Christmas In July Giveaway!

It’s been a great year, and I want to thank my readers!
Because I’m starting on a sequel for The Secret Life of Book Club that revolves around Christmas, I’m giving away my favorite Christmas romance plus an entire kit for August Beach Reads.
What will that kit include?

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Beach Reads (Of course!)

The Secret Life of Book Club ($12.99- Paperback)

The Santa Society ($13.99-Paperback) A perfect read for Christmas in July by one of my favorite authors, Kristine McCord.

Easy Prey ($5.99-Paperback) by Lisa Phillips, releases September 1st. Romantic suspense plus a tiger. So cool.

UPCase Waterguard for Kindle ($12.99) So you can read your Kindle at the beach or pool without worry!

Fav Power Portable Charger ($8.99)  A low battery won’t stop you from reading!

Melissa & Doug Sand Art Kit ($6.99) If you don’t have a beach, let the kids keep busy with sand so you can read. Or if you like to craft, enjoy it yourself!

Waterproof Playing Cards ($7.57) Even if you don’t play games at the beach or pool, who wouldn’t want waterproof cards?

Bonus reads: Calculated Risk ($5.99-Paperback)
Surviving the Storm ($5.99 Paperback): Releases August 1st. Set on the gorgeous Oregon coast.

And thanks to one of my publishers, Blue Azalea Press, for the custom Tote Bag to carry it all!
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How to Enter: Enter a comment at the bottom of this post, then log in to Rafflecopter in the box below and check you did. That’s it!

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While not required, I’d love if you shared.
Merry Christmas (in July) and happy reading!
Giveaway Disclosure (U.S. Shipping Only)

Guest Post: My Dog

Sugar the dog enjoys being regularly featured for entertainment, but today she has something serious to share: How to Live With Musicians (and Still Love Them).

How to Make Your Own “Glass Slipper”

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Cinderella has a special place in my heart.  Besides my love of the fairy tale, I had purchased some Disney nursery bedding for my upcoming first baby (17 years ago! sniff sniff), and Disney sent a bonus special edition DVD of Cinderella.

So, just in time before Cinderella hits theaters, I wanted to show you this craft that came about quite by accident.

True to the premise of The Secret Life of Book Club, I wanted to try something new… chocolate sculptures! But when we arrived at the class, we found the teacher had cancelled after discovering the supplies were too expensive. Instead, we were offered a class on Packaging Tape Sculptures.

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After we got over the weird factor, we discovered it’s quite cool. The only supplies you need are: packaging tape, plastic wrap, scissors, and…. something to sculpt.

Since we were quite unprepared, I decided to sculpt my new shoes. (Pictured: My daughter’s shoe. With adult preparation, children ten and up should be able to do this craft.) And, in the end, I had myself a glass slipper…which FIT!

There’s just enough Cinderella in me that I fell in love with the novelty of the craft, and I had to recreate it with my daughter and friends. And sure, while you can’t walk around in this “glass slipper” it’s still fun to model (in stockings if you plan to use it for something else) and you can fill it with: marbles, ponytail holders or if doing a theme party… wrapped candy and treats!

So find yourself a shoe and prep:

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Pull out a six-inch strip of plastic wrap and cut it into three or four sections. (You will repeat as necessary during the craft)

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Cut the packaging tape into one-inch strips. Attach them to the bottom edge of the table and counter taking care that they hang down instead of cling to the underside of your table. Pre-cut as much as possible…and then cut some more. Once a table or counter is decked out in the stuff, keep the tape handy in case you need more.

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Begin wrapping the clingy stuff around the shoe… ONLY the OUTSIDE of it.  The goal is for one single coat of plastic wrap to go all around the shoe (again not inside of it). Make sure every inch is covered. Overlapping a little is fine, but don’t make double layers. Essentially the purpose of this step is to make sure the packaging tape doesn’t touch the shoe.

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See the bow? If you have any little extras to the shoe, place the wrap OVER it. You’ll see why soon.

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Now it’s time to grab the strips of packaging tape. Tape over every centimeter of wrap until the outside is covered with tape. (even the bottom of the shoe)

Once every bit of plastic wrap is covered with tape (and hopefully getting quite stiff but still flexible) carefully slide the plastic shell off the shoe. Start with the heel. Work slowly and carefully until the shell of the shoe is removed. You have a glass slipper, but you’re not done.

Tape the INSIDE of your plastic wrap shoe, until the shoe is stiff and covered both inside and out in packaging tape. Besides, if you want to fill it with stuff, you want to cover up anything that had touched the original shoe. Tape it and tape some more just to be sure!  (The kids in attendance never tired of adding tape as long as I kept it flowing.)

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Place the “glass slipper” on a pillow like the Duke and try it on! OR….

IMG_3509Find another use! Or both. (I personally still like the candy idea… ) Can’t wait for the new Cinderella!

 

Cabin Fever Cure

Does your crew own Nerf gun(s)?  If so, keep reading.

Step 1. Let the kids develop their “targets” using toys they already have or–my personal favorite–make LEGO targets. The making of said targets kept my crew busy for half an hour. They had a blast.

IMG_1197Step 2. You’re going to have to make the stairs (or another area of the house) off limits for the next hour.

Step 3. Make the rules, both safety/procedural rules and game rules. We had many different variations. At the bottom of the stairs, we placed painter’s tape. No one was allowed to step over the tape as they tried to “shoot” the targets.

First round: they worked their way up the stairs. You got docked points for hitting a target not in your level.

Second round: hit everything EXCEPT the good guys i.e. Iron Man, Buzz, Woody, etc.

Third round: Timed free for all. How fast can you get them all down?

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Step Four: Clean up. Reward your dart/disc hunters with hot chocolate.

Step Five: (Optional) Turn two chairs or couches in the living room into forts, turn on soundtrack music like Bourne Identity and give them ten minutes shoot at each other. I recommend safety glasses for all involved. Repeat Step Four.