Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Celebrating our 17th at the Greenbriar in West Virginia.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Wow a lot has happened in the last 17 days since I last blogged.  I can't believe I've taken such a long break. But I have accomplished a lot.  Yeah me!

I've been deep in the process of helping my daughter, Jess over at Write Skate Dream, edit the "final" draft of her novel.

My husband whisked our family away to a beautiful resort to celebrate our 17th anniversary.  

I got my first Kindle and promptly read Talli Roland's book, The Hating Game, and loved it so much I quickly got her next book, Watching Willow Watts.  I know I'm late to the whole e-reading party, but I just have to say it is soo cool! (I'm one of those rare people who still enjoys writing on paper, so I thought I wouldn't like e-books!  Yeah for technology!)

I sent all of our Christmas cards out before Christmas, which I think is a first.

Then of course I've been running around like everyone else trying to find those perfect gifts. Well I'm not sure I accomplished that, but it's the thought that counts right?

So with that done, I can relax for a few days, while I dream up all the goals for the year to come!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Kathy :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's that time again.  Time for the first Wednesday of the month, Insecure Writer's Support Group post.  Alex J Cavanaugh started this group for writers to come together and liberate themselves from their fears and encourage one another.

2011 has been a busy year for me.

I decided I wanted to focus on blogging.  I only had around 15 followers and then I found Alex's blog.  I took the plunge and joined his A-Z Blogfest in April.  I couldn't believe how much fun it was and wow, I was actually getting comments and new followers!  I was also finding great new blogs to follow myself.  I started posting more and visiting blogs more regularly.  I entered as many blogfests as I could and loved every one of them.

Then along came Rachael Harrie's Platform Building Campaign over at Rach Writes.  I was totally hooked.  Every challenge was tons of fun!  And now we even have a book of entries to show for it.  Cool!  It rejuvenated my creative spirit and roused my desire to work on a novel again.  (I had been focusing solely on children's picture books and nonfiction articles.)     
With all the great support I received from all of you, I entered Nano for the first time and I have a great start on my new novel.

But now my big worry is, how do I split my time between keeping up with blogging and platform building and finishing my novel?  There are so many important activities (reading, blogging, noveling, visitng other blogs, playing with the kids, eating, sleeping, working...)  that eat up time I'm not sure how to fit them all in.      

I'd love to hear your suggestions on how you delegate your time to accomplish all you do.

And thanks so much to all my followers and supporters!  You guys rock!!!!

Kathy :)

Working Together

Getting ready to roll the dough
It's always a treat when I can get my kids to work on a project together.  Watching them build happy sibling memories brightens my whole day.

Yesterday, Alyssa and Ryan had the urge to make cookies.  I had some gingerbread cookie dough we hadn't used for Thanksgiving, so they got out the cookie cutters and went to work.  They took turns rolling out the dough.  Alyssa taught Ryan how to sprinkle the flour on the dough to prevent sticking.  She showed him how to place the cookie cutter at the edge.  He helped gather all the scraps and make a new ball.  Even Jess took a break from editing and joined the fun.  Of course she had to get fancy and cut a dragon out by hand.

Cutting out cookies is so much fun!
Ryan placed the cookies on the cookie sheet and we put them in the oven.  He sat in front of the oven waiting anxiously for them to puff up into their chewy deliciousness.  The original plan was to decorate them after they had cooled, but the warm gingery scent was too hard to ignore.  The kids decided it was better to eat them right away.  We all enjoyed a cookie, well maybe two, and then everyone went back to doing their own thing.

I was left with a mess of flour but that half hour of blissful sibling cooperation was well worth it! 

Ready to eat:  Gingerbread dragon and penguin

Have a great day!  What are your favorite holiday cookies?


Monday, December 5, 2011

Veggie Tacos

My husband and I have decided we need to infuse our diet with more plants. So every night this week I'm going to attempt to make vegetarian meal.  I feel a twinge of fear that I won't be able to make veggies take the center stage consistently without the help of a big steak.  Spinach salads are yummy but not every night!

Saturday we had great success with Veggie Tacos.  Jesse had the idea to replace the fish in fish tacos with big avocado chunks and garnish it with two different types of salsa.  I made a Mango Jalapeno Salsa and a Black Bean and Corn Salsa. It was fresh, delicious, and even the kids enjoyed it!

Veggie Tacos

2 avocados chopped in large chunks
corn tortillas
Black Bean and Corn Salsa- recipe below
Mango Jalapeno Salsa- recipe below
shredded cheese- optional

Salt the avocado chunks.  Warm tortillas in microwave or in a pan.  Top with avocado chunks, desired salsa and cheese if using.  Enjoy!  :)

Mango Jalapeno Salsa

1 mango diced
1 jalapeno seeded, diced
Juice of one lime
1 Tablespoon sugar (if your mango is very ripe, omit)
Handful fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 scallion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and let sit for at least 20 minutes in fridge.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

1 can black beans drained and rinsed
1 tomato diced
1 jalapeno seeded, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper diced
1 1/2 cups fresh corn
1/4 cup red onion diced
1/4 cup cilantro chopped
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Mix first 7 ingredients in bowl. Combine vinegar and sugar and whisk until dissolved.  Add salt and pepper and slowly whisk in olive oil.  Pour over bean and corn mix and stir.  Let sit at least 20 minutes in fridge.

The menu for tonight is Acorn Squash stuffed with Wild Rice.  I'll let you know how that one turns out!

I'd love to hear your favorite veggie centered recipes or what you are up to these days!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy Winter!

I know December 1st is not officially the start of winter, but as Thanksgiving fades away and we look toward Christmas and New Year's Day, visions of snowy vistas dance in my head.  The quiet cleansing snow blankets Earth and my soul awakens to the playful dance of sunlight upon the bejeweled landscape....

Sorry I don't know where that came from!  That's what happens to me in my favorite season.  I can't help it, I get all poetic when the world is covered in ice.

Anyway, I hope you all had a great and productive November.  For the first time ever I entered NaNoWriMo and though I didn't complete 50,000 words, I am pleased to say I made quite a bit of progress.  I averaged about 1000 words a day.  It doesn't sound like much especially since I took almost 8 days off to prepare for our big Thanksgiving gathering, but I know now what needs to be done to finish it.  Best of all I forced myself to find at least a little time to work on it every day.  I've set a goal of finishing the first draft by Jan1st!  Yeah!

Happy December to you all!