Aunt Dru’s Old Fashioned Banana Bread with a Twist

One of the smells that remind me of my home is my Aunt Dru's banana bread. I make this when I want to bring back memories of my childhood, and I am sure it will for you as well.

Craft & Cocktail

Add a half cup of cucumber slices and 2 tablespoons of basil ribbons to 1 cup of gin.
Refrigerate overnight. 
Strain the gin and reserve 4 ounces. 
Divide ice between two tall glasses. 
Add gin and divide the grapefruit juice 
between glasses. 
Top with ginger beer and garnish with grapefruit wedges, cucumber slices and thinly sliced basil ribbons. 
Enjoy. Cheers!

Summer reads for kids

Summer is a wonderful time of year for kids to enjoy the pleasures of reading. There are books to learn from, to instill creativity or those to just enjoy without pressures of deadlines or homework. Here are some perfect books for kids, ages eight through fourteen, to help pass their lazy days in the sun or while traveling. The first…

Parenting on the Autsim Road

Parenting a child on the autistic spectrum is not an easy road, but it’s not as hard as one might think. There are bumps and rough spots, but sometimes the road is smooth and one meets many travel companions along the way. Each person’s road is different.

Home Grown Parting Thoughts

As I sit down to write on the theme “Home Grown”, the ground outside is covered in snow and temperatures are hitting record-breaking lows. This is not the kind of weather a farmer wishes for, but no matter the weather outside, something that can always be cultivated is kindness.

It’s All About the Tree

For me and Clark Griswold, the kick-off to Christmas is puttin’ up the pine. Big, small, fake fir or real – doesn’t matter. This quiet custom gives us permission to proceed with the magical month of December. And no one is left out. Rich or poor. Young and old. Those who pledge allegiance to the real thing or people who…

Our Summer in Rio

For our 20th wedding anniversary, I decided to surprise my husband with an epic trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I made all the reservations myself, only to find out with a few weeks to spare that we needed travel visas to go there. What?!? It can take months to get a visa, so in the end, the closest we…

The Asian Beauty

The night before Halloween meant one thing at our suburban New Jersey home. My mom brought her Japanese lantern inside. Every other day of the year, it stood outside like an exotic beauty basking in the sun. Constructed of three pieces of cast iron, the pedestal lantern had a large compartment for a candle, secured by a small latch. Its…

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

One of my favorite commercials is set to the Christmas song, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year", but the commercial runs in August and it shows kids shopping for school supplies with their mom. It gets an A+ in my book for being clever.

A Quick Staycation Up North

Two summers ago we found ourselves in need of a quick, last minute get away. Summer was at full tilt and, with two teenagers and two under the age of seven, mom needed a break! After haphazardly putting together a plan and with almost no expectations, we decided to head north to Honeyville, Utah. We packed up in one day…

Summer Reads


Just My Luck, by Cammie McGovern, is a touching story about fourth grader Benny and how he deals with his life. He believes he has no talent. He can't even ride a bike successfully while his autistic brother rides circles around him. When his dad has a serious accident, Benny blames himself. But there are two people, his mom and…

Making Family Dinner More Than Just Food

Family dinner has been somewhat put on the back burner with our busy schedules of extracurricular activities, long work hours and so much to do. I recently listened to a talk radio program about family dinners and was intrigued with a thought shared that children can learn more vocabulary from family dinner conversations than they can from an adult reading…

Backyard Chickens

Our first experience with raising chickens occurred when our eldest son excitedly reported his kindergarten class had just successfully hatched a dozen chicks and his teacher was looking for lucky families who could adopt one. We quickly responded that we could not possibly have a chicken because we lived in a crowded neighborhood. However, after some investigation, we discovered that…

The Art of Acquiring Art

You can’t spell painting without “pain.” This is something I learned at a silent auction several years back. While attending an outdoor literary festival, I stumbled upon a booth featuring one of my favorite local artists. Local for me, I should say, because I’m sure his colorful, whimsical paintings sell across the nation. He just happens to share my area…

An Explosive Tradition

The celebration actually begins in early December at Christmastime, as they gather together as a family to carefully and creatively fabricate elaborate gingerbread houses. Each member designs his or her own gingerbread masterpiece, taking care to make the structure sound. Literally hours are spent as blocks of gingerbread are stacked and cemented together with sticky white frosting. Peppermints, gum drops,…

Christmas Gifts

I grew up in a home where the presentation of a gift was as important as what the box held inside. At Christmas, my mom and her best friend, my godmother Annie, would lock themselves up in a bedroom with footlockers full of wrapping paper and ribbon, sharp scissors, red pens, and an ironing board to make sure that no…

The Perfect 
Thanksgiving

It's in the air. In the cool mornings and again in the chilly evenings, fall is upon us, winter right around the corner. We've put together Halloween costumes and made trick-or-treating plans. Up next on the holiday horizon: Thanksgiving, full of family and food and, when we're lucky, the good friends we choose as family.

A Foolproof Secret to Fall Success

Before I proceed with my so-called parting thoughts, I have an assignment for you: set a ½ cup of butter on the counter and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Just trust me. I am terrible at planning Halloween costumes, have yet to host Thanksgiving dinner and anything that involves the phrase back-to-school stresses me out. In spite of all…

Common Scents

It was the last speech of the commencement exercises, the obligatory talk given by an unknown member of the school board. The graduates were fidgety waiting for their diplomas and freedom. The audience was watching the clock for the event to be over and celebration dinners to begin. It was the talk where the majority of those in attendance were…

Bloom Where You Are Planted

I am an Oregon native and a transplant to Utah. My family and I moved here after nearly seven years in Boise, Idaho, and a humid summer spent living in Manassas, Virginia before officially arriving in Draper one hot August day nine years ago.

Anticipation

They spring up mid-summer, up and down Fort Street, just like the tulips did last April. Overnight they blossom. Mostly they are the white, plastic variety but inter-mingled you will see folding ones, leftovers from old church buildings, a few green ones and even some old-fashioned woven-web ones. Lawn chairs begin lining the street, sprouting up and filling in, up…

Dear Dad

It’s been some time since I was with you on Father’s Day. I still think of you--every year. We get your favorite cherry pie to celebrate. Though, I’m not sure how many people in the family actually like it…we do it anyway.

Mother’s Day Gifts

My mother sat the length of this past winter in a chair alongside the hospital bed of her youngest son, my little brother. She and I spent the long days of her bedside vigil texting the time away, across the divide—two states between us and all the unspoken emotion that illness brings. I sent her a link one day to…