Kennywood Holiday Lights

kennywood lights 6

One of the many wonderful things about living in the Pittsburgh, PA region is our beloved Kennywood Amusement Park.

I have such fond memories of going there as a child for my Grandpap’s work picnics each summer and many school picnics throughout the years.   When I was young, it seemed bigger than life, a vacation fantasy land, so vast, so magical, so exciting!

kennywood entrance

Then it became a place Marty and I visited on dates, and it was funny how much smaller it seemed from what I recalled as an 8 or 9 years old.  It was still a magical place, and I was still deathly afraid of the roller coasters…  (I’m quite the “ninny poo poo” friends – I have to admit!)

Eventually, Kennywood became the school picnic destination for our boys, and we created even more precious memories with them and their friends.

Even Marty’s parents told tales of dates to Kennywood when they were young!

Founded in 1898, Kennywood is one of the oldest and most beloved amusement parks in America.  What started 110 years ago with rides like the classic carousel, evolved into a place that boasts the technological advancements of today’s steel lopping roller coasters.

kennywood carousel

So Marty and I decided to have a date night Saturday and visit Kennywood’s Holiday Lights.

kennywood refreshments

What a fun evening we had!

kennywood lights 3

And what an amazing job they did transforming the park into a holiday spectacular!

kennywood lights 2

Marty asked one of the guys manning the bonfire (how fun is that right in the middle of the park?!) about how long it took to install the over 1 million lights that adorned the park.  He was told it takes two full months with 12 guys working full time on it.

kennywood bonfire

The iconic Potato Patch was open with a very long line for the quintessential french fries with cheese that are a MUST HAVE when visiting Kennywood.

kennywood patch

There was a spectaculator light show on the lagoon choreographed to holiday music.  The way the lights reflected on the water was just mesmerizing.

kennywood lights4

kennywood lights 1

lost kennywood entrance

kennywood kiddie land

The Thunderbolt is the iconic wooden roller coaster that is the flagship ride at Kennywood.  Santa and his team of reindeer had it reserved all to themselves for the evening.

kennywood santa and reindeer 2

Not only was religious diversity represented with a Menorah…

kennywood menorah

and a nativity scene…

kennywood nativity

there was even a spaceship and alien from MARS!

kennywood spaceship and martian

It was a great way to end the day I spent putting up our Christmas tree and decorating our home for the holiday season.

kennywood snowman

If you are in the area, Kennywood Holiday Lights is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings from 5-9pm until December 21st.  Tickets are $16.99 at the gate with some savings for those that purchase on line ahead of time.

Here’s to the kickoff of a wonderful holiday season!

Cheers & Hugs,




I’ve been blogging a little over six months now here at, and I can’t believe how much I am enjoying it and how much I am learning…

about blogging, writing, technology, but most of all about MYSELF!

I thought it high time I build a Welcome (Home) Page for those that may visit and wonder what this is all about here.

It was fun pulling photos and linking them with the posts that I thought summed up my blog and my lifeinbetween.

Check it out HERE, and let me know if you think I hit the highlights or if I missed something important or should do something different. I did it very late at night and kept falling asleep in the middle of working on it!  🙂

I would LOVE your feedback, comments, questions, whatever you’d like to say or share –  as I grow on this journey of blogging and the never-ending journey of self-discovery.

Cheers & Hugs,



Thanksgiving Reflections

thanksgiving 2014 group turkey shot

I hope everyone that celebrated yesterday had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
(It still blows my mind that people read my blog from all over the world, so there are places that don’t celebrate this American holiday!)

Today is a day of relaxing and reflecting for me – on an amazing day spent with this crazy coop of turkeys that I so adore!

thanksgiving place settings

My crafty and stampin’ friends might appreciate the table setting complete with hand-stamped fall wreath place settings :).

But…  as much as I love to dress up the table, decorate, and prepare creative dishes, I have to say – Thanksgiving is no time for breaking tradition!


No messin’ with the traditional turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, canned jellied cranberry sauce (though Jill did cut them into adorable little stars that made them taste even better!), Pillsbury crescent rolls (or Nick would be seriously upset), pumpkin and apple pie.

desserts thanskgiving 2014

A couple veggies took on a little twist this year – like my new favorite Roasted Butternut Squash with Rosemary, and the amazing Brussells Sprouts with Chorizo and Almonds that Joyce and Rob brought (still need to get that recipe!), but I did get in a bit of trouble with Marty (and only Marty!) for not making that disgusting green bean casserole with (GAG!) cream of mushroom soup…


We toasted family and friends, and of course Oh Rob had a story for us!

rob at table

It just wouldn’t be the same if he didn’t!  (Love you Oh Rob!) 🙂


and homemade Reflection Wine – for in wine there is life.

cheesey turkey

Colleen made this cute cheesey turkey – complete with brussells sprouts eyes straight from Jake’s garden, which was devoured immediately.

bacon wrapped blue cheese stuffed dates

I also made this super easy, but TO DIE FOR appetizer:  Bacon Wrapped Dates stuffed with Blue Cheese.  Every single person L O V E D them, so don’t judge by the interesting combination of ingredients!  I simply cut a slit in each date, removed the pit and replaced with a pinch of crumbled blue cheese, wrapped it in a half strip of bacon, jabbed with a toothpick to hold together and make for easy serving afterwards, and baked at 400 degrees F for about 30 minutes.  Even those that claimed to not like dates or not like blue cheese adored them!  Highly recommend these for your next get together – just saying.  🙂

finger prints

Sweet Jackie brought the most adorable gift.  A print of a tree and a frame, to which we each stamped a fingerprint or two and labeled with our name and something we are thankful for.

fingerprint tree

I already have it hanging right outside my dining room.  What an amazing memory I will always have of this day and these peeps I love.  Thank you so much, Jackie!

turkey wine bottles

And how cute are these?  Isn’t this a fun way to take wine as a hostess gift?  Dress them up for the holiday.  Jackie also made these adorable bottles of red and  white into boozy turkeys.  I LOVE THEM!

thanksgiving hostess gifts

Colleen and Jake brought me the most awesome smelling winter holiday candle – who doesn’t love a wonderful smelling candle – and Joyce and Rob brought a crock stuffed with bags of pistachios and a festive apron and hot mitt along with a Bountiful Blessings calendar with a note written on it saying, “Looking forward to spending more time together in the new year.”  Now isn’t that a great idea?!  Such creative peeps I hang out with – eh?


I share these for those looking for great ideas for hostess gifts around the holidays.  Wine, candles, nuts, aprons, calendars – all very appreciated gifts!

And Jill handmade all of us these adorable turkey t-shirts.  Is she amazing or what?!!  And look how cute they all look.


They even had turkey feathers on the back!

turkey backs

It was wonderful to SKYPE with Julie, who if you look really close at the iPad Jackie is holding, is also wearing a turkey shirt that Jill sent ahead of time.  🙂  We only missed connecting with Jayme :(.

thanksgiving 2014 group turkey shot

We ended the evening with board games, including Cards Against Humanity…

cards against humanity

and laughed until our cheeks hurt!

cards rob jill

We were even fortunate enough to have Marty’s 91 year-old Aunt Francie with us, who is such a good sport.

Marty and Aunt Francie

I am simply stuffed with thankfulness and reflecting on my many blessings.

Wishing you all the same!

Cheers & Hugs,


White Christmas Shaker Card

White Christmas Shaker Card

It’s the day after Thanksgiving…

What a wonderful day we had sharing with family and friends.  I hope all of you that celebrated did also.  We are STUFFED to the gills with turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie, and we have lots of leftovers to continue the feast for at least a few more days.  I hope to share some more about that later, but for now I wanted to share another Christmas card I made, since we are now in full fledged Christmas season!

I made this SU White Christmas Shaker card after Linda Heller from Where the Rubber Hits the Road was kind enough to send me some SU shaker frames (from our #FreebieFriday random drawing contest).  For this card, I cut and pieced two of them together to create a larger shaker to contain this scene that is reminiscent of this time of year – getting the annual Christmas tree.  I stamped it all in Memento Black Ink and then colored in with SU Stampin’ Write Markers.  I filled it with some sequins, wrapped it with SU DSP and sponged the edges to vintage it up a bit.  Finishing touches were a linen thread bow and brown metal brad.

The SUO Challenge SUO#110 this week is “Marker Fun,” and this one was fun with markers, so I am sharing there.

I know just who this card is going to, and I hope they have as much fun shakin’ it as I did coloring it!

White Christmas Shaker Card

Cheers & Thankful Holiday Hugs,



What I love most…

Growing up – I lived in many different homes – for various reasons…

Parents divorced – Live with Grandma – Mom remarried – Bigger house – Smaller house…..

For as many reasons as moves, I never really had the opportunity to grow “attached” to a house.

home share jill

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not knocking those that had the good fortune of growing up in the same house with the same family their entire life.

In fact, I feel a bit of envy!  But my life circumstances didn’t provide this, so for that reason I have never grown “attached” to bricks and mortar.

What I do love about my “home” is who I share it with.

It could be a hut, a tent, an igloo, a teepee, a boat, a trailer, a shack, a mansion.  It really doesn’t matter.

As long as I get to share it with the people I love….

My family…

My friends that are like family…

That is what makes a “house” a “home.”

As we approach Thanksgiving, and I look forward to sharing my home with some of the people I love best, it reminds me of one of the best gifts I’ve ever received from my bestie Jill.  Jill hand-painted the sign above in red knowing me so well that she just knew when she saw this saying it was me to a tee.

I love it!!!!

In fact…..  I love it so much, Jill had not realized I had recently purchased a similar plaque with the exact same saying just a month prior, as you can see below.  🙂

home share

So how lucky am I?!?  I have two signs that express my deepest feelings of home hanging in my home.

Feeling so blessed…  Feeling so loved… Feeling so thankful…

On this day before Thanksgiving, I wish for you a home shared with the people you love – whether they be family or friends that are “chosen” family.  We really all are one family – right?

Cheers & Thankful Hugs,


Acceptance without Exception


I started out 2014 gangbusters with the One Little Word Challenge by Ali Edwards.

I participated in the Facebook Group Page commenting and sharing and encouraging others.

I began a journal and completed TWO WHOLE PAGES…

But I didn’t keep up with the monthly assignments…

I quit participating in the group…

I just didn’t find make time…

Yet I still feel good about my “one little word,” and I still feel like I have grown a great deal this year in Acceptance.

My biggest challenge was accepting ME for who I am.

How can it take 51 years to be OK with who you are?!??

Why did it take me so long?

Why am I not completely there yet?

Whatever the case, I have come a long way, and I am proud that I am coming to “accept” who I am, where I came from, why I am the way I am….

Accepting that I will never be skinny…

Accepting that I will never be beautiful by the world’s beauty standards…

Accepting that I come from a dysfunctional family…

Accepting that I can love people, but not have relationships with them…

Accepting that I can’t be everything to everyone…

Accepting that I am ok, because I am ME.

Accepting others for who they are – no matter their beliefs, religion, race, sexual orientation, political views, personal opinions, age, gender, place in the world….

Accepting life’s circumstances…

Accepting the life I am given, and making the best of it every single day.

On this Thanksgiving Eve Eve, I am so thankful for a wonderful year full of acceptance….

Acceptance that I have received…

Acceptance I have given…

Acceptance without Exception.  That is what it is all about.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cheers & Hugs,


PS  Have you ever participated in the One Little Word Challenge?  Do you have a life motto?  A Word of the Day, Month, Year?  It’s a great way to make a little difference.  I would love to hear about yours.



Thanksgiving Crack Snack Mix

Are you looking for a simple little way to give a little Thanksgiving gift to a co-worker or neighbor, as a hostess gift, something for your friendly delivery person or grocery clerk or……  (whoever you are looking to give a little gesture of Thanksgiving to)?

thanksgiving crack snack mixI came up with a quick Thanksgiving Crack Snack Mix.    Easy Peasy Stuff Here!

Just grab a bag of Mini Pretzels, Bugels, Cheez It Crackers, Peanuts, Candy Corn, and Reese’s Pieces.  Mix it all together in a huge bowl (and if you want to get fancier 🙂 – drizzle some white or milk chocolate or dark chocolate over it – I did not this time).

thanksgiving crack snack mix bowlYou can then package it up in cute jars or bags, dress it up with a cute tag and a bow, and a sweet little treat is created.

thanksgiving crack snack mix 2

Easy, thoughtful, homemade, and yummy!

Hope your Thanksgiving is STUFFED with HAPPINESS!

Cheers & Hugs,



Soon will be Thanksgiving Day….

fall candle fireI thought I’d share a a bit of Thanksgiving/Fall decor around the house before things get Christmas’d up around here soon.

thanksgiving fall decor 1For the dining room table, I used the box Matt made for centerpieces for his and Jackie’s wedding this summer, and I filled it with squashes and pumpkin gourds.

thanksgiving fall decor 2To accent, I used pint-sized wide mouth mason jars (purchased for Colleen’s shower) and filled them with fresh cranberries and popping corn and then added a votive candle, a rafia bow and some tiny hemlock pine cones Tracy helped me pick on our walk Saturday morning.

thanksgiving fall decor 3You see – you don’t have to spend a lot of money to decorate, and it’s even more fun when the things you use have special memories or are acquired during special times with friends.

thanksgiving fall decor 4This “Bountiful harvest” sign sits in the antique jelly cupboard our friends Jim and Mary GAVE US 🙂 that Jim found in the trash that someone was throwing away.  He started fixing it up, Marty finished it, and he “loaned” it to us until he decides they have a place for it (fingers crossed that never happens – as it is our ongoing joke!)

thanksgiving fall decor 5A few craft store finds sit around on the sofa table behind the couch.

thanksgiving fall decor 6I love this little muslin pumpkin.

thanksgiving fall decor 7My friend, Rose, gave me this wooden pumpkin candle holder at least 15 years ago, and I bring it out every Fall.  Thanks Rose!

thanksgiving fall decor 8When Pap died a couple years ago, my sweet cousins, Dawn and Jen, along with Aunt Gwen and Uncle Frank sent this beautiful Fall silk arrangement, so it goes on the kitchen table for the Fall.

thanksgiving fall decor 11I found this little coffee table centerpiece while shopping with Dawn on a vacation in Myrtle beach.

thanksgiving fall decor 10I’m pretty sure I got this wreath for the front door at the same shop in Myrtle Beach.

joAnd a couple of signs hang at the back door entrance, where most of our family and friends enter.  🙂

thanksgiving fall decor 12

I am enjoying the beauty and heart of Thanksgiving this week and so looking forward to sharing it with family and friends.  We’re going to have a houseful – just the way I love it!

But then again……….  a little touch of Christmas couldn’t hurt – right?! 🙂

I couldn’t wait to put out this little gem I got on our Shaker Woods trip this Fall (and Colleen bought one too!   I wonder if hers is out yet??)


…Gobble Gobble Gobble!

Cheers & Hugs,



Chocolate Peanut Butter Acorn Cookies

I couldn’t resist trying this cute idea for a fun little Thanksgiving treat.

chocolate peanut butter acorns 2Aren’t they so stinking cute?!

chocolate peanut butter acorns 3

So easy to make…

chocolate peanut butter acornsand even more sweet to eat!

chocolate peanut butter acorns 1

I simply used chocolate icing in a tube to “glue” Nutter Butter Bites to Hershey’s Kisses and topped with a Nestle Mini Morsel Chocolate Chip.

(I’ve also seen these done with mini Nilla Wafers if you’re not a big peanut butter fan, but I think these are way yummier! 🙂 )

Voila! A fun, easy, and sweet treat!

Cheers & Hugs,