Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mommy Manifesto 2014

Tomorrow is the last day of school! 

Never before have I been so ready for summer.  Usually I am hiding in a coffee shop frantically trying to write just one more chapter before the kids get out of school. 

This year the kids have truly earned a break.  Also, they are 9 and 11.  So its time to toss up the Mommy Manifesto a bit.  I let the 9 year old write the rules for the summer. 

 1.  No screen time until after breakfast and morning responsibilities.
2.  1 field trip per week (or more).
3.  Play with the dog. 
4.  From 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Mom must right.  Kids are in charge of lunch, not arguing, having screen time and making Mom right. 
5.  Read 20-50 pages of a chapter book every day.
6.  Go to the library every week.
7.  Friday night tacos and board games.
8.  No fencing in the house or biting.
9.  Week days kids can stay up but have to be in their rooms by 9:00 p.m.
10.  We can rewatch movies.
11.  Hikes at the Greenway once a week or more. 

This could be a very interesting summer!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Trailside Pad Thai

I am backpacking with my family next weekend for our annual Mother's Day trek to Graveyard Fields in Pisgah National Forest.  We have been camping at the same site for 20 years. 

Each year it gets easier to pack food for our trips because the kids are starting to eat like grown ups.  I am always tinkering with fun foods to make in the field.  Trailside Pad Thai has been the biggest success. 

At the request of Pack 832, here is the recipe and some hints on rounding up the ingredients. 

Trailside Pad Thai for Two
2 cups of boiling water
1 tomato bouillon cube (size may very, use enough for 2 cups)
3 tbsp powdered coconut milk
1 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp dry basil
1 tbsp chopped dry onions
2 nests of Bean Curd Thread Noodles
Unsalted Peanuts

Pour two cups boiling water into cooking/steeping vessel.  This makes it easier to clean your jet boil. 
Stir in the bouillon cube and powdered coconut milk until dissolved. 
Add the rest of the spices and stir. 
Add the noodles and let steep until the noodles are clear and tender. 
Top with peanuts. 

Bean Curd Thread Noodles:  Most grocery stores with a decent foreign foods section have some form of these noodles.  Go for the thinnest ones so they steep faster.  I get ours at Compare grocery store on Arrowood in Charlotte, NC.  Our Costco has had them by the bail a few times and they are also available at Amazon. 

Coconut Milk Powder:  I have the best luck finding this ingredient at Indian Grocery Stores.  My two favorites are Payal on South Blvd. or Patel Brothers on Centrum Parkway.  It is also available on Amazon. 

Product DetailsChopped Dry Onions:  I get ours from Costco.  Nothing fancy and freeze dried.  Most spice aisles have them.

Curry Powder:  We are spoiled and get a 30% ground saffron curry from relatives who travel.  Just use your favorite curry powder.  McCormicks isn't too exciting but it will do in a pinch.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Maker Faire North Carolina 2014

38 days, 3 hours and 7 minutes until summer vacation. 

This is one busy writer trying to get projects buttoned up and ready for shortened summer work hours.

This is also one busy cruise director plugging dates into the calendar.

Unfortunately some of our plans won't work.  Going to a Maker Faire is one of our family bucket list items.  The closest one to us is Maker Faire North Carolina in Raleigh but the dates coincide with Pookie's dance recital.  

Here is the info is any of you can make it.  This is a great experience for kids and grown ups.  From crafts to electronics, this even will get you thinking, building and making.  

Back Home

Monday, April 21, 2014

Blue, Purple and Grey

Looking back on last week, I see a definite theme.

Wednesday:  Picked the kids up from their grandparents' place on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Thursday:  Helped a relative move into his new digs then hit Indigo Books on Johns Island.  

Saturday:  Got to Glazed Gourmet Donuts early enough to finally get a Purple Goat.  This place closes when they run out of donuts and their lavender goat cheese Purple Goats sell out fast.  Verdict:  Purple Goats are absolutely wonderful, worth waking up at 6:30 a.m. and still hard enough to obtain that none of us suffered from Post Quest Syndrome. 

Blue Bicycle Books was next.  This place is more than a great used/new bookstore with a treasure around every turn.  Blue Bicycle is very active on the literary scene with authors luncheons, book signings and (my favorite) YALLfest every November. 

YALLfest gathers young adult readers and authors together for a weekend of talking about books.  As a writer, I loved watching teens and tweens meet their favorite authors. 

Anyone who thinks digital media will turn print books into dinosaurs needs to attend this years YALLfest and watch kids wheel suitcases of treasured books around to get signed. 

However, there was one intrepid reader last year who was having the authors sign her kindle cover.  That in of itself was some kind of awesome. 

Check out the list of authors from YALLfest 2013 and you will see why I am planning to attend again this year. 

Sunday:  Unpacking suitcases and enjoying a Grey Lady by Cisco.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Piles and Piles

Revising the "Stolen Swarm" has triggered some vicious spring cleaning.  The manuscript and my general surroundings are starting to look pretty good. 

I excavated my nightstand and probably lowered my risk of dying in an avalanch.

Don't worry.  This can never happen again.  Ed and I stole the much smaller, harder to pile stuff on, nightstands from the guest room.  Now I just need to shelve all these book.

This is what 2 nightstands and 6 dresser drawers look like all nice and deconstructed.  The dresser is living a new life as a workbench in Ed's study.  The boards and hardware should make 2 or perhaps 3 Little Free Libraries. 

I am being a good critter and not letting myself build libraries until "Stolen Swarm" is ready for submissions.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring Cleaning and a Note from 2009

In the spirit of Spring Cleaning, I have been going through each of my writing projects.  Every one of the little dears has been getting a read with fresh eyes and assigned a set of goals.  I even wrote a query letter.  

Holy smokes, there's an iron in the fire!
It's not just the arrival of spring that put a bee in my bonnet.  The clock is ticking.  

School ends on June 5th.  I have 53 days, 3 hours and 39 minutes to get the "Stolen Swarm" ship shape and submission ready and finish writing the first draft of "Obgin."  

So what am I doing this morning with the kids out of town, a fresh cup of cafe con leche by my side and a husband working through a chores list? 

I'm laughing at something I wrote to my son 5 years ago. 


Apologies to My Six Year Old

June 17, 2009

I am sorry the dinosaurs are extinct.
Truly I am.

I am sorry I let your sister wear your Yoda underwear to school.

I am sorry you haven't lost any teeth yet.
Our family is dentally retarded. It will happen. Eventually.

I am sorry that I won't let you blame your sister for the dinosaurs extinction. She has done a lot of things to you. This is not one of them.

I am sorry the orange tom cat moved out. Some day you will realize that I cannot compete with the woman up the hill who buys him organic canned food and hires a pet psychic.

I am sorry I introduced you to opera. I didn't realize that it would make your sister louder.

I am sorry your father let you watch 2001.

I am sorry your sister learned to swim before you did.

I am sorry I said Star Wars is not a documentary.

Friday, April 11, 2014


I bought it for the bottle. 

Even children's writers need libations. 

What a happy way to launch a four day, kid free, writing and gardening binge. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Taking the plunge

I have been in love with the concept of mini libraries.  My pinterest account is brimming with hacked vending machines that dole out books, bright boxes displaying tempting titles, and fanciful fiction receptacles like this one in New York, featured in Lilbitbrit's blog.

This summer I think it is time to take the plunge.  I am determined to launch at least one little free library. 
Tools:  Garage is full of them.
Paint:  The Recycling Center always comes through for me.
Books:  Oh yeah.  Tons.  This family definitely has the Gentle Madness and could do to shed a few titles.
Location:    ???

We live in a vinyl village at the end of a cul de sac.  Not a lot of foot traffic of any age.  Perhaps if we build it, they will come. 

Any ideas?

More Mini Library Links:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Science Time Summer Camp 2014

It's that time of year when the seed catalogs come in and the grapevine starts waking up but I can't quite justify playing in the garden all day because it is too wet and too cold. 

So today I'm inside working online with Peggy, planning the 2014 Science Time Summer Camps. 

Maybe next weekend I'll plunge my hands into the dirt. 

Here are the schedules and registration information in case any of you know a curious 3 or 4 year old in the Fort Mill/Charlotte area.   Registration is available online: