Top 10 Christmas Gifts for Busy Writers (Or at least for this one)

I love writerly gifts. But most of the time, my friends and family haven’t a clue what such things are. I may leave my computer open to this post in case Mr. Himself walks by…

Here are my top 10 picks this Christmas in no particular order.

Number One:

 Jane Austen Action Figures and anything Jane Austen.


Such as this,

Jane-Austen-Action-Figure (1)




and this.


Just because I love all things Jane Austen. And these are absolutely frivolous and uniquely writerly and readerly.

Number Two:

Stickers for my laptop. Such as this NASA one.


It’s cool for people to think I’m a rocket scientist when I’m out in public writing. Then again, the astronaut sloth sticker might clue them in to what I really am.


Or the  NASA “I need my space” one.


Seriously, though, this one is perfect.


As is this one. And you can’t beat the price! Okay, forget the gifting. I’m getting these myself.


Number Three:

I am in total love with this gift idea! It’s a Moleskin notebook in a Moleskin gift box! How perfect. No need to explain why any writer wouldn’t love this one, right?


Number Four:

Altwork Station.



When I make my first million I’m so getting one of these.  You’ve got to see this for yourself! (Watch the video. You’ll be putting this one on your list, too.)

Number Five:

Bookends. I have so many books. I’m never without a need for bookends. And since I’m really into elephants, I love these little guys.



Every writer can use a nice set of bookends


or even a cute bookshelf!


Number Six:

Movie passes!


Fiction writers love movies. Mainly they like to go and rip apart every scene, dissect each word, analyze the dialogue, conflicts, and more. Sometimes they want to sit in a movie alone and savor every morsel. Writers are weird. You might want to get the passes for them  to go to the movies alone unless they happen to have patient friends who understand. Or you have a unique writer friend who’s an extrovert. Unlike me. It’s not that I’m anti-social. I’m just an in-her-head-all-the-time kind of gal. Okay, fine. My kids think I’m anti-social.

Number Seven:

A vintage typewriter. Just because. Personally, I’d love to have a pink one:





Or this one from my childhood. I can still remember its smell!



And if the below picture is really a thing, please, please, please, someone show me where I can get this one!



It does look like you can make your own according to this website, but a circuitry aficionado I’m not. However, I’m a writer, and there’s nothing a writer loves more than dreaming–besides caffeine and chocolate. Which brings us to

Number Eight:

Our own caffeine station. Deborah Raney has one I absolutely love! Mine would lean more toward tea, diet Mt. Dew, milk (with a Splenda — you’ve got to try it! It’s like a legal milkshake) and water. I don’t drink coffee. But I don’t mind those who do because I love the smell of it. Wouldn’t a little station in a cozy home office be wonderful?


How cute is this???

Number Nine:

Our own private lair.



I have a huge Pinterest board dedicated to this (with over 600 delectable images!).  I’d love my own little cabin in the backyard. But Mr. Himself is hesitant to create such a thing because he’s afraid I’d never come back in the main house.  He might be right about that. (See Number Six.)

Number Ten:

Contracts. Lots and lots of contracts. (14)

If I haven’t hit on anything your writer friend or family member might like, you can check out this amazing Etsy list here. There are plenty of things there any writer would love. And I like shopping at Etsy because it supports independent creatives like me.

What are your top ten Christmas wishes (besides peace, health and unicorns)? Is there anything on my list you’d like to have, too? Weigh in!


Please tweet: Top 10 Christmas Gifts for busy writers! What’s your pick?

Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas

It's never too early to plan for

Okay, so I’m early (a proper lady is never late). But it’s never too early to plan for Christmas, right?

I simply must share this little treasure with you. It’s a book called Watch for the Light and it includes readings from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dorothy Day, Madeleine L’Engle, Martin Luther, Kathleen Norris, Henri Nouwen, Philip Yancey, Karl Barth,  Síren Kierkegaard. Thomas Aquinas, C. S. Lewis and more.


Click to buy

Madeleine L’Engle, people!

I love her. Do you know her books? (Go ahead. Click on the link. I’ll wait.)

Impressed, aren’t ya? Oh. Yeah. She’s one of my favorites.

But then again, who doesn’t also love Yancy, Luther and C.S. Lewis?

I have a confession. I dread Christmas every year. It wears me out more and more. As a pastor’s wife and musician, mother and grandmother, director of the Christmas program and all the social events at the church, there is just too much to get done in a short time (pastor’s wives of small rural churches are overworked, but that’s another post).


I’m going to make the effort this year to enjoy this book beginning four weeks before Christmas and try to capture the real essence of the holiday. There are fifty devotions that will take me from the end of November to after the Day of Ephiphany. Isn’t that marvelous?

I’ll also use it as a devotional at all our Christmas parties — the women’s ministry, the choir, the elder’s and deacons–you get the picture.


It’s really a great book for ministers to have on their shelves. Actually, every Christian who loves the holiday will enjoy this book and I hope everyone who enjoys reading will check this one out because this is not only a great book to read but also a unique, beautiful book to give as a gift. If you have friends who are into well-written literature, this is perfect. And its charming 5″ x 7″ size just adds to its appeal. In this day of digital books, I can’t wait to gift this book to my friends next year.

This book earned a hefty five out of five stars from me. I can hardly wait until Christmas!

Star Review!

1_0twitter christmas

 Tweet this: It’s never to early to plan for Christmas!





I got this book for free-2

The perfect holiday breakfast dish: Karla’s French Toast Egg Nog Casserole

The Most Delicious Recipe Blog Hop!

This is a recipe blog hop! Go here to get the button and join us each week: The Most Delicious Recipe Blog Hop.

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Whether you’re a paleo, vegetarian, southern cook, or baker, you’re welcome to join me and post a weekly recipe!

Karla’s French Toast Egg Nog Casserole


When I got the idea for this recipe, I was extremely excited to try it. I’m happy to report that it tasted just as delicious as I imagined. And it’s so easy. You mix it the night before and pop it in the oven when you wake up.

I used a basic french toast casserole recipe and instead of using cream or half and half and milk, I used egg nog. It was beyond amazing. I can’t wait to make it again for New Year’s Eve!


Ingredients for casserole

1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces) — I used a week-old loaf I got for .60!

8 large eggs

3 cups of your favorite egg nog (no alcohol)

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dash salt

Ingredients for Praline Topping

2 sticks of real butter — softened (set the sticks out overnight)

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Tear up the French Bread into pieces as big as you like — about 1 inches. Some people slice them. I don’t. Place the pieces in a buttered 9 X 13 baking pan or dish.

In another bowl combine the eggs, egg nog, sugar and salt and beat until well mixed. Pour mixture over the bread making sure all are covered evenly. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine ingredients for the Praline Topping, spread evenly over the bread, and bake for 40 minutes. You may want to add your praline topping about 15 minutes into cooking if you don’t like a crusty top. I happen to like the crusty top–it’s my favorite part.

You can serve it with syrup but there’s so much flavor, no one in my house wanted syrup with it!


Tweet this: Try this delicious breakfast treat for New Year’s morning!

Easy-peasy fudge!

The Most Delicious Recipe Blog Hop!

This is a recipe blog hop! Go here to get the button and join us each week: The Most Delicious Recipe Blog Hop.

Then add your recipe post to mine with the linky codes at the end of this post.

Whether you’re a paleo, vegetarian, southern cook, or baker, you’re welcome to join me and post a weekly recipe!


As you may or may not know, I’d much rather be in my writing cave than working in the kitchen, but there’s something about the holidays that brings out my hidden inner chef. So many people are making goodies that the enthusiasm for culinary delights is contagious.

I love fudge. My grandmother was an excellent candy maker and her fudge was perfect and delicious. I always thought there was a secret formula, and there probably is, to making the best fudge. But when I found this easy recipe, I couldn’t wait to try and it share it! Even I can make fudge now–and without a candy thermometer!

Karla’s Easy Peasy Fudge


  • 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate in my recipe today)
  • 1 (14 oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • Dash salt
  • 1/2 to 1 cups chopped nuts (I was out of nuts today)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract




The recipe I used today said to line a pan with foil, but I think you could probably use parchment paper, as well.

Also, did you know I am 53 years old and I just bought my first electric can opener in 2014? How did I live for so long without this wonderful device!


Here are the rest of the instructions:

  • Combine chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and salt in a 1-quart bowl.




  • Cook on high (100% power) in microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.


  • Stir in vanilla and nuts



  • Cook on high (100% power) in microwave for another 1 1/2 minutes (for a total of three minutes) and stir.


  • Pour into pan and chill in refrigerator



As you can see in the picture below, it sets up nicely and cuts easily into little squares.


NOM! I’m so proud of myself for making fudge just like grandma used to make! Okay, maybe not exactly like she made, but I guarantee you that Grandma would have loved having a microwave!

fudge12I think this would be a great recipe to put in jars for fudge to heat up for ice cream, too.

I’m going to add pecans to my next batch.

What’s your favorite Christmas candy?

twitter-bird-in-a-santa-hatTweet this: Fudge recipe so easy even a cave girl can do it!





Kris Kringle and Kittens

A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

Welcome to A to Z!

We’d love to have you join the fun, either blogging your way through the alphabet with us, or simply visiting. =) We dearly love visitors.

If you’re joining in the meme, be sure to link up with us at the end of this post. Since this is a blog hop, you can grab the code for the linky down there too. Find more info about the A to Z meme here.

This is our first Christmas with kittens.


Spook imitating a lounge lizard. His twin sister looks exactly like him — only she’s smaller and naughtier.


Hogging my lap so I won’t waste time writing on my laptop.

kittensmaggie (2)

Making themselves at home on my granddaughter, Maggie’s, sleeping bag.

Mr. Himself is not very happy about it. He’s worried about broken Christmas ornaments and decorations.

We’ve not put our tree up yet and I keep assuring my neurotic husband it will be fine. Don’t worry. Be happy! And then I sent him this video to cheer him up.

What do you think his reaction was?


Tweet this: Was it right or wrong to send my husband this video?



Recipe of the week: Melba’s Butternut Balls — a recipe from the 1970s

The Most Delicious Recipe Blog Hop!

This is a recipe blog hop! Go here to get the button and join us each week: The Most Delicious Recipe Blog Hop.

Then add your recipe post to mine with the linky codes at the end of this post.

Whether you’re a paleo, vegetarian, southern cook, or baker, you’re welcome to join me and post a weekly recipe!

This Week’s Recipe: Melba’s Butternut Balls

TeaCakesThese delectable, melt-in-your mouth cookies are also known in different varieties as Snowballs, Mexican Wedding cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, Christmas Butter Cookies, Rum Balls (without the rum), Almond Butter Balls (if you use almonds), Pecan Butter Balls (if you use pecans), Peppermint balls (if you use crushed up candy canes) and more.


Whatever the name, they are easy to make, delicious and a joy to package up as gifts because they’re so pretty. They’re the perfect cookie to serve with coffee, hot cocoa or a steaming pot of tea.

nut gems 013 edited

I learned how to make these cookies from a recipe in my childhood church’s Christmas recipe book entitled, Christmas Family Favorites. I’m not sure how I ended up still having it, but I think the copy I have was my grandmother’s because I don’t think my Mom would have given me hers. However I acquired it, I’m thrilled to still have it more than 40 years later! (I’m pretty sure it was published sometime in the 70s.) As you can see, it is well-worn and stained. Probably from when I used it as a kid!


It was a primitive assemblage, held together with two small plastic rings. But it’s chock-full of my favorite childhood recipes. I very well may have learned to bake out of this little booklet.


Each recipe is neatly typed and signed by the person who submitted it. I enjoy flipping through the names and remembering the lovely women of the church who mentored me when I was young. In future posts I’ll share several more of my top favorite recipes from the book. As a young baker, I made them over and over again.


And now, the recipe for:

“Melba’s Butternut Balls”


1 cup soft butter

1/2 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar

2 cups sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup finely chopped nuts


Cream butter and sugar in medium mixing bowl, add salt, vanilla, flour and nuts, mixing well. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes. Roll in 1/4 cup confectioners sugar while warm. Cool, then roll again.

Variations: add different types of nuts for different flavors. You may also add crushed candy canes for a delicious, Christmassy, peppermint flavor.

I usually double the recipe because the cookies are small and I like to give full bags or tins of them as gifts.

You can find a paleo/low-carb version of this recipe from my favorite no-wheat flour source here: Mexican Wedding Cookies

Have you ever made these before? What’s your variation? Have you ever eaten them? What does your family call them?


Tweet this: What’s your favorite Christmas cookie?


The greatest gift

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! Here is a gift that lasts all year:

tumblr_mybmqybR0U1ron0poo1_500May your 2014 be filled with safety, prosperity and the peace of knowing that God is in control!


Mary did you know?

I’m just going to leave this right here on Christmas Eve to help us remember Who it is we remember during this celebration and the Reason for the Season.

Autism, Christmas and Miracles


tumblr_my4e9nQE6g1r1vjs5o1_500Source: Facebook

I am home from the hospital recovering from surgery and I am not a very good patient. I whine, cry, moan and throw little fits.

In my defense, I am allergic to most pain medications. They make me so nauseous and dizzy I simply can’t take them. I’ve been dealing with recovering from a major surgery while on Tylenol. So, I think it’s safe to say others in my shoes may be as whiny as I. Or not.

On Saturday I was particularly blue. Very discouraged. Tired of feeling so badly. I was crying a lot. So Mr. Himself thought it was a good time to cheer me up with the gift the twins made for me at vocational school. Isn’t it gorgeous?


It’s made from 100-year-old barn wood.

I never dreamed my boys would be able to do such a thing. Of course, they had a lot of help and guidance from their shop teacher, but still. This table is an enormous symbol.

  • A symbol of how far they’ve come
  • A symbol of how much favor they find with teachers
  • A symbol of their undying, loyal, faithful love for family
  • A symbol of taking something scarred and making it beautiful.

This table will never leave me. Until the day I die, this is my Christmas table.

Young moms with autism out there — never stop hoping and dreaming. The twins have gone from severe to mild with a ton of work and a lot of help from others.


At vocational school. Isaac (L), Isaiah (R)

I am very grateful to the Lord for these beautiful boys. So very grateful to be their Mom.