While we were out buying baby clothes and toys, we also bought Mister Underfoot some new baby toys. He has a plethora of balls and mice and things that squeak and jingle and tickle, so we decided to get something a little different. And since he plays with our grandkids toys, we thought something they could all play with might be a good idea. Hunting down all the cat toys before the grandkids come over so we can keep them out of reach is a little time consuming. He gets upset with us for it, too. I’m interested to see how upset he’s going to get when the grandkids play with “his” toys.
So we looked for something that he might like that would also be safe for babies and toddlers. Here’s what we came up with…
He’s played with the little gray kitty that rolls around a few times. He plays with it more in the kitchen where it’s easier to push and spin around on the linoleum, but the bell-in-a-ball-in-a-ball (it’s a jingle bell inside a ball inside another ball) he went nuts for. It’s like a cat toy, but inside another larger ball so the grandkids can’t stick it in their mouths. He chases that thing around the house like it’s full fish rolled in catnip.
We have to watch our feet when he’s playing with the ball because he has no regard for toes, feet or even running into legs. I still haven’t seen him take it up the stairs. He pushes it down, but I’d love to see him carry it up sometime.
This is the best picture I could get of Mister Underfoot and his new favorite toy. Looks almost scary, doesn’t he?
My hubby picked up a horror book for me! I only wish it was colder so I could curl up in a blanket with a cup of hot tea while reading. But since it’s supposed to be in the 90’s for the next couple of days, I guess I’ll have to settle for sitting under the cool breeze from the fan and drinking iced tea with the hope that autumn will be in full swing before I’m done with the book.
Now to find out what’s magic about this cottage…
“We thought we’d found our haven, a cottage deep in the heart of the forest. Charming, maybe a little run down, but so peaceful. That was the first part of the Magic. Midge’s painting and my music soared to new heights of creativity. That was another part of the Magic. Our love for each other – well, that became the supreme Magic. But the cottage had an alternative side. The Bad Magic.”
“What happened to us there was horrendous beyond belief. The healings, the crazy sect who wanted our home for themselves, the hideous creatures that crawled from the nether regions, and the bats – oh God, the bats! Even now those terrible things seem impossible to me. Yet they happened…”
It was delicious, but I actually messed up this recipe. Instead of cutting the bread in half, I left it whole. It still turned out yummy. So yummy that I’m working on variations. Chicken, bacon, broccoli is the first variation I’m going to try and maybe Philly cheese after that. Sloppy Joe’s was also suggested.
I thought without the bread on top that the cheese would brown. We like brown cheese. Sadly, it didn’t. If you leave the bread as one piece and want the cheese to brown, try broiling it for about 10 minutes. I thought about trying it, but we were hungry.
I left the original instructions of cutting the bread in half and added my mistakes in the recipe. I liked the bread being more like a bowl, but I’ll be trying it the way it’s supposed to be in the future.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Slice the french bread in half, lengthwise, so you have two equal pieces. Or, you can do what I did and misread the instructions and not cut the bread in half but leave it whole.
Scoop out the bread in the center of each piece or the center of the entire loaf if you leave the bread whole.
Place the bread you scooped out in a large bowl and tear into small chunks. Set the two halves of french bread or the one whole piece with the center scooped out onto a large baking sheet.
Brown the ground beef and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain.
Add garlic to skillet. Cook for 2 minutes.
Add soup, sour cream and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook mixture 5 minutes or until heated.
Add the beef mixture to the bread in the large bowl. Stir to combine. Pour mixture into the center of one half of the french bread or center of the whole piece. Spread out evenly. Top the mixture with the shredded cheese. Top with the other half of bread or leave open if you didn't cut the bread in half.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
This article has some very good points about storytelling and examples from the immensely popular Stranger Things.
If you’re planning on watching Stranger Things, you might want to wait until you’ve finished before reading this article. It’s not spoiler heavy, but it’s better to know as little as possible before watching. Makes things more interesting…
7 storytelling lessons your can learn from Stranger Things. Reverse-engineer your stories to apply the best storytelling elements to your writing.
I’ve seen this book compared to Buffy, so it looks like I’m in for more vampire slayer fun. While I usually read horror books throughout October, I’m officially out of horror books to read. I never thought I’d be able to say that.
Dhampir is fantasy, or so I’ve read, but I’m hoping since it has vampires, it will do for my horror fix.
I’m enjoying it so far.
She hunts the realm’s most dangerous game.
Her fees are exorbitant.
She’s worth every coin she receives.
Or is she?
Magiere has earned a reputation as the most formidable vampire slayer in the land. Villagers far and wide welcome her with both awe and disdain—grateful to her for ridding their towns of the undead menace, but finding themselves made poorer for their salvation. Magiere knows she’s dealing with simple folk, who only wish to have their superstitions silenced, and sees nothing wrong with exploiting them for profit.
Now, tired of the game, Magiere and her partner, the half-elf Leesil, are ready to hang up their weapons and settle down in a place they can finally call home. But their newfound peace will not last—for Magiere has come to the attention of a trio of powerful and dangerous vampires who know her true identity—and fear the birthright that flows through her veins. And they will stop at nothing to keep Magiere from fulfilling her destiny.
I didn’t have enough ham, but I was hungry for the Tortellini and Ham recipe WildOne posted, so I decided to try it with smoked sausage. I also had a couple of tomatoes from the garden that needed to be used and thought they would pair well with the sausage, too. And of course, I replaced the peppers with broccoli for the pepper hater.
What I came up with is something that tasted different enough I thought it needed its own post, but at the same time it curbed my craving for Tortellini and Ham. I really enjoyed both recipes and I think which one I make will depend on what meat I have at the time.
1 package (19 ounces) frozen three cheese tortellini
2 tablespoons olive oil
10-12 ounces smoked sausage, sliced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
12 ounce bag frozen chopped broccoli
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons ClearJel (cornstarch)
1/2 cup homemade chicken broth
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 tablespoons grated Romano or Parmesan cheese, divided
Cook tortellini according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook smoked sausage in olive oil over medium heat until browned on one side. Flip sausage and add broccoli and onion. Cook until broccoli is crisp tender. Add garlic; saute 1 minute longer.
Combine the ClearJel or cornstarch, broth, basil, parsley and pepper; stir into sausage mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Add tomatoes and heat until tomatoes are just warmed.
Add 2 tablespoons cheese. Drain tortellini; toss with sausage mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write 50,000 words during the month of November. This can seem like a daunting and time-consuming task and when you have work and house to run as well it can seem almost impossible. With some preparation, you can make November run more smoothly.
I’ve looked at a few prep lists for NaNo and noticed that mine was a little different. I decided to share it in hopes it helps someone else. I’m actually posting this in plenty of time this year!
Plan all meals for the month of November. Make sure to keep the next two in mind while making your November menu and consider doing a search for quick meal ideas. You can find what I did last year here: Freezer Meals.
If you search Google for printable menus and freezer inventory, you’ll find a plethora of templates that you can print or edit and print to help keep yourself organized. I’m hoping to have some custom printables for next year, but making something like that isn’t really my forte. I might have to enlist some help. wink, wink, nudge, nudge
Freeze leftovers for easy meals in November. My FoodSaver is one of my best friends all year round, but it’s particularly helpful for stocking up on meals for November. The bags are more compact than plastic containers, so you can fit more in your freezer. Freezing meals in plastic containers makes things handier, but make sure to cover the food with plastic wrap to help deter frost.
Detail clean the house. I have spring-cleaning and then NaNo cleaning. If the house is freshly detailed, those quick room cleanups go even faster. Besides, a super clean house can make you feel more comfortable with putting things off for a day or two so you have more time to write. 15-minute cleanups can help you feel more comfortable with leaving the deep cleaning until later.
These tips allow for a quick cleaning or maintenace cleaning inbetween more thorough cleanings. Find out how to clean any room in 15 minutes or less.
Schedule blog posts. If you have a blog, write a few blog posts in October and schedule them to post in November to squeeze out a little more writing time. Unless you’re doing NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) as well. I don’t know if scheduled posts are cheating, but it doesn’t seem sporting to me.
Learn your software. I made the mistake of installing new software to use while in the middle of NaNo. I spent more time trying to learn the new software than I did writing for several days. I use Scrivener when I write and while it’s pretty intuitive, I’d still hate to walk into it cold at any point during NaNo. I can’t recommend Scrivener highly enough, but I’ll save that for another post. Check it out, though. Just give yourself enough time to learn it if you decide to get it. You can always import your work into Scrivener later and in the last few years, there has been a discount coupon for Scrivener if you complete your 50,000. Doesn’t mean there will be this year, but there could be.
Jot down notes or make an outline. While there are many people who can sit down to a blank screen and just start typing, I’m not always one of them. Faced with a deadline, I feel more comfortable with some kind of direction in mind. Doesn’t mean that my characters don’t wander off script and I wind up with a different story than I planned, but it helps keep me from running into that brick wall called writer’s block.
Do any research needed ahead of time. Frantically researching while trying to finish NaNo can be a word count killer. I didn’t finish more than once because I didn’t get all my research done.
Fill out your calendar with appointments and obligations. Make note of these. What days are you not going to be able to write? If there are five days in November that you cannot see a way to fit writing in for whatever reason, adjust your daily word count accordingly and aim for that.
Let your friends and family know what you’re doing. They might scoff, but knowing ahead of time can ward off an explanation later. Listening to the scoffing while you’re doing NaNo not only takes time away from writing but could also damage your flow with negativity and drama you don’t need.
Make a playlist. A playlist of music that fits your genre or in some way fosters your creativity can help drown distraction and put you in the mood to write. Use headphones for best results.
I use music I own, Pandora and playlists on YouTube depending on my mood. YouTube less so. I’d be tempted to watch, but there are plenty of audio only playlists, too.
Here’s one of my favorite YouTube playlists when I need some creepy background music. Not audio only, but I hide it behind other windows until I forget there’s video.
For those of you participating this year, write like the wind! I’d love to hear/read how you’re doing so feel free to comment on a post, contact me or drop me an email. Feel free to add me as a friend on the NaNoWriMo website, too!
One of the gifts we brought up to the hospital for our new grandson, Alistair, was this amazing quilt my mother (great-Mammaw) made for him. One of the nurses happened to be in the room when I pulled it out of the bag and she stopped what she was doing to come take a look. The nurse oo’ed and aww’ed, read all the words and helped me hold it up in front of our daughter so she could see the whole thing. The nurse commented on how beautiful it was and my hubby said, “Yeah, her mom is incredibly talented.” The nurse agreed and so did our daughter.
I actually forgot to tell my mother what happened. Bad me!