Last Date of 2016

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If there is one piece of advice I could give anyone in regards to relationships, it would be this….

Date each other.

No matter how many years you’ve been together, no matter how your situation has changed, kids, jobs, life….

Date each other.

Your hearts deserve that happiness called the beginning of every relationship, the love bubble. You deserve to keep that feeling alive throughout your lives together, and the best way to do that….

Date each other.

Our last date of 2016 was a good one, it left our hearts happy and was the perfect end to a year full of much hard work and joy!

Our first stop of the day was to Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens, to spend some time with one of my most favorite little beauties, butterflies.

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It was relaxing, happy and so wonderful to have them all flying around us.

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Some even enjoyed some quality time.

I have always had the belief that a butterfly that lands on you, is a little angel in your life that has passed, coming to visit. I don’t know why this has always been my belief, but nothing is going to change that. It’s a beautiful thought and it makes me happy!

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After that magical moment, we went to Yankee Candle Village. Oh my goodness, is all I can say. There is so much to see, and so much you can buy! I really enjoyed our time there, looking at everything, smelling the candles and just being with my husband.

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I was able to finally get something that I have wanted for a long time, my mantra bracelets! Words are very meaningful to me, I am a quote junkie and certain things just call to my very sentimental side. These bracelets represent all that the past years have been and what 2017 will be, a continuation of our infertility journey, our journey to parenthood.

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After spending what seemed like not enough time to soak in all that Yankee Candle had to offer, we took a drive to Richardson’s Candy Kitchen.

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Because what is the end of the holiday season without candy, right?

Immediately upon walking through the door, you are greeted with the most amazing smell of chocolate everything. How do people work there?!

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I was happy to see that they have a selection of sugar free candy for those of us that can’t have sugar. I know it isn’t the best choice, but we all need to live a little!

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We continued to drive around the area to site see for a little while, not much to report but we enjoy our drives 🙂

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Later in the evening, we went to Chandler’s Restaurant for dinner. I had high hopes for this place, but the food wasn’t amazing. We still had a good time in the cute and cozy environment.

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Calamari

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Pork Tenderloin Marsala with Pecorino Romano Spaetzle

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Crab Cakes

I love dates that last all day and feel very blessed that we have been able to continue this tradition. Life is busy, we both work (which we are grateful for) but making time for each other is very important in our lives. We are definitely looking forward to what 2017 has to offer!

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If you haven’t gone on a date in a long time, try to make it happen! You will feel like a new couple, I promise you!

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Low Carb Italian Cookies

Can you believe that Christmas is really over?!

It just seems like yesterday that the season started and we pulled all our normal decor off the shelves and Christmas came exploding into our homes. What a wonderful season to be celebrated and I hope it was just as fabulous as you all imagined!

When the holidays come, what better way to indulge in the most wonderful time of year, than to bake our little hearts out! I love baking all year round, but there is something so amazing about making treats for all of your loved ones to enjoy on Christmas! This year, I sang Christmas carols and really enjoyed the whole process of making Christmas cookies.

I’ve decided, without a doubt, next year I will be hosting a christmas cookie exchange party, so my people better be ready! They do have a whole year now to prepare 😉

One of my favorite cookies from this year, is by far this Low Carb Italian Cookie. It is moist, buttery and I bet you won’t be able to stop at just one!

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Low Carb Italian Cookies

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup swerve sweetener {or equivalent sweetener of choice}
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Glaze

  • 1/4 cup swerve confectioners sweetener
  • 2 tbsp half and half
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • sprinkles

Directions

Cookies:
Preheat oven to 325F and line a large baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, beat the butter with the Swerve until well combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
Then beat in the almond flour mixture until the dough comes together.
Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. You will get 24 to 28 balls. Press the balls down with the palm of your hand to about ½ inch thick.
Bake about 12 minutes, until just barely beginning to firm up. Remove and let cool on the pan.
Glaze:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the Swerve, half and half, and vanilla extract. Dip the top of the cookies into the glaze and set back on the pan. Sprinkle as desired.

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Seriously, make these.

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I really wish Christmas lasted a little longer, but it unfortunately goes by so quickly! That doesn’t mean we can’t make these all year long, just change your sprinkles!

In my opinion, there are never too many sprinkles in life!

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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Via

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