Saturday, May 28, 2011

Weekend News

I've been so lazy this month, it's pathetic.  I haven't had much in the way of submissions for book listings and I haven't researched to find any on my own.

However, I have been enjoying the spring type of weather.  The lilacs are blooming, the potatoes, onions, peas, beans and sunflowers have all started to sprout.  So - I went out and took some pictures to share with you today.

The first few pictures were taken last week.


Potato!



Onion row!


How pretty is that?  Onions are so simple and elegant.




The lilacs are getting ready to bloom!



Dandelions.  So fun - unless you try to control them.

These next pictures were taken today (May 28th)

The lilacs are blooming!




I love the closeups!



They make the whole world (at least mine) smell wonderful!


If you look very closely, you can see the potatoes at the very bottom of the garden.  And the grass is coming up nicely.  ;-)



Didn't I say I love the closeups?





My sweet Edy!  She picked that for me.



I'm going to go shopping today for more plants to add to the garden.  It's time.  I just hope we don't get another freeze after I get the plants in.  I'm looking for tomatoes, cucumbers, probably some watermelon, cantaloupe and pumpkin.  Might do some kind of squash (acorn) and zuchinni.  Oh, and can't forget the peppers!  If there's something you think I'm missing, let me know.  (I already have potatoes, peas, beans, carrots, corn and sunflowers planted.)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Garden Pictures

I finally got some batteries that WORK put into my camera.  So, I took some pictures of the two gardens. 

Again, the first garden is about 70' x 20'.  So far we have planted potatoes, onions, carrots, peas, beans, corn and sunflowers.  The onions are already starting to pop up and we only planted a week ago.  Probably didn't plant them deep enough.  However, they are small enough they aren't visible in the pictures yet.


The second garden is about 25' x 45' and still has nothing planted in it, yet.  I hope to get to it real soon! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What's the Haps?

I don't have a book to list today.  So, for those of you who were looking forward to it, I'm sorry.  

I'm just going to wing it.  I WILL list at least one book today, though.

What I really want to do is talk about what's been going on, hence the title "What's the Haps?"

Yesterday I was a proud sponsor of Sandra Edwards book, Incredible Dreams (A Paranormal Romance), for her blog tour.  There is a contest associated with this tour and the prize is a Kindle 3!  You can check out yesterday's post here: http://jcphelps.blogspot.com/2011/05/blog-tour-sandra-edwards.html
You can also get all the information from Sandra's website here:  http://www.sandrawrites.com/giveaway.html

This past Sunday my husband and I planted some of the garden.  We planted most of our seeds and will wait to plant the plants until later in the month.  

A couple of years ago we had a hard freeze on May 31st or June 1st and ended up losing 160 tomato plants.  I'm not looking forward to repeating that kind of waste again.

We planted potatoes (my first time growing potatoes), onions, peas, corn, sunflowers, beans and carrots.  I'm getting excited to watch things sprout.  

I plan to keep a photo diary through the summer.  Since I've now made it public, maybe I'll stick to it.  That being said...


It's 9:40 PM the day before the post is scheduled to go live.  I hope to update first thing in the morning.  But, just in case I don't get around to it, I didn't take any pictures today.  For a little perspective, with or without a picture, my garden is about 60' x 20' and my brothers have another garden in the back yard that isn't planted at all yet.  It is about 25' x 45'.  If we don't get any food this year, it's going to be a huge disappointment.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Blog Tour - Sandra Edwards

!!Blog Tour!!
 
Today I get to feature Incredible Dreams by Sandra Edwards for her month long blog tour.

Sandra has many stops to make this month and there is a prize to be won during all of this.  After showing you her book I'll tell you how you can win a Kindle 3!!!  So keep reading.
 
Incredible Dreams
by
Sandra Edwards

Incredible Dreams (A Paranormal Romance) 

Description:
            Incredible Dreams is the story of a modern-day ghost whisperer who travels through time to save the life of a WWII fighter pilot and ends up jeopardizing her own existence.
            Izzy Miller prefers to call herself a spiritual therapist because she thinks it makes her sound more professional than plain old ghost-whisperer. She expects her latest project to be quick and easy because exorcising military personnel is pretty routine.
            But there's nothing easy or routine about Captain Jack Baker—he's a rather forgetful spirit and somewhat mischievous. And even though he's intrigued by the US Government's latest attempt to remove him from the only place he can ever remember being...he has no intentions of going anywhere.
            Plans to exorcise Jack are quickly sidelined when Izzy discovers a portal into the past inside her dreams and sets out to change his fate. Trouble is...when she gets back there, she can't remember anything but her name. She still sees ghosts, but is far less accepting of her gift. And, to make matters worse, a demonic force pretending to be the forgetful heroine's sister has her own plans—to steal Izzy's soul.


Some of you already know the scoop for getting entered to win that Kindle 3, but for those of you who don't know...  The following comes directly from Sandra's website:


Incredible Dreams Kindle 3 Giveaway

During the month of May, follow along with the Incredible Dreams Blog Tour for a chance to win a new Kindle 3 and a great starter library from the following authors: 
Amanda Brice, Autumn Jordan, Cara Marsi, Cate Rowan, Cathy Wiley, Debra L. Martin & David W. Small, JC Phelps, J.E. Taylor, KC May, Karen Cantwell, LC Evans, LK Rigel, Markee Anderson, Melissa Ohnoutka, Monique Martin, Nicole Bradley, Sandra Edwards, Sue Fineman, T.M. Roy, Tess St. John, Theresa Ragan, and Victorine Lieske.

At each stop on the Blog Tour look for one or two questions about one or two of the authors listed above (or their books). Follow the link accompanying the questions to search for the answers. Answer all the questions correctly and you'll automatically be entered into a drawing for the Kindle 3. (Many of the blog stops have two dates. Questions will appear at those sites on only ONE of those dates.)
Send your answers to me at < sandra1(at)sandrawrites(dot)com >. Please put "K3 Giveaway" in the subject line. Deadline to send answers is June 1st 11:59 PM Pacific Time. The Winner will be contacted no later than June 5th. 

Winner will be given a $200 (two hundred) Amazon gift certificate to cover the cost of the Kindle. That way the winner can get the Kindle that's right for them.
The starter library will consist of at least one book from each of the participating authors. The starter library will be sent to the Winner in a combination of "gifted" Kindle books from Amazon or mobi files which can be transfered to the K3. 

Disclaimer:  For those outside the US, it's the entrant's responsibility to make sure Amazon will ship the Kindle to you.
Followers of the "Incredible Dreams Kindle 3 Giveaway" here are your questions for this stop on the blog tour:
1. In Melissa Ohnoutka’s Faithful Deceptions, what elite Homeland Security squad does Patrick work for and what do the letters stand for? – Find the answer at: www.melissaohnoutka.com

2. Which of Autumn Jordon's Books won the 2010 Golden Leaf Award for ‘Best First Book’? – http://www.autumnjordon.com/books.html

For more info on the giveaway visit Sandra’s website (http://www.sandrawrites.com)

 In case you missed any of the previous dates and to be sure you don't miss upcoming dates, I've listed the tour dates below.


BLOG TOUR STOPS

 Click the links below to guy your copy of Incredible Dreams by Sandra Edwards!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Citrus Dessert Recipe

Citrus Dessert
 
I made this from a recipe I got as an email from Kraft Recipes.
It's pretty rich, but pretty darned good!
 
I've become somewhat of an experimental cook over the past few years so I didn't follow the recipe exactly.  I do this mostly out of unpreparedness.  I hardly ever check my ingredients before I start a recipe and assume I have everything and enough of everything.  That's not always the case.  Also, I generally read a recipe all the way through once and then just get to it.  This means I sometimes forget steps.  :-)
 
Some of you might have already seen pictures on my Facebook page and realize it looks a little different.  I cut the edges off to make it prettier.  (Hey, I'm learning.)
I don't want to be stealing any thunder from the original site so I'm just going to give you the ingredients, what I did and then a link to the actual recipe.
 
The recipe calls for a can of condensed milk, a can of evaporated milk, 7 Tbsp of lemon juice (those little plastic lemons only have 6 Tbsp of juice in them I found out in the middle of making this.  Thankfully I had a little more in the fridge.  So, I actually used about 6 1/2 Tbsp of lemon juice).
It also calls for the zest of one large lemon (the lemon I used was probably more medium sized but it worked well enough).  
You will also need graham crackers.  It calls for honey graham but I accidentally pulled out the cinnamon grahams and didn't realize until I'd put it all together.  It worked out just fine and I might try it again with the honey graham to see if I can notice a difference.  Finally, you will need at least one cup of whipped topping.  I just eyeballed that.  I love whipped topping.
Here's what you do... 
Mix the milks together - the recipe says to whisk them but I put them into my brand new (Christmas present) Kitchenaid Mixer with the whisk attachment.  Then you add the lemon juice one Tablespoon at a time, whisking it together well.  It should be thick but will thicken even more later.  When you are done with that, add the lemon zest and tah-dah - it's done.
I used a bread pan for the dessert.  I think it was a 9 x 5 (at least that's what the recipe calls for).  At some point you are supposed to unmold it so I lined the pan with tin-foil but plastic wrap might work even better.  
 
 
First you put in a layer of graham crackers (they are supposed to fit snugly), then you add a layer of the cream.  Alternate until your pan is full (I had four layers of graham crackers and three layers of cream).
Then, here comes the sucky part, you have to refrigerate overnight.  Yep, overnight.  It'll just sit there, calling to you to poke it and taste it, but don't.  Don't let the kids or spouse poke at it either.
Finally - the NEXT DAY (can you tell I really wanted to sample it long before it was ready) - Anyway, place a plate on top of the pan and invert.  The dessert came out of the pan very easily but the tin foil stuck to it a little and caused some uneven edges.  Top with the whipped cream topping.
Like I mentioned before, I trimmed the edges to give it a nicer look.
Now, if my conversational way of giving out a recipe isn't for you and you want the actual recipe you can find it here:  http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/layered-citrus-dessert-124911.aspx?cm_mmc=eml-_-rbe-_-20110503-_-1013
 
If anyone tries this dessert I'd love to hear what you thought about it.  Also, I'm considering doing something like this on my blog more often.  Let me know if you would be interested in reading recipes from time to time. 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Recently Read - The Hawk and His Boy

The Hawk and His Boy
by
Christopher Bunn 

The Hawk And His Boy (The Tormay Trilogy)



Today's Recently Read post is brought to you by W. Brondt Kamffer, author of The Wars of Gods and Men (The Ossian Chronicles).

W. Brondt Kamffer writes:

The Hawk and His Boy by Christopher Bunn was a fantastic read, the first in a fantasy trilogy.

I can't say enough good things about this novel. The story is complex without becoming overwhelming, though there was the occasional chapter that seemed to come out of nowhere. However, all of this is building towards a truly epic conflict. This first volume gets the series off the ground by introducing the reader to an interesting world filled with thieves, wizards, scholars, shadow creatures, and more.
I particularly enjoyed the chapters about Jute, the "boy" of the title. While he is the protagonist here, he by no means dominates the plot, but Bunn has done a fantastic job of conveying the lad's sense of helplessness and fear, as well as his uncertainty about what is happening to him and to the world. The villains here, Nio and the Silentman, are delightfully evil in their machinations, though they are also both in over their heads. I can see that both men are about to unleash an evil on the world that they had never intended, which is almost always a good thing for a story. A storm is brewing and even the bad guys lack an umbrella.

There is a lot of mythology that underpins the world of Tormay. Bunn has layered the history of his fantasy land with stories that stretch back beyond written record, with legends that haunt the night, and with the writings of the kingdom's great historians. Most of this background material is also skillfully integrated so that rather than draw the reader away from the action, it serves to heighten the tension.

With so much happening, it is sometimes hard to know exactly where things are headed, and the first volume is really only an introduction to the trilogy, with the second book seemingly twice as long as the first. Still, what is here is fantastic, and I did not even give it a second thought before heading to the Kindle store to download the sequel. Trouble is stirring in Tormay, and I can hardly wait to see how (or if) the heroes prevail and the villains get their comeuppances.

If you are interested in either of these author's work you can find links below. 


 












 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Featured Book - Ramblings From The Barn

Ramblings from the Barn
by
Robert Phelps

Ramblings From the Barn  


I've already featured a book of poetry this week so, I thought I'd give you another.  This is one of my all time favorite reads.  I am biased, of course.  This book was written by my father, Robert Phelps.  Our family, mainly my father, owns and operates a very quiet and local bar.  Most of the poems inside are about the life and times of the bar, The Barn, and it's patrons.  However, the stories (in poem format) can be easily transferred to all of our lives, and to our friends and acquaintances.

Description:
Ramblings is a humorous compilation of poetry written by a small town bartender/owner who seems to know his customers quite well.
This book will bring you a chuckle or two with a small amount of sentimentality mixed in.

"With each name, there is a story. Because we live in a small rural area, they seem unique to us. But they are not. I am sure that you can find these people in every small town in the Midwest. Still, I sometimes suspect there is something wrong with our water!" 



Click below to buy your copy



 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Featured Book - Violin Memories

Violin Memories
by
Michael Bruce Foster


 Description
 
"Michael Bruce Foster wrote this book of poems over four different decades. It covers subjects both serious and tragic, containing subject matter that is thoughtful as well as humorous. Some poems celebrate life, while others detail the difficulties and sadness of illness and death, the stark reality of war, and events that occurred in his family life. His humor, sometimes subtle, other times outright funny, helps to balance the book, showing that we must all find reasons to go on in our lives, despite setbacks and obstacles. He proves that we should cherish our good memories, and survive the bad. His vivid words and emotions bring us inside what we read, making us a part of the images and stories he relates. In this collection, prepare to discover poems that will make you cry, laugh, and rejoice. Please enjoy and share them."
 
Bio
 
Michael Bruce Foster was born and raised in California. He spent twenty-one years in the USAF, including several bases overseas. His work has been published in The City College of San Francisco Literary Magazine, Mobius, The Poetry Mazazine, Pasque Petals, and The Rapid City Journal. His first poetry book, "Violin Memories", was published in September of 2010, by Publish America. He lives in Rapid City, South Dakota, with his wife Ruth, and two youngest daughters, Kamerra and Kolleen. 
 
 
 
I was fortunate enough to meet Michael Foster at the Rapid City book signing on the 16th of April.  He was kind enough to send me his information for his book of poetry as well as two poems.
 
 
In Sudan
 
Children dying in the sun.
Their bones burning through thin skin.
Mothers crying for each one,
Tears, hot dust takes with the wind.
 
Horror strikes our helpless hearts,
We hug our own, feed them more,
And knowingly we take part
In forgetting there is war.
 
We must raise our voices high,
Make them strong around the world.
Take action, not just imply,
All humanity unfurled.
 
Children dying in the sun,
Mothers crying for each one.
Tears, hot dust takes with the wind,
Their bones burning through thin skin.
 
 
Growing Older
 
With some destress I must confess
That we are growing older.
My beard and hair are gray
and your hair is almost there.
Aches and pains when it rains,
Feet that crack like old rubber.
Shapes and sizes, some surprises,
stomachs a glass blower would admire.
Still, I love you. Your nose, I suppose,
Is as cute as when we first met.
But most of all, your soul shines bright,
At night, when I hold you so close
That aging stops to listen to
our words of love for each other.

Click below to buy  (Only available in paperback)