Wednesday, January 24, 2024

A quick catch up after being SICK! ♥

Hello Friends! 

I'm back from a short absence on here due to the flu completely wiping me out.  I went from feeling a little "under the weather" to a full blown old fashion flu.  The kind you remember as a kid when all you did was lay on the couch drinking flat ginger ale out of a straw watching The Price is Right.  That was me. And it was rough. It hit our entire household, one by one, including my dear 84 year old father.  I'm HAPPY to report we are currently all healthy and normal life has resumed! The house has been aired out, Lysoled, all linens laundered, and surfaces cleaned. The first thing I did once I felt a little better was bundle up and go for a winter walk.  It has snowed last week and the air was so fresh and clean.  It was cold but I loved it.  Then I came in and put a banana bread in the oven. 

It was just what I needed.  Not only did the house feel extra warm after being out in the cold, it smelled like heaven.  I put the tea kettle on and that's what I call a perfect afternoon (or close to it :).

On Sunday I started adding a few touches of Valentine's Day décor around the house.  It's nice to see the pops of pink and red.  Everything has been bare for the last few weeks which I don't mind a bit, but it did feel cozy to see some color.  There will be more to come.  Next week is Rob's birthday and after that I'll finish decorating for Valentine's Day.  This also means two cakes.  One for the birthday and one for Valentines Day. One is definitely going to be chocolate and I think the other will be coconut.  TBD. 

**These are the things I thought about while on a steady rotation of DAYQUILL and NYQUILL** 


I've been going through some of my mother's things. It's an ongoing process that is very bittersweet.  My mom was a teenager in the 50's and has a collection of many things from her childhood.  I think that's why I have such an affection of that time period.  I grew up hearing all about it and how wonderful and fun it was. My parents always told me that the film American Graffiti was exactly like how it was and they have such fond memories of growing up during those "good old days."

 Last year she gave all her Elvis records albums to John (she was a HUGE fan).  Knowing how much he loves Elvis, she knew he would take good care of them.  I grew up listening to all these records on our living room stereo.  She has some gems in her collection.  Bobby Vinton, Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin, and my favorite of the bunch...The Platters! 

I can imagine little teenage Patti Fumorla in her bedroom listening to "Only You" on her record player while pin curling her hair.  I love it.  I've played them all and they make me feel closer to her.  I'm smiling more than crying and that's a nice feeling. 

I'm sending you all some love today!  I hope you are all healthy and taking good care of yourselves.  If not, your body will tell you to slow down.  I think that's what happened to me.  I had no choice but to listen and now I'm feeling better.  

As someone who usually loves winter I'm looking forward to the springtime more than ever.  Warmer days, green grass, and flowers. I'm thinking about Easter and what that will mean to me this year.

Only a few months to go.....we'll get there! 

Love you! Stay cozy! xoxo 


Friday, January 12, 2024

Hanging in there (and an apple swirl cake) ♥

Hello Friends.  Happy Friday!  

I had the weirdest experience yesterday.  I thought I heard my mother calling me.  I was upstairs and I could swear I heard her calling me from the kitchen.  It was her voice. When I realized it wasn't I felt two things.  Happy because I remembered what her voice sounded like.  I never want to forget it.  But then I felt sad because I realized she wasn't there and she'll never call me again.  I've felt empty ever since.  I don't know what to do with these feelings except let myself feel them. So that's what I'm doing.  Letting myself feel them.... 

I've been feeling under the weather this week anyway due to a cold so maybe the Dayquil has something to do with it.  I'm trying to get as much rest as I can and stay cozy at home.  That's not hard to do.  I have so many things on my to-do list that did not get done this week but I'm not stressing over it.  Those days are over.  There's always next week : ) 

We managed to finish off the apple cake I told you about on Monday.  It was my mom's favorite.  She gave me the recipe.  There is something special about it that people can never put their finger on.  I'll tell you the secret's orange juice!  I've shared the recipe before, but in case you missed it here it is.  If you want to put your oven on and let the smell of apples and cinnamon waft (is that a word??) through your home, then bake this over the weekend.  

It's soooo good! 

~Apple Swirl Cake ~

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2 cups chopped, peeled  apples
3 tbs sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tsp vanilla

3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Mix apples, 3 tbs sugar, and 1 tsp cinnamon in a bowl.  Set aside.

In a large bowl combine 2 cups of sugar and oil. 

Beat in eggs, orange juice, and vanilla.

In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. 

Add to creamed mixture a little at a time.  Beat until smooth.
Pour 1/2 batter into a greased bunt pan.  Add the apple mixture on top of the batter.

Pour the rest of the batter on top.

Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. 

Cool for at least 10-15 minutes in the pan before "doing the flip".... 

Turn onto a rack to cool completely. 

**I made a quick glaze with confectionary sugar and apple cider and drizzled it on top **

I wish she was here to share it with me. 

But I know she's here's watching over me.  I guess that's the next best thing.  And how wonderful it is that I can bake her recipes and share then with the people I love (like you! : ). 

So this is where I've been most of the week.  On my couch, watching tv, while the sun sets through the blinds.  I'm not gonna lie, I usually love the winter.  It's my favorite season, but this year I'm longing for the warmer weather.  How long until Spring?  

(Not pictured are tissues and a hot mug of something.)  

I made this yummy soup this week too.  We finished it up last night.  It was a chicken soup and I added a few handfuls of spinach for an extra boost.  I want to make more soup this weekend.  Sick or not, it's soup season.  Don't you just LOVE soup season? Me too 

And here's my current view off the back deck.  The river has thawed and is very high due to all the rain we've had.  This morning there were so many geese out there.  It was definitely some kind of meeting!  Maybe they are getting ready to fly south.  Something  I wouldn't mind 
It's nice and still now.  

I'll leave you with this beautiful poem I found on Pinterest.  
It made feel happy and sad at the same time. A feeling I'm going to have to get used to. 

I hope you all have a nice weekend.  We have more rain on the way!  I'm getting a needed haircut tomorrow morning and then putting the rest of my Dad's Christmas decorations away.  
On Sunday we are going to my mother in laws for a nice dinner.  It's very cozy over there and I'm looking forward to it.  I'm sure there will be a fire in the fireplace and something delicious on the table. 

Hugs to you all and thank you for all your nice comments and support here and in IG 
I appreciate it with all my heart!


Monday, January 8, 2024

Happy New Year ♥

Hello Friends! Is it too late to say "happy new year?"  If not, well....happy new year!  

I just realized this is my first post of the new year. We welcomed the new year very quietly.  We ate a nice meal and played some fun card games with my Dad.  With barely one eye open I did manage to see the ball drop and I made my New Year's wish.  The next day I took my tree down.  Another Christmas packed away until next year. Never could I image when I put up my tree what this holiday season would bring.  I thought about that as I wrapped ornaments in tissue and balled up strings of lights and packed them in bins until next year.  Life can be so unpredictable.

Anyway, since then I've been trying to get back into the swing of things, catching up on work and daily tasks.  I've been cooking again which has made me feel good.  Life goes on as they say.  

Welcome to 2024 


It snowed yesterday.  Well actually it rained, then snowed, then rained, then snowed, then froze.  So basically, it was mess.  For certain it was cold and no way was I stepping one toe outside this house.  It was Sunday and a good day to stay warm and cozy.  I cleaned a little, put a pot roast in the crockpot, and baked my mother's favorite apple cake.  It felt good to do those things.  I was feeling ambitious so I decided to try my hand at a Joanna Gains bread recipe that's been on my mind for a while.  You know me and my bread.  It's what I love : ) 

So while the wind howled outside, I started on my dough. 


While I set it aside to rise I did more cleaning, drank more coffee, and listened to some music.  

Back to the dough...

I had to make a braid.  I drew a blank.  Do you think I could remember how to do it?! And I had no one to ask.  It took me a few minutes until it clicked. I got really worried there for a minute! 

Three pieces, over, under, over, under... now I remember! 


My skills could use some work but at least it resembled a braid.

The recipe called for sesame seeds but I didn't have any so I used Everything Bagel seasoning.  

I had recently seen someone online do that and it sounded good. 

In exactly 28 minutes I got this.  Yay! It actually worked!  

The truth is it was a very easy recipe to follow (aside from the braiding! lol). 

I find that with most all Joanna Gains recipes. 

(this one is from The Magnolia Table Vol 2 cookbook in case you're wondering)

It was astonishing to me that I actually made something that looked this good.  

I guess anything is possible when you have an angel on your shoulder.  And I do : ) 

Maybe this is the year of trying new things.  Maybe it's the year of not being intimated or being afraid something is too hard.  If I mess up and can't make a braid, so be it.  It will still taste good.  And it did.  It sopped up that pot roast like a dream.  

My heart was happy  

So, today it's the start of a new week and back to work.  I miss Christmas vacation and days off with all of us home watching movies and taking naps.  Those are the best days.  The ordinary days that mean so much. 

It's still freezing out but I did see little gleams of sunshine through my office window earlier.  That's a good sign. Still not going out though.  Not today anyway. Maybe tomorrow.

Have a wonderful day friends!  I hope you are staying warm and cozy.  It's mid afternoon now and it's time for tea and a snack. There's still some apple cake left over from last night.  It's so yummy! 

I'll share the recipe this week  

Byeeee! xx