Friday, August 22, 2014

Salsa!

This week has been particularly Fall like here on The East Coast. There is a definite change in temperature and humidity is virtually gone. Not exactly my wish for our very last week of school vacation but it has been sunny and warm enough so I really shouldn't complain. I still envision kids in the sprinkler at this point but it's just a little too chilly for that right now.  With the change in season and everything that goes along with that I feel the stress of trying to get all of the last things crossed off our Summer "to do" list. Every year I say the same thing: Summer flies by too quickly!  We have to make the most of it! We've had a wonderful Summer, with lots of laid-back days, fun times with friends and family, and sweet moments as we welcomed our puppy into our family.  That being said, we still have a little bit of time to make a trip out to the farm for peach picking, a trip to our local stand for fresh corn, more bike riding and a visit to the playground.

There is just something about the freshest, local produce that I miss all Winter long and that has me scrambling to make all of my favorite recipes before those foods are no longer available. At the top of my list? Fresh salsa!  Salsa is absolutely one of my favorite things to make and my "go to" snack. I absolutely think I could live on chips and salsa alone...throw in a little extra protein and I'm a happy camper! I've shared some of my favorite salsa recipes over the years, here are a few of my favorites:
Corn Salsa
Fruit Salsa
Black Bean Salad
Of course I've probably pinned an additional 500 various salsa recipes and a few weeks ago my friend gave me another yummy option which was easy and delicious. I altered it a little bit to use local ingredients but this chunky salsa is something you could make all year round. Living in the Northeast that is wonderful since I won't have a chance to buy local all year.  I love having options that will work for me throughout the year.  I was also considering going up to our local farmstand and grabbing some of their corn and just cutting it off the cob for freezing.  Never having done that before, does it work?  How yummy would that taste while watching the Super Bowl and routing on the Patriots ;-)?

Black Bean Salsa
1 can black beans, drained
1 can black eyed peas, drained and mixed
1 can corn mixed (you could use frozen or fresh too)
1 can petite diced tomatoes drained or fresh
1/2 red onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 can diced green chilies or jalapenos
1/2 cup Italian dressing (the recipe called for 1 cup but I used 1/2 cup of Newman's Own Lime and it was delicious!
Mix it all up and enjoy!
So for now we are making plenty of fresh and yummy salads and enjoying the last moments of Summer as they come to an end. I know Summer doesn't "officially" end until September but when I start hearing those school buses go by, I know the we are back to our schedule and the days will bring new moments and a routine.  Now to enjoy it, that's the goal!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Secret Blss of Calliope Ipswich Feature and $50 Giveaway!

secret bliss
The Secret Bliss of Calliope Ipswich by Marcia Lynn McClure “Oh! Do link arms with me, Calliope,” Blanche whispered, her brown eyes widening with apprehension. She took Calliope’s arm, tightly linking it with her own. “The old Mulholland house still gives me the willies every time I walk past it. I hate to think on what might have gone on inside. It’s truly terrifyin’!” “Oh, don’t be silly, Blanche,” Calliope said, feigning calm. “Poor Prudence’s lunacy…it’s sad. And besides, her fiendish acts were not committed inside the house. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just…it’s just a sad, empty building.” Calliope Ipswich felt the hypocrite, however, as an uncomfortable shiver of residual dread and unease shuttered down her spine.

More than six months had passed since the All Hollow’s Eve when the dangerous state of Prudence Mulholland’s fracturing mind had been revealed to the townsfolk of Meadowlark Lake. And now, each time Calliope thought of poor Prudence and her family, not only did her heart ache for their family’s unhappy lot but a chill of lingering horror rippled through her being.

In truth, at times Calliope wondered if it had all been simply a bad dream—a nightmare. But it hadn’t. It really had happened—all of it.
Purchase your copy on
  marcia
Author Marcia Lynn McClure Marcia Lynn McClure’s intoxicating succession of novels, novellas, and e-books, has established her as one of the most favored and engaging authors of true romance. Her unprecedented forte in weaving captivating stories of western, medieval, regency, and contemporary amour void of brusque intimacy has earned her the title “The Queen of Kissing.” Marcia, who was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has spent her life intrigued with people, history, love, and romance. A wife, mother, grandmother, family historian, poet, and author, Marcia Lynn McClure spins her tales of splendor for the sake of offering respite through the beauty, mirth, and delight of a worthwhile and wonderful story.  
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BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 9/16/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Connected

Have you ever stopped to think just how connected we all are these days?  How dependent are you on the Internet, your phone, your computer?

Before we left for our annual trip to Cape Cod, our computer started acting up. The running system seem to be okay aside from the occasional error message here and there but in the weeks leading up to leaving, the hard drive sounded louder than normal and although we noticed it, we didn't give it too much thought.  Imagine my surprise when, after returning from a wonderful week away, we were unable to start the computer.  We unplugged it and plug it back in…nothing. We tried various restart options…nothing.

Does it ever seem like just when you are in a better financial situation, something major goes wrong?  Maybe you just paid off your car and three months later get in a car accident? Maybe you've just paid off your credit card debt and your refrigerator dies?   I'm talking car repairs, house repairs, or in my case…possibly having to purchase a new computer?

The most frustrating thing for us is that this one isn't all that old and although we have yet to determine exactly what's wrong with it, it's just one of those expenses hanging in the back of our heads.  My husband took the machine down to our local computer repair shop for them to run a diagnostic test to determine what the problem is. Obviously if it isn't too expensive we will opt for a repair.  I think the most shocking thing about all of this is just how incredibly dependent I am on our family computer.  I do have an iTouch and a small, cheapo notebook that I got years ago but what a difference it is without having a decent operating system at my fingertips! The iTouch is perfect for when I'm on the go or just checking emails, things like that. The notebook was purchased as a back up computer and for the occasion when we were traveling but you definitely get what you pay for and in this case, not much.   It is incredibly slow and makes my frustration level go through the roof if I'm trying to pay a bill or do anything with urgency.  It's all made me realize just how connected our lives have become.  If I'm being honest, I would like to get back to the basics and perhaps not always feel the need to pick up my device to check my email. Thinking back on it, what did we do when when we couldn't Text or FaceTime each other? Did we actually have conversations?  If my mom was out grocery shopping was there a question so urgent that she had to run to a payphone to call my father and ask him?  I'm not suggesting we start a huge Pro/Con electronic device discussion, I'm just saying we should think about how connected our lives are.  I guess I was a little shocked that I feel as lost without our computer.  It makes blogging quite tricky as well as staying connected with friends/family and getting important school notices that seem to be coming more via email these days than anything else.  I think if given the choice, I would go back to the basics but with that being said, I do realize there are huge part of the world we live in today and are here to stay.

Speaking of blogging, it's been a little bit of a challenge since I'm writing this on my iPod touch. Bare with me until I do get my computer back up, which hopefully will be within the next week or so.  It's just another small bump in the road that in the grand scheme of things doesn't really matter but just makes my life a little more difficult.

On that note...how connected are you?  Are there electronic devices you couldn't live without?  Be honest, this is a judgement free zone - we are all friends here!  In my case, a friend with a thumb that is about to fall off but always a friend!

Have a great Wednesday :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kids Academy Feature

As the end of Summer approaches, we are anticipating the new year.  What a perfect time to get ready and refreshed!  We are big fans of Kids Academy apps!  My daughter loves them.  We limit our screen time so the if they do get computer time, I want to ensure my kids spend it on quality apps that offer a variety of learning opportunities, activities and songs.  The Kids Academy Learn to Read and Write Kids Puzzles is a favorite!  These are interactive and educational, and offer a lot of flexibility regarding the games and interactive options.  We love the music and sounds the animals make in particular.  I would recommend these apps to anyone who is interested in giving their kids some educational options that will keep them busy.  They are fun and keep the kid's smiles coming and their brains moving!  They also have a great Kids Academy Kids Puzzles Preschool Math Games app which is a great way to get kids early learning with their math facts and keeps it fun too!  It's never too early to start!  This app keeps the kids entertained while they are engaged and learning! Don't forget to check out the Kids Academy Preschool and Kindergarten Learning Kids Games too!  These are great Montessori based educational puzzles and teach tracing, patterns, colors, letters and more! 

Please note, I was compensated for this review but as always, all opinions are my own!
 
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