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Books to read

Great books come in many shapes, sizes, and genres. Whether you are just looking for a good read, or the perfect beach bag companion. I personally recommend these as some of my favorites. Coffee, tea and your favorite place to read are all the additions besides maybe chocolate…

I loved this entire series. I read them out of order while I was acquiring the books. They combine adventure, history, romance and time travel. I will not accept the blame if you can’t put it down to go to sleep.

Suzanne Brockmann’s wildly popular Troubleshooters series showcases this master storyteller’s rare gift for blending intense adventure with sensuous romance. And it all begins with The Unsung Hero, a heart-pounding tale of love that reveals hidden truths and brings two solitary people together against all odds.

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Suzanne Brockmann’s Born to Darkness.

After a near-fatal head injury, Navy SEAL lieutenant Tom Paoletti catches a glimpse of an international terrorist in his New England hometown. When he calls for help, the Navy dismisses the sighting as injury-induced imaginings. In a last-ditch effort to prevent disaster, Tom creates his own makeshift counterterrorism team, assembling his most loyal officers, two elderly war veterans, a couple of misfit teenagers, and Dr. Kelly Ashton. As the town’s infamous bad boy, Tom was always in love with Kelly, a sweet “girl next door” who has grown into a remarkable woman. Now he has one final chance for happiness, one last chance to win her heart, and one desperate chance to save the day.

“Thanks to Suzanne Brockmann’s glorious pen, we all get to revel in heartstopping adventure and blistering romance.”—RT Book Reviews

A Dance Through Time (MacLeod series Book 1)

Scotland, 1311. James MacLeod was the most respected—and feared—laird in all of Scotland. He loved his men like brothers and his land with a passion. And he allowed no women to cross the threshold of his keep…

New York City, 1996. With an indifferent fiance and a stalled writing career, Elizabeth Smith found passion and adventure only in the unpublished romance novels that she wrote. Until a Scottish hero began calling to her…


Elizabeth longed for the man of her dreams. But she knew she was overworked when she began hearing his voice—when she was awake. To clear her mind, she took a walk in Gramercy Park. She dozed off on a bench—and woke up in a lush forest in forteenth-century Scotland. A forest surrounding the castle of James MacLeod, an arrogant and handsome lord with a very familiar voice. Elizabeth would turn his ordered world upside down and go where no woman had ever gone before: straight into his heart..
Another Chance to Dream (De Piaget series Book 1)
With neither title nor land, Rhys could not win the hand of Gwennelyn of Segrave. But he would always have her heart. The two are kindred souls…Rhys, a knight with far too many notions of chivalry for his own good. And Gwen, a lover of minstral tales, waiting to be swept away. But Gwen is betrothed to another man, and Rhys fears he will lose her forever. Until a suprise offer comes his way—bringing Rhys and Gwen a second chance at love…
I love everything this author. Patrick MacLeod is haunted by his past, by events he had no control over and wishes desperately he could change. He hasn’t the heart for love, nor the time for rescuing maidens in distress of their own making. Until he sees a woman who touches his heart and stirs his soul…and makes him believe love might be possible again after all.
 
For Madelyn Phillips, Scotland is the land of dreams, filled with magic, romance, and handsome Highland lords. Unfortunately, the reality of her dream vacation is no car, no luggage, and a pesky ex-fiancé determined to shadow her every move. She thinks her dreaming is in vain.
 
Until she sees a man standing on a windswept moor, a Highlander full of secrets and longing, and knows she has seen her destiny.
 
But the past isn’t through with either of them, and it will take all the love both of them possess to make their dreams come true…
The Viscount Who Loved Me With 2nd Epilogue (Bridgertons) Kindle Edition

1814 promises to be another eventful season, but not, This Author believes, for Anthony Bridgerton, London’s most elusive bachelor, who has shown no indication that he plans to marry. And in all truth, why should he? When it comes to playing the consummate rake, nobody does it better…

–Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers,April 1814

But this time the gossip columnists have it wrong. Anthony Bridgerton hasn’t just decided to marry–he’s even chosen a wife! The only obstacle is his intended’s older sister, Kate Sheffield–the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom. The spirited schemer is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal, but when he closes his eyes at night, Kate’s the woman haunting his increasingly erotic dreams…

Contrary to popular belief, Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes to notmake the best husbands–and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. Kate’s determined to protect her sister–but she fears her own heart is vulnerable. And when Anthony’s lips touch hers, she’s suddenly afraid she might not be able to resist the reprehensible rake herself…

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Outlander Update

I finally got the finale to load so I could see it. OMG!!! Like so many other accounts/reviews I’ve read I laughed, I cried, sitting on the edge of my seat for what would happen next the entire time.

Season 4 Finale

Bree’s (and Roger’s) baby is beautiful. I ken Roger does not yet know for sure if it’s his, but he loves Bree enough to raise the child as his own. Even knowing about Bonnet, Roger is the better man and will defiantly be the boys father. Bree, from her own experience be able to comfort him on that point. While I wish they had time to show the father, daughter reunion and forgiveness, with everything else going on in this episode I understand not everything could be shown. I think they have forgiven each other. Even with the scene and dialog not shown, I think they convey it when they look at each other. I also bet Jamie got some one on one private time with the baby just like he did with in season 2 with Jenny ‘ s.

Ian’s choice was not an easy one for anyone. I know Jamie and Claire are quite upset by it. Yet you can see both their reluctance and acceptance in thier expressions. This is some really fine acting. Truly you can practically read their thoughts. If anyone holds any doubt about Ian’s choice all one has to do is look back to his fascination with the Indians. It runs so deep he has learned thier language enough to not only understand it but to interpret it as well. If there is any doubt left just look at his face after the gauntlet. Though parting is hard he has become a real man and his worth like Jamie’s is evident in his ability to give his word and mean it.

Roger I’m glad to say by his reunion scene is no longer tetering on the edge of a breakdown. I’m so glad he and Jamie cleared the air. Roger needed to know the whole story, and even though they were trying to protect Bree, Jamie had it coming. He knew it. Men have thier own code and manner of dealing with such emotionally charged issues. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “It’s a guy thing.” Some are very critical of him not being there when the Fraser’s reunite, but honestly with everything that’s happened I truly can’t blame him for wanting a moment without basic survival hanging like a noose over his head to sort it out. Between his physical trama,and the emotional upheavals he’s had in the space of a few weeks and hours the guy needs to catch his breath so to speak. Can you imagine the self castigation, coupled with anger if you had a fight that ended in angry words, then learned after you both storm off in different directions that your partner was attacked, raped, and due to circumstance now blames themselves for the angry words you exchanged in the heat if an arguement? Protecting those we love is an ingrained human response. To learn what happened when they were left alone, for even a short period of time has to weigh heavily on them. Roger is no different than Jenny, Jamie, Claire, or a parent anywhere in the world.

The scenes in the future are both intriguing and satisfying. As I connected it later it bodes well for Ian’s future. Murtagh and Jocasta was also a pleasant suprise. The building tensions and banter between them has hinted that they both have enough fire and spirit see this next twist into the future. The letter will also provide a good dose of fancy footwork in the future. Season 5 cannot get here soon enough and from the questions left and the march of time it’s going to be a wild ride.

I wonder at what point Bree and Roger return to the future? How much more of Otter tooth will we see and learn? Ooh and is Otter tooth related to them? Maybe a decendent in Ians line? With Ian’s acceptance does that make Otter Tooth, part of the Fraser clan many decades later? Is this how he learns of the ability to time travel? It is hinted that the opal stone that causes such strife in the Indian village has some interesting powers.

I’m filling my Droughtlander time with the books and probably an entire re-watch of the show to make it through. Now I just have to convince myself to start at the beginning of the books instead of jumping straight into The Firey Cross. How will you spend yours? Leave a comment below if you are liking these posts and any suggestions or ideas on how to cope until season 5.

The year is 1771, and war is coming. Jamie Fraser’s wife tells him so. Little as he wishes to, he must believe it, for hers is a gift of dreadful prophecy—a time-traveler’s certain knowledge. Born in the year of Our Lord 1918, Claire Randall served England as a nurse on the battlefields of World War II, and in the aftermath of peace found fresh conflicts when she walked through a cleftstone on the Scottish Highlands and found herself an outlander, an English lady in a place where no lady should be, in a time—1743—when the only English in Scotland were the officers and men of King George’s army. Now wife, mother, and surgeon, Claire is still an outlander, out of place, and out of time, but now, by choice, linked by love to her only anchor—Jamie Fraser. Her unique view of the future has brought him both danger and deliverance in the past; her knowledge of the oncoming revolution is a flickering torch that may light his way through the perilous years ahead—or ignite a conflagration that will leave their lives in ashes….

I do not own any of the photos and no copyright infringement is intended.

Outlander Season 4

Season 4 on Blu-ray and DVD

Find even more great merchandise here.

Don’t forget Diana ‘ s blog.Don’t forget Diana ‘ s blog.

Droughtlander

As most of you know, or now know Outlander TV Series is not only a great show but, incredibly popular as well. Season 4 has come to an end. After which many will be experiencing a phenomena we have dubbed ‘Droughtlander’. Basically it describes the loss felt in the off season of the TV show. Which begs the question after this finale (extended by only 5 minutes), how do you plan to deal with the loss of our favorite Sunday evening show.

Cliff hangers in speculation. What happens during Ian’s time with the Mohawk? Does Lord John come back into thier lives soon? Will Murtagh capture Bonnet again?  Will Bonnet get the consequences he so richly deserves?  Will we see Jocasta and Murtagh find a happy ending? Don’t forget Furgus and Marseli.  How much fun will both Claire and Jamie have with the new children on Frasiers Ridge?  I’m open to any and all theories, from the books to just speculation.  Share it in the comments below. 

If you have read all the books you have at least some idea of what is to come in that version of the storyline. How much the shows writers follow that is as yet undetermined. I’m planning to try and get the reading of the books done before Diana Galabadon release the new one (book 9). Lots of fans are going to re-read the books and either binge watch season 4 for the first time or the entire series again. What about the Lord John Grey books? Several longtime fans have recommended them. So maybe I’ll read those too. So in my quest to both read and acquire the books I’ve come across some info that might be helpful to new readers like myself.  If you like this article please like and share on as many social sites as you like.

Lets start with the reading order. Diana Galbadon has published many books so finding where they all fit is important for the timeline of the story. The full listing of proper reading order is on her website, http://www.DianaGabaldon.com or the direct link http://www.dianagabaldon.com/books/chronology-of-the-outlander-series/. I have included both the links to her site as seen above and the links to the books themselves on amazon below. Simply click on the picture of the book and it will take you right to it. There are several formats available on Amazon so you can chose which will satisfy your needs best. All captions and book photos belong to Amazon.com.

Scottish Highlands, 1945. Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743.
Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of a world that threatens her life, and may shatter her heart. Marooned amid danger, passion, and violence, Claire learns her only chance of safety lies in Jamie Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior. What begins in compulsion becomes urgent need, and Claire finds herself torn between two very different men, in two irreconcilable lives.
For twenty years, Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to the mysteries of Scotland’s mist-shrouded Highlands.

 Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as shocking as the events that gave it birth: the secret of an ancient circle of standing stones, the secret of a love that transcends centuries, and the truth of a man named Jamie Fraser—a Highland warrior whose gallantry once drew the young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his.

Claire’s spellbinding journey continues through the intrigue-ridden French court and the menace of Jacobite plots, to the Highlands of Scotland, through war and death in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves.
Their passionate encounter happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had traveled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her . . . and her body still cries out for him in her dreams.

Then Claire discovers that Jamie survived. Torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era, Claire must choose her destiny. And as time and space come full circle, she must find the courage to face the passion and the pain awaiting her . . . the deadly intrigues raging in a divided Scotland . . . and the daring voyage into the dark unknown that can reunite—or forever doom—her timeless love.
It began in Scotland, at an ancient stone circle. There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past—or the grave. Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once but twice. Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became legend—a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child. Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in frontier America. But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century. Their daughter, Brianna….
Now Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the stone circle and a terrifying leap into the unknown. In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history…and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past…or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong….
The year is 1771, and war is coming. Jamie Fraser’s wife tells him so. Little as he wishes to, he must believe it, for hers is a gift of dreadful prophecy—a time-traveler’s certain knowledge.
Born in the year of Our Lord 1918, Claire Randall served England as a nurse on the battlefields of World War II, and in the aftermath of peace found fresh conflicts when she walked through a cleftstone on the Scottish Highlands and found herself an outlander, an English lady in a place where no lady should be, in a time—1743—when the only English in Scotland were the officers and men of King George’s army.
Now wife, mother, and surgeon, Claire is still an outlander, out of place, and out of time, but now, by choice, linked by love to her only anchor—Jamie Fraser. Her unique view of the future has brought him both danger and deliverance in the past; her knowledge of the oncoming revolution is a flickering torch that may light his way through the perilous years ahead—or ignite a conflagration that will leave their lives in ashes….
The year is 1772, and on the eve of the American Revolution, the long fuse of rebellion has already been lit. Men lie dead in the streets of Boston, and in the backwoods of North Carolina, isolated cabins burn in the forest.
With chaos brewing, the governor calls upon Jamie Fraser to unite the backcountry and safeguard the colony for King and Crown. But from his wife Jamie knows that three years hence the shot heard round the world will be fired, and the result will be independence—with those loyal to the King either dead or in exile. And there is also the matter of a tiny clipping from
The Wilmington Gazette, dated 1776, which reports Jamie’s death, along with his kin. For once, he hopes, his time-traveling family may be wrong about the future.
Jamie Fraser, former Jacobite and reluctant rebel, is already certain of three things about the American rebellion: The Americans will win, fighting on the side of victory is no guarantee of survival, and he’d rather die than have to face his illegitimate son—a young lieutenant in the British army—across the barrel of a gun.
Claire Randall knows that the Americans will win, too, but not what the ultimate price may be. That price won’t include Jamie’s life or his happiness, though—not if she has anything to say about it.
Meanwhile, in the relative safety of the twentieth century, Jamie and Claire’s daughter, Brianna, and her husband, Roger MacKenzie, have resettled in a historic Scottish home where, across a chasm of two centuries, the unfolding drama of Brianna’s parents’ story comes to life through Claire’s letters. The fragile pages reveal Claire’s love for battle-scarred Jamie Fraser and their flight from North Carolina to the high seas, where they encounter privateers and ocean battles—as Brianna and Roger search for clues not only to Claire’s fate but to their own. Because the future of the MacKenzie family in the Highlands is mysteriously, irrevocably, and intimately entwined with life and death in war-torn colonial America.
1778: France declares war on Great Britain, the British army leaves Philadelphia, and George Washington’s troops leave Valley Forge in pursuit. At this moment, Jamie Fraser returns from a presumed watery grave to discover that his best friend has married his wife, his illegitimate son has discovered (to his horror) who his father really is, and his beloved nephew, Ian, wants to marry a Quaker. Meanwhile, Jamie’s wife, Claire, and his sister, Jenny, are busy picking up the pieces.
The Frasers can only be thankful that their daughter Brianna and her family are safe in twentieth-century Scotland. Or not. In fact, Brianna is  searching for her own son, who was kidnapped by a man determined to learn her family’s secrets. Her husband, Roger, has ventured into the past in search of the missing boy . . . never suspecting that the object of his quest has not left the present. Now, with Roger out of the way, the kidnapper can focus on his true target: Brianna herself

Diana keeps a blog as well you can find it here.     There are countless fans around the world of both the books and the show. Everything from discussions and reviews of the latest episode, to fan art and licensed merchandise here. In addition to all this if you’re still looking for something to do there are a couple of Authors who write about both historical romance and time travel. Each of these is a novel I have both read and enjoyed. Some may already be in your to be read pile. You can find them here, with links to Amazon, for easy shopping.


While Diana Galbadon can never be replaced, its fun to have other options to read until her next book comes out. I personally keep a list of favorite authors that I check on frequently for new releases. I re-read a lot of my favorites. While I enjoy this, I find myself not sticking with it if I can quote it verbatim. I need a few weeks and couple other storylines in between. So here’s to enjoying both Season 4 Finale this Sunday night, and all the re-reads and new discoveries as we anxiously await the next book and season 5 of the show. Find great reads here.
The Outlander blog gives great insight to the characters.  Worth the read while we wait.  Is it time yet? Please post the minute we have dates for either the book or next seasons show. Anxiously waiting with you.

PS. –  If for some odd reason anyone feels compelled to get rid of thier books, there have been quite a few hurricane victims in several states that have lost thiers in the water and mold that invades in the wake of a hurricane.  I was born and raised in Panama city, Florida where hurricane Michael was so devastating.  Even though they are no longer making the big headlines please don’t forget them.  While there have been many inspirational efforts there they are still very not okay.  You can read about it here.  There are several links to reliable people on the ground there that are still trying to help those affected.  This year the freezing temperatures not typical of Florida are causing real problems with the temporary shelters for those awaiting relocation, rebuilding or possibly FEMA trailers.

Mr. Santa

Dear Santa,

Thank you for everything. I have a little problem that we dealt with this year and I’m asking your advice e on how to avoid this next year. I moved home after a stoke that left me permenaley disabled. So my husband and I moved into my mom’s house as she was there all alone, We were bothspending a great deal at tine and the financial advantages work well for all. In October hurricane Micheal hit the Gulf Coast so my youngest brother, wife and 2 kids took refuge from the storm. Like so many they lost everything. Thier home, they were renting, got a tree through it. Everthing was soaking wet and then developed mold. So as the children and parents could really use a dose of holiday cheer, we endevored, over thier protests to make it a good Christmas for all.

My husband spent three weeks helping me decorate, cook, buy and wrap presents, knowing the joy would be seeing thier faces on Christmas Day. So we spent a good amount of time with all the preperations. On Christmas eve we were up until 4am putting the finishing touches on packages, filling stockings, and any last minute things left to do. We planned to try and get a little sleep since the kids didn’t get in bed despite anyone’s best efforts till 11pm. Thinking they would sleep in just a little we planned to get up between 9 and 10 the next morning. Three year olds do not have the same time zone as the rest of us. 6am three yr olds are up begging, not quietly, to open presents. Anybodies present under the tree.

The scene

Mom works at the hospital so Christmas day is a workday. They prompted by an early morning wake up decide they can no longer contain or restrain a certain 3 year old boy. I am roused from slumber myself and informed that Santa has been here and the children can no longer be put off. As I am disabled I use a hospital bed that will not fit in our bedroom. Knowing how much my husband wants to see this I call him. I know we went to bed 2 hours ago so I’m expecting him not to be thrilled with this but we can take a nap later.

The conversation goes as follows;

Him- What?

Me – Santa has been here.

Him – Who?

Me – Santa

Him – Who?

Me – Santa Claus.

Him – Do you know what time it is? We just went to bed.

Me – They are opening presents and I thought you would want to see.

Him – Who did you say was here?

Me -Santa, I thought you would want to see.

Him – (Emphatically) “No”

Me – Are you sure?

Him – (very emphatic) “NO”.

Me – Okay go back to sleep.

I have my brother who is handing out the gifts leave his and mine for the most part under the tree. I’m now wide awake. I opened the gifts from my neice, mom, brother and sister-in-law. After thank you’s are exchanged, I ask for my first cup of coffee as my mom heads out the door to the hospital. All is quiet until 10am.

Hubby is up and upon entering the livingroom is astonished to see the only presents remaining is a small stack. He was so disappointed. The conversation went something close to this;

Him – What the heck?

Me – I called you. You said no! You didn’t want to come see.

Him – You said Santa was here.

Me – Yes, Santa was here did you want to come see

Him – no I didn’t want to see someone dressed as Santa. Couldn’t they have waited until I was up?

Me – Have you ever tried talking a three year old into waiting? They wanted to do this so mom could see before she went to work. I called you when this was happening earlier.

Him – No you said Santa was here. Did I want to see him? I thought maybe one of your brothers dressed up as Santa, or you hired someone to come play Santa, and this was the only time they could come. Well this just ruins my Christmas. I really wanted to see this. Why couldn’t it wait till I was here.

Me – I’m sorry that’s why I called you even though it was so early.

Him – You said nothing about them opening presents. All you said was someone dressed as Santa was here.

Me – Do we often invite, strange men in weird clothing into the house with children at 6am? Especially with all the wrapped gifts under the tree? Is this something you think we regularly do even on Christmas morning?

Him – I have set my phone to record all calls for business reasons. It helps me remember what was said and agreed upon when I talk to people about jobs. Let’s play the recording back, because you never said anything about opening presents.

You can hear everything we both said. I talked about Santa having come (I’m in the room with the kids). I repeated it twice. He still says no twice. The next line is garbled, but I’m sure I reiterated they are opening presents. Then after another “no” I say okay go back to sleep then.

Long story short both little and us big kids had a good Christmas. Toys, clothes, household, things we needed and things we like.

My neices came later that afternoon and he got to see them tear into thier gifts. It helped make up at least some of the disappointment of earlier.

So I guess my question is has this ever happened to anyone else?

Even though we had a good laugh about it, how do we not do this again? This experience was too funny not to share. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and we look forward to a bright and happy 2019.

My favorite version

Do You Hear What I Hear?  

We have probably heard the song “Goin to the Chapel” and “Ding, Dong , The Wedding Bells Are Gonna Chime”. It’s wedding season in Florida. The mild spring temperatures, especially in Florida, gives us the opportunity to enjoy the outdoor venues before the heat and tourists descend on our beautiful beaches. I hear they are very popular spots for weddings.

. Pensacola Beach

As a native I considered several parks and indoor/outdoor locations. A beautiful oak shaded round gazebo surrounded by historic buildings. Across the street a 650 year old church neatly kept behind a white picket fence. Whatever your dream location, I know how quickly the sunshine turns liquid here, so mine had both indoor and out.

Take a Beautiful Step back in Time

As we celebrate 14years this Tuesday, so even though it’s not always rosy, we’ve made it this far. We must be doing something right if we’re still happily together and happy 14years later. I would say our stubbornness, patience, and positive vision has served us both well over the years.

As I look back almost all our squabbles, they have stemmed from miscommunication. He speaks apples, I speak oranges our stubbornness keeps us going until we figure out where the issue is. Our patience with each other runs from infinite, to really short, yet here we are. 20 years ago I would have said some very different qualities make for a good, lasting, happy marriage.

The last five years humor, patience, fortitude, and hopefully Grace have seen us through.

. Dinner for 2

Do you cook up something special, or let him treat you to a favorite? I save new recipes for occasions other than this. I’ve done this before so no anxiety during cooking. I try to surprise him. I’ve tried several themes over the years for these special evenings. Do your hair, makeup, fragrance, and decorate and or dress according to your theme. We’ve traveled for candlelit dinners in France, picnics on the beach, or English countryside. My goal is to make it memrable. A rustic country picnic with the family, might be right, or a sultry night with Spanish flair. Lower the lights, move furniture, get creative, choose a soft music to reflect your locale and theme. Without leaving our home.

Special for 2

Did our marriage happen like a romance novel not exactly. 14years strong, is a testament to our faith, love, and humor. Even more important the ability to adapt, meet life as it comes and never let those forces tear us apart. To the man I love twice as much today as when we first fell in love, Happy Anniversary. I love you, today, tomorrow and always.

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Fathers Day…. in society today that term is special.  Anybody can be a father,  but Daddy is a big job!!!  Growing up I can remember meeting my dad when he came home from work.  Blue collar all the way,  bear hugs, and tickles came with him.  He smelled of coffee, engine grease, and Brut aftershave.  He worked hard everyday, sometimes two jobs and had  very definate ideas that some find old fashioned.  For all our differences of opinion as an adult I can honestly say i’m greatful for being raised this way.  We learned the value of a dollar, manners, and respect.

.                          Daddy’s  chase away monsters under the bed or in the closet.  He worked hard for our family and spent time with us growing up.  He took imaginary phone calls, drank tea at tea parties, and helped mom make the coolest blanket forts.  Daddy’s  are mysterious creatures and I’ll explain what I mean.  Mine was a real ‘guy’.  He didn’t do things in the kitchen unless it was a Saturday or Sunday.  He did not wear blue jeans.  Button up shirts, flannel in winter.  Dad made the waffles or pancakes. (Mom had to make the eggs and bacon… He didn’t do that).  Electronic toys are great but, I learned how I should be treated by my future husband, by watching  his example.  Mine wasn’t perfect but he was perfect for me.

I remember having one of those moments in time where you realize how lucky you are.  At my younger brothers wedding I watched his bride dance with her father, of all my siblings I was fortunate enough to have a father daughter dance.  I miss the whit and gentle teasing.  I would meet him for breakfast, at a really early hour.  That was one of his quirks, if he had to be up extra early he thought we should too.  This sucked growing up on Saturday mornings.  Unless he was making bbq, he spent years perfecting that.

I carry him with me everyday, as I passed on to others he lives on in my heart.  I see his example shine through when my brothers play with their children.  Even when they don’t want to admit it.  My dad lost his battle with cancer in 2011.  I vividly remember in coming to terms with his death how lucky we were to grow up in a world where more and more families fathers are absent.   I wish they had visiting hours in heaven, but until they do, Daddy I Love You.  To all the dads out there I hope you become the hero in your family.  Daddy’s help us see ourselves like this. 

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To all the dads especially if you grew up without one and know find yourself in the role.  Spend as much time together as you can.  To my half siblings I hope you got to spend time with the same father I grew up with.  Children have no owners manuals and parents genrally do the best parenting they are able.  I hope both children and adults remember that word of wisdom mine left with me.


Pizza …. Not Delivery It’s Mom’s

Okay I grew up as an 80’s  kid.  Little Ceaser’s, pizza Hut, Domino’s, and Hungry Howie’s were the flavor of the day.  I made the BookIt Club, every month with my parents encouragement to read.  Even so if planning a menu and Pizza comes up our choice is not who do we order from, it’s more like do we have the ingredients or run to the store?  You see growing up outside of those awarded  pizza’s, we made ours at home by mom and my brothers and me.

If our friends were lucky enough to get some they would come back just for the pizza. That tradition has been passed down.  I make it and if we go home we still request her pizza over takeout any day.  We still have a traditional round pan, yet we normally make two rectangle baking sheets to feed us all.

The crust is home made from my dads, mothers cook book.  We prefer supreme and even people who claim they don’t like some toppings do not complain when they eat it on this.  Typically we top ours with olive oil, garlic, ground beef, ham, sausage (if we have it), onion, bell peppers, mushrooms, pepperoni, we usually skip black olives due to salt content.  Cheddar cheese ( the sharper the better) mozzarella, and whatever else we have on hand or purchase for….Munster cheese, cherizo, multi color pepers and onion, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, pepper jack gives quite a kick.  

Roll out dough on two baking sheets.  We leave it hand toss thickness or thin if watching carbs.  Regular tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce to lightly coat dough.  Layer Italian season, parmesan, pepper flakes(if desired).  Next up are onions, bell peppers, olives, mushrooms.  Sausages, ground beef, ham, and anything else we desire before a tight layer of pepperoni.  Add yellow then white cheeses in generous quantities.  Ours always looks like deep dish, we use plenty of toppings.  Into the oven at 350 for 20 minutes.  One pie at a time.  Cut into about 12 squares and use good spatula to lift weight of slices.  Give few minutes to cool.  Everyone will crave this and this is better than Pizza Hut, and the most you can buy.  

Note:  When I said you can involve family it’s a great way to occupy children with supervision.  Growing up I always grated cheese, or as oldest used sharp knife to chop veggies.  True story… we were visiting my brother from another mother… not really but only time I’ll get to say it, before he deployed over seas.  Met my new sister in law..who brought 4 beautiful children into our family. After a long day exploring Savannah, GA. Where they were stationed we retired to our hotel pool for the kids.  When the subject of dinner arose it would take about the same amount of time and quite a bit more expensive to feed all of us so we swung into the grocery to get needed supplies. You can buy pizza dough mix you just add water to. I’ve used them before so we decide to buying instead of ingredients to make from scratch.  So we get to their house and we all take a task to hurry this along.  I cooked on stove, mom did crust, she loves making bread, sister in law supervised 7 and 10 year olds using knives.  My brother called from somewhere at front of house and with children’s tasks completed sister went to answer his call.  So mom is ready to roll out and knead this dough so niece goes to pantry retrieves flour to coat table, hands and rolling pin.  So she scrapes dough out on flowered table.  It’s sticky well this can happen even with great dough recpie.  So like any good baker she adds more flour. And adds, and adds and she’s asking me since i’ve used the mix and I’m like it never did that with me.  Now she’s making these funny noises, and it’s stretching out of bowl like slime and by now my sister in law has come back to investigate the uncontrolled laughter, punctuated with moms eeww sounds.  My father and brother have been drawn as well from hunger and sound effects.  Everything she makes 3 to 5 sounds she’s asking me…..and all I can do is laugh as she lets it slide back to bowl.  2 cups of flour and its getting worse not better.  We’re now discussing alternatives, when sister in law notices *flour* container and asks where it came from.  7 year old says I got it from pantry and shows her where.  As it turns out the exact same container, has powdered sugar in it.  She tells them apart by right or left side of pantry. I so wish we had thought to video this!  We laughed so hard and the pizza really could have used some pineapple, but we finally got everyone fed. 

Memories like these are irreplaceable!  The retelling just does not match the look on moms face as her hands are covered in this slime.  I’m so glad my adopted brother got to take this with him when he deployed. He came home, but I have yet to see him since dad passed away.  If you ever read this please know that we love and miss you, and we’re still here when you decide to come home.  Dad would be so proud of the man you have become, that goes for all my other siblings as well.  Sending love to all my siblings and extended family, you’re all loved and I miss you guys so you have to come see me, since I cannot travel those distances yet.  How do you make lasting memories with your family?  See the recipe on Pintrest!  Click here!   Mom’s Pizza Recipe 

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