Tag Archive | Family

Daddy by Summer Ross

From Christina: You probably know Summer Ross  through her alter ego, Decadent Kane. Today she’s here not to write about elven troubles or other mystical dilemmas, but to pay tribute to a very important man in her life.

Daddy

by Summer Ross

There is a little bit of a hero and a villain in all of us. That’s what my daddy taught me without realizing it. He’s not my biological father, but he is and always will be my daddy. I met him when I was eight years old I think it was, and I didn’t call him daddy then. No he earned that title. If there is one thing I could say without a doubt in my mind, I have no clue what hell hole I might be in if he never would have showed up in our lives.

It takes a hell of a man to walk into a broken family and put them back together while loving children that he didn’t make.

Steve BeadleI’m not going to say all of it was easy, or that he never did anything wrong. Because no matter how much of a hero he was, he was also still a man with flaws. But I learned to see the better part of people because of him. I learned that love could move past arguments, throwing shoes at each other, even mixing two separate families together. The real love, the kind that I have come to see as true love, is the kind of love that doesn’t give up when things get bad.

Looking back, I can see how I searched for a partner who would be, at least in part, the kind of man he was. The kind of person that could see past faults, work through problems, and stick with it until the end. And he did that, every day with me, my little brother, my step sister, my step brother, and my alcoholic mother. He was there, always. And that’s the kind of man I want in my life.

There is one line he always said to us kids whenever something went bad, or we were hurt. “I’ve had worse cuts on my lip and never stopped whistling.” And one of these days a character in my books will say that line.

My daddy’s favorite actor was John Wayne, the old western guy. He’s a bit of a hero and has some villain in him too. I’ve never put much stock in John Wayne, never really asked him why he liked that man so much. I’ve seen a couple of his films. I’ve seen him be a drunk and be a good guy. I’ve seen him be a down right jerk, saying all the wrong things, and still save the girl or the kid. I can appreciate my daddy’s liking of him and if there was ever anything I wanted to tell my daddy, it would be that he’d always be my John Wayne, the one that didn’t just do what he had to do. He stepped up, went above and beyond, and I have the life I have right now because when I was eight years old, a man who sometimes drank too much and sometimes said things that broke my heart walked into my life and changed the world as I knew it in all the best ways.

His name was Steve Beadle.



Look for Decadent Kane at Amazon and other online booksellers. 

 

Decadent Kane

You can also visit her blog.

Decadent Kane – Blogspot



MORE FROM DECADENT KANE

“My Winter Deuce”

 

Sinhalese New Year by Devika Fernando

From Christina: When Devika commented on a post I wrote about “spring cleaning”, she mentioned the traditions surrounding the Sinhalese New Year, known as aluth avurudda in Sinhalese. I was intrigued, and I quickly invited Devika to share a few thoughts. 

 

Sinhalese New Year

by  Devika Fernando

In Sri Lanka, we don’t experience the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter. There is the never-ending cycle of dry seasons and rainy seasons which influences flora, fauna and agriculture. So, instead of the spring cleaning the West goes through every year, we have an annual cleaning session when the Buddhist and Hindu New Year dawns. The old year ends on April 13th and the new year begins on April 14th. These dates are chosen because of their astrological meaning. Apparently, the sun moves from the house of Pisces to the house of Aries. To Sri Lankans, astrology is all but holy. That is one of the reasons why each year, there are different auspicious times. One year, the New Year might dawn in the evening, the next year in the morning or around noon. There are also auspicious times for special rituals.

  • There’s a time on the last day of the old year where any preparation and work must be finished. For a span of roughly 10 hours, you’re supposed to do no work (including housework) and to spend time with your family, with religious practices or just relaxing.
  •  There’s a time after the new year has begun where you turn on your oven for the first time. As some Sri Lankans still use a wood-and-fire stove and almost all others use gas for cooking, it is customary to create a small fire and place a pot of milk on it. The milk should boil over at roughly the given time, which brings a bountiful year.
  •  There’s a time when you can have your first meal after the 10-hour period.
  • Usually 2 to 4 days after the New Year, there’s a day and time to start work again.

In combination with these times, there are auspicious colours to wear on each of the occasions, and there is a direction (for example south, or north-east) to look at when you perform a task like cooking the first meal or going to office for the first time.

Sinhalese New Year

Subha aluth avuruddak wewa

 Wishing you a happy New Year

* * * *

During the days prior to the Sinhalese New Year, we perform our version of ‘spring cleaning’. The whole house is swept and dusted and washed and rearranged. Whoever can afford it, gets the building colour washed and the furniture repaired and polished. From the curtains to every item in the cupboards, everything is taken out and cleaned, and old and broken things are discarded.

Not only the houses have to be at their shiniest and newest, but the people, too. It is customary to gift family members and friends clothes, as well as buy yourself new ones. If the grown-up children live in the parent’s house—which happens more often than not—they buy new household items or some decoration.
Another reason for the date the New Year falls on is the end of the harvesting season for paddy (rice) and other major agricultural crops. So, in the villages, there are many rites and rituals around donating the first rice and how to cook it.

Of course, the New Year wouldn’t be a celebration if special food weren’t involved. There are several traditional sweets—many made from rice flour, palm syrup (treacle) and mung bean flour—that the whole family comes together to make. On the dawning of the new day, you eat these along with milk rice and a spicy onion-and-chili paste.

Sri Lanka
Games—climbing a wooden pole smeared with grease, having a pillow fight while balancing on a beam, trying to hit a hanging clay pot with your eyes closed, play drums—are an essential part of the New Year celebrations. Religion also plays an important role. On the first day of the new year, you go to the temple and offer flowers as well as prayers. The head of the family blesses everyone else.

Basically, it’s all about strengthening family bonds, taking a breather from the hectic everyday troubles, readying yourself and your house for the next 12 months to come – and having a good time.

* * * *

About Devika

devikaAlmost as soon as Devika Fernando could write, she imagined stories and poems. After finishing her education in Germany and returning to her roots in Sri Lanka, she got a chance to turn her passion into her profession. Having lived in Germany and in Sri Lanka with her husband has made her experience the best (and the worst) of two totally different worlds – something that influences her writing. Besides being a romance novel author, she works as a German web content writer and as a translator. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing. Her debut romance novel, When I See Your Face, is now available at Amazon. 

 

Spring Brings Eternal Hope by Cindy Christiansen

Spring Flowers

 

Spring is God’s way of saying ‘One more time!’

– Robert Orben

 

 

 

 

Spring Brings Eternal Hope

by Cindy Christiansen

 

There is something magical about spring. The earth warms and brightens, seeds sprout and grow into a gorgeous colorful array of flowers, grass turns a vibrant green, and trees bud new leaves. I think more than any time of the year, spring gives me hope—a rebirth to accomplish new and wondrous things—to start anew.

Many celebrate each new year as a time to set goals and move forward. But there is something incredible about the rebirth of the earth that fills me with hope and optimism that life brings new choices and opportunities never before considered.

Reach out and touch those dreams. Wipe clean your slates and refresh your hearts. It’s a new day!

One of the first vegetables you can grow and harvest in the spring is peas! Oh, how I remember harvesting the peas early in the morning on our farm, sitting on the lawn grass underneath the shade trees podding peas. My older sister would eat more than she put into her bucket. My dad was just as bad. Mom would have to get after both of them. Soon the podding, blanching and packaging was complete, but Mom always saved a few out for a fresh pea salad. I share that recipe with you today in memory of happy spring days and future spring days that sprout new hopes, dreams and visions.

Fresh Pea Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh peas
  • 8 slices of bacon or 1/2 cup Hormel Real Crumbled Bacon
  • 2/3 cup chopped onions
  • 3/4 to 1 cup Ranch dressing
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 head lettuce

Directions:

1. If using strips of bacon: Cook bacon in skillet over medium heat until brown. Drain, crumble and set aside. If using already prepared bacon, measure 1/2 cup.

2. In a large bowl, combine and mix all the above ingredients except for lettuce.

3. Refrigerate pea dressing for 30 minutes or until chilled before serving. (We never can wait that long.)

4. Wash and dry lettuce (I use a salad spinner. Mom didn’t have one.) Tear lettuce into bite-size pieces in large bowl.

5. Pour pea dressing over lettuce and toss. Enjoy!

About Cindy: 

Cindy A. Christiansen writes sweet romance with humor, suspense…and dogs! With over thirty health issues and two autistic children, she struggles to write but finds it cathartic. She loves going where only her characters can take her. She loves dogs and always includes them in her books and features them on her covers. She donates time and money to organizations that help abused and abandoned dogs. She lives with her wonderful family and delightful dogs in West Jordan, UT.

 

Irish Beef Stew by Tricia Andersen

From Christina: Saint Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. Usually I fix the traditional corned beef and cabbage meal…but this year, I wanted to be a little different. Fortunately, author Tricia Andersen stepped in to offer her recipe for Irish Beef Stew. This is what we’ll be having on the 17th! I wanted to share it here a few days ahead of the holiday so that you’ll have time to do a bit of grocery shopping too if you’d like to serve this for your family and friends.

 

Irish Beef Stew Recipe

Since both my husband and I are both part Irish, St. Patrick’s Day is a huge deal in our house.  I get a little crazy and try to make a special dinner for my family.  A couple of years ago I found this Irish Beef Stew Recipe on AllRecipes.com.  I hope it’s a hit with your family like it is with mine!

Quick note from Christina: The recipe calls for stout beer. Since no one in our family imbibes, I’m planning to substitute beef broth with maybe a pinch of ginger and/or Worcestershire sauce.  Below the recipe I’ve included an “alcohol substitution” link.  

Beef StewIngredients

Original recipe makes 8 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

6 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

1 white onion, cut into large chunks

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups beef broth

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle Irish stout beer (e.g. Guinness®)

1 tablespoon cold water

1 tablespoon cornstarch

 

Directions

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Toss beef cubes with flour to coat, then fry in the hot oil until browned. Place the carrots, potatoes, onion and garlic in a large slow cooker. Place the meat on top of the vegetables. Mix together the beef broth and tomato paste and pour into the slow cooker along with the beer.

Cover and cook on High for 6 hours or Low for 8 hours. During the last hour before serving, dissolve the cornstarch in cold water and then stir into the broth. Simmer on the High setting for a few minutes to thicken.

 Alcohol Substitutes for Cooking

 

The Thanksgiving that Almost Wasn’t by Karen McCullough

Holidays should be fun, but sometimes… well, here’s Karen’s story. 

The Thanksgiving that Almost Wasn’t

by Karen McCullough

 Three years ago, my youngest daughter was married on November 20th, which was the Saturday before Thanksgiving that year. Weddings are always memorable and this one was no exception. Sarah was a beautiful bride and her new husband a very proud groom. The weather was perfect. It was one of those rare, mild days that sometimes happens in late fall in North Carolina. The whole thing went off without a hitch. The day was perfect.

 

Marriage

Well, almost. We didn’t find out just how not-perfect it was until the next day when the bride, and about two-thirds of the other people who’d been at the wedding woke up horribly sick. I was fortunate that I wasn’t, but my husband, older daughter, the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and a lot of others were all miserably nauseated. Fortunately, it only lasted about 24 hours, but it seemed a lot longer to them.

We initially suspected food poisoning, but later events suggested it was actually a fast-moving and nasty virus. (We’ll get to that.)

The bride was so sick that by nightfall she was at the hospital and spent most of the night there getting intravenous fluids. The doctor who cared for her was the first to suggest a virus was the likely culprit. Sadly the honeymoon had to be cancelled. There were a few bright spots, however.

Because their flight wasn’t until Monday, the newlyweds had booked a room at a local Bed and Breakfast for the night. Fortunately for them, the B&B wasn’t crowded so the proprietors let them stay when it was clear the new bride was in no shape for a long airplane flight. They were extremely nice and accommodating, even bringing them tea, toast, and sodas.

Meanwhile, the sick people recovered and we thought we were beyond it, when a second wave hit. The groom, myself, my son, and most of the others who hadn’t gotten sick initially were all ill by Wednesday. Oddly, none of us were as drastically sick as the first wave of people had been, but it was still no fun at all. It was that second wave that convinced everyone it had been a virus.

And though I was over the worst of it by Thursday morning, the last thing I felt up to doing was cooking a big Thanksgiving feast. I had to tell everyone I couldn’t do dinner.  But both daughters were fully recovered by then and since the new bride hadn’t managed to get away for the honeymoon, the girls got together and cooked up a nice dinner for all us. Some of us, myself included, weren’t really eating normally yet, but I managed a bite or two of everything.

And because we weren’t sure Thanksgiving would even happen that year, we were particularly grateful when it did. And despite all the illness, we felt very blessed by the lovely wedding and the unexpected presence of the bride and new son-in-law at the Thanksgiving feast.

Karen McCullough is a web designer by profession, and the author of a dozen published novels and novellas in the mystery, romantic suspense, and fantasy genres as well. She has won numerous awards, including an Eppie Award for fantasy, and has also been a four-time Eppie finalist, and a finalist in the Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards contests. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She has three children, four grandchildren and lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of many years. She’s released two short Halloween/Fall related stories this past month, and her Christmas Vampire story — “A Vampire’s Christmas Carol”  — is now available.

You can find Karen at her website and blog: Karen McCullough or you can connect with her through Facebook or Twitter.

 

Thanksgiving — Better than Christmas by Stacy Moran

Christmas tops the list of “favorite holidays” for many people, but not for romance writer Stacy Moran. Today, she shares a few thoughts — and a special recipe — for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Thanksgiving — Better than Christmas

Thanksgiving. I love it more than Christmas, and here’s why.

Thanksgiving is getting absorbed by the Christmas festivities and shopping before it ever has a chance to be truly enjoyed.

With the Christmas season coming earlier and earlier every year, Thanksgiving is becoming known more as “the day before Black Friday” than an actual holiday. Christmas is swelling to monstrous proportions, swallowing Thanksgiving. Retailers are even staying open on Thanksgiving in order to beat competition’s sales.

A holiday that is in some ways controversial, but to me is the best time of year, is disappearing.

To me Thanksgiving is about…

  1. Family
  2. Amazing Food
  3. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
  4. Gone with the Wind (my family tradition)
  5. A room filled with napping people
  6. The smell of turkey and pumpkin pies
  7. The start of colder weather
  8. Charlie Brown
  9. Memories of childhood
  10. Leftovers

This year take a moment and remember your childhood, watch the parade, play football in the yard, savor Grandma’s stuffing, and just appreciate the day.

To make the day a bit easier here is my “go-to” recipe for moist turkey.

Turkey Dinner

INGREDIENTS

One Turkey, approx. 15 lbs.

Juice of a lemon

Salt and pepper

Melted butter

Tops and bottoms of a bunch of celery

2 carrots

Parsley

Sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme

METHOD

Step One

To start, if the turkey has been refrigerated, bring it to room temperature before cooking. Keep it in its plastic wrapping until you are ready to cook it. While in the refrigerator, and or while you are bringing it to room temp, have the bird resting in a pan, so that if the plastic covering leaks for any reason, you are confining the juices to the pan.

Handle a raw turkey with the same amount of caution as when you handle raw chicken – use a separate cutting board and utensils to avoid contaminating other foods. Wash your hands with soap before touching anything else in the kitchen. Use paper towels to clean up.

Remove the neck and giblets (heart, gizzard, liver). Use the heart and gizzard for making stock for the stuffing. The neck can be cooked alongside the turkey or saved for turkey soup. Or all of the giblets can be used for making giblet gravy.

Step Two

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Step Three

Wash out the turkey with water. Pull out any remaining feather stubs in the turkey skin. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Lather the inside of the cavity with the juice of half a lemon. Take a small handful of salt and rub all over the inside of the turkey.

Step Four

For flavor, put in inside the turkey, a bunch of parsley, a couple of carrots, and some tops and bottoms of celery. You may need to cap the body cavity with some aluminum foil so that the stuffing doesn’t easily fall out. Close up the turkey cavity with either string (not nylon string!) or metal skewers. Make sure that the turkey’s legs are tied together, held close to the body, and tie a string around the turkey body to hold the wings in close.

Step Five

Rub either melted butter all over the outside of the turkey. Sprinkle salt generously all over the outside of the turkey (or have had it soaking in salt-water brine before starting this process). Sprinkle pepper over the turkey.


Step Six

Place turkey BREAST DOWN on the bottom of a rack over a sturdy roasting pan big enough to catch all the drippings. This is the main difference between the way mom makes turkey and everyone else. Cooking the turkey breast down means the skin over the breast will not get so brown. However, all of the juices from the cooking turkey will fall down into the breast while cooking. And the resulting bird will have the most succulent turkey breast imaginable.

Add several sprigs of fresh (if possible) thyme and rosemary to the outside of the turkey.

Step Seven

Chop up the turkey giblets (gizzard, heart). Put into a small saucepan, cover with water, add salt. Bring to simmer for an hour or so to help make stock for the stuffing.

Step Eight

Put the turkey in the oven. Check the cooking directions on the turkey packaging. Gourmet turkeys often don’t take as long to cook. With the turkeys mom gets, she recommends cooking time of about 15 minutes for every pound. For the 15 lb. turkey, start the cooking at 400 F for the first 1/2 hour. Then reduce the heat to 350 F for the next 2 hours. Then reduce the heat further to 225 F for the next hour to hour and a half.

If you want the breast to be browned as well, you can turn the bird over so that the breast is on top, and put it in a 500°F oven or under the broiler for 4-5 minutes, just enough to brown the breast. Note that if you do this, you will have a higher risk of overcooking the turkey breast.

Start taking temperature readings with a meat thermometer, inserted deep into the thickest part of the turkey breast and thigh, an hour before the turkey should be done. You want a resulting temperature of 175°F for the dark meat (thighs and legs) and 165°F for the white meat (breast). The temperature of the bird will continue to rise once you take it out of the oven, so take it out when the temperature reading for the thigh is 170°F, and for the breast 160°F. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, spear the breast with a knife. The turkey juices should be clear, not pink.

Step Nine 

Once you remove the turkey from the oven, let it rest for 15-20 minutes. Turn the turkey breast side up to carve it.

kristin-emery-family-and-friends

Once again remember the point of the day is to enjoy and be thankful for your  family, friends, and the amazing food prepared.

About Stacy Moran: 

Stacy  was born in West Virginia but now finds herself living in Texas. She has loved writing since she wrote her first book in the first grade, The Land Without Rules. Her mother will tell you it was a brilliant piece of literature.

An author of several genres, she prefers to combine the mainstream genres of paranormal and gothic romance with elements of erotic, mythology and fantasy.

Her most recent works include, Blood Myth (The Myth Series), Sekhmet’s Revenge, The Lotus, and a series of erotic shorts,  Temptation Tuesdays. You can find her books on Amazon.

SAM

Readers can find Stacy online at her official website, at her blog, and on Facebook. 

Official Site of Stacy A. Moran

A New Journal Blog

Facebook

 

 

Gratitude by Cindy Christiansen

From Christina: I’m very grateful to Cindy for sharing her beautiful thoughts about home, family, and the special memories that come from living, loving, and working together. Please welcome her to Time for Love. 

Gratitude

By Cindy Christiansen

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” — Albert Schweitzer

Autumn is my favorite time of year. I have fond memories of life on our farm with my family and harvesting what we had worked so hard to produce through the year. I remember peeling and coring apple after apple for bottled apples and applesauce, my mouth watering for one of my mom’s homemade apple pies; the canning season coming to a close as we gathered the squash to store in the cellar; and finally putting the garden to bed for the dormant winter months ahead.

Memories of my dad’s hardworking hands, my mother’s gentle smile, and my siblings’ playful banter take me back to a picturesque time when life was slower and more people had a sense of gratitude instead of entitlement.

But most of all, I remember being together as a family, sharing a story and a laugh while we worked together and the feelings of love, contentment, and peace that radiated from our home. I am so very thankful for these memories and hope the home life I have tried to create for my children will provide them with the same wonderful memories I enjoy because there really is no place like home.

Although I am grateful for my family and friends who light the flame within me, often times it’s the memories of life on our farm which help to rekindle my passion for life. For this, I am forever grateful.

About Cindy:Photo - Cindy A. Christiansen

Cindy A. Christiansen writes sweet romance with humor, suspense…and dogs! With over thirty health issues and two autistic children, she struggles to write but finds it cathartic. She loves going where only her characters can take her. She loves dogs and always includes them in her books and features them on her covers. She donates time and money to organizations that help abused and abandoned dogs. She lives with her wonderful family and delightful dogs in West Jordan, Utah.