Hey Good Lookin’, Whatcha Got Cookin’ by Cher’ley


 This Blog  by Cher’ley Grogg

Food is an important part of our lives and we all have favorite recipes we have been raised with. There were 5 kids and two adults in our family and often we children would bring in visitors and Mom would always say, “Stay to eat. We’ll throw another potato in the pot.” Some of my favorite foods were the soups that Mom made. She had many different kinds of soups, and one of my favorites was hamburger soup.


1 finely chopped onion
1 pound lean ground beef
4 celery stalks, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
2 cups potatoes, cleaned, peeled, chopped
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes (we always had home-canned)
1 6-oz can tomato paste (to thicken quicker)
Pepper and salt to taste


Brown hamburger and drain. Transfer to a pot, add chopped carrots, celery and potatoes.  Continue cooking over medium heat for about 5 -8 minutes.  Add diced tomatoes and tomato paste (do not drain the diced tomatoes).  Blend. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are cooked. Bigger families, “Just throw another potato in the pot.”

My mom could create something that tasted good from practically nothing. When my children were younger, I too picked up some cheap and far-reaching dishes. When times were tight, the cook would always find ways to stretch the budget just a bit. I discovered many things that made good gravy, even a bit of flour and bacon grease tasted good over biscuits fresh from the oven. But, I find that I miss my mom’s simple recipes and since my children and grandchildreI remember n aren’t around much for meals, I’m still trying to learn to not cook for an army, but most of the older recipes tend to taste better when “super-sized”.

Aunt Linda is the main cook in “Stamp Out Murder”, people visiting McKeel’s Bed and Breakfast want good old-fashioned, West Virginia style food and Linda doesn’t disappoint them. In fact, many of the return guests do so because of her wonderful, mouth-watering recipes.

***Do you miss your Mom’s or Grandma’s cooking? What was your favorite dish? Do you have a favorite dish that you fix?***

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores. Her newest book is an Advanced Coloring Book and she has one that is freshly published with 11 other authors.

Stamp Out Murder”.
 The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren
The JourneyBack 3The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time and the B&W Edition of The Journey Back
Boys Will Be Boys   The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology
 Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico 

All About the Girls 5(3)

Four Moons and Fair Ladies Four Moons and Fair Maidens

Memories from Maple Street U.S.A: Pawprints on My Heartlink coming soon

Wonders of Water      Advanced Coloring Book

And please join me on my Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell
Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE

Celebrating Moms, Celebrating Women

Gayle & Mary outsideThis post by Gayle M. Irwin

During my presentation and book reading last Saturday at the Natrona County Library, they sat next to young children or held babies in their arms. On the drive a few short hours later to a different community’s bookstore, one sat in the back seat of my vehicle next to her little one buckled into a car seat. Of whom do I speak? Moms.

Mother’s Day, which began during the early 1900s, arrives on Sunday. I’ll be with my mom that day as I travel this weekend to my parents’ home in Denton, Montana. With every year that passes, I treasure each Mother’s Day I’m able to share with my mom. Although she views it as “just another day” in her nonchalant “don’t make a big deal of things” attitude, I view it as a day of blessing. I love my mother, I admire my mother, I respect her and I cherish her. She is not only the woman who raised Gayle and Mom_Little Snowy Rangeme (and did so with great love, encouragement, and selflessness), she is also my dear friend. I confide in her, I cry on her shoulder, and I celebrate positive things with her; she is always there for me. We may not agree on some things, including politics, but we respect one another and listen to each other. And, we dearly love and respect one another.

As Mother’s Day approaches, I not only give a shout-out to women who have the difficult yet loving job of raising children, but I also raise a glass in toast of all women, especially those I know — for we all “birth” and/or care for something in our own way. I have friends who have raised children as single moms, most no fault of their own (husbands committing adultery and widowed at a young age). I know women whose boyfriends/ fiancés decided to leave when the ladies became pregnant (I work part-time at a pregnancy center, and this happens frequently).  Many of my friends are “mom” to furry “kids” as well as to human children, and other women, like me, didn’t have babies from their womb but do have children of their heart (both furry ones and adopted human children). And, even those who never married and have no kids, but they run businesses, work at jobs, and volunteer for non-profits. Women do many things, and a lot of them balance several things, whether they are mothers to human or furry children or not.

Gayle with Stacy and CindyWomen are smart, they are talented, they have strong work ethics, and they are compassionate. Yet, it’s challenging to be a woman. From our sex-driven culture (movies, TV, magazines, prostitution, sex trafficking) to the lower wages women earn in the workplace, difficulties still prevail in our society and between the genders even after years of greater equality and justice. It’s no longer an Ozzie and Harriet world, some of which isn’t so bad (including increased numbers of women in management roles, as business owners, and serving as scientists, college presidents, and state governors); yet, there is still a road to travel to have men and women be seen, and treated, as equals.

Gayle_Lea_Casey_Leah_booksigningSo, this Mother’s Day, I celebrate my own mother and other women in my life who make an impact, not just upon me but upon other people. I celebrate my deceased grandmothers, especially Grandma Mardy who encouraged me to attend college and expressed her pride about my writing. I honor my many female friends, those who are moms to human children and to furry kids; those who are writers and other creatives and those who use their talents and skills in other productive ways; those who are facing health challenges and preserving through those situations; those who have lost their spouses and children; those who volunteer to help others in need; those who run their own businesses and those who work two or more jobs to make ends meet – all of my female friends and family make life more beautiful because of who they are and what they do. I love and admire every one of you, including my Writing Wranglers and Warrior friends!

Happy Mother’s Day to women everywhere!


Gayle_CHS booktable34Gayle M. Irwin is an award-winning Wyoming writer. She is the author of several inspirational pet books for children and adults, and she freelances for newspapers and magazines. Her most recent release is a children’s picture book titled A Kind Dog Named Mary, about her springer/cocker mix that is trained as a therapy dog. Gayle has contributed stories to many different Chicken Soup for the Soul books, including the 2014 release The Dog Did What? and last year’s release The Spirit of America, in which she writes about America’s national parks. She supports various pet rescue organizations as a volunteer and with contributions from her book sales. Learn more about Gayle and her writing and speaking endeavors at www.gaylemirwin.com.


Mary Book Cover   cody-cabin-cover2   bobcat-front-cover  bookcover_tail-tales_front-cover    Blind Dog Ebook Cover_updatedMay2014  Chicken Soup_DogDidWhat_Cover  Spirit of America book

No Old Fool or April Fool

Gayle_Cheyenne bookstoreThis post by Gayle M. Irwin

Today is April Fools’ Day, also known as All Fools’ Day, a time for playing pranks and practical jokes. Although it’s origin is unknown, according to the folks at Discovery News, various cultures have celebrated such antics for centuries, including the ancient Roman festival known as Hilaria.

My family and I aren’t much for practical jokes and pranks. Although I’m sure as a young child I attempted to play jokes on folks, I don’t remember doing so very often just because my parents didn’t care for such things – and since people can be really mean-spirited, we just never got into that type of behavior.

April 1, however, is very special to me because it was my maternal grandmother’s birthday. She was an amazing woman – no fool and no April fool. She was wise, generous, loving, and very strong of faith. Her parents hailed from Germany and Switzerland, settling in Iowa to operate a store and raise six children. My grandmother learned and practiced work ethic at a young age, and she and her first husband operated the store for many years. After re-marrying several years later, she and my grandfather had a small farm outside of Burlington, Iowa where they grew crops and raised sheep. My mother was born when Grandma Mardy was nearly 40 years old, and she was raised on that farm. No electricity even during the 1950s and she remembers Grandma not only helping Grandpa on the farm, but also cooking, baking, cleaning, and raising my mom. My mother was their only child and I was the only grandchild. My grandmother was one of my biggest fans, you could say – she helped me make it to college (I’m the first person on either side of the family to receive a college degree) by setting up a small fund to which she contributed during those first 18 years of my life.

Grandma Mardy_100 dpiEven before college, Grandma Mardy was my friend and cheerleader. I talked to her about my first love, or what I thought was my first love, and she wisely counseled me about relationships when I was 19 years old. She took her first plane ride at age 80, coming out to my high school graduation (my parents and I had moved from Iowa to Wyoming my final year of high school). She made two other plane flights out west before she passed away at age 91. Her mind stayed fairly strong through her aging. I think she kept herself sharp through reading and remembering – she shared stories with me as I aged, too, and she was able to remember many of the German words she grew up on. Her faith sustained her, and blessedly, she was able to live in her home until her dying day. I write about my precious, caring Grandma in “All About the Girls,” edited by our own Cher’ley Grogg. And on this day, just like every April Fools’Day, I think about her. Happy Birthday, Grandma Mardy — I’ll always love you and be grateful to you!

Gayle and Mom_Little Snowy RangeI have a story in that same anthology about my mom. I am blessed to still be able to spend time with her. She is now 77 years old. I will be seeing her and my dad this week — he turns 80 in a few months. Now that my parents are the age of my grandmother, in essence, I all the more treasure the time I am able to have with them.

I had a birthday just last week (Grandma Mardy’s birthday was just a week after mine). I am now more than a half-century old (where did that high school/college girl go??!); I hope as I enter this latter stage of life with the dignity and strength exhibited by both my grandma and my mom. Neither ladies were/are old fools or April Fools – wise, calm, respectful, devoted women, they were/are – I would do well to walk in their footsteps.


Yellowstone Sign_Gayle Mary_smallerGayle M. Irwin writes inspirational dog books for children and adults and contributes short stories in five Chicken Soup for the Soul books — her sixth such work, about America’s national parks, will appear in this year’s Chicken Soup patriotic collection The Spirit of America, to be released June 2016 . She enjoys sharing what people can learn from pets and nature. A former humane and conservation educator, Gayle once lived next door to Yellowstone National Park. She continues to enjoy America’s natural splendors, traveling as often as she can from her home in Wyoming. Gayle volunteers for various animal rescue organizations, to which she donates part of her book sale revenues, and she speaks in schools, at libraries, and for various faith-based and civic groups. Learn more at her website: www.gaylemirwin.com.

SageBigAdventureFront-small   Sage Finds Friends_front cover    Cody Cabin_New Book CoverImageWalking_FrontCover_small   Dog Devotion Book_Cover_Final   Dog Devotions 2 Book Cover Sage Advice Cover   Blind Dog Ebook Cover_updatedMay2014