Archive for the ‘Life’ category

Done In

November 3, 2022

This has been a crazy week.

Halloween.

The Family Madrigal from the movie “Encanto.”

More family.

Appointments.

Babysitting.

I’m done in.

Out of time.

Out of energy.

So, I’m taking the day off.

See you next week.

Taking Time to Breathe

October 27, 2022

I’m an author. I write. I’m in my office every day.

Most of the time, I love what I do. But…

Sometimes I just want to clear my head of all the things that are buzzing around inside of it.

Autumn is my favorite season. I live where the seasonal colors are breathtaking. Yesterday, the sun was shining. There was a slight breeze, and the colors were brilliant. I decided to take the day off to enjoy the season.

I stepped out of the house and into fall paradise.

I felt the warm sun on my face.

I heard the acorns falling from the oak trees in our backyard.

I breathed in the crisp air, and I could almost smell the piles of burning leaves from days gone by.

I enjoyed seeing the beauty surrounding me.

And I especially enjoyed the taste of homemade apple cake from freshly picked apples.

It was a glorious day…a time to breathe in the beauty of nature. I am recharged!

Check out these yummy books!

Applesauce Day written by Lisa J. Amstutz and illustrated by Talitha Shipman, Albert Whitman & Company, 2017

Pick a Pumpkin written by Patricia Toht and illustrated by Jarvis, Candlewick, 2019

Crazy About Nuts!

October 20, 2022

Saturday, October 22nd is National Nut Day.

Do you like nuts? You know, nuts like walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, and peanuts?

Oops! A peanut is not technically a nut even though it has nut in its name. A peanut is a legume.

According to Merriman-Webster, a legume is a fancy way of saying the fruit or seed of plants of the legume family (Think peas or beans.) used for food. Call me crazy, but I’ll just call it a nut!

If you find yourself craving nuts, you might consider yourself a health nut. Congratulations! That tiny snack is filled with good nutrients like fat, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. These are things that your body needs. Indulge yourself today but watch the salt and calories.

As I gaze out my window, contemplating what nut snack I want, I see that our squirrel population is busy at work in our backyard.

They seem to be excited about the upcoming National Nut Day. They are wild about the hundreds of acorns falling from our oak trees. They snatch them and proceed to dig holes in our lawn to store them for winter. Holey mess!

While you’re celebrating National Nut Day and munching on a handful of nuts, enjoy this nutty book!

Scaredy Squirrel In a Nutshell written and illustrated by Melanie Watt, Random House Books for Young Readers, 2021

What’s your favorite nut?

Fantastic News!

April 7, 2022

April is poetry month. The following may not be poetry, but it makes my heart sing!

I’m thrilled to announce my newest book, THE BIG STINK: The Legen-dairy Tale of Colonel Thomas S. Meacham and His Enormous Cheese. (This is a working title.)

I’m a children’s book author. I had two early chapter books published years ago along with a variety of educational magazine articles and stories. Then, life got in the way and my writing was intermittent. In the last five years, I’ve been free of major commitments. I’ve used those years to commit to my writing.

I happened to see an unusual story of a huge cheese that was made and delivered to the president of the United States with considerable pomp and circumstance in 1836. It piqued my curiosity, and I began researching the story behind the story in 2019. When I felt I had enough information, I wrote a fictional picture book manuscript that was based on the incident. After many revisions, using comments and suggestions from my critique partners, I sent it to my agent. She liked it, and after more revisions suggested by my agent, she sent it to various publishing houses. The common response was that the editors liked the historical information in the story but didn’t like having a mouse as a narrator. I went back to the drawing board. Or I should say, I went back to the computer board. I turned the fictional story into a narrative nonfiction manuscript. I made sure my research and facts were accurate before sharing the manuscript with my critique partners and my agent. More revisions. The new version was sent out once again. There were more rejections, but Barb McNally and her team at Sleeping Bear Press liked what they saw. Through my agent, they made an offer in August of 2021. Lucky me!

The book is now in the works with talented Lesley Breen tackling the illustrations, and Barb McNally skillfully guiding me through the editorial part of the process. You’ll be hearing more from me as the publication date in Spring of 2023 gets closer. You can check out my website here. I hope readers will find THE BIG STINK a tasty slice of cheesy history.

What’s Going On In The Kitchen?

March 21, 2022

Last Thursday – St. Patrick’s Day – something odd happened.

I planned a light Irish dinner featuring Irish Soda Bread and Colcannon Soup.

I was all prepared, or so I thought. I had the dry ingredients in a bowl for the soda bread. All I had to do was to add the liquid ingredients. Faith and begorrah, the milk that was in the refrigerator earlier that morning had disappeared!

My husband offered to get more milk. While he was gone, I prepared the soup. I chopped the cabbage and peeled and chopped the potatoes. When I unbundled the leeks, another not-so-lucky surprise greeted me. One of the leeks was rotten. To compensate for the loss of a leek, I chopped a large onion that brought tears to my eyes.

I melted butter in a big pot and put in the vegetables to cook until slightly tender. I stepped into another room for no more than two minutes when my nose told me something was amiss. The veggies at the bottom of the pot were more than slightly tender. They were burning! I quickly dumped the top layer into another pot, picked out the charred ones, and put the burned pot into the sink.

When my husband returned with milk in hand, he asked, “What’s that I smell?”

My usually calm demeanor disappeared.

“Don’t ask!”

I finished the bread. I finished the soup.

My Irish eyes gazed at the kitchen mess. They were NOT smiling.

It suddenly dawned on me. The likes of those mischievous wee folk had paid me and my kitchen an unexpected St. Paddy’s Day visit!

The redeeming factor of my cooking calamity was my husband. He raved about my delicious dinner. But then again, he’s like Mikey – he’ll eat anything!  

Sláinte!

Seasons Greetings

December 23, 2021

From our house to yours…

May your home be filled with the warmth and glow of love, family, and friendship this Christmas.

A Perfect Pick!

September 23, 2021

On Tuesday, my husband and I picked a peck of apple-icious apples!

Pick a Peck

Each picked apple conjured up tasty treats – apple sauce, apple crunch, apple pie, apple cake, apple donuts, apple cider, apple butter…

It was a beautiful day at Sunnycrest Apple Farm and Farmer’s Market.

Apples, and Mums, and Pumpkins, – Oh, my!

There was no need to mask up. We had wide-open spaces to roam up and down rows of apple trees.

Walkin’ Down the Apple Highway

There were no crowds, but the branches were jam-packed with apples.

Apples Galore

After picking our pick of apples, we splurged and bought ourselves a special treat.

Yum!

It was a great day to be out in the fresh air and sunshine. Now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Apple anyone?

Remember. An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Pick one of these apple books.

How to Grow an Apple written by Beth Charles and illustrated by Katie Rewse, Albert Whitman & Company, 2020

Let’s Go Apple Picking written by Lori Haskins Houran and illustrated by Nila Aye, Golden Books, 2020.

Applesauce Day written by Lisa J. Amstutz and illustrated by Talitha Shipman, Albert Whitman & Company, 2017

Apple Picking Day! written by Candice Ransom and illustrated by Erika Meza, Random House Books for Young Readers, 2016

A Wish

September 16, 2021

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

 ~Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

September 11th is my birthday. On that day, twenty years ago, I was teaching in an elementary school near Boston. As a gift to me, I asked my husband to postpone his business trip so we could celebrate together. He did. (He was not booked on United Airlines Flight 175.)  By the end of that September 11th day, there was nothing to celebrate.

I was in class when the news of the terrorist attacks passed quietly through the halls as school administrators whispered to teachers what had happened. There were parents in our school community who flew out of Boston to various places to do business. It was imperative that students need not know what was going on before their parents could explain the situation to their children on their own terms.

It was a sad day – a scary day. “It was the worst of times. It was the season of darkness.”

The downside of the horrible terrorist attacks was the many people who perished and the first responders who have health complications today from desperately trying to save lives. The upside is that suddenly Americans, no matter what religious, ethnic, or diverse background, came together. We flew the American flag – a symbol of liberty, justice, and freedom, and we embraced each other to become a strong, resilient America.

It’s now twenty years later. Our nation is more dived than I’ve ever seen.

This year, my September 11th birthday wish is that we end our political divide. Stop the craziness on both sides. Listen and respect other’s opinions. Work to unite rather than divide. I wish this to be our “season of light” and “spring of hope.”

God Bless America

A Nation’s Strength

What makes a nation’s pillars high
And its foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
The foes that round it throng?

It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
Not on abiding rock.

Is it the sword? Ask the red dust
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their stones to rust,
Their glory to decay.

And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown
Has seemed to nations sweet;
But God has struck its luster down
In ashes at his feet.

Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor’s sake
Stand fast and suffer long.

Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly…
They build a nation’s pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.
~Emerson

I’m Back!

September 9, 2021

It has been a busy six weeks. We celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, and family gatherings. Here are some high points.

Anniversary Flowers
Birthday Cake
Another Birthday Cake
And Another Birthday Cake
Three-Legged Birthday Games
Birthday Wishes
T-Ball Fun
Roasting Marshmallows
Cornhole!

We have lots of memories of days spent with family and friends. Now it’s time to get back to business, and…

.First Day of School

that includes the little ones, too.

Until next Thursday, enjoy each and every day!

Family Matters

July 29, 2021

A baptism last week. A wedding this week.

Last Friday, we headed to the Midwest. We haven’t traveled on an airplane in over two years because of COVID-19, but when a family wedding celebration is on the horizon, we go! Our destination was not an easy place to get to. We drove our car to the park ‘n ride to catch a bus that took us to the airport. We boarded a plane for a two-and-a-half-hour flight. We then boarded a regional plane for another hour’s flight. Arriving at the small airport, we picked up our rental car and drove another hour and a half to our destination. In all, it took us thirteen hours. We missed the rehearsal dinner, but the Midwest heat and humidity were there to greet us!

Saturday – Wedding Day

The Bride – Our Niece

Parents of the Bride – A Nervous Dad

The Bride and Groom

Father/Daughter Dance

We didn’t get a family photo of my brother and two sisters, but we did play cornhole at the reception. What else do you do in corn country? (Notice the determination on my face.) I lost to a five-year-old!

Me!

Sunday morning, we did a reversal of our Friday travel schedule. I was immediately reminded why flying is not my favorite pastime. Besides delays, cancellations, and turbulence, other problems creep up. On our first flight, all I wanted was a cold glass of ice water. Problem One:  No ice available. Problem Two:  They ran out of water before they got to us! Really?? The second flight had a mechanical glitch that had to be fixed. And so, we waited until it was a go. Twelve and a half hours later, we finally reached home. Even though it was a short visit and there were a few minor problems with our flights, it was wonderful to be able to get together with our family and enjoy a day of celebration! Family matters!


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