Archive | May, 2013

Fun Foods for Memorial Day

23 May

Memorial Day is upon us, and in our house we are having our first get together of the Summer season as we celebrate my son’s 12th birthday.  In planning the party, I went straight to Pinterest to check out all the fun things I’ve been ‘saving up’ for just an occasion.

I thought I’d share with you a few of the ideas that I will be including in our celebration, in the hopes that you might find one or two things that you might want to try to make your memorial Day weekend a bit more festive!  As I go, I will be including the links to the source of these recipes so you can check out what other ideas these authors have that you may like.


Fruit Flag

Fruit Flag

Strawberry, blueberry and banana kabobs line up beautifully to salute the grand ol’ flag. The berries are the perfect colors for this no-fuss patriotic dessert (marshmallows make perfect white stripes, too). A drizzle of chocolate syrup goes great with these, but either way, kids and grown-ups alike will eat ’em up!



Shirley Temple


Bring Out the Stars

Bring out the stars – Fun Drink for Kids

A little summer fruit in your party cups is a quick, easy way to turn even the most basic beverage into a festive party drink. Whether it’s sangria or a Shirley Temple, make it U.S.A. all the way by adding sliced star fruit, sliced strawberries and a handful of blueberries. Red, white and blue all the way!


Shirley Temple-Drink

1. Add 3-5 ice cubes to a highball OR martini glass.

2. Add 3 ounces of lime juice.

3. Add 3 ounces of Ginger Ale OR substitute it with 7-Up or Sprite.

4. Add a dash of grenadine.

(The grenadine’s function is to serve as color more than taste. Adding too much can make your drink painfully sweet)

5. Add a cherry (or two) and a straw.

6. Stir…and enjoy!


Red White and Blue Berries

Red White and Blue Berries

Red, White and Blue Berries  (I can’t wait to try these – they look so easy and yummy!!!)

You’ll need:
Strawberries- As many as you plan to dip
1 pkg.white chocolate chips or white dipping chocolate (bark)- found with baking supplies
Blue sanding sugar or sprinkles (The kind you decorate cookies with)


1. Wash your strawberries and let them dry thoroughly. Pat dry if necessary. Set aside.

2. Line a baking sheet or tray with wax paper or nonstick foil.

3. Pour about half of the sanding sugar into a small bowl.

4. In another small bowl, melt white chocolate according to directions on package. I usually melt it in small increments in the microwave on low power until about 80% of it is melted. I then stir it until it is completely melted. If it is too thick, add about 1/2 teaspoon shortening (like Crisco) and stir until melted and smooth.

5. Holding a strawberry by the leaves on the stem end, dip into the white chocolate to cover about 2/3 of the berry. Let the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. (If there’s a “glob” of chocolate on the end of the berry, scrape it off onto the side of the bowl.)

6. Dip the bottom third of the chocolate covered berry into the blue sanding sugar.

7. Carefully place each berry onto the prepared tray or baking sheet to set. (They will set quicker in the refrigerator.) Refrigerate until time to serve. These are best served the same day they are prepared!


Berry Cream Cheese Pastries

Berry Cream Cheese Pastries

Berry Cream Cheese Flags

Berry Cream Cheese Flags

Berry Cream Cheese Pastries


1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar (or more)

4 Tbsp. butter, softened

2-3 cups strawberries, hulled

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 cup fresh blueberries


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Lay out thawed puff pastry on a floured surface, and gently using a rolling pin to even out the creases. Use a pizza cutter or a large knife to cut the pastry into your desired shapes. (I made about 16 squares with one sheet, and 6 rectangles with the other sheet, but you can also use cookie cutters or cut different sized shapes.) Lay out the cut pastry dough on a baking sheet or two. Then use a fork to then poke numerous holes into the middle of each piece, to minimize inflation.

3. Bake pastry according to package directions until it is puffed and very lightly golden, about 12-15 minutes. Remove and let cool.

4. While pastry is baking, use a blender or food processor to puree strawberries and sugar. Transfer mixture to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until reduced and thickened. Remove from heat.

5. Meanwhile, whisk together (or use an electric mixer to combine) the cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar on medium-high speed until smooth. Add more powdered sugar if you would like a thicker cream cheese spread.

6. Assemble the pastries by topping the cooked puff pastries with the cream cheese spread, then layer with the drizzled strawberry mixture and blueberries. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to a few days.


Please share with us what your plans are to make this Memorial Day special!!!

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of

Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at to let us know what you think.

I Got What I Wanted – Did You?

16 May

Hurray!  I got what I wanted for Mother’s Day!  Well, let me qualify that by saying “I’m in the process of getting what I wanted for Mother’s Day!!!”

As is every dream of every mother on Mother’s Day, my husband said “Let’s go to the stone yard and pick out the rocks you want.”  If you think is just plain mean for a husband to do to his wife on Mother’s Day, maybe it’s because you missed last weeks post – check it out here.

Mid-morning on Monday I hear the truck in the driveway:


Monday morning delivery….

 Now we just need these landscaping rocks to get from my driveway, to the appropriate parts of our yard…

Considering here are a few examples of the current state of affairs in our front yard:

One of the beds near the street...

One of the beds near the street…

A bed near the house - OUCH!!!

A bed near the house – OUCH!!!

I am more than willing to put up with not being able to park my car in the garage for a little while.

A little inconvenience is OK

A little inconvenience is OK

To his credit, my husband came home and started to work on the first bed right away.  Our priority system is to start with the worst/most visible areas (near the street) and work our way back toward the house which is not as visible to the general public just driving by…  Our house is set a bit higher than street level, although not up high on a hill by any means, but the little height gives us a little visual buffer when choosing where to start with this project.  After day 1, this is what it looked like from the front door:

Looks somewhat done

Looks somewhat done

I was impressed because there was a lot of work to do to get the old junk out of the bed before they could add the stones.    They worked until dark so I didn’t get a chance to go outside and check it out.  It wasn’t until the next morning when I looked outside from the 2nd floor of the house that I got a little bit of an aerial view to see there’s more work to be done:

Day 1 progress - aerial  view

Day 1 progress – aerial view

OK – so it needs more work, and now he has had meetings the past 2 nights so it’s still looking like this as of this writing.  Considering the before pictures, I am so thankful for this Mother’s Day present.  And if I wanted to, I could claim that I got A HUGE (pile of) ROCK(s) for Mother’s Day.  I can’t make that claim every year, but this year, I am grateful for it (them).

What did you get for Mother’s Day?  I hope it was just what you wanted.  Share your Mother’s Day presents with us by commenting on this post.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of
Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at to let us know what you think.

What I Want for Mother’s Day…

9 May

Well, I got the text I was waiting for a few days ago from my husband…. “anything specific you want for Mother’s Day from your boys?”

text message

After 20 years of marriage, and 11 years of being a mom, my husband knows that randomly picking a gift for me doesn’t always work.

wedding ring

I’ve received several gift certificates to a “spa” for a massage, or facial, or some other luxurious service where I can be pampered for an hour or two, to emerge feeling like a new woman.  Problem is, I’m a busy woman, and ‘pampering myself’ usually falls to the bottom of my very long to-do list.

gift certificate

My greatest satisfaction is doing things for others so I have never enjoyed splurging on something just for me.  I guess the thought of feeling selfish overpowers the ‘relaxing’ feeling of the spa service itself.  I find it hard to actually unplug and relax – and often find myself just running through my ‘to do’ list to figure out what I should be doing once I finish with the treatment I’m in the middle of ‘enjoying’.

to do list

I’ve actually let gift certificates pile up unused for a period of years.  Feeling guilty about not using them, I decided I would procrastinate no longer and actually set aside a day to use them.  I made the call to get an appointment, only to find out that the salon I had these gift certificates for actually closed their doors and were out of business.  Now I had the opportunity to feel guilty that we were losing the money that my husband intended me to enjoy…


Time seems to get away from us… I am always busy running my own business and volunteering countless hours for our town’s Little League organization by running a concession stand and being Parents Auxiliary President.  My husband is Secretary of Little League, coaches our son’s baseball & football team’s and is President of our town’s Youth Football league.  Did I forget to mention he also works full time?  I find that our family is rarely home at the same time.

baseball coach                    football state champshot dogs

This year’s text from my husband made me stop and think about what I really want.  After just a few moments, I decided what I want for Mother’s Day.

Landscaping stones.  Yes, you read that right – what I want for Mother’s Day is landscaping stones… Well, not just landscaping stones, I want landscaping stones AND the time from my husband and son to work on our landscaping together and get this project done.  They aren’t glamorous, they aren’t luxurious, but none the less, it is what I want for Mother’s Day.  I told my husband what I want when he came home for lunch that day.  He just grinned knowing that as ridiculous as it sounds for a Mother’s Day gift, it is what will make me the most happy.

A girl wants what a girl wants…

red landscape stones                    oh well shrug                    Kevin mowing lawn

What are YOU hoping for on Mother’s Day?  Share your thoughts with us by commenting on this post.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of

Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at to let us know what you think.

Her First Mother’s Day? How to Make it Memorable…

2 May

After pregnancy, childbirth and a new born baby, a woman’s first Mother’s Day should be a memorable one.  Whether it’s your wife, your sister or your good friend, we’d like to share some ideas to help you make her day special.

Let her Sleep…

Woman Sleeping

Let her sleep on Mother’s Day

What new mother wouldn’t love to sleep in on Mother’s Day?  It’s amazing how a little more sleep can make her feel like a new woman.  After the last feeding at night, make sure you are ready to hop right out of bed once the baby starts stirring so they don’t wake up mom.  If she is nursing the baby, make sure you have a supply of breast milk, or formula, at the ready to feed the baby while she sleeps.  One missed feeding will not hurt baby or mom, and in the long run, a well-rested (well hydrated) mom can produce more high quality breast milk.  Turn off the baby monitor in mom’s room and take the baby to a location in your home where mom can’t hear a fussy baby.

Feed her…

Breakfast in bed is the classic Mother’s Day meal for Mother’s all around the country.  How fun for a new m


Romantic Dinner at Home – enjoy it together after the baby is in bed.

other to actually get spoiled by getting to experience this very traditional activity!  Just make sure that this meal doesn’t end with the ‘sitcom-esque’ butter in the sheets, or having to face a disaster of a kitchen that will take a ½ hour to clean after her ‘treat’.

Another option for ‘feeding her’ is to take her to a favorite restaurant that you may not have been to since the baby was born.  If going out is not really an option due to a lack of babysitting options, then get that very special meal ‘To Go’ and enjoy it together after the baby is in bed.

Show her the Memories…

Framed Picture of Baby and Mom

Framed Picture of Baby and Mom

Take a favorite picture of mother & baby and have it framed.  If you have a little advance time, you can make a photo book with all sorts of pictures of mother & baby.  There are tons of websites that have templates where you can just choose a style and ‘drag & drop’ your digital pictures right into place.  My favorites are Shutterfly and Snapfish, but there are TONS of options including Wal-Mart and Walgreens where you can go and pick up the book at your local store.

Send her to the Spa…


Total relaxation at the Spa….

There is no better way to have a new mother feel re-invigorated than to have her get away for a day to relax and re-charge her batteries while she is pampered at a Day Spa.  Send her with a sister or friend so they can relax and re-connect.  If a whole day isn’t feasible, then a massage, manicure, pedicure and a relaxing lunch will certainly do the trick.  Just be careful that you don’t plan something so elaborate that mom will be more stressed out for having to leave baby for a really long time – especially if the baby is very young and mom isn’t ready to let go.  If baby is very young, maybe your best option is just to send mom for a pedicure at a local salon where baby (and baby-sitter) can go along.  That way, mom can relax knowing baby is safe and doing well, but mom still gets a bit of pampering for herself.

Don’t forget the card from Baby…


Card from Baby to Mommy

Almost two years ago my sister delivered her first baby on Mother’s Day (5 ½ weeks early).  On the way to the hospital to meet my niece, we stopped off to get a Mother’s Day card.  I signed it to my sister from the baby.  Since the baby was in the NICU and my sister couldn’t visit her due to her medical condition, I must say that that card got quite the emotional reaction.  More than I intended, because there were a lot of hormones in play at the time, but I’m still glad her very first Mother’s Day was somehow acknowledged.

Whatever you decide to do for her First Mother’s Day, just remember, that becoming a mother is the best gift of all.  Share with us how you celebrated your very first Mother’s Day by commenting on this post.


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