The Hungry Family

Feeding My Family Body and Soul


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Christmas Gift Tag Printable

Can you feel the crispness in the air?

The promise of a while Christmas?

The anticipation?

I feel it all the way down to my bones! If you’re missing that special feeling that only comes around once a year, try playing your favorite holiday music or looking for new artists and songs to liven up the holidays. (Celtic Women Christmas is one of my favorites and it never fails to bring that swelling of the heart.)

Another way to bring the holiday cheer is to read stories that center around the Spirit of Christmas, like Christmas Kisses, Blue Christmas, or North for Christmas. Each book has a sweet romance, some have some rock and roll, and they all have a special Christmas message.

If, after all that, you’re still not in the mood for egg nog, try taking a plate of Christmas cookies to your neighbors. One of the best ways to bring the feelings of love and joy into our lives is to create them. Don’t sit around and hope holly and mistletoe fall into your lap, get up and make it happen. AND, to help out with that, I’ve created a beautiful gift tag to help you spread joy to the world. 🙂 It can be used on presents under the tree, goodie plates for neighbors, or office gifts.

Gift Tag

To print a page of tags (9 tags in all) simply click here.

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


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Don’t just rush through the holidays–3 tips for making the moment count

What is it we all crave during the holidays? Chocolate? For sure. But what do we really want from all our efforts? Why do we put up the tree and tangle with the same strands of temperamental lights every year or dig through 45 awful sweaters to find the ONE that will fulfill Mom’s wish list? What we’re looking for is a sense of family, a connection, that love and peace promised in every tiny Christmas song heard throughout department stores the Nation over. It’s that feeling we worked to capture in Christmas Kisses: An Echo Ridge Anthology and it’s that feeling that Connie Sokol wants to help us find this Christmas. I’ll turn the post over to her and let her get to it.

3 Tips to Simplify & Savor the Season by Connie E. Sokol

The holidays are upon us and like many women, my mature response often goes like this: panic, stare, shudder and roll over, desperately clutching a tin of Danish butter cookies.

But no more. This year, women can enjoy the holidays with a few simple and useable tips.

Step 1. Focus on a feeling

This seemingly warm, fuzzy consideration might be overlooked but is actually the underlying driver of a memorable holiday. Answer this question ahead of time: What feeling do I and my family want to experience and remember the most this holiday season?

The particular feeling isn’t as crucial as being intentional about it. Choose a feeling that fits your needs or desires: peaceful, exciting, joyful or spiritually grounding.

What matters most is that you choose what matters to you and your family. Then ask each member to choose one family tradition that is the most meaningful. As you enjoy those traditions, each person will experience that personally satiated, contented feeling.

2. Get the family buy-in.

Too often women feel solely responsible for creating a successful holiday season. But when we involve our families, they feel more joy, create memories, and learn life skills. To do this takes getting the buy-in — meaning holding a semi-official meeting to ensure that with time, energy and enthusiasm, the family will put aside electronics to help hang the holly wreaths.

The holidays are for family, so let them help. Let go of your inner controlling Mrs. Claus, and understand that even she uses elves (I have it on good authority). When everyone pitches in, each can enjoy the experience and you can let go of “The Mom Show.” Not only is that a gift here and now for you, but it is also a future gift for your children, because they will use those life skills year after year and prepare them to be stellar adults (and relieve your holiday stress).

3. Keep it simple

Especially during the holidays, conventional wisdom encourages women to consciously review and reduce their expectations, because emotional and physical overload can create “yo-yo” emotions. Too much to do combined with the desire to please too many people can create a lose-lose situation.

So the point here is, to keep it simple. Ask yourself:

• Am I doing this to create family memories or for show?

• Am I making this because I love my family or to check it off the list?

• Am I being present in the moment and enjoying this event or am I thinking ahead to when it will be done, or planning the next thing?

Consider how much holiday stress you’ll eliminate by focusing on those who matter most and not on how someone might perceive you or your item, event or decor.

The holidays can be a time of joy and peace and giving. With a bit of simple organization and intentional savoring, we can experience just that.

Happy Holidays,

Connie Sokol

Mother, Author, Speaker

http://www.fromthelivingroom.com–Downloads

Website, Twitter, Facebook

Enjoy a little more holiday cheer with the delightful, Christmas Kisses, a collection from five bestselling and award-winning authors for only $.99.

Set in the snowy town of Echo Ridge in upstate New York, these inspirational romances are sure to delight while you sip cocoa by the fire and listen to Christmas carols.

***$.99 November 3 – 7***

Amazon * Barnes and Noble * Kobo * iTunes * Smashwords

Add it to Goodreads

 

The Candy Counter Heiress by Lucy McConnell Amazon bestselling & award-winning author

Someday Reese Gates will own The Candy Counter at Kenworth’s; but someday can’t come fast enough when the manager threatens to bring in a national candy provider. Reese secretly takes matters into her own hands hoping to save her parents from additional worry and prove herself capable of running the company. Her deception deepens as she ropes computer guru Andy Edwards into helping her expand the business. Reese wanted to shake things up, but she wasn’t planning on her heart getting caught in the mix by Andy’s stolen kisses. If she can hold it together until after Christmas, then she can reveal her successful online company and her feelings for Andy. Unfortunately for Reese, even the best laid plans can melt like chocolate.

https://lucymcconnell.wordpress.com/ * https://www.facebook.com/ChristinaDymock?fref=ts

Christmas Makeover by Cami Checketts Amazon bestselling author

Chelsea Jamison has been infatuated with Drew Stirling longer than she’s loved playing basketball, high-top sneakers, and the Knicks. Unfortunately, all Drew sees is the kid who kicked his trash in the high school free throw contest and not the girl whose heart breaks into a fast dribble when he’s near.

Drew makes an unexpected visit home to Echo Ridge and their friendship picks up where they left off as they scheme to make a teenaged boy’s Christmas dreams come true. When Chelsea realizes she’s fallen for her best friend, she wonders if there is any hope of a relationship with Drew or if she’s stuck in buddy-status for life.

http://www.camichecketts.com * https://www.facebook.com/CamiCheckettsAuthor

Soda Fountain Christmas by Connie E. Sokol Amazon bestselling author

Keira Kenworth has one focus this holiday season: save her father’s old-time department store from bankruptcy. She is not focused on Tayton Wells, the tall, dark, and genius marketing guru from downtown New York, hired to make it happen. He is as doubtful that her nostalgic connect-the-town ideas will succeed as she is about his numbers-first plan. However, it’s not just their different approaches that cause sparks to fly. Working together on a fast deadline to save the store before Christmas, the unspoken connection between them grows. But will the tough decisions they face drive them back to their separate worlds, or will they lead to the beginning of love?

http://www.conniesokol.com * https://www.facebook.com/8basics?_rdr=p

Hope for Christmas by Rachelle J. Christensen Amazon bestselling & award-winning author

Anika Fletcher hates Christmas–its promises of good tidings and hope for the future are as tinseled as the ornaments on Kenworth’s Hope Tree. Despite her feelings, Anika wants to maintain her daughter’s faith in the magic of the season and gladly accepts a second job working with the handsome Carlos Rodriguez to restore Kenworth’s old fashioned soda fountain. Carlos is no stranger to hard times and slowly shares his life of light and joy with Anika as they work together. Just as her fragile soul begins to feel hope again, an ill-timed act of charity changes everything. Anika isn’t sure who she can trust or if hope is worth nurturing–especially at Christmas when it’s easy to enjoy a kiss and believe love can last longer than the season.

http://www.facebook.com/rachellechristensenauthor * http://rachellechristensen.com/

One Winter Night by Heather Tullis Amazon bestselling author

Jonah Owens thought moving to Echo Ridge to open his art gallery would solve all of his problems. The need to sell his grandma’s house adds an unexpected complication. It would be easier if his neighbor didn’t have all those farm animals.

Kaya Feidler’s family has owned their land for nearly a hundred years–long before the neighbors were there. There’s no way she’s giving up the animal therapy business she’s been struggling to make profitable. She gets a temp job helping Jonah in the gallery. Spending time together is a recipe for romance, but can they overcome their own hangups to be more than friends?

http://heathertullis.com/ * https://www.facebook.com/HeatherTullisBooks

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Turkey Joe Recipe

This week is a busy week. Between the release of Echo Ridge, the start of the holiday season, and the candy high the kids are riding after Halloween, we could use some hearty and healthy food. These Turkey/Veggie Joes from The Healthy Family Slow Cooker Cookbook are perfect. They cook the day away in the slow cooker and are hot and ready to serve just in time for my big and busy boys.

Turkey Veggie Sloppy Joes (5)

Turkey, Veggie Sloppy Joe
Serves 6

Ingredients
1 pound ground turkey
2 celery ribs
1 green or yellow pepper
½ cup chopped broccoli or cauliflower
½ cup chopped carrots
1 green onion chopped
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon cilantro
3 tablespoons no salt added tomato sauce
6 crusty wheat rolls

Directions
Place the turkey in the slow cooker. Add the celery, pepper, broccoli or cauliflower, carrots, onion, honey, vinegar, and cilantro. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Remove the turkey and cut it into ÂĽ inch pieces. Return it to the slow cooker and combine with veggies. Add the tomato sauce and allow to cook for 30-45 minutes longer. Cut the rolls in half and fill with meat sauce. Top with additional veggies if desired and serve.


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HUGE BOOK SALE!!!

Because it’s release week for Christmas Kisses and we’re all so excited, we decided to organize a multi-author book sale. Talk about the perfect time to stock your Kindle!! All the books featured on this sale are only $.99 and they are all amazing!

Don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter giveaway for $200 in Christmas Cash found at the bottom of the post.

Happy book shopping!

Christmas Kisses: An Echo Ridge Anthology

Christmas Kisses is a collection from five bestselling and award-winning authors. Set in the snowy town of Echo Ridge in upstate New York, these inspirational romances are sure to delight while you sip cocoa by the fire and listen to Christmas carols.

Amazon * iTunes * Barnes & Noble * Smashwords * Kobo * Goodreads

Brownies & Betrayal by Heather Justesen

Pastry chef Tess Crawford thought moving from Chicago to quiet Silver Springs, Arizona would simplify her life. That was before she found the body of a woman with whom she had traded heated words the previous night, left her fingerprints on

the murder weapon, and came under attack for trying to clear her name. When her cheating ex-fiance shows up, intent on convincing her to come back to work for him, Tess—armed with an extra batch of éclairs—decides to take control and solve the mystery herself, with the help of friends and frenemies alike.

But will that be enough to save her when she gets too close and the killer decides it’s safer to get her out of the way?

Simplify & Savor the Season by Connie E. Sokol

Ready to enjoy the holidays again? Use this two-part holiday organizer to help you savor the celebrations. In the first half of the book, brainstorm the Big Four; then, detail the To Dos including menu, gift-planning, etc. with success tips on how to eliminate the unnecessary and focus on the essential. Wrap up with “5 Holiday Juicers” to make life joyful. Keep your notes handy in the companion Simplify & Savor Take-along Planner.

With the second half of the book. curl up with a cup of cocoa and read “Savory Suggestions and Stories,” a collection of laugh-out-loud anecdotal stories including “Let Go of the Cookie Cutter Christmas” and “Thankful for Turkey Warbling”. Make this holiday season one you remember and enjoy!

Diamond Rings are Deadly Things by Rachelle J. Christensen

Adrielle Pyper knows how to plan a wedding, and she’s especially good at pleasing bridezillas. But when her biggest client and best friend is murdered just three days before the wedding, Adri’s world falls apart. She moves to the resort town of Sun Valley, Idaho, and starts from scratch. Thanks to Adri’s impeccable taste and unique style, she lands two celebrity clients, and her business seems headed for success—until someone vandalizes the specialty wedding dresses she imported from overseas. Adri must race to uncover the secret hidden within the yards of satin and lace before she becomes the next victim.

With a delightful blend of mystery, toe-curling kisses, humor, and spine-tingling thrills, Diamond Rings are Deadly Things will keep you turning pages long into the night.

A Baker’s Dozen by Lucy McConnell

Tempt your sweet tooth with 13 delicious, easy, and beautiful dessert recipes. Each recipe has been time-tested and found irresistible. You’ll horde the Lemon Brownies but you might be willing to share the Rock and Roll Cake—with a good friend.

Recipes include: Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Cookies, Pumpkin Bunt Cake, S’mores Cheesecake, No-Fail Lemon Bars

Impress your coworkers, family, friends, and even the guys at the car repair shop with these recipes. They’re sure to become favorites in your recipe box, lunch box, and ice box.

The Colony by Cami Checketts

To protect her sons from the mistakes of her past, Brinlee Trapper escapes to a secluded mountain home. But there are dangers lurking in the mountains she has never encountered. The little family is saved from injury by Jed, a mysterious hunter. Brinlee is drawn to him, but she worries about his involvement with a peaceful commune hidden deep in the mountains behind her property.

Lance, Brinlee’s attentive neighbor, has his own troubled history. Between his obvious attraction to Brinlee and his developing love for her children, Brinlee finds it more than difficult to guard her heart against this tender intrusion.

While Jed offers a life of excitement and freedom, Lance holds the key to the family Brinlee always wanted. When it comes time to choose, she learns that both men have secrets that could shatter her fledgling trust in men and the wrong decision could leave more than her heart exposed to danger.

Torn Canvas by Donna K. Weaver

Modern-day pirates took more than Jori Virtanen’s friends; they stole his face. Not only does the twenty-four-year-old former model have to confront months of reconstructive surgery, he discovers his previous life was as superficial as his looks. Up-and-coming talk show host Olivia Howard wants an interview. She, like the rest of the press, expects a hero, but Jori knows the truth. His beauty masks a beast.

In seclusion and evading the press, Jori struggles to make a new life as an artist. But he can’t hide from himself; more than his face is damaged. How can Jori possibly make amends for all that he’s broken? When Olivia finally tracks him down, he must decide if he can trust her. Could this unlikely woman be a key to freeing his heart and healing the beast?

The audiobook is only $1.99 with the purchase of the ebook.

Son of War Daughter of Chaos by Janette Rallison

Aislynn is accustomed to watching for the enemy. Her parents instructed her from the time she was young to look for people with the signs: greater than normal strength, eyes that can glow green, and the ability to jump long distances. Over the years, Aislynn has come to view her parents’ fears as quirks-things that get in the way of having a normal high school life. When Aislynn’s mother dies under suspicious conditions, her father doubles his restrictions. But all his precautions can’t stop the boy with glowing green eyes from finding Aislynn. She realizes too late she’s been drafted into an ancient Egyptian war, whether she’s prepared or not.

Vocal Crush by Lisa Swinton

Can you ever out run a broken heart?

Lexi Court spent seven years traveling the world, living the nomadic Broadway life, in an attempt to outrun the broken heart Nick Rivers gave her. Now, there’s nowhere left to go.

When she accepted a position as a high school drama teacher in Las Vegas, Lexi hoped to get over Nick, find a nice guy, and settle down. But what should be a quiet summer gets turned upside down when Lexi’s best friend, Taffy, drafts her to be an emergency replacement coach on a televised vocal competition.

Feeling out of her league among the other three celebrity coaches, Lexi fights for the most promising contestants to be on her team. One note from a single voice shatters her summer. Nick unexpectedly auditions and joins Lexi’s team. With her vocal crush on him raging as strong as ever, she has nowhere to run from Nick’s dreamy looks or siren voice.

Lexi has no doubt that Nick can win the competition. The question is does he want to win her heart as well or will he damage it beyond repair?

Think television reality show The Voice meets Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

Picture Perfect by U.S.A. Today Bestseller Heather B. Moore

Gemma has never done anything out of the ordinary, until her boyfriend Randy starts to ignore her. But even cutting and dyeing her hair doesn’t get his attention. She decides to join her old high school friends for spring vacation, only to be faced with Drew, her best friend who suddenly seems interested in her as more than a friend. Gemma must determine if her heart is on the rebound or if it’s finally met its true match.

Endless Modern Cinderella by Jaclyn Weist

Sydney lives her nightmares every night. While other teenagers are dreaming of boys or traveling to exotic places, she must run a staircase with no beginning or no end, or a terrible debt will never be paid.

Just before her seventeenth birthday, the dreams change. She is no longer alone.

But her nightmares don’t end when she wakes up. Her stepmother and stepsisters threaten to ruin everything she holds dear. She must protect the secret that both she and her father have magic or they will use it to their advantage.

As Sydney learns to control her magic, what seemed impossible before—escaping her stepmother and those ever-present stairs—is now at her fingertips. When she learns the ultimate plan of her evil captor, Sydney must stop her at all costs, or she will forever be trapped inside her nightmares.

Cookie Girl Christmas by Christene Houston

Molly Hayes has one more job before Christmas and then she can put her plans for a storefront bakery of her own in motion. What she doesn’t bargain for is the handsome young Scrooge who insults her cookies and makes her blood boil. Toss in a heaping helping of snowstorm and a pinch of romantic old Inn and you’ve got yourself the perfect recipe for a not-so-silent-night.

And Something Blue by Paige Timothy

Bridal consultant Laurie Fletcher spends all her time helping others prepare for the most special day of their lives. Logan Reese is easily the most irritating man on the planet, and for some reason, he’s made annoying Laurie his mission in life. Will true love ever come Laurie’s way, or is she doomed to watch others get their happily ever after while she sits on the sidelines?

Six Days of Christmas by Kaylee  Baldwin

When Natalie goes home with her best friend for Christmas, she expects plenty of quiet time to work on a winning ad so she can turn her dream internship into her dream job. Instead, she gets time-consuming Christmas festivities, a house full of children who seem to be multiplying, and Jimmy, her best friend’s brother—someone who makes her question everything she’s always thought she wanted.

Ring Around the Rosie by Julie Coulter Bellon

As the ex-wife of a law enforcement officer, Sarah Reed has known loneliness and loss. In order to cope, she makes a life for herself that’s full of routine while building a wall of ice around her heart. Everything about her is as predictable as she can make it until a tiny detour for her ex-husband, Ron, changes her life forever. Caught in a bomb crisis, Sarah is taken hostage by a man who wants Ron and everyone around him to suffer—and his idea of suffering is more terrible than Sarah had ever dreamed.

Captain Ron Reed has seen the worst of humanity in his job with the Hostage Negotiation Team, but he never expected his past to come back with a vengeance—literally. Aaron Starks, a criminal explosives expert, has stolen next-gen bomb technology. He uses it to force Ron to bargain for the lives of his team and his ex-wife, Sarah, the woman he still loves. But the situation escalates when Ron discovers that Starks has an even bigger objective in mind—using the bomb to show how vulnerable America and her people truly are.

Ron is willing to risk everything to save his country and those he loves, but when negotiations break down, will his sacrifice be too little too late?

Yesterday by Amanda Tru

Her yesterday was five years ago. What will her tomorrow bring?

When Hannah Kraeger saves a family injured in a car accident, she has no idea she has changed events in the past. Waking the next morning, Hannah discovers her yesterday was really five years ago.

Each trip Hannah takes through time changes the timeline and her own life. With help from Dr. Seth McAllister, Hannah must unravel the mystery of why she time travels and who she actually is before the strange ability costs her future, the man she loves, and even her life.

YESTERDAY is a thrilling Christian Romantic Suspense filled with unexpected twists, mystery, and romance.

My One and Only by Shannon Guymon

Meredith Jensen has seen her share of ups and downs. She’s found love twice already and lost it in spectacularly traumatic ways. Now? She just wants a peaceful life, free from love and drama. Meredith’s plans for the future center around planning other people’s weddings and her new online dating website. Just because she works to help other people find love doesn’t mean she wants any part of it though. Unfortunately for Meredith’s plans, Asher Murphy is determined to get her to give love another chance. But then again, so is Pule Matafeo. Meredith has never denied that she’s stubborn and feisty so it might take the combined forces of all their friends in Fircrest to get her heart back on track in time for Valentine’s Day.

Stealing Adda by Tamara Leigh

WRITER’S BLOCK, NIBBLED NAILS, PLAGIARISM, OH MY! AND DID I MENTION ROMANCE? Life for Adda Sinclaire, New York Times best-selling author and historical romance writer extraordinaire, reads more like a country song than a breathless, bodice-bursting affair. For starters, she has no romance in her own life. That might have something to do with the fact that her husband—correction, ex-husband—ran off with Stick Woman, whom everyone knew would never be more than a mid-list author anyway. To add insult to injury (and another verse to the country song), her ex not only took their dog but gave it to Stick Woman. If that isn’t enough, Adda has come down with a horrible case of writer’s block, finds herself gifted with a Bible that is determined to speak to her, and is the unwitting target of a romance cover model’s misdirected advances. Just when she catches her breath—and quite possibly the eye of a certain fabulously good-looking man (ahem…her new editor)—her arch-nemesis gives the pot one final stir.

Spy by Night by Jordan McCollum

After watching her parents’ marriage crash and burn, CIA operative Talia Reynolds doesn’t believe in “happily ever afters.” Besides, her job entails eighty-hour weeks, juggling a dozen covers and disguises, and tracking down a dangerous Russian spy ring. She hardly has time for romantic entanglements, even if she could let her guard down enough to get close to anyone.But all the rules she lives by could be broken when she meets aerospace engineer Danny Fluker.

Danny moved to Canada for a great job — and a chance to start over after a bad breakup. Dating definitely isn’t in his plans . . . until beautiful and enigmatic Talia throws a perfect storm right in his flight path. When he catches a glimpse of the real woman behind her façade, he has to get to know her better.

Talia has to find a Russian spymaster before he figures out she’s not who she claims, and failing to keep her two lives separate in the process could mean the death of more than just her budding relationship. Danny has to decide if a future with Talia — and facing the past — is worth the risk of getting hurt again. If they can break through the barriers keeping them apart (and avoid a major international catastrophe), they just might have a chance at being happy together.

Saving Grace by Michele Paige Holmes

From #2 Amazon Bestselling Historical Romance Author and Whitney Award Winner, Michele Paige Holmes, comes SAVING GRACE, a regency romance from the Hearthfire Romance series:

After the death of her grandfather, the Duke of Salisbury, Grace Thatcher wants nothing more than to live quietly in the country with her younger siblings. Her father’s debts thwart those plans, and to protect her sister, Helen, Grace must marry a man of her father’s choosing.

As each suitor proves less than desirable, Grace comes up with clever schemes, causing each to reject her. While staying at the mysterious Sutherland Hall, a middle-of-the-night mishap sends Grace into the arms of a stranger, Nicholas Sutherland—and provides inspiration for her grandest plan yet—one that will leave her reputation in tatters yet free both her and Helen from all possibility of marriage.

Too late Grace regrets her rash actions when her father’s last choice, Mr. Samuel Preston, proves to be a gentleman and a friend. But Samuel is the sworn enemy of Nicholas Sutherland, the man responsible for her “ruin.” Now instead of being free, Grace is caught between two men—each with his own agenda.

Other Hearthfire Romances: LOVING HELEN & MARRYING CHRISTOPHER

An Unexpected Proposal by Annette Lyon

While working at a wood camp in the Logan canyon during the winter of 1880, Caroline Simpson is forced to thwart the aggressive advances of Mr. Butch Larson, and in the process discovers that her long-time friend James has genuine affection for her. But as stubborn as Caroline is, she minimizes the emotions James has awakened in her, and it takes almost losing him to admit her true feelings.

 An Unexpected Proposal was introduced in the first volume of the bestselling and award-winning Timeless Romance Anthology series, Winter Collection:

Amazon #1 Bestselling *New Release* in Clean Romance, Top 10 in Regency Romance, Top 5 in Victorian Romance

Paris Cravings by Amazon #1 Best Selling Author for Clean Romance, Kimberley Montpetit

Can life really turn on a dime, a missed bus—or a stuck pastry shop door?

Chloe Dillard’s life has always been complicated. Her mother is a neurotic romance novelist and her boyfriend, Mathew, has been pressuring her to go “all the way”.

But after The Worst Night of Her Life, Chloe escapes on her Senior Class trip to the swoon-worthy city of Paris which takes her mind off her troubles—temporarily. On the final leg of her dream trip, Chloe squeezes in one final run for a last-minute box of decadent pastries. Add a broken shop door, subtract a broken four-inch heel from her cute strappy sandals, and Chloe ends up one stuck girl on the bakery shop floor with a sprained ankle.

Rescued by the shop owner’s dreamy son with chocolate-syrup eyes, the beautiful city of Paris suddenly becomes Chloe’s personal secret adventure. And even though Jean-Paul, the oh-so-kind La Patisserie shop boy is the gentlemanly guy Chloe has always dreamed of, even he has a girlfriend.

The police are tracking her down as a run-away, Mom’s having a nervous breakdown over her daughter’s “disappearance”, and Chloe’s just trying to have a Happily-Ever-After even as her dreams with Matt are swirling down the drain.

What’s a girl to do in the most romantic city in the world?

Easy Pastry Recipe in the back of the book!

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Release Day (It’s Finally Here!!)

I want to celebrate this day by eating chocolate with all of you!!

My kids often ask, “If you could have one special power, what would you want?” Of course, they mean the ability to fly (which could be handy when we’re running late for the school bus) or lasers shooting from my eyes (also handy for cooking dinner) or super speed (great for cleaning the house in the blink of an eye) but what I would really want, would be the ability to make baked goods appear out of thin air and then send them to anywhere in the world on a thought. I believe that power is the true path to world peace.

canstockphoto22133371

Anyway, to day is release day for Christmas Kisses: An Echo Ridge Anthology and I wanted to share a little known fact about the book. We slipped in some pretty awesome recipes. That’s right, each story has a recipe that goes with it!

In The Candy Counter Heiress, Andy has a thing for banana flavored chocolates (and kisses) so Lucy whipped up a recipe for Chocolate Banana Nut Bread.
Christmas Makeover introduces you to one of the hot spots in Echo Ridge where the pizza is to die for. Cami Checketts has included a recipe for Emma’s Homemade Bread that will have you going back for seconds.
Rachelle Christensen’s Hope for Christmas is a story with a whole lot of heart and her recipe for Carlos’s White Chicken Chili
w/Optional Slow-Cooker tips
has a whole lot of flavor!
Soda Fountain Christmas, by Connie Sokol, celebrates the fun of yesteryear as Kenworth’s Department Store works to regain the sense of community department stores were built upon. To celebrate days gone by, Connie included a recipe for Martha Jean’s Apple Cider Donuts.
Heather Tullis, author of One Winter Night, knows how to spice up a story and her recipe for Fay’s Gingerbread Cupcakes is just the thing to cap off your holiday parties.
BUT, you get so much more than wonderful recipes with Christmas Kisses. The stories are sure to capture your imagination–and your heart–and transport you to Echo Ridge where romance, Christmas music, and twinkling lights abound. You can pick up your copy and start reading TODAY because, ta da! it’s release day!!!


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Keep Your Diamonds Sparkling


My darling friend, Rachelle Christensen is an expert at DIY techniques. I loved this easy way to keep your diamonds sparkling because I love my wedding ring and it gets pretty filthy. She shares this tip in her book, Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things, and she is one of the authors featured in Christmas Kisses: An Echo Ridge Anthology.

 Keep Your Diamonds Sparkling

A little tip from Rachelle

I’ve been married to my sweetheart, Steve, for 17 years and this is the diamond ring he gave me all those years ago. It’s been through a lot of wear, had to be re-pronged and frequently is dirty since I have five kids and endless household chores.

 I only get it cleaned when I go to the mall, and the shop we bought it from checks and cleans it, so if you look closely in the picture, you can see it isn’t sparkling today because I don’t go shopping much.

Here’s a great little solution that only takes five minutes to keep your diamond sparkling!

Soak your diamond ring in a warm solution of liquid dish detergent and water for five minutes.

Use a soft brush if necessary to remove dirt. Soft is the key—don’t use a brush with bristles that

are stiff enough to scratch the ring’s metal setting.

Swish the ring around in the solution and then place it in a colander (so you don’t lose it down the drain).

Rinse it thoroughly in warm water. Dry with a lint-free cloth.

 

 Now look at that diamond ring sparkle! Hopefully you can tell a difference from the pictures. If not, try it, you’ll definitely smile when you notice the difference on your own ring!

Learn more about Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things and all of the chapter tutorials here

You can also read Rachelle’s fun story Hope for Christmas here for .99 cents for a limited time!


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Staying Healthy When It’s Cold Outside

I am so excited for this Christmas season. My kids are huge, funny, and happy with simple gifts like a new Lego set or a baseball mitt; we’re all healthy and have opportunities to help someone in need; and I finally wrapped my mind around being cold and am somewhat excited for the snow.

I hope you’re gearing up for Christmas as well. If you’re looking for a delightful Christmas romance, check out this fun anthology set in upstate New York. Also, if you’re needing ideas to stay healthy through the holiday, keep reading below the Christmas Cash giveaway. And, for some tips on staying healthy when it’s cold outside, check out this article from Cami Checketts.

Christmas Kisses is a collection from five bestselling and award-winning authors.

Set in the snowy town of Echo Ridge in upstate New York, these inspirational romances are sure to delight while you sip cocoa by the fire and listen to Christmas carols.

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The Candy Counter Heiress by Lucy McConnell Amazon bestselling & award-winning author

Someday Reese Gates will own The Candy Counter at Kenworth’s; but someday can’t come fast enough when the manager threatens to bring in a national candy provider. Reese secretly takes matters into her own hands hoping to save her parents from additional worry and prove herself capable of running the company. Her deception deepens as she ropes computer guru Andy Edwards into helping her expand the business. Reese wanted to shake things up, but she wasn’t planning on her heart getting caught in the mix by Andy’s stolen kisses. If she can hold it together until after Christmas, then she can reveal her successful online company and her feelings for Andy. Unfortunately for Reese, even the best laid plans can melt like chocolate.

https://lucymcconnell.wordpress.com/ * https://www.facebook.com/ChristinaDymock?fref=ts

Christmas Makeover by Cami Checketts Amazon bestselling author

Chelsea Jamison has been infatuated with Drew Stirling longer than she’s loved playing basketball, high-top sneakers, and the Knicks. Unfortunately, all Drew sees is the kid who kicked his trash in the high school free throw contest and not the girl whose heart breaks into a fast dribble when he’s near.

Drew makes an unexpected visit home to Echo Ridge and their friendship picks up where they left off as they scheme to make a teenaged boy’s Christmas dreams come true. When Chelsea realizes she’s fallen for her best friend, she wonders if there is any hope of a relationship with Drew or if she’s stuck in buddy-status for life.

http://www.camichecketts.com * https://www.facebook.com/CamiCheckettsAuthor

Soda Fountain Christmas by Connie E. Sokol Amazon bestselling author

Keira Kenworth has one focus this holiday season: save her father’s old-time department store from bankruptcy. She is not focused on Tayton Wells, the tall, dark, and genius marketing guru from downtown New York, hired to make it happen. He is as doubtful that her nostalgic connect-the-town ideas will succeed as she is about his numbers-first plan. However, it’s not just their different approaches that cause sparks to fly. Working together on a fast deadline to save the store before Christmas, the unspoken connection between them grows. But will the tough decisions they face drive them back to their separate worlds, or will they lead to the beginning of love?

http://www.conniesokol.com * https://www.facebook.com/8basics?_rdr=p

Hope for Christmas by Rachelle J. Christensen Amazon bestselling & award-winning author

Anika Fletcher hates Christmas–its promises of good tidings and hope for the future are as tinseled as the ornaments on Kenworth’s Hope Tree. Despite her feelings, Anika wants to maintain her daughter’s faith in the magic of the season and gladly accepts a second job working with the handsome Carlos Rodriguez to restore Kenworth’s old fashioned soda fountain. Carlos is no stranger to hard times and slowly shares his life of light and joy with Anika as they work together. Just as her fragile soul begins to feel hope again, an ill-timed act of charity changes everything. Anika isn’t sure who she can trust or if hope is worth nurturing–especially at Christmas when it’s easy to enjoy a kiss and believe love can last longer than the season.

http://www.facebook.com/rachellechristensenauthor * http://rachellechristensen.com/

One Winter Night by Heather Tullis Amazon bestselling author

Jonah Owens thought moving to Echo Ridge to open his art gallery would solve all of his problems. The need to sell his grandma’s house adds an unexpected complication. It would be easier if his neighbor didn’t have all those farm animals.

Kaya Feidler’s family has owned their land for nearly a hundred years–long before the neighbors were there. There’s no way she’s giving up the animal therapy business she’s been struggling to make profitable. She gets a temp job helping Jonah in the gallery. Spending time together is a recipe for romance, but can they overcome their own hangups to be more than friends?

http://heathertullis.com/ * https://www.facebook.com/HeatherTullisBooks

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Enjoy the Season by Cami Checketts

‘Tis the season to enjoy time with loved ones, reach out a helping hand to those in need, and cuddle in front of the tree with hot cocoa and cookies. Christmas is a wonderful time of year filled with joyful moments, but I find myself becoming so crazy busy I can hardly fit in a workout and who wants to eat health when the neighbors are bringing over fudge. I’m definitely a believer in savoring that fudge but I also thought of a few ways that I keep my body feeling somewhat healthy throughout the season.

1- Only eat something if it is truly a Christmas treat. Just because they make Oreos with red and green filling does not mean they’re an exclusive Christmas treat, but Aunt Abbie’s peppermint dessert? That’s worth savoring.

2 – Turn on Christmas music and dance. My kids think Mom twirling to the Nutcracker is hilarious but they aren’t afraid to jump right in.

3 – Go ice-skating, sledding, snow-shoeing, or cross-country skiing. Try out a new sport, the variety is great for improving physical fitness and the challenge is wonderful for your mind. I personally love cross-country skiing, it’s a mix of running and skiing (two of my favorite sports) but it doesn’t take as much skill as skiing and I don’t feel the joint pounding that I get when I run.

4 – Go for a walk outside. When the temperature is below 50 you burn more calories – it’s worth it to freeze the tip of your nose but if it’s so cold your eyelashes crystallize you’d better take it to the treadmill.

5 – Bake your favorite treats, have a sample, then take them to all the neighbors. The visits will be almost as fun as the baked goods.

6 – Enjoy your family and forget about everything else. Play with your kids. Read Christmas stories and thrive on their childlike joy. Snuggle up with your sweetheart and burn some calories kissing in front of the tree.

7 – Focus on the Savior and following his example of love and service, the real reason we celebrate this blessed holiday, and the joy will continue throughout the new year.

Merry Christmas!

Cami Checketts

http://www.camichecketts.com

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