Wednesday, December 22, 2010

a heart can be broken...

but it keeps beating just the same.  this morning after i wrote my blog
i sat down and looked around the house in the silence after all the
activity of last night. i thought about how things have changed this
year.  i picked up a picture of my dad off of the table,  then i wiped my eyes
with my sleeve and a big fat tear fell into my coffee. the holidays really amplify
everything. good and bad. but i know it's ok that the holidays are a mix of sweet
and sad.  i thought about my mom and how hard this time must be - but
she keeps smiling and reminding herself how lucky she was to have dad for so
many years.  i thought about my dad and how his own mom died on christmas
day so many years ago.  when gram died on christmas i knew then we would
always be a little sad on that day but dad always made us know that she would
want us to be happy. the absence of people is the hardest. i still want to go
buy crossword puzzles, and tall shirts and slippers and write love notes and
send them off to florida but we can't. i knew this time would be hard and i
also know that grief won't always be right in front of me, it may be at arms
length but instead of whining for what will never be again i will remember
that dad has other ways of showing us his love. it may not be the same
package but it will be there.. we have already seen it.

love sent, xo

hey there...

good morning!   it's 6:43 i feel like i just went to bed.  i think i sort of did just go to bed. but that is what
happens at this time of year... you can't get much sleep and enjoy all the festivities, it's one or the other...

last nights party was a big success. mini gingerbread martini's were the favorite.   i have the best friends in the whole wide world.  i am not kidding.
l. u. c.k.y. that is what i am.  i think everyone really enjoyed the favorite things swap, it was a great  change of pace.  i scored a couple of great things.... and some special gifts because all of you are so sweet...  thanks.  there is a chalk board in my kitchen that m is counting down the days until christmas i gotta tell you it's scares me ... 3 days left !  I am hosting christmas and i gotta get some things together.  but i wanted to say thanks to everyone for coming and happy holidays to all.  i gotta run
my cookie dough is chilling and i have to pop some cookies in the oven.  xo

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

happy tuesday before christmas my friends....

last night there was a dusting of snow.  i know many of you have gotten slammed but we have not,  as of yet,  had any siginificant snow.  the dusting was perfect for helping me find my christmas spirit.  walking along with
little flakes fluttering down is just beautiful.  a big fat blizzard if you can sit home in front of the fire is also awesome....  but seeing as there is still christmas shopping to do it's best if the big fat snow holds off for a few more days...  every year christmas sneaks up on me - well it just seems to anyway.  i still have a few more things to do.  but tonight i am going to hang out with the girls for my annual cookie swap. tonight is for fun and celebrating and enjoying each other. the only thing that will be different is there are no "cookies" this year.   this year we changed it up a bit to a " favorite things" swap.  inspired by oprah's favorite things i decided to give it a try on a different scale ... there probably won't be any car give a ways.  but... i bet there will be some fun and interesting things.  i will be back tomorrow with pictures.
until then,  have a happy day.  xo

Sunday, December 19, 2010

favorite images...

                                                 (via green wellies)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

let it snow...

martha's vineyard at 2:00 today....

digital christmas....

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

christmas gift suggestions

to your enemy, forgiveness.
to an opponent, tolerance.
to a friend, your heart.
to a customer, service.
to all, charity.
to every child, a good example.
to yourself, respect.”

~ Oren Arnold

weekend snapshot...

more favorites...

 Mango 2...

gingerbread martini...

twinkling lights....

 roasted beet salad...

chocolate dipped marshmallows...

 my favorite book...

awesome restaurant...

my favorite people...  xo

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


" will shine in your eyes and in your look, in your conversation and in your countenance. you will not be able to hide it because joy overflows. joy must be one of the pivots of our life. it is the token of a generous personality. sometimes it is also a mantle that clothes a life of sacrifice and self-giving. a person who has this gift often reaches high summits. he or she is like a sun in a community."  ~Mother Teresa

i know people like this..... don't you?   i aspire to this. i would especially like to believe i am joyful.

but i have to admit that, for instance--i'm not a sun, i'm a snowcloud. a bowl of cold oatmeal. a brittle fall leaf. rather than overflowing, my joy congeals in wobbly puddles at the bottom of my heart. telling me to be joyful just mires my feet in guilt. you know how it is sometimes you have to lean on hope.

tomorrow will be better, as i used to whisper in the ears of my young ones at the end of hard days. tomorrow will be better.
i miss you dad.

love sent,

newly released...

michael lives on....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

my favorite mantel...

i was going to change it up this year but my family voted to keep it going. my tradition of displaying the santa collection.... <3

Sunday, December 5, 2010

december plan...

i read about a little project and thought it was a great idea  for this blog during the month of december. 
something plain, simple and fun. a month full of favorites.  i will share whatever dances in my head.
not necessarily everything on the image below.  i will share blogs, recipes, utube videos, etc.  anything
i think is a favorite.  there will probably  still be posts woven in and out.
there is a ton more but i couldn't fit it on this page.

oprah did post her favorite things list and i hope you - you know who you are- are coming
up with your favorite things too. 

love sent,

oreo truffles...

simple great idea...


1 pkg. (8 oz.) philadelphia cream cheese, softened
1 pkg. (1 lb. 2 oz.) oreo cookies, finely crushed (about 4-1/4 cups), divided
2 pkg. (8 squares each) bakers semi-sweet chocolate, melted

make it

mix cream cheese and 3 cups cookie crumbs until well blended.
shape into 48 (1-inch) balls. dip in melted chocolate;
place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet.
sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.
refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

how to easily dip truffles
to easily coat truffles with the melted chocolate, add truffles, in batches, to bowl of melted chocolate.
use 2 forks to roll truffles in chocolate until evenly coated.
remove truffles with forks, letting excess chocolate drip back into bowl.
place truffles on prepared baking sheet; let stand until firm.
love sent,

Thursday, December 2, 2010

hot chocolate...

hot chocolate,  one of my all time favorites for snuggling up on a frosty winter's night...
 i do love william sonoma's hot chocolate and it's an annual tradition to stock up on some with the large square marshmallows. another one to try is starbucks hot chocolate with salted caramel, yum.  but to change it up a bit or to give your hot chocolate a wow factor try  some of these options. these little touches are easily
put together with a few ingredients from around the kitchen.  well worth the smiles you will receive.

chocolate Lover’s dream

beat 1 cup heavy cream, ¼ cup chocolate syrup and 1 tbs. confectioners’ sugar until stiff.

yummy almond
beat 1 cup heavy cream, 2 tbs. confectioners’ sugar and 1 tbs. almond liquer or ¼ tsp. almond extract until stiff.

brown sugar
beat 1 cup heavy cream, 2 tbs. packed dark brown sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla extract until stiff. delicious on hot chocolate also good for brownies.

cool citrus
beat 1 cup heavy cream, 3 tbs. confectioners’ sugar and 1 tsp. grated lemon or orange zest until stiff.  can also use this on top of pound cake and puddings.

cinnamon spice
beat 1 cup heavy cream, 3 tbs. granulated sugar, ½ tsp. vanilla extract and ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon until stiff. makes gingerbread or a fancy coffee drink special.

sweet jam
beat 1 cup heavy cream, 2 tbs. confectioners’ sugar and 2 tbs. seedless jam until stiff.
great on biscuits, waffles or french toast.

each makes 2 cups.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

happy decemberrrrr 1st ...

let the season begin.  i can't believe it's december 1st.  i think i say that every year tho.
there is always so much to do.  i started the day off with a starbucks eggnog latte. just to ring in the season.
which by the way was worth every calorie.  i may disagree with that later but for now.. it was bliss.

                             (photo via ali edwards) .. try to be merry each and every day of december....

remember... savor this time of year and take this opportunity to capture a piece of your life right now.  there will be good and bad and happy and sad  -  always... it's life.

Monday, November 29, 2010

last of autumn...


we cooked, we ate, we enjoyed each others company.  we ended the weekend on a happy note. a birthday cake for mom. hugs to the girls as they head back to school.  all in all we enjoyed the holiday and the long weekend.  mom struggled a bit with her birthday wishes but she really enjoyed the kids.  all the firsts without dad will be hard.  but we know he is watching over her and all of us, he really must be -  look what we found  just outside the door.  xo

love sent,

Thursday, November 25, 2010

happy thanksgiving...

(photo via ali edwards)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

happy happy birthday drew...

wishing you all the happiness and joy that this day can bring - nothing less for you, your sweet spirit and twinkling eyes but mostly your welcoming heart. xoxo  hope all your dreams come true.... we love you

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

hostess gift idea...

i know that thanksgiving is only 2 days away but i had to share the cutest little hostess
gift idea.  it honestly will only take you an hour and it is so cute.
what you will need:
some polyester leaves (you can find them  at michael's or a.c. moore etc.)
clear melt and pour soap (again,  your craft supply store)
fragrance oil
measuring cup
wax paper
put your soap into the microwave...
add your fragrance oil and stir
take your tweezers and grab a leaf  or.. you can leave abit of the stem on to hold on to
then dip into soap making sure it is totally covered.

place on wax paper to cool

once they are all dry put them in a little dish next to the sink, your guests can grab a leaf
lather up and then throw away.

tie a few up in cellophane bags, makes a great hostess gift.

Monday, November 22, 2010


the weekend brought my sweet friend L home for a quick visit. we crammed in a lot of love in a couple
of days. we laughed, we cried, ate great food, toasted, traded recipes and hugs, drank lattes and mimosas,
early christmas gifts were given, lots to be thankful for.

i am  looking forward to thanksgiving and the week ahead spending time with family and friends.   i am hoping to make this week one of conscious thankfulness. i heard today that being grateful is a step ahead of being thankful. gratefulness is thankfulness in action. i hope to do small things to show my gratitude; to be more thoughtful, kind-hearted and patient.   it's such a small thing that can make someone feel so good.  my mom has been staying with us and she is the most grateful person i know.

love sent,

Friday, November 19, 2010

comfort food...

after a bone chilling walk on the bike trail try this to warm up...

recipe via zupas blog

minestrone soup

serves 4-6
2 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup carrots, peeled and diced small
2/3 cup celery, diced small
2 (32 ounce) chicken broth boxes
2/3 cup potatoes, peeled and diced small
2/3 cup zucchini, diced small or sliced
2/3 cup frozen peas, thawed (can omit :)
2/3 cup fresh spinach, chopped small
2/3 cup garbanzo beans, drained (about a half of a 15 oz can)
2/3 cup light red kidney beans, drained (about a half of a 15 oz can)
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 c parmigiana reggiano cheese, shredded (to cook in the soup, then add more on top when it’s finished)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 dried bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2/3 cup shell pasta, uncooked

in a large stockpot over medium heat, heat olive oil. add onions, garlic, carrots, and celery and saute for 5-10 minutes. add remaining ingredients except for pasta, and bring to a boil over high heat, uncovered. after bringing to a boil, turn heat down to medium low and simmer 20 minutes. add uncooked pasta shells, and simmer for another 15 minutes or until pasta and vegetables are cooked.

top with parmigiana reggiano cheese, and serve with crusty bread.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

love makes us brave...

i woke up sad and teary this morning.  the sadness underneath is close to the surface. 
i  push it down,  it bubbles back up. walking through this season is hard.
over the weekend we laid my dad to his eternal resting place. it's a beautiful place with
many trees and flowers. 
a few leaves on the trees were barely hanging on, bravely by their little stems.  that's kind of how i felt
in the first days after my dad died.  just writing those words can make me cry.  there is
nothing like walking along with pieces of your heart falling out of your pocket every time you
bend over or turn to fast. 
i think you dropped this little piece of a heart on the floor yours?
oh yes,  thanks...
but i got back my heart by the people who loved dad.  all the people that came to the
funeral service, or sent cards and flowers, or dropped a note.
it is amazing how healing that is.
when winter comes you wrap yourself up in a cozy coat.  when internal winter comes
you wrap yourself up in cozy care.  all of you have brought me warmth.   it softens the edges,
and make it easier to ride out the storm.

my heartfelt thanks to all of you.

i do my best to hold steady when the pendulum swings,  but no one can do it alone.  so now it's back to
routines and keeping  the rhythm.   all of you are like the glue that keeps me together when my
internal parts are rattling.   
so again, i can't thank you enough.

i love, this picture above (it was a few weeks ago) birch trees were one of my dad's very favorites.....

i like looking at pictures  remembering all the magic moments that made up our days together.  he would want that.  he really would.

love sent,

Thursday, November 11, 2010

i need a long sweater on this november day...

the clocks have been changed it's dark so early.

the leaf littered soggy streets from the past three days of rain are depressing me more than i already am.
i keep wanting to update my blog. it’s a place i come to evacuate my thoughts.
but i like it when my thoughts are happy. i really like to be happy.
i do my best everyday to find happiness and to be grateful.
today i am grateful that i have  people in my life that i can unpack some of this overflow
that is going on in my mind.
right now i have so many thoughts and memories crammed into my head.
they just need to spill out.
my eyelashes are wet but they are suffocated by my eyelids that are fiercely trying to
dam the oncoming flood.

i know..... deep breath.

i keep telling myself that it's ok to be sad, it's normal.
i was watching television and there was a guy surfing - he could barely keep upright
the waves kept knocking him over.
that’s what i feel like right now.
but i kept watching him and what he lacked in skill he made up in effort.
right now for me there are a lot of waves, im trying to keep everything in perspective.
the waves have a lot of faces and my heart is hurting…
my dads death... it's painful. i know grief runs strong when the love runs strong.
a family member making heartbreaking choices which affect everyone.
not what anyone needs right now.
my bff with a deadly disease - a person so brave and willing to fight it makes me sick
that she keeps getting knocked down. but she has real courage and as moe says
real courage is when you know you are licked before you begin but you begin anyway
and see it through. and you keep on fighting.  keep. on. fighting.   please.
i have a lot of internal turmoil.  i think that happens when you feel helpless.

sometimes life is hard. all this shifting feels deafening to me.
i am utterly preoccupied with it’s noise and pain.

but i remember that it’s love that changes trying times into bearable times and hard
moments into learning moments.

so right now the waves are strong and i'm not a good surfer but i know the
waters will be calm again… so i won’t quit surfing.

love sent, xo

Thursday, November 4, 2010

to the world you may be one person - but to one person you may be the world...

you were our world.

my handsome,  blue eyed dad crossed the finish line on October 23rd.

i knew when i had the courage to log back into my blog it would make me sad.

so very sad.

sad, because the last time i wrote i was so happy that my dad’s surgery went so well.
so uneventful, so smooth, we had been so very lucky.

i thought.

that was at 6:57am on friday Oct 22nd

how would i have known then that on Saturday Oct 23, 2010 he would take his last breath.

as m said so eloquently "sometimes life sneaks up and steals something from you."

my initial response were sobs, loud choking sobs, i thought i was going to suffocate.
i had to pull myself together. i had a plane to catch to be there for my mom.
i realized then, right then, that no matter if you are 5 or 50 it still hurts.

more than i could have known.

in these later years i never took a single day for granted we knew how lucky
we were to have him here with us each and every day. our most recent time together
was so special and will now be an eternal gift. and i am fully aware that some people never
get that chance but somehow that does not take away the pain.

losing a parent is like losing your lifes foundation, it’s the person
that has known you since the day you were born and now that person is suddenly no
longer in your life. i have been there for several friends in recent years that have lost parents
and i thought i knew how it would feel - but i didn’t.

i surely didn’t.

grief is a funny thing, there is no way around it, only through it to the other side.
and this takes time. maybe a lifetime.  grief takes our hand,  but  mostly our heart and
shows us a life now changed.  it is a difficult cycle.  but i believe that you are still here inside each of us,
(your children, your grandchildren and your great grandchildren)
shaping our lives, warming our hearts, and giving us the strength that we might not have had without you.

i wish i could hug you one more time, or hear your laugh.  but i am comforted when i look around at our family all created by your love.  we’ll see you, we’ll feel you, through all of us  pieces of you are still here.

i know you are still with me dad, your love will continue to show itself in the smallest ways.
it will make me feel like i haven’t completely lost you.

memory has a way of holding on to the things you love, the the things you feel,
and the things you never want to lose.

you will live in my heart forever.

i will miss knowing that you aren’t reading my blog, even at this age i loved all the credit
you gave me every time you read it.

i love you dad.

sleep tight.

there are no good-byes for us, wherever you are, you will always be in my heart.

love sent, xo

Friday, October 22, 2010

dance on...

this week has been stressful. my entire family was anxiously awaiting the news that my dad's surgery was over and he is resting comfortably.  we are ending the week on a great note.  everything went really,  he is resting and will be back home in a week.  that fighting irish spirit lives on....  love you dad....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

change and grow...

a few months ago the company i worked  for was sold.  it was sold to a german company called merck.
there have been many changes, some have been really sad.  saying good bye to friends has been really hard.
but this video is awesome, it shows change, things are always changing and with change there are hard times
but amazing times too. 

blueberry buckle...

i am not sure how this cake got it's name but it's worth every bite... 
add this to your fall buffet dessert table.   the next morning  you can enjoy it with your coffee.

2 c flour
3/4 c sugar
2 1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1/4 c shortening
3/4 c milk
1 egg
2 cups blueberries

1/2 c sugar
1/3 c flour
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 c soft butter
1/2 c walnuts

heat oven to 375 grease round layer or square pan.  blend all ingredients except topping.  beat vigorously for 2 min.
mix topping together then spread over batter sprinkle with nuts.
Bake 45-50 min.

sooo simple. 

love sent, xo

Monday, October 18, 2010

it was a hot chocolate kind of day....

and i had some with whip cream. pumpkin fest was just that, it was chilly and cloudy and there were so many sights to take in.  we watched leaves tumble from the trees and swirl around in the chilly wind.   the fall foliage was spectacular and in the distance you could see snow on the mountain tops - indicative of what is surely to come, sooner than we will be ready for.  but for today enjoy the colors of fall.  there was hot apple cider, deep fried apples, caramel apples, roasted giant marshmallows, tents everywhere offering up all kinds of autumn goodness....

the buildings look so beautiful draped in autumn love...

it's such a quaint little town -  i just loved this old fashion barber shop.

and the clock in the center of town ...

there were messages on pumpkins for lots of people. then there were subtle messages that almost went
unnoticed. of all the pumpkins i happen to take a shot of this row. moe? surely a sign  - a reminder that it was his birthday this day...

and then if i didn't catch that sign  -   they sent us this one...

and it was the brightest rainbow i have ever seen...

and as night set in the whole town was illuminated in jack o lanterns. it was pretty amazing. and pretty crowded.

happy halloween.
love sent, xo

p.s.     m was busy, really busy :)  i didn't get to snap one picture of her.