Welcome, Autumn!

The first few weeks of autumn in our little state actually felt like long-lost summer days, hot and steamy like Florida. Summer hung on as Mother Nature  didn’t get the memo to transition into cooling autumn. Muggy days with temperatures in the 80’s hung thick over us, making our clothes stick to our skin. Many days when I hit the pavement, sweat poured from every pore and even though I welcome summer weather, I truly set my hopes for fall.

 

 

 

Finally weeks later it feels that fall has rushed in with a swoop of cool air accompanied with sunny and pleasant days. Most nights we have to close our windows , as the air cools right down in the 40’s and 50’s. My favorite part of the evening is when Tom lights our trusty stove. The mesmerizing scent of smoke wafts in the livingroom and the crisp smell of burned wood reminds me of my childhood years of fireplace and stove fires. Orange licks of flames shine through the stove window and I thank God that we have heat and can be cozy and warm because of it. Our cats appreciate the comfort of the hearth and soak in the heat, as their tails flick back and forth.

 

Our neighborhood during autumn.

 

 

 

 

 

Like many New Hampshire residents, I welcome autumn days. There’s something  exceptional about mustard golds, pinks, reds, and peach leaves hanging on the trees and falling with gentle breezes. The mountainous landscape becomes a natural canvas for all to gawk at and feel the immediate tranquility. Warm yet mild days give way to apple picking, pumpkin searching, football games and gathering up leaves for the jump in contest. Plummets of fall smoke fills the air, brush fires, bon fires, wood stoves crank up the heat while little critters prepare for the coming days of winter. The cool night air feels like luxury to your skin, kissing you with pleasant tingles.

 

 

 

It seems that the colors emerged earlier this year, sometime in early September. I enjoyed them but visioned immense foliage displays this month. I believe the hot days have lessened the pop and without those cold temperatures, I noticed the colors were muted and less this year. As we are immersed in late October, foliage has passed on. Despite this truth, the piles of beautiful leaves, pumpkins and scarecrows perched on porches remind me that autumn is here, my favorite time of the year!

 

 

 

Wherever you may be, notice the significant changes of season. Maybe you didn’t have foliage where you are…perhaps it’s a subtle change of temperature or lessening of the tourist deluge. A new season is a perfect time to indulge in your local foods and products. Here in the north country, apple cider is available as well as glowing orange pumpkins in farmer’s fields. Crafters set up at local fall sales as visions of upcoming holidays dance in our thoughts.

 

 

 

Embrace a new chapter in this change of season. This shift in time truly is a gift to cherish, a subtle reminder that there’s a time and place for everything. This can be your time to explore. Why not visit a new local venue or hike a trail you always have meant to? Whatever you decide to do, live in the moment and use your senses to indulge. What do you see with beckoning eyes and not a cell phone picture? What pleasant scents  appeal to you? Do you hear noises that become peaceful memories? How about touch…do you feel the rough bark of a nearby tree or the bumpy pumpkin skins on display? If you focus on the experience with your senses, it will be a warm memory to hold on to.

 

 

Happy Autumn days to all! What are your favorite fall moments?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

An Everyday Positive Intention

Okay, friends, take a gander at this beautiful scenery and you’ll know why I relish my walks in this small town in New England. It all started this summer when my mother-in-law visited and we trekked a six-mile or more hike through every corner of this hamlet. From then on, I caught the walking bug and found that I felt really great physically and emotionally when I hit the pavement. Most days I walked by myself about a mile or so. Other times I walked a few times with co-workers after school, panting and chugging the whole way. (About three or miles each time.) 

 

 

IMG_2955
Would you believe this used to be our view, right in our back yard? Now I walk by it with fond memories and appreciation for its majestic beauty.

 

 

A few weeks ago I took a chance and asked my neighbors to walk. We’ve lived here almost three years and unfortunately I hadn’t connected with them yet. I’m beyond blessed that I’ve made two friends in the walking process.  Anita, Irene and I walked twice a week up our road and stretching uphill towards town with friendly conversation shaping our walk. 

 

 

Another beautiful sight on our walk.

 

 

Anita has taught me that it’s healthy to set a positive intention everyday. In the mere hours of a quiet morn, I sit still and reflect on the coming day. At this time I also pray to God for the people in my life and for ones in need. In the peace of these moments, I’ve started to set a positive intention to focus on for the day.

 

 

 

My intention is to focus on something new everyday and breathe positive air into my corner of the world. The first positive intention was calm. That day whenever something stressful appeared , I focused and breathed of calm. The next day my positive intention was confidence. I have fought low self-esteem much of my life, especially at work when I have to be on top of my game. Although I had a rough day, my lesson was that I need to be confident with whatever life throws at me. Fastball zingers happen and it’s up to me to stay strong and take them as they come. 

 

The grown up road side bordering a local farm.

 

As the autumn season rushes in, our daylight is diminishing. Walks may be less frequent and more spontaneous on weekends and such.  As I reflect on this, I am extremely grateful for our country walks with fresh air and mountain scenery, fit for a postcard. A nearby pasture hosts curious cows watching our steps down the road with keen interest. Trees shed leaves of crimson and mustard yellows, wind swirling them in squalls. These nature strolls are even richer with the company of two really nice people!

 

I challenge you to try to set a positive intention everyday. Some ideas to focus on are peace, calm, giving, listening, smiling more and forgiveness. Meditate in a quiet spot in the morning before you plunge into your day. Write your intention down and how it could help you grow. It’s been a healthy practice for me and an inspirational way to stay positive in a chaotic world.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

Goodbye to Summer As I Know it

My little garden with a few edging work to do.

 

 

Here’s a little goodbye to summer…

as I finished the first week of school, a short version due to the Labor Day holiday. Ten days ago I walked the shiny polished floors in school for the first time since June. Everything looks clean and polished and all classrooms look equipped and ready for the kids. I unpacked my corner and organized miscellaneous items piled on my table. My corner looks fresh and soon I’ll be taking groups of readers for reading sessions.

 

Even though it’s a little sad to close another summer chapter, I feel that it’s time. My spoiled summer routine consisted of getting up without the blaring and annoying alarm. Summer days consisted of gardening, seeing relatives and writing my blog. By mid August all my free time feeds a dire need for purpose and so I welcome the start of school to make a difference.

 

I really miss the children, their lit up smiles, their funny comments and the way they make each day worth getting up for. They bring meaning to my life and that’s why I work at school. I can’t imagine working and teaching anywhere else. I’m truly blessed to be involved with such a special school, faculty and the children there.

 

Summer is over  for me as the New England air cools down, a sneak peek of Autumn days is here. I’m pretty excited for fall days, my favorite season of the year! Bring on September and lovely colorful days!

Blessings to you all as you say goodbye to the season.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

A Familiar Scent

Do you have a certain scent that brings back precious memories? It’s amazing how smells can transport us back in the past or right beside a special person we knew! It could be the Patchouli perfume that your grandma wore that instantly brings you back to the days that you could speak with her or the sweet smell of butterscotch candies that your grandpa had hidden in his pocket for special occasions.

 

img_2097
My favorite scent that evokes memories is chimney smoke. I know that’s strange but it is something that sticks with me. It reminds me of comforting days in my childhood. Our family always had a fireplace or wood stove. Playing outside I couldn’t help but notice it’s pungent odor. It meant warmth and tranquility, for when I went inside, we gathered around the fire. A sure sign of fall and winter, the smokey scent was exhilarating amid the chilly air.

 
Wisps of gray curly smoke plummets from the chimney. Sometimes it shoots straight up and others whips north, depending on the wind direction. It makes a whimsical path in the sky and really is beautiful to me. Despite its beauty and necessity on this cold day, it’s familiar scent is what affects me to my inner core!

 

 

Chimney smoke has a distinct smell combined with fresh air outside. It also reminds me of my Grandpa’s camp long ago, in Vermont. It’s smell brings me back there where I played one day with my cousins. The only memory I have, other than playing with my cousins, is the chimney smoke.

 
On winter days, when returning from home the first sight I see is chimney smoke pluming upward. It means my home is warm and waiting for me. It means piles of cut wood will be neatly stacked in the log carrier and my husband and I will have to retrieve more from the outside wood stash.

 

 

On frigid days coasting down the hill towards work, I enter the bowels of a small town. Chimney tops from street to street are working with their flow of smoke. My favorite scent that evokes memories is chimney smoke and I can actually smell it from a nearby home, through the car window. This sight is comforting, the fact that townsmen are warm during the winter. Although It’s a basic necessity, something some people suffer without.

 

 

Notice what scents bring you back in time, to comforting memories and people. Our senses truly serve us well to connect to thoughts and memories that may have passed on to oblivion if we didn’t have them.

Daily Prompt: Scent

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/scent/

All My Best,
Heart and Soul

The Richness of FAMILY

img_1902

 

 

 
Do you know that first graders learn how to write family early on? They craft letters to their family every week in circle journals and learn how to spell this important word. They can tell you who makes up their family, the obvious ones…mom, dad, sister, brother but they also associate family with love. Even at this young age, children know the importance of family!

 

 

With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching fast, I’m thinking of family. One vital component of this feast of plenty and grateful hearts is family and being together.
Being in a family is one of the greatest blessings on Earth. An even greater blessing is to be a part of a healthy thriving family, a group of people who not only love and respect each other, but are friends. It shows in their actions that they enjoy each other’s company, laugh and share memories. I’m proud to say my family is like that.

 

 
I know several families that have members not speaking to each other or estranged from their lives. Sometimes family members don’t see eye to eye and maybe they disagree most of the time. Hopefully they can bridge this divide and find common ground? This is so very sad and depressing to me, because to me, family is everything and the hub of my life. I can’t imagine being estranged from my husband, children, parents, sister or brothers. Although I don’t see or hear from my brothers a lot as they live quite a distance from me. Despite this, I know they love me and it’s always special when we connect once a year.

 

 

 

Family is the cornerstone of society and if we BUILD it up instead of breaking it down, our country would be a better place. Do you want to wage peace in this country?
Start with loving your family! You can make a difference in your corner of the wild by respecting, listening and compromising with your family members. Talk to them…don’t shut them out!

 

 

If you have a strong family, you are as rich as they come! Love, respect and honor can’t be bought. If you have all these things, consider yourself beyond fortunate and show those people that you love them!

 

 
As you celebrate Thanksgiving soon, remember to acknowledge your family. Not only tell them that you are thankful for them in your life, but show it. Spend quality time with those special people, cooking the huge meal, baking a pie together, gathering for coffee and good conversation or a night movie at home. Whatever you do together, cherish that kinship and connection.

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul❤️

An Autumn Tradition in a Country Kitchen💗

This is dedicated to all the bakers out there ,who put their heart and soul in their labor of love, especially my Aunt Sandy who passed away a few years ago.  When I think of my Aunt Sandy, baking with love comes to mind. Her cookies were delicious! She had a special way with baking and gave so much of herself to others. I miss her dearly and know that I’ll see her again someday.

 

img_1959

 

 

I love aprons and how when I tie one on, I become a baker of yesterday, representing years of aproned mamas baking their hearts out in their comfy warm kitchens.

 

 

 

img_1970

 

One of my favorite things in my kitchen is my antique pot rack. I consider it a country kitchen must.

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_1963
Overlooking my work area with bar and all. Dont mind the dirty dishes. That’s a part of baking and will soon be scrubbed.

Traditions of Autumn and Pumpkin Pie

 

 

 

 

Not long ago in the midst of our fall setting I wished to bake a pumpkin pie. Every year when autumn arrives and our world wears its vivacious colors among the crooked branches,  I cook and bake comfort foods. Like many cooks, it’s a celebratory way to accept a new season and welcome frosty winter coming soon. It was to celebrate fall’s gifts to our family.

 

 

 

 

It was a quiet and tranquil Saturday. With my music filling my kitchen and inspiring my soul, I got to work. Twinkling kitchen lights winked at me as I gathered my ingredients. With a hasty snap, on went the the red and white striped apron , that’s when I mean business!

 

 

 

 

 

img_1966

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_1968

 

This year my pie was very different as I experimented a bit with recipes and substitutions. A few months ago, I learned that I’m lactose intolerant and can’t digest milk and it’s products well. I found a good recipe on Pinterest using brown sugar instead of granulated and was up for a change. Next instead of using evaporated milk, I substituted half milk and half almond milk. I know what you are going to ask, did the almond milk make it watery? Believe it or not, it turned out terrific and I decided not to tell my husband about the changes. He’s the type of guy who doesn’t taste anything wrong until you mention the secret ingredients. So I played the hush game and Tom said it was the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever made! Then I enlightened him and he was fine about it.
img_1892

 

 

 

 

Being an old soul and belonging in an old fashioned kitchen, I love the idea of making and rolling out your own pie crust. With that said, can I make a huge confession? I stink at making good pie crust and I’ve discussed this with my mother -in-law many times. It always comes out crumbly and hard to manage, let alone cover a pie plate with. This time I cheated with a Pillsbury pie crust and it was great! There are occasions I try making my own. Thanksgiving is coming up and I’ll make the monumental effort to achieve a good pie crust all by myself!

 

 

 

 

Doesn’t the beaming light rays transform my pie into something majestic and angelic? He hee, I love this photograph as it depicts my magical feelings for baking in my kitchen, in my home. Baking for me is more than the mixing and molding your goodies to a delicious product. It’s being made in my country kitchen in the peaceful light of my surroundings with my oven and spatial counter space. It’s the heavenly scents wafting in the room and reaching our living area, enough for our cats to wake up and investigate. When I bake I’m transformed to the olden days where mamas spent days by the crackling stoves and hungry husbands came in from the barns with a smile and loving wink. It’s almost like I go inside a farmhouse from long ago and live that simple life for a bit.

 

Happy baking to all mamas and papas out there! This is a simple reminder to live in the joyful moments of your loving labors, whatever they made be.😉

 

 

 

 

From my country kitchen to yours!

All My Best,
Heart and Soul ❤️

Thanksgiving Anticipation

 

img_0773
Our Thanksgiving table set last year, of mismatched dishes and tableware, each with its own history and story.
img_0769
Tom’s cherry pie I bake every year

 
November is upon us once again! It’s the time New England’s brilliant colors fade. Grass and brush turn brown while gardening dreams rest until next spring. Squirrels and chipmunks scatter about, rolling nuts and seeds preparing for the blanket of snow, soon to come. We all scramble for snow tire appointments and most people fill their fuel tanks, as we load up on cut wood for our stove.

 

 

 

As our clocks fall back an hour tonight and we earn our extra hour of sleep under the cozy flannel sheets, my thoughts and plans concentrate on the holidays. It’s a joyous season for family and friends, a time of feeling grateful for Earth’s bounty. The special family memories come to mind of connecting with those from afar. Mouth watering visions of hefty plates of turkey, mashed potatoes and vegetables and dessert goodies bring aromas to life. Close relatives laugh and chatter, tucked in at the table of plenty. Past years of country walks in the crisp air and movies generating a room full of hearty laughter come to mind. Grateful thoughts and prayers hang thick among us, as we each count our many blessings of the past year.

 

 

Growing up my Thanksgiving memories involve family and a big feast for all. Roasted turkey and stuffing, orange winter squash ( which I detested as a child….I learned to love it) and pies that mom made. I remember our Doyle family of six eating dinner along with our grandparents, long passed away. As I got older, my mom worked at a nursing home and had to work on holidays. Sometimes she worked on Thanksgiving and sometimes Christmas. This schedule helped teach the value of family, for there was a significant void when my mom wasn’t around. I didn’t like it when she had to work, it seemed like everything was on hold. Now I understand that the people in the nursing home needed mom every day of the year, including Thanksgiving. Although I have fleeting memories of Thanksgiving, my true nostalgic thoughts lie with Christmas. It was a magical time, of family and festivities and trimming the tree listening to dad’s country hits on the stereo record player. Those memories will emerge in my Christmas posts.

 

 

 

img_0779
My family at Thanksgiving time
img_0781
I’m thankful for the blessings of family

 

My husband and I have always spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with our sons. We’ve been blessed to be able to share these special holidays with them, enjoying every moment. Despite this, as the coming years approach and they grow in their own lives, this may not always be. Circumstances may arise, distance, jobs, families grow and decisions have to be made where to go on holidays. It’s tough deciding, for everyone wants to share in its joys. So for now this means much to me…to be able to enjoy them and Dylan’s girlfriend Lexie who has become a part of the family.

 

 

 

 

 

When dreaming of Thanksgiving, I think of tasty turkey, homemade gravy, homemade pumpkin pie, cherry pie that I bake for Tom every year and so many other delectables.  I look forward to using leftover bird in potpies and cranberry stuffing sandwiches.Our cozy cats slumber, curled in furry balls along the fire until the turkey scent wakes them from their slumber. Then they transform into polite table side beggars.

 

 

I may have convinced you that the food is the center of it all, but I mislead you, for family is the importance of the day. Being with my husband, my sons Dylan and Branden, Alexis, my sister in law, Bev and brother in law Chris around the table, talking, laughing, sharing, that’s what it’s about. Although we all enjoy the food, it could be take out or sandwiches if things got hard, and the blessings would remain. I would feel grateful for our connections, our health, our lives as we branch out on our own while our roots stay connected. I feel this way with Tom’s mother and family in Florida, although we don’t spend Thanksgiving together, our connections and history remain the same, strong.

 

 

 

As there are a few weeks to go, the countdown to Thanksgiving starts. In the meantime, I’ll plan my dishes to serve, choose my table settings and most importantly thank God for my family and my many blessings in this life.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul❤️