Klaus the Mouse in Alabama

Klaus the Mouse in Alabama.

This past Thanksgiving weekend, I received the sweetest note, along with this adorable picture of 5 year old Eli, from my blogging friend Jenna at The Painted Apron.

Jenna’s note said,

“My grands love reading your book!”

Eli’s favorite is Rooty the Rooster!”

Eli – besides the fact that you are handsome enough to be in movies,
you surely warmed my heart hearing these words and seeing your photo!

And I have to admit….
Rooty is one of my faves too!

Thanks for sharing with me, Jenna, and making my day!

I love hearing about my little book being shared and bringing smiles from Mars to Alabama.

And if you love reading about new recipes, fun decorating tips, and creative art, you will so enjoy Jenna’s blog.  I hope you will check it out and follow along with me.  Tell her “Jodi sent you.”  🙂  She also has a great Society 6 Shop where she sells her artwork in fun, creative ways.

If you would like your own copy of Klaus the Mouse or would like it for holiday gift giving, it is now available at Amazon with two-day shipping for Prime members!  I tested it out and it works – came in two days!

Cock a doodle dooty!

Cheers & Hugs,


Cranberry Jalapeno Holiday Dip

Cranberry Jalapeno Holiday Dip.

When I was asked to bring an appetizer to my new Daughter-in-Law, Liz’s family Thanksgiving, I knew I had to make this after being told by my BFF, Jill that everyone was “jonesing it” when she made it for a party.

First I had to laugh at our 50+ year old selves using urban slang, then I had to make it and see if it was so!

Well – Yep!  It was a hit! One sister asked if the recipe was on the blog, because she wanted it (here it is Laura!), and another said she normally doesn’t like salsas, but she really liked it.

It is sweet, and it is spicy. It is crunchy, and it is creamy. All of this in a bite!

Thumbs up from all, except for hubby, who said it was… meh… He preferred the other appetizer I made – Pumpkin Pecan Baked Brie – which was pretty amazing too!

But will you make this and let me know and prove him wrong? <wink>

So secret revealed here.  I did not take pictures of the batch I made for Thanksgiving, so I made it again this past week just to get pictures <whistles and rolls eyes… not owning up to the fact that I ate a quarter of it for lunch one day…..>

And guess what else I did with it this week?  I made a leftover cold turkey sandwich and slathered some of this on the Smart Bun first.  YUM!  Who knew it would make a great turkey sandwich spread too??!!

This will be a hit at any holiday gathering, and it is so easy and pretty!  Here is the recipe as I slightly tweaked from a recipe I found through Pinterest:

Cranberry Jalapeno Holiday Dip

Ingredients:1 12oz. bag fresh cranberries

  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup sliced jalapeno pepper slices in a jar (or 1-2 fresh if you like it HOT!)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1 fresh lemon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 16 oz. cream cheese, softened


Chop cranberries (I used the Pampered Chef Food Chopper, and it worked wonderfully, but you can also chop by hand.  Do not put in a food processor as they will become too mushy), and place in a medium bowl.  Add chopped green onions, jalapenos, cilantro, lemon juice, salt, and sugar, and stir gently, but well.

Cover, and let refrigerate overnight.

When ready to serve, strain or squeeze liquid from cranberry relish.

Spread cream cheese in bottom of a pie plate or serving dish.  Top with cranberry relish mixture.

Serve with crackers, tortilla chips, pita chips, celery sticks, or your favorite “dipper.”

Enjoy, and let me know if you and your friends are jonesing it too!

Cheers & Hugs,

Dear Music

Dear Music,

Thank you for lifting my spirits.
Thank you for reminding me of sweet memories.
Thank you for speaking to me when all other words fail.

Thank you for making me dance – even if only in my heart.
Thank you for making me sing – even if off key.
Thank you for taking me places I might never go.

Thank you for expressing the inexpressible.
Thank you for your healing power.
Thank you for letting me hear the voices of angels.

Cheers & Hugs,


Cyber Monday at McKinneyX2Designs

McKinneyX2Designs at Mars Holiday Craft Show 2017

McKinneyX2Designs at Mars Holiday Craft Show 2017

Cyber Monday at McKinneyX2Designs.

It’s Cyber Monday!  The most popular day for online holiday shopping.  Cyber Monday follows Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.  So many shopping terms!

‘Tis the season!

Will you be cyber shopping today?

Well, my daughter-in-law, Colleen and I thought we would get in on the action too by offering a 10% discount on anything available in our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy Shop as our little holiday gift to you!

Use Promo Code “Cyber10” when placing your order to assure the discount!

Will you be cyber shopping today?

Happy Shopping!

McKinneyX2Designs at Mars Holiday Craft Show 2017

McKinneyX2Designs at Mars Holiday Craft Show 2017

Cheers & Hugs,

P.S.  Speaking of Daughters-in-law and specials, my DIL Liz offers FREE 15-minute Nutritionist Phone Consultations to those local to the Mars/Pittsburgh area who are interested in learning about healthy decisions for eating well.  Her areas of expertise include:  digestive health complaints including SIBO, IBS, IBD (Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s), and GERD, Autoimmune conditions, Natural Hormone Balance, and General Health and Weight Management.  Check out Nourish & Flourish for more details.



Have you seen this movie?

After a busy few days this wonderfully long holiday weekend, hubby and I settled in by a warm fire, Christmas tree lights lit (yep – I put it up this weekend), pizza delivered from our favorite shop in Mars (Posti’s – Bacon, Onions, Mushrooms on hubby’s half, and extra cheese!), and a tall pour of red wine, and we watched one of the most amazing movies I’ve seen in a long time – Lion.

I really had no idea what it was about, which is unusual for me when watching a movie.  Hubby always gets exasperated when I want to pick the Friday night movie at home.  My routine begins with scrolling through the entire list available on Pay Per View and Netflix’s new releases.  When I find a title that appeals, I go to my iphone or laptop to google the movie and read the synopsis and reviews.  When I finally choose one (about a half hour later), it is usually not the best movie…. I fall asleep halfway in… and hubby ends up watching it and waking me at the end to go to bed.

But Lion is one our youngest son has mentioned a few times as one he thought we would really enjoy, so when I began scrolling and came to the title, I simply chose it – no synopsis – no review – no clue what it was about – just figuring it was about a Lion.

Ha! Not about a lion in the way I thought.

First of all…. Dev Patel.   (happy sigh) Such a gorgeous, gentle, sweet-spirited actor and human being.  You may remember him from Slumdog Millionaire and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (two other wonderful movies if you haven’t seen them).

Second… the cinematography!

Third…  the story!  A TRUE story.

I think many of us will relate on different levels, but for me, I could relate to being “lost.”  Maybe not in the same way Saroo was, but nonetheless “lost.”  I can also relate to the reunion, the brotherly love, and adoption.

But what I was completely blown away by (and driven to unstoppable tears in the end), was the powerful spirit of this 5-year old boy who survived his ordeal, and then his journey at the end of the movie (which I don’t want to spoil for you), so I won’t say what happened.

I can’t imagine anyone who would not be touched and inspired or their heart warmed and literally nourished by this movie.

Take some time, and give yourself the gift of this movie.

And then, if you feel so inspired, you can give a gift to help the over 80,000 children who go missing in India each year by donating to the #LionHeart Campaign.   The #LionHeart Campaign has collaborated with extraordinary organizations working on the ground to protect children in India and around the world. Contributions will provide critical financial support to enable the charitable organizations of Magic Bus, Childline India, and Railway Children India to do even more.

Cheers & Hugs,


Cheesy Bacon Ranch “Crack” Dip

Cheesy Bacon Ranch “Crack” Dip.

It’s party food time of year!

Time for dips and spreads, puffs and cups, hors d’oeuvres and crudites, balls and logs… Time for bits and bites in every color and shape and flavor.

When you are looking for an easy, crazy addictive, crowd-pleasing recipe, give this warm, cheesy, bacony, ranchy dip a go.

It’s sure to be a hit!

Cheesy Bacon Ranch Crack Dip


  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened (I used 1/3 Less Fat)
  • 16 oz. sour cream (I used Light)
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 lb. bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions (reserve a few for garnish)
  • 2 Tbsp. (or one 1oz. envelope) Ranch Dressing mix


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients in bowl, reserving a bit of cheddar cheese and a few green onion slices for garnish.

Transfer dip to a pretty oven-proof serving bowl, fand back 20-25 minutes, uncovered until browned and bubbly.

Remove from oven, and immediately garnish with reserved shredded cheddar cheese and green onions.

Serve warm with tortilla chips, pretzel sticks, carrot or celery sticks, crackers, or your favorite dipper.


Cheers & Hugs,



Getting Ready for Christmas in Mars

Getting Ready for Christmas in Mars.

Where else can you find a 40 foot Christmas tree
ready for lights and balls and tinsel and a star…

next to a spaceship and across from Mars Bank
in town square?

There’s no place like home
in Mars, PA…

where celebrating Christmas
is “out of this world!”

Cheers & Hugs,

A Hymn of Grateful Praise

For the beauty of the earth... For the Glory of the Skies

For the beauty of the earth… For the Glory of the Skies

A Hymn of Grateful Praise.

For the beauty of the earth…
For the glory of the skies.

For the beauty of each hour…
Of the day and of the night.

For the joy of human love…
A hymn of grateful praise.

Sometimes there are just no better words
than those of classic hymns.

On this Thanksgiving Day,
I am grateful for all of this and more.

Cheers & Hugs,


First Snow

First Snow - 11/19/17 - Mars, PA

First Snow – 11/19/17 – Mars, PA

First Snow.

There’s just something
about the first snow of the season…

That first snow that sticks to the ground and trees –
even if just a briefly passing dusting.

Especially when it happens on
a late Sunday afternoon.

And when it appears suddenly –
as if it wanted to be a special surprise.

And when you are settling in by a warm, crackling fire
in comfy home sweet home.

Cherish the Moments.

Cheers & Hugs,