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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Vintage Greeting Cards

I just love vintage greeting cards. The illustrations are so artistic and vivid.
I was at a yard sale earlier in the year and I couldn't help but pick up three boxes of old cards.
I especially love the baby ones. They are so cute!


The colors are so pretty.

This was a box of Slim Whims. They were mostly comical cards. I found information about them on the internet. They were in an ad in a Boys Life Magazine dated 1958. They were a fund raising item.

I liked them so much that I gave one to my girlfriend a few days ago for her birthday. 
She loved it.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Writing Wednesday

Since I talked to you last Wednesday, I have received a rejection from Magination Press for my chapter book titled, Ollie Belle Brewster and notification by email that my poem,  Summer's Melody, will be in the summer edition of Holler.

I looked through the 2011 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market and picked out more publishers to send my manuscripts to. It is a hair pulling experience, to me the worse part of writing, this thing of trying to get our works published, but if we give up, it will never happen.

Cross your fingers and wish me luck and I will wish you luck!

Summer's Melody was the poem that took second place on the  Writer's Wall at the West Virginia Writer's Convention in June. I couldn't find a hard copy of it and it took me forever to find it on my computer. At least, I hope this is the latest version of it. I guess I will find out when I get my copy of Holler in August. I REALLY NEED TO GET ORGANIZED!

I wrote this poem in early summer, when the weather was really weird. She just couldn't make up her mind what to do.

Summer’s Melody

Like dew upon a sleeping flower
Summer crept upon us.
She floated in like a seed in the wind
Blissful as a hilltop meadow.

Like fog upon a sunken valley
Summer crawled upon us
She frolicked in like a newborn fawn
Refreshing as a babbling brook.

Like storms upon a mountain ridge
Summer rampaged upon us
She swirled in like a tornado blast
Excited as a raging river.

Like dust upon a country road
Summer drifted upon us
She settled in like a muggy day
Content as a weeping willow.

Happy Writing!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Food Friday - Squash recipes

I'm sure most of you who have gardens have an excess of squash right about now. Seems like you can't wait until you pick your first one from the garden, but it doesn't take too long to get tired of having them. My husband says, "cook them every night, so they won't go bad." He doesn't seem to realize that kids (and I) get tired of having them every night. So we have had squash casseroles, fried squash, squash bread, squash patties and squash cubes/tomatoes and onions. But, it hasn't worked - I am getting tired of eating squash!

I have a couple of recipes to share with you:

Squash Cubes/Tomato and Onions

Squash Cubes/Tomato and Onions

1 or 2 squash
1 onion sliced
2 tomatoes peeled and chopped
2 T. butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp sugar

Boil the whole unpeeled squash in water for 15 to 20 minutes (until just tender). Cut into 1" cubes. While the squash is cooking, melt butter in skillet, add onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes and add tomatoes and cook over low heat, covered for 5 minutes. Add cubed squash,  salt, sugar and pepper and cook over low heat, stirring ocassionally, for 15 minutes.

Squash Patties

 Squash Patties

1 cup Bisquick
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese
1/8 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups shredded or finely chopped squash
2 T. chopped onion
1 T. butter

Combine Bisquick, cheese,  salt, eggs, squash and onion in a mixing bowl. Blend well. Melt butter in a large skillet. Spoon heaping tablespoons of squash mixture into skillet. Fry for 3 - 5 minutes per side, until golden brown.

Enjoy your squash!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Writing Wednesday - Similies and Metaphors

My brain is parched
My brow is damp
Please, Mr. Sun
Turn off your lamp.

It has been so hot around here lately, I thought we could try and come up with a few interesting and original similes and metaphors to describe a hot and muggy day.

A simile compares two things using the word like or as.
example: A good book is like chocolate: rich, smooth and addictive.

A metaphor compares two things, but it does not use the word like or as.
 example: A good book is a Hershey bar, waiting to be devoured.

Let's have some fun and describe how the weather has been where you live.

I'll get us started.

The days are hot as a chili pepper hanging on the vines.
Drops of sweat roll down my face like children gliding down a water slide.
The hot sun is a giant heater with its knob stuck in the high position.

Now it is your turn, how has the weather been where you live?

Happy Writing!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Birds, Flowers and Ghost Peppers

I looked outside my kitchen window this morning to see a neighborhood dog playing with something in our yard. He kept capturing it in his mouth and tossing it about. Banging on the window didn't make him leave, so I ran out the door to scare him off.

I found this little baby bird. I was afraid he was dead or his wing may have been broke. But upon close observation, I noticed his eyes were open and he was breathing rapidly. I saw a sibling and parent nearby, so I left. When I returned, he was gone. I was glad to find the baby bird missing, hopefully this means his wing wasn't damaged.

I don't know if you have a Rose of Sharon bush or not. But, I highly recommend them. They are so beautiful. When the flowers drop, they form a colorful ring on the ground around the bush.

Their blossoms are beautiful. The bees love them and so do the butterflies. One word of caution, though, don't plant them near the house in a bed filled with mulch. The seeds fall to the ground and hundreds of baby bushes grow all around. We have one at the corner of our house and if I had a nickle for every little bush I have pulled from the ground, I would be rich. Put them out in the middle of your yard and this will not happen.

My sunflowers were supposed to be mammoth ones. They didn't quite turn out to be mammoth, but they are still pretty.

My son grew ghost peppers this year. Why? That is a good question, but I have no good answer. Ghost peppers are the hottest peppers in the world. You can go here to read about the 'ghost pepper' and some amazing health benefits of the pepper. We have an entire row of these plants. Got milk?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Writing Wednesday - Author Interview

I am very happy to have an author interview for you today on Writing Wednesday!
Sit back and enjoy learning a little about Pam, her mother and their writing.

Pam Hanson and her mother, Barbara Andrews.

Pam, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 
I’m a former journalist and college teacher whose known since the age of ten I wanted to be a writer. My mom and writing partner, Barbara Andrews, sold her first short story to Highlights for Children magazine in the mid-1960s. She’s always been my role  model. I have two sons and am married to a college professor. My mom has lived with us for a dozen years. I was able to realize my lifelong ‘dream’ of writing full time last year.

How did you choose the genre you write in? 
Our current genre, women’s inspirational fiction (including inspirational romances) actually chose us, I believe. Years ago, one of my aunts owned a flea market and gave my mother a bag of romance novels. My writer mother thought she could write them too, and she did. She’s the author of more than 50 books under her own name and ones co-authored with me. Several years ago, we felt a pull in a new direction and have written for three series for Guideposts. Incorporating inspirational themes into romances seemed a natural extension for us, also.

How many books have you had published? 
Together my mother and I have had 30 books published with two more slated for later this year. In addition, this fall Guideposts is releasing a Christmas book featuring three original Grace Chapel Inn novellas. We were very excited to be asked to write one of them. Do you have a favorite? One of my favorites (and my mom’s) is ‘Keeping the Faith,’ a Grace Chapel Inn novel. It emphasizes the determination people can have and how their faith sustains them. Also, it shows what people can accomplish when they set their mind to it.

When and how did you start your writing career? 
I started my writing career as a newspaper reporter in Iowa, fresh out of college. When I was pregnant with my first son (he turns 21 in December!) my mom suggested she and I team up. She wanted to make writing fun for her again. She’s magical when it comes to characters, and I love plotting. We’ve been writing together ever since.

Where do you get your ideas and have you ever experienced writer’s block? 
Honestly, I get ideas from so many sources. And since I’m the idea person in the writing partnership, that’s a good thing! An item in the newspaper, something I see on television, once a phrase in a fairy tale (The Prince’s bride, a version of the Cinderella story) inspired me. And I have never had writer’s block but I have had ‘idea’ block! The best way to get out of it, for me, is to simply try to relax, read, not be afraid to try and reject several idea or combine them, until the block unblocks!

Could you tell us about your latest writing project? 
I’d love to! My mom and I are thrilled about our latest writing project. It’s an original inspirational romance we plan to release this month on Amazon for Kindle. The title is ‘Faith, Fireworks and Fir’ under the name Pam Andrews Hanson. We’re really excited to be trying a new venture. And we are also excited to be part of a new Guideposts series, Miracles of Marble Cove. ‘Seaside Summer’ comes out this year, and we’ve recently been asked to write another.

I think it is neat that you and your mother write as a team. How does that work?  Does writing with someone as a team always run smoothly?

My mother and I always say we have a ‘symbiotic’ writing relationship. The things she excels at and likes to do are different from what my strengths are and what I like to do. Characterization is her forte, and plot is mine. I always say it’s my job to come up with a story and her job to add the magic. We never sit down next to each other and write in tandem. That would last about ten seconds! We do however have ‘story conferences.’ Over the years the method we’ve found works best for us is to use a large folding cardboard display board that we paste big sticky notes onto to keep track of the different book components. We revise the manuscript as we go along, and I do the final edit.

Overall, ours has been a very smooth writing partnership for more than 20 years. On the few occasions we’ve disagreed on something, it’s only taken a conversation to figure things out. My advice to anyone considering writing with a partner is to have a clear delineation of duties. If both partners are interested in plot but don’t care about the characters or vice versa, problems will arise. Check your egos at the door, also. My mother and I have always viewed writing as a profession and that means always being professionals.

The very best thing about being part of a writing team is always having someone to talk to about writing. In elementary school, I used to list my mother’s occupation as ‘free-lance writer’ on those little informational index cards we had to fill out. To follow in my mother’s footsteps and be her writing partner gives me immense joy.

What is the best thing about being a published author?  
The glamour….oh I am so kidding! Seriously, I think as a voracious reader myself, it gives me so much joy to know people may want to read what we’ve written. Books are both my vocation and avocation. I can’t imagine a more fulfilling job for me.

What is the best writing advice you can give? 
Write. Don’t talk about writing, don’t say you’re going to write someday, don’t plan to write and then never do. Just write. And then write some more. Give yourself permission to write junk. Be delighted when you write gems. Just do it. And keep doing it. Don’t dwell on ‘rejections,’ but do revel in successes. That’s my best advice!

What other thing would you like your readers to know about you? 
I adore Nancy Drew books, I feel blessed to write with my mother and to have a great support system of family and friends, I blog at, and before I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be a musical comedy star on Broadway..alas the lack of talent kept me from pursuing that career!

I hope you enjoyed my interview with Pam as much as I did. I really loved learning about her and her mother and the advice she offered. 

Please feel free to leave your comments.

Happy Writing!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Squash, Cucumbers and Recipes

How is your garden doing?
We have lots of cucumbers and squash coming on.

But, what do you do with so many cucumbers?
I don't make pickles, but we  slice them and put them in a bowl of cold water and vinegar and set them on the table at supper time.
We make cucumber sandwiches with them. When my tomatoes finally get ripe, we will have tomato, cucumber and mayo sandwiches....yum!

Here are a couple of cucumber recipes:


4 cucumbers peeled and sliced then 2 bunches of green onions (chopped)
Mix together
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. dill weed
1/2 tsp. salt
Pour over cucumbers and onions

This is very good and I could just eat and eat it.
But, I have to admit that I leave out the green onions and I use Miracle Whip.

Here is another one. I have never tried this one before, but it is one of my cousin's recipes and is in our family cookbook.


3 medium cucumbers
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 t ground cumin
1 t dried mint leaves
Peel cucumber.  Cut in half lengthwise and discard seeds.  Slice thinly.
Mix the remaining ingredients together; add cucumbers and toss well.
Serve chilled.

And, what do you do with all your squash or zucchini?

We have made squash casserole, fried squash and squash cakes.

You can go here for my recipe for squash bread. It is delicious! You can use either yellow squash or zucchini.

Enjoy your veggies while you have them. Take those zucchini, leave them on your neighbors porch, ring their doorbell and run! And maybe leave my recipe for squash bread, they'll appreciate it.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Vintage Pitchers

I have a few vintage pitchers. Since I have more than three, I guess you could say I have a collection.  Someone once told me that if you have at least three of something, you have a collection.

If you look close you will see three pitchers on top of my china cabinet. The turquoise on the left is new Fiesta, the dark  green one on the right is old Fiesta, I got it at a yard sale for $5. I don't know who made the pretty one in the middle that has a yellow rose on the front of it. It is a Fiesta look a like.

Here is another old Fiesta look a like. My sister in law got it for me at a thrift store. I don't know who made it, do any of you?

I got this old pitcher at a neighbor's yard sale.  It is made in Liverpool.


This pretty one with the bees on it was made in Japan.
This one with the wheat design and matching glasses sits on top of one of my freezers.
This pretty yellow one sits behind it with old tulip glasses surrounding it.
I guess you can tell I like yellow.

Today I added another one to my collection. It is Hall and I got it at the thrift store. It is called a ball jug pitcher. My kitchen is red and yellow, so I just had to get it.
There is only one problem. It has a chip on it. It is a recent chip, I'd say it probably happened at the thrift store. But, I only paid 25 cents for it, so I guess I shouldn't complain. I will just have to turn it so the chip will not be seen.
 I am trying to get rid of some of my 'stuff.' I am having a yard sale this summer and I am determined to sell some of it. But, everytime I start to sort, I say, "Oh, I like this, I don't want to get rid of this." 

I guess we will  just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Writing Wednesday - Inserting Fact into Your Fiction

I lead a pretty boring life, which is not good if you are a writer.
Interesting, crazy and funny lives can lead to some pretty interesting stories.

But all is not lost. Fortunately, you can take simple happenings, memories and family member quirks and add them to your manuscript. You can add these small tidbits to your storyline or characters and make for some interesting reading.

I've had this picture frame for years. I picked it up at either a yard sale or thrift store. Many times I have thought of getting rid of it, but I loved it too much. I finally searched for some family pictures to stick in the windows. I put the baby pictures of my three boys in the tiny round windows. My oldest is looking out from the attic. The  middle picture is my mom holding my youngest in a rocking chair. Those are my favorites of the entire frame. My grandparents greet you at the front door and my gr grandparents are on both sides of them. I just love this little 'family tree' frame.

I have taken little quirks, physical traits and unusual mannerisms from my family and added them to my stories.

For instance, how else would I come up with a name such as Ollie Belle for my main character in a chapter book I have written. My mother in law once told me if I ever had a girl, I could name the baby after her and my mother and call her Ollie Belle. It is a cute name, but I'm kind of glad I didn't have a girl.

My father was in the army during WWII and served in Japan for a year after the bombs were dropped. We have listened to his war stories for years. I used them as a basis for a short story titled The War is Finally Over.

Lucy of Tupper's Holler is very loosely based on my grandparents and gr parents life in the early 20th century. There are many things in the manuscript that I would never thought to put in a story had it not been true facts about them. For instance, my grandmother was a very superstitious person and my grandfather was what I would call a healer. He stopped blood and blew the fire out of burns. And, my gr grandmother was rumored to be a  witch. I would never think to put these kind of things in a story if they weren't a part of my ancestor's lives.

I wrote a short story about mine and Charley's courtship and marriage. It is titled, Always There to Hold my Hand.  

Simple things such as the memory of the smell of honeysuckle at your grandparent's house, picking berries, winning ribbons at a county fair for canned goods, working in an enamelware factory during the 1940s, unusual family names, how a cousin or aunt hated sleeping on straw tic beds, your grandmother making quilts and selling them for $2 and the refreshing taste of cool well water in the bucket by the kitchen door can work their way into your stories and poems.

Sit down and look at your family's pictures and make a list of interesting happenings, physical features, mannerisms and quirks. You might find great material  to add to your next story or poem.

Happy Writing.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Yard Pics and Comments

Sometimes big is not better. . .


But sometimes, it would be. . .


I like black better than red. . .


I've never had the problem of being too tall for my surroundings. . .


But, I am not perfect. . .


So why should I expect perfection from my plants