Saturday, February 27, 2016

Saturday Snack

Do you like shrimp? How about pasta? Then this quick meal is perfect for you!

You'll need:

3/4 cup Italian dressing
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 lb. shrimp
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta as directed
Meanwhile, heat 1/2 cup of the dressing in large skillet on medium heat
Stir in mushrooms & onions
Cook 3 mins., or until onions are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally
Add shrimp, stir
Cook 2 mins., or until shrimp are pink & vegetables are tender
Stir occasionally
Drain pasta & add to skillet
Add remaining dressing; toss lightly
Sprinkle with cheese

This is an easy meal to make for group hangouts over the weekend. There's plenty for everyone. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Building My Vocabulary

It's Thursday! That means it's time for another teen term. Today, I've selected one I've heard a few times and was pretty sure I understood based on the word itself. Guess, what? I was right!

Cray-Cray - Crazy

This is an easy one, but another one I love. It can get a little boring to say, "Wow, she/he's crazy," all the time. Instead, you can just look at your friends, gesture to whom you're referring to and say "cray-cray." Love it!

What are you fave teen terms you and your friends use? I'd love to hear more!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning came early at my house last week. In addition to cleaning everything, we rearranged some of the furniture, too.

We moved our dining room table out because we never use it, and put bookshelves in its place. Now, we have much-needed extra storage.

We moved the dining table to the bedroom, and now it's my craft/writing table. I love having a secondary, quiet spot that's all mine!

Now that I am able to store more items on the bookcases, my desk is much neater and more organized. I love it!

Do you plan on doing any spring cleaning, or have you already? Tell me about your projects! Check out this Pinterest page for ideas for the home. There's a pin specifically to help teens get organized.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Blizzard to Offer College Tuition in Online Tournaments

Gamescom 2009 - Blizzard Entertainment (5174)
© Raimond Spekking / , via Wikimedia Commons

This article about knocked my socks off. Have you seen it?

Apparently, Blizzard, you know, the creators of WoW and other MMORPGs, is offering students college tuition via three tournaments. According to Fortune magazine, Blizzard Entertainment is giving away $650,000 in college tuition this year as prizes for three of its popular eSports games: Hearthstone, StarCraft II and Heroes of the Storm.

I think this is really cool! College and college-bound students make up a large percentage of players of these games, paying monthly fees for each of the games they decide to play, and possibly more for in-game items and bit coins. I think it's incredible that Blizzard is giving back to their players by offering college tuition as prizes in their tournaments.

I've played WoW before, and understand how easy it is to get hooked on the games, and spend a lot of time bulding your character. But for me, there was always a "Now what?" feeling. I would build my character up, play some dungeons and feel like there was nothing else to do until the next expansion. But for players who enjoy continuing the game day after day, they have another great reason to keep going. Now, you can enjoy the games and work on earning your college tuition at the same time.

So, check out the details of the tournament and have fun! Just be sure to get off the games from time to time to study and spend time with family and friends.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Your Saturday Snack

I love mozzarella sticks, don't you? My favorite is from Denny's, so I was delighted when I found this recipe on Replica Recipes:

1/4 cup flour
1 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs
1 Tbsp milk
1 package mozzarella string cheese
2 cups oil

Place flour in one dish, bread crumbs in another
Whisk eggs & milk together
Coat cheese in flour, then egg, then bred crumbs
Repeat in egg and bread crumbs
Heat oil in skillet
Cook  1 minute or until golden on all sides

I don't use the sauce, but you may like to, so here you go:

For Marinara Sauce

  • 1 large (28oz) can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 or more cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. basil
  • 1-1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. anise or fennel seeds (optional)

  1.  Heat oil; then lightly brown garlic.
  2. Add remaining ingredients.
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Serve with mozzarella sticks or over your favorite pasta.


Friday, February 19, 2016

Pin of the Week

I have a lot of Pinterest boards and add new pins almost daily. This week, I've noticed a lot of my followers repinning this one:

It's a great pin for college students and college-bound students to help you make the most of your space, show off your style and make your room your own. Since there are some rules you have to follow when decorating your dorm, these tips will help you work around them so you can decorate how you like. Take a look. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Building My Vocabulary

Time to learn another "teen" word! Today's pick is:

Hangry - a mix of hunger and anger, as in "I need to eat, I'm getting hangry" (

I so get this! There are times when I'm working on a project and I forget to eat. Literally, I. Forget. To. Eat. Crazy.......

Well, then the time comes for my body to tap me on the shoulder and say, "Hey, dummy, you need to eat!" OK then. Next either comes extreme hunger, an upset stomach because I'm over-hungry, lightheadedness, or grouchiness - hence, hangry.

If my hubby's around when this happens, he'll tell me I need to eat. If I'm feeling any of the first three symptoms, he's safe. "Yes, I know," I say, preparing to head to the kitchen to find some food.

But... Yeah, you got it. If I'm hangry, look out. I'll start scowling and tell him to leave me alone.

So, yes, this is definitely going on my vocabulary list.

What's your fave teen lingo? I'd love to learn more from you!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Today, I'm displaying some wonderful drawings by Rebecca Lund.

If you'd like to showcase your drawings for Wordless Wednesday, let me know!


Monday, February 15, 2016

How Could I Forget Instagram?!

On Friday, I talked about social media apps that teens use, and asked you to tell me which ones you used, and which was your fave. Looking over it, I realized I forgot a very important one: Instagram. How could I?! Instagram is an awesome app, and I love using it! I know many of you do too. 

Although I don't post to Instagram very often, I do love to see what users I follow are posting. There are some great pics out there!

My problem with this app is I'm not always sure what to post. I don't get out much, so I'm limited to selfies or my pups. I'm not sure how many of those I can get away with until my followers get sick of me. So I also post a lot of Reposts.

What is your fave type of Instagram pic to see in your feed? What are your fave pics to post? Give me some ideas!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

CHD Awareness Day

Happy Valentine's Day! Today has a double meaning for me when it comes to celebrating the heart. Not only is it Valentine's Day, it's also CHD Awareness Day.

I told you about CHD Awareness Week last Sunday, February 7, when it kicked off. Today wraps up the week, and is a day dedicated to promoting awareness of Congenital Heart Defects (CHDs). It's a day to celebrate and honor those born with heart defects, children growing up with heart defects, adults living with CHDs, and family and friends who support their CHD Warrior.

CHDs don't get as much awareness as other health issues. But it's important to know about them and help support the cause. Doctors are working hard every day to come up with better solutions to helping CHD survivors live long, healthy lives. Although there is no cure for CHDs, there are surgeries, medications, therapies, and technology that can help us live those lives.

I ask you again to please join the cause and help support CHD Awareness Day. Thank you. Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Your Saturday Snack

I love meatball hoagies! And I found an easy recipe for making them on a bag of frozen meatballs of all places! If you're looking for a quick lunch or snack this weekend, try this delicious treat.

1 cup past sauce
1 tsp. bread crumbs
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 package frozen meatballs
Hoagie rolls
Mozzarella cheese

In a medium pan, combine sauce, bread crumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, and meatballs. Bring to a simmer over medium heat until meatballs are heated through.

To serve, divide meatballs on bottom half of each hoagie roll. Cover with additional sauce, cheese, and top of hoagie roll.

You can make just enough for yourself, or a larger batch for hanging out with friends. Enjoy!

Friday, February 12, 2016

What's Your Favorite Social Media App?

I love Facebook and Twitter, and use them every day. But I tend to jump around with other apps from day to day. The one app I seem to forget about using is Tumblr. There are just so many!

Here's the way I see it:

Facebook is for connecting with friends - including virtual ones - on a daily basis, sharing things that are happening in your life, and commiserating with each other.

Twitter is a quick way to update what you're doing throughout the day and wander aimlessly through your feed reading about your favorite movies, TV shows, books, etc.

G+ is a cool place to post articles, blog posts, and other things you find online that you want to share with your followers, not to mention the cool extra feature, Google Hangout.

Tumblr...OK, again, I'm not familiar enough with this app. Can anyone share some details with me?

Pinterest is a place to save anything and everything you see on the Internet that you don't want to forget about, and share with your followers. I can lost for hours on Pinterest!

I know there are plenty of other apps out there, but these are the ones I notice teens using on a regular basis.

What I'd like to know is what apps you use? Which one  is your fave? Share with me!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Building My Vocabulary

There are some words I've heard here and there in books, on TV, in movies and listening to teens talk that I've really been trying to figure out, "What is that?" So, I decided to take a page from my school days and look them up. Here is my first word:

Bae - according to Urban Dictionary, this acronym stands for "before anyone else." Although the definition goes on to say it's also a shortenend version of baby or babe, or another word for sweetie, I like to think of it like this:

"Before anyone else" does not have to be a significant other, a.k.a., boyfriend or girlfriend. Bae can be whomoever you put first in your life, be it a romantic partner, best friend, or even a sibling. Your Bae is the first person you think of in the morning, and the last person you think of at night. He/she is the one you would do anything for. My bae is my husband.

What does bae mean to you? Do you have a bae in your life?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Get Back on the Wagon

One of my New Year's goals (I prefer "goals" to "resolutions") is to exercise more. I have this great 10-minute stretching video I can use every day that works perfectly for me. Since I can't do a lot of strenuous exercise because of my heart condition, this workout is the best solution for getting up and moving my muscles. I feel so good when I'm done with a session.

So why is it that after only two solid weeks of stretching daily, I fell into a big slump? Argh! I hate that! I've done a couple of days here and there, but nothing to get excited about. I really need to get back on the wagon and do my stretches daily.

Have you faltered on your New Year's goals? Do you have any tips for getting back on the horse? Share them here!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Wicket and Max

Puppy bunk beds!
Max is on top, Wiket on bottom.

Meet my fur babies :) Wicket is a peek-a-poo (perkiness-poodle mixed breed) and Max is a Tsit'zu. They were both Hannumas (Hannukah and Christmas) presents my hubby and I received several years ago from his mother.

Wicket came along a couple of years before Max. She is my very first puppy, and my baby. I remember the day she came into our lives: my mother- and sister-in-law brought her over. They made me close my eyes while they took her out of her crate, then told me to open them when she was right in front of me. I about melted. I loved her from the start. It was interesting getting used to taking care of and training a puppy, but I can't imagine life without her.

A couple of years later, my sister-in-law's Tsit'zu had puppies. I was in the room when the second one was born. I saw the whole thing. Out came this adorable black-and-white tiny puppy. She looked just like a panda bear! Pandas happen to be my fave. My hubby and I had planned to adopt one of the puppies, and of course, we chose this one, my Maxi. When the time came that we were able to take her home, my sister-in-law told us Max was our Hannumas present that year.

It's been several years since these beautiful girls became my babies. I love them more and more everyday. They may not technically be puppies anymore, but they will always be puppies to me. They so small and cute, and I can't get enough of them. 

Do you have fur babies? I'd love to see pictures! Post them here in the comments. I'll pick my fave at the end of the week. The winner can choose a free ecopy of one of my books.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

CHD Awareness Week

Do you enjoy getting involved in causes? Well, I have a very special one for you.

Today kicks off CHD Awareness Week, a time to promote awareness and education about congenital heart defects (CHDs). CHDs affect nearly 1 in 100 births, and follow the infant through childhood into adulthood. There are many corrective procedures that can be done to help, and medications that can help as well, but anyone born with a CHD, like me, knows that there is no cure. It's something we have to live with every day of our lives.

I wrote My Open Heart several years ago to share my story of growing up with heart disease with adolescents who are dealing with one too. I wanted them to see that even though the road through life has many obstacles, they can be overcome, and you can achieve anything you put your heart and mind to.

Please join me in promoting CHD Awareness Week:

  • Use #CHDAware in your posts
  • Add a graphic
  • Tell your own story
Together, we can make a difference.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Your Saturday Snack

Looking for a great snack to make this weekend? Check out this yummy crab dip! It's perfect for study groups, hanging out with friends, or movie night.

You'll need: 

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 can (7.5 oz) crabmeat, drained, flaked
2 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. horseradish (optional; I skip it. Too spicy for me!)
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash of pepper
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Set oven to 350 degrees.


Mix all ingredients, except almonds, until well blended.
Spoon mixture into 9-inch pie plate.
Sprinkle w/ almonds
Bake at 350 for 15 mins
Serve w/ crackers

Friday, February 5, 2016

Wear Red Day

"National Wear Red Day® — the first Friday each February — is our special day to bring attention to this staggering fact. We encourage everyone to wear red, raise their voices, know their cardiovascular risk and take action to live longer, healthier lives."

This is how the American Heart Association defines this annual movement, which takes place today. What is the staggering fact?

"Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year – more than all cancers combined. Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes."

This is huge, guys. There is so much that can be done for the heart, and so many actions that can be taken to avoid heart disease, including knowing your own heart health and risks, family history, and what lifestyle changes you can (should) make to prevent heart disease. This is something you can get started on in your teen years. The next time you talk to your doctor, ask about your risks and what you can do to prevent heart disease.

If you have a heart defect, you know how important it is to maintain proper care, and see your doctor on a regular basis. I know how difficult it can be to live with it and try to keep up with your frineds. It sucks. But it's a part of life, and if you don't incorporate proper care into your routine, you're going to be dealing with a whole new set of problems.

Whether you have heart disease or not, take time today to research it, write some questions for your doctor, and work on setting up better lifestyle choices.

Show your support, as well, and #GoRed. Post your Wear Red Day pics in the comments. I'd love to see them!

Thursday, February 4, 2016


You have a lot of responsibilities during your teen years: Going to school and studying; working; participating in school activities; and spending time with family and friends. It's enough to make your head spin! It's also enough to stress you out.

Stress causes all kinds of health risks, including lack of sleep, poor eating habits, high blood pressure, and risks to your heart. You may not be able to avoid stress completely, but you need to work on managing it. There are several things you can do to help manage your stress, including deep breathing, exercising, listening to music, and talking to someone your trust about what's stressing you out. No matter what solution you decide to try, make sure you are doing something before the stress becomes more than you can handle.

What are some ways you combat stress? Share with us!

Don't Make These Health Mistakes

Your teen years are super busy with school, work, family and friends. You probably find yourself running around like a chicken with its head cut off most of the time. If you're enjoying this hectic life, then have it! There's no reason why you can't enjoy life while you're young. You should!

But with all of this activity, you may be risking your health. There are several mistakes you could be making in your day-to-day life that can cause both physical and mental issues, including obesity, a bad complexion, memory loss and fatigue. Be sure to avoid these health mistakes as you live your daily life.

  1. Staying up too late
  2. Eating too much junk food
  3. Skipping breakfast
  4. Not getting enough exercise
Do you have any tips for your peers to avoid these and other health mistakes? Share them with us!

Are You Sleeping?

Getting a good night's sleep is important to your health. Not only does it give you the energy to enjoy your day, but it also replenishes your body's cells to keep you healthy - on the inside and out. You may notice changes to your appearance if you're not getting enough sleep, such as a bad complexion, puffy eyes, dark circles and weight gain.

Your lack of sleep could come from several factors, including staying up too late and stress. You may want to spend all night leveling your character or hanging out with friends, but it's important to shut down and get at least eight hours of sleep. If stress is the cause, talk to someone you trust about what's bothering you.

There are several tips you can follow to help you get a better night's sleep. Your body, and your grades, will thank you for it.

What sleeping tips have worked for you? Share with us!