Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Easter

No official plot swap today. 
Feel free to leave a swap in the comments.

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Makeover Monday~ The Little Things

Makeover Monday

The Little Things

I didn't tackle any major organizing projects this week. I have one looming that I'm not quite ready to share. If I do get it done, we're having a virtual party. 
But, just so I didn't disappoint any faithful Makeover Monday followers, 
I thought I'd share some of the little things I've added to our house that make me way happier than they should. 

The first is this hook. 

I bought this forever ago to hang bags in my closet. It is supposed to fit over the door. Unfortunately, I have fat closet doors because this was too thin.  Last week, when I was doing the great kitchen shift. I remembered it. It fits perfectly over the cabinet door and holds my cutting boards right within reach. 

Second, is this basket.

I mentioned this basket in this post, but didn't really give it the attention it deserves. This is a charging station for my children's electronics. It hides a surge protector and gives them a place to store anything that needs a plug. No more scavenger hunt to find a lost mp3 player two minutes before leaving. 

And, last, this basket.

I got one of these for both of the girls when I redecorated their bathroom. They are wide enough to hold a regular-sized cup, toothbrush and toothpaste and they suction cup to the mirror. Why do I love them? They get all of the dental hygiene products off the counter and give them a neat, organized appearance. 

So, how about in your home? What little things give you a big smile? 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Makeover Monday~ Pantry Revisited

 Makeover Monday

Pantry Revisited

My pantry has become my nemesis.

Phineas and Ferb Nemesis Song

You may remember my Makeover Monday: Sad Dawn post about my pantry difficulties. 
Like the laundry room, this is a room I going into several times a day. I really wanted to make it something cute. 

First, Before pictures. 

It was making my teeth cringe EVERY time I opened the door. Plus, I couldn't find ANYTHING. 
So, since I had a week off. I decided to tackle the beast. 
Step one: 
Take everything out. 

Um, wow...
This is what happens when you're unorganized. You end up with FOUR OPEN boxes of plastic wrap and FOUR OPEN boxes of trash bags. 

Empty pantry
Here is where it got complicated. Have you ever tried one of those puzzles where you have to move every piece to make a one piece fit ? Yeah, that was my kitchen. 
The goal of organizing the pantry was to move the spices from this cabinet and the storage containers from the other cabinet into new homes. 

Inspired by Alejandra, I decided to buy a  "Wall Pocket" for the spices.

 No, it isn't a shoe organizer. Having a shoe organizer in my pantry would be weird...

Then, I decided to concede my search for cute shelf paper and just buy practical that would give some color. 

I tried putting a few items back in and realized every time I lifted a box the shelf paper stuck to the BOX, not the shelf. 
*Double sigh*

Having everything on the counter was making me twitchy. 
I just started putting it back in. 
It looked a little better. 
The wall pocket worked great. 
But, the rest of the pantry... Meh. 

On the surface, it looks organized, but do you see the problem I did? 
No boundaries. Nothing to keep that jar of Peanut Butter from wandering over to Sprite bottles. 

I decided to give myself one more day to work on some solutions. 
I added Lazy Susans to make use of the corner space and keep like items together. 


I created a snack station for the girls: Zip-loc bags, crackers, water, water bottles and Goldfish.
And, moved the paper towels to the bottom so they are easily accessible. 



It is the cutest pantry EVAH? Um, no.
Does it make me smile every time I open the door? 
Can I find everything and see exactly what's on hand? 

Any suggestions on how to liven it up? 
I really don't want to paint. But, I've given up on shelf paper.

What area of your house would you consider your nemesis? 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Plot Swap~ Spring Break Style

Dawn's Plot Swap

Have a plot? Leave one

Need a plot ? Take one

This has been Spring Break week for me! My family and I have done virtually nothing. It has been AMAZING! For our plot swap, I thought I'd offer up some great Spring Break ideas. What could you do with these? 

Fun for the whole family: 

The family that plays together stays together. I'm not sure which is worse. The fact they brought kids along or the fact they were caught because an off-duty police officer was having lunch across the street and thought the woman sprinting back to her car after going in the bank looked suspicious. 

So, romantic suspense: They were robbing the bank to protect their children from a nefarious villain.  
Romantic comedy: The sister of the woman must match wits with the off-duty police officer to prove she isn't guilty. 

Great recreation with friends: 

Mo. golfer survives fall into Ill. course sinkhole
This had to be a terrifying experiences. But, my favorite part is that his friend didn't see him get swallowed by the earth. When he vanished from sight they assumed he'd fallen down a hill, but didn't go looking for him until they heard moaning! 
Horror: The friends never find him and he must claw his way out before the demon beast at the bottom of the hole claws him. 
Time travel: Of course, the sinkhole is a portal to another dimension where he arrives and must solve five tasks (it was a par 5 hole) before returning. 

For the adventurous type:

Did you know there is a book titled "The Thrill of the Chase" in which the author outlines clues to a $2 Million dollar treasure he supposedly hid in the mountains near Santa Fe? 
Well, this woman did. She went looking for it and got lost. She was later found safe.
But, oh, the possibilities! 
What could drive her to risk everything to go hiking alone searching for this treasure? 
What if she'd found it? 
What kind of personal growth did she experience while on the chase? 

Swap with me! 
Got any good plots going?
Great spring break plans? 
Intentions of committing a felony? 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Guest Post: Feeding the Muse

Guest Post: 

Feeding the Muse

So we’ve all had creative moments in our life inspired by something. Maybe it was a painting. Maybe it was a passing car. Or maybe it was that car chase racing down I-35 the other day.

I’ve had those moments. But really? That’s not exactly what my muse loves to be fed. It gets me the initial idea, yes. But my muse wants stronger stuff than a passing car or a painting to sustain me for a book. In that case, I turn to a very important fuel:

I know what you’re thinking. Who needs a freshness seal? That bag was gone in a week, but it got me through 23,000 words for the first week of November. I kept telling people, the book demanded it. No one believed me, I don’t think, but it’s true. Sometimes, you’re coasting along, writing away, and you stop. You have to ponder a scene for a while.

Now I’m highly OCD. I have nervous ticks that drive people up a wall. Especially when I’m trying to think. My fingers need to do things or I tend to destroy things that are around me. I also tend to grind my teeth together when I’m concentrating. My dentist hates me.

The book demanded Twizzlers at first, as evidenced by the picture up there. The good thing about Twizzlers is that they are relatively low calorie. Of course, that really doesn’t matter when you’re like me and finish off the bag inside of a week. They’re also chewy so I can sit there and grind on a Twizzler instead of my teeth. Not saying that it’s better… in fact, my dentist still hates me.

There’s a lot of me in my heroine in Off Her Game. Valerie doesn’t pig out on Twizzlers like me, but she needs to be busy. And that’s a big thing when someone suddenly has a huge lifestyle change, like losing a job. I drew a lot off my own personal OCD experiences. It’s never been debilitating for me. But I’ve always been aware of it. And while Val might not be as aware, she does know that she has her own oddities.

All this to say that I highly recommend candy as a way to feed the muse. I can’t tell you how many messes I’ve coaxed myself out of with a bag of Twizzlers. In fact, I’ve got another two pound bag in the kitchen for when I’m ready to hit the next half of my current WIP. But right now, that book wants Hershey’s Cookies n Cream and Elton John (music is an entirely different post, because if I tackled it now, Dawn would never invite me back…)

Sigh. The muse is never satisfied.

Thanks to Dawn for having me over today. 

So, it’s y’all’s turn now.

 Have you ever been attacked by a hungry muse while writing? What was the food of choice? Talk to me.
Off Her Game is available on Amazon or Barnes & Noble for pre-order. Releases March 25, 2013!
Penalty Number One: Men
Making time for men and relationships doesn’t fit into Valerie Chase’s game plan. This crisis-counselor-turned-cocktail-waitress knows the score—Men are a distraction. But when a certain hockey player tempts her wild side, part of her wants to indulge in a little harmless fun.
Penalty Number Two: Desire
As the star center for the Texas Highlanders, Darren Moran’s good looks and deadly determination make him a fan favorite. But after the previous season’s disaster, the last thing he needs is to let some woman crawl under his skin. But… Valerie is different. She brings out the best in him—both on and off the ice—and he’s not about to lose her.
Penalty Number Three: Passion
When the game moves to the next level, Darren and Val have got to call timeout. An unplanned romance is a game-thrower, a sinful temptation that neither of them can afford. After all, there’s no way to have order in matters of the heart when the penalties tally up to an ejection from the game.
Suzan Butler is a romance author with a penchant for Dr. Pepper, ice hockey, and world domination.  She lives in Texas under a not-so-secret identity with two monsters, writing books and planning the next step in her evil plans into the twilight hours of the night because that’s when it’s quiet in the house.
Visit her online on her website and subscribe to her newsletter to keep up with all her new releases.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Plot Swap~Mismash Style

Dawn's Plot Swap

Have a plot? Leave one

Need a plot ? Take one

I have an eclectic set of plot starters for you this week. 

Let's start with the cave!

Kids discover underground treasure: a cave in Bexar County 

This would make a great middle-grade plot. A"How I spent my summer vacation" type story. Or, a Dawn-would-never-read-this-because-she's-a-big-fat-chicken, horror story about the evil that would certainly lurk in such a place. 


Creepy. No other word for it. But, oh the possibilities. The article says a woman in a long skirt has been seen leaving the packages. Who is she? Why would she be doing this? Who are the gifts meant for? 

and, finally, 

What kind of twists could you make out of that? 

So, swap with me. 
Add your story to our mix.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Makeover Monday~ Hair Help, Please!

Makeover Monday

Hair Help, Please! 

This is my youngest daughter's hair:

This is after a shower, shampoo and conditioner

After half a bottle of detangler 
and 25 minutes of combing:

52 minutes later 

What does this have to do with Makeover Monday? 

I need to makeover the detangling process!
I know all the tricks:
Start at the bottom 
Work in sections
Use lots and lots of patience!

But, I am asking (begging) for suggestions:

Any ideas on how to smooth out this process? (See what I did there?) 

Product recommendations? 
Homemade remedies? 
She has already vetoed chopping it off. 

I'm up for anything you've got!