Thursday, September 27, 2012

Some of My Favorite Authors

I'm often asked what I enjoy reading and who my favorite authors are. Here are a few of them. I'll list more later.

Unforgettable by Trish Perry
Mary's Blessing by Lena Nelson Dooley
Spring Hope by Martha Rogers
Smitten by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter

I've recently finished reading some pre-released books that aren't available yet. As soon as they are, I'll post them.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Wildlife Sightings

One of the many things I do almost everyday is go for a long three- or four-mile walk through several different neighborhoods and between a couple of lakes. Here in Florida we have wildlife not typically seen in other areas - like alligators. Here's a picture of one I saw resting on the bank a couple weeks ago.

He was about twenty yards from the sidewalk, and that's about as close to them as I'll get. I still didn't waste time moving on after snapping this shot. A few minutes later, I spotted an armadillo scurrying toward a wooded area near the swamp. He moved too quickly to take his picture. 

Most of the time, these animals leave humans alone, unless they are provoked or fed. Once alligators see people as a source of food, they become aggressive. It's against the law to feed alligators, and when I see people who don't understand this, I don't hesitate to speak up.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Some of My Etiquette Articles

As the etiquette guide for, I spend quite a bit of time thinking about all kinds of good manners and when to apply them. What I’ve come to realize is that etiquette is something we all need to think about every moment of the day. Being polite to your family before you step foot outside the door is essential to a happy home life.

Following common courtesy on the road will help you get to work without someone making an obscene gesture. Observing proper office etiquette is necessary if you want to keep your job or be considered for a promotion. And if you want to be invited back to a friend’s house, you need to show good manners.

Here are some articles you may enjoy:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Happy National Apple Dumpling Day!

If you’re an apple dumpling fan who is trying to be careful about what you eat, you don’t have to give up something you enjoy. Just make a few modifications, and you can celebrate without blowing your healthy diet!

Apple Dumplings
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 tart apple
  • 1 can of low-fat crescent rolls
  • 1/2 cup apple juice or cider
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Ground cinnamon
  1. Spray your baking dish with nonstick cooking spray
  2. Peel apple and remove the core. Cut it into 8 long slices.
  3. Roll out the dough and roll each apple slice into each of the rolls
  4. Place the rolls in the baking dish in a single layer
  5. Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan until it is at room temperature. Remove from heat.
  6. Add the apple juice, agave, and vanilla. Stir.
  7. Pour the liquid over the apple dumplings and sprinkle with the ground cinnamon.
  8. Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 35 minutes.

Serve with low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt.

Photo courtesy of Gleangenie on

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Christian Fiction Online Magazine

Kim Ford interviewed me for this month’s ChristianFiction Online Magazine, and it’s still available. She asked me several questions about my career, but my favorite thing we discussed was the Bloomfield series. There are eight authors writing this series set in the small town of Bloomfield populated by quirky characters who don't mind meddling in each other's lives.

Bloomfield authors:
Gail Sattler
Kathi Macias
Martha Rogers
Trish Perry
Miralee Ferrell
Jenness Walker
Tracy Bowen

The first book is Waiting for a View, a straight-to-digital release, and it’s available at the following places:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tips to Avoid the Temptation to Eat Fast Food

As busy as everyone has become, it’s no wonder that fast food restaurants have sprung up on practically every corner in towns and cities across the U.S. Even today, as more news about how our eating habits are creating health issues in epidemic numbers, we continue to say, “Just this once…” as we pull up to the drive-thru, knowing that we’re getting unhealthy doses of sodium, sugar, and preservatives with names we can’t pronounce.

I challenge you to try something different. Create your own fast-food meals that are healthy and delicious. In the beginning, it may require some preparation time, but it will be worth the effort. Not only will you be feeding your family much healthier foods, you may find a little extra change at the end of the week from the savings.

    Quick and easy foods for eating on the run:
  • Washed and cut fresh fruit
  • Washed and cut veggies—celery sticks, carrots, broccoli florets, and bell peppers
  • Mini peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat bread—cut into quarters and put into individual sandwich bags
  • Homemade trail mix with healthy ingredients—nuts, cereal squares, nuts, seeds, and dark chocolate chips
  • Tuna (from single-serving pouches) and whole grain crackers
  • Pizza made with a whole wheat tortilla crust and chopped fresh veggies

It won’t take long to get into a healthy routine. And I bet you can come up with some of your own quick-and-easy, delicious snacks and meals.

Photo courtesy of Lebewesen at

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Happy National Procrastination Day!

One thing I’ve never been is a procrastinator, so I don’t feel entitled to celebrate. However, there are enough people out there who like to put things off, so it should be quite a party.

    Now for the advice that is so cliché:
  • Waited too long to send the invitations? Don’t worry. I’m sure the invitees would have put them on their stacks of to-be-read mail, and they're probably still there. Give them a call.
  • If you have enough people to put on a decent celebration but waited until the last minute to pick up refreshments, don’t fret. Call for pizza delivery.
  • After the party is over, there’s no point in cleaning up right away. It’ll still be there tomorrow.

Photo courtesy of Alvimann on

Monday, September 3, 2012

Healthy Eating

I’m from the South, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I love fried chicken, fried catfish, fried okra, and…see the pattern here? Oh, and pass a biscuit, and I’ll take a slab of butter. Eek! Add a piece of pecan pie for dessert, and you have a heart attack waiting to happen. I knew something had to change if I expected to watch my grandchildren grow up.

Being a foodie, I’m not one who will sacrifice flavor, so I’ve learned to substitute ingredients in recipes. I’ve learned that plain yogurt tastes (almost) exactly like sour cream on potatoes or in recipes. Smoothies made with nothing but fresh or frozen fruit and sweetened with…nothing else are delicious. You can even substitute unsweetened applesauce for the egg and oil in cake recipes. When I feel an urge to eat a Reece’s Cup, I smear a little natural peanut butter on a couple squares of dark chocolate, and I have the flavor without the guilt.

    Here are some more substitutions—some I’ve tried and some I haven’t yet:
  • Meringue for frosting
  • Pureed avocado for anything creamy
  • Spaghetti squash for pasta
  • Steamed and pureed cauliflower for mashed potatoes
  • Quinoa for any starchy side dish
  • Black beans for flour
  • Mashed banana for fat
  • Ground turkey for ground beef
  • Coconut milk for cream
  • Almond milk for cow’s milk

Photo courtesy of Jeltovski on