Apricot Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies


Do you love buttery shortbread as much as I do?
Add a dab of apricot jam and a drizzle of icing, and O M G!


I wanted to bake one more batch of Christmas cookies and wanted them to be something with apricot for hubby as it is one of his faves.

I usually make Apricot Kolaches, which we love, but I just ran out of time and energy to make them this year.  When I found this recipe for Apricot Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies at Little Spice Jar, I thought I would give them a try.  No rolling, no folding, no pinching, less time, less work, and all the ingredients that that make yumminess for a Christmas cookie is a winner in my book.


If you are still baking and still looking for that last amazing, delicious, beautiful cookie, here is a great recipe for you to try!

Apricot Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies


  • 2  cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups flour
  • 10-12 oz jar apricot filling or preserves
  • Glaze:
    • 2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
    • 2 Tbsp half & half or milk
    • 2 tsp vanilla


Cream butter and sugar in electric mixer 1-2 minutes.  Add egg yolks and mix completely.  Add vanilla.  With mixer on low speed, add flour slowly and mix until dough forms.

Place dough in airtight container or Ziploc bag and chill for at least 4 hours.

Heat oven to 350.

Roll dough into tablespoon-sized balls.  Place on backing stone or cookie sheet, and bake 3 minutes.  Remove from oven and carefully indent center with your thumb.  Add 1/4 – 1/2 tsp apricot filling.  Return to oven for approximately 12 minutes.

Allow to cool for 30 minutes.

Prepare glaze by stirring powdered sugar, half & half and vanilla until smooth.  Pour into small baggie.  Snip small corner of baggie.  Squeeze gently to pipe in stripes on cookies.


Cheers & Hugs,

*recipe originally found at Little Spice Jar

A Rule of Life


“Those of us
who are warm and dry
and safe and well-fed
must show up for those
who are cold and wet
and endangered and hungry.
That’s a rule of life.
Every ethical and religious and spiritual
tradition in the world
agrees on that rule.”

-Elizabeth Gilbert

The true spirit of the season is not in simply buying gifts,
but in giving and doing what we can for those in need.


Cheers & Hugs,



Just Be


Snowy Pine Tree Way, Mars, PA – December, 2016

Just be…

whatever it is
you were meant to be.

Just be.

During this time of year, so many of us push ourselves beyond what any human is capable of doing.
Others suffer with stinging depression because their life is not like the “Hallmark” Christmas card or movie.
Remember to just be…
It’s okay…
It is actually more than okay!
It is what you are meant to be.
Let it go – let it be – and just be.

Cheers & Hugs,

A Christmas Cookie Exchange Party


My sweet daughter-in-law never ceases to amaze me!  With a brand-new baby, she still managed to pull off the loveliest of Christmas Cookie Exchange parties this past weekend.  I am so proud of her.  I love that she values creating traditions and memories for her family…. and admire that she does it on a few hours’ sleep each night!

This year, three new babies attended the party.  Although our granddaughter is the first grandie on our side, she is the fourth on her other side – three of which were born this year!   What a joyful occasion.

Of course no cookie exchange party is complete without a hot cocoa bar (oldest nephew’s fave – especially when stirred vigorously with peppermint candy cane sticks).  And my daughter-in-law’s s’mores cookies made it even more special.


And don’t veggies taste better when shaped into a Christmas tree on the platter?


And cheese and sausage on a bed of aromatic rosemary shaped into a wreath?


Deviled eggs are more festive, too, when dyed red and green.


There is nothing like Christmas through the eyes of children and passing down traditions.


Lovin’ from the oven!  The best kind.


Cheers & Hugs,

Bacon Cheese Ball Bites


Are you looking for a fun party treat?

Everybody loves a good cheese ball, but how about bite-sized appetizer cheese ball bites?


Mini individual cheese ball bites rolled in bacon, chopped pecans and scallions and served on a pretzel stick.


Enjoy this fun party appetizer for the holidays!

Bacon Cheese Ball Bites


  • 2 8-oz. blocks cream cheese
  •  1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. smoky paprika
  • 1 lb. bacon, finely chopped and cooked
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • Pretzel sticks (approx. 24)


Blend together cream cheese, cheddar cheese, garlic powder and paprika.  Roll into approxiately 30-40 small balls using approximately 1/2 tsp. of mixture.  Refrigerate approximately 1 hour until firm.

Mix together cooked chopped bacon, green onions, and pecans in a shallow bowl or plate.

Roll balls in bacon mixture.  Insert a pretzel stick into each ball.


Cheers & Hugs,

Creating a Nursery at Grandma’s House


I am having so much fun creating a nursery at “Grandma’s house” for our new granddaughter.


A sweet little haven for her to rest if I ever decide to let her out of my arms when she is at our home!


I promised I’d show you how I turned bumper pads into a window treatment valance.  Didn’t it turn out great?!


Almost everything in this room was a passed on from a friend, was given as a gift, is something I made, or something I re-purposed.

Thanks to our friends Sue and Rodney for “gifting” us with this beautiful crib they had outgrown from their two beautiful granddaughters.


And thanks to our BFFs Jill and Todd who gifted us with this beautiful rocking chair when we learned we were going to become grandparents.  (Hope you don’t mind I painted and distressed it!)


And thanks to our sweet Joyce and “Oh Rob” for this darling antique child’s art desk with paper roll that will be so fun in coming years!


And a dear friend, Diane, who sent this sweet little hanging pillow months before our granddaughter arrived, but made me wait until her birth to open (and I really did!).  What truth there is in this message!  What joy!


I’m looking forward to reading many, many books – over and over and over – in the years to come.


And playing with the basket of toys generously passed down from a sweet friend and incredible young Mom, Stefanie.


Sometimes I just walk into this room and smile… thinking of the memories that are going to be created and the love that is already there from the sharing of so many.

I remember the days when this was a little boy’s room with blue marbled walls and baseball trophies.  I reminisce about the two boys who shared a wall between their rooms and secrets I still don’t know about…  Two boys who were best buddies when they were little, didn’t like each other very much when they were teenagers, and are back to being each other’s “bests” as young adults.

Creating a nursery at Grandma’s house…
It is so very much
home sweet home.

Cheers & Hugs,


Revised Christmas To Do List

My Revised Christmas To Do List – I posted it last December and also the year before.

It is a great reminder every year around this time for all of us.

With only 10 days left until Christmas Eve (which to me is just as special a day  as Christmas Day), let’s not get caught up in what is not important.

I know I could.

I still have gifts to buy, let alone have anything wrapped.  I’ve barely baked, haven’t written or sent out cards yet….  The list of things I have not done yet could go on.

But the older I get, the less it matters.

I am going to cocentrate on the revised list…

I want to focus on being present, giving hugs, sending love, taking time for and with the people I love and myself.

Will you try too?

Cheers & Hugs,


Quick & Easy Vegetable Lo Mein


What do you make when you have A LOT of leftover spaghetti?

I made this super quick and easy vegetable lo mein last night while baking cookies for an upcoming cookie exchange.


Are you like me and have a hard time judging how much spaghetti to cook?

Our youngest son came over Sunday, so I made one of his favorite chicken dishes, Pepperoni Chicken.  I wanted to make sure to make enough extra so he could take a meal or two home with him, so I got a teensy bit carried away and made two pounds of whole wheat spaghetti.

After I filled a gallon Ziploc bag about 2/3 full and he started calling “halt” to any more, I realized I still had half of what I made left.


Since I had some leftover cut up veggies, tossing them together and making a quick sauce, made this dinner come together in about 10 minutes!  Can’t beat that – right?

You could really use any vegetables you have on hand.  Here is how I made mine.  Use it as a base recipe to flex to your taste!  I imagine mushroom lovers would totally enjoy them thrown in.  Want a protein?  Add some leftover chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp.  I’ll bet some steamed broccoli or fresh green beans and/or sliced sweet peppers would be great too!  You could even toss in some water chestnuts or peanuts, walnuts, or sliced almonds.

Quick & Easy Vegetable Lo Mein


  • 1/2-1 lb spaghetti (I used whole wheat)
  • 2 Tbsp oil (olive, sesame, canola or vegetable)
  • 1/2 sweet onion chopped
  • 1 cup shredded or chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup green peas
  • Sauce – Whisk together:
    • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 Tbsp teriyaki sauce
    • 2 Tbsp honey
    • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
    • Dash Sriracha hot sauce


Heat oil in stir fry skillet.  Add vegetables and cook 3-5 minutes until crisp-tender.  Add spaghetti and sauce.  Cook until heated through 1-2 minutes.

That’s it!  Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,

My First Portrait Subject in Watercolor


My Sweet C – 8 x 10 watercolor – 300 lb Artistico Fabriano

I am typically a more “impressionist” style amateur watercolor artist.  (At least that is what I consider myself.)  I don’t necessarily try to exactly replicate something, but more try to interpret my impression of how it makes me feel.

As many of you know, I am a new grandma for the first time, and ECSTATIC doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about that!

So you are probably not surprised that the first subject I chose to attempt a watercolor portrait of is my sweet little granddaughter.

I didn’t do her beauty justice, but the process of looking at her picture and painting her brought me a lot of joy.  It was a fun experiment.  I was hoping it would be nice enough to give to my son and daughter-in-law for a Christmas gift framed, but I am not happy enough with how it turned out, so that idea didn’t work out.

I decided to post it anyway, though, as my first watercolor portrait.  Hopefully I will look back some day and compare it to something much better.

My sweet granddaughter, on the other hand, is absolutely perfect!

Cheers & Hugs,