Like many people who are challenged with grieving the loss of a loved one, the upcoming Christmas season is again emphasizing the loss of my husband in every level of my being.

It’s a daily struggle to navigate life without my beloved. I have learned that even on a day when I feel good, it doesn’t mean that I’ve been cured of my grief, because there is no cure.

Therefore, I have no choice but to find a way to embrace the concept of allowing grief to co-exist with joy, so that even with feeling heartache and pain, I can enjoy moments of joy, laughter, and  . . . smile through the tears.

I could tell you it’s been easy to have grief and joy co-exist with each other, and that it gets better each day, because time heals all wounds, but that would be fiction filled with empty platitudes.

It does not get easier or better with time, however, with time, patience, and a sense of humour, I am finding a balance with handling both as I . . .  smile through the tears.

I am going to share how I am preparing for the Christmas season in the hopes that it will help another person who is struggling with the challenges of pushing through each day of the holiday season.

Something that I personally find helpful; not only to steer my way through any holiday, but also through my daily life is; changing my routine, creating new traditions, releasing any and all idea of what “normal” is, or what it used to be, because there is no normal when it comes to grieving, and at the same time, keeping my cherished husband’s memory and image in my mind and heart as I . . . smile through the tears.


I grew up with the advent calendar tradition for the days leading up to Christmas, and each day I enjoyed a chocolate kiss candy, so I used this idea and added my own twist, creating a new tradition with the Christmas Advent Pillow.

Each day, beginning December 1st, I will pull out a note from the pockets of the pillow that holds a treasured memory of my life with my husband, along with a list of what I am grateful for on that day, as I have also found an attitude of gratitude has helped me handle my grief.

On December 1st I pulled out the first memory and relived that moment in time when my cheeks burned with mortification under my green face (homemade avocado mask), and how my husband’s sense of humour, love and support got me through an embarrassing situation (or what David loved to call them “Lucy moments”) I . . . smiled through the tears.

As I opened the flood gates, remembering all our adventures, my heart and soul once again filled with love and gratitude for the life we had together, and with each memory, I . . . smile through the tears.

I’m still a work in progress and I know I will never nail the concept of having joy co-exist with grief perfectly, or navigate this new life without finding it unbearable at times, but you know what? I’m okay with that.

In the past I have blogged about life with my husband and my “Lucy moments,” and as I re-read them, I . . . smile through the tears.

Here are a few memories if you’d like to read them:

Antioxidant Little Pricks
How Does One Eat A Taco?
Nothing says I love you…Like a box of rice.
Exploding Roast Beef

Always on my mind, forever in my heart, the sunshine in my soul.
I love you, Mr. Rugged

Merry Holidays & Happy Christmas




Sending you and your families best wishes for a wonderful Christmas and holiday season, and for those with an empty place(s) at your table, may you feel the love that surrounds you, and may you experience peace and the road to healing with the support of loved ones and the support of your own inner strength

Those who are no longer here to celebrate with us can never be more than a memory away, but as long as we have those memories they live in on in our conversations and hearts.






May your gifts contain those three wonderful words: “No Assembly Required.”

May you sing along with your jingling bells–then upload it on YouTube.

May you spend your time with people who know when to go home.

May you never receive anything with raisins in it.

May you remember to wear pants when standing at the window.

May you be dashing through the snow (or sand or grass) with laughter and no holes in your shoes or boots.

May your homes be filled with warmth, love, laughter, books, lots of chocolate, good health, kindness, peace, and harmony.

May the holiday season and all of the new year find you in the company of people and/or animals you cherish and who cherish you.

May this holiday, magical season bring you and your families joy, blessings, good health & laughter. 

To my family and friends near, far, away and online; THANK YOU for the gift that keeps on giving—your friendship, your time, and your support throughout the year.





Happy Pavlova Holidays


When it comes to celebrating there is nothing more relaxing than filling your home with the magical aroma’s wafting in from your kitchen.

Christmas and holidays celebrations this time of the year are all about being thankful, and what better way to give thanks to the ones you love—gifting them with something that will send their taste buds into giddy-land.

Raspberry Cream Pavlova




You can make this ahead of time, as the meringue layer can be made several days ahead. Keep it tightly wrapped in saran or in an airtight container until you’re ready to assemble and serve.


6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. corn flour
1/2 tsp. cream of tarter
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the Filling:

8 oz. whipping cream
1 lb. fresh raspberries (or any other kind of berry)
1 TBSP confectionery sugar (icing sugar)


Heat oven to 300F

Cut out two circles (the size of a small dinner plate) of parchment paper, and put on baking sheet.

Whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer (or hand mixer) until they form stiff peaks. Slowly whisk in the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, and then add cream of tarter, until the meringue looks glossy.

Whisk in the vinegar, corn flour and vanilla.

Spread the meringue evenly onto the parchment paper circles and bake for one hour.

Turn off heat and allow to cool completely inside the oven.

Once the meringue is completely cool, place berries in a bowl and mix them with the icing sugar.

Whip up your whipping cream in a separate bowl.

Fold half the raspberries into the whipped cream and spread this mixture over one of the meringue circles.

Place second meringue circle on top and decorate with the remaining raspberries.

Let stand for one hour before serving.



Scrumptious, Sweet & Salty Christmas Bites

Please welcome Real Estate Woman-preneur, Nancy Pugliese to the blog as she shares this easy-to-prepare, wonderfully delicious, chocolaty treat. They are addictive, hence the title “Cracker Crack.”

Saltine Cracker Toffee (aka “Cracker Crack”)




Preparation time: 10 minutes
Total time from start to finish: 20 minutes


40 (or more if needed) Saltine Crackers (salted)
1 Cup Butter (unsalted)
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Cups of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (or milk or dark chocolate chops, your choice)


Preheat oven to 400F

Line a cookie sheet with as many of the Saltine Crackers that it will take to fill your cookie sheet (approx. 40).

Please note: Do not overlap and do not place the crackers on top of each other.

Add butter and brown sugar in a pot, stir mixture, and bring to a boil,. Once the mixture is boiling, continue stirring and boiling for three minutes. Mixture should be a deep, caramel color.

Remove pot from heat and immediately pour the mixture over the Saltine Crackers, ensuring that every single cracker is covered by the caramel mixture.

Bake in preheated oven for 5 to 6 minutes. The crackers should look all bubbly.

Remove tray from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top, and let sit for a few minutes to allow chocolate to melt. Once chocolate has melted, spread the melted chocolate to cover all the crackers.

**Optional** You can add chopped nuts on top.

Allow the crackers to cool completely, then break into pieces, or you can use a knife to cut them into pieces.

Enjoy the fruits of your labor. You may not want to share with your family and friends once you taste one…that’s okay, I won’t judge you.



About Nancy Pugliese:

Nancy Pugliese exemplifies integrity, energy, hard work, and creative service in every detail of your real estate transaction. Fluently bilingual, Nancy was raised in Orleans in an entrepreneurial family, and after graduating with a bachelor in Criminology and minor in Sociology from The University of Carleton, she embraced the entrepreneurial spirit and launched her career with REMAX, immersing herself in learning every aspect of the real estate industry.

Clients choose to work with Nancy as they know they are gaining a full-service agent who possesses all the resources a client may need from stagers, painters, HVAC, locksmith, lawyers, mortgage brokers and more. Highly professional, she’s worked in different aspects of the industry, from real estate administration to liaising with photographers, signage, coordinating successful open houses, and marketing.

Nancy’s clientele recognizes they have an agent who surpasses all expectations to ensure a stress-free transaction. Known for her outstanding client services, and 24/7 availability, she has proven to be the consummate committed agent. In fact, while in the hospital, preparing to give birth to her precious baby girl, Nancy received a phone call from a client who needed an offer written up. With the assistance of a co-worker, and her trusty Smart phone, she negotiated the doubled-ended deal, ensuring both buyer and seller were serviced in a professional and swift manner. This commitment to client services extends to the four-legged members of a client’s family as well, as she once volunteered to walk a client’s dog while an agent from another agency showed their house, as her client couldn’t make it home in time for the showing.

When not dedicating her time to meet all her clients’ needs, Nancy enjoys spending time with family, and playing soccer and volleyball. As an active member of the “Best Shoe Closet Association,” she understands the importance of utilizing space in homes for each member of the family when looking to purchase a home, and creative staging for clients selling their homes.

Nancy is a firm believer in giving back, and is passionate about animal and the Heart & Stroke Foundation, participating in 5K runs to help raise awareness and money for these causes.

Five words you can count on from Nancy Pugliese, loyalty, enthusiasm, honesty, passion, and fun.


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From our home to your homes


“Christmas, the time of the year when families and friends wish each other peace, love, good health and forget to include batteries with their gifts.”

From our Home to your Homes.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Thank you all for your support during the past year.

I’m grateful and humbled for the new friendships formed because of this blog, new bloggers I’ve met, those of you have been a guest on this blog, and for all the witty, insightful and supportive commentary the blog followers and blog visitors have provided.

May the New Year bring you all good health, happiness, love,  friendship, and the ability to leave all the challenges of the past year behind, as we go forth and continue to live the best possible life we can in the new year.

May all your tomorrow’s be better than your yesterdays.

Love & Hugs ♥