I’ve been asked to be a “Designer”

Birthdays are for the Birds!   Child Birthday Card  Punch Art   SU Bloom with Hope

My Most Pinned Card on Pinterest – Birthdays are for the Birds!

How about that?  Pretty exciting stuff – eh? (at least in my little corner of the world)

I am so honored to be asked and super excited to participate as a Guest Designer for the next three months at ThePaperPlayers.

SUO 114 Dots Big Day

My second most pinned card on Pinterest – Dots Big Day Birthday Card

The Paper Players is a fun community of artsy crafty paper peeps who love to stamp or draw or paint handmade paper crafts.  The design team is a group of amazingly talented, inspiring individuals that are as kind and encouraging as they are artistic.  They truly embody creating HeARTwork!

I originally discovered The Paper Players when I started stamping, and for those that have been with me here a while know this is a weekly challenge I often participate in – – – and have actually won a few times!

I added "Jodi McKinney" to an #inlinkz linkup!https://lifeinbetween.me/2014/09/14/the-colors-of-fall/

One of my winning cards

I will be creating one card per week as “inspiration” for the challenge in hopes that others will join in and play along.

I hope some of you that love or would like to try paper crafting will check it out and join in with us weekly or as you like from time to time.

Stampinup By the Tide

One of my faves – Stamin Up By the Tide Hello There Card

The guidelines are very simple:

1. Create a new paper or digital project.
2. Upload your creation to your blog with a link back to ThePaperPlayers. (Please provide a direct link to the post featuring your challenge entry as opposed to you blog home page.)
3. We also ask that you link your project to no more than three challenges.
4. Have fun! 

Wish me luck, and I hope this inspires YOU to do more of what makes YOU Happy!

Happy Life Stampinup Watercolor Technique

Happy Life Watercolor Card


Cheers & Hugs,



Family Teamwork Raising Baby Cardinal

The circle of life goes on.

Monday was one of the saddest days I’ve had since I began blogging.

But at the same time we experienced a great loss in our family, we also have the joy of watching this sweet little family that built their nest right outside our bedroom window.

Don’t you love the teamwork?!  (I hope you enlarge to watch this “riveting” video in full screen).

Baby cardinal was 8 days old here.  When Momma didn’t have anything for her to eat….

Poppa to the rescue!  What do you think that green thing is???

And did you see how quickly it went through Baby?  LOL!

How many more days till Baby flies the coop?

As you might have noticed, Baby is an only child.  There is still a lonely little egg in the nest that just doesn’t seem like it is going to hatch.

The circle of life.

It is a beautiful, sad, happy, joy-filled experience.

Cheers & Hugs,


His Love Will Live in our Hearts Forever

first mate

In my job as a Director of  Corporate Communications for Hospice and Home Health, I know all the right things to write… to say… to do… when explaining the journey at end of life and the experience of loss and grieving.

But when it is your own grief, it is quite different.

Yesterday, which was a day that filled my heart to overflowing with all of your kind words and comments and love on my One-Year Blogiversary, we also experienced a great deal of grief.  We lost our best friend, our furry son, our first mate, our floor cleaner-upper, our company greeter, our deer chaser, our lap warmer, our walk companion, our dinner moocher, our tomato caper culprit, my first watercolor portrait inspiration, my sweet guest blogger….

Mikey – you have forever changed our lives.  Your spirit will live within us always.

You taught us unconditional love and exuberance over the little things.  You brought us humor and warmth and showed us the joy in a simple walk or a brief ride.

Your eyes had been telling me for a little while now, but I didn’t want to admit that though your heart and mind were strong, your body was ravaged by that ugly “C” word and causing you more pain than you deserved to endure.

From the moment your eyes locked with your Dad’s at the animal shelter that rescued you from being destroyed well before your job on this earth was done, to the day your eyes pleaded for relief, you were loved and you gave more than you received.

We are a better family, and I am a better person for having you in my life.

As your big brother Jake said, you are now in the ground giving back again.  Your beautiful cells and spirit will nourish the grounds you tromped and protected and frolicked in and create the beauty that was you.

Dad said you can now chase all the chippies and deer and squirrels you want without pain.

And brother Nick finally admits you ARE a GOOD boy… the BEST boy… the BEST Dog we were privileged to have as part of our family.  (You always knew he was just teasing you, and you simply loved him back!)

We are so sad, and we miss you so much, but we are happy for your relief.  

Thank you, my sweetness, for all that you gave us.

Rest in Peace, Sweet Mikey…

Or run like the wild wind.

Your love will live in our hearts forever.


One Lucky Momma

Thank You @ My One Year Blogiversary

PP245 Pleasant Poppies Lots of Thanks

On May 18, 2014, I wrote my very first blog post at LifeinBetween.me.  I imagine many of you weren’t with me then…

I just re-read it – and found a TYPO!  Ugh!  I thought about correcting it, but then…. it is what it is…  (Can you find it?)

PP245 Pleasant Poppies Lots of Thanks 3

I’ve posted every day for the past year, and I can’t believe how much I have enjoyed it.  I can’t believe the wonderful friends who have followed me through this and the wonderful friends I have made along the way.

PP245 Pleasant Poppies Lots of Thanks 2

THANK YOU, my 1,150+ friends at LifeInBetween.me for sharing this journey with me!

To thank YOU, I’d like to give away this card I made in honor of the occasion.

It’s not much, but it is from my HeART.

Here’s the plan….

Add a comment to this post letting me know what you enjoy most about LifeInBetween.Me.

Is it the recipes?  the cards?  the “art”work/crafting?   photography?  poetry/writing?  personal stories…?

PP245 Pleasant Poppies Lots of Thanks 4

To all those that comment, I will randomly draw one name to send this blank card to so that you can use it to send to someone to thank them for a thoughtful gesture.

I will allow a few days for comments and draw a winner on Friday.

I had so much fun making this card on a rainy Sunday morning.  I didn’t know where I was going with it or how it was going to turn out, but it evolved into a card I love.

Not only was I inspired by my desire to thank all of you, but The Paper Players Challenge is for a “girly” thank you card, and the Can You Case It Challenge was for May flowers, so I am entering this card into both of these “challenges.”

pp245   CYCI70-300x217





For this card, I used the StampinUp Pleasant Poppies Stamp stamped on Typeset Designer Series Paper with Black Stazon Ink, which I “watercolored” with an aqua paint brush using Tangelo Twist, Real Red, and Old Olive Inks.  The sentiment is from StampinUp’s Lots of Thanks stamp set.  I embellished with some linen thread, an antique button, some olive candy dots and a lace doily.  I also used my favorite Lil’ Inkers Stitched Rectangles Die Cut to create the “stiched” rectangles.

I am a StampinUp Hobby Demonstrator, so if you are interested in learning more about StampinUp or ordering products, feel free to let me know.

PP245 Pleasant Poppies Lots of Thanks

Thank you all for a wonderful year of blogging at lifeinbetween.me.  I look forward to sharing more in the coming year, and I hope you will share your thoughts with me.

Cheers & Hugs,


A Navy Commissioning Day

PP244 World Map Traveler Sea Street and Paper Smooches Sentiment

Today we are celebrating “our” youngest “McHendy” son.

For those of you that know me or have been following along at LifeInBetween.me for a while know that our family has an extended BFF family – our “chosen” family – the Hendersons.  Together we had six kids – two McKinneys and four Hendersons.  We now have eight as two have married, so we have one more McKinney (our amazing daughter-in-law) and one more Henderson (which is actually Kallis now) in our McHendy son-in-law who we also love.

The oldest is Jake McKinney and the youngest is Jake Henderson, so we fondly refer to them as Big Jake and Baby Jake.  (And just for a fun point to know – if Baby Jake was a girl, his name was going to be Jodi – so we have a very special bond.)

Baby Jake just graduated from Penn State this week, and today he is being commissioned into the Navy.  We are so proud of him and are so happy to be celebrating this special day with him.

So today’s card is for our Baby Jake.

The ship (from the StampinUp – SU – Traveler stamp set) represents his Navy branch.  The world map stamped background (SU World Map stamp) represents all the places he may go and see and how the whole world is at his fingertips and ahead of him for his future.  The anchor (from SU Sea Street stamp set) not only represents the Navy, but the anchor of support he has from us – his extended McKinney family, so that he knows we are and always will be here for him.

The colors I chose were for the Color Challenge at The Paper Players Challenge this week:  PP#244.

pp244So here’s to you Jake!

Jill and Jake

“Baby” Jake & His Beautiful Mom, My BFF, Jill

With much pride and hugs and love,

Momma M

Foodie Dice – Shrimp Asparagus Pasta

foodie dice fish spring dinner

Have you seen them yet??

Foodie Dice!  A fun way to make cooking an adventure instead of a chore.  Roll the dice, using the appropriate seasonal veggie die (there are four – Spring, Summer, Winter, and Fall) along with the other five to create an exciting new combination for dinner.

How fun is that?!

foodie dice shrimp asparagus pasta

I originally discovered Foodie Dice through Instagram when THEY started following ME!  (How about that?!)  I checked out their website, and was completely smitten!

asparagus roasted

I mean… why didn’t I think of this???!!!  A creative way to inspire new combinations for dinner.

asparagus cut

And what a great, fun gift for the foodies on your gift list?!


So I wrote to the Foodie Dice people and told them what a great idea I thought they had and how fun I felt their product was.  I told them about my blog and asked if they would send me some Foodie Dice to feature here.  They were kind enough to oblige.

green onions
So I am THRILLED to share my first roll of the Foodie Dice and the dinner I created.

foodie dice play with your food

And guess what?  It’s just for fun and inspiration, so if you roll something that you don’t have or don’t like, just roll again!  It’s all about inspiration and creativity and fun!

foodie dice fish spring dinner
So when I rolled quinoa, I knew I was going to have to roll that die again…

Not because I don’t love quinoa, but my guys are not fans…

No problem.

Rolled it again, and hit the jackpot with pasta.

So here is what I created Wednesday for dinner.  It was DELISH!

shrimp asparagus pasta

Shrimp & Asparagus Pasta with Dill & Lemon

Ingredients:shrimp asparagus pasta

1 lb. thin spaghetti
1 lb. large shrimp
12-14 asparagus spears
2 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
6-8 green onions, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tsp chopped dill
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, optional

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly coat asparagus with 1 Tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast asparagus for 8-9 minutes. Cut into 1 inch pieces and set aside.

Do same with red pepper strips and green onions.

In a large skillet, saute garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil and butter just until translucent. Add shrimp and cook until just done. Sprinkle with lemon juice, lemon zest and dill. Stir in roasted veggies.

Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions.

When pasta is al dente, toss with veggies and shrimp, and serve immediately

Be sure to check out Foodie Dice for the foodies and the non-foodies in your life.  It is sure to provide great fun!

Cheers & Hugs,


Laura had a little Lamb & Doodling

pink lamb baby card watercolor

When I heard the news and saw the beautiful photo of a dear young lady’s sweet baby girl who was born this week (and made our sweet Liz an Aunt), I couldn’t wait to make a card.

And for some reason, I kept thinking, “Laura (that’s Momma’s name) had a little lamb.”  (You don’t want in my head – eh?!)

I had seen a cute cartoon drawing of a lamb I thought I’d draw and just add some watercolor too.  It had to be pink of course!  🙂  Get ready Laura – everything is going to be pink for a while!  And oh what fun!

I used a Micron pen to outline the shape and make it stand out.   (Thanks for the great recommendation, Laura!  They are glorious to draw with!)

In fact, I liked drawing with them so much, I did this silly little doodle at about midnight the other evening – just not wanting to quit.

Midnight Doodling  All You Need is Love

Does what you mindlessly doodle speak to what you are thinking?  I guess I was filled with love <3.  So I made it into a card…

Cheers & Doodley Hugs,


Watercolor Week 7 – Mikey

watercolor mikey

For this week’s watercolor experiment, I decided to try to paint one of my favorite creatures on the planet – my furry son, Mikey.

Mikey head shot

I used this photo from Mikey’s recent guest post as my inspiration.

Gosh I love this little guy so much!

How did I ever become one of “those” people that oogle and google over their dog?!

I guess when I realized how much joy a pet can bring to your life.

If I leave the house for five minutes or five days, I get the same excited greeting – like I am the best thing that ever happened to him and he is so happy to see me.

Sadly, Mikey has cancer, and we are not sure how much longer he will be with us.  He is slowing down every single day.  And every day, I tell him how much I love him and what a good boy he is at least 10 more times than the day before.

Maybe he will surprise us and rally, but for now, we are enjoying every single day we are given to enjoy this precious creature that loves like none other.   And not only us – but every person that comes to our home – from the UPS man who bring him cookies to the mailman who is not allowed to give cookies, but always gives him at least two minutes of ear scratches and chin rubs, to every visitor that sits on our living room couch who is almost certain to have Mikey jump in their lap for at least a few minutes (to make them feel welcome of course!).

We “rescued” Mikey from the humane society about seven and a half years ago, where he was living after being saved from a “kill” shelter in another state.  He is a “mutt” in terms of dog definition – guesses are part beagle and part Jack Russell.  But I think what really happened is Mikey rescued us – not the other way around.  He has shown us pure unconditional love and joy and gratitude and gratefulness and goodness.

I wish I could have done his beautiful spirit better justice, but I don’t think I have it in me to redo.  I don’t have the ability to capture his beautiful spirit just yet.  But it is in my heart, and that is a gift I will cherish forever.

mikey watercolor

So here’s to Mikey – the best ever!

Cheers & Hugs,