Summer Reading

Summertime is always a relaxing peaceful time for me. I am so busy during the school year as a teacher. June is usually the month that I can catch up on reading books that interest me. Here is my summer reading list:

  1. Watership Down (Richard Adams)- Every year I like to read this detailed novel of the lives of rabbits as they travel on a perilous journey to find a new home. The characters are memorable and the plot keeps me engaged.
  2. Davenport House series (Marie Silk)- This is a historical fiction series that keeps me on my toes. The plot twists keep me wanting more. Each character has their own personality and challenges. I have read the first two so I am ready to continue the series.
  3. Monstrous Beauty (Carol Keen)- This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling that I am looking forward to reading this summer.

If you are looking for some books to read this summer, try my novels.

  1. The Glory Chronicles series- This 7 book fantasy series follows the lives of travelers who seek a better life by joining the service of the benevolent Ancient One on Mount Glory. However, they have to be alert to the dangers and schemes of the wicked dragon Diablo who will do anything to stop them from reaching the mountain.
  2. Magnolia Ruby series- This growing mystery series is about Magnolia Ruby who is an artist with an eye of detail. She finds herself aiding the police with several murder cases with numerous suspects.
  3. Lyric’s List- This Christian romance is about Lyric Sinclair who enjoys a lavish life that includes her high-rise apartment, successful fashion design career, and ample bank account. With endless lists on her cell phone, she likes things organized and surprise-free. Then Lyric’s world comes crashing down leaving her crushed and broken. With a new list in hand and a wary bodyguard in tow, Lyric sets off on a series of adventures that may be her last. Along the way, she may find something that has been missing in her life.
  4. Stranded Treasure- This Christian romance is about Selah Elliot who promises her dying mother that she will seek true love and hold on tightly when she finds it. As she struggles through a complicated life, she wonders if real love is even possible for her to experience. Then Selah meets Finn Blakesley. Her world is turned completely upside down by the handsome, charming marine biologist. She travels with Finn to Costa Rica as he seeks to explore the deep, dark depths of the ocean. Far off the coast of the mainland, Selah and Finn find themselves in an unexpected nightmare where survival seems unlikely. As danger lurks and fortunes plummet, Selah begins to wonder if she will be able to keep her promise in the midst of tragedy.

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Hot Tips for Summer Safety

Summertime is here! There are lots of fun options out there whether you stay in your community or travel abroad. No matter where you go or what you do, safety should be the top priority! Here are some tips to keep your summer safe and fun:

  1. Wear sunscreen- It is a good idea to wear sunscreen whenever you are going to be outside in the sun during the summer. Use sunscreen liberally not forgetting the back of your neck, back of arms, ears, etc. I like using spray sunscreen because I don’t like greasy hands, but lotion sunscreen works just as well.
  2. Check the car- Never leave pets or passengers in the car when the temperature outside is warm and especially when it is hot. It breaks my heart when I hear about children being left in a hot car for even a few minutes and then they die. Be alert! Even a ten minute trip inside a store or gas station can be too long in a hot car.
  3. Remember water safety- It is a good idea to always check the depth of a pool, lake, or river before diving in. Never leave children unattended at a place with water. Wear a life jacket on a boat especially if you don’t know how to swim. If at the pool, make sure there is a lifeguard present.
  4. Follow the rules- No matter where you go (pool, campgrounds, amusement parks, etc.) always follow the rules provided for you by the workers. Rules are usually based on events that have happened in the past. Make sure all equipment is in good condition before you use it.
  5. Stay hydrated- Drink lots of water especially in warm climates. If you are thirsty, then you may already be dehydrated. Take bottles of water with you wherever you go. If you get stranded somewhere, you will need water until help comes. Keep your kids drinking water too. They may not say they are thirsty, but they need to drink plenty of water too.
  6. Take a first aid kit- You never know when you will need a bandaid or other items found in a first aid kit. Place a small kit in your bag or purse so that you will have it when needed.
  7. Tell someone- Always tell a family member or friend where you are going on a vacation or trip so someone will know your location if something happens. Tell him or her when you are planning to be back and check in when you return. In this dark world, anything can happen so it is wise to have someone aware of your plans.

Summer is a time of fun, but we need to do whatever we can to make it safe too! Enjoy a safe, fun summer with your family and friends!

Writing is Like a Sundae

As summer begins, who doesn’t like a nice cool ice cream sundae? There are so many components of an ice cream sundae. You start with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream (or another kind if you want) and then you add any toppings that you want. Chocolate syrup, caramel, strawberry syrup, sprinkles, nuts, candy, crushed cookies, and more! Top it off with a cherry and you have a sweet treat that leaves you wanting more!

Writing is like a sundae. There are many components of a good novel. You start with an idea and then you outline or add other pieces to make it a great story. Memorable characters, detailed settings, heart-pounding plot twists, devastating character loss, heroic acts, and more! Top it off with a catchy title and you have a sweet treat of writing that will keep readers asking for more!

How to get started? Think about what kind of story you would want to read. Jot down anything that comes to mind. Then tweak it to provide the other components. The main thing is don’t give up! Keep going even if it is hard for you. The end product will be worth the struggle if you persevere! Enjoy the experience!

Honoring the Fallen

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for the military members who have died in combat. It is a day to be thankful for soldiers who are willing to fight for our freedoms. It is a day to be grateful that the soldiers chose to be parted from their families to serve our country.

I have great respect for our military especially those who sacrificed their lives to keep us safe and free. It takes great courage and stamina to leave the safety of our country in order to fight for strangers who may or may not appreciate the sacrifice. I pray that our country will show more respect for past, present, and future military members. I also pray for the families that have loved ones serving in the military. I lift up a special prayer to the Lord for the families who have lost loved ones in the line of duty.

So as we celebrate Memorial Day this year, let’s focus on those who gave their all so we can have the freedoms that we have today. Enjoy the barbecues and times with family, but let us not forget those who cannot celebrate this day because their lives were taken in exchange for our freedom. May God bless America!

Sweet Summer

Summertime is a time for relaxation, revelry, and recipes! I enjoy trying new things in the summer since I have the time to do it. Here are some links of recipes for you to try this summer that will be sweet!

Fresh Fruit and Yogurt Ice Pops

These homemade popsicles will cool you down while providing a healthier snack from normal popsicles. You can use a variety of fresh fruit choices to make your pops even better!

Scrumptious Strawberry Shortcake

What could be better than strawberries in the summer? This shortcake can accommodate a few fresh strawberries or be covered in them. Either way, you have a fresh sweet dessert that the whole family will love!

Frozen Peanut Butter Cheesecake

I love peanut butter! I love cheesecake! Why not put them together to make a sweet, smooth dessert? This cool cake will have you coming back for more!

Mother of Many

As we have stopped to celebrate Mother’s Day yesterday, I have to admit that I am truly blessed. My mother has always been my rock and guide. Through the help of the Lord, she along with my father raised me to become a caring person who thinks of others and serves the Lord. I thank God daily for this wonderful mother who puts up with me and loves me unconditionally.

I have had the blessing of helping raise my nephew Cam and my niece Allie who are now teenagers. I chose to spend time nurturing and disciplining them so they could become successful members of society. I love them with my whole heart and pray daily for the Lord to help them in this trying world.

As a teacher, I feel like my students are my children. Though their real families can overrule me because they are their children, I still invest my time and love into these students hoping that they will learn how to treat others and succeed in life.

Finally, as an author, I feel like my characters are my children. I become stuck in their lives rejoicing with their good choices and mourning at their losses. In my fantasy series, The Glory Chronicles, Iliana becomes the guardian of a castle full of orphans. She is given the title of Mother of Many. I also claim this title for myself. Though I have no biological children of my own, I am a mother and I proudly celebrate Mother’s Day as one.

My Summer Reading List

Life is busy during the school year. However, when May comes, I am ready for a summer of reading and writing. Here is my Summer Reading List that I hope to enjoy this summer:

Classics

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
  2. Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck)
  3. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
  4. The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien)

Indie Authors

  1. Davenport House series (Marie Silk)
  2. Awakening Book 2: White (Shannon Reber)
  3. The Beauty series (Carol Keen)
  4. Capering on Glass Bridges (Jessica Hernandez)

What books do you plan to read this summer? Any recommendations for me? Enjoy!

True Treasure

What is treasure? It could be golden coins, jewels like diamonds or emeralds, or material possessions like a fancy car or mansion. Someone special that we love can see a valuable treasure. What we invest our time and effort in is what we treasure most. Our focus is our treasure. I personally feel that people are more important than the stuff that I can accumulate over a lifetime. I choose to invest my time, effort, and money into serving others.

To learn more about true treasure, order a copy of my new Christian romance Stranded Treasure. It will be available on Amazon on May 3rd!

Synopsis: To please her dying mother, Selah Elliot promises that she will seek true love and hold on tightly when she finds it. As she struggles through a complicated life, she wonders if real love is even possible for her to experience.

Then Selah meets Finn Blakesley. Her world is turned completely upside down by the handsome, charming marine biologist. She travels with Finn to Costa Rica as he seeks to explore the deep, dark depths of the ocean.

Far off the coast of the mainland, Selah and Finn find themselves in an unexpected nightmare where survival seems unlikely. As danger lurks and fortunes plummet, Selah begins to wonder if she will be able to keep her promise in the midst of tragedy.

Low Carb Recipes and Me

Spring is a good time to try to eat better. I enjoy cooking so I am always on the lookout for delicious, easy recipes. Recently, I have focused on finding low carb recipes that leave me wanting more. Here are some of my favorites recipes (credit given for each):

Tex Mex cabbage beef skiillet in a cast iron pan
(credit:
https://www.thefoodieaffair.com/cabbage-beef-skillet/ )

Tex Mex Cabbage Beef Skillet

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head green cabbage, sliced in shreds
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons Taco Seasoning Mix
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups Mexican Cheese Blend
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.In a large skillet add 1 tablespoon of butter and saute cabbage on medium high heat until the cabbage softens. Remove from heat and place cabbage in a separate dish.In the same skillet add the remaining tablespoon of butter and cook ground beef breaking up meat as it cooks. Add taco seasoning, onion and stir until meat is cooked. If the meat is dry add up to 1/4 cup of water. Return cabbage to skillet and season with salt and pepper. Fold in 1/2 cup of cheese. Top skillet with remaining cheese and place in the oven. Cook until cheese melts (10 minutes).

bacon cheeseburger casserole1 (1 of 1)
(credit:
https://www.sugarfreemom.com/recipes/bacon-cheeseburger-cauliflower-casserole/#_a5y_p=3455432 )

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower or about 6 cups florets or 4 cups cauliflower rice
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour or choice flour 40grams
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces uncured bacon
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef or turkey
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour or choice
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 8 ounces sliced organic 100% cheddar cheese I used Horizon

Instructions

  1. Steam the cauliflower until fork tender. Skip this step if using cauliflower rice.
  2. Place into a food processor and pulse until it resembles rice. Skip this step if using cauliflower rice. Thaw if using frozen rice and then follow the rest of the directions.
  3. Set aside in a bowl to cool then add the flour and salt and mix well.
  4. Cook the bacon in a large skillet until moderately cooked, but not crisp.
  5. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to keep bacon juice in skillet.
  6. Transfer bacon to a paper towel lined plate to cool. Once cool chop into pieces.
  7. Add the ground beef to the same skillet and cook until browned.
  8. Add the onion powder, oregano, garlic powder, salt, pepper and mix well.
  9. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl.
  10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  11. For the sauce: Add the butter to the same skillet and stir in the flour over low heat. Cook until the flour has absorbed the butter then add heavy cream and mustard.
  12. Continue to cook on low heat until the sauce thickens.

Assembly:

  1. Place 1/2 cup of the sauce to the bottom of a 9 by 13 baking dish.
  2. Spread the cauliflower mixture on the spread as evenly as possible.
  3. Place 4 ounces of sliced cheddar over the cauliflower.
  4. Spread the ground beef over the cheddar slices evenly.
  5. Pour half of the remaining sauce over the beef.
  6. Place the remaining cheddar slices over the sauce.
  7. Pour the remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with bacon.
  8. Cover and bake 30 minutes.
  9. Uncover and bake an additional 5 minutes.
  10. Allow to cool out of the oven for 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving.
(credit:
https://skinnyms.com/skinny-bell-pepper-nachos-recipe/ )

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 3/4 cup salsa, no sugar added
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, reduced-fat
  • 3 bell peppers

Instructions

  1. Remove seeds, core, and membrane from bell peppers then slice each one into 6 verticle pieces where they dip down. Set sliced bell peppers aside.
  2. Cook ground turkey over medium-high heat, breaking up as it cooks. Cook until the turkey loses it’s pink color and is cooked through. Drain off any fat.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Combine cooked turkey with spices and salsa. Evenly distribute mixture into the bell pepper boats, top with cheese.
  5. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and peppers are hot. Optional ingredients: sliced Jalepeno peppers, diced avocado, fat-free Greek yogurt or sour cream, or sliced green onions.
  6. NOTE: If you prefer much softer bell peppers, add a few tablespoons water to the bottom of a large casserole dish, add filled nachos, cover tightly with foil and bake 15 minutes.

Exploring Easter

Easter is a special time of year for me. I am a Christian so Easter is a time to celebrate the sacrifice and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ who died for my sins because of His great love. I enjoy spending time with my family eating a nice dinner (I’m in charge of the deviled eggs) and hunting for Easter eggs (or at least we used to when there were small children around). I love going to church to worship with other believers.

Another thing I like about Easter is the movies that I enjoy annually. Here is a list of my Easter favorites:

  1. Risen (2016)- Set in 33 A.D., a Roman man is given an assignment that will change his life—and the world—forever: find the body of Jesus Christ.
  2. Jesus of Nazareth (1977)- The award-winning TV miniseries, starring Robert Powell and Olivia Hussey, with a cameo by Laurence Olivier (Nicodemus), is one the most popular film adaptations of the Easter story.
  3. The Passion of the Christ (2004)- In this version of Christ’s crucifixion, based on the New Testament, Judas expedites the downfall of Jesus (Jim Caviezel) by handing him over to the Roman Empire’s handpicked officials. To the horror of his mother, Mary (Maia Morgenstern), Magdalen (Monica Bellucci), whom he saved from damnation, and his disciples, Jesus is condemned to death. He is tortured as he drags a crucifix to nearby Calvary, where he is nailed to the cross. He dies, but not before a last act of grace.
  4. Hop (2011)- Beneath Easter Island, in a giant factory that manufactures the world’s Easter candy, the popular rabbit is preparing to pass the mantle to his son, E.B. (Russell Brand). But E.B. has no interest in the job and would rather be a drummer. He runs away to Los Angeles, where an unemployed slacker named Fred O’Hare (James Marsden) accidentally runs into him. Feigning injury, E.B. tricks Fred into giving him shelter, but an oversized chick is planning a coup back on Easter Island.
  5. VeggieTales An Easter Carol (2004)- Bob and Larry try to stop Ebenezer Nezzer from knocking down a church.
  6. It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown (1974)- It’s springtime, Charlie Brown! Change is clearly in the air, and the gang is busy making preparations, each in their own way. Peppermint Patty attempts to teach Marcie how to dye eggs, Snoopy helps Woodstock build a new house and Linus eagerly awaits the Easter Beagle, who will take care of everything.