Saturday, January 24, 2015

Our Cat

Ha Ha!  This is totally our cat!  You can see why if you look at the title of my next book on the right!

Thursday, January 22, 2015



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ideas For Playing with Your Kids!

Need fun ideas for teaching and playing with your kids?  (Or for giving them the gift of "Time" with mom or dad?)  I've pinned almost a thousand pins on fun activities to do with your children.  Follow my "Kids" pinterest board here. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Agent Query Letters

Loved this Article!  I wanted to share it.  Click the caption to go there!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Where to Put All Your Books!

How cool is THIS?  I NEED a place for all my books!  Click the caption to find out 35 amazing places to put your books!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015


Ha ha!  Animals are so cute when they are trying to figure out what happened!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Breaking into the Magazine Market


The magazine market is a great place to make some real money as you wait for your books to be published or royalties to come in.  Here are some tips on how to get started:

Typically, if a writer is trying to break into a magazine it takes a few tries to figure out the "hook" and style for each particular publication, and the hook and style will change with each magazine.  What a writer will usually do, is experiment a bit as they try to figure out the market.  They will send a "feeler" biece to a magazine to see if they get any interest.  Usually if the mag is intrigued by the subject they will respond.  Even a negative response is good.  If a magazine or newspaper isn't interested at all, they will not reply.

Typically, it takes a few tries to get it right.  But once you do, you then "know" that market and will be successful most often afterward.  Also, once you get it right, it behooves you to send more articles, so the publishers can become familiar with you, and you can build a relationshiop with them.  This is how I've become successful in the particular niche that I have written for previously.

Also, be aware that you have to repeat this whole process for each new mag, so it takes time and some experimenting and failing with each new market, until you figure it out.  Sometimes writers do get lucky and figure it out on the first try, but this is rare.  Usually a writer breaks in by writing for the small columns in the back of the mag, and once the publishers are familiar with the writer, they start accepting bigger pieces.

I hope these tips are useful as you try to break into the really exciting world of writing for magazines!

Thursday, January 08, 2015

My Kids' Favorite Series

If you haven't discovered this series yet, you should!  My kids LOVE these books by Shannon Messenger.  They can't get enough of them.  A new one just came out!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Back Cover Finished!

Cedar Fort has finished the back cover of the new book!  How do you like it?  I just finished all the editing and Cedar Fort Publishing will send it to the printers tomorrow.  It'll be on Amazon in March!  Can't wait!

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

New Year's Resolutions!

I LOVED this article!  This is also why I started writing humor books....because I think all moms should be happy.  Click the caption to go there!

Monday, January 05, 2015

What I want to Read Next!

Have you read this?  I hear it's so good!  Instant best-seller.  It's on my "read next" list.  I can't wait until it comes in the mail.  The author lives in Boise, ID and says he doesn't know why everyone likes it so much.  My sister said she tried to check it out from the library and was 101 on the waiting list.  Wow!

Saturday, January 03, 2015

I started yet ANOTHER Blog!

I know, I know, I already have two blogs going, a writing one and a parenting one, but now I've started a SEWING blog because my daughter got a new sewing machine for Christmas and I wanted to document our projects together.  Click Here to check it out!  Below is one of our first posts!

Here's a picture of my 12 year old daughter.  Together our first project was this zippered pouch below.  I think it turned out rather well!  What do you think?

Below is the tutorial we used. (Click the caption to go there)

Friday, January 02, 2015

What's for Dinner?


I LOVE soup in the wintertime, and tonight we are having one of my favorite dinners:  Ultimate Lentil Soup, out of Slow Cooker Revolution, by America's Test Kitchen.  Here is the delicious recipe!

2 onions, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 T olive oil
1T tomato paste
(Cook the above in the microwave for 5 minutes to bloom the flavors, then place in crockpot)
1 can mushrooms
4 C chicken broth
4 C Vegetable broth
4oz. bacon, uncooked, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup brown lentils
2 bay leaves
8oz swiss chard, chopped (opt. I don't use this)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Add remaining ingredients and cook on low for 9-11 hours, or high for 5-7 hours.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

One important thing to do with your Family!


I LOVED this post about Family Meal Time and how you can make it work. I agree that our family meals together make a HUGE difference.  This is one way families bond together and family bonding helps kids resist peer pressure!  Click Here to read it!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Regrets


I had to share another hilarious conversation my friend posted on facebook the night before Christmas.

Friend to her son in his bed:  Why are you crying?
Son:  Because... Santa is going to bring me a lump of coal tomorrow and then everyone will know I've been naughty!

Nothing like last minute regrets....

Saturday, December 27, 2014



Friday, December 26, 2014

4 Ways to Tell if Your writing is Good


How can you tell if your writing is good?  Here are three ways I use to make sure my writing is clean and that people will love it.

1. Get Beta-reader input-  This is essential.  You cannot see all the flaws in your own writing.  Get a tough skin and seek criticism.

2. Clean it up-  Omit flowery stuff, unnecessary descriptions, scenes, and words, such as "that" or "Really" or "Very".  Go over it and clean it up at least 7-10 times.  You'll be amazed how you find new things to omit each time.  Omit anything that doesn't advance the plot.

3. Let it sit-  I have to let my humor writing sit for like a week or even a month and then read it again.  Fresh eyes really help to see if it is as funny as I thought the first time.  I do this several times.

4. Map out your Scenes and Sequences-  This is to make sure you have your pacing right.  Put each scene and sequence on a sticky note and place them in a line.  Try to determine if you need to speed up or slow down the pace in any area.  Remember scenes speed up the pace and sequences slow it down.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas blog friends!  I hope these holidays are wonderful for you and your family.  We've had almost 24,000 visitors since this blog first started a few years ago.  I feel blessed by so many of you who also consider parenting, humor, and writing your passion!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Should you Write a Christmas Novel?


I've always wanted to write a Christmas novel.  I fantasize that my novel will become a Christmas classic like, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson.  Singers like Andy Williams have albums that are played over and over every year, why not a novel?  How to achieve it?  I think the hook has to be humor or something really touching.  But since there are already so many touching Christmas novels it has to be a really fresh idea.  How about a sci-fi take on Christmas?  Or a Steampunk twist on the Grinch story? You can search titles on Amazon to see what books on Christmas are out there, so you can determine what has been overused, and determine if your idea could be the next Christmas classic.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Our Simple Christmas Traditions


Since we have 5 kids, we need simple traditions.  Here are the simple things we've done to make Christmas seem special that don't take a lot of time or money.

1. Secret Santa-  We always find a needy family and give them a special gift, left on their doorstep anonymously.  The kids LOVE to do this.  The gift doesn't have to be expensive, it's the thought that counts.  One year the kids each gave up one of their own presents.  This was our most special year ever.

2.  Nativity Play-  We do a nativity play every year.  Costumes are just bathrobes and towels.  You can read it out of the bible, or if you have a children's book that works just as well.

3.  Santa Letters-  The kid write Santa letters and put them in their stockings on Christmas Eve.  Then that night, Santa writes them a letter back.  They love to read what Santa wrote.

4.  Extra Present-  We give an extra present to the child who has been the most helpful throughout the WHOLE year.  They know this and always work for it.  It is usually a coupon for a lunch out with mom.

5.  Reindeer Food-  We mix oats with glitter (if we have it...sometimes we just use oats) and spread it on the lawn for the reindeer before we go to bed.

6. Bethlehem Dinner-  On Christmas Eve we eat cheese, crackers, grapes, and olives and things they may have eaten in Bethlehem.  We do this by candlelight to make it special.

7. Read "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Barbara Robinson.  We read this out loud every year for laughs and tears.

What are your Christmas Traditions?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

30 Hilarious Kid Letters

Click the caption to read 30 hilarious letters written by children. These had me laughing so hard I was in tears!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How to Avoid Creating the Same old Characters

I loved the above article (click the caption to go there).  My personal preference is to use the Meyers-Briggs personality types.  There are so many combinations!  You can read about them a little bit in the comment section of the above article.  But Meyers-Briggs will give you endless possibilites.  Do a google search to find out about these personality types that you can base your characters on.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Loved this!

And this is why we need humor too!  It's a healthy way to deal with the ups and downs of kids!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014

My Favorite Meatball Soup


My family loves this fast to prepare Crockpot soup in winter.  Here's the recipe from the book: Taste of Home Slow Cooker Classics:

Meatball Soup (Serves 4)

3 cups beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes (I usually blend these up)
3 bay leaves
1 can green beans
16 frozen meatballs (We like Costco brand)
2 cups uncooked corkscrew noodles (Boil these and add them at the end of cooking time)

Add everything except noodles to the crockpot.  Cook on low 6-8 hrs. or high 3-4 hours.  Cook noodles separately and add at the end

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

More Christmas humor


I had to share what happened to my friend the other day, because it's so cute and funny.  When she walked in and found her son had broken a Christmas tree ornament, he looked up at her with tears in his eyes and said, "Mommy, PLEASE don't tell Santa!"

Monday, December 08, 2014

Christmas Humor


Ha ha ha!  I'm totally getting this stocking for my youngest son!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Monday, December 01, 2014

My New NEW Favorite Series

Have you read these?  They are AWESOME.  I loved them.  Such a great example of what you can do with great characterization and a new setting to put a fresh spin on old stories!  Really great reading!

Friday, November 28, 2014

My Favorite Leftover Turkey Rice Soup


My favorite thing to make with Thanksgiving Leftovers is Turkey Rice Soup!  Below is the Recipe.  (I also love Turkey Pesto Sandwiches made with turkey, pesto, sourdough bread, and provolone cheese, all cooked like a toasted cheese sandwich!  Mmmmmmm.)  What are your favorites?

1 turkey carcass
Leftover turkey
Cooked rice
Grated carrots
1 thinly sliced onion

Boil one turkey carcass with the meat mostly removed along with an whole onion and a celery stick or two for 1-12 hours...however long you have time for.  Drain broth, and return the broth to the empty pot.  Add leftover turkey, onion, cooked rice, grated carrots, Sage, Pepper, and Salt to taste (You have to taste it because the amount of spice depends on how much broth you have.  Boil for 30 min.  Super easy and delicious!  (You can also make this in the crockpot, just put the finished broth, raw carrots (use sliced carrots for the crockpot), spices, and cooked turkey in on low for 4-8 hours, and add cooked rice at the end.)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Using Body Language in Dialogue


I loved this article on the difference in dialogue with and without body language.  It makes a big difference if you include body language and a sense of place when people are having conversations in your story.  It makes things sound less like cardboard and more like real life.  I hope your family has a happy and delicous Thanksgiving this week!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Beautiful Christmas Music!

My whole family loved this song by Pentatonix.  What a great way to start talking about Christmas with your family!

Here is another beautiful one!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Break!


I love that baby face.  Babies are so cute with their funny faces.  Here is one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving break:  Cousin time.  I love watching them together.  It's one of the sweetest things about the holiday.  Here are my daughters with their cousins this past year.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bad Hair Days


Ha ha!  If you have a child with curly hair, you know what I'm talking about!  My oldest daughter looks like this every morning.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Pizza Night

We have a friday night tradition of pizza and a family movie. One way we make it healthier is making Pita Pizzas.  Here's the recipe:

Take one whole wheat pita round per person.  Top with spaghetti sauce, cheese, turkey pepperoni, or turkey sausage and veggies.  Bake at 400 for about 8-10 min. or until cheese is bubbly.

So easy and fun!

Monday, November 10, 2014

How to Write a Title that will Sell Books


I loved the above article.  Click here to read it.  But I'd also add some of my own advice.  A title is really an advertising decision.  And one thing I've learned from writing advertising for companies is that you need to think of your audience's "pain."  What "pain" does your book solve for them or speak to?  The only way they will buy something is if it will help them assuage some pain in their life.  

For instance my book is about motherhood, and it helps my audience laugh at the ups and downs that would otherwise make them cry.  So in the title I tried to reflect that.  They know that if they buy my book they will be able to laugh at things that give them grief.

If your book is a romance, you need think: why does my audience read romance?  Is it because they are lonely?  Do they like to escape into other people's lives?  Do they like to be entertained with an action-packed romance?  If so, you need to come up with a title that will help promise these things....and do it in a few words.  Not easy.  But you'll find it's really fun to brainstorm and ask everyone you know to give you suggestions.  Sometimes things other people say will trigger just the right idea.

Friday, November 07, 2014


Is this not so stinkin' easy and cute?  I'm totally doing this with my kids this year!

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Here, Kitty!

Ha ha!  I found out little skunks don't spray, but it stops your heart when you first look at it!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

More Humor

This is the funniest baby costume I've seen yet!  So cute!


Also, animal lovers don't hate me, but my whole family could not stop laughing at this cat video someone posted on youtube. (watch the toaster)

Hope you have a bunch of laughs in your day today! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

Unreliable Narrators

This was an awesome article.  It will give you some fantastic ideas!  Click on the caption to read it.