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Recipe of the Month: Taco Casserole


My daughter loves the Zippy Beef & Mac casserole and Enchilada Casserole so she suggested trying Taco Casserole and found this recipe on dinneratthezoo.com. We have made just a few adjustments to the recipe and those changes are listed below. This is an easy recipe and everyone in the family loved it. I think this will be a great meal to plan on a busy school or work day. And it is a good use for those small pieces at the bottom of the tortilla chip bag. Ingredients 1 lb ground beef 1/2 cup onion, chopped 1 packet taco seasoning 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes (I use either Chipotle or Mexican-style), undrained 1 1/4 cup tortilla chips, crushed 16 oz. can refried beans 1/3 cup salsa 1 1/2 cup...
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Quote of the Week – July 22

We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt  Original link
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Now distance learning is required…at least temporarily

New Information regarding Distance Learning – Harmony School of ...
Last week I wrote about having to choose between in-person and distance learning for my two children. Three days after my post, my school district made the decision to start the school year out with three weeks of distance learning. Now this is not the distance learning of the final quarter of last year – or so the district assures us. When we began staying home last time, the teachers had a week to scramble and set up distance learning. They had no clue what type of technology or internet access their students had and while the schools offered devices to those in need, many parents and students struggled with the technology and assignments. A typical week in the old way involved a project f...
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Quote of the Week – July 15

Amid these trying times, we need all the positive thoughts we can muster. I particularly like this song – Better Days by OneRepublic. Oh, I know that there’ll be better daysOh, that sunshine ’bout to come my wayMay we never ever shed another tear for today‘Cause oh, I know that there’ll be better days To hear the rest of the song, check out the video. Original link
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Choosing between in-school and distance learning


If you are a parent, you may be struggling with the momentous decision of whether your kids should return for in-school learning this school year. With cases of COVID-19 rising across the United States and the school year fast approaching, many parents are left wondering what this school year will be like. Some school districts have taken that decision out of the parent’s hand by only offering distance learning. Yet with the President and Secretary of Education declaring school should be open, some school districts are hemming and hawing about whether it comply or to go with the safer option of keeping students at home for this school year. It is hard to say which is best. It isn’t as easy a...
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Trying to stay on task…again


You would think with the COVID-19 pandemic run rampant in San Antonio, Texas that I would have all the time in the world to write, to finish my first draft of my latest book. We are after all supposed to be staying home…again. Yet, here it is that time is slipping by and I am not getting as much done as I would like on the writing front. Sigh. This is a typical problem for me. And I am sure it is a problem for many Independent Authors who do not write full-time. It is my other life that is encroaching on my time. As I have said before on this blog, I have a problem saying no when it comes to volunteering. I am involved in four different school related boards – 2 local Parent-Teacher Associat...
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Vacationing during the pandemic


Well, if you have watched the news lately, you know that COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing here in Texas. In fact, San Antonio is in the top 10 COVID hot spots in the U.S. This is not the list you want to be on. Originally, before this whole mess came about – way before 2020 started my parents, brother and I planned a June trip to New Orleans. That went out the window when New Orleans was listed as a hot bed for COVID 19 cases in April. In May, as things were going well in San Antonio, we planned to replace the New Orleans trip with one to South Padre Island so the kids could enjoy the beach, which had recently opened. We had no clue when we booked the trip what restaurants would be open. All ...
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Recipe of the Month – Vanilla Slice-and-Bake Cookies

This is an easy cookie recipe. Typically when I make these they are eaten in the first 24 hours. I choose this picture of the cookies as their layout makes the shape of Mickey Mouse. (Disney fans will understand this.) Ingredients 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened 1 cup sugar 1 egg 2 t. vanilla extract 1 3/4 cups flour 1/2 t. baking soda 1/4 t. salt 1/2 cup chopped pecans Directions Cream butter, gradually add sugar, beating well at medium speed of an electric mixer. Add egg and vanilla, beat well. Combine flour, soda and salt; add to creamed mixture, beating well. Stir in pecans. Shape dough into 2 rolls (about 10 inches long). Wrap in wax paper and chill for at least 2 hours. Unwrap ro...
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Quote of the Week – July 1

For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson Original link
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Quote of the Week – June 24

The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same ~ Colin R. Davis Original link
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Quote of the Week – June 17

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product ~ Eleanor Roosevelt Original link
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Is there a thing as too much volunteering?


I have a problem. That is the first step – admitting it. I definitely have a problem. And it isn’t that I can’t say no. It is that I love being involved. I love being involved in my kids’ schools and knowing what is happening. It is this love for volunteering and being involved that has led me to my current predicament. I now have 4 volunteer positions. Yep, you read that right. In addition to working part-time and writing a novel, I will fill the rest of my time with lots of volunteering. Middle School PTA This past school year, I was PTA President for the middle school. It has been a crazy year with the last fourth of it being done from home. That didn’t stop my volunteering, there was sti...
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Quote of the Week – June 10

Today my husband and I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving ~ Paulo Coelho Original link
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Keeping the kids busy this summer


School has technically been out for the past week and a half though the kids finished their distance learning the week before that. And now that we are officially into summer, it is time for my annual “What we are doing this summer” post. This year is a little different since we are still in the midst of our state reopening businesses. Pool/Water Park I love the free option of our neighborhood pool. It just opened at the end of May with a limit of 20 people to keep with the social distancing. It is usually empty in the mornings so that is when we will go. We also have a season pass to Six Flags. We bought them so we could use their water park. But as I write this, Six Flags has not reopened ...
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Writing out of order

Out of Order - Liquipedia Rocket League Wiki
As I have been writing this blog for nearly 8 years now, finding writing topics has become harder and harder. I feel like I have covered so many topics multiple times. Sometimes I try to look at what I am currently writing for inspiration. I am still working on my first draft of the first book in a follow up trilogy to my The Elemental trilogy. Now I am not a planner. I do not outline my books before I write. I do have a loose outline and typically plan out a few chapters at a time. And often I do have the end of the book in mind when I begin writing. But since I only have a loose outline, I am free to let my characters dictate how the story goes. This method works for me – usually. I and ma...
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Recipe of the Month – Beef Fajitas


This one is a family favorite. We have it at least once a month. The recipe for a meat marinade comes from an old set of microwave cookbooks. It is quick and tasty. While the recipe has the meat grilled and the peppers and onions done in the microwave, I cook them all in a skillet on the stove.   Ingredients 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1/4 cup lime juice (I use lemon) 2 T. soy sauce 1/4 t. ground cumin 1/4 t. black pepper 1/8 t. crushed red pepper flakes 2-lb. beef flank steak, about 1 inch thick 12 flour tortillas 1 medium green pepper, cut into thin strips 1 medium red pepper, cut into thin strips 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings 1 large clove garlic, cut into slivers 1...
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Quote of the Week – June 3

It is not bragging if you can back it up ~ Muhammad Ali Original link
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Talking about racism, protests, and rioting


With stories all over the news, internet and social media, it is no wonder my son heard about George Floyd, the African American man who died due to police brutality. There is no excuse for the police officers’ actions. And Floyd’s death has sparked outrage and protests. It was news of these protests that brought our son into our bedroom Saturday night. Now there is nothing wrong with people speaking out, marching, or protesting to get their opinions out about the travesty of what happened and demanding change. But it is what happened in many cities during the protests that alarmed Jase. And that was the rioting and looting. We first talked about the May 25 incident that sparked this. We tal...
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Quote of the Week – May 27

Your worth consists in what you are and not in what you have ~ Thomas Edison Original link
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Quote of the Week – May 20

What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson Original link
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