Archive for August, 2011

Our County Fair is officially under way today.

For me, that means Captain Cavedweller will drag me to the fair after work, make me walk through every animal barn, look at every display and force me to eat a corn dog while he scarfs down some barbecue-type sandwich and a pile of curly fries. We won’t be able to leave until he was acquired a bag of kettle corn and an elephant ear. Ah, the joys of the fair.

And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

It reminds me too much of some of the fun experiences I had when I was much younger and attending the fair. My dad often competed in the tractor pulling events while my brother and sister-in-law were known to get in one the horse racing action. Several of my cousins could be found showing sheep or steers and there would be a number of entries from family members in the produce and baked goods areas.

The fair was a great time to connect with family and friends alike. To slow down the hectic pace of summer and just relax and enjoy for an hour or two.

And indulge in deep fried food that I can feel clogging my arteries as I ate it.

Fair time is definitely a fun time full of great memories.

If you have the opportunity to attend a small-town county fair, take advantage of it.

And it a corn dog for me.

She Who Wants An Elephant Ear


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Today I’m sharing a post from last year with some Labor Day party theme ideas.



Labor Day Party Theme Ideas


Labor Day is coming right up. How is that possible? Where did the summer go? If you find it, let me know. I’m convinced I didn’t get my full share of summer-time fun this year.

Since we can’t bring summer back, instead think ahead and plan a Labor Day party for the long weekend. The key is to keep it casual and relaxed.

The Labor Day holiday was first celebrated in the early 1880s  as a way to honor workers for all of their contributions to the strength and well-being of our nation. In that spirit, encourage honor your guests with a relaxing party. Fill your outdoor gathering area with lawn blankets, comfy chairs, and oodles of pillows.  The theme of the day is taking it easy!

Patriotic decorations are perfect for Labor Day. Mix things up a bit by adding a warm gold or bright yellow color to the red, white and blue  scheme. Use candles and flowers from your garden for decorations. Keep it simple by slipping cut stems into mason jars or empty tin cans with the labels removed. Tie with a raffia ribbon close to the top of the container.

Your invitations could have a barbecue theme, patriotic colors, stars, flip flops or paper lanterns. Just choose something fun that speaks to you.

If your event will last into the evening hours, make sure you have plenty of warm light through tiki torches, lanterns, garden stakes, hanging lights, or candles. Also, make sure you have citronella candles strategically placed throughout the area to thwart the insects.

The menu should be foods that are simple and easy. You can go potluck or go the route of a traditional barbecue with hamburgers and hotdogs. Just remember your condiment rules. You could also barbecue skewers. Keep the menu simple and easy for you. Round out your main dish with a  big green salad, a loaf of french bread, watermelon slices and a slam-bang dessert like decadent chocolate cake.

Make one or two signature beverages instead of offering a bunch of options. Fill a bucket, kids wagon or large bowl with ice and set in individual bottles. Have pitchers or jars of ice water. Whatever beverages you decide to offer, just make sure you have gracious plenty.

You can have games available like lawn croquet or horseshoes. If you have a large gathering you could split the attendees into two teams and play a game of flag football, softball or volleyball. Just remember to have fun!

Don’t forget the music. You can play some theme-appropriate tunes like “She Works Hard for the Money,” “Working 9 to 5,” and “Working in  Coal Mine.”

Do as much prep work as you can ahead of time so once your guests arrive, you are focused on them, not on the 36 things that you don’t have done.

Sit back, relax, take a deep breath and enjoy this last hurrah of summer-time entertaining.

Happy Entertaining!


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I beg forgiveness for my shameless self-promotion today, but hope you will bear with me…

On Friday, my short story The Women of Tenacity, was listed for free at Amazon’s Kindle Store.

By Saturday, it had climbed to #27 on the free bestseller list.

This morning, it is listed at #13!

I can’t tell you how excited I am about all this.

But I do have a favor to ask…

A big favor…

If you have read the short story, could you please go to Amazon and post a review? It would be a big help in boosting my ratings and I’d appreciate it so much.

Really, I would!

And thank you to everyone who has encouraged and supported my writing endeavors. You  are absolutely awesome!


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When I was a kid, I thought one of the best cookies ever was one my mom would often have waiting when I trudged off the school bus.

Back before I was banned from chocolate, these delicious goodies would be piled on a plate ready for me to inhale with a glass of cold milk.

I had no idea then that my mom whipped these together as I was no doubt stepping off the bus. I was sure she had labored hours making them just for me.

During the abyss of my childhood when no chocolate was allowed, Mom would make them with other fillings like plain ol’ vanilla. But nothing quite beat the sweet, buttery goodness of the chocolate filling.

I’m going to share the secret recipe for these cookies with you because you could whip them up for your kids in a matter of seconds or you can set out the ingredients and let them make their own. Even better, right?

So there you have it… the ingredients and recipe and…

Really. That is it.

You take two graham crackers, generously spread with frosting, sandwich together and enjoy! Now if you wanted to get all fancy pants on me, you could make your graham crackers from scratch then make your butter cream frosting from scratch. But that would take a few hours out of your life you could spend eating bon bons or sitting with your feet up reading a good book. My mother, of course, made the frosting from scratch.  But I’m more of a pop the top on a can of frosting and go from there kind of gal.

Take a few seconds out of your busy day, make one and be glad you indulged! Or have the kids make one for you!

She Who Loves These Easy Treats

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When I was 19, I ventured nine hours from home to finish my last two years of college. Fresh off the farm, I was clueless about nearly everything. I’m not kidding you. Totally and completely clueless.

Lucky for me, I moved into a dorm just down the hall from a marvelous girl named Kat.

From the big city and wise in the ways of the world, Kat took me under her wing and into her heart and became a very good friend.

Just to clarify this crazy photo: the school had skits during homecoming and our dorm did a western shootout.  Kat, of course, did not join in the frenzy of craziness with the enthusiasm I seemed to muster for the project.  Convinced  my circa 1989 fringe leather jacket would be completely ruined from the rain, she walked beside me the whole time we were outside holding an umbrella over my hat and jacket. Yep – you don’t find friends like that too often in a lifetime.

I can’t tell you how many times she:

1. Made me laugh

2. Saved me from disaster

3. Made fun of my _______ (insert any of the following: accent, choice of attire, way of viewing the world)

4. Made me grateful to have such a good friend.

Days before I finished up my last semester at school, I dropped a horrifically heavy box and broke my foot. She is the one who took me to the emergency room and sat with me until  my dad and brother could come to the rescue.

Kat was maid of honor at my wedding 17 plus years ago and that was the last time that I saw her… until a few months ago.

I got married, she moved away and we lost track of each other. Over the years, I often wondered what happened to that funny girl who used to make me laugh and people often insisted must be my sister because we looked alike.

Last year, I happened to come across her brother on Facebook and begged and pleaded for him to send my contact info to Kat. Which he did. We emailed back and forth and finally in June when Captain Cavedweller and I were on vacation we made arrangements to have dinner with Kat.

It was wonderful and amazing. After 17 years of not seeing each other, we picked up our conversation just like we’d never been apart. She is still just as sassy, funny and wonderful as she always was. And I bet if I needed her to, she would still walk beside me holding an umbrella.

She Who is Grateful for Good Friends

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Don’t Be a Jerk

I drive a PT Cruiser.

I don’t drive like I’m 90.

Most people would probably say I drive more like a man than a woman,  which is due in part to the fact my Dad had me driving around the farm in our old pickup from the time I was 12.

I tell you this because it seems the combination of the three statements above cause emotional trauma and stress for a few men behind wheels and creates a need in them to drive like a jerk to prove their manhood.

And it really annoys me.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been driving home from work, pass a car that is dawdling along only to have the male driver come unglued to be passed not only by a woman, but a woman in a PT Cruiser. He will then do everything possible to pass me, pull right in front of me and go back to dawdling along. That is the point when I usually find a side road, turn off, and take the scenic drive home.

I don’t get it. Really, I don’t. And I know it isn’t a “guy thing” because Captain Cavedweller would never in a million years do that to anyone. Ever.

Last night, in fact, as I was driving home I was stuck in a line of cars behind a mini-SUV who was holding up traffic. Just to simplify matters, I’m going to refer to the driver of that vehicle as The Jerk.

When the opportunity came to get around The Jerk, the pickup in front of me changed lanes and started to pass him. The pickup was nearly even to The Jerk’s bumper, when The Jerk switched lanes right in front of him. Of course, the pickup and I both slammed on our brakes. After a few attempts to get past The Jerk, the pickup gave up.

While The Jerk was busy annoying the pickup driver, I changed lanes and ended up even with him at a stoplight. Once the light turned green, I hoped to leave The Jerk behind. Which was fairly simple since he was driving so slow.  The problem arose when I needed to change lanes and make my turn off the highway. I signaled and looked back only to find The Jerk had hit the gas and was rapidly approaching.

Here is the part you are going to love.

He pulled up even with my car and wouldn’t leave. I sped up, he sped up. I slowed down to 40, he slowed down to 40.

Really? Come on, dude.

Since no one was behind me at this point, I slammed on my brakes and pulled behind him. By the time he realized what I’d done and slammed on his brakes,  I had pulled into the turning lane, made the turn and escaped.

Why must some male driver’s be such jerks?

She Who Was Not Impressed At All

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Sah-wing, Batter, Batter!

As the summer begins its descent toward fall, why not host a fun Baseball themed party. I mean, afterall, what is more American than baseball, hot dogs and apple pie?

Send out some fun invitations with baseball themed paper or cut out white circles, draw in red lines for ball stitching and print out your invitation.

Use baseballs, bats and gloves for your decorations. Gloves could hold a battery-operated votive on your table or a small vase of flowers. Set your buffet with a bat or two and a variety of balls meandering along the table.

Have everyone come wearing their favorite team’s colors. Baseball hats are a must! If anyone wants to come in a full baseball costume, let them.  If you are outside and have room, you could have some baseball related contests like who can throw the ball the farthest or slide into base the best or, if you have plenty of people and room – you could have your own baseball game. If you are short on space, it would be a simple thing to move your gathering to a park where you could spread out and have plenty of room for fun.

Keep the menu simple and authentic… serve hot dogs! Offer peanuts in the shell. You can warm them by popping in the oven for a few minutes, then serve in miniature brown paper bags. For dessert you could have baseball cupcakes. These are cute and easy to make. Just frost with white frosting then draw on the red “stitching.” You could also serve Apple Pie or have a bonfire and make S’mores.

And make sure you sing at least one rousing rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

She Who Thinks Warm Peanuts Sound Pretty Good

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