Planning An Awesome Year

Planning Planning An Awesome Year

In January, I was looking ahead to 2017 and contemplating how busy this year would be. With the day-to-day of work, home, community and now promoting a new book… I was going to need help. Since having a personal assistant is completely out of the question, I settled for a planner.

When initially looking for a planner, I had no idea what I wanted, only what I needed. Everything I came across was.notit! Then while scrolling through Instagram, I saw a post about the Me and My Big Ideas – Happy Planner. After watching the video, I thought I’d give it a try.

Before my Happy Planner made it, Tish Bullard made a post about her prinTable planner pages. It’s like she was reading my mind. Finally, I had everything I needed. So I thought.

There are communities, how-to videos, conferences, and more for planning. Planning is serious business, and can be fun outlet. I’m wading in the shallow end. So far I’ve purchased stickers, pockets, meal planning inserts, and new covers.

Recently, when I couldn’t find the sticker themes I wanted, I chose to create my own. That was so much fun. There running list of sticker theme ideas Is two pages long now.. As soon as I have a few minutes minutes to spare I’ll create those too.

So far, my planner has been well worth the purchase. It has kept me well informed and on track, except for one day I put an event on the wrong day.

Do you take time to plan you day/weeks/month?

 

March Photo Challenge

Recently, our middle daughter turned 21. Yes, it feels like I was just 21. Things were good, and I thought I was invincible. Sorry, back to the regularly scheduled program.

Before her birthday, she wanted to have a photo shoot. I was all for it. After pulling my “real” camera from under the bed, I charged the battery and was ready! The iPhone makes snapping pictures a breeze. But this shoot called for the real thing.

PICT0413a 867x1024 March Photo Challenge

 

We journeyed downtown where there is history, edge, and a great big canvas for creativity. And I had a ball! Union Pacific photo bombed, at the perfect time.

I do not, in any shape or form call myself a photographer. However, I do enjoy taking pictures. It’s also way cool to walk around with this weapon of mass creation around my neck like I know what I’m doing. My subject and our location made me look halfway decent. A trained professional may find fault. But art is subjective… right?

One of my favorite Instagram friends @daenelt has really inspired me as well, with her photos. Her pictures.are.amazing! I do believe she’s doing a year-long photo challenge. Searching for a photo-a-day challenge myself, I found The Idea Room‘s 365 Day photo-a-day challenge, and I’m jumping right in with the March photo-a-day challenge.

march photo a day 2017 1024x1024 March Photo Challenge

For the next 31 days, I’m a wannabe photographer. Excited much? Of course, I am! Pull out your camera, or phone and join the fun.

Vuja De

Vuja De e1486583079933 Vuja De

My morning ritual the past six months consists of listening to a podcast, or TED Talks while getting ready for work. There is something about positive, informative, and uplifting information and people that make a difference in starting my day.

Recently, TED Talks tweeted  Adam Grant’s The surprising habits of original thinkers. I was intrigued by his entire speech. But the one thing that stood out and grabbed me by the… I wanted to say something profound here, but I have no words. Just know it stopped me in my tracks.

I backed the speech up, and played it again. Then paused it so I could run and get my notebook and pen. I wrote it very large and then looked it up.

Vuja De

something familiar viewed with a fresh new perspective. 

Until now, I haven’t posted anything on my blog since December. I’ve attempted twice, but nothing came to me. After hearing about vuja de, I started thinking about my blog and creating content with a fresh perspective.  It has also made me reconsider the things around me.

5 Podcast I love:

 

‘Going On A Bear Hunt’ – Pre-Sale

In October, I announced my recent labor of love ‘Going On a Bear Hunt’ is on its way. A full-color children’s picture book about the adventure of two city boys who find themselves bored in Lockhart, Louisiana. Uncle Eddie Ray takes Aiden and Austin on a bear hunt like none other.

I’m offering a pre-sale for autographed copies.

Here is a sneak peek of an early illustration, along with an excerpt of the story.Counting Ants 1 Going On A Bear Hunt   Pre SaleSo what do you think? I hope you enjoyed the excerpt, and want to purchase a copy. Thanks for your support!

pixel Going On A Bear Hunt   Pre Sale

 

Testing Holiday Recipes

I’ve never been much of a baker, rather I enjoy preparing meals. Dinner and breakfast are my favorite meals to cook – and in that order. I do like a good dessert, and over the years I’ve dabbled more, and more. When it comes to sweets that I enjoy, I’ll try to make it at least once.

I’ve had scones on a few occasions, most recently while having lunch at Panera Bread. Since then, it’s been in the back of my mind to make a batch. With Christmas around the corner, and a little extra time on my hands yesterday, I whipped up a quick batch of cranberry orange scones.

Cranberry Orange Scones Recipe

My family has been more muffin eaters, and scones are a welcome addition. The batter being thicker is a cross between shortbread and a biscuit dough. It was firm enough, without being too stiff, making it easy to press into a circle using my hands instead of a rolling pin.

Cranberry Orange Scones 2 Testing Holiday Recipes

I followed the recipe almost to the letter. Instead of 2 Tbsp. I added about a-half-cup of sugar. I prefer just a little more sweetness. That half-cup of sugar was just enough, perfect even. After baking fifteen minutes at 400 the scones were perfect!

The orange glaze was a nice contrast to the cranberries. When I make these for Christmas treats, I’m thinking of topping it with a cream cheese glaze instead.

Scones Testing Holiday Recipes

Mr. Husband, who can be picky, asked questions, nibbled, and ate a whole scone. That was a good sign. I even packed one with his breakfast this morning.

I’m looking forward to cooking, baking, and creating holiday treats with and for my family for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

What are your favorite holiday recipes?

Going On A Bear Hunt – Coming Winter 2017

 

Last summer, while sitting on the porch of our family’s homestead laughing and talking with cousins inspiration struck. My cousin’s son declared he, his uncle, and brother were going on a bear hunt.

That declaration, along with the ensuing conversation was an aha moment. Just like that, I had a story. Over the next few weeks, I thought about that conversation from time to time. One sleepless night the story literally called me out of the bed and the first draft of ‘Going On A Bear Hunt’ was penned.

I shared ‘Going On A Bear Hunt,’ with the local SCBWI critique group and fleshed the story out some more, working out a few kinks… And sat on it.

Finally, In June of this year, I reached out to an editor. Extremely nervous about her take on the story I agonized over sending it. What if she thought my story was trash? I watched my email for two days waiting for the edits to return.

After a discussion with Krystal Grant, I set a publication date. That meant the ball was in motion.

Nervous as a church mouse I share with you ‘Going On A Bear Hunt,’ picture book to be released Winter 2017. A definitive date will be announced as it gets closer, and I look forward to sharing updates of our progress.

 

Homegating – Season 3

It’s that time of the year again…

Football!!! 

There is high school football, college football, professional football, football, football and more football! Football from Thursday, through Monday night.

Once Mr. Husband gets in from work on Saturday, afternoons I literally give up on watching TV. Our son comes over and they watch football well into the night, one game after the other. College football is their favorite.

Actually, the entire football season Mr. Husband takes over the television. During this time the DVR is my best friend!

In 2014, I had a great idea,  since I couldn’t beat them, I might as well join them. Dinner is inevitable, why not make it a “thing” and homegate? Yes, I made that word up.

home·gate

verb

a social gathering at which an informal meal is served, instead of from the back of a parked vehicle, in the comforts of home.

It’s turned into a great tradition for our family, and the perfect reason to have family time. Most of all, it gives me the opportunity to try new recipes every week, along with a new theme.

As always I’m on the lookout for great recipes. My favorite sites and Pinterest have provided exciting ideas for the past two years of homegating menus.

I’ve even created a Homegating Pinterest board dedicated to building an arsenal of recipes. And I’m always on the lookout for more.

Our first homegate of the season, I’m considering a burger bar. And eventually, I’m going to try fried chicken necks. A classmate made a FB post about them last year, and it’s been in the back of my mind since. This football season, it’s going down. Now I just have to find chicken necks!

What are your favorite homegating/tailgating recipes?

 

 

 

Nunnie Camp 2016

Before summer started I had my mind set on having Nunnie Camp with the Sugababies. A day full day of fun, games, food, crafts and adventure. That one day hasn’t worked out like I planned. But we have had several days of craft projects, fun outings, and fun in the sun, with a few more to come.

 

Before summer started I had my mind set on having Nunnie Camp with the Sugababies. A day full day of fun, games, food, crafts and adventure. That one day hasn’t worked out like I planned. But we have had several days of craft projects, fun outings, and fun in the sun, with a few more to come.

Cooking

One of our first activities was making refrigerator pickles. This recipe was perfect. The ins and outs of traditional canning aren’t necessary. The best part was they only had to sit in the fridge for one week. Because the Nadia and Zoey were out of town the pickles sat for two weeks, making them even better. We’re looking forward to making more really soon.

Fun In The Sun

Lazy Sunday, afternoons are perfect for blowing bubbles. Jericho loves guns, and his bubble gun was just right. He didn’t need any help, and it kept him from eating the bubbles instead of blowing them from a wand.

Blowing bubble snakes was more creative for the girls. Of course, I found it on Pinterest, and wondered why didn’t I think of that?

Outings and Adventure

 

Nunnie Camp Airshow 2 Nunnie Camp 2016

Growing up, I really enjoyed attending airshows at the Little Rock Air Force Base. When I learned of an airshow in my area, I just had to take the kids. We grabbed our hats, stopped to pick-up drinks and headed out.

Jericho loves all things cars, truck, trains and planes, oohed-and-ahhed at the excitement. For the 30 minutes, we were able to withstand the heat, it was awesome! That day was hotter than hot, and playing in the water was a must. One of my daughters brought out water balloons and water guns making the day absolutely perfect.

Crafts

 

Nunnie Camp Craft 2 Nunnie Camp 2016

When the kids come over the first thing they ask after walking in the door is, “Nunnie, what are we doing today?”

This particular day I was ready to make popsicle stick bracelets and a butterfly feeder.

My Sugababies love a good craft, and not just coloring to keep them busy. These bracelets are simple, and look awesome when finished. We literally had popsicle sticks around the house. Our youngest daughter had popsicle sticks for another project, and she still had an entire bag. I did all the prep work, boiling the sticks, and shaping them in a jar.

I did all the prep work, boiling the sticks, and shaping them in a jar. They enjoyed painting, getting messy, and watching their creations take shape. Afterward, we moved on to the next project the butterfly feeder.

Creating a butterfly feeder has been on my wish list of things to do for awhile. I envisioned a swarm of butterflies in my backyard. Like in the movie ‘Field of Dreams,’ if I make it, butterflies will come. We put the feeder in the backyard where we could watch the butterfly from the big window.

Mmmm… The only insects feeding were pesky flies! Ewww! That went to the trash. I was disappointed, to say the least.

There are a few more weeks of summer left, with more opportunities for Nunnie Camp activities. What fun things have you done this summer?

 

 

Green Thumb Adventures

Green Thumb Green Thumb AdventuresI’ve written one or two posts over the years about not having a green thumb, and nothing has changed. But… and I say this strongly… I am willing to try over and over again. And this summer is no different!

I had a philodendron for 13 years. It was very low maintenance and easy. Summers, I’d just put it outside and it flourished. In the winter months, it sat in my foyer. I watered it when I thought about it. Just as it started turning very brown, spring would show up to rescue it.

Those plants are no nonsense and die hard, literally. No matter what I did, or didn’t do for it, it lived. That was until this past winter. We didn’t have a hard winter at all, and I tried to see how long it could stay outside and live.

Well…  that wasn’t my actual thought process. I just didn’t bring it in. And every time I passed it at the front door it seemed to be okay, so I left it there. And then we had a couple of cold snaps. Soon after that, it was gone. I mean gone as in DEAD!

I don’t know, why I’m not a plant person. Maybe if plants cried, talked, or pooped, they would get more attention from me. I really want to be a plant person, and grow pretty green plants, and have them all over the house. I love flowers!

Last summer I grew a pineapple plant, from the top of the pineapple. It was a little touch and go for a while but it started to grow. I put it outside and it thrived! Then it met the same demise as the philodendron. I just didn’t bring it in. *Insert deep sigh*

Mr. Husband says, our house it where plants come to die. Again, I REALLY want to change that. Late April, I ran across caladium bulbs on sale. I think it was already a little late to plant because they were on sale for about $1.25. But I was willing to give it a try.

I brought them home with EVERY intention to plant them right away…

WELL, THAT DID NOT HAPPEN!

What did happen was… All three packages of bulbs ended up in a cabinet in the laundry room, out of Mr. Husband’s sight. If he knew I was trying my hand and plants again this summer he was going to tease me. And I wasn’t having it… So I hid them in the cabinet.

What’s the old adage? Out of site, out of mind.

I kinda forget they were there. Then Mr. found them, while looking in the cabinet for a tool of some sort. And I got teased!

Finally, June 9th, I planted one of three bags in the front door planter. And they were already sprouting. Since I put them in the dirt, they seem to be doing really well! If it’s dry this weekend, I’ll plant the other two packages in smaller planters in the back yard.

Caladium bulbs Green Thumb Adventures

It’s now only June 17, and there are visible changes even from just yesterday. Follow the progress of my #GreenThumbAdv on Instagram. I’m excited and optimistic about the outcome. I wouldn’t do this, if I didn’t think I could make it work, eventually.

I don’t want to be Mary May Quite Contrary, with silver bells and cockle shells… Just a few simple, easy, and low maintenance flowers blooming around the house, and yard will do just fine.

Do you have a green thumb? What are your tricks, and secrets to making your garden grow?

 

My Summer Reading List

Reading List My Summer Reading List

It’s been a long time since I’ve had the pleasure of sitting down and reading a book longer than 36 pages, or a magazine. And I miss it. So, I added one more thing to my list of things to do for the summer… Read a book, or two. Who am I kidding, I’ll be lucky just to finish one book!

But it shall be done.

As I was writing a post, a reading list for school aged children I ran across a few books that I was interested in. Like 10 Books From High School You Must Read Again. The Great Gatsby, To Kill A Mocking Bird, and Invisible Man are a must for that list!

  • Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn. I enjoy reading books before I watch the movie made for it. I’ve searched all over for the movie, maybe I’ll have better luck finding the book. 
  • The Heart Of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend, by Bob Drury. This book is about my cousin’s, husband’s grandfather several times removed. I’m really excited to learn about their family history.
  • The Perfect Summer, by Morgan Billingsley, Jackie Lee, and Gabrielle Simone. In April, I attended an Arkansas Literacy Festival Event where I listened to two of the two young authors. I haven’t gotten around to reading their book yet… But I will!
  • Half of A Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I’m going backwards with this book. I watched the movie on Net Flix last year, then realize this was the author and book Krystal Grant had spoken so highly of. This is another must.
  • Black Looks race and representation  My supervisor and I started talking about a textbook for ‘The History of American Journalism’ that I now teach. Last fall I found it boring, and difficult to get into. She gave me a few pointers and introduced be to Bell Hooks. She also let me borrow this particular book, a collection of 12 essays…

…the personal and political consequences of contemporary representations of black women and men… Taking on popular music, advertising, literature, television… 

I also plan to read 100 combined picture and chapter books for research.

Whew, I think I’ve got enough on my plate. This is more of a wishlist, and I’ll be lucky to read two by the end of the year. The 100 children books will probably get accomplished first.

I intentionally kept my list short. I still have that dollhouse to finish on my Projects Half Done list. And my deadline is THIS WEEKEND!!! it’s time to set a fire, and get it done!

Do you have a reading list for the summer?