Friday, August 25, 2023

If at first you don't succeed....keep baking bread ♥

Hello Friends! Happy Friday! 

I woke up to a dark and stormy morning. I lit my kitchen twinkle lights and poured a cup of hot coffee.  I added a dash of pumpkin spice creamer and here I am.  Loving every minute.  And it's Friday to boot!  I've had a busy work week and I'm so happy that it's finally winding down.  

Why does coffee taste so much better on cold dark mornings? I don't know why, but it just does.  

One of the highlights of my week was a delicious loaf of sourdough bread.  Yes that was a highlight.  I'm clearly overly excited about this bread but I have good reason.  After a year of trial and error I think I finally figured out how to make sourdough.  I'm a work in progress but this one was the best I've made so far.  

Baking bread is a labor of love.  Especially sourdough.  It can't be rushed, which is something I enjoy about it. I love making the dough and waiting for it to rise.  I love when it finally becomes a smooth loaf to shape, score, and bake.  And let's not forget the absolute blissful aroma of baking bread.  It's something no candle can even come close to.  I've had flat starters, bread that didn't rise, and worse.....bread you could build a wall with. I've even burned loaves and had to through them out.  Heartbreaking. 

I'm so happy I didn't give up! 

I posted this picture on Instagram and a few of you have asked me for the recipe.  Here is the one I used.  


This loaf was almost too pretty to eat.  ALMOST. 

It was so good and I want to make another one asap.  This little loaf of bread has kickstarted me into comfort food mode.  It's time for chicken pot pies and pot roasts and soups!  I think Fall and Winter is the best time of year for cooking.  Get out your stretchy pants Ladies! The time has come and there's nothing we can do to stop it  :) 

Have a great weekend friends! We have nothing special planned, which means it's going to be a comfy and cozy few days spent at home 

I hope you enjoy whatever you have planned.  It's almost September! xoxo

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

A Beautifully Ordinary Weekend ♥

Hello Friends! 

Well, we've reached the point in the summer where things are starting to wind down.  I feel the need to get whatever I had put off this summer done as soon possible because August is slipping away.  And as much as I love the Fall, I will miss our carefree relaxed days of summer.  Yesterday I took John for his yearly checkup needed for school, a sure fire sign summer is ending. Next week is the dentist and we need to pick up some school supplies.  It's happening. As always it went by too fast and I can hardly remember what I did a month ago.  

Our goal for the next two weeks is to be happy and enjoy our last days of summer vacation.  We do have a few events planned to make it special, but as you know, I do love the ordinary things.  For me, that's what makes our days perfect.  

This past weekend was beautifully ordinary.  On Saturday John and I ran some errands in the morning.  He treated me to a Dunkies pumpkin spice coffee which was a perfect way to start the day.  We share a love of coffee now and I'm slowly converting him into a pumpkin spice lover too :) We went to Walmart, the grocery store, and a thrift store.  Another love we have in common.  Searching for treasures. In the afternoon I started pulling out some of my Fall décor.  I lit an apple scented candle and went to work dusting off surfaces and happily decorating with red, orange, and yellow things.  I put the Hallmark channel on to keep me company. It made me happy 

Sunday we all got up early and went to mass. There is something about an early morning mass that I really love.  The world is still quiet and peaceful.  We had a delicious breakfast afterwards at one of our favorite diners, followed by a walk in the park.  It was a beautiful day to boot! One of those late summer days where you can feel the coolness of September coming.  

In the afternoon I made zucchini bread which made the house smell incredibly good.  I puttered around the house, did some laundry, watered my plants, and then we all sat in the family room and watched some TV.  Dinner was a roast chicken and tomato salad with tomatoes from my father in laws garden.  

Rob and John took a walk after dinner while I cleaned up and then it was time to settle in for the night.  Did I mention I finished Where the Crawdad Sings! LOVED IT! I'm curious to watch the movie to see if it holds true to the book.  I hope so!  Sunday night I started The Only One Left by Riley Sager.  I'm loving it so far.  It's got some creepy spooky vibes to it, which is what I'm looking for this time of year.  I paired it with a cup of Earl Gray tea.  Heaven : ) 


It doesn't get more ordinary than that.  And I wouldn't have changed a thing. 

And now it's new week.  Let's soak up these last days of August with pleasure, one day at a time. 

Have a wonderful day, my friends! 

Byeeeeee xoxox 

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Happy 16th Birthday John! ♥

Hello Lovely Friends! 

So this happened yesterday.  My John turned 16!!!  I have a 16 year old.  It's still a bit weird to say :)  

I feel like lately everything is a milestone in his life.  Working his first job, drivers ed, and now turning 16.  I'm so proud of him and delighted that he had a very happy birthday yesterday. 

I was even more delighted that he chose to spend the day with his dear old mom : )  We had a great time.  We went to the mall first to do some shopping and then saw a movie.  Disney's Haunted Mansion, which was very cute btw!  We grabbed some lunch and stopped by the bakery so I could pick him up a birthday cupcake! Yes, he's still my little boy, even though he's not so little anymore. 

Dinner was pizza (his choice) with my parents and a yummy Boston Cream Pie cake that they picked up for him.  It was delicious!  

He really is the kindest boy. Sweet, intelligent, caring of others, and very funny. He loves music (all kinds!), movies (all kinds!), values his friends and family, and loves being home.  Now that he's older we drink coffee together, he makes me breakfast sometimes, and in no time I'm sure he'll be driving me around instead of me driving him.  It's not so bad :)

And although I'm sad he's not a baby anymore, I've enjoyed every step of him growing and look forward to seeing who he becomes. 

I know it will be something great 

For his birthday gift Rob is taking him to a concert in September.  George Thorogood and the Destroyers.  (If that name doesn't sound familiar to you, he sings "Bad to the Bone"...I'm sure you've heard it :)  Those two share a love of music and saw him last year and had the best time! He can't wait to go again.  With his birthday money and money he's made this summer he's going to buy himself a new phone.  His first adult purchase.  

Another milestone. They keep coming 

 Happy 16th Birthday John!  We love you 

Have a great day Friends! xoxox

Monday, August 14, 2023

Two Documentaries ♥

 Hello Friends! 

 I hope this Monday is finding you well so far. I'm feeling pretty good today as I had a rather productive weekend.  In case you're wondering I got my tire fixed.  Rob brought it to the garage on Saturday and had the nail pulled and patched.  Thankfully it was an easy fix.  I also got new glasses and the burn on my wrist is no longer stinging.  I got lots of good sleep, drank tons of coffee, and did a big housecleaning on Sunday which included emptying the fridge and cleaning all the surfaces. Not my favorite job (I mean really, how does it get so dirty in there?) but feels so good when it's done! 

Anywhoo, I'm feeling reset and back to normal. 

I'm ready to start a new week. 

Today I wanted to share with you two documentaries we watched on TV this weekend.  But first a short story. Back when I was in elementary school I had writing assignment to write about someone that inspired me.  I remember my 4th grade self could not choose between the three options in my mind so I wrote about all of them.  They were Walt Disney, Charles Schultz, and Mr. Rogers.  As a child (and still to this day) these men inspired me in such a way it's almost beyond words.  They made me happy, taught me lessons, and kept me company. When I think about the wonderment and joy Walt Disney movies brought me as child I almost get chills.  Seeing a Disney movie was special and Cinderella was MY movie.  I wanted to be her.  And I don't care what anyone say these days....I still do. Walt Disney brought her to life and many others that I hold near to my heart. Charles Shultz created Peanuts and I have loved them for as long as I can remember.  I related so much to Charlie Brown growing up.  I still get excited to watch the holiday specials every year. And of course Mr. Roger.  He was my safe space.  Everyday after school.  I never missed it.  I just love him with my whole entire heart. He was a sweet, gentle man, who genuinely cared about children.  And it showed.  

 No matter what was going on in my life, they were there.  Their characters still live on.  Looking back on my assignment I realized that I left out one special person.   I should have added an extra paragraph.  And that paragraph would have been about Jim Henson.  Who doesn't love the Muppets?! Who didn't watch Sesame Street?! We all did.  When you think about it, there probably isn't one person you know that does not know who Big Bird is or Kermit the Frog, or Cookie Monster, or Miss Piggy.  These characters are a part of us, probably in more ways that you realize. Jim Henson created an empire and his work continues to make millions and millions of people smile every day.  What a legacy.  How sad it was that he was taken from us at such a young age.  Only 53 years old.  Looking at the Muppets with an adult eye you realize that there are real people with real lives behind those characters and voices. We all know the characters, but we don't know the people.  And we should.

Street Gang is a documentary on (HBO) MAX that talks about the inception of Sesame Street and how it was brought to life. I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story available on Freevie is about Caroll Spinney, who spent most of his adult life voicing and puppeteering Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch.  Both are fascinating documentaries that take you behind the scenes of The Muppets and Sesame Street and show the real people who brought these shows and characters to life, from writing to voicing, to going inside the suits.  Both go in depth on the love and admiration the community had for Jim Henson and what a down to Earth man he was. And what it was like after he passed.  If you want to go a bit further like I did, you can watch Jim's memorial service on YouTube.  It's sad, but so very beautiful. Caroll Spinney (as Big Bird) sang "It's Not Easy Being Green" and I literally lost it 

My childhood would not have been the same without these characters.  My adult life either.

They (and the people that brought them to life) should be remembered. 


And that's all I have to say about that : )

Have a wonderful day Friends!  Wishing you all a great week ahead 

Friday, August 11, 2023

Happy Friday! Let me tell you about my week ♥

Hello Lovely Friends!  

Have a hot cup of coffee or tea with me, won't you.  Let's chat 

Well, Friday has finally arrived. I'm not gonna lie, it's been a week.  Let me catch you up. Over the past few days I got a nail in one of my tires, broke my glasses, and burned my hand on the stove (it was a minor burn, but you know that sting...ouch).  All little stupid accidents.  I'm trying to turn things around today and celebrate the fact that it's the end of the week. The weekend means stress free days because we have no plans, extra sleeping, good meals, and family times. Yay. 

Rob, John, and I just started watching Curb Your Enthusiasm and we're loving it.  It's very funny! We're going to catch up on some episode of that, go out for coffee Saturday morning, do some shopping, make a library run, and go to church on Sunday. I'm prepping for John's birthday on Wednesday so I have a few errands to run for that too.  His birthday is on August 16th which is the same days as the anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley (he died August 16th, 1977).  Since we are all such big Elvis fans around here there's always a little Elvis music incorporated into the birthday celebration. It's fun! 

This was his 10th birthday in 2017.  He loved that shirt! 

Next week he'll be 16!  How time flies! 

Love him so much 

John's birthday always feels like the end of summer.  When I was little it felt like summers lasted forever.  Now it goes by so fast if you blink, you miss it.  We're trying to enjoy every last day until it's back to school time. That's when mornings get hectic and nights are filled with homework.  But I'm not gonna worry about that right now.  

No. I'm. Not.

 Ok, so the week wasn't all bad. 

One of the highlights was our weekly trip to the beach.  My friend Julie snapped this picture of John and her boys.  I love this picture because it shows the carefree days of summer with friends. We do love our Wednesday night ritual. That's one PLUS for summer in my book.  It was quite hot that day but once the sun set it was beautiful!  Not pictured is the cobb salad I got from Wendy's on the way.  It was delicious! Another PLUS.  I'll definitely be getting that again.  


Another highlight of the week, this bush! 

 I think it's a hydrangea.  I spotted it in the parking lot at my work of all places.  I had to go into the office twice this week and was greeted by this lovely plant.  I parked next to it on both days and had to snap a picture of it! I kind of wish I had snippers in my car, but unfortunately I didn't.  
(maybe some will find their way into the car next week....)

Back at home I'm dreaming about decorating for Fall.  It's happening next weekend.  

I'll be respectful and wait until after John's birthday, but after that it's go time.  I told Rob to brace himself and be prepared.  He thinks I'm crazy.  I don't blame him : ) 

My kitchen table currently has the last garden tomato from my father in law's garden (I'm hoping to get more soon : ) and some garlic cloves.  

It got me thinking about how healthy our basil looks right now.  We have it in a pot just outside the front door so I pass it every time I go in or out.  The smell is intoxicating. 

Luckily tonight is Italian night and nothing makes me happier than a big pot of sauce bubbling on the stove.  If this doesn't turn my week around I don't know what will. 

Off I went to clip some leaves for my sauce...

In they go! 

I've been using the Joanna Gaines recipe for marina (from the Magnolia Table Vol 2 cookbook) for the past few months and I love it. 

Rotini pasta, chicken parm, arugula salad, and garlic bread are what's on the menu tonight.  I made extra for leftovers.  The weekend is looking better and better : ) 

No matter what the events of the week I will always find comfort in a pot of sauce.  

A kitchen, no matter how big or small, will always make me feel better and has my heart forever 

A little fresh air doesn't hurt either : )

Wishing you a wonderful Friday and a happy & restful weekend! 

Byeeeee xoxoxox

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

It's Coming! ♥


The other day at the grocery store I picked up my first bag of Fall/Halloween themed candy.  I know it's only early August, but I'm not gonna lie....this made me so happy.  No matter what the temperature says outside, in my heart summer is over and I'm embracing fall.  Done.  Whose with me?  That taste of cinnamon, caramel apple, and pumpkin spice is bliss for me.  And although controversial, the candy corn flavor is good too! :)  The early mornings and evenings are getting cooler and I find myself reaching for my sweater more often than not.  I love sweaters and I love cardigans and I'm ready for the all my cozy clothes to be back in my rotation.  I was generously given a few gift cards for my birthday and I decided I'm going to buy myself a new fall jacket this season.  I typically hate clothes shopping for myself but I've seen some cute styles lately so hopefully I'll make a good decision. 

And just in case you're wondering (cause I'm sure you're dying to know!) Dunkin Donuts starts serving pumpkin spice coffee on August 17th (next Thursday) and guess who will be first in line! Meeeee!

And that's then end of my Fall rant for now : )

In other news, this week has been rainy and humid.  John has been working hard at his part time job and thankfully has a few more weeks of summer vacation left.  He doesn't go back until after Labor Day! Yay!  Next week is his 16th birthday.  I am still in denial he's going to be 16! We are planning on a low key pizza night with family with a special cake from the bakery.  

As for me, after a day of rest post Cape Cod,  I was inspired by my friend Rosinda's Instagram (who was inspired by our hero, Miss Susan Branch) and made blueberry corn cakes.  So easy! Just take Jiffy corn muffin mix, add one egg, half cup of milk, and one cup of fresh blueberries...

Fry them like little pancakes in a buttered skillet and you are left with the sweetest blueberry corncakes you can imagine.  Crispy around the edges and soft and fluffy on the inside.  Susan Branch has the recipe in the book "Martha's Vineyard, Ile of Dreams" which is fabulous by the way.  I think it's my favorite of all her books.  It's inspired by her diary pages when she first moved to the island.  It's not a cookbook but she has recipes scattered throughout it.  I love it. 

These corncakes are really yummy and this one accidently came out looking like a heart which made me smile : ) 

I will leave you today with a movie recommendation.  Tuesday night we watched On the Waterfront (1954) starring Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint.  This is my second time seeing this film.  I didn't think I could love it any more but I did.  It's such a good movie and if you've never seen it and are in the mood for a classic movie I highly recommend it.  Marlon Brando is a force.  He's amazing and I'm so happy he won an Academy Award for his performance.  Move over James Dean, Brando may be my new Hollywood boyfriend. I also googled Eva Marie Saint last night and I was happy to discover she's the oldest living Academy Award winner, and one of the last surviving stars from the Golden age of Hollywood. She's 99 years old! Wow 

Have a great day my friends! Thanks for stopping by today! 

Byeeeee! xoxoxo

Monday, August 7, 2023

Weekend in Cape Cod ♥

Hello Friends! 

It's Monday already. I hope you are all off to a nice start to the week.  I am moving a little slow today but that's just because we are just back from a long weekend in Cape Cod with Rob's family.  Every year we try to do something special where we all can get together.  With so many conflicting schedules (there's 12 of us!) it's not always easy.  This weekend was booked back in September! 

In past years we've gone to the mountains in New Hampshire (which is my favorite place :) but this time we decided to switch things up and go to the beach. It only took us an hour and 15 minutes to get there.  
We stayed at the Red Jacket Resort in West Yarmouth, MA.  

It was LOVELY and I highly recommend it. 


 The beaches are beautiful in Cape Cod.  

I could sit for hours just watching the waves come in and out.  In fact, I did 

I heard the water was cold but I admit I didn't even put my toes in.  I was happy just sitting and smelling the salty air with my feet up. Our chairs were so close to the water. 

Our resort had a private beach which was very quiet.  Some of us stayed on the sand all day, some took advantage of the indoor or outdoor pool (or both), and some of us (me) enjoyed the covered pavilion overlooking the beach.  It was under a tent so plenty of shade, with nice comfy couches! 

There was also music and free popsicles : ) 

We played bocce on the beach, had cocktail hour every night in my in-laws room before dinner, and went out for gelato several times at this awesome place 5 minutes from the hotel.  

It was SO good! (definitely a highlight of the trip : ) 

They make it fresh every morning.

My favorite was the strawberry cheesecake! The chocolate espresso was amazing too. 

OMG still thinking about it....

There's beautiful landscaping everywhere you turn.  I enjoyed just walking around admire all the flowers.  

At night we changed into our comfy clothes and all gathered in my in-laws room for games.  

We had a lot of laughs 

Family ♥

On our last night we took some photos on the beach and went out for a yummy Italian meal. 

I was told eggplant was the specialty.  It didn't disappoint! 

The weekend flew by and before I knew it we were back home.  

Sleeping in my own bed felt so good.  

Cape Cod, Summer 2023
Thanks for the memories