Grandma’s Bake-A-Thon: Irish Soda Bread with Raisins

Submitted for Grandma’s Bake-a-thon on Hundred Years Ago

For about a year I have been following a blog called A Hundred Years Ago where we follow the diary of a young woman living in Pennsylvania one hundred years ago.  Helena Muffly stopped writing in her diary at the end of December in 1914 so the writer of the blog is celebrating the end of this particular blog with a virtual bake-a-thon in honor of her grandmother.  I decided to participate with my mom’s famous Irish Soda Bread with Raisins. No it is not famous like on the Food Network or sought after by Martha Stewart but it is famous in our circles.  I grew up enjoying this bread that she made all through the year.  I make it now but not being an avid baker, I usually only make it for St. Patrick’s Day.  I really should remember to take pictures the next time I bake the bread but this I found on google images is close enough.

IRISH RAISIN BREAD

(Recipe of Mary J. Ryan)

Ingredients:
1   Stick Butter or Margarine
4   Cups Flour
1   Cup Sugar
1   Cup Brown Sugar
1   Cup Raisins
1   Cup Currants
1   Tsp. Baking Soda
1   Tsp. Salt
1   Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1   Tsp. Rum Extract (Optional)
1   Tsp. Brandy Extract (Optional)
1   Tbsp. Cinnamon
1   Tbsp. Nutmeg
3 Eggs
Buttermilk (not an exact measurement)

Preheat oven 350. Combine all ingredients (except eggs and buttermilk) in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly. Add eggs and enough buttermilk until it is a soft dough. Place dough onto a floured surface and knead well. Form into round cakes to fit onto round cake or pie pans. This will most likely make 2 cakes. The pie or cake pans should be greased with butter and floured. Bake at 350 for approximately 35-40 minutes. (Test center with toothpick or knife).

Variations: Can substitute alcohol such as Irish Whiskey for the extracts. Can be made without raisins and currants but use whole-wheat flour.

A Gift Lost and Found #flashfiction @SSFFS_project

Submitted for Flash Fiction Contest #6 @SSFFS_project

Write a story between 100 and 150 words with the theme “a gift”

Please enjoy, A Gift Lost and Found

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“I’m home and I found a package.”

Sarah said, “Take your backpack to your room. You won’t need it since it is Christmas break.”

“Mom look!” said Billy.

He held out a mud covered brown paper wrapped box with a torn corner revealing Christmas wrapping.

“In the woods, some animal had dug between two fallen trees. It was like a cave, so I looked inside and found the box.”

Working with paper towels, Sarah revealed a local address.

“Let’s make a delivery. This came all the way from France.”

On Sycamore Street, Sarah rang the doorbell. After a minute, an elderly woman answered.

“Mrs. Louisa Anderson?”

“No. That was my mother. What is this about?”

“I found her package,” said Billy. “It’s from France.”

She took the package and thanked them. Opening it, she found a beautiful doll, a gift from her father who died in France in 1943.

Problem with ebook has been resolved

The problem with part of my short story being missing from the ebook has been resolved. If you decide to purchase the anthology, I’d love to hear what you think

Anthology Including My Short Story Has Been Published Today

Get a copy today at http://www.amazon.com/Reunions-anthology-heartfelt-short-stories-ebook/dp/B00QJHCIYO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417654480&sr=8-1&keywords=mary+papas+reunions

My Short Story Has Been Selected for Publication in an Anthology

Recently I entered a short story contest held by the Short Story and Flash Fiction Society who will be publishing an anthology with the theme “Reunions”.  I am proud to announce that my story, Naval Reunion and Memories has been selected to be included.  I will let you know when the publication is finished and how to purchase a copy but you can also follow the progress at the society’s website at the link above.

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Blog Hiatus

I am taking a blog hiatus. Without going into details, I am dealing with health issues with my mom and with working all day and being at the hospital most evenings, it is best to take a blogging break. I’ll be back.

This Week in World War II – The USS Hornet (CV-8) Lost

world-war-2THIS WEEK IN WORLD WAR II

The USS Hornet (CV-8) Lost

News of the sinking of the USS Hornet CV-8

News of the sinking of the USS Hornet CV-8

If you follow my other blog, USS Hornet (CV-12) – A Father’s Untold War Story, you know that my father’s carrier was named in honor of the USS Hornet (CV-8).  On October 26, 1942, the last U.S. carrier manufactured before America’s entry into World War II, the Hornet, is damaged so extensively by Japanese war planes in the Battle of Santa Cruz that it must be abandoned.  This is a repost from my blog of October 26, 2013.

USS Hornet (CV-8) under fire

USS Hornet (CV-8) under fire

 U.S.S. HORNET during morning attack. "Suicide" dive bomber, in photo No. 1, has just crashed into the leading edge of the stack. Note smoke coming from hangar deck due to bomb hits aft.

U.S.S. HORNET during morning attack. “Suicide” dive bomber, in photo No. 1, has just crashed into the leading edge of the stack. Note smoke coming from hangar deck due to bomb hits aft.

In a desperate attempt to save USS Hornet, the heavy cruiser USS Northampton has taken the crippled carrier in tow. The eight degree list to starboard is clearly visible. It was at this time that the second fatal attack was made on Hornet by torpedo bombers from Junyo.

In a desperate attempt to save USS Hornet, the heavy cruiser USS Northampton has taken the crippled carrier in tow. The eight degree list to starboard is clearly visible. It was at this time that the second fatal attack was made on Hornet by torpedo bombers from Junyo.

The battle for Guadalcanal was the first American offensive against the Japanese, an attempt to prevent the Axis power from taking yet another island in the Solomon chain and gaining more ground in its race for Australia. On this day, in the vicinity of the Santa Cruz Islands, two American naval task forces had to stop a superior Japanese fleet, which was on its way to Guadalcanal with reinforcements. As was the case in the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942, the engagement at Santa Cruz was fought exclusively by aircraft taking off from carriers of the respective forces; the ships themselves were not in range to fire at one another.

Japanese aerial fire damaged the USS Enterprise, the battleship South Dakota, and finally the Hornet. In fact, the explosions wrought by the Japanese bombs that rained down on the Hornet were so great that two of the Japanese bombers were themselves crippled by the blasts, and the pilots chose to dive-bomb their planes into the deck of the American carrier, which was finally abandoned and left to burn. The Hornet, which weighed 20,000 tons, had seen battle during the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo (its commander at the time, Marc Mitscher, was promoted to admiral and would be a significant player in the victory over Japan) and the battle of Midway.

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While the United States losses at Santa Cruz were heavy, the cost in aircraft to the Japanese was so extensive—more than 100, including 25 of the 27 bombers that attacked the Hornet—that they were unable finally to reinforce their troops at Guadalcanal, paving the way for an American victory.

Footnote: The Hornet lost at Santa Cruz was the CV-8; another Hornet, the CV-12, launched August 30, 1943, led a virtually charmed life, spending 52 days under Japanese attack in many battles in the Pacific, with nary a scratch to show for it. That is, until June 1945, when it was finally damaged—by a typhoon.  My father was on board during this typhoon.  Yet another experience that I would have liked to hear him tell about.

The bow of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-12) showing damage received in a typhoon on 5 June 1945. The flight deck has been bent downwards over the bow and the plating torn away revealing the control position for the starboard catapult.

The bow of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-12) showing damage received in a typhoon on 5 June 1945. The flight deck has been bent downwards over the bow and the plating torn away revealing the control position for the starboard catapult.

Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge – Haikus for Halloween

Submitted for Sunday Photo Fiction

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The Assignment: The idea of Photo Fiction is write a story of around 100-200 words (which is also called Flash Fiction) based on a photo as a prompt. In this particular photo fiction, the story must be based on the photo below.  To read stories written by others, click on the links tool below.  It dawned on my today that I have been participating in this challenge for more than a year.  I decided to create an anthology of these stories which you can access from a menu at the top of my page.

This week I am taking a break from my serial story to create a Halloween themed post.

Credit: Al Forbes

Credit: Al Forbes

Haikus for Halloween

Late Autumn chilled air
Costumed children fill the streets
Play tricks for a treat

It’s all hallows eve
Ghost and ghouls come out tonight
Their goal, to give fright

Stirring the caldron
Witches dance in the coven
Chanting spells laughing

At the costume ball
Dance with mystery partners
Unmasked at Midnight

It’s time for giving
Trick or Treat for UNICEF
Drop coins in the box

Bobbing for apples
Hands tied behind your back
Dunk head, capture the prize

The house is haunted
Do you dare to enter here?
Ghostly visitors

Carve scary pumpkins
Jack-o-lantern’s evil grin
His glow lights the night

 

 

 

Mondays Finish the Story – The Colony (Part 4)

Submitted for Mondays Finish the Story

This flash fiction weekly challenge began on October 6, 2014 and I decided to join it the first week.  Welcome to Mondays Finish the Story! In this challenge we are provided with photo and the opening line of a story. The challenge is to finish the story in 100-150 words!   If you also want to give it a try, you can read all about the challenge at the link at the top.  There has been a twist this week in that we are provided with the end of the story instead of the opening line.

I started this challenge with a serial story that I will run for a few weeks.  To start from the beginning, you can find Part 1 HERE. The story continues with The Colony (Part 4).

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2014-10-27-bw-beacham1

 “Little did we know that Grandpa was a collector.”

Of course this was not what the Captain and his team heard.  As they hid in the bushes, what seemed like adolescent aliens floated from behind them.  The aliens, like their human counterparts were so wrapped up in themselves they failed to notice the team.  The alien teenagers continued in their language.

“Last time we came to Earth, it was those old metal contraptions humans move about in.  He loaded up the cargo bay with those trucks and now we have to haul them everywhere we go.”

“What’s he collecting this time?”

“I didn’t know why he had those cages but I just came from the clearing and he has humans in them.  If he plans on bringing them on board, I don’t know where he will put them.”

The Captain signaled the team to ready their weapons and to move on his signal.

Come back for next week’s Mondays Finish the Story to see how the story continues.

What Happened on October 28th – The Gateway Arch

On this day in 1965, construction is completed on the Gateway Arch, a spectacular 630-foot-high parabola of stainless steel marking the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial on the waterfront of St. Louis, Missouri.

Gateway Arch, St. Louis Missouri

Gateway Arch, St. Louis Missouri

The Gateway Arch, designed by Finnish-born, American-educated architect Eero Saarinen, was erected to commemorate President Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and to celebrate St. Louis’ central role in the rapid westward expansion that followed.

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As the market and supply point for fur traders and explorers—including the famous Meriwether Lewis and William Clark—the town of St. Louis grew exponentially after the War of 1812, when great numbers of people began to travel by wagon train to seek their fortunes west of the Mississippi River. In 1947-48, Saarinen won a nationwide competition to design a monument honoring the spirit of the western pioneers. In a sad twist of fate, the architect died of a brain tumor in 1961 and did not live to see the construction of his now-famous arch, which began in February 1963. Completed in October 1965, the Gateway Arch cost less than $15 million to build. With foundations sunk 60 feet into the ground, its frame of stressed stainless steel is built to withstand both earthquakes and high winds. An internal tram system takes visitors to the top, where on a clear day they can see up to 30 miles across the winding Mississippi and to the Great Plains to the west. In addition to the Gateway Arch, the Jefferson Expansion Memorial includes the Museum of Westward Expansion and the Old Courthouse of St. Louis, where two of the famous Dred Scott slavery cases were heard in the 1860s.

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The image on this page is an animated image of the construction of the Gateway Arch between February 29, 1964 – October 28, 1965. There are nine images in this animation that show the Arch at different points during its construction.

Today, some 4 million people visit the park each year to wander its nearly 100 acres, soak up some history and take in the breathtaking views from Saarinen’s gleaming arch.