The Real Deal

My Kindergarten picture!
 Today is my birthday!

Wedding Day!

 It is also our anniversary. We've been together 40 years!

For Rednesday, I wanted to share with you this very cute photo.

My grandson's first karaoke!

For me, blogging isn't just an online business. Yes, I'm a piano teacher and I sell affiliate products. I'm also a book reviewer and have met some wonderful authors, illustrators, and publishers. I'm also a Christian and have been so blessed with a wonderful family, 4 special grandchildren and wonderful online friends. I think it is about relationships, celebrating life. It's so nice to meet you and getting to know you. Today, I'm Double Happy!

I'll be gone tomorrow, so I'm celebrating Wednesday today.


“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me." C. S. Lewis
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Birthday Party

Little "me" walking down a country road.

So, I'm heading up north for the weekend because I have a birthday coming up on Tuesday. Thought it would be nice to leave the ranch for awhile since the weather has been so lovely here in southern California, especially for January. How I love to celebrate life!

Do you remember your first birthday? What about that party dress? Mom always turned my hair into pretty ringlets. Maybe that's why I grew up and wanted to be like Cher! :=)

Remember all the prep work? There were birthday invitations to purchase and send out. You had to make or purchase some birthday decorations. Then there was that gorgeous cake. Someone had to bake or cake for you or else one was ordered.

Fun times to read birthday cards and now we receive ecards. There were pretty packages to open. Some lovely birthday presents you received or perhaps you found a coupon inside that said "Free car wash!" How nice that people love giving and think you're special... and you are. (me, too!)

As each birthday came around, did you have a party theme? Were you just so pleased to have a sleepover or perhaps go to Jack-in-the-Box and a movie with some friends?

"Huggin' Cousins!"

I am so fortunate to have a loving, supportive family. (daughters and son and in-laws). I think you already know how much I enjoy being a "YaYa" and go absolutely bonkers being a grandmother of four. Indeed, I am blessed to be with the same handsome man for 40 years. My gosh, where does the time go? Speaking of the journey through all the seasons, I sincerely hope you will slow down, reflect and then grow some more... as I plan to do. After all, we are created for a purpose.

Have a wonderful weekend and thanks so much for being the special online friends that you are.


“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me." C. S. Lewis
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Cooking The South American Way

Beach photo of Mexican Bay

There is nothing quite like watching the sunset along the shore, whether it's Mexico or Hawaii. The view is beautiful, peaceful and serene in "manana land." Viva Mexico! 

I'm linking up to SkyWatch Friday.

Cooking The South American Way: Helga Parnell

Cooking The South American Way by Helga Parnell

 Book Beginnings 

"If you were to create a meal featuring a dish from each country in South America, you'd be savoring some of the best food in the world. The variety of spices, tropical fruits and vegetables, and international influences in South American cooking makes it difficult to label as one cuisine. Each region offers its own special foods to the mix."
-- I love how the book introduces you to Turnovers at the very beginning because they are so popular in South America and quite delicious. They can be filled with beef, chicken or fruit!

Cooking the South American Way (Easy Menu Ethnic Cookbooks)  

Page 56

"These tiny tidbits can be as much fun to make as they are to eat. You can garnish them with almost anything you like, so use your imagination."
-- From Cooking The South American Way (easy menu ethnic cookbooks, revised and expanded to include new low-fat and vegetarian recipes) by Helga Parnell

I'm linking up with The Page 56

Here is an easy 30 min. prep recipe that serves 6 from the book, found on page 56.

Finger Sandwiches/Bocaditos (Argentina)

12 thin slices French bread
1 3-oz. container whipped cream cheese with chives
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
4 to 6 precooked shrimp
4 cherry tomatoes
4 pimento-stuffed olives, sliced

1. Trim crusts from bread.
2. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on bread.
3. Garnish with cucumber slices, shrimp, cherry tomatoes, and/or olives.

Looking for South American crafts? You'll find some here.

Plus, you might be interested in some South America songs.

The homemade kazoos were received well by the kindergarten class. The children loved to hear the sounds of their voiced being altered. I can't wait to bring them some rainsticks made with an empty paper towel roll, aluminum foil inside and a little bit of rice. Be sure and seal off the ends. I used duck tape!


Follow Friday 

Q: Which book genre do you avoid at all cost and why?
A: Murder Mystery... just too darn scary and I have a wild imagination, so it's better for me to stay in the land of children's picture books! lol

Happy Friday! LadyD Books is linking to the following sites,

“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me." C. S. Lewis
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While We Were Shopping

Wordless Wednesday

Casa Azul Barrio Nuevo for REDnesday

While some of my family were south of the border( it's so pretty there), having a little rest and relaxation, plus doing a little shopping in beautiful Puerta Vallarta, we were waiting for the announcement of the Newberry Awards. I was delighted to receive this note from Kristen Lemire of Open Road Media:

"Because you cover children's and young adult literature we're sure you are anxiously awaiting the announcements from the American Library Association on Monday, January 23rd, designating who will be the next winners of the Newbery Award and so many other awards that can change the lives of the recipients.

This video from Open Road Integrated Media captures Newbery Award-Winning authors Virginia Hamilton and Jean Craighead George talking about how those awards (for Julie of the Wolves and M.C. Higgins The Great respectively) changed their lives. Hamilton was the first African American to win the award and George saw the view of children's literature change to "something important instead of something second-rate.”

For the past 90 years, the ALA has awarded the Newbery Medal, sometimes called the "Oscar" of children’s literature, to an author in recognition of the year’s most distinguished children’s book. Open Road Media proudly presents eight Newbery Award winning and Honor Books in its growing catalog of children’s books."

Please feel free to share with your readers this honest, insightful video from two of the greats in children's literature:

The American Library Association announced the top books, video and audiobooks for children and young adults at its Midwinter Meeting in Dallas. Here are the winners:

John Newbery Medal

Dead End in Norvelt

Newbery Honor Books

Inside Out and Back Again


Breaking Stalin's Nose

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:
“A Ball for Daisy," illustrated and written by Chris Raschka, is the 2012 Caldecott Medal winner.

There's much more on the list! Go see!

Congratulations to all the winners. I have some great reading to look forward to this year!

Have you read some of these books? A Ball For Daisy, a children's picture book of course, is the only one I know about.

I'm off to the library now. Happy Wednesday!
Today LadyD Books is linking up with,

“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me." C. S. Lewis
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