I was today years old when I learned this is an actual holiday. And frankly, I’m ashamed I didn’t know.

First, some backstory:

While watching the news this morning, the weatherperson had just talked about the temperature today and how it was going to reach a feels-like of over 100 degrees. The anchor then talks about a Junteenth festival. I didn’t think a lot about it, but Big D says, “What’s Junteenth?” I shrugged, commented something along the lines of “… a shame it’s not in October when it’s not so hot.”

A little later, I’m cooling off in my chair whilst scrolling Facebook. My friend Danielle, of Mamademics fame, had posted she was off to celebrate Junteenth.

Since we live about 400 miles from each other, I immediately went to Google to get more information because I knew I’d missed something important. (Side-note: Hey, Google. How about you have a different doodle up, today, hmm? Seriously a missed opportunity there.)

For those of you that already knew what today means, and you are shaking your head at my ignorance, thank you.
For the rest, please follow me for a very important history lesson.


June 19th is referred to as Junteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, according to Wikipedia. Today, it is celebrated in 45 states.

On June, 19 1865, the announcement of the abolition of enslaved African-Americans in Texas as well as other states in the southern Confederacy. You thought it was Abraham Lincoln’s doing? Yeah, me too.

I found another article in “Time.”

There is a common misconception among Americans that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves with a stroke of his pen. Yet the Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 1863, did no such thing — or, at least, it didn’t do a very good job of it. Two and a half years later, on June 19, 1865, Union soldiers sailed into Galveston, Texas, announced the end of the Civil War, and read aloud a general order freeing the quarter-million slaves residing in the state. It’s likely that none of them had any idea that they had actually been freed more than two years before. It was truly a day of mass emancipation. It has become known as Juneteenth.

I found another amazing resource which goes into deeper detail of this important holiday and its history through the years.

I’m not sure whether to blame the educational system – and both college history courses – or myself for not educating myself more on the history of this country and those who occupy it.

Either way, it’s time to step-up and get to reading.


A new take on hashbrowns

A new take on hashbrowns

A couple weeks ago, I had posted on Instagram about a take on a low-carb recipe I was trying.

I’d taken the picture while I was cooking, and posted it after we’d eaten. Two of us had eaten, and the third was working late. I figured he’d see my post and my secret would be out. More on that later….

Let me give you some backstory on the people who reside in this house:

Big D

  • Loves all things meat, potatoes, and bread.
  • Thinks corn and peas count as vegetables.
  • Iceburg lettuce “makes for a good salad.”
  • Will also eat carrots (cooked but sparingly), sweet potatoes (only if swimming in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon), and lima beans, black beans, and green beans.
  • Onions and mushrooms are “vile weeds.”


  • Vegetarian.
  • Also gluten-sensitive (but known to cave time-to-time. Garlic bread is the best.)
  • More sensitive to eggs. Avoid them at all costs.
  • Loves almost all vegetables but leary on some cooking methods. (Like collards and turnip greens. Ew. No.)
  • Loves most fruits with the exception of watermelon and honey dew. I don’t even want to be in the same room as a watermelon. I will gag. I hate it that much.
  • Iceburg lettuce is a waste of space.

Son Two

  • Loves all things meat, potatoes, and bread.
  • Thinks corn and peas count as vegetables.
  • Iceburg lettuce “makes for a good salad.”
  • Will also eat carrots (cooked but sparingly), sweet potatoes (only if swimming in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon), and lima beans, black beans, and green beans.
  • Onions and mushrooms are “vile weeds.” 
  • Has recently expanded to some onion, like on a burger.
  • Ketchup is amazing but raw tomatoes are disgusting.


Trying to make a dinner to satisfy all palettes is akin to a miracle. Some nights I can make one dinner, and others I’ll make a variation for myself. Sometimes it’s just two complete meals altogether.

To make things more complicated, I had decided to try a Keto diet for a month or so and see how I could do. Yeah, I know. The meat thing.

I started looking on Pinterest for recipe ideas for the week. We were having breakfast one night, and BD wanted our mock Cracker Barrel hashbrowns. I agreed, knowing I’d be making something else, and then found a low-carb “hashbrown” option. Of course – cauliflower.

Not my actual kitchen

Having experienced using this method before, I knew it would be a bit time -intensive for me. Fortunately, Birds Eye Steamfresh veggies were on sale at the store that week, so I picked up the riced cauliflower.* Not only would I’ve saving money on purchasing a fresh head, but I was saving lots of time as well.

Here is the recipe I used as inspiration.

This is roughly how I did it:

  1. Cooked the cauliflower per the package instructions.
  2. Tossed into mixing bowl and let cool slightly.
  3. Sprinkled in salt, pepper, garlic powder, and turmeric to taste.
  4. Added about a teaspoon of baking soda.
  5. Sprinkled in about a few tablespoons of Bob’s Red Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, mixing a bit more in until the consistency “felt right.”
  6. Added some Sargento Sharp Cheddar Cheese Shreds.
  7. Heated a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil in a pan.
  8. Shaped the mixture into ovals. Made six.
  9. Fried until golden and crispy.
  10. Served hot.

I thought they were really good and gave me the sense I was eating a potato hashbrown. BD liked it as well, except I must have been a little heavy-handed on the garlic. He said he’d eat them again, so I’m calling them a win in my book. Next time I’ll add a bit more baking soda and no garlic powder.

So the vote was still out on one, right? The next morning, I noticed he didn’t eat the place I left for him in the fridge. I asked him about it.

“You can’t fool me. I know those were cauliflower. I saw the bag in the freezer plus they didn’t smell good.



How do you handle mealtimes in your house? Do you have picky eaters? Comment below 🙂



*This is not a sponsored post, nor have I been compensated in any way for any products mentioned here today. They happen to be a few of my favorite things.

Day in the life

Day in the life

Writing GroupsWhen you are a full-time writer/freelancer/work-at-home person, there are periods of time where you have very little human contact with the outside world.

Writers, in general, tend to be introverted. We feel safe behind a notebook or computer screen. Words can be thought about. Scratched out. Rewritten. Emails can be replied to when we’ve had time to get our thoughts together.

But, as is human nature, even introverted writers still feel the need to congregate with others who share similar interests and beliefs.

Fortunately for me, I have a small circle of like-minded women, and while we communicate with each other daily, every now and again, the planets and stars align, schedules are cleared, and the five us meet together.

Yesterday we had such a day and what we dubbed, “The All Day Mini-Retreat.”

Snacks. Beverages. Stories of triumph. Stories of rejection. But most of all, giving love, support, and encouragement to one another.

We all leave by dusk, fueled with hummus, pistachios, caffeine, and renewed determination.

Here’s how my new day post-mini retreat has gone thus far:

6:00 a.m.  YES. A new day. A whole day where no one needs me. The husband will be gone ALL DAY. 

6:30 a.m. I am dressed and the bed is made. With a fresh coffee in hand, I head to my office.

6:35 a.m. Computer is on and current short story in progress is up and ready.

6:30 a.m. Post our group chat asking who’s up and ready to work. I’m usually the one that starts the latest in the day. (Not today!)

7:00 a.m. Have to stop the timer to turn off the second alarm in the bedroom I forgot was set.

7:01 a.m. Sit back at the computer and stare at the screen because the alarm interrupted my train of thought.

7:02 a.m Think about erasing all the words I’ve already typed because they make no sense.

7:36 a.m Finish my hour of writing.

Check emails and Facebook for leads.

(And here’s where the day starts getting fuzzy)

Work on a video captioning project. The speaker in the video is Australian, and I learned quite a few new things. This takes a couple of hours to complete.

Check emails again.

Write up a post for an ad to drum up some business.

Spend twenty minutes googling when free ad-listing site started charging.

Get a text from the husband saying he was on his way home, he didn’t have to work tonight after all.

Panic and rush downstairs to straighten up kitchen and living room. Vacuum and sweep.

Realize I am starving to death and eat lunch.

12:30 p.m. Decide I need to keep writing for the day.

12:31 p.m. Stare at computer wondering why it all felt so achievable five hours ago.

12:35 p.m. Tap the keyboard hoping inspiration will pour out suddenly onto the page

12:40 p.m. Talk to another member of the group who totally sparks an idea.

12:45 p.m. Decide writing is worth it and go in search of chocolate.



Writers and other creatives: How do you stay motivated? Do you feel the pressure of wanting to be creative but also needing to be compensated? Share your stories!

Mother’s Day: Hindsight

Mother’s Day: Hindsight

Ah, Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day is not one of my favorite holidays. In the weeks and days leading up to it, I get a lot of anxiety. That anxiety leads to a lot of thoughts. Those thoughts lead me to take stock in all the things I’ve done wrong in the 25 years I’ve been a mom.

My husband, while a very sensitive man, tends to keep the day on the down-low. In the past, he’s (with the help if the chil’ren) made me things I treasure to this day. He “forces” me to sit and do what I wish for the day. He’ll either made dinner or take me out.  But Mother’s Day is also a reminder of losing his own mom with whom he was extremely close. To hear him tell it, she was a remarkable woman, and I wish I’d had the opportunity to meet her. So, a low-key day is probably the best idea.

Except it never fails that all my doing nothing on Sunday means I have extra things to do on Monday. But if that’s the worse thing I have to complain about, then I’m doing okay.

ducks-686098_640This year hit me hard. It’s the first year I’ve not cried at least once, which is progress considering prior years. But between my daughter in the middle of making a major life decision, my older son living “out of the country” in the words of the Army, and the youngest son days away from graduation, I felt sort of…bleh. I went and saw my mom for a bit, but she tends to be like me and doesn’t like “a fuss being made over her.” But other than that, I was alone all day. Even the animals were hiding in their respective corners.

I will always remember; however, this year was the year that the youngest signed his card to me, ‘Love.’ He’d quit doing that somewhere in middle school. Now that I recall, I did have a tear or two over that yesterday.

The few times I scrolled quit through social media, I saw a varying display of highs and lows.

At the very least, I know I’m not alone.




It’s the Final Countdown

It’s the Final Countdown

My son is graduating on May 18th. Once the commencement is over, that’s it; I will be retired.

No more alarms to make sure they are up on time. No more cooking breakfast. No more packing lunches. No more second and third trips back up the stairs to get someone out of bed.

I don’t know who is more excited about this graduation: my son or me.

                  School of hard…rocks?

I am not kidding. My youngest child has turned 18 and is about to graduate all in a month’s time. Zero tears have been shed. Sure, I’ve had a few walks down memory lane. Like the two years between his starting preschool and kindergarten. How he would say, “the-en” when the cover was closed on a book I’d just read. How his first word was ball. Anything colorful and sphere-shaped was called a ball for a long time.

I started really counting down the days when we were three weeks out. I dreamed about the mornings I could get up to my own alarm, have my coffee in peace, and then start my workday. How I wouldn’t find two loads worth of laundry stuffed into the dryer because he’d washed a load late the night before and left my load in there. And how I wouldn’t have to yell about it anymore. How I wouldn’t have to nag about homework. How I wouldn’t have to rush to get something he needs for a project because he waited until the last minute to even bring it up.

I’d been looking forward to his senior year. It was the first year he’d have me and his dad all to himself. I had planned to make it memorable. I’d created all sorts of collectable moments along the way in my mind. I’d started preparing myself for all the tears I was going to shed as we hit each milestone in a school year building up to graduation where surely I’d need a box of tissues and a sports drink.

I’d be the mom in stands with a bull horn, a banner with his special nickname, and engages the confetti blaster despite the school’s request to keep things “distinguished.”

What I didn’t anticipate was the senioritis he would catch a few weeks before the school year started, gradually increasing in intensity until I finally found a cure around Christmas time.

 Snip taken from Google Search

I thought the back half of the year was going to be the comeback. I still had hope for those fun times ahead. And even though school was closed for an additional week after winter break due to a massive flu outbreak, somehow he managed to catch it again. The virus appeared to have morphed into some kind of super-bug, incapable of being stopped.

We’ve powered through. He’s been shown tough love this last semester ever. The toughest he’s seen in all his eighteen years. I’ve threatened to attend all his classes with him. I’ve suspended cell phone service. I’ve changed Wi-Fi password.

And I’ve let him make his own choices knowing that he, and he alone, will be responsible for the consequences of those choices.

I’m not going to pretend I won’t get a tad emotional when he walks across the stage.

Because that’s it. It’s over.

I’m retired. And he is an adult.

Confetti is not for the weak

Confetti is not for the weak

        Even this amount is too much.

If your child (or another adult-like person) asks, “Is it okay if I bring in a confetti blaster?” your choices are as follows:

A. “No, and don’t think about sneaking it in.”
B. “Yes.”
C. Pretend you didn’t hear the question and steer the conversation to a new topic.

Obviously, the best answer is A. But if in a moment of, “Hey, that may be fun!” and you answer B, here is what you’ve signed yourself up for:

A confetti blaster holds strips of colorful paper, the total amount directly proportional to every worksheet, coloring page, research paper, mortgage documents, grocery list, to-do list, magazine insert, appliance instruction manual,  telephone book, or other paper product you’ve touched in your life. Further, there are metallic squares of thin plastic which are basically giant pieces of glitter. After a loud boom, the sound similar to the rock blast from a construction site, the entire room will be filled to a depth of approximately four feet of confetti and glitter and the novelty of the pre-conceived “fun” will have vanished.

After a reasonable time so as not to appear like the grump who doesn’t want to have any fun subsides, you will have to start the clean-up process with a broom and dustpan. Not only does the sweeping action seem to send the tissue-light pieces of paper in motion, the very act of breathing has already sent  paper and glitter to places in your home the light of day has not seen the light of day in at least a decade.

Once you get the majority of the paper gathered and out of the house, so begins the task of getting the strays. Except there will be no end in sight. Akin to plastic Easter grass, you will continue to find confetti and a random piece of glitter weeks after the celebratory event.

There’s nothing wrong with a colorful and fun way to celebrate a birthday, graduation, or other milestone. However, celebrating can be done in a neat and orderly fashion or at someone else’s house.

The confetti blaster in question was blasted on March 13, 2018. As of this writing, there are still pieces loose in the house. At least one surfaces daily.

Word Pops, Associations, and a Little Music

Word Pops, Associations, and a Little Music

I don’t know when it started.

Left side: logic. Right side; creative. Looks     about right.

Call it my creative mind or the ADD. Certain words, when I hear or speak them, spark a follow-up phrase. Those who know me well know this about me and find it cute. Or at the very least they are too polite to say otherwise.

It could be catching, because I’m pretty sure my daughter does it as well.

Generally, it’s song lyrics, but on occasion fairly common phrases pop in as well.

For example, I’d bought a new bag of the variety of single serve chips. I was the first person to have any, so I had to open the bag. I thought there was usually a perforated line across the top and with a light pulling action, it was open.

I could not find a perforation.

I’m turning the bag around and think it seems smaller than it has in the past. I flip it again to see how many bags are inside: 20 singles.

And then out of nowhere, my inner voice said: …are available in your area.

I wish someone would have been in the room with me to see if I made a weird face. Because I know I was thinking,  where did that come from?

It got me to thinking about how I do that a lot. Many times, I’ll say it out loud, even if no one but the dog is there to hear it. I wondered if this phenomenon (for lack of a better word) was limited to a few selected individuals.

Having no idea what to Google, I tried ‘word association’ first. The first link on the search brought me here. Being a lover of words, but often at a loss for the right one (see also paragraph above), I found this site interesting and worth bookmarking for future use.

I scanned the results of the next search and this article from Scientific American caught my eye.

The beginning of the article describes a specific example of Proustian Memory. In short, those times when you are trying to think of a specific word, it’s right on the tip of your tongue, and then hours or even days later it pops in your mind from out of nowhere.

To give you a synopsis of what I’ve learned over an hour or so is the brain is an amazing organ. Certain words can evoke an emotion, a memory, or even new idea.

Have you seen this meme (or similar interpretations)  that’s gone around the Internet several times over many years?

Here are a few of mine:

…fancy – you already know “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea
…alright stop – collaborate and listen (Hello, ’80s) “Ice, Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice
…it’s so delicious – D to the E to the L-I-C-I-O-U-S “Fergalicious” – Fergie
…in the gym – working on my fitness (Yes, Fergie fan here)
…first things first – I’m the realist “Fancy” – Iggy Azalea
…guess who’s back – back again “Without Me” – Emeniem
…I did my time – and I want out “Psychosocial” – Slipknot
…it’s just one of those days – it’s all about the he said she said “Break Things” – Limp Bizkit
…push it – push it real good “Push It” Salt-N-Peppa

Now it’s your turn. Do you have any phrases you always finish?