Home Made Treats: Sugar Cookies

This easy and tasty recipe for sugar cookies is one of FOUR found in my MG historical WHEELS OF CHANGE.  You can make the dough ahead and roll it out when ready.  Break out the cookie cutters and gather the kids around for an old-fashioned taste of home.

EMILY’S SUGAR COOKIES                           sugar cookies 2
1/4 pound butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp cream or milk
1 1/4 cups flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cream the butter, then gradually add the sugar, beating until light.
3. Add the egg, vanilla, and cream or milk, and beat thoroughly.
4. Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder together, add to the first mixture, and blend well.  Mix until a soft dough forms.  Refrigerate dough for at least 4 hours or overnight.

5. Roll dough onto lightly floured surface until 1/8 inch thick.  Use your favorite cookie cutters to make the shapes.  You can use the rim of a glass for circular shaped cookies.  You can also sprinkle colored sugars or cinnamon on the dough before baking.
6.  Arrange on cookie sheets 1 inch apart.   Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

sugar cookies
Note: Recipes were adapted from the 1896 edition of the Fannie Farmer Cookbook and the Boston Cooking School Cookbook.

Mining Your History for Stories.

It’s been said that everyone has a story to tell. I’ll go one step further and say our ancestors have great stories to tell. Just because our grandparents and great grandparents are no longer with us, or weren’t famous, doesn’t mean their lives weren’t interesting. I’d be willing to bet that everyone’s family has a person, event or incident that could be the catalyst for a novel or short story.

While researching my own family tree, I discovered two interesting facts. The first was that my paternal great grandfather worked as a carriage maker in Washington DC at the turn of the Twentieth Century. He worked on carriages for prominent people in DC such as John Philip Sousa. The second fact was that his daughter – my grandmother – received an invitation to a reception at the White House and met Theodore Roosevelt. That invitation is in the family scrapbook.   invitation 1

Think about that. It’s not every day any of us gets to meet and socialize with a president. It wasn’t long after discovering these tidbits that I came up with this premise: What would happen if a girl – who adores her Papa’s carriage business and wants to become a blacksmith – sees the emergence of automobiles as threatening to that business. What lengths would she go to keep that business from closing down? Would she go all the way to the President?
With that premise, my middle grade historical novel WHEELS OF CHANGE was born.

Think of the places your ancestors grew up in or originated from. What is unique about those settings? What kind of occupations did they have? It is safe to say there are few carriage makers left today, just as there would be few telegraph operators, stagecoach drivers or telephone switchboard operators. But you can bet kids would find those occupations interesting and maybe even exciting. What did grandma eat as a kid? What games did grandpa play? All these bits and pieces of our ancestors’ lives have the potential to be a good story for today’s kids.

So, let the skeletons out of the closets. Dust off grandpa’s war diary; go through that ancient box of trinkets. Examine the old black and white photos and letters from your family’s past. Somewhere under the dust of time, is a gem – a gold nugget – waiting to become your next story.

Thank you, Grandma for saving that White House invitation. I wonder what grandma said to President Roosevelt at that reception.     emily 1

Maybe that’s another story.   Happy digging!


Wheels of Change: Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People 2015


I am so excited I can’t sit still!  I just received news that my MG historical Wheels of Change has been chosen as a Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2015 by the National Council for Social Studies (NCSS) and the Children’s Book Council (CBC).                                    ??????????

If you’d like to check it out, here’s the link:

‘Wheels of Change’ was selected for the 215 Notable Social Studies list! http://bit.ly/1wAZSE2 @CBCBook #Notable

They’re Finally Here!

After running errands this morning, I came back home to find the mail truck parked at the curb.  I got out of the car and greeted my mail woman Dawn.  “I have something for you,” she said.

As soon as I saw the box…I knew…they had finally arrived….



My box of….       my books!



BOOKS!  MY BOOKS…The one I wrote and was lucky enough to have published!

You should know that I have the best mail person in the Universe!  What a way to start a day!