Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy 2012!

Countdown to another new year...

Happy New Year!

Pear Tree Greetings has fabulous custom designed cards and invitations--at great prices.  Check it out at

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Neighborhood Brunch
Warm cinnamon rolls, coffee, and great neighbors.  We're blessed.

Love the custom letters that Kelli made for me.  Check it out:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Grandparents Day

We attended Grandparent's Day at Abby's school.  Wait a minute...I thought every day was Grandparent's Day!

Thoughts of Christmas and a New Year...

Coming soon...a holiday breakfast with the neighbors,

and a New Years Eve game night with family and friends.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fall...Where Are You?

I'm creating a Fall Tablescape for   It was 80 degrees today.  I'm confused!

Love the mini-parfait glasses from Pier One!  They come with tiny little spoons too. I layered my parfaits with Mom's pumpkin cream recipe. 

Thanksgiving Party coming soon to

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Halloween Bunco Night

This is the invitation that just needed a party to go with it.  I decided on a girls-night-out, including a game of Bunco, some good munchies, and just a little glam. Fun!
Find the party details here:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Summer Stripes

Here's my Summer Safari tablescape. (Love the zebra!)

 White roses from my garden...
and a jar of striped pirouette cookies nestled in malt balls--

Tip:  I love using twin-size coverlets for tablecloths on oblong tables. They're quilted so they're thicker than a tablecloth, and they go through the wash perfectly, and best of all...never need ironing!  There are lots of fun patterns to choose from.  TJ Maxx and Home Goods are good sources.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


The Hawaiian luau that I planned for is published.  It's a luau with a modern twist, and the food is fresh and healthy! Love my hubby for doing the grilling for me.   :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sneak Peek

 Just finishing a Hawaiian Luau for  Wish I could've filmed it on location!  :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Bike Ride in San Diego

 “Unconditional Surrender”
Port of San Diego

We were riding our bikes along the waterfront in San Diego and discovered this 25-foot statue commemorating a famous World War II photo of a Sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square, New York City on Aug. 14, 1945, following the announcement of V-J Day.

Beach-Inspired Tablescapes

Beach-inspired tablescapes...3 ways
                 soft pink                                              nautical                                           playful

Monday, July 11, 2011

Warm Blackberry Sauce Over Mango Sorbet

Another winner from a visit to the local fruit stand and my Southern Living Farmers Market Cookbook:
Warm Blackbery Sauce Over Mango Sorbet
2 pt. fresh blackberries, halved
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp. orange zest
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 pt. mango sorbet
6 gingersnaps, crushed
1. Stir together first 4 ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat; cook, stirring constantly until heated through. Serve over sorbet; sprinkle with gingersnaps.  6 servings

Notes:  I used Haagen Dazs Mango Sorbet and fresh blackberries from the farmstand on McKee Road!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!

Lemon-blueberry cupcakes with toasted coconut frosting...
There are going to be some happy grandkids around here today.  :)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Endless Summer Hydrangeas

We have an amazing hydrangea that grows in a pot on our patio.  It's the Endless Summer variety and it is quite the show off!  The blossoms are huge, and plentiful.  It blooms at least twice each season and is unbelievably hardy. Truly one of my all time favorite plants!  Check it out at  s twice each summer.
I cut some blooms this morning to bring indoors.  This metal wastebasket is the perfect container for the enormous blossoms.  I put the stems in a large glass vase and then set it down in the metal container.

Endless that's a thought!  :)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lemonade...25 cents

So, if you want to meet up with all of the good folks out there, have your kids open a lemonade stand in your neighborhood.  Here's what might happen...A neighbor buys a 25cent cup of lemonade and tips the kids $2.00.  A very nice lady passes by the stand, then turns around and comes back.  She buys one lemonade and pays for three more, telling the kids to offer those drinks to anyone who might come along without money. A truck full of construction workers pulls up and they pay double for the kids to pour the lemonade in their empty gatorade bottles.  A friend puts 2 grandkids in her car and drives a few miles to treat them to lemonade and cookies.
The grandkids had a great experience.  They made their own signs, then stood on the corner, dancing and waving like they've seen so many retailers of late.  They made change, practiced good manners, but most of all, were witness to some really fine people out there--and that's the best lesson yet!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Seriously, I don't think there's a better chocolate chip cookie recipe than the old tried and true Nestle Toll House Cookie recipe. It adapts beautifully to a bar, a cookie pop, an ice cream sandwich, or all gussied up with M&M's.

Just published...Chocolate Chip Cookies--4 Ways.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

How to Smile

Learn how to smile, in 4 easy steps...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Salted Caramel Strawberries

From my new Farmer's Market Cookbook...
Salted Caramel Strawberries
(Get ready to say, "Oooooohhhhhhh!")

20 large fresh strawberries
40 caramels
3 Tbsp. whipping cream
1/4 t. salt
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped mixed nuts

1.  Pat strawberries completely dry with paper towels
2.  Microwave caramels, 3 Tbsp. whipping cream and 1/4 tsp. salt in a 1-qt. microwave-safe bowl at MEDIUM (50% power) 3 1/2 minutes or until smooth, stirring at 1-minute intervals.
3.  Dip each berry halfway into the caramel mixture.  Roll in nuts, and place on wax paper.  Let stand 15 minutes.  Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 8 hours.

I cut the recipe down for a mere 5 strawberries, just to try it out.  (And to save myself from eating too many.)  Therefore, I didn't chill them in the refrigerator.  I'm sure it will work fine to chill them, but seriously, who can wait? 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lavender Farm Fieldtrip

I went on a great "fieldtrip" with some of my buddies this morning.  We went to a Lavender Farm in Turlock--only about 28 miles from Merced.  The grounds are lovely, the lavender is beautiful and the owners of the farm are wonderful!  There's a very nice gift shop with all things lavender, and a lovely patio with tables and chairs under great big trees...a perfect place to just pause.  The owners told us lots of things about the different varieties of lavender and the history of the farm.  You can eat lunch there by contacting them in advance and we are going to return to try that out.  It sounded fabulous!  You can find out more on their website:   Tell George (the owner) that I sent you!

Purple Adirondack Chairs

New life for my old black adirondack chairs...a gallon of purple-licious paint! 
I love whimsy.  I love purple.  I love summer.  Tomorrow I shall have my morning cup of coffee in this very spot.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fruit Kabobs

Sneak Peek...
Adding a glazed donut hole to a fruit skewer is a fun treat! 
I've also made these with longer skewers and added fresh pineapple chunks and banana.  Want some pizzazz?  Drizzle the kabobs with melted chocolate chips.  Oh, yum!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Speaking of S'Mores...

Toasting marshmallows takes serious concentration and a steady little hand. 

Now just close your eyes and bite into that warm, gooey treasure!

Monday, May 2, 2011

How Many Ways Can You Say S'Mores?

Here's my most recent assignment for  5 yummy desserts that have all the good "stuff" of a s'more...chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows.  I have an amazing staff of taste-testers who give me really great feedback.  (My grand-ones!)