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The other day I was writing the scene in my latest Work in Progress, and I noted that I tend to use some words or phrases quite a bit. In a conversation, people nod, shake their head, shrug, and so on. And as this is the first draft, it is quite normal to fall into using these words or phrases. But I was thinking rather than wait until my next round of editing, what words or actions could I use instead? Well, a quick search on the internet led me to this blog post of 100+ Ways to say Shrug by Kathy Steinemann. Here are the first lines of her post: “Perhaps you rely on shrugs as action beats to differentiate between speakers in dialogue; or maybe you’re on an early draft, and you write the fi...
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Quote of the Week – September 23

Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school ~ Albert Einstein Original link
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Fundraising during a pandemic


Many non-profits depend on donations and fundraisers to support their programs. And the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) is no different. We could not survive without the support of parents and community members. But this year it is harder to fundraise. Many businesses that we depend on for support are struggling. Some have laid off workers or are not even open. And if we turn to parents, we face similar issues. They may be struggling financially, worried about losing their job or be unemployed. Our school district was concerned about the stress that families could be dealing with whether it was financial or emotional. Originally, they banned all fundraising. And then they amended it to only...
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Recipe of the Month – Spaghetti Bake


My daughter had good luck picking taco casserole for a dinner that she has continued to suggest other meals.  This one came for the Delish website. Since she likes spaghetti this seemed like the perfect fit for her. While it was good (needs more sauce), I don’t think I would choose this over a regular plate of spaghetti.     Ingredients Cooking spray16 oz. spaghetti2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped2 cloves garlic, minced1 lb. ground beefkosher saltground black pepper1 tsp. Italian seasoning1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes1/2 c. basil, chopped1 c. shredded mozzarella1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan Directions Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a medium baking dish wit...
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Quote of the Week – Sept 16

Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today ~ Malcom X Original link
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Unexpected trips to the veterinarian prove pets can be expensive


In addition to the two-legged children, I am the “mom” of five of the four-legged variety. That is two Cocker Spaniels (Gypsy and Sadie Rose) and three cats (Spooky, Tails and Nikki). All except Gypsy are considered seniors. Sadie Rose just turned 7 while the cats are 12, 13 and 15. This leaves Gypsy as the “baby” at age 2 ½. When you have multiple pets – especially older ones – you have to expect a certain amount of expense. There of course is food, treats, cat litter, and toys. And then there is the normal well-checks and shots. But one thing it is hard to prepare for is when you fur-baby gets hurt or sick. Lexie always talks about when she grows up she is going to have two dogs and a cat....
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I need more time! – A September update


Well it is September. Ok, technically it has been September for six full days, and I have not posted at all in September. Ugh. Well, as always my excuse is that I am busy. And will continue being busy through at least this week and maybe next week. I keep saying – and hoping – that things will slow down after the middle of this month. Ok, here are some things that have been keeping me from posting. PTA – This shouldn’t come as a surprise. One, I am on 3 different PTAs. And two, well, all PTAs are busy at the beginning of the year. The one that takes up most of my time is the Middle School, where I am PTA president. Not only did I have to prepare for the first board and membership meetings of...
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Quote of the Week – August 26

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world ~ Nelson Mandela Original link
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Oh my! We have a new driver in the house


It is a mix of feelings when you first born reaches the age where he (or she) can learn to drive. I’m excited for him to move onto this new area, but at the same time, I have trepidation about him driving out there with all those other crazy drivers. Yes, my son, Jase turned 15 in May. Because the Department of Public Safety was closed due to COVID-19, we didn’t get his learner’s permit until the beginning of July, which was the earliest we could get an appointment. I must say I love having an appointment. It cut down the usual long wait at the DPS office to mere minutes. In Texas, you have the choice of sending you teen to driving school or go the “parent-taught” route. We chose the latter....
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Quote of the Week – August 19

Education is not the learning of facts but the training of the mind to think ~ Albert Einstein Original link
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A new…and very different…school year begins

Today is the first day of school. But it is not like years past. Today, instead of grabbing their zippered binders and lunch boxes, the kids are heading to their computers to start school. Yes, we are beginning the year with virtual learning. Unlike the distance learning of the Spring, this is actual classes taught on Zoom. It is supposed to be as close to in-person learning as possible. This is Jase’s first year of high school. But the nerve-wracking find out where your classes are in the new school will have to wait. His online – and later in person schedule – resembles a college schedule. He has 4 classes that meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Then he has 3 classes that meet for a longer...
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Recipe of the Month: Taco Casserole


My daughter loves the Zippy Beef & Mac casserole and Enchilada Casserole so she suggested trying Taco Casserole and found this recipe on dinneratthezoo.com. We have made just a few adjustments to the recipe and those changes are listed below. This is an easy recipe and everyone in the family loved it. I think this will be a great meal to plan on a busy school or work day. And it is a good use for those small pieces at the bottom of the tortilla chip bag. Ingredients 1 lb ground beef 1/2 cup onion, chopped 1 packet taco seasoning 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes (I use either Chipotle or Mexican-style), undrained 1 1/4 cup tortilla chips, crushed 16 oz. can refried beans 1/3 cup salsa 1 1/2 cup...
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Quote of the Week – July 22

We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt  Original link
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Now distance learning is required…at least temporarily

New Information regarding Distance Learning – Harmony School of ...
Last week I wrote about having to choose between in-person and distance learning for my two children. Three days after my post, my school district made the decision to start the school year out with three weeks of distance learning. Now this is not the distance learning of the final quarter of last year – or so the district assures us. When we began staying home last time, the teachers had a week to scramble and set up distance learning. They had no clue what type of technology or internet access their students had and while the schools offered devices to those in need, many parents and students struggled with the technology and assignments. A typical week in the old way involved a project f...
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Quote of the Week – July 15

Amid these trying times, we need all the positive thoughts we can muster. I particularly like this song – Better Days by OneRepublic. Oh, I know that there’ll be better daysOh, that sunshine ’bout to come my wayMay we never ever shed another tear for today‘Cause oh, I know that there’ll be better days To hear the rest of the song, check out the video. Original link
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Choosing between in-school and distance learning


If you are a parent, you may be struggling with the momentous decision of whether your kids should return for in-school learning this school year. With cases of COVID-19 rising across the United States and the school year fast approaching, many parents are left wondering what this school year will be like. Some school districts have taken that decision out of the parent’s hand by only offering distance learning. Yet with the President and Secretary of Education declaring school should be open, some school districts are hemming and hawing about whether it comply or to go with the safer option of keeping students at home for this school year. It is hard to say which is best. It isn’t as easy a...
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Trying to stay on task…again


You would think with the COVID-19 pandemic run rampant in San Antonio, Texas that I would have all the time in the world to write, to finish my first draft of my latest book. We are after all supposed to be staying home…again. Yet, here it is that time is slipping by and I am not getting as much done as I would like on the writing front. Sigh. This is a typical problem for me. And I am sure it is a problem for many Independent Authors who do not write full-time. It is my other life that is encroaching on my time. As I have said before on this blog, I have a problem saying no when it comes to volunteering. I am involved in four different school related boards – 2 local Parent-Teacher Associat...
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Vacationing during the pandemic


Well, if you have watched the news lately, you know that COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing here in Texas. In fact, San Antonio is in the top 10 COVID hot spots in the U.S. This is not the list you want to be on. Originally, before this whole mess came about – way before 2020 started my parents, brother and I planned a June trip to New Orleans. That went out the window when New Orleans was listed as a hot bed for COVID 19 cases in April. In May, as things were going well in San Antonio, we planned to replace the New Orleans trip with one to South Padre Island so the kids could enjoy the beach, which had recently opened. We had no clue when we booked the trip what restaurants would be open. All ...
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Recipe of the Month – Vanilla Slice-and-Bake Cookies

This is an easy cookie recipe. Typically when I make these they are eaten in the first 24 hours. I choose this picture of the cookies as their layout makes the shape of Mickey Mouse. (Disney fans will understand this.) Ingredients 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened 1 cup sugar 1 egg 2 t. vanilla extract 1 3/4 cups flour 1/2 t. baking soda 1/4 t. salt 1/2 cup chopped pecans Directions Cream butter, gradually add sugar, beating well at medium speed of an electric mixer. Add egg and vanilla, beat well. Combine flour, soda and salt; add to creamed mixture, beating well. Stir in pecans. Shape dough into 2 rolls (about 10 inches long). Wrap in wax paper and chill for at least 2 hours. Unwrap ro...
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Quote of the Week – July 1

For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson Original link
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