French Toast Jelly-Rolls

Oooooooo these are yummy!  And a favorite amongst the young ‘uns.  Jelly and cinnamon-sugar for breakfast?  Mind blowing.


Super-easy to make.  You will need 3 things.

  1. Your favorite french toast recipe. ( In case you can’t find yours… give this one a try!)
  2. Your favorite Jelly. (Wanna a homemade one?)
  3. A cinnamon-sugar combo. (See below…)

And, magic.  That’s what will transpire.

Ok, let the sweet adventure begin!


Grab about 6-8 pieces of day-old bread.


Cut off the crusts.  (See why kids dig it?!)


Flatten with a rolling pin.  Really flatten it.


Add a line of your favorite jelly across the middle of the bread.


Roll it up, tightly…


Dip it on all sides in your french toast batter, and saute over medium heat in a skillet until cooked on all sides.


Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon to 1/2 cup of sugar and stir.


Roll the french toast bundles in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  And sit back and watch the show!

Bon Appétit, Ma Chérie!


No More Foil Rolling on the Floor…

That’s it!  I’ve had it!

There is nothing more frustrating than going to get a piece of aluminum foil out of its box and having the roll dump out of the box and onto the floor and unravel itself. Aaaaugh!

It never goes back in the same way and inevitably I cut myself on that sharp strip on the box.

Not anymore.  I have decided to exact control over this situation in my life.  This one being one of the few that I can control!

Actually, I didn’t decide anything at all.  I just learned, after years and years of buying these boxes of foil, parchment, plastic wrap, etc that there is a way to keep the roll from moving!

Let me fill you  in…


Here is a typical box of parchment paper.


Here is what I’ve missed out on for eons.  There is a secret, maybe not a secret to anyone else, “tab” on both sides of the box that you push in.  That’s it.  Nothing else.  Nothing fancy.  Just a tab that you push in.


And the miracle that this tab performs?  You got it.  It wedges itself into the hole on the side of the roll of parchment paper and MAGIC, the roll doesn’t ever escape from teh box again.  Ever.

Simple pleasures.  They make my world go round.

Zumba Does the Body Good!

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When was the last time you smiled and laughed while you exercised?  When have you ever finished a workout and felt exhilarated/elated?

My workout preference is running.  I’m one of the lucky ones who runs a couple of miles and my destination is the rocky shore of the New England coast.  And then I turn around walk the 2 miles back.  Exciting?  No.  Breathtaking and zen-like trance inducing?  Yes.

But bummer when it rains or snows or is icy or below freezing.  What to do?

I was faced with just such a dilemma last week.  And decided to crash a zumba class down the road.  And I mean crash.  I haven’t much rhythm nor grace.  But I wanted some form of exercise.

Oh my goodness.  I loved it.  Loved it!  It was the most fun I have ever experienced exercising.  It was loud and crazy and I didn’t know what I was doing and had a hard time following the steps, at first.  And I was nervous and self-conscious and was wearing the wrong outfit, of course.  But none of that mattered.  The class was primarily ladies in their late 50s, early 60s, except for a few hard bodies in their 20s in the front of the class.  But I stayed in the back with Beth and MaryLou, who introduce themselves as the screamers.  They “warned” me that they just screamed randomly throughout the workout.  Just excited shouts of “Woohoo”.  Made me laugh every time.  So. much. fun.

If you hate to exercise or have been doing the same workout routine forever and just want to break things up, Zumba baby.  I truly believe that it was not only good for my body, but that it was good for my soul.

I know where my rainy, snowy and icy days will be spent!

PTSD – Not Just for Those in the Military

Turns out that PTSD actually means Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Trauma.  Any kind.  Surviving a car accident.  Witnessing a crime.  Losing a loved one.

Making it through to the other side of a traumatic experience.

I couldn’t let go of what could have happened with the creep next door.  (Backstory.)  Every time I looked out my kitchen window, I could see their house.  I obsessed about whether or not they were home.  I freaked out about going to water the garden or play in the yard with my Baby, in case he was watching her from his yard.  I wondered if he would retreat now, only to exact revenge on us in years from now.  Should we move?  Would the fence be tall enough?  Long enough?  Alarm system?  Dog?

My mind kept going there.  I had to literally talk myself out of picturing the bad things that could have been done to my Angel.  I kept watching her innocent ways, her happiness and thinking what if?  Where would we be now?

I kept reading the websites about how to prevent, what signs to look for in people to detect a predator, when to be alert, how to be vigilant, how to protect your child.  I decided and told my husband that we’d no longer have any relatives staying at our house.  That all doors would be open at all times whenever anyone visited.  That we would have to keep going to check on her when we were visiting with friends or family to make sure she was ok.  I still feel like this.

I worry about the guy next door, her older boy cousins, the soccer coach, people in our church that think she’s so cute, etc.  My rose-colored glasses were removed, permanently, and replaced by hyper-vigilant telescopic lenses.

And then I spilled to a friend of mine and she told me that I was consumed by what had happened and that I should talk to someone so that I could breathe.  So, I did.  And I’m slowly starting to breathe again.  Slowly.  He told me that I was traumatized by what happened and that it would take time for me to heal and trust in the world again.  And that this was ok.  And that the hyper-vigilance was great for my daughter’s safety, as long as I didn’t suffocate her or paralyze her with my fear.

To anyone out there who feels all-consumed by anything that has happened to them in their life is this…do not feel as though something is wrong with you. It is normal to feel this way.  It is bigger than you.  Turn to someone else and tell them this.  Tell them, “I cannot let this go.  I keep thinking about…  I feel overwhelmed and I think of nothing else.  I need to talk to someone.”

What you’re going through is real and it’s ok to feel this way.  You are ok and you will be ok.

4 Words to Your 17 Year Old Self

Here are some I’ve gathered…

  • It does get better.
  • Don’t date anyone stupid.
  • Buy Apple and Google.
  • Don’t join the Army.
  • College GPA does matter.
  • He’s not worth it.
  • Go to class, dummy.
  • Stay in the military.
  • B’s, C’s Get Degrees.
  • It’s not your fault.
  • Life won’t be easy.
  • Travel the world now (or after senior year).
  • Study become investment banker
  • Don’t use a credit card.
  • Your 2os are priceless.
  • Construction won’t be fun.
  • Don’t do nothing stupid.
  • Shut. Up. And. Listen.
  • Today, eager beats pretty.
  • You have to STUDY.
  • Choose your friends wisely.
  • Listen to your parents.
  • You don’t know everything.
  • Invest more money now.
  • Do not do it. (applies to pretty much everything!)
  • Marry money. Learn love.
  • Focus on school, stupid!
  • You will be beautiful.
  • Put in the effort.
  • Think before you act.
  • You can do anything!
  • You are good enough.
  • Don’t worry about boys.
  • Don’t worry about looks.
  • Always listen to Mom.
  • Be cautious of everyone.
  • Stay away from drugs.
  • Stay away from negativity.
  • Never talk to strangers.
  • Wear the string bikini.
  • Keep your legs closed.
  • Stop straightening your hair.
  • Always wear your seatbelt.
  • You are so beautiful.

I’ve Got a Chicken to Shred…

and I don’t care!

(Or cut up into strips, or chunks, etc)


If you’ve ever bought a rotisserie chicken at the supermarket, as a “time saver” to cooking your own for a quick weeknight recipe that requires shredded, chopped or sliced cooked chicken, you’ve been slightly disappointed.  First of all, it’s not much of a time saver.  It takes a bit of work to carve that chicken and get all the meat off the bones!   And secondly, the majority of the ones that I’ve gotten are mealy in texture or chewy and they don’t have much flavor, apart from the skin (which is definitely yum).

A real time saver and guaranteed delicious alternative is to cook your own chicken.  What?  That’ll take forever and and I don’t want the fuss!

Here’s the “fussy” bit…

Buy a packet of 3-4 chicken breasts.  Bring them home.  Take them out of the package.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put them on a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle on olive oil, salt and pepper.


Open the oven door.  Stick them in the oven for 30 minutes.  Slice, chop, shred using 2 forks. Done.

You’ll never look back.

There’s also another way to cook it to shred which takes a little longer but is packed with delicious flavor…

PLAN B Further Thoughts on Faith



Plan B  Further Thoughts on Faith  by Anne Lamott

This book was given to me as gift from my sister-in-law.  My sister-in-law whom I used to be so close to until she moved across the country, and became an extremist.  Doesn’t matter what type of extremist;  it just matters that when somebody becomes an extremist, about anything, their way is always the right way and yours is always wrong & therefore, you just do not see eye to eye anymore.  Furthermore, you no longer really enjoy their company.

That being said, I was a bit wary about reading this book from her.  She tells me that it’s non-fiction and that the woman who wrote it is a Christian writer.  But that she thought I should read her.  I would personally pick a neutral piece of fiction to give to somebody with different viewpoints than me, but what do I know?!

The 1st chapter was about politics.  And it was extremely opinionated. Major turn-off.  I almost put the book down here.  I thought to myself, “Self, with all the awesome books out there that you want to read & haven’t yet, why are you going to bother?”.

And then I thought about the importance of family.  And of how much I dig my husband.  So, I figured I would give this book a chance, so that I could tell my sister-in-law that I’d read it and we would have some common ground for discussion.

The author, Anne Lamott, seemed very bitter and angry.  It put me on edge.  Kind of like being at a dinner party at a couple’s house and they get in a huge fight in front of you and your hubby.  You just want to get the heck out of dodge.

And what I thought would be the last straw and cause me to throw the book across the room came when she opened the 2nd or 3rd chapter of her book talking about how most of her was happy that her mother had died, that her life was better since she’d died & that she couldn’t bear to look at the box of ashes of her mother that she’d stashed in the closet, for 2 yrs.  You know, these sentiments would be ok if her mother had really been horrific.  But she was just “annoying” according to Anne.  Well, annoying does not justify that type of post mortem disrespect.  And I was not going to read about someone’s life when I felt as though she was a person I would never like.


I stuck it out, plowed through and skimmed the parts about politics and anything too crazy about religion (approximately 2/3rds of the book) and anything else about Anne that I found “annoying”.

And parts of the book were funny.  Mainly the parenting ones.  Because parenting does make you a bit insane and Anne does have the gift of clearly expressing herself and in a humorous way.

And that’s about it.  That’s all the credit I can give the book.



Desitin – Relief for the Whole Family!

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Your baby’s bum has a nasty red, rash.  It may be puffy and warm.  There may be a few red prickly spots in a small area or many tender red bumps all over her bum, thighs and belly.

Or someone in your family is suffering from:

Wet-suit rash

Bathing suit rash


Thigh rubbing when running, exercising or wearing your favorite pair of jeans

Chafing due to exercise or extra folds of skin in areas

Basically, any type of itchy, painful, burning rash on the outside of your body can be relieved by Desitin.

(Just be careful that the symptoms aren’t pointing to an illness that may require a doctor’s attention:

  • if the rash has oozing, or pus-filled blisters or open sores you’re probably looking at an infection and want to take your little baby to the doctor for an antibacterial cream.
  • if your baby has a fever, you’ll want to take them to their Pediatrician to determine the cause and get some medication.
  • if you suspect a yeast or urinary tract infection)


The stuff is magic, really.

Don’t rub it on!  Don’t smooth it on.  Just pat the area dry, gently.  And then gently pat a huge glob of Desitin to the affected area.  It’ll feel like an excessive amount and very gloopy.  That’s the feeling you’re going for.  Cake it on there.  Half an hour later you’ll feel relief.  Applied at night, gone the next morning.