A House Becomes Your Home…

Have a ‘Home Sweet Home’ photo album…for each house you live in (if it’s more than one!)

Find photos of the house when it was first built…


Use the photo of the house from the real estate listing.  Take photos of the house before you buy it, if possible.


As many rooms and views as you can.  Then take photos of these rooms while you’re doing the demolishing/revamping/redecorating.  And finally take photos after you’ve transformed them!

Do this with the landscaping, too.

You will love seeing the before and after pictures of your home.  It is so great to see all the work you put into it together and the details that you add to make it your own.

And others will always be interested in seeing these albums, too.  They yawn and come up with multiple excuses to leave when you break out the family photo albums.  But show them your home, before and after, and they will be enthralled!

And you will be too, as you look back on the house that became your home.

Kielbasa and Cheese Tortellini Soup


As a New Englander, there is just nothing better than a hearty soup in the middle of the winter.  It warms you up from the inside, is comforting and I swear it wards off colds!

This one is a meal, in and of itself.  The meat, the pasta, the veggie and don’t forget the cheese!  A bowl of this deliciousness, a chunk of bread and a side salad…….doesn’t get any better than this.

Oh, and did I mention that it takes no time at all to make this soup and to cook it?  If you’re a whiz at chopping, I bet you could make and serve this soup within a half hour!

Let the savory adventure begin!


Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat.


Add 1 chopped onion,


4 cloves of minced garlic,


12 ounces of Polska Kielbasa, sliced thinly,


about 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme,


and 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper.

Sauté about 11 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the kielbasa is brown.


Add 8 cups of a “Swanson-like” natural chicken broth.


Then add 2 cups of water to the pot, along with 2 teaspoons of powdered chicken bouillon, or 2 chicken bouillon cubes, for added depth and flavor.

Bring to a boil.

While you’re awaiting the boil on your soup, IMG_9150

Add enough salt to a pot of water to make it taste like the ocean and bring to a boil.

Boil a 9-12 ounce package of cheese tortellini per its specifications.


Set aside.


Once your soup is bubbling away, stir in about 4 cups of chopped kale.

Reduce heat to low and simmer till the kale is wilted, 5 minutes or so.


Add at least 1 teaspoon of salt.  Taste and add more if necessary.


Add at least 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.  Taste and add more if necessary.

Here comes the assembly:


Put some of the cooked tortellini in a soup bowl,


Cover with the soup and sprinkle with freshly shredded parmesan cheese.

Serves 6.

How’s that for easy and gourmet?!

Bon Appétit, Ma Chérie!



Fruity Juice Jello


Fruity Juice Jello!  Yummy and Fresh and Fun and……….

wait for it………….


This is such a great little recipe to make with your kids, or for them.  Children love jello and they will love the fruit you add to this if they help make this dessert.

And the best part about this is that you can make it using any fruit juice or fruit that you love, that your kids love, that’s lying around your house or that’s in season!

Let the sweet adventure begin!


Pour 1 cup apple juice into a small saucepan.


Sprinkle 2 envelopes (1/4 oz each) unflavored gelatin


over the apple juice in the pan.


Let sit till gelatin plumps up, about 2 minutes.


Set saucepan over medium-low heat and stir until the gelatin is dissolved and the liquid is completely clear, about 5 minutes.


Remove saucepan from heat and pour liquid into a large mixing bowl.


Add remaining 3 cups of apple juice and stir until well blended.


Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, leaving the spoon in it, and set in refrigerator.  Chill, stirring whenever you remember to, for about 1 hour.  ( Don’t stress out about stirring.  Completely forgot one time and it came out fine.)


Cut up about 3/4 cup green grapes in half, and toss them into a small bowl,


add about 1/2 cup of blueberries,


and 3/4 cup chopped strawberries.


After an hour test to see if the gelatin mixture is ready to take out of the fridge by dropping one piece of “lighter” fruit into it.  If it “floats”, it’s ready!


Add the mixed fruit,


and gently stir it in.  The fruit will be suspended in the gelatin (Looks super-cool! Tastes even better!)


Pour the mixture into an 8 inch baking dish,


cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 5 hours or overnight.

Spoon into serving dishes or cut into 9 squares and serve.

9 Servings

Get your kids invested in the dessert and excited about eating it by having them give you a hand.  They’ll be thrilled!

Bon Appétit, Ma Chérie!

Nail Files Everywhere You Look


Take it from me, you need one of these everywhere!

My Dad has always said that you can tell a lot about a woman from the upkeep of her fingernails.  Who made him the expert, I don’t know!  But it’s always stuck with me…

Meaning that if you’ve got ragged edges and uneven nails, you may not make it as a hand model anytime soon!

I am not promoting that anyone should make that their primary focus.  I am just promoting the look of well-kept fingernails.

And this can be extremely simple, no matter how busy you are!

As long as you have them filed, evenly, it will look as though you care.

Since most of us with kids, homes, jobs, hubbies, hobbies, etc don’t have nail maintenance at the top of their list of priorities, a little reminder here and there is much needed.

Buy nail files in bulk.  At least 3 in a package.  And start scattering them around where you’re bound to run into them or at least know where to look in those cases of the “emergency nail break”!

  • By your bedside table.
  • In the console of your car.  (In the console of your husband’s car.)
  • In the glove compartment of your car. (In his glove compartment, too.  Don’t worry he won’t mind…)
  • In your purse.
  • In the bathroom.
  • In the drawer of the coffee table.
  • In the misc. drawer you know you have in the kitchen!
  • In the garage.

You never know when your nail may break and God-forbid you run into the President of the United States and have to shake hands with him…What kind of woman would he deem you with that raggedy nail?!


Secure Your Featherbed-Finally!


I am not afraid to admit that it has taken me about 5 years to come up with a solution as to how to secure my featherbed to my mattress.

But let me save you the trouble of trial and error!

So, I have this luxurious White Goose Feather & Down featherbed that is just heaven to sleep on.  It isn’t too soft so that you feel as though you are sunken into the bed while you sleep and it isn’t too hard so that you feel stiff in the morning.  It is just right.

Except for the fact that it will not stay still!

I have tried and failed, umpteen times, to get this ridiculous bedding to stay put on my mattress and not slide around while we’re tossing and turning at night.  It always slides out under the fitted sheet, so that your head ends up directly on the mattress about 3 inches lower than your body.  Rather irritating!

I read up on possible solutions to my problems and have bought and tried probably all of them, to no avail:

  • cover with a mattress protector first and then your fitted sheet
  • use comforter clips to secure at 4 corners of bed
  • snap strips
  • duvet donuts
  • non slip mats
  • extra deep pockets on sheets
  • sheet straps
  • safety pins! (What was I thinking listening to this advice?!)


Um, hello!  Of course they’re going to pop open with all of the shifting that goes on in a bed and end up scratching or spearing someone unsuspecting…

No. No. No.  Don’t even bother…you’ll just get frustrated and want to throw the featherbed, mattress, boxspring and bed out the window!

This is such an easy answer and absolutely foolproof.

Sew it onto the mattress!

Yup.  Sew it.  And you don’t need to know how to sew to do this…you’re basically just making a double knot with embroidery thread!


You’ll need an embroidery needle (or any needle you have with a large “eye”.  Costs about $0.49.  And some embroidery thread.  Nothing fancy.  Whatever you’ve got lying around is fine.  You don’t need much…maybe 3 feet of it.

Pass it through the eye of the needle and bring the short end all the way down to meet the long end.  you are essentially going to “double up” your thread.  Make a knot.


Line up the edge of your featherbed with the edge of your mattress.  There should be a “lip” on both.  The “lip” shows the actually seam and you’ll see stitching there. (You can see the “lip” on the mattress; it’s gray in color.)


Stick your needle under the lip of the featherbed and through the lip of the mattress.


Then repeat.


Then tie a double knot in the back.


And that’s it!  Repeat down the line of your featherbed, as often as you’d like.  I think I spaced mine out at about 9 inches apart.


No more creeping down the bed and ending up with sagging sheets off the bottom of the bed!

Don’t Get the Boy Baby


All last year my little Beach Rose would play with her dollies and her babies and at random would point at one of them and say to me, “her is a boy baby”.  Then she would go about calling her little “boy baby” her son.  Any of her girl babies could at any time lose their gender identity and become her newest “son”.

And my Beach Rose would play for hours with her boy and girl babies, talking about the different anatomy and how the boy babies liked to play with the trucks and the girl babies liked to play with their dollies.

Then for Christmas this year, I got the brilliant idea of telling my sister that my Beach Rose would loooooove to get a “real” boy baby doll.

They really do make them and they’re adorable and look completely different than the girl baby, even without clothes on.  (Not in that way…get your mind out of the gutter!)  They kind of have the protruding forehead look and a broader nose base.  And, of course, they have boy clothes.

Well, it was love at first sight.  He was immediately named Jonathon and introduced to all the other girl babies and treated like royalty…

and then all of a sudden he was being dressed in girl clothes.  And buried under piles of blankets and forgotten about for months.

I recently unearthed Jonathon and when I asked my Beach Rose why she wasn’t playing with him any more, she replied “I don’t really like Jonathon.  He’s not my favorite.”  When I asked why, she answered “Because I don’t really like boy babies.  I only like girl babies and pretend boy babies.”

Imagination is so much better than the real thing, sometimes.

Don’t get the boy baby.  It’s unnecessary.

She’d much prefer to pretend her girl babies are experiencing a gender identity dilemma!


Hair Frizz

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 9.09.16 PM

I grew up vigorously rubbing my hair with my towel after taking a shower.  That was how I had seen others dry their hair quickly and I had heard that this “lifted” the roots of your hair and made it more “voluminous”!

Do you ever look back on things like this and wonder, “What was I thinking?!”

The lesson learned?

My hair definitely didn’t get dry any more quickly and I never saw the “volume” I had been promised.  But what did my hair get?

A lot of split ends!

“Scrubbing” your hair with your towel, or “towel-drying” your hair, will result in the breakage of your hair from all of the friction and cause a lot of frizz.

And no amount of ant-frizz serum can help you when you’ve got split ends all over your head and little broken bits of hair sticking straight up from your scalp!

The best way to dry your hair without damaging it is to pat your hair dry with your towel.  Or, lightly wrap the towel around your head for a few minutes to soak up any access water.

Looking for a shortcut?  None here! You might have to set the alarm clock 10 minutes earlier if you want to maintain that gorgeous head of hair of yours!

Party Cookies


Cookies that will make you and your kids party after you’ve had one!  They are SO good…

…and so simple to make…

…and easy to remember the recipe…

Let the sweet adventure begin!



Cream together 1 cup brown sugar,


with 1/2 cup of white sugar,


and 1 cup of shortening,


for about 5 minutes on medium-high with your paddle on.


Add 2 eggs and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla.


Mix thoroughly.


In a large bowl, measure out 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour.


Add 1 teaspoon baking soda,


and 1 teaspoon salt to counter all the sweetness (Awwwwww!).


Whisk to combine.


Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture in the mixing bowl


and mix well.


Reserve 1/2 cup of M & M’s to decorate the tops of the cookies.



Take the other 1 cup of the M & M’s and add them to your batter. Fold them in with a spatula.

Do NOT turn on your mixer with the M & M’s in there!  I speak from experience!  Stay away from the off/on switch!  You will have pulverized pieces of candies in your cookies and you and your children will cry.


Turn out the dough in tablespoonfuls on a buttered sheet pan.  Press some of the reserved M & M’s onto the tops of the cookies to make them that much more beautiful and irresistible.


Bake at 375 degrees for 8-9 minutes.

Makes 3-4 dozen Party Cookies.  Wondrous Party Cookies!

I mentioned in the beginning of this post that this recipe was a cinch to remember and that’s because it is your basic chocolate chip cookie dough recipe, only with 1/4 cup more brown sugar and 1/4 cup less white sugar, and of course the “Party” portion of them, the M & M’s!

“Nem N M” Cookies, as my Beach Rose calls them!

Bon Appétit, Ma Chérie!

Beef & Potato Stir-Fry


Don’t you just love the idea of a stir-fry?  Just spend about 10 minutes chopping, 2 minutes stirring together a sauce, 5 minutes stir-frying and yummmmy!

This meal is so divine.  I made it last week to join in the Chinese New Year festivities, stateside.  It is simple, a one pan dish, packed with flavor and…

best of all, it takes no time to make.

Let the savory adventure begin!



I use 3 russet potatoes,


peel and french-fry cut them.

Then I submerge them in a bowl of cold water, till I need them, to reduce the amount of starch in the potatoes so that your fries will be crispier and so that your potatoes do not turn brown before you cook them!


Peel and mince 2 cloves of garlic,


cut a medium onion and 2 medium tomatoes into thin wedges, and cut one medium green pepper into 1-inch slices.


And then get your hands on about 6 ounces of snow peas!

Have all of your veggies ready to go and set aside.




Partially freeze about 12 ounces of top-round beef.  Slice thinly across the grain into bite-size pieces.

Set aside.




In a small bowl, add 1/2 cup of water,


1 tablespoon cornstarch,


3 tablespoons fish sauce, (Even if you find the flavor or taste of fish sauce off-putting, stay with me and add it to the sauce.  It does have a strong odor, but you will not taste it and it adds a depth to the sauce that wouldn’t happen without it!)


1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper,


1 teaspoon sesame oil and stir to combine.  Set aside.



Drain the potato strips and pat dry on a paper towel.


Stir-fry garlic and potatoes in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, over medium-high heat, for about 6 minutes or until tender.

Remove potatoes from pan.


Add the onion and stir-fry for 1 minute.


Add the green pepper strips and snow pea pods.  Stir-fry for about 2 more minutes; you still want them to be crisp.


Remove the vegetables from the pan.


Add the beef to the hot pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Push beef to sides of pan.

Stir the sauce and add to the center of the pan.  Cook and stir till bubbly and thickens up.


Return the cooked vegetables to the pan and stir till everything is coated by that amazing sauce and is shiny and irresistible.  Go ahead and reward yourself for all of your hard work in the kitchen and try one of the delicious veggies…mmmmmmmm


Gently stir in tomato wedges.  Heat through.


Add a generous pinch of salt, at least 1/2 teaspoon.


Add a pinch of pepper, at least 1/4 teaspoon.


Add some fresh chopped cilantro for a note of brightness on each serving.

Absolutely wonderful!

Serves 4.

Bon Appétit, Ma Chérie!








Delicious Granola


No, I’m serious.

It is delicious.

This granola is so simplistic that it cannot offend anyone.  There aren’t a lot of foreign objects in it that my hubby couldn’t identify.  ( He never touches granola, so the fact that he liked it is testament to how yummy this is!)  There aren’t a lot of huge chunks of anything, so its taste is very subtle.

And best of all, it doesn’t taste like cardboard.

Now the only trick here is not to just put it in the oven and walk away…it needs a little babysitting because it can be temperamental and burn quickly.

Small price to pay for the ease and taste of this, not to mention the fact that you could make this in 30 minutes!

Let the sweet adventure begin!


Combine 3 cups of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats in a large bowl,


with 1/4 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds,


and 1/4 cup minced fresh dates. (Doesn’t matter if you don’t like them, you will never be able to make them out in this recipe because they are cut into such tiny pieces and just add a hint of sweetness.)


Heat together in a small pan, 1/4 cup pure vegetable oil,


with 1/4 cup honey,


and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla until it just comes to a boil.


Pour heated liquid over the oat mixture and mix well to coat all the dry ingredients.


Spread onto greased baking pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Watch it closely!  It does burn easily and that can be mighty frustrating to have happen to you…


Let it cool and then store the granola in an airtight container.

Makes about 2 pounds.  And will be gone in a couple of days.

Serve as a snack, as cereal for breakfast with milk, over yogurt, over ice cream, etc.

Oh, and though I believe that the beauty of this granola is in the restraint of the number of its ingredients, you could easily make this recipe yours and add so many things:

  • pumpkin seeds
  • dried cranberries
  • raisins
  • coconut
  • pistachios
  • dried cherries
  • almonds
  • etc…

Bon Appétit, Ma Chérie!