Friday, December 19, 2014

Because Christmas never goes out of style

Here it is, less than a week before Christmas and I'm just getting the last of my gifts wrapped and more importantly, unwrapping a

 new cover on a brand new book! The Season For Miracles is a story I wrote years ago for a holiday party our writing group was having. I read this short tale as part of our Christmas presentation with the rest of my group, Annette Briggs, Jeanette Fletter, Edward Knapp and his wife JoAnne. I'll never forget the warmth of the day and how wonderful to spend part of the season with such awesome writers and dear friends.

Without further ado....


One snowy Christmas Eve Victoria and her little dog spend hours wandering the chilly streets selling ribbons and peering through store glass windows at the grand gifts designed to fill boys and girls
Christmas wishes everywhere.
But Victoria has a wish of her own. A yearning for something she wants more than anything else in the world. And perhaps this year Father Christmas will find her and make all her dreams come true.

When a withered old storekeeper and his gentle wife find themselves in her company, they are at a loss. The couple has long forgotten the joys of Christmas spent with a child and the magic sure to follow when they open their home and their hearts to... The Season for Miracles.

I'm sure by now you know this is not my usual romance but a children's story. And despite the fact it is a Christmas story, I don't think it'll be available until after Christmas. But no matter because its a heartwarming tale that can be read anytime of year. In fact, I've read it at least twenty times myself just this week!  I hope you have a wonderful holiday with all those you hold dear!

Come inside for a sneek peek...




The Season for Miracles



          London, 1875

         Victoria followed the vender’s cart for several blocks trailing the scent of roasted chestnuts as it rolled along Brick lane before a bitter gust of wind and snow carried the wondrous smell away. The peddler stopped at the snow covered crossing.  “Tis frozen, I am,” he said, rubbing his hands together quickly. “Think I’ll be callin’ it a night, wee one.”

         “See ye’ in the morning, then.”  The little girl said, waving goodbye as he turned down the deserted street corner.  “I’ve got a few ribbons left. I’ll see if the old store keep has a need of ‘em.” 

         “Good’night, then,” the peddler replied, wobbling off beneath the twilight sky and into a dusty mist of snow.

        Victoria shivered inside her coat as she climbed the wide snow covered steps to Cranstoun’s shop and pushed open the heavy door. Buoyant snow swooped in after her until the door slapped shut, cutting off the fierce wind and a flurry of scattered snow.

        A gray haired man stood behind the counter, peering over his spectacles at her, notably at the small dog trailing at her heels.

      “See here now, I don’t allow animals in the store.”  The old man’s voice was laced with annoyance, his mustache dancing like a wooly mammoth above his mouth.  He absently wiped the counter with a damp rag.  When she didn’t move, he leaned down closer.  “What’s the matter, hard of hearing?”  This time he said the words slowly, “No…pets…in…the…store,” he enunciated, then reared back to his full height, which wasn’t very tall, the bend in his back prevented him from towering.  “Heard me that time, didn’t you?”

         “Are you Mr. Cranstoun?”

         “I am.” He puffed up a bit. “I own this store…and every thing in it.” He’d grown accustomed to the street urchins rushing into his store, grabbing what little they could and scrambling out before he could catch them.  He’d learned their type, dirty and homeless, hardened to the core, and not a trustworthy one in the lot. “What business do you have with me?”

         Her lower lip drew up slightly and began to tremble as she fidgeted with the bottom of her shoddy coat, draped loosely around her and held together with a single button.

        “I come to sell ye some ribbons,” she said in a squeaky voice, her tiny shoulders sagging in defeat.  She held out a handful of silk, a bountiful array of scarlet, emerald and blue ribbons that dangled wet in her palm.  Her golden locks of hair hung in a drenched mass of tangled strings as well, while the melting snow clinging to her shoes created a watery puddle on the floor.

         “I got ribbons,” he bellowed.  “Bolts of them.” 

         Her eye’s swelled with tears. 

        “Oh, for the love of Pete….” He muttered and hurried around the counter.

         “Did you say something, Cilas?”  A voice called from the backroom.  The sound was soft and warm, drawing the child’s gaze to the rear of the store.

         The dog let out a warning bark when Cilas squatted in front of the girl. 

         “Do I hear a dog?”  The woman entered the room through a curtained doorway. “Why, it is a dog!” she exclaimed.  “And a little girl too.”

Monday, November 10, 2014

Raise a cup to salute our Veterans of America!

I love cups, bottles and jars, especially ones with history. This particular cup most likely is filled to the brim with many such stories shared around a campfire from a tired and war-weary soldier after a long day and many miles covered on foot.

Some tins were manufactored by Jacob Bromwell, government issued and kept tucked inside a Haversack. Those marked US were post war. This cup may have been crafted by Otter Creek Tinware or S&S Sutter of Gettysburg and possibly used for many months in the field. It would be months or years even before the soldier could hope to return home to the luxury of porcelain and stoneware.
The list below gives us some kind of idea what the solider of yesterday required. Some of the items were issued or purchased with allotment money.
On this Veterans day I wanted to take a moment to thank all Veterans-past and present- for the sacrifice so that I may live free. God bless you.



This website has so many items used during war time, you’ll want to check it out.



Made of tin, the rim and handle should be wired. Do not buy the cup stamped "U.S." This is post war. Also be mindful to stay away from stainless steel products. Tin cups were produced in a variety of different styles. The tin cups were not an issued item and the soldiers were required to supply their own. In addition to, or in substitution for the tin cup, many soldiers also use old tin cans. The tin cans of the period were smooth sided, unlike the can of today which have ridges around their sides. And with the addition of an improvised wire handle on the top, the tin can would make a good coffee boiler.


 All of this information and much more can be found on this website.  

Clothing allowance for a 5-year enlistment (Regulations of 1857)

  • 1 great coat (1 per 5 years)
  • 2 blankets (1 per 1.5 years)
  • 11 pairs flannel drawers (1 per 5.5 months)
  • 13 pairs trousers (1 per 4.5 months)
  • 15 flannel shirts (1 per four months)
  • 20 pairs bootees (1 per 3 months)
·         20 pairs stockings (1 per 3 months)
·           2 leather stocks (1 per 2.5 years)
  •   2 pompons (1 per 2.5 years)
  •   2 eagles and rings (1 per 2.5 years)
  •   5 cap covers (1 per year)
  •   7 dress caps (1 per 8.5 months)
  •   8 frock coats (1 per 7.5 months)

Clothing allowance for a 5-year enlistment (revised Regulations of 1861 and GO 95). (Prices are from “The Company Clerk” 1863):

  • 1 great coat (1 per 5 years) $9.50
  • 2 blankets (1 per 2.5 years) $3.60
  • 5 forage caps (1 per year)  $0.56 (cover $0.18)
  • 10 sack fatigue coats (1 per 6 months) lined $3.14, unlined $2.40
  • 11 pair flannel drawers (1 per 5.5 months) $0.95
  • 13 pairs of trousers (1 per 4.5 months) $3.55
  • 15 flannel shirts (1 per four months) $1.46
  • 20 pairs of bootees (1 per 3 months) sewed $2.05, pegged $1.48
  • 20 pairs of stockings (1 per 3 months) $0.32
Dress uniforms
  • 5 dress hats with trimmings  (1 per year) total $2.04  (hat $1.68; feather .15; cord and tassel .14; eagle .02; bugle .03; letter .01; number .01)
  • 5 frock coats (1 per year) $7.21
  • 2 leather stocks (1 per 2.5 years) $0.10 


Some really neat bottles.

Below is an old metal bottle cap. Its rusty so I haven't tried to secure it by pushing down the tab. I have no idea how old this is.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Keeping the romance to write alive...despite the rejections

Keeping the romance alive~

                                Despite the rejection(s)




I want to be a writer.  And yet, it has been a daunting uphill battle faced with much heartache, rejection and even the loss of every word I’d written to a house fire. But still, I really want to see my name on the cover of book. So I trudge on. I read somewhere that the apprenticeship before one could expect to sell is 10,000 hours of writing, learning the craft and developing the techniques. So, in my case, writing one hour a day, seven days a week that would be twenty-seven years. Do I have what it takes to wait that long? You can see why the romance of writing evaporates. Maybe I should try gardening.



I’m always happy when I read some lucky pre-published author whose manuscript gets picked from the slush pile, read over the weekend and notified by a very excited editor screaming “I loooove this book.” Or, the rare occurrence of a manuscript creating a NY buzz in an auction, going for six or seven figures and launching a star search for filming. These wonderful antidotes help to keep me going during the lull. 


Halfway through my apprenticeship I deciphered the best way for me to keep the romance for writing alive, to find the courage to submit, and face the possibility it may never happen. And here’s what I discovered:


  1. I love writing. No matter how many rejections the mailman brings, or the email letdowns I find early a.m. (I’ve learned that’s when editors send rejections) I usually put those in a file to be re-evaluated later, when I’m calm and am more likely to absorb and possibly agree with the editor’s reason and comments for the rejection.


  1. Despite how disheartening all these setbacks are, it’s important to remember the reasons you chose to write at all. What propelled you to sit down, pen in hand and put your thoughts on paper? Remember the excitement discovering how much you loved the process. 


  1. Surround yourself in writing luxury. I’m not talking millions of dollars here, but the simple tools you need to work with. Things that tickle your muse or stimulate the urge to jot stuff down, freeing up and wrestling writers block. Pens and journals, crisp paper with a smooth flowing felt-tip pen. Susan Wiggs is said to write all of her first drafts with purple ink in a spiral notebook. I received a letter from her once and I swear it smelled just like grapes! How fun is that!


Use whatever stimulus that trigger an emotional level. Since writing demands emotions, you want all the advantages, right?


  1. I read someone’s response on a blog as to why they chose to write.  I only have her user name, Smartygirl. Her explanation. ‘I started writing as a kid, not to be a great author. I just wanted to be inside the pages of Anne of Green Gables. So I wrote myself there.’  I love that. Remember when you were small and the motto was I can do anything. Go for it!



Saturday, October 18, 2014

My Search for Oz


I can honestly say when I first watched the Wizard of Oz I didn’t see all the special effects. Back in those days, (yes, I mean waaaaaay back) when nearly every television set was black and white, you made due.

My brother and I convinced ourselves we could make out the colors. I mean, a typical rural farm house is white, right? The pigs were most likely an Orchard white or black & white Berkshire. Glenda, the good witch, could only have worn white and had rosy cheeks. While the wicked witch’s complexion showed up as gray, I just knew it had to be a nasty pea-green face.


What I didn’t learn until I was much older….


Glenda’s hair wasn’t blonde, but a soft red. And the horse of a different color actually changed colors, going from royal blue, to purple, pink and even green.  



Back then I thought the Wizard was a mean old man, asking Dorothy to fetch the witch’s broom like that. How dare he? He knew it was dangerous. But now, I have to wonder. Do you suppose what he really wanted was to test her? To see if she had the heart and the courage to do what was asked of her, even though she’d clearly rather not. A character test, perhaps?


Or dare to dream.

Oscar Zoroaster (he had seven middle names) had been hot-air ballooning when he happened upon the strange village. Unlikely he’d ever make it back to Omaha, Nebraska, Oscar followed his own sound advice. Maybe he was challenging Dorothy to discover, adapt and over come. Which the Wizard did beautifully; he was given the best job in Oz, wasn’t he?



I’ll admit at the end, despite all of the new adventures and fabulous friends, Dorothy still wanted to go home. And I kept thinking to myself why? How could she leave everything glittery and magical in the the merry-ol-land of Oz to return home? To all the gray... and quiet, ho-hum existence?


Well, again, it wasn’t until years later, after all the Technicolor of my youth, that it makes sense to me now. I learned her actual words in the book were “Take me home to Aunt Em.” Dorothy longed to embrace those she loved before it was too late. And too, she craved the comfort of the sturdy old farm house with a scatter of chickens pecking and scratching around the dusty yard.


All this confirms what I’ve come to discover. Years pass but the heart will always carry the warmth and happiness of home and family, and the cherished memories that make up our lives. There truly is no place like home.






Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Today I'm musing with Betty

Hi folks!

Just wanted to pop in and share with you that today I'm over at Betty's blogging about my new release Man of Her Dreams. Which also happens to go on sale today at Kindle for the low price of .99

Like all good things, the sale price may be a bit slow is showing up. But Amazon has assured me, it will be up and running today, Aug. 6th.

Meanwhile, check out my musing with Betty and discover where the idea for this story began.

See you there!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Today I'm over at Leslie's

I'm visiting Leslis Garcia today, where she uncovers some ups and downs in my writing life. Stop by if you're curious what makes me, me.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

It's five O'clock somewhere...right?

I've got to show off the new clock I found for my laundry room. I love the colors, cream and red. It's great to fold the clothes and listen to the tic-toc of a wound up clock. No neon digital numbers on this face.

And sunning outside in the heat requires a insulated thermal cup. Check this out. It even has a snap-on lid to keep the bugs out. This keeps my lemonade icy cold and bug-free.

And for all you Regency romance authors, check this out! The names and designs of several carriages.
Lets see...there's a Light Barouche, A Shifting Quarter RockAway and an English Phaeton. Niftly, right? 

See why I love being a thingfinder. You never know what you'll find! Now...time for a break. I just have time for a half of cup of coffee. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

So, I wrote this book...

Okay, you guys (and gals) all know that I love to write, right? Hehee. Yeah. Anything from grocery lists to poetry, children's stories and romance. I also love to doodle a bit with drawing but my real passion has always been to makeup characters, give them pesonalities a little over the top, problems galore, then sit back and see what kind of stuff they can get in to.

Leslie and Jay almost didn't get their happy-ever-after. Things looked pretty grim for awhile...especially once Spike (the bald-biker dude) decided he wanted much more from Leslie. The whole enchilada, so to speak. Whew! Lucky for her Madame Luella is equiped to handle most any situation. And Mr. Jingles...well, that adorable little guy is practically busting at the seams to get them together.

Man of Her Dreams is getting ready to launch. The new and improved version will be back up soon and available to purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble ebook sites.

I don't actually have a release date yet, but as soon as I do, I'll let you know.

It's been really hectic around here and I'm naturally slow at this kind of stuff so bear with me.

But in case I haven't proudly shown off the new cover....

Ta-Da!  What do'ya think? Gorgeous, right?  I know, I'm in love. And you will be too as soon as you
meet Jay & Leslie and her very funny outspoken friend, Sally.

Here's just a peek at the chemisty between them:

     Leslie rolled onto her side, reached up and stroked his cheek.  “I’ve got a confession.”
     “Let me get my collar.” He grinned as he grabbed the bed pillow to stuff behind his head. 
     “I’m serious, Jay.”
     “So am I. You think I’m a saint. But honestly, the direction of my thoughts is purely sinful.”
     “I met your mom tonight. Madame Luella. Sally and I went for a reading.”
     Hearing his mother’s name pulled him up short. The idea of Luella and Leslie together made his stomach churn. 
     Jay froze, bracing himself on his elbow to see her more clearly. “What were you hoping to find out? And why not just ask me? I can fill you in on all the sordid details.”

     The silence in the room was broken by the whirling sound of the ceiling fan. He had foolishly believed Leslie cared for him. That the two of them…maybe shared something. Instead, realization hit hard like a kick in the stomach. They came from two different worlds and could never share anything more than lust.

    “Now you can leave,” he said, sitting up on the bed. Leslie had used him. First as a mechanic and now for her own entertainment. “I’ve decided I’d rather be alone after all.” 

     Her hand touched his shoulder and he shoved it off like blazing iron. “Jay, listen to me. I didn’t go there asking questions about your life. I went to find answers to mine.” Her voice quivered, her concern seemed genuine and he wondered if he misjudged her. Maybe Leslie and Luella shared more attributes than he’d first suspected. 

     “I had no idea Madame Luella was your mother. The way you pass yourself off as perfect, I was beginning to think you didn’t even have one.”
     “Everyone has a mother.”
     “Oh, yeah? For all I know you were crafted out of steel like those damned yard ornaments. Hard and unbending!”

     Despite his aching disappointment, he still wanted her.  “No sense denying that fact,” he said and grabbed her hand to place on his erection, hard and thick between them. “I don’t know what kind of thrills you’re looking for, Leslie. Or if everything’s just a game to you. But if you’re still up to it, I’ll play.” 

     Surprisingly, her hand fingers curved over him, her fingers softly massaging the ache between his legs. With a groan, he rolled onto his side. The need to feel her naked beneath him sent a zap of heat through him.

     Passion scorched like fire in his veins, flames so fierce he could hear his own heartbeat thumping in his ears. He buried his face alongside her neck, dropping kisses from her earlobe to the delicate curve of her shoulder. His hands slid beneath her shirt. The silkiness of her skin teased his fingers and he probed beneath her bra and cupped her breasts. 

     “You’d better decide quickly if you’re staying or not. I can’t guarantee how much longer I’ll play nice.”

     Leslie’s arms came up around him. “What can you guarantee, Jay?”
     “A damned good time,” he said and rolled on top, pinning her to the mattress.






Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rural America - a tribute to poets

With national poetry month fast approaching I decided to showcase some collectible plates that remind me of expressive, almost lyrical scenes of poetry.

Many of the scenes decorating these particular plates have a common theme in some of my favorite poems: home and hearth. Scenes like a cool, crisp stream or willowy green pastures. Even blustery snow-covered roofs on sturdy farm houses built long ago has the power to send my thoughts back - like a well written poem- to a soft, dream-like state where I have been most happiest. I believe too, that many of the authors also felt the need to reconnect with the place that meant so much to them by sharing with the world. Poems, describing a vision so endearing, it stayed forever in their hearts and mind. Home.

This bowl is a soft buttery  yellow with a scene that reminds me of John Chapman- best known as Johnny Appleseed. On the back of this dish is simply titled 'Bucks County' with a cute old-fashioned post.

And the poem, from Disney's Melody Time. I grew up singing it and always shout it out at the top of my lungs, especially when I'm having a bad day. Helps push those clouds right out of the way.

The Lord is Good to Me
and so I thank the Lord
for giving me,
the things I need.
The sun and the rain
and the apple seed.
Yes, he's been good to me.

I owe the Lord so much,
For everything I see
I'm certain if it weren't for him
There'd be no apples on this limb
He's been good to me.
Oh, here am I 'neath a blue, blue sky a-doing as I please
Singing with my feathered friends, humming with the bees

I wake up every day as happy as can be
Because I know that with his care
My apple trees, they will still be there
Oh, the Lord is good to me.

Another favorite

Reminds me of poet John Burroughs

                The Return
He sought the old scenes with eager feet,
The scenes he had known as a boy.
"Oh! for a draught of those fountains sweet,
And a taste of that vanished joy."
He roamed the fields, he mused by the streams,
He threaded the paths and lanes;
On the hills he sought his youthful dreams,
In the woods to forget his pains.
Oh, sad, sad, hills; oh, cold, cold hearth!
In sorrow he learned the truth,
One may go back to the place of his birth,
He cannot go back to his youth.

* fitting to know Burroughs was buried at the foot of a rock he had played on, affectionately referred to as "Boyhood Rock."

And these plates 

This favorite poem is titled Trees by Joyce Kilmer

* Trees was written from an upstairs bedroom at the family home that looked out to a hill and a well-wooded lawn. 


I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear,
A nest of robins in her hair:

Upon whose bosom snow has lain,
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me, 
But only God can make a tree. 

And last but not least, Walt Whitman and his poem simply titled:

The Farm

Through the ample open door of a peaceful country barn,
A sun-lit pasture field, with cattle and horses feeding; 
And a haze, and vista, and the far horizon, fading away. 


Maybe he was referring to life and the idea that each moment is passing, like breath, fading away on the horizon.

I'll wrap up with a poem I had published years ago in a volume of Garden Blessings, Poems, Prayers, and Prose Celebrating the Love of Gardening.

The Garden

Whenever I am troubled
With a burden on my chest,
I hurry to the garden
A spot that I love best.
Down on my knees, I close my eyes
And lift my arms up high
Release a torrent weight of pain,
Beneath a clear blue sky.
A cool, fresh breeze surrounds me.
It soothes my troubled heart,
And I know that God is here
And has been from the start.
The proof is all around me
As I look upon the sod,
A harvest of life protruding
Indeed a gift from God.  

April is the month to celebrate our favorite poems and their authors. These are just a few of mine, along with some pretty plates that inspire me. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Story Songs

Story Songs

I love driving along the back roads listening to the radio, don’t you? It gives us a chance to connect with ourselves and those sharing the world around us. In just a few phrases, I can be 13 again with a hopeful airlessness of looking at each day through rose-colored glasses. Driving in the country allows me to take the opportunity and turn the volume up. Not for the music or sounds a guitar makes- which is nice, but.... Seriously, it’s all about the lyrics painting a picture attached to the melody coming from the speakers. I don't want to miss a word. For a few minutes I'm looking through the artist’s mind and able to see the story as it unfolds.

Some songs hit close to home. This one reminds me of sunny weekends, juggling kids and coolers while working to clear off the property what would become home. Hot afternoons would turn into cool evening and standing around the firepit. I wish I could experience those times again. But thankfully, with this song, I can.

The House That Built Me by Miranda Lambert:

'You can't go home again, but I just had to come here one last time.'

And others are just plain fun.

This one always cracks me up. It's about a bad marriage, a low-down rotten husband named Earl, and two very good friends, Mary Ann and Wanda, and the lengths they go to protect each.

Goodbye Earl: Dixie Chicks:

'Ain't it dark? Wrapped up in that tarp, Earl.'

Have You Seen My Wife Mr. Jones by The Bee Gees

I didn't know what this song was until I heard it several times. Written by Barry and Robin Gibb. The song recounts the story of a miner trapped in a cave-in. He's showing a photo of his wife to another miner while they wait to be rescued. 'Have you seen my wife, Mr. Jones.'

Diary by Bread
This song shows why you should never read anyone elses diary.

'I found her diary underneath a tree. Her words began to stick and tears to flow.'

((Big sigh………….)) There’s just something to be said about listening to life from someone else’s perspective.

Do you have a favorite story song?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Some say love...

In honor of Valentine’s Day I thought I share a few thoughts on love. My outlook anyway. Especially since I am a romance writer, love is essential to achieving the satisfying happy-ever-after.


When I think of love my earliest memory is my mother’s love. The smell of her hands when she braided my hair. I believed that even if I were to ever go blind (you know how weird kids are) anyway, I believed I’d be able to pick out my mother just by getting close enough to breathe the soft trace of flowers. Roses, Honeysuckle or Lilac. The famous toilet water she purchased from the Fuller Brush man. But to me, the smell was love and it’ll always evoke memories of my mom.


Later, during my hippy-era of peace and free spirit, my love for plants, trees and every living organism began the mind-blowing decade of my teenage years. Have you ever just loved a ‘thing’ so much and imagined it personified? Back in the groovy seventies, love was a statement. Meant to be shared and embraced.  


Years later, after wedded bliss, loving on my babies and then grandchildren, love has taken on more important meaning. Now my mind’s eye sees that love is actually a gift. Everyone has experienced what it is to love and be loved. Love is power. The strength to endure, the power to achieve, to recognize their heart’s desire. Because of love.



Last night Bette Midler and The Rose  came on the radio and although I’d heard the song hundreds of times, for some reason the lyrics really spoke to me.


Phrases like: love, it is a hunger,
                     An endless, aching need.


                     It’s a dream afraid of waking,
                     That never takes a chance.


                     Just remember that in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows
                     Lies a seed that with the sun’s love
                     In the spring becomes the rose.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Home timey recipes to warm the body and soul

This winter has been brutal and with so much snow, they've declared a state-or-emergency.
Which means there's nothing much to do. Oh, I could find plenty to do. I would love nothing better than to hole-up and read a good book, the bigger, the better.
I've already spent the weekend watching Centennial. And shoveled a neat path to the wood boiler outside, also to the dogs (we have four) and farther down to the chicken coop. Yep, it takes lots of hard work to keep everything watered and fed, and snuggly in their homes.
And then what??

Anyone with a family knows the next thing on the to-do list is what's for supper? I'm hungry.

So here's a few choice recipes to help keep the body warm on this chilly winter days.

Chicken & Dumplin's

Boil one chicken in salted water till done. Remove - cool and de-bone.

Add one can Campbells Chicken & Herbs soup into the chicken stock and stir until dissolved.
Turn the heat to a gentle med-low heat and add the chicken peices. Add salt, pepper to taste.

In a medium size bowl, add 2 cups all purpose flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. baking powder, two tablespoon of oil and milk (about 1/2 cup) to make a nice sticky dough. On a floured surface, pat out and sprinkle generously with more flour. Flatten out gently with a rolling pin a little at a time, to about 1/4 in thick, cutting into squares and dropping into the pot. I work and cut a few at a time making nice bite sized dumplin's.
Cook with the lid on for ten minutes, then remove and continue to cook - gently stirring to prevent sticking. If the chicken wasn't very fat, you can add 1-or 2 Tbsp. butter to make a richer gravy.


Fruit cocktail upside down cake

One large can of fruit cocktail
1 cup. brown sugar  and 1/2 cup melted butter. You can sprinkle cinnamon on this and nuts if you'd like.
1 yellow cake mix

Using a square cake pan add melted butter and sprinkle brown sugar. Next, drain the fruit cocktail and add to the pan.
Mix the cake mix according to directions and add on top of the fruit.

Place in a preheated oven at 350 and bake until done.

Line a cookie sheet with foil and allow the cake to cool for aprox. 5-10 minutes before flipping onto the other pan.

Yum! Best when eaten warm.

Southern fried Apples

5 or 6 apples, cored and sliced with skins on.
Heat 2 Tbsps. butter or margarine in a skillet and add the apples. Sprinkle heavy with brown sugar- about a cup, and cinnamon. Cook and stir until tender. I sometimes add raisins too and serve in a dish with vanilla ice cream or cool whip.

Got a craving for an icy? Try this :

1 glass milk, 1 tsp. vanilla and sugar to taste. Mix in a blender with crushed ice. You can add berries, or choco syrup or even strawberry jam to make a delicious icy.

Stay warm...stay inside...and stay safe!