August 27, 2019

Grammy Camp Cake Blocks

     There are many recipes for Cake Pops out there. Granddaughter Ava and I call ours Cake Blocks because they are rectangular in shape. 
Here is our simple, estimated ingredients version.  Try not to eat too many.

You'll need:
1 box of chocolate cake mix
1 tub of chocolate frosting
large bowl for mixing
1 package of lollipop sticks
chocolate chips to melt for coating
2 ice-cube trays from the dollar store
parchment paper or cookie sheet

Bake the cake according to the package directions.  When cool, crumble it in a large bowl.  Add half the can or so of frosting into the cake and stir until it's evenly distributed. You need enough frosting to make a firmish-creamy cake texture to press into the ice cube trays. Insert a stick into each and freeze for an hour.  Melt chocolate chips in a small bowl. Dip each cake block in melted chocolate. While the chocolate coating is still melted, gently add/cover each with sprinkles.  Stand each on end on parchment paper or cookie sheet to cool.  Enjoy!  
                                            - Ava and Jane Marie 

P.S.  Not sure exactly how many Cake Blocks we made because the family was wolfing them down as fast as we sprinkled each one.  Oh, what you do with the left over frosting and chocolate chips is your business.  As you might guess, those extras did not go to waste in our house.     

August 20, 2019

Grammy Camp Mailbox with Birds

          At Grammy Camp, our motto is Why Not?  And here we have the perfect example of that sentiment.  Our multi-colored spray painted mailbox and matching flamingos squawk how Stately Martha Manor (named for Martha Bear, the spokesbear for this blog and all things Jane Marie Malcolm) is a place of laughter, looniness
Martha Bear
wearing her favorite
  Goodbye Lie
and love.  

     Here's how we mastered this project. Wrapping the white decorative metal post in newspaper and securing it with tape to keep it white, we randomly sprayed the plastic box with half-a-dozen cans of paint. And just look at the winning result!  Oh, don't forget the flag on the side.  Granddaughter Ava chose a bright and cheery yellow.   
     Our flamingos have been the watch-birds in the neighborhood for nearly two decades.  Their once pretty pink bodies fade every few years from the mean Florida sun.  So, it was time to spruce them up.  After sitting them on newspaper, we splashed them with color, too.  
     Inspired by the coordinating wreath on our front gate, this was an easy project for a talented artist like Ava and her overseeing Grammy.  Great job, Ava!  Thank you!

P.S.  Just before we began this adventure in art, our yard man texted me that one of our plastic flamingos had flown away!  We decided against replacing it because, after all, these birds are our friends.  So, if we only had one bird, that one bird only would get a new coat.  As we painted near the street, a car slowed down and a stranger said, "Hey, I saw your flamingo down the road by that big sign." We thanked him and jumped in the car to bring home the errant critter.  We looked and looked, but couldn't find her.  After several minutes, we turned the car around to head home, only to slow down as the original man who told us the bird's location, motioned toward us from his car.  "I put your little birdie back in your yard." Wow, and wow!  Who does kind things like that in this day and time? Nice neighbors, that's who!  We love Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida, where people still care about each other.  What a fine example of goodness for my granddaughter and a reminder to me and everyone who hears or reads this simple tale.  🐦

August 13, 2019

Grammy Camp Flip-Flop Messaging

Smiley face, heart and Goodbye Lie hot glue flip-flop stamps ready to go!
     Granddaughter Ava and I completed another successful Grammy Camp this summer. As always, we had a blast!  Here is a project I found somewhere on the Internet.  It's inexpensive and easy to do. Most importantly, it's fun because you get to tramp around the beach in your flip-flops, and leave a message behind you!

You'll Need:

1 set of flip-flops from a dollar store (Larger rubber sandals will accommodate a longer image or message, but adult feet work best for those to make complete and even toe to heel impressions in the sand.  

Hot glue

Glass of water to dip your finger in case you touch the hot glue

Pen for drawing pattern

Ava's smiley face


On the bottom of each flip-flop, use a pen (shows up better than a pencil) to draw whatever pattern you want to stamp.  To spell words, you must write them upside down, NOT BACKWARDS.  (This was the hardest part. hahaha)

Cover your outline with two or three layers of hot glue.  The thinker the glue, the deeper the impression, which will make it show up better. 

Tromp about a beach and let your message to the world be seen! 

My Goodbye Lie book title (shameless promotion, as always) -
Note the second O in Goodbye is a bit squished.
 I tried to space the letters evenly and ran out of room.
 All I can say is that never had one lesson thing.
                                                                   - jmm aka Grammy

Ava's heart

August 6, 2019

Amelia Island's Mark of a Man Excerpt- Pat Dunnigan

Amelia Island's Mark of a Man,
part of The Goodbye Lie Series
      Jack Patrick is a little boy in 1882 in The Goodbye Lie, the first in my trilogy set on Amelia Island, Florida.  He gives his Irish family, the Dunnigans,  headaches and worry and lumps in their throats, but his intentions lean, for the most part, to the honorable. As the years go on, he uses his charms to his advantage when he must. He has a potent sense of right versus wrong, most of the time ...
     The third novel in the series, Amelia Island's Mark of a Man, features Pat, the name he prefers to be called as an adult.  Here is an excerpt from that book, likewise set in the Victorian seaside town of Fernandina. The time is 1898.

     "Mrs. Ickles has two tummies," announced six-year-old Nugget, "but Aunt Noreen wins 'cause she's got five!" 
Pat Dunnigan
      Agreeing with his nephew, Pat  Dunnigan wore a grin until, in the shadows beneath the stairwell, he spotted Marie, fingering the lapel of the cornet player. And she was whispering in his ear! But this reality was not what Pat perceived. No, he saw a stranger bent over an innocent--his innocent--slobbering onto her neck. Then he saw red! Without a word, with no hesitation, he grabbed the man's arm, spinning him off his sister. A solid left fist followed to the violator’s mouth. He damn sure wouldn't be nuzzling necks or puffing on horns any time soon, not with both lips split.