Archive for the ‘Winning Strategies’ Category


Not much in the way of blogging lately but I thought it was worth showing you my latest little craft.  My ADD brain was cleaning the house yesterday including the garage and I saw the empty door to the garage and decided to take an old racquet that was broken and make it into something new.
With my daughter’s graduation party coming up, her love and mine of tennis, and her school colors being purple and gold…this seemed fitting.
Too bad I don’t have a picture of my husband rolling his eyes as I finished my new wreathet.
I guess I should get started on the things that people will really notice like clearing off the dining room table  and actually having food in the house.
What’s the craziest or most inventive thing you’ve upcycled into something fabulous?


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We at Love All, love chocolate.  Okay, I at Love All, love chocolate.

Who doesn’t really?  There are a few people in this world who don’t like it, but frankly, we all know those people are a pain in the butt anyway.  I think sometimes people feel the need to just go against the grain and celebrate their independence from the rest of us commoners.  Well good luck celebrating without chocolate!

Above is a picture of a celebration at our school.  The PTO put together a beautiful table to celebrate our teachers.  It is “choc” full of love in the form of beautiful strawberries, bathed in the good stuff.  The perfect blend of flavors.  If you’ve never dipped your own, you need to try it.  It’s really quite easy and a great way to impress people (especially those who don’t know how easy it is.)


There are many ways to do it but frankly the easiest for me is to buy the microwaveable chocolate and follow the directions.  Just make sure not to get it too hot, too soon or it’ll burn and it won’t be useable.  Trust me this does happen.  You must be patient and actually follow the directions on the package.  I just got the basic stuff and keep this on the down low but…. I don’t think it’s even real chocolate.  That said, it works well, looks gorgeous and tastes yummy. 

If you want to be fancy, buy the white chocolate and drizzle some across the chocolate and vice versa.  Another trick is to dip the tip of the still wet strawberries in colored sugar.  This is sure to draw more “Ahhhs” from your guests.  I also love giving pretzel rods the chocolate treatment.  Glitz them up a bit too for fun.

Enjoy making anything chocolate for your loved ones this Valentine’s Day.  It’s so meaningful to show your love with acts of service and deliciousness and who needs another pair of boxers with hearts on them anyway!

If you’re a chocolate aficionado as I am, you may like one of my earlier blogs…”Peggy’s Prozac” or try “My Wedding Cake Came in a Box.”

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I’m posting this beautiful essay that our Cousin sent to us, describing being a parent of a child with a disability.  

Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

C1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

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This was forwarded to me and I liked it enough to pass it on.  I like some of the ideas in it and you might too.




The man that sent this information is a computer tech.  He spends a lot of time clearing the junk off computers for people and listens to complaints about speed.  All forwards are not bad, just some.  Be sure you read the very last paragraph.

He wrote:

By now, I suspect everyone is familiar with snopes.comand/or truthorfiction.com for determining whether information received via email is just that:  true/false or fact/fiction.  Both are excellent sites.

Advice from snopes.com   VERY IMPORTANT!!

1) Any time you see an email that says "forward this on to ’10’ (or however many) of your friends", "sign this petition", or "you’ll get bad luck" or "you’ll get good luck" or "you’ll see something funny on your screen after you send it" or whatever — it almost always has an email tracker program attached that tracks the cookies and emails of those folks you forward to.  The host sender is getting a copy each time it gets forwarded and then is able to get lists of ‘active’ email addresses to use in SPAM emails or sell to other spammers.  Even when you get emails that demand you send the email on if you’re not ashamed of God/Jesus — that is email tracking, and they are playing on our conscience.  These people don’t care how they get your email addresses – just as long as they get them.  Also, emails that talk about a missing child or a child with an incurable disease "how would you feel if that was your child" — email tracking.  Ignore them and don’t participate!

2) Almost all emails that ask you to add your name and forward on to others are similar to that mass letter years ago that asked people to send business cards to the little kid in Florida who wanted to break the Guinness Book of Records for the most cards.  All it was, and all any of this type of email is, is a way to get names and ‘cookie’ tracking information for telemarketers and spammers — to validate active email accounts for their own profitable purposes.

You can do your Friends and Family members a GREAT favor by sending this information to them.  You will be providing a service to your friends.  And you will be rewarded by not getting thousands of spam emails in the future!

Do yourself a favor and STOP adding your name(s) to those types of listing regardless how inviting they might sound! Or make you feel guilty if you don’t! It’s all about getting email addresses and nothing more.

You may think you are supporting a GREAT cause, but you are NOT!

Instead, you will be getting tons of junk mail later and very possibly a virus attached!  Plus, we are helping the spammers get rich!  Let’s not make it easy for them!

ALSO:  Email petitions are NOT acceptable to Congress of any other organization – i.e. social security, etc.  To be acceptable, petitions must have a "signed signature" and full address of the person signing the petition, so this is a waste of time and you are just helping the email trackers.

One other tip I have is to set up an e-mail just for friends (relatives too) and do NOT ever use it for purchasing anything or write it anywhere, not even for your child’s teacher.  This e-mail hasn’t gotten any spam and my other one gets tons. 

I have to say that I’ve always had a problem with Jesus threatening me if I didn’t forward his prayer on….it just wouldn’t be very Christian of Him.

Ta Ta and may your inbox be much lighter!

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October Picture from calendar


 Everday, my little guy wakes up to his own alarm and marches in for a good morning snuggle.   After a few minutes, he begins the rest of his morning routine with his dad.  Last Friday, I heard him announce to his dad, “Today is gonna be a great day…three reasons. 

  1. Pep rally at school
  2. Spirit wear day and jeans -Sister says jeans are ok as long as they’re appropriate.
  3. We have PE”

He donned his school Tshirt and appropriate jeans, ate his Cinnamon Toast Crunch, packed his lunch and went off to school with his dad. 

I think it’s interesting that not having to wear his uniform is so fun for him.  I really believe being denied certain things enhances our appreciation when we get them.  This child is a joy because he finds joy in the simple things.  His spirit is contagious and just by hearing his enthusiasm, he brightened my day. 

Imagine if:

  1. we all found 3 reasons to look forward to the day
  2. we appreciated the things that most people take for granted
  3. we shared our excitement with others

I hope you all have a joyful day with many reasons to be grateful.  What are you looking forward to today?

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I can’t believe that it’s school already.  Summers used to last so long and now I blink and the leaves are falling.  I always have a summer bucket list (in my head) and I always fail to do most of it.  In a last ditch attempt to check a few off my list, I’m assessing now, so I can cram it all in before the snow flies.


Here’s a typical list:

  1. Go to the pool a lot (of course with sun block… now that I know that sun really does cause wrinkles)  arrgh!
  2. Ride bike down the Monon Trail to Bubs for burgers and a beer.
  3. Play lots of tennis… and really improve my serves and overheads
  4. Play outdoor games with the kids and my BH (Badminton, bocce ball, baseball in the cul de sac, football)
  5. Go to Indians games
  6. Hang out on the patio with the neighbors and friends
  7. Roast marsh mellows and make s’mores
  8. Read some good books by the pool or outside on the patio
  9. Go on long walks with my BH or girlfriends
  10. Play golf with my BH and kids
  11. Harvest bushels of fresh, organic produce from my garden
  12. Grill and bake the best fresh summer food
  13. Visit loved ones
  14. Go to outdoor concerts
  15. Go to the lake
  16. Play tennis with the kids

virgina beach (48) virgina beach (60)

This summer was full of some wonderful times although I have to say, most of them were on vacation.  It seems that the “work” in running a house seems to take over and we truly could relax while away.  I actually love being home and I plan to try to enjoy that last month of summer weather with my whole heart and soul.  The weather is cooling and I’m going to make the best of it.  I’ve done some of the things on my bucket list but I’m going to work on it more. 

What things are on your summer bucket list?

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 peaches 019 peaches 020

This weekend the Hogans and Dincolos gathered in Chicago for the first of many times together to come.

‘Twas the Mewhort tree that sprouted the Hogan and Dincolo branches back in the fifties.  Janet married Jim Hogan and Judy married Jim Dincolo.  The Dincs (hard “C”) moved to Indiana and the Hogans stayed in Michigan.  In May, at a family wedding, we danced, ate, imbibed and joked with our cousins.  We realized that we have a good time together and vowed to “see each other soon.” 

Well, we reminded D. of his late night promise to set up a weekend in Chicago for us and he made good on it.  We hopped cabs to Navy Pier and for once were VIPs, being shuffled to the front of the line as we boarded the tall ship Windy.  You gotta love the VIP treatment because it doesn’t often happen.  Regardless, it was an awesome sailboat ride on lake Michigan, complete with cute Irish boat interns, who played guitar while serenading us.  We sailed along the lakefront, gazed at the city lights and took in the most lovely, warm summer breeze.  Saturday, we shopped, ate and hung out at their beautiful high rise home, ending the night with fireworks on the rooftop…the penthouse.  I love that word! 


It’s been a very busy summer and frankly a weekend at home is soooo appealing but the bit of effort to try to fit in this visit was well worth it.  Sometimes it can be easy to say, “can’t make it”  but I encourage everyone to try to make time for the relationships that bring a smile.  A drive to see those people who give us a bear hug and a kiss for a greeting,  who cook for us, toast with us and make us laugh is worth it.

So, I salute to the Dincs and here’s to renewing old relationships and forging new ones.


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