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Easter Brunch & Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Easter Brunch & Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake At Home With The O'Neils

This Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake is top 3 of my favorite desserts that my Mom used to make.  It is a bit tedious and requires precision but the outcome is amazing.  Now that there are little ones in our family, my Aunt and Uncle have moved Easter Lunch back a few hours to Easter Brunch.

It was the perfect opportunity to break out the recipe book and surprise the family with this delicious treat.  

My Dad actually requested this since my Mom no longer bakes and he had a craving.  Since Chuck isn’t a fan of anything that includes blueberries, I was more than happy to comply to get my fix as well.

I did not plan for this to be a blog post, so there are no step by step pictures.  I had shared this image on my Instagram and had a request for the recipe.

Here is the recipe!

Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Ingredients

¾ C Oleo

1 ½ C. Sugar

3 Eggs

1 ½ tsp. Vanilla

3 C. Flour

1 ½ tsp B. Powder

1 ½ tsp B. Soda

¼ tsp Salt

1 ½ C. Sour Cream

1 C. Frozen Blueberries

Filling:

½ C. Brown Sugar

1 ½ tsp. Cinnamon

½ C. Nuts (Optional)

Glaze:

Confectioners Sugar

3 – 4 Tsp. Milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine butter, sugar, eggs & vanilla in bowl.  Mix well and beat for 2 minutes.
  3. Next add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt to wet mixture and mix with beater.
  4. Fold in in sour cream and blueberries to the mixture.
  5. In a separate bowl, create the Filling by mixing brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts.
  6. In greased pan, spread 1/3 (about 2 Cups) batter and sprinkle with 1/3 of filling (About 6 Tbsp.).
  7. Repeat step 4, two more times.
  8. Bake 350 degrees 50 – 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake (3)
  9. Once the Coffee Cake is cooled, mix confectioner’s sugar and milk, until desired Glaze consistency.  This should be thick enough that it slowly drips off a spoon.
  10. Add Glaze and serve.

Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake (1)

To jazz it up, after I made the Glaze, I divided it into smaller bowls and added food coloring to bring in some Easter Colors.  I used pink and yellow but you can use any color combination you want.

Glazing Tip:

  1. Take a spoon with Glaze color 1, and drip the Glaze from left to right on the Coffee Cake. Give it a few minutes to harden.
  2. Take another spoon with glaze color 2, and repeat step one.
  3. Next rotate the cake 180 degrees and repeat steps 1 and 2.

By using this method it evens out the glaze. Typically in the beginning there is a blob of Glaze and then it thins out.  By rotating the Coffee Cake it makes it more consistent.

Enjoy!

Feel free to write a comment or send a picture (tag me on Instagram @AtHomeWithTheOneils) and let me know how it comes out! 

Summer 2015 – Best Summer Ever {Photo Album}

O'Neil Summer 2015 photo recap

Last night as we returned from a 50th anniversary family cookout, Chuck and I collapsed on the couch from exhaustion and he said to me, “I had an amazing weekend with you.”  This has become an unspoken tradition we have created this summer.  That sentence has been repeated at the end of every weekend and definitely more often this summer than past summers.

The only regret is not updating this blog as often as I had hoped. I even thought to capture the moments on Instagram instead.  But you know what?  I was so in the moment living life and making memories that I didn’t do that either. It isn’t an entirely bad thing.

This has been one of the best summers in a very long time!

Mostly every weekend was surrounded by friends and family at some cookout or gathering.

So I am sharing a summer fun picture recap and I want to thank Lauren at Working Mom Magic blog for creating the hashtag and goal of #OperationSummerFun. You can read about it here and her summer recap is here.  We even made 2 cameos in the second post!

This summer, I adopted this operation to its fullest capacity.  

As Labor Day Weekend comes to a close, and fall begins to set in, I can honestly say I did everything in my power to make this the best summer it could be.

Here is what we have been up to:

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#OperationSummerFun in numbers

  • 25 lbs of Potato Salad
  • At least 6 cookouts (I lost count after that)
  • 4 days by the pool
  • 3 summer music concerts
  • 2 cookouts with requests of Broccoli Salad
  • 2 trips to Foxwoods Casino
  • Dining out (more times than I can count)
  • Unlimited glasses of Homemade Iced Tea
  • Countless laughs, smiles and entertainment

What is your favorite memories from this summer?  I want to know!  

Living Room Transformation – Phase 1

At Home with the O'Neil's 'Living Room Transformation

Almost six years ago we moved into our apartment.  It is a cozy one bedroom located downtown Beverly, MA with the ocean at one end of our street and the tiny shops in Beverly’s own “Main Street” at the other end.

When we moved in, we inherited a lot of furniture from our families.  Not much has really changed since we moved in.  However, the one item on my wish list for 5 years and 10 months was a rug for our living room.  I bought a tiny rug, just so our inherited coffee table wouldn’t scratch the floor, and cover an creak in the floor that probably annoyed our neighbors downstairs.

I never could find a large enough area rug that I liked, without spending a mini fortune.  That is until I was browsing through the Wayfair website and came across the “Momeni Baja Navy and Ivory Area Rug“.  It was perfect, it was on sale, we had a gift card from our Anniversary and we bought it.  In the end we only spent $30 out-of-pocket for this textile that transformed our living room.  Check out the before (left) and after (right) images below.

At Home With The O'Neil's Living Room

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At Home With The O'Neil's Living Room_3

At Home With The O'Neil's Living Room_4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This transformation also made me realize we need a design upgrade.  Since we don’t have a large budget, I hope to DIY a few projects to update the space we love to spend our time together.  Yes, I spent more time than necessary on Pinterest figuring this out.  Since brown and navy are prominent colors in our space, I wanted to add brighter colors to freshen up the space.  I decided to go with a beach theme with a pop of aqua and coral.  Here is my design board and wish list.

Design Board 

At Home With The O'Neil's Design Board
 Wish List

At Home With The O'Neil's Living Room Wish List

 

Pinnable!

1. Weathered Gray Coffee Table from Centsational Girl
2. Square Deco Pillows from Caitlin Wilson The Blog
3. Coral Navy Throw Pillows from Festive Home Decor
4. Navy Blue Pillow Covers from Lily Pillow
5. Fabric Panels from The Little Corner

Of course the end result probably will be completely different but here are my thoughts for now.  Now onto the DIY phase of adding these fabulous pieces to our space!  I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on transforming our space!

This is not an affiliate post, just filled with tons of ideas of pin-spiration.

Mason Jar Summer Candlelight Lanterns

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/24980972910214024/

Are you ready for it?  A fail-proof Pinterest worthy craft project!  Yes, it does exist!  I admit I haven’t had the best of luck with Pinterest in the past. My projects NEVER look like the image and always edge on the side of failure than success.  However this project is truly fail-proof at a minimal cost.  It actually cost me $0, I had everything lying around the house.

What you need.

  • 1 Mason Jar (or as many as your little heart desires)
  • Pebbles or stones (I had left over pebbles from a Bamboo plant I killed.
  • Votive candle.

JOSB Jar candle and pebbles

Ready?  Put the lime in the coconut…ha ha just kidding.

  1. Take the cover off the Mason Jar.
  2. If you are taking stones from the outdoors, I would clean them.
  3. Put the stones in the jar.
  4. Add the candle for a finishing touch.

Mason Jar Summer Candlelight Lanterns_2

Really!  It is that easy!  How will you use these fun summer lanterns?

At home with the oneils

Valentines Day – The Writing Is On the Wall

For our wedding, do-it-yourself (DIY) projects and putting our personal touch on every aspect of our big day was something that was very important to me.  Not only did I want our wedding to be unique, I wanted guests to “feel the love”.  Selfishly, the DIY projects were an outlet for my creativity, and a way to pass the time for our 18-month long engagement.

One of the projects was designing our wedding program.

wedding program_At Home With The O'Neils

Image Credit: Dina K Photography

As a Communications major and marketing professional, this is something I know a bit about.  The personal touch for the programs were inspirational quotes.  Inspiring messages have gotten me through some of the hardest – and best – times of my life.  It seemed only fitting for them to have a place in our program.  Each page of our wedding program had a “true love” quote.

“True love doesn’t just fill your heart, it overflows into your whole body and soul.”

“True love is not being with someone because you think you can be happy with that person, but because without that person you know you can never be.”

“I love you because you bring out the best in me, and holding onto that thought, I sincerely believe that just by being with you, shall bring out the best life I ever could live.”

However, my favorite, and the one I saved for the last page was by Richard Brach.

“True love stories never have endings.”  

Those 6 words, perfectly captured what our day was all about.  We were committing our love to one another for the rest of our lives.

I promised myself that after the wedding I would buy/make a sign of this quote or the variant, “A True Love Story Never Ends”.  I had trouble finding the perfect sign and never found the time to make it.  Eventually, I forgot about it until I found it on Pinterest – with a broken link.  Figures!

In the meantime, my mentor-friend, Stephanie started making rustic wooden signs.  I asked her if she would customize this sign for me, with the quote, our names and our wedding date.  She agreed and got to work.  Stephanie, kept texting me updates of the progress.  With each new image, I would become more and more excited.  Today, I hung it in our kitchen as a reminder of our love, and the commitment we made to one another.  It makes me smile every time I walk by.

A True Love Story Never Ends Sign

Latest addition to our kitchen! A sweet gift from a dear friend! #love #sign #wallart #homemade #diy #marriage #quotes #truelove

A photo posted by At Home With The O’Neils (@athomewiththeoneils) on

It reminds me of our special day, our commitment to one another, and how fortunate we are to have this custom made love in our life.

 And with that, I end on one more love note.

Pinterest quote

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

This is not an affiliate-based post.  However, if you love Stephanie’s sign, please check out her website for more signs and purchase if you choose. These are truly homemade, made with love and are absolutely fabulous!

A Blizzard Served With a Side of Fried Dough

This isn’t my first blog post that ties food to weather.  In November, I wrote about A Nor’easter, Mac and Cheese and a Birthday Cake.  Apparently, extreme weather pulls me indoors and inspires me to cook.  Most likely this is a behavioral trait I inherited from my Mother (and her Mother).  Chuck is not complaining, living in New England he will eat really well.

I grew up on this family tradition of making fried dough during winter snow storms.  My maternal grandmother would always cook fried dough for the family.  My Mother tried but often had to work during storms.  However if her schedule allowed, she would carry out the tradition. Growing up, I thought Fried Dough and Snow Storms went together like Peanut Butter and Jelly.  It made sense – to me.  When I moved 3 cities away, not so much.  I recently discovered, this is a regional tradition or perhaps a city tradition.  I talk to non-Gloucester, MA residents (where I grew up), and they have never heard of this.  For those who grew up in Glouceester, or had family there, it make just as much sense as serving Fruit Salad with Sherbet on Thanksgiving (another tradition).

As you may have heard, or experienced, a Blizzard hit the Northeast last week.  Our area was crippled with an intense amount of snow.  We had 29″ of snow in 24 hours.

#Blizzardof2015 in #beverlyma a few more hours to go. #snowmageddon

A photo posted by At Home With The O’Neils (@athomewiththeoneils) on

Chuck’s work was cancelled.  We could sleep in, we did not have to be anywhere or do anything, just be together and enjoy one another’s company.  And yes, I was making Fried Dough.  I have decided to bring this tradition into our marriage.  My husband loves it because the end result is delicious food.  It is very simple to do.  I don’t make the dough.  I assume if you wanted to go that route you could.  We have always just bough pizza dough at the grocery store.

You don’t need a Blizzard to make this, it is fun however, saving it for special occasions.

Blizzard-Friendly Fried Dough

What you need:

1 lb. Fried Dough
This was just enough for the two of us.  Double up if you have Kiddos or Guests.
2 C. Vegetable Oil

Toppings:
Butter
Confectioners’ Sugar
Sugar and/or
Cinnamon

The night before:

1.)  Take the dough out of our refrigerator and cut into small chunks.

2.)  Spread out with your fingers, like mini pizzas, and place on a hand towel on a flat surface.

Fried Dough - At Home With The O'Neils

3.)  Once all the dough has been divided, place a towel over the dough. Let it rise over night.

At Home With The O'Neils - Fried Dough

The next day:

4.)  Pour 2 cups of Oil into frying pan.  Let it heat up on medium for 3 – 5 minutes.

5.)  Start taking 1 – 2 pieces of your dough and placing with tongs into oil.

6.)  Let each piece sit for a minute and then flip the dough to the other side.  You may have to do a couple times as the oil heats up.  You will know when to remove your fried dough when it puffs up and takes on a golden glow.

Fried Dough - At Home With The O'Neils

7.)  Place pieces of Fried Dough on a plate lined with a towel or paper towel to absorb extra oil.

8.)  Continue until all pieces are fried and serve hot.

Fried Dough - At Home With The O'Neils

Simple, easy and a delicious tradition to start with your family!

Side notes:

Tip 1 – Toppings are a personal preference.  I like butter and sugar, but confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon are favorites too.

Fried Dough - At Home With The O'Neils

Tip 2 –  This is a smelly meal.  Our apartment smelt like fried food for 2 days.  I would suggest you close off doors to other rooms, if possible to contain the smell.  Cracking the window for a little ventilation does not hurt either.

Tip 3 –  Always have a bag of dough on hand in your freezer for these special occasions.

 

Seize The Day Or The Comforter

Seize the Comforter - At Home With The O'Neils

Way back in 2011, I had a different vision of where our lives would be post wedding.  These future visions fluttered through my mind when I was compiling our wedding registry.  Chuck and I would entertain guests so we needed proper dinnerware.  We would even host out-of-town guests, so we would live in a multiple bedroom, living space, preferably a house.

Naturally, I registered for a gorgeous navy blue Nicole Miller bedroom set for our Master Suite.  Our current, fairly new, chocolate-brown, pin-tuck, Target comforter would have a new place in our guest bedroom.

Days after we returned from our honeymoon, a huge package was delivered to our doorstep.  It was the Nicole Miller bedroom set, I had scanned with dreams of grandeur. The present was given to us by my Aunt, Uncle and Cousin. I rearranged our bedroom closet and put it in the back.  This most definitely would be broken out in our new home.

Fast forward to last week. We haven’t moved, the multiple bedrooms don’t exist, unless you count the living room, when we both fall asleep together watching TV on the couch.  I decided to break out that comforter – for no other reason than I wanted to.  I figured ‘Seize the Day’.  I thought why wait for that larger place, with mortgage payments and more space to clean?

There truly is no day like today.  

You know what, we probably slept the best night sleep we have ever had.  It was a luxurious experience, like a massive hotel room bed, was delivered to our apartment.

New blog and we are talking about #carpediem or seize the comforter. Check out the link in the bio. #marriage #love #advice

A post shared by At Home With The O'Neils (@athomewiththeoneils) on

So my message to you is Carpe Diem or Seize the Day (or the comforter).  Live life to its fullest, you will never know what you are missing.  As the saying goes, life is a journey not a destination.  I can tell you right now, I have been thinking about my new luxury all day.

If there is something you have been thinking about doing lately for yourself, a spa treatment, going to a sports game or even a trip away. Do it!  Don’t wait for some future moment.  Live for today.

Start Sleeping Better Now

**This post contains affiliate links

 

One ‘Flu’ the Cuckoo’s Nest – Cold Be Gone Remedy

I actually wrote the draft of this post a week ago and then became sick with the Flu the next day.  Talk about jinxing yourself!  I am much better now.  Thanks to this remedy and some homemade chicken soup, sent over by my Mother-in-Law.

As we progress into winter, it becomes much easier to become sick.  There has been recent scientific evidence that suggests cold weather helps viruses and colds spread.  It doesn’t help that we are cooped up indoors with our loved ones and their germs.  On top of this, often the places we find ourselves in: workplaces, schools, grocery stores, etc., become petri dishes of germs too.  It becomes inevitable to not catch a cold or the Flu.

Whenever Chuck or I becomes sick, the other wants to fly ‘the nest’.  Especially New Year’s Eve 2 years ago when Chuck had the Flu.  It was brutal.  With the exception of last week, I have been pretty lucky.  When I worked in an office, I was always sick, due to close proximity to others and poor air quality.  I started developing extreme sinus infections that would require 2 rounds of medications before the symptoms would subside.

Then I discovered a secret natural remedy.

It has eliminated those nasty sinus infections, keeps me out of the Doctor’s office and keeps germs at bay.  Anytime, I feel a cold coming on, I try this “wash”.

What is this natural wonder? Tea Tree Oil!

It is expensive, however it works.  I bought a 2 oz. bottle at a local Natural Herbal Shop and it cost me $19.95.  You can find it online for much cheaper.  However it is worth it!

Tea Tree Oil Wash

Tea Tree Oil Wash - At Home With The O'Neils

 

Ingredients:

  • Water
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Tissues

 

Instructions:

  1. Boil a cup of Water in a pot on your stove.
  2. When the Water boils, turn the heat off.
  3. Add 1 tsp. of Tea Tree Oil to the Water.
  4. Lean over the pot and breathe in the steam for 5 to 10 minutes.

If you feel slight stinging behind your nose and eyes, this is okay.  It means it is working.  Keep tissues nearby because it will immediately clear your sinus cavities.  Do not ingest the water or oil.  Make sure to clean your pan thoroughly. Tea Tree Oil should not be ingested.

We also take other precautions this time of year with the germs flying around.  We always have on hand:

What are your go to remedies for staying healthy this time of year?

 

**Disclaimers: I am not a doctor, nor do I play one one TV. These are just remedies that have worked for us through the years. They may not work for everyone. This post contains affiliate links.**

6 Ways to Prepare For Next Holiday Season

Over the years I have learned a thing or two about holiday shopping.  I hinted to it in my last post The O’Neil Home – Holiday Tour.  Did you pick up on it?  The lesson is:

The best time to get holidays deals is after the holidays.

You are probably saying, “How am I going to pull gift-giving off, if the holiday has already passed?

Retailers are known to slash their prices after the holidays, to clear inventory for year-end.  This means there are ways you can take advantage of these sales, to better position yourself for next year’s holiday.

Here are 6 things you can be buying now, to save yourself the trouble (and money) for next year.

6 Ways to Prepare For Next Holiday Season

The next tip is:

Pack these purchased items away with your holiday decorations.  

This way you will find them when you began decorating after Thanksgiving.  The best part is, most of the time you forget about these purchases, until you are reintroduced when you began decorating.  I have purchased wrapping paper in bulk, saving over 60% off.  That same wrapping paper has gotten me through numerous holidays.  Not to mention stocking up on Crate and Barrel ornaments for our future tree, the year before we moved in together.  Our tree is almost 75% of the initial price it would have cost us, to decorate with those ornaments purchased a few months before the holiday.

Enjoy the holiday, and then hop on those sales on Dec. 26th!  There are some savings to be had!

See you on the other side in 2015!  Happy New Year!

The O’Neil Home – Holiday Tour

Welcome_ONeil HomeDecorating our home is one of the things I look forward to each year during the holiday season.  This explains the 7 holiday totes I have accumulated through the years.  I do not decorate our one bedroom apartment with all the decorations.  However, it doesn’t mean I haven’t tried.  I scale back because I’m tired of lugging the totes from storage (my Parent’s house), up the spiraling staircase to the second floor.

When I attempted this massive decorating feat during our first Christmas living together, it looked like holiday decorations threw up over our apartment.  I have scaled back drastically – to 4 totes. And about those other totes?  Let’s just say they are in the reserves, and are ready to go when we expand our living quarters.

You are probably wondering, how does one accumulate so many decorations?  Well, they slowly build over time.  Many of them have distinct stories in which they came into our care, or have a special meaning to us.  Then, there is the other decorations that were a great end-of-the-year holiday sale.  HINT: When I knew we would be living together, I bought a majority of our ornaments post-holiday sale from Crate and Barrel and saved a ton!

Even though I haven’t put all of the 7 totes to good use, I want to welcome you into our home and give you a holiday home tour of our cozy space.  I hope you don’t mind, but I am sharing a few memories and stories with you as well.

Disclaimer: This is a Jeannine-written post.  Chuck loves spending the holidays with our family and decorations are barely on his radar.  Decorating our apartment is left to me, which is probably for the better. 

At Home With The O'Neils - heart ornament

Heart ornament – This is definitely an ornament that is close to my heart (pun intended).  Whenever I put it on the tree, I make sure it’s placed in a spot that I can see at all times.  When my cousin married her husband, she moved to Italy, which is where he was stationed in the Air Force.  On her first Christmas overseas, she sent me this Artisan, hand-painted ornament.  What is so special about this particular ornament is that it’s painted from the inside out.  As you can see, the design is so intricate with tiny details.  I love having this homemade ornament on my tree that has traveled across the world.

At Home With The O'Neils - angel ornment

Angel Ornament – Every Sunday growing up we would have 4 o’clock tea at my Grandparents’ house.  My cousin Nancy and her sister Rhonda would come over.  Dinner was served promptly at 6. Following dinner, we would talk, do some sort of activity and do word puzzles at the end of the night.  It was during one of those weekly gatherings I made this ornament and still remember assembling my angel from the do-it-yourself kit.

At Home With The O'Neils - Chuck Ornament

Chuck’s Baby Ornament – Growing up I hated the ornaments my Parents’ accumulated through the years and wanted a festive, themed holiday tree (think Martha Stewart in training).  Often I would hide my ornaments or “forget” to hang them.  When we moved, I didn’t bring any of my childhood ornaments.  However, when my Mother-In-Law gave us sweet decorations like this, I couldn’t resist putting them on our tree.

At Home With The O'Neils - Bear Topper

Bear Topper – I have an obsession with bears.  Black bears, teddy bears, it doesn’t matter.  There is just something so sweet about them.  My mother got me hooked on a Boyd’s Bear fix.  This little guy came with his own mini tree and ornaments.  The tree didn’t make it out of the bins, but he found his way to the top of our tree.  Isn’t he just the cutest?!

AT Home With The O'Neils - Black BearsBlack Bears – Yes, the obsession carries over to these guys. I can’t remember if I bought them or put them on the Christmas present wishlist. They clearly had too much fun with the eggnog and I crack up every time I walk by them. .

AT Home With The O'Neils - Deer

Reindeer – The bear love has carried over to woodland creatures.  These guys are so elegant and add grace to our living room decor.  Living in New England, you will see a deer prance around every now and then.  They are just majestic animals and it is such a treat to see.  These decorations were a Christmas present that became lost (hard to believe with all my decorations) and didn’t make it out into the open until two years later.  I make sure they are stowed in the proper tote to entertain us each year.

Snowman Ornament

Mam’s Snowman – This was my paternal grandmother’s (Mam) decoration.  After she passed, we were clearing out her house and I took this for my home.  Her birthday was Dec. 1st and one year she found herself in the hospital.  Someone bought this for her to cheer her up and I bring him out every year in homage to her.

AT Home With The O'Neils - Elves

Mam’s Ugly Elves – I don’t know why I have these little guys.  They don’t match my decor.  However, they remind me of the happier times at my grandmother’s house.  So I take them out every year and try to find the perfect spot to display them.

AT Home With The O'Neils - Snowman Snowglobe

Snowman Snow Globe –  I am lucky enough to have my birthday at the end of November.  Two years ago, Chuck gave me a day full of shopping.  It started with breakfast at our favorite place, then onto shopping.  While we were walking back to our car, it started to snow.  It was so magical.  I love when it snows on my birthday.  We were shopping at Kohls when I saw this, and I had to have it to commemorate the perfect birthday.

At Home With The O'Neils - White Christmas Snow Globe

White Christmas Snow Globe – There once was a time when I collected Snow Globes.  Then the wrong bin was placed in the outside storage and the ever-changing New England weather caused them to shatter.  I lost all of my Snow Globes except for this one.  I think that this one was an Avon special my mother had bought for both of my grandmothers.  The music box no longer works and it has a more vintage feel to it.  However, it still holds special memories of my grandparents around the holidays.

That is it! Thanks for stopping by and taking our tour.  We wish you a very happy holiday season.  Hopefully you can sit back, relax and enjoy this fabulous, family-filled holiday!

At Home With The O'Neils Christmas Tree

Happy Holiday From The O'Neils