Monday, December 15, 2014

Things that Make Me Smile

Christmas Gifts Left to Buy: one!
In the News: Montana Baby Born at 10:11, 12/13/14; read more HERE

Hey, all!

Sorry I haven't been around the blogosphere in a while. Things have been a bit nutty here with the holidays, work, writing, and house renovations.

Eeep.

Anyhew, around this time of year, I'm feeling extra jolly.
So I wanted to take a little time to mention FIVE things that have recently made me smile.

1) When the house smells like cookies and/or baked goods-- this scent is better than any de-stress aroma therapy candle

2) When a baby smiles-- the sight of that melts my heart EVERY TIME.

3) Walking into a bookstore-- it's the equivalent of walking into a candy store, which ironically enough did not make the top 5...

4) My puppy sleeping-- whenever I look at my little guy curled up in a ball, I have to go over to him (and unfortunately wake him up in the process) and nuzzle him.

5) This magnet-- sorry, I must be a little demented, but this magnet makes me smile whenever I look at it. It's a gift for one of my daughter's friends but I can't wrap it yet because I'm still chuckling at it. :)


What makes you smile? The simple things too?

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Swoony Award Blitz Happening this Week!

IN THE NEWS: The 10 Best Seinfeld Quotes HERE


What Are the Swoony Awards?
The Swoony Awards were created to recognize excellence in clean fiction. There are so many books published every day and it can be hard to find the ones worth reading. We want to help recognize authors who write entertaining books that are wholesome. It’s our hope that each year we will help provide everyone with a great list of books to read and maybe introduce them to new authors.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements?
-Publication Year: Only books published during the current contest year may be nominated. To be fair to all books, contest dates will run from December 1, 2013 – November 31, 2014.
-Clean romance: No sex or closed door, low/mild innuendo. Only M/F romances.
-Language: None/mild, anything over a handful of profanity (especially the more offensive words) would not be considered clean.
-Violence: None/mild
-Other: Nothing overly dark, depressing or heavy subject matter

Novels, novellas and short stories are all eligible for nomination, no limits on page number. Any (clean) genre is eligible (i.e. contemporary, fantasy, mystery, historical, etc.).

Each voter is able to choose up to 100 books to vote on or nominate each contest year. There is no cap on the overall number of books nominated.

How Are Winners Selected?
We will be accepting entries throughout the year and the winners announced the first week in January. There are fifteen award categories (i.e. Best Novel of the Year, Best Historical, Best Contemporary, etc.). Winner’s will be announced via our blogs (Bookworm Nation, KJ’s Book Nook and Katie’s Clean Book Reviews) and through Goodreads Swoony Awards Group.

Since this is a reader’s choice award the winners are determined by a combination of the number of votes received and how high the voter rated the book and what rank the voter gave each book they voted for.

Who Are We?

Kathy 
Kathy (Bookworm Nation)
I've been hosting a book review blog, Bookworm Nation, for over five years. I love to read and review books. And of course, I love to discuss books! A few years ago I started the Goodreads group, Happily Ever After Book Club. It's through Goodreads that I met Katie, Kathy Jo and Heidi and while discussing our love of books one day we thought it'd be fun to host our own Reader's Choice award. We're excited to introduce the Swoony's this year, it's going really well and we look forward to hosting it for years to come. 
Contact Info for Kathy:
Twitter: @bookwormnation
Kathy Jo 
Kathy Jo (KJ's Book Nook)
This may come as a shocker but I have NOT always been a little bookworm. In fact growing up I was not the kid you saw jumping at the chance to read. I was the one that just did it to make my teachers happy. That silent reading time during school?! Yeah.. I was the kid napping! ;) About 12 years ago someone loaned me a book and said I just HAD to read it. I took it just to get them off my back and much to my surprise I could NOT put it down! And from then on I would read... but only that one author. I refused to read anything else! It wasn't until 2009 when 2 of my favorite people introduced me to the Twilight Series that I actually started branching out. And ever since then I haven't been able to STOP reading! ;) About 5 months ago I decided to start a book blog and I have been loving it! I get to be another voice for all the amazing authors that I love! How cool is that?! And of course through my adventures in reading I have been able to meet some amazing women who love books just as much as, if not more than, me! I love chatting with them about all the books we read! We have become such great friends that at times I forget that I've never really met them in person! Books just have a way of bringing people together! My reading choices vary... I love a lot of different genres.With that said... I am not ashamed to admit that I am a romantic and I love fluff! As long as it's clean and has a HEA, I'll definitely give it a try! Any book that gives me a break from reality and puts a smile on my face is definitely a book for me!   
Contact Info for Kathy Jo:
Email: kjsbooknook@gmail.com
Blog: kjsbooknook.blogspot.com 
Twitter: @kjincali

Katie Watkins 
Katie (Katie's Clean Book Collection)
I started blogging about a year and a half ago. I've always loved to read and talk about books--it's my obsession. The first book I learned to read on my own was Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham. I love a lot of different genres, but my favorite is clean romance, which is perfect for the Swoony's! I've had a blast meeting new friends who enjoy the same types of books that I do.

Contact Info for Katie:
Email: lilacqueen75@gmail.com
Twitter: @lilacqueen75
Blog: www.katiescleanbookcollection.blogspot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/katiescleanbookcollection

Heidi 
Heidi 
I'm a mother of four amazing kids and married to my own Prince Charming. I love to read, kiss my handsome Prince, bake, run (because I love to bake), ride horses, play sports, and spend time with my little family. I first fell in love with reading at a very young age because of my sweet grandmother who always took the time to read me my favorite books over and over again. She could never tell me no. My wonderful mother is also entirely addicted to reading and we love to "talk books" late into the night....and plot how we are going to buy more. :) I adore clean, happily ever after books, and I've loved getting to know so many other women who do as well. Who knew books would be the reason I would meet some of the dearest people in the world?! 
Contact Info for Heidi:
Email: curlyhide9@hotmail.com

Note to Authors:
If you’ve written a book that matches the above criteria fill free to nominate it for a Swoony! Don’t be afraid to promote the award or to let your fans know your book is up and that it needs votes. We are doing some promoting, but sometimes a Facebook, Twitter or blog post directly from the author is the best way to let your fan base know your book has been nominated. Only books with a minimum of THREE votes will be added to the official nomination list found on the Goodreads Swoony Awards group page. Winners will be announced January 2015.

To stay up to date on voting and nominations, please join our Goodreads Swoony Awards group page!

Note to Readers:
If you’ve read a book this year that you think is awesome…VOTE! This is a great way to let authors know you appreciate all that hard work. You can vote for up to 100 books on the list. We’ve also learned that the order you rank the books you vote on does affect the overall score of the book. So take a minute and make sure you have your books in the order you want them. Invite your friends to vote! Voting ends December 31, 2014.

The 2014 Swoony Awards is now accepting nominations and votes for your favorite books of the year. Polls will be open until December 31, 2014. 

Join us on Facebook and Twitter.

As a thank you for making the Swoony Awards a success,
we'd like to offer an Amazon gift card! The winner will
have 48 hours to claim the prize. Only valid
where Amazon gift cards may be used. You must
be 13 or older to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 1, 2014

New Holiday Gift idea!

New Song Added to WIP Playlist: "Suit" by Boom! Bap! Pow!
In the News: Venice Wants to Outlaw Your Rolling Suitcase-read more HERE

Happy December 1st!

It's practically Christmas. :-)

So my mom calls me last week and says, "I know what we can give as gifts this year instead of cookies."

I ask, "What?"

She says, "Red pepper jelly!"

Now I'm thinking I have NEVER seen her make jelly (or eat jelly) but I think she wanted something for us to do together so I say I'm in. Then she says, "Great! Now where do I get the jars and what's pectin?"

Uh-oh. I really thought this was not the makings of a good start, but we got together this past weekend and made some and it was relatively easy. And thanks to me and my particular attention to sanitization, I can assure any receivers of this jelly that it will be safe to eat. LOL

And here is the final product:


Now I just have to get some labels and ribbon and VOILA! I can give these out to co-workers, teachers, and neighbors.

I can't wait to try it myself on some baked brie.

Have you ever made jelly? Do you give homemade items as gifts for Christmas?

Have a great week!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pre-Turkey Day Food and Fun

IN THE NEWS: ‘Normal Barbie’ keeps it real with cellulite, stretch marks, and acne; read more HERE
GIFTS BOUGHT FOR CHRISTMAS: Seven

Happy Monday, all!

Well, it took most of the week but I'm feeling 1,000 times better! Thank you for the well wishes!

Did some early Christmas shopping downtown this weekend--I'm all for supporting local businesses--but ended up getting myself a swanky black jumper. It looks a lot like this.
Now I just need a place to wear it. :-)

And in case you're looking for a different kind of pumpkin dessert to have for Thanksgiving, I have a yummy one.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bundt Cake with buttermilk icing

For cake

  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for greasing bundt pan
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting pan
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15-ounce can; not pie filling)
  • 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 c chocolate chips
For icing
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
 

Make cake: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter bundt pan generously, then dust with flour, knocking out excess.
Whisk together flour (2 1/4 cups), baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together pumpkin, 3/4 cup buttermilk, and vanilla in another bowl.
Beat butter (1 1/2 sticks) and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, then add eggs and beat 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add flour and pumpkin mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until batter is just smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. 
Spoon batter into pan, smoothing top, then bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 15 minutes, then invert rack over cake and reinvert cake onto rack. Cool 10 minutes more.
Make icing:
While cake is cooling, whisk together buttermilk and confectioners sugar until smooth. Drizzle icing over warm cake, then cool cake completely. Icing will harden slightly.


This is so tasty for dessert, breakfast or a snack!

 
And if you're celebrating Thanksgiving this Thursday, you really should know that "it's all about that baste" LOL
 



Have a great week and Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sick

Happy Monday!

Sort of.

I have been nursing a sore throat all weekend and now it's traveled into my HEAD.
My first cold of the fall/winter season.


Thus, I am completely down for the count today.
I made some chicken noodle soup for myself yesterday and plan to put my feet up and rest on the couch today. Ugh.

Enjoy your week! (and wash your hands frequently) LOL

Monday, November 10, 2014

Happy Early Veterans Day

Happy Monday, all!

Library Board meeting today so that means I'm jammed up most of the afternoon.

Boo hoo. No writing gets done on these days...

If you're in the midst of NaNo, hope you're cranking the words out! If you're not doing NaNo, like me, I hope you're still cranking out the words. And if you're not a writer, hope you're enjoying an awesome book!

***

At my church service yesterday, they showed this YouTube video in honor of our Veterans, since Veterans Day is this Tuesday.

I have to say, it choked me up. (Embarrassingly so)






If you're serving or have served in the military, THANK YOU.

In other news, I'm having my master bathroom, my powder room, and my fireplace redone now. As a result, I love Houzz.com since I'm not on Pinterest. My eyes are going but I'm getting some really great decorating ideas from browsing the website!

Do you know about Houzz? Where do you get decorating ideas from? I'd love to know!


Have a great week!

Monday, November 3, 2014

New Month, New Goals

Happy Monday, all!

IN THE NEWS: Here's The Real Reason Why That Pop Song Is Stuck In Your Head
JUST ADDED TO MY IPOD: "Fireball" by Pitbull


Well, in case you've been living in a box, it's NaNoWriMo this month and I will not be participating. At least, not officially. I don't know why but this concept just doesn't work for me.
I've tried. Oh, how I've tried.

But I am setting some weekly goals for myself which should put me in good shape--as long as I actually meet them. :)

This weekend was my mom's 81st birthday.
We had a great time with the family--and more importantly she had a great time. She's done her cancer treatments and had great results and no side effects from the chemo, which was amazing.
She feels and looks great too!


In other news,  I've been nominated for the Swoony Awards! LOL
What is the 2014 Swoony Awards?! On Goodreads, The Happily Ever After Book Club, has decided that they want to honor all the amazing authors and their equally amazing books that they have written this year!

I'm honored.

THANK YOU!

That's it for me. If you're doing NaNo this year, good luck!

Have a great week!