Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Don't Confuse Living and Being Alive

How aware are you of the world around you?
Do you take time to hear the song of the birds in the morning or the serenade of insects at night? Do you pause to hear the far off lonely sound of a train whistle? Do you stop what you’re doing to gaze skyward and enjoy a colorful cloud formation floating across the sky? When you see a bed of vibrant flowers that catches your eye, do you stoop to touch their soft petals and smell their fragrance?

Too often in life, we are rushing through the world, heading from one activity to another, unaware of the universe around us. We become so caught up in our personal activities that we confuse being alive with living. True living means we’re connected with the universe around and cognizant of it. Being alive is merely breathing and being functional, and often we erroneously confuse rushing from one activity to the next as living. It's not.

We all need to take time to pay attention to what is around us and make a connection to the world and the people in it. To live means seeing, sensing, and connecting with everything and everyone around us—using our five senses of taste, sight, touch, hearing and smell.  It’s taking time to appreciate our marvelous planet and its people. It’s also a wonderful way to squeeze in a few moments of calmness, awareness, and sheer enjoyment in our chaotic lives...and maybe share those moments with others as well.  

Sunday, August 7, 2016

EASY CINNAMON BREAD

Cinnamon bread is one of my favorite breads since I'm a lover of the smell and taste of cinnamon. I have made it both with or without buttermilk, but prefer the buttermilk variety better. I cut this recipe in half for only one loaf.


INGREDIENTS:

BATTER:
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
    OR 2 cups milk plus 2 tablespoons vinegar 
                                           or lemon juice    
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

CINNAMON SUGAR MIXTURE:
2/3 cups sugar 
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 TBSP cinnamon

PREPARATION:
Cream together butter, 2 cups of sugar, and eggs. Add milk, flour, and baking soda. Put 1/2 of batter (or a little less) into greased loaf pans (1/4 in each pan). Mix in separate bowl the 2/3 c sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle 3/4 of cinnamon mixture on top of the 1/2 batter in each pan. Add remaining batter to pans; sprinkle with last of cinnamon topping. Swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 min. or until toothpick tester come clean.
Cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing from pan.
 


Saturday, July 30, 2016

CLEARFIELD COUNTY FAIR IN CLEARFIELD, PA




It's that time again. The town is starting to hum again with excitement and the streets are alive with traffic headed to the fairgrounds. 

THE CLEARFIELD COUNTY FAIR is almost underway in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, with rides, food booths, animals, stage performances, and art, photography and flower displays, just to name a few. 

The parade is scheduled for Monday, August 1st.  The "Daughter of Darkness" gun truck with the Clearfield High School Girls Golf Team will be heading up Division One. Be sure to give them a cheer!

 

 I have to admit, it's the farm animals, sugared waffles and pulled pork sandwiches that lure me in every year





Friday, July 22, 2016

The Wild Rose Press Summer Blog Hop 2016 - Sneak Peek of "Four White Roses"


A sneak peek at "Four White Roses," my new 
contemporary romantic mystery coming soon:


Leave a quick comment and your email in the comment box below
to win a gifted digital copy of "Four White Roses" 
upon publication later this year.
Be sure to sign up for the Rafflecopter to win a free Kindle Fire!

Short Blurb:

When Dallas lawyer Rich Redman returns to Pennsylvania with his young daughter to sell his deceased grandmother’s house, he discovers his grandmother's last wish was for him to find a missing half-sister and a stash of WWI rubies.

Torrie Larson, landscape owner and single mom, is trying to save the lineage of a rare white rose brought from Austria by Rich’s great grandmother.

Together they team up to try to locate the jewels and sister. But will they find love? Or will a meddling ghost, a pompous banker, and an elusive stray cat get in their way?


Excerpt:
 Rich Redman looked toward the porch in the dying light and sighed. “I don’t know what to do with this monstrosity of a house. No one seems interested in buying it. No one wants to live in it. It’s like a giant worthless gift from my grandmother. Maintenance costs exceed its usefulness. The heating bill is enormous. I have to pay to get the grass mowed in the summer and the snow shoveled from the walks and driveway in the winter.” He shrugged his shoulders in resignation and gazed down the street where the street lights had come on and their globes looked like Japanese lanterns floating in the air. His gaze found hers again. His expression was miserable and grim.

Torrie Larson tipped her ball cap up and gave a cursory glance at the house. She pursed her lips and fell silent. Should she tell him the truth? Or should she wait until he and his daughter were settled in? The knowledge twisted and turned inside her. As much as she was someone who hated rumors, she hated lies even more. There were enough of both of them flying around town…and some of them were about her. What to do? Finally, she flung her hands up in despair.


“Of course no one wants to buy it, Richard Lee,” she uttered with unmistakable candor. “I have it through reliable sources your grandmother’s house is haunted.”
 


                Check out all the fabulous writers and their blogs
                          in the SUMMER BLOG HOP below!

1.
Sorchias Wild Rose Summer Treats Post | Visit blog
2.
RV Memory | Visit blog
3.
Tricia Schneider | Visit blog
4.
Anna Durands Spunk & Hunks | Visit blog
5.
Judy Ann Davis Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
6.
Spicy Summer Treats with Mia Downing | Visit blog
7.
Linda Nightingale. . . Wordsmith | Visit blog
8.
Jana Richards - Journeys with Jana | Visit blog
9.
Summer Memories of books well read @ Peggy jaeger. com | Visit blog
10.
Summer on Cape Cod ~ Kathryn Knight books | Visit blog
11.
Summer Fun at the Beach, with Katie OSullivan | Visit blog
12.
I Believe Ill Go Canoeing - C. B. Clark | Visit blog
13.
Summertime Love is Sweeter with. . . Frozen Mango? @ Kimberly Keyes blog | Visit blog
14.
Wild Rose Summer Treats Blog Hop @ Brendas Blog | Visit blog
15.
Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
16.
Midsummer Magic on the Isle of Skye! | Visit blog
17.
My Guilty Summer Treats from Lori Sizemore | Visit blog
18.
Wild Rose Press Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
19.
Hywela Lyns post for the WRP Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
20.
Wild Rose Press Summer Treats & Reads | Visit blog
21.
Camping is a Recipe for Summer Treats and Reads | Visit blog
22.
The Snarkology | Visit blog
23.
Summer Survival Tips @ Nitty Gritty Romance | Visit blog
24.
Wild Rose Press Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
25.
Nell Castle - Summer of the Sweat Lodge | Visit blog
26.
Myth, Magic & Wonder Susan Edwards, Breathing Life into the Past | Visit blog
27.
Romance with Spice, Sydney St. Claire | Visit blog
28.
Author Kat de Falla | Visit blog
29.
Anni Fife. Exciting new author of Steamy Romance with Irresistible Heroes | Visit blog
30.
Summer Vacation, Victorian-Style, AND a Giveaway | Visit blog
31.
Wildfires, Monsoons, and Mojitos - Author Susabelle Kelmer shares how she keeps cool in a climate that is on fire! | Visit blog
32.
Casi McLeans recipe for Hot Reads and Cool Treats | Visit blog
33.
Cool Summer Reads: Jeannie Halls Romantic Suspense Blog - Where Hearts Tremble From More Than Attraction | Visit blog
34.
Summer treat - Adult Slushie | Visit blog
35.
How to Rediscover the Magic of Bicycling | Visit blog
36.
Charlottes Tips on How to Stay Cool in HOT New York City | Visit blog
37.
Caryn McGill | Visit blog
38.
Hywela Lyns Inrerplanetary Summer | Visit blog


 
A Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 14, 2016

BON APPETITE - A Weekend Treat: Chili with Italian Sausage



             I admit, I'm a fan of chili year 'round. 
This recipe gets its spicy flavor from the Italian sausage.

                CHILI with Okra, Mushrooms and Italian Sausage

Three links Italian hot sausage, casings removed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
½ cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 Portobello mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
2 cups frozen corn or two cups canned corn
1 cup frozen okra (optional)
2 - 14 -ounce cans pinto beans or kidney beans
1 - 14 -ounce can diced tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream for topping (optional)


Directions:

Fry the hot Italian sausage, breaking it into small chunks and drain.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion. Stir in the garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 3 more minutes. Add the sausage, beans, corn, okra, tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then stir and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the chili is thick, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Top with the cheese and sour cream.  Serve with the tortillas if desired.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Lazy Summer Days of July

 I love when July marches in announcing "summer is at its best" with the clean scents of grass, new mowed hay, and fragrant breezes stirring the pines and cedar. The colors of the July flowers are brighter in the sunlight and smell even sweeter after a soft rain. The land is alive with the chirping of birds, the cry of the crows and blackbirds, and the rustle of the squirrels and chipmunks searching for seeds and food.  And oh, what fun it is to taste the first wild strawberries along the roadways or watch children pick daisies while they chant: he loves me, he loves me not!



"Summer is the time when one sheds one's tensions with one's clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all's right with the world."  -- Ada Louise Huxtable







Monday, May 30, 2016

WHAT IS SO RARE AS A DAY IN JUNE?

And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days. . . 
     --From: The Vision of Sir Launfal by James Russell Lowell

Like a swindler playing shell games, May’s unstable weather finally allowed summer to emerge from beneath its ever changing days and nights of warm to chilly and rainy to clear. The sun climbed higher, chasing the cold from the winds. For those who wait all year to enjoy summers in Pennsylvania, June’s arrival heralds a kaleidoscope of exquisite scents, sounds and scenes.

There is nothing more uplifting than the first smell of clover-scented grass, the delicate fragrance of wild roses, or the aroma of rain-soaked earth mingled with new green foliage. Old, gray weathered barns, tucked among the distant hills, have overflowing mows of sun-kissed, sweet-smelling hay.



If you listen closely, you can hear the rustling of the pines, the singing of a meadowlark or catbird, and the humming of busy bees. In the evening, when summer breezes drift though open windows, they carry the lowing of cattle in distant fields, or the cicadas and crickets conversing on the lawns and in the bushes. Tree frogs and bullfrogs chatter and croak, and far off, a loon or coyote calls in a lonesome voice.

Along the roadways, blackberry bushes bow down with frilly white blossoms that will bear black, sweet, ripe fruit in July. High above, billowy white clouds skip across a sky of robin’s egg blue. In the tall grass, wild strawberries elbow for room with buttercups, daisies, and blue chicory. Mornings bring hummingbirds to perform midair pirouettes among the flowers, and when the sun has gone to rest, bats soar over the treetops and fireflies twinkle as they play a game of light tag.

June is a month when nature’s at its best and the scents, sounds, and sights of summer make us glad we are alive. Oh, “what is so rare as a day in June?”