Simple advice for a better life.

Drummer Boy cupcakesThe Brithday Drum Cake








My little grandson absolutely loves music.  He dances to any tunes, and is quickly advancing his dance “moves”.

His First Birthday Party theme was all about music, of course, so today I will share a series of pictures from his fun day.

His parents were very busy planning fun decorations, and even a “beach size” sandbox was constructed for the special occasion.

The party room was decorated with music notes suspended from the ceiling, as well as hand constructed “singles records” representing each month of the past year, with an appropriate picture matching each song title.

Best Seller Singles - NewbornBest Seller Singles - One Month Old

Newborn – “Born in the USA” .               One Month Old – “Raise the Roof”.

Best Seller Singles - Two Months Old

Best Seller Singles - Three Months Old

Two Months Old – “Dear Momma”.     Three Months Old – “Pass the Popcorn”.

Best Seller Singles - Four Months Old

Best Seller Singles - Five Months Old

Four Months Old – “Turkey for me, Turkey for You” .     Five Months Old – “All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth”.

Best Seller Singles - Six Months OldBest Seller Singles - Seven Months Old

Six Months Old – “Sittin by the Dock of the Bay”.     Seven Months Old – “Father of Mine”.

Best Seller Singles - Eight Months Old

Best Seller Singles - Nine Months Old

Eight Months Old – “99 Bottles of Beer On the Wall”.   Nine Months Old – “Crawling Back to You”.

Best Seller Singles - Ten Months Old

Best Seller Singles - Eleven Months Old

Ten Months Old – “Peek-a-boo, I can see You”.  Even Months Old – “These Boots are Made for Walking”.

Best Seller Singles - Twelve Months Old

Twelve Months Old – “Go Shorty, It’s Ya Birthday”.

Best Seller Singles

Birthday Cake Display

This view displays the wall decor, and some of the music notes dangling from the ceiling, and the beautifully handcrafted banner at the cake display corner.

Birthday Thank You favors

Party Favors displayed here consist of a individual bags filled with age appropriate goodies, plus a homemade CD.

The Brithday Drum Cake

The proud and talented mom of the Birthday Boy, improvised the decor of the Birthday Cake, transforming it into a drum.

She used small pretzel sticks to form the sides of the drum, plus two Huge Campfire Marshmallows pierced by large pretzel sticks, turning them into drum sticks.

She also baked cupcakes, and decorated them with little drum sticks made out of small pretzel sticks and mini marshmallows.  Pretty cleaver; wouldn’t you agree?

Backyard Beach - Oversized Sand Box

The handy daddy of the Birthday Boy, constructed this over-sized sandbox.  Someone actually referred to it as the  ”backyard beach”, which was filled with happy kids, during the outdoor activity time.

Make your own tambourine

The other craft the children enjoyed, was making their personal tambourines.

Make your own tambourine - finished product 4Make your own tambourine - finished product 3


Make your own tambourine - finished product 2Make your own tambourine - finished product 1

This craft required two paper plates stapled together to form a pocket, then filled with some dry beans, stapled some more to close up the pocket.  Then decorated with googly eyes, ribbons, and finally colored with paints or markers.   The age of these “artists” ranged from 1 – 6 years old….soooo cute.

Safari Baby Pool

Mommy, Daddy and Baby Pool

Lunch and cake were served outdoors, to accommodate the kids and parents to an easy access to the sand box, playground, and the baby pool.

After the numerous fun  activities, everyone was ready to cool off in the pool.

The tired out parents enthusiastically welcomed the idea, and enjoyed it even more than the little ones.

It was a great party, and the weather was very cooperative as well.




Wine Corks – Interesting Backsplash

Container filled with hundreds of wine corksI would be very interested in knowing how many of you are into wine cork collecting?

Pinterest has  numerous  arts and crafts ideas from wine corks.  You should check it out!

You will find cork floor mats, coasters, place mats, wall decor, candle holders, Christmas Tree decorations, etc.

My daughter and her husband have been collecting their wine corks for few years now, with some help from other family members as well.

They were contemplating several ideas to use up those wine corks , but once their basement was finished, which  includes a fairly spacious kitchen, they knew exactly which cork project to pursue.

Yes, you guessed it….a very interesting backsplash for their new kitchen.

Today I will share some pictures I took of that project, which began with my daughter’s idea, and finalized by her husband, with a helping hand from his dad.

This actually turned out to be a nice family project.

Wine Cork backsplash - begining stages

It all started with a special backing board attached to the wall, to outline the backsplash area.

They also installed extended (protruding from the wall) electrical outlets, to allow for the thickness of the corks in the backsplash.

Wine Cork backsplash - close up

As you can see here, the electrical outlets are nicely fit on the surface of the cork backsplash.  Nice job!

Wine Cork backsplash - close up 2

Here is a close up view of the corks, placed in a specific pattern, to create a very interesting backsplash.

Wine Cork backsplash

At last, the finished project, with lots of corks still left over…ready for another project…?

Please note, there are some color corks placed strategically throughout the  backsplash,  to add a little more color and character.

I was very pleasantly surprised by the outcome of this project.

What a great way to recycle wine corks, and be surrounded by many memories of the numerous occasions these wines were shared with family and friends.

Please share your comments, plus other ideas and experiences you may have with creating interesting projects from wine corks.



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!


strawberry meringue cake   strawberry meringue cake - serving







Strawberry season is still here, making it easy to prepare a bunch of delicious strawberry desserts.

Today I will share an Eastern European recipe for a very simple, super moist, and very refreshing Strawberry Meringue Sheet Cake.

For best results, I recommend serving this cake the same day, or next day, at the latest.

It is very moist at room temperature, but does firm up while refrigerated.

I prefer serving it at room temperature.

Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I use unbleached)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar + 3 Tbs.
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. extract (I used rum)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced in half

Cake Directions:

  1. Place the flour, salt, and baking powder on a work surface.
  2. Using a spoon, make a well in the middle of the pile of flour mixture.
  3. Mix in egg yolks and extract.  Keep the egg whites refrigerated for now.
  4. Add 3 Tbs. sugar, and cubed butter.
  5. Mix all ingredients, and knead with your hands, to from a ball of soft dough.

strawberry meringue cake - three portions of cake dough

6.  Divide the  dough into 3, gradually smaller, balls.

7.  Cover, and keep refrigerated until it firms up, or over night.

8.  Line a 9 x 13 baking sheet with parchment paper (large enough to cover bottom and sides.


strawberry meringue cake - dough ready for shredding

strawberry meringue cake - First layer of shredded dough


9.  Take the largest ball of dough, and shred it on a large eye grater, to cover the bottom of the baking pan.

strawberry meringue cake - layer of strawberry slices

10.  Spread strawberries over this layer of dough. Smooth them out to form an even layer.

strawberry meringue cake - shredded batter over strawberries

11.  Take the medium dough ball and shred it over the strawberries.

12.  In a medium bowl, mix the egg whites until frothy, then add 1/2 cup sugar, and beat until soft peaks form.

strawberry meringue cake - scoops of egg whites meringue

strawberry meringue cake - layer of whipped egg whites


13.  Spread the meringue over the strawberries, and smooth it out evenly.

strawberry meringue cake - last layer of shredded dough

14.  Take the last dough ball and shred it evenly over the meringue.

15.  Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

16.  Bake for 35 minutes.

17.  Remove from the oven, and rest the cake, still in the pan, on a cooling rack.

18.  Using a butter knife, loosen up the cake around the edges, and cool it completely.

19.  Cut it into serving pieces, and arrange it on a serving platter.

















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