RWR Blog Hop
Thanks for visiting today! The topic is cookies courtesy of J.J. Devine.
If you are visiting from Leslie Hachtel, welcome! If not be sure to head back and read her post!
What are your favorites? Share in the comments! Then go visit A.S. Fenichel to find her favorite!
Survivor is still the one!
Thanks for joining me today. If you ventured over from the amazing Leslie Hachtel's blog, welcome! If you missed her, be sure to go back and check out her favorite!
The original reality show is still my (and my husband's) favorite. We record it on DVR if we're running the kids to swim or a meet but we never miss it. In fact, we got our kids hooked on Survivor when we watched Seasons 1 and 2 this summer via Amazon Prime.
Why do we love it so much? It's the variety of people: every day moms, dads, military, firefighters, teachers, lawyers, football players. From every walk of life, they come to the island and the playing field is even. There's no money, no fame, no support. It's be likable but not too likable, provide food, help around camp, and fly under the radar if possible.
One of the biggest reasons we watch it is to see history repeat itself time and time again. Each season we think "Don't these people ever learn? Have they watched the show before?" because they make the same mistakes, vote off the very people who can get them to the merge. Short-sightedness is rampant in Survivor and the contestants never fail to fall into the same traps.
I get to root for the good guys, the worthy ones who I think should be finalists. These three fierce and ethical competitors are at the top of my list. Those who get voted off early for those very reasons. But it's one of the fastest hours on TV and I love it.
Time to visit Jenna DaSie, a lovely and talented author. Thanks for visiting!
RWW Blog Hop
If you hopped over from the lovely and talented Leslie Hachtel's blog, welcome! If you missed her, be sure to click here to read hers! She's always entertaining, informative, and artistic!
This week's prompt is "The holiday season is upon us! What do you do to get into the holiday spirit?" and it's mine. I'm known to some as being a bit "bah humbug" around the holidays. It's not that I don't like Christmas per se, it's the commercialism of it all. The buying, the wrapping, and the strain of all the holiday must-have-to-do's. Honestly, I just get stressed out which doesn't give me the jollies.
What I look forward to is stepping into the past in Colonial Williamsburg. Every year the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation creates special holiday events. One year my husband and I went to the Groaning Board dining experience which included servers and entertainers in period garb. The womenfolk of my family went to Mrs. Campbell's Holiday Tea at Campbell's Tavern.
This year, I think we'll do "A Raleigh Christmas Party" and stroll Duke of Gloucester Street to look at the authentic decorations. And maybe, I'll book us a carriage ride!
If you'll be visiting Virginia in December, check out the Colonial Williamsburg Program Guide.
What do you do to get in the holiday spirit? Leave your answer in the comments below!
Time to visit with Jenna Da Sie, whose blog posts I love to read and you will too!
Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop
Welcome! If you've popped over from the lovely and very talented Leslie Hachtel's blog, glad you took the time to visit me! If you missed her, please visit as her blogs are always fun and engaging!
It's that time again! Thanksgiving is here and that means family, friends, and food! This week I'm the one supplying the prompt:
For me, turkey is the central food around which all other dishes revolve. The star of the show!
And because I am the griller and smoker in the family, it means rising before the sun on Thanksgiving.
I'm a bargain shopper so I purchase a frozen turkey. It takes days to safely defrost. Wednesday I prepare and submerge the rinsed turkey in a brine. You know how you calculate cook time for meats based on weight? I've learned that there a more factors than that.
I've learned that the outside temperature is a major factor. One Thanksgiving it's freezing outside at 6 am. I decide to insulate the smoker with my windshield shade to keep the heat constant. It worked so well I cooked that turkey in record time. 17 pounds in 3 and half hours. Turns out brining also shortens the cook time. Bad news? Done way too early to eat at 2 pm. The good news? All the dishes related to cooking and slicing the bird were washed, dried, and put away!
My smoked turkey recipe
Purchase and thaw your turkey properly in the refrigerator. The day before your dinner, remove the packaging and rinse your turkey. Find a pot or container deep enough to submerge your bird in the brine and make room in your refrigerator.
Mix the brine. Here's a recipe from Allrecipes.com that I am using this year.
Soak the apple or cherry wood chips for at least 30 minutes. I get the smoker up to temperature prior to adding the wood chips. While the smoker temperature normalizes, I rinse and pat dry the turkey. Make sure all the brine ingredients are removed and discard remaining brine. Figure 20 minutes for a brined turkey at 235 degrees Fahrenheit.
I place the turkey in an aluminum pan and prepare a dry rub. It's never exactly the same. Sea salt, freshly ground pepper, garlic powder or minced garlic, dry mustard, poultry seasoning, minced onion, chili powder, fresh rosemary. I pour some extra virgin olive oil in a dish and first rub the turkey outside and inside with the EVOO then generously spread and rub in the herb/spice mixture. Finally, I separate the skin from the breast and work the dry rub underneath to allow it to really penetrate the meat. After tying the legs together, I place additional fresh rosemary sprigs inside and place in the smoker.
To me, there's no better turkey than a freshly smoked turkey. It's worth all the time and energy to prepare a delicious meal for my family and friends.
Time to visit with Jenna Da Sie. She's a wonderful writer and fabulous lady. See you there!
Top Seven Favorite Vacation Spots (Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop)
Leslie Hachtel poses this question for this week's blog post: Where is your favorite vacation spot and why? If you are coming over from Brenda Margriet's blog, welcome! If you missed her, pop back and check out her answers.
First, how can I pick just one? Here's my top 7 vacation spots.
I've only visited Australia once but I can honestly say the people are amazingly friendly. I loved the Great Ocean Road and the eco-lodge where we stayed. Diving on the Great Barrier Reef fulfilled a dream of mine and visiting the Daintree Rainforest yielded a sighting of the elusive cassowary. The highlight was a few days at Yulara, walking with an Aborigine elder and hearing his oral history, filling up with the energy of Uluru. I could spend weeks at Uluru alone.
6. Shenandoah Mountains
It's beautiful and breathtaking and totally different from the coastal plain upon which I reside. I love Luray Caverns and Jellystone Park (where we rented a cabin- no roughing it in a tent for my hubby and oldest daughter). We ate in downtown Luray in this fabulous mom-and-pop cafe with the best comfort food around. My oldest daughter and I trail rode with a guide in the hills and had the best views from horseback. Unforgettable.
5. Quintana Roo, Mexico
South of touristy Cancun and north of Tulum, Quintana Roo hosts many upscale resorts that provide everything you need on resort. We stayed at the Moon Palace Resort and were amazed at the hospitality of the staff and the service at the hotel. Crystal clear azure water of the Caribbean clears the soul of all worries. An excursion to Chichen Itza made it more special as we stepped back in time to the Mayan Golden Age with their astronomy tower and perfect pyramid.
4. Florida Keys
I love the Keys. I do. If I had unlimited funds, I'd probably move to the Middle Keys. It's where people go to drop off the radar and just live. Flip flops, shorts and tank top comprise the standard "uniform" for most folks who have a "live and let live" kind of attitude. Relaxed and laid back. Perfection. Plus the diving and I could join a conservation group.
3. Costa Rica
Right now, I don't have a favorite spot but I went before and loved every minute of it. I love the friendliness of the people, the conservation efforts of the government, and the emphasis of education of the society. Ziplining, rafting, and rain forest treks provide plenty of opportunities to see monkeys, iguanas, and macaws in their native habitats. Love!
2. Orlando, Florida
Okay, so apparently I'm still a big kid and really enjoy the magic of Disney and Universal. I totally would love to spend several weeks on both resorts so I could get to everything I've missed in the past. I never get to spend as much time in the World Showcase at Epcot as I want to and I missed many attractions the time we went to Universal (both parks because we had to ride Hogwarts Express, of course!).
1. Outer Banks, North Carolina
This one comes in first because I've visited the Outer Banks since I was a child and my mom would drive us down for a day trip. Now my family and friends can make a long weekend easily for a great recharge trip. I still love to climb the lighthouses and comb the beach for shells and seeing dolphins makes me giddy.
What about you? What's your favorite? Share a comment below!
Time to head on to visit Jenna Da Sie's blog and find out her favorite!
This week's prompt comes from Jenna Da Sie - Create an A to Z post for writing.
If you popped over from Leslie Hachtel's page, thanks for visiting! If you missed her, be sure to head back and read her version of the writer's alphabet. It is sure to be sheer perfection!
This is my rendition. I hope you enjoy!
Well, what do you think? Please leave me a comment below or if you liked it, share!
Time to move on to A.S. Fenichel whose own alphabet is sure to amaze!
Falling for Autumn
This week's question is from Leslie Hachtel!
What's my favorite season?
Fall is my favorite. I live in coastal Virginia where summer is now steamier than ever before. So I choose fall. Here, average temperatures range from 85 to 50 making it a lovely time of the year. Often, my family will spend a long weekend in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We walk the beach, looking for shells. I also love going to Colonial Williamsburg in the fall: fires burning, carriages, decorations, the leaves turning. It's just beautiful!
Time to visit with J.J. Devine! I can't wait to read her response!
This week's prompt is from Leslie Hachtel:
If someone handed you a million dollars, what would you do with it?
Welcome to those who hopped over from Jenna Da Sie's blog. If you missed her, take a moment and check out her post!
Tax free? If yes, then pay off mortgage and debts. Buy a couple new cars (not expensive). I know, I'm a wild woman! Save enough for two kids' college expenses and at least one aging parent's care (perhaps a mom suite built onto the house or built in the backyard).
Donate money to the Ocean Conservancy, take the kids and hubby on a fabulous vacation to Ireland, Australia, and Hawaii, (and maybe this place below!) then take a couple of years off from the day job to write.
So, what about you? What would you do with a million bucks? Leave me a comment or share this post and let me know!
Time now to hop over toSC Mitchell for his answer.
If you're hopping over from visiting with the talented Leslie Hachtel, glad to have you. If you missed her, be sure to hop back to check out her response to this week's blog prompt.
Flash Fiction Challenge: Your character just washed up on the shore of a deserted tropical island. How did they get there? What happens next?
Damn it. Samantha should have known better than to drift dive with strangers. Lisa and Carmen would rather under-dress and over-imbibe at the hotel's pool than get a taste of real local flavor.
Hanging at the pool wasn't looking so bad right now.
No dive boat in sight, no boat at all. Only a strip of sand on a nearby islet.
Weighed down with dive gear, she made slow but steady progress and finally flopped on the first dry land in hours. She shrugged off the equipment, kicked off the fins and dragged the gear up the beach out of danger of high tide.
The heat of the day had her peeling off her shorty wetsuit. Tapping noises like hammering had her searching for a clear path through the mangroves. Carefully picking over tangled roots and ducking branches waiting to clothesline her, she felt a bit more confident that there was civilization on this rock.
She couldn't be more than a few hours away from Cozumel. Did the dive master realize she was missing? Were they looking for her? Leaving a signal on the beach was the obvious next step but if people were here already, she needed to find them before they left.
Several voices, male and female, echoed and she tried to focus on not tripping and not hurry. A clear path appeared making her trek much easier. While this place was beautiful, spending the night in just a maillot did not appeal. Grilled fish and wood smoke drew her closer, reminded her she hadn't eaten since 6 a.m. Maybe they'd share a bit with a wandering stranger.
A scrawny man with a white bucket hat appeared on the path ahead with a drop dead gorgeous redhead in an evening dress fit for the Oscars. Their expressions turned from easy bantering to stunned. She must really look a mess.
"Oh man, who are you? Where did you come from? Did you come here on a boat?" The questions came at her like pellets from a shotgun. "Come on, we'll figure this out, we gotta let the professor know!"
Whisked along the path, something strangely familiar struggled to break through. A small village of huts appeared, along with clever windmills and a well created from local materials.
"Hey, Skipper. We've got a visitor!"
Everything clicked and her hope of rescue sank.
She was the newest resident of Gilligan's Island.
Hope you enjoyed my offering in the flash fiction challenge! I'd love any comments you'd like to leave!
Time to mosey on to our next awesome writer, Brenda Margriet. See you next week!