Gratitude Weekly: Quiet in the Wild

The subtitle for this post comes from a hashtag I like to use, because well, I find so much peace outdoors. Especially on cold days. There's something so serene and beautiful about winter walks.

Tiedeman's Pond | Middleton, WI

Tiedeman's Pond | Middleton, WI

I skipped a week last week as I was trying to collect myself and process a few things. But as I sit here, on yet another Monday missing my family while they're cozy in bed, I wanted to say how grateful I am that my husband gave me some time to myself over the weekend to go take photographs with our first dusting of snow. He and Silas could have come along but my husband is still getting used to the weather here so he opted to stay in and put Silas for a nap.

I am so grateful that nature provides a sense of calm and quiet when my mind is driftless. Moments like these provide clarity, especially in the briskness of winter; I can breathe. I so desperately needed that walk to recharge!

What are you grateful for this week? What provides you peace and calm in the midst of chaos or even just confusion?

I'd love to hear from you!

Xx

Ashley

Gratitude Weekly: Light When Dark

This Monday I just wanted to say how grateful I am for even the tiniest pocket of light I can find during the winter months, and for the weekends in particular. Working in an office 45 hours a week, I often miss the light. And light not only feeds the soul, its crucial to my biggest hobby and creative outlet.

Quietly.

Quietly.

What are you grateful for this week?

Xx

Ashley

Holiday Gift Guide: A Few of My Favorite Things

If you're anything like me this year, you might be adapting the 'less is more' mentality. It's a shift I've been making slowly but surely and it feels really good to not have as much stuff cluttering up your life. That being said, this year's gift giving guide will mean this: quality over quantity. I've gone completely crazy in holidays past with gifts and that's just not what's important. 

Not that we don't love something that makes us feel good or that we've been really anticipating, just that maybe we don't need ALL of the things, ALL of the time. 

So without further adieu, I want to share with you a few of my favorite things that make fantastic gifts. Some look good, some taste amazing, and all of them are of crafted with care and love! I don't have anything specifically "for him" here because in honesty, my husband can be a bit difficult to shop for and he often doesn't tell me anything he wants! Any recommendations from YOU would also be appreciated! I hope you all enjoy this small and simple post!

More hot chocolate, please!

More hot chocolate, please!

Gratitude Weekly: Family Tradition

I've been struggling a lot lately with what to write on my blog so I've broken out a few categories to stick within and hopefully that will help! Mondays often leave me feeling sad to be missing my family as I start my work week but I thought it would help to write a blog post each week about things I'm thankful for. They may not always be published on a Monday, but I thought that would be a good place to start.

This week, I want to talk about the gratitude I have for family tradition. How thankful I am to have any tradition at all, and to still have some of the family who passed them on to me around to share them with. I am thankful to be able to share them with my son and my husband. I am thankful for the freedom to also create new tradition with my own little family.

Variation of my Honey Lavender Shortbread Cookies (This time I just also added rosemary and a touch of confectioners sugar- recipe for the original cookies are on my blog and may create a new post with the variation for the holidays.)

Variation of my Honey Lavender Shortbread Cookies (This time I just also added rosemary and a touch of confectioners sugar- recipe for the original cookies are on my blog and may create a new post with the variation for the holidays.)

I grew up celebrating Christmas in a very special way with my family where we baked a lot, talked a lot, and ate a lot. I grew up around the table, I think in part due to my Italian heritage. I love that I grew up this way. In my world, the table is a place to share stories, conversation, cries, cheer, and good food with family. I know that I am extremely fortunate to have grown up this way which is why I wanted to reiterate how thankful I am for this.

Baking with my mother. I am truly lucky.

Baking with my mother. I am truly lucky.

Of all of our Christmas traditions, baking cookies is by far and away my favorite. My mother came over to my house over the weekend to bake with me. To be honest, I was totally stressed out because we planned to make a certain cookie that we've made year after year and I couldn't find an ingredient I needed last minute. That's when I decided that despite this, we were still going to bake. I decided that I'd take my Honey Lavender Shortbread Cookie recipe and modify it a bit to make it more suited to the holidays. I decided to add rosemary into the dough which gives it kind of that piney Christmas flavor and I also rolled out the dough to cut out stars! Finally, I added a few rosemary leaves atop the cookie before baking and sprinkled with powdered sugar when they came out of the oven. We created a new tradition together. I was so happy with the way these turned out because they were just a trial run and they were perfect. I will be baking these every holiday to come! I am happy to have shared something new with my mother.

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Silas tasting the dough. It's an egg-free recipe so he was loving it. He kept coming up to the table to steal a taste and running away and saying "Mmmmm!" 

Silas tasting the dough. It's an egg-free recipe so he was loving it. He kept coming up to the table to steal a taste and running away and saying "Mmmmm!" 

After baking, my mom and my dad stayed a while to play with Silas before returning home. I couldn't help but sneak this snap of my mother holding Silas's hand. My heart is full and I am happy. I hope you all find something to be thankful for this holiday season! If you didn't grow up in the greatest of homes, I hope you surround yourselves with lovely people and create new traditions with them. Sending a lot of love to all of you out there this season!

I love how sweet they are together.

I love how sweet they are together.

Thanks for reading, my loves.

Xo

Ashley