I'm daughter to Lissie, sister to Jess, wife to Brien, mom to Hannah, Lily and Eleanor. I am a stay at home mom to my girls, and my free time is dedicated to gardening (I confess I'm still a novice and look to Lissie and Jess for advice), baking and cooking, and card making. I'm doing my part to make the earth a bit greener, trying hard to avoid processed foods and HFCS, and find the "slow food" movement intriguing and inspiring. I love visits to my local farmers' market, fresh produce, reading, getting out in nature, and spending time with my family.


Catholic, homeschooler, lover of books and great wine and an amateur gardening addict.


I'm Melissa aka "Lissie", mother of Rachael and Jessica, and grandmother to a passel of the sweetest children on the planet. I'm a semi-retired public educator and professor who works from home for a small publisher. I am a lover of all things beautiful ... flowers, the mountains, nature scenes, the innocent faces of children, and my rock and fossil collection, to name a few. I enjoy shopping at the farmers' market for fresh foods and then experimenting with new recipes. Good food and good wine delight me. I love to travel so my suitcase is always packed. Like my daughters, I take pleasure in simple things ... clothes drying on the line, tomatoes so fresh they are still hot from the sun, good books, and interesting movies. I'd like to know everything before I die.
Orange Kissed Cookies

I found this recipe while looking for something to take to a cookie exchange. I decided I wanted a lighter cookie that would complement the heavier chocolate and nut varieties that always seem to be prepared during the holidays. My husband did most of the preparation for these cookies and we ended up needing to use a cookie scoop to get them a uniform shape and size after baking.


  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

  • Directions
  1. Cream white sugar and shortening; add eggs and stir. Add sour cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla; stir and set aside. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add little by little to the creamed mixture and stir well. Add 3/4 cup orange juice concentrate, and 2 tablespoons orange zest. Drop onto greased cookie sheets by teaspoonfuls.
  2. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 10 minutes. Frost cookies when they are cool.
  3. To Make Frosting: Mix together 1/2 teaspoon orange zest, 2 Tablespoons of the thawed orange juice concentrate, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 4 Tablespoons of melted butter, 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar or enough to make frosting of spreading consistency.

Salt Dough Ornaments

My kids are having a great time painting their salt dough ornaments today! Such an easy craft that brings lots of smiles and also cheers up a Christmas tree.

1 C. warm water
1 C. flour
1/2 C. salt

Mix together, roll out and cut shapes with cookie cutters
Poke a hole through the top of the ornament
Bake at 250 degrees for 4-6 hours


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