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War Stories from my Uncle Louie

On December 7, 1941, Japanese fighter planes attacked Pearl Harbor, sinking five battleships, destroying 188 aircraft, and killing 2355 U.S. servicemen. Four days later, the United States declared war against Japan, Germany, and Italy. My Uncle Louie was 20 years old at the time, living in Springfield, MA, and working at the Bosch plant there. He was engaged to his sweetheart, Betty, and they were planning a summer wedding. Louie Gentile married Betty in July 1942, and soon received his draft notice. No one in the family was particularly concerned about Louie being drafted. He was blind in his right Read more…

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Visiting Kennedy Space Center

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to visit Kennedy Space Center. I remember watching the space shuttle launches on TV years ago and thinking how exciting it would be to watch in person from the shores of Cape Canaveral, Florida. Now that I have two boys in elementary school, this year’s spring break seemed like the perfect time for us to go and learn about NASA’s endeavors of the past, present, and future. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is huge. You could easily spend the whole day there and not even see every exhibit. Many of the attractions Read more…

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Soft & Chewy Date Squares

When I want to make a quick and tasty dessert, I often pull out this recipe. These yummy date squares are easy to serve to a crowd, and always get rave reviews. Often called matrimonial cake or matrimony bars, this dessert originated in Canada. No one seems to know the reason for the name. Perhaps these little squares were first served at weddings, or the name refers to the layers “married” together to form a cake. I don’t know the answer, but I do know that making them for your spouse can improve your marriage! Soft & Chewy Date Squares Read more…

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Minimalist Concepts Anyone Can Use To De-clutter

“We’re out sharing a recipe. You know, we’re not out here trying to proselytize. We’re not trying to convert anyone to minimalism. But I do want to share a recipe and see if there are ingredients that other people can get value from and apply those ingredients to their own life.” – Joshua Fields Millburn, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things Over the past few years, I’ve read countless books, articles, and blog posts on minimalism. I also enjoyed watching Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things on Netflix. I don’t claim to be a minimalist (yet), but I’ve begun Read more…

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Book Review: Margin by Richard Swenson

At the beginning of 2018, did you choose a “word of the year” for yourself? I like to choose a word, verse, or motto to help me set my intention for the year. A few years ago, I picked the word “margin.” I don’t remember exactly where I first learned about the concept of margin, but I had seen the term pop up in several articles and blog posts about minimalism. I was feeling stretched thin at the time, and the idea of margin in my life was enormously appealing. I craved space. Space to breathe. Time to think. Energy Read more…

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Ten Things To Do with Kids in Norfolk, VA

My family called Norfolk, VA, home for six years and we loved it! I’m so glad we lived there during our kids’ preschool and early elementary years. There are so many fun things to do with kids in and around Norfolk. Here are a few of my favorites: The Virginia Zoo & Lafayette Park – Norfolk, VA Tigers, elephants, kangaroos, and much, much more! The zoo also has a farm animal area and reptile building. Children love to ride the zoo’s Norfolk Southern Express. (The train ride is an additional $2.00 per person.) In the summer, kids can play on Read more…

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Progress in Our Family Room

Our family room is looking a bit more up-to-date these days. Like everything else in our home, it’s a work in progress! I’m going for a “collected” look throughout the house, and collecting takes time. The changes are happening slowly, but they are happening! Remember what it looked like when we moved in? Eventually, I want to paint the family room (and foyer and hallways) light gray to match my home office, but I have to hire a professional painter for that job. The ceiling needs to be painted, and it’s about twenty feet high. This girl is not climbing Read more…

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Cheesy Garlic Spinach Orzo

Most of the recipes I post here are desserts, but today I have an amazing orzo dish to share with you! This Cheesy Garlic Spinach Orzo is a favorite at my house. Let’s face it – no one in my family is a huge fan of spinach, but this is a delicious way to sneak it into our diet. This dish convinced my kids that they like to eat spinach! You can serve this as a main course or a side dish. I like to pair it with a piece of fish, chicken, or steak. The recipe below makes enough Read more…

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Reflections on a Southern Snow

When 2018 began, there was snow in the forecast for Charleston, SC. The meteorologists said we could get up to three inches, but I was skeptical. I couldn’t imagine anything more than a dusting – not even enough to cover the grass. This is my fourth winter here in Charleston. Every year, my six-year-old asks, “When is it going to snow?” Every time, I tell him, “It isn’t going to snow, sweetheart. We live in Charleston. It never snows here.” We lived in Norfolk, VA, when he was a toddler, so he has seen snow, but he doesn’t remember it. Read more…

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Three Days in Charlotte with the Kids

One of the things I love about living in Charleston is its proximity to several other amazing southern cities. Charlotte, NC, is a place our family loves to visit. With a population of nearly 850,000, Charlotte is a large city with many neighborhoods to discover. We like to stay at a hotel south of downtown, near Myers Park and the SouthPark Mall. (I might be known to sneak off to the mall by myself in the evening.) I recently planned this three-day itinerary that’s full of fun activities for the whole family. Day One: The Billy Graham Library is an Read more…