beloved · Green day · Hopie · March brings breezes · Winter

Getting it back together

I purchased the book How Not to Die and the companion cookbook. I also watched a documentary titled What the Health. As a result I have completely changed my way of eating. I decided to begin eating a plant based diet because I wanted to change the way my habits effect the earth and also to improve my health. I have eaten cheese and fish on occasion but other than that I am plant based. I’ve lost 6 pounds and I have a lot more energy. I am breathing easier as well. This is am Asian, spicy, ginger soup with rice that I made. It was delicious.

My daughter and son-in-law went to a wake on Wednesday night so I got to babysit for Verne and Abigail! We ordered pizza and sang songs and jumped on the big chair in the den…well, they did…shhhh…don’t tell mum and dad. What happens with Hopie stays with Hopie. I’m Hopie!

After I put Abigail’s pajamas on she brought her bathrobe over and said, “eh eh, eh.” She held her arm out for me to put it on her. So cute!

It’s been an emotional few weeks. The fourth anniversary of my step-daughter’s death was on 28 February. I found I wasn’t as much of a basket case this year as I was for the first three years. My father-in-law died last month as well.

My sister had surgery to repair a prolapsed mitral valve and went into Afib the night of the surgery. She is home now but it was very frightening to hear her tell me about it. She was thinking of our father, who had a fatal heart attack in hospital when he was just bout her age. Poor sweet girl has been through so much and it just keeps coming at her. Please keep her in prayers. I believe that God has a plan for all of us and I have faith that he loves her and cares for her more than I ever could but it is not easy to see her go through all of this. She will start her fourth radiation treatments and her fourth chemo treatments in March. She was first diagnosed with colon cancer in 2010.

Friday fave fives

beloved · Green day · home · January brings the snow · Out and about · Winter

Yellow tulips

* My mum was been sick with a cold/flu for 2 weeks and only just started feeling better last weekend. On Friday she went out to run a few errands for the first time and picked up some pretty yellow tulips for me. It was her way of thanking me for taking care of her while she wasn’t feeling well. I stopped at the store a few times for her on the way home from work and Joe and I invited her upstairs for dinner a few times as well. One time we made dinner upstairs but brought our plates, and one for her, downstairs so she wouldn’t have to tackle the stairs. She’s 85 and in great shape but stairs are difficult for her. She’s feeling much more like herself now…we all joke that her social life is more active than mine, my brother’s and my sister’s combined!

*on Saturday Joe and I went to Joey’s basketball game. He is number 24. His team lost by quite a bit. The other team were literally head and shoulders taller and at some point Joey just started laughing about it. It didn’t seem to matter how hard they tried because they were just outsized. Learning to lose is a valuable lesson to learn in life though. After the game, I heard Joey’s uncle tell him, “Don’t worry about it, there’s always going to be someone taller.” I thought those were great words.

*Saturday was absolutely beautiful weather here. The sidewalks were full of people walking to and fro, the sun was shining, I think it was around 60 degrees (F), and smiles were all over the place. Being a dyed in the wool New Englander, I’m waiting for the winter to come back full force…there’s no such thing as free weather here. But it was certainly a lovely day and I’ll take it!

*Monday night I made a quiche for dinner and it came out delicious. I usually make a soup for supper on Mondays but I didn’t get to it over the weekend. So I threw together some veggies, cheese, and ham and we had quiche.

*on Sunday my brother and sister-in-law, and my mum came for dinner. We celebrated my sister-in-law’s birthday which was this week. It was lovely to all get together on a winter’s eve.

Friday fave fives

beloved · Chill December · Green day · home · Winter

Dark roast of the decade

One day just after Christmas I was shopping at Whole Foods. I’m particular about what I buy there because they are quite expensive. They do have nice flowers at a reasonable price and bulk goods as well. I was there for panettone, which I just discovered this year, where has it been all of my life? It’s so delicious we ate 2 loaves and I had to go back for another one! Panettone French toast is to die for!

Unfortunately, we ate it all up before taking a photo. Even the third loaf was gone before we knew what was happening. Suffice to say that it was slathered with fresh butter and drenched in real maple syrup! Yum!

I stumbled across this coffee and thought…there’s only few more days left to this decade, if I don’t get it now it will be too late!

The year 2020 is going to be a year that I pay more attention to how I do self-care. So on Monday I went and got a pedicure. It felt wonderful and my toes look much prettier.

As you can see, Tucker, Joe and I had a nice quiet New Year’s Eve. I took this picture from my place on the couch…we were all in bed and sound asleep quite a bit before the ball dropped.

Today is my first day back at school/work since just before Christmas. The lovely thing about being a teacher is having Christmas break! I’ve spent quite a bit of that break walking all over town and starting the process of getting myself back into some sort of healthy shape. This is one of the little boat yards just around the corner.

Yesterday I spent the day at my daughter’s house. Her birthday is next week and I brought up the ingredients for her favourite dinner and a delicious oatmeal spice cake with chocolate cinnamon ganache. Bonnie went out to spend an afternoon sans children and Verne, Abigail, and I spent the day cuddling up on the couch watching movies. Verne helped me make the ganache and dinner was ready when Bonnie and my son-in-law got home. It was a win-win for everyone!

Friday fave fives

acres of sky · beloved · Chill December · Green day · Winter

Family Friday

Saturday was our family Christmas gathering. Abigail and Verne were the stars of the show!

My sister’s eyesight is improving. She is able to see very large type but things are still quite hazy. We had much to celebrate. She is holding an orange clove pomander that wee made in honor of the winter solstice. My aunt is one pointing at it.

We spent Christmas Day at my daughter’s house. It was a treat to be able to spend so much time with Verne and Abigail.

We took the back roads home from my daughter’s house on Christmas Day. We drove past the pond around the corner from her house and it was frozen over and filled with a family having an impromptu hockey game together after their Christmas dinner.

Joe fell asleep in his recliner on Christmas Eve while wearing his Santa hat. I couldn’t resist sneaking a picture…he made me think of Santa taking a well deserved rest.

Friday fave fives

beloved · Chill December · Green day · Hopie · Winter

The family Christmas party

The fun

We had our family celebration on Saturday. We were so blessed that everyone except for one of my nephews could make it.

Verne and Abigail stole the show with their incredible cuteness.

The random

My sister-in-law brought some oranges and cloves to make pomanders in honor of the winter solstice. It made the entire house smell so good.

The good

My sister’s eyesight is doing better. Things are still hazy but they are much improved!

She’s holding one of the orange/clove pomanders that we made to honor winter solstice.

The good, the random, the fun

Autumn · beloved · Chill December · Green day · kitchen rhymes

Romance can blossom any old time

Love knows no season, love knows no climb,

Romance can blossom any old time,

Here in the open, we’re walking and hoping,


Sleigh bells ring are you listening?

In the lane snow is glistening,

A beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight,

Walking in a winter wonderland…

Wednesday evening Joe took the train in from the city and met me after work. We walked through downtown Beverly and did some shopping at a few little shops and then we went to the Depot restaurant which is right on the train tracks. We sat at a little table next to the huge fireplace. The mantle was decorated for Christmas with colour full trees and little lights, old fashioned Christmas music was playing, and every so often we heard the train bells ringing and watched it go down the tracks in the snow. It was so romantic!

Saturday evening we celebrated my mum’s 85th birthday. We had planned to take her out to eat but it was terribly rainy and windy out and she said she would rather stay in. So, we ordered take-away and I popped out to buy a cake.

Our house is finished being renovated! The final touch is a plaque they added stating the year the house was built and who it was built for. I did look him up on Google and he led quite an interesting life. Living here in old town Marblehead is like living in the midst of history.

Sunday was Abigail’s (my granddaughter) first birthday party! I think she was watching her older brother sing Happy birthday to her when I took this photo. While she loved all the singing and partying the cake wasn’t her thing. She stayed as clean as a little lady because she didn’t eat any cake at all.

Her older brother, however, in his Little sister protection squad t-shirt, ate all of the cookie Santa Clause’s off the top of the cake.

A little snow fell on Tuesday. It was just enough to dust everything with white and look pretty.

Friday fave fives

Autumn · Chill December · Green day · Out and about

Out and about

On Saturday Marblehead had their annual Christmas walk. Joe and I walked down to the harbour to watch the re-enactment of Marblehead’s Glover regiment rowing George Washington across the Potomac. Well, in this case it was the harbour but it was the Potomac that they rowed him up during the revolution.

I picked up this little sign for my mum’s birthday. She has it hanging in her living room. She’s not nor has she ever been a winter person.

We had some snow on Wednesday morning. The drive to work was a little slow but it gave me time to see the beauty of a winter wonderland.

Joe and I went out to eat on Wednesday night. We walked around the corner to The Barnacle restaurant. The street we walk on is Circle street. The homes on it were built in the early 1700’s and it is so narrow that one car can just fit on it. When it comes out onto the Main Street…which is only a little bigger…this is what we saw. The Barnacle is decorated for Christmas with a tree inside the window, lights on the deck railings and wreaths on the windows. Chandler Hovey light house is lit up with red and green lights across the harbour on Marblehead neck, and the moon is full and reflecting off of the Atlantic Ocean. It was just beautiful. We paused at the little beach and marveled at how awesome it was. Then, we went into the Barnacle and had dinner at the windows.

On the town landing there is a buoy decorating contest. People painted buoys as a fundraiser and then they were displayed on a lobster trap Christmas tree for the town to see. I saw a lot of people taking pictures of one another in front of it during the Christmas walk.

Friday fave fives

Thursday favourite things

Autumn · beloved · Chill December · Green day · home

Green Day Friday

I didn’t get a chance to put any of my Thanksgiving photos up last week so I thought I would include a few this week.

I’m not usually a fan of posed photos but this was so darn cute I couldn’t resist.

The first thing we did was pose around the turkey. My older daughter, Hannah, hadn’t arrived yet so she wasn’t in the picture. My mum and I in the back, Verne, Abigail, and my daughter, Bonnie, in the front.

Verne had a sleep-over with us on Saturday night. The neighbors were having a tree taken down and we watched from the safety of our second story window. Verne knew the name of all the different trucks and equipment that they used!

Verne helped us decorate the tree late afternoon on Saturday. I had all the unbreakable ornaments in a basket and he hung them all up on the same low hanging branch! So Cute!

We got our first taste of real snow and a snow day for me! Joe walked around the corner to the bus stop but the bus never came. He has plenty of personal days at work so he called out and walked back home. I turned on the Christmas tree lights and the fireplace so it was all nice and cozy for him when he got here.

Because we live in old town the streets are very narrow. We think that because of the snow storm there wasn’t enough room for the bus to navigate.

It was a special treat for us both to have a paid day off!

Friday fave fives

Autumn · beloved · Dull November · Green day · home · Hopie

Family Friday

I’ve been quite ill this week. I was at the doctors on Monday and havn’t been to work at all. I’ve been pushing antibiotics, cough syrup, and advil two or three times a day and napping quite often. I think I may have even given the cat a run for his money. I am feeling much better now though. I seem to have broken through it all on Thanksgiving morning.

I popped out on Wednesday to pick up a few last minute items for Thanksgiving and noticed that these pillows were arranged with my initials…almost as if they knew I was coming.

I spent most of Wednesday making the pies. We had an upstairs/downstairs Thanksgiving this year. My mum is in the apartment on the first floor and she did the dinner. We are in the apartment on the second floor and we did appetizers and desserts.

My sister gave me a clock that plays Christmas songs on the hour. Everyone knows how much I love Christmas. It doesn’t play when the room is dark which gives my husband some relief. He is not quite the Christmas aficionado as I am.

Every year we gather the grandchildren together around the Thanksgiving turkey and take a picture. Now that they are adults it’s rare that they are all able to make it. This year it was my two daughters, my son-in-law, and my grandchildren. My sister’s grown children were elsewhere for Thanksgiving. It’s wonderful to be able to look back on all of those photographs! We even have some with me and my cousins from when I was a little girl!

Remember, thankful is not a destination, it’s a journey.

Friday fave fives

Autumn · beloved · Green day · Hopie · In the garden

Family Friday

I picked up the Rae Dunn pot at Home Goods last week and knew right away I wanted to plant a Holly in it for my sister, whose name is Holly. I have it on my kitchen table.

I finally found some time to finish decorating the conservatory in our apartment. I got the pictures that were sitting on the floor hung up and moved a few things here and there.

Joe and I woke early on Saturday and walked over to the Driftwood for breakfast. The place has been in business for over 75 years and still serves the best breakfast around.

Pink poinsettia! I went looking for a white or red at the nursery the other day and found a bright pink one! It’s so pretty.

I saved the best for last! Wednesday night I went up to babysit for my grandchildren while my daughter and son-in-law went Christmas shopping. The baby fell asleep early so Verne and I spent some time reading by the fireside. He is such a delight to be with.

Friday fave fives