Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Hello, Freelance Writing Career!

If you've been wondering why my blog has been neglected recently, it's because my freelance writing career is taking off. I've had a few pieces bought and published in previous years. But over the last few months, I've had 6 articles bought and published online (I didn't get to choose the titles of the first 4, though I do think the first title is better than my original):

Move Over, Barbie: How "Lammily" Is Changing the Doll Game

Mommy Dating: Why It's Hard to Make Mom Friends

Women Poop. Let's Talk About It.

Is Breast Empowerment Really About Personal Choice?

How to Emotionally Connect with a Woman During Sex

Things You're Doing Wrong in a Hospital Labor

I have more coming soon once I find the time. I also write numerous SEO articles for a content company on a weekly basis. It's hard work because of the strict requirements and short deadlines, but it's expanding my general knowledge and writing skills. It's exciting finally to be making consistent money doing what I love most!

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Father's Day Jokes

Three boys are in the schoolyard bragging about their fathers. The first boy says, “My dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a poem, they give him $50.”

The second boy says, “That’s nothing. My dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a song, they give him $100.”

The third boy says, “I got you both beat. My dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a sermon. And it takes eight people to collect all the money!”(http://www.bestcleanfunnyjokes.info)


My husband’s cousin married a former Marine who now works for United Parcel Service. They bought their four-year-old son two stuffed bears — one in a UPS uniform and the other in Marine garb. When the boy seemed confused, his father brought out a picture of himself in full Marine dress. “See, Connor?” he explained, pointing to the photo and then to the bear. “That’s Daddy.”

Connor’s eyes went from one to the other, and then he asked in a puzzled voice, “You used to be a bear?”

— Submitted by Robin Yedlock (rd.com)


"I have mixed emotions when I receive my Father's Day gifts. I'm glad my children remember me. I'm disappointed they think I dress like that." ~Mike Dugan



Click here for more Father's Day jokes!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Healthy Family Slow Cooker Cookbook Review

One of the authors of the Snow Valley romance novels, Christina Dymock, has also written some cookbooks. I've had a lot of fun reviewing her latest one: The Healthy Family Slow Cooker Cookbook. It contains over 70 simple recipes categorized into poultry, pork, beef, soup and salad, sides, and sweet endings. I tried three of the recipes.

The first one I made was the chicken gyros. I added some spinach for a fresh, leafy crunch and some hummus for extra moisture since I overcooked the chicken. The seasoning was delicious, and my husband really liked the homemade tzatziki sauce.

The second I made was the turkey and veggie sloppy joes. I didn't put in all the required veggies because I didn't have them all. I used carrots, onions, and peppers, and added mushrooms because we love them. Next time I would definitely include celery. I served the sandwich on whole wheat hamburger buns instead of crispy rolls and had veggie chips as the side. I wouldn't say the flavor reminded me of a sloppy joe, but I still thought it was very yummy.

The last one I made was the cookie bar. This one wasn't my favorite. It reminded me of a blond brownie, and I prefer my brownies dark and fudgy. The boys gobbled it up, though! The directions didn't specify the heat setting, so I started on low to be safe. The cookie wasn't baking, so I switched it to high and ended up overcooking it. Just a tip: the top may still look raw even when it's done (at least, to me it did). The plus side is that the clean-up was a million times easier than it is after making cookies the traditional way!

*The cookbook motivated me to use my slow cooker more. It was much more enjoyable preparing things early and not having to scramble around trying to figure out dinner in the evening with hungry, whiny boys.
*The recipes are easy to alter to fit your needs. I normally don't have all the ingredients needed for a recipe, so I appreciated that I could make changes and still have it come out great.
*The meals are simple and most are loaded with vegetables. They are also kid friendly. My boys ate both meals without complaint, which is how I determine a dinner's success!

*This is where I get nitpicky as an editor. For the most part, I loved the layout. It was simple and clean, exactly my style. However, I prefer directions in bullet or numbered form, because it's easier to find your place in the recipe and divide it into steps. I also thought some of the photos were less professional looking than others, particularly the ones that were super close up or had poorer lighting.

Overall, this cookbook is a great resource for planning easy, healthy meals, whether you're a busy mom or not!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Racecar Birthday Party

Last week we attended a friend's racecar birthday party. It was so cute and creative! The walkway was decorated like a road.

The plates at the food table were lined up by color to resemble a stoplight. My boys were obsessed with the balloons, as usual.

There was a monster truck bouncy house. I even jumped in it at the end! I haven't done that in who knows how long.

My friends built a ramp for racing toy cars. I thought this idea was fabulous, and it was my kids' favorite activity.

There was a lawn game as well. I was terrible at it! They also had a car photo booth.

I volunteered my Raggedy Fran services. The facepainting was particularly a hit with the teenage girls. They all got puppy faces.

The boys got to take home a a racecar helmet and a handmade, car play mat complete with matchbox cars. It was such a well planned and fun birthday party!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Therapy: An Example of Courage

photo by Selena P.

My Motivational Monday from two weeks ago shared quotes on courage. One example of extreme courage to me is going to therapy. Why? More than just because of the stigma surrounding seeing a therapist, but also because those who willingly go truly desire to work through their problems and improve, no matter how scary, uncomfortable, or difficult it is. They are facing their fears, skeletons in their closets, and monsters from their pasts. Accomplishing that kind of self-exploration and self-mastery is an act of bravery.

How do I know? Because I just went to my third therapy session today to help me through a difficult situation I'm currently in (though I think it's wise to go at any time in your life, problems or not). It's very painful but so fulfilling, and I look forward to every appointment. I've also completed counseling, both recently and several years ago. I didn't think there would be much of a difference between the two forms of help, but there is. My therapist comprehends me more quickly and makes more progress with me in less time than my counselors did. That is not to dismiss or diminish counseling; it was quite effective and rewarding for me both times. I was just unaware of the deeper self-discovery and self-journey available through therapy.

Honestly, if I could go every day and stay for as long as I needed to, I would. It gives me peace and optimism for my present and future. Through therapy, I hope to move forward as a wiser, more self-confident and self-understanding woman who knows how to handle in a healthy manner anything life throws her way.

Have you ever gone through therapy? If yes, what was your experience like? If no, I suggest you consider it.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Summer in Snow Valley Clean Romance Novels

Remember my feature post and review of the romance novel set Christmas in Snow Valley? Well, the authors have come out with another set for some clean summer romance reading! And the best part is that, like last time, the book set will be on sale for $0.99 for a limited time, so buy your digital copy of Summer in Snow Valley (Snow Valley Romance Anthologies Book 2) today!

The #1 Bestselling Amazon authors of Christmas in Snow Valley have teamed up again with six wonderful summer romances that are sure to make your summer sweet and sassy!

Catching Caytie by Amazon Top Seller Cindy Roland Anderson

On the night Caytie Holbrook intends to break up with her cheating boyfriend, he blindsides her by announcing their engagement at a dinner party. When Caytie discovers her father is in on the scheme, she runs away from her home in Beverly Hills to hide out at her uncle’s ranch in Snow Valley, Montana. While Snow Valley is a beautiful place, Caytie only plans to stay until her twenty-fifth birthday when she’ll inherit a trust fund her grandmother left her, allowing her to pursue her dream to move to Italy. That is, until she meets Jace McAllister, an incredibly sexy—although somewhat grumpy—cowboy who threatens to disrupt her plans.

Tin Foil Tiaras by Amazon Top Seller Jeanette Lewis

Cameron Elliott has come to Snow Valley to coach Annalisa Drake in the Miss Snow Valley pageant and prove to her demanding boss that she deserves a place at the prestigious Westbrooke Agency. But Annalisa’s handsome and protective big brother, Kyle, is determined to keep his sister from becoming a reluctant beauty queen. As Cameron tries to win Kyle over, Kyle insists some things are more valuable than a title, and as crazy as it sounds, Cameron might just believe him.

A Touch of Love by Amazon Top Seller Cami Checketts

Annie Stirland has endured a lifetime of teasing, embarrassment, and isolation due to her speech impediment. When irresistible cowboy, Luke Wilson, seems to be falling for her, she’s certain he’s too good to be true. A tragedy involving his ex-girlfriend proves she’s right. What man can resist sheltering someone they once loved? Annie knows she should walk away, but Luke isn’t ready to give her up.

First Love; Love First by Amazon Top Seller Taylor Hart 

Janet Snow doesn’t expect to get caught in a full-blown make-out session at her brother’s wedding. Especially not with Michael Hamilton, the boy she’d written off ten years ago. Even though they both agree to no complications, Janet’s not sure they can stick to it given their past. After a trip to the hot springs, a helicopter ride, and a proposal, even the most cautious single mother would start to wonder if true love really is just about the timing. Now Janet has to make a choice—play it safe or trust that her first love could also be her last.

Romancing Rebecca by Amazon Top Seller and Award-winning Author, Kimberley Montpetit

Rebecca Dash loved spending her teen summers swooning over Jane Austen and helping her aunt at the Starry Skies Bed & Breakfast in Snow Valley. But as a recent college grad, she’d rather write sappy romance novels than go out with guys that make her a nervous wreck. When a team of firefighters set up camp on the lawns of the B&B and Captain Wade catches her eye, Becca soon learns that there’s more to a happily-ever-after than a flirty fireman with muscles the size of the Montana hills.

Love in Light and Shadow by Amazon Top Seller and Award-winning author Lucy McConnell

Mercedes O’Shay has sworn off gorgeous men because they have a tendency to break her heart. When she meets her new neighbor, Chet Bauer, she immediately puts him in the Do Not Date category based on his well-defined muscles and stunning blue eyes. But the more Mercedes learns about the cowboy who reads classics and forges iron, the more she realizes the heart doesn’t see in black and white; it sees light and shadows.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

4 Tips to Get Your Kids to Eat Vegetables

photo by Francois Carstens
If you have a child, the vegetable-eating battle is almost inevitable. You can win the war with these tips to get your kids to eat vegetables:

1. Think Outside the Carrot Stick

Eating common veggies like carrots, broccoli, and salad all the time can get boring. There is a world of extraordinary vegetables out there just waiting for you to find it. You and the kids should try new ones like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, radishes, artichokes, red cabbage, turnips, asparagus, and collard greens. You may discover a new family favorite.

2. Buy Kid-Sized Veggies

There are so many miniature produce options these days. I find that my children are more likely to eat vegetables when they are kid sized instead of regular sized ones that I cut up small. Their favorites are mini bell peppers and cucumbers.

3. Serve Them with Dips

Raw veggies make a great snack, and dips make them even greater. Ditch the Ranch dressing and try something healthier and tastier like hummus--there are so many varieties--salsa, guacamole, all-natural peanut butter, or even cream cheese with some dill. 

4. Prepare Them Different Ways

For dinner, steaming may be the simplest and healthiest way to prepare vegetables, but it isn't very exciting. Try making a slaw or stir fry, cooking them in soups, sauteing veggies on the side, adding them to casseroles or omelets, or baking them in bread. My kids even like to eat them frozen. Be creative!
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