Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies…One Dozen Just For Me!


Hassle-Free Cookies


Since it is January 4, I knew that the Valentine’s Day displays would be more than a little obvious in the stores. I saw the signal that February is just around the corner within thirty seconds after entering Central Market. I am surprised that I even had time to get a shopping cart before I was bombarded with bright red hearts.


Velentine heart two



Trust me…I would never forget the significance of Valentine’s Day! I simply need to recover first from the busy times around the Christmas holidays. I have not even found a place for the extra wrapping paper. I may do that today.




Christmas wrapping paper

Nevertheless…I have a wonderful cookie recipe that is perfect for Valentine’s Day. So delicious!!!



red velvet cookie two





What to have on hand:

*Parchment Paper

*4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter,     softened

*1/4 cup sugar

*1 large egg

*1 1/2 teaspoons red liquid food coloring

*1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

*1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa

*1/2 teaspoon salt

*1 teaspoon salt

*1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*2 ounces cream cheese, softened

*1/4 cup white chocolate morsels, melted according to package directions. Cool.

***Garnish: white chocolate morsels



1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat the butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the egg and food coloring. Beat 30 seconds.

2. Sift the flour with the cocoa and salt in a small bowl. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place 1/2 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Press thumb or end of a wooden spoon into each ball, forming an indentation.

4. Bake at 325 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes or until cookies are fragrant and dry. While cookies are still warm, press indentations again. Cool cookies completely on a wire rack (about 30 minutes). 

5. Stir together cream cheese and melted white chocolate in a small bowl. Fill centers of cookies with cream cheese mixture.


***Garnish the center of each cookie with a white chocolate morsel.***










How I Found Peace Through A Note From a Third Grader.

Firefly verse

As I have written before, we lost our son in a very sad car accident in October, 2004. To say that it was totally heartbreaking is an underestimate. I knew that we needed to get back to our regular routine as soon as possible. So…we found our strength and found our way back to our familiar life. We focused on our careers, our friends and our daughter who was then a college student.



Crowfoot, a chief of the Siksika First Nation.


I loved teaching school and found incredible joy in getting to know the children and their families. I knew that I would feel much better when I saw those smiling children. And I did! My elementary school at the time was like a “windows on the world”…so many cultures and so many languages. There were many Vietnamese families in the area surrounding the school…wonderful families with a clear focus on giving their children the chance for a bright future through education.  The year that we lost our son was my first year to teach third grade… after teaching Kindergarten for several years.


Fireflies near mountains

Fireflies streaking through a gorge near the foothills.


Little did I realize how a child in my Third Grade class would give me the hope that comes from understanding the meaning of loss. One of my students had moved from Vietnam just three short weeks before school started. She only knew a few words of English… “hello, goodbye, friend, thank you”. Eager to learn and always kind, she smiled continuously and listened to every word that was uttered in class. She was paired with two older students for thirty minutes or so a day for English tutoring. I learned that peer assistance in any language development is the real key.


Walking with fireflies

Walking among the fireflies.

By Christmas, the young child was virtually fluent in English…a miracle to me and a testament to her work ethic. On the state test in the Spring, her score on the reading part was one of the highest of all the students. During that time, she started reading many types of poetry and enjoyed looking up special topics in the library.



Fireflies in Japan

A garden of fireflies.


One sunny Spring day, she quietly placed a paper on my desk during morning announcements. It was a poem that she evidently found in the library. She had added an illustration with her handwriting. As she walked away from my desk, she said…


“Mrs. Davis, I know that you must be still sad about your son. I think that these words will help you!”

To the very smart and very perceptive little girl from Vietnam…now a grown up young woman…”The words you found are still giving me happiness and peace today. Thank you!”


The paper that my young student from Vietnam gave me that sunny Spring day…



Poem from student




A great opportunity from an inspiring blog…”Dream Big, Dream Often”!!

I’m reblogging for the next few weeks so take advantage of this opportunity and leave me your link to share! If you feel so inclined you can share this post with your readers. I’ll Share Your Post…Click Here!!

via Leave Me A Link and I’ll Reblog Your Page! — Dream Big, Dream Often

Family and Friends…Simply Needed, Simply the Best, Simply Said.

needs quotes 1

Thanksgiving was just as joyful this year as last year and all of the preceding years. We so appreciate this opportunity to celebrate with our friends and family. The legacy of our large Thanksgiving is a true treasure and we are ever thankful each year.

After we had our early afternoon Thanksgiving dinner, everyone relocated to their favorite activities…riding one of the four wheelers on trails, children playing in the hay barn, others watching football games, others busy walking on trails lined with tall pine trees, some taking the children to watch cows being milked at a dairy farm located just down the road.




And…as usual…some of us sat in the dining room just talking. Something insignificant happened as one of the children…an “almost” three year old boy…walked in from the nearby kitchen. We thought that he was coming in to ask for a slice of pie or a piece of cake. Instead, he pulled on the arm of a family friend who was sitting at the corner of the table and began asking questions repeatedly…


“Where are my sisters? Where did they go? Are they at the barn? Do you know?”

And then we saw the tears as the little “almost” three year old boy said…



An insignificant series of questions from a much loved child suddenly became incredibly significant to me. I  have thought about his words so much during the two weeks since Thanksgiving.


The need for someone we love, for a friend, for family, for community, for security, for the joy of close kinship and companionship is hopefully at the very core of our lives…the very center of our existence. At least, that is how I feel.


I am wondering how some children are able to discern that they need someone, that they need companionship and that they need love. I am wondering how some children have the innate confidence to ask for what they need…even in the presence of a group of overly talkative grownups. Our “almost” three year old has a loving and faithful family. His life is joyful. He laughs easily. He smiles constantly. He expresses himself at every appropriate opportunity.


Sometimes children need to become who they are supposed to be…to be given the freedom to be themselves…backed up by the guidance of the adults in their lives.







A magazine inspired by a poet…why did the poet imagine his house so bleak?

House Beautiful, January 1934

Vintage magazine “House Beautiful” combined with “Home & Field” published in January 1934.



A magazine patterned after a poem…and thank goodness for that! The original title of “House Beautiful” magazine was inspired by the following poem written by Robert Louis Stevenson:


“The House Beautiful”

A naked house, a naked door,

A shivering pool before its door,

A garden bare of flowers and fruit,

And poplars at the garden foot;

Such is the place I live in,

Bleak without and bare within.

Stevenson's den in Samoa

Robert Louis Stevenson’s house in Samoa seemed far from bleak! Perhaps Stevenson’s imagination changed the vision that he insisted was his home. 


And so…House Beautiful magazine was created. Eugene Klapp was a civil engineer in Chicago who had an eye for home design and home improvement. He was an early DIY devotee long before the term DIY was even created.  In December of 1896, Klapp created House Beautiful, a women’s magazine dedicated to interior design, architecture and gardening. For financial help in beginning the magazine, Klapp sought the help of his friend Henry Blodgett Harvey.



HB #8

And bleak and bare houses became an impetus to imagine and create pleasant and pleasing home environments. We send our gratitude to Robert Louis Stevenson for his influence!



House Beautiful #1


During the subsequent years, House Beautiful changed publishers several times and changed editors multiple times. With each change, the magazine adapted to the varied interests of the readers. House Beautiful began as an architectural and decorative magazine, but soon added sections for furniture styles,  emerging home design, housekeeping and the inevitable do-it-yourself projects. Starting in 1904, House Beautiful became a bit controversial with a series of articles titled:


“The Poor Taste of the Rich: A Series of Articles Which Show that Wealth Is Not Essential to the Decoration of a House, and That the Homes of Many of Our Richest Citizens are Furnished in Exerable Taste”


opulent style

This room could be an opulent style candidate!


The articles included multiple pictures of the “poor taste” houses that the editors had in mind and even named the owners of the houses. The decor of such houses was blatantly called “ostentatious”!  Most of the readership liked the articles and the circulation of House Beautiful grew!

HB #7


HB #5

By the time the January of 1934 issue of House Beautiful was published, the magazine was owned by the New York based International Company…a division of the Hearst Corporation. The magazine continued to be a formidable competition for similar magazines through World War II and beyond. By 1964, House Beautiful was said to be…

“Fat with advertising,  used color lavishly , and maintained its original principle of sensible spending for good construction and furnishings”.


HB #9


House Beautiful strives to maintain their dynamic and original philosophy: “to always be warm and welcoming, to inspire, to surprise and delight, and always be engaging and fun”…according to Hearst Integrated Media.




Robert Louis Stevenson inspired a magazine to bring a sense of peaceful  sanctuary into the home environment.






HB #3


*****After 118 years of publication, House Beautiful must be doing something really right!*****








Counting From One to Three.


Singer/songwriter David Broza expresses his innermost feelings about the struggle for peace in his critically acclaimed 2014 album, East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem.

David Broza one

East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem with David Broza. The album and coordinating short film co-produced by my cousin, Steve Earle. David Broza and Steve Earle…serious thinkers and seriously talented people.

Steve with David Broza

David Broza and Steve Earle

The struggle for peace exudes through our world…across hills and mountains and valleys…across borders near and far. It seems that peace has somehow become an illusion…a commodity that is deeply hidden in the mire of political as well as societal differences. It is said that music is the universal language, the essential and common language…the language that can bring people together from across the spectrum. I believe in the possibility that the previous statement is true…David Broza evidently holds the same belief. 

david broza two




Don’t want to preach to no one tonight
Just want to tell my tale
When the sun will rise tomorrow
It will shed a light on some facts from hell

Clouds are floating in the sky
Shift the mood so fast
Just like on the streets of Jerusalem
Where quiet’s not meant to last

I going to find you tonight
I’m going to count from one to three
I will feel the peace within me
With you right here next to me

I was born into this reality
I was brought up with a war
That doesn’t mean I must accept it
Don’t wanna fight no more

Young people from all over
Stray off and cross the lines
                         It’s a dialogue that we’re seeking                        And we’re running out of time


David Broza three

The words to the song, “One to Three” are a sad reality. Broza seems to be saying that peace can possibly be reached through people talking freely and openly about their differences. There is fear. There is intimidating behavior. It seems that there is a lack of trust on each side of any disagreement. Naive? Perhaps. However, beginning with the language of music is a beginning that should not be ignored where any bit of hope exists.


B&W Photo Challenge Reveal!

My portion of the B&W Photo Challenge is completed! Through the process, I found myself remembering the many hours that I spent in the photo lab in college. I was so thrilled to learn how to develop film and how to take B&W pictures that would pop on the newspaper page. 


Evidently, I forgot everything that I learned in the darkroom! I still have my favorite photos from college (naturally!)  …the ones that I enlarged and mounted. I have no idea what I thought I would do with those mounted pictures! When I get the nerve, I will look at them again! I think that they are in the attic…what a very risky thought!






Day #1…Top of the Rock at Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri.


Justin's truck

Day #2…Our son’s 1958 Chevrolet ApacheTruck.


owl in the tree

Day #3…Halloween (very loud) owl in the tree.


Big Cedar top of bridge

Day #4…Top of wooden covered bridge at Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri.



Day #5…Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.


My classroom room

Day #6…Card from one of my Kindergarten students.



Day #7…Fence post at our farm with barn in the background.