooking shows (I love David : ).  I get the best gift ideas from watching the hosts and I find it just plain entertaining.  I can remember my mother and I watching Joan Rivers Jewelry I was a teenager. In fact I still have some of the jewelry, which is quite pretty.  I just came across it when I cleaned out my jewelry box last month.  I'm keeping it all for sentimental reasons 

Have a wonderful Tuesday, friends!  Wednesday I'm going with Rob to a doctors appointment and I'm hoping to get a breakfast (or at least a coffee : ) out of it.  Haha! And then on Friday John is going with his friends to a Haunted House.  That should be interesting!  Me personally, I hate haunted houses! I get freaked out in the parking lot! Lol : ) 

Happy Tuesday, Friends! Stay cozy! xoxo

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

25 ♥



I was 19 when we met.

24 when we married.

I'll be 50 next year and we're still here.

25 years.  A lot of ups. Some downs.  One awesome son. Everything I ever wanted. 

I wouldn't change a thing.

Happy Anniversary! 


Monday, October 9, 2023

Good Monday Morning: What I've been up to ♥

Good Morning lovely Friends! I've missed you.  

Somehow September slipped away and here we are on October 9th.  Wow.  I wish I could say I've been busy doing exciting things but alas, that's not the case.  It's just life, at its craziest.  Here at my house we've been busy adjusting to my mom being home from the hospital and navigating the best way to care for her. It's a process, but each day we are getting better learning the best ways to do things.  I'm so grateful for my family, that we all can pitch in and help each other.  That, with lots of coffee and pastries are what's getting us through this challenging season of life.  Watching your parents age and change is not an easy thing.  I look at my parents and see myself.  They were once young with small kids, working full time jobs, had hobbies, and went on vacations just like everyone else.  That's why its so important to do things when you can and are able.  Don't put off what makes you happy for "the right time."  That day may never come.  Enjoy life and cherish every moment.  In other words, have dessert first 

Ok, that's my spiel for the day.  Now, on to other things....

Fall has finally arrived! Horary! 

I thought it would never get here.  The temperatures have finally gotten cooler and the air has that "smell." You know the one I'm talking about.  It's woodsy and smoky.  I love it.  We've been doing little walks after dinner just to appreciate it.  The foliage hasn't fully reached us yet but I know it's coming.  I see the changes starting.  It's a beautiful thing to watch.  

This tree is smack dab in the middle of our front yard.  We call it "John's tree" because my Dad planted it the weekend John was born, 16 years ago.  By now it's usually much more colorful.  I was beginning the think I was never going to change but yesterday I saw the beginnings of something magical happening.  Yay 

That window there is my office window so I have a PERFECT view.  I'll be doing daily checks.  In a blink it will be covered with snow and ice.  I don't want to miss the foliage : ) 

My neighborhood at night 

I snapped this picture one night on a walk.  I love the look of houses at night with glowing lights on the inside.  It was very peaceful and quiet.  I do not know who lives in this house.  I wish I did.  Something tells me we would be friends : ) 

I tried a new soup recipe last week.  White bean & kale! 

I got the recipe for a YouTuber I've been loving recently.  Nicolas Fairford.  He's a British gentlemen who resides in Edenborough.  He talks about lifestyle, home décor, tea, recipes, England, and beautiful Scotland.  He's wonderful and so is this soup.  It was super easy to make, healthy, and warmed me to my core.  Loved it.  I'm making another batch this week.  You must try it :) 

Can you believe Halloween is only a few weeks away?!  Last night John and I watched Scream.  I had never seen it before.  It was good.  Tonight we are watching the sequel (apparently there are 6??!!). Horror movies have never been my favorite genre, but I do like the scary vibes without the gore.  And speaking of vibes I've been watching Gilmore Girls!  More up my alley!  I've been wanting to watch this show for ages and it's finally happening. I make myself a cup of tea or coffee every afternoon, curl up with a blanket,  and watch one episode before dinner.  I just finished season one. It's so good and something I look forward to every day.  I love Lorelai. We have the same coffee habits : ) 

Dark mornings and amber lit afternoons have me feeling like fall too.  

I pulled out one of my old cross stitch kits one day to see if I remember how to do it.  It's been a long time.  I'm rusty but not as bad as I thought I'd be.  I think I may be picking that hobby up again! Something about this time of year makes me want to sew or do a craft of some kind.  I stopped in Hobby Lobby one afternoon as was totally overwhelmed - in the best way possible!  I only had a few minutes to browse.  I need more time and a large coffee to go through the whole store. It's my Disney Land!  The only reason I went was to look at chunky yarn because I want to make one of those big loop blankets (do you know what I'm talking about?!).  Anyway, by the time I got to the yarn I had mentally spent $300.  I had to leave but will be back so I can properly process all the craft projects I want to do this winter! 

I moved this plant the other day to here, in front of the window.  I think it will get more light here and I like looking at it.  No one in my house has said a word about it and probably don't even care.  Just me.  And the plant.  Looking at it now I realized this is where the Christmas tree goes so I'll have to move it again next month.  Oh well. For now I'll enjoy it. (side note: thought of my Christmas tree really made me smile : ) 


And that's everything  I've been up to the last few weeks.  Except I don't think I told you about the day John and I went to Salem, MA.  We went with my friend Julie and her son Sean.  We had a really good time walking around and exploring before it got too crowded.  Here we are in front of the Bewitched statue! 

I hadn't been in years and it was really fun.  We went to a museum of horror movies and horror movie props.  Since John loves all movies he really enjoyed that.  I enjoyed the iced pumpkin spice latte we got afterwards.  We also went to the Hocus Pocus house, the House of Seven Gables, and a TON of gift shops. It's definitely a unique place : ) 

I hope you are all enjoying FALL and having a great day! 

I'll be around vising your blogs this week to caught up with everyone.  I love this little space so much.  Thanks for being here 

Byeeeee!!! xoxo