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The Photo Christmas Card and Family Letter

It’s December and the annual “Christmas Card” has not been created or mailed. Every year our family has sporadic conversations throughout the year about what our Christmas photo card should be. We’ve recreated musicals, historical events, period pieces, and spoofed ourselves all in the name of fun and enjoying the holidays.
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Great Food Products for Entertaining

Over the holidays, I rely on outside sources for many products – especially hors d’oeuvres and desserts – because these items can be stored in the freezer, are quick to thaw or bake, easy to serve (especially when time is limited) and delicious.

Cheese and crackers are certainly good but spinach and feta in puff pastry, mini quiche, or Brie en Croute are even better, especially on a cold wintry evening when friends drop by for a drink. In the same light, homemade desserts are always wonderful but not always feasible so when a spectacular dessert is needed last-minute, I turn to my freezer where stacks of products from two companies – Dufour Pastry Kitchens and Galaxy Desserts – line the shelves. Both companies make magnificent frozen hors d’oeuvres and desserts. Read more »


Ypres, Belgium: The Christmas Truce

Three years ago while my daughter was on a school trip, my husband and I went on a weeklong WWI battlefield tour.  Normally, I am the travel agent in the family securing flights, hotels, rental cars, and doing most of the research. But, this trip was my husband’s brainchild and all I had to do was show up because this adventure was a “duty” trip: the only reason I was going was to spend time with him.  My husband bought books, maps, made endless phone calls, and spoke to other WWI enthusiasts before deciding which sites, museums, and towns we needed to visit. And, he made the hotel reservations and mapped out our whole trip. Read more »


Shopping in La Antigua, Guatemala

When I think of Paris, New York, Madrid, London, Geneva, Aix en Provence, and even Hong Kong, I think “good shopping” but for years, I never thought the words “shopping” and “Guatemala” ever went together because of the difficultly in finding high quality products.  I would go to markets and stores but always end up disappointed, especially with the textiles which is what Guatemala is known for.  But through the years, I came to realize that Guatemala has some truly amazing products although these goods are not readily visible; you have to know where to look. In the spirit of sharing good information consider the following sources for shopping in La Antigua, Guatemala: Read more »


Restaurants and Gourmet Markets in La Antigua, Guatemala

Antigua is filled with restaurants and there are always new ones opening up.  Below is a short list of my favorite places to eat in this colonial treasure of a town: Read more »


A Lunch Conversation With My Teenage Daughter

My daughter and I went out to lunch recently.  After we settled in at the table, I could tell something was bothering her so I asked what was on her mind. She told me about a friend whose mother told her daughter to stop hanging around with my daughter because my daughter would be a bad influence. Read more »


Snowball Cookies

Every December, I make my family’s favorite holiday treat:  Snowball Cookies, a buttery pecan cookie that melts in your mouth.  The recipe came from my grandmother who was born in 1910 whose mother (my great-grandmother) came from Switzerland.  I don’t know if the original recipe came from my great-grandmother (who was an amazing bread maker according to family lore) or if my grandmother started the tradition of passing down favorite holiday cookie recipes. Read more »

The Christmas of ’51

On the way home from school a few nights ago, my daughter was admiring all the bright multi-colored holiday lights on the street poles and houses remarking how festive the area looks. When we returned to our dark home, my daughter said “Mom, we are a family with no holiday spirit” as we had nary a decoration in sight. Read more »


“Once Upon A Time There Was You”

Years ago (2003), when we were living in Madrid, I read a human interest story in the weekend edition of The International Herald Tribune about a father who was losing his daughter – not to death but to the unavoidable journey of growing up. At eighteen, she was leaving to go off to college, a parting he found very painful. He expressed his anguish in a poem by Cecil Day Lewis called “Walking Away:”
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The Palm Beach Half Marathon

I’m scheduled to run 13.1 miles in the Palm Beach Half Marathon and nervousness and anxiety are setting in because the temperatures are predicted to be in the high 70’s, which is very warm for a runner like me who has been training in 40-50 degree temps. Read more »