Friday, December 15, 2017

Merry Christmas from Margaret Daley

Merry Christmas from Margaret Daley

We always decorate our Christmas tree Thanksgiving weekend. It’s a family project with my mother-in-law, husband, son and two granddaughters. As I take out the Christmas ornaments, I love to tell my granddaughters the history behind the decoration. Often they have been made by someone special. I have ornaments my mother, mother-in-law, son and granddaughters have made. I have some from when I was a child. When my mother died, they became mine. When I look at my Christmas tree, it is full of memories with the people I love.



The one with pink boas and flamingoes is in my office and left up year around. I have a pink walled office and began collecting flamingoes to go with the color. It's been fun collecting flamingo ornaments for the tree.

What is special to you at Christmas?

Lone Star Christmas Rescue:
A baby's frantic cries lead Texas Ranger Drake Jackson to an injured woman in Big Bend Park, the infant by her side. But "Kay" has no idea who she is or what happened. All she seems sure of is that she's in terrible danger. When someone comes after her—determined to snatch the child—Drake takes her and little Kaleb to his family's ranch to protect them. But with the attackers circling closer as Christmas approaches, the guarded ranger knows they won't be safe there for long. Vowing to uncover her identity and catch her attacker, Drake plans to give mother and child the holiday they deserve…safe by his side forever.
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Holiday for the Birds by Alicia Street


In addition to decorating a Christmas tree in the house, I like to give the birds a holiday tree filled with treats. Making birdseed ornaments is also a fun craft to do with children during this season, especially the gooey part where you squish the mixture into cookie cutters.

The gooiest ones are made with suet that you mix with birdseed, then press into cookie cutters. When you remove them from the cookie cutters, add a paper clip or string as a hanger, then put them in the freezer to harden. You can also make suet balls with nuts and seeds mixed into them.



Here is an easy recipe made with gelatin instead of suet.

½ cup water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3 Tablespoons corn syrup
¾ cup flour
4 cups bird seed
Non-stick cooking spray
Twine


Heat the water and stir in the gelatin and corn syrup and remove from stove. Mix the flour and birdseed together in a large bowl. Add it to the gelatin mixture and let it cool. Place cookie cutters on parchment paper. Use the non-stick cooking spray here. Press the mixture into the cookie cutters. Make a hole with a toothpick or straw for the hanging twine. Carefully separate from the cookie cutters and let them dry for a few hours or overnight. Thread the twine through the hole.

Then go outside and decorate a tree for the birds! 
Do you have special things you do for wildlife at Christmas?


Alicia Street is a USA Today bestselling author and a Daphne du Maurier
award-winner. A compulsive reader of every genre, she writes
both sweet and spicy romance. She spent many years as a dancer,
choreographer and teacher.
Alicia loves to connect with readers~


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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Merry Christmas Giveaway and New Release by Merrillee Whren

Today is release day for A SONG TO CALL OURS, the fourth book in my Front Porch Promises series. You can purchase the book on Amazon, iBooks, KoboBarnes and Noble

This time of year is my favorite. My house is filled with Christmas decorations. This year I did downsize a little. I only put up two trees instead of four. I donated two trees to a young woman from our church who finds people in need of a Christmas tree and gives them one fully decorated. Here's a little bit of my family room.


I have several Christmas collections. Here's a few photos to represent my collections. 


 Dated ornaments from every year hubby and I have been married


One of my numerous nativity scenes


Most of my international Santa collection

Do you have a special Christmas collection? I'll be giving away an ebook copy of A PLACE TO CALL HOME, the first book in my Front Porch Promises series, to one person who leaves a comment on the blog. I will draw the winners name on December 16 at 9PM MST.

Merrillee Whren is the winner of the 2003 Golden Heart Award presented by Romance Writers of American. She is married to her own personal hero, her husband of forty-plus years, and has two grown daughters. Connect with her on her Facebook page and sign up for her newsletter.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

More than an Ornament by Melanie D. Snitker


If someone were to walk into our living room today and take a look at our Christmas tree, they might think it's an unorganized mess. There is no obvious theme with ornaments of every color, shape, and type along with candy canes, and multi-colored lights. Not only that, but some of the ornaments are clumped, with more hanging on the middle and lower part of the tree (because that's where the kids can reach).

I have to admit I love it like this because when I look at our tree, I see memories. Each of those ornaments are more than just an ornament, they are like a photograph that reminds me of a moment in time. 


Growing up, my parents let me and my brothers pick out one ornament a year. My mom meticulously wrote down when we got the ornament and how old we were. I remember the anticipation of getting them out each year to hang them up, and how I would play with them on the tree as a kid. With the exception of a couple that have broken (namely due to a cat who once knocked our Christmas tree down), I still have all of those ornaments from my childhood: The pretty frosted Christmas tree from my first Christmas, the pretty little cardinal, and even Miss Bianca that we got from McDonalds the year the "Rescuers Down Under" came out in theaters. 


My husband and I continue to collect an ornament a year as well. Hallmark began releasing the Snowball and Tuxedo ornaments that second Christmas after we were married, and we haven't missed one of them yet. Our first Christmas together as a married couple, my sweet husband gave me an ornament. It was Droopy the dog with mistletoe hanging off his hat and a sign that said, "Pucker Up Baby." I remember laughing and blushing profusely. It's still one of my favorites! 

Now we carry on that tradition with our kids and allow them to pick one favorite ornament to add to the tree each year. Between that and the precious handmade ornaments we make ever season, the tree is an absolutely beautiful conglomeration of memories. 

If you decorate for Christmas, what kind of ornaments do you use on your tree? Is your Christmas tree themed? Do you have a favorite ornament? I'd love to hear from you!

~*~


A marriage of convenience isn't exactly what she had in mind.

After a rocky start, Rachel Peters finally has her life on track. Then a tragic accident takes away her sister and leaves her to raise her niece, Kendra, alone. About to lose custody of her last blood relative, Rachel is desperate to prove she can adequately care for her niece. On the verge of running away to keep Kendra, a new friend offers Rachel an opportunity she can't refuse.

Brandon Barlow has long admired Rachel. When her world begins to fall apart, he feels led to help. A marriage of convenience would enable him to provide Rachel and Kendra with a stable place to live, proper health insurance, and a viable shot at staying together. Once Rachel gained full custody of her niece, the marriage could be annulled.

His plan provides the perfect solution, until Brandon realizes he's fallen in love with Rachel. Through love and patience, can he help Rachel realize that, even when she experiences storms in her life, she's never alone?

~*~