12.29.2015

Winter Solstice Sunrise Walk

 When you have just turned 50 and you see there's going to be a local solstice sunrise walk...



and you have NEVER watched the sun come up specifically for that purpose….






….even though you have longed for this for what seems like a lifetime….



…you JUMP at the chance. Yep, with a great big smile and a spring in your step….and boots and gloves and a hat….and a VERY happy heart.






And when your 16 year old offers to drive his night blind Mama, you give him a hug and love him a little bit more. If possible.



And you sigh over every second of almost...






….and  just about.


And you rejoice in capturing a moment of pure dreaming….



…of nature beckoning to you...





…begging you to linger for a moment longer….




…pulling you into the magic of light dancing above the horizon. A new day unfolding
 right before your eyes.








Your body absorbs the shadows, the textures, the pure and wonderful overload of senses…



…and you fall back from the group, absorbing the hug of silence….tucking this moment, frozen in time,  into a deep and safe place in your mind.







And as you head back, you cannot help feeling renewed by the Universe...







…ready to embrace all that 2016 will become. 



12.12.2015

A Perfect Christmas Cookie

 OATMEAL TOFFEE CRISPS 
(with sour cherries)

 I've made this cookie for a few years now. It's the perfect combination of crunchy toffee with chewy oatmeal and sour cherries. 




I convert this recipe to Gluten Free by replacing the flour with a gluten free mix like Pamela's Products Pancake and Baking Mix, or Cup4Cup GF Flour. A couple of big HINTS:

1. If you use the Pamela's Pancake/Baking Mix, cut back on the baking soda, 
as the mix also contains baking soda.

2.  Use a silver or light color cookie sheet. I made 2 batches, one on a silver cookie sheet, and one on my older, aged cookie sheets. The silver batch was perfect. The darker sheets will now be frozen and used for a holiday trifle:) TRUST ME ON THIS ONE!!

3. SPACE them out REALLY well. Way more than you think. TRUST ME ON THIS ONE TOO.

4. If possible, allow the pans to cool between batches.

5. Line your pans with parchment for easy cleanup.

This recipe makes a ton of cookies. Well perhaps not a ton, but a generous 4 dozen.This is a great cookie to package and deliver to friends and family at Christmas, or to put out for your Christmas dessert buffet. I drizzled half the batch with dark chocolate.


12.07.2015

Foraged…Making Time for Nature


Sometimes you need to stop. pause. breathe.

You need to visit the place that makes your heart sing, that one place that has the ability to move proverbial mountains, to calm your restless spirit, and to bring forth genuine stillness….


For me, that is when I am in the presence of nature…and I truly believe that if I had been born 50 years earlier, my heroine, Rachel Carson, would have changed my path. 

You see, like Rachel, I adore the wide-open sky, the grassy field, the dark, dense wood. But I also feel those things in my spirit. 





Simply put, nature consumes me. It envelops my senses in a whirling, wonderful overload of life and inquisition. It allows me to open my mind, to wonder, to express, to feel.




It renews.


One Way To Open Your Eyes Is To Ask Yourself, What if I Had Never Seen This Before? What if I Knew I Would Never See It Again? - Rachel Carson

What makes your heart sing?
Please share in the comments below.

Read a similar post here.









12.01.2015

Putting on the Finishing Touches- Christmas Decorating Part II

Quite honestly, somedays I am not sure where I manage to eek out the time that I need to complete all of my projects. But this year, something is just …well…different! I am truly feeling the magic of the season, and I am loving fluffing our nest…or "faffing" as the British call it.


I am in total LOVE with these personalized pillows from Shutterfly. I selected a snow covered pine bough, and a view of our woods and garden on a snow-capped morning at sunrise as the photos. The pillows are so nice and plump, just like a certain jolly old elf. (20% off sale ends today!)



I mixed the pillows in with a tartan throw, a Christmas pillow and a plush Santa to give our 
sunporch a cozy holiday feeling even on a cold, rainy afternoon like today! 
( And I love that these pillows will work in any season, in any room of the
 house…and I have a 12 year old and a 16 year old who are trying to call dibs!)


I added a few finishing touches to the chandelier. I love these metal ornaments from Shutterfly. I strung a piece of vintage ribbon through them and hung them amidst the birdhouses and twig stars for the perfect rustic touch in my dining room. (30% off sale ends today!)


 I cannot help but smile when I see these photos of our children from previous Christmas cards. Time has flown! I love how the chandelier light reflects off of the shiny surface. More magic!



The kitchen/family room tree is up! (That's a fake one).We spend all of our time in this room, cooking meals, baking holiday treats, wrapping gifts, watching tv, entertaining, and just living life!


I love having simple serving pieces that can be everyday casual, or elegant when needed. I don't want to have to be careful, or worry about the kids having friends around the house. Houses are made to be lived in! This personalized Lucite tray from Shutterfly has built in handles, and is a great place for a winter hot chocolate bar complete with mini marshmallows, or for after school snacks. I love that it has rubber grippers on the bottom, helping to keep the tray in place, and preventing scratched counters. Also makes an awesome holiday gift! (20% off sale ends today!)


Wow! December 1st and I am almost done.Well, ALMOST! We still have our real tree to set up in the foyer, and a Christmas card shoot at the beach with the kids. But that's why we have weekends! Stay tuned for Part III. Until then…happy faffing!


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