My Friend’s New Book!

Gates book review ropedI’ve made friends with a lady who has surprised me by writing a Young Adult fiction book, and it is really good! (That part did not surprise me.)

The book is Roped, by DiAne Gates. You can find it on Amazon, here.

I read it for her at the very last minute before the work went to the publisher, and I have to say, it is quite good, and a great “rodeo” kind of book aimed at teen girls. Although it has hatred, crime, and public school involved, I think it represents all of those in a realistic and yet not blatant or grizzly way.  I appreciated that about it.

It basically is a story about trying to win a contest and facing many obstacles along the way, but Mrs. Gates manages to make it an entertaining and attractive story at the same time. I liked it!

I would recommend it for and gift it to any young girl I knew. Hope you give it a try. That link again.

September 28th

Poison ivy produces urushiol to protect the pl...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I repost this, now and then. Today’s the day….

Today would have been my mom’s birthday. She would have been 84.

Life was hard when my mom was a kid. People had very little in the way of excess. She told us of having only three outfits: one for church, one for school, and one for choring. When a mom went to the trouble and expense of making a dress for a daughter, she would be sure to make it larger and take up that slack by making the seams deeper or thicker. Then as the owner of the dress grew, the seams could be let out. Same goes for deep hems.

My mom never was allergic to poison ivy. I’ve inherited this tendency from her, although I do get a bump or two if I am in it a long time. It is wonderful, though, to do all the weeding, including pulling up poison ivy, and not worry. My mom used to stand in poison ivy that was waist-high and pick wild grapes for jelly.

Because my mom could tolerate exposure to poison ivy, she was the gate person for their entire family. The gate had poison ivy growing on it and when the family left for an excursion, her job was to climb out of their vehicle and open the gate.

my mother

my mother

She also was the tornado warning person. If the skies looked threatening, it was her job to stand sentry and keep a lookout for tornadoes. Everyone was very sober and stern about this job of hers, so she diligently looked and looked for tornadoes during haying times. Only one trouble was that she did not know what a tornado was and imagined every sort of boogy except a cloud. Had a tornado come, she would not have known it.

She did encounter one, one day, though, and I am glad I had her on my side then.

Here’s to one good mom.

Don’t Faint!

Winner!I’m still around, but haven’t posted in a while. However, this was just too good to pass up and I wanted to let you know about it.

Just click here for a great bit of news. :)

Kid Hacks: 6 helps when a child won’t eat

Eating hindered by milk?You know one. Or you’ve seen one. Maybe you have one, or even were one.

It’s such a challenge to the mom, to get good, health-giving food down into picky tummies. You wonder if this child will be damaged by such a bland diet as potatoes and milk, the only two foods he really likes.

You wonder, also, over and over, what to do, what to do.

So, here we go, The answers you Need!:

Is this child around four years old?

The child walking through his fourth year is typically not growing much. You know: growth spurts. We think he’s not growing because he refuses to eat, but it’s the other way around. The fourth year is tough on kids. They don’t grow, they suffer emotional fears and imagined rejections. And someone is always chasing them with more food!
The solution I’ve found very helpful is to put one bite of everything offered at the meal on the child’s plate, and require cleaning his plate, in order to get whatever seconds he prefers.

Also, keep the drink cup out of reach to be handed to him for sips, to prevent what my mom used to call “drinking your meal”. In this way, the tiny bit he does eat will have some balance to it, and drinks will be used to fill gaps in the tummy after  a bit of yummy solids are in place, first.

Is this child lacking vitamins?

Well, of course, probably, right? The thing you might not know, though, Mom, is that as a child’s digestion slows, so does the amount of nutrients in his body. But then, oh bummers, there are certain nutrients which actually boost a person’s appetite, so we find it a vicious cycle that not eating diminishes nutrition, which diminishes appetite.
The obvious solution, once you think of it, is some fun, mild vitamin made especially for kids. I’d hop on that at once, if I had a low volume/picky eater.

Next, have you spoiled his appetite?

Ooh, I do not like this question, either! However, when hunger strikes, a child can be so dramatic and we let the drama push us around, handing off a graham cracker or something to pacify this emotional child, which makes him not hungry at mealtime, which makes him hungry before the next meal, which…
Okay, so just don’t. My mom used to tell me that her mom used to tell her to take a big drink of water and put out the hunger flame. This dilutes stomach acid, truly quenching that burning feeling we so glibly call “starving!”. So the child is hydrated but still able to summon hunger when the meal is served.

No offense, but really, is the food good?

If it’s not home cookin’, that could be half the problem. All that stuff you buy in a box and nuke, like Jane Jetson, isn’t really food. Oh, it says on the label that it’s food, but if we read closely, we see that probably all the non-pronounceables in the package also add some sort of flavor and the microwave definitely does something to texture, believe me. We’ve been lied to, but children are experts at sniffing out fakes . . .
Try cooking, once, to see if that fixes the problem. Add a pinch of salt, and maybe a slight slick of real butter. You might be surprised!

Even better yet, teach your child to cook.

Cooking the food, itself, transfers pride of ownership and true appreciation to the child’s heart. I remember when our daughter prepared her first, ever, entire meal. We sat down to eat and she told me, “Now I know, Mom, why at every meal you always say, ‘It feels so good to sit down.'”Ah, the sweet sound of appreciation! And attention to the duty of complimenting the cook by eating!

Meal planning!

The child who is taught, not only to cook, but also to meal-plan, will become more adventurous in food choices and acceptance, naturally. An amazing government document entitled Nutritive Value of Food is available as a pdf and allows easy research for a balanced diet. I have found it a constant and a joy that when a child discovers, for himself, that a food has nutritive value, he becomes more dedicated to liking it. Yes, a slight attitude change can make that much difference!

Okay, there you have it!

I’ve tried all six of these tacks with my little (and not-so-little) picky ones and they all survived. Hope you find something in this to help you down the road to better eaters, too!

Oh, and please add to these ideas, below, if you want! Thanks!

Tomatoes. Wow. Not.

No tomatoes

Peppers, yes.

This year, it seems either you HAVE enough tomatoes, thank you…

…or else you don’t.

This year, we don’t. We planted 40 Bradleys and Brandywines and got about ten quarts of tomato juice, total.

She sighs.

However, she DOES have tomato recipes and for those of you who have been blessed, she is willing to share and bless you even more!

Have fun! And use the contact page to let her know if you need more recipes, because, unlike the tomatoes, she does have more recipes. Ha.

So here goes!


1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup Italian dressing

Stir and serve cold. Some like it better the second day.


Into each pint jar, place:

1 whole jalapeno
1 pinch rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp. salt

Fill each jar, then, with blanched and peeled tomatoes.
Apply hot flat and screw band.
Pressure can at 5 lbs. of pressure for 10 minutes.


2 T. olive oil
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
2 c. raw sliced mushrooms
1 large onion, chopped
2 or 3 cloves garlic, pressed (or 4) (or 6 or 10)
1 t. powdered cayenne

Cook, stirring, on medium-high until meat is done and crumbly, mushrooms are dark brown, and onion is soft.

Add and stir:

3 T. dried Italian herb mix

Add and stir thoroughly, mashing tomatoes. Simmer for ½ hour:

1 quart canned tomatoes (or about fifteen medium peeled tomatoes)
1 small can tomato paste

Add and stir:

¼ c. Worcestershire sauce
½ c. catsup
several drops of liquid smoke

Add while stirring thoroughly:

2 T. cornstarch mixed with ½ c. water or tomato juice

Continue simmering until sauce thickens. Serve over pasta or spaghetti squash.



2 ¼ c. tomato juice (OR whiz enough whole tomatoes, skin and all, to make that amount)
¼ c. tomato sauce
2 T. butter

Stir into and mix well:

3 c. white flour
1 pkg. yeast
3 T. sugar
1 t. salt

Add and knead:
3 ½ c. – 4 c. more flour

Let rise twice and bake in 2 regular size, greased loaf pans at 375 for 10 minutes and 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Divine for grilled cheese sandwiches!

Okay, that’s all. Love y’all. You can thank me now. ;-)