One Word Photo Challenge: Scarlet

scarlett seven deadly zins red zinfandel wine

7 Deadly Zins

This week’s One Word Photo Challenge by Jennifer Nichole Wells is Scarlet.  Oh what an easy one for me.  And what fun I had setting up my photo!  My favorite evening consists of a glass or two or (ahem – never mind) of red wine — typically scarlet in color.  And in case you are wondering….  (Christmas is coming soon you know..) 7 Deadly Zins Red Zinfandel just happens to be my all-time favorite shade of scarlet.  🙂






Making Christmas Cards

I can’t believe it will be November in a few days!  Christmas is going to sneak up on me this year – I just know it! I best get busy on some Christmas cards!

ornamental pine christmas pp219

I made two last evening, both using The Paper Players Sketch Challenge #219 as my inspiration.


I can’t decide which one to enter into the challenge….

ornamental pine christmas pp219 2

For both of these cards, I used the Stampin’ Up Ornamental Pine stamp set with various Christmasy DSP and heat embossed the sentiment with gold onto vellum.

So two more done, and……
….how many ever more I make….. left to go!

That’s how we roll
Life in between 🙂

Cheers & Hugs,

PS I’d love to hear which one you like better. Will you leave a comment and let me know?






Pumpkin Cheesecake Snickerdoodles

pumpkin cheesecake snickerdoodles cover

It’s the countdown to Halloween on Friday!

I can’t believe it will be NOVEMBER in a few days!  Where did the time go?  We hit close to 80 degrees F Tuesday, and it is still 70 degrees F as I write this post well into Tuesday evening with the windows wide open and the warm breeze blowing in.

I think we are going to be in for a brutal awakening in a few days as the weather forecasters are calling for that “S” word to hit for Halloween!  YIKES!

Since I don’t have children at home anymore to create costumes for or grandchildren yet (patiently waiting – fingers crossed! LOL!) and don’t even get any trick or treaters living a bit far back off the beaten path, what is a girl to do but bake pumpkiny “stuff” for Halloween – right?!?

With a few cans of pumpkin still in the pantry and everything else I needed for this yummy recipe on hand that I discovered on Bakeaholic Mama’s blog, I had to try these Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filled Snickerdoodles that combine all the wonderfulness of pumpkin pie, cheesecake, and snickerdoodles ALL IN ONE COOKIE!

pumpkin cheesecake snickerdoodles 3

Marty gave them a THUMBS UP (and hopefully will remember to take most of them to the office tomorrow so we don’t eat them all)!

Hope you are enjoying the last week of October, wherever this finds you, and hope you will try this yummy treat.

pumpkin cheesecake snickerdoodles 2

Recipe from:  Bakeaholic Mama’s Blog

Cream Cheese-Filled Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Yield: about 2-3 dozen cookies


  • 3¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. freshly-ground ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
Ingredients for the filling:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Ingredients for the cinnamon-sugar coating:
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger


In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

Beat together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed of electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Blend in the pumpkin puree. Beat in the egg and vanilla until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.  Cover and chill the dough for at least 1 hour.

While the dough chills, make the filling. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Cover and chill this as well (for at least half an hour).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and spices for the coating.
Take one tablespoon of dough and flatten it into a pancake shape. Place one teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture in the middle of the pancake. Form another tablespoon of dough into an equally-sized pancake shape, and place on top, keeping the cream cheese in the middle. Gently pinch together the edges of the dough around the cream cheese to seal, then gently roll into a ball. Roll the ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat. Repeat with the remaining dough to fill baking stones or cookie sheets, spacing the dough balls 2-3 inches apart.  Flatten the dough balls slightly.Bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until they are slightly firm to the touch and the tops are beginning to crackle. Let cool on the baking sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cheers & Hugs,




Ferny Hello

fern hello

In need of a few special thank you cards, I really enjoyed creating this ferny hello card.

For my stamping friends:

The fern is a single Hero Arts stamp and the Hello is a die cut from WPlus9.

I stamped the ferns randomly on Stampin Up (SU) Whisper White card stock using VersaMark ink and then heat embossed with white embossing powder.  I sponged some green and yellow SU inks over all, then added a brush of glitz (which just doesn’t show up in the photo) with my favorite Wink of Stella clear brush marker.  I randomly placed a sprinkle of gold and silver sequins, adhered to SU Very Vanilla card stock and then the rich SU Mossy Meadow base.

This card went in the mail today.  I just love sending handmade cards out and hoping for smiles on the other end when the recipient finds them amidst the junk mail and bills.

Cheers & Hugs,


We Will be Known Forever by the Tracks we Leave – Couples Camp Weekend Shenanigans

Couples Camp Invitation cover 2014

What would life be like without great friends?  I sure don’t want to know, and am so fortunate to have some of the best of the best.  This weekend, Marty and I went away with some of our dearest – to our 1st Annual Couples Camp Weekend Retreat.

Hopefully the first of many.  No matter where we roam…

I went away for the weekend without my computer – but not without my camera! 🙂

I hope you will enjoy my little tribute to our wonderful weekend.

My BFF, Jill, was the head organizer of our shenanigans, and in her words:  “Todd, a member of the Chopped Chaps (and a.k.a.Rocco Scarfazzi) and I, a member of the Chopped Chicks (and a.k.a. Mama Rosa) highly recommend that all of our friends coordinate a Couple’s Camp weekend. Great fun. Lots of laughter. Many life stories shared. And the realization that life long friends and connections are priceless! So go make some memories!”

Here was our agenda (as prepared by Jill):

Couples Camp Invite Page 2 Activities

After a relaxing Friday evening, drinks and snacks and belly laughs until our cheeks hurt, we all trickled into the kitchen Saturday morning, fueled up with some coffee, and prepared to compete in a battle of “CHOPPED!”


I made aprons for the “Chopped Chaps”

chopped chaps

and the “Chopped Chicks”

chopped chicks

and prepared three basket rounds of competitive food fun.

Basket #1 was Breakfast Fare and the Chaps and Chicks were challenged to create a breakfast dish using the following basket ingredients:

Basket Round 1: Breakfast Fare

Link Sausage
Green Onions
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Bacon Cheddar Potato Chips

Basket 1

Though the guys were “poo-pooing” us in the beginning, they rose to the challenge, and even admitted to having fun!

chap 1

The chicks were quite that strategists and competitors.

chicks 2b

They created a beautiful and delicious frittata for Round 1.

chicks 1

While the men created a scrumptious scramble.

chaps 1

that even contained the words “Hideaway” written in cheddar cheese….

hideaway chopped 1

in honor of the name of the resort we stayed at…

camp sign

a beautiful vacation home tucked in the wooded hills (I didn’t know there were such hills in Ohio!) near Columbus, Ohio compliments of Jill’s dear (and who we fondly refer to as a bit “crazy”) Aunt Alice and Uncle Eric, and cousins Maggie and Tom.  THANK YOU so much!


The chicks won Round 1 with their fabulous fritatta!

chicks win 1

On to Round 2 for Brunch Fare:

Basket Round 2: Brunch Fare

Pasta Sauce
Peppercorn Bacon
Cheese and Garlic Croutons

chopped 2

chicks 2

Mary thought a little red wine might “enhance” the sauce.

chicks 2a

chaps 2

but alas the Chaps won Round 2.  (Per Judge Marty keep in mind!)

chaps 2b

Round 3 brought on the Dessert Challenge:

Basket Round 3: Dessert

Whole Wheat Pop Cakes
Biscoff Spread
Vanilla Yogurt
Vanilla Cream Soda
Sour Patch Peaches

chopped 3

With one win for each side, the competition was getting fierce!

chopped 3 intensity

And both teams pulled out all the guns!  The chicks made these amazing parfaits.

chicks 3a

The chaps created these masterpieces.

chaps 3a

And the Chaps took the Gold!

chopped champs

Judge Marty could not resist eating the entire dessert, which was enhanced ever so “slightly” with Amaretto…

chopped judge

Even Jim impressed himself with the dessert the Chaps came through with!


The Chicks were so close behind.  We all enjoyed every morsel of every one of our three meals (all before noon!)

chopped chicks runners up





Then it was time to burn off some of those calories and get out in the beautiful Fall sunshine.  The guys decided to go for some quad/mule rides.


quad jim

quad todd

quad marty

mule glenn

And us Chicks took a walk.

road to camp

which way

walk 4

walk 2

chick walk

walk 5

After a few hours of sunshine and fresh air, we decided to do a “good deed” in honor of National “Make a Difference Day” by preparing some Thanksgiving holiday craft kits for the daycare students of SHIM (South Hills Interfaith Ministry), Aunt Alice’s favorite charity.


caring craft 2

caring craft 1

caring craft 3

A little Wine and Cheese Party seemed most appropriate to cap off a great afternoon.


Then it was time for dinner time shenanigans:  A Murder Mystery Dinner Party hosted by Mama Rosa (Jill), who fed us Italian zuppa and some chicken and traditional lasagna.  We were instructed to arrive as our pre-assigned characters to dinner for an evening of Pasta, Passion and Pistols…

You can see below from left to right:  The French guy, Bo Jalais (Glenn) who wanted to takeover the family winery; the tough young sister, Angel Roni (yours truly) who was caught up in the mob; the maid turned pregnant girlfriend (Mary), the twin brother (Todd) who came to America to touch base with his family, Father Al Fredo (Jim) who listened to everyone‘s confessions, Mama Rosa (Jill) the family Matriarch, Claire Voyant (Pam), the family’s psychic counsel; and Marco Roni (Marty), the soccer loving, knife wielding baby of the family.

cc 2014 group silly shot


jill bub



glenn pam

group shot

Yep – we ate some more, drank some more, laughed A LOT more, and solved the mystery.  It was great fun.

Thank you so much Aunt Alice, Eric, Maggie and Tom for allowing us to crash your little paradise in the woods for the weekend.

As the living room mantle so aptly puts it:  “We will be known forever by the tracks we leave…”

We hope we left some good ones.

tracks we leave

Cheers & Hugs,


Peanut Butter & Chocolate Halloween Spider Cookies

spider cookies 2

Halloween is a week away, and I had more fun than any normal middle-aged (ugh) woman with no children left at home should have making these adorable little peanut butter and chocolate spider cookies!  Heck – we don’t even get a single trick-or-treater, but who says you can’t have fun anyway?!?

spider cookies 4

I had seen a photo of these somewhere, and then a friend texted me a picture from Pinterest by Sommer Collier of A Spicy Perspective saying, “You need to make these for your blog.”  Well… that’s about all it took to get me excited, so I went in search of candy eyes at the local Michael’s Store – but none to be found…

Not giving up, I went to good ole’ Amazon Prime and had them in my hot little hands in two days!

spider cookies 3

They are basically a simple peanut butter cookie with a chocolate truffle in the middle, much like the Hershey Kiss peanut butter cookies (just on Halloween steroids!)

spider cookies

I thought they would be adorable, but wasn’t sure if anyone around here would eat them.

Well – I was wrong!  They loved them!

And it was fun to send some to Nick’s girlfriend, Liz’s office for my blog-following girlfriends at TS 🙂 and deliver some to my daughter-in-law, Colleen at work for a silly surprise.

spider cookie

I must give credit where credit is due.  I found this recipe on A Spicy Perspective’s Blog (which I am a total new fan of!).  She used Lindt Lindor truffles, which I think would be awesome too!  Here is Sommer’s recipe, which I tweaked just a bit for my own brevity’s sake:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Spider Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 24 round chocolate truffles (I used Ferrero Rocher Truffles, but you can use anything you like best)
  • 3/4 cup Nestle’s semisweet chocolate chips
  • 48 candy eyes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Beat the butter and peanut butter until fluffy. Then add sugars, and beat again until fluffy. Scrape the bowl, and beat in the vanilla and egg.
  3. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Slowly incorporate into the butter and sugar mixture.
  4. Roll the cookie dough into 24 – 1 1/2 Tbsp-sized balls.   Bake for 7 minutes. Quickly press a cavity in the middle of each cookie with your thumb or pestle, then bake another 6 minutes, until golden.
  5. Cool until almost at room temperature (but not very warm) and place a truffle in the cavity of each cookie.
  6. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Scoop the melted chocolate in a zip bag. Close the bag and snip off a small portion of one corner to create a hole. Pipe 8 legs on each cookie, starting from the truffle body down.
  7. Use remaining melted chocolate to glue 2 eyes onto each truffle spider.


Cheers & Hugs,


PS  Hope you enjoyed this T!  🙂

Six Words

looking up at life in between wwMc

The #Writing101 Group I was in had such an engaging group of people from all over the world, and I was sorry to see it end.  I really enjoyed the challenges and felt they stretched me as a “writer.”

So I was super excited that several of the members took the initiative to carry on and continue our team support by forming a new group to offer writing challenges called #TheWritersHub.  Our current challenge is to write a six-word story.

I combined mine with this photo I took on my Walk with My Camera today.  My story sums up my life right now.

Looking up
life in between

Cheers & Hugs,

Silver or Gold

pp218 jlm 3 vignette

This week’s Paper Player’s Challenge (PP#218) is to make a card using Silver or Gold.


I always find it challenging to make a card with Silver and/or Gold for some reason, but I love The Paper Players Design Team and strive to participate in their challenge each week.  This is my third silver/gold card I made this week, and one that I finally feel worthy of submitting for the challenge.

I was excited to try true watercoloring on this card with brushes and watercolors.  (Well – at least my first stab at using paint and brushes to create a rather obscure, abstract background – gotta start somewhere!)


 I used my little starter watercolor set, which is Sakura’s Koi Water Colors Pocket Field Sketch Box to create my background on SU watercolor paper and then heat embossed silver snowflakes and the Merry Christmas sentiment from the SU Endless Wishes stamp set.  I added a couple silver sequins and framed it in glittery silver paper.  I then dabbed some white “snow” with SU’s Gorgeous Grunge stamp and added a piece of silver and white ribbon tied into a bow to the top.

pp218 jlm 3 inside

I continued the theme on the inside with more silver embossing from SU Endless Wishes.

PP218 jlm 3

Another Christmas card done and ready to save to send to someone special on my list.

Cheers & Hugs,


Mushroom: wwMc


I came across this little gem on my lunch time walk this afternoon.

It was a rather dreary, cool, overcast day, and this little mushroom – with its cap turned up instead of down – formed a little bowl to hold the rain water and created what looked like a miniature bird bath.

The wind was blowing and caused the water movement to look surreal.  The intricacy of the black curled ends of the mushroom cap created such beautiful detail.

It made me wonder about the miniature “world” surrounding it.  Were there tiny insects that bathed or drank from it?  Will a larger animal come and lap it?  Eat the mushroom?

So much detail in such a small space.  So much going on if we just look.

And it made me wonder…

Is this what we look like to God above?

Is there another life form out in the galaxy watching us as if we are a miniature world?


Cheers & Hugs,