Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies + Happy Spring

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Happy Spring! What what?!

I have all the faith that by next weekend all this white snow will be melted, flowers will be blooming and our souls will be warmer. No? Too far fetched? I’ll still be a believer. ūüėČ

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful weekend! While this was my weekend to work, it was a good weekend, both at work and out, so I call that a win!

My “weekend” started on Friday again, with some grown up responsibilities, baking (I’ll be getting to that), and my favorite breakfast! Thinslim’s¬†low carb toast with two eggs and some cholula. Seriously, my all time favorite one and if you haven’t tried it, get on that!

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I went for a walk outside with my fur babies, and I cannot wait until it is nicer out again. I want to be outside now! Give me all the sunshine! Just like these two, trying to get the last of it.

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Later in the evening we went over to visit my family, have dinner and spend time with this little lady! Oh, how we adore her.

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Look at these fingers!

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We were missing our favorite boy but he was back by Sunday, so all was right in the world. So I’ll insert the best picture ever here.

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On Saturday, it was time for work but the mister made me a delicious, simple dinner to come home to, which was fabulous. I usually don’t really like red meat but maybe it’s because I’ve changed my diet so much lately, this steak was yummy.

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Sunday started off on a lovely note, we went for a coffee date before work. How much do we swoon over these new spring cups?! I had to get the grande because well, I love all things teal. I didn’t need it, definitely didn’t finish it (waster) but it made my heart happy!

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Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte with Almond Milk….. its good!

After work, we headed to Sunday family dinner, to spend more time with the family. There really is nothing better!

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Now that you maybe spent too much time reading above, let’s get to what you really want….these cookies!

These cookies don’t make me miss regular chocolate chip cookies, at all. They are easy to make, and I dare you to try not to eat the cookie dough before baking- it’s difficult. I hope you enjoy!

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup grass fed butter, softened
  • 1/8 cup truvia brown sugar**
  • 1/4 cup swerve sweetener**
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chocolate of choice (I use dairy free)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, add dry ingredients {almond flour, baking soda and salt} and combine, put aside.

In your mixer, add butter and both sugars and mix until combined and creamy. Add your egg, egg white and vanilla.

Slowly add in your dry ingredients until mixed and cookie dough is formed. Then, add in your chocolate chips.

Place silicone mat, parchment paper onto baking sheets for easy clean up. Using a cookie scoop {I use medium 40, which is about 1 1/2 tbsp of dough), scoop cookies onto baking sheet. Using your hand, flatten the cookies to about 1/4″ thickness.

Place in oven and bake for 14 minutes.

Yields approximately 2 dozen cookies

**You can substitute regular brown sugar, double to 1/4 cup- the truvia brown sugar is sweeter. You can also use equal parts regular sugar or sugar of choice. Swerve is a 1:1 ratio to regular sugar.

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These cookies are good. The mister sat with his glass of milk and finished off the remaining cookies while indulging me in my Fifty Shades Darker movie moment. Don’t judge!! (Either of us haha)

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Hope you all have a wonderful week!

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Christmas 2016

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So this is Christmas and what have you done,

Another year over a new one just begun.

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And so this is Christmas, I hope you had fun,

The near and the dear ones, the old and the young.

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A very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year,

Let’s hope it’s a good one without any fear.

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And so this is Christmas for weak and for strong,

The rich and the poor ones, the road is so long.

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And so happy Christmas, for black and for white,

For the yellow and red ones let’s stop all the fights.

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A very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year,

Let’s hope it’s a good one without any fear.

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So this is Christmas and what have you done,

Another year over a new one just begun.

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And so this is Christmas, I hope you had fun,

The near and the dear ones, the old and the young.

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A very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year,

Let’s hope it’s a good one without any fear.

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War is over if you want it, war is over now.

-John Lennon

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and wishing you the absolute best New Year!

A Grateful Heart

With Thanksgiving having passed and Christmas fast approaching,¬†there has been something on my mind that is so important to me. It is an attribute that I value not only in myself, but most definitely in others, a grateful heart. While I don’t believe that the holiday season is the only time we should notice¬†all we are blessed with, it is a time to slow down and take it all in, eyes wide open.

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If there is one thing I have learned in the past years, it is that in our struggles is where we find our true selves, the meaning of this life, including the things we should invest our time and energy in. These are the things that we should feel most grateful for, because these should be what makes us the happiest.

This blog, Our Grateful Hearts, is so near and dear to my heart. Not only because it allows me to take the time to write about life, food and share the words that matter to me, it reminds me daily just in its perfect name, what I want my life to be centered around.

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While we have had our own struggles just like each and every one of you, we have been blessed in so many beautiful ways. I thought I would share a few things that make me feel most grateful, and they may not be what you would first think. There is no denying that my family, loved ones, favorite people and fur-children are my absolute number one priority in this life, and I do my best to appreciate them, love them, and support them. There are other things that I find myself appreciating more as I become older and wiser (hopefully!)

Currently, in this season of life, I am grateful for……

Timing

I truly believe that in his time, all things are made beautiful. It may not be the timing that we all had in mind for our lives, but when something is meant for us, it happens. It happens when we are ready for it, physically, mentally and emotionally. I reflect often about my life and how it all has unfolded in front of me. There are so many wonderful things that I have worked for, struggled with, and eventually timing worked on my side. If you are currently struggling with something that isn’t working out, please know that maybe it’s not time yet, and keep going!

Patience

This has not always been my strongest attribute, but with currently being in the wait, I have grown to be a very patient person. We can’t always control, plan and have what we want, when we want it. Sometimes, life is most definitely out of our control and we just have to embrace the moment we are in and be patient with what is meant for us. The virtue of patience has allowed me to be a more calm, productive, and happy person. I appreciate both people and things very differently, and I am so thankful for that. I really feel it has allowed me to live a life I love, while still dealing with our struggle of growing our family.

Hope

A single word, that holds so much meaning to so many people and by definition,¬†to cherish a desire with anticipation. Hope is what allows all of us to keep living, giving, learning and accepting what life throws at us, even if some days aren’t the best days. Not one person can say that life is perfect, but hope allows us to feel perfection surrounding us in an imperfect world. It allows us to be fully present in our current situations while allowing us to dream of what our future could hold. Hope wraps around us in our time of despair and raises us up to be able to love, laugh and live a life we truly enjoy. Hope is a beautiful thing and I hope you can feel it, because wonderful things are made¬†if you just believe.

Opportunity

So much of our journey through life happens due to the opportunities that we search for and those that fall upon us. I find myself in awe of how my personal goals over the past years have become my present circumstance. I feel so blessed with the changes I have made as an individual and also what my husband and I have accomplished as a team. I’m also fortunate for the opportunities that didn’t work out along the way. These are the things that have brought us closer together, made us stronger and made us recognize what wasn’t meant for us. It’s important to reflect on both the good and bad, because doing so gives you the opportunity to change.

That change can bring you to the next opportunity that you have been patiently waiting for, the life you have hoped for, all because you trusted his timing.

I hope this holiday season brings you great joy and has you surrounded by all the beautiful people you love. Take the time to really appreciate what is in front of you, and know that while life can be difficult, it is not without a purpose. 

 

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Happy Holidays!

     Melissa

A Mother’s Heart

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I have been raised by one of the most selfless mothers. She raised me to love, be kind and most importantly, she showed me what it is to be a good human being.

I have valued beyond measure all she has taught me in life, thus allowing me to learn things I didn’t expect to know.

If it weren’t for the strength of my mother, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this post about my heart, a mother’s heart, who has no children.

For over fives years, we have prayed, cried, struggled, but still tried to expand our family. We have met obstacles, defeat and sadness, but we still have hope that our persistence will lead to a miracle.

As difficult as it is to write out the words no children, I most of the time do not see myself that way.

I have loved a sweet little bean that couldn’t stay with us long, for four years. I will never know what that little bean would have turned into, because for one reason or another, they weren’t meant to stay here with us.

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I have faith that despite when we had our loss, that there is another story to be told, we just have to keep going, turning the pages as they come.

This journey is not something we expected, but we are embracing each day, and moment with each other as we faithfully wait for what is meant for us.

I yearn to hold our child in my arms, and even though this child does not exist yet, I love them. I have hope that the love my husband and I share, will help create the miracle we long for. I have never wanted anything so very badly, but find myself patient with this  very long, sometimes heart wrenching journey.

If you find yourself going through a similar circumstance, please don’t lose hope. I truly believe it is in these moments, when you truly find yourself and the life that is meant for you. It is a beautiful life, no matter how much you don’t understand your own personal struggle. So be patient, and most importantly be kind to yourselves during the wait. You deserve that.

While we wait, our arms may be empty, but our hearts are so very full. I do have a mother’s heart, and I can’t wait until the day I finally get to use it.

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This post is to honor and remember all the pregnancies and babies lost before their beautiful lives were truly known. October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It is a day that many parents both dread and are thankful for. All pregnancies and infants lost are something we carry in our hearts every day. You may not see them, but we still feel the love and pain all the same. Every child, both living or unfortunately not, are beautiful miracles- some just aren’t meant to stay. We will never understand the why, but to find strength in a community that unites because of this common pain, does bring us all comfort. To all the little perfect angels that watch us from above, we miss you, we love you, we celebrate you, we mourn you, we honor you.

Life Lately…It’s Fall!

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The end of summer has come and gone so now it’s time to enjoy the beautiful season of fall! While I’m sure we were all sad to see the longer days of sunshine leave us, there is something so wonderful about this current season.

From the crisp, fresh air to the absolutely breath taking views of the leaves changing colors, these are just a few things that the lovely autumn has to offer us!

I know I am not alone in saying when fall rolls in so does my desire to be in the kitchen more. This is the time to make more hearty meals, bake more and time to slow down and enjoy the people in your life. Since fall is already here and the days seem to go by much faster as we age (thanks momma, for¬†always driving that point home ūüôā ) I am trying to embrace all our moments. There is no better time to do something than the present because every day is such a gift. Maybe that is what fall is all about. Learning to slow down from the hot and busy summer, and to really be grateful for everything you have in this life. ¬†It’s like a yearly reminder that the holidays are coming, and there is so much to be thankful for, every single day.

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There are many wonderful activities to do in the fall and I am hoping to cross these off my list this year!

Fall 2016 Bucket List

  • Big E¬† Done!
  • Apple picking
  • Make Low Carb Pumpkin & Apple Treats
  • Cornmaze
  • Haunted House
  • Pumpkin Carving/Decorating
  • New England Day Trip to see the leaves
  • Go on a fall picnic
  • Autumn Hike

These are just a few things I hope to do, I’m sure there are so many more!

Until I am able to cross off those activities, I’ll take a step back and reminisce about the past month or so.

There has been fun activities with some of my favorites…

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There has been some delicious eats….

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Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad…last salad of the season!
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Philly Cheesesteak Mini Meatloaves
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Low Carb Blueberry Cheese Danish Coffee Cake

There has been the continued hard work on our new deck…

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There has been many strolls with these lovelies….

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Quiet time too….

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We also celebrated 12 years of dating each other by going out to Marketplace Kitchen & Bar for dinner! While it was a bit noisy, the company was amazing and we shared this awesome appetizer that I will one day recreate. So simple, but yet, so tasty.

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Fresh mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto, over garlic spinach and vodka sauce

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There is nothing more that I love to do, than just spend time with this handsome face. He really has been my rock, my best friend, and life entertainer for these past 12 years. I feel so blessed to have spent these moments with him, and hope for as many more that we are able!

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What are some of your favorite fall activities?

 

 

 

 

Five Things I’ve Learned in Five Years

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June 10th, 2011 was a beautiful day. It was the day I married my best friend and life partner. I wouldn’t change anything about that day, despite how things have changed over the years. I am more in love and a better person since I met my husband. He has shown me more patience, honesty, kindness and trust than I could have ever imagined.

For twelve years he has stood by my side through both thick and thin. Not just during life struggles but even with my own battle with my weight. Never once has he made me feel ugly, embarrassed or any less beautiful than when I met him. He continues to support me with all my endeavors, and I am forever grateful for being blessed with having him in my life.

I have learned many valuable lessons through the years, lessons that have shaped me as an individual but most importantly, lessons that have helped keep our relationship wholesome. I thought I’d take a few minutes and share what has worked for us.

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Communication

I feel like this is the biggest and most important part of any relationship. Whether it be family, a friend or your partner, good communication is always key. I have not always been the best at spilling my guts when it comes to how I’m feeling. I hold a lot of what I feel inside and when I’m most vulnerable, I let it out and then some. It has not been effective in any way to making me feel better in the past, because things are said that were not meant. I have made a huge effort to speak up about things before they get to a point where this can happen. I’ve never had a problem talking with my husband, he is always willing to listen, but I did have to learn to actually listen and accept his advise. A relationship is a two-way street and the most successful communication comes from both parties being fully engaged.

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Respect

Life can be very stressful at times. Between different schedules, work, finances and other personal matters, tempers can get heated without intention. At least mine can. I married such a gentle soul, I am definitely the hot pepper of the relationship! With that in mind, no matter if my husband chose to marry me, this whole package, hot pepper personality or not, I make the choice every day to respect him. He makes it easy, but I choose to respect him because he deserves it. We all do. Every day I try to show him kindness, love and appreciation. I choose to respect his decisions and desires in life, because there is no I in this team. He is a vital part of our life, and I am so fortunate for all he does for us.

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Support

Life can change so quickly and a lot of the time it’s not by choice but by outside forces. The best relationships can get severely rocked by these circumstances and you must always lean on each other, supporting one another as best you can. Life is never going to be picture perfect, but wait, what is that? Life is what you make out of it, and it’s your own kind of perfect no matter what struggle you may have. The best relationships come from those who survive a storm together. At times, one may need to support the other more but it’s the constant give and take that makes a relationship survive and flourish. I know that my husband is my rock, but I’m a tough girl too. We lean on each other when needed and sometimes we can just stand tall separately. The most important thing you can do, is let your partner know that you are there all the time, if needed.

 

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Friendship

Friendships in life come and go. Some stay the long hall but a lot of relationships are found during certain seasons in your life. People relate to those who are going through similar phases at certain times more. There is nothing wrong with these types of friendships, because you met for a reason. I believe in order to have the best relationship with your partner, you need to be their friend as well as their lover. I 100% feel that my husband is my best friend and in conversation, he feels the same as well. We have the best times together, whether it be talking, going out, or just sitting quietly on our couch. He is my absolute favorite person and one of the best friendships I’ve ever been blessed to have.

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Laughter

Life can be so serious sometimes, and difficult. We all experience loss, rejection and uncertainty throughout this journey. I completely agree that the best medicine is laughter and it’s even better when you can laugh together! Nothing can perk up a bad moment faster than an inside joke or a funny thought. I think it also keeps a little spark in your relationship to be a little quirky and sarcastic. There is a lot of spice in this life, you just have to remember to be present and use it!

I am by no means a relationship expert and I do not claim to be. I just know what has been working for us for these years, and I wanted to share. What works for us, may not work for you but that’s ok. Find your own values, learn the lessons that make you a better person and/or couple. Most importantly, do what makes you happy!

I am thankful every day for what I’ve been given, and I don’t take my husband or our relationship for granted. I cherish every moment I have with him and hope we have some happy, healthy years ahead!

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I wish the same for you!

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A Weekend in Boston- Day 2

A Weekend in Boston ‚Äď Day 1¬†– if you missed it!

Day two started bright and early, thanks in part to an internal clock that thinks we are always going to work! Since there was no work to be had, we got ready and met our travel buddies downstairs to explore!

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Our first stop was to get some delicious coffee at Thinking Cup. They do an awesome job living up to their personal philosophy to provide delicious coffee, pastries and food in a cozy and enjoyable environment. I could get use to starting my day this way!

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After feeding our bellies with some fuel, we decided to start walking the Freedom Trail, went to Quincy and enjoyed the sunshine on our faces! Nothing makes me happier than being around family, having sun on my face and just feeling content. There is something spectacular to be said for just going away for the weekend. Leaving all your responsibilities for a few days, and soaking up life! Life is fleeting, you need to truly enjoy it while you can!

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After some browsing in shops, we ventured to the North End, Boston’s Little Italy. We went to Europe for the first time last year, and what I loved about this part of Boston, was it gave you such a nostalgic feeling. With its perfect old character paired with modern accents, the beautiful cobblestone streets and most importantly, the local older Italian men who sat on the sidewalks barking at each other from across the street, it was just a joy to experience.

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At the recommendation of a family member, we decided to have lunch at Antico Forno. It was one of the our best dining experiences of the weekend and in the future, we would definitely go back for dinner!

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Their entire menu looks delicious but true to this Italian girls heart, I just can’t pass up chicken parmigiana!

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Parmigiana di pollo- breaded chicken, fontina cheese, basil, San Marzano tomato sauce with a mixed green salad

I should have asked for no bread, but I took it off and a lovely mister in the our party decided to take it off my hands, the perks of family!

The hubby had one of his favorites as well!

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Polpette- homemade meatballs, parmigiana cheese, roasted peppers, basil, San Marzano tomato sauce with a mixed green salad

After a fantastic lunch it was back to walking around our favorite city, and no good day in the books ever forgets dessert.

We stopped to get gelato and honestly, I just can’t stop with the coconut. I want it every day, all the time, in everything. Yum!

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Then we retired to our hotel rooms for a mid-day break to get ready for our night activities!

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When we were ready in our evening fancy attire, we stopped at the bar to get a drink. I just love my sister! Baby blues forever!

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Then we walked down to where the theater was and stopped into an awesome restaurant/bar which I have no recollection of the name. I will find it though, because it is the coolest atmosphere. I felt like such a modern-day woman in that place!

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After a few drinks and an appetizer we headed to the Charles Playhouse to see The Blue Man Group!

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That was so much fun! I love going to shows and creating new experiences, so it was definitely one of my favorite moments! If you haven’t seen them yet, find a show and enjoy it!

When the show was over we headed back to where our hotel was and stopped into The Beantown Pub for a drink and some grub. What is a weekend away without good eats?! Nothing, absolutely nothing.

We couldn’t have asked for a better day or travel buddies than these! It was a great little trip and I am so looking forward to our next adventure. Where will that be?!

Boston, we miss you already- but you are only a hop, skip and a jump away. So until next time, much love!

A Comedy Show & Ice Cream Date

The end of last week didn’t go as planned, which in life tends to happen often. A regular visit to the dreaded foot doctor left me with many unfortunate needle marks and pain for a few days.

Then on Friday, a regular visit to another doctor confirmed my fears on my endometriosis front and my emotions got the best of me, I suppose.

So to make up for my lack of enthusiasm, the mister planned an impromptu date night that turned out to be a lot of fun!

We headed down to the casino in the late afternoon to grab dinner and watch a comedy show!

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Here is where I offer up some advice to those who probably don’t need it- make sure you go earlier to grab a bite at one of their nice restaurants. Because our decisions were made last minute, we didn’t have the time and the place was way too busy.

After walking around for far too long on a foot that should have been home, we got some early seats at the comedy show and ordered some food to share. I wish I had pictures to share but I ordered a Chicken Caesar Salad that came out soaked in dressing. It was disappointing. So my mister who is a saint, split half his burger with me. I picked a good one, thats for sure!

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The show was good, we had quite a few laughs listening to some crude and playful jokes. The main comedian spent a good amount of time in the audience and it was amusing to see how well everyone took the personal jokes. All in good fun, right?

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After the show we walked around the casino a bit and then had an ice cream party together. This right here can be put in my top 10 of favorite ice cream experiences. Okay maybe my top 100 ice cream experiences haha, but I love ice cream!

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This is Coconut Seven Layer Bar from Ben and Jerry’s. You all need to indulge in this delightful treat because it is worth it!

We stopped in some of the shops, I drooled over some Coach bags and regretfully walked away. Insert sad face. I saw this very cute sign too. Then, it was time to go!

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My kids do have paws!! For now!

It was just lovely spending time with my mister, and I can’t wait for our next little adventure!

A Beginning

Well hello!

Thank you for taking the time to venture over to my new little place where I’ll share a love for food, recipes, pictures and life!

Before I engage you in my love of all things, I thought I’d share a very brief summary as to why I decided to come out into the blog world.

Drum roll please….

I have had a secret love affair with blogging for the past five years. I’ve written many of my thoughts on a different blog, but I was never ready to share with the people I may physically know. I’ve been following so many wonderful bloggers over these years and while I may not know them, I’ve loved reading about their lives, their thoughts and especially the recipes they share! I can honestly say (and call me lame if you must) one of my most favorite times in the day is when I can escape real life, holding a hot cup of coffee, and read the many words that fill my screen.

I won’t bore you with the details of my love for writing, nor will I keep you much longer today. What I will tell you, is that I am really excited to have a place to call mine where I can share the recipes I create, the life that I live, and how grateful my heart feels to finally have found a way to share my passions in life.

I hope you come back to visit!

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