How To Get A Date Worth Keeping

Is your young adult son or daughter frustrated with their dating life? If so, have them check out Dr. Henry Cloud’s dating tips in the book, How To Get A Date Worth Keeping!  It even comes with a money back guarantee, so what have they got to lose?  In the meantime, here are a few dating tips to get them started!

First, look at your weekly routine.  Does it include opportunities to meet new people?  If not, change your schedule.

Second, evaluate your dating wish list.  Is your wish list reasonable?  Is it too long?  Does it include qualities that are essential or just superficial?

Third, start to network.  Let your friends and family know you’re looking.  Be open to going on a blind date or a double date with someone who comes with good references.

Of course, if your son or daughter has a knack for choosing unsafe people or they’re painfully shy, depressed or have low self-esteem, it’s best if they work through these issues with counseling, before entering the dating scene.  Dating can be fun, but it also involves the risk of heartbreak.  If you don’t believe me, just watch an episode of “The Bachelor”. 😉

The Illustrator Behind Buttons

Buttons picture book

Since I have ZERO artistic talent, I needed to find a talented illustrator for my children’s book, Buttons!  My sweet hubby, Mr. Wonderful, found an amazing illustrator, Sarah Gledhill, on She was incredibly patient as we clumsily navigated our way through my first self-published book. It took 5 months and over 200 emails to achieve the final product, but we did it! Thanks for bringing Buttons to life, Sarah! I couldn’t have done it without you, and I wouldn’t have wanted to try! 😉

The Inspiration Behind Buttons

Inquiring minds want to know, “Where did you get the idea for your picture book, Buttons??” It’s always fun to hear where inspiration strikes, so here is it-my daughter, Laura Pickrell Ambrosio’s, adorable About Me book from the mind of her 3rd grade self. Within the pages, was a clever and silly poem about buttons with tiny buttons glued all over the page. It was so cute, we just couldn’t keep it to ourselves. 🙂

Buttons is available on Amazon! Hope you love it as much as we do!

You never know…maybe lurking in all your child’s school papers is a beloved children’s picture book just waiting to be published.

I’d love to hear from you! Where do you find inspiration?

Family Board Games for Big People

Every Christmas, I buy a new board game for the whole family to enjoy!  I don’t know why I do this, because we’re horribly competitive.  I guess I just like togetherness, even if it is cut throat!

We’ve developed quite the collection over the years, but here are our top 12 favorites!  If you’re like our family, though, don’t play with new friends.  It’s a startling personal revelation that’s best saved for family and close friends, who’ve already seen your dark side!

Happy Family Game Night!  And may the odds be ever in your favor! 😉

  1. Drawful
  2. Fibbage
  3. Apples to Apples
  4. Catch Phrase
  5. Taboo
  6. Settlers of Catan
  7. Codenames
  8. Irk!
  9. Guillotine
  10. Bang!
  11. Family Business

I’m always looking for fun board games! I’d love to hear your suggestions! What’s your favorite family board game??

C Casa

C Casa is an organic and gluten-free taqueria located in Napa’s Oxbow Public Market. The C stands for cultural cuisine using pure and natural ingredients. Don’t ask for a regular Coke at C Casa. This is a preservative-free zone. However, they can offer you a Coke from Mexico with pure cane sugar … from Hawaii … sweetened by the sun.

That’s not the only thing that’s pure and natural at C Casa. Hidden under all that nutritious and fresh local produce, each gourmet taco contains a delicious and cultural experience in grass-fed beef, sustainable fish, and free-range poultry. These animals led happy lives, frolicking in their natural environment, and you can just taste the happiness in their meat.

My mountain man went for the biggest game on the menu … buffalo! The man sitting next to us was eating buffalo, too, and the two men looked at each other and nodded that manly nod and grunted approvingly at one another and devoured that buffalo-loaded taco and wiped their mouths with their sleeves and dreamed about camping on the plains of South Dakota and living off the land.

Meanwhile, I daintily ate my delicate Mahi Mahi fish taco with a fork and dreamed of sunbathing on the tropical beaches of Hawaii and spa treatments and beautiful sunsets. I guess the C in C Casa does stand for cultural cuisine, because I’m ready to pack my bags for Kauai and enjoy more fresh island fish!

Before I catch my flight, though, I definitely need to include a couple cases of C Casa’s tortillas, because those were the best gluten-free tortillas I’ve ever had in my life … so light and delicious.  Adios, C Casa!  Aloha, Hawaii!

Parenting Support

Parenting is the most rewarding and the most heartbreaking job on the planet.  I’ve had moments of pure joy in parenting, where I just want to bottle up the moment, so I can relive it again and again.  I’ve also had moments as a parent where my heart is so broken that it physically hurts, where I wish I could remove my heart and place it on a shelf, just to escape the pain and grief for awhile.

In those moments of disappointment and despair, I want to hide from the world as I work my way through a box of Kleenex.  What I really need, though, is a good friend, preferably someone who doesn’t have picture perfect kids.  Of course, there’s no shame in seeking outside help, too.  A life coach, counselor or support group can be a great source of encouragement and hope, plus it’s a much healthier alternative than spending the day watching reruns of Gilmore Girls while polishing off a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, and it’s fewer calories, too. 😉


I Love Bob

I love Bob and I want to live at his Red Mill. Bob makes everything I bake, satisfying and delicious…and gluten free. Without Bob, there would be no warm cornbread slathered in honey, no Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal to warm me up on a frosty winter morning, and none of my favorite non-gluten free recipes that I can now make, because of Bob’s magical gluten free flour. Bob, you make our once tasteless and unpalatable gluten free lives, so much more rich and flavorful. I can’t thank you enough. I love you, Bob.

Nature’s Path Gluten Free Granola

I’ll take Nature’s Path any day, especially if the trail is littered with gluten free Summer Berries Granola! Soooo yummy! On Nature’s Path, you’ll also find gluten free waffles, cereal, chewy granola bars, and Qi’a, a superfood that looks like birdseed, only better!

Just be careful to look for the gluten free sign along Nature’s Path, so you don’t accidentally find yourself wandering into non-gluten free territory! With all these delicious, organic, gluten free choices, why choose any other route? Take Nature’s Path! I’ll leave a trail of granola for you to follow! :)

What’s your favorite gluten free granola?

Good Grief

Well, I don’t have any words of wisdom for this post, just honesty. This is the first Easter and summer that none of my kids will be coming home for vacation. One is graduated from college, one is nearly graduated, and one is hankering for an on campus job for the summer, so she can hang with her homies in So Cal. Can I just say this stinks?

Just when I think I’ve arrived and I’m handling the whole empty nest thing. Wham! It’s like another stage of grief all over again. All I want to know is, does it ever end?

I guess I need to get a life. Either that or my husband and I need to plan to take a cruise over Spring Break, like in the movie, Christmas with the Kranks. Hopefully, I won’t whack my head on a tanning bed, OR awkwardly bump into my pastor just outside the tanning salon in a bikini…(me in the bikini, of course, not my pastor) OR get a phone call from my daughter to announce that she’s getting married to Enrique, because she doesn’t even know an Enrique and if she did, he might take her away to Spain and then I’d have to deal with a whole other stage of loss and grief, and then I’d REALLY need a cruise.

It’s a slippery slope, I tell you. Did I ever mention that I have a dark side? I guess the secret’s out. I hope that doesn’t scare off all my fans. Thank goodness, there are only two of you out there, and you love me anyway…neurosis and all. Actually, I’ve been told that’s part of my charm and it’s definitely Karen in real life…totally uncensored. Lucky you. 😉

P.S. Truth is stranger than fiction! My daughter, Laura, actually did meet Lucas, a Brazilian citizen, while she was traveling in London. They are celebrating their first wedding anniversary today. Thank goodness, he just got his green card, so she doesn’t have to move to the UK. I thought this was the perfect day to feature this old blog post.

Happy Anniversary, Laura and Lucas! So glad we get to keep you!