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9 Mar
How can anyone resist this sweet face?

How can anyone resist this sweet face?

I’m excited to share a new post with you today! It’s about my favorite furry child, Bella and her crazy antics.

You can click on the link here.

If you’d like to read about when we first got Bella, you can read that post here.


Happy Birthday Bella!

15 Feb
Happy Birthday Bella!

Happy Birthday Bella!

Today is Bella’s third birthday!

If you’ve been a reader since waaayyyyy back when, you may remember my first post about Bella. When I started my blog, we had just recently gotten her.

Bella was 18 months old when we got her, and today she is three.

Last year for her birthday we got her some new toys. However, being the punky kind of dog she is, she’s often rough on her toys, pulling off the eyes, ripping out the stuffing.

This year, rather than spending money on toys that end up in the trash soon after, we decided to give her a different kind of gift.

We decided to bake her some homemade dog biscuits.

My friend from my Stampin’ Up! days, Lucia Kaiser, has a blog called Lucia in the Kitchen, and I often see her posts on Facebook. Recently she posted a recipe for homemade dog biscuits. I sent it to myself for future reference. I knew one day it’d come in handy.

Today is that day. Valentine’s Day and the day before Bella’s birthday.

Lucia’s recipe was quick and easy, just like I like my people food recipes to be. I had everything for it and it was easy to set each of the girls up with their own pile of dough and let them go to town with cookie cutters, making Bella her very own cookies.

Here is Lucia’s recipe from her blog. If you have a dog and you’d like to make him or her some special treats, I recommend this recipe!

All healthy ingredients for Bella's birthday gifts!

All healthy ingredients for Bella’s birthday gifts!

Homemade Dog Biscuits

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
2 tablespoons canola oil
One scoop of dough for each daughter to make her own biscuits for Bella.

One scoop of dough for each daughter to make her own biscuits for Bella.


In a large bowl, combine the flour, wheat germ and cinnamon. Stir in the water, peanut butter, egg and oil. On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a 3-in. bone-shaped cookie cutter.

Place 2-in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned (tops may crack). Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: 31 dog biscuits.

Editor’s Note: Reduced-fat peanut butter is not recommended for this recipe.
Nutritional Facts 1 dog biscuit equals 61 calories, 3 g fat (trace saturated fat), 7 mg cholesterol, 12 mg sodium, 8 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein.
Lots of different cookie cutters to choose from.

Lots of different cookie cutters to choose from.

We filled at least three or four trays with dog biscuits!

We filled at least three or four trays with dog biscuits!

Happy Birthday Bella!

Happy Birthday Bella!

*The* Christmas card revealed…Liz’s big debut

24 Dec
Warm Winter Wishes 2011 Christmas Card

Liz's idea for this year's card: a snowman

I’ve been getting word that the 100 cards we made and mailed have been arriving at homes around the country, so now I think it’s fair to reveal this year’s Christmas card, designed by Elizabeth. Last year when we were making the cards, she said to me, “Mommy I have an idea for next year’s card: A Snowman. There’s three of us so each of us can be one part of the snowman.” That worked for me! I printed out 100 copies of one photo that had all three of them and our new dog in it, so as not to waste ink and then I started punching out 1″ circles of each of them. I chose some plum paper and some celery ribbon, just to be different than the typical reds and greens, and then we began our assembly line.

We now have a dog, so I did have to amend the card design to be a snowman plus a little snowball off to the side as well.

2011 snowman card

It takes total concentration to tape 100 little circles onto cards.

Each girl was responsible for putting their own photo onto each card so they sat in order and passed from one to the next. They also had to each sign the cards too. Alex really experimented with her signature, and the girls were quite concerned that no one would know what she wrote, but I told them I thought people would be fine.

Alex helped me put the glue dots on the ribbons and Elizabeth stamped all the “Warm Winter Wishes.” Caroline helped me to assemble the card stock layers.

I thought it was funny that I printed out and punched out exactly 100 cards and circles, but at the end, they all ended up with different numbers left. One had only three photos left, one had four and one had six. So, if anyone gets a card with a missing kid or puppy, that would be why.

Merry Christmas everyone!

There were three of them and one of me so I kept getting behind. Caroline helped out by assembling the card fronts with me as well.

card making 2011 snowman card

We all, but especially Elizabeth, hope you enjoy our cards this year!

Saying Goodbye to Summer

2 Oct

Today is October 1, and this week the weather is supposed to turn into typical fall weather. We’re in the midst of work and school routines with soccer, dance and Girl Scouts in there too. As I look around my house, I see the typical transitional things happening, like the basket of bathing suits in the hallway, leaving the bedroom closet to make way for cooler-weather wear and the laundry basket of tank tops and sleeveless dresses ready to go up into the attic.

I realized today though, it was time to take down our Summer Vacation sign. I hated to see it go.

Our Summer Vacation sign ended up being so much more than I originally intended it to be!

On the last day of school in June, my youngest daughter, Alex, was still a half-day kindergartener. I wanted her return home on the last day to be special, just like I do for her sisters at the end of the full day. I wracked my brain for something special for her to do while we waited for all of them to be together at the end of the day for the full-fledged celebration. I came up with an idea: I would write out a banner for her to color and we’d hang it up to surprise her sisters when they got home.

At first I just wrote out Happy Summer Vacation and left it at that. Then I decided that she and I would think of all the things we like to do over the summer and I’d write them all over the banner to fill it up a bit more. So that’s what we did and it was a nice way to spend the afternoon together.

We put the sign up on the wall and I kind of thought that once the other girls got home and the banner had been seen, that would be it. Little did I know how big a part the Summer Vacation banner would play into our summer and how sad I’d be today when I finally took it down.

We began marking the banner with little star stickers each time we did one of the things on there and it became a sort of bucket list. The girls would take turns placing the stars. They also began adding things that either I’d forgotten or things we were adding to our summer plans. People would see our sign and talk about it when they visited, the kids would share with them the different summer experiences they’d had. One cousin was so happy to see themselves listed on the banner since we visit them at the end of each summer, and our other cousins were thrilled to be on there as well, since they visit us each summer.

We found too, that even though there were things we thought we’d do, they didn’t all get done, but at the end of the summer we discussed how although we’d missed some of the things on our list, other things replaced them that were just as good, or better.

In the end, this was one of our best summers ever. Our kids are at great ages to be going places, doing things, and enjoying time together. In addition to all of the “usuals,” we got a dog, we went camping; we really did do some extra-special things this summer.

I’m so glad that I have this sign, which I’ll keep in our memory box, so that we can one day look back at our Summer Vacation 2011 banner and remember it all.

Puppy Love

26 Sep

We have a new dog. Well she’s new to us, at least. Bella, an 18 month-old Shih Tzu has lived with our family for five weeks now and I am absolutely positively in love with her. My love borders on obsession, I think. When I’m gone I miss my kids and I miss the dog. When I dropped her off to be groomed last week, I almost cried because she looked so nervous. I never even cried when any of my three kids went off to kindergarten for the first time. But there I was, in my car, wiping my eyes, thinking “What the heck is wrong with me? It’s a dog!!” I kept my phone by my side that morning during my meeting,  just in case there was a problem, just in case she needed me.

This is Bella last Tuesday after her first grooming appointment since we have had her. Isn't she so cute?

It’s not like we’ve never had a dog in our house, because we have. When I met my husband waaaayyyy back in 1992, he had a beagle named Sadie. She was his dog. As we dated and later married, she became like our first baby and we were devastated when she died just after our oldest daughter was born. We were so sad in fact, that just a few months later we took our little baby girl with us and picked out another beagle, an almost-four-year-old rescue dog, named her Emma, and took her home with us.

There is a great quote by Jodi Picoult in her book, “House Rules” where the main character quotes a wise person who said, “Before you have kids, your dog is your baby. After you have kids, your dog is just a dog.”  Poor Emma. She was just a dog, as baby number two came and then baby number three. Emma was lost in the shuffle as our house filled with babies and baby things. I barely remember her younger days and I’m always surprised when I see photos of her playing or begging by a high chair, I almost forgot she was there all that time.

Emma died after a long illness and my husband and I were relieved for the break. It had been a stressful time, and we told the kids we needed at least a year to recoup. We both agreed we’d stretch it out as long as we could. Well, this summer was it. The kids begged us at least twelve times a day for a dog. We’d decided to go hyperallergenic this time but the thought of paying a high price for a dog killed us. So we started looking for free or for at least cheap. One August morning, my husband said, “I think I found one.” We didn’t tell the girls, and that night he went out to a “meeting” and came back with Bella.

Our girls had no idea this dog was ours. They said, "Whose dog is that?" and we said, "It's yours!!" The looks on their faces is just priceless.

I thought Bella was certainly cute enough, and loving. She loved to be held right away and loved to play and run and give kisses, all the things a dog should do, all the things Emma either never did or I was so caught up in the blur of motherhood with toddlers that I never noticed she did. I thought to myself, “Well, this is nice. This is just the kind of dog my kids will love.”

And then, they went to school. Labor Day weekend went by and Bella and I waved our hand and paw to them in the window as the bus drove by. My youngest daughter was a “full day” kid for the first time, leaving and returning with her older sisters. It was just Bella and me, all day, every day. I do work: I work from home, I work covering stories for the paper, I work selling books. However, I am home a lot, in and out for lunch, things like that. Bella and I take walks around the neighborhood. She sleeps at my feet when I type. She lays in my lap on the couch. She stands up for me to pick her up.

Before I knew it, I was totally, 100% smitten. In love, obsessed.  I’d find myself holding her for one more minute and then apologizing for having to put her down to put on makeup so I could leave for work. I’d find myself counting minutes in my head to see if I had enough time to run home and take her out before my next story so that she wasn’t alone so much. Did I mention this borders on obsession?

I have never loved a dog this much, I don’t think. And better yet, she loves me. Just when I thought I was ready to be on my own for full days, so I wouldn’t have to worry about anyone or anything for six hours, here I am enjoying the unconditional love and loyalty of my new dog and I don’t mind at all. In fact, I really love it.


I think it's the puppy-dog eyes that do it to me. She's irresistible!

My fourth baby...

My first morsel

25 Sep

Welcome to my very first blog post for my new blog, The Whole Bag of Chips. Slowly but surely, I’m catching up with the world of mom blogging. I’m transitioning from the role of reader of mom blogs to that of writer of a mom blog. Wish me luck!

Over the days and weeks I hope to share with you funny or meaningful tidbits from my life as a married mother of three school-aged daughters, as a newspaper reporter and as an author. You can see more about me in the “About” section of the blog and you can also check out my website at You can order my books at

But for now….

This is my family:

It was SO hot on this August day! We were letterboxing, one of our family's favorite activities, in Bristol, RI.

This is our new puppy, Bella, my fourth child!

This past August we got a new dog, so every once in a while, you might see a post about her on this blog! She’s a cutie-patootie!

I’m sure that with jobs and kids and a puppy, and all that goes on in our daily lives there will be lots to share as time goes by.  I hope that you’ll find it helpful, funny and engaging. I encourage you to comment along the way!