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
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Being Grateful Every day

This month of November it’s common to hear in podcasts and other media the theme of gratefulness. Thanksgiving reminds us all of what we have that we cherish…our family and friends, our health, a roof over our heads and food for meals. Although being thankful is truly what this holiday is about, I’d like to think that being grateful is my mantra every day of the year and not just the third Thursday in November! 

 

 

 

 

I used to have a practice of listing five things I was grateful for. Sometimes I listed Tom and the boys. Others my job and friends were included. I listed my health more than once, for despite a few health scares I’ve always managed to stay strong and healthy. Most times I thanked God for having Tom and the boys healthy too. 

 

 

 

 

I learned this habit from Oprah and did it religiously for a few years in my journals. Slowly it faded away yet I mentally go over my grateful list most days and continue to thank God for all the good in my life as well as the difficult challenges. It’s plowing steadily through those barriers that has built my character and fortitude. It comes full circle and after experiencing the rough bumps on this road of life, I am aware that the hurdles have strengthened me. I am extremely thankful for the gifts hidden along the way, for they have made me the person I am today! 

 

 

 

Now that I’m approaching 50 this coming year and my family is raised, I have ample time to reflect. Being grateful every day doesn’t mean a joy ride or perfect circumstances  but to me, it is finding special and maybe little things that can brighten my day. A kind smile or phone call from a friend or family member, feeling the rich soil of the garden and planting seeds for future days, being able to walk on both legs and cherishing serenity in nature are all things I’m thankful for. 

 

 

 

 

 

The more I think about this the more I realize that being grateful in some way every day is the key to happiness. If you notice what you have( such as being healthy or having a beautiful family) and not dwell on what you don’t have, you’ll truly appreciate what God has gifted you. I believe everyone has something to be grateful for and if you ponder over this you can generate quite a list.

 

What are you grateful for? Do you reflect on this just in November or everyday of the year? The more we notice all the good things in our lives, the richer your experience will become. 

 

 

I’m busy getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. Today I’m vacuuming and shampooing my rugs, generating a last minute grocery list and planning my table setting. I’m grateful that I’m able to do this at home and Tom’s sister Bev and her husband Chris are coming, as well as my youngest son Branden. Dylan and his wife Lexy will come later for dessert , so both my sons will be here together. Excitement  is in the air as the big day approaches! 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 🦃

 

 

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

This Feeling

 

 

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This feeling deep within

it lives and breathes alone

it strives to rise up

and make me feel at home

The best kind of notion

that was sparked so long ago

via a kind word

or

a heartfelt hug

from

someone

who believed in me

This feeling I now cradle

and swaddle as a new born baby

its always been there hidden

ready to emerge

a love I’m growing

Self love

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul❤️❤️❤️

 

 

 

A Purpose in Life

 

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Questions to ask yourself:

What is your purpose for being in your life?

Why are you here?

What is it you wish to accomplish before you leave?

 

My purpose in most of my married life has been raising good kids and making my husband happy. I focused on those things more than anything else. Now, years later, I must reinvent myself and discover who I am other than being a mother and wife. Finding happiness and fulfillment totally in my husband is too much pressure on him. We are happy together and best friends. But…I realize that I must do much of my inner work myself, love myself and move forward with visions of what I want to do and what my purpose on earth is.

 

It’s hard work starting from scratch with little tools to help. It’s probably one of the hardest things that I ever will do! Unfortunately I’ve built a life of dependency, hurt feelings and low self esteem. It’s been my security blanket and now I feel that I must tear it off, throw it aside and reinvent my life without it, unclothed. It’s my choice to plow forward and get to know who I really am. 

 

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I know I am here for a reason but I’m not sure what that is. Other than raising great boys and building a beautiful family .Maybe writing comes into play in some form? Maybe giving and volunteering? It make time for me to discover what I will do with my life from now on but that’s okay because I have time.

What do I want to accomplish?

 

Spreading love, kindness, being understanding

 

Being self confident

 

Loving my family and friends

 

Writing

 

Organizing our house

 

Gardening and creating beautiful gardens in our yard

 

Walking, hiking, exercising 

 

Baking for Pals ( a school parents group)

 

Giving to others

 

I think there are times in ones life when priorities shift and directions change. I’m at a time in my life when my children are grown and settling in just fine. My motherly role remains but has taken a back seat. Lately I feel similar to the twenty- year-old me, a young woman with a needed direction and focus. Here I am at the age of 49 and those feelings are back. I plan on using them to my advantage to learn who I am and what I want to do. How exciting it is…to live with a fresh outlook and forward vision. 

 

What is your life purpose? Have you always known? Did something trigger your purpose that changed your life?  If you have a similar experience I would love to hear your story!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

Low Fat Snack Ideas

Over the summer I’ve lost weight due to emotional stress. From there I decided to start eating healthy and cut back on snacks. All summer I pretty much just ate three meals a day with a rumbling tummy in between. Each meal had protein of some kind ( chicken, fish, venison to name a few), a generous serving of fresh veggies and sometimes  a very small amount of rice or potatoes. I drank lots of ice water and stayed hydrated and still do at school. IMG_0138 One factor in my weight loss has been staying active. All summer I helped Tom with cleaning the yard, stacking heavy wood, walking and gardening movement. Healthy eating and physical exercise go together in successful weight loss. IMG_0156   Recently I’ve talked to Christine, our school nurse, who’s lost lots of weight and her advice was to eat snacks and small meals every two or three hours. Otherwise you gain more weight when you do eat because of going so long and of the hunger. She gave me a computer generated list of snacks 100 calories or less. I’m grateful for Christine’s mentoring, which has aided me as I continue my journey. I’ll star my favorites that I’ve had the last few weeks.   IMG_0157  

Fresh cucumber sticks and hummus

 

15 almonds *

 

two tablespoons sunflower seeds *

 

One hard boiled egg ( I’ve been having two for lunch with cucumber and hummus)

 

1 Tablespoon peanut butter

 

one banana ( I use 1/2 a banana with 1/2 cup Grapenuts cereal for breakfast)

 

one apple *

 

one pear

 

1 1/2 cup fresh berries *

 

1 1\2 cup cut up watermelon *

        My advice with snacking is NOT to buy tempting sweets, chips or candy that you can’t say no to. I made chocolate chip cookies for a care package for my son and his girlfriend in Cambridge. I had one cookie and it simply was delicious and it tasted like another. But I asked Tom to hide the rest and he was satisfied with that, as the rest of the batch was his.       Happy snacking! Plan healthy and pack small amounts for work and trips. I believe the trick is planning from the grocery list to anticipating unusual circumstances where binge or fast food would be a temptation. If you are always prepared with bottles of water, it will make your snacking healthy easier!     All My Best, Heart and Soul 💕
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This is my favorite family photo from my son’s wedding. I lost just under twenty pounds for the occasion.

Live in the NOW

My niece EK

 

 

I have to admit, fleeting summer has raced by and even though I’m not working at school it seems that I haven’t stayed in the moment. I’ve been “busy” with many things, one that my youngest son has rented an apartment in Cambridge and the other is getting married in three weeks. But what really is busy, is it a flimsy excuse to not slow down? ( this idea from my sister Barb and it’s so true).

 

 

A few days ago I had a conversation with my sister and her valuable advice stayed with me, something I really needed at the time. She told me to “live in the now, the present.” My “living in the now” consists of watching wildlife roam  our backyard trails, listening to the melodies of local birds, watching the fierce acrobatic moves of hummingbirds and working my garden. The last few days I’ve been happier and more centered, all because of these important things. These things that are vital to me and my peace of mind!

 

Ella Kate and my older cat Katie

 

What better way of living in the moment than taking my niece Ella overnight. First we visited Grammy and Grandpa Doyle and had lunch with them. We were taken on a tour of his bountiful garden and were sent home with his raspberries and blueberries. Next we took Smokey for a walk and saw a black garter snake! Yikes…snakes and I don’t get along but thankfully he slithered away! Imagine Ella letting the leash go and Smokey running around while both of us screamed in terror. haha. Smokey is getting trained with the leash for he came right back to us.

 

 

Here’s my beautiful Smokey after his walk.

 

On Saturday we checked out my garden and saw how a few sunflowers have opened. Their rich red color will certainly match Lexy’s maroon and gray theme at my son’s wedding. If you don’t already know, I’m growing this patch for Lexy to use in the wedding in three weeks. I am pretty sure they will all be opened by then and I can’t wait to see what other colors they will be as it’s a Mexican mix of sunflowers.

 

Here I am with my flowers, something I may grow every year now!

 

 

After playing a two-day game of Monopoly and lathering in sunscreen in the sun, Ella’s mom and dad picked her up. We talked and laughed and saw a Monarch butterfly on one of my flowers. It’s these moments and memories that ground me, something I will need in the rush and planning of the next few weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

I do hope you can “Live in the now.”

Have no regrets.

Just peace and relaxation and absorb what is happening

right now!

All My Best,

Heartandsoul 🙂