Simple advice for a better life.


Independence Day in the U.S. is always celebrated on July 4th.  Many businesses are closed that day in observance of this holiday.

Families and friends get together for a cook out, outdoor fun.  In the evening everyone is looking forward to an exciting display of fire works, usually prepared by a local fire department.

My contribution to this celebration will consist of links to some of my previously posted recipes, which you may wish to prepare for your guests.


These  Pork Ribs with Bourbon Whiskey Barbecue Sauce take little more time to complete, but are awesomely delicious, and the meat, literally, falls of the bone.


For the vegetarian guests, this easy to assemble Vegetable Platter will be a hit, for sure.


Sweet and Sour Coleslaw is another vegetarian choice, as well as an excellent side dish to accompany your barbecue meats.


Delicious and healthful Broccoli Salad.



Your gusts will just LOVE this easy, no bake Low Fat Jello Cheesecake.

This dessert should be made a day ahead, or several hours before serving, to give it a chance to firm up.


If you are looking for much simpler dessert recipe, nothing will take less effort than this Strawberry Cream Cheese Jello Mold.

Enjoy your Independence Day party, and stay safe!


Waffle bowls filled with fresh fruit Ice Cream Cone Birthday Cupcakes






Another birthday party rolled around for my “little princess” granddaughter, who turned six years old.

This time she asked for an “Ice Cream Sundae” birthday party theme, so her mom, once again, went all the way out to make it exciting.

Today I will share some of the party moments I captured with my camera.

Ice Cream Cone bouquet

Outdoor Ice Cream Cones decor



There were plenty of ice cream cone type of decorations throughout the indoor and outdoor, as you can see at least two of these in the above picture.

Jelly beans ice cream cones, and rice krispies treats

Jelly beans ice cream cones







Ice cream cone marshmellow snacks








There was a large selection of sweet snacks, before the birthday brunch.

Some of which were Rice Krispies, decked out with decorative ice creams, ice cream cones filled with jelly beans, and ice cream shaped marshmallows.


Yummy snacks - Ice Cream Sundae Birthday Party

Oh yes…..there also was a nice display of fruit snacks, as well as variety of crackers, cheeses, mini kobasie (kabanos), sweet and savory dips and chips.

Ice Cream Sundae Brunch Food 1

Ice Cream Sundae Brunch Food 2

The Brunch Menu included Tri-Color Pasta Salad, Nirchi’s Pizza, Roast Beef Au Jus and buns, Breakfast Casserole, Quiche, and Waffles with syrup.

Ice Cream Sundae Toppings - Nuts Free

  Ice Cream Sundae Toppings - containing nuts

All set wtih ice cream bowls, spoons, plates, banana split boats

Here I would like to display all the “necessities” for ” Make your own Ice Cream Sundae”.

These included special ice cream bowls with matching spoons, banana split boats, and myriad of toppings to satisfy the “everything on it” and the “nut free” crowd.

Create your own Ice Cream Sundae

All the ice cream lovers lined up nicely next to the “Make Your Own Ice Cream Sundae” station.

Good thing the weather was great, so the event took place outdoors….as some of those creations gave way to gravity….and had to be recreated from scratch….:-)

It was a great success!!

They had more fun making these sundaes, than eating them.

Many of these fancy creations got abandoned shortly afterward, to melt in the sun, while the little guests got busy running around and playing.

 Decorate your own Ice Cream Server hat

One of the indoor activities included decorating your own ” Ice Cream Server” hat, as you can see how intensely and diligently the girls are working on this project.

They did a beautiful job, but forgot to wear them to the Ice Cream Sundae Making Station…oh well.

Ice Cream Sundae Thank You Favors Bags

Once the sweet treats depleted and the “sugar high” energy burned out, the party bunch was ready to go home for a nap.

They were sent off on their way with a colorful bag full of treats, stamped with ice cream cones (which the birthday girl decorated herself), and a nice Thank You note.  They also got to keep their special ice cream bowls with matching ice cream cone spoons.  Nice!

What a great party this was.

Can’t wait for another birthday party to photograph, and to share with you.






The hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping is over for most of us (many Ukrainians will still celebrate Christmas on January 6th and 7th), so now it’s time to plan the New Year bash.

Since I will not be hosting  New Year  party this year, and not preparing anything exciting, you may click on the highlighted links to my previous posts with many fun party foods.

Also, I pinned a lot of interesting party foods on my Pinterest board, which you are more that welcome to check out, and test them out.

H A P P Y   N E W  Y E A R!!!







Barn style Birthday Cake with a bunch of farm animals cupcakesFarm Animal cupcakes - sheeps, pigs, chicksFarmer McAidan's Barn Birthdy Cake

My two-year old grandson’s favorite song is “Old McDonald had a farm”.  He also enjoys books about farm animals, and just loves riding with his dad on a tractor, while mowing their lawn.

His mom knew exactly what theme he will select for his second birthday party, so it turned out to be “McAidan’s” Farm theme.

Today I will share some pictures of decorations and creative party foods, from that happy event.

stash of stuffed farm animals to decorate the party room

The fireplace mantel held all the “near and dear” stuffed farm animals, which my grandson loves to snuggle up with.

Barn Door and farm animals - wall decoration                                 Barn and farm animals - toy and table centerpiece


The 7 foot high barn door wall decoration was creatively constructed by his mom, out of red wrapping paper, and white strapping tape, accessorized with cow print balloons, as well as few oversize cow and pig balloons.

His toy barn filled with farm animals, served as a center piece on the main food table.

Cowboys or farmers attire for party attendees  Hats and bandanas

All his friends were offered a cowboy hat and a bandana, to wear at the party, and to keep.

His daddy’s cowboy boots came in handy, and served well as an appropriate sign holder.

Party favors

In addition to the hats and bandanas, the little cowboys/farmers left the party with a personalized bag filled with all sorts of goodies.

Lemonade - as pond full of ducksThe swimming duckies - close up view

A large vessel with a convenient spigot, was filled with delicious lemonade, representing a pond full of swimming yellow duckies.   What a great idea!

Party food - deviled eggsFarmer McAidan's Veggie snacksFruit Patch - fun party food

Part of the snack menu were Deviled Farm Fresh Eggs, as well as a variety of berries and veggies from the McAdan’s Berry and Veggie Patches.

Trail Mix - as Chicken FeedPretzel Sticks - Hay


Other munchies included Chicken Feed (trail mix), and a bucket of Hay (pretzel sticks), as well as

Rice Krispies snacks - as Hay BalesOreo cookies taste better as tractor tires

Hay Bales (Rice Krispies Treats), and Tractor Tires (Oreo cookies).

The main menu had an abundance of barbecue foods, salads, other desserts and beverages.

Water slide into a water poolTractor rides

It was a beautiful day, so the very energetic two-year-olds, and some of their older and younger siblings, enjoyed many outdoor activities, including age appropriate sports, tractor rides, and most of all, an inflated water slide with a pool.

I had so much fun creating this post, and hopefully you enjoyed reading it, as well as getting fresh party ideas for that special little one in your family.

Please share your ideas with all of us.  Thank you.

Farmer McAidan's Barn Birthdy Cake

Chocolate Varenyky (Perogy)Chocolate Varenyky with hot chocolate fudge

If you like varenyky (dumplings, perogy, pierogi, or however you know them as) as much as you love chocolate, this is a dream come true recipe for you.

I have tasted many different varenyky fillings before, but this is my first time to make chocolate dough dumplings filled with farmer cheese and dark chocolate.

These type of varenyky are more suitable as a unique dessert, rather than a traditional meal.

You can use Dark Chocolate Hershey Kisses, dark chocolate chunks, or chocolate morsels,  mixed  with the cheese filling.  For this recipe, I chose the chocolate kisses.

I tested several different ways of serving these Chocolate Varenyky:

  • Drizzled with hot Dark Chocolate Fudge
  • Hot Chocolate Fudge and whipped cream
  • Hot Caramel Ice Cream Topping and a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream (my favorite)
  • Plain as they are, sprinkled with powdered sugar, just before serving

As you can see, these Varenyky are shaped differently (resembling little purses), unlike the traditional ones (half-circles).

The dough was very thin, so I used a pizza cutter to cut 2.5 x 2.5 squares to accommodate the cheese and chocolate kisses filling, for easier handling.

Chocolate dough squares and cheese and chocolate kiss fillingChocolate Varenyky - ready to cookChocolate Varenyky (Perogy) - sealing edges


I also, tried the same cheese filling, however I mixed it with 1/4 cup of  Nestle dark chocolate chips.  I used the traditional varenyky shape to enclose the filling, and they were just as delicious.

Farmer Cheese and chocolate chips filling

Farmer Cheese and chocolate chips filling

Dough Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached flour)
  • 2 Tbs. butter, melted
  • 1 cup warm water (or a little more if needed, to make soft, pliable dough)
  • 6 Tbs. unsweetened Cocoa
  • 2 Tbs. sour cream
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Filling Ingredients:

  • 8 oz Farmer Cheese (I used Friendship brand)
  • 2 Tbs. powdered sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbs. Corn Starch (or 1 Tbs. corn starch, plus 1Tbs. Wondra flour)
  • 32 Hershey Dark Chocolate Kisses, or 1/4 cup of Nestle Dark Chocolate Morsels

Filling Directions:

  1. Place cheese, sugar, egg and salt, in a medium bowl.
  2. Mix gently with a fork, to incorporate all ingredients.
  3. Fold in corn starch. (If using chocolate chips, gently fold them in as well)
  4. Keep in the fridge, until ready to use.

Dough Directions:

  1. Mix together the flour and cocoa.
  2. Make a well in the middle.
  3. Add the water and butter, and make a soft dough.
  4. Place in a plastic bag, cover with a tea towel, and let it rest at least 15 minutes at room temperature.
  5. Flour a work area, and roll out the dough very thinly (2-3 millimeters).
  6. Use a pizza cutter and cut into long strips, 2.5 inches wide.
  7. Cut each strip into 2.5 inch square pieces.
  8. Place a tsp of cheese filling on each piece and place the chocolate kiss in the middle (as pictured above).
  9. Bring all four corners of the dough together, pinch the top and sides, to fully seal in the filling.
  10. Bring pot of water to boil.
  11. Place at least 10 dumplings into boiling water, stir gently with a wooden spoon, and bring to boil again.
  12. Cook for 4 minutes, once they float to the top.
  13. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a colander, to drain off.
  14. Serve warm as suggested above.
  15. These are also delicious preheated in a microwave, and served as suggested above.



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