Winner Winner, Turkey Dinner – 2013 NaNoWriMo Finish

50,119 Words, validated, means that I “win” National Novel Writing Month. I’m very grateful to Stephanie, who has been really supportive of me doing this, even though she’s had a lot of difficulties going on right now. We’re adjusting to her lengthy commute to her new job and a family illness, so it’s been a hard month, but she has been my cheerleader the whole time.


I still have a couple chapters to write, but I’m definitely closer to a finished product than I was in my last two winning attempts. And there is lots of editing to be done, in addition to finishing chapters. But I think this is the most satisfying win I’ve had of the three. This is one I think I might have a shot at getting published some day soon. It’s got some topical stuff in it, so if I want it to actually mean something, I have to get it done and try to get it out there.


2013 Final Word Count


Good gravy do I have a lot of television piled up on the DVR to watch.

Continue ReadingWinner Winner, Turkey Dinner – 2013 NaNoWriMo Finish

Happy Thanksgiving!

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We’re getting ready to head out to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving day. Our trip yesterday was pretty uneventful. We drove Stephanie’s Beetle (named Phoebe, for those of you who are just joining us) because it’s a fun roadtrip car and somewhat more comfortable than my truck. So I had the opportunity to take pictures out the car window and mess with the manual settings on me camera, which was enlightening. I learned all about the different color settings for my camera. A round barn in sepia tones:

Round Barn

It’s a six-hour drive to Brighton, Iowa from Indianapolis. Brighton’s population is about 700 people, and my extended family numbers around 50 people, so we drastically increase the town population when we show up. We’re staying in Washington about 11 miles away, because there aren’t really any motels in Brighton, although there is a bed and breakfast.

Washington has about 7,000 people and is the county seat, so they have a community center with theater performances, and they’re expanding their public library. They also have an evening Thanksgiving Day parade around the square. We sometimes catch the tail end of that if we go to the single-screen, retro movie theater in the evening to see whatever children’s movie is out over the holiday.

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Thanksgiving 2003

Cornucopia, Washington, Iowa
Cornucopia, Washington, Iowa

I drove to my grandmother’s house in Brighton, Iowa on Wednesday last week. Brighton is in south eastern Iowa, an hour north and west of Burlington. My younger brother Gary went with me, and he was very cool to ride with because he’s interesting and funny, despite the constant backseat driving. 🙂 He’s twenty-five, single and a Wabash graduate, BTW, in case you know any single girls. We stopped in Peoria, Illinois on the way to get photos of the Uniroyal Gal. We stayed at the Super 8 Motel in Washington, Iowa, which is about 13 miles north of Brighton, because Brighton doesn’t actually have a motel. It’s rather small.

Uniroyal Gal, Peoria, Ill
Uniroyal Gal, Peoria, Ill

My three other brothers all drove also; Todd and Paul drove their new trucks, too. Paul hit a deer on the way, unfortunately, and damaged the front of his truck, which I just realized I should have taken a picture of, but didn’t.

On Thursday, we all stayed around Grandma’s and ate dinner, then opened Christmas presents. All the male relatives got gag underwear, which they tried on over their pants for a photo. My grandmother gave us beautiful plates that she hand-painted herself, which will I will be hanging in my dining room.

On Friday, we went to the Amana Colonies to eat at the Ox Yoke Inn and to shop. The Amana Colonies were formed in 1854 by a german religious order who bought 18,000 acres of land in Iowa. They aren’t Amish, although there is a large Amish settlement nearby in Kalona, Iowa. Kalona is where we stop to get cheese curds every year. I bought a lot of great things this year at the Amana Colonies, including wine and beer for New Years Eve.

On Saturday we stopped at my aunt Rosemary’s farm for cinnamon rolls and coffee (recipe for the rolls will be posted soon!) and then started the six hour drive home.

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Green Bean French Fried Onion Casserole

From the kitchen of: Durkee French Fried Onions.

  • 2 1 pound cans cut grean beans, drained
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 2.8 ounce can Durkee French Fried Onions

Combine all ingredients except 1/2 can onions, put in 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Top with remaining onions, bake 5 minutes. Serves 6.

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Sage Dressing

From the kitchen of: Katie Mineart.

  • 4 cups dry bread crumbs
  • 1 package pepperidge farm sage dressing crumbs
  • 2 or 3 eggs
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 bouillion cube – dissolved in broth
  • melted butter.

Cook with turkey, or in dish at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

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