What I Learned This Year

I just read a post from a wonderful blogger, Jodi from http://lifeinbetween.me .  Her reflection is based on what she learned this year, something I’d like to try. I’m piggy backing on Jodi’s wonderful post with my reflection. Thank you, Jodi for a great read and for the inspiration!


What I learned this year…

My son and his fiancé who will marry August 18, 2018❤

*that my oldest son chose a special lady to be his future bride and that she is a perfect fit in our family.💗

*that Dylan has his head on straight. Turning 21 he acted like an adult and celebrated quietly and without getting loaded

*that my youngest son continues to amaze us with his grades and made the Dean’s list every semester

* that Branden’s girlfriend is sweet like my future daughter in law and is very thoughtful

*that our neighbors are very nice people and that we are blessed to be living beside them. Ron and Jenny Laleme, Bob Clark and Anita and Irene DePonte.

*that I’m pretty good at baking and I enjoy it very much

*that my husband continues to work like a dog for our family with no complaints ever. He worked all day Christmas Day with a two-hour reprieve and never flinched.In this process I learned holidays can be changed and altered and you need to go with the flow. I’m so grateful for all that Tom does and hopefully I pay him back by taking care of our house and cooking food for us

*that Tom likes traveling and went on an airplane the first time this year to Florida. We spent time dreaming our future trips to Montana and possibly Alaska someday

Saying goodbye to family in Florida me, Tom, his sister Pam and my mother in law Theo

Lastly I learned that I’m okay…more than okay and living life with aspirations of someday writing a book, continue walking( in the nice weather) and enjoying writing this blog.

What did you learn this year?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 🎉

A New Year Ceremony


Another year has come and gone and here I am reflecting upon its passing. I find the older I become, the more sentimental I feel of a passing year. It’s a great time to reminisce of special happy moments and to accept not so happy times. No life story is perfect and an acceptance of your situation can accelerate well needed healing. Learning from your past mistakes of the year can help you grow and reflecting upon them can bring peace and resolution. After all, don’t you want to begin a new year without carrying around negative baggage?

A good way to put the past year to rest is jot down your triumphs as well as disappointments. Elizabeth Gilbert suggests creating your own New Year ceremony. My sister-in-law Bev has mentioned this idea before as well.  Take your lists of hurtful situations, resentments and disappointments and burn them. With this sacred act you are sending the negative away and welcoming healing and positive things.

My family, me, my son Bran, oldest son Dylan and his fiancé Lexy.

I’ve decided that I will do this ceremony tomorrow night and welcome my husband and son to do so if they wish. My list includes getting rid of jealousy, ( really an indicator of lack of confidence) fear and a lack of confidence. With sending these negatives into smoke and ashes, I intend to stay in prayer for help overcoming them. Life  is so much more pleasant when you let go of your battles.

This isn’t the best of pictures because of the shadows. It was taken of my family on Christmas Eve. I love them so.

Another New Year tradition our family practiced in the past is the grateful jar. I took a glittery vase I had and encouraged my family members to jot down what they were grateful for and place in the jar. Then we shared them after and I kept them to look back upon. Some of the penned thoughts touched my heart, ” I’m grateful for my family.” ” For my family who pretty much supports me most of the time.” ” I’m thankful for food and our house.” This practice can be a Thanksgiving activity as well.

What New Year traditions do you practice? Do you notice the older you get the more special the gift of a new year is? I do…and I thank God for my health, my family and my job.

Happy New Year!🎉🎉🎉🎉

Wishing you all peace and prosperity in the new year, 2018!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 🎉


I took a quiz last January and received these words for 2017,

Harmony, Freedom and Happiness

I think we had harmony in our marriage, I wished for freedom of jealousy that’s always haunted me and happiness with myself as well as in my life. 

If I chose three words to focus on in 2018 they would be,

Confidence, Love and Peace

Confidence in my abilities, Love in my son’s upcoming wedding and marriage and Peace in my heart and my corner of the world.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all! It’s been a hectic two weeks preparing for the holiday, baking cookies, planning and shopping and cooking for our big dinner on Christmas Eve. This year we adjusted our holiday plans because of the winter weather approaching. Our region will get socked with a winter snowstorm on Christmas Day. My husband and his boss will have to plow and sand that day away from their families. Although this makes me sad for them and our families, I am blessed to be able to celebrate some on Christmas Eve. Our son and fiancé will come for a nice ham dinner and present giving. Hopefully Tom can open presents with us early Christmas morning before he plows! 


As I finally sit down to catch my breath, I realize how special this blog family is to me! Many of you have become friends, my blogging family! I always look forward to reading your stories about you and your families and hope that you check in on mine from time to time. This way we can stay connected and learn about our families, cultures and countries. This connection motivates me to keep writing and reading your blogs. 

Merry Christmas, my family and friends. Wishing you all peace and love!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 🌲🎁

Your Favorite Memory

Tom and I were watching a silly movie last night, Surviving Christmas with Ben Affleck. Affleck’s character  hired the family who lived in his childhood house to spend Christmas with him and recreate holiday memories. It was crazy but kind of cute. Check it out if you wish to take in a zany Christmas flick.


One scene that inspired this post was when Affleck and the daughter Christina Applegate were talking intimately about their favorite moment or memory. Afflict asked Applegate if she could relive a favorite memory, what would it be? She answered the magical moment of finding a sparkling ice-covered tree.



I’ve been thinking of this and it’s not easy narrowing it down to one moment to relive nor can I focus on just one. I have numerous memories I wish I could recreate. There were times growing up with my family when there was peace on Christmas and then later when my sons were small and we opened the tree and seeing their face light up with excitement. These moments filled my heart with joy. Maybe if I could wrap all those precious moments up with seeing my grandparents alive for a few minutes, that would be something I would want to relive. To be aware of that special moment and talk again with Nan and Gramp and introduce them to my sons. That would be my favorite moment, if I could intertwine the three.

What magical memory would you want to relive?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💕

The Lost Art of Christmas Cards

Do you notice that every year the Christmas card pile gets smaller? Just a few years ago the card deluge would commence the last week of November and every day after you could expect cards in the mailbox. It was always fun hearing from family and friends that you aren’t in constant contact with. Sometimes pictures or annual newsletters would accompany the colorful cards.


I think the Internet craze and messaging has threatened snail mail and the urge to send cards. Many people decide to use Facebook or email to send Christmas wishes. This way it’s instant, easy and free. But I have a problem with this. I enjoy going to the mailbox and being showered with stacks of colorful envelopes!  After the cards are opened and read, then comes the display.

I have a little card carrier that I housed my cards in a few years but the problem was that you couldn’t see them. I saw on Pinterest a couple of years ago where someone placed thick felt ribbon down the cupboard doors with the cards stapled to them. This year I draped thick red ribbon across our doorway and stapled the cards to it. It’s simple and easy and looks good.



I admit that my Christmas card list is condensed and always changing! Many relatives and friends have passed away and new friends reappear and are added. This year I almost skipped the tradition due to a lack of time. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I didn’t want to send my holiday greetings on Facebook. This morning I worked on six cards and sent them and each day will do a few more.






Another Christmas card tradition of mine is to save my favorite. I strung groups together with shiny ribbon and put them in my basket. The basket is in the livingroom and now and again I browse through them. I still have some from loved ones who have passed away and so their words are preserved. 

Do you still send Christmas cards or do you use social media? 

I’m wishing many blessings for you all and your families. Hug your loved ones today!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💌



First Snow Sparkle ❄️


This is a view of our woods bordering our backyard.



The first significant snow

of the season pounced on us

Saturday night!

Sunday morning and afternoon the fresh fallen snow glistened

on bushes and trees

as the sun pelted its presence

upon us.

Frosted trees sparkled

with glistening milky snow.

The wind softly caressed the branches

while wisps of sparkling snow sprayed in clouds

and fell to the ground.

The air smelled clean and anew,

a sure sign of new fallen snow.

As I trudged up the dirt road behind our house,

the suns rays shined upon the road

with an angelic like aura.

I’m grateful for coming winter and the beauty

all around.

Welcome new snow!

It will be a white Christmas!



Our front yard
Beautiful apple trees in our neighbor’s yard.
Along the dirt road I spy our garage

Look at the beauty around me!

Do you have snow where you are?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💕


Take Time For R & R

Every Christmas season I end up being exhausted or sick. A whirlwind of commitments take over and along with work at school and my housework, there’s not much time to relax. For years my wish was to slow down and take time for me. Now our house just has us here and things are slowing down. On weekends I’ve been trying to squeeze r & r in my days. My favorite things to do is read, write my blog and watch Christmas movies.

Here are some of my suggestions for busy moms and wives to indulge in r& r

* Watch a holiday movie, better yet do a Christmas movie marathon


* Take a bubble bath and light a candle nearby


* Look through old cookbooks and plan to make a meal or dessert. I do this with my cookie magazines and enjoy it very much


* Call a friend or family member and strike up a conversation. This beats a quick message or text


* Go for a winter walk when it’s snowing…it’s so magical!


* Take a family drive to see neighborhood Christmas lights


Everyone needs rest this time of year, healing therapy for your body and mind. With relaxing and taking good care of yourself, you are banking on healthy and pleasant days ahead! Don’t let the stress of the season take over!


All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️








Cookies, Cookies, Cookies!

There’s nothing as comforting as a plate of homemade cookie concoctions baked fresh out of the oven! With a glass of milk or coffee a cookie is a special treat, especially around Christmas. Recently I’ve spent much busy time in my kitchen baking different cookies for fundraisers, co-workers and family. It has been a peaceful and fun week as I listened to my Spotify Christmas playlist and baked my heart away.


Chocolate Thumbprints

I found this Chocolate Thumbprint recipe on Pinterest, from Shanon at The Curvy Carrot. She is a physician and enjoys cooking and baking while at home. Here is her link for the recipe. Chocolate Thumbprint cookies


I’m sharing her recipe for this delicious and beautiful cookie. I doubled the recipe and it made about four dozen. It will be a steadfast addition to my annual cookie list. They are also pretty easy to make and that means a lot this time of year!


I used parchment paper and love the results!








Next I made Melt in your Mouth  Pumpkin Cookies with frosting to top them off. I love pumpkin cookies and believe they are not just for fall but would be great to add to a Christmas cookie tray. I got this recipe on Pinterest, from Crissy at Dearcrissy.com. See her site for the recipe. Melt in your mouth Pumpkin cookies


She’s a mom and wife, writer and food photographer. This recipe is the best pumpkin cookie I’ve ever tasted and baked! It will be a hit at parties, work or just at home.




Every year I write my cookie list to bake for family, friends, co-workers and neighbors this year. It varies from year to year. Most years I make peanut butter chocolate kiss cookies nicknamed Black eyed Susans, a family favorite. My son Branden and I still make sugar cookie cut outs every year. Since he was about 7 or 8, he has had a keen interest in creating and decorating these beauties. I asked him a message recently if he wanted to continue the tradition when he gets home for college break. He said yes, he would love it and so I look forward to this time with him in the kitchen.


Today my sister Barb, niece Ella Kate and my sweet mom are coming for Cookie day, a tradition we started a few years ago. Each of us will bake a batch of our favorites and then we split them up between us. We play music, laugh, reminisce and just enjoy each other while baking cookies. It’s a special day for me and I hope the tradition lasts with my future grandchildren.

Are you baking Christmas cookies soon? What are your favorites?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

Christmas Wrap Station


Every Christmas I have quite a variety of wrapping papers, ribbons and tags for wrapping. Years ago I did something clever and organized by buying a tall  container to store all the rolls. That way I could be mobile and wrap in any room I wished. Most years I tug out the container and watch It’s a Wonderful Life while peacefully wrapping in front of the Christmas tree. What a joy it is to give and wrap the present!


You see, I think I have a wrapping paper addiction! Our former employer Mrs. Geneen had a special wrapping room with hundreds of rolls of wrap. Every color of the rainbow and prints of quaint villages, snowmen and vintage Santas lay in big pull out drawers. A large table was set up for working elves on Christmas Eve. Ever since I saw Mrs. G’s layout I’ve wanted a good variety of Christmas paper. I did resist buying new wrapping paper this year because I know I have more than enough.


This year I wanted more organization and since we have a spare room no one is using, I set up shop in there. On a little cardboard table I have a wrapping station of wrap rolls, a place for bags, a station for tags, scissors and tape. I guess I’ll wrap on the table if I move the rolls or on the bed. All the packages and presents are in the room ready to be lovingly wrapped.



Do you have a wrapping tradition? Is it a random action or do you put a lot of thought into it? I have to admit that even though I enjoy wrapping presents I’m not that great at it! On the other hand my husband is very precise with it and does a wonderful job! He could be one of those quick wrapping department store clerks!

I hope that this year you find wrapping is fun and not a pain! Play festive music, have a glass of wine or a cocktail and enjoy it!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 🎁

The Christmas Tree: Real or Fake?

Apparently there is an ongoing dilemma with Christmas trees. The question is do you cut a real tree every year or put an artificial one up? As long as I can remember I’ve had a real evergreen tree. I remember plodding through the snow for the perfect shaped tree. I can still smell and hear the chainsaw cutting it down.

My sister and I posing in front of last year’s tree, a real one

I’m an old-fashioned kind of girl from New England, favoring those steadfast traditions of exploring for a tree and smelling the rich woodsy scent everyday.  The spiky or soft needles brushing against you as you trim the tree gives me goosebumps.


I can understand why people choose artificial trees for it’s less of a mess and probably easier. You buy it once and that’s your total investment as real trees cost money every year. My dad and stepmom keep it decorated and put it away as it is.

Which do you favor…real or fake?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗🌲