Dear friends: A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family! I had great intentions of delivering these holiday wishes before the New Year arrived. And since it’s still the first week of the New Year (barely!), that’s all well and good with the New Year’s wishes. Unfortunately I’m a bit Fashionably Late regarding Christmas….
If you’re new around here, I mostly post recipes. But occasionally update you on what’s going on behind the scenes too. My last personal update here was in September and quite a bit has happened since. So grab a latte and cozy up while I fill you in.
Our youngest, Hudson, was headed to Boston Children’s Hospital for an evaluation in late October. Hudson is seven and has Down syndrome. He was also diagnosed with autism at that October appointment. We suspected for some time that he had autism, and it was positive to receive official confirmation of his diagnosis.
So now we can move forward seeking appropriate treatments and therapies and we’re muddling through that process now. Hudson is our littlest love who has many difficult/unusual behaviors that don’t always win friends and influence people….
I also mentioned we were looking for a very special dog for Hudson. Hudson has always been petrified of dogs, and since most of our friends and family have them, there were stressful moments. Sometimes if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. So we started looking in earnest for a special dog.
Jacob welcoming Chloe on her first day in her forever home. (One of the boys saw this pic. and immediately remarked “Get that boy some longer shorts!” But he’ll have to take that up with his soccer coach. Out of my control… 🙂 )
Chloe joined our family mid-October. She’s a 5-7 year old golden labby girl from MS. We had a great experience adopting her from Canine Commitment rescue in New Boston. And this is her first time in the snow. She’s so funny. Inside the house, she’s the quintessential southern lady. All she needs is a string of pearls, that’s what I say.
But get her outside in the white stuff, and she just THROWS herself into the snowdrifts with utter abandon! Burrows her snout into the white, puppy-like. Rolls in the middle of the snow-covered street, tummy skyward – paws waving for emphasis. This furry southern lady is loving the north! And while we initially found her for Hudson, she has each of us tightly wrapped around her little paw. We’re so lucky to have her.
Hudson feeding Chloe her afternoon snack…
Each day when Hudson gets home from school, first thing he heads straight to the treats drawer to get Chloe her after school snack. Happy Hudson, happy Chloe. She has been such a kind, quiet, gentle, patient addition to our family.
A few days before Christmas I went to our local butcher shop and told them I needed something fabulous for a special dog who has been very, very good this year! And they pulled out a large smoked bone, a meaty tendon and several freshly smoked pig ears. So that’s what Chloe got in her stocking. (She was pleased on Christmas morning.)
I finally got my brain in gear to begin decorating our new (to us) house in November. You may remember we moved in July. For the longest time I had a mental block a mile high. I don’t know why. Maybe it was selling our previous house by owner, moving twice (June and July) and that Romanian missions trip sandwiched in between. That could do it to you in a hurry.
Anyway, it took a few months for the cobwebs to clear and the gray matter to kick into gear, but finally…. FINALLY, it happened. And it’s starting to feel just a little bit more like home around here. Snug and cozy, just in time for the fierce arrival of Old Man Winter.
Our three older boys are all doing well. We had a nice weekend trip with them to Quebec City over New Years. You may remember we’ve visited Quebec City before and I’ve blogged about it here. What an enchanting city! I highly encourage you to visit. It’s like a little Europe and not so far away if you live in New England. The exchange rate works out great for Americans.
This pure maple sugar (and maple butter too!) was on each table at the famous Polly’s Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill, NH where we stopped for breakfast on our way north to Quebec City. What an incredible find, definitely visit if you’re in the area. Side note: I learned something interesting while waiting in the gift shop to be seated at Polly’s. Here’s what I learned about the phrase “I’ll be there with bells on…”
“In the early New England days of horse drawn sleighs, owners would decorate their horses with bells. Each family took pride in the unique sound their bells made. With the roads being windy and narrow, you could hear if another sleigh was approaching. If you broke down and another sleigh stopped to help, it was customary to give the good Samaritan your sleigh bells, for their assistance. Hence the saying “I’ll be there with bells on” means you expect a happy and trouble-free arrival.”
I know many of you don’t live nearby, but maybe think about visiting Quebec City if you’ll be in New England. It’s only five and a half hours north from our front doorstep (NH) and is an authentic European experience steeped in history, complete with beautiful architecture, creperies, cozy cafes and French! We fell in love all over again. (See more Quebec City pictures here.)
Maple taffy pops cooling on the snow…
My only regret is that we didn’t tour Hotel de Glace. Yes, a hotel made completely out of ICE. I’ve always wanted to visit (not stay!) but we wimped out. Too cold!!!!
The tough thing about the trip was that it was Arctic cold. Like -24°. We came ultra prepared with face masks, scarves, hats, down coats, gloves and heavy duty boots. And still, IT WASN’T ENOUGH!!!! Thankful to still have a nose. Wish I’d brought those hand warmers we take for skiing. I’ve never been hit by cold so hard and fast that it felt like a brain freeze. You know that feeling when you inhale your ice cream cone too fast. That fast, sharp, brain freeze pain right in the middle of your forehead. Ouch. (We survived.)
Great shopping in Quebec City…. so much wool at Charlevoix Laine. Beautiful shop.
And one more thing… we got detained at the border coming back into the states. Jon apparently has an evil twin with the same name in California who is “wanted” on larceny charges, and it holds him up at customs all the time. Thankfully they let us back in. And SO GLAD. Because I don’t think I could have survived one more day of the -24° temps up there.
On another note, we’re gearing up for our kitchen remodel in the next few months! So if you’re into that kind of thing, stay tuned! I’ll be sharing before and after pictures once we get the ball rolling. So many decisions ahead and I’m getting excited! I ordered the first light fixture today.
The aftermath of the latest “bomb cyclone/bombogenesis” in NH. We had to dig out the mailbox. (Who wants to be the mailman during a bomb cyclone?)
I know it’s Arctic temps out there this weekend. (Up and down the East coast at least.) So wishing you warmth and sunshine, joy and kindness in the coming year. But mostly peace. Peace that lets you inhale and exhale deeply. So you sleep like a baby each night in your cozy bed. And have sweet dreams to boot. Wouldn’t that be a gift.
I love hearing what you’re up to as well, so don’t be shy. Drop me a line or two, fill me in.
I look forward to sharing more delicious recipes and thoughts here in 2018. Have a super weekend and stay warm if you can!
Maria Elsa Guimarães says
Happy New Year, Allie. I hope to see you around and your delicious recipes. I loved your news about Chloe.Cheers
Hi Maria, thank you so much, it was wonderful to hear from you. Wishing you a beautiful 2018, filled with joy! xo
Hi! Great post! Love the pics! Snow… something that I don’t see here in FL , and I haven’r seen a really good snow since I left Baltimore, MD in late ’66!
Hi Barbara – so nice to hear from you, thank you so much for dropping by and your gracious words. Florida seems like a good place to be these days with all the frigid temps around here, but friends from FL tell me it was 38° last week by them. Chilly there too. The weather man tells us it will be in the 50’s by Friday in NH, it’s hard to believe, and we will lose all this white stuff if that’s the case. I do love the snow. When we lived in SC for many years (post-college) I missed the vivid leaf colors in the fall and the snow. Now I have both, but miss the warmer temps of the south. The grass is always greener. LOL. Wishing you a beautiful 2018 filled with joy! xo
It’s been cold today here! We dipped into the low 30’s this morning!
Now that is COLD Barbara!!! Esp. for FL. Stay warm if you can!
Karen Espalin says
Happy New Year! So happy that Hudson is happy with his dog. I would not make it in temps like that. So excited to see your kitchen re-model. I’m going to start looking for a job. So bored at home without homeschooling any more. Have a great 2018.
Thank you for the kind words Karen, super to hear from you. I wonder what doors will open for you job-wise in the New Year. To me, you’re somewhat of a Renaissance woman. You can do everything. So I wonder what direction you’ll head. I’m sure the changes are bittersweet with the boys in school. They’re growing up. I know it’s been quite a year for you and Michael and the boys. Wishing your family a beautiful 2018 and prayers for good health. xo
Happy New Year to the Taylor’s!! I’m so glad that Chloe has worked out so well, especially with Hudson. I just love the pics of her with the boys! I’m glad you all got a chance to get away even though it was bitterly cold. I am so excited for your new kitchen! Here’s to 2018, an exciting new year!!😘
Thank you for these kind words, friend. We are so thankful for Chloe. Had no idea what a blessing she would be. We’re spoiling her rotten. And why not? There’s something funny about a dog hogging the hearth and snoring. The girl can snore. And why do I find that endearing? Not so much with people, but somehow with her, it’s cute. lol. Thank you for all you did to help clear my head shuffling all that furniture around in November, before Thanksgiving. We both know I couldn’t have done it without you. I just needed a kick in the pants. 🙂 Wishing you and all your family a beautiful 2018. xo
Happy New Year from Colorado! Loved reading your blog post – getting a peek into what you guys are up to. Can’t wait to hear and see pics on your kitchen remodel. Sending you lots of love ❤️ ❤️❤️!
Hey thanks Joey. Boy does it make my day whenever I hear from you. I think of you from time to time and funny memories come flooding back. My mind’s like a sieve these days, but thankfully I haven’t forgotten the times we shared.You’ll always hold a special place in this heart. Wishing you and your family a beautiful 2018. Tell your mom I said hello. We were vacationing in Dennis a few summers ago and I looked her up, but things got crazy (I think H got sick) and I never made the call. I don’t even know if she’s still there. Pls. give her my love. xo
Jean Haley says
Happy New Year from Southern California. I live in the High Desert, We have had freezing temps., but I just can’t imagine dealing with the cold like you and other areas are having. This is the first time I have read your blog. I really enjoyed it. Your boys are adorable, and love your dog. Such a blessing!
Hello Jean, it’s so great to hear from you! I have family in Santa Ana and Tustin, not sure if that’s anywhere near you. (Unfortunately my CA geography is not stellar.) I’m so glad you dropped by, and thank you for your very kind words yesterday. You’re right, Chloe is SUCH a blessing. I’m so curious how you found this blog since it’s your first time dropping by. Most people find the blog when they’re searching for a recipe. The interesting thing is, that people will often unsubscribe from receiving my posts via e-mail when I write a personal blog post like this. That’s ok, everyone needs to do what works for them. I just really enjoy sharing/writing about our little life in New England and not always posting about food. So I’m especially glad you enjoyed it and wish you a beautiful New Year ahead. xo
Susie Mandel says
I just LOVE your blogs with stories! You already know that, but I hope I don’t overstay my welcome here with saying too much, but I loved this post and we just have to make another trip to NH and meet Chloe. What a blessing! So thankful you found her and she found her forever home. I also want to say that I just love your pictures–especially these that are of your sweet family and in your home; I think it means so much more. You guys are so special to us, and seeing these pictures made me feel like I was sitting right there with you listening to your stories. So glad you were able to go to Quebec City with your older boys, though I wouldn’t have made it with those temps. I have lived too long in southern/warmer states to be able to tolerate those negative degrees! I was laughing out loud (though not funny for Jon at the moment) about the same-named suspect–always an adventure! If any of your readers have made it this far into my comments, make sure you get to Quebec City sometime! It’s such a charming city and if you can’t make it to Europe, this is very close!! We absolutely loved our visit there. I also loved the “I’ll be there with bells on” history. I love stuff like that. Anyway, Happy New Year to the Taylors too–love you from the Mandels in a very cold-but-not-as-cold-as-NH-South Carolina city. 🙂
Dear Susie – loved hearing from you. I think you may get the prize for commenting on nearly EVERY post I’ve ever published. In a commitment-less world, that’s true commitment. And I thank you for it, you’ve been such a blessing on this journey. YES, you must come back and meet Chloe. She’s a lover not a fighter. When we were in Quebec we went back to Chocolat Favoris to pick up fondue (eek!) and also to a lovely glassblowing shop called Les Trois Corbeaux (The Three Crows). I don’t know if we told you about that shop, but it is great fun to watch and they are amazing artists. We bought a tiny, delicate humming bird for the Christmas tree to commemorate our second Arctic visit to QC. I hope you can go back again, I’d love to go again myself. Wishing each of you a beautiful 2018 with excellent health and lots of joy. xo
I loved catching up with your news, Allie!! Your new pup is adorable—what a lucky dog to be in your family! And that snow! Wow. We’re having some of those Arctic temps right now. So miserable. Happy New Year!
P. S. Our kitchen renovations should start in a couple months—I’m anxious to see yours!
Hi Liz – And happy 2018 to you too! I love your puppy too.:) I knew you were in demolition stage at your house a few weeks ago, so hope things are moving right along. AND I will look forward to hearing about your kitchen reno when it happens as well. So exciting, esp. for a food blogger. 🙂 Stay warm if you can, and wishing you and your family a beautiful 2018. xo
A beautiful post. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you so much Carol. And I’m so glad you dropped by. I was just checking out your White Christmas Pie, https://geekycooker.com/2017/12/24/white-christmas-pie/ Grabbing my fork – looks delicious. Wishing you a beautiful 2018. xo
Dorothy Dennehy says
HI Allie: Happy New Year to all the Taylor’s! I am exhausted reading about what you have been doing .incredible- a bit busy. So happy for Hudson & his dog. Hudson is changing & growing for sure. Love that picture. Have been to Quebec City but in October. Could never endure those temps. It is so European. Loved it’. It has been a brutal winter . I am now on Marco & here until End of March. Will be in NH for Easter. It is very cool here but so much better than Cape Cod. And it will warm up soon.
Enjoy your new home In This winter. Stay warm. Sending hugs — kisses — & God’s continued shining light on all of you.
Hi Dottie – Thank you for these kind words and sharing our joy about Hudson and our new dog Chloe. It’s always so good to hear from you, even better to see you. I’m SO GLAD to hear you’re somewhere a tad bit warmer for now. I heard the Cape got hit pretty hard in the last storm. Maybe we’ll see you at Easter, would love that…. And I wld LOVE to go to QC in October, I bet it was gorgeous with the reflections on the St. Lawrence. Some day I’d love to stay at Chateau de Frontenac. A girl can dream, right? Wishing you a WONDERFUL year ahead, full of joy and good health. Enjoy your time on Marco. Love you. xo
Karen (Back Road Journal) says
It sounds like all kinds of good things have been happening your way. That is except for all the cold and snow. That is one thing I don’t miss about New Hampshire. 🙂
Bonne année ma chère Allie! Je te souhaite beaucoup d’amour, bonheur et santé à toi et ta petite famille (pas si petite que ça). Hâte de voir ta nouvelle cuisine! Moi aussi j’ai change ma cuisine dans quelques jours et on arrive pas à se décider encore par les façades!
It seems you had a beautiful Christmas!! XOXO
hotmail sign in says
I just love the pics of her with the boys! I’m glad you all got a chance to get away even though it was bitterly cold.