Sunday, December 11, 2016

Stressed? My Holiday Philosophy

Holidays are a time for family and friends, but with all we have to do it seems there is little time left over to spend with the family and friends. Let me share my philosophy. Hopefully, it will help relieve the stress you're feeling. Your family and friends will never know or notice what you didn’t get done. They will only see all that you did do.

That's it the nugget of gold, so don't stress.

This year, I’m baking a limited amount of Christmas cookies and not the hundreds of dozens I normally do. There are always so many left over, and I’m the one who tries to eat as many as I can before feeding the rest to the birds and deer. I don't need or have time to spend extra minutes on the treadmill.

Everyone will get one wrapped gift this year, so they get that feeling of opening a surprise package but the rest of the gifts are going into bags or are card gifts.

Christmas breakfast will be a crockpot filled with cream chipped beef which can be made days before. Like soup, it always tastes better a few days later.

Christmas dinner will not be the sit down dinner that we had at Thanksgiving. Instead there will be trays of lasagna, which I also will make days before. Desert will be cookies, chocolates, and pumpkin rolls made days before.

Am I being lazy. No. Life is too busy for us all. I don't want to spend it in the kitchen. I'd rather enjoy the family. Memories are made when you're together, not over the internet.

Thank you for stopping by and if you have any time-saving hints or recipes for this holiday, please share

I wish you a stress free holiday.

Thursday, December 8, 2016


AWESOME! It's the season for holiday cookies. I love cookies.

I hope you're enjoying the Ruby Holiday Cookie Blog Hop. For those of you who are just seeing this on my FB fan page Or Blog, The Ruby Slippered Sisterhood is holding a Holiday Cookie Blog Hop Dec. 8 thru the 12. Join in the fun. Details at We're giving away a great grand prize to one lucky winner plus everyone will gather a lot of great cookie recipes among other offers from my Ruby sisters.

Now for my Cookie Hop item. Below is an excerpt from my Christmas story Perfect-It's on sale from it's regular price of $3.99, so grab a copy today- and the recipe Darcy is using is my/her Aunt's recipe. I hope you enjoy.

If you join my newsletter by clicking Join My Newsletter on the side bar here or at, you'll receive a free digital copy of Obsessed By Wildfire. Lizzie and Warner will warm up your cold nights. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

¸.•´¸.•*´¨)✯ ¸.•*¨)✮ (¸.•´✶

*´¨✫) ¸.•´*~`

Excerpt from PERFECT by Autumn Jordon `(copyrighted material)

“Smells great, Mom.” Dillion entered the kitchen and stopped

Jillian and Katy sat at the table with their school books spread out in front of them. Christmas carols played softly from the radio on the kitchen counter. Darcy stood at the stove.

She turned around with a gravy-covered spoon poised a mere inch from her full mouth and smiled. “Hi.”

His heart did a somersault.

“What are you doing here?”

“I stopped by with a rhubarb custard pie.” She pointed to the counter where a deep-dish pie sat. “Your dad mentioned last night it was his favorite and Tom actually had some rhubarb frozen. I had nothing to do today and was kind of bored, so I baked. When I arrived, your mother asked if I could stay with the girls for an hour and watch over the dinner she started while she and your dad ran down the mountain for something.”

“For what?’

“I don’t know actually. Maybe something to do with Christmas,” she whispered and nodded toward the girls, who were being very quiet.

Dylan got the picture. Darcy showed up, they knew what time he would be home, and Mom thought this was an opportunity to show him what it would be like to come home to a real family of his own. He got it. He longed for it. But Darcy wasn’t the one. They’d decided together that a relationship between them would be fruitless.

“Right. So…” he said, turning to the girls. Both sets of eyes shot from him to Darcy and back to him. “Why are the two queens of noise so quiet?”

Darcy placed the spoon on the caddy and wiped her hands on the flowered apron she wore. “Well, Lilac asked me to stay for dinner.” Her brows knitted together. “I hope it’s okay. I said yes.”


A smile bloomed on her rose-colored lips. “Thanks. I hate eating alone. Anyway, I told these two if they do their homework, maybe, after dinner, we’d bake some cookies.” She crossed over and smoothed a hand over both girls’ hair. “If it’s all right with you?”

It was definitely all right by him. When he dropped her off at Tom’s last night, they hadn’t set a time to see each other again until Saturday when they were all going out to Mini-Moose Point to cut down the Christmas tree. He had to work today and tonight the Skype-call with Elizabeth was scheduled. He’d had a long list of things he needed to ask his sister-in-law, and hopefully his brother. He hadn’t spoken to Bob in nearly a month. “Yeah. Sure.”

“Good.” She went up on her toes a little.

That attraction thing they had decided was not going to happen reared up. He could imagine himself, walking into this scene—with a baby cradled in a bouncy chair—gathering Darcy into his arms and planting a kiss on her full lips. A sampling of the dinner to come would be mingled with her sweetness. He could feast on her alone. Starting with the perfect ears she kept tucking a strand of hair behind. Then biting his way down her tanned neck and across her bare shoulders and lower…

He shifted his stance, feeling the effects below his belt caused by imagining Darcy wearing nothing but that apron. Naked.

His nieces were sitting right there.

Quickly, he retargeted his thoughts, glanced away from the gorgeous woman in front of him and cleared the desire from his throat. “I’m glad they’re getting their homework done. Tonight, at eight, they have their Skype appointment.”

The girls cheered. “We get to see Mommy and Daddy.”

“Oh,” Darcy said, “I didn’t know. Maybe we should do cookies another night.”

“No. We want cookies,” Jillian started the singsong, tapping her pencil on the tabletop, and Katy chimed in.

Dylan splayed his hand toward his nieces. “The queens of noise.”

“Okay.” Darcy, chuckling, threw her hands up in the air. “I’ll bake a few cookies now, since you’re busy doing your homework and then, if your uncle lets us, we’ll do a whole baking afternoon later this week.”

“Can we?” His nieces hopped on their seats.

“I do need someone to stay with the girls tomorrow night while I work at the lodge, if you’re free. My sitter’s mother called and Willa has come down with a sore throat. And, Mom and Dad are planning to go to that town meeting.”

“I’d love to.”

“Great.” He smiled down at her, mesmerized by her beauty.

¸.•´¸.•*´¨)✯ ¸.•*¨)✮ (¸.•´✶

*´¨✫) ¸.•´*~`

Elise's A&P Cut Outs

What you'll need:

2 cups sugar
1 cup softened butter
2 large eggs
1Tlb vanilla
1 Tlb milk
1 Teas. Baking Soda
1 Teas. Cream of Tartar
3 1/2 cups of flour

What to do:

1) Cream sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, and milk together.

2) Then sprinkle in Baking Soda and Cream of Tartar and blend well.

3) Slowly add flour.

4) Wrap dough in wax paper and refrigerate at least one hour. (I make up batches days ahead before baking. But hid it well. The kids love it.)

5) When ready to bake, sit dough out at room temp for about twenty minutes. Then in portions, roll out (about 1/2 inch thick), cut out, place on baking sheet and decorate.

6) Bake at 350 degrees for about 7 to 10 minutes, depending on how dark you want them.

7) Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.

8) Enjoy!

Santa always had cut outs of children's hands. Now he gets the cut outs of my grandchildrens' hands.
PS: Don't forget to like my page.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Writing Through The Holidays

Small Business: Writing Through The Holidays (Posted first at Ruby Slippered Sisterhood November 2016)

If you Google writing through the holidays, you’re going to find dozens of articles written on the subject, including a great one dated last December by our own Ruby Sister Addison Fox. Many authors offer the same advice, and I’m going to bring up the same points too later, because they’re good advice. However, today, and for your sanity and mine, I want to approach the subject a little differently.

If you look at my post title, you’ll note the first two words. Got them? Good. Unless you’re writing to stick your work in a drawer only to be found upon your demise by a nephew or niece who you didn’t hold close to your heart and who will probably either burn your bloodwork or see the wonder in it and use your work to start their own writing career, then you need to think of yourself as a small business owner. And as we all know small business owners have a lot to do during any holiday in order to remain competitive with the ‘Big boys, girls, sellers, box-stores or A’. You pick the noun. So let’s think of our self’s as small businesses during this holiday season and beyond.

The first thing every SB owner does every single day is take care of the foundation their business. You are the foundation of your business. You need to take care of you. You need to eat well, drink plenty of water, exercise (yes running through the mall counts), get the right amount of restful sleep that is good for you and most importantly don’t add stress on yourself. How can do you do that during the most stressful time of the year? Please, read on.images6

I’m going to throw some keywords at you; the first already was tossed, care. The second is flexibility. Writers are creatures of habit. But remember we’re also small business owners. As a business person you need to be flexible every single day. Every single minute of every single day. The world is ever changing and it affects you and your business constantly. If you go into this holiday by setting non flexible goals (More on this later) and your kids get sick, or the car breaks down, or your boss at your ‘real job’ demands that you get a new must-have report done by Christmas Eve, you will be adding a ton of stress on yourself. Setting a non-flex goal in the month of November is one of the reasons I’ve never done Nano. Stress, leads to guilt, which leads to depression. We don’t want to go there. Flexible is a key word.
Self-awareness is the next key word. What is your regular writing schedule? Do you write every single day? Do you take time off on the weekends? Do you write when you can? Which of these scenarios is the most flexible? Right. The write when you can. If you can write every day, but now find that during the holiday festivities you can’t, you will feel stressed. Stress is bad. Be flexible. Flexible is good.

Don’t try to do a 360° turn with your writing habits in the eleventh hour, trying to accomplish what you haven’t done already. It doesn’t work. Change of habits needs to be done over time, and there is no time of year when our desire to change is greater than right now. Plan your change.

Realization is the next key word. If you had a goal to have a project done by December 31 and you haven’t put the effort into it by now, well, that boat has sailed. Small business owners think months ahead, even years. Because the calendar will flip and your project isn’t done doesn’t mean the world is going to end. It means you will complete it in 2017 with the enthusiasm and the focus that it deserves. Flexible.

Now, I want to prove something to you. During this busy holiday season, you can accomplish a lot of things that benefit your small business by following my advice below.

images1If you write for publication, there is so much that needs to be done, whether you’re an indie author or a traditional pubbed author or a freelance writer. Grab a calendar; one that has the month in blocks. During the day or at the end of every single day, write down what you did relating to your business. I do this every day. It’s my record for the IRS that I am working my business. Here are examples of things I might get done any given day. Email, social media, word count achieved, number of pages edited, articles or blogs written, articles or blogs posted and or commented on, ad copy worked on, design ads, place ads, worked on a plot, talk or meet with critique partners, agent or editor. Trips to office supply store or post office. Time spent researching. Time spent reading craft books or industry blogs (like the Ruby Sisterhood). Write everything down. Now, look at what you have accomplished. How can there be guilt?

If you’re like me, you can’t take days off during a project. Maybe a day or two, but weeks? No. I need to stay grounded in my project. Does that mean I need to write fresh pages every day? No it does not. Simply writing a page a day, or editing a scene or layering a character will keep your muse alive and you’ll be working toward the end of a polished wip.

Here are the little tidbits of advice I mentioned at the top of this blog. The ones that will help you move forward during the busiest of times.
1.Set the goal of I will work my business every day. Notice I didn’t say write every day. Be flexible.
2.Write first (get up early), write last (after everyone else has gone to bed), or in between with a notebook if need be.
3.Set a timer for twenty minutes and write nonstop.
4.I sit my laptop on my kitchen counter while cooking dinner and I try to get an extra page written or edited before the meal is ready to plate. In fact, I write, standing more and more. I find walking around helps me think in between lines.
5.Join an on-line group and sprint. On Twitter, I think, you can always find someone to sprint with by using a specific hashtag. I think it’s #1k1hr. If anyone knows for sure, please place in comments. (And remember the Rubies Winter Writing Fest Begins mid-January. Very productive and tons of fun!)
6.Not working on story at the moment? Just be creative. Write a blog, article, poem, or short story. Hey, those writings can come in handy later for to use as promo when you’re on deadline.
7.If it’s hard to write at home, get away. Pack a Go-bag now (pen, pencils, notebook, snacks, bottled water, and a little cash) and store the bag in your car. Anytime you slip out the door to run an errand take a few minutes to yourself while gone and write. Heck you could say you’re going to the garage to clean out the car and just sit in your car and write.
8.Take a walk and dictate a scene. (Just get out of your comfort zone and use a different method to producing words)
9.Too noisy with all the kids at home, invest in earplugs. Listening to an audiobook is also work.
10.Set up a mini-writing retreat with some writer friends for an afternoon, but be prepared to give your spouse some alone time too.
11.Journal. The end of the year is all about change. People watch. Note changes in people and how they interact with others as the month ends.
12.This is the season that your senses can go on overload. There are so many sights, sounds, and scents to take in. And the food and drinks. And the feel of the weather, the gifts and the hugs. Ruby Anne Marie brought up in her recent blog how hugs can be different. Made me think. Take note for future works.

By not letting our passion take a second chair to non-essential chores, we’ll feel less anxious, more balanced, and much happier. Start 2017 positive by taking care of you and your small business now.

If you have words of advice on writing through the holidays, please share. What works for you might work for someone else.

Autumn Jordon is an award-winning, sneaker wearing Ruby. She is the author of seven published novels, including a fun, contemporary holiday romance titled Perfect.

The holidays are never perfect. However, what happens during the holidays can inspire a perfect love. Christmas romance at its best! Amazon Reviewers

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Voted The Best Cookie Ever

Happy Holidays and welcome to my blog.

Each year I’m determined to try a few new recipes and make a batch of cookies that will WOW my family and each year the cookies that disappear first are the ones my children have always love. The ones they, their cousins and the neighborhood gang always helped me make. The dough that I had to hide deep within the vegetable crisper, under the Brussels sprouts, because if found they would munch and munch and I would need to mix another batch and then stand guard.

The recipe has been handed down for generations. In fact, my recipe card was written by my grandmother nearly forty years ago. One day, I’ll pass the card on to my oldest granddaughter.

It’s a simple rolled sugar cookie. Perfect for adding your own personal artist touch. Perfect with a hot mug of coffee or tea. Perfect for Santa.

Grandme Elsie’s A-peas

2 cups of sugar
1 cup butter softened
2 large eggs
1 Tlb of vanilla
1 Tlb of milk
1teas. of baking soda
1 teas. of cream of tartar
3 ½ cups of flour


Mix all dry ingredients and set aside.
Cream together butter and sugar.
Add eggs and milk to butter and sugar and mix well.
Slowly add dry ingredients to creamed mixture and mix.
The mixture will be a little crumply when all combined.
Turned mixture out onto a sheet or wax or parchment paper. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least two hours. (I always make the dough the day before. I think the favors are enhanced by doing so.)

Set out dough to warm a little before dividing it into four equal amounts.

Then on a floured surface, press balls flat and roll out

into an approximate ¼ inch thickness. A little thicker dough will make a softer cookie while thinner dough will make a cruncher cookies. Everyone has a different preference. Using cookie cutters, cut out the shapes. The scrapes can be rerolled again.

Place cookies on cookie tray. Decorate with colored sugar and bake at 350° for approximately 10 minutes. Place on rack and let cool.

My little ones always trace their hands and decorate with their initials as gift to Santa.

Enjoy while putting your feet up and reading a PERFECT holiday story.

PERFECT, a heart-warming holiday read.

Dylan Kincaid totally screwed up Thanksgiving and now he’s faced with Christmas. Thrown into the frightening role of both mother and father while his brother and sister-in-law are off serving their country, all Dylan wants is to make Christmas perfect for his two nieces. But time is running out.
Down on her luck Charleston, S.C. restaurateur, Darcy Witherspoon is licking a wounded ego when she arrives in Black Moose, VT and meets the handsome Maple tree farmer. Wanting a happy holiday herself, she teams up with Dylan to make a perfect Christmas.
Neither is interested in a holiday affair, but the magic of Christmas has something more everlasting in store for the couple. An absolutely perfect love!

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