Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cinnammmmmmmmmmmmmmon Bun Tutorial

Alright, it's MMMMMMMMMonday!

I've kind of become well known for my cinnamon buns. 

Soooooooo, anyone for a lesson??

I use a bread machine for the dough....
Then out comes the flour and the ancient rolling pin.

Then we plop the dough onto the flour and flatten it with our hands.

Roll it out, aiming it to form a... 

...rectangal-y shape...

Then slather softened butter on the dough. Enough that it's looking pretty mmmmm.

I use yellow, NOT BROWN, sugar. Yellow sugar is more refined than brown, so it has a less acidic taste when baked.

I use about one cup of packed sugar.

Sprinkle cinnamon as so, this isn't too much, but any less and you can barely taste it.

Roll lengthwise...

Again, our trusty rolling pin shows the dimensions.

Cut in twelve sections....start with 2...

Cut those 2 into 3 each...

So now you have 6...then keep going until you have 12.

Cover a cookie sheet with foil, spray with Pam or wipe margarine liberally. Stand buns up.

Let rise in a 200F oven for 10-15 minutes.

Remove, and bake at 375F for 7 minutes or until slightly golden.

Allow to buns cool, put a sheet of wac paper on the counter. Place cooling rack upside down on buns and hold both sides. Flip over and place on wax paper. The gooey, buttery drippings will land on the wax paper and not the counter.

Slather with cream cheese icing and serve.

And there you go!

And yes, I did trade two dozen of these for 2 custom made mahogany leaves (extensions) for my dining room table.

Friday, January 25, 2013


Quite a few years ago, when our *almost* 19 year old was about 7, our friends and their 3 kids were over. Our daughter had a huge Rubbermaid trunk full of prom dresses and ball gowns I'd found at thrift stores for 3$ each.

All her friends LOVED the Princess Box.
After she'd outgrown it, I saved a few for other little girls who might drop by.

On one such occasion, our friend's daughter "A" was having a(nother one of her FREQUENT) meltdown(s). She was wailing to beat the band from upstairs in the proximity of the Princess Box. Being the good parents that we were, we completely ignored her and kept chatting. 
Her mother "M" finally called up to see what the problem was, but only after her father "M" (yup, same initial) had turned red and blown a gasket.

After a few of those air sucking gulps kids do when they want something and go totally overboard on the screaming and gnashing of teeth, she walked to the top of the stairs, took a HUGE breath and yelled down to us.


Her mother, the most patient person I know, said, "Well, why didn't you come down and ask nicely instead of having a tantrum?"

That calmed "A" right down...but not in a good way.

Why? Poor little, selfish "A" had ZEEEEERO patience.

None. NADA!!

Lately, I find myself yelling up into the sky "I said I want a Pretty Princess DRESS!!!!"

Time to quell the ME and wait on Him...

I'll still wrestle with the Princess inside me.

But I need to rest and KNOW that He has it all covered.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Sunshine Award? Who ? ME?

My friend Gwendolynn Gage, you can meet her  here at, nominated me for The Sunshine Award.

Which I thought was lovely!!
(Some of you are thinking...Jennifer? You mixed her with "sunshine?" WHAT ever!)

I think Gwen is very smart, so there. (Sticks tongue out at brother.)

The Rules Are:

1) Answer the eight questions asked by the person who gave you the award.
2) Nominate eight new people, and no tag-backs.
3) Ask eight new questions, or re-use the ones you were asked, for your nominees to answer.

Here are Gwen's questions...

1)What is your favourite TV show?
Hmmm, Survivor is fun, you know for the sociological aspects...and watching the prissy girls fall apart with no hope of staying clean. And Phineas and Ferb. Seriously, it is FUNNY!! And Downton Abbey.

2)Have you ever read a book on a friend's recommendation and if so, what was it and did you like it?
Hmmm, I've picked up a lot of recommendations from all kinds of this past year. But I'll narrow it down to the last 3 months. Since October, I've read Joanne Bischof (LOVED her debut novel Be Still My Soul!!), Tamera Alexander, Bonnie Grove and some un-published stuff . And frankly, the un-pubbed stuff was excellent. 

3) Favourite Bible verse? Isaiah 40: 28-31

 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

4) What is your least favourite food?
Hmmm. Moose, or venison. HURL. I just hate the taste.

5) What is your favourite professional sports team?


6)What is your favourite part about blogging?
Meeting new people and making friends. Holy smokes, I have met some AMAZING people through author blogs. Wow. Yup. Meeting new friends.

7) Favourite Christmas song? Or any song?
O Holy Night, The Hallelujah Chorus. I mean, WHOA!  I LOVE singing that!!
Regular song? I have to pick ONE? Get real!!

Some of the most popular ones on my ipod are:

Suo Gan-Susan Bullock
Part of Me-Katy Perry
La Bamba-Los Lobos
Promontory-Last of the Mohican Soundtrack

I have varied tastes...

8) Five most favourite books?
Oh come ON!!
Other than the Bible...

Here's 5 of my top 50.

Crossfire-Jeanette Windle 
Danger in the Shadows-Dee Henderson
The Hiding Place-Corrie ten Boom
Be Still My Soul-Joanne Bischof
Unbroken-Laura Hillenbrand

My 8 nominees??

Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart
Becky Hood Doughty
Lindsay Harrel
Kiersti Plog
Sarah Loudin Thomas
Christine Dorman
Anne Reed Love/Jaime Wright. Yes, I can count...

Only do this if you feel like it, but it was fun!

Thanks Gwen!!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Kiersti Plog's Blog Hop!!

 A while back on the fabulous Books and Such blog, I met a nice, well behaved lady named Kiersti Plog. You can find her blog at Well, the thing is, Kiersti's writing also features the Navajo. Go check 'Pioneer Diaries' and read up on Kiersti's adventures.
Kiersti invited me to join a blog hop and share about my writing. I was tickled pink to be invited and excited to share about my work. So, here are Kiersti's questions, and my long winded answers about my first novel, 'The Secret Keepers'.

 What is the working title of your book?

The working title is ‘The Secret Keepers’, but the alternate title is ‘An Night in the Darkness’ because there’s already a CBA novel out called ‘The Secret Keeper’.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The Pecos River in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, the sight of Bosque Redondo.

I was doing some research on New Mexico and came across an article about The Long Walk of the Navajo. I was astounded that this event actually happened, especially to a tribe of sheep herders and farmers. The US Army, led by Kit Carson, waged war on people who basically lived on land that the white settlers wanted. Roughly 9500 Navajo were forced to surrender in 1864 and were marched across the desert to a place called ‘Bosque Redondo’ in New Mexico. Some people walked 450 miles, thousands died between 1864 and June 1868 when the people were taken home. Also, the constraints faced by women who had to hide abuse and carry on because there were little or no resources for them if they left abusive marriages.

What genre does your book fall under?

Historical romance.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I’d have Julianne Moore play Sarah Monroe, and Jay Tavare play Natanii/Ta-gaid Hutchinson.
Ms Moore has a long career playing tough, intelligent woman and could definitely carry Sarah Monroe's secrets onto the screen.

Mr Tavare played Prairie Fire in 'Into the West' and would do a great job as a man who has suffered massive heartache, but is obediently waiting on God's will.   

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

In 19th century Arizona Territory, an exiled Navajo widower and the battered wife of a Boston millionaire must forge a path away from their broken lives and toward each other, or lose their last chance and love and healing.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Oh, I hope I can find an agent willing to take on the story!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Ummmm, I’d say six months, but the revisions have been another 6 months. Now I’m looking at a re-write, so…150 years?

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Along with the titles that you suggested in your blog, Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz and Under a Desert Sky by DiAnn Mills, I’d add Walks Alone by Sandi Rog. But as for comparison, there don’t seem to be many ‘battered wealthy white woman falls for Native American widower who was raised by British pioneers in remote Northern Arizona’ books out there.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

One of those ‘what ‘if’ moments- I guess the story just kind of popped into my brain. What if some of the clans who refused to surrender, and there were quite a few who escaped the Army, and found safety far from home, only to be met by a worse fate? What if a young Navajo man had nothing and no one, but was given sanctuary by a Christian family who refused to be constrained by his color or the fact that he was the enemy.
Also, spending time at the location of the prison camp near Fort Sumner, New Mexico literally made my heart break. Seeing the place, standing where General Sherman and the Navajo leaders signed the treaty in 1868 was an astounding honor. Looking out over the land surrounding Bosque Redondo, or Hweeldi, as the Navajo call it, was overwhelming.
This past summer I met a man who led a survivor of Bosque Redondo to the Lord. It was like touching history when we held hands and prayed.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Our heroine, Sarah, has been badly treated by her husband and then while in an asylum, therefore has NO trust in men. Tag promised his late wife that he will stay alive and wait for “the broken one”, someone who would need him. When he meets Sarah, who is the sister-in-law of his adopted brother, Tag knows right away that Sarah is ‘the broken one’. They both have to deal with long dormant feelings that neither of them has a clue how to process. Which is always fun to read!

Thanks Kiersti for the spot on the blog hop!!


Next on TFTR???

Some SUPER cool new stuff and maybe even a VLOG! 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

You can all dance now!

I'm SO glad to be back, I missed hanging out here.
I swear, 30 seconds after Christmas was over, BAM!! I was SICK, people, S-I-C-K!!

Fever, chills, coughing, sleeping for days on end kind of SICK.

If my germs were a movie character, they'd have been this guy.

But now that I'm feeling a bit better, those germs are more like this guy. 

And I'm the dinosaur.

Soooooooo, what's next for Jennifer? Well, revisions, revisions, and hey, I know?? 
And this weekend I get to go to ANOTHER hockey tournament, only this time the town is this>.< big.

Load the tablet with some books and off we go!


Eating in restaurants and hotel breakfast buffets. Blech.

I'll be living on Diet Coke, unless we go somewhere that serves, GASP, Diet Pepsi.


The upside? Quality time with our Little Dude. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Must sleeeeeeeeep...

I've had the flu since December 30...or maybe the 29th. It's January 7th, and I'm still in fairly lousy shape.
When I can, I'll get this baby together...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


My Facebook got hacked AGAIN.

So I deactivated it.
I had joined in 2007.
That's SIX YEARS worth of contacts and some really REALLY important messages.


Let's put it in perspective, shall we?

God is good.
I have a home.