165693410143202 - 6 days ago
Heads up! NO SECOND CHANCES Blog Tour Sign Up is now live over at Xpresso Tours. 20 slots available: http://xpressobooktours.com/2017/03/07/tour-sign-up-no-second-chances-by-kate-evangelista/
Writing Advice #8 - 2 months ago
Sandy Hall and Santa Claus - 2 months ago
Here is my Christmas confession: I believed in Santa Claus for a VERY, almost embarrassingly, LONG TIME.Allow me to set the scene for you.When I was in fourth grade, there was a boy in my class named Scott. We were in the same reading group, we always tied on math tests, and we were the same level of brownnoser when it came to teachers. So of course we were sworn enemies. (Sidenote: I’m happy to tell you that after years of endless competition, Scott and I became good friends in high school and beyond. Ten year old Sandy would feel absolutely betrayed if she knew that as we got older Scott and I were such good friends that I even attended his wedding. But I digress.)The problem with Scott is that I could just never beat him. And then one day, he brought up Santa Claus and insisted that he didn’t exist. I knew for a fact Santa was real. And I could prove it to him. He was not going to win this debate.“Okay, so if Santa isn’t real, how come my older sister still believes in him?” I asked. “She’s twenty and she told me she saw Rudolph on the roof of our house once.” I said this with the kind of confidence only a ten year old debating the reality of Santa Claus can say things.He scoffed. “She just told you that to make you believe. Your parents probably told her to say that!”“They would never!” I said, completely indignant. “Also my parents don’t have enough money to buy all those toys and presents. They have four kids.”“They save up all year or something,” he said. “And how are we supposed to believe that Santa does it all that in one night?”“Magic!” I said. “And time zones!”I don’t remember exactly what happened after that, but I know I felt triumphant about the argument. I was certain that I’d won and completely sure that Santa was real, as if I had talked myself back into believing at a time when that belief had been wavering.And no joke, that debate fueled my belief in Santa for at least another two years. I was filled with righteous indignation. To the point where a couple Christmases later, the same older sister who told me she’d seen Rudolph finally sat me down to tell me the truth. Luckily I was older and wiser and didn’t feel as indignant.But it was nice to hold onto my childhood a little longer.
Katy Upperman Shares Nordy Bars - 3 months ago
I’ve been thinking a lot about holiday traditions lately, as we’ve just decorated our Christmas tree and strung twinkling lights from the eaves of our house – it’s the most wonderful time of the year, after all!My little family is all about holiday cheer. We’ve adopted tons of traditions as our own, though we’ve had to modify Christmas a time or two, thanks to my husband’s job with the military. We always do our best to make Christmas a special and memorable time for our daughter, but sometimes it looks a little less than traditional. Opening presents with Daddy via Skype while he sits in a desert half a world away? Done it. Presents mailed to faraway family weeks in advance? Yep. Santa’s Christmas Eve cookies hurriedly purchased at a bakery because we’re mid-cross-country move and bunking in a hotel room? Been there.One tradition that holds constant, though—through deployments and moves and family visits and everything in-between—is dessert. No matter what our holiday circumstances, I always, always, always bake a feast of Christmas treats starting on December 1st. Spritz cookies, Magic Squares, chocolate crinkle cookies, shortbread, eggnog cookies, gingerbread people, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Danish Puff, thumbprint cookies…Seriously. I know no bounds.My all time favorite Christmastime treat, though, are Nordy Bars. My mom made them during the holidays when my brothers and I were young, and I continue to make them each year for my family. According to legend, Nordy Bars were served at the Nordstrom Cafe back in the 80s and were supposedly a huge hit. While I can’t confirm their origin, I can tell you that they’re sweet and chewy and decadent and amazingly delicious. I hope you’ll use the recipe below to bake up a batch for your family, and I hope you have a very happy holiday season! <3 nbsp="" p="">Nordy Bars½ cup butter12 ounces butterscotch chips½ cup packed brown sugar2 eggs, beaten1 ¾ cups flour2 teaspoons baking powder½ teaspoon salt2 teaspoons vanilla12 ounces chocolate chips2 cups mini marshmallows1 cup chopped pecansMelt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add butterscotch chips and brown sugar. Stir until melted -- do not boil. Let cool for ½ an hour. Add eggs and vanilla, then stir well. Transfer to large mixing bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients until just incorporated. Spread in a greased 9X13 glass dish, then bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 30 minutes, checking for doneness in the center. When cool, cut into squares and refrigerate.
Writing During the Holidays with Jennifer Honeybourn - 3 months ago
When December hits, there’s so much to do to prepare for the holiday season that writing, much like working out, is the first thing I take off the list. If I can’t have more hours in a day, then something has to go, at least temporarily, and in the past few years that something has been my writing time. The Ghost of Christmas Past has shown me, however, that when I step away from a project for more than a few days I lose momentum. And once that momentum is gone, it is so incredibly hard to get it back.This year, I’ve decided that my gift to myself will be writing time. Will it still be difficult to fit it in when I have presents to buy, parties to attend, a house to decorate? Yes. Yes it will. But I am determined to do whatever it takes to make sure that I get those words down — even if all I have is ten minutes to tap something into my phone while I’m waiting in line at the post office. It may only be ten minutes, but at the very least, those ten minutes will keep me in the story. Part of my strategy is to put my intention out there — via this blog — to keep myself honest. Because I have been known to let myself off the hook, and I’m less likely to do that if I’ve announced my goal, which is: I plan to write every day in December. Every. Single. Day. What I end up with might not even amount to a full chapter, but it will be something. And getting something done — even if it’s only a small amount — obviously will always feel better than getting nothing done.So if you are like me and need added pressure to keep you accountable, consider December 31st your deadline. Put your goal — whatever it may be — out there, either by telling a friend or posting on a blog. And then get to it!The Ghost of Christmas Future will thank you.
Nikki Katz's Christmas Traditions - 3 months ago
Christmas is one of my favorite holidays, if not my absolute favorite. There's something special about decorating the house and the tree, putting out my Christmas Village and getting an advent calendar for the kids to open.Ever since my kids were small, I've tried to instill Christmas traditions. For over a decade we would travel to Tucson the week of the holiday and stay with my mom. The past couple of years we've been unable to attend, but we still carry on the same Christmas Eve tradition that we used to do then.The evening starts out with "make your own pizza". Each person gets an individual sized pizza crust. A plethora of toppings are laid out - sauce and cheeses, mushrooms, olives, green peppers, and pepperoni - and you build your own pizza to your specific tastes.After the pizzas are baked and eaten, the kids each get to open a gift. I tend to switch it up but lately it's been books or holiday/winter themed pajamas. I started this tradition when they were younger, mostly because they were itching to open the presents under the tree and were too anxious to fall asleep!Then we head off to look at the Christmas lights. In Tucson, there is an area of town blocked off called Winterhaven. We would typically walk through with the stroller or a wagon, and on occasion we would all pile on to one of the hayrides that travel through the neighborhood. The kids cuddled up in blankets and we would sip on coffee or hot chocolate as we gazed at the lights and displays. Since we've been in San Diego the past couple of years, I found a local neighborhood where most of the houses put up displays, and we do a similar walk through on Christmas Eve. It's nice to get outdoors as a family before heading to bed and waiting for Santa to arrive!Then it's home to put out cookies and milk for Santa and prep for bedtime, perhaps even a holiday story before lights out.Wishing you and yours a very merry holiday season!Kate's Note:I love the "make your own pizza" tradition. I'm so down for that. My family and I would also go to our favorite restaurant. Thank you so much for giving us a glimpse into your family's traditions. It was great getting to know you better! I look forward to reading your book.
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