Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Passing Along a Great Gift Idea

Create Pen Nib Charm NecklaceMy daughter, Molly, who writes under the pen name Molly Evangeline and Jaye L. Knight for her upcoming Ilyon Chronicles series, has recently opened an Etsy shop selling handmade jewelry inspired by her books and catering especially to the love of writing. There’s some great stuff there, especially if you have a writer in your family or on your Christmas list. She has this Pen Nib Charm Necklace and also a Typewriter Necklace, a Tea Cup Charm Necklace for the tea drinker, and many others.

Molly has a blog giveaway going on right now, and I wanted to give you a chance to enter. You can visit her blog to learn more or just enter from here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Another Year Older

I find it hard to believe September is nearly over. In some ways I welcome the months going by quickly right now because my son, Jacob, is in his last year of nursing school and planning to move back home when he is finished next spring. He’s just far enough away visits are difficult, and work and school has been absolutely grueling for him, so we won’t see him much or at all for the holidays as he will be working. It’s nice to know a happy goal is at the end of what will likely feel like another long winter.

I’ve been enjoying the fall shows starting. Jack and I love the X-Factor and tonight Person of Interest starts back up. So excited about that. Shield your eyes if this sounds crazy, but I can’t wait for The Walking Dead next month. I’m not a zombie kind of person, but the writer in me loves the character interaction.

Our main computer died a couple of months ago so I have been downloading files from Carbonite for what feels like weeks, trying to get the new computer back to what I had. I am finally done and working to organize it all more efficiently. I want to put a bunch of files on DVD, and of course have, but is this a bit OCDish?? I have a hard time trusting it to DVD. What if the DVD breaks or just doesn’t work? I’m not crazy about making duplicate DVDs, but I have to tell you, that’s probably what I will do. Disappointed smile

So I am glad to be done with what ended up to be a huge never-ending seeming job and onto other things. I actually felt like I was away for a couple of weeks, just such a nose-to-the-grindstone feeling. I need to re-install a program I use called Book Collector. I use it mostly for my Kindle collection which is so ridiculously vast I needed something to remind me what I have. But now I want to start cataloging all my real books.

I had a birthday last week. So I am now 52. Inching ever onward. My youngest turns 21 next Monday, which seems a little crazy. I remember when thinking of them turning 16 seemed like it would never happen. Speaking of getting older, I really want to concentrate more heavily on nutrition in the next weeks. We try, but need to be even more vigilant. It is not enough for us just to be gluten-free, we need to heal, and I need to make sure that is happening. I’ve had a lot of trouble with my shoulder over the last months and I just feel I need to do better, for all of us. My sister and her daughter were both diagnosed with Celiac in the past week, so it has brought up a lot of thoughts of those days we first went gluten free a year ago. I wonder if there is anyone anymore who does not know someone with Celiac?

I’ll leave you with something fun. I remembered something today that I had forgotten I had on the old computer, a browser add-on for Firefox or Chrome. If you don’t know about it, it’s really quite terrific! It is called Send to Kindle and it’s great because you can send news articles, blog posts, and other web content to your Kindle to read in the comfort of your chair instead of sitting at the computer. I really love it! Check it out. Smile

Friday, September 13, 2013

Clean Authors eBook Sale - 99¢ or Free

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Just a quick note. If you were thinking of checking out my book, today is a good day to do it. Today I am participating in a big eBook sale for clean fiction. All books are either 99¢ or free. You can purchase my book here, and make sure to visit CleanAuthors.com to check out the rest! Lots of great books at a great price!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Writing Desk

writingdesk

Just for fun, because my friend Susan, who has a wonderfully personable and long-running website, asked if there is a particular place I like to write, I thought I’d post a pic of my desk. We have a full house, so I write in a corner of my bedroom upstairs. This is what my monitor looks like when I’m writing. I use a software program called Scrivener, for plotting and planning scenes and compiling character photos for inspiration, that has become indispensable to me. I could write a whole blog post on Scrivener alone. I write actual chapters in Microsoft Word.

This story I’m working on, the rough draft is about a third of the way finished. Not sure I want to share the storyline yet. I love the characters and have an older couple as well as a younger couple, and maybe even a little suspense which is quite a departure from what I usually write, so this has been a lot of fun to work on.

My first book is simply a labor of love, something I’d been working on for many years. They say, write the story you want to read, and I did. I know for certain it has many flaws. It’s greatest offense is “head-hopping” where the points of view of both characters is shown in a single scene. I’m not entirely sure but I think I learned this by reading very old romances, and though I didn’t know any better when I wrote this story, even if I had, I think I simply couldn’t bear not to. There are lots of sparks between the main characters, Mac and Carly, and I wanted to be able to show both their thoughts during an argument, for instance. Or a kiss. Smile

Since my writing is very character driven and what I like best about writing, it is hard for me to limit myself to one point of view per scene, but I am learning and working hard to do that from the outset this time around even though I still sometimes include both POVs during a scene with clear line breaks between. It makes me wonder if readers notice head-hopping quite as much as the rule keepers insist they will. I’ve never noticed it as a reader, or tossed a book away because of it, but that’s a whole other discussion. Smile

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Love All the Oils!

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You know how on Pinterest there is this funny comic that says “Pin all the things!” That is the way I feel about essential oils. I want to buy them all!

I bought some years ago but didn’t really know what to do with them so they sat in a drawer. Last winter, the winter that would not end which segued into the oddest, coolest summer I’ve ever lived, my mom and I delved heavily into essential oils, and I’m so glad we did. I’ve had so much going on in the last months, I haven’t devoted time like I wish I would have, but I am learning slowly as I go. Usually out of necessity.

Recently I’ve been struggling with neck, shoulder, and back pain, which is I am sure exacerbated by computer use and fusses with the use of my fingers as well. I have found lavender and peppermint to be indispensable. I think now I would panic just a tiny bit if I was out of either of them. Also, I love Blue Tansy and am using Marjoram and Helichrysum. The combination of all of these has been very comforting.

I just plain love using and learning about oils. And especially love how they smell and the benefits you receive as they enter your blood stream and even cross through the blood-brain barrier. Molly and I each diffuse oils when we write, for creativity. Smile Grapefruit and Cinnamon Leaf, Rosemary and others. We use lavender for ease of sleeping which produces a lovely drowsy effect. Molly diffuses lavender, geranium, and sweet orange during the night.

These days it’s becoming more and more important to take charge of our own health. And there aren’t many more wonderful things than finding you have been able fix something that is wrong, on your own, with something God-given like essential oils. In fact, that’s what they’re for.

Monday, August 12, 2013

TheCountryHomemaker’s Gluten-Free Bread

 

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Quite some time ago, I mentioned a bread recipe in this post that I hoped would become a staple, my go-to bread recipe, and it has. I make it repeatedly, at least a couple of times a week, and unless I do something out of the ordinary, it bakes up consistently. Not to mention, once you’ve made it as many times as I have, it is a very simple, quick recipe I can have ready to go into the pan in just a very few minutes.

I’ve tweaked it some to suit our needs, so I’ll post the recipe I use with weight measures, but I have adapted it from this recipe, by Jeanine Friesen. The changes are primarily because I make this often and didn’t want to be finding a use for leftover egg yokes, so I use three eggs instead of a combination of four, and I use millet flour added in instead of so much flax seed. So try this if you’d like but be sure to check out Jeanine’s site and this post in particular as there is much information also in the comments, especially about raising too long which was my initial problem. The sides and bottom of the loaf would always cave in and give me a very hour-glass looking loaf. Smile

(I’ve added Amazon links only for you to see what I use - they are not linked to an associate account.)

Pam’s Adaptation of Jeanine’s Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread

Mix the wet ingredients with a fork in your mixer bowl:
   3 eggs
   2 tablespoons oil
   2 teaspoons vinegar

Whisk dry ingredients in a separate bowl:
   168g brown rice flour (1 ¼ cup)
   76g potato starch (½ cup) [different from potato flour]
   30g tapioca flour/starch (¼ cup)
   32g millet flour (¼ cup)
   ¼ cup powdered milk
   ¼ cup ground flax seed
   2 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum
   1 ¼ teaspoon salt
   2 tablespoons sugar
   2 teaspoons yeast

Instructions:

1. Add 1 cup warm water to the wet ingredients in your mixer bowl. (Warm is 105-115° F.)

2. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. (Be sure though that your yeast is good. I don’t take time to proof my yeast. I just add into my dry ingredients.)

3. Mix slowly using a paddle attachment or the whisk attachment if you don’t have one. Take time to scrap the sides down and then mix on medium for 4 minutes.

4. Spoon the dough into a greased bread pan, smoothing the dough a little on top. I use a 4 ½ x 8 ½” glass loaf pan. Depending on weather temps, I raise for 20-25 minutes and then preheat the oven to 350° F. (For me, the loaf needs to have risen to the top of the pan or just a touch over. Any more than that and it proves to be too much and the loaf caves after it comes out of the oven. If you need, preheat sooner so the oven is ready when the loaf is.) Bake for 50 minutes and then turn out on a wire rack to cool.

. . .

If needing to bake gluten-free bread is a way of life for you, like it is for us, trial and error is necessary. I hope this recipe works for you as well as it does for me. I made the original recipe maybe 10-12 times before I finally tweaked it enough and quit raising it too long. Smile