Book Club Munchies: Ideas For Your Next Meeting.

It’s that time of year again. The weather is getting cooler and the days are getting shorter. It will be time for book clubs to start gathering in people’s homes rather than outside in the glorious weather. Are you the first person to bring the gang to your roost this fall? Are you having a hard time figuring out what to make? I’ve come up with a menu of book club munchies to satisfy the salty, savory and sweet palate in your group. Here are some ideas for your next meeting.

Salty Munchies.

Taco Crackers-These are a great alternative to the boring old potato chip or pretzel. ( Taken from Taste Of Home.com) All you need is:

*3 bags of oyster crackers

*3/4 cup canola oil

*1 envelope taco seasoning

*1/2 teaspoon garlic

*1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

*1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Place the crackers in a large roasting pan and drizzle with oil. Combine seasonings and pour over crackers, stir to coat. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once.

Book Club Munchies: Savory

Buffalo Chicken Dip-This is my favorite dip to make, served with tortilla chips.

*2 (8oz) blocks of cream cheese

*1 cup ranch dressing

*3/4 cup hot sauce

*2 cans chicken

*1 pkg shredded cheddar cheese

Mix the chicken, cream cheese, ranch, hot sauce, chicken and half of the cheddar cheese on the stove until it is all combined and melted. Pour into a greased 8×8 baking dish and top with the rest of the cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.

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Sweet.

Almost A Candy Bar-These bars are the perfect combination of sweet n’ salty and are always a big hit. (Taken from Taste Of Home Fast Fixes With Mixes)

*1 tube (16.5oz) chocolate chip cookie dough

*4 nutty s’mores trail mix bars (1.25 oz each, chopped)

*1 pkg (10-11 oz) butterscotch chips

*2 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

*1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

*1 1/2 cup mini pretzels

*1 pkg (10 oz) peanut butter chips

*3/4 cup light corn syrup

*1/4 cup butter, cubed

*1 pkg (11.5 oz) milk chocolate chips.

Let dough stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to soften. In a large bowl, combine dough and trail mix bars. Press into a 9×13 baking pan. Bake, uncovered , at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Sprinkle with butterscotch chips and marshmallows. Bake 3-4 minutes longer or until marshmallows begin to brown. Sprinkle with walnuts, arrange pretzels over the top. In a small saucepan, melt the peanut butter chips, corn syrup and butter; spoon over bars.

In a microwave, melt chocolate chips, stir until smooth. Spread or drizzle over bars. Refrigerate 1 hour before cutting. Yield: 3 dozen

Book Club Munchies: Ideas For Your Next Meeting.

 

Drinks.

Lemon Ice Tea (Taken From Taste Of Home Fast Fixes With Mixes):

*7 1/2 cups sugar

*2 cups unsweetened instant tea

*5 envelopes (.23 oz each) unsweetened lemonade soft drink mix

Additional Ingredients

*1 cup warm water

*Cold water

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, tea and drink mix. Divide into 5 equal batches; store in airtight containers in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. Yield: 5 batches (8 1/2 cups total)

To prepare: Dissolve about 1-2/3 cups tea mix in 1 cup warm water. Place in a gallon container and add cold water to  measure one gallon. Cover and refrigerate. Yield: about 16 (1 cup) servings per batch.

Mulled Merlot. (Taken from Taste Of Home More Fast Fixes With Mixes)

*4 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)

*4 whole cloves

*2 bottles (750 milliliters each) merlot

*1/2 cup sugar

*1/2 cup orange juice

*1/2 cup brandy

*1 medium orange, thinly sliced

Place cinnamon sticks and cloves on a double thickness of cheesecloth; bring up the corners of the cloth and tie with string to form a bag. In a 3 qt slow cooker, combine the merlot, sugar, orange juice, brandy and orange slices. Add spice bag. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour or until heated through. Discard spice bag and orange slices. Serve warm.

I hope this menu of munchies suites every palate in your reading group. Happy reading and happy munching.

Photo courtesy of Mariamichelle via  Pixabay.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Essential Books To Inspire You To Follow Your Dreams.

Are you struggling with deciding to make a career change or follow your dreams? Everyone has dreams. Everyone has goals. Everyone struggles in making the decision to pursue them. How do I know this? I’ve been right where you are at-twice. The first time was in January 2014. I had just watched a clip on CBS This Morning about a family where both parents lost their jobs. Together they read all the books on the best seller list at the time and then the wife sat down to write her own. Once she was done, she uploaded it to  Smashwords and sold 500 copies in a day. A year and three months later I published my first book. The second time was in July of 2015.  I was not content in my job by any means and was looking into freelance writing as a side hustle. I came across a course by Gina Horkey  called 30 Days Or Less To Freelance Writing Success.  I jumped in and never looked back. Since then, I have started freelance writing full time.

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I also did a lot of reading during this time about work and how to pursue your dream job and your passions. I’ve come up with a list of  10 Essential Books To Inspire You To Follow Your Dreams. Here they are.

  1. Quitter by Jon Acuff-If you are looking for a book specifically about how to go from your day job to your dream job, this is it.  Jon gives invaluable wisdom on the steps you should take while navigating this journey as well as providing great examples from his own life.
  2. START by Jon Acuff-This book is especially great for Baby Boomers who are starting second and third careers, but it can apply to anyone. If you have an idea buzzing in your head, this book gives you sound advice on how to START and what to expect when you do.
  3. DO OVER by Jon Acuff-Are you wondering if you have what it takes to to have a great career? You do! All you need is relationships, skills, character and hustle. In this inspiring book, Jon explains how anyone can have a DO OVER.
  4. The 4 Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss- The 4 hour workweek introduces the concept of the ‘new rich’ and is a very interesting read. I enjoyed reading about Timothy and how he got to be where he is. Weather it is for you or not, the concept and principles are still an inspiring read.
  5. Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, MD-There are many mixed reviews on this book, but I absolutely loved it. It made me think differently about change and how people react as well as looking at failure differently.
  6. Rhinoceros Success-Scott Alexander-Are you a cow letting life pass you by or are you a Rhinoceros that chases down what you want? This is a great personal development book if you are ready to take life by the horns despite being surrounded by underachievers.
  7. The Legend Of The Monk And The Merchant-Terry Felber- A great little book about twelve principles to live by.
  8. Entreleadership-Dave Ramsey-This is a great book about author Dave Ramsey’s journey from the trenches to the top. Full of advice for the business owner who wants to grow their business and their team, this book is a must read.
  9. 48 Days To The Work You Love-Dan Miller-According to Dan Miller, a calling lights up your life. This book will help you understand and organize your skills, personality traits, values, dreams and passions. It is a great blueprint for getting you on the path to the work you love in 48 days.
  10. The Tortoise And The Hare by Aesop-Dave Ramsey once interviewed a billionaire and he said that The Tortoise And The Hare was one of his favorite books about life and business. I asked my husband for a copy last year for Christmas. Every once in awhile when things get hard, I will sit down and read it to remind myself that ‘slow and steady wins the race’.

Making big life decisions and deciding to chase your dreams is a noble pursuit. I have learned all kinds of lessons from the resources above and have read some of them more than once. I encourage you to pick one up and let it inspire you and I wish you the best in whatever you want to pursue.

Do you have a favorite book about business, life or pursuing your dreams? Let me know in the comments.

Photo courtesy of myrta via  Pixabay.com

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Rejection: It Is Not A Reflection Of You.

As writers we all face rejection. It is practically a way of life in this industry sometimes. But how do you handle rejection in other areas of your life? Do you take it to heart or rise above it and move on? I wrote this post today on my view of this subject. I hope it encourages you, inspires you, and makes you realize that it is not a reflection of you personally.

Rejection. Such an ugly word. I have dealt with this my whole life, in one way or another. From the day I was born, really. I was born premature and had various procedures done on me. My doctors and parents were constantly on alert as to weather I was going to keep fighting for my life. They never knew from day to day weather I was going to be okay or if I was going to reject one more procedure and just give up. I chose to live.

My Dad was a narcissist, so growing up was not easy. He was always on me about one thing or another. I could never do anything right. It could be anything from how I swept a floor to my grades in school. All that ever came out of his mouth was negativity and rejection. I would never amount to anything. Over the years, I have had to remind myself that his rejection is not a reflection on me. I don’t take it personally anymore. His parents did everything for him so they are the ones who created the monster.

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After my Mom and I moved out of state, it took me awhile but I eventually gained my self-esteem and self-confidence. Yet, I was still attracted to rejection. I was constantly drawn to men who had issues. Every guy I dated lied to me, cheated on me, and then rejected me. For the longest time I took it personally. There was always someone or something that came along that was better than me. I came to expect it. It wasn’t until my husband came along and made me understand that it wasn’t me. I’ve come to realize that being rejected in my previous relationships wasn’t necessarily a reflection on me, there were various catalysts at play. Thanks to my wonderful, loving husband, I have moved past all that. I’m so thankful to have found a man who finds me priceless.

Still, at the age of 35, I’m still dealing with rejection. I am a writer, rejection is something I face on a daily basis. However, I do my best not to let it get me down. I have my days, I’m not going to lie. However, I have had articles published on and off since I was fifteen years old so it is something I’m used to. Most of the time I take it as a way to grow and improve. I have never received a blatantly ugly rejection in regards to my abilities. I take the advice given and move on. In doing what I love, this is the best rejection I have ever experienced.

If you are out there experiencing rejection in one way or another, don’t despair. Take a step back and look at all angles. Even though it may feel like it, it may not be a reflection on you. As I have learned, there are sometimes various circumstances involved. Take a deep breath, evaluate the feedback and then move forward. Always remember. Rejection, it is not a reflection of you.  Don’t you know the best is yet to come?

Photo courtesy of Pete Linforth via  Pixabay.com

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Indie Author Day

Calling all indie authors! The first Indie Author Day is coming up on October 8th.  Libraries across the country will be hosting indies to come and promote their work, participate in panels and network with each other. This will also be a great way for library patrons to check out your work. I am excited to participate at the Morton library in my area. I’m ordering my books today and starting to get my price list a few other things in order.

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For more information on Indie Author Day and how you can participate, check out the links below from Indie Author News.

Yes, Virginia, There Really Is an Indie Author Day

Indie Author Day

Make plans to get out there, meet some fellow authors and have a great time! Even if you aren’t an author, go check it out anyway. You never know, you may find your next favorite writer.

Photo courtesy of StartupStockPhotos via  Pixabay.com

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Fall Into Some New And Different Reads This Season

Ready to fall into some new and different reads this season? Summer is winding down and the fall season is upon us. Soon school will be in full swing, life will get even more crazy and  it will feel like the gusty winds of fall will be blowing us everywhere in our daily routines. But then there will be those times when things slow down a little bit.  That small snippet of the afternoon about an hour before the kids get out. Or that hour just before you go to bed. It’s time to settle down with a good book. You took some of your friends advice and picked up one or two of the books she was reading over the summer but it wasn’t quite what you were looking for. My friend, it’s time to fall into some new and different reads this season.

 Do You Like To Read?

For Such A Time As This by Candace A Jones-If you are a woman of God trying to figure out your purpose, trying to come to terms with your past and wondering if you have totally lost God’s plan for your life, this book is for you. Candace speaks boldly of her past, her journey to redemption and her hopes for the future. A very refreshing read.

Everlasting Life by Kristy Phillips-Are you walking through life feeling desperate and broken? Do you feel like you have done so many terrible things that God could never love you? Or that you could never return to him again? Everlasting Life will help you reconnect with the Lord and heal your soul.

Phenomenal Dad by Cruz Santana-If you are looking for some spot on parenting advice in the aftermath of a divorce, this is your guide. Full of eye opening revelations and practical advice, like getting past the sting of despair while staying in your kids lives, how to protect yourself in future court proceedings and different ways to connect with your children that take little to no effort no matter what your circumstances. Cruz Santana writes from experience, she is a divorced mother of seven while battling stage four lymphoma. Pick up this book and help the single man in your life become a phenomenal Dad. Or learn to become a phenomenal Dad yourself.

Fall Into Some New And Different Reads This Season.

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Looking For More Different Reads?

Seasons Of Darkness-Belinda G. Buchanan-Ethan Harrington is forced to grow up quickly after his mother’s suicide. Living in the aftermath of his family’s ticking time bomb of an existence, he builds a wall around his heart. Now at sixteen he turns to the one thing he has seen his father find solace in again and again, bringing to the surface an inner demon that won’t let him go. Belinda weaves an intriguing tapestry of a relationship between father and son and the complexities that test their fragile union.

After All Is Said And Done-Belinda G. Buchanan-What if you found out the child you love more than anything wasn’t yours? After All Is Said And Done is the continuation of Ethan Harrington’s life. Now thirty-four years old and with a baby on the way, he is still trying to forgive his wife Jessica for cheating on him with a colleague.  Once his son arrives the hurt starts to heal but he finds out all too soon the secret his wife has been hiding from him.  Leaving his marriage in pieces and his sanity in a questionable state, Ethan has to face his borderline alcoholism and a past he has spent his whole life trying to forget.

What Haunts Me by Margaret Millmore- George is plagued by dreams of ghosts who wander in the midst of the living, infecting their victims with deformities and disease. A deep rooted instinct emerges in George, knowing he can kill these monsters and heal their victims. Haunted by suppressed memories, his sanity starts to slip as he is consumed with this new responsibility. This new path will lead him to both friends and allies but also enemies he could never have imagined.

Fall into some new and different reads this season.

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Tis The Season For A New And Different Read.

Lithium Dreams And Melancholy Sunrise-Carrie Lowrance- Recently go through a breakup? Have you been cheated on? Hopelessly in love with someone who either doesn’t love you back or doesn’t know you exist? Then let this deep, eerie book of poems ease your emotionally battered heart and soul.

The Safety Of Objects-Carrie Lowrance- If you are looking for a different way to view objects in the world, check out this book of poems.

Something For The Kids.

Don’t Eat Your Boogers (You’ll Turn Green)-Carrie Lowrance- Goober McGee has a bad habit. He eats his boogers! His older brother, Sludge, warns him he could come down with a case of Boogeritis. Then one day Goober wakes up and he’s green everywhere! How does he get rid of it? In the process of getting better again, Goober learns to try new foods, becomes a role model for his peers and, most importantly, promises to never eat his boogers again!

If you are truly looking for something totally different, take a look at the books on this list. I guarantee you won’t find the same old, same old.  Fall is coming and so will the rainy, windy days and nights. So curl up and fall into some new and different reads this season.

 

Photo courtesy of hansbeen via Pixabay.com

Photo courtesy of jarmoluk via Pixabay.com

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