fbpx

SWEETS AND SWEET FAMILY TIME

I thought I would double up on the blog and share one of my recipes I created and my family time. This past weekend, we combined both and it was so sweet. Due to so many health issues, work related tasks, and also the confinement atmosphere due to the economy and the COVID reoccurrences, our family time has been limited to the extreme. After a lot of thought and contemplation, we agreed it was time for my sister, my daughter, my husband, and my sister’s great granddaughter to gather at our house and do some cooking, laughter, outings, and good ole talks. Of course GA DAWGS played and we mixed yelling and catching up at the same time.

First, all of you have learned how close my daughter is to me and her stepdad. We share a lot of weekends now that she is closer in proximity. She and I love to cook both separately and together with created dishes that we create. This weekend we took different tasks and then put them together at our house with our guests. On the first day, Saturday, we went out for lunch, seafood at a local restaurant Charles’s Seafood, been here forever but still great food. Since the DAWGS played at 3:30 pm, we chose to eat out and get back to the house to cheer them on to victory. Pizza was delivered later that day with dessert available with ice cream for anyone who had an inch left in their tummies Next, I will go over the dessert recipe I created for a fall treat (or it could be great for any time of the year)

Here is our Pecan Apple Streusel with my recipe to follow. It was a winning dessert.

Top this wonderful fall dessert with some delicious ice cream and the guests will love you even more.

Our family visit was long overdue and we made the most of it. Before they came, I invited God to join us and it seemed we were blessed with the most joy and love we could have experienced.

To add to our fun all of the fur babies including Luna who spotted our uninvited little guests who put on a show for all of us in the backyard. You will see in the next couple of pictures who they were.

You have to look close but two young frisky squirrels were above Luna and she was on point. They played, almost like they were teasing her. Quite the show!

This was a close encounter as Luna was ready and all of us worried about both the squirrel and Luna.

Now for our Sunday dinner, with Missy making her awesome fresh garlic bread and her deviled eggs. I made a chef’s salad with ham and mozzarella cheese, black olives, pickled banana peppers, iceberg lettuce, and of course Thousand Island Dressing. For the main course, I made Lemon Garlic Peppery Pasta. Here is a summary of how it was made:

Our Sunday lunch which as my sister said was Better than Good!

Lemon Garlic Peppery Pasta

1 pkg. Spaghetti or other type of preferred pasta cooked in large pot with oil and salt

1 cup Pasta water (save from spaghetti pot)

Drain spaghetti after retaining pasta water. Allow to properly drain.

3/4 – 1 stick butter melted in large saucepan

1 1/2 T. freshly ground black pepper (I covered the bottom with pepper I ground)

Lemon zest from 1 lemon and the juice from that lemon

Freshly roasted garlic 4 cloves or as much as you like to taste.

1/4 cup chopped chives.

Salt and pepper to taste (I added a little more pepper at the end)

1 1/2 cups Picaroni cheese hand grated from a block

3/4 – 1 cup Parmesan Romano Cheese (freshly grated is best).

In a flat sauce pan, I melted butter with black pepper. Once I blended this together, I added the garlic, lemon juice and zest, and 1/2 cup pasta water. I allowed this to blend and added cheeses. Once this combines into a sauce, I added the chives and the spaghetti. I gauged the sauce and added about 1/4 cup more pasta water. It is done at this point so turn off the burner. Allow to sit for a few minutes before serving. Sprinkle with more Parmesan and chives if desired. Bon Appetit!

My daughter and “my personal chef”Missy Haas, Makenzie Hester, Arline (me), and my sister, Juanelle Fussell. It was a great gathering. My husband was taking the photo, so next photo is Greg.
Greg Miller, my husband sporting his GA Bulldog shirt. Go DAWGS, we cheered you on to victory.

I hope you enjoyed our visit and recipes. One more joyful moment. Later, after Missy, Juanelle and Makenzie had gone, we were blessed again to have Cory, Teddie, Nolan, Mason, and Rubie Miller, more of our great family drop in because the youngest granddaughter kept telling them she wanted Nana. For those of you who have grandchildren know how they will fixate on one name when they are little. Nana made Rubie’s list and I am loving it. Granddaddy kids her but she was sharing a lot of love. They enjoyed Missy’s deviled eggs and then on to the dessert. It was happiness all over again. Mason showed me her pierced earrings and I told Nolan how everyone thought our German Chocolate cake we made was a big hit too. Great times for all of us and that brings me to my final thoughts.

When things try to get in the way of family times, and it seems you will not get to share times with your loved ones…..Stop and make time! It is never going to be easy to fit in time, but it is healthy for your soul and heart. It’s those smiles and laughter that keep us going and loving so fill ’em up and plan for the next visit. Live Life, Love Life, and Live and Love Life by Filling Your Days with Love and Family!

Reasons Why I Don’t Do Cooking Videos…Reinvention Queen

As much as I love cooking and baking, and yes, after being asked numerous times to do videos, I tried a few and it didn’t take long before I realized I am not cut out to do the step by step, measuring and attempting to work a video camera. My daughter who is a lot more savvy even saw how difficult it is. First of all, let me applaud all of you who have the patience to make them, I am impressed. However, I love to learn new tricks and I am enthralled by kitchen hacks, right? You are too. Here comes the BUT….I see so many mistakes and non preparation in these videos that it is hard not to become a critic. All in fun, but has anyone looked at the videos afterwards to see how they could be improved, or maybe in this time of instant recognition, some have a tendency to grab on to “stardom” and forget people are actually watching these videos.

Cooking comes second nature to me but the appeal of cooking is to grab a spice, or herb at the time of cooking and add it to see if that is the bomb. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t but the talent of cooking is to have that inner talent of “fixing” a recipe. My daughter and I cook and bake a lot when she visits. We talk about what we want to try to make prior to her coming over. Missy and I may look at recipes but we never stick to a “formal recipe” as it is too much fun playing around with some of her preferences and my own take on the good combos of flavors. That kind of spoils a prepared presentation but allows us so much freedom of creating some powerfully flavored dishes.

We eat with our eyes first, so the appeal has to be considered when plating.

If we see the food bubbling or seeing the freshness of the ingredients, the appetite is heightened.

I will see I have a message on my phone and it will be her new version of a dish that she has thrown together for a breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I usually ask what’s in it and she has to stop and think what she added. When we discuss creating a cookbook, we have thought it should be titled, “A Little of This and A Lot of That” because that’s the way we roll. I thought I would give you my reason for not doing cooking videos and that reason may change as time goes on, but now, I would like to throw some pointers to those brave souls who attempt to be the next Paula Deen or Brenda Gantt. Here are my thoughts and they are valued at cents on the dollar and we all know how little that is now. Some of you who love to cook and who watch videos observe the same mistakes or at least I think you have observed these things too:

What to Check before cooking and/or Videoing a Cooking/Baking Show:

  • Check the background in your kitchen before you start videoing. I cannot tell you how much clutter and weird things we see which are distracting. The less that is visible in the kitchen area keeps the viewers’ attention on what you are cooking.
  • Semi-rehearse what steps you are going to take. Repetition of the same steps, over and over make the videos longer and sometimes very boring. The terms, this is how I like to do it, I, I, I, gets old after a while. An outline of the steps might be wise to create and try to mentally follow it. Natural is good but when I watch several of the videos from the same person, I cannot stay with it if it is the same old same old stuff.
  • Prepare a lot of the measured ingredients prior to video. The shows I enjoy the most are the ones who have measured the salt, pepper, seasonings, and the chopped ingredients. It is okay if you have a tip or shortcut for the viewer on chopping, but no one wants to watch five minutes of chopping, slicing, or mincing. I watched a lady peel about six large potatoes and then chop them just to demonstrate how to make potato salad. This may be a time that you pause the video after showing the first one.
  • Have space on counters for what is going to be done. Switching back and forth can work havoc on us ADD folks so keep the video smooth as possible and we know cooking is real and anything can happen so you cannot control every little step but you can control being prepared.
  • Choose non noisy utensils, banging in drawers, pots and pans, and any nuisance should be avoided. I have actually screeched watching videos and if I have, I guarantee it unnerves a lot of people.
  • Be aware of your appearance. I am not saying that only pretty people can cook but hair unkempt is not a good match to food prep, and clean nails, and clothes neatly worn are attractive and not distractive.
  • Conversations of personal stories should flow and should not slow down the cooking activity. We love the stories of the cooks as they allow us to get to know them, but it may be annoying when the cook/chef makes it all about them.
  • Make an impression by creating a good fairly short video instead of making your debut as a wanna be food network star. If people like the way you cook, your creative ideas, and your easy cooking talents, they will watch the next one.
  • I am no expert on this as I said, I don’t do videos unless I want to share the good times I have with my daughter in the kitchen which brings me to my last tip on videos. Just because you love your family and pets, it is not a good idea to have them continually say hello, help cook all of the time, and go over their adventures. Occasionally, this might be cute but if someone has tuned in to see how you make a cake, they are focused on the cake recipe, listening to you and your tips. There is no one that loves her family more than me, but my thoughts are Keep it Simple. As I said, occasionally, but watch overloading the audience with too much traffic during the cooking time.

I say all of this to possibly help some of you who are thinking about videoing. We are in a world of almost thinking it is okay to go with the person when they go to the bathroom and let nature take its course, but I am from the old school of there are moments to share and there are times for privacy. The videos can be entertaining more than educational. I think the combo is the preference for most of us. I have learned a lot of handy ideas and I appreciate someone taking the time to make a video. If you have tried to make one, you realize it is a big effort if it’s done right.

Live Life, Love Life, and Live and Love Life to the Fullest by taking a little time to prepare. Just loving to cook or trying to get it on video is sometimes not providing the full picture. The way I see it, if you don’t keep your kitchen clean, don’t offer to cook for me. Just Sayin’……Until We Cook and Clean Again….Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced, if known, to the original author/location for credit reference.

My Birthday Present Is A Day In The Kitchen With My Daughter

Today, I am 73 and a happy 73 at that. I quit giving aging a thought years ago and just enjoy each day. One of the best things is my daughter who has lived across the country up until 2017 and we have learned we are different cooks but have a lot of similar traits. We will celebrate with my husband, my birthday, her birthday, and Father’s Day as well. We have worked on our menus, Greg and Missy have shopped for different ingredients. Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to Missy, and Happy Father’s Day to Greg. Here is a post that I made in 2020 and I am adding my latest salad delight, Watermelon Salad with no recipe for now, but this will be in a future cookbook that Missy and I are working on.

Arline’s Version of Watermelon Salad (recipe will be in cookbook)

Original Post: I have cooked since I was 12 or 13 in the kitchen since my Mom worked and on Saturdays, I began cooking for my family. It wasn’t sandwiches as those were the days when meals were meals. I could fry chicken or pork chops and there were side dishes. At that time, I didn’t bake anything but rolls. Looking back now, at age 71, I may have survived largely due to the time in the kitchen as my therapy sessions. I love to cook and bake and simply adore a post that someone used one of my recipes. For those of you who cringe at the thought, another type of hobby can do as much for you if it is something you love.

Here is the clincher. I have diabetes II and have had to monitor and watch what and when I eat. So, my cooking and baking is not necessarily for me but I love to spoil people with the dishes they love. One of the things that has helped me the most in managing my diabetes is I eat very small portions on a regular schedule. I don’t go long periods without a small piece of this or that and only indulge in a high carb or sugary dessert as a rarity. Over the years, I found that a spoonful of a dish can keep me from feeling I have been deprived. Some people do not have the will power to do this type of eating but it works for me and my A1C is dropping to a healthier level. My doctor said he was happy and I replied, if you are happy so am I.

I plan on sharing some of the meals/dishes I cook and believe me, they are mostly Southern dishes. I throw in some healthy dishes too but if you want more of them, watch my tab Healthy Bites at the top of my blog. I will try to add more of the yummy recipes there for the ones who love to eat healthier.

Another tip for all of you whether you are watching your weight, your health, or your happiness. Pretty food provides a mental ploy. When you see a plate that is “dressed up” your mind will be better convinced that it is also tasty. Look at this variety of salad photos for an example:

I show you these for a reason, as I found that making food a display of colors is more enticing that throwing it together without thought. Sure, it all goes to the same place but how you perceive it going down can be therapeutic and more satisfying. It is hard to imagine that you are sacrificing when you see the brilliant colors and taste the freshness. Are you beginning to understand how taking a little time, receiving satisfaction from the creation, and then tasting your reward can be a wonderful experience while at the same time filling your belly?

I hope you will try to become a food artist and while you are preparing your pretty plates of healthy choices, take photos and then look through them. I hope you see the art of eating instead of the indulgence. Good eating my readers!

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved and to be used with permission. All third party material is sourced to original location if known for credit reference.

Reinvention Queen Is Reinventing How We Cook

Today, instead of showing several reinventions of meals, I thought I would give my readers an insight on how I think in my kitchen. I never think of only one meal when I cook, but how I can reuse the ingredients or even the whole dish in a new way that it takes away the sting of eating “leftovers” but a new dish with different and/or additional ingredients. I am going to list out my reinvention thoughts when I begin to prepare a meal. The list will be broken down into food categories and it may give more insight than showing recipes after recipes. I will continue showing you reinvented meals but let’s start with how it helps from the get go. Here’s the list:

MEATS

  • Seafood
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Pork

Each category offers flexibility in multiple uses and we will review how to choose, prepare, and store. I use shrimp a lot in reinvented meals but salmon makes an excellent source for my reinvented dishes.

Seafood such as shrimp or salmon can be cooked in larger quantities than the first dish and stored until it is reinvented. I usually begin with grilled, sautéd, baked and I will prepare the seafood to have at least three meals from the initially cooked meat. I am aware you are thinking why not prepare as you need it. Most certainly, you can do this. Maybe, I am hesitant about the multiple preps and cooking time. It makes sense if I am grilling, grill three times the amount in one grilling event, rather than prep three times and grill three times. When we are really “lazy” we buy the freshly steamed shrimp from our supermarket and work from the larger amount we buy. Salmon is prepped the same way, more quantity is bought, prepped, and grilled either on the grill, the air fryer oven grill, or sometimes in a pan, but always more is prepped and cooked than our initial meal.

The first meal was steamed shrimp topped with my homemade cocktail sauce.
One of the three follow up meals was this delicious Shrimp ala Arline Pasta. The shrimp were added after the cooking and blending and placed on top and covered to allow the shrimp to come to the same temperature as the other ingredients without recooking.

Beef is a common reinvention meat that several dishes are made from the initial prep and cooking. I will make meatloaf and work from that initial dish and reinvent another dish using rice or noodles. I have used my leftover meatloaf to make the best burgers or have used the meat in the base for spaghetti or soup. Beef roast becomes the main ingredient for a sandwich with other ingredients. Maybe the thought behind my reinvention queen mentality is what else can I make from the meatloaf or roast. Build from the first meat dish and I will remove and/or replace some ingredients in the next dish such as potatoes and carrots from a roast and make a pot pie from those ingredients with a different meat, such as leftover baked or stewed chicken. Use your refrigerator as a cold pantry instead of only thinking how many times will my family keep eating leftover meatloaf or roast.

Chicken is one of my favorite reinvention meats. I grill, I bake, I stew, and then I store the extra. If any of you have learned to reinvent, I will say you probably use chicken more in the recreated meals than other meats. I have stewed a pot of chicken breasts or thighs, or even both. I will store what I am not making the first day but don’t put it past me to recreate a new meal from the first dish too. Let’s say I make chicken and noodles the first day. Let’s put our Reinvention Hats on and think what could I make from that initial chicken and noodles? What if I add a crust which can be a store bought crust and use leftover potatoes and carrots from a roast I spoke about in the beef section. Throw in a can of sweet garden peas, even a can of whole kernel corn, some chopped or sautéd onions, and make a chicken pot pie. I would process the noodles slightly to encourage a thickened filling. Add herbs and seasonings to make the pie the preferred taste. How simple can that be? What about taking the breasts and/or thighs and either make a bbq sauce or use a bottled one and wallah, you have bbq chicken in a few minutes. Or what if you chop the cooked chicken and make a great chicken salad, adding celery, mayo, grapes, nuts, and seasonings. The ideas go on and on. The key is in the beginning. Don’t cook a small amount, think of the quantity of three meals/dishes would require. Cook the meat at the same time and a good tip is to invest in quality sealing containers. Never leave the extra meat out, but store immediately as this will give you a freshly cooked meat.

Pork is another great reinvention meat. Ham, oh sweet ham can be a great reinvention queen ingredient. I bake or Greg smokes the ham and I don’t do anything in the beginning as we want the presentation for the first meal. Greg will take the ham pieces off the bone leaving enough meat for a great bean or greens cooking. I make a base from cooking the bone until the flavorful broth is formed. Sometimes, and this is where I think about what can come next. I store some of this ham broth for multiple flavorful dishes. Never use the broth for one reinvented meal, think three if possible. I then will use the ham for breakfast meals with eggs or omelets. Some of the ham pieces can be used for a ham pot pie, or flavoring a soup, sandwiches, and even use in dips, or like deviled ham salad. I think you see what I am plotting and planning when I prep that ham in the beginning. Pork chops are a gift from heaven as they can be grilled, baked, and/or fried. After they are cooked, they can be eaten of course, but if you make enough, you can store the extra, chop and use in Pork and Rice, sau’te some of the chopped pieces with a mustard base with sautéd onions and peppers or a great sandwich and/or even a salad. I can go on and on many other ideas, but now is the time for you to get creative yourselves.

I reinvented the blue cornmeal muffins into my Cornbread Layered Salad and used a lot of the veggies and sauces I refer as my pantry staples. Reinvent, and recreate is my motto!

As a true Reinvention Queen, I found stocking my pantry and refrigerator with what I call filler foods. Mushrooms fresh and canned, onions, garlic, herbs, peppers, cheeses, cream and buttermilk, seasoning bastes, vinegars, balsamic vinegars, seasoning salts, and dried herbs, honey, sugar, cream of whatever soups, broths vegetable and meat, vegetable bouillon as well as better than bouillon, bread crumbs and crackers to make crumbs, flour (I use White Lily) WL corn meal, and specialty mixes for quick breads, and BUTTER as well as EVOO, and even shortening. That is a short list but it helps to have it on hand instead of trying to make a list every time for each meal.

For some of my reinvention meals, Search on my home page search for Reinvention Queen and several blog posts should come up for you to go one on one with me in my world of reinvention. Use What You Have and a philosophy I believe is WASTE NOT, WANT NOT! Have fun, try new things. Mix it up and create your own dish. Until we reinvent again………..Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen 2022.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and permission reserved. Third party materials, if known, are sourced to original location/author for credit reference.

Gifting of Ourselves Is The Best Gift

So many times in our lives, we fail to acknowledge the gifts we have been bestowed in life. We see ourselves smaller than we are and even though humbleness is a beautiful asset to have, we may be missing the point. If God has bestowed a gift in our life as the ability to write, sing, paint, build, organize, etc., are we not cheating God out of a praise moment. Below I have added my FB post this morning. We will dive deeper after you’ve had a chance to read it.

I used one of my husband’s photos to show how we can possess a talent and not recognize it until later in life. Thanks Greg Miller for having the “eye”.

As a young person, and maybe my gift was having “guts” to try new things without worrying about the consequence of failure. I am not saying this to boast as I am a normal person but God blessed me with a curiosity that allows me to question, seek, search, and try something new. Because of this curiosity, I expanded a small town girl’s life by doing a lot of interesting and learning new things. If I had to sum my inner self up, I would say gutsy. If I didn’t know how to do something and the opportunity came along, I would step up and say I will try it. As I moved forward in life, it became easier to jump at an opportunity. I will list a Live by Arline’s Do’s and Dont’s so you can get an idea of how I think. Am I saying you should do what I did? Not hardly, as I am not famous or wealthy, so my ideas are not to Get Rich or Famous but I have lived an interesting life and at age 72, I feel strong and smile a lot, know that I have a close relationship with God and family and my friends are family to me too. What I do suggest is to try new things, not self sabotaging, but new. Step out of that comfort zone. Grab a paint brush, cook new dishes, change your hair style, do special things for people without expecting anything in return, write down your thoughts, volunteer and give your time for good causes, start a workout routine, congratulate others for a great accomplishment, and support those trying to do something great. You will be surprised at how little aches and pains diminish, smiles come more often, and tears come less frequently. You may really be surprised at a new talent being born. Be sure to encourage and support young people who are trying to fit in and give them the benefit of your attempts at things, both successful and not so successful tries, as they need to see you as being “REAL”. Here is my track record:

Arline Miller, author and blogger, cook and baker, wife, mother, and Nana loving life
  • I aimed high as a student and as a matter of fact probably overstudied but I found time to work and made honor graduate.
  • I had a curiosity to read, watch, learn, and loved to watch people’s actions and mannerisms. Later, when I decided to write a book this experience gave my characters a realistic persona.
  • I developed strong work ethics of organization, creativity, attitude, and a desire to figure out how to do each job easier, smarter, and more efficiently. Later, as I became a business professional, I was and still am a problem solver.
  • I was a sponge in everything. I love to cook and bake and I can assure you I soak up ideas from professionals but I am not shy about doing it Arline’s way. I add and subtract from a recipe and now I develop my own. Do I ever fail? Why yes, but not as often as before and getting better as I grow.
  • I understand the philosophy of never being a “I know it all. I know better than others. I am the best.” Instead, I practice “I can learn anything. Others can teach me new ways. I am striving to be the best I can be while gaining from others.”

Life is definitely for the living and as I say, Don’t let everyday living get in the way of living life to the fullest. Give of yourself and you will get back. Don’t be shy, as the world will give you the tools to expand on the Gifts from God. You have some waiting to come from within and see what life has in store for you. Encourage don’t Discourage anyone or even yourself from giving it a shot!!

(C)Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third Party Material will be sourced if known for credit references.

BLOGGING IS LIKE FISHING

via BLOGGING IS LIKE FISHING

This is the second in a series for those interested in blogging. BLOGGING IS LIKE FISHING and of course I return to my childhood days and try to “catch” your attention by fishing around a little. Please join me on the blog with some interesting analogy of how we prepare for our blogging fishing trip. For all of you who would like to dabble your hook and line by guest blogging on my blog, please contact me and let’s go down to the fishin’ hole. #blog #amwriting #life #bloggers #writers #tipsforblogging

BLOGGING IS LIKE FISHING

is
BLOGGING IS LIKE FISHING is my second blog post on why I blog, how I blog, and most importantly, how you can blog. For those who read my blog on a regular basis, first let me thank you. Without you the reader, this early morning work would be better spent with some extra zzzz’s. Now for the good stuff all of you writers, the mystique of blogging is similar to going fishing. When I was young, I went fishing with my Dad or a group of family members. For some reason, I never wanted to go alone but enjoyed the sharing of excitement of interacting with others.
As I usually do, I will associate my blogging experience to a good fishing trip that we came home with a bucket full of fish and had a fish fry. Let’s see how we can go down to that ole fishing hole (blogging world) and pull some of those scrumptious fish (readers) in with our bait (blog).
  • 1) First, you have to have the desire or want to go fishing attitude. Blogging takes dedication and some time is required  to get ready to fish or as we are doing, blogging.
  • 2) Set aside some time to write the blog post each day. I find that I am more creative early in the morning, but this might not be the best time for you to “fish”. There is no set time but there has to be regularity to prepare and for fishing (blogging).
  • 3) Decide what you need to make the fishing trip successful. I will break down what I use to wet my blogging hook so you get an idea.

a) Fishing pole or reel is your niche or your market. In other words, what kind of reader do you want to reel in with your blog. Example: Foodies, Sport fans, fashionistas, spiritual or more newsie types. As my Daddy always told me you make sure you have a strong enough pole to catch the big ones. It may not be the best comparison but you want to appeal and draw the right audience to your blog.

b) The right size hook is vital. Too big of a hook may scare off the best fish or reader out there by overkill. Decide if you want to be a sizzle or a fizzle blogger. What do I mean by that expression? A sizzle blogger is usually young and has a lot to say. This is the type hook you may need if you are writing the blog to catch fashionistas, trendsetters, groupies,  They want the bling, bling and the photos and quick reads. It is more dazzle than deep set ideas. On the other hand the set hook will draw the harder to catch but worth the effort reader as they become the loyal followers or readers. They crave the research you put into the blog.

c) The bait….oh yes…..the bait is You. On a blog you put yourself on the line or hook. You get jabbed and prodded but it is a piece of yourself which is the attraction. Add a little personality, develop your own style. Don’t get all politically correct and if you do as I do write your blog from your heart and throw in a little fact and research to enhance the topic. People love to feel they know you, the blogger, and they need to feel you want to know them. Reply to comments, thank your readers, and always represent what you truly are.

d) The bucket to keep your fish or readers in is your platform. There are many platforms and we will cover those choices pro and con in another session but it is important that the platform or bucket is safe and will keep the readers comfortable.

download
I thought you might find it ironic but when I googled how to write engaging posts, Google provided me with the following tips and the first one caught my eye with the use of HOOK.
  1. Hook Them With The First Sentence. …
  2. 2. Make Every Word, Phrase & Sentence Count. …
  3. Shorten Your Sentences, If Possible. …
  4. Use Simple, Yet Precise, Words. …
  5. Play With Analogies. …
  6. Throw In A Few Pop Culture References. …
  7. 7. Make Your Post Unique (Even If The Idea Isn’t) …
  8. End With A Punchy Conclusion.

As I take a little time from my usual posts, I want to encourage new writers to try your hand writing, whatever the source or style. Try your hand at a short story, a poem, prose, or just write like I do. Express yourself in ways which are outlets for communication. A blog is summed up as in the excerpt from How to Write a Blog Post (with link to article for reading):

WHAT IS A BLOG?

Today, people and organizations of all walks of life manage blogs to share analyses, instruction, criticisms, and other observations of an industry in which they are a rising expert.

I recommend this article link very highly if you are serious about starting your blog or even for those of us who always are looking for better ways to keep the blog going. So grab that fishing pole and go fishing (or blogging).

images (3)

 

LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST whether it be writing, drawing, crafting, woodworking, speaking, cooking, or whatever floats your boat.

 

 

(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material including photos are sourced to original location if known for credit reference.

 

DANCE OF THE GOLDEN LEAF II

via DANCE OF THE GOLDEN LEAF II

DANCE OF THE GOLDEN LEAF II has been posted to remind us of the beauty at this time of the year and even in the midst of so much rhetoric from all political sides, we should stop all the chatter, walk outside and look around this beautiful world we have been blessed to live in. This post is meant to calm and soothe all of the ruffled feathers and instead focus on the rustling leaves. I am fortunate to have wonderful friends and am please to include a slide show from their mountain vacation this year so it proves God doesn’t take a vacation and is creating new joys for us to enjoy. A warm thank you to Sandra Minix Holton​ and Kirby Holton​ for their fantastic photos shown below. #blog #nature #photography #mountainbeauty #life #friends

DANCE OF THE GOLDEN LEAF II

DANCE OF THE GOLDEN LEAF II has been posted to remind us of the beauty at this time of the year and even in the midst of so much rhetoric from all political sides, we should stop all the chatter, walk outside and look around this beautiful world we have been blessed to live in. This post is meant to calm and soothe all of the ruffled feathers and instead focus on the rustling leaves. I am fortunate to have wonderful friends and am please to include a slide show from their mountain vacation this year so it proves God doesn’t take a vacation and is creating new joys for us to enjoy. A warm thank you to Sandy and Kirby Holton for their fantastic photos shown below.

DANCE OF THE GOLDEN LEAF
The blue sky as its brilliant backdrop
The patchwork of fall colors as its floor
One ballerina maple leaf costumed in gold
Began its beautiful dance of descent.
Mesmerizing twists of lifts without stops
Leaps and swirls with imaginary arms
Reaching to the heavenly skies
Pointing to earth once more
Quite torn between its choice
Freedom from holding onto the branch
Should she soar through the skies
Or cling to the earth’s solid ground
This choice the ballerina will make
but for a little longer
The leaf will continue to dance.
Written by Arline L Miller, Author
 
 
My husband and I were blessed to spend 5 days in the NC mountains with family and friends at Gordon and Martha’s cabin. Since we are all workaholics, this seemed to halt the train of business thoughts and put in the most relaxed moods. I was inspired by nature’s compelling entrancement and realized there are times to shut the hectic, busy life down and chill.
Sitting out on the 2nd level porch with the mountains in view and having some great conversations with Martha and Sandra, I began to watch a gold maple leaf dancing in the fall sky. I watched as it performed a melodic dance and it inspired the poem I wrote upon waking up. I shared it with the ladies later in that day and was reminded of the gift God has blessed me with. I imagine you think I meant the gift of writing. I thank God daily for that. What I was reminded is how blessed we are to share thoughts, writing, beliefs, creativity, recipes, singing (listening to good singing for me as I can’t hit any note correctly). Writing is my gift but God has surrounded me with great people who have been so richly blessed and they like to share their gifts and talents with me. How great a gift that is!
Gordon drove us through those mountains like a pro guide with such ease and composure while I was reminded of my fear of open heights. Those narrow roads with traffic both ways would have been a challenge I wouldn’t have attempted. Greg would have taken it in stride too. I was reminded how blessed we are to have them in our lives for those times we feel uncomfortable because they took us to the height of God’s beauty for us to enjoy without fear.
Now for the deeper thought……When we appreciate the gifts we have been given, both direct gifts and gifts inherited from others, life is at its fullest. I am humbled when I learn from those who can accomplish something I am not comfortable or don’t know how to do. To each of us, God decided what one can do and if they are humbled by God’s blessing on them to teach others, we can be further blessed by sharing these gifts. I thank God he has surrounded me with talented and learned people who are willing to share. Please God, allow me to do the same for someone every day you bless me to live.
This is Leaves of 2017 Photos by Greg Miller  Beauty created by God

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
 
(C) Copyright 2012-2018 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material sourced to original location for credit.

HAYRIDES & HALLOWEEN TRADITIONS

 

 

 
TODAY THE WORD is HAYRIDESAt this time of year with Halloween, Fall Festivals, etc. coming up or maybe it is my hay fever taking me back to my experience of hayrides. I am not sure if  hayrides are popular anymore, but in my childhood, I was privy to several and I think every child needs to experience at least one hayride. I thought I would take us on a ride down memory lane and hope that all children can hop on and ride with us.
Usually the hayride coincided with Halloween or fall festivals and were mostly sponsored by local churches. The farmers helped by furnishing the trailer complete with bales of hay, sometimes loose hay for all of us to sit on or fall in which happened quite frequently. The time was set normally to start this ride through the country side at dusk. The objective was to get all of us children excited with a little fear thrown in for good measure. The slow ride accompanied by the sound of the tractor was supplemented by a lot of yelling, a few screams, and the attempted campsite song of broken choruses when the trailer would hit a hole or bump in the road. Oh, it was funny and scary at the same time. Once in a while, someone would fall in the hay, not serious enough to injure, but silly enough to cause laughter and giggling.
The trail would sometimes stop at a cemetery, where church members (adults who were the biggest kids in the world) were hiding behind tall tombstones to scare the daylights out of us. The running started then with the “big kids” laughing their heads off. Everyone was loaded again, and off we would go, laughing and some girls crying since they didn’t see the humor in the scary events in the graveyard.

 

is (1)

We have always had candy for the children and love to see the little ones in costumes. I say it is an individual choice to celebrate Halloween or to not celebrate. I have never thought of bad thoughts about this holiday but again, it is not up to me to encourage or discourage others.

The Origins of 15 Spooky Halloween Traditions

This Halloween, don’t just have the best costume and the spookiest decorations on your block—share these sweet facts, too.

1. Jack-o-Lanterns

Jack-o-lanterns, which originated in Ireland with turnips instead of pumpkins, are based on a legend about a man name Stingy Jack who repeatedly trapped the Devil and only let him go on the condition that Jack would never go to Hell. However, when he died Jack learned that Heaven didn’t really want his soul either after all his devilish dealings, so he was condemned to wander the earth as a ghost for all eternity. His old friend, the Devil, gifted Jack a lump of burning coal, which Jack carried around in a carved-out turnip to light his way. Locals began carving frightening faces into their own gourds to scare off evil spirits such as Jack of the Lantern.

2. Ghosts

Celtic people believed that during the festival Samhain, which marked the transition to the new year at the end of the harvest and beginning of the winter, spirits walked the Earth. Later, the introduction of All Souls Day on November 2 by Christian missionaries perpetuated the idea of a mingling between the living and the dead around that time.

3. Costumes

With all these ghosts wandering around the Earth during Samhain, the Celts had to get creative to avoid being terrorized by evil spirits. To fake out the ghosts, people would don disguises so they would be mistaken for spirits themselves and left alone.

4. Trick-or-Treating

Everyone can agree that free candy is awesome. Beyond that, there’s lots of debate around the origins of trick-or-treating. One theory proposes that during Samhain, Celtic people would leave out food to placate the souls and ghosts and spirits traveling the earth that night. Eventually, people began dressing up as these otherworldly beings in exchange for similar offerings of food and drink.

5. Trick-or-Treating, the Scottish Way

Other researchers speculate that the candy bonanza stems from the Scottish practice of guising, itself a secular version of souling. In the Middle Ages, soulers, children and poor adults, would go to local homes and collect food or money in return for prayers said for the dead on All Souls’ Day. Guisers ditched the prayers in favor of less religious performances like jokes, songs, or other “tricks.”

6. Trick-or-Treating, American-style

Some sources argue that our modern trick-or-treating stems from belsnickling, a tradition in German-American communities where children would dress in costume and then call on their neighbors to see if the adults could guess the identities of the disguised guests. In one version of the practice, the children were rewarded with food or other treats if no one could identify them.

7. Black Cats

The association of black cats and spookiness actually dates all the way back to the Middle Ages, when these dark kitties were considered a symbol of the Devil. It didn’t help the felines’ reputations when, centuries later, accused witches were often found to have cats, especially black ones, as companions. People started believing that the cats were a witch’s “familiar”—animals that gave them an assist with their dark magic—and the two have been linked ever since.

8. Bobbing for Apples

This game traces its origins to a courting ritual that was part of a Roman festival honoring Pamona, the goddess of agriculture and abundance. Multiple variations existed, but the basic gist was that young men and women would be able to foretell their future relationships based on the game. When the Romans conquered the British Isles the Pamona festival was blended with the similarly timed Samhain, a precursor to Halloween.

9. Black and Orange

The classic Halloween colors can also trace their origins back to the Celtic festival Samhain. Black represented the “death” of summer while orange is emblematic of the autumn harvest season.

10. Pranks

As a phenomenon that often varies by region, the pre-Halloween tradition, also known as “Devil’s Night”, is credited with a different origin depending on whom you ask. Some sources say that pranks were originally part of May Day Celebrations. But Samhain, and eventually All Souls Day, always seem to have included good-natured mischief. When Scottish and Irish immigrants came to America, they brought along the tradition of celebrating Mischief Night as part of Halloween, which was great for candy-fueled pranksters.

11. Candles and Bonfires

These days, candles are more likely than towering traditional bonfires, but for much of the early history of Halloween, open flames were integral in lighting the way for souls seeking the afterlife.

12. Candy Apples

People have been coating fruit in sugar syrups as a means of preservation for centuries. Since the development of the Roman festival of Pamona, a goddess often represented by and associated with apples, the fruit has had a place in harvest celebrations. But the first mention of candy apples being given out at Halloween didn’t occur until the 1950s.

13. Bats

It’s likely that bats were present at the earliest celebrations of proto-Halloween, not just symbolically but literally. As part of Samhain, the Celts lit large bonfires, which attracted insects. The insects, in turn, attracted bats, which soon became associated with the festival. Medieval folklore expanded upon the spooky connotation of bats with a number of superstitions built around the idea that bats were the harbingers of death.

14. Candy

The act of going door-to-door for handouts has long been a part of Halloween celebrations. But up until the middle of the 20th century, the “treats” kids received were not necessarily candy—toys, coins, fruit and nuts were just as likely to be given out. The rise in the popularity of trick-or-treating in the 1950s inspired candy companies to make a marketing push with small, individually wrapped confections. People obliged out of convenience, but candy didn’t dominate at the exclusion of all other treats until parents started fearing anything unwrapped in the 1970s.

15. Candy Corn

According to some stories, a candymaker at the Wunderlee Candy Company in Philadelphia invented the revolutionary tri-color candy in the 1880s. The treats didn’t become a widespread phenomenon until another company brought the candy to the masses in 1898. At the time, candy corn was called “Chicken Feed” and sold in boxes that read “Something worth crowing for.” Originally just generically autumnal candy because of corn’s association with harvest time, candy corn became Halloween-specific when trick-or-treating rose to prominence in the 1950s.

 
Now for the deeper thought…..I feel some indoctrination into the “scary” parts of life are healthy for children. Parents teach children to trust in them by being there for the support and for the safety from the “boogie man”. God is our Father and we are exposed to some scary times in our lives and we need to remember the lesson of the hay ride. We are going to be scared in life; we have to trust in God to make it all go away and allow us to load back on the life trailer and keep riding. Life can be fun and at the same time a little frightening so if we make sure God is on every hay ride; we are going to have a good time and make it over the holes and the bumps in the road.

FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:
1 Corinthians 3:12, 13
Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.

(C) copyright 2012-2018 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material, if known, is sourced to original location for credit reference.

%d bloggers like this: