Three Years Ago

January 10, 2016…three years ago I settled in my recliner to write my first blog post. Back then I didn’t know what to expect or if anyone would even be interested in reading it. It was the first time in a very long while that I put caution to the wind and really took a chance. Those fleeting moments of filling the page with words felt liberating. There…I had done it. I listened to my heart and invested in the possibilities. It felt like I had unleashed a woman who had hidden within me for ages, not only a married working mom, but a writer who had copious words and stories to share. This passion has always lived within me, bubbling up finally. I thought maybe no one would care. Maybe someone would. I simply trusted myself and my readers and put it out there.

Since then I’ve learned that not everyone in your life will pay attention or care. Some joke about my blog like it’s a stupid thing or that its funny. That’s okay! But some have been interested and have encouraged me along the way! They signed up for my email! They read now and then and comment, sharing in my experiences in life. Whether you are my family of friends or ones who have stumbled upon my site, it doesn’t matter. What matters to me is that you care, that you support me as I travel this special journey. I’m eternally grateful for your support, your love and friendship.

As I continue this journey and dream of compiling my penned posts, I am considering taking writing classes to learn more. I hope you all will stay connected with me. I wish you all peace, joy and love as you start this new year.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

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Mom’s Christmas Traditions

My Mom’s Traditions 

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What is it about getting older that brings nostalgic thoughts and dream reenactments of childhood holidays? I think this happens to most of us as we age…when we truly realize how special family is and the holidays with them surrounding you. There are some Christmas traditions that mean even more to me as seasons come and go.

Every family has the tradition of special foods that are prepared once a year. My mom made spicy gingerbread men every year. Mom poked holes at the top to string ribbon through. We ate some and hung the others on our Christmas tree. Most Christmas mornings my mom made Bisquick Jam coffee cake. 

Tom’s Mom’s Traditions 

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There was always a clementine nestled in the stocking toe with little boxes of cereal that the four children would eat for breakfast. They would open their stockings early around 4, discovering their new treasures. Meanwhile their mom and dad slept. 

The Sears Roebuck catalog was the wish list and each child picked out one gift they wanted and they always got that one special gift. Tom received a bike when he was 8 or 9. One year the girls got ice skates.

Their father plowed snow and one year he was out all day working and they waited for him to come home to open the presents. I’m sure it was even sweeter that year because the children had to wait, but it was worth it to share with their dad.

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Tom and his cousin Kenny

My Christmas Traditions

Growing up our family had a tradition of opening one small gift on Christmas Eve. I wanted us to continue the fun and so our boys always had one or two presents to open on Christmas Eve. Usually there was new pajamas and an ornament for the tree. It was fun shopping for unique ones that represented the year. One year I bought a little snowboarder for Dylan when he was snowboarding on our hill. Branden got a cinnamon smelling cat as he loved our cats. 


As I wrap up this post I want to thank you all for staying with me and investing your time to catch a glimpse of my life. Many of you have become my friends and I’m thankful for the connections we have made across the country and the world. Things are getting quite busy here with finishing shopping, cooking and baking and wrapping for Christmas. I will not post again until Christmas or after. I wish you all a Merry Christmas with your loved ones and friends. 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 🎄❤️

My sons in their new pajamas on Christmas Eve

Unforgettable Christmas Memories

My sister Barb and I at Christmas. I was 8 and she was 4.

Most families have hilarious Christmas memories that are retold every year. Some of these antics are captured in photos and others live in the depths of memory, ready to be shared with family and friends. I want to share my crazy and not so crazy Christmas memories with you all.

My sister and I were probably 12 and 8 and it was the eighties. We had a habit of taking out the presents under the tree and inspecting and even counting how many they were. I know…this is obnoxious but it was innocent kids’ play. One night while everyone else was asleep, Barb and I started our present pile up. The tv blared HBO and Timothy Hutton in TAPS played. We laughed. We piled. Suddenly our Christmas tree swayed and shimmied, toppling over in a loud crash! Right on top of all the presents! We tried to get the tree back in its stand to no avail.

Remember the old pull string lights, that’s what’s hanging in front of me. From our old Victorian house we grew up in.

Finally I decided that we had to wake up mom or dad to help us. Oh boy, was my dad mad and cussed in his bed at us! It’s funny that I don’t remember if he got up to help or if he fixed it in the morning. I do know that our present piling came to an drastic halt that night!

While rehashing crazy holiday moments I have to share this one. My mom, sister Barb and I were coming home from Christmas shopping. It was a snowy day with accumulations with few snow plows in the area. We gleefully sang Christmas songs in the spirit of the season. Suddenly our car hit a patch of ice and our car spun in a 360 and hit a telephone pole. It’s humorous looking back because we were so joyful and singing and such a freak accident was so unexpected! Thank goodness we were all okay but the car was dented a bit.

Another memory was when I threw away one one of my Christmas records as a teenager! The 33 must have gotten mixed up in the clutter of wrapping paper and it was never recovered! It was a valuable lesson learned! Always keep organized when unwrapping presents and keep the bags of wrap handy in case something ends up missing.

My sister and I.

Every Christmas my sister and I tried to wake up our sleeping older brothers to get up for the tree. No matter what they always kept sleeping! What a lasting memory of impatience on exciting Christmas morning!  Then there were a few early mornings our dad made us have breakfast first before opening presents. Looking back I’m grateful he did this, a little family time over a festive breakfast is a blessing.

There is that Christmas Eve I heard jostling around and thumping around our fireplace. Being a curious child, I couldn’t help but try to catch the big man in the act! I gingerly snuck out of bed. Opening the door ever so softly, I peeked out to discover my dad filling the stockings. At eight years old I knew the truth…the magic was over but it was kind of humorous seeing him in action.

What crazy Christmas memories do you have?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 🎄

Netflix Suggestions Part II

We are fortunate to spend under $50 a month on television entertainment. Years ago we were fortunate enough to have our employer pay for our satellite tv. Back then cable wasn’t available in our neck of the woods and that was the best you had. Now many tv watchers are rethinking the high cost of cable and satellite services and are resorting to downstreaming apps such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime to name a few. We have those three services as well as YouTube available on our PlayStation console. I’m happy to report my avid tv watching husband is completely satisfied with all the shows, something that worried me in the beginning.

Here are a few Netflix suggestions that are downstreaming currently.

Wonder ( this is on the dvd plan but also available on Amazon’s Prime)

A sentimental family film featuring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson. It’s about fifth grade Auggie who has facial deformities and his loving family who supports him throughout. It’s based on the book and years ago I read it in school with fourth graders.

The Holiday Calendar

This movie is about a motivated photographer who is gifted a magical advent calendar. The calendar could lead her right to love. It’s a sweet holiday story with that Hallmark feel.

El Camino Christmas

This movie drew me in and I don’t usually like robberies or violent movies. I’m not sure if it was the acting and their interesting characters or bonds that are formed…all I know is that it was a good movie and very entertaining!

Julie & Julia

An oldie from 2009 but a great movie. It is about a woman who cooks up all of Julia Child’s recipes. Meryl Streep is fabulous in this! I would recommend this to you if you love to cook!

Big Miracle 

This flick is also an oldie from 2010 starring Drew Barrymore. She is a reporter who writes about stranded whales in the Article Circle. Based on true events, the US and USSR work on rescuing the whales. A good family movie!

This time of year I get my Christmas movies out to compliment Netflix. Every weekend and some week nights I choose one to watch in front of our Christmas tree. Yesterday I chose A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott. I remember long ago as a teenager watching it and loving his acting. It’s a calming way to indulge in a hot cup of coffee in my comfy armchair. Within the next few weeks I’ll view It’s a Wonderful Life, Home Alone and I’ll Be Home for Christmas. 

What movies do you watch this time of year?Are you also bypassing cable tv and opting for downstreaming apps? 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Serenity in Fallen Snow

 This morning I woke to hungry mewing cats crawling all over my bed , yet even so, there was a serene stillness in the house. Glancing out my living room window I saw a magical snow dusting on the cars and blanketing the ground. Stray dancing snowflakes fell from a murky sky. Suddenly I had an urge to be out in this canvas of beauty. I quickly pulled on my boots and ventured outside in the tranquility. The air was frosty but exhilarating to my lungs. Everything was still and peaceful. 

 

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Tom’s truck was gone indicating he had to sand roads for the town. I trudged back in the house. First I fed the eager felines and then brewed a pot of coffee. The wood stove crackled in harmony as I peered out into the white world. How grateful I am  for this serene Sunday morning with nowhere to be but here in my cozy little house in the country! 

 

 

It is mornings like this that remind me to breathe and just be. Maybe today I don’t need to rush out into the world to make my mark. It all happens here in my snug home with a wintry white picture show in view.

 

On such a beautiful morning I remember that today is November 11th. Happy Veteran’s day friends! Thank you veterans ( especially my dad David Doyle and Tom’s dad Robert Blowey and my friends Laurie and Russ Burridge) for the sacrifices you’ve made for our country!

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️❤️❤️

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An Ordinary Day

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Good Monday morning to you all! I love browsing through my old posts for a revisit of what I wrote in past months and years. I found this post from a couple of years ago. Since it’s Monday, a dreaded day for many people who have to go back to work, I thought I would shower you with positive thoughts. The best kind of day is ordinary. Enjoy your ordinary Monday!

 

Blessings to you all ❤️

via An Ordinary Day

Random Facts About Me part 2

 

 

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My co-workers and I in our elementary wing after school on Halloween. I’m the sixth person in.

I really enjoy reading facts about my blogging friends as a huge way to get to know them. I was browsing through last November posts and found a post I penned about myself. I’m piggy backing to it with more random facts about myself.

 

1. Do you enjoy your present job and get along with your co-workers?

Yes! I’ve taught reading groups for 13 years at our local elementary school. As years pass I am more grateful for God leading me there and for bringing different co-workers into my life. I truly enjoy the children and what they say from day to day. They keep me young and therefore I feel alive! The people I work with are great and we have fun! This Halloween we dressed as dominoes, an idea Carol found on Pinterest. All day the kids counted our dots and had much fun with it!

 

Last Halloween we dressed as gnomes from the Trolls movie. We had hats made of construction paper and flowing beards of cotton! What a hoot it was! The kids loved it! We are posed at our monthly community meeting with our principal Jackie Daniels in front.

 

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2. What’s an average weekend look for you?

Usually Saturday is my sleep in day but not lately. Tom gets up at 4 and that wakes me up. Sometimes I lie in bed in the flannel sheets awhile and then get up. I savor my two cups of coffee, read my blogging friends’ posts or watch Grey’s Anatomy or This is us. I attack my housework list early. There’s always laundry to wash and dry, the bathroom to scrub and vacuuming to do. After I accomplish all that I exercise in some way, whether it’s a walk or Denise Austin exercise dvd, it doesn’t matter as long as I stay active!

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Sundays Tom and I spend time together. Sometimes we have a nice quiet breakfast at the table and others we eat watching Hulu. I have less to do this day so it leaves it open for visiting, baking and blogging. This is the day we go on car rides or hikes depending on the weather.

 

3. Is there something that is weighing on your heart lately? 

Yes, very much so but it’s much better! Our 15 year – old cat Katy is aging and we’ve noticed concerning changes. It appears that she’s lost muscle mass and 3 pounds since her last vet visit. I took her for a thorough physical check with a really nice young vet. She listened to my concerns, talked with me about possible causes and examined our beautiful baby with care. She decided to take blood tests and now we know that Katy has Hyperthyroidism. The odd coincidence is that I have thyroid issues too for Hypothyroidism and take meds for mine. She is taking meds twice a day and will go back soon for a kidney checkup.

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When all was uncertain I worried for Katy and for my family. We have raised her with our boys, therefore she’s a huge part of their growing up experience. Our daughter in law and mother in law love her too. I don’t know how I’ll be when I lose my precious Katy but I know God will give me strength when I need it. She is doing well so I won’t worry about that now.

 

4. Do you have any trips planned for the future?

I don’t travel that much so when I plan on it, it’s very different and exciting! I just bought plane tickets for my mom and I to travel to Dallas, Texas for my nephews’ college graduation in the spring. We will spend four days and three nights with my brother David in the Oak Cliff community of the city.

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I’ve been there once before about eight years ago when I went with my son Branden and my nephew Spencer. This photo is on the Southern Methodist University campus, where my brother David teaches History and is an assistant Dean of the Honors program. Left to right my nephew Spencer ( who will graduate college in May), my son Branden and my brother David.

 

Other future trips include some sort of get away for Tom and I for my 50th birthday in June. We also wish to visit our niece Jen in Montana sometime. We have a few  travel trips to look forward to!

 

 

I hope you enjoyed some facts about me from the present and the past. I wish you all a blessed week with your family and friends.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💕