Monthly Archives: November 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 ~ Pie Contest

Thanksgiving 2015 ~ Pie Contest

One of the things I love to do is share the Thanksgiving eats that I create for my family. Daughter Number One purchased her first home earlier this year and asked if we would drive to her house, 2 + hours away, for Thanksgiving.  The Hubs said he would do that, if we had a pie contest. His rules, he would judge. Everyone (except him) would have to make a pie. He would judge. So, it was decided.

I asked Daughter Number One what she would be comfortable making. She chose the turkey, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and our family’s traditional pie; raisin cream. Daughter Number Two offered to make mashed potatoes. That left me with stuffing, green bean casserole, and homemade rolls. Oh, and we all had to decide what pies to make.

As Thanksgiving grew closer I was really pushing the girls to decide what pies they were going to make, knowing that I would have to help make pies with the 2 youngest. Daughter Number Four chose pumpkin. Daughter Number Two chose gluten free chocolate bourbon pecan. Daughter Number Three finally decided: Boston Cream Pie. Fair enough. I asked Daughter Number One what her fiancé’s favorite pie is, so I chose Peanut Butter Pie.

The food was all very good! We had an additional side dish of scalloped corn, thanks to my future son-in-law. I didn’t make any new recipes for our Thanksgiving dinner this year, because I was putting so much energy into the pies. On my house Wednesday we made one homemade pie butter pie crust for the pumpkin pie, one homemade gluten free pie crust for the pecan pie, and one chocolate graham crust for the peanut butter pie. Daughter Number Two put her filling together for the Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie. While it baked, Daughter Number Four put her filling together for the pumpkin pie. I helped both with crusts and a little with the filling, but for the most part they tackled those fillings. While those pies were cooling I helped Daughter Number Three make the sponge cake for her Boston Cream Pie. I explained to her that it would be best to let it cool overnight, so if she didn’t mind getting up early we would finish the pastry cream in the morning and do the ganache once we got to her sister’s house. She agreed that she would rather get up a little early than stay up that late. We got up early and made her pastry cream. Ah, the joys of whisking a pastry cream. Once that was done and refrigerated I made the filling and topping for the peanut butter pie. I put it in the freezer to set.

We loaded all of the food into the car and made the drive in a very cold, heavy rain. Daughter Number Three and I assembled her pie and covered it with the ganache. She also managed to cover the counters and herself with ganache. It’s pretty easy to get it everywhere!

Dinner was delish. The turkey was done to perfection. The sides were all wonderful. The girls could hardly contain their excitement with the pie contest! Daughter Number One’s fiancé also made a pie: a pizza pie! I cut little pieces of each pie and plated the bites for The Hubs and the FSIL.

The pie winners broke down as follows: Daughter Number Three won for most time spent on a pie; Daughter Number Four won the fluffiest pumpkin pie ever, and best crust; Daughter Number One won best pie based on tradition (and most improved meringue); My pie won richest pie (and the heart of my FSIL); FSIL’s pie won most creative…since It was a pizza pie! Daughter Number Two did not win due to the lack of gluten, although the pie was really good and got better over time!

We have talked about incorporating the pie contest into our Thanksgiving traditions. I’m not sure our waistlines need it, but it was so much fun!

To quote Daughter Number Two, “I’d say this family makes baking look easy…Easy as pie.”



Posted by on November 30, 2015 in Uncategorized


Thanksgiving thoughts

Thanksgiving thoughts

I wrote this a few years ago…but thought it should be shared again!

As Thanksgiving week is coming to a close, I wanted to share some thoughts on success, as they pertain to Thanksgiving.

The first one is to remember that we become like the five people we hang around the most. Or:

“You can’t fly with the eagles if you continue to scratch with the turkeys.” – Zig Ziglar

Stay positive! Or: Focus on the good stuff (ing)!

Be true to yourself! Or, as Popeye would say “I yam what I yam”…

popeye i yam

Sometimes it feels like we are not special, or unique, but even if “It’s not easy Bean Green” (casserole) remember to love yourself!

Stay strong and determined to finish. Positive self-talk might be necessary; “I think I cran, I think I cran” (berry).

Following these thoughts on success, you will surely get your just desserts!


Now, tomorrow is a new day, a new week, and a chance to get re-energized, re-connected, and restarted on your goals!



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Posted by on November 29, 2015 in Uncategorized



100 Day Challenge ~ Gratitude and Thanksgiving

100 Day Challenge ~ Gratitude and Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving approaches it is easy to spend time in thanks and gratitude. In fact, I have seen dozens of people on social media sharing what they are grateful for and doing month long gratitude journeys via social media. I think it is wonderful that people are taking time to show and share gratitude.

I think that to practice gratitude every day, and express thanks every chance we get…is what the true spirit of Thanksgiving is about.

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”  ~ Meister Eckhart

About 15 years ago I was introduced to the importance of practicing gratitude. Prior to that I hadn’t given much thought to the practice of being grateful. I discovered that spending more time focusing on gratitude can change perspective.

I have changed my gratitude attitude to become an important part of my daily life. Although I still am not at a point where I write a daily gratitude journal, I have a gratitude journal next to my bed and I write in it when the spirit moves me (and the time permits). When I see something beautifully awesome, like a brilliant sunrise, I say “thank you”. When I have to drive in bad weather and make it home safely, I say “thank you’. When someone does something kind or wonderful I tell them “thank you” on the spot. I verbally go through my gratitude at the end of every day, and include the 2 youngest girls in the practice of daily gratitude.

My goal is to turn my gratitude practice into a life of thanksgiving. In reality an attitude of gratitude goes beyond just being thankful for a beautiful sunrise or a safe arrival home. It is being thankful for everything and every opportunity we have.

That is a true attitude of gratitude. I am sure there are people who can walk the gratitude walk every day. I don’t believe I know them personally. Mother Teresa was very probably one of those people. Deepak Chopra may be, too. I would go out on a limb (skinny limb) to say that the average person does not walk that walk.

There are some very simple steps to increasing gratitude daily, which I will share with you. Say “thank you” when someone does something for you. If you are at a restaurant, say thank you to the person who seats you. Thank the waiter or waitress for their service. Thank them with sincerity and a smile. If someone does a really great job, make sure to tell the manager what a great job the employee did, and thank them, too. If someone did something nice for you in the past, call them and thank them, again; or – maybe for the first time. Let them know how much it meant to you. Remember to thank your children or spouse for the little things that they do. If they pick up their clothes, make the bed, rub your feet…(wishful thinking) thank them immediately and sincerely. Be thankful for your vehicle and a roof over your head, and food to nourish you. You might not be driving the vehicle of your dreams, live in the house of your dreams, or be dining on gourmet food every day, but what you have is so abundant in comparison to so many people in the world that we all need to be thankful for those things.

Be grateful, even, for the negative things in your life. If there is a problem in your life, take the opportunity to be as thankful for it as you can. Let’s say that something at work is stressing you out. Stop and be thankful that you have a job and that you might have an opportunity to change that thing that is bothering you.

I have found more and more to be grateful for every day. It makes me feel better about things, and it keeps me from being petty on others.

If you are not someone who practices living in gratitude here are some tips to get you started: Before getting out of bed every day, say thank you for the day, for life!  Keep a gratitude journal. Spend 5 minutes before bed writing down what happened during the day to make you thankful. Try to add one unique item every day. If you don’t want to journal, at least remind yourself what you are grateful for. Tell people “thank you”. Be grateful for the negative things. Your gratitude can turn them into positives.

Thank you for being a wonderful group of women, with whom I have a strong connection. Thank you for being supportive of me in times of need. I am grateful that you are in my life!

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~ John F. Kennedy


Posted by on November 25, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Thanks – giving

Thanks – giving

This was shared with me a few years ago, and it tugged at my heart so much that I am sharing it with you once more:

Thanksgiving Day was near. The first grade teacher gave her class a fun assignment – to draw a picture of something for which there were thankful.

Most of the class might be considered economically disadvantaged, but still many would celebrate the holiday with turkey and other traditional goodies of the season. These, the teacher thought, would be the subjects of most of her student’s art. And they were.

But Douglas made a different kind of picture. Douglas was a different kind of boy. Was the teacher’s true child of misery, frail and unhappy. As other children played at recess, Douglas was likely to stand close by her side. One could only guess at the pain Douglas felt behind those sad eyes.

Yes, his picture was different. When asked to draw a picture of something for which he was thankful, he drew a hand. Nothing else. Just an empty hand.

His abstract image captured the imagination of his peers. Whose hand could it be? One child guessed it was the hand of a farmer, because farmers raise turkeys. Another suggested a police officer, because the police protect and care for people. Still others guessed it was the hand of a Higher Power. And so the discussion went – until the teacher almost forgot the young artist himself.

When the children had gone on to other assignments, she paused at Douglas’ desk, bent down, and asked him whose hand it was. The little boy looked away and murmured, “It’s yours, teacher.”

She recalled the times she had taken his hand and walked with him here or there, as she had the other students. How often had she said, “Take my hand, Douglas, we’ll go outside.” Or, “Let me show you how to hold your pencil,” Or, “Let’s do this together.” Douglas was most thankful for his teacher’s hand.

Brushing aside a tear, she went on with her work.


This story is one of more than simple Thanks Giving. This story speaks volumes as to the power each person has in his or her own hand. So many times we do not stop to think about how much our own touch can mean to someone else. How our own kindness is perceived by another person. Those simple little gestures may be the light in someone else’s day; a smile, a pat on the back, a sincere compliment. Never underestimate the power of a simple, kind gesture. The person you share it with may not even know your name, but they will always remember the gesture and the feeling that comes with it.

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Posted by on November 24, 2015 in Uncategorized



100 Day Challenge ~ Single Handle

100 Day Challenge ~ Single Handle

I learned this from Brian Tracy.  It’s called single handling.  If anyone has seen my desk in my office (or at home) on most days you can tell that I am not overly organized.  When I utilize the practice of single handling my desk is cleared off and I am really managing my time effectively.  I have also carried this idea over to my home life, and (when used) it is mind boggling how efficient and organized I become.  It is a very simple technique.  Anything that you pick up, you handle to completion. In the office, if you pick up a piece of paper from your desk, if you have something in your hand, deal with it immediately and properly.  Right away and the right way.  Take that piece of paper and handle whatever needs to be handled with it; copy it, mail it, file it, delegate it, shred it, whatever needs to be done with it you do it until that paper is where it needs to be.  Pick up the next piece of paper on your desk.  Single handle it.  The way I do this at home (this description may frighten you:  remember I have three children, 1 husband, and 7 animals in my care at my home) is kind of like this.  As I walk in the door of the house from work, I carry my computer bag, purse and shoes up to my office.  I put my shoes in the appropriate box and set my computer on my desk.  I put my purse in my chair, hang up my coat and stow my gloves and scarf in the appropriate bins in the coat closet on my trip back down the stairs.  THEN:  anything that I pass over on my way to or from any other place I pick up and put away appropriately.  I don’t just step over it.  I don’t step on it.  I deal with it.  I find that if when I’m cooking I put away what I get out as I go, it makes clean up so much quicker and easier at the end.  The same is true of when I do my hair and makeup.  (This may seem like a very normal thing for some of you….not me!)  Before, I would leave things strewn about as I get ready in the mornings.  Hair brush, hairspray, deodorant, etc., wherever they may land.  It does take a bit (If a boulder is a bit) of conscious effort on my part to single handle because it is NOT my way.  It really does save me time, and keeps things much more tidy. 

Hopefully this tip helps you become more organized, if you aren’t already, or save some time or be more efficient if you are already organized.
Don’t agonize. Organize.~ Florynce Kennedy



Posted by on November 23, 2015 in Uncategorized




Growing up with a reporter / journalist father, I often heard about the 5 W’s of reporting (and the H) and how every good reporter could ask the probing questions to get the good story. In sales we are taught that one of the keys to knowing your customer and making the sale is to ask good questions.

Gary Ryan Blair, the Goals Guy, reminds us of Socrates belief that everyone has the ability to grasp philosophical truths through the use of innate reasoning through sound questioning.

If you are unclear on your goals, or are feeling stymied on what you really want, sit down with yourself and conduct a thorough interview. Ask yourself probing questions using who, what, when, where, why, and how.


Here are some ways to use our W’s (and H) to move you toward your goals…

Who are you trying to reach the goal for? Who will benefit?

What is your heart’s desire? What do you want out of life?

When do you want to reach your goal?

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Why do you want to reach these goals? Why do you want to make changes? Why not just stay the same? (I like the “Why”)

How can I move toward my goals? How will I feel when I reach my goals? How will I feel if I don’t?

These of course are not the only questions to ask yourself. These are just some that I came up with.

Tony Robbins says to discover your “why” and the rest will follow. So, maybe you should start with that. Discover your “why”…

To help me stay focused on my “why” I made this little incantation / poem …

With a big enough why the decision is clear –

You’ll soon learn how to fly without feeling the fear.

Interview yourself and find out what your “why” is (and “why” it is…).

He who has a why can endure any how. ~ Frederick Nietzsche


Posted by on November 17, 2015 in Uncategorized


100 Day Challenge ~ Time Management, or is it

100 Day Challenge ~ Time Management, or is it

Time Management is one of those elusive phrases that seem like the key to everything might be found if we could only tap into the magic of time management. I have come leaps and bounds from where I was 2 or 3 years ago in the area of time management. I have read books, listened to multiple audio recordings, and took an audio class that lasted something like 10 weeks – all to learn more about managing my time.

What I am going to share with you today may come as a surprise to you. The key (the magic) of time management is simple. Quit wasting time. Or more importantly, quit wasting energy! After the hours of time that I have put into finding out how to manage my time, I recently discovered that it is more about managing how I spend my energy than how I manage my time.

I recommend that everyone do a personal time study. Write down everything you do every day for one week. Everything. Every 5 minutes of time that you spend for 1 week. Start now, start with today. Every cup of coffee you pour, every potty break, every email, every text message, every TV show, every everything. The first thing this does is holds you accountable to yourself for your time. The first time I did this I could not believe all of the inane crap that I was doing. Watching TV. Catching up on Facebook and other Social Media (Pinterest much?). Inane. So, I stopped doing much of that inane crap.

Here’s where the (magic) happens… I stumbled upon this within the last month and it has really changed how I think about MY time. It is not about time management, rather energy management. When you look at your time study, decide if the things that you spent your time doing are really worth your energy. As we get older our energy starts to diminish. Yes, I am still energetic. I’m sure you are, too. My mother, at her age, is still energetic. Compare that to a 15 year-old. Or a 2 year-old. Or, think back 10 years. We may have 24 hours in a day, but lose steam after only a few hours. I used to get 4 hours of sleep a night (in my 20’s) and function fabulously. I require 7 now. I need more time to re-charge my energy batteries. Even then, my energy levels aren’t quite as high consistently as they were 20 years ago.

So, use your diminished energy to do the things that really mean something and bring added value to your life. If you are trying to reach a goal spend your energy moving you toward that goal. Use all of your time effectively and efficiently. As we all know, the technology we have today is so portable we can work almost anywhere. I listen to educational and motivational CDs in the car, I take my iPhone with me if I have to take a potty break so that I can check my email during time that is otherwise wasted. Take note cards to the Doctors office so during the 2 hours that you have to wait in the waiting room to see the Doctor you can do something constructive or worthwhile, like write a handwritten note to a friend or loved one.

And what is a man without energy? Nothing.  Nothing at all. ~Mark Twain


Posted by on November 5, 2015 in Uncategorized


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