It’s not Black Friday – but it feels like it!

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Salt and Pepper Popcorn

This is a classic. In fact, if I’m going to pop something as a movie snack it will probably be this. (Though I do love a good cheesy popcorn – that I can’t deny.)

On a side note, my mom found the red popcorn. (You can see it in the background) Yes, red. I was curious because I have yellow tinted pop corn kernels and they pop up yellow-ee and then white ones that stay really white. So, I wondered if the red popped up red. It didn’t. What was cool was the husk part stayed red. You can see it if you look close. Some ‘flowers’ have yellow centers and others have red ones. I think it would be a great thing to do for Valentine’s Day or Christmas.



What you’ll need:

2 tablespoons butter (not margarine) cut into small squares

1 tablespoon canola oil

2/3 cup popcorn kernels

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Put the butter, oil, popcorn, salt and pepper in your popcorn popper. (I use this one.) Turn it on and let it do its thing. Then enjoy. When you pop the popcorn in the pepper it infuses into the popcorn and adds just enough kick to make it interesting.


Coconut Popcorn Balls

Here is my newest popcorn experiment.

(I love trying things out – especially when they work out. They don’t always; but more often than not they are at least edible. These turned out superb.)

Since I haven’t walked you through making a popcorn ball before, I thought I’d go ahead and give you the full lesson today.

This recipe is a variation of the “Snow Balls” recipe in my 101 Things to do With Popcorn book now available on Amazon and in your local book store.


What you’ll need:

1 7 oz jar of marshmallow creme

1 teaspoon coconut extract

1 teaspoon vanilla

8 cups popped popcorn

2 cups shredded/toasted coconut

1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon shortening

6 Popsicle sticks

What you do:

Remove the lid to the marshmallow creme and heat in the microwave on half power for 1 minute.

In a small bowl mix the heated creme, coconut extract and vanilla.

Put popcorn in a large mixing bowl. Pour marshmallow mixture over the top and stir to coat.


Secret Trick: Grease your hands with cooking spray before forming balls. Then your hands don’t get sticky.



Take a handful of popcorn and press it into a ball.


Roll the ball in the shredded/toasted coconut.


Insert a Popsicle stick into the top of the ball. Place on wax paper while you form the other balls.


Wash your hands 🙂


Pour chocolate chips and shortening into a small bowl. Microwave for 1 minute on half power. Stir. Microwave at 30 second intervals stirring in between until chocolate is smooth.

Drizzle over popcorn balls. This one was a bit heavy on the chocolate. So I put the chocolate in a small Ziploc, snipped the end off and did a lighter look on the rest. Bug didn’t complain about the extra chocolate when he taste tested for me.



Store in an airtight container or wrap individually. They make wonderful gifts!!!

Peanut Butter Popcorn



I had to put this picture in. I’d planned to put the popcorn in a really cute bowl, add a backdrop and make it all cute for the blog – but the popcorn didn’t make it that far. In fact, it was a good thing I took this shot, otherwise you would just have to take my word for how good this stuff is.

What you’ll need:

8 cups popped popcorn

1/2 cup roasted/salted peanuts

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon shortening

1/2 cup peanut butter chips

1/2 teaspoon shortening


What you do:

Put popcorn and peanuts in a large bowl. Make it a larger bowl than you think you will need. You are going to be mixing an ooey-gooey, lovely smelling mixture in there and you don’t want it coming up over the rim and coating your shirt – trust me.

Melt the semisweet chips and teaspoon of shortening over low heat until smooth. Pour over popcorn and nuts and stir to coat. When I say that, I mean put your spoon on the far side of the bowl, scoop down (under all that good stuff) and pull it up and over on top of itself. This pulls the peanuts and chocolate off the bottom of the bowl and distributes it evenly. Do this until the popcorn is coated in the chocolate. Then spread it out on wax paper. You can snitch now if you’d like.

Melt the peanut butter chips and 1/2 teaspoon shortening just like the chocolate. Put it in a Ziploc sandwich bag, snip the corner off and drizzle it over the popcorn. You can snitch again if you’d like.

Let it set. 

If you can.

Maybe you can hide it in the fridge. That would speed the setting time and keep it out of view. Just put your wax paper over a cookie sheet to make it easy to move around.

Of course, if your kids have noses like bloodhounds (like mine do) then you’re out of luck. That’s what I should name this – Out of Luck Popcorn – 


Switch the amounts of peanut butter chips and chocolate chips. So you coat the popcorn in peanut butter and drizzle the chocolate. You can also leave the nuts out and sprinkle them over the wet chocolate if you’d like. That would look pretty too.

New Year Appetizers

The New Year is almost upon us and that means one thing: 

New Year’s Eve parties!!! 


I love a good party. Since I had my first baby, my New Year’s parties haven’t been all that big. Mostly, it’s just me and the hubby and our motley crew watching movies into the late night. Usually  I’m the only one awake at midnight. But, it’s a wonderful moment because I get to look around my living room at the piles of arms and legs and blankets, hear the soft breathing (and one slightly snoring) loved ones and realize how blessed my year has been. 

This year may be different. Not that I’ll feel any less blessed. It’s just that my kids are getting older now and I may have company at twelve. My youngest is four. Four is big. I’m sure she’ll be out before the ball drops though she might make it to 10:00 p.m. My oldest is 11. He’s on the cusp of teenager. He might make it. Since Hubby has been working like crazy and is pretty worn out – I’m putting him in the with four-year-old.

No matter who makes it to the stroke of midnight, we’ll all be working together during the day to make delicious celebration food. They’ll probably be cheesecake. Okay, there will be cheesecake. We’ll have sparkling cider to drink and I’m leaning toward halibut and shrimp for dinner. The kids will make the appetizers and the spinach salad.

This appetizer recipe is a simple one for kids to make and enjoy. It also teaches them how to use the broil setting on the stove. There aren’t a lot of opportunities for kids to broil, so you will have to show them how your oven works. Ours takes at least four buttons pressed in the correct order to get the broil on. 

Click here to print this recipe.

New Year Appetizers 

Makes 16


1 loaf of baguette bread

4 slices of provolone cheese

1 red delicious apple

1 teaspoon cinnamon


1. Turn your oven on to low broil.

2. Cut the loaf of bread into 16 slices about a half inch thick. Place the bread slices on a cookie sheet.

3. Cut the provolone cheese into 16 slices. Place one slice of cheese on each slice of bread.

4. Cut the apple into 16 slices and place one slice on each piece of bread/cheese. (My apple was really small so I had to use two slices to cover the bread.)

5. Sprinkle with a tiny bit of cinnamon.

6. Broil for 5-10 minutes or until the bread is slightly toasted around the edges and the cheese is melted.

7. Serve warm or cold.

Ice Cream in a Bag

Our TV died in a power surge a couple of months ago and since then we’ve looked for alternative evening activities to keep the kids from getting bored and bugging each other. Not that we were huge TV watchers before, it’s just always seemed to come on around the time of the evening news and then it was a battle to get it off again. 

Confession: I haven’t missed it once!

So last night was a low-key night. Kids did chores and homework, we ate dinner, and then there was a pause. It was almost like we’d come to a fork in the road and had to figure out which path to choose. I nearly panicked trying to come up with something that would take up the short amount of time between dinner and bed and then it came to me – ice cream!


I pulled out a couple industrial-strength zip-top bags and we got to work. The kids were intensely interested. Except for the kinder gardener who had done this about a month ago. He assumed a managerial roll and was in charge of telling us when the ice cream was ready to eat. 



To print this recipe click here.

Ice Cream in a Bag Recipe


1 1/5 cup 2% milk

1/2 cup evaporated milk

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Ice to fill a large zip-top bag half way.

2 tablespoons table salt.


1. Put the milk, evaporated milk, sugar and vanilla in a quart-sized zip top bag. Press the air out of the bag and zip closed and make sure it is sealed tight. You don’t want the salt/water to mix with the ice cream.

2. Put the ice and salt in a gallon-sized zip-top bag.

3. Place the milk bag inside the ice bag. Close the top of the gallon bag making sure you get most of the air out of the bag.

4. Agitate the bags. You can’t throw them around, zip-top bags aren’t that sturdy. We settled on a spin motion. We’d pick up the bottom corner of the bag and pull it to the top. This seemed to work well. Do this for about 10 minutes or until the ice cream becomes firm.