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The 2022 Gift Guide

Bookmark this page and refer to it for all gift-giving occasions for 2023!  Every year I like to make a Christmas list suggestion, mostly for people like me who are just starting their Christmas shopping and who have no idea what to get their loved ones. I may be using affiliate links in this post, but that doesn't increase the cost for you, it just helps support my writing habit. Big Gifts Middle School-Aged Kids (10-12) 1. 3-D Printer.   My husband and I are thinking of getting this for my 12-year old son. SHHHHHH! Don't tell him! Although if he looked over my shoulder while scrolling through my Facebook page, he would probably see one. Those darn tracking cookies! They're going to ruin Christmas!  We looked at a couple of models including this smaller one by Toy Box  which has more bio-friendly PVA plastics, but almost twice the price tag. The Toy Box one comes with 8 filaments included, which normally cost around 12 bucks. My husband said the deck might be too small fo

Boston in the Fall

 There's that silly song that says the singer has never been to Boston in the Fall. But guess what, now I have!  I went back in May when my husband had a work trip and I joined him. I was staying in town and just walked Back Bay into the North End to see the touristy areas and to walk the Freedom Trail. But this time, I took my mother and drove from Connecticut. Travel tips if you plan to go: Park and Ride if coming from out of the city. Crazy traffic. Crazy parking.   If you don't want to drive all the way into the city and battle those two things, you can park at a garage at one of the terminuses of the train lines. We parked at Braintree for $9 and took the Red line in for $2.40 each way. Be warned: there are no public bathrooms at the train stations. At least I never saw any.  Go Wednesday through Sunday to ensure you can see all the sites. Bunker Hill, USS Constitution, and the Old North Church--some of my favorite sites, were closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Spend all da

Christmas in July

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Hello! I have a special announcement just in time for Christmas in July! I've teamed up with five other sweet romance authors to create a series called The Seasons of Sugar Creek. We founded a fictional town in Vermont with all the small town feels and created events for each holiday season. This year we're doing Christmas and to celebrate, we're making these book boxes available on Kickstarter for July ONLY! What you get! All the tastes, the sounds, the smells and experiences of Sugar Creek with 4-6 handpicked, Sugar Creek-inspired holiday gifts carefully selected and curated, two special edition, author signed HARDCOVER sweet romances/women's fiction, and a collectable Sugar Creek ornament all valued over $100 in each of the three collectible boxes. These will be delivered to your door (US residents only) in December. You can order one for yourself or for your book-loving friends. Who would you give one to? I'll probably send one to my mom and my mother-in-law.  H

Father's Day Tribute and Gift Guide

 My father was not a perfect man, but he was a good man. He did his best, but sometimes he fell short. And that's okay.  He passed this year. I had the opportunity to go out and help my mom in those final few days. We walked with angels as we took care of his needs and took note of any final wishes. After we put him on hospice, a pastor from another faith came to see us. My mom was terribly busy, so I sat with him in my parent's living room, discussing things. I mentioned we come from a faith-filled home, that my father did his repenting as he went along. He asked if there were any unresolved issues, conflicts or ill feelings in our family. Thankfully, all of our issues had been resolved. It was so nice to not have these lingering conflicts. Peace prevailed. It looks us a while to get there, but our family has had remarkable time to heal. The last question the paster asked was if our Bishop, the leader of our local congregation, had come to visit. This surprised me, because he

What is Kindle Unlimited and how do I join?

 Kindle Unlimited (KU) is a book subscription service. You pay $9.99/month to read all the ebooks you want that are enrolled in the program. Click here to see the promotion . Right now they have a special where you can get two months for $4.99 as an introductory offer. Or you can try it for 30 days free.  What books are in KU? Not all books are in KU. Amazon wants exclusive rights to content in KU. That means that book can't be listed as an ebook anywhere else--not Barnes and Noble, not Kobo, not Apple or Google Play. The paperback can be listed at those retailers. How does the program work? You can borrow up to ten books at a time. When you finish a book, you return it. How do authors get paid? Authors get paid from the fund (the combination of the money from all the subscribers).  Usually, it's around about .05 a page.  Why would I want to be in KU? With the price of ebooks ranging from $.99-$9.99, you can save a lot of money by reading more than one book a month through the

Christmas Cookie time!

My mother loves to make cookies. She often creates a cookie platter with a half-dozen or more DIFFERENT cookies. She spends a day or two making them, then she delivers them to all her neighbors and friends. So Christmas cookies are some of my favorite childhood memories. I listed three of my favorite. One I couldn't find my family recipe for, so I just found one online that looked pretty similar. Peppermint Pinwheels or Candy Cane Twists is my favorite Christmas Cookie. I thought I'd share it with you! Now, I've stopped using shortening. I replace with either unsalted butter or cocoa nut oil, depending on the recipe. In this one, using butter will make the cookie crunchier.  Basic Refrigerator dough: ½ c. shortening ½ c. margarine or butter 3 c. flour 1 c. sugar 1 egg 2 Tbls. milk 1 tsp. vanilla ½ tsp. baking soda ¼ tsp. salt Cream shortening and margarine with sugar. Add egg, milk and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients together and mix into sugar mixture to make a soft dough. Di

Christmas Top 5 Teen Gift-Giving Guide (most are $30 or less)

Christmas is a special time of year. I love how we are focused outward in giving service, making sure the poor are taken care of, and tending to our loved-ones. I also love Christmas for the opportunity to give good gifts. My brother's slogan is give them the gift they didn't know they always wanted. That's a high commission to bear. No gift cards could possibly satisfy. One of the hardest groups to buy for I think is teen boys, especially boys who aren't into sports. So I thought I'd offer a few suggestions in my first annual Teen Gift-Guide.  These are a few of my favorites things. Most are around $30 or less. Some of the DVD collections run a little higher. For the TV/Movie buffs: 1. The Office complete series. 2. Harry Potter complete eight movies on DVD. 3. Indiana Jones complete four movies. (Although that last one was fan-fiction.) 4. Avatar: The last airbender  is a favorite around my house. Even my 18 year-old daughter will watch it. I listened to it ove