November, 2010

Cookie Exchange

Yes, I’ll admit it. After baking  and consuming countless Thanksgiving goodies, I should be spending my spare time in the gym.Instead, I thought what better way to up the calorie load before the holiday season gets in full swing then to host a cookie exchange! If you bake them, they will come… Friends from school, the OWP, and places beyond descended on the houses bearing plates of delectable desserts.Move over Barnum and Bailey’s Animal Crackers, my new obsession is Oreo Balls!What are Oreo Balls, you ask? This no bake dessert is easy,inexpensive, and simple to make. You only need four ingredients: 8oz of cream cheese, 18 ounces of crushed Oreos, 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, and 1 tablespoon shortening. Beat the cream cheese and Oreos until well mixed, then chill for 2 hours in the freezer. Roll into one inch balls. Next, melt the chocolate chips and shortening in the microwave.Dip the Oreo balls completely in the melted chocolate and put on wax paper to harden. Store in refrigerator. Makes 3-4 dozen.

I did not loll around all day Sunday eating leftover cookies-after making waffles and gulping a cup of coffee, I headed out on the trail on AJ, with Evan and Apache.The wind was a bit stiff, but the sun was shining. Headed through the woods, down the gully to observation deck #1. Next, it was down the road, through the stream and back up the hill. Ninety minutes of bliss!

Now if the Chiefs can just pull off this win against Seattle, all will be right with the world!

Thanksgiving 2010

Got up at dawn to walk with the flock in the 16th annual Turkey Trot-a 5K run through downtown Springfield.Proceeds from the race benefit the Developmental Center of the Ozarks and the Springfield Park Board Scholarship Fund.It is recognized as the largest Thanksgiving Day race in Missouri, 5,318 people finished this year-and that doesn’t include the dogs!Weather at the end was a little challenging, freezing rain that turned to snow by the time we got home!The good news, is I burned enough calories to enjoy my pumpkin pie AND whip cream guilt free!If I can get off the couch, I’m going to go put the horses up in the barn-accuweather predicting 18 tonight. Happy Thanksgiving!

Me and the Big T

Dan and I pre-race

Amber beat me over the line by 8 seconds

NWP Conference

I had the pleasure of attending the National Writing Project Conference in Orlando, Florida Nov. 18th-Nov.20th as a representative of the Ozark Writing Project.What a fantastic trip!The accommodations at the Contemporary Hotel were top notch, the weather was beautiful, and the conference afforded me an opportunityto network with 1,400 writing project members.My focus was on developing Inservice and expanding the Youth Programs at our site.Thankfully, I came away with several ideas I hope to be able to implement almost immediately.Also loved this bit of affirming advice from Dawnlyn Miller, keynote speaker and “Book Whisperer”, “I like to introduce my shelf children to my classroom children and facilitate a relationship between them.”Since all work and no play makes for a dull life, I am happy to report that I squeezed some in.I had several wonderful dinners;with fellow OWP members as well as my old high school pal Larry Jackson and his charming girlfriend Jen. Was also able to attend a fundraiser benefiting the Special Olympics and enjoy a couple hours out on the lake.Looking forward to Chicago in 2011!

Mickey was there to greet us!

MO & KS WP members

View from the boat

I am a real writer…

I’ve spent several late nights this week working on my new novel. In this multi-genre tale, twenty three women, each affected by Billy the Kid as he dances through their lives, spin a saga of the Old West. I’ve tentatively titled it Twenty Three Women: The Life and Loves of Billy the Kid. Thank you NaNoWriMo for getting me off the fence and walking the tightrope again! Besides writing, I’ve spent some time talking about writing: with my new OWP pals at Hebrew Coffee, critiquing a crazy mish-mash of sci-fi horror, grants, and historical fiction and at The Creamery, learning more about memoir from a resident expert, Wayne Groner. But perhaps my most poignant moment this week came as I finished reading Cynthia Rylant’s novel, The Van Gogh Cafe, aloud to my students. Teared up reading this passage: “…he is reminded of what he is and of what he finds beautiful. His heart swells with the revelation that he is a real writer…” The rest of this week, as I gulp coffee until midnight and drag myself out of bed at six, that will be my mantra. I am a real writer… I am a real writer… I am a real writer…

Long Weekend

Three glorious days stretch out before me-the possibilities are endless! On the mustdo list: meet with manuscript editor to pick up revision suggestions, go hat shopping with my brave cancer stricken friend, get the Lexus in for an oil change. On the want to do list: dig into the plethora of books I received from the book fair (I may not leave my reading chair at all on Sunday), attend the NaNoWriMo event at Barnes and Noble, wrestle with my dogs, go to a movie with my husband, start Christmas shopping. And this is all before I get a peek at Saturday’s paper and see what’s going on around town.

Sign up for Newsletter: