~Cozy Customs~

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Award Winning Author Carole Browne Shares Vacation Tips and a Great Family Recipe!

 Author Carole Brown


Oceans and Beaches. Old world tours. Museums and Concerts. National parks and Fun escapes. Camping and Hiking. Spending time with family is priceless. It might sound trite or old, but nevertheless, it’s so true!

Since our sons have grown up, we’ve learned to appreciate the time we get to spend with them, their families and friends. Am I making it sound all rosy and cozy?

Well it isn’t. Here are a few things we’ve learned through trial and error, time, experience and vacations with family:

Ÿ  Give in.  To have a successful and fun vacation with your grown up kids, don’t be afraid to give in. They have their own lives now, especially when they have families,  their own set of “rules,” and their own way of thinking. We taught them to be responsible and to think on their own (I hope so!), so when touring the museum doesn’t appeal to them and they’d rather visit a comedy show, go with the flow. If it’s totally against the grain, then what’s wrong with going separate ways for an evening or day? When they choose to eat at a fast food restaurant rather than enjoy a good meal in a fancier place, grin and bear it. Vacations only last for a few days or weeks.
Ÿ  Be ready to adjust. This might seem like the same as above, but it’s a little different. My sons are still night owls, and though I usually stay up pretty late, my hubby likes to head to bed at a decent hour. But when you are one who likes organization and have each vacation day drawn up in an orderly fashion--hour by hour--prepare to be disappointed at best and frustrated at worse. Realize that all will not happen as or when you want. Be prepared with special times and things to do on your own. Go relax in a sandy beach chair. Enjoy an early morning breakfast at that diner you wanted to try. Fish. Take a walk. Read.
Ÿ  Separate. Yeah. Don’t spend every minute together. Acknowledge and encourage their time alone, either as individuals or as a family. This can be a time when you, by yourself or with your companion, can do a really special thing by YOURselves. Appreciate that. Accept it. Whether you have a romantic evening, sit in a hot tub or view the stars, whether you sign up for a park forest walk in the dark or a helicopter flight to view the city, it’s YOUR time to be alone. Enjoy.
Ÿ  Don’t overbook. Everyone needs downtime, and especially when you have children. Spend an evening with no plans, relaxing, playing games, riding a bike, or whatever pops into your head. Most of all, have a restful hour or time so that you’ll be refreshed for the next phase of your vacation.
Ÿ  Have fun! Don’t be afraid to experience new things. Capture lots of pics for your scrapbooks and photo albums. Share laughter, make memories, and be willing to stretch not only your ideas but your imagination.

Family times are priceless. Cherish them while you can.

This dessert is easy, quick and delicious. We especially enjoy it during summertime, but holidays are great times to serve it too.

Strawberry Wonder Dessert

Sponge cake (home made or store bought)
Strawberry gel
Cool whip (light if you prefer)

Prepare cake (I like to bake my own, but you can also use a store bought, ready made one)

Once cool, tear cake into bite sized pieces in a large glass rectangular casserole dish.

Lightly combine 2/3 of the cool whip with the sponge cake pieces. Press down lightly all over till surface is fairly smooth.

Layer strawberry gel onto of the cake/cool whip mixture base. Spread evenly.

Wash and clean strawberries. Drain. Slice strawberries into halves or quarters (depending on how big of bites you like). Drop strawberry pieces onto of gel and press in lightly. Reserve a few for decoration.

Add remaining cool whip. Swirl the cool whip on top of the gel but don’t worry about it if the gel and cool whip combine. It will give it a lovely pink color!

Add reserved strawberry pieces for decoration as you wish.

Place in fridge for an hour.
Enjoy and be prepared for it to vanish quickly! 

With Music in Their Heart Blurb:

Angry at being rejected for military service, Minister Tyrell Walker accepts the call to serve as a civilian spy within his own country. Across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio, a spy working for a foreign country is stealing secret plans for newly developed ammunition to be used in the war. According to his FBI cousin, this spy favors pink stationery giving strong indications that a woman is involved.

He’s instructed to obtain a room in the Rayner Boarding House run by the lovely, spunky red-haired Emma Jaine Rayner. Sparks of jealousy and love fly between them immediately even as they battle suspicions that one or the other is not on the up and up.

While Tyrell searches for the murdering spy who reaches even into the boarding home, Emma Jaine struggles with an annoying renter, a worried father (who could be involved in this spy thing), and two younger sisters who are very different but just as strong willed as she is.

As Tyrell works to keep his double life a secret and locate the traitor, he refuses to believe that Emma Jaine could be involved even when he sees a red-haired woman in the arms of another man. Could the handsome and svelte banker who’s also determined to win Emma Jaine’s hand for marriage, be the dangerous man he’s looking for? Is the trouble-making renter who hassles Emma Jaine serving as a flunky? Worse, is Papa Rayner so worried about his finances and keeping his girls in the style they’re used to, that he’ll stoop to espionage?

Will their love survive the danger and personal issues that arise to hinder the path of true love?

With Music in Their Heart

 Brown not only has her award winning (Nominated for an Epic Award, RWA International Digital Awards finalist in Inspiration, Laurel Award finalist, Selah finalist; Genesis semi-finalist) debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, available for purchase now, but a companion book called West Virginia Scrapbook: From the Life of Caralynne Hayman, filled with tidbits of information about West Virginia, quotes, recipes from West Virginia and from Caralynne’s life, pictures and discussion questions for the novel.

November, 2013, the first book in her mystery series, Hog Insane, released. It’s a fun, lighthearted novel introducing the characters, Denton and Alex Davies. Look for the second book, Bat Crazy, late 2014 winter.

Released November 1, 2014, is the first book in a new WWII romantic suspense series: With Music In Their Hearts. Three red-headed sisters. Three spies. Three stories.

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

Connect with her here:

I also am part of several other blogs:
Barn Door Book Loft: http://www.barndoorbookloft.net/

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