I love cookies. I mean I really love cookies πŸ™‚ 

My mom didn’t make the traditional Nestle Toll House cookies when I was growing up, instead she made this version. They are a little different, and oh so yummy. Give them a try and let me know what you think.


1/2 cup softened butter

1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed

2 eggs

2 2/3 cups Bisquick

1 cup chocolate chips 


Cream sugar and butter.

Add eggs one at a time mixing thoroughly.

Add Bisquick, mix until a soft dough forms.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Bake at 375* for 10 minutes.


The Making Of A Marine-Phase I

My recruit when he was four years old.

On June 27, 2016 my first born son left home to start his journey of becoming a United States Marine. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t one of the most challenging days of my life. I have always been a supporter of our military, and consider myself to be a patriot, saying goodbye was much more difficult than I was prepared for. As parents, we spend 18 years preparing our children to follow their dreams, fulfill their destiny, become responsible adults, etc. No one prepares us.


Over the last few months, we have received several letters from him. I have learned that “no news is good news” and to trust in him, his drill instructors, and God that he will conquer. Boot camp for the Marine Corps is divided into three phases, I believe that to be true for each recruit as well as their loved one’s. I cannot speak to what my son and his fellow recruits have endured throughout the first two Phases, but I’m sure there is enough information on the internet for you to get the point. As each phase unfolded, so did my emotions.

Phase I-
After the goodbyes were said and tears dried, he was gone. For the next 36 hours I waited impatiently for “the call”. “The Call” is simply a call home to reassure loved ones that they have arrived safely to their destination. “The Call” lasts no longer than 20 seconds, is scripted, and leaves no room for any additional communication. I literally collapsed after receiving that call. It was like someone ripped my heart out. In 20 seconds or less several things were made very clear: 1. My son was no longer in the care and control of the the home and upbringing I held so dear; 2. The transformation had begun, quickly; 3. The next time I saw him he would be a Marine, not a civilian.

The first phase was challenging, anxiously awaiting a letter, learning to not wait up…he wasn’t coming home, wondering what he was doing, worrying-constantly, questioning everything-why did I sign those papers? did I prepare him? was this the right decision? Our family dynamic needed to adjust and change, we now have two kids at home, not three. We had to adjust everything from the chore list to meal planning, to grocery shopping. There was a void in our home, and nothing was going to fill it.

We learned to settle into our new situation. We struggled at times. We cried, we fought, and most importantly we persevered. We started sending and receiving letters. We learned to trust in something out of our control. I read each letter a minimum of 100 times. I sent letters much more often than I received them. I learned that it was more important for him to have motivation and support from me than it was for me to hear from him. Just like him, we made it through.

Nick sent this to his brother, enough said.

Happy Father’s Day!

Kevin and Nick-Nick’s first NHL game

Happy Father’s Day to all of the Dad’s out there! It’s not an easy job, so please know you are appreciated. I was blessed with a great Dad who showed me how to work hard, appreciate what I have, and to always put my family first.

Thank you Kevin for being an amazing Dad and Step-Dad. It’s been an honor to watch you grow as a parent. I know the sacrifices you make everyday so that our kids can have everything they need. From the countless hours on the little league field, to the many loads of laundry, to the many hours of driving…all of the sacrifices are noticed and much appreciated. It’s been an honor to watch you grow into the caring, compassionate, strong parent you have become.

Kenzie and Kevin
Kevin and Kenzie-Kenzie’s 8th grade promotion

Chicken And Dumplings


I’ve been sick, really sick. Over the last few weeks I have battled extreme fatigue and an overall feeling of yuck. Last week everything seemed to come to a head resulting in a compilation of illnesses. I suffered from a respiratory illness, stomach virus, and strep throat…simultaneously. Needless to say I haven’t been very active in the kitchen, but have watched countless hours of the Food Network, The Cooking Channel, and anything else to kill the time and keep my mind off of my misery.

While watching all of this food based television, I was inspired to make a semi-homemade version of my mom’s famous chicken and dumplings. It was just what the doctor ordered, almost as good as my mom’s πŸ™‚ I’m usually a little more creative in the kitchen, but this is one of those meals that is best in it’s traditional form.

Chicken and Dumplings
1 Rotisserie Chicken
1 tbs butter
Celery, Onion, Carrot-to taste
Salt $ Pepper-to taste
2 48oz boxes of Swanson Chicken Broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup Milk

Remove Chicken from bone, cut meat into bite sized pieces
In large pot, add butter, celery, carrot, onion, salt and pepper-sweat vegetables, add chicken, chicken broth.
Bring to a boil
Boil on simmer for 2-3 hours until vegetables are tender
Add Cream of Chicken Soup and stir until dissolved
Combine Bisquick and milk to form soft dough
Drop spoonfuls of dough into boiling soup-cook uncovered for 10 minutes and then covered for 10 minutes

A Girl On A Mission


Mykenzie is 14, she’s smart, funny, full of life, enjoys dancing, fantasizing about One Direction, driving her parents crazy, and spending time with her friends. She’s my easy button…so far!

She has always been very serious about her academics. She studies hard, puts schoolwork before everything else, and always does her best. She often over stressed about upcoming assignments, standardized tests…she strives for perfection in all that she does. I have no idea where that comes from? She has even been known to cry and worry because she “failed” a test…she only got 99% not 100%!

She will be going to high school next year, and recently received an invitation to join the program that will prepare her for the college of her choice. She will be required to take honors and AP classes, volunteer, and be a part of a very rigorous academic program. I’m confident she is up to the task and will do great. She’s a girl on a mission, she’s bound for success and wants to be a pediatrician someday πŸ™‚ I’m so proud of her and all of her accomplishments and look forward to her high school journey, watching her blossom into a young, confident woman, and sharing in the ups and downs that life is going to bring over the next few years.


End Of An Era


I have spent the last 12+ years of my life watching my son play baseball. So many weeknights and weekends with the wind blowing, sun shining, snack bar food, etc. I have sat in the bleachers, cheered, made great friends, laughed, shared in his joy of a win or that great play, felt his disappointment with each loss and error, etc.

Last week my son took the field for the last time. It was bittersweet, for all of the times I said “I can’t wait for this season to end”, it was sad to see it actually come to an end. I wasn’t sure how he would react to his final game, after the game he sat at the field for well over an hour contemplating the reality of his final baseball game. When he finally came home we chatted for awhile about what it means when something that has been so important in your life will never be there again. I tried to offer words of wisdom, faith in that the journey ahead will be just as important and life changing, and let him feel the pain. I don’t think I really did much to help him make peace with his reality, but I hope that someday he recognizes that I shared those emotions with him.

Prior to the game, they announced each senior and recognized their family. Here’s the picture his family.



I feel so blessed that because of technology, the occasional blog update, etc. we are able to share special moments with friends and family even if they live far away. It’s always nice to know when our friends and family on the east coast are celebrating the milestones in life that create memories.

Sometimes pictures, messages, and brief conversations just don’t cut it! This summer, we are honored to have some of our dear friends visit for a week. I’ve been feverishly planning this trip down to the last detail. Yes I know…it’s a disease I have :).

Since we never get to celebrate birthday’s or special events with this family, I’m planning a birthday party….for everyone! Here’s what I’m thinking, I will make several birthday cakes (I’m hoping at least a few of us can agree on the same cake/frosting combo), we will have birthday party activities, maybe even balloons, streamers, hats, etc. We will sing happy birthday to all 10 of us, take lots of pictures, and hopefully laugh until our cake filled bellies hurt πŸ™‚

What do you think?



Several months ago, a friend of mine announced she was getting married. Being the good friend that I am, I agreed to be her maid of honor and help in anyway I could. Little did I know that helping in anyway I could when involve baking and decorating her wedding cake!

I spent many weekends, late nights and just about every spare moment I had teaching myself to decorate cakes. OMG!! I had a ton of fun, learned a lot of do’s and dont’s and now think I will add cake decorating to my bucket list πŸ™‚ I must say, although I thoroughly enjoyed the process, it was super stressful, took a ton of time, and didn’t turn out nearly as beautiful as the visions in my head.

The wedding took place a few weeks ago, everything turned out as well as expected…it was chaos but the bride was happy. The cake received tons of compliments, with several requests for the recipe and even a compliment or two on the decorating. When the guests learned that it was my first cake ever they were gracious and extremely kind with their compliments.

The Bride requested a red velvet cake. I ended up doing a layered cake with one layer being red velvet and another layer being a traditional white cake.

Red Velvet Cake has a special place in my heart. During my childhood, my mom usually made my dad a heart shaped red velvet cake each Valentine’s Day. I was honored to be able to make this same cake as a wedding cake for someone πŸ™‚ Here’s the recipe that has been used in my family for as long as I can remember.


Red Velvet Cake
2 Cups Flour (I use cake flour)
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cocoa
3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
2 Eggs
2 oz. Red Food Coloring
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Vinegar
1 tsp. Vanilla
3/4 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Sugar

In medium bowl sift flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa.

In a separate bowl cream oil, 1 1/2 cups sugar, add eggs one at a time mixing well. Add food coloring, mix well.

In a third bowl combine buttermilk and baking soda. Add to oil and sugar mixture- mix well. Add to dry ingredients. Add vinegar and vanilla.

Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350*

Combine 3/4 cups milk and 1/2 cup sugar in saucepan. Bring to a boil, spoon over each layer before frosting.Β  I used a cream cheese frostingΒ  which went very well with the White/Red Velvet Cake.

The Neglected Blog

Hi everyone! So I logged onto my blog tonight and much to my dismay I saw the facts not so carefully disguised in my stats. Apparently it’s been five months since I have posted. My last post….Grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches…if that isn’t telling I’m not sure what is.

I’ve been reflecting today, reflecting on why I started this blog in the first place, reflecting on why I haven’t committed to giving this blog more of my attention. I wish I had some elaborate, exciting excuse. Sure, I have made excuses. “My life is too busy”, “work has been too consuming”, “I don’t have anything to write about”, “I’m not that good at it” , “My life is boring and no one really cares” etc.,etc., etc.,

Here’s the truth. I love this blog. I have neglected this blog. I have been afraid of this blog. What if people don’t read it? What if people don’t like it? What if I really am so boring that no one cares? What if my family doesn’t want our lives out there? What if my family feels neglected when I devote time to blogging and not them? The list goes on and on.

Now here’s the real truth. My life is interesting, crazy, and even boring at times. I do have something special that is worth sharing. Not everyone will like this blog. Not everyone will hate this blog. I let me fear of rejection stop me from doing something that I really enjoy. What if something I write is so important, so powerful that it helps another person to change some aspect of their life? What if something I write makes someone smile for the first time on any given day? What if my crazy, boring life makes someone appreciate their not so crazy, boring life?

Here’s my commitment: I will make time to blog at least three times a week. I will give through this blog my experiences, tips, and a piece of me for others to receive if they choose.

Thanks to anyone out there who is still reading. I welcome you to share with me in my journey.

Grilled Sandwich Night

FullSizeRenderTuesday nights are usually filled with exhaustion after the weekend activities, getting through Monday which usually involves several extra-curricular activities for the kids and well…Monday. As you may recall I plan most of my meals in advance and do the majority of the prep work ahead of time to make weeknight dinners less of a chore and more fun for all. Tuesday night is usually our designated leftover night. In my house this translates into “I’m going to clean out the refrigerator tomorrow, if you want it eat it!” There is rarely enough of any particular meal for everyone to eat the same thing so everyone gets to pick what they want to eat and it’s there’s. Needless to say, Tuesday dinner is always interesting. With two teenagers and a six year old in the house the discussions over who is going to eat what are always interesting. It’s kind of amusing to watch your kids argue over leftovers!

Tonight much to my surprise…I had no leftovers. So I decided to keep with the tradition and let everyone pick what they wanted, only tonight they had a choice regarding what kind of grilled sandwich they wanted. The overwhelming top choice was grilled peanut butter and jelly. If you haven’t had the opportunity to taste this delicious take on a childhood staple I highly encourage you to try one soon. I won’t provide a recipe as I am sure you are all aware of how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.Β  I will encourage you to use real butter, it is so much better than the fake stuff.