Cookie Magic

My daughters are here today, the kitchen is a mess, Christmas music is playing, and that means one thing…baking day is here.

I’ve always liked to bake and I tend to do it when I’m at my most stressed out. The control I exert over flour and sugar and butter will calm me in ways nothing else can. I don’t know what it is exactly, but there’s something very Zen about cookie dough.

My Aunt Catherine was a baker as well. At the holidays there were dozens of treats in her depositphotos_90786484_m-2015house, many of them traditional Italian cookies. Struffoli, anise drops, and pizzelle were my favorites and when I was writing my Christmas novella, This Christmas, my heroine Sabrina’s mother, Enza, also infused their home with Italian Christmas treats.

Over the past few years, I’ve been learning the art behind some of the Italian cookies my aunt used to bake.  First, I bought a pizzelle iron. It took quite a number of batches to get the temperature and batter consistency correct, but my daughters and I finally did it. This year I conquered anise cookies. Last year my cousin and I made Struffoli, also known as honey balls. Each time something new is brought into my baking repertoire, I not only feel wonderfully happy, but I feel like I’ve kept a piece of my heritage, which is becoming diluted as years pass, from slipping away.

It was important to me to keep these Christmas traditions alive for myself and for my family. We have our own traditions, like Christmas Day brunch and cinnamon rolls on holiday mornings, but I’ve been feeling the need to reconnect with different parts of my heritage.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. Maybe it’s because the people who introduced me to these traditions are no longer around and I want to keep them with me. Whatever it is, Christmas has become a little warmer, and less about things, since I started introducing these treats.

I don’t fully understand it, but maybe there really is magic in cookie dough.


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Life with Riley: 10 months old

IMG_5017Riley is growing up! He likes to chew things and has a particular love for putting holes in area rugs. Not little throw rugs, mind you…the room sized variety. My husband is not pleased.

The breeder told us he would be about 60 lbs. full grown, which would be when he was about two years old. Well guess who’s 60 lbs already? Our very large Collie! Yay! The vet has predicted he’ll be about 75 lbs when he completely fills out.  Again, the husband is not amused.

Oh, and Riley thinks he’s a lap dog. I’ll just leave that thought with you.

Have any tips for the chewing? A dog story? Cat story? I’m all ears.

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Mother of the Bride

Yeah, yeah…I know I haven’t been around much.  But that’s because my daughter was married a couple of weeks ago.  It seems like yesterday she was just a little girl.  We had a beautiful day for the wedding and everyone was so happy.  Here are a few pictures of the venue, as well as the bride with her dad, and her groom.

What do you love about weddings?  Leave me a comment and I’ll send one commenter a book off my digital backlist. Winner’s choice.  Comments close Friday, June 25th, 2016. You must be 18 to enter. (US and Canada only.)

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Life with Riley: 7 months

Meet my 55 lb. lap dog. He’s still growing.

Mr. Riley is a handful to be sure. He likes to chew, play rough in the house and show his affection to the girl dogs without their consent.  The let him know, in no uncertain terms, that NO means NO! He’s still young, so we know he’ll calm down in the coming months, but it’s like having a four-legged (frisky) toddler in the house.

Tell me about your furbabies!


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2016-03-12X23.16.11A lucky writer is one who has found her tribe–like minded souls who understand you, and love you, no matter what.

I have found mine, and yesterday they gifted me with something to help me through my darker days.  They gave me light.

This fairy light jar contains notes to remind me, when I need reminding, that I am not alone. This is love, people. This is friendship.

My husband and children love me even when I’m not so loveable, but my tribe does too, and yesterday they gave me a sparkly beacon so I don’t get lost in my own head.

I am very, very lucky.


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