In Gratitude


Awhile back, I use to post trinkets of thanks each week.  I felt that in expressing my gratitude I was able to put positive vibes out into the atmosphere, and illustrate that it is often those seemingly minuscule or insignificant items or events that end up constructing a full life.

So, after a four year hiatus, on this 13th day of April, I am so very grateful for…

~a new computer and refreshed space in which I can write.

~Apple Support and their aid when this non-techy gal tried to set up the above mentioned computer. Whew.

~my seven year old, who led me through on the of the best yoga sessions of my life.

~this new book by Ashley English, and the fabulous recipes it contains.  Many of these recipes are sure to find themselves on my kitchen table in the very new future.

~a freshly mulched garden. (And yes, that is a glass of wine on the fencepost.  One needs some mode of relief from the back pain of hauling said mulch, right?)

~several days with family this upcoming weekend—sure to be filled with farmer’s markets and swimming, farm-fresh food and tasty cocktails, laughter and tears.

Welcome 2013


Our amarylis stretched her pedals wide to greet 2013 last Tuesday.  I couldn’t believe she chose this day to awaken, but it seemed to represent a fresh start  for our family.  We needed a bit of freshness around these parts, seeing as each of us took our turn with the nasty flu bug that has been making its way through our neck of the woods.  My illness and long recovery is the reason it has taken me so long to return to this space.

I am very thankful to be feeling back to my normal self, and to share some holiday images with all of you.  Because of our bouts with illness, this holiday season was very low key, but it turned out to be a bit of a blessing.  Instead of the constant buzzing from here to there that often takes place around Christmas and New Year’s Day, we were able to nestle in and just enjoy some quality home-time with one another.

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I hope each and every one of you had a blessed holiday season, and find yourself filled with the sense of renewal this time of year brings with it.  Can you feel it?  As I sit here, clad in wool from head to toe, sipping my morning coffee, writing this post, I can feel the uniqueness of this time of year.  It’s a stirring deep within me, telling me this is sure to be a year filled with many blessings and a whole lot challenges.  I can’t wait to dive into the depths of this newness and get started.


I wish all of you a wonderful 2013! 

Thanksgiving 2012

For about six years now, my hubby and I have been the proud hosts of our family’s annual Thanksgiving celebration.  We prepare for this day all year long, with our next year’s theme in mind before the current year’s festivities have concluded.  We gather the necessary ingredients from farmer’s markets, local farmers and our own garden throughout the year, and take the necessary steps to preserve that food until the big day.

The week of Thanksgiving, the whole family assembled in the kitchen to fashion the meal.  This year we faced a few road blocks, like a daddy who was sick the entire week prior to the feast, and I can’t leave out the fact that my oven broke on Wednesday.  Yes, the oven.  It is a wonderful blessing that I live so close to my parents.  I just strapped on my running shoes and ran pies back and forth the whole day.  So really, it worked out quite nice.  I got in a bit of a work out, so that I could eat more of the pie 🙂

The theme of this year’s event was “An Ancestral Celebration,” so we spent the day honoring those members of our family who are no longer with us.  We feasted upon recipes from their recipe boxes, and relished in the grateful bliss of food, family and fun.

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and are enjoying this beautiful Christmas season that is now upon us. 


When we moved back to Rockford (the hometown of both myself and my husband) four years ago this July, we pledged to make the move “worth it.”  You see, we adored living in Champaign.  We loved living in a city that is home to a major university, and all that comes with it.  We loved our teaching jobs, our students and our co-workers.  We loved our home, our neighbors and our neighborhood.  But the longing we both felt for our families far outweighed all of that.

We told ourselves that if we moved away from this fabulous city in order to be closer to our families, we must make every attempt to see our families, and see them often.  Although all of us have busy schedules, and it can often feel overwhelming to squeeze in time with everyone, we are so, so, so happy to be home.

Our summer “Tuesday Night Dinner” tradition is one we truly love and it makes us so very thankful for how full our lives are.  Full of family.  Full of love.  And always full of laughter 🙂

A Summer Tradition

Yesterday evening marked the beginning of a great summer tradition at the Fagan abode…Tuesday Night Dinner.  Our entire family gathers on our back deck for food, drinks, and lots of fun and laughs.  While talking last night, I think we all agreed that Tuesday Night Dinners are our favorite activities of the summer months, and we were all thrilled that it is that time of year again.

Last night’s theme was Mexican fiesta, and it was fabulous.  My hubby and I prepared some Rick Bayless recipes from this cookbook and this cookbook, while other family members brought other scrumptious dishes for all to share.

Here is a glimpse into the fun that was had by all last evening…