Tag Archives: children’s kindle ebook author

DAY 8- RELAXING (Haiku) – #BlogFlash2012: 30 Days, 30 Prompts, 30 Posts

8 Aug

DAY 8 – RELAXING

Tension’s taken charge

Months pass with no sweet avail 

Can’t count sleep sadly

DAY 7- SUNSET – #BlogFlash2012: 30 Days, 30 Prompts, 30 Posts

7 Aug

DAY 7 – SUNSET

Sunset. I fondly remember one that appeared at the end of a life changing story…or should I say the beginning?

In 2008, My hubby Bob, 3 dogs and I packed up the SUV and headed out to Texas to attend a Thanksgiving family reunion. It was a week-long event that was thoughtfully packed with special family events such as karaoke, food, bowling and food, flag football and food. You get the idea.

It had been decades since Bob had seen some of his kin and he had lost touch with others who had moved out to the wild west years before. It was enjoyable to meet members of ‘the other side’ and hear the funny anecdotes that are told and re-told at gathering such as these. Mostly, they were stories of when the adult attendees were children.

Speaking of kids, there were teens, tweens, toddlers and infants. There was a trampoline, a swing set, horse shoes, volleyball and resident dogs and guests’ dogs playing all over the yard.

Our wedding anniversary always falls right around Thanksgiving and this 14th anniversary landed on the day before Thanksgiving. Claudia, our hostess, Bob and I woke early and headed out to pick up breakfast for the masses. I was falling in love with the wide-open spaces and livestock dotting the landscape all around us, so she drove us further out into the country.

Bob and I were tiring of South Florida. The real estate market had recently crashed and Bob’s income had taken a huge hit. I had an injury that stopped me from working a year before. Crime was at an all-time high, and we were sick of the place. I mentioned that, “I could move out here tomorrow!” With that, Claudia stopped at a convenience store and picked up a newspaper. Bob just stared at me in disbelief.

There were two listings posted and one read: “Country living at its finest. 4-Bdrm Rock house. Livestock okay.” We called the number listed in the ad and drove out to see the place. This is what awaited us as we pulled in the driveway:

The house was situated on 6 acres. It was big, roomy and sun-filled with a large yard and I couldn’t see a thing wrong with it. It was then we did the most spur of the moment thing I think each of us had ever done in our lives. I pulled Bob aside and said, “I want the place.” He simply smiled and hugged me big. On only a small deposit and a handshake, the place was ours! On our wedding anniversary!

The rest of the family was shocked when we got back to Claudia’s house and announced we were moving to Texas. They were happy for us, but kept shaking their heads saying, “I can’t believe you guys are doing this! You’re just gonna pick up and move to TEXAS?” That night we were presented with anniversary cards, champagne and a cake and comments stating that we were crazy.

The next day was Thanksgiving and boy did we have a lot for which to be grateful! It was the most marvelous Thanksgiving ever.

We wanted to be in before Christmas, so we packed up the vehicle and the dogs and high-tailed it home to pack. Three weeks later we loaded our belongings, the dogs, bird and turtle and headed out towards our new home. Two of Bob’s uncles drove the U-Haul and a flatbed, and it took us 2 days to make the trip.

It was early evening December 19th and we were getting close. As we took the last turn around a bend on Highway 190 only minutes from the house, the most spectacular sunset greeted us. Oranges, reds and pinks I had never seen spanned before me in a jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring, crazy beautiful way. The entire horizon was alight and I cried. My heart had swelled and I felt as if God was showing me that we had made the right decision!

Though I had my camera beside me, I didn’t take the picture. That was one sunset I was never going to forget!

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#blogflash2012 Day 6- Reading

#blogflash2012 Day 5- Frustration

#blogflash2012 Day 4- Busy

Waxing Nostalgic – “Sugar Sugar”

8 Jun

Here’s a blast from the past. I was listening to the oldies yesterday and the song SUGAR SUGAR by The Archies came on. It was a favorite of mine when I was in third grade and I remembered that I had written a piece about it for a writing challenge not too long ago. I’ll be dating myself here but couldn’t resist posting a wonderful memory from my childhood:

SUGAR SUGAR

All three third grade classes at Harding Avenue Elementary School were called into the assembly hall for a special meeting. With the other two teachers by her side, my teacher proudly announced that we were all going to put on a play. I felt both excited and scared at the same time when I heard we would be performing it in front of the entire school.

Our teachers went on to explain that the play would have all sorts of skits and dances and music, and they began to describe the types of parts that were available. They told us that most of the different scenes called for groups of us kids to perform them, so my best friends Linda and Marian and I listened for a fun part we could all do together.

There were parts for astronauts and a bunch of boys were picked for that. A whole forest full of fairy parts went to a lot of girls in Miss Kline’s class. The kids in Band became the orchestra. The list went on and kids were selected one by one. My friends and I began to think that they would run out of parts and we would end up working backstage.

That’s when Ms. Kellman announced that they needed three go-go girls to perform The Archies’ song “Sugar, Sugar.” Our hands flew up right when we heard her say, “The Archies” because we knew was coming next. Sugar Sugar was our tippy-top favorite song, and it was the number-one hit all around the country. We already knew all the words and we danced to it all the time. This was perfect. This part was for us! We all frantically began to jump up and down so she could not miss us. She didn’t and we got the parts.

We only had a few weeks to perfect our act. Marian’s parents had the best stereo and we had the entire living room in which to practice. We’d line up in a row, first Marian, then me, and then Linda, and Marian would put the needle down on the record, jump in line and we were ready to go. “Sugar, sugar, ah honey, honey, you are my candy girl and you’ve got me wanting you.” We moved together first bopping to the right for three counts, and then the left for three counts, to the right, to the left and so on. “When I kissed you girl I knew how sweet a kiss could be (knew how sweet a kiss could be). Like the summer sunshine pour your sweetness over me (pour your sweetness over me). Whoa-O-O-O-O.” Big Spin!

One afternoon, after hours of practicing, Marian put the needle down on the record, turned to get in line but she tripped on me and I fell into Linda. We were a pile of exhausted go-go dancers all laughing and giggling on the floor.

I will never forget that day when my friends and I just laughed and laughed and laughed for what seemed to be forever.

Tortilla and Fajita Recipes- For a Sizzling South of the Border Supper

1 Jun

 

There’s nothing like a fresh tortilla and once you have made your own, you will never go back to store-bought again. I’ve been making my own tortillas for quite some time but started out by viewing all sorts of recipes on YouTube.Com.

Here are all the steps you need to create home-made fajitas, a fresh and healthy meal:

Fresh Flour Tortillas
Makes about 18-20 tortillas

Ingredients-

3 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
7 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup very hot water

• Mix and knead the mixture for 3 minutes.
• Let the dough sit covered for 15 minutes
• Separate into small golf ball size balls (1.5 oz.) by kneading and pinching & roll into balls. Cover all with a clean cloth.

Cooking Fresh Tortillas

Once you’ve made your tortilla balls, flour a surface and rolling pin and roll a ball into an oval shape. Turn shape 45 degrees and roll, turn again and roll until you’ve formed a round tortilla. It’s important to have a round shape so that the tortilla properly fills with air when cooked but don’t freak out if it’s not perfect…your guests will know they’re home-made!

Using a very hot skillet, place your tortilla round into the pan and cook until you see bubbles forming. (about 10-15 seconds, I don’t set a timer for this part because the time ranges within a few seconds for each tortilla=eye ball it). Then flip and time 10 seconds, then flip one more time for 10 seconds more. The tortilla will fill with air and you can use a spatula to delicately force air into the rest of the tortilla.

I usually roll out a couple of tortilla rounds and then begin cooking and rolling rounds at the same time. It takes a bit of practice at first but once you’ve done it a few times, it becomes second nature.

Place your cooked tortillas into a tortilla box or cooling rack separated by waxed or parchment paper. These should keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge in a sealed plastic bag.

Fajita Seasoning Mix –Recipe by Kathy

Ingredients
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon crushed chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin

Directions
1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
2. Use as needed in recipes calling for fajita seasoning.

Cooking Fajitas

Cut your chicken (or beef) into equal sized 1/4″ X 1-2″ strips. Put in container large enough to shake and coat with fajita seasoning.

Slice onions and peppers into strips. You’d be surprised how far a large onion and a pepper will go; however, cut as many as needed depending on the number of portions.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil, add chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes. (The meat will be added back into the sautéed veggies later on for another minute, so don’t over cook.) Remove meat and set aside.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and cook peppers and onions to desired texture.

Add the meat back into the pan and cook mixture for another minute or so.

Take your tortilla box or place tortillas on a plate and cover with a damp (not wet) paper towel and heat in microwave for 60 seconds to warm.

You’re now ready to assemble your fajitas. You can either transfer the mixture to a hot fajita pan to serve sizzling and allow your guests to customize their fajitas with other toppings or assemble all and serve on a platter. Es mucho gusto!

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If you liked how your fajitas in fresh tortillas came out, why not try out another summer favorite and what ‘used to be’ one of my closest held recipes? Click here for the tippy-top, best ever Crispy Chicken Wings!

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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