Monday, September 27, 2010

Tristi Pinkston, Author. Making Friends Monday

Tristi Pinkston is one of my dearest cyber-friends (meaning that I’ve only just briefly met her in person and that she probably only knows me by the picture on my blog and on Facebook). I know her as an amazingly kind person, and also as the author of Agent in Old Lace (I’ve reviewed it on a past blog).

She has a new book out, Secret Sisters, that I haven’t had the pleasure of reading yet. I’m trying to save my pennies so that I can attend the LDStorymakers Conference in May and then purchase a signed copy.

Tristi Pinkston and pre-published author, Tina Scott

Making Friends Monday is Tristi’s idea, and on October 4th, she will post a blog about me. Like I said, she is amazingly kind, and even though she has five published novels, she is genuine and approachable and at the last conference we had our picture taken together. (I’m not a stalker, I promise.)

Tristi Pinkston has been blogging since 2006. On her main blog, ( she covers everything from writing tips and the life of a published author to kid funnies, spiritual thoughts, and embarrassing moments. She also has a weight loss blog, one for writing challenges, another for her fictional characters … and she lost count of how many others she has. You can find the links for them on her sidebar.

Tristi is the author of five published novels and a whole kit ‘n caboodle of unpublished novels. Right now she’s focusing on cozy mysteries, although she has written historical fiction in the past and plans to write more in that genre. She works as a freelance editor and a virtual book tour coordinator. She loves taking long naps, being charmingly annoying, and watching good movies. She’s a Mormon, a homeschooler, a Cubmaster, and most of the time, a headless chicken.

Thanks for playing along, and hopefully, this will bring us all much fun, merriment, and new friends!! Tristi

Tristi and I have enough in common to be friends in real life (still not a stalker)—we’re both Mormon, I served in the Cub Scouting program for approximately 13 years, I love a good movie, and a good book—and my children say that I’m charmingly annoying (minus the charm).
Check out Tristi’s blog if you can, she’s a great gal.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pretzel Jell-O Salad

Sorry I didn’t get my last couple of salad recipes posted before getting sidetracked. Here is the jell-o salad recipe that I promised weeks ago. It’s oh so delicious!

Pretzel Jell-O Salad

Ingredients list:

Cream cheese
2 C. Cool Whip
2 small boxes of strawberry-flavored Jell-O
1 3/4 C. Boiling water
16-oz tub of sweetened, frozen strawberries

Mix together in a 9x13” pan:

2 C. lightly crushed pretzels. I used the stick pretzels, but any plain-flavored shape will do.
¾ C. melted margarine
3 TBSP sugar
Bake at 325 for 8 minutes or until margarine is bubbly.
Allow to cool.
Pretzel crust just out of the oven.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together:

softened, 8-oz cream cheese
2/3 C. sugar
2 C. Cool Whip
Spread over cooled pretzel crust. Refrigerate until firm.
Cool Whip and cream cheese layer.

Dissolve both packages of strawberry Jell-O in 2 cups of boiling water. Add the (still frozen) sweetened strawberries. Stir until the strawberries thaw. Refrigerate until the mixture is slightly thickened. Pour over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until Jell-O is firm--several hours.

Serve and enjoy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Part of Me

My last two children are passing through the portal and into adulthood.
It hurts.
My daughter--my youngest child, was recently asked to model for a store in Safford, AZ. I've written a poem that awkwardly describes my feelings.

A part of me
Applauds my children’s first steps

A part of me
Rejoices as they learn new things

A part of me
Lives for each accomplishment

A part of me
Is proud because they’re so smart

A part of me
As they grow independent
Ready to face the world on their own

Another part of me
That I am whole because
My children are always and forever

A part of me.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Tender Mercy

That’s what Sunday was for me. I must admit that I’ve been quite discouraged as of late—bogged down with things. You know how it is, or maybe you don’t.

Anyway, I went to Sunday School with my niece, and the instructor was a teacher like none other. He gave the most magnificent lesson on talents and how they were gifts from God, and how He expects us to use them—and to improve them.

I already knew this, and yet his words hit me like a hammer.

How will we feel at the end of our life when we’re asked what we did with God’s gifts? Will we have been too busy with things to have developed them properly—will we have taken the time to know what our gifts and talents are (what talents? I don’t have any talents)—or will we be pleased with our report?

For me, it seems I’m always walking a fine line—I don’t want to be overly involved in personal pursuits at the expense of my family—nor do I want to ignore my talents and do nothing but take care of my family, though I do love them enough to do just that. I feel the line and I don’t want to cross it, but when I look around, I feel that others are achieving more. So, I wonder if I’m just giving myself excuses.

So, as a person who struggles to give myself permission to explore my talents and improve them, his message was like a dewdrop from heaven resting on my tongue.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Memories of My Dog Roxy

In Memory of Roxy Scott  1996—2010
Roxy at home.

Roxy came to our home as a two-year-old adult. She was an outside dog, but due to her sweet nature and my husband’s spoiling she soon became an indoor dog.

an upside down Roxy
I think her original owners named her Roxy because she loved to eat rocks. This is no lie. If we caught her doing it, she would spit them out when we told her to.

When she was younger, she would get on our trampoline either to rest or to run around it and chase flies.

Roxy sleeping with her favorite toy.
When someone rang our doorbell, Roxy would knock us over in her attempt to get to the door first—not because she wanted to protect us, but because she wanted to see who was there and have them pet her.
Roxy felt like one of us.
Roxy was a good-natured dog and allowed all kinds of silliness at her expense—we buried her up to her head in the sand once and she waited patiently until we were done—my husband played hide-and-seek with her and she loved it—she loved chasing the laser light.

She wasn’t forgiving with small dogs—but after we babysat my daughter’s dog for ten days, Roxy went around the house looking for her.

Roxy loved chasing cats, and if she didn’t want to eat something, all we had to do is say, “Here kitty, kitty” and she would eat it up.
Roxy is a man's best friend.

“When my husband would say, “What’s that?” Roxy would jump up from a sound sleep and race to the door to protect us from some unseen evil.

She did have her faults, but she had a big heart and tonight our house feels awfully empty.

Roxy's helping dig the hole.
Half way buried and still patient.

Up to her neck in sand.

Roxy loved to lounge on her back.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Knives Sharpened Here

I’ve got a drawer full of knives—most of them have lived out their lives in various stages of dullness. Having wanted sharp knives for years, I’ve received an assortment of knife sharpeners for Christmas and other gift-giving holidays. But, although I’ve tried and tried, those dang knives remain dull. Am I holding them at the wrong angle when sharpening? What’s up?

In the quest to own a knife sharp enough to cut a tomato, I have purchased or had purchased for me (gift-giving holidays), a few fairly expensive knives. Even expensive knives are only sharp for so long. Then, along with their less expensive cousins, they get dull.

Imagine my delight then, when driving home from the grocery store, we spotted a man standing outside of his truck in a vacant lot. The sign said, “knives sharpened here.” WooHoo!!! We came home and decided which knives we should sharpen, and at only $3 a knife, I now own some sharp knives.

I feel like a pro! I never knew what I was missing! Not only can I slice a tomato, but I can chop!!! I can also slice skinny slices of carrot, celery or onion. I am now master chef in a functional home-kitchen.

You want some carrot sticks? Here, let me do that for you. Need to slice an onion? I’ve got your back.

Who knew that having sharp tools made the job so much easier? Well, I did really, but now I'm living the dream!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fruited Spinach Salad

Lest you think that all I eat is spinach in one form or another, I’ll tell you right now that is absolutely not true. I’ve had this recipe for ages, and the other day I was perusing my recipe book and came across it. It is similar to the spinach salad that I’ve already posted, and yet so different.

Also, my advice is that if you’re tired of only spinach in the salad, this recipe is also good with a mixture of lettuces such as red leaf lettuce.

Although I seldom use it, I have a case of raspberry jam in the pantry, and this was my incentive to try this recipe. However, mine is full of seeds so I took the trouble to warm the jam and strain the seeds out. (I know, I know. I need to get over it and get a life.)

Fruited Spinach Salad

1 (11oz) can of mandarin oranges

¼ C olive or vegetable oil (I used canola)3 TBSP raspberry jam or spreadable fruit

1 TBSP red wine vinegar

1 (10 oz) pkg fresh spinach, torn

1 red apple, chopped

1 C chopped pecans, toasted.

Drain oranges, reserving ½ C juice. In a jar with tight-fitting lid, combine oil, jam, vinegar and reserved juice; shake well. In a large salad bowl, toss oranges, spinach, apple and pecans. Serve with the dressing. (Yield 6-8 servings)

Also, if you try this salad and like it (or even if you don’t) I’d love to hear about it.

**Stay tuned next week for a yummy jello salad that my family made me promise to serve on Thanksgiving day.**

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

For Dog Lovers

Trying to sleep in the car, and not
She's more comfie now.

Do dogs get senile? Do they get IBS when they’re older? Our dog, Roxy, has always been a bit eccentric, it’s true. She’s a loveable boxer who loves to sleep on her back, chase laser lights, and lean against you so that she can get her belly rubbed with your foot. She sleeps on the floor beside her bed instead of on it—and, even though she’s my husband’s dog—she prefers sleeping by me.
Roxy in the pool.

But recently, (recently meaning since our move) she has developed some bizarre behaviors. Eating out of the trash is one. We’ve never had to worry about it before because our trash cans used to fit under the sink. Word to the wise—a smaller house also means less space under the sink—don’t ask me why this is, because I have no idea.
Roxy being pampered by her papa.

It is true that Roxy is now a city dog—but she’s only been a country dog for five years—and she’s ten-ish. The problem is that she used to have a whole acre for doing her ‘business’ and now she just has a small yard. But that doesn’t excuse her peeing on the patio! We have grass, after all. Grass is the toilet of preference for sophisticated pooches worldwide. I thought every dog knew that. I thought it was an ingrained instinct they were born with. So why does my dog go on the concrete? Does she not remember that grass is cooler and softer?

The wood floor is slippery,
 and yes, we bought her gripper socks.
Roxy loves our pool, and even though she has bad hips, she will race my husband through the pool gate every time—and win. Why then, has she tried peeing in the pool twice? Doesn’t she realize that it’s not sanitary? Can’t she understand that this is NOT acceptable behavior?! It doesn’t matter that she can get in and out of the pool, and in and out of the pool gate, sometimes she just takes a notion and squats.

These doggy shoes we bought over
 the Internet were equally innefective. And,
she hated them. Can you tell?
I love Roxy, I do, but when she squatted and peed on the wood floor in the kitchen while I was standing not more than two feet away, I almost pitched her out the door on her nose and declared our home a dog-free zone. Don’t worry, there’s no danger of that really—she’s too heavy—and my husband insists. She did spend a long time outside though.

It seems that our dog has lost her sense of propriety. She no longer remembers the guidelines in One Hundred and One Rules to be a Good Pet, volume 1 for dogs. What’s next—chewing holes in the underwear?

(We’ve had a dog that did that, too.)