Friday, January 30, 2009

I Felt the Earth Move...

I actually slept through it, but the earth did move this morning at 5:25 am (PST). A 4.5 or 4.6 earthquake with an epicenter in the Puget Sound area was felt in the Seattle area and southern Vancouver Island.

A gentle reminder that we live in a seismically active part of the world, and we need to be prepared.

Until next time,

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Comfort Food

Looking for a mid-winter pick-me-up?

The Wet Noodle Posse is serving up some of its favorite recipes today, including Diane Gaston’s Mock Waldorf Salad, Priscilla Kissinger’s Chocolate Fondue, Lee McKenzie’s Macaroni and Cheese, plus a bonus recipe for Cranberry Orange Scones.


Until next time,

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


This weekend my daughter and I rented Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 on DVD and throughly enjoyed it. A nice, light, feel-good movie about friendship and how friends deal with change and separation as they grow up. The one-size-fits-all blue jeans adds a fresh new twist to a universal coming-of-age theme.

We saw the first Traveling Pants film in a theater when it was released back in 2005, and weloved it. After we watched the second film, we wished we’d also rented the first and watched the two together.

The film kind of reminds me of my own "sisterhood." It's been several decades since we graduated from high school, and at various times since then we've been scattered across two continents, each busy with our own lives and families. Every time we get together—which never seems to happen often enough—we pick right up where we left off. The only thing missing is the traveling pants.

Until next time,

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday News—An Interview with Harlequin Author Judy Christenberry

Looking for inspiration? Be sure to check out an interview with Judy Christenberry, posted Sunday on the Harlequin American Romance Authors’ blog. Judy is the author of ninety-five books!

She was asked, "Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?"

She replied, "No, I’ve always had deadlines and I never had time for writer’s block."
I love that!

Until next time,

Monday, January 26, 2009

This Week with the Wet Noodle Posse

This week the Wet Noodle Posse wraps up their January "Be Good to Yourself—Or Else" theme.

Monday: Maureen Hardegree shares "Ten Inexpensive Ways to Be Good to Yourself"

Tuesday: Theresa Ragan asks, "Read a Good Book Lately?"

Wednesday: Priscilla Kissinger on "Pockets of Time"

Thursday: Noodlers share "Recipes that Make Us Feel Good"

Friday: Q&A Day

So many ways to be good to ourselves!

Until next time,

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Are You Ready for Your Dream to Come True?

Today is my blog day with the Harlequin American Romance Authors and I’d love it if you’d drop by. See you there!

Until next time,

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tuesday News

Winter Peck, an aspiring Christian romantic suspense author, is holding a book giveaway on her blog, and I am thrilled that one of her prizes is a copy of The Man for Maggie!

For a chance to win one of the ten wonderful books she’s giving away, drop by her blog and post a comment. Then check back on February 14 when she announces the winners!

Happy reading!

Until next time,

Monday, January 19, 2009

This Week with the Wet Noodle Posse

Wow! The Posse has such a great week lined up for you!

Monday: "Be Happy" with Diane Gaston

Tuesday: Theresa Ragan confirms that "Girls Just Wanna Fun"

Wednesday: According to Maureen Hardegree, "Exercise Is Not a Dirty Word"

Thursday: Join Merrillee Wren for more on Being Good to Yourself

Friday: Q&A—What are your favorite movies with a "be good to yourself" theme?
Okay, I seriously cannot wait till Friday. I love to watch movies and I’m really looking forward to everyone’s recommendations!

Until next time,

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Harlequin American Romance—January Releases

The January HARs were released this week and here’s what you have to look forward to!

The Texas Ranger’s Twins
by Tina Leonard

Million-Dollar Nanny
by Jacqueline Diamond

Baby on Board
by Lisa Ruff

Mommy in Training
by Shelley Galloway

Happy reading!

Until next time,

Monday, January 12, 2009

This Week with the Wet Noodle Posse

This week the Wet Noodle Posse continues its "be good to yourself" theme, and I’m blogging today! I hope you’ll drop by, check out the recipes I've posted for at-home spa treatments, and share some of your favorite indulgences.

Here’s what we have in store for you this week:

Monday: Have a Luxurious Spa Day at Home with Lee McKenzie
Tuesday: Delle Jacobs on Guilt-Free Writing
Wednesday: Five Minutes of Peace with Karen Potter
Thursday: Dr. Debra Holland talks about Monitoring Your Energy
Friday: Q&A Topic: How Do You Reward Yourself for Achieving Your Writing Goals?
Until next time,

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tuesday News

A couple of newsy items this week.

First off, be sure to check out Lisa Ruff’s interview today on the Harlequin American Romance Authors blog.

And on Monday, January 12th I’ll be blogging with the Wet Noodle Posse about treating ourselves to a luxurious spa day at home. A great way to indulge yourself without spending a small fortune. Be good to yourself...or else!

Until next time,

Monday, January 5, 2009

This Week with the Wet Noodle Posse

The Wet Noodle Posse kicks off 2009 with Be Good to Yourself--Or Else month. We hope you’ll join our discussions on these wonderful topics:

Monday: Dianna Love shares her “Bucket List for 2009—Motorcycles and Fishing”

Tuesday: Join Terry McLaughlin for “Everyday Delights”

Wednesday: Norah Wilson suggests “Spoiling Yourself—Top Five Indulgences”

Thursday: Trish Milburn discusses “Rewarding Yourself for Your Accomplishments”

Friday: Q&A topic—What’s on Your Bucket List for the Year?
Until next time,

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sunday Fun—January Linen Sales

You might remember me mentioning a few days ago that my husband said he’d paint the bathroom as part of my Christmas present. Happy to report that the painting is almost complete and the bathroom looks fantastic!

Our old towels are now far too shabby, so I've decided we need a new set—two bath sheets, four bath towels, four hand towels, four face cloths and two bath mats in two contrasting but nicely coordinated colors. This afternoon I set off to a department store, gift card from a generous relative in hand, to buy some.

Oh. My. Gosh. You should have seen the place!

Everything was on sale and the towel department had been ransacked. Towels were strewn on the floor, piled on every available surface, and unfolded, bunched up and stuffed back onto shelves where they didn’t belong. I wish I’d taken my camera because this had to be seen to be believed.

Finding what I wanted was difficult. Finding a sales clerk was impossible.

And when did a face cloth for $9.99 become a bargain? Apparently when it’s marked down from $19.99. For one square foot of fabric. I couldn’t bring myself to look at the price tag on the bath towels. Egyptian cotton, mind you, but still.

I did finally choose two colors I like but the styles were different, and I couldn’t find a complete set in either color. After half an hour, I gave up. Tomorrow I’ll try another store if I have the energy, although I’d really hoped to use that gift card. Or I might wait till the sale is over and the towel department has been restocked. Which means I’ll have to pay full price, so Egyptian cotton will really be out of the question.

Until next time,

PS: I'll post photos when the bathroom is done.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Friday Food for Thought—Jumbo Shrimp Risotto

This month I’ve decided to offer up some of my one-pot wonders. I enjoy cooking I don’t care for the clean-up, so the fewer pots the better! This recipe for jumbo shrimp risotto is quick to make and it's one that my husband and I always enjoy.

Jumbo Shrimp Risotto

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1–2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
3 1/2 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock, divided
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup of peas (if frozen, thaw before adding)
1–2 cups fresh spinach, finely sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
12 jumbo shrimp
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium low heat and saute the onions for several minutes until translucent. Add the minced garlic, grated lemon rind and salt and cook for another minute or two, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn.

Stir in the arborio rice. You could probably use regular long-grained white rice, although the consistency and texture will be quite different. Arborio rice seems to have more starch. I buy it at my regular grocery store, but it’s also available in European specialty food stores.

Stir in 3 cups of the hot stock (reserving 1/2 a cup) and the white wine. If I don’t have white wine on hand, I replace it with water or more stock plus 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar.

Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and pop the cover on the skillet. Cook for 20 minutes, but be sure to give the risotto a good stir every five minutes or so to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the skillet.

Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of stock as well as the spinach and peas and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Sometimes I replace the frozen peas with sugar snap peas. Stir in the lemon juice.

Arrange the jumbo shrimp on top of the risotto, cover, and cook for another minute until the shrimp are heated through. You can also mix them in but the effect isn’t nearly as nice. I usually buy pre-cooked shrimp because they only need to be heated through before serving. You could use small shrimp, either frozen or canned, and those could be stirred in before serving. The canned variety are quite salty, so I recommend rinsing them under cold running water and draining them well.

Serve the risotto with wedges of lemon. Absolutely delicious!

Since this dish already contains legumes and leafy greens, I usually don’t bother with a side salad, but you could!

Bon appetit!

Until next time,

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Resolving To Be Good to Myself

Ever noticed how New Year’s resolutions tend to lose their shine by...oh... the middle of January? I must confess I’ve never made one that I carried out for a full year, so this year I decided to forgo the custom and be unresolved in 2009.

Then yesterday I caught a snippet of my favorite talk show. It was a rerun of a pre-Christmas show, and the guest was talking about how to be less stressed. Especially timely for the holiday season, but good advice for life in general.

He claims that stress and how we react to it are two very different things. Stress is often brought on by external situations over which we have no control. It’s how we react to those situations that determines their degree of stressfulness. He suggested a few simple things to help our minds and bodies cope with stress.

A good night's sleep

Before the invention of the electric light bulb, people slept an average of 10.2 hours a night. Now the average is 6.9 hours. Yikes! I suspect the invention of the computer, or at least the Internet, has also had an effect, but that’s just a personal hunch. What we need is a minimum of eight hours of sleep.

I wonder if afternoon naps count. I happen to be a master napper!

Good and adequate nutrition

Again, this was all straightforward common sense. Start the day with protein and minimal carbs. Don’t go for long periods of time without eating. A mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack will keep energy levels up, but that snack should be a healthy choice. A chocolate bar will provide a brief afternoon energy boost before we enter the crash-and-burn phase—been there, done that!—but an apple and some yogurt will help us stay focused and productive till dinnertime.

And of course it never hurts to stop and smell the flowers!

Drink lots of water

Apparently the majority of people are not well hydrated. Lack of water can result in headaches, poor concentration, problems sleeping, trouble with joints, and digestive disorders, as well as dry skin and eyes. The general advice is to drink eight cups or about two quarts of water every day, and I’m happy to say this is one part of my New Year’s resolution that I’ve already mastered. Every morning I fill a two-quart jug with water. Most days I drink all of it, and some days I drink more. So if you're feeling yucky, a glass of water just might be the fix.

In general, the gist of this expert’s message was that taking care of ourselves helps us manage stress. Not wanting to cause you any more stress than you may already be feeling but...were you good to yourself in 2008? I think I was, but I resolve to do an even better job in 2009.

And did you know this also happens to be the Wet Noodle Posse’s motto?

Be good to yourself, or else!

This will be the topic of the Posse’s January blogs, every week from Monday to Thursday. Friday will still be Q&A day, and on the first Friday of every month we’ll announce new releases by Noodlers. And be sure to check out today’s post, outlining what we have in store for you this year.

So be good to yourself and visit the Wet Noodle Posse. Or else!

Wishing you the very best in 2009!

Until next time,