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.


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


All My Best,
Heart and Soul

The Richness of FAMILY




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.





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.






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







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!
















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.





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


Our Thanksgiving table set last year, of mismatched dishes and tableware, each with its own history and story.
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.




My family at Thanksgiving time
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❤️

Turkey Trek








It’s a Monday afternoon

In the smoky cloudy shade of the day

I happen to glance out my window

Turkeys trek down the country road

A north country tradition

A flock of fowl peck and scratch

On an Autumn mission

In scattered droves.

They dig in the dried grass

looking for bugs

Cars pass by and slow engines to take a gander

One honks it’s horn

As a stray bird wanders in the road

Turkeys have taken over…

With crunchy leaves blowing off trees

and a chilly air signaling snow

I think there’s a panic in the air

A sudden scurry for food

To prepare for nature’s season change

Little do they know that November is here!

In a few weeks they may want to hide

For Thanksgiving will soon arrive.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

A Little Bit of Halloween🎃



Halloween was always a holiday exclusively for our boys. They would pick their costumes out a month before and the waiting and expectations would bubble over within them, like a rapid boiling pot of stew. There were years of cowboys ( I tend to remember Dylan was one twice) and simple ghosts of worn bed sheets. One year Dylan was a Power Ranger and coincidently it turned out his cousin wore another Power Ranger costume. Another Halloween Branden was disguised as Batman, a far cry from the  little pumpkin suit he wore when he was two.


I look back on all those fleeting memories, years of costume picking and driving them around to neighbor’s houses to trick or treat, and their pumpkin buckets filled with candy. Halloween nights ended with a special visit to Grammy and Papa’s house down the road.






Last year Branden and I carved the pumpkins.That was our Halloween activity, as the years of fashioning big costumes and going out are long gone. It was so much fun to do it but bittersweet for me, for I knew it may be the last time. So with the boys gone and living their new lives, that leaves Tom and I to do the pumpkin carving this year. I mentioned it last week and I didn’t get an eye roll but no comment. I remember Tom carving pumpkins with the boys when they were young but it’s been years since he’s dabbled in orange squash flesh….the desire to do it fades with the boys gone.


Yesterday being the day before Halloween and having Sunday free time, I brought it up again. I kind of expected an excuse but was surprised when my husband smiled in anticipation. Hauling the round orange pumpkin gems in the house, I plunked them on our bar counter which is a handy work space.Laying multiple newspapers on the bar, we placed them on top and got to work. We dried the surface of each pumpkin, gathered two sharp knives and found a few colored sharpies to draw the faces.


Of course I had to play the eerie and entertaining Monster Mash song while we started with cutting the top. This is tricky for me because I’m afraid my knife will slip so I go slow and careful. Next we scooped out all the stringy and gooey guts with the pumpkin seeds in tow. We were organized and neat about it and dumped unwanted guts in a tall bucket to later add to our compost pile. Last we drew our eyes, noses and mouths and started carving them out.



It’s always been fun and a good treat to roast pumpkin seeds. I start by putting them in a colander and rinse them good. Then I drain them and dry them with paper towels. Next I place them in a thin layer on a baking sheet, drizzle olive oil and salt the seeds. Set the oven at 350 F and toast about 35 minutes or until golden brown. They are a yummy healthy snack and our sons always loved them!



Now our jack-o- lantern creations sit on the stoop awaiting for little luminescent candles tonight. Probably trick or treaters won’t come, as we live in a small rural community. Most families take their kids to other towns nearby where they can park their cars and walk along the streets. Most years I’m prepared but no trick or treaters show up. Who knows, maybe we will be surprised this year! The candy bars will be ready!


With that I hope no one gets scared, for it’s all in fun.

Happy Halloween!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

The Promise of a New Morn





In the hushed serene moments of dawn, speckles of the night sky slowly fade.Peach and pinkish ribbons decorate the morning heavens. A magnificent moon slowly checks out as if to say, ” my work is done, see you tonight”. The world wakes up…little chipmunks start scurrying for acorns as deer walk along forest trails.



Humming cars buzz by, for workers of all careers must be early or on time. A busy yellow school bus zips by, empty of children but soon will be overflowing. School teachers prepare for this school day, some already in the classroom, some packing their lunch and downing their morning coffee.



Everything wakes up to meet the day, to accept a new gift, an offering from God. This is another chance to treat others with kindness and compassion. A chance to get it right this time….to live in a positive light. If you do this, sun beams will shine from your every being and warm yourself and people who you come across.



This is a new promising morn, full of so many possibilities yo live. Do you choose to thrive in a space filled with love or a dark cloud of hate? How do you want your day, your week, your very life to go? If you desire to make a difference  and affect people who cross your path in an uplifting way, then rid hate. Transform it into unconditional love. Accept this precious gift of a new day…with positive thoughts and love in your heart.

Happy Friday! Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

All my Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️