Archives for : September 2011

CHP Dreamy Cupcakes  0

Well, it is time for another recipe! Boy, life gets so busy and I do not get my “down time” like I would like to most days! When I do have time my favorite activity is baking with Madisyn.  Yesterday we made Chocolate Cupcakes and created two Creamy Dreamy “toppings.”! Yum!

Start with your favorite Chocolate cake Mix. We chose Betty Crocker Triple  Chocolate Fudge. (Simply follow directions on the box.)

We made the smaller cupcakes! We have a Babycake Cupcake Maker! Worth the purchase! It will bake 7 small cupcakes in 4-5 minutes!

When the cupcakes cool off spread Hazelnut Nutella on the cupcakes and set aside!

Topping #1: Dreamy Peanut Butter

1 cup of Peanut Butter

8oz. Block of 1/3 less fat Cream Cheese (Room Temp.)

1 1/2 cups of Powder Sugar

1 Tsp. Vanilla (Madagascar or your choice)

2 Tablespoons of Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix

1/2 Cup of Whipping Cream

Use a mixer and blend well

Fold in 1/2 cup Petite Ghirardelli Semi Sweet Chocolate Morsels

*We chose to put the peanut butter topping in a small plastic bag, cut of the tip and decorate the top of our cupcakes! 


Lovely Lavendar Whipped Cream:

*We have found that when a very cold glass bowl and cold beaters are used the whip cream sets a little faster.

Combine below ingredients and mix until cream is light and fluffy:

8 oz. Whipping Cream

1/4 Tsp. Dried (baking) Lavendar

2 Tablespoons of Powder Sugar

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla

*We got this lavender when we were in Michigan this summer. It has been dried and was grown WITHOUT the use of sprays or fertilizers. Only use cooking lavender! There is a difference!


*Lavendar is potent! A little bit goes a long way! It is very good when you “dollop” the whipped cream on top of the chocolate cupcake that has been spread with the whipped cream.

*For at in home treat, birthday party, dessert to a friends home both toppings will be wonderful. The whipped cream topping will want to be added at the very last minute where the Peanut Butter topping can be done ahead of time! Whipped cream can not set out for long! To get your guests or your family involved arrange the chocolate cupcakes on a platter and put a bowl of the Lavendar whipped cream in the middle! Let your guests “Dollop” away!

*if you are not a fan of lavender; try orange! Substitute the vanilla extract for orange extract, fold in a little orange zest and you have one yummy cream to top your cupcakes with!

I know it is hard to find “time”but I really must do this more often! I really enjoyed this time I had with Madisyn! We laughed, licked our fingers too often, shared ideas on how to decorate and just had a great time together!

I will not only “savor” the taste of our yummy creations but the time spent with my daughter! It will lead me through the rest of the week:)

Thanks for letting our family share with your family! I would love to hear if you tried our treats! Let me know your thoughts! Grateful always!

Keep The Faith Even When It’s Uncomfortable  1

Faith is a not just a “word” it is a way of life. Faith is “intangible” we can not see it! How do we know whether or not we have it? Faith is in your heart; you can only feel it, embrace it and live it. To have Faith is to believe.

There will be circumstances in our life where faith is all we have.  We rely on a “higher power” that we will get through our most challenging circumstances and that there will be guidance, love and strength to see us through.

When my husband died and my daughter was born, the only “thing” I relied on was my faith.  I did not want to have a child without my husband? The night I went into labor I prayed that it was not time?  Was I ready?  Could I really do this on my own?  What kind of a single parent would I be?  I wanted her to have everything in this life?  How could I do this alone?

I had to have Faith.  Faith that I had the ability to love, guide and treasure her through our most challenging days. Faith that I could solely make decisions on her behalf.  Faith that we would be okay and that this little girl would grow to have authentic love, self-assurance, respect for herself as well as others and that she will know faith.

 One day while glancing through a store feeling a little empty (uncomfortable) and searching for “my” faith I could not believe what was in front of me:  FAITH it read? What? There in front of me was a  picture of an Iceberg and underneath that beautiful vast  piece of nature was the description o”Faith- that which we can not see.”

 Faith is all I had to see me through my most challenging times and faith is what I live by today.  It has been a priority in my life and any time I have an “uncomfortable” feeling I glance at the picture of the Iceberg and I see nothing less than vast beauty and a “belief” that I will be the best parent that I can be to our daughter. I will not fear what the Universe gives us but with Faith will embrace our challenges head on with love, strength and clarity.

 *Are you feeling uncomfortable?  Are you lacking “faith?” Take this picture and put it in a place where you can look at it when your uncomfortable time is present.

Back to School Safety  0

As we are ending our second week of school all is well at our home. Busy as always with figuring out new schedule, new rules, new bedtime and wake up, meeting new friends as well as the catching up with the best and old ones.

We are always concerned about our children in school but we need to be mindful about how they get to and from school safely. Some of us are car riders, bus riders, walkers and bicyclist.

Most of you know me as a “staunch” safety advocate! I get some really good tips from time to time that I will want to share with you all!

Please take the time to read these great safety tips! Please read them with your children! Do not be afraid to share with them. There are a lot of people out there who are in a hurry and not paying attention to our children and their safety!  Life is a “gentle” balance and our children need to be aware and know that they can take part in keeping themselves as safe as possible.

The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) is a great coalition ( I have worked with them on some great Public Service announcements! Please take the time to read! When I receive these great safety tips they remind me to stay 100% focused when I am driving (my loaded weapon!) We have to stick together! Knowledge is Power! Together we can make a difference and put safety back on our highways!

Back to School Red Light Safety Tips for Millions of Pedestrians, Cyclists and Motorists

Powerful testimonials highlight the dangers of red-light running

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As millions of students nationwide head back to school, the National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) is calling special attention to red light safety for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.

No matter how they get to and from school — cars, buses, bikes, or simply walking — NCSR is striving to educate parents and students about the importance of staying safe by being vigilant about their surroundings.

“As many parents focus on back to school supplies, it is essential that they take the time to talk with their children who are either heading to school for the first time, or back to school, about traffic and road safety precautions to ensure a safe commute,” said David Kelly, president and executive director of NCSR, and former acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). “The greatest risk for children is when they are walking to school or waiting for the bus, when they are at-risk for falling victim to careless red-light runners.”

Since 2000, 130 school-age pedestrians (younger than 19) have died in school transportation-related crashes with 56 (43 percent) between the ages of 5 and 7 (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Red-light running is the leading cause of urban crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). In 2009, 676 people were killed and an estimated 113,000 were injured in crashes that involved red-light running, with pedestrians, bicyclists and occupants in vehicles that are hit by the red-light runners accounting for about half of the deaths.

To highlight the importance of back to school road safety, NCSR is reminding adults and children about important Red Light Safety Tips:

  • ALWAYS Stop on Red!

Whether it’s a red light, stop sign, pedestrian crosswalk signal, or school bus signal — ALWAYS STOP ON RED!

  • Be Alert

Drivers: Be aware of children walking to and from bus stops, as they might not be paying attention to you and could dart into the road.

Pedestrians: ALWAYS stop, look and listen before crossing an intersection — even if the pedestrian signal shows the walking figure.

Cyclists: ALWAYS wear a helmet and be aware of the around traffic you. Be cautious and share the roadway.

  • Never Rush

Drivers: Obey posted speed limits and NEVER try to beat a light to save a few seconds. No family should have to suffer the loss of a loved one because of someone’s desire to beat a light.

Pedestrians: Try to arrive to your bus stop early and map out your route ahead of time so you are never rushing to catch the bus. Always wait at least 6 feet from the curb and don’t approach the bus until it comes to a complete stop.

Cyclists: Plan your route ahead of time so you are never rushing. Use designated cycling lanes when possible and be sure to share the roadway.

  • Avoid Distractions

Drivers: Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings. NEVER talk on your cell phone or text while driving!

Pedestrians and Cyclists: Listening to music, talking or texting on cell phones as you walk or ride your bike are deadly distractions that leave you unaware of your surroundings. Keep devices off and your eyes and ears open. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

“There are too many close calls with careless drivers at intersections. We’re promoting back to school road safety and red light safety to help protect our children, our families and our communities from the callous and dangerous behavior of red-light runners,” Kelly said. “By using innovative technologies such as red light safety cameras at dangerous intersections across the country, we can put an end to deadly red-light running. Together, we can protect our communities, families and children by always stopping on red.”

To further highlight the dangers of red-light running, NCSR has released a series of powerful testimonials and PSAs on the dangers of red-light running. In 2004, Amanda DeVine was driving home from school when a dump-truck driver ran a red light and broadsided her SUV. DeVine suffered a severe traumatic brain injury, lost her spleen and almost lost a kidney. View Amanda’s story.

Other important back to school safety tips from NHTSA and the Department of Transportation can be found by visiting

NCSR is a nonprofit advocacy organization that brings together industry leaders, community leaders and concerned citizens in support of red light safety camera technology. Coalition members include the National Safety Council, Child Safety Network, National Organizations for Youth Safety, America Walks and Red Means Stop. For more information, visit, follow @SaferRoadsUSA on Twitter and on Facebook at

Contact for more information & interview requests:                                                                                                                  Andrea Fischer at or 202-544-4781

The Intangible Gift Becomes Tangible  0

I am blessed with the presence of our 7 year old; Madisyn Grace. She is compassionate, happy, an athlete and destined for the theatre one day. When she finishes High School Madisyn will have a college fund. Since her birth she has had love, food, clothing and shelter. She remains in the same home her daddy and I had completed just 7 months prior to her arrival. She has had me; her mom to comfort, teach, take care of her basic needs and to completely love her. I have not had to work out of the home, I was privy to being with this love child of ours. To teach her that life has trials and tribulations, events that will shake our soul and tears that will be frequently shed. She has had me to teach her the positive side of life, that no matter what happens in our life we will stick together, love, cherish and take care of one another. We will teach one another how to get through our moments, how not to judge others and how to simply live life in a loving and giving way. Madisyn and I would be an example of not only how to go on in life but to take our tragic circumstance and thrive in our life. Thanks in part to one great man; my loving husband Mark Jeffrey Wandall.

Two weeks from being a daddy Mark lost his life to a Red Light Runner. He was bold, beautiful and brilliant. Mark prepared our financial life in the case of his absence. He loved his family deeply and showed us just how much in his untimely death.  We were just two weeks from bringing our love child home. If we had waited to purchase life insurance after Madisyn was born, our lives would have been completely different. I would have had to go right back to work, leaving this newborn and possibly moving out of our home. Life was hard enough at that time, the love of my life, the one that I needed the most was now gone! In an instant! No warning!

Thankful for Life Insurance I was able to concentrate on raising my daughter while managing our grief. Her daddy was physically gone but we would manage financially because he had the foresight to protect us in his absence. This Intangible gift: Life Insurance now became Tangible: life. It was now my turn to lead our little family on a new path. We would concentrate on the love and not the loss. We would show everyone that by receiving life insurance we could make a difference in this world. We would take Marks “token” of love and share our gratitude for this gift that has given us a great start to our newfound life.

The gift of Life Insurance has gone way beyond being able to remain in our own home and protecting our daughters future. We have been able to Start a foundation; The Mark Wandall Foundation. We have been able to start a coalition; The STOP Red Light Running Coalition that has allowed us to pass a life saving bill in my husband’s memory; The Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act. We have been able to build a business; M3 Motivational Concepts; “Marked by Grace with an authentic approach to educate, encourage and empower.” We have the privilege of speaking to Insurance Companies to thank them for being in a business that not only saves lives but changes lives as well. We not only share our gratitude for this business but encourage financial service professionals to continue urging their clients to prepare their families for the unimaginable.

Do not wait! Show your family how much you love them. A friend told me that “life is a delicate balance.” We do not sit around and wait for the other “shoe to drop” but we should always prepare just in case the unimaginable happens. Please, do not leave your family empty-handed. The loss is hard enough to manage without the financial burden.Mark “payed it forward” in a great way. His intangible gift has not only affected our lives in a beautiful way but that of our Community, State and Nation.

Life will always happen and always be in motion; the good bad and the down right tragic. Why not prepare?


*September is National Life Insurance awareness month. If you would like to view some real life stories, find a financial advisor in your area and/or  find out what amount of life insurance you may need to take care of your family then please visit

*Life Insurance in no way takes away the deep emotional pain but it helps you manage your daily life. When loss occurs vision is blurred, small tasks seem huge and the thoughts of getting up the next day and continuing on with your routine no longer exists. With the gift of Life Insurance you can concentrate on managing the physical loss and not the financial.