Thursday, April 10, 2014

Two Books for Young Children

Today I was invited to one of my favorite places -- a school. A dear teacher friend of mine asked me to come to her classroom and read to the children, which was an offer I wouldn't refuse. I worked for many years in the school district I visited today, but today was very special because my friend Tammy has a classroom in a newly built primary building that didn't exist when I retired a few years ago. I was able to visit my friend, see the new building, and read to the children, a pretty big visit all rolled into one.

The classroom I visited was a four-year-old preschool, and I needed books on that level that followed the theme of dogs or cats because the children had been learning about pet adoption. I found two books I thought would be perfect, and I believe the children were in agreement.

The two books I read were Charlie the Ranch Dog and Charlie Goes to School, both by Ree Drummond. There were twenty children in the group, and the books held their attention. After I read, they had no problem at all answering the question about Charlie's favorite thing to do, which is, of course, to take naps. 

One thing, other than the character Charlie, the children loved was the recipe Ree includes at the end of each book. We talked about how she is famous for her cooking and her cookbooks, and some of them knew their parents had watched the Pioneer Woman's cooking show on television.

These are delightful books with beautiful illustrations I think most any young child would enjoy. In fact, I believe these children must have liked reading the books because I received a message from the teacher tonight that said the children had talked about Charlie all day after I left.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Generations Before and After

Recently I was notified by Kyran Pittman that I had won a giveaway prize 
on her blog Planting Dandelions

Now I love any kind of prize, and I can get pretty excited about a gift card 
for pizza or a new cookbook, but this prize really blew me away! 

My prize was a full year's membership to

A few of my relatives have done some family research, and I have lists of names they have compiled, but I have never done my own research before. I feel the gift I have been given goes in two directions. I not only have received the gift of being able to research into generations of my family that have come before me, I can now leave this heritage for the family members that will come after me.

My dad passed away almost 20 years ago. He served as a mechanic in WWII and was a dairy farmer afterward. My tiny grandson who was born just this year will grow up almost 100 years past my dad's childhood. When I'm no longer here to tell my family members about my dad, I want to be sure his name is not forgotten. 

Now to get started and see just how much I can discover about all the family ties I have - somewhere.

Thank you, Kyran and for an exceptional giveaway!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Cranberry Orange Muffins

Two of my good friends met today. My lifelong pal Simple met my favorite friend Tasty, and they really hit it off. A perfect example of how they feel about each other is this wonderful Cranberry Orange Muffin recipe. These are the most simple muffins ever to make because of the ingredients like self-rising flour, but ever so tasty because of the cranberries and the fragrant orange zest. I certainly hope Simple and Tasty will be seeing a lot of each other in the future and will inspire other great recipes like this one.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living

Print Recipe

Cranberry Orange Muffins

2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon orange zest
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a muffin pan with paper liners or use cooking spray. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cranberries, and orange zest; make a well in the center. In a separate bowl, combine milk, oil, and eggs; mix until well blended. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan, filling 2/3 full. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until golden. Makes 10 muffins.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Scalloped Cabbage

There's nothing fancy about this casserole, unless you count the taste. This is just a plain cabbage side dish, but it is good enough to serve to company. The ingredients are basic staples, and the prep is minimal, so it's the kind of recipe I put stars by in my cookbook. The inspiration for this recipe comes from a favorite of mine, Southern Living. I have slightly modified the recipe to my liking.

Scalloped Cabbage

2 cups crushed cornflakes
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 (10 oz.) package finely shredded angel hair cabbage
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced, root to tip
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of celery soup
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare an 11 x 7-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, stir together the crushed cornflakes and butter. Spoon half of the cornflake mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Place cabbage and onions on top of the cornflake mixture in the baking dish. In a small bowl, stir together milk, mayonnaise, and soup; pour mixture over cabbage. Next sprinkle with cheese, then top with the remaining cornflake mixture. Bake for 1 hour. Makes 6 - 8 servings.

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Contest for Wannabe Writers

Blogging friends, if you have a book or two inside of you just itching to get out, take a look at this easy to enter, fun writing contest.

is for aspiring writers of contemporary middle grade fiction 
and is open to enter through 
March 18, 2014. 

Dust off your notebooks or dig deep into your computer files and find your best work to submit for some super-cool prizes. Read all the contest rules here.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Shamrock Plant for Good Luck

A houseplant that I've had very good luck growing is the Shamrock Plant (Oxalis). This pretty plant likes a window with indirect sunlight and only needs watering about once a week. I've had my Shamrock Plant for 2 years, and it has outgrown its small original pot and now occupies a large floor-sized pot.

The Shamrock Plant gets it name because the leaves look much like a clover plant or "shamrock." These plants come in greens, purples, reds, or in different combinations of the colors.

My Shamrock Plant has green leaves with purple undersides.

Shamrock Plants also produce delicate flowers, like this white one from my plant. Other types of Shamrock Plants may grow pink, yellow, or red blossoms.

One thing that I find very interesting about my Shamrock Plant is that is goes to "sleep" at night by folding up its leaves. When I first got my Shamrock Plant I didn't understand this, and I thought something was wrong with the plant, but this is just a normal process. The leaves open up in light, but they fold up at night when it gets dark.

This would be the perfect plant to give as a good luck gift to someone for any occasion because of the association of the shamrock with luck. Mine has been easy to take care of, has grown quickly, and is very colorful. With a plant like this one, a person can keep good luck growing all the time.

"May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you wherever you go."
                                                                                                      --Irish blessing

Friday, March 14, 2014

Foodie Friday at ARWB

Today my guest post titled "We're All a Little Irish on St. Patrick's Day" is featured for Foodie Friday at the Arkansas Women Bloggers site. Included in the post are recipes for Potato Soup and Brown Soda Bread. These tasty traditional foods are something to consider preparing for your clan to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. I'd be honored to have my readers visit the ARWB site and leave a comment.

Erin go Bragh!