Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year!



              I hope you and your loved ones have a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2019,
                      (I'm a day early, but I don't usually post on Tuesdays. There will
                                           be no post on Wednesday, 01/02/19.)

Friday, December 28, 2018

This I know for sure...

On Christmas day, I love visiting with family that I only see a few times a year, making the holiday meal, figuring out how we're going to fit everyone for dinner as our family grows each year. That being said, I was glad when all of our guests left around 8:00pm and everything was cleaned up and I could sit down and relax.

As much as I enjoy Christmas, I'm looking forward to New Year's Eve. We are having a very small gathering so it will be much less work and I'll be able to visit with our guests more and enjoy the party. 


Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas


                    I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful Christmas holiday,
                      (I'm a day early, but I don't usually post on Tuesdays. There will
                                           be no post on Wednesday, 12/26.)

Friday, December 21, 2018

This I know for sure...

As much as I love most of the things associated with Christmas, I'm really looking forward to getting past it this year. (I'm not a fan of the shopping part where you have to fight for a parking spot, stand in line forever because there's only one cashier and the line to pay is snaking through the store, etc)

The lead up to the holiday seems extra harried this year. I feel like I'm so consumed/worried with getting everything bought, wrapped, baked, decorated, and more that I'm not enjoying the process.

While I'm looking forward to seeing family members that I usually only see a couple of times a year and seeing the young children in the family open their gifts, I think I'll be happy when the day is over. I hope that doesn't make me sound like a grinch.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

There are so many things "up" that I haven't had an extra minute to put together this Wednesday's What's Up post. Apologies.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Cool Whip Cookies

Every year I try to make a new cookie recipe for the holidays. I keep the absolute favorites to make from year to year, and trade out the ones that either no one really cared for or the recipes that aren't holiday related and I can make any time of the year.

I mentioned to a co-worker that I'm having a hard time finding a new to me recipe this year. He quickly told me about a cookie his wife made last year that he couldn't stop eating. He brought in the recipe written on an index card. I asked if it was an old family recipe and he laughed and said his wife found it on Pinterest.

I'm sharing the recipe here, but don't know who the author of the recipe is. If you know, please leave a comment below so I can give the proper credit for the recipe.

Lemon Cool Whip Cookies

1 box lemon cake mix (Betty Crocker was recommended, but I'm sure you can use any brand.)
1 8oz container of Cool Whip
1 egg
1/2 to 1 cup of confectioner's sugar (also known as powdered sugar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, Cool Whip, and egg. The mixture will be VERY fluffy. Keep mixing until ingredients are well combined.

Drop rounded spoonfuls of cookie dough into the powdered sugar. Roll in sugar until completely covered. Set cookie ball on prepared cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 8 minutes or until very lightly golden around the edges. Let cool on cookie sheet for two minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container. The cookies are best eaten within a day or two of baking.

Makes 24 cookies

Friday, December 14, 2018

This I know for sure...

Do you have that one thing, whether it be an ornament, decoration, or something special, that signifies the holidays for you?

We have a small Santa boot ornament that's covered in red velvet that dates back to my earliest childhood memories. We used to have two boots, but one was lost over the years.

I hang the remaining boot on the Christmas tree every year. It's not the prettiest ornament on the tree and it's definitely seen better days, but it's tied to so many wonderful Christmas memories that I can't imagine our tree without it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work in Progress):  No writing done last week. I worked on holiday cards. 

Quote of the Week: "Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between." ~ Maya Angelou

What I'm Reading: I'm not reading a book right now. I'm planning on starting a new one either tomorrow or Friday night.

 Random Thoughts: Christmas is less than two weeks away and I'm still making holiday cards to send out. Where is the time going? 

Random Photo of the Week:


                       Somebody likes to lay under the Christmas tree whenever he can.
  

Monday, December 10, 2018

Holiday Traditions

(It was such a crazy, busy week last week, I didn't have a chance to come up with a blog post for today. The post below was originally listed on December 7, 2015 but is as true today as it was then.)

Every year I make Christmas cookies with my mom and have done so since I was a toddler. Of course as I grew older, my helping duties changed. It's something I look forward to. I can't imagine Christmas without making cookies with her.

Another thing I do every year is watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. This is another carried over tradition from when I was a child. I love snuggling in bed with hot chocolate and watching this cartoon.

A semi-new tradition is scheduling a girls' day out with my mom and one of my sisters. We pick a date in early to mid-December and go shopping to finish or try to finish all of our shopping, then we go to lunch and head back home. Sometimes we gather at my house to wrap presents, sometimes we just gather and do nothing but relax. It's always a lot of fun.

Friday, December 7, 2018

This I know for sure...


Everything I've read recommends not exercising late in the day because it can make it difficult for you to fall asleep. I've been using a rowing machine for 30 minutes every day around 5:00pm. I've had no problem falling asleep. In fact, I usually feel more tired after I exercise than before. It seems like I yawn a lot after I exercise too. Maybe I'm just different  than the average person.   

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

This week: 

My Current WIP (Work in Progress):  No writing done last week. I worked on holiday cards.

Quote of the Week: "To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow." ~ Audrey Hepburn 

What I'm Reading: I will be starting The Bride Who Got Lucky by Janna Macgregor tonight. It's part of the Cavensham Heiresses series. 

Random Thoughts: I bought a tiny stuffed mouse for my cats for Christmas. It was an impulse buy because I don't normally buy Christmas presents for them. My excuse is that it was cute and was on sale for $2.00.

Random Photo of the Week:

                                 A practice panel applying snow for a holiday card. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Unusual Holiday Cookies

Every year my mom and I make cookies for the Christmas and New Year's Day holidays. We give most of them away in cookie trays to friends and family.

My mom makes the cookies one usually expects around the holiday season - cut out sugar cookies with icing, spritz cookies in the shapes of poinsettias, wreaths, and Christmas trees, and shortbread cookies to name a few. She also makes a two not so traditional types - teacakes and coconut macaroons.

I always make what would be considered the not so traditional types. I make oatmeal walnut or oatmeal cranberry cookies, Sun Moon cookies which are orange flavored, light yellow colored sugar cookies that have half of the cookie dipped in chocolate. One cookie I make that gets a lot of requests every year are bourbon bacon chocolate chip cookies.

Do you have cookie or other kinds of treats you make that wouldn't necessarily be considered a traditional holiday item?


Friday, November 30, 2018

This I know for sure...

I'm finding that the ideas I have for the holiday cards I want to make seem a lot easier in my head than actually trying to bring the idea to fruition. I've only been making cards for about a year. This is the second holiday season that I'll be making cards so part of the problem is lack of skill.

I'm not discouraged though. After all, they say practice makes perfect or at least gives you improvement in your skill level.


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work in Progress): I spent time with family on Thanksgiving and Friday. Between doing the baking for the holiday, visiting with family and working on making holiday cards, I didn't do any writing last week.

Quote of the Week: "I am never afraid of what I know." ~ Anna Sewell (19th century writer)

What I'm Reading: I still reading the ebook Set The Night On Fire by Jennifer Bernard. I'm enjoying it, but having a hard time finding time to read.

Random Thoughts: I haven't done Black Friday shopping where you arrive at the store at an ungodly hour in years, but this year, my mom and I got up and were at JoAnn's at 6:00am. It wasn't very crowded and there was very little traffic which surprised me.

Random Photo of the Week:


                               My mom made Mrs. Green her very own teddy bear. 

Monday, November 26, 2018

Looking Back

Every year around this time, I start looking back at the goals I set in January and where I stand at the present time. I know that any goals I haven't met probably won't be completed in the few short weeks before the year ends. Not so much because I give up, but time is at a premium around the holidays and I try to be realistic about what I'm going to be able to squeeze in around shopping for gifts, wrapping, decorating, baking, making holiday cards, as well as the normal every day stuff like laundry, cleaning, and the like.

I've done well in meeting some goals, and not so well in meeting others --

I've cut back on the unhealthy food I like to eat, but isn't good for you like chips, doughnuts, and pizza. I can't remember the last time I had a doughnut this year and we haven't had pizza in about 3 or 4 months. I'm still working on eliminating cookies from my diet. I usually end up having three or four at least once a week.

I'm exercising at least 30 minutes four days a week on a regular basis. I'd like to get up to five days, but haven't gotten there yet. Prior to this year, my exercise routine was very hit or miss.

I've put in place routines to help me stay organized such as shredding the junk mail that comes nearly every day the same day it's delivered instead of letting it pile up on top of the shredder.

One of the places I haven't done well is my writing. I planned on finishing the revisions on two books and writing one complete manuscript this year and here I am eleven months into the year still working on the revisions for the first book. I need to do much better in this area next year.

Another place I haven't done well is making cards ahead of time so when someone's birthday or some other reason I want to send a card happens, I can just send one out instead of giving up writing time to hurry and make a card so I can send it out in time.

I'm going to spend the next few weeks really looking hard at my goals for this year and what goals I want to set for next year and ways to accomplish them so that I'm more successful at meeting them than I was this year.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

                                              
             I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with your family and loved ones.
                             I'm a day early, but I won't be posting again until Monday, 11/26

Monday, November 19, 2018

Grateful

I'm a little early with this post since Thanksgiving is still a few days away, but I've been thinking about what I'm thankful for this year.

A few of the more important things I'm thankful are:
1.) A nearly stress-free job. (Finally after way too many years.)

2.) Nice (kind) and supportive co-workers. (Again, finally after way too many years.)

3.) My mom's continued good health.

4.) My family

What are some of the things you're feeling thankful for?

Friday, November 16, 2018

This I know for sure...

I'm looking forward to having next Friday off for the Thanksgiving holiday. I have so much I want to accomplish that day that I'm probably being a bit unrealistic about how much I'm really going to get done. I have a pretty good sized list of things I want to do or set up that I can't seem to get to. A couple of things I want to get done are:

I had to buy a new laptop over the summer because my hard drive died in my old one and I've yet to download Itunes so I can update my Ipod. Yes, I still use an Ipod instead of downloading music directly to my phone. I find listening to music on my phone drains the battery much faster than if I don't do that.

I also want to make a spreadsheet of all of the links to favorite websites, blog posts, or information sites so if I have to purchase a new laptop in the future, I won't lose all of the links to those favorites I have saved like I did this summer.

I'd like to make a spreadsheet of all of the books I want to read categorized by genre or sub-genre so I can see at a glance what I have on my "To Be Read" list by category or author. My TBR list on Goodreads is numbering in the 400's so getting all of those transferred into a spreadsheet will definitely be a time consuming process.

If I can get at least a few of the things knocked off the list, I'll consider the day a success.



Wednesday, November 14, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work in Progress): I managed to revise another chapter in Honor Bound last week. I'm not sure how many pages I'll get revised each week between now and Christmas since I have holiday cards to make and the usual hustle and bustle of buying and wrapping gifts and all the baking I do at this time of the year.

Quote of the Week: "No one has more confidence in me than I have in myself." ~ Allen Iverson

What I'm Reading: I started the ebook Set The Night On Fire by Jennifer Bernard. This is the first book in the Jupiter Point series.

Random Thoughts: When reading a book at night, I prefer to read a paperback or hard cover book over an ebook. It's nothing against ebooks. I've read some great ones. It's just that I'm afraid I'll fall asleep while reading on my Kindle and it fall off the bed and break. 

Random Photo of the Week:


I read every night before I go to sleep. It might only be a few pages, but I can't seem to fall asleep if I don't do it.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Paying for Procrastination

Today's post is a bit of a continuation of last Friday's "This I know for sure" post.  I have about 15 holiday cards to make and get mailed at least by the second week of December, though I'd like to get them in the mail before then. I also have two cards to make for early December birthdays.

Since I seem to suffer from procrastination when it comes to making cards, even though I enjoy doing it, I now have the dilemma of what to give priority to - making the cards or writing.

Last year each card I made was one of a kind so to speak. I didn't duplicate any of the designs. Due to time constraints this year, I'm only going to do three or four designs and make the cards in more of an assembly line process: all the stamping, any coloring of the stamped items, then all of the cutting of stamped items and/or background images, then the assembling of the cards and finally adding any embellishments such as sequins, shaker windows, Nuvo drops, card spackle (for snow), and glitter. 
I'm hoping this will cut down on the time it usually takes me to make a single card which can range anywhere from an hour and a half to four hours depending on the amount of detail, intricacy of the stamping of the images, hand cutting out the images and their placement within the design etc.

I'm hoping I'll be able to work on the holiday cards three days out of the week and then use three days for writing, leaving Sunday to give my brain a rest. It will depend on how much I can get accomplished each card making day to make sure they're ready to be mailed by my self-imposed deadline.

Friday, November 9, 2018

This I know for sure...

I make cards for close friends and family for birthdays, the holidays, and other occasions that might call for a card. I'd love to make up some birthday, thank you, or "just because" cards ahead of time so I have them ready to go as they're needed. I always plan on making the card(s) well ahead of time, but somehow time gets away from me. I'm usually making any cards that I need to send out only a few days before I need to put them in the mail.


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work in Progress): Only managed about 12 pages of revisions last week. I had appointments and the like after work for the first three days of last week so it didn't leave a lot of writing time.

Quote of the Week: "Discipline is doing what needs to be done, even if you don't want to do it." ~ Unknown  I'm repeating this quote from a couple of weeks ago because I really need to absorb it into my life lately.

What I'm Reading: I'll be starting Dead Ringer by Mary Burton when I get in bed tonight. I like to try and read every night before I go to sleep.

Random Thoughts:  I hope everyone exercised their right to vote yesterday.

Random Photo of the Week:

               They sell baby pineapples the size of an orange at my local grocery store.
                       Cute, but expensive. They cost more than a full size pineapple
 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Jealousy, That Green Eyed Monster

One of my co-workers' last day working in our office was last Wednesday. She's expecting her third child in March and has two other small children. She only worked part-time in the afternoons so her paycheck would have gone to pay for daycare so she and her husband decided she might as well stay home.

While I'm not jealous of the fact she will have three children under the age of 3 years old (she has a set of twins that are about a year and a half), I am jealous of the fact that she won't have to work outside the home.

I really like my job. It's probably the best job I've had in years, but I don't like the 25 minute commute one way on the highway especially in the winter weather. I also don't like that I have a really hard time getting time off that I want because I have to cover for a co-worker when she's out of the office and she's the person who approves vacation day requests so if she and I want the same day, guess who gets the scheduled day off and who doesn't.

But if I didn't have to work outside the home, I could -

      1.) Write more instead of trying to fit writing time in around the job, appointments for myself, my mom, and lately, the cat, and family members who just drop in to visit and take up my writing time.

     2.)  Be there for my mom for whatever she might need whenever she might need me. She's in her early 80's and in good health (thank goodness), but there are some things she's starting to find difficult to do and is stubborn and will struggle to do things instead of leaving them for me to do when I get home from work.

      3.)  I'd love to be able to volunteer a couple of days a week. Right now, with my schedule that's just not an option.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Yep, I'm jealous of my former co-worker but I really hate that I am. With three small children, it's not like she'll be sitting around doing nothing all day, but I can't help the way I feel.


Friday, November 2, 2018

This I know for sure...

It's really nice to work for a business owner that appreciates his staff. He brought in small bouquets of flowers for all of us ladies in the office for Halloween for no reason in particular. Here's what my bouquet looks like.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween


                                                  Have a safe and fun Halloween.

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Dilemma of Creating Believable Characters

As I finish up revisions for Honor Bound, I've been jotting down ideas about the heroine in the next book on the series. Ava discovers a special affinity for animals. They seem to be drawn to her and she to them.

I keep having an image of her sitting in a grassy field or meadow surrounded by forest animals like rabbits, deer, and birds. Sort of like a scene out of Snow White where she's depicted with birds eating out of her hand and other woodland creatures coming up to her.

I'd like to include a scene like what I've described above, but I want it to come across as believable at the same time. I don't have a problem with having paranormal elements in the story, but I don't want her affinity with animals to related to or due to a "special power." I'm trying to figure out how I can portray animals being drawn to Ava because of who she is, because of her innate compassion and kindness. But even as I write that last sentence, I wonder if that would be less believable than animals being drawn to her because some paranormal reason.

It's something I'm going to have to figure out how to handle if I do end up including her special bond with animals. My other option is leaving that character trait out of the story and I'm not sure I really want to do that.

Friday, October 26, 2018

This I know for sure...

I sometimes have a hard time coming up with things to write about in This I Know For Sure posts.

I don't travel unless you count visiting my nephew and his family in Ithaca, NY once a year or so. Since he only lives about two hours away, I'm not sure that's actually considered traveling.

I don't have any little ones, other than the cats, to share exploits of or about. My job certainly isn't exciting enough to share stories about. Now if I were a nurse or a firefighter like my sister and nephew...

I do like to keep up with what's happening in the area where I live and in the world, but who wants to read about the depressing state of the US on a blog when you hear about it on the news every day. I read a lot, but include what I'm reading at the time in my Wednesday posts.

I write of course. I don't talk about it much to people who aren't writers because you start talking about your characters and such and you can actually see the person's eyes glaze over in boredom.

I enjoy doing various types of crafts like crocheting, cross stitching and making cards for birthdays, holidays, and such for friends and family. Sharing craft stories can be off putting to people who don't enjoy crafting so I don't post much about it. On occasion, I will post pictures of the cards I've made.

So the gist of this post?  I must live a very boring life. 😄

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work in Progress): I finished the revisions/edits on three more chapters. Getting closer to the end. This week I have two appointments after work so I'm not sure how much I'll get accomplished revision-wise. I'm going to focus on getting my writing group assignment done as it's due next Tuesday.

Quote of the Week: "Discipline is doing what needs to be done, even if you don't want to do it." ~ Unknown

What I'm Reading: I just started Who Do, Voodoo? by Rochelle Staab. This is the first book in the A Mind For Murder mystery series. There are three books in the series. 

Random Thoughts: Looking forward to seeing the Bohemian Rhapsody movie which opens in my area on 11/1. 

Random Photo of the Week:

                                         Mrs. Green likes to share my sweater.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Another Way to Enjoy Chocolate

We had a new stove delivered last Friday because the oven in the old one wouldn't warm past 150 degrees. With the colder weather settling in, I definitely needed an oven that actually heated up. To  test out the new one, I made Chocolate Babka. It's a coffee cake like bread. It goes great with a hot cup of coffee (or tea) and the Sunday paper.

The best recipe I've found, and I've tried a few different ones, is from the King Arthur flour website.  I do have to admit that I don't always use the King Arthur brand. I use whatever brand of flour I have in the house and it works out fine. I also usually buy just enough dry milk powder from the local grocery store's bulk food section that I need for the recipe rather than buy a whole container that I may never use up before the expiration date comes up. 

Here's what it looks like: 

 And here's the link to the recipe - King Arthur Flour - Chocolate Babka Recipe
I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.

Friday, October 19, 2018

This I know for sure...

Do you play the lottery? I don't play with any real regularity, just now and then when the mood strikes. I am playing the Mega Millions lottery today with a couple of co-workers. We're hoping it will increase our odds of winning.

I don't usually play when the jackpot is so huge because it seems like everyone plays at that time even if they don't normally so it makes it even more impossible to win.

I'm not hoping to win the jackpot, but I'd love to win maybe the 3rd or 4th prize amount. It seems more attainable, but most likely not by much.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work in Progress): I did so few pages last week that I almost want to say I didn't make any progress. Here's to a better week this week.

Quote of the Week: “Your goals are important. They are worthy, and worth doing well. So invest time and thought into planning for a pace that can lead you to success.” ~ Allie Pleiter (paraphrased)

What I'm Reading: I'm reading If I Only Had A Duke by Lenora Bell. This is the second book in the Disgraceful Dukes series. I should be done reading it by the end of the week.

Random Thoughts: My great-nephew's first birthday party was this past weekend. It's hard to believe a year has gone by since he was born.

Random Photo of the Week:

Mrs. Green likes to sleep in the laundry basket. It doesn't matter if there's laundry in it or not.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Apologies

Due to unforeseen circumstances, no post today. 😞

Friday, October 12, 2018

This I know for sure...

I try very hard not to post anything here that might be considered inflammatory. With Hurricane Michael battering the south earlier this week and Hurricane Florence occurring not to long ago, I really felt compelled to write this post.

If you or your loved ones are going to be in the path of a hurricane, wild fire, or the like and are told you should evacuate, please do so. Don't stay in your home thinking you'll be fine and will ride it out. Then flooding happens or the fire is bearing down on your home and you need help getting out of your home so you call first responders to come get you.

I realize the job of first responders is to aid citizens, but their job is to help people who are involved in accidents or events beyond their control, not to help people who were given the opportunity to get out of the path of danger and destruction and chose not to.

Every time you or your loved one stays in an area that has been told to evacuate and then call for help from first responders, you are putting the first responder in my family and in many other families in danger because you were too stubborn to listen to the authorities and seek shelter elsewhere.

I feel that if you or your loved ones want to stay in your home regardless of the oncoming weather/fire, then you are on your own regardless of what might happen. NO first responders should be required to come to your rescue. You made the choice to risk your life or the lives of your loved ones and should have to take responsibility for that whatever the outcome may be. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work in Progress): I managed to get about 20 pages done last week. At this rate, I won't be done by the middle of the month. I'm hoping to get a lot done this week, though even if I'm successful I most likely won't finish the book until the end of the month.

Quote of the Week: "The ones who believed in themselves the most were the ones who won." ~ Florence Griffith Joyner

What I'm Reading: I've set aside Tailspin by Sandra Brown to read The Duke With The Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan Byrne. This is the 6th book in the Victorian Rebels series. I love this series and am really enjoying this book.

Random Thoughts: My cat back to his normal self in terms of eating and playing. I'm hoping the seizure was a one time thing and won't happen again. I'm taking him back to the vet for another blood test at the end of the week. His white blood cell count was low when they tested it a week and a half ago. They want to retest it to see if it's still low or if it has rebounded to a normal level or is at least showing an upward trend. Since he is acting like he always has before, I'm hoping his white blood cell count is in a good range.

Random Photo of the Week:

                    Mrs. Green likes to sleep in the laundry basket whether it's full or not.
 

Monday, October 8, 2018

A Writer's Process

I ran across a book titled The Writing Life edited by Marie Arana while at my local library. It's a collection of essays from the Washington Post Book World. The essays are on a variety of topics such as becoming a writer, using raw material, searching for a publisher, critics, and more. Each of the essays was written by a well-known author or such notable people as former president Jimmy Carter.

I'm sharing this information because I found some of the essays fascinating from the viewpoint of a reader. It was interesting to see how authors like Joyce Carol Oates, Mary Higgins Clark, Patricia Cornwell, Ray Bradbury, Carl Sagan and more approached the writing process.

I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.

Friday, October 5, 2018

This I know for sure...

One of my sisters has been going through a rough time the last year or so. I've tried to help her in any way I could by offering support, helping with paperwork, going to appointments with her, even just listening to her voice her worries, fears, and concerns.

She finally received good news in the middle of last month and is doing much better all the way around. I'm sure the relief from the constant stress of worrying has gone a long way to help her feel like she's finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

She stopped by my house Wednesday morning to visit with our mother who lives with me. She said she made sure to come early enough to see me before I left for work. She brought me a thank you gift for everything I'd done for her. Everything I did, I did because I wanted to help and because she's my sister, not because I expected anything in return.

The gift she gave me is a very expensive set of artist grade colored pencils that I was coveting but really couldn't justify the expense for. When she gave them to me, she said she thought I could use them when I make cards for birthdays, holidays, and such without even knowing that I wanted a set. I guess your family really does know you best.  😊

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work in Progress): My mom and I both had separate appointments two days last week. One of my cats had a seizure on Wednesday night. I spent the next two days back and forth at the vet's office so I didn't get any writing done last week. 

Quote of the Week: "Fall in love with the process and the results will come." ~ Eric Thomas

What I'm Reading: I started reading Tailspin by Sandra Brown on Monday night. 

Random Thoughts:  My cat is still undergoing testing to find out what caused his seizure. In the past I've often wished he could talk to me. Now more than ever, I wish he could talk so he can tell me how he's feeling and if he's okay.

Random Photo of the Week:

                   
                            Somebody resting and hopefully on the road to recovery.

 








Monday, October 1, 2018

Drowning in Cornmeal

I bought cornmeal to use for a couple of bread recipes that called for it to be used on the bottom of the loaf, like an English muffin or some types of pizza. Unfortunately, the smallest bag my local grocery store carries is a 2 pound bag which was much, much more than I needed.

I like to make corn muffins from time to time so I didn't think I'd have any problem using the leftover cornmeal. Well, I've made muffins three times so far and still have about half of the bag left. I went hunting for some different recipes I could make to use the rest of it.

My sister has a cookbook titled The Perfect Cookie by the Editors at America's Test Kitchen. When I mentioned my dilemma. She told me there were a couple of recipes in the book using cornmeal. This weekend I made one of them - Cornmeal-Orange Cookies.

Due to the copyright, I don't want to include the recipe in this post, but I will say that the cookies are very similar to shortbread type of cookie. While the recipe only calls for orange zest, I added 1/2 teaspoon of orange extract and used 1/2 teaspoon less of the vanilla extract called for.

They turned out pretty well and go great with a cup of hot tea.


Friday, September 28, 2018

This I know for sure...

Every year during the fall season I usually eat an apple two or three times a week if not more. The strange thing about it is that the rest of the year, I'm lucky if I eat an apple once a month. I think it's because apples are in season during the fall and taste better than apples I buy at any other time of the year. It may also be because I tend to eat fruit that's in season. I practically live on strawberries and raspberries during the summer.

Do you find you eat more of one type of fruit than usual when it's in season?

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work in Progress): Only about 15 pages of new material written last week. I'll be continuing to work on fleshing out certain scenes this week as well.

Quote of the Week: "Discipline is doing what needs to be done, even if you don't want to do it.: ~ Unknown

What I'm Reading: I'm rereading Writing Naked by Jennifer Probst. There is a lot of good material that's always worth refreshing yourself on.

Random Thoughts: I bought a new scratching post for my two cats because they've pretty much scratched the twine on their old one completely off the post. They haven't decided if they like the new one or not. I will see them use the new one now and then, but they're still trying to use the old one more often. I don't want to get rid of the old one because I want to re-twine it, but I'm thinking I might have to move it into the closet until I can get it done so they'll have to use the new one.

Random Photo of the Week:

                               Mrs. Green keeping a close eye on her paper ball.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Distracted by Bright and Shiny Things

I'm so close to finishing the revisions on Honor Bound that I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now that I'm nearly done, I've pulled out the first draft and notes for the second book in the series, tentatively titled Spell Bound. I'd written both Honor Bound and Spell Bound one right after the other without doing any revisions. I haven't looked at anything, just complied the notes by chapter and printed out the manuscript. Both are sitting on the corner of the credenza waiting patiently for their turn.

The problem is I keep having ideas for scenes and dialogue pop in my head for a book further in in the series. A book I don't even have fully formed yet in terms of the hero and heroine's goals, motivation, and conflict(s). This story wasn't planned to be written until at least the third or fourth book was completed. (I haven't decided if it would fit better into the overall arc as the fourth or fifth and most likely final book in the series.)

The picture below describes where my brain is right now:


Friday, September 21, 2018

This I know for sure...

I like the sights and smells of fall season - the bright oranges and reds of the leaves, the smell of apple cider simmering on the stove, the crisp crunch of an apple. The one thing I'm starting to dread about autumn is the overabundance of pumpkin flavored everything.

Don't get me wrong, I like pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread or muffins and I even buy a jar of pumpkin butter every year but it seems like no matter what the food item is manufacturers are making a pumpkin flavor version of it.

I don't personally like pumpkin flavored coffee, tea, or creamer, but I do have family members who drink the coffee and use the creamer. I don't mind those items so much as other things being made with pumpkin flavoring. There's pumpkin yogurt, which my mom tried and said wasn't bad, pumpkin brownies, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin flavored cereal (such as Cheerios or Special K, or Frosted Mini Wheats) and more.

Do we really need all these pumpkin flavored items to celebrate fall?

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work in Progress): I've realized I need to flesh out a few chapters that are a little bare. I'm hoping to get at least 25 pages of new material written this week.

Quote of the Week: "You have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.” ~ Unknown

What I'm Reading: I'll be starting Buried Truth by Jannine Gallant this evening. It's the first book in the romantic suspense Siren Cove series.

Random Thoughts: I have a page-a-day calendar that has a different quote for each day. Once in a while, it will have a proverb from various countries. I almost always keep them because they touch me in some way. I'd like to find a page-a-day calendar that consists of just proverbs from around the world.

Random Photo of the Week:


                  Somebody is enjoying the empty box more than the toys that came in it.               


Monday, September 17, 2018

To Promote or Not

The two historical romance novels and novella I've written have been published and available for five years or so. My quandary is whether I should continue to promote them or not. Admittedly, I haven't done a lot of promotion for them in the last year or so. I let the promotion aspect slide while I was getting acclimated with a new, less stressful job and then while I've been working on the revisions/edits of Honor Bound.

Part of me feels like I shouldn't promote them because they've been out for quite awhile and because they're historical romance novels. Honor Bound and the subsequent books in the series I'm working on are set in the present and are contemporary romance novels.

Another part of me feels like I should keep promoting them because I do plan on writing more historical romance novels so I want to keep interest in the books already released. However I'm thinking it will be at least this time next year before I'll have time to start writing a historically set novel.

 Decisions. Decisions.






Friday, September 14, 2018

This I know for sure...

I love to try new recipes (especially cookie and bread recipes). When I find or am given a new dinner type recipe I will make it, we'll decide if we like the recipe as is or if it'd be better with a few minor changes or if we don't like it at all. If we don't like it, I put recipe sheet in the paper recycle bin right after dinner.

The problem with collecting recipes is I put the recipe in a sheet protector and file it in one of three 3 inch binders and then we rarely make the recipe again with the exception of a select few that I keep in a smaller binder. The smaller binder holds recipes we make at least once or twice a month. (Cookie and bread recipes are kept in separate folders. I'm usually pretty good at keeping those under control.)

This weekend I hope to have time to go through those three binders and decide if we really will make a recipe again or not. I'm sure there are quite a few we've only made that first time and probably won't end up making again for one reason or another.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work In Progress): Completed the final draft of the synopsis for this manuscript and edited/revised about 25 pages. Moving forward, slowly but there is forward momentum. 

Quote of the Week: "Make it happen. Shock everyone." ~ Unknown

What I'm Reading:  I started reading Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander last weekend. This is the first book in the Bakeshop Mystery series.

Random Thoughts:  I've had really busy weekends lately with family related events. This coming weekend is the first weekend in about 6 weeks that I don't have a birthday party, wedding, baby shower, or the like that I have to attend. I'm looking forward to having a quiet weekend at home. I hope to be able to spend some time on the sofa with a cup of tea and a good book.

Random Photo of the Week:

                                   The last summer flower in my garden this year.
 


Monday, September 10, 2018

Cookie Weather

It was in the low 60's yesterday so I decided it was the perfect day to make cookies. One of my favorite cookies is a good sugar cookie. Unfortunately, I haven't found a recipe that equals the chewy goodness of the Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix that comes in a pouch. I rarely make cookies from a packaged mix or that are the "Break and Bake" refrigerated type. If I'm going to have a cookie, I want one that's homemade.

My friend passed the following recipe on to me stating it's one of the best sugar cookie recipes she's come across so I decided to give it a try. I'm sharing it with her permission below. Let me know what you think.

Sugar Cookies

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar plus a bit more to be used later
2 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into small pieces
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set it aside.

Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and cream cheese. Add the warm, melted butter and oil until well mixed. Stir in the milk, egg, and vanilla until the batter is smooth. Add the flour mixture and stir until a soft dough forms.

Pinch off a bit of dough (about the size of 2 tablespoons) and roll into a ball. Roll the ball into the granulated sugar that you set aside earlier and place on a baking sheet. Repeat the process until there are 12 balls on the baking sheet. Using the bottom of a greased glass, press each ball until each one is about 3 inches in diameter. Sprinkle a bit more of the loose sugar over each cookie.

Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are beginning to brown. Let cool on the baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 24 cookies.

Friday, September 7, 2018

This I know for sure...

I am a Netflix member so usually watch a movie every weekend. While we've watched some good movies lately, I haven't seen one that has really touched me in a while. For some reason I love movies that make me cry. I don't know why those types of movies are my favorite. I'm told I'm too empathetic so maybe that's the reason.

The movies don't have to have a romantic theme, they just have to have characters I can identify with in some way. Two of movies I absolutely love have no romance in them per se. One is The Secret Life of Bees with Dakota Fanning. The other movie is I am Sam which also coincidentally stars Dakota Fanning. Sean Penn is amazing in this movie.

I have one friend who won't watch or go see any movie that looks like it may make her cry. (I tell her she's missing out on some really great movies.) She says life is hard enough without watching movies about other people's problems that make her sad.

What is your favorite type of movie? Those that touch you emotionally, comedies with outlandish plots, horror/slasher type movies, or action/adventure?

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work In Progress): No progress last week. My nephew and his wife had their baby so some writing time was used to ooh and aah over the new addition. I also had a wicked migraine for nearly two day so time was lost there as well.

Quote of the Week: "The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night." ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

What I'm Reading:  I started reading If The Duke Demands by Anna Harrington this past weekend. The last few books I've read had contemporary settings so I felt like diving into a historical set novel.

Random Thoughts: We had a quiet weekend at home last weekend despite it being the Labor Day holiday. We decided against having our usual cook out gathering on Labor Day this year. It was nice to have a couple of days just to sit and be without having errands to run, things to do, or hosting family and friends.

Random Photo of the Week:

                                             The cats' version of bunk beds.