Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies.

It’s December, and that means time to start Christmas cookie baking!

These cookies are a wonderful version of pecan pie in a cookie!

They are similar to Pecan Tassies, but a lot easier.

The cookie is buttery and shortbread-like, while the filling is nutty and sticky and sweet and AMAZING!

I had a little bit of extra filling left that I just couldn’t throw away, so I spread it on a sheet of crescent roll dough, rolled it up, and sliced it into 8 easier-than-pie pecan “sticky buns!”

So
worth
it!

Hope you will give these yummy cookies a try for something new on your Christmas cookie baking list.  I do believe these will become a regular in our home!

Here is the recipe I found at  Crazy for Crust, which I only slightly altered.  Thanks for a great recipe, Dorothy!

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients:

Cookie Batter:

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Pecan Pie Filling:

  • 2 cups pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse or flaked salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4-5 Tbsp. Half and Half or Heavy Cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Optional:  Powdered sugar for sprinkling on top of cooled cookies.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat brown sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla in electric mixer until creamy.   Add in baking powder, salt, and flour, and mix on low speed until well combined.

Shape dough, two tablespoons at a time, into balls, and place the balls two inches apart on a baking stone or cookie sheet.  Indent a hole in center with your thumb.

Prepare filling by stirring pecans, salt, brown sugar, and vanilla with cream until it forms a thick mixture.  Spoon approximately one teaspoonful into thumb indentation of each cookie.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes on stone or cookie sheet before removing to rack to cool completely.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Cookies freeze well for up to a month.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Four Seasons with Jodi – Exploring Color

With Jodi’s kind permission I’m sharing some of my favourite posts from her fantastic blog, of which you could say that I’m a devoted follower. If you enjoy beauty, art and inspiration (not to mention mouth-watering food recipes) then Jodi’s blog simply has it all! I feel honoured that Jodi so generously allows me to […]

I was so honored by this beautiful post created by Liz at Exploring Color, I had to share.  Thank you my sweet friend Liz from the other side of the world in New Zealand!

I hope you enjoy this beautiful post she created about the Four Seasons from my blog.   My heart is so touched.  I hope you will check out her lovely blog.

Four Seasons with Jodi


Autumn

I’m starting with Autumn because this recent post of Jodi’s prompted me to do ‘Four Seasons with Jodi’. It touched my heart…

Let the Rain Fall

goldfinch-in-the-rain
Goldfinch in the Rain – Autumn, Mars, PA

I watched you as you sat proud and beautiful
while the rain fell on and around you.

You didn’t need
the sun to make you shine.

In fact,
you stood out even brighter in the cloudy drizzle.

And I was reminded
true beauty comes from within.

It can’t be soaked or drenched
or washed off.

It can’t be dampened or doused
by the storms of life.

Let the rain fall.
Let the storms crash.

And continue to shine
your authentic beautiful self.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Link for original post:  Let the Rain Fall


Winter

Snowy Pines Watercolor

winter-landscape-snowy-reflections-11x14-400-lb-cold-press
Winter Snowy Pine Reflections Watercolor – 11×14 140lb cold press

Is anything crazier or more unpredictable than the weather?!

Where I live, we went from record highs one week
to record lows the next.

From open windows and shorts and bare feet –
to snow flurries and wool socks and sweaters.

And one cold day I painted this winter scene
(inspired by a photo I saw that I cannot find credit for).

It’s funny how the cold scene
gives me a warm feeling.

Almost as crazy as the weather!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Link for original post:  Snowy Pines Watercolor


Spring

A Brief Visit

dogwood-tree-blossoms
The Old Dogwood Trees’ Blossoms

Your visit is so brief….
but your memory lingers,

and it is ceremoniously revived
each Spring when you surprise me yet again.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Link for original post:  A Brief Visit


Summer

A Bumble Bee Named Buzz

bumble-bee-buzz-watercolor-8x10-140lb-saunders-cold-press
Buzz the Bumble Bee 8×10 Watercolor 140lb Saunders Cold Press

On the edge of a meadow lives a bumble bee named Buzz.
He lives near his aunt and his uncle and his cuz.

Aunt Sally, Uncle Sam, and Sherman they was.
They love Buzz more than any other in Americas.

Sherman and Buzz love to play and dance because
It is what all the bumble bees in the meadow does.

So if you see dancing bees and think your eyes are a fuzz,
don’t be surprised if it’s Sherman and Buzz.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Link for original post:  A Bumble Bee Named Buzz

One of Jodi’s friends left a wonderful quote in the ‘comments’ on this post:

“The hum of bees is the voice of the garden”

– Elizabeth Lawrence


Buzz the bumble bee is one of many cute animal characters in Jodi’s newly published children’s book Klaus The Mouse

Klaus The Mouse

Klaus the Mouse by Jodi McKinney – Amazon

Available for order HERE.

Jodi contributed a guest post in my Where and What is Beauty? series.

 

 Please visit Liz’s beautiful blog – Exploring Colour.

via Four Seasons with Jodi — Exploring Colour

I hope you are enjoying whatever season of weather and of life you are in!
Cherish the Moments!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

How do you say “Thank You?”

Crooked Creek, Ford City, PA - June, 2017

Crooked Creek, Ford City, PA – June, 2017

How do you say “Thank You”
for sunshine or health…
for clear days or gentle rains…
for happiness, joy or love?

You say it by sharing
what you have.
You say it by making
the world a better place in which to live.

-Thomas D. Willhite

How do YOU say “Thank You?”

I say it by trying to share something small every day
in this tiny little platform that is mine
to give to the world
a little bit of happiness…
a little bit of joy…
a little bit of love.

My “Thank You” might be
a photograph,
or a painting,
or a craft or DIY idea.

It might be a favorite cherished
or newly discovered recipe.
It might be a verse
or a quote or a story.

But it is my “Thank You”
for sunshine and health…
for clear days and gentle rains…
for happiness, joy, and love.

It is my gift.
It is my little life.
It is my creative journey…
at life in between.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*Focus

Beauty in the Cracks

in the cracks stone wall flowers

The other evening
after dinner,
I went outside
to breathe in
the gentle fragrance
of the Spring air
and dig my fingers
into the warming earth
to clear the leaves and twigs and “weeds”
in preparation for planting
flowers and herbs and vegetables.

In the crack of the stone wall
in the landscape where nothing should grow
and where I tend to pull out things
that do not “belong,”
I decided to leave this tender
flowering plant
that added life
and its own kind of beauty
when you look at it for what it simply is.

Like life in between,
where I cherish the moments,
I cherish the beauty
in the cracks of life.

The crack in the chip
of an heirloom antique cow creamer,
or the crack in the humor
of a “dig” or a joke from one of my guys.

The crack in the corner of the lips
of a friend’s smile when they see me,
or the crack in the voice of my Dad
when we reminisce
about times we’ve spent together
or the times we sadly missed.

The cracks in the corners of
hubby’s (and even my) eyes
that show we have lived and loved and laughed
throughout the years.
(not to mention another cute crack
when he bends over without a belt!)

There truly is beauty
in the cracks of life
if only we open our eyes to see
the tiny little joys
in the cracks in between.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Looking back…. looking forward

As I was contemplating what I wanted to write for my blog post today, I was feeling very reflective.
It’s hard to believe that I have been sharing a post every day for the past year and three quarters. 
Today is Post #692 of me rambling on about “cherishing the moments” at “life in between.”  
Since there are A few more of you that visit here today than did on May 18, 2014, I thought I would share my first post again.
I was thinking about what drives me to post every day.  I’d like to think it is simply what I want to say… what I want to share…  
but if I am being really honest…. I have to admit I care about what you want to hear, see, read.   We’ve kind of become friends along the way. 
As I was reading through my first post, I reminisced…..
Jackie, my sweet “almost” daughter, who really encouraged me to start this blog will be having a baby very soon.  We are looking forward to welcoming Baby Ben into our McHendy family.
I still love to bake and cook (though I have never tried french macaroons again).   I have shared many recipes along the way, and it has been fun to hear from many of you that have tried the recipes and enjoyed.

Sharing my home is still one of my greatest joys.   After all, it is the thing I love best about my home – the people I share it with.

My “crafting” phase of late has evolved into watercolor painting (remember my very first ever watercolor – April 4, 2015?!).  So many of you have been so encouraging and supportive.

I am having so much fun with my daughter-in-law, Colleen, as we create our new McKinneyx2Design business, and I am so grateful to so many of you who have supported us through purchases and by helping spread the word.

I miss my little Mikey as I remember him through these photos.  What a joy he was.  He really taught us the love of a pet.  If it weren’t for Mikey, we wouldn’t have Charlie, and we would have missed out on so much joy and love.

So here’s the first post (again), and if you wouldn’t mind indulging me……. would you share with me what your favorite posts are?  Is it the recipes?  Is it the photography?  Is it the “art” (watercolor, cards), is it the poetry or writing, family stories, crafts?   Should I narrow it to just one of them?  Or should I continue this crazy, scattered, who knows what you are going to see tomorrow “lifestyle” blog?

———————-

the first post – so how do I begin?

So I have a good idea what I want to write about… for the most part. My BFF’s oldest daughter told me I should start a “lifestyle” blog.  I guess she thinks my life is interesting….  or at least enough that one or two people might want to read about things I do….  (Hopefully I’ll have at least one subscriber – Jacyln Rae – hint hint!)

Or maybe she just thinks I would enjoy doing it, and that is enough.

Hmmm…. I think I like that…

You know…. that’s one of the perks of growing – err – older and wiser – you get to the point where you realize you can do things just because you want to. Yes – there are those things most of us HAVE to do – like paying bills, doing laundry, working – you get the gist – but what do you like to do in between all that?

That’s the real “living” part.

“Life in between” can mean so many things…

The main reason I titled this blog with it is because I want to share the things I choose to do in between the things I “have” to do.

It can also be a stage of life that is in between stages – and aren’t they all?!

Right now – I’m kind of in between the mom stage and the empty nester and grandma stage. And Oh I Can’t Wait to be a Grandma!  (No hint hint Jake and Colleen – whenever you are ready…  well – maybe a little hint hint)

I think I was born to “mother.”  And oh poor everyone around me that I “mother” – sorry! It’s just in my DNA – I want to nurture, I want to comfort, I want to make happy. Could be worst things -right?!  (clear throat)  But don’t ask my boys…

So anyway – the things I love to do “in between” the things I have to do – that’s what I want to share with you here.

French Macarons

I love to bake.  I love how it makes the house smell.  I love how it makes people feel when they bite into a buttery, chocolately, caramely yummy thing.  I love surprising someone with a special treat of something they love.  Here is a picture of my first attempt at French Macarons.  I was so excited these testy little buggers turned out.  Not sure I’ll ever make them again – so much work – so temperamental – and what if they don’t turn out the next time?  Was it beginner’s luck?  I’ll just believe I’ve MASTERED them….  and leave it at that….

I also love to decorate – my home that is.  And it’s not all about it being House and Garden perfect for those of you that know me and are thinking  “Jodi – you are NOT an interior decorator!”

My ultimate goal (in decorating) is to create a place that is warm and welcoming.  A place where someone can just drop by (no formal invitations needed around here) and feel comfortable and welcomed and loved.  No shoes off in my house.  So what if the carpet has stains…  Those stains represent someone who I shared my home with or that spilled a drink or our dog who came in after a rainy spring day – so what…  I grew up in a house that was House and Garden perfect… that meant NO SHOES inside…  it meant that you could see sweeper marks in the carpet from the daily vacuum…. it meant that you could literally eat off the garage floor if you were so inclined because it was so clean….  and that’s all good…  Mom was an awesome “cleaner”…  but it’s not me.  I want comfort, warmth, welcoming.  I want my house to feel like your favorite worn slippers or most comfortable fleece hoodie or your “go to” black yoga pants.  That’s what trips my trigger.

Here’s a little peek at our home – and that’s my little buddy “Mikey” who is never far from my side.  After this LONG COLD winter, it was so nice to see the daffodils and grass recently.

signs of spring

And I also love to craft.  It’s been various things through the years…  I’ve tried knitting and crocheting and cross-stitching, tole painting, slate painting, wood crafts, and ceramics.  My most recent crafting obsession is papercrafting – stamping, coloring, cutting, punching, pasting, tying – anything with paper and ink.  I guess it feels comforting being that I (and so many of us) spend so much time on the computer.  It feels extra special to create and send a special handmade something to someone and hope they realize the time and love you put into it – just for them. Here’s a card I made for a very special cousin and friend – Oh Rob! (I’m sure you’ll hear more about him in coming posts). Oh how I love that guy – and his amazingly talented and loving wife and superhero to me, Joyce.  Rob’s “One Little Word” this year is “reflection,” so I wanted to create a birthday card acknowledging and celebrating “reflection.”

rob reflection birthday card 2014

And then – I love to photograph it all.  Dear hubby got me my first good camera for Christmas this year – and I think he might regret it….  I know my boys do…. but I just love taking photographs of crazy, silly, normal, everyday things.   Not a trained professional by any means – not even a class – haven’t even read the whole manual (sorry Patty – I will get there!) – just have fun with it and love seeing what it captures.  My BFF, Jill, honored me with the privilege of capturing  her daughter, Jackie’s bridal shower recently – oh what fun that was – and even allowed me to do a “photo shoot” with her in-laws (I think George and Alice are going to be more famous than all of us) for a work campaign.

Recently, while Marty (that’s the dear hubby’s name) was cutting grass, I was doing very important things like taking pictures of dandelions and bees on them….  and HE snapped this little gem with his phone while on the tractor…. Not flattering – but yep – that about sums it up.  The silly things I do in my life in between…..

Untitled

So we’ll see how this goes….  I now have my first post under my belt.

And now I have #692 under my belt….

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Watercolor Hummingbird Card

watercolor hummingbird card

Monday’s Hummingbird Cake Recipe  post had me thinking of hummingbirds,
so I decided to try my hand at watercolor painting one.

I lightly outlined the basic shape in pencil,
filled it in with some clean, clear water,
then loosely dropped in some paint.

When I was mostly pleased with it, and it was dry,
I adhered it to some vanilla card stock and made it into a little card.

Today my wish for you
is that you find some time
to do things you love
with people you love (even if that is yourself!)
at life in between.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

The Friend Pact

I made a “pact” yesterday with my FRIEND, John.

fist-bump-shutterstock_176659706

John Lee Bartholomew Taggart is a young man (younger than both of my boys) who was born in England, teaches English in other countries, has seen more of the world than I daresay I ever will, and is a genius writer/blogger.

John’s recent post (entitled Old Friends (Ireland)) on Storytime with John struck such a chord in me that I had to comment.   John commented back right away :), and in five minutes we decided to make a pact.  The Friend Pact I’m calling it.

A 51 year-old lady from Mars, PA and a 23 year-old young man from wherever in the world John is at the moment have decided that we are going to not just be friendly to people.  We are going to be FRIENDS with as many as we can.

Just like the friends John recently met in Galway, Ireland.

Whenever you get to thinking how you can make a difference in the world….. or what your purpose is on this earth…..  start by simply being a friend.

It might be much grander than you believe.

Smile at a stranger.  Watch it light up their face.

Hug for hello and hug for good-bye….  And hang on.  Be the last to let go.

giphy

Listen to people with an open heart, open mind, and with all of your presence.  Your time and attention is a gift to the recipient.

Tell your story, own it, and know you are who you are because of it.  Don’t be ashamed.  Don’t be boastful.  Just Be YOU.

I have always loved quickly and easily.  I love to say “I love you” to my family and friends.

To me – everyone I meet is a friend (unless they somehow prove otherwise).  No proving your friendship here.  I accept you as my friend.

Are you in on the The Friend Pact my friends?  Let’s not just be friendly, let’s be FRIENDS!

Cheers & Hugs,

Jodi

PS  Marty has always wanted to visit Ireland, so Galway has moved to the top of my bucket list!  I hope to visit someday, and can’t wait to meet my friends.  🙂

sunset-on-a-beautiful-winter-day-in-galway-ireland-mark-e-tisdale

 

 

Six Words

looking up at life in between wwMc

The #Writing101 Group I was in had such an engaging group of people from all over the world, and I was sorry to see it end.  I really enjoyed the challenges and felt they stretched me as a “writer.”

So I was super excited that several of the members took the initiative to carry on and continue our team support by forming a new group to offer writing challenges called #TheWritersHub.  Our current challenge is to write a six-word story.

I combined mine with this photo I took on my Walk with My Camera today.  My story sums up my life right now.


Looking up
at
life in between


Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi