Monthly Archives: July 2013

My first book reading


Yesterday I got the opportunity to read to a wonderful group of kids at the Boys and Girls Club in Bryant. I started out asking a the question, “Where do you think goldfish comes from?” I had a lot of wonderful answers including, the ocean, the river, the pond. My favorite answer had me laughing, “The pet store!” My book goes to show that every child has a different thought as to where goldfish comes from.

They were a very tentative group, with many brilliant questions. They each truly enjoyed the book and the colorful pictures that it entailed. After I was finished reading they asked a few questions about the book and being an author, then they thanked me as they had to go on to another project.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading to them. It’s the reason why I wanted to write and publish a children’s book, to do something for children. I love kids and I especially love mine. What a wonderful day it was and I look forward to the next opportunity I get to do it again.


My first book signing

This past week I was kept completely busy around the house and also with promoting my book. Not only did I have a full schedule with my daughter’s therapist coming to my house, but I had to work around those hours to drop books off at the post office. I even drove to Little Rock a few times to run errands. These next few weeks I’m going to be just as busy. There’s a saying from somewhere that it’s best to keep busy and time fly, then to be sitting around bored and time linger.


I had my first book signing this past Thursday at the Civitan Preschool. Clifford the big red dog made his appearance, making most of the kids hyper with excitement. My best friend Steaven Walsh came with me to help out with the event. We laugh and awed each kid that came by, heading straight towards either the big cake next to us or the big red dog standing next to the cake. Somehow they seemed more interested in pull on his tail or playing with his ears. A couple of kids cried at the sight of such a creature they’ve never seen before, which had all of us saying “Awe” at the same time. The parents tried a few times to show that Clifford isn’t that scary, but it wasn’t a successful ploy.


I did however, sell a few books, autographing each one. I talked to a few kids about their first fish, learning that one little girl actually ‘bathed’ her fish. Yes, bathed! She dumped hand soap in the fish tank and yelled to her mom that she was giving the fish a bath.

The event had a small turn out of people, but we were sure there would’ve been more to show up had it not stormed, raining out the event. A few of the ladies who were in charge of the event said that they will have it again next year and hope that it’ll be a better turn out. I added that I will be happy to hold another book signing for them.


This week I will be having a book reading at the boys and girls club in Bryant. I’m really looking forward to it.

One year of blogging


I’ve finally hit my one year anniversary with wordpress. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people and have read a lot of great blog posts on wordpress. I’m happy to say that I’ve enjoyed chatting with each and every one that leaves a comment. A lot of you leave some really helpful tips, suggestions, and motivated comments and I thank you all for those. Here’s to another year of blogging!

Book signing at a book fair


This Thursday Civitan Preschool in Benton, Arkansas will be having a Scholastic Book Fair to celebrate Clifford’s 50th birthday. The Civitan Preschool has teachers that have extensive training and experience in working with kids with special needs; Autism, Down Syndrome, Developmental Delays, and many other children with disabilities and special needs.

This book fair will help the preschool in purchasing books for their classrooms. They will be providing OT, PT, ST, and any other developmental services so that all children will be able to attend and enjoy the book fair. There will be door prizes, cake, and free screenings for children. And the first 50 kids to come will get a free book.

I will be there signing my children’s book, Dana’s First Fish. I will be donating a percentage of my sales from that day to the Civitan Preschool.

Everyone is invited to come join us at Civitan Center, 121 Cox St., Benton, Arkansas 72015. If you have any questions concerning the book fair ask for Julie (501)776-0691

Here’s a link to the FB event page:

Hope to see you there!

Twinkies and Cup Cakes make a come back


Yesterday I stopped at the Walmart in Benton (Arkansas) for a few items to make dinner with and also a few sewing items for my gram’s. I walked up and down a few aisles in the food section as well as the craft department, grabbing the things I needed. When I was on my way to check out I glanced over and saw the words Hostess Cup Cakes, but kept on walking. “Wait a minute,” I said to myself. I took a few steps back and stared in surprised at seeing the Hostess display. I walked all the way around, still in shock, seeing only a few Hostess items that made their come back; Twinkies, Cup Cakes, and donuts. What I also noticed is that it was almost picked cleaned. I hurried and grabbed my box of Twinkies and Cup Cakes, just in time too as two ladies came up and grabbed a couple boxes of each items. 


I headed towards the checkouts, placed my items on the belt, and proceeded to wait my turn in line to pay for my items. A couple came behind, placing their items on the belt. I glanced over to make sure they had the separating bar placed between their items and mine (a habit of mine for a good reason), and noticed they too had Twinkies among their items.

I was anxious to get dinner started and eaten so that I can open up my box of Cup Cakes and enjoy the chocolatey goodness that I’ve been missing. I opened the small package containing my small chocolate cake topped with frosting and the Hostess trademark white curly queue and took a bite. I was truly upset, the cake looked old and the frosting was way too sugary, definitely different than I remember them being. Even the texture of the frosting looked a lot different.

Today I tried the Twinkie, hoping that it wouldn’t be a failure like the Cup Cakes. To my astonishment, it was the same cupcake as it has always been. I was surprised, but ever so happy! Now the question is, how long are these cupcakes going to stay on the shelves and would the next box of Cup Cakes be better than the one I got yesterday?

Line em up

One of the many things about my daughter’s Autism is the need to line her toys up as well as color coding things. She has a box of trucks that are all the same except for their coloring. She has to put them in the box color coded or line them up outside of the box, color coded. She’ll also line up each of her animals with their own species, all the dinosaurs line up together, zebras, together, tigers, elephants, etc.

The need for lining things up or color coding is just merely a sense of being in control and or a sense of organization. It also helps relieve anxiety.



I ramble when I’m nervous…


Picture belongs to the wonderful ladies at the Bryant Area Chamber of Commerce

Yesterday I took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Bryant Area Chamber of Commerce. I was the one cutting the ribbon. I’ve never done such a thing before, nor have I ever attended a ribbon cutting, so I did not know what to expect. There were at least twenty people there, which amazed me, but made my day! I had not prepared a speech, nor did I know what I was going to talk about, so when it was time for me to talk I began to ramble on about my book and upcoming events. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind talking about my book or what I have coming up, it was the fact that I was nervous speaking in front of a crowd, that I had forgotten to talk about a few things, like the projects I’m currently working on. I think I was just baffled at how many people that came to see me and hear me talk.

I may have to pay another visit to Dr. Yolanda Mitchell, my Speech teacher at PTC. She had helped me get up in front of the class and give a speech…three times. I spoke to her after class one day and told her I have a fear of speaking in front of people, her response was, “Well, I’m sorry, but in order to pass this class you have to give a speech.” Well, nuts! I didn’t think I could do it the first time, I thought I was going to faint,  but nonetheless, I did speak in front of my classmates three times. I was nervous each time and each time I lost my train of thought and began to babble on about the topic I was giving the speech on. It didn’t matter that I had notes in front of me, I was still nervous. I made a ‘B’ in that class, which made me happy. I had also gotten over the fear of speaking in front of people. If you tell yourself you can’t do something, you’ll only believe it. Now If I can just get over the nervousness I’ll be doing a whole lot better lol!

After I cut the ceremonial ribbon I got the chance to speak to these wonderful people individually about the process of getting published and the young adult novel that I wrote. I also told them about the other children’s books that I’m currently working on and the hopes to having another published soon. I even talked with a woman about a book reading opportunity. The best part about that is I get to read to a group of children.

It turned out to be such a wonderful day. I got the chance to meet a few of the amazing people that make up our wonderful growing town of Bryant, Arkansas. I’m looking forward to each door that opens, and to each opportunity that comes my way.

Recipe for the best meatloaf

I’m always looking for recipes to try for dinner. I’ve eaten meatloaf quite a few times, but each time it was always okay. Mostly it was greasy from sitting in the greasy juice meatloaf always creates when it’s cooked.

I’ve been in the mood for meatloaf and have been searching for the perfect recipe. Most of the time when I get a craving for meat, mostly hamburgers or steak, it’s because my iron is low; I’m anemic and have been for many years. I don’t eat a lot of meat, especially red meat, but when I do eat red meat it’s usually twice a month.

Recently I found a recipe for meatloaf that I wanted to try. I substituted a few ingredients it was calling for a few ingredients of my own. After it was cook and cooled and I tried a bite I was amazed at how well I did. It was amazing! I loved it! I printed the recipe off of the computer and put it in one of the cookbooks I use often so that I will find it for a later meal.



  • 2 pounds ground beef, 85% to 90% lean
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion (I didn’t put onion in mine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup ketchup, plus more for topping
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf thyme or sage (I used sage)


Combine the ground beef, grated onion, egg, garlic, oatmeal, milk, 1/4 cup of ketchup, ground mustard, salt, pepper, sage or thyme. Pack into a greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove and carefully pour off any excess grease. Spread ketchup over the top of the meatloaf and return to the oven for 15 to 20 minutes longer.

I always like my grandma’s semi-mashed milk and butter potatoes with meatloaf. Just cut up a few large potatoes, boil them until soft, drain, then add a little milk and a couple of spoonfuls of butter and stir. You want it lumpy…unless you don’t like lumpy potatoes. But it’s suppose to have a creaminess to it with a few lumps of potatoes…hence the reason for it being called semi-mashed potatoes.

Ice cream makes it all better

Ice cream makes it all better, especially when your eating mommy’s ice cream cone. I bought her a cup of ice cream and myself an ice cream cone. Guess who ate the ice cream cone and who didn’t?


Easy to make sensory toys

One of my daughter’s therapist had mentioned making a sensory toy that my daughter could play with. It would be something like a sensory ball and could just as easily help out with her meltdowns. Yesterday, I went to my local Walmart and got a few crafts to make my daughter a few of these sensory toys.

It’s just a water bottle with a few items in it that would catch her attention for a few minutes to however long it would take to calm her. Or it could be used as a regular toy to occupy her for a few minutes or more.


Some of the things I had here at home, but as you can see from the picture it is nothing more than a few water bottles, confetti (or glitter), beads, acrylic jewels, super glue, vegetable oil, a funnel, and food coloring.

The first bottle is nothing more than confetti, beads, and acrylic jewels. Dump about a fourth of the water out of the bottle. Using a funnel put the confetti, beads, and acrylic jewels in the bottle. You can use a few to however many of these items in your water bottle, but not too much. Imagine making a homemade snow globe, but instead it’s a water bottle with shimmery items in it.

As soon as you put these items into the water bottle, add water up to about an inch from the top so that the child, or you can shake the bottle. Super glue the grooves around the mouth of the bottle and put the cap back on. This seals the cap so that no one can open it and then have a mess to clean up.

The second bottle is also easy to make and one of my favorites. I actually think it’s almost everyone’s favorite. It’s the ocean in a bottle.


Dump half the water out of the bottle, add a few drops of blue food coloring or any color you wish, then add the vegetable oil. Supposed to be clear oil, but I only had yellow colored oil. It still looks neat though. Again, seal the cap with super glue.