An Immigrant Story That Will Melt Your Heart and Make You Smile

There’s a lot of hoop-la today about immigrants and immigration. This country (America) was built on the backs of immigrants and their longing and ability to do what it took to maintain and support moral values and family, while acclimating to a new culture and country. The Italians were just one group of immigrants who persevered through prejudices and hard economic and changing times. Some became well-known for their fame or infamy, and some were known only in a familial setting where their stories of heroic greatness were passed down within the confines of generational knowledge.

This is a story of one of those unsung heroines – a woman, who in spite of hardship, grew in grace because of her love of God and family. A woman, who but not for this book, would be unknown to the rest of the world. Her humble light makes our world a little brighter in order to see what’s truly important – the value of real love. The kind of love that heals, forgives, and challenges each one of us to be better than we were the day before.

I’m descended from such stock as these fine Italians, who first and foremost considered themselves Americans and taught me not only to take pride in being an American, but to also live my life in the best way that contributed to this country’s consistent and hopeful expectations of equality for all. It was my deepest pleasure to pen this biography and bring to light…

Available on Amazon Kindle

A romance in every sense of the word, this book is based on the true story of Annie – a young woman who, in youth, surrendered herself to God and learned His faithfulness in trying times. As we follow Annie from 15 years old into mid-life, we experience a soul’s beautiful transformation in the midst of human and personal struggles and the goodness, unity, and wholeness that can come from a humble and surrendered heart. We discover with Annie that no matter how well meaning our hearts may be, it is not until we surrender them to God, will He give us His strength to conquer.

Step into Annie’s story and allow your heart to experience every emotion – from her pride in living in America with all its opportunities available to a youthful imagination, to her joys, her heartbreaks, her fears, and her strength. The Heart of Annie…The Strength of God is the immigrant story you’ve been waiting to read.

Thank you for strolling by Leisure Lane today. God bless you – stay safe and healthy, and…

Until next time, may happy days abound!


Fifteen-year-old Annie Salvatore loves the opportunities and excitement of growing up in early twentieth century America. It’s her dream of falling in love and escaping the tradition of an arranged marriage just as her mother did in Italy. But sometimes life doesn’t give us what we want in the package we had envisioned. Undertones of an arranged marriage are overshadowed by the love and duty Annie feels toward her family. But as the years pass, Annie discovers that the love in her heart is not enough without strength. Through life’s joys and woes, Annie presses closer toward God. He gently teaches her heart to forgive and to love more deeply. In surrendering her heart to His strength, Annie discovers the ability to conquer. Step back in time, slip into Annie’s shoes and walk her journey, as it leads her to make the decision that will alter her family’s life and fill it with the true promise of Christmas. Based on a true story of faith, courage, sadness and joy. A life-changing and heartwarming story.

Review quote: “This was one of the best books I have ever read. It was such an emotional read and the characters just grabbed your heart and showed you the way all through the book… I am looking forward to reading other books by this author.” Janet E. Stricklin

Thanks for coming by today. Looking for a pleasant distraction? My novella is featured on eBookChristian. A simple, engaging and enjoyable reminder that if you keep faith, even in the midst of your own chaos, life will present the wonderful.

Pinterest Good Reads

Homemade Vaseline-Style Balm/Ointment

Hello friends, and welcome to Leisure Lane. I hope you’re enjoying your day and ready for some homemade inspiration.

I’ve always liked doing and making things the old-fashioned way. Though I had gotten away from that for a while, this past year of free time, peaceful healing and time with God has given me a new perspective and the desire to get back to my true self. Pinterest has really helped with keeping the creative and inspirational flame alive.

I’ve always liked Vaseline, but stopped using it when I became more informed about petroleum products. But now I can enjoy a vaseline-style balm without all the bad stuff. So, using it on my lips and skin gives me all the benefits and none of the guilt. Here’s a super easy and delightful recipe that I altered a bit for my own liking and I think you’ll like it.

The first and most important thing about making products like this is to make sure all your utensils are completely clean and dry, and the container you choose to store them in is clean, dry, and sanitized. I clean my glass jars with soap and hot water (or I put them in the dishwasher), and then I either sterilize them by putting them in boiling water, or wiping them well with a 70% or more rubbing alcohol before adding the product.

So, let’s get to the recipe, because I know you’ll want to make this today…

Vaseline-Style Balm/Ointment


Makes about 2 ½ – 3 oz.

A clean and sanitized 3 oz. jar with tight lid. I bought these cute little food-grade jars at Hobby Lobby. But you can use whatever you have on hand, as long as it has a secure lid. I prefer glass instead of plastic. But if you have a good grade plastic that won’t leach toxins, you can use that.


2 1/4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 1/4 Tbsp. Avocado Oil
2 tablespoons Coconut Oil
2 tablespoons Beeswax (organic pellets)

Melt Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, Coconut Oil and Beeswax in double boiler over low heat. Stir until completely melted.

Pour mixture into a clean and sanitized glass container and let it sit until it’s firm and completely cool. Cover tightly with lid.

This balm can be stored in the refrigerator if your house or climate is too warm. It will be slightly firmer, but still have a Vaseline-type consistency. I keep mine in the refrigerator, as the climate where I live is usually quite warm and humid. If you don’t refrigerate it, make sure you keep it in a cool, dry and dark space, away from the hot sunlight. I’m not going to commit to the non-refrigerated shelf life, so use common sense when storing homemade products that don’t have preservatives.

You can add a teaspoon of Vitamin E oil, if desired for an extra boost. If you don’t have Avocado oil, you can use about 1/3 cup of olive oil, instead. I love the olive and avocado mix. I also use extra virgin, cold-pressed, unrefined oils, as well.

A completely natural balm, perfect for lips, chapped or dry skin, or anytime. A little goes a long way. I rub a bit on my lips at bedtime.

I hope you get to try this. Let me know if you love making homemade, as well, and how that works for you.

Be inspired, get creative, and…

Until next time, may happy days abound!


Easy Knitted Dishcloth in Dreamy Creamsicle

Good day everyone. Thank you for stopping by Leisure Lane. I hope you’re finding creative things to do and letting your imagination soar in positive ways.


Today, I’m sharing a knitted dishcloth that came out of the desire for extra new dishcloths to replace the old-fashioned waffle cotton ones I so dearly liked, but are made in China. I prefer, if possible, not using items made in China that I associate with food products.

I’ve been using dishcloths more lately for cleaning around my kitchen to save on paper towels, and well, because I’m just a vintage kitchen linen girl at heart. Recently, I ordered some from Walmart, but after they arrived, I thought, there must be something I could use to make my own other than the thick traditional cotton yarn used for crocheting and knitting dishcloths.


That’s when I remembered I had extra cotton crochet thread, and went into my stash to discover these delightful cream and peach colors. So, I took out my size 6 knitting needles, used the threads doubled together and began to knit.


I used the pattern for the mini potholders in this previous post. I made an adjustment, however. Because I used a thinner cotton thread/yarn, * I increased the stitches to 47 stitches instead of the 27 stitches in the original mini potholder instructions. That’s the great thing about this pattern – you can adjust the size by the number of stitches you increase onto the needle. The 47 stitches I added when increasing allowed for a 7-inch square dishcloth. If you want a larger cloth, you’ll have to use needles that have an appropriate length to hold more stitches as you increase. The 7-inch size was fine for me. I don’t like a lot of cloth flopping around.

The instructions are as follows:

7-inch Knitted Cotton Dishcloth

Size 6 needles
100% mercerized cotton thread – used for crocheting or knitting doilies. Any brand will do as long as it’s 100% cotton.
darning needle for weaving in ends.

Holding the two threads together, Cast on 3 stitches,
Row 1 – Knit across the 3 stitches.
Row 2 – Knit 2, Yarn Over (YO), knit across.  Knit Row 2 until there are 47 stitches on needle (for approx. 7-inch square dishcloth).

Next Row – (Decrease) Knit 1, Knit 2 together, YO, Knit 2 together, Knit across.
Continue decrease row until you have 5 stitches.
Knit 1, Knit 2 together, Knit 2 together.  3 stitches left.
Next Row – Knit across the 3 stitches.
Bind off 3 stitches.

Notes: If you want the measurement of the dishcloth to be larger, then keep increasing stitches until you reach desired .

IMG_3138Another fun and productive home project, this dishcloth works like a charm and now I can make my own lightweight cloths. I hope you enjoyed this. If you make one, let me know what you think.

Next time, I’ll share a simple healthy and delicious smoothie I made that came out like a soft-serve ice cream. Remember to laugh today – laugh hard and often, be kind to yourself and others, and…

Until next time, may happy days abound!

Author and Artist

*UPDATED CORRECTIONS May 18, 2020: My apologies for unintentionally misleading you on how many stitches to cast on. I originally said to cast on 47 stitches. That’s incorrect. You will originally cast on three (3) stitches and increase a stitch with each row until you reach 47 stitches, where you will then begin to decrease to form a square.

I have corrected the instructions, so you should sail smoothly now. I’m sorry for any frustration this may have caused you. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.







Five Star Breakfast Cookies

Hello friends, and welcome to Leisure Lane. I hope you’re enjoying a delightful day imaging all the possibilities available.

I love a good breakfast cookie that’s healthy, not overly sweet, filled with things that are good for my body, and tastes good. If you feel the same, I have a recipe for you today that I think you’ll enjoy. I love making bran muffins, so I also wanted a cookie that I could incorporate wheat bran into, as well.

Stored in an airtight container, the texture of this cookie stays soft, even after a day or two (can’t promise they’ll last to day three – they’re too good). I wanted to add raisins to half the batch, but forgot, so added a few on top. Next time, I’ll incorporate them throughout. Dried cranberries would be a delightful addition, as well as currants. The nuts give it a nice crunch. I also forgot the cinnamon (I don’t know what I was thinking of while making these) but they still tasted yummy.

Okay, let’s get baking!

5 Star Breakfast Cookie
Makes about 14 cookies


½ cup coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar or sugar in the raw
1 large egg plus 1 large egg white (room temperature)
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup almond flour
¼ cup whole wheat bran
¼ cup chia seeds
½ cup chopped walnuts (or nuts of choice)
¼ cup raisins, dried cranberries (or dried fruit of choice)
1 cup old fashioned oats
½ -1 teaspoon cinnamon (if desired)


1. Add almond flour, bran, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon (and any other add-ins below) in a bowl and stir until well incorporated.

2. Place the coconut oil and sugar in a separate bowl and whisk until well combined. Add the egg, and egg white, whisk again until smooth.

3. Add dry ingredients in thirds, stirring with each addition until well blended.

4. Preheat oven to 325F.

5. Spoon out dough, roll into medium size balls, place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet and flatten slightly.

6. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown.

7. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the pan before transferring to a cooling rack. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Note: I spooned out a heaping tablespoon of dough to form cookies, so this batch made about 14 cookies. But that’s a perfect amount for my family, because I don’t want to keep these more than three days or so.

Make sure the eggs are at room temperature. If they’re too cold, they’ll re-harden the coconut oil.  If you try this recipe, let me know what you think. Let your imagination guide you.

Also, I find that recipes I use wheat bran usually need to be refrigerated by the 3rd day, so keep that in mind. If you don’t want to use the bran, you can substitute it with 1/4 cup more of almond flour.


Next time, I’ll share a delightful dish cloth I’m crocheting with cotton thread, and tell you what led me to use this particular material.

Thank you for taking a stroll by the Lane with me today. I look forward to your visits. Stay healthy, calm, and full of God’s joy, and…

Until next time, may happy days abound!

Author and Artist




Swedish Almond Cake – Mother’s Day or Any Occasion Dessert

Swedish Almond Cake

Happy Monday, everyone. I hope your Mother’s Day was sweet, with good memories, old memories, new memories.

Speaking of sweet, I made this delicious Swedish Almond Cake for a delicious dessert to my son’s savory dinner of steak and salad. Yum for both!

I found this Pinterest recipe on the blog, That’s Some Good Cookin’. Check it out for the recipe and see for yourself how delicious it is. The almond flavor is quite potent, so as instructions, don’t be tempted to add more. If you prefer not so strong a flavor, try adding a smidgen less extract.

I lessened the sugar by 1/4 cup and it was plenty sweet without compromising the texture. The recipe also recommends slicing it while it’s still warm (not hot), which I did with success.

After it was completely cooled, I lightly dusted with powdered sugar before serving. I sliced mine in servings of 12, which seems like small pieces, but trust me, this is light, but rich in flavor, though I admit we had two slices each on our plates – no judging! 😉

Though it’s labeled “cake”, the texture is more like a soft cookie. All in all, this was an easy and very delicious recipe to whip up, and I was quite pleased with it. I made it for Mother’s Day, but it can be made for any occasion, any season.

Thank you for visiting Leisure Lane today. I hope you enjoyed your stroll. Remember to laugh, find gratitude even in small things, tell some one today you love them, and…

Until next time, may happy days abound!



Broccoli Mushroom Quiche – Quick, Tasty, and Crust-less

Broccoli Mushroom Crust-less Quiche

Welcome to Leisure Lane, friends, where today I’d like to share a quick and easy Broccoli Mushroom Quiche I made last night. This quiche is crustless and bakes up beautifully. I didn’t have fresh mushrooms or broccoli, so I used jarred mushrooms and frozen broccoli florets. You can always use fresh ingredients if available, which is usually what I prefer. But using the ingredients I had on hand still gave me a very tastey quiche. Let’s get to the recipe so you can make it today.


6 oz. jar of sliced mushrooms (you can use fresh if desired)
10 oz. frozen broccoli florets, steamed and chopped
1/2 cup of chopped onion
1 clove of garlic, chopped or minced
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Butter or oil a 9″ pie plate and set aside.
2. Steam the broccoli, set aside to cool. If you use frozen broccoli, when cooled, squeeze out any excess moisture before chopping.
3. On Medium-low heat, melt about 1/2 Tbsp of butter in a saute pan and saute onions and garlic with salt and pepper for about 5 minutes or until lightly translucent. Stir occasionally so they don’t brown.
4. Add mushrooms and continue to saute for about 3 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside.
5. In medium size bowl whisk eggs and milk until smooth. Add cheeses and whisk until blended.
6. Add chopped broccoli and the onion, garlic, mushroom mix to the egg mixture and whisk until well blended.
7. Pour mixture into prepared pie plate, sprinkle a little extra Parmesan cheese over top and bake for 40-45 minutes. Use a toothpick to check if it’s done – when poked through center comes out clean.

I baked mine for 40 minutes. It came out perfect, without browning on bottom or top.

I hope you get to try this recipe. It’s easy, healthy and tasty. Remember you can always play with the recipe, adding some spicy seasoning or whatever your taste-buds are craving. If you do try it, let me know what you think.

Thank you for visiting today. Remember to do something fun – bake, sew, create, laugh, stay healthy, speak a good word, and…

Until next time, may happy days abound!




Bringing Homemade Chocolate Syrup To a Higher Power

Welcome to Leisure Lane today. I hope you’re up for a chocolatey treat.

Yesterday, on Pinterest, I discovered a wonderful 5-ingredient recipe for homemade chocolate syrup. You can find the recipe here. It’s super easy to make, which is why I wasted no time in making my batch, and you can use it on anything – even peanut butter and chocolate syrup sandwiches, which my son ate almost everyday throughout his elementary school years (he never liked jelly). Back then I had to drizzle that store bought stuff with high sugar and who knows what else, but today there are some wonderful alternatives.

Making it yourself takes very little time.

I followed the recipe, but thought it called for way more sugar than I desire, so I used only half of a cup of sugar in the raw. I plan on experimenting with maple syrup, honey and the sugar in the raw. I don’t need things to be too sweet. That’s what I like about making things from scratch; I can always adjust the sugar content and play with the ingredients.

The recipe instructs you to boil the first 4 ingredients for 4 minutes. As you’re boiling the ingredients it may seem lumpy for a while, but keep stirring with the boil and by the time it’s done, it will be very smooth – I promise. Because I used less sugar it made less than the 3 cups recipe claim – mine was about 1-1/2 cups, the same measurement as the water.

I then brought this delightful Chocolate Syrup to a higher power by heating it up with milk to make a yummy-licious and healthy spice drink, as follows:

1. Begin to heat a cup of milk in a saucepan on medium-low.
2. Add as much of the chocolatey goodness as you desire.
3. Add 1/8 tsp. each of ground…cinnamon, ginger, allspice, turmeric, two dashes of ground cloves, and a dash of black pepper.
4. Keep stirring until it’s heated through to your liking and ENJOY!

I stored mine in a reusable glass, cleaned and sterilized, maple syrup bottle. Perfect and Pretty!

If you love chocolate syrup, then I hope you try this recipe. Let me know how it turns out and what exciting and yummy thing you used it for. I will confess, I ate some with a spoon – 😉 – couldn’t resist!

Thank you for strolling by the lane. Find time to create, imagine lovely things, speak lovely words, and…

Until next time, may happy days abound!




Pinterest: a Leisure Lane Favorite

Good day everyone. I hope you’re all healthy and finding things to do that enhance your well-being.

Pinterest has been my go-to place for lots of delicious and healthy recipes, as well as the occasional goody.

Chicken and Barley Stew |

For example, this Chicken and Barley soup is a favorite with my family. I made it quite a bit during the winter months. Check out the recipe. I use skinless chicken thighs in mine and its delicious.

The Charm of Home: Traditional Blackberry Cobbler

And here’s one for a Blackberry Cobbler. I used blueberries in mine and it was delicious. I also used half the sugar! I don’t need my desserts too sweet; for me, it’s the textures and flavors with a little bit of sweetness that does the trick.

Colorful Vintage Kitchen Tins. I used to have lots of these, now I have one! Why, why, why?

And I don’t know about you, but I love the simplicity and sweetness of vintage life.


Hand-painted snowy Christmas mason jar by Marianne Coyne
As well as featuring my own creations.

Pinterest is my go-to place for lovely things. If you’d like to join me there, you can visit all my boards. You might find something that inspires you to cook, bake, create, or simply enjoy. If you’re a Pinterest fan, let me know what inspires you there.

Thank you for visiting Leisure Lane. Be safe, be healthy, enjoying the day, and…

Until next time, may happy days abound!

Artist and Author




The Heart of Annie – Why I Wrote This Delicious Novella

Good day, and welcome to Leisure Lane. If you’ve been by my blog before, you may know about my ebooks on Amazon. Today, I’d like to share why I wrote my second novella, The Heart of Annie…The Strength of God, and in doing so, open your hearts to an understanding of love, surrendering, and forgiveness that changes lives for the better.

My great-aunt Annie was my mother’s aunt. She was the eldest sister of my maternal grandmother, and in my eyes, especially as a little girl, the most mysterious of my relatives. I suppose part of that was because I didn’t see her on a regular basis, so a visit to her home with either my grandmother or mother was a treat. Aunt Annie lived on a good parcel of land and had a chicken coop in her backyard, as well as those luscious concord grape vines growing over and around her back door trellis, and she had the most fragrant roses along her large and sloping front yard. To this day, when I smell an aromatic rose, I can’t help but think of her and the warmth and quietness of her yard.

But, I think the thing that made her most mysterious to me was the religious shrine she had in the corner of her dining room. It was very old-worldly and enthralled my spirit and imagination. I believe this shrine and its tokens were reminders to her of her devotion to God that brought Annie through every trial and joy. This shrine was also a reminder to me that there was more to my great-aunt than what was seen on the surface of her family life. This “more” I wouldn’t know about for decades to come.

My mother was not a gossip, so she wasn’t prone to talking about things that didn’t show a family member in a more favorable light. Some things, in her view, were better kept “secret” in the hearts of trusted loved-ones, especially if they were no longer pertinent and not the business of future generations. I’m sure her immediate family members knew some of these things, but they, too, felt their children wouldn’t benefit from the knowledge of certain things. And, I have to agree. After all, the whole point of forgiveness and working out problems is to put them behind and move forward into a more promising life.

When my mom was much older and we were talking on the phone one day, she began to talk about things that had bothered her for a good part of her life. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced that moment in life, but I have. Things that had troubled you in the past and you thought you had put behind you, or even forgotten, begin to bubble to the surface of the heart and now it’s the moment when you have to make peace with them, even if you’ve never been able to fully understand them all. One of those things was a circumstance in the life of her aunt Annie, and she told the “secret” she had been keeping from us for all these decades. Of course, I was surprised by the information, but more than that I was completely and pleasantly taken by the courage and spiritual fortitude with which Annie had overcome the situation. She had learned to surrender herself to God, and in doing so, had found the strength to conquer her emotions. She had faced something base and created a miracle from it.

The enlightenment of this particular circumstance in my great-aunt’s life filled me with more admiration for her than I had ever had, and I knew I had to write her story. I knew I needed to share that conquering is done in the will of a person – the heart of a person – and not in ones own strength, but in a higher strength that allows us to take what “life” may give and transform it, so that we may live Life more abundantly.

Well, that’s how the inspiration for my second novella came. In the headliner I described this story as “delicious”.  I used that word purposely, because I believe that reading this novella about this humble woman is like tasting the good in life, the good in God, and the good in ourselves. I hope you enjoyed the journey.  If you’d like to enjoy the whole journey and walk in Annie’s shoes into a remarkable life, click here.

Be inspired, take a second look at your remarkable life, fill your heart with promising things, and…

Until next time, may happy days abound!



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