Friday, July 22, 2016

I'm Featured on The Blended Blog Today!

Today I am being featured on The Blended Blog.  It is a collective blog featuring many creative voices, written by a group of talented lifestyle and fashion bloggers. I am honored that my friend Lana (who also writes Two Teens and Their Mama) interviewed me for today's "Featured Friday" post. I hope you will stop over there and check it out.

Lana and I were lucky enough to discover each other's blogs right away when we both began blogging. We have been friends ever since.

We've met in person several times and even participated in a walk together. 

You can read about the times we have gotten together in person by clicking the links for these two posts: 

I once guest posted for Lana, and you might enjoy my Blackberry Crisp Recipe from that article.

And ... you might even learn a thing or two you don't already know about me when you read my answers to the interview questions on The Blended Blog!

My posting schedule has become sporadic this summer, as I am putting my energy into spending time with family and friends. It will become more frequent again next fall. My next post will be published one day next week, and hopefully, it will save you a little time!

Which do you think is harder: creating a set of interview questions or answering them?
Which would you rather do?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Sometimes You Have to Step Back Before You Can Move Forward.

This blog has been quiet for about three weeks. I just had to step back before I could move forward.

A Monopoly chance card telling a player to take a few steps back.
Just like in the game of Monopoly, life sometimes forces us to take a few steps backward before we can move forward.

Since my last blog post, my days have been filled with graduation celebrations, various home projects, vacation planning, dealing with a car repair, and a trip to Canada to be with a family member during and after his surgery. Instead of blogging, my recent free time has been spent doing some on-line course work and listening to some writing/blogging on-line seminars. Despite not publishing anything recently, I have been getting some new ideas for posts and ways to make some improvements to this blog. I hope you will stay tuned!

I'm excited to announce that a previous post of mine has been published today on another website.  It first appeared here, but now my article about blog buttons can be found on Beyond Your Blog, retitled there as "How-To Tips For Blog Buttons."  Even if you read the original version, I encourage you to visit the Beyond Your Blog website and see the wealth of information it offers to writers and bloggers. In fact, I recently completed their e-course Submission Savvy and learned a lot from it.  I feel honored that my article was worthy of being published on that site.

For the remainder of the summer, my blog post publishing schedule may remain sporadic, but  hopefully a little more frequent than over the past month.

Today is American Independence Day and Friday was Canada's 149th birthday.  Happy July 4th to all of my American readers and a belated Happy Canada Day to all Canadians! As we celebrate these milestones, current events remind us that our world is still far from perfect.

I truly hope that someday we will all celebrate an International holiday marking an annual celebration of worldwide peace.

Did you do anything fun this past weekend?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

My Voice is Gone!

My voice is gone.

Megaphone from Amazon
I think I need a megaphone!
I have had laryngitis of varying degrees for about a week. At times, I have just sounded hoarse, but much of this past week I have only been able to utter sounds at (or just above) an audible whisper.  I've had a few mild cold symptoms, but my lack of voice has been my primary symptom.

My writing voice disappeared, also.

Along with spoken sounds, some of my other abilities to communicate seems to have diminished as well. Using the phone has (of course) been hard. More surprisingly, a side effect also seems to be that I've had

Monday, June 6, 2016

Too Busy to Write.

My son's high school graduation was on Saturday, and what a whirlwind of activities and emotions the past week has been. I am so very proud of him and his older sister, and grateful for all of the many people who have had a positive impact on their lives.

Graduates threw their caps into the air.

Farewell to high school.

It was bittersweet to celebrate my youngest child's graduation from high school, but it was so much fun to celebrate with many of the people who have been important to us over the years.  We attended a multitude of graduation parties, and yesterday hosted a large one of our own. 

I turned on my computer today and realized I have one more little thing to celebrate.

With all of the special events, visitors, and party preparations it has been a week since I have published anything or even had time to respond to comments on my blog.  The timing of things in life can be ironic;

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day. How Many American Flags Will You See Today?

It would be hard to live through an entire Memorial Day in the US without seeing a single American flag. Whether they are waving in the wind, printed on the paper plates at a party, or imprinted on the t-shirt of a friend, there will be lots of American flags displayed today.

Many American flags will fly on Memorial Day.

American flags on Memorial Day are more than just a festive patriotic touch to a three-day weekend. They are a symbol of every freedom Americans enjoy and are a reminder to honor all the individuals who have kept our country free.  A three-day weekend is fun, but Memorial Day is not a happy event.

My perfect world is one where there is no need for the military. Humans work everything out with words and

Friday, May 27, 2016

Red, White, and Blue. Add an Easy Patriotic Touch to Any Treat!

I have a little tip for adding an easy patriotic or festive touch to almost any dessert.  A simple homemade red, white, and blue candy garnish can make any dessert more American, or you can use the colors of whatever country/event/club/organization that you are celebrating.

Make any treat more patriotic or special with this easy touch

Treats such as cherry pie, strawberry-rhubarb pie, a flag cake, or red, white, and blue muffins are always a hit on an American holiday such as Memorial Day, July 4th or Labor Day. 

However, you are not limited by these choices. You can make almost any dessert special for the occasion with a quick little candy treat. Cakes, pies, cookies, and bars can all be made patriotic and festive with them, and you can even place a candy garnish or two gently on the top of a pudding or custard (or on a plate beside them.)

A snowflake garnish makes chocolate mousse even more special for a winter party.
I decorated individual servings of white chocolate mousse with snowflake candy decorations for a fancy winter party.

Even if you buy a dessert instead of making one, you can make it more special with this decorating trick!

How to Make Candy Garnishes for Desserts

All that you need is a few minutes and:

Monday, May 23, 2016

I'm Still Not Ready for Graduation, But I've Been Syndicated!

It's now less than two weeks until my son's high school graduation.  I got a few more things crossed off my list this week. The announcements are being delivered and the guest room is ready. But there is still a lot to do. I need to get busy!

Something pretty exciting has come from my pre-graduation checklist, though. The post I wrote about it has been syndicated by the online magazine BonBon Break and it is published on their website today. 

I hope you'll head over to BonBon Break today and see it there. I'd appreciate it if you'd leave a comment there or share the article. I'd love it if BonBon Break realizes they are getting a little bit of traffic to their site from me. 

While at BonBon Break, be sure to take a look around.  They publish so many really interesting and well-written articles, it's hard to decide which one to read first.  Then, I hope you'll come back here and tell me what you think.

Here's the link to where you can find my article on their site:

Thank you for reading, and for clicking through, commenting and sharing!

Do you know anyone graduating from high school or college this year?

Had you ever visited or heard of Bonbon Break before?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

How to Divide Cake Batter: An Easy Tip for Even Layers

I have loved to bake cakes for as long as I can remember.

For years, however, the task of making a two-layer cake intimidated me.  It never seemed like I could get the layers to bake evenly, and my cakes were always lopsided.

A double layer cake

One summer when I was in high school, we were visiting my grandparents in Pennsylvania. Various family members were coming to dinner for my grandfather's birthday. I offered to make the birthday cake, and my grandmother supplied me with a cake mix.

We had been living in Spain, and the only cakes I had ever made were from scratch. By comparison, the cake mix seemed so easy.  My cake layers (of course) were horribly uneven, but I decided it was nothing that a lot of icing couldn't fix! Using the only chocolate frosting recipe I knew, I made up a batch of frosting and smeared it between and on top of the two layers until the top appeared flat and smooth.

Later that day, to my horror, I realized that one layer had slid nearly off the other, and the whole cake was breaking into pieces. The heavy frosting had just been too much for the light and airy cake texture that the cake mix had produced.

I was mortified and begged my grandmother to let me make another cake before dinner. She saw no sense in wasting what would still be a delicious dessert, and scooped it into a 9 x13 inch pan. She told me we would serve it from the kitchen, and "no one would ever know."

My grandfather had a sense of humor. He had caught on that something was not quite right with his cake. When we started bringing plates of cake to the table he said, "But, where's my birthday cake? I want to see