R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps – Bedtime Reading for Tots?

R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps Series at bedtime … Mother of the Year or Monster of the Year??


Wikipedia Image

Wikipedia Image

I came across an interesting tidbit this morning written by Scott Meslow on MentalFloss. Remember R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series of scary books for kids? Well it seems the movers and shakers in Hollywood are considering turning some of the books into movies for the big screen. I guess the draw would be family friendly horror movies. Good idea? Bad idea? I’m not sure, but that’s not what this post is about.

The thing that struck me about Meslow’s article was the titles of the books. (He does a cute little synopsis on a few of the possibilities for production. If you remember the series you should check it out – good stuff.) Anyway, as soon as I saw the image with the Goosebumps blood-drippy font on the cover of the books I had an instant flashback of reading these gems to my boys at night when they were young. Aww, memories of bedtime stories with the kiddos how sweet, right?

This is where it gets a little weird. The article mentions the series was written from 1992 to 1997. My boys were born in 1989 and 1991. Hmmm, does this mean I was reading horror stories to my kids when they were toddlers? The mental image actually made me laugh out loud!

Rob and NickMaybe not much older than they were here.

Come on boys. Time for bed and tonight were going to read “Say Cheese and Die!” baaa haaa haaaa…. Sleep tight little ones.

Wikipedia Image

Wikipedia Image

I guess I probably discovered the series toward the end of the run when the boys were a little older. Probably at a Scholastic Book Fair. Those were the best school gigs ever if you ask me. I volunteered for every one. The thing I’m getting at is… I wonder if I scared by little boys silly?

robMy oldest looks a little ghostly here.

nickMy youngest – “I read that book. I’m not saying CHEESE!”

The truth is they were probably around this age when we read the Goosebumps series. So I feel a little more confident that I didn’t mess them up too much. (lol)

How about you? Any fond memories of reading Goosebumps books with the kiddies?

That’s all for now 🙂


Looking for Lightning – Just Finding Bugs

I got so excited when I looked at the weather widget on the site! But then I realized the yellow thing was a lightning bolt – not sunshine. Oh well, it’s actually still not a bad day. A little chilly at 42 degrees and still windy but it seems dry for the moment so I ‘ll take that with a smile.

Image - Wikipedia Commons

Image – Wikipedia Commons

Back to the lightning bolt. Seeing it reminded my of a quote I came across a while back and that quote put me in the right frame of mind the for my writing, or more accurately, my re-writing today.

I have a few deadlines approaching for some short story submissions so I’ve been working on those this week. I have to say the short story is a strange beast to get to know. In a way the word count limit makes me feel almost claustrophobic. Looking back over my writing I can see I tend to be a little wordy – which is a bad thing when you’re limited to around 3,000 start to finish.

Finding the right word as opposed to building up to the right word becomes the challenge. Sometimes what I think was the right word yesterday or at last revision seems too lackluster. For the most part I work without the aid of an electronic or hard copy thesaurus, silly me – I know. I need to stock my writing toolbox like Stephen King recommends in “On Writing”. I did purchase “The Elements of Style” so that’s a start.

Now, back to the lightning again – see wordy wordy wordy. I fear I’m a lost cause. The quote that came to mind when I saw the little stormy weather icon was …

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” 

Mark Twain

Sometimes I feel as though I’m swarmed by lightning bugs with no storm clouds to suggest a good lightning strike is in the air. Maybe the glowing little buggers are attracted to the bouquet of gibberish wafting in the air – just a thought.

That’s all for now 🙂


Quick Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orange Sauce

This quick Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orange Sauce is something I put together when the weather changed my plans at the last-minute.

I had taken thin-sliced boneless chicken breasts out for dinner yesterday hoping to be able to throw them on the grill and baste with BBQ sauce. Unfortunately some rain moved it and I didn’t feel like getting wet so I threw together the following ingredients and called it:

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orange Sauce

1 package thinly sliced chicken breasts
1  cup OJ with extra pulp
3 clementines peeled and sliced
1/2 sweet onion minced
1/4 cup chicken broth

1 tsp cornstarch

Cilantro paste

lemon pepper spice grinder

1 TBL butter

Pam spray, salt & pepper

orange chix ingredients

Use a generous portion of the lemon pepper seasoning, salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken breast, then quickly brown both sides in a hot, non-stick pan prayed with Pam. Remove from pan and cover to keep warm.

Add butter and onion to pan and saute until softened, add clementines and give them a few minutes to start to break down, add cilantro paste and OJ and bring to a simmer to reduce slightly.

Pour chicken broth into a small dish with the cornstarch and stir to make sure the mixture is lump free. Slowly add to the simmering fry pan, stirring constantly. Only add a little at a time you probably wont need it all. It will thicken immediately.

Once the orange sauce is at the desired consistency, return the chicken breasts to the pan and toss to coat. Bring everything back up to a simmer and then turn off the heat. Total preparation time was about 15 minutes.

And here you have it ~ (Trust me, it tasted much better than it looks… honest)

orange chicken

I have noticed that food photography is no piece of cake! I’m really lacking when it comes to getting great pics anyway, but trying to get an image that captures the essence of what I  create in the kitchen is no easy task to say the least. This pic is a great example of how hard it is. It’s a shame because this really was delicious and quick and sure as heck beat standing out in the rain.

Does anyone have any tips or advice on getting decent food pics? I’d love to hear any suggestions!

That’s all for now.


A Quick Disclaimer – I am not a cook and I am certainly clearly not trained in any sort of culinary arts. I am just a wife and Mom who has spent more than her fair share of time in the kitchen trying to make something edible for meals with what’s on hand in the fridge or pantry. I don’t usually ever measure anything (unless I’m following a new recipe) and I have no idea what any of the nutritional information on any of my recipes will be. With that said, I do try to use low-fat or lite options whenever I can. I guess what I’m trying to say is… if you try one of my recipes and it’s lousy, or it’s some sort of foodie faux pas, sorry but… I warned you!  🙂





Signs of Spring… and is that sunshine?

I know I complain about the dreary Washington weather a little lot, but I am also willing to admit when the sun actually does shine this is probably one of the most picturesque areas we have called home since our adventure began. Mother Nature treated us to a little sunshine today and it felt fabulous to be outside. It’s amazing what a little sunshine can do for the soul.

I’m sure it’s not possible but I swear these little beauties just popped up overnight. A sure sign that spring is in the air. Just five more days and it will be official!

Spring is springing :-)

I do find it a bit ironic that today was the first sunny day we’ve had in over a week. I can’t help but wonder if it’s a coincidence. You see just last night Mr. Gibberish said it looks like this project will be wrapping up within a week or so. That means hitting the road and wooo hooo – we love that!

As soon as I put the phone down after getting the news I was doing my happy travel dance. Yep, I was shaking it fast and funky as I sang ~ I‘m out of the rain…  hallelujah!~  to the tune of “It’s Raining Men” by the Weather Girls. Yes, out loud. Really. It didn’t even bother me that I would probably have to pack and stow our gear away damp, because it seems nothing ever dries out completely up here at this time of year.

However, as it turned out fickle Mother Nature decided to let the sun shine today much to my surprise and delight! I’m not sure if she’s messing with me by showing her sunny disposition – now that we’re getting ready to leave. Or maybe she’s just making sure I remember how beautiful the Pacific Northwest can be. Because chances are we’ll be back up here again in the near future and it will help to recall at least a few sunny days when we get that call. Either way… game – set – match to Ms. Nature.


Nicely played Mother Nature… nicely played.

20130215_145032Whoa… look at those rays of golden sun!

20130215_145659You can just barely get a glimpse of the water of Fidalgo Bay from where are.

20130116_150011 You can see the bay a little better from the main road.

I guess its days like today that make the rainy ones not so bad. Whenever I asked the locals how they get used to the rain the answer is always same – you just do. I suppose it’s like the people who live in the desert get used to extreme heat. Anyway, one thing is for sure, Washingtonians seem to take the weather in stride and everyone I’ve met here has been warm and friendly.


 How cute is this?

I hope we get another nice day before we leave so I can get some better pics to post. But if we don’t – we don’t. Today was just what I needed to recharge.

That’s all for now.



Welcome to the new website! Self-hosting… who knew?

Thinking about self-hosting your blog? I’m shocked to tell ya… it’s easier than you might think… and I am not at all technologically savvy.


Welcome to my new home in the cyber-hood!  Wow, what a crazy few weeks it’s been. I’ll admit it, I almost started to doubt myself and my ability to handle the technical aspect of the switch. Self-hosting my blog?  If you had asked me a month ago if it was possible I would have answered Who me? No way... I’m a writer, not a web master.

Thankfully the hubs kept cheering me on and the self-hosting company I chose is very user-friendly and well… here it is! The new and I feel improved American Gypsy Gibberish. I still have A LOT of stuff to learn and but I’m looking forward to it. So, grab a cup of coffee, glass of wine, or whatever your favorite surf-time sipper is, put your feet up and take a look around.

The content and flavor of the blog will remain the same, Ramblings from the Road and Dumping the “Gray Matter” Tank.  But there are a few changes sprinkled around here and there. For instance, the additional tabs in the top menu bar. Next to Home and About you can now find Writing Resources, Full-time RV Blogs, and Pleasure Reading. These pages provide a place for me to showcase links to blogs and websites I think are awesome.

Next on the tour is the new On the Map page. I’ve wanted to add one of the nifty Google Maps plug-ins on my blog for quite some time now. The new self-hosting platform made it a breeze. At the moment it’s showing our general location, but in the near future I hope to create a road map of our travels. This may take me a while as I’ll have to enter over 25,000 miles of pit stops … Yikes!

Finally, another big change is something I wrestled with for a while. As you can see I’ve decided to become an Amazon Associate. Back when I started blogging (a little of a year ago) I didn’t think I wanted to have any sort of adverting on my site. To be honest, I was afraid it might seem smarmy. But, obviously I had a change of heart.

I have decided to use this affiliation as a way to provide some links to items I like and use myself and feel good about recommending. They might be items I’ve used for years, or new things I come across in our travels and can’t live without. Helpful gadgets, great books, basically quality merchandise I fall in love with… who knows you might love some of them too!

Will I make a penny or two if you decide to buy something on any of these links? Yes, I will. It certainly won’t be an amount to write home about, heck probably not even enough to buy the stamp, but it’s something new and I wanted to give it a try.

Well, I guess that’s about all for the nickel tour. As always, feel free to let me know what you think. Comments are most welcomed and appreciated! 🙂

That’s all for now,