Saturday, May 14, 2016

Jaye L. Knight blog tour


We have company today!! Jaye L. Knight of jayelknight.com will be answering some questions, and has allowed me to share an excerpt of her newest book, Samara's Peril with you. Samara's Peril is the third book in her Ilyon Chronicles series.



Hi Mary!
Here are my answers for the interview! :)


Hello, it's exciting to have a real live author with us today! This lovely young lady wrote the book "Samara's Peril", and is taking a blog tour for a couple weeks. I'll add a book excerpt at the end of this post, hopefully you'll like it so much that you buy her book :)
Thank you so much for hosting me here! :)
I'm trying not to ask you the questions everyone probably asks you, but I probably will. What's your most frequent question? Do you have a stock answer for it, or do you give different ones every time?
Some of my most frequent questions are writing advice or where the inspiration for Ilyon Chronicles came from. There are only so many ways to answer those questions, but I always try to make my answers unique for each interview. :)
What kind of person are you in real life? In a crowd of people do you hide in the corner with a cup of tea and a good friend, or are you the center of attention? Somewhere in-between, perhaps?
I’m very much an introvert and consider myself socially awkward, though people who know me same I’m not awkward. I suppose I just feel awkward in social settings. I would definitely be in a corner with a good friend. I do enjoy doing fun things socially as long as others are in the lead.
How is your spelling? Has autocorrect saved your skin time and time again, or does it learn from you?
I’m a pretty good speller, though I do get autocorrected, usually because I’m typing too fast. ;) But, being a fantasy writer with lots of fantasy names/words, autocorrect does learn a lot from me.
Do you have a favorite time or place to write? Do certain foods help you concentrate or write better? (Coffee! Lol)
I like to write in the mornings. Usually it’s in my room, but if it’s a beautiful warm day, I like to be outside. Besides my tea, I really don’t have a writing snack. I used to love eating Combos cheddar pretzels while writing, but then I had to go gluten free a few years ago and give them up. This is a very sad fact for me. I haven’t found anything to replace them yet.
Have a lot of real-life experiences helped you in writing? As in people who might appear in your books, observations or scenarios that actually happened?
I’ve had a few real-life experiences that have influenced my writing. A lot of my character Kyrin’s interaction with her brothers was inspired by my own brothers. Then there have been some experiences with guys that have crept into different areas of my writing.
Bonus question: Has anybody ever recognized you in public?
Not yet. :) But it will be crazy if it does.
Bonus question two: Do you plan to write long-term, book after book after book; just a few; or as inspiration strikes you?
I’ll definitely write long term. I already have tons of ideas for books, and I don’t see the inspiration ever drying up. I love writing too much for that.

About the Book

When news arrives that Emperor Daican has been in contact with his chief war strategist, it signals potential doom for the country of Samara. Determined to intervene, the resistance in Landale, headed by Lady Anne, embark on a covert mission in hopes of unearthing further information. However, a shocking discovery leads to complications no one could have foreseen. 

Armed with their newfound knowledge, they set out for Samara to warn the king. War is inevitable, and they must face two desperate battles—one on the walls of Samara’s great stronghold, and the other on the battlefield of Jace’s heart, where victory might only be achievable through great sacrifice.

Excerpt:

A couple of hours later, Kyrin set one of the finished loaves on the table to cool. She had just turned to get another when the door opened again, letting in a string of excited male voices.
“—see that?”
Kaden walked in first, laughing a breathless chuckle fueled by adrenaline, and flashed a grin at Talas.
The crete shook his head. “I thought for sure you were going down!”
Kyrin could tell by their windblown hair that they had just come from flying, likely another training session for their group of dragon riders. They worked with them nearly every day. The laughter and conversation died, however, when Kaden met their mother’s probing gaze.
“What’s this about going down?”
Kaden’s gaze shifted to Kyrin, looking for support. She lifted her brows. If he was being daring and foolhardy, he wasn’t going to get any support from her.
His attention returned to their mother. “Ah . . .” A sheepish grin came to his face that Kyrin remembered him using as a child to cover up wrongdoing. “It’s nothing… I was just practicing a new maneuver and there was a little incident. That’s all.”
“Right.” Their mother nodded at Talas. “If he thought you were going down, that sounds serious.”
Kaden looked over his shoulder at Talas, probably hoping he would downplay the whole thing, but the crete merely shrugged, a mischievous twinkle in his bright green eyes. Turning back to his mother, Kaden insisted, “Really, I was fine. Exsis wasn’t going to let me fall.”


Monday, May 9, 2016

Four Months Old!

Yep, you'll still be seeing blog posts about my child monthly for a looooong time! Get used to it ;)

So, four months old today! And at the advanced age of 18 weeks, she can:

Laugh out loud
Roll over both ways
Put all her weight on her legs
Sit up propped on her hands
Reach for things she wants
Hold her feet and try to eat them

She's in 6 month clothes at 16 pounds and 26 1/2 inches. Sadly, she has begun to outgrow many of the small clothes that were gifted to us. So I bought her some new clothes, including this dress


Which she was fascinated by


My very lady-like daughter in her pretty new dress

I did get some good pictures though, after Daddy came to make her laugh. And laugh she did!!



And here's her hair at four months. Eek, it's getting so long! Mommy can hardly wait to fix it up!!





Friday, May 6, 2016

Mother's Day/Birthday Cake

Pudding cake

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 beaten eggs
3/4 - 1 cup of milk
Small box vanilla pudding (powder)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

~~~~~

Chocolate drizzle filling

1/2 package chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons milk
1/3 small package chocolate pudding

Mix together on stove over lowest heat.

~~~~~

350 degree oven
9 inch greased and floured pan

Cream the butter and sugar, then add eggs, milk, and pudding mix. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients, and add to the wet ingredients a small amount at a time. Don't mix the batter too much.

I made a two sided cake, chocolate and vanilla. Just mix a second batch of batter, this time adding 2/3 of a package of chocolate pudding.

The batter looked and tasted good enough to eat right then!

I folded a cardboard divider, and poured out a small amount of batter on each side to hold the divider in place while I drizzled the chocolate mixture over the batter on both sides.

The divider got a little crooked, but it worked anyway.

Then I spooned more batter over that layer, followed by a second drizzling of chocolate.
One more layer of batter finished it off, and I cut across each side both ways with a knife, to swirl the chocolate through the cake.


I baked it for 40 minutes, and it got pretty brown (I have a hot oven) I recommend setting a timer for 30 minutes, and adding to that time as needed. 

Left is vanilla, right is chocolate. (Bottom of cake)

I made a basic butter frosting, lots of butter and powdered sugar, just mix it together until it's the right consistency to spread. I separated the frosting into three bowls. One for blue, one for soft yellow, one for dark yellow, and I put some of the white in a zip lock bag. The left over chocolate mixture went in another bag, as did the dark yellow after it was mixed.

After frosting the two sides, I decorated with the bags of frosting and chocolate, and didn't make it as badly as I though I might. I made the flowers off of the cake in case I had some duds (sure enough, I did!!), and put them in the freezer to harden.

Once they were hard enough to hold their shape I put them on the cake with the best ones on top



(In case you were wondering about the two sides, my father in law's birthday is two days before Mother's day.)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Random 6 o'clock Blog Post

Here I am at six in the morning, writing instead of sleeping. I've had a busy, fun, and productive week! I got quite a bit of driving in, even a little practice on wet roads, and drove somewhere I haven't driven before. I took the baby to see her great aunt Wilma, our visit was too short, but I hope we can go back next week. My plan was to drive to Wilma's, then church, then home, but it POURED as we were about to leave her house, so Garrett's dad drove to church.

I never thought I'd be the weird mom at church until we started homeschooling, but people already know I'm different. I guess you can't hide the weird!! Haha! I let a lady at church hold Anna, and when she went to her seat with the baby, I followed her. She thought it was pretty strange, but I'm going to be where my baby's at, no matter who holds her. I so love watching the older ladies at church hold her and enjoy her. There are so few babies to enjoy. Most of them have 2 or 3 grandchildren, and those are grown. 

I mailed baby pictures to a bunch of people this week, the last set I sent Grandma didn't get to her, so I really hope these do. This weekend I'm getting a photo album so I can get all my pictures out of their box. I have some ideas how to lay it out, and I'll post pictures as I go!

Anna learning to read

Yesterday I was inspired to make some more bracelets and notebooks. I thought I was done for May day - you never stop being inspired!! The ideas just keep coming.


Notebooks


Don't forget to stop by on May 14th for Jaye L. Knight's blog tour post!! I'll do an author interview with an excerpt of her book 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Three Month Birthday

Somebody was three months old yesterday!


It's so exciting to see her doing more every day, and being more deliberate in her movements.

She now can:
Roll over
Laugh
Squeal and shriek
Reach for things
Hold her back and head steady when set upright
Babble
Turn when she hears a voice
Watch TV :P
Put things in her mouth
Put quite a lot of weight on her legs

She weighs 14 pounds, is 25 inches long, and LOVES airplane rides on my knees. She's also in the middle of her first cold, but she's taking it  like a little trouper.

I decided to practice using the baby thermometer (underarm) and either there's something terribly wrong with the baby, or the thermometer, because my little girl had a temperature of 95*. I checked mine to compare, and was about a degree warmer. I know I always measure colder, but not that cold! It seemed to be working later that evening, though, showing Caleb to be 98 and me 97. 

Anna at

Three months   Two months

One month     Brand new 



Monday, March 28, 2016

Happy Resurrection Day!

Here at the Crouch house everything went smoothly on Sunday morning. Everyone was dressed, some people were adorable...

...and then she threw up on my dress and hers.

Ah well. A good reminder that Easter is not a time to dress up and be fancy at church. I found an emergency outfit for her, and threw myself something together, and we headed to church to hear a very good message.

After we got home, we picked up a few things from the house and went to Garrett's parents house. 

I got some more driving in! Learned how to pump gas, and stopped by our favorite antique place to browse. I picked out $4 worth of children's books (some titles I read when I was little!), and Papaw bought Anna a little rocking chair.

It was a very good day, and we ended the day satisfied and filled.

He is risen!



Friday, March 25, 2016

Spring is here...

...and so are the creepy crawlies. Yay! Hello, spider in my bathtub, yes, I would love to have a gaping gangrenous sore, so please, enjoy our home - while I grab some wasp spray and douse the bathroom. Hahaha!

So anyway, with all the beautiful weather is coming all the charming bugs that the South has to offer. Our house is very old, and although I love old houses, they're very leaky. 

What we have seen in the past two weeks:
Ants
Roaches
Wolf spiders
Mouse droppings
Countless pantry moths
WASPS
Did I mention spiders?
And the WASPS??

I sat down to play the piano a couple days ago, but when I opened it up there was a red wasp sitting on the keys. I screamed and jumped backward off the bench (All I need to be an Olympic jumper is a good supply of wasps). I sprayed it to death, because sadly I'm too much of a chicken to swat it. Now I'll be paranoid of  playing for a long time. I'm imagining wasps under everything! 

Thankfully the mice in our house haven't been followed by snakes... yet.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Something new!

I have a piano!! 

Every key but one black work, and it sounds tuned!! I may not be a pianist, but I can play melody, and who knows? I could get better. For now it's good enough for us. A couple of the keys stick, but can I complain about a $25 piano? Um, I don't think so!

Little A went to sleep when I played it yesterday, so I can see that it will come in handy, as I like to play music, and she doesn't like to sleep.

It took five men to get it in the house, and they left it in the kitchen. Thankfully the thing has wheels, so I pushed it to its new home in the dining room this morning. It squealed so much that I was afraid A would wake up, but no, apparently the child would sleep in a rainforest, because that's what it sounded like, an aviary full of squeaky tropical birds. 

Free bench, too! ^

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Dust on the Guitar

Finally got my guitar out to play yesterday!! The poor thing's been shut in its dusty case and  stuck in the corner with the equally dusty fiddle and mandolin cases for too long. I have played it since baby came, but maybe only once.

She seems to enjoy listening (as long as I sneak a kiss in frequently!) and it's good to get back to playing. Of course, it's easy to just pick up a guitar and play it, we'll see how it goes when I pick up the fiddle again. Eeeep o.O

I want to get a couple of the 'Wee Sing' books soon to play from. I remember so many of the songs, but not chords. I can't wait till she starts singing along!!





Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Breastfeeding is easy!!!

Said no one ever.

I wish I'd been a little more prepared for it. I devoted too much time to preparing for the birth, and taking care of the baby, and not enough learning how to feed her.

It's important, feeding a baby, but I thought it would be easy and natural. It's natural, but the farthest thing from easy for most women. I wish somebody had told me:

Latch is VERY important
Babies need a lot of help latching on 
Latching on is very hard
Bad latches hurt
After a few weeks, baby will try to help latch
This does not help
Those little flailing arms make a hard job harder
There will be less milk at night
There will be more milk in the morning
Feeding a baby is one of the most enjoyable experiences in life
There SHOULD NOT be any pain if the baby is on properly

Annalise was such a little trouper those first two weeks. Feeding was agony. And it just got worse and worse. Finally I pumped and gave a bottle for a few days. I know a lot of people were praying for me those days, and on Thursday, when she was almost three weeks old, I decided to try nursing again, and it was perfect! Definitely answered prayer. 

I'm also getting used to feeding her in public! I fed her at a theater last weekend, and as it took me a moment to get her latched on, Garrett told me he was glad we had an empty row of seats in front of us, because I guess I was leaking a stream of milk and didn't realize it. I got his arm, and I'm so glad I didn't hit somebody's neck or head, haha! Imagine explaining that...







Monday, February 15, 2016

Big plans... aaaaaand a baby

I like to do stuff. I like to keep busy and fill my days with all kinds of stuff. I enjoy variety. Every week I plan all the stuff I want do do in the next seven days. It sounds great, it sounds fun, but nope. Some things just don't work in around a little person's needs, and little people need a lot.

Some days my big exciting plans are to clean the bathroom (yes, really!), because the time is harder to find the bigger baby gets. I bought some shelves with my birthday money, and my plan was to put them together that night and organize them. Haha, nope!! Annalise was awake and hungry and fussy, and needed mommy a whole lot more than those shelves did.

It took me three days to get them together, clean the living room, and mop a couple floors. But my baby was cuddled and loved, and that's more important.

I like to make exciting long term plans months in advance. Right now I'm excited about a craft show in May that I'd like to sell at. It's two and a half months away, and I have no inventory. I've probably about an hour every day in non-consecutive minutes to make my products. Procrastinator that I am, it might never happen.

Even more exciting plans: I'm trying to organize a craft show myself that will take place in November/December, if I can get everything lined up. *dances* I'm so excited over it!!! I'll probably be posting lots of boring updates on the progress of that :D



New birthday shelves, yay!! (and clutter)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

One Month Birthday

Little miss is one month old today!! And not to be a overly biased mommy, but she is very advanced for her age, hitting milestone after milestone early :D

She can:
Hold her head up by herself
Make "ah" sounds
Pay attention to a rattle
Focus on faces
Smile spontaneously
Bring her hands to her mouth
Hold her head up on her tummy
Smile when she thinks something's funny


All in all, just working her precious way farther into our hearts. We love our girl!!!



Monday, February 8, 2016

Greetings!

Hi, I'm Mary Crouch, and I'm excited to finally start a blog I just might actually take care of!! I've started two before, I think, and never made it past the first draft of the first post on either one.

BUT, I have a baby now, and that means a lot of wakeful nights, and opportunity to write.

I'm a stay at home mom in Kentucky where I live with my wonderful husband and our little baby girl.

I plan to blog randomly about babies, and animals, and crafts, and life, and books, and living naturally, and modest fashion, and serving Jesus, and hopefully meet a lot of great people!!