Kate Middleton and all of your event planners: It’s officially time to panic.

I don’t often follow gossip or the lives of celebrities, but like billions of others, I too, am anxiously awaiting the wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton. I was nearly in tears of laughter after reading Samantha Bee’s article in the Wall Street Journal, offering her “tuppence” for the royal nuptials.

With four days and counting, it is time to panic: the world will be watching, waiting and looking for every misstep, every wardrobe malfunction and every mishap with the tanning cream. This is also true for the countless party and event planners responsible for everything related to the wedding from menus to stallion grooming.  There are thousands of things that can go wrong, and while any mistakes Kate might make will ultimately come across as charming and endearing any mistakes the royal planners might make will not be so graciously forgiven.  It’s not exactly “Off With Their Heads!” but the event will put hundreds of reputations and livelihoods on the line. I — like Ms. Bee and the billions of others — will be gripping my tea and scones at 4:00 am, wiping away tears as Kate and William exchange their vows with “to honor” instead of “obey,” partake in the famous balcony kiss and ride away in a horse -drawn carriage towards the happily-ever-after we are all expecting.

So, good luck and best wishes to the happy couple and the same to the myriad individuals who have spent the last five months working feverishly and holding their breaths to make April 29th perfect. Because as Ms. Bee reminds us, come Saturday the big day will be over and people will move on to thinking about new things…like whether Kate has a baby bump or not…



Quiche for Easter Morning Celebrated Gatherings

Easter is one of my favorite holidays, but if you have children it can be challenging to manage the hunt for Easter eggs and also serve breakfast all in the same morning. The following quiche recipe is perfect for a mid-morning brunch; it’s kid friendly, and easy to prepare. The hash browns form a crispy crust which is topped with a ham and egg mixture. Feel free to add or subtract filling ingredients depending on what your family likes. Sometimes I arrange asparagus spears or chopped artichoke hearts on top before adding the eggs, and I’ve also substituted cooked, crumbled bacon for the ham.

  • 1 24-ounce package frozen hash browns, thawed
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Emmenthaler or Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup diced cooked ham
  • ½ cup half and half
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Press thawed hash browns between paper towels to remove moisture. Arrange hash browns into a greased 9-inch pie plate, forming a solid crust. Brush the crust with melted butter, including top edges. Bake for 25 minutes; remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Sprinkle cheeses and ham evenly over bottom of crust. Beat half and half with eggs and salt and pepper. Pour over cheeses and ham. Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes, or until eggs are set and a knife inserted in center comes out clean. 6 servings.

If you have any favorite recipes or Easter traditions, I’d love to hear about them!


As the saying goes “Everyone’s a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day,” and who wouldn’t want to be part of one of the world most fun-loving and spirited holidays of the year?

This year, I recommend skipping the bars and opting for a beer tasting bash at home. Similar to a wine tasting party, serve up some of Ireland’s finest stouts, ales, and porters and let your friends taste the nuances in flavor and style. Pair the brews with a St. Patty’s Day meal rich in tradition- corned beef and cabbage, potatoes and Irish soda bread.

Epicurious created this comprehensive list of beers made in or inspired by Ireland. Here are a few favorite beers I pulled from the list, and any of these would be perfect for the party:

  • Beamish Irish Stout
  • Boulevard Irish Ale
  • Diamond Bear Irish Red
  • Finnegans Irish Amber
  • Georg Killian’s Irish Red
  • Great Divid Saint Bridget’s Porter
  • Guinness Pub Draught
  • Harpoon’s Celtic Ale
  • O’Hara’s Irish Red Ale
  • Murphy’s Irish Stout
  • O’Hara’s Irish Stout

Finally, here are some tips on “How To Taste Beer” with advice on pouring, appearance, aroma, first sip, mouthful, finish and styles.

Have a happy, healthy holiday!

Slán leat (goodbye),


If you’ve been married for as long as I have, you’ve come to realize that the most romantic of dates are not necessarily on February 14th at an overpriced restaurant with a prefixed menu.  Besides, how can one ever compete with the doe eyes, forced giggles, and hand feeding that often accompanies these evenings?

I prefer loud company, a hearty, well-priced meal and the genuine laughter that comes from a romantic dinner with the kids.

Romantic Valentine's Day dinner ideasTo create a fun and relaxing evening with the family, I change things up a bit by turning our living room into a five-star eatery. I hang curtains at the doorways, remove or push back most of the furniture, and bring in a card table and chairs. By covering the table with a nice cloth, lighting some candles, and adding a flower or two and some Chris Botti CDs – viola! – it’s the perfect dinner in, no reservations required.  I’ll prepare a nice Italian meal for my husband and me, and a box of my kids’ favorite mac and cheese (garnished with parsley for that little something extra). Our tradition has always included a new pair of PJ’s and chocolate-dipped strawberries for dessert; after they’re all sugared up, we send them to bed a smidge early.

After the kids are down, we grab a nice bottle of wine, a couple of the remaining chocolates, and a ton of warm blankets — and head outside. While watching our breath and a few small stars, I give my husband what I call the verbal Valentine’s card. I tell him all the reasons I love him and love our life. (The memory of this lasts longer than a card).

Happy Valentine’s Day,


On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…..

  • 12 Drummers Drumming
  • 11 Cousins-a-Bickering
  • 10 Lords-a-Leaping
  • 9 Kids-a-Shouting
  • 8 Maids-a-Milking
  • 7 Aunts-a-Meddling
  • 6 Brothers-a-Quarreling
  • 5 Golden Rings
  • 4 Sisters Prying
  • 3 French Hens
  • 2 In-Laws-a-Ranting
  • 1 Drunken Uncle

…and a Partridge in a Pear Tree!

Ahh, nothing says “holidays” like a good, old -fashioned family feud. The holidays can be tough, and not every gathering is grand –or even peaceful, for that matter. The added stress of stretched finances, packed schedules Continue Reading »

Appalachian goat - Photo courtesy Heifer International / Darcy Kiefel

If some of those on your holiday list are fortunate enough to have everything they need, consider donating to a charity in their name. It’s a selfless gesture that truly gets to the heart of the Christmas spirit. I believe a philanthropic gift is one of the most touching, personal presents one can give.

The fundamental logic behind most charities is to better the world for a particular cause or group of people.  However, despite good intentions, not all Continue Reading »

Halloween is so much more than an occasion; in our household, it’s an event!

I love anything in the name of Halloween that diverts some of the attention away from the candy and back towards the innocent shrieks and spooks of the holiday. In the spirit of playing on your kids’ imagination and curiosity, create your own friendly ghost invasion. Here are just a few simple, not-so-scary little tricks to play on your small people this Halloween: Continue Reading »