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Showing posts from December, 2014

It's only 360 days until Christmas!!!

A week ago the house looked like this... A mere five days later and the poor old tree looks bare with no presents under it. For a while the house looked like this when there was a hundred dollars worth of pretty paper all torn up, wadded up and tossed to one side. I wondered if it could be ironed and reused but then thought of all the hours and I'd probably scorch it went into the big black garbage bag. I set the scales back ten pounds but oh, no, the dang things are still weighing heavy. It has to be the toe socks. I bet they're causing all that extra weight. Red and green stripes and those fancy jeweled things on the big toes weigh at least twenty pounds, don't you think? And poor old Santa...bless his heart is probably trying to figure out a way to write up his letter of resignation. Everything about him has been deflated from yard ornaments to his energy. Hopefully by the time Mrs. Santa has a visit with him, he will decide that he'll try it

How To Be Empowered ~ by Gina Conkle

When it comes to year-end lists, I'm a happy addict. My husband jokes, "You have lists for your lists." He's right! I get a charge out of reading and putting into action those 10 Ways to Declutter Your House or 9 Steps to a Better Budget . As one year comes to an end, I like taking stock and seeing what needs to be accomplished in the next one. Not all of the goals are achieved, or achieved in the timeframe I want, but life's a journey. Plans need tinkering. This year my usual ambitious perspective veered off course. A different kind of change came. The favorite "Holiday Adventure List" would be no more (not all my lists are task oriented...some are loaded with fun). Every summer, Christmas, and Spring Break for the last 14 years, our family made lists of places we wanted to explore and things we wanted to do. The ritual started when my boys were young. We made plans to visit a certain animal at the zoo or go to a bookstore. There were

Christmas Casablanca Style!

We hope you have a happy holiday with your friends and family, and we'd like to share some of our favorite Christmas memories and traditions. Shana Galen (The Viscount of Vice) My favorite tradition is reading Christmas stories with my daughter. Some of our favorites are 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, The Polar Express, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Bear Stays Up, and Room for a Little One. There's nothing that says Christmas to me more than snuggling with my little one, reading and talking. Hope your Christmas is warm and cozy too! Mia Marlowe (A Rake by Any Other Nam e) I'd like to second Shana's tradition. My girls and I have always enjoyed read-aloud time and Christmas books have been some of our favorites. We laughed together through Barbara Robinson's The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. We wept over Van Dyke's The Other Wise Man. When you share a book with a child, you share a whole world. What's more powerful than that? May you

A Labor of Love

By Cheryl Brooks Many moons ago, and by that I mean sometime between 1926 and 1935, my grandmother made a quilt for my father on the foot-treadle Singer sewing machine she bought December 12, 1923. I know the date because the actual handwritten receipt is still in one of the drawers. My father and my grandmother are both gone now, but somewhere along the line, the sewing machine and the quilt wound up with me. I used the sewing machine quite a bit before I bought a newer, electric model when my eldest son, Mike, was about eight months old. The quilt was on Mike's bed for a long time, but because it's a twin-size and we don't have any twin beds anymore, it became my exercise mat. That's the sewing machine, which has been serving as the table for various electronic devices for some time now. The sewing machine still works quite well, but even back when it kept my son warm at night, the quilt was showing its age. Much of the fabric had worn through to the point th

All I Want for Christmas

Last week, my daughter asked me what I wanted for Christmas. She's five and spends her 50 cents a week allowance as soon as she gets it, so she has about 8 cents to her name. I couldn't think of a single thing to tell her. It was so incredibly sweet of her to ask me what I wanted. I wanted to tell her I just wanted to have a nice holiday with her or for everyone to stay safe and healthy, but I knew she wouldn't accept those answers. She wants to give me something tangible. I ran through the list I'd given my family, trying to think of something she could manage. Fitbit? No. Kindle? No. New running shoes? No. Finally Princess Galen chimed in: Mommy, I thought you might want a book to read. Me: Yes, I love reading books, but I can't think of any I want at the moment. (By which I meant, none she could get me) Princess Galen: Maybe I could write a book for you. Me: I'd love that. PG: I could draw all the pictures too. Me: That would be great. You&#

Holidays...making people better, one random act of kindness at a time

Paying it forward...If you've heard the saying, you probably know what it means. If not, this is it in a nutshell: You receive a random act of kindness (especially from a stranger) and rather than paying them back, you do something nice for someone else. You pay it forward. I was recently told about this movement that came about due to the Boston Marathon bombings. It's call Boston Strong Ducks. Basically, they're adorable little rubber duckies with a note around their necks, explaining that in order to counteract the few acts of pure evil in the the Boston Marathon bombings, a new Boston revolution has begun. Do a random act of kindness, then hand the recipient the duckie which will explain that's what you're doing, and the duck asks that the kindness be paid forward. So, cool! How fun and wonderful--at any time of year. In any city. But I'm a suburban Boston girl (born and raised,) so I went to the website

Christmas Already! And AGAIN?

This year we had a really different Thanksgiving as my son is Overseas for Christmas for a second year in a row, and so for Thanksgiving, the first time he's been here in years for Thanksgiving, we celebrated Christmas. So it seems strange to be having it again! Only this time with my daughter and SIL. So that meant decorating and cleaning BEFORE Thanksgiving, when we normally put up the tree the day after. It was great! I've enjoyed the decorations longer and it just is cheerful. Don't you think? New puppies, Max, 5 months, Tanner, 9 weeks first meet at home. Everyone had to get in on the act! The wolves, jaguars, teddy bears! And this is the 2nd year that I've had a Christmas book out. Last year it was with the SEALs. This year, the Highlanders. And next year, the Silver Brothers. And after that with the jaguars. This in for Jaguar Pride releasing in Feb! From Night Owl Reviews!!! Score: 5.00 / 5 – Reviewer Top Pick I loved Terry Spear’

The Peruvian Jungle Christmas Cat

by Amanda Forester It's Christmas time and I'm innocently writing away when my cat, an extra large cat I must add, begins to bat at my hands with his large furry paw.   Miles the cat has decided I have been spending enough time at the keyboard and I must take time to pet him. Now.   So I give his fuzzy head a scratch and attempt to return to my writing.   Again, the large, furry paw blocks my attempts and demands my attention.   I need to write, so we work out a compromise.   He will let me type, if I write him into the book.   Thus, Miles the cat makes a cameo appearance in Winter Wedding and becomes the unwanted Christmas present from our heroine, Penelope, who has rescued him from the freezing London streets, to the Dowager Duchess of Marchford.   E njoy!   “That done be the largest cat I ever saw,” said one of the grooms, coming in from the cold. “What are you gonna name it, miss?” asked a footman. “Miles,” said Penelope without a second thought. “Becau

Something Amazing

Amazing doesn’t just mean “really good.”  Here’s my definition of Amazing: Amazing is surprising, delightful, new. It opens up new worlds and is a product of true creation. It’s also universal. Amazing speaks to the human spirit.  What is your definition of Amazing, and/or:  ·          What is the most AMAZING romance novel you’ve read in the past month?  ·          What is the most amazing romance novel your best friend read in your last month?  ·          How about your mother? Your friend from work? Your Goodreads friend? ·          What is the amazing romance novel that you’ve heard about but haven’t read yet?            ·          What is the most amazing romance you’ve ever read? ·          Which of your own books is the most amazing one for you—either because of the process of writing it, or because of the way it turned out, or something else?

Christmas Tradition by Linda Broday

Christmas has always been very special. As a child, I looked forward to the gifts. Now that I'm older, it's the time spent with family and all the laughter that fills my soul. Since none of my family lives close, it's often months or sometimes a  year between visits, but we always manage to get together at Christmas. My favorite ones are when it snows and the world outside looks like a beautiful wonderland that sparkles with magic. We bake up a storm, filling every nook and cranny of the house with delicious aromas. In my family, eating is one thing we do best. Before she passed on, my mama used to spend the whole month of December making wonderful desserts and homemade soups. And of course, her fruit cake. That was a tradition for as long as I can remember. It wasn't Christmas without that. No one cooked like my mama. On Christmas Eve we put on music and sing. It's always a running joke about who is worse at carrying a tune, but it doesn'

DECK THE HALLS...By Michele Summers

Yep, it’s that time of year. You’re either in the throes of decorating or you’ve decided to bag it and uncork another bottle of wine. *hiccup* As an interior designer, the Christmas season becomes one of my busiest times of year. I’m either nagging my workrooms to get those pillows stuffed and window treatments hung or I’m trudging from house to house with ladder in tow, decorating my clients’ homes for the holidays…most especially their trees. There have been years where I’ve decorated as many as twelve different trees, ranging from 9’-14’ each with their own theme and color scheme. Not including my own trees for my kids. So, I feel pretty good about offering up some decorating tips.  Maybe these will come in handy:     Lights …more is more! At least 100 lights/foot. If you have an 8’ tree, you should have at the very least 8 strands of 100 lights. I usually do even more. And the best way to string them is in and out from the inside near the trunk to the edge of the branc

Christmas in Kansas City by Terri Austin

Here in Kansas City (Missouri, not Kansas—we natives feel very strongly about the distinction) we’re only known for a couple of things: Walt Disney spent his formative years here and our proud title as The City of Fountains.      The latter was started by visionary, J.C. Nicols. He took the once murky swamp of Brush Creek and turned it into the country’s first shopping center in 1923. Influenced by Seville, Spain, the architecture has a Spanish feel, with decorative tiles and mosaics, and of course, fountains around every corner. Our holiday season kicks off with one major event—the Plaza Lighting Ceremony. On Thanksgiving night, after massive amounts of food have been consumed and the football game is over, the ceremony begins with great fanfare.  Every year is the same—people start gathering early, stamping their feet in the cold, patiently waiting. Parking is always a nightmare. There’s not a bathroom to be had. But that never deters people from sho