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Sunday, August 9th, 2009
Standing to Attention.

Camera Critters

Last year Mr. Munro and I visited Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World for a sleepover. Along with fish and turtles they also have penguins, and we were lucky enough to have a behind the scenes tour. It was molting time hence the scruffy appearance of some of the penguins.

Penguins, Kelly Tarltons, NZ

For more Camera Critters follow this link.

Thursday, August 6th, 2009
Happiness is….

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Small Things That Make Me Happy

1. A pretty cupcake.

2. Browsing the romance section at my favorite bookstore.

3. A cup of strong latte.

4. A kiss from my husband.

5. Getting a smile and a hello from people I meet while out walking and cycling.

6. A sunny day with a cloudless blue sky.

7. The scent of fresh lavendar.

8. Watching all the cars stop to let a duck and her ducklings cross the road.

9. Watching the new lambs play together.

10. The scent of fresh bread at the Farmers’ Market.

11. Receiving a package and opening it to find my author copies of Tea For Two (see cover on the sidebar) They are SO pretty.

12. Counting down the days to my holiday. It’s less than three weeks before I jet off to Singapore and Thailand.

13. Having a glass of wine in the company of friends.

What things make you happy?

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009
On That Farm There Were Some Hens

Mr. Munro and I both agree. On that alpaca farm, we’ll have some hens.

Hen and Chicks, istock

There’s nothing better or more satisfying than eating the fresh eggs you’ve collected. Of course, I know from experience that some hens take issue with egg stealing and they fight back. Hen pecks aren’t much fun. They hurt!

I also know (from experience) that if it’s meal time you don’t muck around with dispersing those vegetable scraps or hen pellets. Get in and get out. It’s no fun being mobbed by a flock of hungry birds.

At egg eating time, make sure you crack that egg into a cup first because there’s always the chance, especially if the kids have collected the eggs, that the egg might be a bit old. It’s no fun having to start measuring the baking ingredients again because the egg was off.

But there are good times as well. Picture that fresh breakfast egg and the way it tastes. It’s fun watching the chicks peck their way from eggs and seeing the hens with chickens pecking for grubs in the paddock. Ah, yes. Fun times on that farm.

Do you have any experiences to share? Do you like eating eggs?

Monday, August 3rd, 2009
Blog Participation Winner: July

Congratulations to Annetta S who is the winner of my blog participation contest for July. I’ve emailed you about your prize.

Thanks to everyone for visiting me during July. Keep up your visits and you might just win the blog participation prize for August!

Monday, August 3rd, 2009
I Wanna Be An Alpaca Farmer

A few years ago, during a trip to the Gold Coast in Australia, we went on a tour of the Hinterland. Part of the tour was a visit to an alpaca farm. I fell in love with the alpacas then and told my husband I wanted one.

Alpaca, Clevedon, NZ

Alpacas are the smaller cousins of llamas and camels and are natives of the Andes region. These days they are found in many different parts of the world including Australia and New Zealand and are prized for their fleece. Garments made out of alpaca fleece are soft and beautiful. Quite expensive too.

Alpaca Herd, Hamilton

Alpacas are herd animals and are happiest with others of their kind. They are quiet and intelligent, fairly easy animals to handle and disease resistant. They are known to spit, which apparently isn’t very pleasant, and this is their only method of defense.

Alpaca, NZ

So, the first thing I’m going to do, should I ever get a windfall, is buy a few hectares of land and stock it with some cute alpacas. Yeah, I’d really like to be an alpaca farmer.

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009
Red Alert!

Picture this…

Sunday morning. Early.

Mr. Munro is out of bed, and he’s in…insert big groan here…clean-up mode.

First it’s the in-basket with all our bills and invoices etc.

“Do you want this? Why are we keeping this?” I had to rescue several items before they went into the trash.

I let out a sigh of relief when he finished. Mistake big time. He was in the groove and moved onto the pantry then the fridge. By that time I was cowering in the lounge and trying to concentrate on something else. Mr. Munro makes me very nervous when he gets in his cleaning moods. Thankfully, the mood passed by the afternoon and he decided he’d cook a curry for dinner. I didn’t have any arguments with that because he’s a great cook.

Camera Critters

Pig Sculptures, Sedona

When we visited Sedona in USA during our last trip, they had these cute pig sculptures along the street. They were all different colors and the artists had used different techniques. I couldn’t resist a photo.

Visit other Camera Critters here.

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Where Do You Hide Yours?

FYI – I hide mine in the fridge. :grin:

When was your last?

Um…I have to think about that…

What More Could I Wish For?

Ooh yes…I’ll take one now… :mrgreen:

Timtams are an Australian invention–one of their best, I have to say. And I don’t think we can take credit for the clever ads either. Hmm, I think it’s time. I’m going to add a packet of Timtams to my shopping basket this weekend.

What are your favorite store-bought biscuits?

Saturday, July 25th, 2009
What’s For Lunch?

Camera Critters

Mountain Sheep, South Dakota

Wanna share your lunch with me?

This inquisitive mountain sheep got a little close for comfort. My window wouldn’t go up fast enough!

To view other Camera Critters go here.

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009
My Point of View…

Thursday Thirteen

…is that I enjoy reading romances and other genre fiction in both first and third person points of view. I like being in the main character’s head in some books while in other books seeing things from both the hero and heroine’s perspective is interesting. For a background on different points of view in writing here’s a link to a POV article. As I’ve mentioned, I enjoy reading books written in first person so today I have a list for you.

Thirteen First Person Reads or Series I Enjoy

1. Kristan Higgins (contemporary)

2. Stephanie Plum series – Janet Evanocvich (contemporary mystery)

3. Lisa Kleypas – contemporary Texas series. (contemporary)

4. Kate Daniels series – Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy)

5. Mercy Thompson series Patricia Briggs (urban fantasy)

6. Josh Lanyon – (m/m)

7. Hard Fall James Buchanan (m/m)

8. Alien Huntress series – Gena Showalter (paranormal)

9. Lori Armstrong – Julie Collins series (mystery)

10. Keri Arthur Riley Jensen (urban fantasy)

11. Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding

12. Something series – Jacqueline Meadows

13. And finally, I’ve written several books in first person: Wanderlust (romantic suspense), The Shadow (contemporary mystery) and Stray Cat Strut (paranormal m/m)

Do you prefer first person or third person fiction best and why? Do you have any favorites to add to my list?

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009
Black Forest Muffins

Whenever I have a cup of coffee in a cafe, I always check out the muffins. Any flavor will do as long as they’re fresh. If I manage to time it when they’re still warm from the oven so much the better. I think muffins are good because they’re reasonably healthy and don’t have as much fat as cream cakes. That’s my reasoning anyway. I also enjoy baking muffins because they’re quick and easy.

When I want to bake a batch I always turn to Alison Holst’s Marvellous Muffin cookbook, which contains recipes for both savory and sweet muffins. The following recipe is an adaptation of her Double Chocolate Muffin recipe. I call them Black Forest Muffins.


1 ¾ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
¼ cup cocoa
¼ – ½ cup chocolate chips
¼ cup dried cherries

Place dried cherries in a bowl and add a little boiling water to cover – a few tablespoons. We want to reconstitute the cherries a little. Place other dry ingredients plus chocolate chips in a large bowl. Add the cherries plus the liquid.

Muffins: Dry Ingredients

100 grams of butter (about 8/10 of a stick)
1 egg
1 cup plain unsweetened yoghurt
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon vanilla

Melt the butter. Beat the egg and combine with the milk, yoghurt and vanilla. Combine with the dry ingredients, folding together until mixed. Do not overmix.

Muffins: Wet Ingredients

Spoon into 12 well-greased medium-size muffin pans or use paper muffin cups. Bake in a hot oven at 200C (400F) for 10 – 12 minutes until centers spring back when pressed lightly.

Muffins: Final Product

Enjoy with good company and a cup of tea or coffee.