Being a Best Friend: A Charlie Dog Guest Post


Charlie and his best friend Jaeger, February, 2017 – Mars, PA

Being a Best Friend:  A Charlie Dog Guest Post.

Here are some things I have learned about being a best friend.  I hope you find these helpful:

  • Always act like it has been a hundred trillion years since you’ve last seen each other (even if it’s only been a day)!  Run around like maniacs and chase each other and jump all over each other.  It shows how much you’ve missed them and love them.
  • Share your “stuff” (including your donuts and bones and balls) – even if it is difficult – and its even okay to play tug with them for a while, but always take turns giving in.
  • Share your food and drink – more will always be provided.
  • Invite them into your home – and visit their home too (even if you have to sneak!)
  • Love each other’s families – they are the ones who helped make them the way they are.
  • Tell each other secrets (use secret signals and languages if necessary), and make sure you keep them secrets.
  • Take walks together – its good exercise and company.

These are just a few things I have learned along the way since I met my new best friend about a year ago when he moved into my neighborhood.  Jaeger (that’s my best friend’s name) is a year younger than me even though he is bigger.  Isn’t he handsome?  I love Jaeger, and he loves me.  We are best friends.

Mom tells me that to have a best friend you have to be one, so I try really hard.

Everyone needs at least one best friend.  I’m glad I have Jaeger.

Woofs & Wags,

Charlie is an adopted dog with brown eyes and a white-tipped tail who brings joy and laughter to his family and friends.  Charlie is a gifted writer, raving food critic, cat, chipmunk, and donut lover, and exceptionally photogenic model.  Some of his best friends are Mike the UPS Man, Cliff the Mailman, Jaeger the neighbor dog, and ANYONE who delivers pizza to the house.   If you would like to read more guest posts by Charlie, simply type “Charlie” into the Search box at the top right hand corner of this link:   If you would enjoy a companion like Charlie, please consider pet adoption.

Buttermints and Besties


How to Identify a True “Bestie”

When you are in about the sixth hour of and on the twelfth pound of powdered sugar making a couple thousand homemade butter mints for a friend’s wedding, and you have sugar sticking to awkward parts of your body and every square inch of your kitchen…

a true “Bestie” (who you haven’t seen for three months) shows up, washes her hands, washes the dishes in the sink, cleans your Kitchen Aid Mixer cleaner than it has been in years, and then starts rolling butter and sugar with you…

even when you insist she just sits and keeps you company……

That, my friends, is what you call a “Bestie!

janet and jodi feb 15

Jodi & Janet – Sanibel Island, FL – February, 2015

I am blessed with a few of the best besties ever, including my sweet Janet, who has put up with me since we were 12 years old.  Her parents have adopted me as their daughter, her sisters have made me their sister.  My hubby and boys love her as much as I do.

What more could I ask for?!

Yep – Buttermints and Besties – that sums up my Saturday – doesn’t get any better…

Love you, Janet!  Thank you!

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

Comfort Food & Best Friends: Homemade Potato Soup & Crusty Bread

My BFF was coming for dinner one night this week, and I wanted to make one of her favorites.  Jill loves creamy potato soup, especially on these cold winter evenings, so I was excited to make it for her to enjoy for dinner with Marty and I since her hubby is out of town.  How lucky for me to get to have extra time with her!!!

HoI found a recipe for Crockpot Potato Soup and thought that would be perfect – I could prep it in the morning, let it cook while I work, then finish it up after work and enjoy the evening with Jill.

So I started peeling and dicing the potatoes.  The recipe called for 3 to 3 1/2 lbs, but I decided to double it to assure there would be plenty leftover for Jill to have for the rest of the week to take for lunch or have for dinner at home.

potato soup 1

And as a side note:  Marty would be so proud that I actually used the vegetable peeler tool to peel all 7 lbs. of potatoes!  What a hassle!  I usually just use a paring knife to be quicker, but I do waste an awful lot that way…   I had a bag of red potatoes and several loose russet and Yukon Golds.  I used every single one of them.

potato soup 2

Then I chopped two wonderfully large sweet Vidalia onions.   I’m not the best chopper/dicer.  I just don’t have the patience to “finely” chop or dice.  Marty and Jake are so much more precise.  I like to refer to my style of chopping as “rustic.”  Doesn’t that sound so much more artistic and purposeful than “too lazy to bother?”  🙂

Next the recipe called for chicken broth.  I didn’t have any canned or boxed, but I did have chicken base, which makes a wonderful and much less expensive broth.

potato soup 3

Since I was doubling the recipe, I needed 10 cups of chicken broth.

potato soup 4

Well – I have a pretty large crockpot, but wasn’t thinking straight (Disclaimer:  it was like 7:30 am, and I was only on my first cup of coffee), so 7 lbs. of diced potatoes and 10 cups of chicken broth…. well – not happening in the crock pot…. And there was more to add….

The recipe didn’t call for garlic, but c’mon – what savory dish doesn’t taste better with some freshly minced garlic in it?  Again – note the “rustic” mincing job I do with my garlic…

potato soup 7

And just because I had it – – and because it is yummy – – – I wanted to throw in some fresh “rustically” chopped rosemary and sage.  Oh the wonderful aroma!!!!

potato soup 8

So before I had a huge mess, I dumped it all in a LARGE pot – way too large – but whatever – it fit – and too big is better than too small (for soup pots)!

potato soup 6

Next – the recipe called for a cup of evaporated milk.   I had one can.  I needed 2 cups (doubling – remember?)  One can does NOT equal two cups….

potato soup 5

… so I just filled the remaining half cup with Half and Half.  I dumped poured it in the pot, then added a dash of salt and pepper.

According to the crockpot recipe, this is all to simmer on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours…. I put a lid on the pot, set the burner to simmer, and it only took about an hour of simmering for the potatoes to be fully cooked and soft.  So it just sat there (and the flavors melded) for the day once done.

After work, when I was ready to finish the soup, I melted 2/3 cup butter in a medium saucepan.  Once melted, I whisked in 2/3 cup flour and cooked for a couple minutes.  I then whisked in 4 cups of the potato soup broth.

potato soup 9This was then added to the big pot and cooked for about 10 minutes.  While that was cooking, I fried up a pound of sliced bacon, chopped a handlful of green onions, and grated some cheddar cheese.

potato soup 10I stirred half the bacon, onion and cheese into the pot, along with a cup of sour cream…

potato soup 11I reserved the rest of the bacon, green onions and cheese for garnishing on top of the soup.

potato soup 13

And because nothing goes better with warm, creamy soup than rustic crusty homemade bread, I made a loaf for dunkin’.  (You can find the recipe for this super-easy, no-knead, three ingredient crusty bread here from a previous post.)

potato soup 12We filled and warmed our bellies, and then……  the best part….. my favorite holiday show was on!  RUDOLPH the Red-Nosed Reindeer!  And I got to watch it with my bestie!

And Jill got to take a big container home to enjoy for the rest of the week.  It was a pretty great Tuesday! 🙂

Here is the recipe (the SINGLE recipe that FITS in the crockpot!) as posted by

Make it however you like, add whatever spices you like, substitute whatever you need…. That’s the beauty and fun of cooking!

Yield: About 6 servings


  • 3 to 3 1/2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch pieces (about 7 medium potatoes, 8 – 9 cups)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced (1 cup)
  • 3 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (6 oz)
  • 9 oz bacon, cooked and diced or crumbled
  • 4 green onions, diced


  • To a 6 or 7-quart slow cooker, add potatoes, onion, chicken broth, evaporated milk and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with lid and cook on HIGH heat for 4 hours or LOW heat for 8 hours (poke potatoes with a fork to check make sure they’re soft).
  • Ladle out 2 cups liquid from soup mixture in crock pot into a liquid measuring cup, set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. While whisking, slowly pour 2 cups liquid in measuring cup into butter mixture (it will thicken quickly). Pour butter mixture into slow cooker and stir to blend. If desired, mash potatoes with a potato masher to break down into smaller pieces or use an emulsion blender to puree. Cover and cook on HIGH heat until thickened, about 10 minutes. Turn heat off (or to warm), stir in sour cream. Serve warm topped with cheddar, bacon and green onions (you can just mix in those three remaining ingredients into slow cooker or top individual servings).


Cheers & Warm Hugs,


I am submitting this post as part of my #Writing201 Assignment: A How-To How-To – We all have something we can teach others. This week, dig into your bucket of expertise to pen an instructional post.

People let me tell you ’bout my best friend… wwMc10

Mikey Fall Leaves 101514

My handsome walking buddy/best friend, Mikey – wwMc – Walk with my Camera

This photo I took yesterday coming home from our walk reminded me of this song and this show.

I used to love watching “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.”

I forgot how profound it was!

“Sumthin’ always keeps sneakin’ in there,” says Eddie.

Boy – can I relate!  🙂

Cheers & Hugs,