My husband is hard to buy for. He has good taste, but he’s practical and he never wants anything. The things he needs, he usually buys for himself. I’m always on the lookout for unusual birthday and Christmas presents for him (and when I find something I buy it and stash it away for the next holiday). Here are some goodies I’ve run across recently. All but one is not suitable for my husband. I thought you might get a chuckle out of them. See if you can guess which one the Norwegian owns. Post your answer in the comments below and I’ll reveal the answer Sunday and post the name of one person (who posts) to win a $5 Amazon gift card.
Chomping At The Bite
Put a smile on that mug with a hungry mouth cubby that bites off more than you can chew. Perfect for serving milk and cookies, coffee and doughnuts, tea and biscotti, or your favorite snack-time combinations.
Wheel Of Choices
Let this clever device ease the burden of having to make so many decisions. Balancing all the pros and cons of every call can be tiresome, and we never know all the possible pros and cons anyway, so why not give someone else the responsibility of deciding? Spin this gorgeous aluminum paperweight to have your questions answered – or should you “sit on it” for a bit first, or “pass the buck” to someone else?
The Party They’ll Never Forget
All the usual suspects were there. The conversation felt…flat. A guest glanced at his watch. Then we brought out the Musical Wine Glasses. All hell broke loose.
It’s true: our Musical Wine Glasses have saved many a flagging party. Our customers tell us the same thing. They turn the sophisticated pleasures of wine drinking into an experience that is musical, memorable and above all, fun. Just fill our goblet to the desired note, and run your moistened finger around the rim of the glass. Soon, like a bow on the strings of a violin, your finger will cause the glass to vibrate, and a crystal-clear note will sound. Your guests may applaud – children often shriek with glee. Soon everyone will be trying it, and if you have enough glasses, you may be in for a real concerto. Our Musical Wine Glass is a great gift for any musicians you know, or your child’s music teacher. Each glass accommodates a full A-major scale, with each note labeled with sandblasted fill lines. Glassware made in Germany, decorated in Reno, Nevada. Custom packaging is 100% recycled, recyclable and compostable.
NapAnywhere Travel Pillow
Tired of u-shaped neck pillows that don’t offer the support you need? Travel in style and comfort with the most innovative head-support pillow on the market. The NapAnywhere® makes comfortable traveling easy with its portable shape. Arrive at your destinations refreshed. Winner of a 2014 Product Innovation Award at the International Travel Goods Show.
This phone case is essentially the love child of an Otterbox and a miniature stun gun. Slide the case on your iPhone 5/5s and you’re immediately equipped with a self-defense instrument capable of producing an 18,000 volt shock to a wannabe attacker. New features for the 2014 model include ambidextrous triggers and dual safety mechanisms to prevent accidental discharge.
RT Book Reviews gives MY FAIR FORTUNE 4 stars and says:
…Thompson shows us what happens when you pair up a Chicago zoologist and a workaholic Brit in a small Texas town, and it’s quite funny. Her depiction of the tight knit community and family dysfunction was impressive, plus she gives us enough of a series catch up for this to stand alone as well.
UNBUTTONING THE BRIT…
In the business world, Brodie Fortune Hayes is known as a man of no mercy. The all-work, no-play PR consultant is sure he’ll have no trouble correcting the image problems plaguing the Cowboy Country theme park. There’s just one complication: the green-eyed beauty sitting behind the boss’s desk who makes his pulse race like a roller coaster!
Caitlyn Moore never imagined working side by side with Brodie after sharing a most out-of-character night of passion with him a few months before! And now, thanks to her dad’s absence-by-illness, she’s his boss? Brodie’s bottom-line mentality is as infuriating as his blue bedroom eyes are intoxicating—but Cait is convinced that there’s a heart lurking beneath his designer armor. Perhaps she can prove to him that love is the greatest Fortune of all…
Thanks for having me back to JQ, Nancy! It’s such fun to be here. <<NRT: Happy to have you, Michelle!>> Living in Colorado during the winter that might never end, you hear lots of ski terms bandied about–first tracks, back bowls, fresh powder, bluebird days. Friends use these phrases to caption Facebook photos where they are smiling from the top of some mountain resort. These people are about to launch themselves down an icy, snow-covered slope with oversized popsicle sticks strapped to their feet and…they are grinning. It sort of makes me want to push them.
I don’t have time to smile when I ski because I’m too busy praying to make it down the mountain in one piece. Yep, I ski. Despite the constant trembling in my knees, the stomachache that starts as soon as I put on my (never flattering) ski pants and an internal monologue that involves lots of cursing, every few weekends we pile the kids into the car and hit the slopes. Why? For the same reason moms do most things we don’t want to – for the kids.
This season my daughter broke through her fear (unlike me) and now we’re taking lifts to the more advanced blue runs. My son is busy detouring into the trees and looking for jumps as we hurtle toward the bottom. I can barely keep up and I love it! Because it means soon I’ll achieve my ultimate ski dream—to be the mom camped out in the corner of the toasty warm lodge surrounded by coats and gear, sipping hot cocoa and wearing boots I can walk in without feeling like I’m going to fall over. I have happy visions of a full Saturday spent alternating between my laptop and Kindle while I smile at the cold, wet, red-faced suckers who take a break from risking life limb on the mountain. I’m going to be the best lodge mom ever.
Among friends my views on skiing put me in the minority, and I sometimes wonder if I’m a total wimp. I probably am a total wimp, and I’m okay with that. But I’m also curious how people outside of ski-crazy Colorado feel about it.
Would you be carving the slopes or hanging in the lodge? Either way, I’ll have the hot cocoa waiting.
I’ll be drawing two winners from the comments for a copy of my March release, A Second Chance At Crimson Ranch. The heroine, Olivia Wilder, has come to Crimson, Colorado to find place she can feel at home. Lucky for her, there’s a new (and a few years younger) contractor in town that might be the perfect guy to help her. I’m excited to invite readers back to Crimson because it’s a town filled with wonderful people and lots of opportunities for falling in love (yes, there is a ski mountain but I haven’t forced any my characters onto it…yet).
When I was young, my mother used to bake the most delicious red velvet cakes. Even the icing was from scratch. She’d stack it high and sprinkle it with flaky coconut. It was heaven on a plate. Mostly, she made it for special occasions like birthdays and Valentine’s Day, but every once in a while she’d surprise us and make one just because. Maybe that’s why I always associate red velvet cake with comfort, happiness and love.
I associate other foods with love, too: My grandma’s pumpkin bread; my mother-in-law’s snickerdoodle cookies; and just about every meal the Norwegian prepares. He really is a fabulous cook. As a family, we put a lot of time and thought into our weekly meals and we make a point of sitting down together for dinner every night. We like to cook together, too.
The two of us have passed on our love of cooking to College Girl and when she feels homesick, she’ll fix some of our family favorites. She says it’s the next best thing to being home.
Given my love affair with food, it’s no wonder it usually plays a starring role in my books.
Do you associate certain foods you with good memories? If so, what are they?
Christmas Wishes… A Royal Christmas Proposal… and a drawing for a Gift Card!
I’ve always loved the Christmas season. Sure, things get hectic and the crowds and traffic aren’t always fun, but to me there’s a wonderful sense of excitement and expectation in the air. Even if Santa doesn’t come down my chimney, maybe I can play Santa to someone else and make one of their wishes come true. There’s magic in that.
In A Royal Christmas Proposal, there’s excitement in the air, but it doesn’t start out as all that romantic. Fredericka Devereaux is no pushover princess. She’s determined to provide the best life possible for her infant son, Leo. So when her brother, the ruler of Chantaine, insists that she and her hearing-disabled son need a protector, Ericka objects. But her new bodyguard, handsome Treat Walker, warms her heart as he cares for her baby… and proves himself deserving of his name…
Treat keeps telling himself that he’s not into Ericka and her little family. She’s stuck-up and a royal – hardly his type! Despite his best efforts, the former football player finds himself charmed by the sexy single mom and her adorable infant. This Christmas, all Treat wants in his stocking is the royal twosome he’s sworn to protect…
If you get a chance to read A Royal Christmas Proposal, I would love to hear from you at leannebbb@ aol.com (no spaces)
*What I’d love to know right now though is what is your favorite part of the Christmas season? Tell me and I’ll draw a name from the responders to receive a $10 Amazon gift card!
Leanne Banks is a national #1 best-selling author with over 65 books to her credit. Leanne’s heart-warming books have been published in many languages. Leanne loves writing about the miracle of the transforming power of love. You can learn more about Leanne at www.leannebanks.com Friend Leanne on facebook to get the latest news and fun giveaways! https://www.facebook.com/leanne.banks
Halloween marks the start of the busiest time of year in our house. There are so many birthdays mixed in with the holidays we’re pretty much celebrating through Valentine’s Day. Still, no matter how busy we are, I always carve out time to do some baking. Birthday cakes, sugar cookies, gingerbread, and bourbon balls are standard holiday favorites in our house. My mother-in-law was the Queen of the Snickerdoodle cookie. My mom used to make these incredible seven layer cookies. But the thing that really signifies the start of the holiday season – or at least “fall” is my grandmother’s pumpkin bread.
In my latest release A CELEBRATION CHRISTMAS, Lily Palmer is a nanny for Dr. Cullen Dunlevy’s four foster kids. What better way to keep them occupied and out of trouble than to keep their hands busy baking holiday treats? She teaches them to make sugar cookies and her grandmother’s Christmas bread.
Even though I’ve been busy in the writing cave working hard to finish up deadlines before the festivities begin, Lily inspired me to pull out the mixer and whip up a batch of my grandma’s pumpkin bread.
Here’s her recipe:
Grandma’s Pumpkin Bread
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup fresh or canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Sift together the first eight ingredients.
In a separate large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add the sugar. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, then beat in the pumpkin puree, vanilla and milk. Beat in the dry ingredients a little bit at a time and mix until smooth.
Pour the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle on the pumpkin seeds (if desired). Bake for about 1 hour.
I guarantee you it will make your entire house smell like fall.
What says “fall” to you? I’ll give away a $5 Amazon gift card to one person who comments.
RT Book Reviews gives A CELEBRATION CHRISTMAS 4 Stars!
“Dr. Cullen Dunlevy is in need of a holiday nanny for his for grieving, misbehaving wards. What he gets is a curve a shares beauty who is making him all hot and bothered. Celebration schoolteacher Lily Palmer needs this temporary job and is prepared for everything these kids throw her way. What surprises her is how fast she falls for them and their guardian, Dr. Dreamy. Thompson takes us back to celebration, Texas, to check in on old friends and create new memories. It’s fun to watch her complicated commitment-phobic hero and nurturing nanny take the ultimate plunge, but it’s the four hurting little co-stars who add heart rending-poignancy.”