Blog Archive

Monday, September 1, 2014

Thirty-Two Going On...Spinster Feature and $50 Amazon give away!

thirty two

Thirty-Two Going on Spinster by Becky Monson

Julia Dorning is a spinster, or at least on the road to becoming one. She has no social life, hates her job, and lives in her parent’s basement with her cat, Charlie.

With the arrival of Jared Moody, the new hire at work, Julia’s mundane life is suddenly turned upside down. Her instant (and totally ridiculous) crush on the new guy causes Julia to finally make some long-overdue changes, in hopes to find a life that includes more than baking and hanging out with Charlie.

But when the biggest and most unexpected change comes, will the new and improved Julia be able to overcome it? Or will she go back to her spinster ways?

Purchase your copy for just $2.99!!

Praise for Thirty-Two Going on... Spinster    

 "Oh my, oh my. I have just finished wiping the tears of laughter from my eyes. This is seriously funny." ~Julie Darley (Never judge a Book by its Movie) "This was a refreshing change of pace for me to read. Some good clean romance was found in it’s pages and that is a rare find these days. It was some great chick-lit. I would not have thought this was Becky’s debut book, it was so well done." ~Liberty Ann (SnifferWalkBooks)  

Becky MonsonAuthor Becky Monson By day, Becky Monson is a mother of three young children, and a wife. By night, she escapes with reading books and writing. In her debut novel, Becky uses humor and true-life experiences to bring her characters to life. She loves all things chick-lit (movies, books, etc), and wishes she had a British accent. She has recently given up Diet Coke for the fiftieth time and is hopeful time will last... But it probably won't. Becky runs a large book club on Facebook called "This Chick Reads".  


BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 9/30/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Quotes

Being busy does not always mean real work.  The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration.  Seeming to do is not doing.
~Thomas A. Edison

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

knitting and reading

I finally was able to finish the band of my lovely hat!  I have worked a few rounds of the moss stitch pattern, and I really like it.  This is a very quick knit, and if I had an hour to sit down and finish it I could.

Perhaps today will be the day!  We woke up with the lovely national (world wide?!) Time Warner Cable internet outage.  It has been off and on all morning, and I am just crossing my fingers I can finish this post before it goes out again.

As far as my reading goes, I received a new book in the mail last week to review.  Dark Hope by Monica McGurk.  It is a young adult book and first in a series, so I am looking forward to digging into this and seeing how it develops.  Look for a review soon!

What are you knitting and reading this week?  And happy back to school day to all the kids going back today!

Linking up with Ginny, Tami, and Nicole

Monday, August 25, 2014

making ketchup and a recipe

This past weekend I got my annual 100 pounds of tomatoes from a local market for canning.  Usually I make crushed tomatoes and some tomato sauce, it is the best use of the tomatoes, and honestly the fastest.  This year, however, I had a very large request from a very small boy - for ketchup.

Now, I am not a ketchup person.  I don't like it and never have.  For my son, it seems to be another food group.  Most days he requests an egg burrito with ketchup for breakfast, which means we go through an awful lot of the stuff.  And it is not cheap to buy organic ketchup!

I told him I would make it, and make it I did!  I used the recipe for Tomato Ketchup from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

What I didn't realize is that it would take for-ev-er for the ketchup to reduce down.  I think I did realize this in my head, but when you read in the instructions "about 45 minutes" you think it means 45 minutes...not 4 hours!

Without further ado - a ketchup recipe for my son Jack.

3T celery seed
4tsp whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks (broken into pieces)
1 & 1/2tsp whole allspice
3 cups cider vinegar
24lbs tomatoes, cored and quartered
3 cups chopped onions
1tsp cayenne pepper
1 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4cup pickling or canning salt

Tie celery seed, cloves, cinnamon, allspice in some cheesecloth, creating a spice bag

Combine vinegar and spice bag, bring to boil, remove from heat and let stand 25 minutes.  Then remove spice bag.

Meanwhile, in a *very* large stainless steel saucepan, combine tomatoes, onions and cayenne.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat and boil gently for 20 minutes.  Add vinegar and boil gently until mixture starts to thicken - about 30 minutes.

Working in batches, transfer mixture to a sieve placed over a glass or stainless steel bowl, and press with the back of a spoon to extract all the liquid.  Discard solids.

Return liquid to saucepan.  Add sugar and salt.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until volume is reduced by half and mixture is about the consistency of store bought ketchup. (My instructions say about 45 minutes, it took at least 3 hours of gentle boiling for mine to reduce.  Just watch it.)

Prepare canner, jars and lids.

Ladle hot ketchup into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Wipe rim.  Center lid on jar.  Screw band down until fingertip-tight.

Place jars in canner, bring to boil.  Process 15 minutes.  Remove canner lid.  Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.  

Do you have a favorite way to preserve tomatoes?  What are you preserving from your garden right now?

Linking up at Homestead Blog Hop and One Project at a Time

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Quotes

Productivity is never an accident.  It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.
~Paul J. Meyer

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Secret Bliss of Calliope Ipswich Feature and a Giveaway!

secret bliss

The Secret Bliss of Calliope Ipswich by Marcia Lynn McClure “Oh! Do link arms with me, Calliope,” Blanche whispered, her brown eyes widening with apprehension. She took Calliope’s arm, tightly linking it with her own. “The old Mulholland house still gives me the willies every time I walk past it. I hate to think on what might have gone on inside. It’s truly terrifyin’!” “Oh, don’t be silly, Blanche,” Calliope said, feigning calm. “Poor Prudence’s lunacy…it’s sad. And besides, her fiendish acts were not committed inside the house. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just…it’s just a sad, empty building.” Calliope Ipswich felt the hypocrite, however, as an uncomfortable shiver of residual dread and unease shuttered down her spine, More than six months had passed since the All Hollow’s Eve when the dangerous state of Prudence Mulholland’s fracturing mind had been revealed to the townsfolk of Meadowlark Lake. And now, each time Calliope thought of poor Prudence and her family, not only did her heart ache for their family’s unhappy lot but a chill of lingering horror rippled through her being. In truth, at times Calliope wondered if it had all been simply a bad dream—a nightmare. But it hadn’t. It really had happened—all of it.

Purchase your copy on


Author Marcia Lynn McClure Marcia Lynn McClure’s intoxicating succession of novels, novellas, and e-books, has established her as one of the most favored and engaging authors of true romance. Her unprecedented forte in weaving captivating stories of western, medieval, regency, and contemporary amour void of brusque intimacy has earned her the title “The Queen of Kissing.” Marcia, who was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has spent her life intrigued with people, history, love, and romance. A wife, mother, grandmother, family historian, poet, and author, Marcia Lynn McClure spins her tales of splendor for the sake of offering respite through the beauty, mirth, and delight of a worthwhile and wonderful story.
Social Media Website Social Media Blog Social Media Facebook Social Media Twitter Social Media Goodreads

BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 9/16/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Back to School with US Cellular

It is amazing how quickly this summer flew by, and now we are in the trenches of “back to school.”  I have to say that I really love this time of year, the weather has cooled down some (not that Maine is known for crazy hot weather, but humidity, yes), and we are ready to get back into a routine after a summer of doing whatever we felt like doing.

This year we started school a month earlier than normal, and I am finding that there are so many ways technology is helping me along this year!

In this day and age, technology is everywhere.  Kids are given laptops to use in middle school, and even some kindergarten classes in my state are giving kids Apple iPads to utilize with their classes.  What a difference from when I was in school.

According to a recent survey by US Cellular, 74% of households have at least one tablet.  Tablets and smartphones are becoming a simple tool which ensures students are staying on top of their schoolwork.  They aren’t just for entertainment!

Did you know that according to a Student Mobile Device survey conducted by Harris Interactive, 87% of students would prefer to have digital textbooks so they don’t have to carry so much in their backpacks?  Yes, I remember those first days of school quite well, coming home with a back ache because I had so many books to carry home with me!

I talked a bit on Tuesday about how we keep track of the kids work for homeschool reporting purposes, and I thought I would expand on that a bit today.  One of the biggest things that I do with my iPhone 5s is take pictures – a lot of pictures.  I’m sure I am not in the minority here.

When I was trying to figure out how to keep track of all of the work my kids do throughout the year, big projects, science experiments, showing that they are doing some sort of physical exercise, the easiest thing I could think of was to take a lot of pictures.  With the option of Instagram and their very cool filters, I know that at the end of the year I will have a ton of beautiful pictures that I can then use to show what my children have done throughout the year.

Pictures aren’t the only way that you can help your kids (homeschooled or otherwise) keep up with school.  There are so many great apps out there to help you keep up with all the paper that seems to come through the house.  One of my favorites is Dropbox.  It is a cloud-based file sharing and storage app, and it is free – we love free!  It is easy for students to save their work and just put it in Dropbox for the teacher to grab.  No paper!  I love that.

picture source

Another app that I just recently learned about is Notability.  It allows users to complete worksheets, sketch ideas, keep a journal, integrate photos and record a lecture, keeping it all in one place. 

The integration of technology into the classroom is incredibly important these days.  Our children are growing up in a completely new world from when we were going to school, and utilizing technology every day is a part of that new world.  I love that US Cellular has such great 4G LTE coverage, which makes keeping up with school on the go (for us homeschoolers) super easy.  When we are at the museum and the kids have more questions than the little plaque has answers, I can bring up my good friend Google and figure out an answer for them!

I’m happy to report that US Cellular is donating $1 million to fund teacher classroom projects through its Calling All Teachers program.  Last year, the company donated $500,000 towards educational materials for improved classroom performance.  US Cellular is working with for the fourth time and encourages teachers to post their projects on the site for potential funding. is a charity website that helps teachers identify funds from corporate and individual donations for classroom projects.

Through US Cellular’s ongoing commitment to the community and education, they have contributed more than $7 million through this and other philanthropic programming.  Starting today K-12 public school teachers can register online at and affiliate as a U.S. Cellular teacher. Then they can start posting their classroom projects for funding consideration. Through U.S. Cellular has funded more than 4,500 classroom projects to date, which included technology tools, art equipment and science experiments. All projects must be submitted by September 21 to be eligible for this year’s funding.  Selected projects will be in announced in October.

While kids have access to all of this technology to help them with school, it is also a good time to remember to have a discussion with your kids about what is acceptable technology usage – especially in a classroom environment.  A great way to start the conversation with your kids is to use the Parent Child Technology Use AgreementWe want our children to be safe while utilizing the best of what technology offers. 

I am a member of the US Cellular Blogger Brigade and was compensated for this post, however, as always, the opinions are my own.