Tag Archives: children’s books

DAY 5 – FRUSTRATION – #BlogFlash2012: 30 Days, 30 Prompts, 30 Posts

5 Aug

Frustration has been my middle name lately. This was me only a few short months ago when my computer first began lagging, then it bogged down and started freezing-up at the most inappropriate times. A seed of frustration began to germinate in my head.

Fast forward to last weekend when I finally had my laptop diagnosed to find that a so-called ‘phantom program’ downloaded to my PC which didn’t present as a virus so it skipped through McAfee, laid low for weeks only to explode and corrupt my hard drive. Just fabulous.

I was forced to buy a new laptop, which quite frankly pissed me off to no end. We’ve been socking monies aside for a 7-acre ranch and, the longer it takes, it’s frustrating to think that we could lose the place at anytime .

More frustration ensued when it took most of the week to restore my files to the new laptop.

The computer fiasco has only added insult to injury at the continuing FRUSTRATION that I’ve been ranting about on my blog and Facebook regarding my not having a writing space.

I cannot begin to put into words how utterly frustrating it’s been to work like this.

I feel frustration every time I walk down the hallway and peer into my ‘new’ office that I never go to work in because the desk is minuscule.

You see, my husband is using my vintage executive desk and claimed my office chair as well, and I have no choice in the matter since he’s bringing in the bacon. Now that is downright FRUSTRATING!


I just want to cry! :0(

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Fabulous 4th of July Cheesecake Flag

28 Jun

If you make one dish for Independence Day, make this fabulous 4th of July cheesecake flag cake and you’ll be the hit of the day! I first made this in 2010 for the Fourth but it is so delectable that I get requests for it all the time and decorate it to suit any occasion.  The true beauty of this cake is that it serves a whopping 48 persons and it’s finger-food that can be passed…no plates or silverware, just a napkin!

This is a recipe from Martha Stewart that I tweaked a bit by adding fresh whipped cream icing instead of confectioner’s sugar for bright white stripes of the flag, and canned strawberry pie filling for the toppings.  Here is Martha’s cake photo but it looked too messy. I just pictured kids (and adults) dropping fruit and confectioner’s sugar all over the place and opted for ‘stuff that stuck.’ However, the choice is yours.

Print out Martha’s recipe for convenience, as I follow it to the letter to bake the cake. If you choose to go my route, pick up a can of strawberry and blueberry pie filling or fresh blueberries. Here’s a simple recipe for whipped cream for the stripes:

Simple Whipped Cream

Be sure to start with a metal bowl and whisk that’s be chilled in the freezer for 10 minutes.

1 Cup heavy cream

1 Tsp. vanilla

1 Tbsp. sugar

Whip all in bowl until stiff peaks begin to form. Do not over-beat as it will become buttery and lumpy.

Here’s a slideshow of the baking steps; the decorating is up to you!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Need another tasty dish for your cookout? Try my Super Crispy Chicken Wing recipe.

Enjoy the holiday everyone!

Pssst, anyone wondering why there are only 42 pieces of cake in the top photo? I always take a row for my hubby and I to nosh on the next day. :0) Try this fabulous 4th of July Cheesecake Flag; your peeps will love you for it!

I Dropped Everything for My Dixie

24 Jun I Dropped Everything for Dixie

I Dropped Everything for Dixie

The best laid plans go awry…when someone gets hurt.

Friday was starting out as a beautiful day. The sun was rising and I woke ready to seize the day. I had been struggling for a blog post idea all week, but I got a great idea in the shower and I was good to go.

I could bang out the essay and post it to my blog early, do a big ‘ol bunch of shout out tweets that needed posting, read and comment on a ton of blogs that I follow, and continue to work on my new picture book. (I know the priority should be in reverse order but I’m still grappling with the ‘platform thing.’) I was excited to get to work but first I had to get my ‘farm’ chores out of the way.

The dogs and hubby were fed inside and I was out in the yard feeding, haying and watering the goats and wild birds and suddenly I heard one of my dogs snarl and then a goat cried out! I dropped the hose and ran to the fence to see my goat Dixie scampering into the barn (It’s a dinky 8 x 10 shed but I have visions of grandeur) and two of my dogs, Bella and Star, checking each other over. So, I think no harm, no fowl and finish my front yard chores.

Thank goodness within a few minutes I got into the yard to tidy up the goat’s area to notice that Dixie was still in the barn. They only go in there when it rains or when one is not feeling well. So, I went in to check on her to find that her ear was literally ripped down the middle and dripping blood! Apparently, one of the dogs got spooked and must have caught a tooth on Dixie’s ear tag hole. Poor little Dix.

I sprang into the house, grabbed my first aid kit and called out to my husband for help. Although Dixie is extremely docile and sweet, she is a whopping 200 pounds and I need my hubby to hold her so I can administer care. I doused her wound with Betadine and slopped on Neosporin before running back into the house to call the vet.

From joining two goat groups on Yahoo Groups when I first got the itty-bitty kids three years ago, I learned early on that a goat owner basically has to be the vet because goats aren’t considered valuable and most vets don’t know much about their care. I’m lucky to have a vet who has a goat herd but wouldn’t you know it, he was out of the office and his vet tech knew nothing.

I called Ms. Robin Cotten, a member of ChevonTalk and the owner of Bending Tree Goat Ranch in Tennessee, and got good but strange advice. First, I gave Dix a tetanus shot and then we ‘Crazy Glued’ Dixie’s ear together. Yep, you heard that right. Supposedly they use similar glue on people during surgical procedures. We then kept her quiet at the picnic table and watched her. She appeared to be fine and her ear was together.

Handsome Cowboy’s mom showed up and we sat a while longer with Dix. She was then put back in with the fold with Dot and Daisy.

Look, she was back together in one piece! That was until those darn viper flies showed up, and soon after Dixie twitched her ears to the point where the glue was wrangled off and her ear parts were swaying in the breeze once more.

I had nightmares about my little Dix and although hours had passed I knew we had to try it one more time. This time we put our heads together to come up with a better plan for healing success.

Whala! We crazy glued the pieces of her ears together and then splinted her ear with cardboard panels held in place with rubber bands. She was a little curious about it at first and tried to bite at the cardboard but thank goodness she couldn’t quite reach it. It reminded me of that tendril of hair that I would always try to catch after coming out of the salty ocean. Darn, my mother kept my hair too short, and here I digress.

It seemed that Dixie got immediate relief probably because the flies couldn’t get at the wound and perhaps her ear felt more like her ear again and not open-wound fringed fragments colliding and causing her hurt in each breeze.

It’s Monday and the splint is intact but I won’t know whether the repair worked for a few more days. Her ear isn’t bothering her and I plan to leave it alone to allow her system to heal it as well. I hope to see her again intact soon. Please keep your fingers crossed for my baby girl. (I’m not going to say it out loud but between you and me, this sweet darling doll is my favorite.) So here’s hoping Dixie looks like this again…

By the way, we cut up a Domino’s pizza box for Dixie’s splint and Handsome Cowboy is now calling Dixie “Domino.”  He’s a James Bond freak. So am I but it’s Sean Connery and, if need be, Roger Moore only…okay the new guy’s alright too.  My “Domino Dix” is hopefully on the mend.

I apologize for dropping the ball on my blog, and not shouting out to my Twitter friends; nor did I read and comment on my fellow bloggers’ posts. Progress on my new story is, as they say in NY, fogettaboudit.

Thanks for bearing with me and checking in to read my albeit, late post. Has anyone else out there had a pet emergency where you had to address a problem with your pet on your own? I’d love to hear your stories and I bet everyone else would appreciate it as well. :0)

Potato Salad Texas Style

16 Jun

Hi Gang!

I was asked to prepare my Texas country potato salad for a big birthday party today, so I thought to share the recipe with you. I found it a few years ago on FoodNetwork.Com, and I tried it since I was new to Texas.

It’s a rustic version that’s extremely easy to make and it never fails to go over big time! This recipe yields 4 servings but it easily converts depending on the number of servings needed. (I used 5 pounds of potatoes and multiplied all the ingredients by 5.) Make it this weekend for your Father’s Day Cookout.


4 Strips of bacon

1 Pound small red potatoes, unpeeled

1 Scallion, sliced

1 Boiled egg, chopped

1/4 Cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt & Pepper


Cook bacon till crisp, reserving a few tablespoons of pan drippings. Crumble and set aside.

Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Add salt and a few tablespoons of bacon grease and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender, drain and let cool.

While your potatoes are boiling, chop your egg and scallion.

In a small bowl mix the mayo, Dijon mustard and salt & pepper to make the dressing.

Chop the potatoes into bite sized pieces, and toss with dressing, onion, egg and bacon. Serve chilled.

That’s it; that’s all there is to it!

Maybe dad would enjoy reading LUCCI-THE NO SMOOCHIE POOCHIE to the kids while having his potato salad. *hint, hint, wink, wink*

Children’s Story About a Dog- My Dachshund Dog Lucci

19 May Children's Story About a Dog

Children's Story About a Dog

Hi Gang!

My children’s story about a dog is about Lucci, my adopted dachshund. Many of you may already know that I wrote LUCCI- THE NO SMOOCHIE POOCHIE for my nieces and nephew (2 of the 4 are pictured below-Coral and Sommer). What I haven’t yet talked about is my boy Lucci, the beautiful real dog that I was blessed enough to have in my life.

Handsome Cowboy and I were living in an apartment at the time with Dillon, the Basset Hound and Coco Bellini, a roly-poly Dachshund who we had adopted a year or so earlier.

Another tenant, who we’d usually wave to while walking the dogs, approached us one day. A woman she knew had told her that she had to relinquish two doxi dogs because she was moving to a place that didn’t allow pets, and asked her if she knew of anyone who might want to adopt them. She thought of us immediately and advised that the dogs were going to be brought to a shelter if not adopted that very same day. Nothing like a little pressure right?

Great, 4 dogs in an apartment (!!) was what we initially felt but then the thought of knowing those little guys would go to a shelter was more unnerving than a tight living space. We told the tenant that we would have to see if our dogs would socialize with the ‘new ones’ first and she arranged the meeting.

Thankfully, everyone got along fine and we brought Zeffrey and Zoe home. Who the heck is Zeffrey, you might ask. The past  owner had named the dogs with ‘Z’ names because she bought them in Zephyr Hills, Florida. Go figure. Little, tiny Zoe fit her name to a tee but Zeffrey just didn’t fit for me.

Now, I didn’t just go and change the little guy’s name on him; it happened quite naturally really. I’m half Italian and I’ve always told my hubby that Italian names and words sound like music. So, somewhere along the line I started calling Zeffrey ‘Zeffalucci,’ and eventually he became my Lucci. Handsome Cowboy still called him ‘Zeff,’ so I don’t think he was any worse of for wear.

I know a lot of dog lovers out there who comment that their gang follows them everywhere, even to the bathroom! Dillon and CoCo Bellini would charge right in, however; Zoe and Lucci would just ‘sit pretty’ at the threshold but would never enter. Eventually, they did barge in with the rest of the gang but it took a very long time.

It seemed that Lucci and Zoe were strictly trained, as there appeared to be fearfulness in their every movement at first. I try my best not to judge others’ training methods but,  because we have our four-footed family for such a short time, I choose not to put a lot of rules and orders in place for my dogs.  Sure, they all learn sit, heel and paw (‘don’t chew on that!’ and ‘don’t poop in the house!) and are certainly socialized but that’s about as far is it goes with me. Our animals rule our roost!

Whatever fear-training Zoe had diminished right away and she would follow us everywhere and run to us to give smoochies. She was so small as was her tongue that her specialty ‘nostril-lickies’ would tickle so much we’d sneeze!

However, Lucci literally (as it says in my CHILDREN’S STORY ABOUT A DOG- MY DACHSHUND DOG LUCCI) “would turn his nose to the left, then the right… and he would wrangle, and twist, and grumble when kissed.” We tried for months to get a smooch out of Lucci and eventually that wondrous day did come around when Lucci finally bestowed his sweet long-awaited smoochies.

The moral of the story, as reviewer Crystal Kelly understood it so eloquently, is “Lucci- The No Smoochie Poochie is just right for your young children who are learning the values of patience and understanding theconcept of love. Love is lived out in patience and LUCCI does a wonderful job of displaying and explaining this concept in a fun manner.

The images in LUCCI-The No Smoochie Poochie are very simple yet springs to life through the colors. I believe that the simple drawing style used here will encourage your children in creating like characters of their own.”

I thought you might appreciate learning some back story of the REAL Lucci and the other doggie characters in my funny, rhyming children’s book. If either you or your children have any questions about Lucci or the other pups in the book, please by all means ask away!

Lucci was one heck of a good dog and I miss him daily; yet he lives on in my children’s story about a dog-My Dachshund dog Lucci!

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