Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fun Night

Don't know who the kid below is, but he got my vote today! LOL

Hanging in there!

These hardy flowers withstood buckets of rain, a frost, and bloomed yet again yesterday and today. This pot is on my front steps.


I spent the whole evening in a plotting session with friends Pam Crooks, Victoria Alexander, Kim Louise, Julie Carda and Cynthia Rutledge, therefore missed my show, so will make time to watch it on the Net!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Test Your Vocabulary & Feed the Hungry


Each definition you get right contributes 10 grains of rice to help end world hunger. They're tough, but worth trying. Grains add up quickly and you'll learn a few new words.

Appreciating the Male of the Species

Tomorrow I’m blogging at Petticoats and Pistols, and I know you’re going to love the topic. How do I know? Because you’re women (mostly anyway). I got introspective thinking about my topic, which I wrote with a light-hearted tone, and I remembered a talk Suzanna Davis did one time, where she spoke of the reason women are attracted to the strongest, most attractive men. It’s all about biological quality, or the survival of the species.

Female birds are attracted by the most colorful or attractive of the other gender, same with animals and mammals. Many males take part in battle rituals for the female, therefore strength and endurance win out. Nature is making sure the strongest survive, that the species will be carried on by the most capable, the best hunters and providers.

It’s our instinct to be drawn to a man who is a provider and a protector. This is why those alpha heroes appeal to us as readers. Attraction is about chemistry. But in selecting a mate, a human female must consider more than the initial attraction. The ability to make wise selections is what sets us apart from the animals. We have the ability to and the luxury of compiling all the information before we make a choice. Regrettably too many women will admit that relationships founded on sex appeal alone were not the stuff futures are made of. Chemistry is important and it sure feels good for a while, but honey, it ain’t everything.

Reading romances validates the universal hope that there is one special person for everyone. Stories of successful relationships reassure us that women around the world share our dreams.

But enough of deep introspection and back to shallow appreciation: Check in tomorrow at Petticoats and Pistols to see what all the hoopla is about. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

HINT: What do the two fine examples shown here have in common?

Tips to Look Ten Pounds Thinner This Fall

Here's what the experts suggest for fall fashion:

- Solid, dark colors are much more streamlined and flattering than giant, multi-colored splotches, so scale back on big, bold and busy prints.

- Black is your best friend, but it's not the only color on the slenderizing spectrum. Chocolaty browns, olive greens and charcoal grays are hot this season, so stock up on these slimming shades.

- Layers can often lessen the appearance of bulges while you work on lightening your load. Jackets and coats that are hip-length or longer lengthen bodies and create a lean appearance.

- Tans are trimming, so keep up your summer glow with a safe self-tanning solution. Don't use this as an excuse to sunbathe, though.

- Accessories, such as extra-long necklaces or a super-wide belt, can distract from or hide problem areas, while a strategically-placed oversized clutch purse can chicly camouflage your tummy troubles.

- Size right by wearing the size that you currently are, not the size that you wish you were. Don't settle into a double-wide. Clothes that are too big are equally as unflattering.

Supplement your wardrobe with a few articles of clothing that fit you right now and that are reusable at any weight, since you can always get them tailored to fit again once you trim down. Specifically, shop for these size-suitable items:

- Black Pants: Before the bottom falls out of your style, pick up at least one pair of this flattering and slimming staple.

- A-Line Skirt: With this perfectly flattering cut, you'll be totally hip to the game of dressing right for your size.

- Empire-Waist Dress: A fashionable and flowing frock can conceal a stomach, hips, thighs and just about anything else you want to keep under wraps.

- Tunic Top: While getting in shape and beyond, your style can totally stomach shirts like this. You'll never have to suck it in again.

- Extra-long Necklaces: You don't have to string along style while you lose weight. Slenderize while you accessorize. Create a leaner line on your top half with lengthening necklaces.

- Belted, Hip-Length Jacket: This chic cut slices stomachs and dices hips while keeping you cool while you stay warm.

- LAY OFF THE CHOCOLATE. Oh wait, that wasn't the experts, that was me talking to myself.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Recipe Rewards

WDMCuz has sent me several recipes to share with you and to post in my archives. Remember, her first was the Salted Nut Roll bars?

I'm sending Cuz mail this week! Packets of seeds from my very own garden. I'm collecting like crazy so I can share.

If you send me a recipe, I'll send you seeds for your next year's garden!

I'll include giant zinnias, which attract the butterflies like crazy!
DISCLAIMER: Caterpillar not included.

Thanks, Cuz!

Renee Reads

Renee Reads Top 100 List
Got my Google Alert this morning, so I visited the places listed. (Google Alerts let you know whenever someone posts your name or book title, or anything you have tracked.) Visited Renee Reads where she has posted her top favorite 100 books. What a task, can you imagine?

Anyway, she has two of my books listed in among authors like Linda Howard, Mary Balough and Judith Ivory. I am honored.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Hairy Eyeball

This is my friend Chris's little guy. They call this look the "hairy eyeball" and say it's the look Garrett gives them when they tell him to do something he doesn't want to do. This is so funny, I just had to share. Is he cute or what?



Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Look at our friend Holly's fall decor!

One of our favorite writers, Holly Jakobs loved the pumpkin planter idea. She is a fall decorator, too! Here's an insider look at Holly's house and her pumpkin planter. How cool is that?

Hammer Juggler

Thanks to Lucky Lou for pointing out this cutie!

Brain Orientation Test


This is fascinating.
Supposedly you can make this dancer go either direction, depending on your right brain or left brain activity.

As of Monday:
Others have assured me that the dancer does indeed turn to the left, but I cannot make her do so. I look away and look back; I sneak up on her; I stare; I squint; I peek through my fingers at only her feet or her head, but she moves clockwise.

As of Tuesday:
Okay, Kristin made her turn the other way by thinking about numbers, so I sat and thought about amounts of payments and due dates and tried a few multiplication tables in my head and I finally GOT HER TO TURN THE OTHER WAY!! whoo hoo!

So...what about you?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Weighing in on Dirty Sexy Money

So far my favorite show of the season. (My previous favorites have been disappointing, but more abut that in another post.) I hadn't intended to watch this one, because the title, well, turned me off. But I happened on it with nothing else tempting in that time slot, and I was hooked.


The premise:
Nick George's whole life has been lived in the shadow of the Darling family, but as an adult he's leading the perfect life as an idealistic lawyer, until his father's suspicious death. The absurdly wealthy Darlings of New York have asked him to take over his father's job as their personal lawyer, but the money that will allow him the freedom to be an altruistic do-gooder is only part of the picture. That same money pulls him into the dubious doings of the Darling clan. Power, privilege and family money are a volatile cocktail.


Okay, maybe I did want to see Donald Sutherland. He can play any character, and I will believe it. He has charisma. I saw his first movie in the theater. I was an infant in 1970, but I remember it like it was yesterday. Oh, no wait, I wasn't born then. I must have been remembering seeing it on TV. Yes, that's it.

Robert Altman’s unparalleled 1970 war comedy “MASH” quickly made Sutherland a megastar. Playing the lead role of Capt. ‘Hawkeye’ Pierce, Sutherland led a talented ensemble cast in the quirky dark comedy, which chronicled the daily lives of amusingly amoral, bored Korean War medical workers. Altman’s unique ear for naturalistic, overlapping dialogue combined with the pitch-perfect performances of Sutherland, Elliot Gould, Tom Skerritt, and others made “MASH” one of the most memorable films of the 70s. The film has become a veritable modern classic, and spawned one of the most popular television shows in history, which saw Alan Alda take over Sutherland’s role.

Sutherland has starred in over 60 films since 1990, with highlights including
“Six Degrees of Separation”
“A Time to Kill”
“Cold Mountain” and
2005’s “Pride and Prejudice” as Mr. Bennet.
He won a Golden Globe and an Emmy for his supporting role in the 1995 TV film “Citizen X”. He's like the Energizer bunny! 2006 saw him in the period drama “Ask the Dust”, the gothic horror flick “An American Haunting”, and the NBC drama series “Commander in Chief” as a villainous Congressman. The respected actor is also the father of “24” star Kiefer Sutherland. Truly one of the greatest actors alive, Sutherland brings a sophistication to the screen that has made him one of the most revered performers of his generation.

There was a scene two weeks ago that was riveting. I thought about it all week. There's a prolonged silence as Nick sits with a briefcase that belonged to his father. Everyone has tried to open it without success. Tripp darling, sitting at his enormous desk with a view, appears to be gazing out the window as he says,

"Try seven one two."
"Why seven one two?" Nick asks.
"It's Tish's birthday." (Tish is played by Jill Clayburgh)
Now Nick knows that Tish had an ongoing affair with his father for forty years, but doesn't know whether or not Tripp knows. This is some powerful stuff.
Tripp nonchalantly gazes out the window.
Nick takes his time. He adjusts the combination on the briefcase.
And in the silence of the room the locks open.
A look of acute pain crosses Tripp's face. He had only suspected. Now he knows.

Wow. Heart stopping emotion.


The twins are hilarious, the Juliet character in an arch-enemy battle with the rival who stole her bangs in junior high. When Juliet pouts and refuses to sit for the family photograph for a magazine spread, Nick asks his secretary to handle it. We don't see until the picture has been taken that the woman secured a stand-in for the spoiled Juliet, and no one noticed until afterward! Funny.

So, okay, I'm hooked on this one. If you've missed it and want to catch up you can watch full episodes on ABC.

I'm the mom


Salted Nut Roll Bars

FEATURE: Our first readers recipe!SALTED NUT ROLL BARS from WDMCuz
Check out these yummy treats! Thanks, Cuz!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Tournament Weekend

Alexis had a soccer tournament over the weekend. Here she is going after the ball.

And here she is cheering for the goal she just kicked!

Here are mom and dad watching the game. It was pretty nippy at the 9:30 AM game, but it warmed up by afternoon.

Blogger wasn't cooperating all weekend. If you missed me, I missed you, too!

Meanwhile, here's what the younger boys did while the girls were playing their games. I love watching kids, don't you?

Campbell's for the Cure

I bought a case of these. It's just freaky to see a pink can of tomato soup, isn't it? They look like they faded in the sun or something. But then you take a good look and see the pink ribbon.

Mel, I was thinking of you as I made the purchase!
Where are those wedding pictures?

And people? NOBODY has sent me a recipe to that's just wrong. I'm feeling sad....

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bread Pudding

Nonstick cooking spray
8 cups 1-inch cubes dry, sweet egg bread (such as challah or Hawaiian)*
1 cup chopped pitted dates
3/4 cup real butter
6 beaten eggs beaten
3 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a 2-quart rectangular baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In large bowl combine bread cubes and dates; set aside.

In small skillet heat and stir butter until browned. Remove from heat. Place 1/4 cup of melted butter in another large bowl (set remaining butter aside for sauce). Beat in eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Pour egg mixture over bread mixture; toss to coat.

Turn bread mixture into prepared baking dish. Place baking dish on cookie sheet. Bake, uncovered, 40 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.

Remove baking dish from oven; cool slightly. Sprinkle with nuts.

In small bowl stir together reserved browned butter, powdered sugar, the 2 tablespoons milk, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla until smooth. Serve on bread pudding. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

*To make dry bread cubes, spread the cubes out on a large baking sheet. Let them stand, uncovered, on a kitchen counter overnight, stirring the bread cubes occasionally.

Blogger Problems

Blogger isn't letting me post pictures this weekend. I have some I want to share, but will post a draft I already have ready, so there's a new post.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Deep Chocolate Cake

Deep Chocolate Cake

New Season TV: Journeyman


Opinions anyone?

I've watched three episodes now. I hadn't read much about it, so had no preconceieved ideas. At first I thought, "ah ha, Quantum Leap," but no. Yes, he jumps around in time, but he's himself and weirdly sees his dead wife who is traveling as well, and occasionally even sees a younger version of himself whom he avoids.

It's kind of complicated how he was married and his brother had a girlfriend, then his wife died and he married his brother's girlfriend. And when he jumps around in time three or four times - call me tired or not entertained - but I get confused.

I'm not in love.

From Wikipedia:

The series centers around Dan Vasser, a normal man who, for an unknown reason, begins jumping back in time. He soon learns that each series of jumps follows the life of a person whose destiny he seems meant to change, although it doesn't always turn out for the better. While in the past, Dan reconnects with Livia Beale, his ex-fiancée, whom he lost in a plane crash.

Dan's "shifts" through time occur seemingly at random, the only indication of the shift being a slight flash so brief that even Dan himself fails to notice some of the time. Dan appears to have no control over the shifts, though sharp headaches do precede them. The destination date is usually several decades in the past, but the distance usually decreasing by years at a time, as Dan alters a specific destiny. Dan can appear in a different place from where he departed, but he seems to limited to the same general area, such as a city or aircraft. Dan can also encounter himself in the past.

The shifts only affect Dan, ignoring any other nearby object. For example, one shift pulls Dan out of a moving car, and the now-empty car proceeds to crash. His personal effects (e.g. clothing, mobile phone, etc.), however, are taken with him. When this occurs, Dan vanishes from the present for a period of time that has no relation to that he spends in the past. This creates initial tensions with his family and co-workers, who wonder what has happened to him when he seems to disappear for days. He has used his ability to leave a Time capsule, to resolve the issue with his wife.

Dan's journeys appear to have an innate purpose, which is not always apparent to him, but involve positively changing the destiny of certain people he encounters.

Okay, so it's not just me. I might have to watch next time because Dan disappears while he has his little boy with him, and it looks as though the child is lost in a crowd. Scary.

The Best Bread Ever! Linda's Recipe




Monday, October 15, 2007


Today I'm guest blogging at Lucy Monroe's lively site!
For those who love the behind-the-book scoop, this is for you!
For those of you who love brownies, this is for you!
That just about takes care of everyone, right?
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? CLICK HERE and PEEK in to see what it's all about.
For those of you who don't like brownies...well, I'm just sad for you.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Caramel Cheesecake Bars

CLICK HERE: Caramel Cheesecake Bars

I'm doing recipes differently now. I'll give you the notice here, and then you click on the link to the archives page to view the recipe.

And -- for future reference: when you want to find something, there's a little search box in the upper left-hand corner, see it? Type in "cake" or "brownies" or whatever you're looking for. I believe I've labeled the archives well enough that you'll be able to pull up what you want.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Let's have a little interactive fun!

Send me your favorite chocolate or dessert recipe - or chocolate dessert recipe - I want your tried-and-true hands-down winner. If you have a pic of it that would be GOOD, but if not, send me a pic of YOU - that would be GREAT.

I'll add them to the recipe archives so everyone can enjoy.
Please send the recipe in the body of an email, nicely formatted to
in the subject line: RECIPE
and attach a photo or tell me where to grab one. If you don't include a photo, I'll pick one to use. !!


Remember the new feature is accessed on the right sidebar of this page - scroll down to the links.

New Feature! Recipe Archives

Introducing a New Blog Feature!

You can now find all of the recipes I have ever posted by clicking on the link CHERYL'S RECIPE ARCHIVES in the sidebar to the right.

How cool is that?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Drawing Winner: End of the Week with Pam Crooks

The winner is:


My husband and I have a very sophisticated way of drawing winners for my contests--he picks a number and I count entrants. LOL.

Lila, since you were his lucky number, please email me - - with your snail mail addy, and I'll send you an autographed copy of WESTERN WINTER WONDERLAND, signed by Cheryl, Jenna and myself. A real keeper!

Thank you all so much for visiting with me! And thanks most of all to Cheryl for having me. Her blog is always unique and interesting, and this has been a real treat.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

NEW SEASON TV: Pushing Daisies

As a boy Ned finds out the hard way that he has a special gift. One touch will bring dead things back to life. A second touch makes them dead again -- forever. One minute after bringing the deceased back to life someone or something else dies. You kind of need to watch episode one to understand how he feels responsible for killing Charlotte's father. You can watch full episodes at Grown up Ned (Lee Pace) puts his talent to good use by touching dead fruit and making it ripe with everlasting flavor. He opens a pie shop. But his gift leaves him wary of becoming close to anyone, as beautiful waitress Olive Snook (Kristin Chenoweth) finds out. (Week two she does a hilarious spoof of Hopelessly Devoted.) His life as a pie maker gets more complicated when private investigator Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) finds out about Ned's secret. Emerson convinces the cash-strapped Ned to help him solve murder cases (and collect the hefty reward fees) by raising the dead and getting them to name their killers.

Then Ned is handed the case that changes his life forever. His childhood sweetheart, Charlotte "Chuck" Charles (Anna Friel), is murdered on a cruise ship under strange circumstances. Her death brings him back to his hometown of Coeur d' Coeurs to bring Chuck back to life, albeit briefly, and solve the crime. But once reunited with Chuck, Ned can't bring himself to send her back. He helps her escape after her grieving aunts, Lily and Vivian (Swoosie Kurtz, Ellen Greene), former synchronized swimmers Darling Mermaid Darlings, think they've buried her forever.

Chuck becomes the third partner in Ned and Emerson's PI enterprise, but she encourages them to use their skills for good, not just for profit. Ned is overjoyed to be reunited with Chuck, the only girl he's ever loved. Life would be perfect, except for one cruel twist -- if he ever touches her again, she'll go back to being dead, this time for good.

Perfect romantic conflict, when you think about it.

I'm still considering my rating for this show. It's stupid, but it's funny stupid. (Coming from someone who laughs at My Name is Earl, consider the source.)
Combine a Desperate Housewives-style theme song, the omnicient narration of a Walgreens commercial (I swear they hired the same guy) to an Edward Scissorhands atmosphere and surreal look and you've got a pretty weird venue. I really liked week one. I was mixed about week two, so next week will probably make me decide whether or not I watch this one.

Anyone else watching?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

White Chocolate-Cranberry Biscotti

Great Gift Idea!

White Chocolate-Cranberry Biscotti

2 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 squares white baking chocolate, chopped
4 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted

PREHEAT oven to 325°F. Mix flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well after each addition. Stir in cereal and white chocolate. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into 14x2-inch log with lightly floured hands; place on greased baking sheet.

BAKE 25 to 30 min. or until lightly browned. Remove from baking sheet. Place on cutting board; cool 10 min. Using a serrated knife, diagonally cut each log into 12 slices; place upright on baking sheet, 1/2 inch apart. Bake an additional 15 to 18 min. or until slightly dried. Remove from baking sheet. Cool on wire racks.

DIP biscotti in melted semi-sweet chocolate. (Or drizzle chocolate over biscotti.) Let stand until set. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.

YIELD: 2 dozen

Photoshop the Stars

You know how I love this stuff. From now on I want a Photoshop professional to do all my pictures.

Wednesday Update

It's official, the contracts are winging their way toward Ontario as you read this. And we got matching his and her phones, isn't that sweet? We didn't have camera phones last time, so this will be fun.