Monday, May 24, 2010

Let it Snow!

Thinking of the words to one of my favorite Christmas songs isn't helping ease the frustration of the current weather conditions taking place outside my window. It's almost June and it's snowing--the kind that sticks. My front lawn has already accumulated a good inch or so, and the mountains surrounding my home are covered in white. It really is quite a beautiful scene, just completely out of place.

My kids are stir-crazy, and so am I. Our skies, sleds, and snowboards have been shelved and we have been ready and waiting for spring for two months now. We want parks and slides, sprinklers and water guns, swimming pools and outdoor fun. We want to take our neglected boat to the lake and tube and wakeboard and wakesurf. We want to go on walks, ride bikes, hike, and fly kites. We want to expose our bodies to that blessed Vitamin D.

Instead, we get more cool weather and the previously mentioned snow. What in the world?

But then I think how grateful I am to have a warm home and a family to share it with. How grateful I am to have my health and kids free from illness. How grateful I am to have hot chocolate mix and marshmallows in my pantry. And how grateful I am to have the knowledge that Heavenly Father is out there, mindful of our wants and needs.

And then I think, maybe, just maybe, there's a reason for this snow after all.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Fun Summer Treasure Hunt: Dig For Clues and Win

If you're in the mood for a fun contest and a chance to win some prizes (mostly books), Joyce DiPastena has put together a fun treasure hunt. The rules and prizes are as follows . . .

Welcome to our second annual “Summer Treasure Hunt: Dig for Clues and Win” Contest! We have something for everyone: romance, fantasy, mystery, suspense, historicals, contemporaries, young adult and middle grade fiction; children’s picture books; and a variety of non-fiction titles. We also have some exciting non-book prizes: a hand crocheted book tote and cell phone case; a book/jewelry combo; a Mary Kay cosmetic assortment; a The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe DVD; and (you aspiring writers won’t want to miss this one!) a free edit/critique for the first 50 pages of an unpublished novel by a three-time published author!

How can you enter to win one of these awesome prizes? Just follow the rules below!

SUMMER TREASURE HUNT RULES:

You can send in an entry for each day’s prize, or only for those prizes that strike your fancy. You do not have to wait until the designated day to enter. You can start sending in your entries right now, or begin entering at any point along the way. You can check Joyce's blog each day between June 2nd-July 9th to read the names of the winners.) The rules are simple:

(1) Go to the website or blog indicated for each day, find the answer to the question, then email the answer with your name and AND MAILING ADDRESS to jdipastena@yahoo.com. You will not wind up on any mailing lists. This is only to facilitate the receipt of your prize. All entries will be deleted at the end of the contest.

(2) Please send a separate entry for each day and type the day you are entering in the subject line. (Such as: Summer Treasure Hunt, June 1; Summer Treasure Hunt, June 2, etc).

(3) Deadline for each day: Midnight PST

(4) The winner will be contacted and announced on the day following the deadline.

All winners will be “drawn” by WWW.RANDOM.ORG.

If you have any questions, feel free to email Joyce DiPastena at jdipastena@yahoo.com.

And now…let the treasure hunt begin!

June 1
SPONSOR: Donna Hatch
PRIZE: Queen in Exile, (fantasy romance), autographed by author
QUESTION: The princess must rely upon her magic to save whom? (Hint: Look under “Bookshelf” tab)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.donnahatch.net
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 2
SPONSOR: Laurie Lewis
PRIZE: Awakening Avery (women's fiction), autographed copy
QUESTION: Avery's signal that she isn't handling her husband's death very well comes to her when she tosses what into what? (Hint: Look under “books &reviews, then click on the cover to Awakening Avery and read the first chapter)
WEBSITE/BLOG: www.laurielclewis.com
USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 3
SPONSOR: E.A. West
PRIZE: Riley's Mission (PDF: romantic suspense)
QUESTION: Where does Jade sit after she sees Aziz Khadoul? (Hint: Click on “Books” tab, then on “excerpt” link for Riley’s Mission)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://eawest.mcphitty.com
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 4
SPONSOR: Jenna Dawlish
PRIZE: Sprig of Thyme (Victorian romance), autographed copy
QUESTION: What is the name of the hero in Jenna's first novel Love Engineered? (Check out “The Library” tab)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.jennadawlish.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 5
SPONSOR: Rachael Renee Anderson
PRIZE: Divinely Designed (contemporary LDS romantic comedy), autographed copy
QUESTION: What is the title of Rachael's second book, being released in August? (Hint: scroll down to Rachael’s “Goodreads” titles on the right hand sidebar))
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://rachaelreneeanderson.blogspot.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 6
SPONSOR: Linda Kay Garner
PRIZE: Some Secrets Hurt (picturebook), autographed copy, plus a handmade cuddling blanket. This picture book is for all ages. It is simple enough to be understood by a very young child, meaningful enough to appeal to teenagers, informative enough to be helpful to parents, and powerful enough to reach out to a wounded adult.
QUESTION: The only thing worse than finding out that your child is being sexually abused is ____ ____ ____? (Hint: Listen to 5 minute KSL TV interview on the right side of the website or dowload the free Parents’ Guide)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://somesecretshurt.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 7
SPONSOR: Danielle Thorne
PRIZE: (New/Sealed) The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (Widescreen DVD)
QUESTION: In Danielle Thorne's novel, Turtle Soup, what is the name of the marine biologist who inspires Sara Hart to name her deli Turtle Soup? (Hint: read the blurb for Turtle Soup on Danielle’s website homepage)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://daniellethorne.jimdo.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 8
SPONSOR: Larry Hammersley
PRIZE: Lab Partners (sweet 1950’s romance), ebook
QUESTION: What are the first names of the hero and heroine in the short story Lab Partners? (Hint: Check out “WIP Report” post for April 4, 2010)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://larryhammersley.blogspot.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 9
SPONSOR: Linda Weaver Clarke
PRIZE: Melinda and the Wild West: (historical romance, YA and adult), autographed copy
QUESTION: What was Melinda doing when she first met Gilbert and why did he act flustered and then abruptly turn and briskly stride away? (Hint:. Click on “Sample Chapters” tab, then on the book title for Melinda and the Wild West to read a sample chapter.)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.lindaweaverclarke.com/
OPEN TO USA AND CANADA ENTRIES

June 10
SPONSOR: Angela Morrison
PRIZE: Taken by Storm (Penguin/Razorbill 2009), YA romance, autographed hard cover
QUESTION: A legendary LDS author of over 30 books for teens called Taken by Storm, "An amazing story written with a clear, refreshing and creative voice." Who was it? (Hint: check “Taken By Storm” tab)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://web.me.com/angelamorrison/Angela_Morrison/Welcome.html
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 11
SPONSOR: Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen
PRIZE: Trapped (romantic suspense with a hint of paranormal fantasy), autographed copy
QUESTION: The first trap Emi Warrin encounters is a mysterious letter. To where does it lure her? (Hint: Read the book summary under the Trapped tab)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://rondahinrichsen.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 12
SPONSOR: Anne Patrick
PRIZE: Journey to Redemption (inspirational romantic suspense), free download
QUESTION: What did Royce use to do for a living in my upcoming release, Out of the Darkness? (Hint: Look under the “My Books” link for Anne’s new release, Out of the Darkness)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.suspensebyanne.blogspot.com
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 13
SPONSOR: Rebecca Talley
PRIZE: Altared Plans (contemporary LDS romance), autographed by author
QUESTION: What is unique about my youngest son? (Hint: Watch the YouTube video Extra C posted on the right side of Rebecca’s blog)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.rebeccatalleywrites.blogspot.com
USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 14
SPONSOR: David J. West
PRIZE: Heroes of the Fallen (historical fiction), autographed hardcopy)
QUESTION: What is the name of my favorite author? (Hint: Scroll through David’s June blogs. He promises you’ll find the answer!)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://david-j-west.blogspot.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 15
SPONSOR: Jennifer Stewart Griffith, author of Choosing Mr. Right and Delicious Conversation
PRIZE: FREE edit and/or critique of first 50 pages of a novel
QUESTION: What is the Japanese word for the hairstyle worn by sumo wrestlers? (Hint: Check out Jennifer’s favorite sumo blog, Sumo Beautiful. Look for Hama Bijin’s April 13th post)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://sumobeautiful.blogspot.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES as long as the manuscript can be emailed to Jennifer and is in English

June 16
SPONSOR: Rebecca Irvine
PRIZE: Family Home Evening Adventures (non-fiction book of FHE lessons), free e-book on CD
QUESTION: What is the title of the first book written by Rebecca Irvine? (Hint: Read “about me” on Rebecca’s blog)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.rebeccairvine.blogspot.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 17
SPONSOR: Marilyn Bunderson
PRIZE: The Mark (YA Fiction), autographed copy with a bookmark
QUESTION: In a deleted scene from my book, The Mark, Jon loses a bet to Shae. What does he have to do to pay up? (Hint: Found in post titled "Deleted Scenes From The Mark" dated April 15, 2010)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://mrbunderson.blogspot.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 18
SPONSOR: Heather Justesen
PRIZE: Winner’s Choice: The Ball’s In Her Court (contemporary inspirational) or Rebound (contemporary romance), autographed by author
QUESTION: How much did the FBI agent expect John's bail to be set at? (Hint: Click on "My Books" tab, then "read more" about Rebound.)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.heatherjustesen.com/
OPEN TO USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 19
SPONSOR: Nichole Giles
PRIZE: The Sharp Edge of a Knife (inspirational historical, based on a true story), autographed copy
QUESTION: What is the correct title of the humorous anthology I coauthored? (Hint: Look in the right hand sidebar)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.nicholegiles.blogspot.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 20
SPONSOR: Karen Adair
PRIZE: Trendy blue/brown crocheted book tote with matching cell phone case (Check out Karen’s “Diva Strings” website for examples: http://www.divastrings.com/index.html)
QUESTION: Where did Karen learn how to type and what speed did she finally top out at? (Hint: Check Karen’s “Bio” tab)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.kbadair.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 21
SPONSOR: Lynn Parsons
PRIZE: (dis)Abilities and the Gospel (nonfiction), autographed copy
QUESTION: What are three of the topics I list on the parent page of my website? (Look on “Parent Page” tab)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.lynndparsons.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 22
SPONSOR: Kinzie Monroe
PRIZE: Reservations for Two (inspirational romance), autographed CD
QUESTION: What was Maggie doing when she and Carson first met in Reservations for Two? (Hint: click on the “Excerpts” link on Kinzie’s blog)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://kinziemonroe.blogspot.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 23
SPONSOR: Michele Ashman Bell
PRIZE: Summer in Paris (YA romance), autographed copy and Eiffel Tower bookmark
QUESTION: What is Michele "dreaming of"? (Hint: found on sidebar above picture of Eiffel Tower
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://micheleabell.blogspot.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 24
SPONSOR: Jaimey Grant and JaysDesign Jewelry
PRIZE: A signed copy of Redemption, a Regency romance by Jaimey Grant, and a 19" hand-knotted strand of freshwater pearls ($45 value) handmade by Jay T Lyons of JaysDesign Jewelry
QUESTION: Artist Jay T Lyons did a sketch for the cover of an upcoming Regency romance of mine. What is the sketch of and what is the title of the upcoming book?
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://sites.google.com/site/jaimeygrant/jaytlyons
USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 25
SPONSOR: Christine Thackeray
PRIZE: Lipstick Wars (LDS Women’s Fiction), autographed copy
QUESTION: What is the name of the angel who needs a vacation in my recent pamphlet, “Could You Be an Angel Today? (Hint: Play the book trailer for “Could You Be an Angel Today” on Christine’s home page)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.christinethackeray.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 26
SPONSOR: Bonnie Harris
PRIZE: Mary Kay Satin Lips Set, Travel Size Satin Hands Set and a set of mineral eye colors
QUESTION: What is the name of my African Gray and African Desert Tortosie? (Hint: Read “About Me” in the left hand sidebar)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.bonnieharris.blogspot.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 27
SPONSOR: Teralee Deighton
PRIZE: Cup of Comfort for New Mothers (personal essay anthology)
QUESTION: Name the editor of Cup of Comfort for New Mothers
WEBSITE/BLOG:
http://www.adamsmediastore.com/category/cup-of-comfort-series?r=COC_Bookstore
USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 28
SPONSOR: C. LaRene Hall
PRIZE: Martha’s Freedom Train (middle grade historical), autographed by both author and illustrator
QUESTION: How many short stories has C. LaRene Hall published in the humorous anthology, Mormon Mishaps and Mischief? (Hint: Look in the left hand sidebar)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.clhall.blogspot.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 29
SPONSOR: Sarah M. Eden
PRIZE: Courting Miss Lancaster (Regency romance), autographed copy
QUESTION: In his "I Need Friends Friday" interview, what reason does Edward Cullen give for not sleeping at night?
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.sarahmeden.com/2009/11/i-need-friends-friday-edward-cullen.html
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 30
SPONSOR: Marcia Mickelson
PRIZE: Reasonable Doubt (LDS Suspense), autographed copy
QUESTION: In what country was author, Marcia Mickelson born? (Hint: Click on “About Marcia” tab)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.marciamickelson.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY

July 1
SPONSOR: Kimberly Job
PRIZE: I'll Know You by Heart (romantic suspense), autographed copy
QUESTION: What is the title of my current work in progress? (Hint: Look under “My Books” tab)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.scribbledscraps.blogspot.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY

July 2
SPONSOR: Joan Sowards
PRIZE: Haunts Haven (an LDS ghost story), autographed copy
QUESTION: What is the name of the town in which the story of Haunts Haven takes place? (Hint: Found on sidebar synopsis of story)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://joansowards.blogspot.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

July 3
SPONSOR: Margaret L. Turley RN
PRIZE: Save the Child (Reality Fiction), autographed copy
QUESTION: Where can you listen to an audio interview with Margaret L. Turley about her book, Save the Child? (Hint: Click on link at the bottom of Margaret’s bio on her “About the Author” page)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://margaretturley.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY

July 4
SPONSOR: Joyce DiPastena
PRIZE: Illuminations of the Heart (sweet medieval romance, a 2009 Whitney Award Finalist), autographed by author
QUESTION: Who were gifts usually given to on Epiphany during the Middle Ages? (Hint: Click on “Stolen Christmas” tab and read excerpt from “An Epiphany Gift for Robin”)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.joyce-dipastena.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES:

July 5
SPONSOR: Cindy R. Williams
PRIZE: Chase McKay Didn’t Get Up Today (Arizona Glyph Award Finalist and Southwest Book Awards Finalist), a snuggle, giggle children’s picture book
QUESTION: There is a picture of Cindy holding two dragons on her website, http://www.cindyrwilliams.com/ The names of the dragons are in the caption below the picture. What are their names? (Hint: Look on the “Book” page)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.cindyrwilliams.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY

July 6
SPONSOR: Gail Pallotta
PRIZE: Love Turns the Tide (inspirational romance with suspense), free e-book on CD
QUESTION: Who comes to Cammie O'Shea's rescue after she has a break-in at her unit in Destin, Florida? (Hint: Scroll down to: MORE ABOUT THE BOOK)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.gailpallotta.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

July 7
SPONSOR: Danyelle Ferguson
PRIZE: (dis)Abilities and the Gospel (non-fiction), autographed copy (Yes, this is your second chance to win a copy, this one signed by the co-author)
QUESTION: What is the date and location of Danyelle's book launch? (hint: check out Danyelle's sidebar.)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.queenoftheclan.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY

July 8
SPONSOR: Karen E. Hoover
PRIZE: Sapphire Flute (YA Fantasy), autographed copy
QUESTION: How many bloggers have posted their reviews of The Sapphire Flute? (Hint: Check out the list under “Sapphire Flute Blog Tour” in the right hand side bar and count ‘em up)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://karen-hoover.blogspot.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY

Saturday, May 15, 2010

How to Remove Crayon from Clothes . . .

You'd think after dealing with crayon stains so many times, I would learn to check the pockets. But alas, I'm to lazy, forgetful, preoccupied, whatever you want to call it. I didn't, and today it was a vivid orange and green that appeared scattered throughout a load of what consisted mostly of my husband's shirts. I told him to look at the sweet face of our two-year-old, whose pants also ended up in the same load, but that didn't cheer him up any. Not a good sign.

So back to the internet I went, hoping to find a new cure for this pre-existing condition in my household. You see, I've tried many a "cure" before, with only failed attempts--resulting in the burial of many a clothes. And unfortunately, like before, Google provide no new answers. Shame on you, Google!

I was preparing to tell my husband the bad news when my brilliant fairy-godmother-in-law called. She asked how our day was going, I shared with her the news of my latest disaster, and wallah, she mentioned the name of an antidote. Just like that. Like it was no big secret.

Goo-gone.

Re-enthused, I spritzed the clothes with this miracle product, let them sit for twenty minutes, and washed them on a hot, stain-cycle setting. An hour or two later, I was almost afraid to pull them from the washer, thinking it couldn't possibly be so easy. But it was! Honestly, I didn't even have to scrub a thing. The crayon stains had vanished! No joke.

My mother-in-law is a genius. I wonder what other secrets she has up her sleeve?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Young Women Graduate Gift

My sister's YW presidency thought of this fun note to go with a candy bar bouquet for the graduating Laurels in their ward. Since I love to design things, they asked me to make it look cute. I happily complied and well, here's the end result . . .

If you like, just click on the image to enlarge, save it to your computer, open it in anything from MS Word to Adobe Photoshop, shrink or enlarge it to the size you want, and wallah--an almost ready-made gift. Guaranteed to please any sweet-toothed teenager.

All you'll need is the assortment of candy bars listed, shish-kabob sticks, and a vase or tissue paper to wrap around them. The bag to the left was created using a Ziplock bag filled with rice (for weight), some green foam (the kind used for artificial plants), and sticks hot-glued to the back of the candy bars.