A January To Do List

If you live in the wintry Northeast of the United States, you know that many January activities involve the cold, snow or inside venues. I compiled a little to do list for you New Englanders to try this month. If you live elsewhere ask yourself if any of these ideas would work for you.

Credits to Janet Lee Logan & Princess Sassy Pants & Co. Thank you.
  • Go sledding with your family and friends! We have a long Tobaggon that I won at work many years ago. It can hold two or three bodies and goes like the wind!
  • Host a Saturday lunch for friends. I’m hosting my two friends Laurie and Michelle in a couple of weeks. Serve hot or cold sandwiches or homemade soup. Have tea, coffee or hot beverages available.
  • Organize desk drawers or cluttered countertops. It’s easier now while the weather is colder outside. Once spring comes, you’re going to want to be outside instead.
  • Organize your printed photographs or digital thumbprints. Label folders such as Christmas 2018 or Summer 2018.
  • Take an afternoon hike in the woods. Tom and I hiked about a mile to check on his game camera and feed the local deer. It was simply magical with snow falling while we were in the midst of the stand of trees. Animal tracks spiraled throughout the woods like a crazy maze.

  • Build a cozy fire in the stove or fireplace and cuddle up nearby. Watch a good movie, Mr. Church on Netflix. It’s a heartwarming story of a mother and daughter who have a cook who becomes part of the family. Read a good book! Right now I’m reading The Divide by Nicholas Evans about a family facing a tragic loss of their daughter and the search to find out what happened to her.

I hope you all enjoy the month of January and everything that comes with it!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

Advertisements

Random Facts About Me part 2

 

 

A90AF2C9-C528-4D13-A9B2-312226B95522
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.

 

436D8ED5-4C5D-456B-A406-B6A7AD1C6080

 

 

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!

IMG_0032

 

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.

52F9C448-F452-4C2F-A423-2D2039558675.jpeg

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.

2356262A-9F98-46F5-A958-1317B903D103

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 💕

Autumn Elegance

 

3AFF8918-C2FA-4736-9A0C-D22DF7A1414C

It’s my autumn wish to completely express my adoration of my home state, New Hampshire. Being born within its boundaries and breathing it’s fresh country air 49 years entitles me to personal experience. It’s the many years of waking up to majestic mountains and living my life with a scenic background, enough that I should pinch myself that I’m this blessed!

 

 

1EB15BB9-FF1D-4AFC-BDCC-736A7D1DCC29

 

Many years ago Autumn stole my heart with its vibrant gold and red elegance.

2F7CBA41-6D19-4B94-A13A-29DD45C5CC6C
Here we stopped among multiple cars and crowds of tourists to snap some lasting photos of the season. This is Waterville Valley.

 

 

Sunday afternoon Tom and I cruised the infamous Kangamangus Highway with twists and turns through the White Mountain forest. As we began our journey we were fortunate enough to trail a parade of Corvettes. Even though the day was raw and chilly in the 40’s with a whipping wind, the pleasant sun brought some heat to our enclosed car.

 

7065A026-DB59-436C-B015-F4043BF017A54B39D8FA-75A7-452B-B110-FC0D94F7FF9A

 

 

 

 

0F47085E-60FC-4F8B-B426-C222BE1EECB5830957F9-DE97-4A10-A0D2-FB140F31ED2D

 

If you ever have the opportunity to visit our stunning state, make sure to wander up north and take a ride on the highway. Every few miles are lookouts, picnic areas, hikes and some campgrounds to vacation in a rustic scene.

 

Here we stopped to stretch our legs and absorb the glory of Autumn. The C.L. Graham Wangan Grounds lookout is in Lincoln. I’ve never seen as many cars and tourists crowding the area, but even so we found our tiny space to enjoy.

959863FC-456C-4B49-915F-DF7A56A515994DC0BADB-8EB4-4104-B6C7-ED4F92FB90132DB747E5-FE15-4865-AA23-19EEE87C01BD

 

If scenic mountains could be royalty their elegance would sparkle within the court. Their colorful leaves resemble precious jewels, even as the glow wanes. The monumental scenery takes people’s breath away as they absorb it’s unbelievable majesty.

 

I’m thankful for the quality time Tom and I spent on the road.  We followed the Kangamangus for a few hours towards Conway, NH. Then we stopped at a rest area bordering a brook and ate packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.To wrap up the day, we cruised home slowly with no  expectations. We had heard foliage was at a peak a week ago but even so, the colors popped here and there.  It’s these Autumn days that fill my bucket overflowing!

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

Maine in September

 

 

IMG_0108.JPG

Most Maine vacationers visit in the steamy summer for an ocean get away from life’s moninity. The driving desire of the beach lures hundreds of families to the Ogunquit area, crowding restaurants and jamming roads to the brink. Their vision rests in the salty sand and beating globe of the mesmerizing sun. Flocks of seagulls dance among beach folding chairs, seeking quick tasty snacks from humans. Ocean waves rush in with a timely purpose, nipping at exposed ankles and cooling off hot swimming bodies.

 

Unlike most tourists, my husband and I prefer to stay away from Maine in the depths of summer. We wish to enjoy the scenery and venues without traffic and crowds. The last few years Tom and I venture to the coast in September, after Labor Day. Some traffic remains and you still have to plan and look at available restaurants, but it’s calmer and a little less crowded.It still feels like summer but with a hint of fall.

 

 

This trip we stayed in a simple motel called The Beaches in Wells, a little seaside town bordering Ogunquit. The room was small but all that we needed to sleep in. The first night after supper we sat by the little fire pit ( gas) and talked under the stars.

 

 

 

During our weekend visit we decided to go for a quiet nature walk in the woods in the Rachel Carson National Refuge in Wells. It started out in a pine wooded spot with picnic tables and a ranger station. The day was warm with a few bugs around but even so, it was a great walk! The trail was well taken care of and the views were pleasant. Every few feet there was a lookout point to sit or take photos. We could see wet marshy land leading to the ocean and smell the salty air. Herons stood still and erect, watching for fish in the water.

IMG_0107IMG_0111IMG_0113IMG_0114IMG_0115IMG_0120IMG_0121

 

Following our walking adventure, the Footbridge Beach called our name. The beach is located in the neighboring coastal town of Ogunquit. It’s about five minutes from Wells. The  temperature was in the 60’s with a partly cloudy sky. Seaweed piles lined the edge of the water, something we don’t always see. Even though it was cooler and the sun wasn’t scorching hot, it still felt nice to sit in the sand. I closed my eyes and listened to the peaceful flow of the tides, while Tom spotted sailboats with his trusty binoculars.  Seagulls called while people laugh and talk. At one point we watched nearby Canadiens play a friendly game of volleyball.

 

 

 

We rested together in the sand for a few fleeting hours. It was summer’s last hurrah, a chance to load up on all the ocean’s beauty. We ate a lunch of carrots and hummus and Tom’s salami and Smartfood popcorn. Of course he fed the seagulls ( as he did when we brought the boys) and they approached with a fearless front. With each popcorn piece thrown, they edged closer and closer to my bare feet. Yikes! It was too close for comfort but pretty funny!

 

After sitting for a few hours, we decided to walk up the beach to Ogunquit Beach, where motels line its perimeter. We watched the rising river at high tide. It was fun to walk up the other side back to where we parked. It’s pretty navigable but you can tell people don’t venture there often. Teeny sandpipers scurried here and there and a few seagulls were looking for fish. I could tell we had walked a few miles as my legs stung! It was the exercise I needed that day after sitting.

 

 

The next day we visited the outlets at Kittery. The Kittery Trading post held a festival with a children’s band dressed as Revolutionary minutemen. They pounded their drums as visions of a new bow danced in Tom’s head. As he bought his bow and the helpful clerk adjusted it, I watched many other wives following their husbands around the hunting section. They were all jumping through the hoops like I was, with no particular interest in the sport,  but a thrill for their husbands or boyfriends’ purchases. That bow brought quite a smile to my husband’s face and that made the trip to the store worth it.

 

 

If if you ever are up north on the coast of Maine, check out Wells and Ogunquit. We love the Footbride Beach in Ogunquit. You pay a $15 parking fee for all day. If you arrive early before the ticketman, you can get in an early beach walk free. We get our breakfast to go from Dunkin’ Donuts and eat and drink coffee on the beach.

 

I recommend going in September after Labor Day, unless you don’t mind lines and busy restaurants. It’s a wonderful beach get away with the beaches, shopping, hiking and delicious dining.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💜

 

 

 

 

Why I love the Number 13 & 13 Things to do in New Hampshire

The lore of number 13 is that it’s unlucky. Superstitious people tread lightly on Friday the 13th and believe that terrible occurrences will happen on that day. It’s said that it’s bad luck to seat 13 at a dinner table and some restaurants go to the trouble of setting 14 instead.

IMG_0045

 

Despite this superstition, my favorite and lucky number is 13! Even though people  talk  of it’s negativity, I associate it differently. You see, I was born on Friday the 13th and think it’s special that it was that day. My home address is 13 and it happened randomly. My little niece’s birthday is on October 13th, a day of fun and celebration.

 

A few great things that are 13, a baker’s dozen ( for who doesn’t want an extra yummy muffin or cookie), there were 13  original American colonies and in math 13 is a prime number and can be divided by any other number.

 

Have I convinced you that 13 just has a bad rap? I am not superstitious and so 13 will continue to be a special number to me.

 

Here are 13 ways to enjoy New Hampshire if you visit our beautiful region. 

 

1. Visit historic covered bridges in small towns of New Hampshire. The Windsor- Cornish Covered Bridge was built in 1866 and crosses from Windsor Vermont into Cornish, New Hampshire. Stop by and see the Bath Covered Bridge in Bath, New Hampshire. It was built in 1832 and has been renovated a few times. Nearby the Brick Store hosts a country atmosphere with homemade fudge, smoked meats and unique gifts.

 

2. Hike trails in Franconia Notch such as Lonesome Lake Trail and the Basin.

 

3. Go swimming at Echo Lake in quaint Franconia Notch. Rent a paddle boat or canoe or just lounge in the sand and enjoy the lake and mountain views.

 

4. Eat a yummy breakfast or brunch at Polly’s Pancake Parlor in beautiful Sugar Hill. They have a variety of tasty homemade pancakes and waffles in the renovated dining room.

 

5. Do the Zip-line at Loon Mountain in Lincoln. If you visit in the winter you can ski or snowboard.

 

6. Go fishing at peaceful Pearl Lake in Lisbon. This used to be the town reservoir.

IMG_2705

7. Shop downtown Littleton to see thrift stores, clothes boutiques and Chutter’s Candy store. It sports the world’s longest candy counter!

 

8. Eat delicious pizza and drink an ale down by the river at Shillings in Littleton.

 

 

9. Shop the outlet malls in Tilton.

 

10. Attend the Keene Pumpkin Festival on October 28th.

 

11. Gaze at colorful foliage in late September into early October. Go on a road trip through the Kangamangus Highway. Stop by one of the many rest areas for a picnic lunch and panoramic scenic view.

 

12. Go bike riding on country roads.

 

13. Take in a movie at the Jax Jr Theater in Littleton. In 1941 the theater premiered The Great Lie starring Bette Davis. About ten thousand spectators attended the show.

 

If you ever travel to New Hampshire try some of these activities. Breathe in the fresh air and soak in all the beauty of its lakes and majestic mountains.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

My Mom’s Amish Country Adventure

 

In April my mom excitedly experienced a week-long Amish Country quilt retreat! Sounds pretty intriguing , doesn’t it? She was invited from relatives to attend this quilt retreat in Ohio and she couldn’t say no since she is a devoted quilt maker.

 

 

The retreat was in Charm, Ohio, a little Amish community. The Amish hosted the participants in a modest yet modern housing complex. Mom and her relative and friends worked on their quilt with help from Amish women. They brought their materials, cloth and sewing machine to work on all week.

The Amish women cooked for the group including providing snacks such as popped corn made on the gas stove. They have this convenience but no electricity nor televisions or modern devices.

 

 

Mom came home with freshly made turnovers, to serve at Easter dinner. It’s not everyday that you can taste something so delicious and made by the Amish. What a treat they were! I just wish I would’ve snapped a photo of them!

 

 

What an experience she had and I’m so happy for her, for she doesn’t travel on her own adventures. I would love to see her go once a year. I feel it’s vital to go on your own treks, to meet new people and see places you’ve never seen before. It’s these times that build your inner self-awareness and confidence.

This is one of the amazing quilts my mom has crafted for us. I love the different shades of blue! It’s comfortable on chilly evenings and mornings and Smokey agrees. Here he is lounging on my bed before I make it for the day.

Have a blessed day and seek adventure whenever you can!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Walking the Cat!

Walking the cat? Are you crazy? I can hear your surprised and amused comments and I first thought that too. Until my soon to be daughter-in-law suggested for me to start walking our cat Smokey. She walks her cat Smokey Joe outside and has been for a while.

 

 

Our two cats have always been inside cats. The reason is that we’ve lost two cats in the past, one to a coydog and one got run over in front of our house. We live on an intersection of two busy roads and don’t want to risk our cats being run over. With that said, with our cat Katie it’s always been easy. She loves being inside and secure and seems very content with her home. The few times our kids have brought her out she freaked out in fear. Our youngest cat Smokey is another story. He was born a barn cat and spent a little time outdoors with his mother before we got him. He’s always had a free spirit and would run out whenever he could.

IMG_0084

The last year or so it’s been worse. One time he got out and ran up our neighbors hill. I was afraid that he wouldn’t return and roam the nearby woods and find trouble. With both my sons’ help, we gathered him up and brought him back home. It was then that I knew we had a problem and we had to give him his outside time as he wishes for.

 

 

Branden and I bought a harness and leash in a pet store and started putting on the harness so he would get used to it. We take him on fifteen minute adventures most everyday except on rainy days. The funny thing is that he doesn’t even whine to go out on cloudy and rainy days. Must be that water thing…that cats just don’t like to get wet.

 

Smokey either wants to roll in the dirt, eat grass or hunt. The hunting aspect is a challenge and worry as I don’t want him to kill. There are little chipmunks around the yard and they know of his presence. One time I saw a poor little scared one tucked in between our fuel tank and the house. I felt so sorry for him that I immediately brought the cat inside. Who knows how long he/she would’ve been able to hide there!

 

So the “catwalk” continues…which really isn’t one as he walks in a low position and never gains ground as he stops here and there. There are many smells and textures of this outside world that Smokey has to learn. As he learns, I hope he can have some polite manners. Sometimes he growls or hisses at Branden and I if we take him in another direction from what he wants. The reason we do this is because of the birds and chipmunks and we don’t want him in the Poison Ivy.

After walking the cat I realize the differences between cats and dogs. I think dogs will follow you where you wish them to go, where cats have a mind of their own and get ticked off if they don’t get their way. Oh well, I signed up for this when we got our cats. I have no regrets as I buckle the harness for Smokey’s daily walk. Who knows what we will find but I do know he’s happier with the outside trek and that makes me happy as well.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul