Care for Humanity in the Time of CoVid

As I write this, I ask readers to do 3 things.

Regardless of what you believe about who or what unleashed this pestilence called CoVid upon the world...

Regardless of what your  political beliefs may be and/or who you blame that was/is in power

Regardless of who you think is responsible for CoVid still hanging on...

There are 3 simple things you can do to make a difference.

#1 Please get vaccinated.

If you haven't, why not? Millions have been vaccinated without problem. No one has turned into a genetic mutant as some seem to fear.

I grew up in an era where children had to be vaccinated before being allowed to attend school.

That requirement changed over the years due to parental pressure—from parents who themselves had been vaccinated when they were children so they could grow up without fear of polio, smallpox, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, measles, mumps, and rubella.

By getting vaccinated, you are showing that you care for your family, your friends, and humanity in general. 

#2 Please wear a mask in public.

What's the big deal with the mask? By wearing one, you can help prevent the spread of CoVid which has exploded again. I'm vaccinated, and I still wear one in public. Something as simple as wearing a mask can help you stay healthy. 

I don't understand those who think wearing a mask violates their rights. I DO know they don't have to right to go unmasked and possibly spread this disease.

#3 Please stay away from events that draw large crowds.

Every event that draws a huge crowd seems to result in a mass CoVid explosion. Stop and think. You may be young and think you're immortal, but no one is. You may get CoVid and recover, but how will you feel if you give it to someone you love who dies from it?

I'll add a fourth thing, a personal plea, you can do for me.

#4 Please pray.

For all who have CoVid.

For Melanie, our older daughter, who has CoVid pneumonia—the Delta variant. In today's world, nothing is scarier than having someone you love with an illness like this. 

For all who suffer from other dire illnesses.

Takeaway Truth

Together we can all do these simple things to beat this awful scourge.

Note: Don't send your hate mail to Comments. I'm monitoring Comments for this post.

Hot August?

Wow! It's been hot lately, hasn't it? I read the perfect quotation about August heat.

Sue Monk Kidd said: "The month of August had turned into a griddle where the days just lay there and sizzled."

I know what she means. I walked to the mailbox today, and I felt as if I were on a griddle and sizzling.

Takeaway Truth

What's your August weather like so far?

Heat Lightning Now a KU Free Read

Trying to get back into the swing of things. A lot of items on my To Do list fell by the wayside while I was busy moving.

Just enrolled my romantic thriller HEAT LIGHTNING in Kindle Unlimited.

Get it today for a free read if you're a KU subscriber. If you're not a subscriber, it's only $2.99 for a thrill ride set in Outlaw Ridge, Texas that will leave you breathless.

About Heat Lightning

Secrets, lies, passion. What Tessa doesn't remember may be the death of her.

Her husband found her, claimed her, rescued her. David’s touch makes Tessa throb. Desire flashes between them like heat lightning on a summer night. Her body knows David, but when she looks at him, he is a stranger to her. Not a flicker of memory is left of him or their life together since she awakened from a coma.

Amnesia has left her with nothing but questions. Who is she? Why does David seem to hate her even as he pulls her into his arms? What is he hiding? How can she trust him when her gut says, Trust no one?

As her love for David grows, so does her feeling of foreboding—as if something awful is watching and waiting.

Reviews for Heat Lightning

Lots of Heat, Lots of Tension
M. Watson Review
5 Stars

This book started from the get-go with action and amazing conflict. I enjoyed the characters very much, plus their obvious love for each other kept me turning the pages. I highly recommend this book!
***************

NetGalley Review
5 Stars

This is a keeper!
***************
Fast Short Read!
Bookzilla, Top 500 Reviewer
5 Stars

Interesting storyline with descriptive writing. Believable dialogue and characters with distinct personalities. I am always interested in works by this author!

Takeaway Truth

Grab this hot romantic suspense today—free read on KU.

Review: Lying and Stealing

Recently, Darling Hubby and I happened upon a bargain to beat all bargains: a Samsung 65" TV at a mind-boggling low price. We didn't hesitate and scooped it up.

Now, this behemoth sits on top of my dresser in the bedroom. It spans the top of the dresser, leaving only 3 inches from each end.

Wow! It's turned our bedroom into a theater room. *LOL* The first movie we watched was Lying and Stealing, a Netflix offering.

The movie was blurbed this way: "An art thief who steals from L.A.'s elite finds a kindred criminal spirit in an aspiring actress who has a knack for disguises."

To our delight, the movie, released in 2019, is clever, suspenseful, and compelling with sound characterization. There's a backstory that's an emotional mine field, and a nice twist ending that is satisfying even if you see it coming.

Movie Info: The Cast

One critic labeled the cast as "second tier," but there's nothing second tier about the actors led by Theo James as Ivan Warding, an art thief taking from the movers and shakers in LaLa Land, not just for the coin, but for a deeper more personal reason.

Emily Ratajkowski is Elyse Tibaldi, an actress who's on a Hollywood producer's blacklist and is a surprisingly smart cookie.

Ebon Moss-Bachrach is Ray Warding, Ivan's brother for whom rehab is a swinging door. He's funny and damaged all at the same time. Great portrayal by this actor. As you'll learn, both brothers share the same emotional baggage.

Fred Melamed is Dimitri MaropakisIsiah, the big baddie of this story.

You'll recognize the other actors in lesser roles. All in all you'll enjoy this caper flick.

Production Credits

Directed by Matt Aselton
Written by Matt Aselton and Adam Nagata
Produced by Mohamed AlRafi, Naomi Despres, and  Michael Costigan
Cinematography by Corey Walter
Edited by Geoff Hounsell
Music by Sonya Belousova and Giona Ostinelli
Production Companies: Cota Films,   50 Degrees Entertainment, Voltage Pictures
Distribution: Vertical Entertainment and DirecTV Cinema
Released: July 12, 2019 in the United States
Movie Language: English

Behind the Stars Details

In case Theo James looks familiar, it's because he's been in several popular movies like the Divergent series. He was also named as "the new face of Hugo Boss" in 2015.

Ebon Moss-Bachrach has a long list of credits including Damages, The Punisher, Person of Interest, the Law and Orders, and many other popular and critically acclaimed series.

Emily Ratajkowski is a model who stepped into show biz in a Maroon 5 video.

If you're not a Netflix subscriber, you can rent or buy Lying and Stealing from Amazon. It's definitely worth $2.99 to rent. You can buy it for only $4.99.

Takeaway Truth

It's hot outside even at night. Stay inside. Put this on your watchlist, pop some corn, and have a movie night.



Honey, I'm Home!

I'm back!

No, I haven't been on a vacation. I've been moving which isn't nearly as much fun as a vacation.

Life is all about change, and the decision to sell our two-story home and buy a one-story has been a huge change.

New Adventure

Darling Hubby and I made the decision to do that last year. It took us a while to get motivated, but by April we'd committed to the change because of my increasing vision problems that may lead to blindness. I didn't want to be living in a two-story if that happened.

From January through April, we "polished" our home until it sparkled like a diamond. It went up for sale on May 2. Within a week, we had sold it. We spent the rest of May and June shopping for a one-story house, but had no luck. 

Eureka

At last, we found a one-story. We began to pack up the house. We closed on the home we sold. Ten days after finding our one-story,  we closed on the home we bought. 

The morning of July 13, remodeling began. The new hardwood floors were finished July 15, and movers brought our furniture the next day.

The rest of July has been overseeing the remodeling, waiting for contractors to show up, and staring at the mountains of boxes stacked in every room. 

We won't unpack until the electricians are finished and the painters have done their thing. It was difficult to leave our perfect home and take on another remodeling project, but sometimes, you have to take a leap—even though you know it means a lot of work.

Need Some Help With Life Changes

There are books that address every topic. If you're stressed or depressed by life changes, try one of these books.

Transitions: Making Sense Of Life's Changes by William Bridges

Making Peace with Change: Navigating Life's Messy Transitions with Honesty and Grace by Gina Brenna Butz.
 
Takeaway Truth

The only constant in life is Change. It's never too late to learn how to accept Change or at least not let it destroy your peace.



Plan for the 2nd Half of 2021

Wow! The first half of 2021 is in our rearview mirror.

This is the perfect time to look at those first 6 months and see if you're satisfied with how you spent those first 6 months.

Did you have a vision of what your 2021 would look like? Did you have things you wanted to achieve? If so, did you make it happen? Or did your dreams fall by the wayside?

On January 1, I wrote a post I think is worth repeating here. This post gives real advice on how to achieve something you want. I'm not kidding. Try it. Pick 1 important thing you want to achieve and use these...

Four Secrets to Making Changes

1. Make a decision to change.

How do you do that? Literally say to yourself, "I decide to eat smaller portions at meal times." Or, "I decide to write 2,00 words every day."

Every change starts with a conscious decision of "I will no longer do X. I will do this new thing." 

Even better is writing it rather than just thinking it or putting it in a digital calendar on your phone or computer.

2. Take action immediately, no matter how small, to work toward that change.

Consciously think of your decision to change and figure out 1 thing you can do immedidately, that if done every day, will bring about the change. Write down that action the night before so you know exactly what you'll do when the new day dawns.

3. Every day take an action to work toward the change. Yep, again, write it down.

Each action, no matter how small, when done consistently, builds toward what you want just as a rock piled on top of other rocks day after day eventually builds a mountain. Each action done day after day builds a habit, and it also builds momentum.
 
4. Now, having decided what you want and taken some action, write up The Plan to help you achieve what you want.

Yes, write it down. That makes it real and achievable. Sit down with a pen and a journal, notepad, day planner, or open a document on a device.  You will now prepare a plan of attack. You are the general in the battle to achieve what you want. 

You know what you want to change. You've decided to make that change. You've taken an action to change already. 

Writing Up the Plan

Your Plan consists of all the steps needed to get you from today to the end of the year.

Think about that. What are the steps—the actions—that you must take to get from now to where you want to be? 

What do you have to do every month?

Break that down into what must be done every week.

Break that down into what must be done every day. Baby steps lead to giant leaps.

Review your Plan frequently. If Plan A isn't working, alter it to Plan B. Review and change as needed.

I'm a firm believer in the power of actually writing in a day planner, calendar, or journal. 

There is a magical difference in taking pen in hand and writing something as opposed to inputting it into a digital device.

If you don't believe that, try it for one month, and you'll see the difference in what you can accomplish.

I use the day planner or diary shown at right. Each fall I buy one for the new year. The one shown here is different from mine in that it goes to June of 2022.

Takeaway Truth

For the remainder of 2021, try this way to make changes that will help you get what you want.


Photo Credits



Had 2nd CoVid Vaccination

I crawled to my laptop to post this. Darling Hubby and I had 2nd CoVid vaccination Saturday at noon.

He got sick at midnight and was sick with bad headache, fever, chills, nausea, and terrible back ache. I took care of him with cold compresses, chicken soup, lots of liquids.

Twenty-four hours later he was fine. By then, I had begun to get sick: migraine, constant nausea, lymph nodes in armpit hugely swollen, exhaustion, terrible back ache, fever, and chills.

Takeaway Truth

It's been more than 36 hours, and I'm still sick with all of the above. Won't be back for a while.

Alexa for Beginners

Alexa is one of the most famous voices on the planet yet there  are many people who don't understand Alexa.

This little post is for those who would like to use an Alexa device but don't know much about it.

Click here to read The Alexa User Guide. Here are some highlights from it to get you started.

1. Alexa app
The Amazon Alexa app, which can be downloaded, is a quick and easy way to try Alexa on your smart phone and help you set up and manage a compatible Alexa device. You can set up your Alexa-enabled device in a few simple steps through the Alexa app.

2. Read about the Alexa Privacy Controls.

3. Alexa Skills are apps you can download to your Alexa device. There are 10s of 1000s Alexa Skills. You can use skills to play games, listen to podcasts, meditate, order food, get organized, learn things, research, make phone calls through your smart phone, play music—the sky is the limit for what can be done.

4. Read the User Guide FAQs, excerpted below.

5. What is Alexa?
Alexa is Amazon’s voice AI, that is, Artificial Intelligence. 

Alexa lives in the cloud and is happy to help anywhere there's internet access and a device that can connect to Alexa. Making Alexa part of your day is as simple as asking a question or making a request.

6. What's the difference between Alexa and Echo?
Alexa and Echo work hand in hand—so you don’t have to use your hands. While there are lots of Echo devices, there’s only one Alexa. 

Alexa puts the smart in Echo smart speakers, screens, and wearables. Alexa lives in the cloud, which means you can ask Alexa for help wherever you find Alexa even in the Alexa app on your smartphone.

7. What is the difference between "Works with Alexa" and "Alexa Built-In?"
“Works with Alexa” devices are those you can control using the Alexa voice service, such as a smart light bulb, thermostat, or eletric outlet.

“Alexa Built-in” describes third-party devices that let you access the Alexa voice service.

For example, you can control a "Works with Alexa" device using your voice by saying “Alexa, turn on the light” to an Alexa Built-in device (or an Amazon device with Alexa, such as an Echo smart speaker or smart display).

Saturday Share: Summer Veggie Salad

Looking for an easy to fix meal you can make without turning on the stove?

Want something that's also healthy and satisfying?

Try this salad that can be as hearty as you please. If you're a meat lover, add salami, pepperoni, ham, or browned, crumbled Italian sausage.

You can serve this salad with a vinaigrette you make, or make it easy on yourself and serve it with a bottled salad dressing. It's particularly good with an Italian dressing.

I serve this salad with Olive Garden Italian Dressing. My local stores stock it.

If your stores don't, you can get it from Amazon where a 2-bottle package is $11.97 and has Prime Shipping available.

Summer Veggie Salad
  • 4 cups chopped lettuce—use any combination of lettuces you like. I use mostly romaine and iceberg.
  • 2 cups cooked Italian white beans (if you use canned, be sure to drain them)
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes—I prefer the cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 cup spinach and spring mix greens
  • 1 cup chopped or coarsely shredded red or green cabbage
  • 1 cup sliced olives—I use 1/2 cup black and 1/2 cup green
  • 1 cup very thinly sliced red onion or Texas 1015 sweet onion
  • 1 cup roughly diced cucumber
  • 1 cup thinly sliced bell peppers—use a mix of red, orange, yellow, & green
  • 1/2 cup sliced radishes
  • 1/2 cup diced jicama
  • 1/4 cup sliced pepperoncini or cherry peppers
Toss it all together in an extra large salad bowl to feed a crowd. Add the dressing and toss or pass the bottle so everyone can add their own measure of salad dressing.

Serve with garlic bread, and you've got a crowd pleaser.

Takeaway Truth

Enjoy your weekend with this no-fuss meal.


You'll receive a download link for a free romance ebook
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Visit Joan at the usual popular online sites.

Image (Vegetables) by Jill Wellington from Pixabay.

Random Friday Facts Number 2

Enjoy this selection of Random Friday Facts.

Categorized, they are facts about: Phobias, Pop Culture, Reading, Wildlife, History, Food, WWII.

1. Cherophobia is the irrational fear of fun or happiness.

2. Movie trailers were originally shown after the movie, which is why they were called trailers.

3. Reading makes you seem sexier to women. A study showed reading makes you seem more intelligent, which is looked upon favorably by women. Therefore, the more you read, the more appealing you become to women.

4. Eagles are known as apex predators. This means they are at the top of their ecosystem’s food chain. That means they must be strong and powerful against their prey so it comes as no surprise that they are strong enough to carry away a young deer.

5. St. Lucia is the only country in the world named after a woman.

6. In the 1980s, Pablo Escobar's Medellin Cartel was spending $2,500 a month for rubber bands to bundle their cash.

7. Kool-Aid was originally marketed as Fruit Smack.

8. The string on boxes of Animal Crackers cookies was originally placed there so the box could be hung from a Christmas tree.

9. Casualties on D-Day were stunning. German casualties have been estimated at 4,000 to 9,000 men. Allied casualties were documented for at least 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead. (My dad, a young farm boy from Mississippi, landed at Normandy on D-Day. He could never talk about that day.)

June 6 of this year was the 77th anniversary of D-Day. If you're a World War II buff or you're just interested, there's a trivia book you might like. The World War 2 Trivia Book: Interesting Stories and Random Facts from the Second World War (Volume 1).

Takeaway Truth

Have a happy Friday and enjoy the weekend!


You'll receive a download link for a free romance ebook
when you confirm your subscription.

Visit Joan at the usual popular online sites.

Thursday3Some: 3 Quick Book Reviews #1

I've been stressed out with selling our house, packing, and the impending move.

So I went to my happy place—books. I'm making time each day to read more. That's a great stress reliever.

Reading more means reviewing more. Here are 3 quick reviews for books you might enjoy.

With This Kiss by Victoria Lynne

While the cover art is lovely, it's a bit misleading. This is not a contemporary, but a Victorian Historical Romance that's a bit different.

It was nominated for a Romantic Times Best Historical Romance.

Morgan St. James is the hero of this romance. He's known as The Beast because of his horrific burn scars resulting from his brave heroic action. In Victorian England, men who are unattractive aren't considered good prospects for marriage despite how wealthy he may be.

Julia Prentiss is The Beauty who has a proposition for The Beast: marry her and protect her from her uncle. In return, she will help him find the arsonist responsible for torching his mansion, killing many of his staff whom he tried to save at the risk of his own life.

Yes, you know this marriage of convenience will result in love, but the perilous journey these two take to get to that place will hold your attention and have you rooting for them.

A Bad Eclair Day by Susan Kiernan-Lewis

This cozy mystery is Book 4 in the Stranded in Provence series. I really like this series which is set in post-apocolyptic France.

Amateur sleuth Jules Hooker must solve mysteries the old-fashioned way—without cell phones, computers, cars, and instant forensic results.

Jules, an American stranded in Provence, began building a "family" of oddballs in book 1. In this book, she must prove the two little old ladies who she lives with—and who were French Resistance fighters in WW2—weren't responsible for the poisoned chocolate éclairs that killed someone.

This book, like the others in the series, is amusing and subtly  emotional as Jules continues her ex-pat existence in a changed world. Delightful!


Love and Betrayal…Regency style!

This Regency Romance is Book 1 of An Unlikely Husband. If you were enchanted by Bridgerton, the Netflix original, you're probably in the reading market for more Regency.

You can't go wrong with Mary Campisi.

Francie Jordan is a  young woman of noble blood, but she was raised as a peasant girl.

Alexander Bishop was an orphaned stable boy who became  the surrogate son of a powerful earl who just happens to be Francie's real father.

The two have nothing in common—she's a free spirit who runs barefoot and talks to animals. He's stiff, conservative, and unyielding in his attempt to be a proper son of an earl.

These two desire each other, but they have such an aversion to the other's habits that it's questionable whether they can overcome those barriers. Enter her conniving father who is determined that they should marry.

Unfortunately, not everyone in the ccountryside shares her father's opinion. This Regency romance will make you sigh.

Takeaway Truth

Stressed out? Read more! See you next Thursday with 3 more quick reviews.

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New Release: Secondhand Hearts by Kathryn Hills

Return to Last Chance Beach with Secondhand Hearts by Kathryn Hills.

Life takes you down many winding paths. Will theirs lead to love on Last Chance Beach?

Tasked with convincing her beloved grandmother to move back to the mainland, Kat Worthington returns to Last Chance Beach.

This vacation island paradise is filled with cherished memories, and the thought of relocating her loved one weighs heavy on Kat’s heart.

Is the alternative to uproot her life, stay on the island, and help run Gran’s charming B&B and antique shop?

Handsome neighbor, Ben Hadley, sure hopes it is. He and his playful pup are doing their best to upend Kat’s plans. Will their efforts convince her to stay?

Or will it require some of Gran’s special island magic?

Excerpt from Secondhand Hearts
A Last Chance Beach Novella by Kathryn Hills

“Look at that… Didn’t even break the pot.” Gran gave her a sassy little wink. “You’ve always been one for divine timing, Kitty.”

“Pot?”

“Yup, I knew I had a matching teapot to the set that came in yesterday.” Gran stood a little straighter and squared her chin. “Besides, I’m not alone. Ben is here.”

“Who the heck is Ben?”

“That’d be me.” A deep, male voice came from behind, startling Kat.

Spinning with a gasp, her eyes widened when connecting with six feet plus of drop-dead gorgeous, dark-haired man.

He met her stare full-on without so much as a hint of humility, and he nodded a curt greeting.

“Haddie Marshall, are you up to your old tricks again?” Ben brushed past Kat. “I told you to wait and I’d look with you.”

“Well, I didn’t want you fussing. I know you’re busy.”

“Excuse me,” Kat interrupted, not bothering to disguise the irritation in her voice. “Who are you, and why would you allow my seventy-seven-year-old grandmother to climb to the scorching top of a barn and up a ladder for a teapot?”

The man stared at her in silence. One dark brow cocked in obvious annoyance.

“Ben Hadley…meet my first grandbaby, Kitty Worthington,” Gran announced with a proud smile.

“It’s Kat, Gran. Or Katrina,” she grumbled. “No one has called me Kitty since the fifth grade.”

“Oh, shush, child. You’ll always be Kitty to me and Grandpa Mike.” The elderly woman’s smile fell away. She took a wobbly step forward to hand Ben the box. “Be a love and take this down for me. I think I’d better hang on extra tight to the railing after all this excitement.”

“I’ll take the box,” Kat snapped. “You help my grandmother back to the house, where we can turn on some air conditioning.”

Meet the Author, Kathryn Hills

KATHRYN HILLS...Best-selling romance author, ghost hunter, dog lover, and iced coffee addict. She’s hauntingly romantic unless she’s writing sweet. From graveyards to country inns, get ready to explore spooky mysteries and have some sexy fun.

Find Kathryn Hills Online


Twitter * Amazon Author Page * BookBub

Learn more about Kathryn Hills and the Last Chance Beach Romance line on the Last Chance Beach WebPage.

Coming in September...

Sand, Salt, and Spirits, A Last Chance Beach Romance by Kathryn Hills.

Kyle Worthington hasn’t returned to Last Chance Beach in years. He’s worked hard to prove himself to his overbearing father and the rest of the world. 

Now it’s October, and the vacation island paradise is celebrating the season with an island-wide Fall Festival.

Family obligation demands he participate. Everyone will be there, including the ghost that haunts his grandparents’ B&B.

Visit Last Chance Beach Romance to learn more about Sand, Salt, and SpiritsA Last Chance Beach Romance by Kathryn Hills.

Takeaway Truth

Last Chance Beach is the island paradise we all need. It may be fiction, but it feels real when you visit it in romance novels full of joy, hope, and optimism. 

Summer Heat: A Quotation Post

OMG. It has been so hot lately. We left town and went to our house in the country.

The morning temperature in the country is more than 10 degrees cooler than in town.

What a relief to be able to sit on the porch and enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning and breathe fresh country air. I imagine we'll stay up here a while.

In fact, I'm setting up an office here. I haven't been writing, and I've got the itch to get back to helping a woman find her true love. It's so much fun and much easier than in real life.

On the subject of summer heat, Jane Austen said, "What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance." 

Inelegance? That's not how I would describe the way it feels to spend some time in the heat and humidity of summer on the Texas Gulf Coast.

I've collected quotes by Jane Austen for many years—long before I had a computer file in which to store them. I even named a character Austen after her. (Book 4 of The Good, The Bad, and The Girly, coming this year!)

Now there are several books with quotes by Jane Austen like The Smart Words and Wicked Wit of Jane Austen by Max Morris.

Takeaway Truth

Use sunscreen. Wear sunglasses. Wear a hat. (Hats are chic, fashionable, and protect delicate facial skin from the sun's ravages, i.e. skin cancer, wrinkles, brown spots, etc.) 

Also, read something by or about Jane Austen.

Modern Magic: Free QR Code Maker

Happy Monday! It's Amazon Prime Day

Here's a link to help you Expore Featured Deals.

I know you want to shop, but take a few minutes to read about the free app I have for you today.


What can you do with a QR Code? Embed information like any URL—your website, blog,  or other social media.  

With the free level, you can embed any URL, i.e. MP3, PDF, or a file URL.

With QR Code Monkey, create a static QR code that's 100% free and downloadable. Static means you can't edit it or embed other information.

If you need scan statistics, flexible editability, and other features, look at the professional level of QR Code Generator.

You can also embed an identifying image or logo that will appear in the center of the QR Code. I'll embed a couple I created so you can see what they look like. 

The images you make are readable with any QR code reader, like the one on your cell phone.

The QR Code at right is the signup URL for my free newsletter. Try it with your cell phone QR code reader. You'll see it takes you to my signup page.

What Can You Do with QR Codes?

When you create a QR code with this free app, you download it to your computer. Then you can use it as an image in blog posts, emails, your website, or in printed materials.

The app is really easy to use and can be custom designed with an image you upload or one of their stock images on the website. You can also change the color of the code data, purple in the newsletter code, and the background color, white in this case.

This QR code at left takes you to a Follow Joan page on SlingWords where you can find all of my social media links listed. 

You'll notice that this time I chose the standard black code on white background and used the social media image in the center as a logo. 

With some blog posts, I list the popular online links where you can find me and also post a signup link for my free newsletter. I think it would be easier to just post a QR code than list all the links.

I'm going to experiment with using QR codes in various ways. This "plain" QR code at right is the link to this blog. What do you think about QR Codes? Do you use your cell phone app to read product information in stores? I do.

Takeaway Truth

Is this free app something you might use to create QR codes to direct visitors to your websites or blog or perhaps in a letter so someone can find your website?

Ode to Dad

Dad is the unsung hero of the family. It's like Billy Graham once said: "A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.”

Dad gets taken for granted because he's dependable, hard-working, and places his kids first.

At least that's the way it worked according to what I observed with my Darling Hubby and our 4 kids. Yep, 4 kids.

Here's what Jim Gaffigan had to say about that. "You know what it’s like having a fourth kid? Imagine you’re drowning, then someone hands you a baby."

Having kids and raising them? That's expensive. Just ask Steve Martin who said, "A father carries pictures where his money used to be.”

Dads give up a lot—like time that they once used for tennis, golf, reading, and hobbies. Ryan Reynolds explained it to his daughter like this: "On our 6 a.m. walk, my daughter asked where the moon goes each morning. I let her know it’s in heaven visiting daddy’s freedom.”

Our oldest son is old enough that he's the embodiment of Mark Twain's famous quote: "When I was a boy, my father was so ignorant, I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got older, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned."

Raising kids is exhausting. Just ask Ray Romano who said, “Having children is like living in a frat house. Nobody sleeps. Everything's broken, and there's a lot of throwing up."

Then they become teenagers and being dad really gets hard. "When your kids become teenagers, you understand the true meaning of karma, and you're scared your teens will do things as stupid as what you did when you were a teen." —My Darling Hubby

Takeaway Truth

If you're lucky enough to still have your dad and your grandfather, tell them how much you appreciate them.

Tell them you love them—and do that every chance you get.





Saturday Share Recipe: Pickle & Ferment

If you think pickling vegetables is the same as fermenting vegetables, then you're mistaken.

Even worse, you may be missing out on health benefits you thought pickling gave you.

What is Pickling?

Both pickling and fermenting are the oldest methods of preserving food, but they are 2 different processes.

Pickling dates back thousands of years. There are records in India of pickled cucumbers around 2000 BCE.

My mom pickled dozens of quarts of cucumber and other vegetables every summer, and I helped. Pickling is easy but doing it on that scale is a lot of hard work. To create a pickled vegetable to serve at a meal is very easy. 

All you do is mix up vinegar, sugar, salt, spices, and water and heat it to boiling. Pour it over the food to be pickled and let it "marinate" so to speak in this solution for a few hours up to a few days. The longer it sets in the solution, the stronger the pickled taste.

Pickled food tastes sour, and the food is softened by pickling. The hot brine solution kills bacteria and other microorganisms. 

Be sure and cover and refrigerate the pickling food so it won't spoil unless you want to "can" the pickled vegetables.

You can create your own spice mixture for pickling or you can buy one that's already put together. Amazon offers several like a canister of Pickling Spice that is naturally sourced and Non-GMO.

If you want to read more about pickling, try The Complete Guide to Pickling by Julie Laing.

What is Fermenting?

Sauerkraut, bread, and beer are probably the most commonly known fermented foods. My mom told me how her parents would make a big barrel of sauerkraut every year. I remember thinking how odd that was because to me, sauerkraut was something we had on hot dogs occasionally.

Talk about something old being new again! Fermented foods are huge on everyone's must eat list in today's world because it is superior in creating a healthy gut. 

People are taking classes on how to ferment foods, not just sauerkraut but all kinds of vegetables.

Like pickling, fermentation is a simple process that dates back earlier than pickling—around 7000 BCD in China. By 2000 BCE, fermentation had spread to pre-Hispanic Mexico. 

Fermenting is using microorganisms such as bacteria or yeast, rather than an acid, to convert carbohydrates to alcohol. This process usually takes place in a brine that has no acidic ingredients.

There are 2 types of fermentation. Both work on the same principle, but one is a more advanced form.

Alcoholic fermentation—no pickling involved—is what you find in bread, beer, and wine. It's the process of pyruvate breaking down into ethanol and carbon dioxide by bacteria and yeast.

Lactic Acid fermentation is the second type and is the process of pyruvate molecules further breaking down into lactic acid. Fermentation encourages probiotics which are very good for the gut.

Summary of the Difference

Not all pickles are fermented, and not all fermented foods are considered pickled.

An easy way to remember the difference between pickling and fermenting?

Pickling involves putting food into an acidic brine to produce a sour flavor. Fermenting does not require any acid to give the food a sour flavor.

For those who want to learn more about fermented foods, try Fermented Vegetables on Amazon.

By the way, you may drink a fermented food every morning like I do—a tablespoon of organic ACV, that is, apple cider vinegar in a glass of water.

Apple cider vinegar is actually apple cider that has been fermented using yeast which breaks down the natural sugar in the apple and turns it into an alcohol.

There are many recipes online for pickled foods and fermented foods.

Try Quick Pickled Vegetables, a recipe from Food & Wine.

If you're into kits, you can get a fermenting kit like the one shown at left. It has jars and special plastic lids that won't rust from the brine solution, The Easy Fermenter.

What to ferment? Beets, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, fresh green beans, garlic, peppers, radishes, turnips—any crisp vegetable will work. 

To learn how to ferment vegetables, watch this video from ProHomeCooks, one of my fave cooking channels: The Complete Beginner's Guide to Fermenting Foods at Home.

Takeaway Truth

Let me know if you try pickling and fermenting. I'm trying fermented jicama just to see if it turns out well. Enjoy cooking this weekend.

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