Friday, September 30, 2011

Apple Popover Pancakes

I love German Pancakes and this recipe is a twist on an old favorite. The presentation is beautiful and it tastes as good as it looks!

4 Eggs
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter
2 apples thinly sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Heat oven to 400 degrees, put pan in oven to heat up.
Beat eggs, flour, salt, milk together for one minute. Remove pan from oven and put butter in pan.

Line your pan with sliced apples

Pour the batter over the apple slices and sprinkle with cinnamon & sugar.

Bake in 400 degree oven. Bake until golden, puffed, about 20-25 minutes.



Serve and watch it disappear quick!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Guest Post for Thursday Thought

I love sharing thoughts on my blog and I thought it would be fun to invite guest authors to share their favorite quote, thought, or inspirational message. Would you like to be featured on my Thursday Thought segment? Email me, Rachellethewriter@gmail.com for details.

Welcome to my first guest post for Thursday Thoughts, Anne Bradshaw!


"Success is the child of drudgery and perseverance. It cannot be coaxed or bribed; pay the price and it is yours." ~ O.S. Marden 

Anne says: I find this applies to writing books. Maybe replace "drudgery" (too dismal) with "mental exhaustion" or "sheer grind," because writing is enjoyable work despite the trials. This quote inspires me to keep paying the price. Success is always worth the effort.

Anne Bradshaw has six published books, including "True Miracles with Genealogy" of which Volume Two is coming soon. Visit her website at http://annebradshaw.com and blog at http://annebradshaw.blogspot.com

Thank you, Anne for the excellent quote! I enjoy her blog and this week she is hosting a genealogy contest over on http://truemiracleswithgenealogy.com  starting Wed. Sept. 28 and ending Wed. Oct. 4  - the prize is for Legacy Family Tree software - the Legacy 7.5 Bundle, a combined value of $72.90!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Logitech Wireless Wave MK 550 Keyboard--I think I'm in love!

I am so excited for you to meet the newest member of my desktop computer family.
The Logitech Wireless Wave MK 550 Keyboard and Mouse Combo.


I'm not getting any kind of special treatment from the company for telling you about this, so why take the time to tell you? Because I'm in love.
Yep. I admit it! Sorry, plain old-school style keyboard, I've moved on.
For the past several weeks, I've been dealing with tendonitis in my right hand, severe enough that I had to wear a wrist brace. I attributed it to several factors: my 25 pound 11 month old baby, practicing the piano a lot  more than I have in the past three years or so, and typing on a crappy keyboard because I couldn't decide whether to take the plunge and buy a nice one.

I am so happy I finally decided to do it. It helped that my brother sent me an alert that the price had dropped on Amazon and that I had a $25 gift certificate to said store that needed to be spent. :)
I am a very happy girl typing on my new Logitech Wireless Wave Combo Mk550 With Keyboard and Laser Mouse (920-002555) right now. The keyboard has a slight ergonomic wave to it that I adjusted to without even noticing the difference. The hand rest is firm, yet comfortable and built into the keyboard. And can I just say that this keyboard is totally pimped out!  There are so many different programmable function keys that I haven't even used them all yet.

A few of my favorites:
I love that there is a button with a camera on it and I can program it to open up my pictures with one click.
There's also a button with music notes. With a push of that button, my iTunes open up ready to go.

Using the Fn key plus any of the F keys numbered from 1-12 will open up a different feature. For example, I programmed the "W" for the Word program on the F1 key to open up my current work in progress. The F2 key has an X for Excel and it is programmed to open up my spreadsheet so that I can track my word count progress for my current WIP. Yep, I'm a nerd, but I don't care, that's how excited I am about this keyboard.

I love typing on this keyboard. The buttons have just enough give, aren't too "clicky" and I feel like I can type even faster than before.

The mouse is great. It's the first time, I've had a mouse with the forward and back buttons for web-surfing on the side--soooo handy!

If you've been wishy-washy in the past about updating your keyboard and mouse, I would suggest taking the plunge and getting the Logitech Wireless Wave MK 550 Keyboard and Mouse combo. I think you'll love it.


What's your favorite tool for using the computer?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lunchbox Napkins Tutorial


Two of my four children are now in school all day and that means lots of lunches, especially for my one who is a selective eater, to put it nicely.
I thought it would be fun to make some napkins for my girls.
I ran over to JoAnn's fabric and picked up 1/4 yard each of three different cotton fabrics. This was enough fabric to make six napkins and have a little bit of fabric left over.

 
Then I decided on the size of napkin I wanted, about 8 x 8 inches, and began cutting. You can do a larger napkin if you like, but this size is perfect for kids.

I cut each square 8 1/2" x 8 1/2" to allow for seams.

Then I put two squares right sides together.

I picked a plain Jane thread to stitch right sides together and then additional thread for top-stitching that would coordinate, but also stand out as an accent.

Start in the middle of your square and stitch around all sides, stopping about three inches before you meet up with your starting point. This leaves a hole to turn the napkin and it's handy because then the hole isn't on the corner.
 Press the napkins after you turn. I hate to iron, but I'm telling you, you can't skip this step. Iron our the seams flat and tight and then get ready to top-stitch.

No need to hand stitch the hole closed! Just top-stitch around the entire napkin with your cute accent thread and Voila! your napkin is finished and the turning hole is stitched neatly shut.

My girls were excited about their napkins. They were a little concerned about getting them dirty, until I explained to them that these are napkins we'll use again and again. Just throw them in the laundry when you unpack your lunchbox.

I told them, Every time you use your napkin, you can think, "My mom loves me!"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thursday Thought September

One must always maintain one's connection to the past and yet ceaselessly pull away from it. To remain in touch with the past requires a love of memory. To remain in touch with the past requires a constant imaginative effort.
--GASTON BACHELARD

I've learned that I don't have to make the same mistakes I did when I was younger--that I can reinvent myself. The past is my reflection in the lake, but one stone can change that reflection.

What have you learned from your past?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hang 'Em High Book Review



I'm excited to review another fantastic book from Tristi Pinkston today.
Hang 'Em High is a great mystery full of head-scratching clues and quick-witted humor. I'm still smiling about a reference to mail-order monkeys and if you want to know why, you'll just have to read the book!
Here's a blurb for Hang 'Em High (Secret Sisters Mystery)


When Ida Mae Babbitt receives an invitation to visit her son Keith's dude ranch in Montana, she's excited to mend their broken relationship, but not so excited about spending time with cows. Arlette and Tansy go along with her, ready to take a vacation that does not involve dead bodies or mysteries of any sort - one must have a break from time to time. But it seems a no-good scoundrel has moseyed into Dodge City and is bent on causing all sorts of trouble for the ranch. Unable to keep her curiosity in check - especially when it seems her own son is the most likely culprit - Ida Mae decides to investigate. Can she lasso the varmint and get him to the sheriff in time? 

This is a quick and delightful read. Tristi's books are always clean, so you can recommend them to anyone. 
If you want to learn more about Tristi and her books visit her fantastic website - http://www.tristipinkston.com and her blog - http://www.tristipinkston.blogspot.com
I've enjoyed the other Secret Sisters Mysteries and I think you will too.







To celebrate the release of Tristi's eighth book, she's holding a contest! If you leave a comment on this review, you will be entered into a drawing for a free manuscript evaluation, done by Tristi Pinkston Editing http://www.tristipinkstonediting.blogspot.com In fact, you can leave comments on all the blogs participating in this virtual book tour! Go to Tristi Pinkston's blog at http://www.tristipinkston.blogspot.com for a list. The deadline is October 5th at midnight MST. If you win and you're not a writer, you can give this evaluation to a friend. I definitely know someone (ME!) you could give that to!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

ScrapMaBob Winner Entered into the Grand Prize Drawing

This has been a great giveaway! Thanks to everyone for entering our Original Scrapbox contest. One lucky person won a ScrapMaBob and one entry into the grand prize drawing for an EZ View Craft Desk.


The lucky winner from RachelleWrites selected by Random.org is...
Cherie!!!
She said:
I have been wanting one of these for a super long time!!I would put all my scrapbooking supplies in it, and use it for that!! I really want to win since I moving to Hawaii soon, and I know I should get it before I leave the states!!!
Congrats  Cherie!
Please email me within 24 hours with your full name, address, and phone number. If I don't hear from you, I will select a new preliminary winner. Thanks!
The grand prize drawing of one EZ View Craft Desk will take place on The Original Scrapbox BLOG, click here to visit and find out who the incredibly fortunate person is on September 23, 2011.

Thank you and Happy Crafting!

Monday, September 19, 2011

I Feel Like Writing

I walked a long road paved with rejections, self-doubt, and hard work before my first novel was published last year. So Saturday night when that novel won a special award, I was excited and in wonder. Did they just call my name?
Yes!

My husband Steve, and I, along with our baby Austin attended the League of Utah Writers Awards banquet and I won this beautiful award for my book WRONG NUMBER.


It is the Olive Woolley Burt Award for Outstanding Book of the Year. WRONG NUMBER was also awarded a first prize Golden Quill award in adult fiction.


The best part was that my husband was there to cheer for me, which is something he's really good at from the sidelines of my computer at home. He has always been my biggest fan and source of encouragement. He gets me and my dream. I love you Steve.

Baby Austin was pretty excited as well!

So, I feel like writing today and I'm going to sweep away the worry and self-doubt and type as fast as I can on my new novel. And when the next rejection comes in or I'm not sure how my character will overcome her latest problem, I'm going to stare at that award and then keep writing!

I want you to do the same--get rid of those negative worries that are keeping you from reaching for your dream and go for it!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Original Scrap Box Blog Hop

This Giveaway is now closed. Thank You!
Do you feel that nip in the air? Are you thinking that the holidays are just around the corner? How would you like an early Christmas present?

The Original Scrapbox.com  is giving away one EZ View Craft Desk (value $695.00 U.S. Dollars). This desk has a clear plexiglass top so that you can easily see all of your supplies organized in four different drawers with various compartments.
On September 23, 2011 we'll give away one of these beautiful desks!
Hop on over to each of the participating bloggers for your chance to win a fantastic prize and ONE entry into the grand prize giveaway of the EZ View Craft Desk.



http://theoriginalscrapbox.com/catalog/ezview 
Check out the versatility of this desk, with "Design Your Own" Capabilities.


There will be 11 preliminary giveaways with a chance to win an entry into the Grand Prize Drawing for one EZ View Craft Desk.


Enter to win the preliminary giveaway of one ScrapMaBob (value $19.95) and One entry into the Grand Prize Drawing for an EZ View Craft Desk in your choice of color.




If you are selected as a preliminary winner of the ScrapMaBob, you will then be entered into the grand prize drawing held on The Original Scrapbox Blog on September 23, 2011. On that date, a random drawing will select a winner from all of the finalists to receive one EZ View Craft Desk (value $695.00 U.S. Dollars) in their choice of black or white.

*The contest is open to addresses in the contiguous United States only.

Giveaway open from Thursday September 15th- Monday September 19th at 11:59pm.
Giveaway Rules:
*You can only enter under one name
* It is possible to win more than one preliminary prize, which means it’s possible to be entered into the grand prize drawing more than once.
*All winner’s addresses must be U.S. (48 contiguous state) addresses
*You must complete the required entry to be eligible to win


Here's how to enter:I'm trying something new this time which I think will make entering so much easier! Please fill out the handy dandy form below. Check the boxes for how you entered but remember to leave me one comment for your required entry. I'll put all entries into a spreadsheet and use Random.org to select the winner. Visit all 11 blogs for extra entries into this fabulous giveaway!

*Required entry: You must visit The Original Scrapbox website and leave a comment here on my blog telling me how you would organize your crafts with one of our products.

Extra Entries:

  • Follow ScrapboxUSA on Twitter and  RachelleWrites, then Tweet the contest with linkback in your comment.
  • Subscribe to my blog via email--use the Feedburner link on the right, it has a spot to enter your email address
  • Like my Facebook page, Rachelle J. Christensen 
  • Follow my Blog-- RachelleWrites
Now fill out the form, please.

You can enter the preliminary giveaways with a chance to win an entry into the grand prize drawing at the following blogs:

RachelleWrites.blogspot.com-that's me!
iCandy Handmade
Lolly Jane Boutique 
Henry Happened
Tater Tots and Jello
Crap I've Made
Priscilla Styles
Sassy Sites
Sew Dang Cute Crafts
Mommas kinda Crafty
Naptime Crafters




*Disclosure: I received free product from The Original Scrapbox to host this giveaway. All rules must be followed and correct United States address given for prize to be awarded.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Moonwalking With Einstein Book Review

I love reading unique books that make my brain spin.
Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
is an excellent read that will have you examining the way you think and remember every day.


Joshua Foer is a talented journalist who started out investigating the United States Memory Championship and these incredibly talented people who could memorize a deck of cards in two minutes, recall the names of dozens of strangers after seeing their picture briefly, and recite a poem from memory after studying it for thirty minutes. Through the process he learned that everyone can improve their memory. Foer ended up winning the National Memory Championship and this book details his journey along the way.

I graduated in psychology, so I studied the method of loci in college, but I had forgotten how loci and the memory palace combined with the art of association can help facts stick in your brain permanently or at least as long as you need them.
I enjoyed the way Foer analyzed and debunked several different memory myths and emphasized the power in all of our brains, from chess grand masters to Japanese chick sexers.

If this is piquing your interest, which it should, I'd recommend getting a copy of Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything and devouring the many different concepts that Foer covers.

One of the things I took away from this book is to recognize how amazing our memory is and that by exercising it we can actually slow life down because as we remember more it is less of a blur. Think of it--how much work does it take you to remember ten special moments from last year?
Don't those memories make you smile? Wouldn't you like to recall more of them and reminisce on the laughter, tastes, aromas, and other sensations involved with those memories?

Foer writes with humor and intelligence and this book is filled with numerous ways in which you can improve your memory but also it's an entertaining read through Foer's viewpoint as a journalist who was willing to ask the right questions.

I'm constantly trying to improve my memory for names and faces. I think practicing has made me pretty good at remembering people's names and with a few new techniques my recall is even better.
How would you like to improve your memory?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Anniversary is 9/11

Today my husband and I are celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary. Our lives are full of so much joy with our four beautiful children, good jobs, comfortable home, and loving family. On our 3rd anniversary, the way we celebrated was forever changed. When the twin towers fell, it created a stark reminder of how precious life is and how quickly it can change.

I enjoy reading Rachelle Gardner's blog (she has a great name!) and she posted asking readers to share their feelings about 9/11/2001.
Here is my comment:

It was my 3rd wedding anniversary. My husband called me from work and told me to turn on the TV. I saw the second tower fall. Even though the media has removed so many of those images, they can never erase the pictures in my mind of the firefighters running, crying, dying in the streets.
Each year we celebrate our anniversary–a day that changed our lives forever–and reflect on 9/11–a day that changed the world forever.

*I'm thankful for my family and I pray that those who suffered loss that day will feel peace today.
What do you remember about 9/11?

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Stitch From My Memory

The other night after I tucked my girls into bed and sang to them, I walked down the hall and sat at my sewing machine to finish up a fun project (which I'll be posting shortly). In between the whirs of the sewing machine, I could hear my girls whispering. One of them said, "I hear Mom sewing."
It brought back a flood of memories and warm feelings.

I remembered sleeping in our basement with my door cracked open just a bit and my mom working late into the night sewing on her trusty Bernina. My mom is an excellent seamstress and she taught me how to sew pretty well, but sometimes those clothing patterns still make me go cross-eyed! Not Mom, she can whip up a pair of shorts, patch a pair of pants, sew a prom dress, or make a Halloween costume with seemingly little effort.
The sound of her sewing machine was comforting to me--the needle clicking up and down past my bedtime and into my dreams meant my mother loved me. Falling asleep to the sound of her working on another project when she was most certainly bone tired from a full day's work and then another day's work when she arrived home--farming with my dad and raising kids--was evidence of how important we were to Mom. The sewing machine making tiny, even stitches across baby blankets and knit dresses was like a lullaby in itself that sent me to sleep with a reassurance that mom was there.

I finished up my project and my sweet girls were sound asleep. As I clicked off the light on my sewing machine I thought about how lucky I am. My mother took the time to teach me how to sew and I enjoy it, but the most important thing she taught me with every spool of thread spinning into the night was the depth of her love for her family.
I love you Mom. Thank you!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thursday Thought September

Pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes.
--John Ruskin

Who do you need to apologize to today?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Help Book Review

Have you read The Help by Kathryn Stockett?

The HelpIf not, I can't recommend this book highly enough. I loved it! It's a powerful novel based on events during the Civil Rights era in Jackson, Mississippi.
I kept thinking about this book for weeks after I read it. The point of view of the characters is written wonderfully. Through their eyes we learn their personal stories and also historical events in the early 1960s. 

Have you seen the movie? What did you think? I was worried about how they would be able to condense all of the wonderful stories and information from the book into a film.
The Help (Movie Tie-In)

I just saw the movie and I really enjoyed it. I thought they did a good job of portraying the novel and the actors were great. In the book, Minnie was a spitfire and I was excited to see how the actress did. I'm happy to say that she did great and kept me laughing. The movie was a reminder of how powerful the book was. The Help tugged at my heartstrings, made me gasp in disbelief at some of the germs that make up the human race, and then made me cry with how beautiful some humans can be if they choose to look outside themselves.

I loved the voice of Aibileen as I'm sure most do, but I loved her particularly because she understood one thing that was most important--children are God's ultimate gift to us and should be treated as such. I loved reading about her kindness and how hard she worked to help little Mae Mobley understand that she was a good and kind girl.

I love novels like "The Help" that encourage me to think hard about this world we live in, the history of our nation, and how far we've come in just a few decades.

If you've read this book, I'd love to know what your favorite part was. If it's something that gives too much away, then just put *spoiler alert* at the beginning of your comment or feel free to email me too!

So what did you think? And what book are you reading now?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Celebrations

Today is a fun day for my family because it's a tradition to celebrate with my husband's family by going to the parade. Then we have dinner at his parent's house after with all the grandkids running wild through the house.
The weather for the parade was perfect--a bit overcast and not too hot.
The kids had fun on the carnival rides.

They cheered when they caught candy from the parade (and one cried cuz she didn't get enough).
We put our hand on our heart when the flag passed by and applauded the veterans of war parading in their army jeeps.
We clapped for the dancers and the bands, waved at the beauty queens and Smoky the Bear. And I remembered the many parades I attended as a child and thought how grateful  I am to be part of this family tradition, making memories with my own children.
Now we're enjoying the afternoon, the last few hours of relaxation before life goes back to normal.

What did you do today? I hope you had fun!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Winner of Scrapbook Prize Pack

Thanks to everyone who entered the Awesome August Blog Hop on my stop.
I'm excited to announce the winner of this great mix of Scrapbooking supplies and cards.


The winner selected randomly is....
 Tamera
Congrats!

Please email me Rachellethewriter@gmail.com with your address so I can mail you your prize.
I have another incredible giveaway in the works, more book reviews, and something new coming your way so come visit me again!

Thursday Thought September

Research is never completed. . . .Around the corner lurks another possibility of interview, another book to read, a courthouse to explore, a document to verify.
--CATHERINE DRINKER BOWEN

When I'm working on a novel, there are so many things to research. I love using Google to answer my questions. It's amazing how many small and big details go into building a setting and fleshing out characters for a book. I love it when the author takes time to portray things accurately and with a good eye for detail.
What have you learned lately from reading a book?

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