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I truly enjoy hearing from you. Please do leave a comment or pop over to Facebook and chime in on the conversation–there’s always conversation!

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Read a Romance Month: Page Two

As most avid readers, my To-Be-Read (TBR) stack is nearly infinite—in print and on m’Kindle, as well as my TBR list on Goodreads. Even so, I’m always on the lookout for fresh reads to add to the stacks. This Read a Romance month has brought to my attention several new-to-me-authors or has renewed an interest in authors I’ve read but had forgotten (hey, it happens!)

Social media, namely Facebook, has been a big part of this, as I’ve clicked through the Read a Romance month links found there as well as the links found on pages where authors are active. Interactive, fun authors get my attention every time—sending me to check out their books and go on to read them if any interest at all is sparked.

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Some romance (or close enough) authors I’ve enjoyed in recent weeks—both their books and their interactions—are:

Diana Gabaldon

Nora Roberts

Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Kristan Higgins

Bella Andre

Jill Shalvis

Susan Wiggs

Eloisa James

I’m posting shout outs to these authors because the added bonus of Facebook interactions is a fun one I think you’ll enjoy checking out.

Speaking of Facebook, pop on over and join the conversation sometime, won’t you? 

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Outlander…On Screen!?

I know I’ve mentioned that I’m a huge fan of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander novel series—if you’ve been around me in person or online much at all, you’ve heard many times over. I first read Outlander over ten years ago and have been hooked on the series since. The books now number eight main titles with several smaller novels/novellas woven in and around the story. I really think you’ll find the story worth your time–just try the first one…see what ya think.

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While I know many fans have wished for a movie or tv series version of Outlander for a long time, I was not one of those folks. I’ve been supremely content with Jamie and Claire’s story in the books, giving no thought to tv or movie. I remain supremely content with the books, however…there is this buzz.

I dismissed all the buzz about an Outlander tv series until Diana Gabaldon herself said a deal was in the works and she was optimistic and confident Ron Moore would do justice to the Outlander story. I noted that, felt a flicker of interest but still went on less than enthused and not sure I’d bother to watch. Until now.

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When it comes to books made into tv shows or movies, I’ve always been able to enjoy both—viewing them separately, one or the other has never spoiled one or the other for me, so to speak. That being said, I still wasn’t really interested a screen adaptation of Outlander. Yet.

When Diana herself screened the first episode, then told us she was pleased and that it is her belief that we would love it, then I paid attention. If the CREATOR of Jamie and Claire’s world liked the adaptation, how in the world could I not give it a go?!?

This month the beloved saga makes its television debut and what a debut it has been already. Outlander fans everywhere are amazed with the production Ron Moore and his team have given us with Episode One. Up until now I have clarified that I’m a fan of Diana’s and of her books—after seeing Episode One, I must say I’m a fan of the Outlander tv series as well. Well done, folks, well done!

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I’m eagerly awaiting Episode Two and having a fun time chatting about all of it with other fans—social media was made for this kind of fun stuff!

Have you heard of Outlander? The book? The tv series? Have you read or watched either? Do tell…

 

Read a Romance Month: Page One

Apparently August is ‘Read a Romance Month’ out in the bookish world. Who knew?!?

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Being that romance novels are a particular favorite of mine, this is my world most every month/week/day. That being said, I figured ‘Read a Romance Month’ is as good a time as any to talk about favorite books and authors that fall into the romance genre.

In my experience, romance novels range from stories that focus on the developing relationship and include some of the world around the couple involved to quick-fall-in-love-and-lust-stories that steam up the page/screen. I typically like them all at some time or another, depending on my current reading mood.

My favorite series of all time falls into romance and a whole host of other genres at the same time: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. All eight books—yep, you read it right…eight books. *sigh* I can’t do the saga justice, but will say that I think the story of Jamie and Claire, and all that is them, is epic. Simply epic. outlander

Nora Roberts/JD Robb is another particular favorite of mine. I’ve enjoyed her books time and again—the romances, the series, the stand alone novels. Some I love, some I like, all I’ve enjoyed. There are far too many to name, but off-hand my favorites include the In Death series (JD Robb) and the Irish Born In trilogy. Eve and Roarke from the In Death series rank as number two on my all time favorite fiction couples list–just behind Jamie and Claire.

Those two authors had to be acknowledged and forever documented (yet again and will be again). Top o’ my list, they.

Most recently, I’ve been devouring fun, what some call ‘beach reads’, that are let’s wrangle-this-attraction-despite-complicated-lives-and-make-happily-ever-after stories:

Bella Andre—The Sullivans series. So many interesting characters.

Christie Ridgway—I started with the Beach House #9 series, so good.

Shannon Stacey- The Kowalski family is fun, loving group to follow.

 

Are you a romance reader? What pages have you been turning lately—do tell?

 

 

Helpful, Interesting, Laugh Out Loud Funny Things

The ever-incredible Internet has, yet again, offered a wide variety of good reads to me lately. I hope you’ll take a look at a few of these and let me know what you think here in the comments or over on Facebook—for I do enjoy chatting with you!

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* ‘I hate C. It’s definitively the worst number.’ –this conversation between a  Mom and her 4 year old cracked.me.up. Must read.

* ’Social Media is killing books? I’m not buying it.’ – a great article about how a book lover (like me) enjoys her reading time.  ‘I’m not wasting my time. I’m not being lazy. I’m tending my soul.’ << her quote, but I know I’ve said the same thing in so many words so many times.

* The Difference Between a Sensory Sensitivity and Disliking Something –all too often folks without sensory issues (or unacknowledged ones) blame sensory issues on simple refusal…this article written by one affected by sensory sensitivities does a good job explaining the difference.

*’Those veggies and meat cuts look vaguely familiar, but you have no functional memory of how one takes raw ingredients and combines them into a dish…’ – 5 ways to get back into the meal planning groove. I needed this nudge, for while I’m all about the eating, I have been sooo lacking in the get-it-together-and-cook-it department lately.

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Round-Up: Five Things to Help Better Your World 

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Wanted: A Fresh Hobby

 

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Lately I’ve been a part of several different conversations in which the desire to seek out a new hobby was mentioned but the person in question had no clue about where to start. Being that I have a list at least mile long of things I want to do, this isn’t a problem I’ve ever encountered, but their questing made me ponder…where do you start when seeking out a new hobby?

I think the first thing to do is to ask yourself this question:

If you could do anything at all as a hobby, what would it be? If time and money were no object, what would you pursue? 

On one hand, that question seems like a moot point, because clearly time and money are a consideration for most of us–but the idea is to first just brainstorm and think about what you’d truly enjoy, then find a way to enjoy it on an affordable scale.

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For example, if you’d love to travel to faraway places and take incredible pictures but circumstances prevent you from doing so, you can still indulge that dream by learning to take incredible pictures from right where you are. All you need is some kind of camera—even a smart phone camera–and you’ve got a new hobby. There are thirteen bazillion free websites that give all sorts of photography tips, local clubs, library resources and—most of all—experimenting is free.

Also, you can enjoy the planning part of an affordable, exciting trip to be taken when you have the time and money to do so. I’ve known folks with the hobby of planning trips they might or might not take, but the details of learning about it and planning it are a fun pastime for them, especially with the Internet and how we can virtually visit places so easily.

Another question to ask yourself is: Do you want your hobby to be physically active, relaxing or mentally stimulating?

Folks seek out new hobbies for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you now have more time—the kids need you less, the new job is less demanding, you’re making sure to take time for yourself. Maybe you’re seeking a physical activity to free your mind yet occupy your body or reduce stress/worry/pain. Are you looking to learn something new, stimulate your brain? Is relaxation your goal?

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Consider what your goal is in seeking a new hobby and that will help you decide. Maybe it’s taking up a new sport or a making list of books set in Ireland to read through. If you want to start a collection of something—of first edition books or Indian artifacts–or pursue a 5K goal, you can do these things on your own, with a partner or you can connect with folks from all over via websites and forums as well as local clubs.

The point is to choose a hobby that will bring you joy as well as fill your time. Don’t over think it, pick something that sounds fun and stimulating and give it a try. The possibilities really are endless.

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Do you have a favorite hobby? Have you started a new one lately—or are you thinking about doing so? I’d love to hear about it here in the comments or over on Facebook :)

 

 

 

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The Kids Are Alright: Reading

Let’s talk about kids and reading. In conversations I have about kids and reading ( as a homeschooling momma with a particular passion for reading, there have been many,many such conversations), there are three questions that come up every time.

How do I raise a reader?
What about technology—isn’t it hampering reading?
What if my child hates to read?

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Raising Readers

There are a zimbobazillion (say that out loud, it’s fun) and six theories out there on how to raise a reader. Having raised two avid readers, I’m here to tell you that raising a reader is not complicated.

 

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If your family lives a well-read life full of reading and language, your children will be readers. (This is where you might have consider your definition of ‘reader’–which we’ll talk about sometime.)

Gadgets

It’s simple-kids these days are digital natives, the digital world is their world. By the time a child has the fine motor skills and the cognitive ability to find his way around digital devices, he’s ready to use them.

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Don’t shy away from technology, but instead help your child to find what works best. If paper books are preferred, no worries—paper books it is. If digital versions are preferred, no worries—there are many options for reading on gadgets. Most kids will use both to some degree. Research and experiment with your kiddo to find what works.

‘I Hate Reading!’

In a previous post I’ve talked about what you can do if your child doesn’t like to read and even declares that he hates reading—rather than repeat it here, I’ll just link and you can check it out. Take heart, all is not lost when a child is frustrated with reading.

All of this to say…the kids are gonna be alright :)

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**I love to hear from you, so please do leave a comment or pop over to Facebook and chime in on the conversation–there’s always conversation!**

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Kitchen Ponderings…

The other day I was in my sunlit, cozy kitchen (what is with this cold weather we’ve been subjected to in nearly mid-April??) cooking up comfort food in the form of chicken n dumplin’ casserole (The recipe will magically appear after you’ve read this post)  :D

As so often happens throughout my day, my mind wandered to an article I’d read recently— about habits. Whilst perched on m’stool in front of the table, chopping fragrant cooked chicken, I considered how we all have our particular habits and daily grooves. These things are typically comforting and familiar, entertaining and enjoyable.

This has nothing at all to do with the post, but…brownie edges!

Moving about my kitchen, I was thinking about a habit of mine, how I enjoy it and how it’s often one of the first things I do each morning. (Hey! Quit being nosy, what it is specifically doesn’t matter.) I had a revelation amid stirring the roux for the cream of chicken mixture—letting it bubble up just so, whisking and whisking. I realized that even though I thought I was enjoying the habit in question, it has often been leaving me feeling irritable and uptight—like I’ve wasted my time. I asked myself what benefit was I gaining? As my casserole filled the kitchen with savory smells, I sat down and made a few notes with my favorite red pen.

With no small amount of effort, a lot of pondering and scribbling notes over the following days, I slowly but surely set a new groove–with a mix of old faithful habits and fresh new habits–that not only makes me happy during and leaves me feeling good after, but gets me closer to not just one, but several personal goals.

Do you have something that you keep on doing out of habit despite negative feelings it leaves you? What will you gain if you replace that habit with something else? More time to focus on something you truly enjoy doing? More time with the kids/spouse/friend?

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Chicken n Dumplin Casserole Pin (for Pinterest junkies)

Chicken n Dumplin Casserole Recipe (I make my own cream of chicken mixture and leave out the bouillon and sage but otherwise pretty much follow the recipe…mostly…)

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