Tips and Tricks for your kitchen

To stabilize and sweeten your whipped cream add powdered sugar.  It dissolves instantly and the little bit of cornstarch it contains will stabilize your whipped cream, so it can be made ahead of time and it won’t deflate.  Start by whipping the cream into soft peaks, then beat in 2 Tablespoons of powdered sugar for every cup of cream.  (Tip from Bon Appetit Magazine)

To clean your iron skillet without losing its seasoning, add a splash of water to a teaspoon of course salt.  Use paper towel to wipe off food! (HGTV magazine)

To clean your nasty cookie sheets, sprinkle baking soda on the sheet, follow it up with some hydrogen peroxide and then sprinkle more baking soda on top. Let it sit for as long as two hours, then wipe it all away with a rag or coarse sponge. (Tip from Food & Wine)

Keep your crudites fresh for up to 12 hours:  cover everything with damp paper towels, then wrap the platter in plastic wrap and store in fridge until ready to serve. (Real Simple magazine)

Eggshells are excellent natural seed starters.  Fill the empty shell with soil and seeds and when the plant sprouts, plant the shell, which becomes compost.  (Real Simple magazine)

If you have overbaked your cake layers, make a simple syrup of 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and 1 teaspoon vanilla; boil for 3 to 5 minutes, then brush the cake layers with syrup on both sides until they are “revived.”  (Paula Deen)

Use lemon or lime juice as a marinade to tenderize chicken. (Paula Deen)

Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to beef stews to tenderize the meat.


Goal Digger

Some people think billboards are ugly.  Some folks don’t see them at all.  Some think that they are akin to litter to the eye.  But I think beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  And this beholder of a new billboard in Denver, NC is pretty darn proud.

In 2009, my family was hit by a drunk driver who broke both of my legs, ankles and feet.  We didn’t know if they’d have to be amputated.  It was bad.  Worse, the guy who did it was on his 6th or 7th DUI (I can’t remember, he had a few “dismissed”) and he was completely lacking remorse.  I won’t go through the list of indignities we suffered because of that wreck, but I will tell you that I had to leave my job as a REALTOR for 5 years.  During those years I had 10 surgeries.  I was not in a good head space.

One of the things that used to drive me nuts was hearing how the community still supported this family.  It was not easy to see my friends liking their business page, when we knew what they were really like when money was involved.  Not to mention the indignity of hearing this same man had another DUI while awaiting our own trial, in addition to other arrests for violence.  He didn’t care whose life or legs he ruined and he certainly didn’t learn his lesson.   My (then) husband used to comfort me by saying that when it was all over with, we’d rent a billboard.  We’d put his face on it to warn people since he wouldn’t police himself and no one could seemingly stop him from driving impaired.

Then something happened.  Eventually I stopped obsessing about this monster (yes, I do still think he is) and just decided that doing that wouldn’t make my legs better, wouldn’t benefit my family in any way and was out of character for me.  So, I wanted a billboard for myself.  To better myself, to benefit my family in spite of the jerk who hurt us.  So here it is, 9 years later, I finally have a billboard and I’m so proud of all it represents to me.  All I’ve made it past in these long 9 years.  It’s a promise I made to myself that I finally fulfilled and it feels amazing.

Without my team at Lake Norman Realty #RollesTeam it would have never been possible.  Lucky, happy girl!




the secret to happy

Man, if you live long enough, life will throw you curveballs.  It will give you tests you don’t pass, it will break your spirit.  We all have stories.

Life came at me and my family hard in 2009 in the form of a drunk driver hitting us head-on and changing our lives forever.  Changing me forever.  Broken legs, ankles, feet and now a knee has been added to the list.  That evening the doctors told my husband that they’d try to save my legs, but no promises.  Too much damage.  I woke up and they were there, but I was in for a LOOOONNGGG hospital/rehab stay.  Away from my family, my KIDS!  And life went right on.  During those long, often lonely months I chose to use most of my time being angry at God, plotting revenge on the idiot who hit us, and thinking about all I’d lost.

Fast forward to 2015.  Finally getting away from seemingly endless surgeries and doctor visits, horrible debt from being out of work for many years and finally feeling secure again…sort of.  For the first time in our married lives, our money was starting to get right, we had a new business, building our dream home after years in a small rental that we’d planned to be in a few months, our kids were great…then..divorce.  Betrayal. Terror.  ANGER.  Boy, have I got that emotion down.  


It took me many months, over a year, ok so I’m still working on it.  Everything I did was motivated to show them they wouldn’t get me down.  I’d make more money, I’d finish this house, I’d be the best parent, I’d be the one with the least sin.  Don’t get me wrong, those feelings that pushed me to these goals had great outcomes, but happiness was escaping me.  True peacefulness.

It’s been over 2 years since I said I was done with my marriage.  Nearly 8 years since I thought I probably would never walk again.  It’s taken me that long to realize WHAT is important.  It wasn’t a job, or a bigger bank account or a new house and it certainly wasn’t being without sin…because I never managed that one.  The only thing that is important is your people.  That’s really it.  As long as you have people in your corner, your kids, your family, your friends, your church…you have it made.  Your tribe.  Oh…and the toughie…Forgiveness.  Yep, you gotta do that.


But here’s the thing, you do have to let it go…but you don’t have to STAY in a situation that is bad for your health…mental, physical, emotional.  You can love someone and still realize that you are worth being treated with love and respect.  THAT is my way of respecting the gifts God did give me.  


Forgiveness is something I had to try and try again.  It took me a good long while to get the hang of it.  But a good friend told me that this didn’t mean I didn’t get upset, didn’t stand up for myself, didn’t have to leave.  I can do those things too, and then forgive the behavior, the person, even if it isn’t asked for or reciprocated.  That’s what God commands of me.  I can’t say that I’m “religious” but of that I’m certain.


It occurs to me with all that’s going on in our world right now, why do we let statues get us riled up?  Why do we let a group of misguided people get us so bent out of shape?  Why do we (I) let our president make us want to fight with our friends or family?  Forgiveness: you gotta do it.  It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but I can’t even begin to tell you the burden that has been lifted off of me.  I feel like I can live again, I can BREATHE again.  


I have friends whose children have cancer, who have battled it themselves, friends that have lost children, spouses, loved ones.  Don’t waste one more second on emotions that don’t bring you joy.  As a REALTOR I tell people to depersonalize…as a friend I’m telling you to hang up whatever pictures you need, wherever you can to remind you of why this life is precious and truly what is important.  The list is usually short.  It ain’t things.


Oh, and full disclosure…I still sin, still get mad.  The other day a dude didn’t give me a turn signal and I got so mad I called him a name.  Few seconds later my phone rings.  Turned out it was my neighbor, who apologized profusely for not using his turn signal.  So, God allows me to be humbled quite often when I trip.  And guess what?  My neighbor forgave me 🙂





Super Soul Sunday with Suzanne

It’s been a very long year.  I’ve faced personal struggles I never imagined would come my way.  Lost people I truly loved.  Said goodbye to a life I knew since I was 16.  Said hello to a relationship with God that I’ve never imagined would come my way.  Finished a house.

The weekend I decided my marriage was over, my first thought was that I wouldn’t lose it.  I actively sought ways to heal myself quickly, because I had so much facing me:  kids who looked at me with concern and a need for normalcy, a new job to support the three of us, a surgery I’d go through alone for the first time since the wreck, dealing with my broken heart, trying to finish a home started on 2 salaries and now having only one and finally, but the biggest: intense anger.  That one was and is the hardest for me to overcome.  But I needed it to happen quickly.  Ha.  First lesson: nothing happens “quickly.”

“You let time pass. That’s the cure. You survive the days. You float like a rabid ghost through the weeks. You cry and wallow and lament and scratch your way back up through the months. And then one day you find yourself alone on a bench in the sun and you close your eyes and lean your head back and you realize you’re okay.”

Brave Enough – Cheryl Strayed

Here we are one year later.  As I do every morning now (for the last week), I grabbed my protein bar and my glass of milk and headed to the deck to do my bible study before the day begins.  The text goes off; it’s him but my stomach doesn’t clinch.  I’m in my peaceful place, “trying to get right with the Lord” and listening to the ducks, the geese, the crickets…and the cats.  I think I’ve made it.  I closed my eyes, leaned my head back and realized that I was indeed okay.




But peace has been elusive to me, and fleeting.  It really made me angry at myself that I could still be hurt or made angry by things I saw posted, things that were said to me, things I saw.  But I realized today that I’m not Jesus.  I’m a flawed human who is privy to these unflattering feelings and emotions.  So today I’m going to forgive myself for still being able to be hurt and get angry.  And realize that this is all part of my becoming.


This book, Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed, is awesome.  So helpful.  So empowering.  I’m going to leave you with the quote that changed my way of thinking, and that help put out that fire of anger and even self-righteousness.  Maybe it will help someone else?


Inspired by: Worn Corners


Forgiveness-Don’t forget you!


Psalm 34:18, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (NIV)

Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)


Forgiveness.  It is a concept I admit I struggle with daily.  I have to consciously stop my negative thoughts about my current situation and sometimes fake it.  But over time, that is working.  I no longer cringe when I see the two people who hurt me so horribly.  I even pray for them, and I do my best to make it a sincere prayer, not just words I know I have to say.  I’m making headway.

But in all of that “growth” I forgot to forgive myself.  I constantly question how I could have been so blind.  How could I have been so naive.  What should I have done differently?  While it is important to take accountability, you have to be careful not to go down the road of self deprecation.  Give yourself a little leeway of understanding and forgiveness, too.  I missed the signs of betrayal…I trusted too much.  I’ve decided that from today that is not my failing, but the failing of the ones I gave that trust to.  So I believed someone to be something they weren’t.  If believing the best about someone turns out to be the wrong thing, I just have to move on.  I refuse to let that lesson color the people I meet in the future.


I am usually the person who volunteers to help.  I like it, and selfishly I guess, I like the way it makes me feel.  Recently, I had to be the one to accept help.  I’d exhausted every other avenue to finish a house that we began building over 2 years ago, and I was now taking on the project as a single woman.  I thought I might even lose the house, I just didn’t have any answers how to finish the house minimally so that we could move in to finish the rest.  So close to despair, my friends reached out like it was nothing.  Nothing to give up entire Saturdays after a long work week to come to my home to do back-breaking work.  They brought friends, too.  People who had no idea who I was came to help a person, out of the kindness of their hearts.  I was so blessed by that, so overwhelmed, I just went on the deck and cried.  It meant more to me than just getting my children into the house we’d been dreaming about for 3 years…it restored my faith in the goodness of others.  It helped me forgive myself for my poor choices.  It humbled me.


So, today I am able to breathe a little easier.  My house will be livable soon, not perfect, but workable.  Kind of like me. 🙂  All I can do is do a little better, keep my head up while I work on my forgiveness, my patience, my empathy, and my trust in God.  I hope one day I can be as big a blessing to someone as these friends have been to me.

Inspired by:




When Pinterest Got it Right

So, we’ve all seen the hilarious websites that post all of the Pinterest Fails, right?  I’ve had my share, believe me.  But sometimes Pinterest gets it right.  So, kudos to you, Pinterest!  I knew all of those hours I spent pinning stuff would one day come in handy.  Here’s my countdown:


10:  It’s kind of a creepy thought, isn’t it?  But quite true in my life.  Going tonight to give him the scoop on some more of you, too.


9.  That’s just the long and short of it.  You can blame someone else for telling your business.  You can blame others for being judgemental.  But really…it’s just you.  Real Talk.


8. Maybe I’m biased, because I have one of these, but seriously…who likes to be treated disrespectfully?  No one in their right mind.  Bad boys are fine and well, but give me a chivalrous man any day of the week.


7.  Tell me you’ve noticed all of the butt hurt there is on Facebook these days?  Everyone’s got a cause, a cross to bear, something that offends them and some are outraged that people aren’t offended enough.  Mom’s advice from my childhood still stands.


6.  Every mother knows what I’m talking about.

FTI2723018x185.  Sad but true.  People you thought you knew for years can change.  People you thought loved you.  My advice?  Love yourself.  I’m not being cynical, I’m being practical.


4.  Let me just say I know this to be true.  And I’m working on it.  But dang, people can make you want to slap them silly sometimes, right?


3.  People will stalk you out on Facebook.  People will try to add you under their kid’s accounts when you block them.  People will screenshot what you post and send it to ….you get the idea.  Save yourself the headache and just unfollow the drama.  What do you care if they see how awesome you are doing anyway?


2.  In honor of Independence Day, I give you this.  And incidentally, I’m a patriot until Monday morning.


1.  Can I get an amen?  For all of my careful planning, my life has surely taken a different course than I had imagined when I was 18.  A different course than I imagined yesterday.  But that’s what keeps things interesting.  How boring is it if all of your dreams come true…what about the dreams you never knew you had?  Just go with it, or you’ll make yourself nuts.  Trust me.