Sunday, July 26, 2009

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Butterbeer

My family plus Grandma finally went to the theater today to see the newest Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Have you heard of it?
After paying ten galleons for entry into the theater, the six of us filed strategically in the theater seats. I wasn't sure if this movie would be too scary for my youngest two, so I made sure an adult was on either side of them if cuddling was needed. They saw a few HP movies so far, but not the PG-13 one. My oldest (almost ten years old)was allowed to see all of them since he read the books.
So my almost five year old and almost seven year old were armed with sweatshirts to cover their faces in case there was a scary scene. (They peeked from behind them during some parts, but I told them to not peek during the boat scene and they complied). They did enjoy the movie since they were so familiar with the past movies.
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie as well. The opening scene was amazing. This movie was funnier, I giggled more than in other ones. The kids are older, so there are a few love scenes. My kids learned what the word snogging meant (and they giggled). I wish Fred and George Weasley were in more scenes, as they are my favorite characters, but other than that the movie was excellent. I laughed, I cried...
When we got home, I made a batch of butterbeer for my muggle family. I warmed up butterscotch syrup in a measuring glass in the microwave, put it in a glass and mixed it with cream soda. Then a dollup of whipped cream. See more versions of the recipe here.
See the Goblet of Butterbeer below! It's yummy!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Done! (Well, not quite)

I am a happy girl. I just finished writing my very first chapter book! I started writing it in March I think. I would get into the writing groove. Then I'd be pulled away by life. My goal was to have it done sometime this summer, so I could start revising the heck out of it when the kids get back to school. Actually the first three chapters have been critiqued by my wonderful writing group. The fabulous Cynthea Liu even gave some great pointers on the first two chapters when I participated in her Red Light, Green Light freetique in April. So at least that's a start in revisions.
I've had a crazy busy summer, and I hadn't written much I hate to say. Then I read Anita Laydon Miller's blog. She told us lazy in the summer writers to "Man up and write!" Okay, she didn't say those exact words. But her post did inspire me to get this thing done. And Yay! I did! (Thanks for the kick in the butt, Anita!)
So, I buckled down and wrote in the late evenings and when the kids were at the neighbors house playing. And I had fun doing it. I adore my main character, Stef. Love her, love her, love her! I would find myself smiling as I was writing. My working title is Rock n Roll Princesses Wear Black. And the music tangent is just a small reason why I love my book. Did I mention that my main character rocks?! The book is a chapter book somewhat similar to Junie B. Jones, but geared for third or fourth graders. I'm going to read it to my kids this weekend (well, my older two. My four year old son might only be interested if I turn Stef into a Transformer or Jedi). If my kids enjoy it, I can put in my query letters that my kids loved my book (I'm just seeing if you're paying attention, I know that's a no-no). I just really want to share it with them.
So, lots of revisions ahead of me, and then query time! I've submitted picture books and poetry to publishers with some good feedback on a few and even one "almost", but no publishing deals. So, I am going to try and find me an agent. I'm going to let this bad boy sit for a few weeks while I enjoy the summer with the kids. Then Operation Revision/Agent!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Whatcha been doin', Kelly?

Well, thanks for asking! I'll tell you what I've been doing on my blog break. Last week my family of five (plus grandma and grandpa) spent the night in four different states in four consecutive days last week. One place we stopped was in St. Olaf, Iowa for lunch. Home of the largest pork tenderloin sandwich. Oh, yes. See the behemoth below (My husband ordered it. He ate half of it.).
Even the child burgers were huge! (see photo below)

That was the only bite she took. I actually ended up eating half that burger, and she instead ate the mini pork tenderloin I ordered.
We have actually visited this establishment before about eight years ago. There are new owners since that time. Here is what the sandwich looked then. It was bigger, but thinner.

After visiting relatives in Iowa, we drove to Minnesota for my daughter's doctor appointment at the Mayo Clinic. We have been going 1-2 times a year since she was one. The appointment went great, and the children LOVED the hotel pool. The hotel pool had a great water slide, and I seriously watched my daughter go down it 41 times in two hours. Yes, I counted. Then the next morning she went down it over twenty times. Kids love slides. Yep, they do.

We traveled home then so my husband and I could attend a very sad funeral (RIP Jimmy) on Friday and a very fun family wedding (Congrats, Andrea) on Saturday.
See the video at the end of my cousin Bud and my son JD rocking out at the wedding.
I was so exhausted on Sunday I seriously stayed in my pajamas all day long.
This week has been full of errands, catching up, a fun day at the beach with my relatives from Arizona, and writing. Yes, writing, glorious writing! I have ignored my WIP for much of the summer, but I've been plugging along with some good writing blocks this week.

So, what have you been up to?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Blog Break

Gimme a break, gimme a break....

Due to hectic scheduled (as well as unexpected) plans and summer activities, I will be taking a blog break for one to two weeks. I will catch up with your wonderful blogs after a bit. Enjoy summer!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tune for Tuesday

Today's tune is by the Beatles! I love the Beatles. When I was a little girl, I would put on my mom's Beatles records and sing and dance. Over and over and over. My husband's nickname was Beatle in college because he had a Beatlish haircut, and he has Paul's puppy dog eyes and John's nose. "All You Need is Love" was a featured song at our wedding reception, too.
We play this song each birthday morning of our kids.
Here is "Birthday" by the amazing Beatles!

Can you guess why I picked this song? My birthday is not actually today, but on the eighth. How old am I you ask? I am older than Beyonce, but younger than Gwen Stefani (to use a musical reference)! And who is that little boy blowing out the candles in the picture? That is actually a little girl, and it's me!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Beautiful Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva is a popular resort town in southern Wisconsin. My husband’s family rented two pontoon boats on Monday, and we had a fine day boating on Geneva Lake. We enjoyed looking at all the big, beautiful homes and all the gorgeous trees lining the lake. When I was younger, I would go boating with my best friend and her parents. Besides sunbathing, my friend and I would always say, “Which house do you like? This one or this one?” to pass the time on the boat.
Here are some of the fabulous, ginormous homes on Geneva Lake.
So do you like this one or that one?
Here are some fun facts about Lake Geneva.

*Producers/creators William Bell and Lee Phillips developed the soap opera "The Young and the Restless" while living in Lake Geneva. The soap opera is set in the nearby town of Genoa City. As I have been watching this soap opera since I was eleven, I get a kick out of hearing nearby towns occasionally being mentioned in the show.
*Hugh Hefner’s famous Playboy Club and Resort was in Lake Geneva. It is now called Grand Geneva Resort and Spa. My hubby and I have stayed there for our anniversary a few times. The bunnies are long gone though.
*Geneva Lake is the second deepest lake in Wisconsin. (Can you believe I let my two oldest kids swim off the boat?! Don’t worry, they had life preservers on!)
*At different areas at the bottom of this lake you would find a Volkswagen, a cabin cruiser, and a few other sizable ship wrecks.
*The popular Dungeons and Dragons game was founded in Lake Geneva.
*There is a 20.6 mile trail around the lake that goes through the yards of the mansions. I would love to take a shoreline walk on it someday!

Lake Geneva also has quaint shops and galleries to look through and of course a wonderful ice cream shop that we visited. The people are nice, too! I put two quarters in the parking meter and then realized I payed for someone else's spot. I remarked I was out of quarters and a nice lady came by and gave me some!
Where will you be visiting this summer?