Friday, November 30, 2007

The Great Christmas Tree Tour 2007: WDMCuz

Here is our first tree! This is WDMCuz's tree. The she made the ornaments - they are beads over glass balls in intricate patterns and in different sizes. Cuz had knee surgery recently, and the down time really added to her tree.

It's a beauty, isn't it?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Great Christmas Tree Tour!

Someone sent me a picture that sparked a new idea! Yeah, I know, I'm full of 'em. Scary, huh?

This will only be fun if as many people as possible participate, so are you up to it?

Let's share Christmas trees! They don't photograph that well, I know, because I've done it a gazillion times, but we'll do the best we can and point out our favorite ornaments and memories, okay! Are you in? I love Christmas trees with a passion, I'm sure I've mentioned that before, and enjoy seeing other people's designs and decorations. If you have a Christmas tree story, tell it here, okay?

So, get that tree up and get out that camera! The BlogWorld is waiting!!!

Found this one to get us started. CLICK TO ENLARGE

This is a tree decorated with birds and beads.
Directions on how to can be found by clicking here.

The Cowboy's Christmas Proposal by Judy Christenberry

One snowy Christmas, wedding bells ring!
Penny Bradford has inherited her family ranch, but she has no idea how to run it! So she hires rugged rancher Jake Larson to train her up and show her the ropes. Jake thinks it will be easy—he'll run the ranch and hold Penny's hand until she realizes she isn't cut out for ranching. Trouble is, Jake realizes he doesn't want to let Penny's hand go!As the snow falls thick and fast, Christmas begins to work its magic on the boss and her rancher…

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Help youself to a cup of coffee

A group of alumni, all highly established in their respective careers, got together for a visit with their old university professor.

The conversation soon turned to complaints about the endless stress of work and life in general.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went into the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an eclectic assortment of cups: porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal - some plain, some expensive, some quite exquisite.

Quietly he told them to help themselves to some fresh coffee.

When each of his former students had a cup of coffee in hand, the old professor quietly cleared his throat and began to patiently address the small gathering.

"You may have noticed that all of the nicer looking cups were
taken up first, leaving behind the plainer and cheaper ones. While it is only natural for you to want only the best for yourselves, this is actually the source of much of your stress-related problems."

He continued: "Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to
the coffee. In fact, the cup merely disguises or dresses up what we drink. What each of you really wanted was coffee, not a cup, but you instinctively went for the best cups. Then you began eyeing each other's cups.

"Now consider this: Life is coffee. Jobs, money, and position in
society are merely cups. They are just tools to shape and contain life, and the type of cup we have does not truly define nor change the quality of the life we live.

Often, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee that God has provided us. God brews the coffee, but He does not supply the cups. Enjoy your coffee!"

The happiest people don't have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Oh, yeah.....

You might want to look at the recipe blog today.....

For Debbie Macomber fans: Christmas Wishes

Christmas Letters
Katherine O'Connor (known as K.O.) adores her five-year-old twin nieces—and strongly objects to her sister's plans to dispense with Christmas. Zelda is following the theories of child psychologist Wynn Jeffries, author of The Free Child (and, as it happens, K.O.'s neighbor). K.O. is particularly horrified by his edict to "bury Santa under the sleigh," and she's out to prove that Wynn and his ideas are full of…snow. He's not going to ruin her nieces' Christmas! Too bad the guy's so darned attractive…

Rainy Day Kisses
Seventeen years ago Susannah Simmons was a career girl who knew nothing about babies. But after babysitting her infant niece, Michelle, Susannah learned that one determined—and screaming—baby can make the corporate world look like child's play. Thank goodness for her charming neighbor Nate Townsend. Now he's her charming husband, and Susannah's a mother as well as an aunt. And every Christmas Eve, Michelle tells her cousins how their mom met their dad—a story in which she plays a starring role!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Don't You Love School Pictures!

Here they are - the '07 lineup of lil' darlin's in the order God sent them to us










I love school pictures. They're imperfect; they're natural, and so often personality shines through.

Apples to Apples

Some of you asked about the game we played on Thanksgiving - it’s called Apples to Apples. We laughed so hard, I thought I’d burst my zipper. Oh, wait, that was the turkey and pie. Well, anyway the game’s a lot of fun. Everyone gets seven red cards that contain mostly nouns, and everyone takes turns being the judge. When you’re the judge, you draw a green card that is a descriptive word like cranky or fantastic. Everyone anonymously plays a card on it, and the judge then picks the one they think fits best. The one who wins eight cards first wins. Once you figure out how it works, you can sort of match the card you play to the person judging - unless you have only unhelpful words in your hand.

Always fun to try a new family game.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Winners of Christmas-theme Books!

Hope everyone had a relaxing day after Thanksgiving. We won't discuss football. :-(

I drew two names for the books.

The winners are.....




Please send your addresses to me at:

I also have a copy of A Husband By Any Other Name for the first person who posts here and tells me they don't have one of their very own.


This is a pose we're making a tradition.
Here we are pre-pork out. Still with that look of anticipation.

We have a dilemma. Jen hands me a vegetable peeler when it's time to peel potatoes. What? What am I supposed to do with this? Scrape like this, she says, quickly and efficiently demonstrating the peeler technique. I give it a try, but I love my knuckles and fingertips. May I have a paring knife?" I ask. We search high and low for a paring knife. When one is located, Grandma gets to use it. "See?" I say, there's how you peel a potato."

So we have a question for you: PEELER or PARING KNIFE on potatoes?

The guys and kids play football while dinner is in the works. It was COLD!

After dinner, Jennifer stores food and makes doggie bags for everyone.

A rousing game of Apples and Oranges ensues. I laugh so hard at this game. here Erin and I are disagreeing over whose answer is the best.

Zach assures you Grandma's cookies are pure bliss.

Took this picture at night. This is one lucky porch kitty!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Talk about a conflict of interests!! The Preacher's Daughter, is a contender for Love Western Romances’ Best Western Romance of 2007 as well!!

Starting December 1, 2007 visitors to Love Western will be able to vote for the Best Western Romance of 2007 from the list of books awarded 5 spurs. The voting will run until January 11, 2008 to give fans plenty of time to vote. Each visitor can only vote once.

ONCE - did you get that ONCE!! Oh NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Nominated for an Award!

A Western Winter Wonderland, is a contender for Love Western Romances' Best Western Romance of 2007 by virtue of being awarded a 5 Spur review by Love Western and published in the year 2007.

Starting December 1, 2007 visitors to Love Western will be able to vote for the Best Western Romance of 2007 from the list of books awarded 5 spurs. The voting will run until January 11, 2008 to give fans plenty of time to vote. Each visitor can only vote once.

On Dec 1st I will post all the info so you can go VOTE!

Got leftover turkey?



Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Betsy's Stove

This is timely, Betsy, thank you.

Jay and I went stove browsing on Saturday. I found a convection oven I want. Brenda has one, and I want to hear all about how you guys with convection ovens like them. The kitchen is nowhere near ready, but I AM!! I'm going to be prepared when he says, "Okay, let's get the stove."

Have you actually tried three cookie sheets at one time? Do you use the bright silver ones and not dark-colored cookie sheets?



You realize, all of you will have to send me pics of YOUR flowers next year. LOL

We got a bonus, too! A picture of Betsy's adorable grandbabies.

Yikes, I remember when your KIDS were that age.
Thanks for sharing, Betsy!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Christmas Stories Drawing

See this neat little pile of seven books on my desktop in between printers (and in front of the pics of the best looking kids on the planet)? I'm going to give them away this week. Friday is the biggest Christmas shopping day of the year, and I'm getting into the gift-giving spirit.

Every comment on my blog this week is an entry into the fishbowl. I'll draw names on Friday - in between shopping trips.

It's beginning to look....and all that.

A dilemma for Marvel and Seth

I had an email from a concerned reader who thinks my characters in Christmas Day Family were so real that she considers them real people and is worried about their happily ever after. So here's Ann's question. Tell me what YOU think should happen:

I really enjoyed your story but I have a question. Where will they live after they marry? Marvel is responsible for her two boarders and she cares about them. Because of Liberty's health issues, one couldn't just have someone else take over boarding house and I'm not sure how large the doctor's house is but if they had enough rooms, the move might harm her by getting her out of her comfort zone.

What do you say, readers?

Sherri's Chocolate Cookies

Check out the to die for chocolate cookie recipe. Thank you, Sherri!

Another Week of Erin

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Pirate's (After) Life For Me

A Pirate's (After) Life For Me

Speaking of vandalism, there's been a growing list of incidents perpetrated on attractions at Disneyland that are not only illegal but that are increasingly, well... let's just say disturbing.

The big problem isn't graffiti or hot-to-trot teens in a back row, it's park visitors smuggling in the cremated remains of their loved ones and then spreading the ashes inside a favorite attraction. The Haunted Mansion is by far the most popular location for this, but you'd be surprised where else people are dumping cremated remains at Disneyland.

The craze seems to have gotten its start at the Haunted Mansion, with the earliest known incident taking place in the late 1990's. Ever since then the practice becomes more popular by the year, and it happens so frequently now that Disneyland has trained the ride operators how to handle such an incident and what to do when remains are discovered inside the attraction. Sometimes the person spreading the ashes is seen on the surveillance cameras and the Cast Members can respond quickly.

Because they have been instructed by the Security and Legal departments to never actually detain a park visitor, most of the perpetrators spreading the ashes are never actually caught however, and they disappear into the park. But when a Haunted Mansion Cast Member sees ashes being spread from a passing Doom Buggy, the attraction is cycled out and shut down for hours at a time while the Custodial department comes in and begins the clean up. The Anaheim Police are also involved in the incident, but there's rarely anything they can do about it either.

Sometimes however the cremated ashes aren't found until the end of the night when the Cast Members close down the rides and walk the tracks looking for lost and found. Just last month that situation occurred when a Cast Member at the Haunted Mansion found several piles and a trail of ashes alongside the ride track. The Anaheim Police and Disneyland Security were summoned, and judging by the large amount of ashes this deposit was likely a small group of deceased people, or perhaps a very large married couple. The police identified the substance as human remains, and the custodial crew came in for the clean up.

To respond to this growing problem, Disneyland's custodial department recently had to purchase special vacuums with very sophisticated HEPA filters that can capture the gritty ash of human remains while also capturing the small bone fragments that can also be present after cremation. The Cast Members who work in Attractions know the code words when calling the custodial hotline, and they tell the custodial dispatcher that they need a "HEPA Cleanup" as soon as possible.

While the rate of "HEPA Cleanups" has been increasing lately at the Haunted Mansion, the recent Pirates of the Caribbean movie craze (with its supernatural plot themes) means that ride isn't immune either. Just this past Friday a Cast Member watching the security cameras noticed a woman in the back of a boat throwing a powdery substance into the lavishly decorated sets in the cavern scenes near the beginning of the ride. Even though Pirates is a 15 minute long ride, by the time the lady spreading the substance returned to the loading area Security had yet to arrive.

The college age Cast Members operating the attraction knew that legally they were not supposed to detain anyone, and when they confronted her about what she was doing in the cameras she told them she was only throwing baby powder around. The woman quickly disappeared out the exit, never to be seen again, but she'd actually left more than baby powder all over the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Security and the police finally arrived, and the ride was shut down on a busy afternoon of a holiday weekend. The ash was identified by the Anaheim Police as cremated remains, and the custodial department found most of it all over the "Captain's Quarters" scene in the caverns. The woman had done a very thorough job of spreading the ash everywhere though, and after an hour of cleaning with the HEPA vacuums there was still work to be done.

Because those lavish sets are maintained by costumers and maintenance crews that don't come in until Midnight, and with a growing crowd of cranky tourists outside wanting to know when Pirates would reopen, Disneyland management was faced with the decision of reopening the popular ride with ash remaining on the bedspreads, props and antiques in the caverns.

While custodial did a thorough job of cleaning the ash from the rockwork and the areas closest to the passing boats, much of the cremated remains would have to stay there until the set could be dismantled and cleaned completely after the park closed for the night. So after a lengthy downtime, Pirates of the Caribbean was reopened by management with the remains of a very devoted fan still spread through much of the Captains Quarters.

The growing phenomenon of cremated remains being spread inside Disneyland rides is obviously a tough situation for the park. It has trained its ride operators to try and respond as effectively as possible, and yet there's not much else they can legally do about it short of staffing a police officer at the Haunted Mansion every day. The example just this last weekend at Pirates of the Caribbean however shows that no ride is really immune. And many attractions at Disneyland still operate with no security cameras at all. The Matterhorn only has three grainy cameras that cover the lift up the mountain, with the rest of the bobsled run entirely unseen. If Uncle Bert was a big Matterhorn fan, he may have been sprinkled inside without anyone knowing.

It's a Small World is another long, fifteen minute ride that doesn't have a single security camera anywhere. All sorts of illicit things happen inside Small World at the end of the night, and leaving Grandma's remains in there to listen to that catchy song for all eternity is definitely a possibility. Disneyland installed a security camera years ago inside the Snow White ride to catch people trying to steal the apple from the witch's hand, but there are still many popular attractions without any surveillance system where illegal dumping of human ashes is still an option.

The residue is often found at the end of the night however, and most of the people who carry out a last request by spreading a loved one's remains at The Happiest Place On Earth likely don't know the less-than-reverential end they meet at the hands of the ultra-efficient Disneyland Custodial Department.

A Week of Erin #3

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Turkey Ooo LaLa

1. Cut out aluminum foil in desired shapes.
2. Arrange the turkey in the roasting pan, position the foil carefully.
3. Roast according to your own recipe and serve.
4. Watch your guests' faces.

May your stuffing be tasty.
your turkey be plump;
May your potatoes and gravy
never have a lump.
May your yams be delicious
and your pies take the prize,
and may your Thanksgiving dinner
stay off your thighs!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

This is just wrong

You know I have a comment every year. This time my reaction is...

People's "sexiest man alive" list began in 1985 with Mel Gibson. Others on the list: Clooney (1997 and 2006), Pitt (1995 and 2000), Denzel Washington (1996) and Johnny Depp (2003).

Matt Damon? Who voted?

A week of Erin #2

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Come on in....

This is my tea cart with a rose theme. At Christmas I do a holiday theme.




Compare The Preacher's Daughter cover to Jillian Hart's upcoming February Love Inspired Hisorical.

Compare Covers again!


Nora Fans!

Message from Romance Novel TV:

For one day ONLY, tomorrow Wednesday November 14th, Nora Roberts will be a guest author on our message board. You’ll have a chance to chat with Nora all day long, stop by at

We'll also be premiering a new segment of Nora's interview; she tell us all about her new Sign of Seven trilogy.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Please, come on in....

Continuing this week's theme:

This is our cozy family room. We don't use the fireplace often, thus the shutters.
Those are Thomas Kincaids church scenes over the sofa. This room will be painted before long, too. I already have the colors.