Thursday, October 8, 2015

Featured Book - 6 Ways to Where

6 Ways to Where
by
R. Mac Wheeler


 Today I am showcasing 6 Ways to Where by R. Mac Wheeler. It is the third book of the 6 Ways series.

I have read several titles from this author and have enjoyed each of them. 6 Ways to Where is on my to be read list.

This title is currently $2.99 for Kindle at Amazon.

Description
At eighteen it’s tough to decide a life path when the threat of pandemic hangs over the world, your brother is the genius who engineered the plague, and you’re repeatedly drawn into the fight against the terrorists spreading it. Plenty of people would kill an Abernathy on sight so it would be wise for Mar to visit the dojo, otherwise play invisible, but her brother is manipulating her into another adventure. 



Description
Alcoholic parents treated Margarite as an unwelcome stranger, then left her at fourteen with her thirty year old autistic brother. At sixteen, things really sour, thanks to her brother. A medical researcher, Reggie engineers the ultimate plague. Fanatics seek to control him. The government pursues them as terrorists. Margarite witnesses ruthlessness, compassion, and competence she couldn't imagine from her brother, but the world needs a miracle. The best she and Reggie can do is wing it.


Description
Nightmares. Panic attacks. Depression. Margarite is hammered by the typical issues of a seventeen year old loner, whose parents sympathized with insane people intending to collapse civilization. The few who care about Mar have more concerns. Her drinking. Fighting. Jumping out of airplanes. 

Her brother engineered the plague that’s breaking out across the globe and she holds a little guilt for not stopping it. Or being one of the first to die. Still, conspirators behind what they call the correction are not done with her. 


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Summer 2015 Work Schedule (Part Two)

Continued from the last post:

My last post showed the damage from the 2013 storm and some of the clean up. What I neglected to tell everyone is that all but one of the cottonwood trees were removed. We still hope to remove the last one because they are so old and rotting from the inside out. They have become dangerous.

The removal of the trees is a depressing thing to me and especially to my middle girl. I think she must be part tree because every time we have to do anything, like trimming the trees, she cries for them. She bawled when she found out we were going to remove the big trees. I empathize with her. They were majestic and the subject of a lot of my photography.







These trees are now all gone except for the last one. It has been trimmed beyond recognition, though.

Here is a video I created of some still shots I took while they cut down the trees. It's not the best video and it has no audio. Thankfully it's not very long.  The last tree to come down actually hit the house. It's hard to see in the video but the two pictures after they fall show the damage it did. I really hope it works because my preview isn't letting me check it.


If the video doesn't work you should be able to view it by clicking the link below.
Tree Removal 2015




video

Monday, July 6, 2015

Summer 2015 Work Schedule (Part One)

I find almost every post I make on my blog starts with, it's been a long time, or something similar. I apologize to any of you who might actually like to read my blog and for the long dry spells.

Since I'm here now I'm going to try and get everyone caught up on what's been going on in my little world.

I'm diligently working on book #6. I've received a couple comments on my Facebook page asking me about this. I'm here to assure everyone who's interested, I am writing another. I WILL NOT leave the books to end the way I ended Fragments. I'm more of a Happily Ever After type of gal so it's not my nature to leave things unresolved.

Now onto everything else that's been going on and slowing my writing process. Some of it is wonderful stuff and some of it is working in the yard projects. Since I have a lot of photos I want to share I'm going to be breaking this post up into several different posts.

Those of you who've been following my blog for some time will know we had a terrible blizzard a couple years ago. We lost a couple of our HUGE cottonwood trees. They fell onto the garage and trashed it. Our poor garage.

We FINALLY got around to completely demolishing the garage. Truthfully, my brothers did all the work of cleaning out what they could and tearing down the garage. I did help loading up the huge dumpster it took to get rid of all the mess. In fact, there wasn't many pieces of trash in the dumpster that hadn't touched my hands. I was sore the next day.

To remind everyone of the mess created by the storm I'm going to post those pictures and then you can see the after pictures below them.


Pictures of the storm damage in 2013
Yes, this is from 2013 and we are still trying to clean up the mess.










Pictures from April of this year (2015)
The metal shed in the last couple of pictures is gone now, too.






Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Featured Book - An Interesting Year by Nick Weatherhogg






An Interesting Year by Nick Weatherhogg

Kay Facts and Statistics
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Book Guild Limited
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1909984310
ISBN-13: 978-1909984318

Publisher’s Taglines: Most people, famous or not so famous, have at least one bizarre or surprising facet to their lives - all we needed was someone to research and collate them. Did you know that Dolly Parton is Miley Cyrus's godmother, or that Edwin Buzz Aldrin's mother's maiden name was Moon? In this unique collection of fascinating trivia, ammunition for any pub quiz participant, every day of the year boasts a birthday, a passing, and a random fact, with quotations from each person featured, a photograph, and a summary of their claim to fame. Statistician Nick Weatherhogg's lifelong obsession with gathering unconsidered trifles has produced this interesting and strangely compelling collection. A yearbook for anyone who finds lists irresistible.

From the author: I love facts. The more surprising, the more unusual, the more bizarre – the better. For anyone who loves interesting trivia this is the book for you. Over 1000 facts to amuse, to bemuse, to quote, to enjoy. Read the book as novel …. read it as a diary (just read the page for that day) …. read chunks …. dip in and out …. leave a copy in the toilet for those times of delay! Up to you – any of these would work. Not only fascinating, but very flexible!

For every day of the year there are two people and one fact – one page per day. The two people are one born on that date, and one who died on that given date. For each of the people there is the briefest of biographies for each, a random / bizarre / surprising fact about each, and a quote from each. And then the day ends with a fact for the date, which has nothing to do with the people. For example ……

Rod Stewart (Roderick David Stewart) was BORN on 10th January 1945.
Famous as a British singer-songwriter and one of the best selling artists of all time, having sold over 100 million records worldwide.
And did you know …… he signed professional terms for Brentford football club as a junior, and had to clean the boots of the first team.
He said: “Instead of getting married again, I'm going to find a woman I don't like and just give her a house”

Brian Clough DIED on September 20th 2004 (aged 71)
Famous as an English footballer and football manager. As a player Clough was a prolific goalscorer with Middlesbrough and Sunderland, scoring 251 league goals from 274 starts, and winning two England caps. Best remembered for his highly successful time as manager of Nottingham Forest, winning the European Cup twice
And did you know …… he was Head Boy at his secondary school, and was more interested in cricket than football
He said: “Rome wasn’t built in a day, but then again I wasn’t on that particular job”

FACT: And did you know, the first English child born in North America on August 18th 1587


QUIZ. The answers to all these questions are found in An Interesting Year …. plus loads more interesting facts.
1.      What did Leonardo Da Vinci use to study human anatomy?
2.      What was tennis star Goran Ivanišević’s pre-match ritual?
3.      What, according to Peter Sellers, is like a “television on honeymoon … unnecessary”
4.      What were Albert Einstein’s first words?
5.      What footwear did Peter Cushing wear for the filming of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
6.      How did Rasputin die?
7.      Where was ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev born?
8.      Oscar Wilde once claimed ““Women are made to be loved, not …… (what?)”
9.      What job did Woody Harrelson’s father do?
10.  President JFK (Kennedy) used to occasionally telephone Judy Garland. Why?
11.  What did Clint Eastwood do when his plane crashed in the sea?
12.  What animal was Australian daredevil Steve Irwin frightened of?
13.  How often did Charles Dickens brush his hair?
14.  What football team did Des O’Connor play for?
15.  What was Che Guevara’s nickname as a young man – and why?
16.  Bing Crosby was offered the title role in Columbo, but turned it down. Why?
17.  Who did Charles Tombe of Sudan marry in 2006?
18.  Benedict Cumberbatch spent some time teaching English … where?
19.  Who was fired from The Times for making up a quote as a trainee reporter?
20.  What two things did Joan Crawford change about her estate every time she married (4 times)





Monday, March 9, 2015

Thrown Together Chicken Salad



We cheated for dinner and bought a couple store roasted chickens. We like to roast our own but the dang grocery store did not have a single whole chicken. Can you believe that? My dinner plans were already made so we gave in and bought the store chicken. Admittedly, it's not all that bad.  But, we had quite a lot of chicken left so I took it all off the bone, saved the carcasses to boil down tomorrow, and used some of the meat to make chicken salad.

My cousin told me about this chicken salad she made a while back and how she fell in love with it. I tried to contact her on Facebook, but she didn't respond right away and I wanted chicken salad RIGHT NOW.  In her defense she lives in the Central Time Zone and I live in Mountain so it was an hour later in her neck of the woods and she has a real job. I'm sure she was already in bed. I'm still hoping she sends me her recipe so I can try it too.  In the meantime I took a moment to chat with another friend about chicken salad. She's quite the chef, so I took all her suggestions to heart, but didn't have most of the ingredients she suggested - tarragon, pecans or walnuts, raisins or dried cranberries... Sigh...  So I took some of what she said and some of my own imagination and created my own.  It turned out pretty dang good.

As usual, this is an use your imagination recipe.  I did not measure anything so I'll be giving you estimates.



Ingredients

Shredded, cooked chicken (I used about two cups)

Two heaping tablespoons of sour cream

Two heaping tablespoons of mayo

Shredded cheese (I used some leftover shredded cheese from my baked tomatoes experience)

Diced cucumber (I used half of a large cucumber)

Diced green bell pepper (I wish I would have used red or yellow to add color but I used about half a bell pepper)

Diced celery (I used one full stock of celery and would have used the leaves had they been in better condition)

Diced dill pickle (I used two baby kosher dills)

Dried minced onion (This one is hard since I sprinkled them in and didn't get to see a pile to gauge size - probably a tablespoon)



Directions

After preparation put it all in a bowl and stir - tah dah!  Done!  It's probably best to let it sit in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to mingle and the dried minced onions to soften some. But, it has quite a lot of crunch with all the other veggies in it.

It's super good all by itself. We (my husband, oldest daughter, and me) all had a couple spoonfuls before I put it in the refrigerator to rest.  I ate the crackers in the picture above and it's great on the crackers and the grapes really added to the experience. I'm really excited to try it on bread for lunch tomorrow.  I'm going to have to eat store bought bread, but I think this would be wonderful on a crusty type of bread or even a bagel. Too bad I'm not a bagel fan.

I'm going to have to start having Ms. Grey cook some of these recipes I'm sharing here. She hasn't been doing much cooking lately.  Though, she recently made some fried rice that didn't turn out all that great. After she made hers I had to try and make my own. Mine, surprisingly, turned out better than hers did.  My family ate every bit of it I made and I didn't get pictures.  I'll have to make it again so I can blog about it.



Additional Information
I've made variations of this recipe since I wrote up this post. My family really loves it and have been devouring each batch almost as soon as I make it.  In my latest batch I added those gorgeous dark purple grapes you see in the above picture.  I just cut them into smallish bits and stirred them in. It adds just a slight sweetness to the salad.  Also, I have yet to eat any of this on bread.  I've been eating it on crackers or just by the spoonful.  Our latest adventure with this salad was to cut some avocado slices and add that as a topper to my cracker and chicken salad.  It's so good and I can't get over how much I'm enjoying this recipe.  Now I'll know what to do with my left over chicken from now on.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Rose Apple Tarts

Here's another one I saw while browsing around on the internet. I thought they were absolutely gorgeous and I had to try them. I've tried many things I've found online and none of them have turned out this pretty. None of them.  Of course, these aren't as pretty as some of the pictures I saw online, but these are something I'd be proud to serve to someone who wouldn't "get" my humorous concoctions.

 Here they are before I baked them.  They were so very simple.

Ingredients

Apples - halved, cored and then thinly sliced

Sugar - about 3 tablespoons

Water - about 3 tablespoons

Cinnamon - about 1 teaspoon

Pie crust


Directions

Cut your apples in half (I used three medium sized apples. I don't remember what kind they were but they were similar to Gala apples.  They didn't have the dark, solid red color on the skin. The next batch I'll try will be with the redder apples.)  Cut the cores out of your apples. It's a little harder to get them out of half an apple than a quarter of an apple, but I managed.  Then slice each half into fairly thin slices.

Put the apple slices into a pot and add the sugar, water and cinnamon.  Cook for a couple minutes so the apples become slightly soft.  I added honey to my cooking apples.  You could probably substitute the sugar for honey.

When the apples have softened remove them from the juice and allow them to cool a bit.  This is a good time to roll out your pie dough.  I used pre-made dough I got on sale at the local grocery store but I rolled it out a little thinner than what they wanted me to use.  Then I cut it into strips. I used a pizza cutter and it was easy to get a semi straight line through the dough.

Then all you do is lay out your apple slices along the strip of pie dough. Be sure to overlap half of your apple slice with the next slice.  Do this for the length of the pie dough strip and then roll up.  You'll have a pretty rose like flower. (Yep - that simple.)  I left a little dough on the end that wasn't covered with apple so I could pinch it together with the rest of the dough to make a seal.

What you do next is completely up to you.  I spooned the left over apple water onto my tarts and baked them in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  I do believe you'd be better off setting your temperature at 400 degrees and checking them in 15 minutes.  The syrup I added to them made them stick to the paper baking cups. Keep that in mind when you do this. I still haven't worked out how to prevent that.  You could probably add an apple crisp topping, nothing at all, or sprinkle them with sugar and cinnamon or honey.  Use your imagination. They were tasty the way I made them, just a bit of a challenge to get out of the paper.




This is what they looked like after they were done baking.
















Then I tried something different.  I'm into pie for the crust, so I took some food coloring and colored one side of the pie dough. (I didn't do both sides because I didn't want to stain my cutting board.)  Then I cut out pieces that were similar in shape to the apple slices and layered them onto a strip of dough I'd sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on.  These aren't nearly as pretty as the apple ones and I probably shouldn't have shown these off at all.  But, if this is something you were considering doing, you'll have my experience to help you decide how to go about it (differently).  They were actually a little doughy in the middle.  These I did bake on 400 for about 20 minutes. The one on the bottom right got squished and the top two my oldest daughter sprinkled with cinnamon right before baking.

All in all this was a fun project I did with my five-year-old. She loved making them so much she even proclaimed, "This is the BEST DAY EVER!" when I pulled them out of the oven. That made the day one of the best days ever for me.

UPDATE:
I've made these again, but this time I used redder apples, put them on a bottom crust and in a pan and THEN I added a crumble made of brown sugar, oats, butter, and flour on top.  The picture I took before I put the crumble on top is really pretty, but the crumble obscures the pretty roses.  They are currently in the oven as I update this. I will post a finished photo when they come out of the oven if I remember.



Monday, March 2, 2015

Baked Zucchini



Please forgive the bad lighting in the picture.  Not only did I not have the best lighting, the main items in the picture are green - the zucchini and the olive oil.  This is a before baking picture and I forgot to take an after picture because we were all excited to try them and they were plated before I even thought about the after picture.  They were very similar in appearance after baking.

This is another recipe I just threw together. I'm sure there is one out there that might even be exactly what I did, because these turned out pretty good.  Everyone liked them.

I grow zucchini every year because it's almost a guaranteed harvest and they get so big. It's so fun to go pull a gigantic zucchini out of the garden.  Still, I've never been a huge fan of zucchini in anything but grated into small tasteless pieces mixed into a cake bread.

That's until I've come across some in meals eaten out over the past year or so.  I finally decided to give zucchini another try in my own kitchen. The baked tomatoes (if you're interested in the baked tomatoes you can click here to be taken to that blog post) I made recently were a great hit so I decided to try a similar approach to the zucchini. I wasn't disappointed with the results and neither was my family. I'm certain I'll try this again and I will probably try several different variations on this recipe.  But, for now, I will tell you what I did with the zucchini you see in the picture above.

Ingredients
Smallish zucchini peeled and cubed

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Minced Garlic

Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions
I peeled and cubed two smallish zucchini and placed them into a baggie with some balsamic vinegar. I let them marinate for about half an hour before I put them on a foiled cookie sheet.  Then I drizzled them with olive oil, sprinkled on some minced garlic and salt and pepper.  Then I baked them in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

They were flavorful and tender after they were cooked.  I will be doing this one again. Except, I might omit the balsamic vinegar with my next try just to see what it tastes like without the extra tang.

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Nice Day and Exercise

Since I've been sitting on my butt for ages, trying to pound out as many books as I can (and surfing Facebook), I've put on some weight. I am in desperate need of some exercise. Of course I could do sit-ups on my living room floor, jumping jacks, and several other real exercises but I've chosen to try and walk it off.

Walking is okay exercise and I get a moment to just be. Try and picture walking down a trail that's supposed to be a road but sees so little use it has a line of grass in the middle, the Black Hills hovering in the background. Deep breaths of clean air are frequently followed by sighs of contentment. The beauty surrounding this strolling soul is almost too much to comprehend and the serenity of it all almost puts them into a happiness trance.

Okay, so that's not how my walks go down. I take the kids with me and the cats like to tag along. I find I'm taking a lot of pictures, doing a lot of "Get out of the mud!"
"Keep up,"
"Get out of that. That's icky. Yuck!"
"Now we have to go home and clean you up,"
"Keep up. I'm barely moving. You should be able to keep up."
"Didn't I already tell you a hundred times to STAY. OUT. OF. THE. MUD."

At least that was my experience for my latest trip out into the wilds.  I did get some pretty fun pictures and the girls, though muddy, really enjoyed the walk. Ah heck, who am I kidding. I love it, too. Even if I have to get after them every few seconds I love sharing these moments with them. In a strange way, the previously described moment of serenity and complete contentment, is what I experience.

I did mention I take pictures during our walks and I'm going to share some of those with you.  At the very end of this blog post I will highlight why walking, as a form of regular exercise, is a bad idea for me.  All of these pictures were taken Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 with the exception of the very last picture. It was taken the very next day, Wednesday, February 25th, 2015.

















 And here is why walking is not a good REGULAR exercise choice for me.  I really don't like being out in the cold.