Decking the Halls

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Oh, how I love this time of year – a nip in the air, Christmas shopping with my daughter, a steady dose of Christmas music, hot chocolate, unwrapping ornaments that were made with love so many years ago. I love my wonderful neighbors that pitched in to make Christmas a glorious day for a single working mom with twin boys. And, how about all those sweet Hallmark movies that make you cry, even though you know how they’ll end an hour before it’s over.

Of course, I still have a million things to do. There’s gifts to buy, lots of wrapping and cookies to bake – I haven’t even begun with that. This weekend might be the perfect time to whip up some dough and pop it in the freezer until later next week. Then it will be just a matter of baking and decorating. I’ll put on some Christmas music, light a candle and enjoy every moment of it.

I’m still working on a couple of things I’m making and hoping they’ll be ready on time, but I’m not allowing myself to stress out over it or anything else. I’m actually trying to keep things as simple as possible. My daughter, granddaughters and myself will get together on Friday to prep food for the holidays. I love spending time with them and as my mother used to say, “many hands make light work.”
Then we can all sit back and enjoy!

I hope you’re all finding beauty and joy in this most blessed season.

With love,
Susan xoxo

Quilt Love

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Last weekend, I made my way over to a quilt show being held here in town. I was in heaven the minute I walked through the door, starting with the delightful women selling tickets as I walked in. I went through the exhibition twice, reveling in the beauty of each and every quilt – the designs, colors and all the skill and love that went into these masterpieces. Be still my heart! My friend Judy, pictured above, is standing next to one of her award winning creations. I’m going to have to ask her for some tips on making something that involves more than just squares.

And speaking of squares, I just couldn’t resist purchasing a bundle of 42 pre-cut squares. The colors and lovely prints were calling my name. For some reason, the squares I cut myself are never really exact like these. I enjoyed wandering the aisles, viewing all the goodies being offered by the various vendors – fabric, sewing machines, patterns, buttons and antiques quilts. It was all a feast for the eyes, as well as the soul, and I’m so glad I didn’t miss this wonderful event, hosted by the local quilters guild. How lucky am I to live in a community filled with so many creative women.

Wishing all of you a beautiful, creative week.

Susan
xoxo

The Perfect Time of Year

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There isn’t one single thing I don’t like about autumn! Isn’t it the best? I love having to grab a sweater before I walk out the door because of the nip in the air. And how about the incredible color of the leaves. Here in NY we have some trees that are still green, but most have turned to the gorgeous shades of fall – rust, gold, red. It’s such a gift to be able to spend time outdoors after the scorching, hot summer we had.

And, the kitchen is open again! I love making soup, and could actually eat it everyday this time of year. My husband found a recipe in Runner’s World magazine last year that’s ready in less than a half hour and it’s so delicious. All you do is bring 4-5 cups of chicken broth and a can of diced tomatoes to a boil, add a heaping cup of shell pasta and cook about 10 minutes. Add 1 cup of cooked chicken, a
cup of fresh spinach or arugula and a can of cannelini beans (rinsed and drained) and heat through. The whole thing takes about 20 minutes and it’s delish! I add a drizzle of olive oil and some parmesan cheese to the top to serve. Simple and delicious – my favorite combination!

Enjoying the fireplace, hot cups of afternoon tea, the smell of cookies and bread wafting from the kitchen, snuggling in your favorite chair with a good book,covered in a cozy throw – how could you not love this time of year!

Wishing you all beautiful autumn days.

Susan
XOXO

99 Days

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My daughter just texted me saying that there’s 99 days left in 2016. That was a wake-up call! There’s still time to do lots of the things I “meant” to do. I’m always so full of good intentions.

I’m happy to realize that I still have plenty of time to finish up the sewing and crochet projects I started, but let fall by the wayside. Still time to get back to the 10,000 steps a day I was doing before the heat of summer got to me. And, the list goes on and on.

Thanks for that text, Amy. Just what I needed to get my act together. Sort of like the bugle that Tammy from The Peanut was talking about recently.

What will you do with the next 99 days? Wishing you all a beautiful weekend.

Susan
XOXO

A Week At The Shore

I’m home! (SIGH) After spending a week at the shore with my daughter and her family, I’m having trouble getting un-beached! I loved every minute of this glorious time, starting from the moment we pulled up to what would be home for the next 7 days.

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We swam, we read, we ate (and ate some more) and we slept. Tough life, huh? I got up every morning, between 6 and 7, and took my coffee out to the deck where I was able to see the early morning sun peeking through the trees or glimpse the water which was across the street at the end of a long driveway. It was so calm and peaceful – the perfect way to start the day. After breakfast, we’d head off to the beach, where we’d float around for hours at a time. And, do the same thing again later in the afternoon – I never tired of feeling the warm sand under my feet or the sun on my body. I enjoyed watching families, from babies to grandparents, sharing the shade of their umbrellas, laughing, appreciating their surroundings.

And, boy, did that fresh sea air give me an appetite! Thick slices of artisan bread made into French toast with fresh fruit for breakfast, lots of ice cream, s’mores in the evening, lobster bisque, fresh from the farm corn on the cob slathered with butter. I’m thinking that lots of fruits, veggies and water better be on my eating agenda this week or I’ll be shopping for the next size up. But, it was vacation, and I don’t regret one single bite of all the goodies!

It was interesting that even though we had a tv, we really had no interest in watching. Instead we reveled in spending time with each other, laughing, playing in the water, sharing meals and each of us enjoying quiet time separately, reading or taking a walk. It was lovely to take a break from the news and all the political nonsense. It gave me pause to think about how I want to spend my time at home – a little less news and more time spent pursuing interests and new adventures.

I hope you’re all making the best of these last few days of summer. There’s still time to enjoy fresh veggies from the farmer’s market, a swim in the pool, lake or ocean, a delicious ice cream cone or a picnic lunch with friends or family. I’m planning on doing all of the above.

Have a wonderful week.

Susan xoxo

The Calming Effects of the Sea

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We’re spending this week at the shore and I’m simply amazed at the calming effect the sun and the water are having on me. It just feels so good to sit on the beach, sort of mesmerized, and watch the tiny waves breaking on the shore or closing my eyes, enjoying the stillness. Floating around in the calm waters of the sound with our noodles as the sun beats down on us, listening to the girls giggling – I feel like I’m in heaven!

I’ll have lots more pictures next week, if I can get the sand out of my camera! Wishing all of you a calm, peaceful, sunny (but, not too hot!) week too.

Susan
XOXO