Friday, December 22, 2017

Fly On The Wall In St. Nick's House

     Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings, hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. Today, eight bloggers are inviting you into their homes for a sneak peek at what goes on behind closed doors.

     The fly in my house has seen all the craziness going on lately that we fondly refer to as "Christmas Chaos" while we prepare for the big day. We have been shopping for special gifts, stringing lights inside and outside the house, party hopping, trimming our Christmas tree, wrapping gifts until our fingers ache, sharing a few cozy nights around the fire pit, and then (my favorite) baking dozens of different kinds of holiday cookies together. This is a special tradition in my family, passed down from my mother. Most of the recipes are quite old, and when I stand in the kitchen covered in confectioner's sugar with my daughters and granddaughter, I feel as if my mum is standing right there beside me.

     Rather than just writing about the fun things we did this month, I'm sharing it in a series of photos that capture the joy of the holiday season for the Doyle family.

From our family to yours, MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? Last week I was featured on Zest Now, sharing my story on how to make a marriage work after being together for many, MANY years! You can read it here:

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado                  http://www.BakingInATornado. com
Menopausal Mother          
Searching for Sanity                   https://singlemumplusone.
Spatulas on Parade                    https://spatulasonparade.
Never Ever Give Up Hope             https://batteredhope.blogspot. com
Bookworm in the Kitchen             http://www.bookwormkitchen. com/   
The Blogging 911              
Go Mama O                                                                                                                                                                           

Friday, December 15, 2017

Reclaiming My Holiday Joy: Guest Post By Emily Gaffney

     Today I'm happy once again to share another heartfelt essay written from by Emily Gaffney on the changes we experience during the holidays when our grown children are no longer home to celebrate with us. Luckily for Emily, her Christmases are about to become quite a bit brighter.....

                      Reclaiming My Holiday Joy

I use to have Christmas Spirit... enough to make everyone in my family feel warm and fuzzy about Santa’s impending visit... enough to spare actually. But over the last few years, I’ve felt a waning of sorts... like I just can’t get it up for Christmas.  
With the aging of my kids, I’ve reined it in. I no longer feel the need to achieve Pinterest perfection. These days, I fashion a little garland with some white lights on the stairs (okay... a lot of white lights...), erect the Christmas village, hang a wreath on the door, and call it a day. Without children to enjoy it (and a comparatively limited social calendar...), there’s just no reason to go all out.  
And that’s okay. My five children express happy holiday memories of festive winter days at our home, filled with bright lights, silver bells and pine tree smells. They remember stairs festooned with boughs of holly and reams of garland... twinkling colored bulbs and a warm crackling fire... advent calendars filled with candy... carols playing in the background all day, and cider literally mulling on the stove. 
It was all there (as evidenced in a library of videos), and my kids ate it up. Who wouldn’t? 
I still think about making cookies... I think about adding more garland... I think about gathering friends for spiked egg nog and caroling... I think about buying new wrapping paper (like a tree falling in the woods - does paper from 2013 matter if there’s no one to question the existence of Santa?)... I think, I think, I think... But I rarely actually do
It feels like a lot of work for a family where the youngest is now 22. Honestly, the kids would rather have a wad of cash from Santa to spend frivolously on whatever they don’t actually need. And this year, two of our brood will be elsewhere, further diminishing my personal holiday cheer. No... Christmas morning is just not the same without the excitement and awe of young children there to enjoy it. 

But a big change is on the horizon for next year, and I believe I’ll have ample opportunity to reclaim my lost Christmas Spirit. My husband and I finally met our two grandkids for the first time on December 1st (a long story, but with a decidedly happy ending). Henry is “almost four” and Lily is 5 months old. Their visit came during our town’s annual Christmas Walk. Henry got to see Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive off the harbor in a lobster boat. He saw holiday dancers, and heard costumed carolers. He viewed a parade, complete with dancing elves throwing candy. Seeing Henry watch the festivities was inspiring, and kindled a little fire under my holiday spirit. 
Now - as “Poppy” and “Mimi” – we’re already making plans for next year when Santa will find Henry and Lily at our house on December 25th. Our grandkids will have to go over the river and through the woods to get here, but we’ll make it worth their while with a full-on holiday assault. 
We’ll buy a gargantuan tree and cover it with blinking colored lights (not those tiny, sensible white lights)... We’ll shop our way through Toys R Us and Target - our cart overflowing with the latest in trendy toys, trinkets and gadgets... We’ll stock up on the ingredients needed to make colorful Christmas cookies... We’ll play Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer (over and over)... 
Poppy and I will dash through the snow with our grandkids, (if it snows - Boston can be iffy)... We’ll build a frosty snowman... We’ll jingle our bells and roast some chestnuts on an open fire... And on Christmas morning, 12 drummers drumming will wake the kids so they can open their stockings which were hung with care... And finally, they’ll open brown paper packages tied up with string, which will definitely contain some of their favorite things. 
Oh, what fun it is to think about next Christmas with Henry and Lily! I guess I’d forgotten how much having children around can brighten the holiday season. Only 344 more days, and we’ll have ourselves a Merry Little Christmas – once again! 


Emily Gaffney is a Baby-Booming, Empty Nester who’s living life-on-hold, while caring for her 91 year old mother (Right.Next.Door.) She writes, with humor, about the emotional baggage that often accompanies caretaking an aging parent. Find her (and Mom) at her website 50 Shades of Aging and on Facebook

Friday, December 1, 2017

12 People To Avoid At The Gym

     I'm an avid fan of the gym and its benefits, but sometimes I find it less stressful to do my workouts at home. There are quite a few people out there who make the exercise experience an unhealthy one for all the wrong reasons, which explains why some mornings I'm not too eager to pack my gym bag... 

1.) The overzealous spin teacher who keeps the thermostat at 85 degrees in a small, dark room that smells of sweat and the tears of unshed Starbuck's calories.

2.) Anyone named Mindy, Brittney, or Gustavo.

3.) The older gentleman known for flatulence problems who stands next to you in yoga class. Move your mat before he goes into the downward dog position.

4.) The personal trainer/health enthusiast/protein shake junkie who calls you, "Bro" and "Dude" during your 60 minute, $85 session.

5.) Excessive sweaters who blatantly ignore the box of antibiotic wipes after leaving a pool of their DNA on the elliptical machine.

6.) Women in Lululemon leggings.

7.) People who "save" their spot in Zumba class fifteen minutes early by leaving a water bottle and a towel on the floor to mark their territory in front of the mirror.

8.) The perky, twenty-something vegan pushing overly priced kale and flaxseed smoothies at the juice bar.

9.) Men who wear toupees and lurk by the inner thigh trimming machine to observe your press and squeeze technique.

10.) The grunting weight lifter who ate two, double-stuffed bean burritos last night.

11.) People who hog the treadmill while reading text messages or taking gym selfies #werkit #fierce #slay #fitbitch

12.) Anyone listening to Miley Cyrus.

Posted by Marcia Kester Doyle (Menopausal Mama) 12/1/17


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