"A Baby Changes Everything"

“Nonna” (grandmother) and her first bambino!


Some of you have listened to the beautiful song by Faith Hill “A Baby Changes Everything” . . . a simply lovely and moving song about the newborn baby Jesus arriving into his mother Mary’s life.

The words, however, hold true to anyone who welcomes a new life into the world, as did my family in November.

Yes . . . I have been absent from my blog.  I’ve missed all of you.  But as the saying goes, “Life Happens!”  And for this past year, life has happened in good ways at the end of this year after a most challenging and sad year of loss with my father and many friends and relatives’ passing.

However, the circle of life does move on, and in wonderful, awe-inspiring ways! The end of 2013 has been one of joy instead of sadness as it had began last January.

First of all, you know that I work in university education, so the last two months of the year is totally and completely focused on students and helping them meet their all-important graduation requirements!  (If you’re a parent of a college student, you know full well how you don’t want another semester to pay tuition)!  I know that I dreaded paying those tuition bills for my two kids, but I also knew that they were necessary for their life goals.

Also with a promotion to a more demanding position in August, my time was incredibly limited and my newly-retired husband (Mr. Meat and Potatoes) was doing his best to live up to our high expectations in the ‘cucina’…. we’re back to ordering more take-out, if you know what I mean. But I love you babe! He does TRY! And I have to give him credit for that!

But then, I can’t change the oil in my car or fix faulty plumbing either!  Ugh!

So those reasons alone sort of trump blogging about my recipes, huh?

Thirdly, my mother (now widowed since January) has moved in with us for the cold winter months and that event always requires time and attention.  “Family First” is a life-long philosophy of mine.   For Thanksgiving, we spent a chilly week at the beach on Hilton Head Island, SC.

No problem-o though in regard to the cold temps on the island! I used the time indoors to get back into my love of quilting and made a soft, flannel quilt for the new baby boy that was soon to enter our lives in November!

"A Baby Changes Everything"

“Peter Rabbit” themed, blue and white flannel baby quilt


Following this, in November I found a tiny little abandoned kitten at a local gas station that was freezing outside under a garbage dumpster.  With a little help of some soft canned cat food, I managed to woo her to my finger laden with some food that no starving kitten could ever resist.  Taking her home in my car on a cold winter’s night, my husband and I have loved her up into our family acreage full of furry animals.  Meet little Miss Mimi!

A Baby Changes Everything

Little Miss Mimi at 4 weeks old!


And then (large and loud drum roll):  an anxiously awaited newborn baby was born to my daughter and her husband.


My two adult children have told me that this is the only grandchild that will be born into our lives. So this baby is a super BIG DEAL to me!

"A Baby Changes Everything"


"A Baby Changes Everything"

Our little one laying on one of my favorite Christmas quilts that I made years ago!


More to come about our little bundle of joy in the months and years ahead!

And finally, here’s a brief recap of our wonderful Christmas 2013:

A Woodland-themed Green, Cream, and Brown Fireplace Mantel, with a touch of gold-kissed Dogwood blossoms for a Southern touch!

A Woodland-themed Green, Cream, and Brown Fireplace Mantel, with a touch of gold-kissed Dogwood blossoms, tree twigs and river stones for a warm Southern touch!



"Bisnonna" (great-grandmother) in the cucina!

“Bisnonna” (great-grandmother) in the cucina!

"A Baby Changes Everything" and a Christmas Dinner

A Christmas Tablescape of Greens, Yellows, and Coral-Rose colors

"A Baby Changes Everything" and A Christmas Dinner

A beautiful bowl of Tortellini in Brodo (Broth), the oldest holiday food tradition in our family

Christmas or any other holiday would not be complete without our tradition of preparing Tortellini in Brodo (Broth). Click here for the classic recipe!

"A Baby Changes Everything and Christmas Dinner"

Perfect Prime Rib with Au Jus

Every Christmas, we splurge and prepare a Prime Rib with Au Jus that we served in our restaurant for years . . . click here for the delicious recipe

"A Baby Changes Everything"

The one and only traditional Southern Red Velvet Cake that we order every year from Sweet Expressions Bakery, featured on the Cooking Channel

"A Baby Changes Everything" and a Christmas Dinner

A slice of the richest, ruby Red Velvet Cake that has a secret recipe that I’d love to get my hands on someday!

"A Baby Changes Everything" and a Christmas Dinner

And new mugs for “Nonna and Papa” to sip some hot cappuccino with the Red Velvet cake to end a perfect Christmas day!


And not to forget the true meaning of the Christmas season,

every year we set up the hand-made Nativity scene that my mother made in the 70’s for me:


In my family, the Christmas season begins on Christmas Eve and ends on January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany when Christians around the world celebrate the symbolic day that the three Wise Men (Kings) visit the baby Jesus in the manger.

I wish for you that the true joyous and loving spirit of Christmas will be kept in your hearts all year long!