Good Friday morning to all of you! If you'd like to win a PDF copy of my White Rose novella, Christmas In Coyote County, please leave a comment! I'll draw the winner next Tuesday, December 20th. Christmas In Coyote County is available on the Pelican Book Group site, as well as Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. For the month of December, it is a dollar download on Amazon and the Pelican Book Group.
In Coyote County, Christmas means festive lights, the town parade, hot coffee and cinnamon rolls...not creatures from another planet.
While a glowing green Peeping Tom with two antennae is a little hard to buy, Libby Hawkins doesn’t believe her former school teacher suffers from either dementia or a runaway imagination. There’s a logical explanation, and she intends to discover it before the older woman is placed in a nursing home.
After a twelve year absence, Sheriff Jackson Carter returns to Coyote County to clear his father’s name. He never expected to be waylaid in his quest by alien sightings, and it doesn’t help that stubborn Libby Hawkins--his former girlfriend--is determined to meddle in the investigation. He hurt Libby when he left town after his father’s death, but it was for her protection. Now Libby’s stumbled on something dangerous. Can he keep her from harm this time? He doesn’t know, but one thing is certain: Christmas in Coyote County has never been so interesting
Hi friends, sorry I've been absent. Last Monday, December 5th, my dad had a heart attack. Thankfully, it was a mild attack. He was in the hospital most of the week. They put in three stents and sent him home to rest. The doctors all think that the damage will heal by itself. He is doing fine and we are having to keep him from doing too much!
We finally finished decorating our tree and I wanted to share a picture of it with you. Merry Christmas!
I love biscuits. But sometimes I just can't get awake enough in the morning to make them properly. So~I started looking around for a good homemade biscuit mix. I finally settled on the one below. It has a great flavor and makes biscuit making a snap in the mornings! You can substitute shortening for the butter, if you like. If you use butter, keep the mix in your refrigerator for up to four months. If you use shortening, store in tightly closed container on your counter top or in your pantry for 4-6 months.
6 C all-purpose flour, sifted
3 Tablespoons of baking powder
1 Tablespoon of salt
1/2 cup cold butter
Measure the sifted flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Use a wire whisk to blend thoroughly. Cut in cold butter using a pastry cutter until thoroughly incorporated. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 months.
To make biscuits, mix 2 1/4 cups of homemade mix with 2/3 cup of milk. Roll to 1/2 inch thick and cut out biscuits (approximately 12-14 depending on size). Bake at 425 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
I should really say 'hello from Animal Cabin'! One cat has had an upper respiratory infection and been to the vet. We've had to give him medicine all week and wipe his nose contantly.
I took Bella, the German shepherd/Aussi puppy to have her spade and she has been inside howling since Thursday (she wants to go out and play with the others). Hopefully, by Wednesday she can spend some time outside as long as I keep her seperate from the other pups.
Meanwhile, someone dumped a cat on our road, so of course, she is here. We kept her isolated for a few days to make sure she wasn't sick, but I think she's mostly just starved. What is wrong with people?
Big waves to everyone~I'll be around to visit all of you SOON!
Are many of you doing a lot of homemade gifts this year? I injured my thumbs and fingers a few years ago, so a lot of hand sewing crafts are out for me. I'm thinking of doing mostly food gifts.
I've done Cookies in a Jar before, but just the other day I found this jar recipe for Rosemary Focaccia Mix. It looks very nice and would be great with homemade dry soup mixes. It also got me thinking about other Bread in a Jar baskets I could do. I'm thinking about doing pizza crust mixes. All they would have to add is warm water and a few tablespoons of oil. I'm wondering if some people wouldn't also appreciate larger jars/containers of homemade Bisquick.
I'm also considering dry homemade mixes, like onion soup mix, or ranch dressing mix.
But, Thanksgiving first! Tomorrow, I hope to get my rolls baked for Thanksgiving, get my sausage/celery/onion mix for dressing frozen, and also get my pie crusts made. I imagine some of you are way, way ahead of me! I do have my potatoes frozen and the ingredients for most things ready.
Good morning! Hope all of you have had a good week. We've been doing our fall cleaning around here and so far, my back is surviving, LOL! We sure manage to generate a lot of dust around here, and now (we live on a dirt road), with the wood stove going most days, the dust is increasing.
A few days ago, hubby and I took to the back roads to look at the fall colors. The nice thing about the mountain roads is that there is no traffic and you can stop, get out and snap a few pictures without danger of being run over.
We mostly had the road to ourselves, though there were a few spectators curious about what we were doing walking on the road.
Sorry I didn't post last week. My back went 'out' last Sunday and I couldn't sit at the computer for more than ten minutes or so until Friday--and then I had to get ready for weekend company. I finally found some exercises that seem to help!
Not much is going on around here, other than animal training. The puppies are ultra wild in the morning when they come out of their puppy pen, and it takes a while to get them calmed down. Holly and Grady are especially excitable. Jackie avoids them whenever possible:) She prefers helping my dad with his gardening.
Bella, a German Shepherd/Australian Shepherd, is only nine weeks old, but she calms down faster than the terriers and has already learned what NO means and she will come when called.
Indy spends a lot of time with interior design. He is especially fond of this fall display, though he never seems satisfied with his arrangements, LOL!
Good morning. We have rain today!! That's pretty exciting around here, as we haven't had much the last few months. I'm hoping it will give a good watering to my green beans and tomatoes. Do any of you grow Juliet tomatoes? They are small, almost like cherry tomatoes, but elongated like Romas. I think they have a great taste and they are about the hardiest tomatoes I've ever seen. They did well through the long, hot summer and are still producing. We walked through our woods last week and I took this picture. This makes the prettiest waterfall when it has rained a lot. You can't tell so much from the picture, but the water flows down into a little pool. It needs a good cleaning out, as several trees and branches have fallen on it. It is on our 'list' of projects around here. And I have to say that it is a long list. Still, we are hoping to get this project done sometime this winter when all the snakes are napping.
We've been busy around the cabin, this last month. Lots of writing going on, as well as stacking and stacking and stacking firewood:). We are on our LAST row for this winter--Hooray!!
I've been picking lots of peppers lately. I cook with some and chop and freeze the rest. Does anyone have any other ideas for them?
The puppies are growing. They have started losing their baby teeth, and we are finding them everywhere, LOL!
There is a pile of hay outside, ready for stuffing a scarecrow, but we haven't started on him, just yet. Last fall, we put him on the porch and all the cats, but one, were scared to death of him. The cat that wasn't afraid of him slept in his 'lap' all season.
Hope you are all having wonderful weather and enjoying the fall colors.
I love this site. I'd never been to Living on a Dime until a couple weeks ago. It's a great place for any of you that have noticed your monthly budget not doing as much as it used to. In this day of rising grocery prices, along with rising prices in everything else, I'm doing my best to find ways to make our limited finances s-t-r-e-t-c-h. I've been buying bread this summer instead of making it, and it has added so much to the grocery bill that I'm not sure I'm actually saving money. It might be cheaper to use the electricity! And it would certainly taste better.
Not much has been happening around here. The pups are growing, of course. They killed a chick yesterday. Poor chickie:(. They didn't mean to do it, just playing. Nevertheless, they were punished for bothering it. They really take to heart being locked in their little kennel for five to ten minutes!
Hope all of you are enjoying this last month of summer!!
Hello to everyone. I'm guessing that my last post about oven canning was a little bit confusing to everyone. I want to clarify that it is not actually 'canning' food. It is a method used by some (at least according to an article I read) to further extend the shelf life of food that you have purchased at the grocery store. Foods like dried beans or oatmeal. It just seals out all the air and helps the food last longer.
I realize that most of you don't want 25 pounds of oatmeal or beans in your house, but I live quite a ways out in the country and I like to stay stocked up on food that I use all the time. The oven canning was in an article in the newest edition of Countryside Magazine. I went to their website, but the article is not online.
How are all of your gardens doing? Mine is about dried up. If the weather is starting to moderate (90s instead of 100s) I am going to replant my squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Our muscadines are still looking good, so maybe I'll be making jelly sometime in September.
As usual, I've been rearranging, de-cluttering (not as much as I should), and generally trying to make things a little more organized around the cabin. The heat has been horrid, so working inside most of the day has been my only option. I think we may be in for a cool down~highs in the upper 90s!
Have any of you heard of oven canning to preserve dried foods? I'm not talking about actual canning of fruits, vegetables, etc. This involved setting your oven to 200 degrees, filling sterilized jars with dry food you purchased at the store, such as oatmeal, beans, rice, even boxed cereal, such as Cheerios.
Put the jars on a cookie sheet in the 200 degree oven for one hour, then take out one jar at a time, put on clean, dry, sterilized lid (after wetting rim of jar with damp towel), and screw on the ring. This should seal your jar and you've also done away with any bugs hatching out in your food. Supposedly, this will keep the food sealed and good to eat for years. I haven't tried it yet, but I think I'm going to experiment with it on a few items.
In writing news, though I have no release date as of yet, the cover for my Christmas novella, Christmas in Coyote County, has arrived. Nicola Martinez, Editor-in-Chief of White Rose Publishing, did a fantastic job of capturing the fun nature of the story! Thank you, Nicola!!
Do you have trouble finding the right storage containers that 'fit' your kitchen? My pantries have tall, deep shelving, making it hard to fit storage containers in them just right. After looking around for a couple of years, I've settled on several different styles of storage.
My favorite are these 1/2 gallon freezer jars. They are perfect for storing beans and rice, and they look good on open shelves. I always freeze my dry beans for two weeks after purchasing, and so far I haven't had any trouble with bugs hatching out in them.
These jars, a throw-back to the old cracker jars, look really nice on the shelf. My main problem with them is the threading on the lids. It is hard to get the lid back on once you take it off. I have an old jar, an original, and this newer one here that I keep my oatmeal in. If the threading was better, I'd have lots of these jars!
For behind pantry doors, I like these cereal storage containers. They are inexpensive and you can easily get a couple of boxes of crackers in them, or several bags of brown or powdered sugar, and of course they are perfect for cereal.
I'd love to hear any of your ideas on kitchen storage. I'm constantly trying to find ways to organize this small room!
I'd like you to meet Holly (L) and Grady (above)~two new members of the cabin household. They are rat terrier mixed with ??? and are the cutest little things! They are nine weeks old. We adopted them from the Humane Shelter last Friday. They are real sweeties! At least we think so. The rest of the animals around here are still adjusting, LOL!
Writing Wednesday: Some of you may remember that near the end of April, I was busy editing a Christmas novella I had written. I heard back from White Rose Publishing and they have accepted my manuscript! I'm very excited about this and am looking forward to being part of the White Rose family!
These summertime refrigerator dills are our very favorite. I finally have enough cucumbers for a gallon! The over 100 degree temperatures every day are starting to take a toll on our plants. We are expecting very hot weather for the next two weeks, so this may be the only batch we get. In case any of you have extra cucumbers, I thought you might like the recipe:
2 cups white vinegar
6 cups of water
1/3 cup of canning/pickling salt
1 gallon of cucumbers (pickling are best, but any will work--just cut in smaller pieces)
2 tablespoons dill seed
2 tablespoons pickling spices
3 cloves garlic
Bay leaf or grape leaf
Combine vinegar, water, and salt. Bring to boil, then set aside to cool.
Put dill, garlic, pickling spices, & bay leaf or grape leaf in bottom of gallon jar. Fill jar with cucumbers, cut in halves or quarters if they are large.
When vinegar solution has cooled, pour over cucmbers and put in the refrigerator.
After 3 days, the cucumbers and brine can be divided into smaller jars. Pickles are ready to eat in about 2 weeks. Will keep approximately 4 months in the refrigerator.
Good morning. I hope that all of you had a great weekend. It is another hot day here. We are under heat warnings this week, so I'll probably be staying indoors a lot.
I've started pulling out more of my patriotic decorations. I keep red, white, and blue in my dining room all year, but I have some extras for the Fourth of July and the rest of the summer.
I keep the garland (above) out all year. It is really a Christmas garland with angels and stars, but I like it a lot, so I try to make it 'fit' the season that is current. I gave the angels these little toothpick flags to hold for the Independence Day. I also looped the red, shiny garland around the curtain rod. It is also a Christmas decoration, but since it is red stars, I think it's also perfect for the Fourth!
The dolls, below, were put out by Hallmark in 1979. Two are Molly Pitcher dolls and the other one is a Susan B. Anthony doll. I thought they looked cute in the pitcher with the flags.
I may pull out some of my craft supplies and make some new decorations to add to my collection. I figure it's one fun way to 'beat the heat':).
Anyone else having trouble commenting? I can comment on some of your blogs, but others, like Waxed Out Creative Life(Hi Carmen!!) says that I am not signed in and I keep signing in over and over and it still won't let me post!
Guess it's just a glitch that will be fixed soon~I hope!!
Life has been getting in the way of blogging again. The past few weeks have not been my favorites this year. We had to replace our refrigerator (after we lost a lot of food), our washing machine, and also put down our sweet little cat (we miss you, Georgia!). I hope all of you have been having a better June than we have been having at the cabin.
Did all of the dads in your life have a good Father's Day? I made a card for my dad and gave it to him at church yesterday. I'm so blessed to still have my dad. He will be 80 in a few months.
The daughters and I grilled ribs and made potato salad and baked beans for Father's Day supper last night. After that, we gave ourselves a good fright watching a few old episodes of the X-Files, LOL!
Snoopy has it right--beginnings are sometimes the most difficult part of the story. As a former SOTP (seat-of-the-pants) writer--(no plan, just sit down and write), I can totally relate. It has taken me three years to learn that an outline, however brief, is a great help to mapping a story. Sometimes I only know the beginning and the end and have to do some thinking about the middle, but I try to get it figured out before I actually start the story. However, winging it from the start can lead to some interesting twists in the storyline, LOL!
What about you? Do you make an outline for your idea, or just let the story evolve as you write?
Hi everyone~I can't believe it's been two weeks since I posted! From reading your blogs, looks like all of you have been busy, too.
I've managed to get all of my herbs plants in the ground, but still have some seeds to plant. Our garden is coming along, but like the herb garden, it still has a ways to go. Hubby made another raised bed box today, so I'll be working on getting it planted sometime in the coming week.
I've been making soap for a craft show in a couple of weeks. I've been experimenting with dried herbs (haven't used any fresh ones in the mix, yet), and really like the way it's been turning out. I've found that getting the scent to stay in hot process soap is challenging. I finally made a batch that's a lavender/mint mix and it smells pretty good.
My writing project is finally completely finished and edited~so I'm taking a little break before getting back to it.
I hope all of you southern gardeners managed to avoid any frost last night. I checked my calender and it really is May, LOL! We did not have frost, which we are very thankful for~but I'm afraid our neighbors just to the north of us did. Our tomatoes still look healthy, as do the rest of our plants.
I am looking forward to the warm-up this week, as well as drying out! My, I've seen enough rain to last me for a while.
I made this easy recipe about two weeks ago--and it turned out great! I waited until I'd used it a couple of weeks before posting. I wanted to make sure it is good stuff--and it is. It is so easy to make, too.
I made mine on the stove-stop. I put a measuring cup with the 1/4 cup of emulsifying wax (I bought this on ebay) and 1/4 cup of olive oil (light) in a small sauce pan over low heat until the oil and wax melted together. I ended up covering the top of the pan to make the wax melt, as it was a little cool in the house--there is no need to stir, it will melt on its own. Just don't let it boil!
After they were completely melted together, I added the 1 1/2 cups of boiling water, stirring it all gently together. Then I added 1 1/2 teaspoons of Jasmine essential oil. I poured the mixture into two wide-mouth canning jars. I had to shake it some as it cooled to keep it from being lumpy.
Olive oil is very good for your skin and it makes a wonderful moisturizing lotion. I added a teaspoon of Jasmine essential oil to the lotion right before I poured it into the jars. The next batch will be vanilla.
I really have been meaning to make a post in the last week. I think of my blog as a fun place to post and visit with my friends--but this last week has brought so much suffering across the South. Some of our own family live in Vilonia, AR that was struck by the tornado on Monday. They were all spared and only one cousin had damage, but they are all okay. We are very thankful. The news this morning from Alabama and other states is horrific. Please pray for everyone that has been touched by these storms. Lives are changed forever. God be with them.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
Hope you are all having a great day. It is very windy outside here and expecting storms later. They are predicted to be severe~hope not as severe as the last round. So many people across the country are suffering from those storms.
I've been helping hubby with some of his work and also working on a writing project. I am starting to get summer decorating fever. I love having all my stuff around me in the winter. It makes the house seem cozy and warm. But once it starts warming up outside, I want all of it put away. I like a lighter, more spare look (not that it's ever really spare in the cabin, LOL) for summer. Are any of you like that?
I've been taking things off of the walls and changing out the curtains for a 'lighter' look. Still have plenty to do and boxes to put away!
It is Writing Wednesday, and other than posting on a few blogs, I haven't done any writing today. One thing I really need to do is organize my writing desk. While I am not an organized person, I usually know what is in what stack of stuff--but the time has come to get it all cleaned up or soon there won't be anymore room. I did recently purchase a bulletin board and that has taken away some of the notes that I keep sticking everywhere. Do you keep your writing area organized?
I am still working on editing my novella. My daughters looked at it and gave me a few suggestions, so that will be my job for tomorrow. I don't think I have too many changes to make--other than the ending. I think endings are hard to write. I always know HOW it is going to end, but when I finally get there, it is always a challenge to get it right.
I spent the morning working in my little herb garden. I planted rosemary, oregano, and moved a sage plant. I also made a bed for some mints. I love being out there and seeing how it come along. I bought a food dehydrator, so I'm hoping to dry lots of herbs and veggies this gardening season. Have any of you dried herbs in your dehydrator? Several women at my church are going to be trying it this summer.
I've been surfing around the web, trying to find a tomato canning recipe like the woman told my mom about. This woman dips hers in boiling water, then in cold to remove the skins. They are put just like that in hot, sterilized jars, along with lemon juice and salt and sealed--she says the heat from the boiling water keeps them warm enough and they make their own juice. She has been putting them up this way all her life--just as her mother did. I'm not sure what makes the jars seal, since the tomatoes aren't hot.
I love Janet's easy method of freezing the tomatoes that she mentioned in her comment. I have frozen them whole on cookie sheets, then put them in a freezer bag. Run hot water over them after they're frozen and the skin will slip right off--then add to homemade soup. My main problem with freezing them is lack of freezer space.
The method that Tipper described, involving boiling the tomatoes in a pot and then putting them in hot, sterilized jars, letting them seal themselves, is the way my grandmother used to do hers and I guess it is safe enough. For me, I think I'll stick to the water-bath method. I'll admit that putting up my own food, other than freezing it, or making jam, always makes me a little nervous. I've never known anyone to get sick off of home-canned food, but there are all those horror stories that you here about whole families getting extremely ill, or worse.
Hooray~I think I've found all the words the program botched in my writing project! As it stands right now, I have about 19,500 words written. I think the requirements are 15, 000-20,000, so I have room to shorten it and tighten it up a little bit.
Good morning! We are usually slow to get our garden in, but this year we already have out our green onions, onions, potatoes, broccoli, and some lettuce. I also have several heirloom tomato plants ready to put out. Our last frost date isn't for another week, but the weather looks like it will be warm enough to take a chance on getting them out. This will be the earliest we've ever had tomatoes out!
A woman at a local nursery recently told my mom that her method of preserving tomatoes does not involve water bath canning. Have any of you ever heard of such a method?
I am busy editing my writing project that I recently finished. It is a Christmas novella and I'm anxious to get it ready to send off. I have several other Christmas writing projects in mind, too. I'm hoping to work out a schedule to let me both garden and write, once the growing season really gets going.
I had an interesting experience with my Microsoft Office today. I decided to change the name Hank to Hattie. Nothing complicated--just an animal's name. Anyway, I did the find and replace thingy--now everywhere in my novella that I typed the word thanks it says thattie, thankfully has become thattiefully, etc. Live and learn:).
I guess March is going out like a lamb this year. There's no roaring or rain or anything out there. Just lots of dull fog, right now.
I've been furiously working on a writing project--and yesterday--I finished! Now, for the editing.
I've also been doing a lot of research into how to save money on our grocery bill. With prices going up so much, I'm just trying not to spend more than we have been. If you're interested in that sort of thing, you might check out the Chickens in the Roadsite. There are a lot of homemade versions of things you usually buy and ideas for saving on food.
I've also started making yogurt with my crock pot. I found the recipe on The Simple Dollar. It's EASY!! I usually start it about 4 o'clock in the evening so I can leave it out overnight.
Put a half gallon of milk in your crock pot and turn it on high for 2 1/2 hours. Then turn it off for 3 hours. At this point--add 1/2 cup of active culture plain yogurt (like Dannon) and 1/2 cup of instant milk. Cover with a towel and wait 8-9 hours! It tastes exactly like what you buy, but a little bit thinner. You can drain it with cheese cloth or coffee filters if you like it thicker.
It's best for you plain, of course. But I also make a sweet dessert with it. I take a package of jello and add the hot water, then add seven ice cubes and stir till they dissolve. Then, add 2 1/2 cups of plain yogurt--stir and refrigerate. This makes a sweet custard-y dessert.
Happy Ground Hog Day, everyone! And Happy February~the month of love! As a romance writer, I'm constantly looking for another idea for love:).
I was going to ask all of you to name the most romantic book you have ever read. But I'm not sure what I would answer, myself. When I was a teenager, I thought that Christy, by Catherine Marshall was the most romantic book ever written. I read it over and over.
I think the first 'romance' to ever touch my life came from the movies. The Tammy movies that Debbie Reynolds starred in. I wanted to be Tammy. I wanted to live on a houseboat and meet a millionaire and all the other things that Tammy did. Even now, when I think back, those were really very sweet, romantic little movies.
Do you remember the first touch of romance in your life? (And is the song Tammy's in Love going 'round and 'round in your head?:)
Good morning. Today I am emailing my submission to the Idahope Writers Fictioncontest. I've been tweeking for the last week and it's finally ready to go.
I'd also like to say congratulations to my daughter, Laura Briggs~her novella, Only in Novels, was recently been nominated for The Romance Studio's, The Cupid and Psycheaward in their Inspirational Romance category.
As for spring~I'm soooo ready for it! But guess I'll have to wait a while. I've been looking at all the spring flower pictures in the February Better Homes & Gardens. I love the Lenten Roses. Do any of you grow them? I'm going to be looking for some plants, soon. I think they would probably bloom here in March, but not sure.
What's in a name? A name for the character in your story, that is. Sometimes, it's just hard to think of a good name for your character. For a little bit of fun, you can try a random name generator, like this one at The Script Vault. These name generators are all over the web, so just google up something like name generator, and you'll find lots of these.
There are also some random title generators. I'm not posting any links because all of them that I found have 'adult' words in them, though none came up when I used them. Some of the titles were fairly amusing.
I am working on a writing schedule, trying to make sure that I write everyday. For now, my goal is at least two hours per day, four or five days per week. I'd like to expand to write at least four hours everyday, but for now, I'm sticking to my new schedule.
It wasn't a bonanza day at the flea market with lots and lots of great finds, but I did find two items I really love.
This little Royal Copely cat and book planter was just too cute to pass by. You can see that I still need to clean the dirt out of his book planter. I'm still trying to date him, but can't find the year he was made. I paid $4.50 for it.
And I really love this platter. It was made by the Paden City Pottery Company. The company opened in 1907 in Paden City, WV and closed sometime in the 1950s. This platter is very large--about 11" by 15". I paid $8.00 for the platter. (Do you see a lot of this pottery, Janet? Just wondering, since you are in WV).
It was a fun day out and I'm looking forward to heading back up there soon!
Thanks to inspiration from Janet over at Writing in a Blackberry Patch, I have decided to combine my writing blog with this one and do my writing posts on Wednesdays. I'll still do an occasional Wednesday Wives Tales, but I don't have a lot of material left for that subject.
For today's Writing Wednesday, I'd like to tell all of you about a writing contest open to unpublished writers. It is sponsored by the Idahope Writers and first prize is a Nook! If you are interested, visit their page (their name is linked) and read the guidelines.
Janet also gave us a writing prompt to find a favorite photograph and write a poem about it. Maybe I'll have it next week~then again, I haven't written a poem in years...so I'll work on it.
My name is Mary L. Briggs (a.k.a. Rose Mary).I am a Christian wife of 24 years to a wonderful husband and mom to two grown daughters. We live in the mountains, in a cordwood cabin that we built ourselves--with a lot of help from family. It was a hard six year job, but we are very happy with the results. I love keeping my home and working on being the wife and mom that God wants me to be. I enjoy reading, crafting, quilting, herb gardening, writing, and cooking.