Archive for August, 2012

Today’s recipe is so simple your  preschooler could make it.

Wait, maybe they should. It would be a lot of fun for them.





Start by slicing your melon into 1/2 inch thick slices.


Press a sturdy cookie cutter into the melon, going all the way through.


Isn’t this fun?





Watermelon and Feta Butterflies


Feta Cheese

Balsamic Vinegar
Slice watermelon into 1/2 thick slices. Using a sturdy cookie cutter, push it through and cut out shapes. Place on a plate, sprinkle with feta cheese and drizzle with vinegar.

Eat, indulge and enjoy!

She Who Loves Watermelon… and Feta… and balsamic vinegar

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Forgive my shameless self-promotion today, but…



The Coffee Girl…. is now available for your reading pleasure!

Yahoo! Yipee! Yeehaw!

Here is the book description: Almost thirty, Brenna Smith isn’t sure how much more off-track her life could be. She certainly never pictured herself living at home with her parents, working in a job she dislikes for a loathsome boss. The only bright spot in her mundane existence is the cute guy she sees every morning as she stops to get coffee.

Brock McCrae has worked hard to be able to manage his own construction company. Handsome, successful and full of life, he finds his world turned upside down as he falls for a woman he knows only as the coffee girl.

Is there something more than a shared love of coffee brewing between these two?

Here is the where you can find the book online:


Barnes & Noble


Here is my latest newsletter!

I hope you enjoy Brock and Brenna’ story!

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I know… I should wait and post this in a few weeks, but I am so loving the colors for fall 2012 I had to share!

My favorites, which will be a surprise to no one, are Pink Flambé, Ultramarine Green, Olympian Blue and Rose Smoke. I can also dig Titanium, especially with Rose Smoke. As a matter of fact, I may have just purchased a lovely scarf with those very colors.

What fun looks would you pull together with these hues?

What colors would you blend together?

Fashion aside, you could also do some fun things with these colors in your home decor. If you have neutral furniture, toss in a few throw pillows with pops of these colors. French Roast and Honey Gold definitely speak of fall. Titanium would pair well with most any of the colors. You could go for a Titanium and Olympic Blue blend for a more masculine feel or Titanium with Pink Flambé, Rose Smoke or Rhapsody for a decidedly feminine look.

Have fun adding in a few of this season’s trendy colors and see how much fun you can have!

She Who Is Feeling the Need to Go Shopping

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As we head into the Labor Day weekend, many of us are dragging our feet, knowing that it is a final bid goodbye to summer. Even though summer doesn’t officially end until later in September, Labor Day signifies the closing door on summer time fun and the beginning of fall routines and responsibilities.

(Insert huge sigh)

Go wring all the fun you can out of these final days of summer time bliss.

10. Blow Bubbles. Doesn’t matter if you have kids or not, go blow a few bubbles and see if a few worries and cares don’t float away with the soapy orbs.

9. Go on a Picnic. It doesn’t matter if you make something elaborate, run by the deli or grab take-out, pack a blanket and your loved ones and head for a park or picnic area you haven’t visited this summer.

8. Host a bonfire. Make sure you follow local ordinances and keep a hose handy. And don’t forget to have plenty of S’mores supplies on hand.

7. Eat a popsicle. It’s cold and sweet and perfectly delightful. Indulge and enjoy. Have a contest to see who can make theirs last the longest.

6. Pick fresh fruit. Scan the classified ads or ask around for the best “U-pick” fruit location and then go pick something. You’ll be glad you did when you bite into that fresh off-the-tree fruit!

5. Take a hike or a bike ride. Go somewhere off the beaten path and really look around you. Take in the scenery, the smells, the sounds. It won’t be long until fall paints an entirely  different canvas.

4.Take photos. Although the moments won’t last, the photos and memories will. Take photos of your family and friends enjoying the last days of summer in all their joy and silliness.

3. Eat watermelon. Take it outside and let the kids munch to their heart’s content, with juice running down their chins and onto their toes. I dare you to join them! There is summer sweetness packed in every juicy sweet bite.

2. Make homemade ice cream. There is nothing like making your own ice cream and enjoying each cool, creamy bite of frozen confection. You can find tips on hosting an ice cream social here and a recipe for great chocolate ice cream here.

1. Enjoy a sunset. There is nothing quite as spectacular as watching the summer sun sink into the west. The pinks, oranges and golds that fill the sky can be breathtaking. Go sit outside and watch nature’s beauty descend. If you are of a mind to keep up the gazing, throw down a blanket and watch the stars.

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If you love pumpkin and cream cheese, you are going to adore these pretty pumpkin cake balls. These do take a little time and effort, but the result is well worth it!


Dump ingredients into a bowl and mix well on medium speed until blended.


Pour into a greased cake pan or baking dish and bake at 350 until lightly browned and edges pull away from the pan.


Once the cake is done, remove from oven and let cool completely. Spoon in half a can of frosting and mix well.


As in completely obliterate the cake while mixing in the frosting. When you are done with this, you’re ready to form the mix into balls.


Roll into balls (or scoop) about 1 inch in diameter (or make bigger ones if you want to dip less). If the balls seem a little smooshy, pop in the freezer for a few minutes.


Use a pretzel stick, dipped in almond bark, as a handle.


Dip away then decorate with edible glitter, sprinkles or food gel!

Pumpkin Cake Balls


1 vanilla cake mix

1 egg

1 small can of pumpkin

½ cup evaporated milk

½ cup sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 can cream cheese frosting

1 package candy coating (Almond Bark)

Sprinkles or other decoration

Pretzel sticks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix cake mix, egg, pumpkin, milk, sugar and spices until well blended. Pour into a greased 11 x 176 baking pan. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cake is lightly browned and a finger poked in the top bounces bake. Cool completely.

In a large bowl, break up entire cake then mix in 1/2 the can of frosting. You may have to get your hands into the project to get it thoroughly mixed and you most definitely will get hands-on- involvement when you form the balls. The size is totally dependent on how big you want to make them. I’d stick in the ballpark of between one to two inches diameter.

If the cake seems too moist, pop in the freezer for a few minutes and the balls will be easy to form. If you are more talented than I am with a melon baller you can use it or form them by hand. Once they are formed, melt the candy coating, a little at a time. Pop it in the microwave in 20-second intervals until it is melted. Do not reheat it as it gets gunky and icky very quickly. Use it up then melt the next round.

When  the candy coating is ready, dip in the ends of the pretzel sticks then stab them into the balls. Let them sit until the coating is nice and firm. This is very important. If you don’t do this, your sticks may fall out.

Once the balls are ready for dipping, use a spoon to swirl coating over the balls. Tap the edge of the stick lightly on the bowl to get off excess coating. Cover the ball in sprinkles, food glitter, whatever sounds good and looks tasty. Rest the balls on a wire rack sprayed with non-stick sprayt until the coating is good and firm.

Repeat until all balls are coated. You can put these in the freezer, wrap in individual cellophane bags or share them as soon as you are finished.

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A couple of weeks ago, I drove five hours to arrive at this awesome cabin owned by my lovely cousin Julie and her husband.

During the next few days, I spent time in the company of Julie along with my cousins Nancy and Twylia and our beloved Aunt Robbie.

Every year, we make a point to get together for a couple of days, connect, shop, eat, laugh, cry and connect. It is something I look forward to all year.

We started this tradition a few years back at as a one-time get together. But we enjoyed it so much, it has become something we all look forward to each year. Here us a highlight of our past excursions as Gallivanting Goddesses.

Aunt Robbie calls our trips the gathering of the Sisterhood. It’s a fitting name, since these warm, loving ladies are so close and dear to my heart.

The first morning, Aunt Robbie and I sat out on the deck and watched the sun come up.

It was glorious.

Having not seen Julie’s cabin before, I had not envisioned the posh accommodations right on the edge of the golf course that we were treated to.

The air was crisp, clean and scented with pine. The skies were blue and the temperature, while hot, was pleasant for the most part.

I felt spoiled and pampered as the youngest member of the group (as I always do when I’m with them.)

We ate a leisurely breakfast at the cabin then ventured into town for a day of shopping, eating and gabbing.

Dinner on the lake was fantastic and, of course, yours truly didn’t take her camera with her so no photos to share. But believe me, it was something to see!

I love these four marvelous women so, so much. They have helped me grow more than they can ever know. They listen to my fears, encourage my dreams, share my tears.

And they make me laugh. A lot.

Love you, ladies of the Sisterhood!

She Who is Blessed to Know These Women

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If, like me, you love to look at photos of gorgeous kitchens and bathrooms and dream about what could be at your own home, there’s an amazing new magazine you need to see.

Hearst Publications recently introduced  Kitchens & Baths, a new collection with the best of the best from Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Country Living, and Woman’s Day, that gives you all the information you need to make your dream room a reality. A variety of style options – from classic and country to contemporary and eclectic – are covered as well as ideas on everything from complete renovations to some easy touch-ups. Kitchens & Baths is a great resource to help you get the look you want.

 The magazine offers a plethora of ideas and inspiration as well as photos showcasing how real homeowners turned their formerly drab spaces into beautiful places with step-by-step makeover tips.

A product guide offers tips in the latest and greatest home appliances, cabinets, tiles and more.

 Bright pops of color bring a touch of whimsy to this kitchen.

Clean and simple lines make even the smallest bathrooms look airy and open.

My favorite photo in the magazine was this kitchen with the barnwood island. It looks exactly like something one of my Grass Valley characters would have in their kitchen. I absolutely love it!

From glorious kitchen makeovers to beautiful bathrooms that made me want to say “Calgon, take me away,” Kitchens & Baths is a wonderful escape, a fabulous planning tool, and fantastic resource for ideas.

Some articles include topics such as “how to make the most of every square inch in your kitchen” and “simple solutions for a clean, clutter-free vanity.”

The last page offers a timeline for what to do and when to do it if you are planning a project (be it remodel, construction, etc.)

If you love home ideas and beautiful photography of kitchen and baths, definitely check out this latest Hearst Publication.

Kitchens & Baths is available for $9.99 and can be purchased at your local supermarket, newsstand or bookstore. A digital edition is also available at Zinio.com or Nook.bn.com. For even more photos and inspiration, check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hearstspecials and on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/hearstspecials.

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