Happy Holidays!

Christmas-Tree-2014The Christmas tree is up, the house decorated with Santas, and last weekend I baked till I dropped. 🙂

It’s hard to believe that we’re almost at the end of another year. And now, after all of the mini family emergencies that seemed to consume 2014, I’m excited for 2015.

The current WIP is almost done. Yes, this time for real! The oldest son gave me a deadline of December 23…or he threatened to take away my much loved MacBook Air for an entire month. Gosh, without my computer I might have to resort to clearing the dust bunnies out of the house!

Needless to say, I’ve been madly typing away on the book, and I’m thrilled to say that I’ll have the ALMOST final draft done by the 23rd…although he says we’ll discuss the consequences of not quite meeting the deadline. When he comes home on the 25th, I may have to pad lock the notebook to my ankle.

Christmas-Santa-2014Hey, it’s all okay and I’m looking forward to starting a new story by the end of January. You see, the other night after supper, I sat down to choose my Word-of-the-Year (something I learned from my amazing life coach, Christine Kane) and PROLIFIC is 2015’s word. One of the questions on the Word-of-the-Year worksheet requires me to list 10 things that this word will help me create or manifest or attract. And at the top of my list was “I will have created strategies to stimulate ideas”.

And boom-bang, the next morning I woke up with an amazing story idea…or at least the opening chapter, which is usually what my Muses give me to work with, right before they dump me and tell me to go figure out the rest of the book by myself. 🙂

So until 2015, I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season. Happy reading!

Bake, Love, Write Halloween Scavenger Hunt

Bake-Love-Write-coverFrom October 6th through the 23rd, 37 authors featured in the Bake, Love, Write Cookbook are hosting a Halloween Scavenger Hunt.

Here’s how it works: Participants visit the website or blog listed for each author (see the list below) to find a Happy Hallowe’en image hidden on one of the website or blog pages. The more sites you visit, the more chances you have to win. There are over 60 prizes with multiple winners. The list of prizes and the dates they will be given away is here.

Here’s what you need to do: Visit Sloan McBride’s blog where she’ll have all the information posted, including links to the authors’ websites/blogs and a link to a page to type all the answers. If you want to have a handy reminder, you can also download the page of authors, websites/blogs, and for typing your answers here. The page will give you the authors’ names and links to their websites/blogs where you’ll search for the Happy Hallowe’en image. Rafflecopter will be used to determine prizewinners.

Here’s the IMPORTANT part  once you’ve filled in your answers, you must email the document to Sloan at .  She’ll review the answers and will enter your name the number of times that corresponds to the number of sites you visited and provided the correct answers. 

Happy hunting and good luck!

How I Lost 10 Pounds On My Summer Vacation & A New Cookbook

I’m back and so glad to be here. It’s been an incredibly busy summer that started out with us packing and moving the in-laws from their apartment into a senior’s facility. They didn’t need to do much downsizing because the spaces were comparable in size, but their move inspired me to continue to clean out the accumulation of “stuff” that one collects over the years.

Fragile-packing-boxAs we packed—and packed and packed—I kept thinking that I don’t want to put my boys through this. Better to get stuff sorted and recycled and discarded BEFORE it’s time to downsize.

There’s also the fact that the older we get, the harder it is to make changes in our life. At 95 and 86, my in-laws were resistant to the move. They didn’t want to leave their apartment. They didn’t want to part with anything. My father-in-law kept packing and unpacking and repacking the same box, until we’d finally sneak it out of his room when his back was turned, tape it closed, and move it to the pile of boxes so he’d be done with it.

Except when we’d arrive the next day, he’d have opened all of the boxes in his search to find the one we took from him.

On the day before the actual move, I was packing up the last of the kitchen items. When I thought I was finished, I double-checked each cupboard and drawer to ensure that I hadn’t missed anything. Then I opened up the dishwasher…and it was full of dirty dishes that my mother-in-law had been storing there until the move.

My DH says that the look on my face was priceless, a mixture of stunned disbelief and barely contained annoyance. Before a few choice words could escape, I sealed my mouth shut, unloaded the dishwasher, and proceeded to wash and dry all of the dishes so I could pack them away for the movers.

The packing ordeal lasted three whole weeks. Three weeks of hot, humid weather. Three weeks of sorting and packing, unpacking and repacking. Three weeks of digging deep and discovering more patience than both my DH and I thought we ever had.

Thankfully, it’s long over now and the in-laws are still adjusting to their new place. On the day my in-laws moved, my mother went in for her knee operation, which I’ll tell you all about next time. 🙂

Bake-Love-Write-coverDuring my in-laws move, I lost 10 pounds, a nice bonus considering I’d been trying to lose those 10 pounds for about 10 years. But now I’m sure I’ll gain those 10 pounds back this winter because of the BAKE, LOVE, WRITE Cookbook: 105 authors share their favorite recipes and advice on love and writing.

You should check it out. Maybe buy copies to give to your friends and relatives as gifts. My Banana Nut Bread is in the book along with a pile of mouth-watering recipes that will make you want to spend time in your kitchen. And then, of course, there’s the advice on love and writing that each author shared.

When was the last time you packed up and moved yourself or someone else? Did you love it as much as I did? Or are you looking forward to the next move?

(Special Note: This post first appeared on the Women Unplugged blog.)

When It Rains, It Pours

No, this has nothing to do with the weather, although this summer we’re getting our fair share of rain. No, this post is about family and life and how easily serenity erupts into chaos.

For the last few months, I’ve been peacefully writing away, working on 3 upcoming romantic comedies, until last month when our youngest son injured his back.

The farm where I grew up.

The farm where I grew up.

Shortly before the injury, he’d made an offer of purchase on a farm with a possession date of August 15, which gave him lots of time to pack and prepare. Then he hurt his back, and while chaos erupted with doctor appointments, etc, we knew he would need extra help moving, painting, repairs, etc. So we set aside the month of August to help him out.

The farm where I grew up (not the farm my son bought).

Then my in-laws received a call from a senior’s facility. My father-in-law is 95, my mother-in-law is 86, and since 2012 they have rejected 5 apartments in this facility. With a little extra prodding and pushing, they finally made the decision to move in. It’s a good place. They’ll have round-the-clock assistance if needed, and basically everything else like cooking and housekeeping and laundry is taken care of for them.

I think I want to move there too…

With a possession date of August 1, we started to pack up their household, thankful that they would be settled before our son’s move.

But then my mother got booked in for her knee operation. Date: August 7th. Okay, with good planning, we could have the in-laws moved and settled by then. Except my mother-in-law kept procrastinating about calling the movers. I guess she thought that if she ignored it long enough, they wouldn’t have to move.

Needless to say, by the time I said that I would call the movers, the earliest date I could get was August 7th.

While my husband goes one way that day, I’ll be going another. In the meantime, we’re packing boxes for my in-laws, running my mom to last minute doctor, hair, etc appointments, and helping our son get ready for his move.

That old saying “when it rains, it pours” is true. So this may be my last post until mid-September. I’m just saying, if I’m missing in action, you’ll know where I am.

Now tell me, what fun things do you have planned for your summer holiday/vacation? Please share. I want to hear all about the fun things you all are doing! 🙂

Originally published at Women Unplugged.

 

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