28 September 2016

You're FOUR!

Smile Kate--You're FOUR!
Our darling little Kate recently turned four! Though her arrival was probably on the most inconvenient time and day ever, it worked out perfectly, like it always does when we move forward with a bit of faith. She showed up exactly when she intended to and has been doing so ever since.
It really wasn't any surprise either that Katherine fit right in with her two older sisters. Though they're as different as the flowers in the garden, they all add beauty, laughter, fierce independence, intelligence and innumerable other intrinsic qualities to our family.
Kate has a steady hand at Jenga.
Our now not-so-little gal now loves playing games (and she's quite good at most of them), spends most days dressed up, can get her knees dirty but always wants her nails painted, gives the meanest scowl when she doesn't get her way, loves hair bows and is quite the artist with a fantastic imagination.
 Oh, and she can talk like a scalawag pirate with the best of them.
She's a natural animal tamer--as I fully expect all of my children to be with me as their mother, heehee.
And whoever says people don't change obviously have no idea what they're talking about. One of the things I admire about Kate and her sisters who so often teach her, is that she's willing to try things that scare her, at least once. As a toddler, she wasn't very fond of creepy, crawly bugs but after Claire showed her how fun they can be, she's taken right to them and hasn't looked back.
She loves feeling the wind in her hair...
...and won't be surprised in the slightest when she falls in love with galloping a horse, combing her love of horses and wind-whipped hair.
She's a fantastic big sister...
...and she loves to exercise, even if it makes her sweaty, sometimes chips a nail or is hard to do in a  skirt.
She had an extra special birthday this year with visiting grandparents and cousins. We played, went to the apple orchard, ate with Evelyn and Claire at school, colored, played games...
That mean wasp didn't know it was her birthday!
 ...except for the part where a wasp got her while she was climbing the playground. Obviously, it didn't get the memo that it was her special day.
 And, of course, she had plenty of presents. She could hardly contain herself while they sat on the table.
One of her favorites--a walking, talking kitten. I asked if I should have just gotten a toy instead of Nova and she gravely told me no...she loves them both. That is definitely true of Kate--always room for everyone.
As the budding chef she is, she helped make and design her cake. Only in a little girl's fantasy world do birds sit on pink nests surrounded with blue flowers and lay dozens and dozens of M&Ms as eggs. Hey. What the birthday girl wants, the birthday girl gets!
Make a wish!
We are beyond blessed that Kate is part of our family and are still firmly convinced that she and her siblings will change the world. For now, she had a wonderful birthday and we're looking forward to watching her grow between many more celebrations.

Happy Birthday, Kate!!!

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27 September 2016

Review and Guest Post

My most recent book, The Midnight Slaves, was reviewed over at Mama Reads, Hazel Sleeps and offered me the opportunity to share a guest post for her on creating believable characters. Click here to head over to her site and see what she has to say and read my very first guest post!

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25 September 2016

Zucchini Corn Chowder

One of the few things that did decently in our garden, despite my neglect during and following a massive roofing project, was our zucchini. There are so many yummy recipes for zucchini bread or beans, rice, and zucchini or even zucchini brownies, but there are also only so many times any of us can handle eating the same zucchini dishes. So, after a little Pinterest search, I discovered this gem and gave it a go. It's a delicious way to enjoy a summer staple vegetable!


1Tablespoon butter
2 strips bacon, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 cup carrot, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups water
2 3/4 cup sweet corn
1 1/2 cup zucchini, diced
1 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large stockpot, melt butter and add bacon until it begins to brown. Add onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and thyme. Cook until veggies begin to soften. Add potatoes, water, thyme, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Raise heat if needed to bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are halfway soft. Add zucchini and corn and continue to simmer about 8-12 more minutes until veggies are tender. Discard 
bay leaf. Transfer 2 cups of chowder to a food processor and puree until smooth. Stir the mixture back into the pot. Add half and half and heat until warm. Taste test and add additional salt and/or pepper as needed. Garnish with fresh parsley, cayenne, or shredded cheese.
Thanks Little Broken for the recipe inspiration!

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19 September 2016

The Midnight Slaves Sale!

My newest release, a YA dystopian entitled The Midnight Slaves, is now on sale for $0.99 AND is available in print through Amazon! Click here to get your copy!

(Sale is for a few days only! Feel free to share with fellow book lovers!)

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18 September 2016

Nova and the Great Outdoors

I see you, kitty!
Though Nova was born an outside cat at my inlaws, it didn't take long for her to realize that life inside was luxurious and way more comfortable than being in the great outdoors.
There's air conditioning, a constant supply of food, children to pet you, places to hide when you want to be left alone, and toys to play with. Oh. And the naps. As long as it was fluffy and soft, she could fall asleep for hours.
Sleepy baby Nova.
But, as it always happens, she started growing up. She discovered her claws, so the couch wasn't safe. She wanted to play rougher than I'd allow with the kids. She yowled in the early morning when she wanted to be fed and would often wake the girls up at night when she snuck into their room to snuggle when they should have been sleeping instead.
Nova's first outdoor experience.
We at least were nice about reintroducing her to the outside world. She wasn't exactly thrilled to be put out on the deck for a few hours at a time, but thankfully, I'd replaced the sliding screen door with pet proof screen, so when she'd panic and scale the door, begging to come back in, it didn't do any damage.
Trying to have fun with grumpy Hercules.
After the initial shock wore off, she began to discover that being outside was fun. She perfected the deck-to-car leap, figured out where the older cats hide in the garage, and cautiously began to explore.
Jumping down seven feet face first? No biggie.
Raven accepted that there was another cat to boss her around now and Hercules, at the very least, tolerates Nova. Snickers? She still hisses and runs like her tail's on fire. I'm not sure if she'll ever get used to having another girl around. Doesn't seem to bother Nova one bit.
Springing for a grasshopper.
For the most part, Nova spends her time outside, roaming where the other cats roam (and hopefully that means staying away from the road...), snoozing beneath the bushy landscaping, climbing trees and perfecting the art of catching grasshoppers. Seriously. Our garage is full of dismembered insects. Hopefully, that will translate to other vermin we'd like to keep away.

All in all, she's quite satisfied being an outside cat now that she's realized all the adventures waiting for her.

(We'll see what she thinks come winter...)

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