Reflections of the Past Year






In the late days of December, most of us pause and reflect on the passing year. Another year in our life was spent, hopefully lived the best way you could with no passing regrets. There is something so final about saying goodbye to another 365 days. It’s sometimes like bidding a close family member farewell as they pass from this life, full of sorrow and sadness. Perhaps the year was so amazing and breathtaking you just don’t want it to end. Other times it’s a joyous adios because the year held so much pain that it’s time to seek the future and a fresh start.




Many people I know are ready to bid a farewell to 2016. Perhaps they lost loved ones, were sick and unable to do what they wanted or had things go haywire all year without a break. Whatever this year meant to you, you can close the chapter and look forward to the next. There’s always hope and a chance for a fresh start in a new year.



As I seriously reflect on the last year, CHANGE is my family’s headline and theme. It’s the first time that I can really label a year. My oldest son officially moved out into his own apartment, leaving a room of his packed up belongings. My husband and I also sent our youngest son to college three hours away, leaving an empty nest and me a broken hearted mama. ( I’ve adjusted and doing okay. I’m so happy for him, he’s just completed his first semester with a 3.66 gpa).



We completed our first year, in May, in our new renovated home. This was a drastic change from living in an employer’s cottage home to living in our own place, a place that we could finally call ours and make our own decisions.  We moved from a home we raised our sons in and had created many fond family memories to a renovation project that has turned into a beautiful inviting home. Now our home is mostly finished except outside shingle work.


Our relatives moved away, primarily to sunny Florida. Tom’s mom, his sister and husband and other sister and husband all went, along with a niece and her family. Recently many relatives are drawn to the warm weather, heading South of us. We are happy for their new lives but miss them so.



This year I started my blog and wrote about life in New Hampshire. I didn’t think about it, I just did it! After researching ideas, I found WordPress and the rest is history. I’ve written 137 posts about our rural dwelling, it’s creatures that inhabit here and magical moments of inspiration. I love doing it and having people all over the world read it.




My husband built his amazing garage with a little help from his friend and tractor and our son Dylan. All that hard work and long work days with his jobs and then coming home to tackle the garage, paid off! It’s a beauty and many townsmen are commenting and praising him for his great work.





This year Tom and I reconnected with his sister Bev and her husband Chris more than ever! I had Bev stay over and we had a wonderful visit! We went out to dinner and went to my son’s play Little Shop of Horrors. Tom and Dylan went to Bev’s house to help Chris with their renovation project and the three worked and had a good time together. Bev and Chris came here for Thanksgiving and we all had a special magical day. We hope to have them come in future events.



Okay like anyone else, my year had ups and downs including a two month hiatus from my garden to tackle fleas in our home. I was vacuuming everyday and got a bad case of OCD whenever I saw a black speck. I know it could have been worse!

I’ve also fought a back injury for two months that I’m trying to leave behind. I’m not lifting and trying to baby it. I’ll start physical therapy in January to learn all the back strengthening exercises.

I think it’s a valuable process to look back and analyze the year. Thoughts of positive habits can be chalked up to success and a vow to continue it in the coming year. An example would be for me to continue yoga when my back is better. I loved the flexibility of the practice and it’s calming influence on my mind and intend to get back as soon as I’m able.


What negative habit did you have this year? Maybe you gained weight by not eating right and exercising. Perhaps you over thought about things and that affected your actions. Whatever it is, make it your New Year’s resolution to tackle it. Overcome those demons and replace it with a positive practice.
Another milestone in our life, ready to close like a well read book. As I march well into my late forties I realize what a passing year means, running out of time. I’m getting older and I’ll probably lose more people in my life and have changes. It’s inevitable…with that said I will make this life even richer with valuing family, friends and outside nature. I vow to do my best to take care of myself and my family.



Do you have special memories of this passing year? Is there anything to learn from and reflect on? Whatever happened to you this year, positive or negative, I hope you find peace in looking forward to 2017.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

My Favorite Time of the Day




I hope you all had a joyous Christmas with family and friends! I did, it was quiet with my husband, youngest son and myself first thing. Our oldest son came later in the morning and we opened our presents. We watched a movie and relaxed. Dylan’s girlfriend Alexis came in the afternoon after visiting with her mother and family. I made a lobster dinner with twice baked potatoes and popovers. We had apple pie and chocolate peanut butter pie for dessert. It was a nice day and I’m happy my family got to spend some time together.

Now, moving on to another topic other than Christmas…

In the quiet morning hours around five, my blaring and annoying alarm wakes me from my slumber, back to reality. With my little china blue slippers I pad down the stairs to our livingroom. A homey warm fire crackles and pours heat in our little living space, making it feel like a jungle instead of a house nestled in wintry New England.


The shower runs with my husband getting ready for his day.Steam rolls up towards the fan and I hear the water shut off and a snap of a towel. He will dress and help himself to cereal soon.


As I enter our kitchen, the strong aroma of rich coffee calls my name. My lone cup of joe awaits. My husband has added my almond coconut milk and I drowsily pour the black liquid. Our ambitious cats say hello with deep meows and brushing up against my legs. Tom’s already fed them and they are ready to claim their sleeping spot for the remainder of the morning.








Sitting in our comfy chair with a fleece covering, outside our many windows darkness lives and the tranquil morning breathes. It’s peaceful and I have ample time to wake and reflect. The day has so many great promises and I thank God for waking me today and offering me this wonderful fulfilling life. It’s only this beautiful because of Him and his love.



What is your favorite time or moment of the day and why?


All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

Merry Christmas to All

Merry Christmas to you all and I wish you a happy and healthy 2017!






My Christmas Eve has begun and there’s still so much to do. Yesterday I made an apple pie, peanut butter chocolate pie and magic bars. This morning I need to make a dozen cupcakes and cinnamon rolls for the morning. A few presents await to be wrapped and then I can relax with my family. My husband and son are headed to a nearby town to last minute shop. Our oldest son arrives later this morning with his dog. 🙂 His girlfriend Alexis will come tomorrow evening after seeing her mom and family. I look forward to seeing her.



Thank you for reading my blog this year and commenting. It means so much to me! I look forward to writing more in the coming year, hopefully inspiring and maybe putting smiles on your faces. After all, isn’t that important? Spreading kindness and cheer in  a chaotic world. I think so.

Many Blessings sent to you all.


All My Best,

Heart and Soul❤🎄🙏🎅🏻

A Movie to Remember









It was 1984 and I was 15 years old. I remember the PBS station was holding their annual fundraising campaign and the nightly feature was their gold star breadwinner, It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s a show that opens up purses and hearts. I watched the famous movie for the first time, half expecting to not finish it. In the late hours of that cold December night, I got sucked in, despite my dislike of old black and white movies.



This 1945 classic appealed to me…maybe  it was Jimmy Stewart’s character and amazing acting and the drizzly snow scenes set in a small town that impressed me. This beloved story of a family man down and out and a goofy angel coming to his rescue all were staunch reasons why I kept watching. All these elements added up to a once in a lifetime movie, a show stopper that has stood the test of time.



I’ve watched it every year since and sometimes twice at Christmas with that eager fluttering in my heart. I still hold my breath during the bridge scene. George prays for his life back and it’s answered, for snow starts to fall and his lip is bleeding once again. He runs home to find the bank examiners at his house, and I still get choked up when all the people he’s crossed paths with and positively affected in his life show up and help. He made a staunch difference in their lives and never realized that until that moment. He had so many friends that he was a rich man indeed, not with monetary value but with love from family and friends with goodness and loyalty.


George Bailey’s famous plight continues to inspire  me today, a reminder that wrapped up presents and piles of material goods just don’t measure up to the connection of family members, their love and legacy and their undying loyalty. Being together, laughing, spending time together means much more to me than what you can buy at a department store. Love, goodness and friendship can’t be bought but shared, valued and treasured. These are the precious gifts of life to be cherished everyday and at Christmas too.



If you’ve never watched this classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, you must treat yourself and watch! If you’ve seen it before, as you watch this year, notice the scenes that mean something to you. Let those moments remind you of what is important at Christmas and most importantly, share that love with others and show them how much they mean to you. Here’s your chance….to act and live as George Bailey did.

All My Best,
Heart and Soul❤️

Christmas Movie Marathon






The minute Thanksgiving passes, I get out my Christmas movie collection to watch. These movies are special and can be seen again and again and we don’t get bored with them. My husband’s favorite movies are action and adventure and he sports a small sigh when we start. I think he wants me to be happy so he tolerates it for the month of December, but ends up laughing and enjoying our marathon. We don’t have the Hallmark channel but if you do, check out the family oriented movies. Also ABC Family channel has 25 days of Christmas programming.

Here is a list of good Christmas flicks:

Home Alone and Home Alone two
Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation
Christmas With the Kranks
The Family Stone
The Family Man
Four Christmases
Fred Claus, funny
A Christmas Story, a classic with a funny pink bunny suit, ” you’ll shoot your eye out, kid.”
The Spirit of Christmas ( Netflix)
It’s a Wonderful Life, my favorite
I’ll Be Home For Christmas
Trapped in Paradise with Nicholas Cage
Miracle on 34th Street

Love Actually, Netflix




I’m trying to slow down and take care of myself. I’ve been nursing a lower back injury for close to two months. Finally I went to the doctors and without an x- ray she’s pretty positive that it’s a herniated disc or deteriorated disc problem. This time of year is hard to slow down with everything that moms do but I must attempt to. I’m on Naproxen for two weeks to shrink the swelling and no lifting over five pounds. Physical therapy starts in January. I can’t help think that it’s another test of strength…of course I WILL pass! In the meantime I plan to go to work for four days but take it easy as best as I can. Christmas will come and with help, I’ll make our dinner.


Because of taking it easy, I watched a wacky movie on a Netflix disc, Mixed Nuts. The title is fitting for it’s about a counseling center around the holidays. Anything that could happen does, it has the romance, accidental murder, crazy happenings that are quite comical. Steve Martin, Madeline Kahn and Rita Wilson star, to name a few. Check it out!

Happy movie watching!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

A Snow Day




Yesterday in the morning at 7:15, I was all dressed for school with lunch in tow when the phone rang. No one ever calls us that early, unless, I thought maybe it’s the school! Sure enough a robot voice relayed the no school message. I admit that even though the car was running and I had everything ready, I skipped with glee and kicked the snow playfully when I went to shut off the car. No School! This never happens here, even when it’s icy and the roads are questionable, school remains open. I guess the furnace was on the fritz, no heat.
It felt like a snow day for the snow was falling and we had several inches piled up. Huge loud orange plow trucks pushed on by as I wrote my Christmas cards at my dining room table. My cat Katie accompanied me, trying to claw the envelopes and I laughed because I could pull them away just in time.  Glancing out the window, I spied about twenty wild turkeys crossing the road into our yard. Thoughtfully, I placed a chair in front of a kitchen window so curious Smokey could watch them longingly.



I trudged out back to gather some firewood for our stove, for that’s how we heat our house. When I zipped around the corner I noticed fresh tracks in the snow going to a little woodpile near the house. I thought maybe they belonged to a squirrel or chipmunk. With an armful of logs, I suddenly saw a little white creature pop up from behind the wood pile. I could have missed it if I hadn’t been looking that way, for it blended in with the blanket of pearly snow.


Oh my gosh, it was so cute ! This little adorable face looked like a mouse or ferret but with a white long sleek body. It’s tail had a black tip. A mink? A weasel? I researched online and discovered that it was a long tailed weasel, known to live in northern regions and even in the Arctic.


He scurried and laid down a trail in the snow and didn’t even seem frightened of me. He romped in the snow here and there. What a blessing for my day because I’ve never seen one and it was so magical at that moment, while snow was falling. Even though Tom informed me that weasels can be vicious, I hope to see him again and wish him well during the cold days of winter.







My new friend’s tracks





Sentimental thoughts come to my mind when I think of snowdays. In previous years I loved announcing to the boys that there was no school. This day no one was here except my cats who I hugged and petted and talked to. Instead I sent a message to my son in college and he responded right away. It made me happy that we could still connect on a snow day and he will be home after his last final this Friday. He probably misses snow days too. Getting up late, a mug of hot chocolate and venturing out in the winter wonderland was his snow day itinery.
So my snow day was special and magical and unfortunately something had to happen to the school furnace but many teachers and children received a well needed day. Thank you God for the little miracles of the day, a precious gift in the hustle of the holidays!



All My Best,

Heart and Soul ☃️

A Christmas Village





My Christmas village nestled in a glittery cover of snow

Has a life of its own and a precious fancy glow

It’s the perfect snow globe all dressed in light

A moment of silence and bids a magical night

Scurrying villagers wander about the streets

Wishing a Merry Christmas to whomever they meet

Soft lights wink with a peace only small towns fare

An unspoken presence of goodwill and generosity hung everywhere

eager children fashion their snowman , their personal best

A Jolly old soul with nothing to do but to freeze and to rest

Church bells ring solemnly all around

Hollering it’s message from the sky to the ground

Before I scuffle off to bed and lie my head down to rest

I snap off the lights and admire my little village , feeling  so blessed!


This is a simple, small collection I started when I was first married. A general store, toy shop, fire station, church in the center of town and a post office complete the collection. There are just  a few villagers, church goers, store clerks and groups of children. I used to have a big hockey rink but many pieces broke off it and after gluing and re-gluing I discarded it. It rests upon my antique bureau in my dining room.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

Cookie Parties



Start a Christmas Cookie day tradition this year! For me, it started about 15 years ago when I baked cookies with my sweet mother in law, Theo. A few years we baked in her log home, a beautiful big kitchen and laid our treasures on her bar counter and dining room table. Then we started making them at my house, the house we used to live in. Even though our kitchen was a nook, we made it work by putting a big wooden cutting board over the sink. We would divvy up the cookies for home to give away to co- workers and friends and family. Last year I had two Cookie days, one with Theo when she visited from Florida and one at my sister Barb’s house with her, my niece and mom.
The Cookie tradition continues and today we celebrated baking, sistership, family and love all in one. We laughed and talked about life, my niece’s Kindergarten class and about future trips to Florida we are planning for next year. Bing Crosby and Judy Garland Christmas tunes played in the background as we rolled out gingerbread and mixed chocolate toffee cookies. The hot oven buzzed every few minutes and we hurriedly grabbed pot holders and checked the goods. “Not done, pretty close, done and ready to come out!” Sitting on cooling racks,they smelled delicious and the spicy ginger aroma coaxed the kitties in to investigate.

My niece and I 


My niece rolled out dough, sometimes I helped and other times her mom, my sister Barb helped. Cutting gingerbread men, Santas and bells, she popped them on baking sheets to wait to bake.


What’s special about our cookie days is anything goes. I drank white wine while my sister had a shot of Baileys. We snapped photos of us by the tree and in the thick of cookie making. We enjoyed our labors and each other’s company.



My mom mixing the batter
Lots of cookie cutters and my favorite jar


Do you want to start this with your family or friends but not sure how it goes?
Let me give you some helpful tips:

*Decide who you wish to approach with the idea, sisters, brothers, mom’s, aunts, best friends, daughters, who ever likes baking cookies

*After deciding who will come, pick a mutual date, time and place that works for all. If you can’t decide where, choose one and the next year you can switch

*Decide who will bring what. I chose to make simple chocolate toffee cookies that could be mixed and spooned on the tray easily. I also made the gingerbread dough and refrigerated it for two hours for easy rolling. My mom brought peanut butter cookie dough for chocolate kiss cookies and my sister brought all the extras to decorate the gingerbread men.

*If you’re planning a few hours three or four types of cookies will do, because remember you have to share the oven and bakers cooling racks. We did three kinds and it worked very well.

*Write an ingredient list ahead and make sure you have what you need for your cookies. Each person coming will be responsible for their cookies. Sometimes it’s easier for them to mix it together at home and bring to bake and decorate.

*Prepare your kitchen by getting out cookie pans, cooling racks, scoops,cookie spatulas( to take off pan), bowls, spoons, measuring utensils and I got out my favorite big jar of cookie cutters. It usually sits on my high cupboard but today it had a place on the table so we could choose which cutters. The jar was a pickle jar and I found it on EBay for $20. 

*Have cookie exchange guests bring plastic containers or tins to take their cookies home in

*Designate who has what space and make sure there is enough baking cookie sheets, scoops, spoons, etc

*Play a Spotify or a Pandora Christmas tune play list. Mine includes many old favorites of mine by Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Judy Garland,Andy Williams

*Plug in all the house twinkling lights and Christmas tree

*Wear your favorite apron and or Santa hat

*Take lots of photos and even videos to remember moments

*Lastly have lots of stress free fun and enjoy baking and your company!

Do you have family or friends over for cookie parties? What are your traditions?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul💗

The Christmas Tree 🎄🎄🎄


I’ve had a real Christmas fir tree as long as I can remember. The earthy pine scent wafts in the room it dwells in. The prickly needles poke a bit as I hang family ornaments. There’s something magical and amazing about a real tree adorned with family ornaments collected over the years.


When the boys were little we lived on a farm where Tom worked as a caretaker ( details in another post someday). Mrs. Geneen gave us permission to go across the yard to the field of Christmas trees and choose the perfect one for us and one for her house. Sometimes we trudged in feet of icy snow with an excitement that warmed your insides. Pulling our wooden toboggan across the packed blanket of white, Tom and I each inspected the trees. Short and tall trees, finely shaped trees, handsome gentlemen trees greeted us as we walked from tree to tree. The boys ran around with wonder and glee as dad and I chose the right one.




One time we went further into the field so Tom brought the truck. The roar of the motor and the boys’ laughter interrupted any quiet. He parked the truck and we all scrambled out with an excitement that had a life of its own. Rows of spectacular evergreens stood like a line of soldiers, each with its own shape and size. Back then I took forever deciding, for once I spotted one I liked, the neighboring tree would also catch my eye.




Eventually we took turns picking out the tree and each one was beautiful and unique. Many years we had a fat towering monstrosity that hardly fit in our livingroom. This reminds me of the infamous Clark Griswold’s tree from A Christmas Vacation movie! That was no problem because my husband is a problem solver! He’d trim the tip off or bottom branches and then it fit like a puzzle piece in the corner.



Since Mrs. Geneen has passed away and the farm sold,now we frequent a local Christmas tree farm nestled in a neighboring town. This year Tom, Dylan, his girlfriend Alexis, Branden and myself ventured out on a Sunday on a tree quest. The day was a little chilly with no snow or New England snow showers to paint the scene. Yet we were together and having fun and that’s what matters.


Here they are with our newly cut tree. Priceless memories.



Unlike previous years, we were looking for a minute or two. The young men and Alexis were heartily joking about a tree that had two feet of boughs cut off. It resembled a Dr. Seuss tree. Not far beyond the strange tree, it stood. It’s grand demeanor and lovely shape drew our attention. I think the kids noticed it first and that was it! As simple as that and then Tom got his chainsaw buzzing and it was zipped off.




My heart was filled with love as Dylan, Branden and Alexis carried our tree out of the field towards the truck. They joked and talked and I thought this was what Christmas and family is all about! It’s the little moments that mean so much and there memories that will last a lifetime.



Once our grand fellow rested in its stand, Tom strung a few lights, Dylan, Bran and Alexis hung a few ornaments and then their interest waned. Sadly I hung the rest of the beautiful ornaments while I listened to old time Christmas tunes. Things change and I understand that. I’m fortunate that they still wanted to go on the tree adventure and that makes up for the decorating. So I’m okay doing most of the trimming by myself because we had that special time at the tree farm.

If you celebrate Christmas, do you have your tree yet? What traditions do you practice with the tree?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

A Winter Wonderland🌨☃️



It’s December in my neck of the woods, which means our little houses bear frosty windows and snowy yards. Many New Englanders welcome more fluffy snow and iced windshields. Snowplows hurriedly push banks of snow as the drivers survive on coffee and adrenaline.Excited scampering dogs play and kick in the fluff, while warm kitty cats slumber by the crackling fire.


While working in school, it snowed all day. Magical glittery sheets of snow fell while teachers and children went about their day. Children were drawn to the windows as a snow globe scene played for them. Excited school children tugged on boots, wrestled with snow pants and hot mittens and hats preparing for recess , a chance to play and romp .White blankets wrapped the earth in warmth while restless winter birds fluttered about, looking for seeds.


Our snowscape through the screened window



After the final bell, determined teachers plowed through paths of snow, as children kicked it and attempted making snow balls. The parking lot was filled with gloved people cleaning off mounds of snow, scraping windshields to see.Plows raced through streets and the school driveway scooping it up, while tired school buses creeped in its path.



I love snow this time of year for Christmas isn’t Christmas without it! It envelopes our corner of the world in a sparkling lane of frost. As I drove home, white branches and trees and roads greeted me. It was a picture of beauty, it’s essence in its simplicity, mother nature’s gift to all who can appreciate it. I thank God for it and pray that drivers are safe on the roads in it.

This is written in my charming snow globe.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul❤️