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Cherish Relationships

Book Club Appetizers: Fast & Fun

Books, Hospitality and Entertaining
book club appetizer

I know a number of people who go to book club meetings just for the food and wine. They never, or almost never, actually read the book. They just like the idea of having a party with smart, bookish buddies every month.

I’m certainly not recommending or promoting this attitude. In fact, if you are that girl I want you to picture me right now, pointing my finger and tsk-ing my tongue at you. Life sometimes gets in the way of our reading schedule but this should not be a regular thing! If you aren’t carving out time to read the book, you’re not holding up your end during the discussion and that’s not fair to the group. You’re also missing out on the fun, which is even worse.

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Patriotic Party Platter In Time For July 4th

Hospitality and Entertaining
fruit patriotic platter cheese board

Last week was the summer solstice, which across the Northern Hemisphere means the longest day of the year. Which technically means every day between now and December 21 has a littttle less sunlight. But it also means that the days we are having right now are some of the loooongest of the year. And yes, the days are probably kind of hot. But it’s that beginning of the summer hot that still feels novel. And we still have clothes in our closet that aren’t drenched in sweat.

Remember being a kid, when we were out of school for the summer and how much possibility and opportunity lay in those long days? We might build a tree fort. We might invent a whole new game and teach it to the other neighborhood kids. We might turn on the sprinkler and run through the spray for hours in our swimsuits, laughing and giggling with no regard for time. After all, there was no homework nor other responsibilities that required watching a clock.

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A Homemade Slime Recipe, Plus Practical Life Lessons

Creativity and Crafts, Family

Last week, I had my entire family in town: my three sons, three daughters-in-love, and six very, very advanced grandkids (I’m obviously not partial). It was a constant whirl of activity. The whole crew made a homemade slime recipe together. We visited the fire station. We paddled down a river. Some of us rode horses. We ate loads of ice cream. It was such fun and I’m still soaking up the sounds of their laughter and little voices.

Having the family around one table just made my heart so happy. But now, they’ve all travelled back home and we will have to rely on the fun photos to keep the memories fresh. continue reading

The Best Father’s Day Gift Idea: Books For The Dads In Your Life

Books, Family
father's day books

Are you prepared for Father’s Day this Sunday or are you frantically looking for last-minute ideas that don’t seem so last minute? It might be too late to pull off some of the great ideas I included in the Fierce Father’s Day Gift Guide, but don’t fret. I have a solution. (You can thank me later).

As your resident author friend, I’m obligated to share book ideas on all subjects. (It’s in the universal author contract. Right below the clause that says I can helpfully correct grammar and spelling. Hah!)

Back to sharing books. I read. A lot. Some might say too much. They would be wrong. But I certainly do a big chunk of reading.

So let’s have all the time I spend reading serve a purpose for you, my Fierce Friends. Whether it’s a gift for your husband, son, or your own father or grandfather, books are always the answer.

Books: The Best Father’s Day Gift Idea

Without further ado, a few suggestions for Father’s Day books (aka the best Father’s Day gift idea, in my unbiased opinion):

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Best Father’s Day Gift Ideas From My Family

father's day dad

Now, I’m not going to assume that you’re keeping up with the events in my life, but if you follow me on social media, then you know this week all my darlings and grand-darlings are in town for a visit. All 12 of them.

Which means I’m extremely busy loving on (equally, of course) six wonderful little bundles of joy. Honestly, I was thinking I might take a break from blogging this week as I knew my week would be packed. Somehow though, every time I think I might take a break, part of my brain gets triggered and I end up stuck there until I just sit down and get my thoughts out. The kids are all napping and here I am, excitedly typing out my thoughts on the subject of: buying gifts for men vs. buying gifts for women.

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Hospitality 101: How to be a Fierce Host

Hospitality and Entertaining
hospitality 101

This blog is going to be on the short and sweet side because I’m a little busy today.

I’ve got to finish packing for my upcoming glamping trip with my mom (we’re leaving tomorrow morning), plant my porch pot flowers, answer the backlogged email, finish the laundry, run to the market, and make a batch of Fiesta Miracle Muffins for my husband to share with some of his old high school friends who are coming to visit while I’m away camping this weekend.

Oh, and when I ran into a couple of friends at my quilt guild meeting yesterday, I invited them to come over for dinner tonight. They’ll be here in 5 hours.

That’s right. Even though I knew I had a very busy day ahead of me, I went ahead and invited a couple of friends over on the spur of the moment.

Now, some of you completely get this but a lot of you are saying, “That’s crazy! Why would you suddenly invite people over on such short notice? And for dinner, no less. That just sounds so stressful!”

You have a point. Entertaining can be stressful – for you as well as your guests.  But it doesn’t have to be. Not if you keep a few simple principles that will make get togethers a pleasure for you as well as your guests.

Are you ready? Here’s my crash course on Hospitality 101.

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Mother’s Day Gift Guide: Experienced Mom Edition

Cherish Relationships
mothers day gift guide

As I told you back in January, every year I spend a lot of time thinking through and writing down my goals for the coming year.

This year, one of my highest priority goals, involves my mom.

When I was a kid, she would come home from work on Friday, we’d load up the car with tents, sleeping bags, a cookstove, and the dog, and drive to one of many state parks. We usually arrived after dark and had to set up the tent by flashlight.  Since we were residents of the Pacific Northwest, we frequently found ourselves trying to build campfires with wet wood and or spending the weekend playing cards inside the tent as water dripped from the rainfly.

But rain or shine, off we went. And rain or shine, we always had a great time. Many of my very best memories with my mom were made on those camping trips. My mom’s enthusiasm for camping and love of the great outdoors was infectious, a love she passed on to me.

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Book Club Party Kit for ‘Hope On The Inside’

Books, Friends and Community
book club - hope on the inside

My latest novel, Hope On The Inside, has all the elements of a quintessential book club book. The quickly paced plot. The strong themes of creativity and sisterhood. It has the surprises. The lovable characters. The tear-jerking moments. And did I mention the food?

Don’t even get me started on my passion for book clubs! Although I guess I already got started on my love of book clubs in this post from last year.

Suffice it to say book clubs = books, food and friends. Basically a perfect recipe in life.

But throwing the perfect book club party can be a little daunting! What should I cook? What music should I play? What wine should I serve? What thought-provoking questions should I throw out to the group? 

Don’t worry, that’s the fun part.

If you’ve been debating on your next book club book and have made the (obviously very smart) choice to read Hope on the Inside, I’m going to make your life very easy when it comes to prepping for your book club party.

How, you ask? I made a Hope on the Inside party kit just for the occasion!

So, grab your best gal pals, your latest quilting or crafting project, and cook the books with recipes inspired by Hope On The Inside. You won’t have to dig very deep into the book to find out about the husband with an affinity for baking! If you need some help getting started with the book discussion, there are helpful suggestions and questions in the back.

Choose savory muffins, a rosemary olive bread, or the very best oatmeal cookies and offer along with iced mint tea and fruit. Because they are the fuel you’ll need for a lovely book discussion, if you ask me.

And in this case, the rosemary won’t be a bad omen. (You’ll know what this means after you get through the first chapter or two).

Download Your Free Party Kit!

If you’d like to have the full Book Club Party Kit simply enter your email address below and the whole kit-n-caboodle will show up in your email a few minutes later! Oh, the magic of the internet!

A Little Teaser

Just to make you drool a little bit, here’s a picture of the wonderful Rosemary Olive Loaf that’s included with the party kit! Serve warm, spread a little butter, slice on the diagonal (because, pretty) and you’ll be in food heaven!

rosemary olive loaf - hope on the inside

Alright readers, that’s all I’ve got time for today! Book launch weeks are busy – in a good way!

Have a great weekend, Fierce Friends, and maybe bake some oatmeal cookies!

Go Pro with These Three Healthy Super Bowl Recipes

Food for Grownups, Hospitality and Entertaining
healthy super bowl recipe chicken chili

It’s almost time for the Super Bowl (and the Puppy Bowl and Super Bowl commercials, take your pick of which one you’ll spend your time watching!)

No matter which you are watching it’s almost guaranteed you’ll be eating something. Because food and the Super Bowl go together like chips and salsa. (Or chips and guacamole, but more on that later!)

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