Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Did You Know Part X

I have some fears/phobias and one or two may be irrational........

~ Sinkholes

~ The earth losing all oxygen and us slowly dying

~ A train from the nearby track (2 blocks from my house) derailing and rolling into my house (while I'm in the shower)

~ Being on an elevator and the cables breaking and the car crashing down and I die

~ Being at a stop light and the truck that is turning onto the street that I'm on tips over and crushes me
image from aagrapevine.com


What fears/phobias do YOU have??
 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

My Coffee Preference....Don't Judge

I'm going to say something that is going to make some of you GASP or shake your head but here goes.....I'm not a fan of coffee in the keurig. There, I said it. I don't like k-cup coffee!! I think it has the watered-down taste. And frankly, I'd rather brew a pot and grab a cup throughout the morning or afternoon than making a cup then another then another.

My favorite coffee is any kind brewed in a percolator. Ah, the good old days. I have one, I just can't make it properly. But my grandma still makes coffee in her percolator and it's awesome. I grew up on perked coffee until my grandma finally broke down and bought a Mr. Coffee {eyes rolling}. We had so much company we needed the Mr. Coffee. Now she uses both.

So I'll take perked or brewed coffee any day. Keurig? Eh. If I have no other choice.

What's YOUR favorite type of coffee?

 image from www.huffpost.com

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Have You Read........

In the last two years, I have written and self-published three children's books. I am very proud of my accomplishments, as it's something I have wanted to do since I was able to read and write. Writing is one of my passions and I'm happy to be able to share it with others.

My first book is called Hammy's New Home. This book is about a young pig named Hammy, who gets into some mischief on the farm where he lives. This idea came from the real Hammy who belonged to my friends, Donny and Hope. We were visiting one day, sitting on their porch drinking coffee, and I could hear Hammy snorting in his pen. I made a joke about him wanting to be on the porch with us and their two dogs. Well......a book idea came to mind!!! Hammy is an adorable pig thanks to my very talented illustrator, Christopher Strange. Everyone loves Hammy and perhaps one day Hammy will reappear in a sequel.


My second book is called If I Were A Duck. What child doesn't dream of being some sort of animal? Well this idea came from watching the ducks outside of one of my favorite eating establishments and I was thinking about how much fun it would be to be a duck for one day. And there you have it! Another very talented artist, Samuel Wittman, drew the pics for this fun rhyming book.
 
And last but not least, my third book is Annie to the Rescue. This story is about a little girl who wants to have a pet to take care of and love, but her parents think she is too young. One day, while exploring, Annie finds......well, I'm not going to tell!! You'll have to read the book to find out! This book is dedicated to an animal rescue group called Pause 4 All Paws (find them on Facebook, Pause 4 All Paws!!) and a little girl named Anecia who sometimes attends P4AP events, helping her mom. A percentage of all proceeds for this book will be donated to this group. Much thanks to my talented illustrator, Elaine Schmidt, who is also my grandmother's cousin, on taking the time to draw the pics for this book.

You can find my books on Amazon to download as an eBook or purchase a printed copy, and also on Barnes and Noble (online).   Check out my Facebook page Melanie Lopata Author/Editor for updates on books, book signing events and more!


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Ceiling Fan DON'TS

We have a ceiling fan in every room of our house. I enjoy the fans as they circulate cooler air, but you do need to be careful when using them. I've learned this first hand............

Exercising: Well of course you can't do a jumping jack under a ceiling fan unless you're super short!

Carrying things (like tall lamps) across the room: I smashed my beautiful lamp because I wasn't paying attention when moving it across the room and the glass smashed to smithereens. Actually, this happened to two lamps. I wonder if I learned my lesson?

Balloons: I blow up balloons on occasion for my daycare kids to play with, but we learned that we cannot have the ceiling fans running while playing with balloons or POP!!!

Balls: Same thing as balloons only they don't pop as easily.

Kids: Ummmm....ok, I haven't had an incident but you know how sometimes you swing a kid into the air and they laugh and scream “more!”? Yeah, just be careful that your ceiling fan isn't running when you do that. I was JUST about to swing a kid when I noticed the fan was running. OOPS! That would not have been pretty.

So there you have it. The “what not to do's” while your ceiling fans are running!! Be safe everyone!
image from www.aliexpress.com

Friday, May 19, 2017

I Failed My Banana Bread!

If you know me, even just by reading my blog posts, you know that I am not savvy in the kitchen. And that's an understatement.

But today I decided to try to make banana bread since I had five disgustingly brown bananas. I've made banana bread in the past and it came out so-so. What did I have to lose?

First, I preheated the oven. Easy thing, right? Stay tuned.

Next, I mashed the bananas in a big bowl and then realized I had no eggs in the house. So I covered the bowl and ran to the store. No big deal, right?

When I came back, I tried to hurry the process a little since the Dunkin Donuts coffee that I grabbed on the way home was getting cold and I HATE cold coffee.

Hurrying does no good.

I read the opposite page and added one cup of milk to the mix. Oops. Oh well, maybe the bread would just be creamy?

Mixed in other ingredients and realized I only had bread flour, no regular flour. Well gee, bread flour makes things rise, right? RIGHT??? Sure, so I added that. Next came baking soda. Ugh, I didn't have THAT either. Who cares, it was only like a tsp so I skipped it.

Finished mixing ingredients, poured batter into a baking pan, and opened the oven. OOPS, I forgot I had cookie sheets in the oven. Ugh, they were nice and hot. And gross since they needed to be washed (hey, I put them in there when I was in denial about washing dishes).

So the bread baked. And baked. Anddddddddddddddddddddddd baked.

Here is the end result, pictured below. Moist inside, sunken outside and tasted...um, DISGUSTING.



So from now on, I QUIT!!

Monday, April 17, 2017

My Poor Clothes!!

On Easter weekend, my husband and I drove down to Washington, D.C. to meet up with my stepson and spend time with him (he lives further down south and attends college). I love D.C. – partly because I was born there 30-something years ago at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and partly because it's gorgeous down there!

My husband and I took off Friday after work. We enjoy road trips and usually we have no mishaps either on the road or during our trip. This time there were a few. I call them “Clothing Mishaps”.

On the ride down, I tried using my new coffee travel mug from Walmart (and not cheap either!). For some reason I couldn't get the coffee to come out smoothly. I eventually burned my lip and spilled coffee all over my face and my new Lularoe shirt (also not cheap). I smelled like coffee for the rest of the ride, which you would think I would love, given my love for coffee. No. I did not smell good. Not at all.

I tend to pack a few different outfits based on what we might do on a trip. Included were two tops from Khol's; one sleeveless and one long sleeve but very light fabric. On Saturday, I decided to wear the sleeveless top as it was going to be warm. Nope. Couldn't wear that top. It had somehow SHRUNK in the wash (I never put any clothes in the dryer so I cannot fathom how this shrunk by washing it). It had shrunk so much it was a belly shirt. That went in the trash.

I tried the other Khol's shirt. That one had never been worn. If I had tried, I would have noticed the SECURITY TAG that was still attached to it!! Grrrr, how mad was I??? How did they not take that off?? That shirt also went in the trash. It was marked down to $6.00 on clearance and not worth my time and effort to take back to Khol's and ask them to remove the tag.

Good times.

The rest of the trip went well, despite the protestors downtown (don't get me started). I figured the ride home would be nice, despite the fact that I had major allergy issues due to the horrid pollen down south. Did the trip home go without mishap? Almost! I spilled coffee on my NEW shirt (this one from Khol's that had not shrunk and that had no attached security tag). I'm not sure how I managed to spill again since I was not using my travel mug. But somehow I did.

Lessons I learned from the trip:
    1.  Before packing, check all clothes for security tags and shrinkage.
    2.  Test out a new travel mug before using, or just stick to Dunkin' Donuts styrofoam cups AND wear a plastic bib.

     image from www.theyodysseyonline.com

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Just DO IT!

My recent endeavor is becoming a freelance editor.   I have completed the college course and have experience through my book writing.
 
 
I am close to publishing my third children's book and will continue to write children's books and hopefully a novel or two in the future.

You can do anything if you put your mind to it.  Just persevere!  Life will knock you down; sometimes over and over. But get UP and just do it!  Live your dream and don't stop until you're happy.  Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it because you CAN.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Snack Time!!

There are a lot of tasty snacks that are easy to make using ingredients that you would probably have on hand. Here are some of my favorites.

 image from www.food.com
Triscuits topped with a piece of cheese and pepperoni, heated up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. My childhood friend showed me this yummy snack and we ate them all of the time.

Put one or two slices of cheese on a piece of bread and put it in the microwave for 10-12 seconds. The cheese melts and it's super tasty!

Ritz crackers with peanut butter and/or jelly. My mom used to make this snack for me when I was a kid and I still do it now!

And if you want healthy snacks like fruits and veggies.............

Apple, cut up, and dipped in honey (or peanut butter if you prefer, though I personally don't like that).

Raw veggies dipped in salad dressing. Any dressing is fine but I happen to love Ranch, French and Thousand Island for dipping.

What are some of your favorite snacks?


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Things I Hate

There are many things I cannot stand but these make the
top of the list!

Doorbells!
One apartment I had before I was married, and our house after we were married, both had doorbells. I hated them! They're loud and intrusive and if you don't answer right away (or at all), the person rings it again.....and again. I'd rather have someone knock!!
 image from www.beastoftraal.com

Phone Ringing!
I cannot stand the sound of a phone ringing. I keep my cell phone on vibrate all of the time. I hate talking on the phone so why would I want to hear a ring?
image from www.humboldherald.com

Butterflies!
Gross me out. I think they're very pretty but they're also creepy to me. Their delicate wings can rip off so easily. GAG!

 image from animals.howstuffworks.com

Lady Bugs!
Hate hate HATE. I hate any form of beetle and these things seem to just DROP out of the air and PLOP! I know they cannot hurt you and supposedly are “good luck” but gross me out anyway.
 image from www.reference.com



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

New Author, New Friend

I recently met this wonderful young woman through a Facebook group that we are both in regarding children's books and illustrators.  She lives in a different state than I do and we've been chatting daily.  I feel like we're close friends already!! 

My friend, Tracy, is working on a children's book series and you will not want to miss it!  The story is fun (from the sneak peak that I got) and the illustrations are spot on!  

 photo courtesy of Tracy Kushwaha

Please check out her FB page and web page.  Lets support our children's authors!!


Harriet Facebook Page

Harriet Web Page

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Blog Block

Have you ever experienced “Blog Block”? It's like Writer's Block except with your Blog. I'll admit, I don't blog as much as I should, but I'm very busy. And I think that is what has me blocked lately.

I am a very busy person with my jobs, writing, and home life; but there's no reason I should be so busy that my mind is blank!

I am burned out.

I love what I do, all that I do, and I wouldn't drop any of it. But sometimes because I AM so busy, my mind gets blocked. I don't know what to write. I can't even concentrate on reading fellow blogger's blog posts.

So my message is this. If you're going to be busy whether with work like I do, or if you have kids and little time, or whatever is going on in your life, make sure you take time for YOU. That means blogging, reading, taking a nice walk (without dogs!) or a bubble bath (unless you're like me and taking a bath is frightening). Life is too short to rush around and get your mind in a fog.

Take it from me, I'm blocked.
 image from www.lindengross.com

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A New Book!



I recently wrote another children’s book.  The illustrations are finished and I am in the process of putting the book together to prepare for printing.


I’m excited about this book because of how I ended up writing it.  I occasionally do volunteer work for a group in my hometown called Pause 4 All Paws (find them on Facebook, Pause 4 All Paws).  They are an animal rescue group and do wonderful and hard, and sometimes heart-breaking, work.  This group rescues animals from bad situations or sad situations, finds foster care and/or adoption.  They do fundraising events and help people who are looking to adopt or looking to find their pet a new home.

This group is made up of a wonderful group of people, one who is co-founder of the group, Johanna Stock.  One day, Johanna and I were having a conversation about my children’s books and I jokingly said I should write a book about a little girl who rescues animals (based on Johanna's daughter). Johanna’s daughter is a fun little girl who loves helping her mama with events and loves the animals.

After our conversation, I sat down with my laptop to work on another book I’m in the process of writing but I couldn’t concentrate.  Instead, I brought up a new sheet and began typing.  I was so excited about this story!

The book is called Annie to the Rescue.  I don’t want to give the story away but it involves a little girl named Annie and two dogs.  This book will be dedicated to Johanna, her daughter, and Pause for All Pause.  I am an avid animal lover (and called a “foster failure” as my husband and I have adopted two fosters and rescued two others).

I look forward to the printing of this book (look for it this Spring!!) and in the meantime, check out Amazon for my other two books, Hammy’s New Home and If I Were a Duck!


Find me on Facebook Melanie Lopata - Author or check out my Author Website!





Sunday, January 8, 2017

Did You Know Part IX

I love music but did you know.............


I don't like music by Michael Jackson, Billy Joel or Elton John.

I love classical music but cannot listen to it to calm me down because it makes me nervous.
 
I play the piano 90% “by ear” and 10% note reading. I can hear a song and then sit down at the piano and compose it. And I can harmonize when I sing!