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Friday Roundup or What I Didn’t Get Done This Week!

I’m late posting this. Why? Well, I’ve been a little manic this week. Every day brought a new surprise that couldn’t be set aside and involved time-consuming attention. The weather was all over the place too. Early in the week it was warm and sunny, but yesterday brought snow and an accompanying snow day.

Snow Day

 

Instead of checking off my anticipated writing goals, I set them aside to finish new ones. I didn’t mind. I love my job!

Other things I didn’t get done?

  • The stack of magazines on my end table are still sitting there unread.
  • My bathroom still hasn’t been cleaned.
  • The book I ordered from the library hasn’t been opened.
  • The exercise DVDs I was going to do Tuesday and Thursday weren’t touched either!
  • The appointments I needed to schedule? Pushed to next week’s to-do list.
  • My twice-a-month coffee date with myself to brainstorm story ideas and bask in motivation articles? Nope. Didn’t happen.

 

But…my daughter and I worked on some must-do upcoming college tasks, I turned in two work items, my son picked out classes for high school next year and I ordered a pizza for lunch yesterday ‘cuz that’s fun! All-in-all, a good week!

 

Do you ever have weeks where everything turns upside down? How do you deal with it?

Have a fantastic weekend, and don’t forget to sign up to win Belle Calhoune’s latest, Alaskan Reunion!! Easy entry options are below!

 

 

Pork Chops, Brainstorming, and Weird Weather

This week was odd. Snow and cold temperatures ruled early in the week, but–get this–today it’s supposed to be sixty degrees. So weird!

I was as off kilter as the weather. The kids didn’t have school on Monday, and all my normal Monday stuff got switched around. On Tuesday I forgot to get pork chops out of the freezer to thaw, so I improvised with brats and mac & cheese.

My kids were happy about the pork chop situation. They claim I make them too often. *sure*

 

Pork Chops
Picture courtesy of MorgueFile. Sadly, my pork chops did not look this delicious.

 

Wednesday was a pull-my-hair-out writing day. I hated everything I wrote, and each sentence felt like I was pulling feathers out of a pillow one-by-one. In other words, they took forever. And, yep, I forgot to get those stinking pork chops out again! Tacos to the rescue…

Once again, the kids weren’t crying about no pork chops. Shocker.

Yesterday was lovely, though. I popped those pork chops in my slow cooker with potatoes, carrots, and a can of cream of mushroom soup in the morning. I had a date with three writing friends to chat and brainstorm all morning. We got a lot done! I’m excited to flesh out a future novel from their suggestions. Love it!

The kids were less than enthused about the pork chop situation…oh well.

I had about 257 extra errands and appointments this week, but I’m almost done with them. Maybe next week will  be more normal. I don’t know! Guess I’ll find out.

How was your week?

Have a fab weekend!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’m knee deep in writing my fifth Lake Endwell book and preparing for the April release of Her Small-Town Romance, so today’s post is going to be short and sweet.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

 

 

 

May your day be filled with chocolate, hugs and blessings!!

 

Have a wonderful weekend!

A Pet Peeve About New Recipes

My wonderful husband bought me The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime for Christmas. Have I mentioned how much I love that man? Yes, this was #1 on my Christmas list, because I just love Ree Drummond’s Food Network show, The Pioneer Woman.

 

The Pioneer Woman Cooks Dinnertime

 

Her cookbooks are much more than recipe collections. They’re full of stunning pictures, step-by-step instructions with photos and personal tidbits. Plus, her food is scrumptious!

My husband went through the book at my request to let me know which recipes looked good. I laughed when he finished. He basically told me to start at page one and work my way through. I’m on board with that!

This January I’ve tried six recipes, and they’ve all been hits. Monday I decided to attempt a Chinese dish. The only problem? I didn’t have over half the ingredients on the list. Some of them sounded quite foreign. This fact alone is a big enough pet peeve of mine that I considered skipping the recipe. However, I powered ahead and scoured the grocery store for:

  • Rice vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Fresh ginger
  • Sherry
  • Oyster sauce

I had no problem finding most of the items, but the last one–the oyster sauce–was nowhere to be found. Tired, I headed home and put everything away, but about an hour before I was set to start cooking, I decided to go back to the grocery store for another look.

Nope. No oyster sauce. They were all out.

Naturally, I Googled a suitable replacement. I decided to substitute the oyster sauce with hoisin sauce, but I halved it after reading that the flavor can be overpowering.

The dish, Cashew Chicken, was a big hit! I would link the recipe, but it isn’t listed on her website. I’ll definitely be making it again. And this time, I’ll already have most of the ingredients. Score!

 

What pet peeve keeps you from doing something?

Have a terrific weekend!!

I Left the House!

Okay, today’s title probably seems sarcastic, kind of like the meme going around about not needing to say you see snow because we all have eyes, but for real, this isn’t snarky. I tend to hibernate in the winter. Sure, I get groceries and run an errand or two, but more often than not, I’m snuggled up in my cozy home, working on a writing project.

Yesterday I finished my to-do list early, and I knew. It was time. Time to zip up my winter coat, slip on my Isotoner gloves, and swipe some lipstick on.

I left the house!!

I’m embarrassed to admit I had no idea where to go. I knew I wanted to brainstorm story ideas. A coffee shop would be ideal. But which one? Panera, Starbucks, the cute and trendy Parker, or the also trendy The Flying Joe? Decisions, decisions. I had to drop stuff off at the Post Office first, and I still hadn’t decided where to go when I hopped back in my car.

Finally, I just started driving. Remembered Starbucks gift cards hiding in my wallet, and it was a done deal. We have a Starbucks in our Barnes & Noble, but I preferred a more intimate setting. I headed to one of the stand-alone stores. As soon as I entered, I let out a happy sigh. The lighting was just right, the big pictures on the walls and the dark wood floors gave it the vibe I was looking for.

After an hour of brainstorming, people watching, and cappuccino sipping, I packed up my stuff and left. It felt good to be out. Felt great to soak in a different location. And I got a ton of ideas for stories and books. What’s not to love about that!

Do you hibernate? Do you ever steal an hour to enjoy coffee in a shop by yourself?

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is always a fun week. It’s half business, half party. I usually cram a ton of work in the first days so I can pig out, chill out and enjoy Thanksgiving the rest of the week.

We’ll be watching football (Lions on Thanksgiving, and Michigan vs. Ohio State on Saturday–Go Blue!), eating lots of food and spending time with family we don’t see as much as we’d like to. There will be NO shopping! This makes me very, very happy! I’m a terrible shopper, and crowds give me the shivers.

I’m thinking of buying one of those adult coloring books I’ve been seeing in the bookstores. My nieces are getting older, and my kids are definitely getting older–but I still like to color, so maybe we could all take a sheet and give it a whirl! We’ll see!

In case you were wondering, I have done nothing to prepare for Christmas. No cards, no decorations, no lists, no cookies, no music–nothing! That will have to change next week, but for now, I’m enjoying November.

I’ll be taking a blog break until next week. Enjoy the end of November and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

 

Ditzin’ It Up at the Post Office

I was not on my game yesterday. Maybe it was the muggy, 91 degree weather. Or recovering from a relaxing long weekend. I don’t know, but I had several errands to run and I’m not sure where my head was at!

 

mushrooms

 

It started with the post office. I had several books and the gift package from August to send. Well, my box for the gift package was too small, so I figured I’d buy one at the post office. The gentleman handed me a box that looked perfect, I grabbed my bag of packaging tools and a customs slip (for my Goodreads winner from Nova Scotia), and got to work. I taped the box and set everything in, but it became clear the box was too large. No problem. I figured I’d pad it with newspaper and come back.

 

Meanwhile, I began filling out the customs form. Naturally, I wrote the wrong address and had to grab a new one. Then I wrote the address first, made sure I had it correct and got back in line. I told the kind worker the box was too big and that I would come back later, and he offered me a smaller one. While he did his thing with the postage for my stack of book packages, I repacked the gift. Bingo! It fit!

 

Before I could tape it up, though, the employee gently told me I needed to finish filling out the customs form. Duh! I’d completely forgotten to fill out everything BUT the address. I finished that up and went pack to taping the package. When everything was finally settled, I grabbed my bag and left.

And came right back in, because I’d left my original box behind.

*shaking my head*

Yeah, it was one of those ditzy days. It didn’t get better, by the way, but at least I survived!

 

Do you have trouble with real life after a long weekend?

 

My blog tour continues! Today I’m talking about “Why I love September” at the Craftie Ladies of Romance blog, and I’m also featured for the Author’s Casting Call--find out who I would cast as Tom and Stephanie in Unexpected Family–at Edgy Inspirational Romance. Both are linked. I’d love it if you stopped by!

Have a terrific day!

A Peek into My Non-Writing Life

I’m vocal about my love of chocolate, obsession with coffee, my fun family and, yes, my dumb-dumb dog. It’s no secret I love University of Michigan football and the television show, Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders: Making the Team. One thing I don’t talk about much? My parents.

 

My husband and my dad
Dad, my husband and I three or four years ago. Love Dad’s smile here!

I visited them Thursday. I’m really close to Mom. She’s a true role model for me. She’s full of energy, never lets anyone push her around, and has a heart bigger than Lake Michigan. I love that woman! I also adore my dad, but his health has declined over the last few years. Due to Parkinson’s disease and late stages of Alzheimer’s, he is too sick to live at home, so he lives in a nursing home.

Dad’s a sweetheart. The nursing staff and CENA’s love him, and so do we. I’m really thankful he has such patient, goodhearted people caring for him. Yesterday, Mom and I sat with him during lunch, and some memories hit me of us eating around our dining room table when I was young. Those moments barb my heart, and I’ll admit, I got a little teary.

See, Dad usually doesn’t recognize me anymore, although he does recognize some people. It really depends on the day. If you told me two years ago this would be how it is, I would have fallen apart. But we’ve (including my sister) been with Dad throughout this journey, and I’m at peace with it.

I’m blessed. I still get to spend time with him. I look forward to it!

Whether he knows me or not, he likes me and enjoys it when I’m there. And every time I look at him, I see his beautiful blue eyes–the ones he gave to me–and I know we’re going to have great conversations someday in Heaven. Do I wish he could enjoy his senior years without these diseases? Of course. In many ways I feel he and Mom were robbed of their golden years. But, hey, we know people who have it worse. We all lose loved ones–some violently, some to disease, some tragically, some slowly, some unexpectedly. Talk to anyone, and you’ll hear a story of loss.

That’s why my faith means so much to me. I know there is better. I know this life is a blip–an imperfect blip–and there is so much more ahead. God gets us through.

Anyhow, I live a few hours away from my parents, so I visit about once a month. The drive gives me time to think, and I am so thankful I get to spend a few hours with Mom and Dad. I just wish I lived closer so I could help more.

So that’s a peek into my non-writing life. What’s going on with you this week?

Release week of Unexpected Family has been fun! Thank you to everyone who has purchased the book and helped spread the word about it!

Have a terrific weekend!

Puppy Bowl!

Sleepy Sophie

It’s Sunday and snowing, and I’m really excited about watching the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet! I’ve been enjoying this delightful program for years. Seeing puppies romp around a tiny indoor room set up to look like a football stadium makes me smile.

I think my Sophie would make a good Puppy Bowl receiver, even though she’s way past the puppy years. Just look at that face!

 

Sophie, Things I Love

 

 

She spends a lot of time napping, too. :)

 

Sleepy Sophie

 

This year Animal Planet is featuring goat cheerleaders (how cute is that??) and Catty Purry for the halftime show. I’m melting!

I just love cats! We’re without a kitty while we have our dog, but someday I expect to have another feline furball. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy pictures of kittens. ;)

 

Kittens

 

 

Do you have any pets? Is there a pet you’ve always wanted to have?

Have a fun day and enjoy the Superbowl!

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