Tis the Season for a #ChristmasWonderHop

christmas wonderfinal

This is my most favorite time of year. Always has been… I love the music, the laughter, the figuring out the perfect gift to put a smile on the faces of the people I care about….never mind the incredible food!

I admit it, I’m a baking fool! It soothes and relaxes me….and makes the house smell terrific. I make treats that are Gluten Free (because my stepdad has an allergy) and ones that aren’t.

And while I’m baking, there’s always music…. In fact, during the last two years, beginning December 1st, I share a holiday song each day until Christmas. You can pretty much guarantee that as I painstakingly chose the song, I sang along.

Of course, I’m also all about love and passion during the Christmas Holiday….so I’ll be giving away an ebook copy of a holiday themed book from one of my favorite authors, Jodi Redford. My first experience was with her book, The Naughty List, but this holiday season I’ll be giving away an ebook copy of Checking It Twice.


I mean, seriously… Check out her blurb directly from Amazon:

Tis the season for double seduction.

The only item on Jana Colton’s Christmas list this year is Kevin Monahan. Preferably naked in her bed. The delicious, hunky chef has been resisting her forever, but she’s pulling out all the sexy stops this holiday. Especially since his acceptance of an out-of-state job threatens to nix her quest to rock his boxers off.

Besides the fact they’re both poster boys for Hunks ’R’ Us, they’ve been there for her through thick, thin and the heartbreak of a cheating fiancé. So what if her boys will never know they star in her sexiest daydreams? In her fantasy world, her heart will never get trampled again

With the arrival of his best friend, Nick Pappas, the balance of temptation shifts. From their past history of sharing women, Nick knows every dirty trick it takes to lead Kevin astray, and he’s not afraid to use them. Particularly since Nick’s convinced that Jana is exactly what Kevin needs to be happy and whole.

Their game of seduction quickly snowballs into something that feels an awful lot like love—in triplicate. But with Kevin dead set on leaving Michigan, there’s a real possibility it could be a blue Christmas for them all.

Warning: This book contains an extremely tormented voyeur, a very naughty and not so saintly Nick, a liberal application of candy cane-flavored body paint, a buzzing butterfly, and enough raunchy fun on a sex swing to melt a snowman…or two.

Does that not sound fabulous? So…. Here’s How to WIN:

All you need to do is share your favorite Christmas song, favorite family holiday tradition, your favorite holiday recipe, or your favorite holiday themed book.

All entries must be in by midnight December 31st, EST. The winner will be selected via Random.org. But that’s just to win on MY page…. We also have a grand prize and chances to win at every blog on the hop!

Click the Entry-Form for a chance at the grand prize….
And Make Sure to Celebrate the Wonder of the Season! Visit all of the blogs to see what they love most about the season and which books have made their Christmas wish lists! There’s a giveaway at each stop so be sure to visit them all!

Pour Some Sugar On Me….

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One of the most interesting and intellectual women I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know on WordPress, Sheri DeGrom  nominated me for the Super Sweet Blogging Award. Thank you for this honor, Sheri! (For the rest of you that have given me awards…I’m getting to them one at a time…trying to do them justice.  Please be patient with me…I just got back home. :-))

I began to follow Sheri’s blog shortly after I joined WordPress when she stopped by my little home and left a sweet comment. I later found that I’d been recommended to her by another new friend. She has lived such an interesting life and writes the most amazing book reviews. Any author should count herself lucky if they are the recipient of a nod from Sheri!

The questions I’m to answer:

Give credit to the person who chose to nominate you: Sheri DeGrom

Answer the super sweet questions.

  1. Cookies or Cake? Depends…I make awesome cookies…and hubby makes fantastic cakes. So can I say it depends on who was in our kitchen?  🙂
  2. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate. (I’m petitioning to make it a food group of it’s own and have deemed it necessary for a woman’s survival)
  3. Favorite sweet treat? Probably cheesecake, though I’m amenable to all sorts of sweets.
  4. When do you crave sweet things the most? Usually when I’m either tired or stressed.
  5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be?  Hubby sometimes calls me Baby Cakes…but mostly he just calls me Lovey.

The final requirement for receiving the Super Sweet Blogging Award is to name a baker’s dozen (13) of my favorite bloggers. That’s going to be tough as there are so many amazing people I’ve been enjoying. I know there are many people who aren’t big into doing these things, but first, it is an honor to be selected by Sheri…and second, it gives other bloggers a chance to find other cool people I’ve enjoyed. So here are my people in no particular order.

CJ Play – Who writes with a beautiful honesty that I really appreciate.

Joe – Who is finding ways to smile through some very difficult circumstances beyond his control.

How To Date In Las Vegas – She’s a good girl exploring the dating world…in Sin City. Love her post about women and the Crazy Train they sometimes ride.

Esenga’s Voice – Whose poetry and pictures are steeped in awesome!

Abby – Ms Artistic Milestone, herself…who is always sweet and supportive and makes some amazing looking Gingerbread men.

Rants From The Crib –  An OB/Gyn with wit, humor…and some common sensical advice.

Jessi Gage – Who, based on her reviews, likes her books as racy as I do…:-)

Pretty Little Dreamer – Who’s just a bit crafty…In a good way!

Sage Doyle – There’s a vulnerability to this writing that gets to you.

Seasons Of Insanity – He really does come up with the craziest stuff…and makes you laugh in the process.

Return Of The Modern Philosopher – He really has me concerned about the sleigh…what with Rudolph’s injury and all…

Laments And Lullabyes – She’s seeing life from a new perspective…the eyes of her wonderful toddler (and learning something new every day).

Ellie Ann – Who is of the philosophy that your undies should be able to tell your story…

I hope you find enjoyment in these folks the way I have!  Check them out…I’d love to hear what you think!

Sharing Dreams, Playing Together

When we got engaged, I became like most women.  I started looking at bridal magazines.  I bought a bridal book/organizer. I tuned in to those wedding related shows you can now find on tv.  What shows? My Fair Wedding, Say Yes To The Dress, Platinum Weddings and Amazing Wedding Cakes. This meant I started tuning in to channels I’d never watched before.  I drove hubby crazy.

Then one day I found Cake Boss. This show wasn’t strictly about wedding cakes.  It was about all sorts of cakes and an Italian family who owned a bakery. The star is a guy named Buddy. Why am I telling you all this? Because while I was watching an episode, my guy happened to pop his head into the room.  He became just as enthralled as I was. How could he not, when Buddy’s catch phrase is “I’m Buddy, and I’m the boss!”…which allows any guy to change the name and claim the role…LOL! Coming from an Italian family, he could relate…and the cakes were cool! It became a regular part of our dvr list. We watched it together.

I didn’t think much of it until after our wedding. I guess hubby had been so interested that he’d started going online and looking up cake decorating. He found out that Michaels, the craft store, taught cake decorating classes for a reasonable price! It was usually a 4-5 week course for a couple hours a week.  He asked me if I’d like to sign up for classes together. I thought it was kind of romantic! I mean, seriously…  It was a guaranteed date night…and fun!  So we signed up.  As it turned out, he had talent!  Check out his cakes from our first set of cake decorating classes.

This was his first cake.  They call it the rainbow cake.  You learn how to make buttercream icing, to color your icing, and to use your basic cake tips…specifically, the star tip.

Next is the “clown cake” where you learn how to create 3d characters with buttercream icing…and how to do shell designs.

Graduation cake was the where we made the “Wilton Rose”.  Wilton is the name of the company who teaches the cake classes held at Michaels.  This was the only class where hubby was a little frustrated.  It turned out that THIS was the one part I did better than him.  I had a better hand/eye for the roses…. The above is his cake.  The below is mine.  Feel free to weigh in if you like…;-)

After graduating from Wilton’s first class, we found out they had a “Wilton Cakes 2” class.  This was where you learned how to make more complicated cakes and to make “Royal” icing & gumpaste flowers.  This is the stuff they use to make the harder edible flowers, etc for those cakes that you see at the grocery store.  For these cakes I worked more as his assistant instead of making my own cakes.  At this point there was no question who was more talented with the decorating.  Him.

For this one, most of the classes were spent creating all the flowers and decor you see on this cake.  The actual basketweave cake was done on the last day of class…along with placement of everything we made. Everything on this cake was edible.

Wilton 3 & 4 brought us to fondant, gumpaste and tiered cakes.  Let me show you what he created…

I thought this cake was awesome…and he did a pretty great job with the draping around the cake. In case you didn’t know…it’s not an easy thing to do.

Check out this fondant Christmas present cake.  He even quilted it around the edges and added candied pearls for effect.  🙂

Between all these cakes, we also took a one day only “castle cake class”. It happened to fall around Halloween…so we did a Haunted Castle Cake…complete with cobblestone walk up made of snickers bars, dirt along the sides with worms crawling out…

That one was fun… By the way, the turrets?  Made with Ice cream cones.  🙂 We had so much fun doing these classes together. What kinds of things outside of the home do you enjoy doing with your significant other?  Do you have any shared hobbies?  Do you feel that it’s strengthened your relationship?

Anyway, those classes were years ago…but somehow word got out with our family about his talent.  So, when our nephew, his godson, was getting ready to turn three, Uncle got a call.  We were going to be heading back home to Chicago for a visit and to help celebrate his birthday…(he shares it with hubby’s sister, then a couple weeks later is hubby and mother-in-law’s birthday). Apparently, our adorable nephew was having a themed birthday…and he loved Thomas The Train.  He wanted his uncle to make his birthday cake.  Hubby was nervous because he didn’t want to wreck a 3 year old’s birthday, but I could’ve told him he had nothing to worry about.  Here’s nephew admiring Uncle’s finished product…

He was enthralled!  There is no question who the favorite uncle is.  LOL!  By the way, if you have young children who are Thomas fans, this one isn’t very hard or very expensive if you’ve ever done anything cake related.

Since then, hubby’s gotten into all sorts of things…he’s made his own barbecue sauces from scratch, he’s made a cherry chipotle marinade for chicken…and lately he’s been experimenting with a pressure cooker.  But I still think he makes kickass desserts.  Take a look at some of these!

Chocolate pecan pie…Yum! It’s a new family favorite, requested on holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving.

 

Pumpkin swirl cheesecake…with Ghiardelli chocolate.

His first couple cupcake attempts…chocolate mint on the left, peach on the right (and they’re filled…one with chocolate ganache, the other with peach cream)

And last, but certainly not least…these three.  The back right is key lime, the front is chocolate peanut butter, the third is chocolate malt ball…and yes, they’re all filled.

So, what started out as a fun little wedding interest turned into a passion for him.  Thank goodness he doesn’t only do sweets or I’d be a house…LOL!  The reality is, though, by indulging me in my wedding show watching, he found a passion for himself.  And I help…  Just call me his sous chef. At least when I’m holed up writing in my “cave” (really it’s an office), I know I won’t starve…  He’ll make sure of it.  How does your significant other take care of you?

One day, I’ll be able to repay him for enabling me to pursue my dreams by being able to support him while he chases his…maybe all the way to culinary school.