Sunday, June 29, 2014

25/52 & 26/52

" A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2014. "

Last week we were out in the heat no matter how hot. We were suffering from cabin fever and could not be kept indoors. Michael was one happy camper to get out and play some baseball.

Our neighborhood is graced with a splash pad... so if you come by our house and find it empty, that's the next place you should look. Michael does lap after lap and will not tire of it-- even after running it for an hour.

Part of Practising Simplicity's 52 Project.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Author Blog Hop: My Writing Process

I'm (once again) trying to catch up on things and figured I should do this one first. I've been tagged by the lovely Mrs. Healthy Ever After, aka Nikki Roberti Miller, for this blog hop.


Right now I have two work-in-progresses. I’ve been editing my YA Contemporary MISSING with Katelyn Stark of Stark Contrast Editing for the past six months or so, chapter by chapter, line by line. It's been an incredible process because somehow I never realized just how much WORK it is to edit and revise, or "re-envision". Katelyn is so wonderful and patient to work with. I definitely start out with the dry bones when I'm writing. I get all on paper that I want to get there, I've just never really combed back through it before. This time around, adding so much more to it with guidance has been a real treat almost. I mean, it's really hard, but it's a lot of fun, too. I can see such a difference with my writing. Annnnyway, this piece is about 16-year-old Annie who finds out her best friend has gone missing. Then, years later, her friend's remains are found. We grow with Annie through the process of trying to move on from this defining moment in her life, and go with her as she tries to uncover the truth of what happened.

My other work-in-progress is a NA piece. I haven't quite figured out if I should call it a collection of short stories or if it's just broken up chapters. It's called Married in College-- a fictionalized account of when my husband and I were first married. We eloped when we were 18, so you can imagine there's a lot to share in there!


MISSING is different to me because I don't think I've really found something quite like it. I've read a few YA that deal with missing friends or losing friends to drunk driving, but never one that goes down deep to the bones of the issue. My best friend went missing when I was 16, so I drew from that to write this book. It wasn't an easy process at all, but I think my experience of going through having a missing friend myself really brings this story to life in a new way. In the end, it's not necessarily figuring out what happened to the friend, but how to live with it.


I started writing YA and NA because when I was younger I actually disliked reading contemporary writing. You'd find me reading Jane Austen and Shakespeare over books like Where the Red Fern Grows. I think the first contemporary story I started getting into was Harry Potter (go figure). One of the only reasons it was actually exciting was because my parents weren't too keen on me reading it, and then my best friend in fifth grade bought me the first two for my birthday.


I work differently with every project. No lie. I started working on MISSING in college, and then had to take quite a break from it because I was writing it too close to home. When I got the motivation to start working on it again, I actually wrote a chapter that's in the middle of the book now. I just needed to get something on paper. THEN I made an outline of chapters, which was very vague. It basically just had a thing or two written down that I knew what I wanted to happen. Even now I've gone back and changed it so much from what it was originally thought out to be like, but that makes me so happy because I think it's better than I first imagined. I really think I have Nikki and Katelyn to thank for that. I work best bouncing ideas off of people and I'm really open to feedback/suggestions (after a few nudges, that is).

With Married in College, it started as a column for REALITY Check Girl Magazine, an online magazine I worked for in college. Now, with Nikki insisting it must be a book, I just sat down one day with the motivation and wrote out the first chapter. Now I'm combing over the chapter again and again until it's where I want it to be, which is so different than MISSING.

When it comes to plotter vs. pantser, I'm definitely a combination. I like to get something down on paper, writing until I know I've really got something in the making. Then I go back and start listing everything I want to happen-- stories I know I want to share, characters I want to introduce, drama I want to unfold, etc; however, that doesn't mean it will all happen. MISSING was initially going to be written from two characters' point-of-views, and then I changed my mind because I loved my MC too much.

Basically I'm all over the place and, really, I don't have a concise writing process.

And that’s me! Thank you for tagging me, Nikki. If anyone else would like to join, please comment below and then tag me when you share your writing process!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

23/52 & 24/52

" A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2014. "

Michael is making leaps and bounds with his potty training, though I still see some bumps ahead of us. We try to encourage him as much as we can, so when he last made some progress-- he became SUPER MICHAEL!

Sometimes we need to just get outside, even if it's 105. The sprinkler is positively perfect for days where our grass isn't jungle-length and it's "cool" enough where we won't be too hot with the water going.

Part of Practising Simplicity's 52 Project.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Southwestern Quinoa

I had been seeing all these Quinoa recipes floating around Pinterest and friend's profiles on Facebook and, honestly, they were scaring me. Because I had no flipping idea what Quinoa actually was, or even how to say it.

But the more I saw, the more I was influenced to try it. So, I found this recipe and decided to adjust it and give it a try.

I am now a fan. And, in case you didn't know (because I didn't) Quinoa is pronounced keen-wah.


- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 habenero pepper, chopped
- 1 C uncooked quinoa, rinsed well and drained
- 1 tsp chicken or vegetable bouillon
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 - 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
- 1/2 C corn
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- chopped fresh cilantro, optional
- 1 lime (depending on how many people you are serving-- 1/4 lime per serving)
- olive oil


- Add a small bit of oil to a medium-sized pot set over medium heat. Add garlic and habenero pepper and cook just until fragrant (about a minute).
- Follow the directions on how much water to add to cook with your quinoa; add the water, quinoa, bouillon, beans, tomatoes, corn, and salt. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 25 minutes, or until quinoa is cooked and liquid is absorbed.
- Remove from heat; stir in cilantro if desired. Spoon into bowls and add lime juice from 1 wedge per serving.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Backyard Camping

While Clark was home he really wanted to do some camping. Since we weren't quite sure how Michael would act, we decided to test the waters in the backyard first. The other reason for this? It is already way too hot. Odds are, real camping won't happen until fall.

Michael loved being in the tent, as long as the "door" was open so he could see outside. He waited patiently anxiously excitedly for it to get dark outside and the stars to come out. We passed the time with s'mores and books. Granted, the s'mores didn't have roasted marshmallows. Nonetheless, Michael was a big fan.

We had a wonderful time. Once it was dark and Michael was getting sleepy, though, he requested to go inside. We didn't fight him. It was eight o'clock and over eighty outside. We'll try "serious" camping in the fall, but this will always be remembered as his first-- and mama's favorite.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Easiest Popsicles Ever

Michael loves popsicles. It is one of the sweets that he would probably sit down and eat as many as he could before feeling sick. That, of course, is not an option.

The last time we were at Ikea we spent a grand $2 on popsicle molds. They were so worth it.

Enter the easiest popsicle idea ever.

Are you ready?

Chop up your favorite fruit or fruit that's in season. Put them in the popsicle molds. Pour coconut water over them. Stick them in the freezer.


Michael, who doesn't like Coconut Water plain, by the way, positively loves them. He got so excited to eat the kiwi, pineapple, and strawberries in the popsicles. He loved making them as much as he loved eating them.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


" A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2014. "

Last week we ventured into our backyard for a camping adventure. Michael was so excited at the aspect of sleeping in the tent with us. In the evening he snuggled onto Clark's lap to read, and it was a moment that completely pulled at my heartstrings. I love my boys so much, and nothing makes me happier than seeing them together.

Check back in to read more about our camping adventure next week!

Part of Practising Simplicity's 52 Project.