Countdown to Christmas – Christmas Cookies

  Today is National Cookie Day, which works well with the topic I already choose for today.
Day #4

Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie or holiday baking tradition!

I do not have just one favorite,  that is what is special about Christmas cookies, you don’t get them all year long.

Years ago my sister Linda and I would take a Saturday and bake all kinds of cookies. Spritz cookies with my favorite gadget the cookie gun, snicker doodles, snow balls, cut out cookies and several others. It was always a fun time.

Over the years I continued to bake cookies with friends,my mom, Tara and even alone. Tara always got bored after just a batch or two. Lately I have not had the energy in December to bake. We did participate in a cookie exchange for a couple years since we returned to PA. That was a fun way to get a variety of cookies!

For many years my mom has made Pizzelles, Italian waffle cookies. She would prepare several batches using her Pizzelle iron. She made them for many years and loves sharing with family and friends. She is not able to stand long enough to do too much in the kitchen but maybe we will make them together this year.

Love and lattes, Martha

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Countdown to Christmas – O Holy Night

Gwynedd Square Presbyterian Church

Day 3

Growing up in the 60s, before cassettes, 8 tracks, CDs and MP3 players and IPods,  we listened to music recorded on vinyl and a machine called a record player (for all you youngins).

One of the 33 rpm vinyl records I remember in our family collection was Ernie Ford Star Carol. In

On that album he sang Oh Holy Night. This has remained my favorite Christmas hymn throughout the years.

I remember first spinning the album on our portable record player and later our big console stereo

Click to listen:

Many other artists have recorded this song and it is always beautiful, but this old recording will always bring back memories of Christmas past. 

The photo at the top of this post was take at Gywnedd Square Presbyterian Church in Lansdale, PA. This is the church I attended growing up and my mother still attends. I always loved how this shot turned out! It is also a favorite of my friend Karl. Karl’s family also attended this church back in the day. Some how after I moved back home from FL our paths crossed through our blogs! 

What is your favorite Christmas/Holiday song? I don’t really think I can pick just one more!! As much as I hate to admit it I have found myself singing (quietly) along with the holiday music at work!

Just THREE WEEKS until Christmas!

Love and Lattes,


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Countdown to Christmas – A Very Disney Christmas

Day #2

Tara and I lived in Orlando from 2003-2009, and hands down my favorite time of year in the parks was Christmas.  Disney had something great for every season, but for me it was most magical at Christmas.



We would attend Very Merry Christmas Parties, and visit Christmas around the world in EPCOT.  MGM (now Disney Hollywood Studios) had the Osbourne Spectacle of Lights. Downtown Disney and all of the resorts were decked out in their holiday finest.


Spectacle of Lights – Disney Hollywood Studios

We started our real Christmas celebration at Disney the day after Thanksgiving, when my sister, Linda and friend Bobbie would visit Disney on their annual girl’s week vacation. It made it extra special to have family and friends to visit the parks. We would always try to attend a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party one night at Magic Kingdom, and another night we would plan a meal a 50’s Prime Time Cafe, and take in the Spectacle of Lights. One year we even met a family from the UK that we I had met on line. We had dinner and attended the MVMCP with them.

Most times we stayed out of the parks the week of Christmas because of the crazy crowds. In 2006, Mom had suffered a broken femur and traveled to stay with us for a few weeks. She arrived Christmas Eve and On Christmas morning we went to Magic Kingdom for breakfast, we left before it got too very crowded, as Mom had to be in a wheelchair and it was a bit tough navigating.


Tara with MIckey and MInnie at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party


Mom arrived on Christmas Eve this particular year and we had breakfast in Magic Kindgom on Christmas Morning.


Chocolate and Gingerbread Carousel at The Beach Club Resort


Gingerbread House at the Grand Floridian

We may not have had snow or cold weather for Christmas, but those six years were probably the years I had the most Christmas spirit ever. Looking back it was such a special time in our lives that I am thankful for the memories.

Hopefully some year soon we will be able to make a trip back to Orlando, I would love for it to be during the holidays!

Do you travel at Christmas? What is your favorite destination?



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Countdown to Christmas – Tis the season

Day #1

Last time I had time to post was back in September! Time is just moving far too fast for me. I feel like one day just blends into the next with little time to enjoy things I love. Sometimes I am not even sure I really know what those things are anymore! Coffee, I enjoy coffee, that is one thing that does not change.

Herz aus Kaffeebohnen

I feel like I am here to just move from one persons crisis or dilemna to the next, and figure out a way to try and keep everyone semi happy. I don’t feel like anyone in our home has really been happy for a very long time.

Thanksgiving came and went with everyone talking about what they are thankful and grateful for this year. I mean, we all are healthy, we have a roof over our head, I am employed, as is Tara and our income is sufficient. These are all things we should be thankful for and I am. There are just things that make day to day life not always so enjoyable. Thanksgiving itself was not without it’s stressors. I was off (which I continue to say every year, I would rather work the holidays.) It is always good to see the twins, (Spencer and Avery), they can usually turn a frown upside down. Avery said “I love you Martha” and that melted my heart.



Our “unwanted” houseguest was gone for 3 months, but against my strongest wishes has returned. Once again unconditional love and enabling to the extreme have won out over common sense and learning from the past.

I have had major changes at work. We had a huge turn over in staff, and just when we were about out of that problem, our store manager, who over four years had also become my friend and someone I could talk too about just about anything was unexpectedly transferred (not that in retail it is ever really expected!). So in the midst of training a new staff, we are also getting accustomed to a new manager. Very nice person, but a completely different management style than the previous.

What used to feel like family, a place that I looked forward to going to is not quite a “homey” right now. I am sure in time all will work out! We have also been crazy busy, it takes longer to do everything with a new staff. Most days I don’t feel like I had a moment to really breathe, let alone eat or pee! Makes the shifts go very fast most of the time!


A favorite photo I took our first Christmas back in PA from Florida. When I wasn’t working and had time to be creative!

I always come up with great photo of blog “projects” in my head at the beginning of a new year, month or season, but after a few days, I get sidetracked. This year, I am going to TRY (no promises) to past something about the holidays each day. A favorite song, memory or recipe, or photo. We will see how that goes. A blogging advent calendar of sort!

Well, gotta run. It is 2pm on my day off and I have acccomplished next to nothing for myself and I need to drive Tara to work in 1/2 hr!










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There is a new post about the Art of the Brick at Franklin Institue over at Photos by MAK. I would love for you to stop by and visit!


I am half way through my first full weekend off since the beginning of August. It has been a nice relaxing (so far) weekend for me. I slept in until 10:30 on Saturday morning, and except for a quick trip to Towamencin Fire House to pick up Chicken BBQ dinner, I stayed home all day! It was a rainy day, and just what I needed. A total day of down time.

Working retail wrecks havoc on any kind of schedule. From the ever changing shifts, open some, close some, to different days off every week, sometimes two in a row, sometimes only one at a time, it is difficult to actually decompress.  I have not had any type of vacation… more than 3 or 4 days off in quite a long time. Twice I planned a 7 day stretch of time off and twice those plans were changed for me. Top that with probably the most stressful time I have had in the 5 1/2 years at the store, and I have been quite on edge. We have turned over almost all of our staff in the last few months. We are left with one gentleman that was there prior to me, myself and the store manager that have been there for any length of time. Staffing retail jobs is not easy, people don’t like the pay and they don’t like the nights, weekends and holiday schedules! With new staff comes training, and falling behind in projects, and stress. It is a vicious cycle we seem to be in!

Sometimes we all need a little quiet time, alone time, silence. For me that does not come often! I know some for whom perpetual motion is what makes them tick, but I guess I am just getting too old for that. I like peace and solitude. I enjoy my time alone.

See how nature, trees, flowers, grass, grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls. – Mother Teresa

PicMonkey Collage


I am soaking in the last few quiet hours of this weekend. Once Tara is done work, along with Mom, we will be headed to Wal-Mart (ugh). Mom does not venture out too often any more, but needs a new lamp and Tara needs an Eagles shirt for work tomorrow night. I of course, am sure I will find something there I can’t live without. Maybe a new crock pot. Cooking is one thing that I have come to dislike after a busy day at work, so this fall I am going to try out all the “dump dinners” and crock post recipes I see every where!

Make it a great day,

Love and Lattes!


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Sundays in My City – Art of the Brick

Unknown Mami
With Tara working this summer and her active social life with friends, it has been difficult for us to find time for adventures. A couple weeks ago, we both had the same day off and we wanted to do something together. Two things came to mind; The Adventure Aquarium in Camden (I bought an Annual pass in June, and Tara has never been) or The Franklin Institute in Philly, specifically to see The Art of the Brick exhibit. 

We choose The Art of the Brick, the amazing Lego creations of Nathan Sawaya.
We ventured out on a beautiful, not too hot day. Arriving in Philly, my plan was immediately altered when the parking at the FI, and we had to find alternate parking. (I am one of those people who fears parallel parking, and will pay just about anything in a parking lot/garage because of that limitation!) We found parking about 4 blocks away. (I love the graphics available in Snapchat!)

Ben was there to greet us!

Here is my Flickr album with all the photos I took., I will share just a few.

Most were shot with my Galaxy S4, it was just easier than using the DSLR, There were many children and I needed to be quick with the shutter.!

Dum Dum, I want Gum Gum (reference to Night at the Museum)
Of course there had to be a Liberty Bell in Philly!
Creepy but cool!
This display recreated elements from several paintings around the room.

Tara and I both really enjoyed our day. We also took in the Ghengis Khan exhibit, I will save that for another day. 
Stop by and visit Claudya and Sundays in my City.
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Seasons have come and seasons have gone since I last updated this  space. The last 18-24 months here in our home were difficult ones, our home was filled with bad energy and stress.

About three weeks ago, the stress producing bad energy was finally removed from our home, and once again, we have peace and something that resembles normal, our normal, maybe not everyone’s normal!

I won’t go into details, but, a family member was allowed to move into our home for a “short time” which turned into close to 24 months. It was never something Tara or I wanted, but something my mother insisted on. While our apartment is plenty big for three, a fourth person was just too much. Add to that that this person was a dishonest, arrogant SOB, who took advantage of my mother, the only person left who still “had his back”

As a family, several times we attempted to have him removed, but we were always vetoed by mom. She is the elder in the family, and while I was in my legal rights to have him removed, she had her rights to allow him to stay. This situation would have been a great study in co-dependent and enabling relationships.

The time line of this situation started back in August, 2013, and finally came to an end August, 2015. There were short periods of time when this family member resided with others, but he always wound up back her due to my mom’s love for him and her much displaced compassion. Let’s just say the love and compassion were not a two way street, she received heart break, lies and much disrespect in return.

I now see how easy it is for families to fall into such traps and deep trouble that many times end in violence. I can now see how easy it for older folks who don’t have some one “good” watching over them to be taken advantage of and abused. There were times when both Tara and I feared for our safety and we learned pretty quickly to not leave anything of valuable laying about.

During all of this, last October, my mother wound up hospitalized from a broken femur. She spent a total of three weeks in the hospital recuperating from the surgery and doing rehab. It was tough on us all. For me trying to work, be at home, and at the hospital was exhausting.

I am finding it had to believe it has been 11 months! The holidays came and went, working in retail kind of takes the joy out of the holidays. Winter, Spring, and Summer have past.

I really took notice last nights that the days are getting shorter. By 7:30 darkness is setting in! I love the long days of summer, I don’t think winter would be so bad if the day light hours were not so short!

Since I last blogged, the twins started to walk, turned 1, and now are 20 months old!


Tara turned 18.


We had a health scare for Tara which had her inpatient at CHOP for 4 days. Thankfully misdiagnosed.

Mom turned 91.

2015-09-10_10-37-51_20674734464_o (1)

Tara has one semester to finish high school (due to above illness) and is working as a server at Elm Terrace.

I still work at Walgreens, and finally as we approach the 6th year, our business is really picking up.

That’s it for now, I want to get this posted….

Love and lattes,




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Hello Old Friend

I have been gone from blogging so long, I just can’t cut the ties with either of my blogs though, so I faithfully pay for my hosting every month and my blogs sit dormant!

I am going to try and start posting my photography more often. I have joined a local photography group on Facebook and hopefully that will reenergize my photograpy! Fall is coming too and that always helps!

Here are a couple I took of Jack when he was enjoying a little bit of outside time with me this week!

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Project 365 – Day 23 – Picking up a good book

I rarely read a book, something I had always loved to do. Seems like in the last 18 yrs since I became a mom there was never enough uninterrupted time to get lost in the pages. Reading in bed… well that is just a sure way for me to fall asleep. Tara is gone from home much more than she is here these days with a new job and a boy! Maybe it is time for me to start doing things that I enjoy!

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