Monthly Archives: April 2013

Keys to Unlocking Creativity in Your Child

Over the years, I’ve been asked to speak on this topic more than once. I was reminded of the topic by a recent question—do your children like to read as much as you do? The answer to that is YES! My husband and I are both big readers. Reading to the children is something we both tired to do often and make fun! We offered them books (library is a great money saver!) as often as possible. We encouraged them to read widely and often.

How does this relate to creativity? Everyone is creative. We simply express that creativity in different ways and at different levels. To help your child find and enjoy his/her creativity, encourage the arts. Model enjoyment at doing things wherever you are–kitchen, garden, even chores. from an early age, our children made cards to give to the elderly in a nursing home. Great feedback. Fun time for them. We were fortunate enough to be able to provide them with lessons in music, art and dance, but allowed them to stop when they wanted to so that the activities became fun. Gifts always included art materials. Home made gifts cherished.

Organization, language arts, writing, performing, all of these things were praised.

So, in other words, make your home arts/creativity friendly. You can critique, but in a positive way. Home should be a loving atmosphere in which the child is free to create and fail and go on to create even more and to find his or her creative niche.

At last, Friday and why we blog!

This was an exciting week for words, My iphone screen got milk on it which messed up everything until someone reminded me to leave it 24 hours in a bag of rice so for the cost of one box of Uncle Ben’s it now works again. Thanks, Amanda at ATMC!

For writers I would like to post a guest contribution today from Janie Sullivan who has a marvelous school for writing in Arizona. I may not be able to get to her classes from here in North Carolina and you might not either, I’m sharing with you, (with her permission) some of her more helpful advice

Why Do We Blog?

            Posted by Janie Sullivan on March 28, 2013 in General Writing, Writing Life, Writing Tips |

I have recently had several questions about blogging. When one person said she did not see why she needed a blog, it took me a few minutes to be able to form an answer that made sense. It got me thinking, why DO we blog? I came up with the following reasons:

  1. As a writer, blogging is an excellent way of establishing oneself as an expert. The more I blog about writing, the more people will think I know about writing.
  2. Connecting in in our virtual world is much easier through blogging. Since I started this blog three years ago, I have connected with writers all over the world. Something that would not have happened without the blog.
  3. Helping other writers by blogging about my experiences as a writer also not only connects me to like-minded people, but it also gives me a sense of satisfaction about making a difference.
  4. Learning something new. Sometimes I am at a loss for a topic to write about so I do some research on it, learn about it, then blog about it.
  5. And yes, blogging is a great way to promote yourself, your products (whatever they may be) and your services.

If you blog, why do you blog? If you don’t blog, would you like to?

Speaking of promoting your services, I have a workshop coming up: Build a Blog, on April 20. It is a hands-on, live, face-to-face workshop  where I will be teaching participants how to build a blog in WordPress. Bring your laptop and come out of the three-hour workshop with a personalized blog all your own–If I lived near her I would! Contact Janie at:

Janie Sullivan Director, Center for Writing Excellence

Tel: 928-458-5861 | Mobile: 480-862-3130

Trainer: Webucator

Food, Glorious Food

Still have two more Glory Food products to review, but am taking a break to tell you about the dinner Joe and I made for our friends last night–Leotta Lasagna.

I make a sauce that has some meat but is not cooked for a long time. Joe specializes in preparing the ricotta, returning it to the creamy stuff we enjoyed as children by putting it in the processor with a bit of milk, then we layer (with added mozzarella) and bake–terrific if I do say so myself and I really don’t eat lasagna. Never liked it until we started to make it together. Is it the lasagna I like or is it the cooking together that simply makes it taste better?



Organ Donation

Organ Donation


Eleven years ago, our son walked across the street into heaven. He had signed up to be an organ donor only a few short weeks before the accident. Sign up if you have not–read the article about my friend. I do all I can to support the cause of organ donation.


Sharing alert!

Great post on writing dialogue!


Encore is a repeat, usually in the theater and usually of something we enjoy. Revisions are a repeat read of something we’ve written and the work is not always pleasant–often because it is hard work to polish somethign we’ve written over and over again.

Reading an article today on how to repair wood floor scratches with household items, it occured to me that we writers need to “think out of the box” to do our own revisions.

Here are some “household hints” for repairing our own manuscripts.

1. The age old remedy that works–let it sit. Come back to it in a few days.

2. Aother age old–read it out loud.

3. Search and destroy. I do a search for ly words, for seem, that, and and but to be sure those are not overworked.

4. Let a friend take a look–can;t use this one too often, but it is a great substitute for suggestins one and two when you have a deadline crunch

5. Try out the manuscript on your review group–ah, you don;t have a group? Form one!

6, Take a walk. A bit of exercise while doing your revision will refresh your mind.

7. Consider it all joy, think of the revision as an encore performance–think of the revision as a puzzle to solve , how to make the project more reader accessible, not a chore. Your mental attitude toward making the changes will result in a

better finished product..

Glory, Glory, Yummy Glory

When a friend of mine moved from food writing to food publicity, she took on Glory Foods as a client. I had seen their products, mostly on the canned food shelves of my local supermarkets, but had not tried them. Glory products are processed in the South and they aim to reproduce the flavors of Grandma’s southern ktichen.

She offered to send me a sample basket of their canned items and some of their condiments and other products. I accepted–so, please be advised that the products I am reviewing were provided free by Glory Foods.

Today I’m reviewing Glory’s canned fried apples (15 oz size) and their corn bread mix (small box, 7.5 oz) . I adapted their recipe for fried apple cobbler (on the can). Both products and the cobbler were great–tho I did cut out all the sugar in the cobbler!

Fried Apples–sounds fatty, but not so much. More like an apple pie filling. Nice texture to the apples, firm, but soft enough to eat with a spoon. Product is spiced nicely with a bit of cinnamon and sugar and would be great as a side dish on its own, I think.

I would also buy it again to use it with sauteed onions as a savory/sweet topping for baked or pan-fried prok chops.

The corn bread mix was definitely the equal of any other small box mix I’ve tired. And the measured amount works perfectly in an 8 by 8 square pan.

Fried apple cobbler–you need two cans of the fried apples and one box of the mix. I believe the recipe calls for using the muffins, but the 7.5 ounce box of the cornbread mix worked just as well. I followed the directions on the spices, but I elminated the sugar entirely! The apples are sweet enough! Definitely use a glass pan as directed–reaction of the apples with a metal pan could affect the taste. Believe me it does taste great! Without the added sugar, it was perfect for us.

Will I use these products again? Most likely!

Tune in for reviews of some of their other products, There was more in my basket–

One more thing–do read the labels on their products. Some have msg, and some contain artificial smoke flavor. I’m allergic to both and that cut down on the number of items I could review.


Rolling Along

Today is the White House Easter Egg Roll. If you live in the DC area and have children under the age of six it is a great event. I went with my children as a part of the general public and as a performer (volunteer performer).

Today it is more difficult to get in–I think tickets are required –but it is worth it–a fun day for the family and something very different.

Even if this event is not for you, look around. There are special things in every area, often free, –take advantage of them with your family. Make memories together.