It’s The 3 Little Things: Word to the Mother, Positivity, & Workout Gear

April 11th, 2014


It must be Friday and time for our 3 Little Things that are making me happy this week!  I am actually pretty impressed that I remembered to do this since we are on Spring Break and completely off schedule. Truth be told, one thing that made me awfully happy was not having to get up at 5:45 to get my son on the bus each day. Who wouldn’t be happy about that?


The Daily Positive

I discovered a site called The Daily Positive and decided to sign up for their daily email that offers a positive thought each morning. Over my coffee in the morning, I read the daily positive and it has really helped me start my day on a better foot. This week some of the takeaways were reminders to utilize my time more wisely, to be an unsung hero for others, and a gentle reminder about my social media addiction. There is usually some awesome video element to it and the words are short and to the point. Head here and sign up for your own daily positive thought and see if it doesn’t change your outlook a bit!

Here is one of the videos that was shared that touched me deeply. This is the kind of stuff that reminds you what life is all about and starts your day in a positive way.


Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar

I kept reading about Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar and the enormous health benefits of it and decided to give it a try after I read this article.  I can’t tell you how much I am loving this stuff and how much it has helped me with my energy levels, my low blood sugar issues, and also helping me feel more full which has been a big issue for me since I cut gluten out of my diet.  I add two teaspoons of this vinegar to a glass of ice water and drink it through a straw. You can add sweeteners (like honey or liquid stevia), spices (like cinnamon or cayenne pepper), but I love acidic things so I just drink it plain with just water, and it has fixed my midday slumps like nothing else I have tried.

There are many health claims about what apple cider vinegar can offer.  Rather than fad claims though, check out this article on WebMD about the true benefits of it. What it has done for me, personally, is that my stomach feels much calmer (particularly if I eat things that I shouldn’t), I no longer have those terrible drops in my blood sugar, and it makes my stomach feel full (which can definitely help you if you are trying to lose weight).

Whatever you choose, it must say WITH THE MOTHER, not anything else. THE MOTHER is what you need for all these enormous health benefits.

The Mother is making me happy.

Word to her.


New-To-Me Workout Gear

Getting new workout clothes makes me happy, but the price tag on things you sweat in is absolutely ridiculous. I try to buy one or two really good workout pieces each year and then rely on inexpensive stuff from Old Navy to get me  by from week to week.  I am super psyched though that Twice is now offering workout gear.  It hasn’t shown up on their homepage as a category yet, but those scrolling pictures clue you in that they are now offering workout clothes. I got three new workout tops that were about the same price as I pay for my Old Navy gear, but it is fancy-schmancy brands like Lululemon, Lucy, & Nike.

So now you can be all Fancy Pants at the gym like everyone else, but your pants are less than half price.

And that’s something worth celebrating!

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn, what makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!


Freebie Friday April 11, 2014

April 11th, 2014

freebie friday Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! We would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week for loads of deals, savings, and freebies!

This week on MomAdvice I’m excited to start a new occasional author-interview series, Sundays With Writers by interviewing Suzanne Fedfearn – I know you’ll love this new series as much as I do! We’ve also got an amazing recipe for Thai Coconut Chicken Curry from our food contributor, Shaina, as well as How to Deal with Unexpected Expenses AND Income from our money contributor, Kelly. You’ll find a very special guest post for those looking for Gluten Free Easter Treats as well as How to Make a DIY Terrarium and How to Style Bookshelves – two easy decor updates to refresh your home for spring!

And of course you’ll find our weekly features – It’s the 3 Little Things, where I share the 3 things that I’m loving right now (with a linky that you can join, too!), my Notebook, always filled with inspiring DIY food, decorating and craft ideas, and a ton of contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways!

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Food & Drink

Seattle’s Best Coffee Sample

Health & Beauty

L’Oreal Paris Advanced Hair Care Sample

Hydroxycut Gummies Sample

Arm & Hammer Truly Radiant Toothpaste Sample


Purina Healthy Weight Cat Chow


Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide To Money eBook

A Method For Prayer eBook

Rainy Day Pre-K/Kindergarten Pack

Flower Learning Pack

Easter Printable Pack

Spring Sentence Scramble Pack

Plants and Garden Literacy Sample Pack

Easter Blessings Lapbook

This Week’s Freebie Events: April 12 - 18

12th - Lakeshore Learning: Create a Write & Wipe Schedule, 11 am - 3 pm

12th - Lowe’s: Build a Recycling Truck, 10 am

12th - Toys R Us: Attend the Lego Movie Building Event, 12 – 2 pm


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How to Style Your Bookshelves

April 10th, 2014

How to Style Your Bookshelves from

The art of styling bookshelves had never really been important to me until I started perusing pictures on Pinterest and saw the carefully curated collections and beauty in the organized book spines. Of course, I don’t have an unlimited budget where I can add decorative books in one carefully choreographed color or an unlimited budget for fantastic looking odds-and-ends to update my bookshelves. That is why I am excited to share with you some easy ideas for updating your bookshelves with Goodwill items and a few budget-friendly craft materials.

Head on over to the Goodwill Tips Blog to grab some budget-friendly styling ideas for your bookshelves!


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How to Make a DIY Terrarium

April 9th, 2014

How to Make a DIY Terrarium from

How to Make a DIY Terrarium from

How to Make a DIY Terrarium from

You know people that are amazing at gardening and planting?

I’m not one of those people.

I am the girl that goes to the greenhouse and requests plants that can take care of themselves. My plants must be able to survive without water or nourishment of any kind.

Despite my black thumb, I spent many of my summers working in a greenhouse as a kid and I do know a few things about caring for plants. Thanks to my greenhouse knowledge, I know that terrariums are the perfect project for a girl with my skill set and they are also the perfect project  for any gardener-in-the-making.

For those of you itching to play in the dirt, this project is a fun one that adds a bit of green to your house while you await planting season.  If you are looking for a fun project to tackle with the kids, this can transform into a little fairy garden with a few novelty items.

I created this project for the Kenmore Blog a little over a month ago and my terrarium is still going strong. And I pat myself on the back EVERY TIME I SEE IT.

Yes, I do.

To find out how to create your own terrarium, visit the Kenmore Blog today for instructions on creating this beautiful Spring-filled addition to your home!

Learn how to make a DIY Terrarium for your home HERE.

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Amy’s Notebook 04.09.14

April 9th, 2014

Chalkboard Bunny Easter Bucket

Source: Sugar Bee Crafts


I’m just over the moon with how cute – and simple! – these chalkboard bunny Easter buckets are. What a fun change from a regular basket.

Oh, this creamy corn casserole with bacon seems like the most perfect comfort food – Drool.

This is a completely adorable ‘Be Happy” printable bunting that would just be the sweetest decoration for a kids room or any bright, colorful space!

This horse-themed birthday party idea is really unique and any horse-crazy kid would love it!

I totally agree with Alice’s one rule for perfect cake pan prep.

I’m so intrigued with “zoodles” – zucchini noodles – and am looking forward to trying them in this lemon-garlic spicy shrimp with zoodles recipe. Sounds just about perfect for my new gluten-free life!


I hope you enjoyed this collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, and thrifty ways to spruce up your home. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!


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Money Savvy: How to Deal with the Unexpected

April 8th, 2014

From our money & finance contributor, Kelly Whalen.

When it comes to budgeting and financial planning it can be a challenge to deal with the unexpected or fluctuations. Budgets often only allow us to work within set parameters like a regular monthly income and monthly expenses. What happens when you’re hit with an unexpected repair bill to the tune of $1,000 or you get some extra income (for example in the form of a tax refund) that’s more than $100? Most often this is when your budget can fail. It’s when even the best laid financial plans get derailed.

We’ve covered your regular budget, and we’ve discussed putting the ‘personal’ in your finances by finding what you value, but now it’s time to consider how to deal with those ups and downs that life is sure to throw your way.

How to Deal With Unexpected Expenses.jpg

Unexpected expenses are no fun for anyone. While they can not be avoided, they can be dealt with without causing too much frustration and difficulty with your budget.

How to Deal with Unexpected Expenses

Let’s start with what unexpected expenses are and are not. Funds to cover the below costs should be in your checking account or a savings account attached to your checking account (for ease of access). This account is not your emergency fund.

Unexpected expenses are NOT:

  • Regular bills. You can and should budget for your monthly, quarterly, and yearly bills with your budget.
  • Typical spending. For instance if spending $300 each Spring on new clothes for your family is your average then that should be included in your spending budget.
  • Replacement items. Whether you need to replace your car in 3 years or by a new coffeemaker this season you can and should plan for replacing items your own. Setting up a separate savings account for these items is a great way to ‘self-insure’ (and save money on extended warranties).
  • Regular maintenance. We know cars need regular maintenance. You should build that cost into your spending. At times you will need to decide if it’s worth repairing or replacing something (for instance spending $200 to repair a vacuum cleaner when you can buy a new one for the same cost may not make financial sense).
  • Deductibles. Your insurance policies lay out your out of pocket costs, so have funds on hand to pay the deductible when and if needed.

Unexpected or emergency expenses are things like:

  • Repairs, both big and small, such as replacing a broken window or fixing a leaking toilet.
  • Health related expenses such as emergency medical or dental expenses for you or your family members.
  • Travel costs related to death or illness in your family or extended family.
  • Displacement costs due to power outage/weather (for instance having to evacuate due to an impending hurricane).
  • Job loss or loss of regular income.
  • Pet expenses related to pet illness or injury.

The unexpected expenses above should be covered by your emergency fund. Ideally you should have a minimum of one month saved for emergencies if you’re paying off debt, and you should work towards saving a full year’s worth of expenses (note: not income, but expenses).

Planning ahead for emergencies and expenses is not exactly fun, but having a plan in place will offer you some peace of mind when you do encounter a tough (and expensive) situation.

How to Deal with Unexpected Income

How to Deal with Unexpected Income

Extra income can be exciting or paralyzing. For some you’ll see it as a nice way to treat yourselves to that handbag you’ve had your eye on or a weekend getaway with the family. For others it will disappear into your checking account and paralyzed by what to do with your funds it will just sit in your account. Of course there are those of you who will also see it disappear in your checking account as you suddenly ramp up your spending because you can suddenly ‘afford’ more.

The key to dealing with extra income is to have a plan. Whether it’s $50 or $50,000, by creating a constantly changing lists of ‘extras’ you can make sure your money is spent (or saved) well.

Here are options to consider for extra income:

  • Consider taxes: This is always first when you have extra income. For smaller amounts it’s unlikely to make a difference, while larger dollar amounts mean you must explore what you’ll owe in taxes (if anything).
  • Have Fun: Take 10% and use it for something meaningful or fun for you and your family. You may simply treat the family to a dinner out on the town, or you might buy new board games to enjoy at home for years to come. Whatever you value spending extra on – now is the time to do it.
  • Save: Whether you need to beef up your emergency fund or you are saving up for long-term goals, consider using most of the funds to increase your savings.
  • Pay off Debt: If you are in debt make sure you have a one month emergency fund in place and then tackle those debts.
  • Give 10%: We can’t always give back as much as we’d like, so take 10% and donate it to a cause or nonprofit that you support.
  • Head to your list(s): I’m a BIG list lover so I recommend creating a list of items you want, things that need to be replaced, and those bigger ticket items that you’d like to get done. I keep a list on hand of items we want that aren’t necessities, like a new quilt for our master bedroom, and eventual replacements, like a new cutting board for the kitchen. I also keep a more expensive list of eventual home improvements like creating a deck in our backyard or buying new interior doors.

While having a plan in place doesn’t guarantee you no stress it will certainly make the unexpected easier on your bank account.

How have you dealt with emergencies or extra income? Did you have a plan in place?

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5 Gluten-Free Treats, Perfect for Easter

April 8th, 2014
5 Gluten-Free Treats,  Perfect for Easter
Happy Spring, MomAdvice readers! My name is Sarah and I’m the baker/blogger over at Sarah Bakes Gluten Free Treats. I have loved baking for as long as I can remember and for the past 3 years, I have been baking 100% gluten free. My husband has celiac disease and both my son and I have a gluten allergy. Most of my baking is also dairy and egg free. It was quite the adventure, learning how to transition over to gluten free baking. Now I have a passion for sharing delicious gluten free recipes with others so that they can also have the confidence to bake again!
April is one of my most favorite months. Beautiful spring weather, flowers are in bloom and most importantly…Easter! Such a joyous holiday, celebrating with family and friends. We always gather around a good meal (total feast) and enjoy plenty of satisfying sweets. Always too many desserts!

I’m sharing a few of my favorite gluten free treats with you today! All of these goodies would be a lovely addition to your Easter gathering. They also egg and dairy free too (vegan), which is great for those with multiple food allergies. Each recipe features Sarah’s gluten free flour blend, a staple in my pantry. Perfect for all of your gluten free baking needs!

  Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Every celebration becomes that much more fantastic when cupcakes are involved! These chocolate cupcakes are simply delicious. Moist chocolate cake, topped with a creamy dairy free chocolate buttercream. Those colorful sprinkles are a must!


Gluten Free Vegan Mini Lemon Blueberry Cakes

Gluten Free Vegan Mini Lemon Blueberry Cakes

Anything in miniature size is my favorite. That’s one reason to love these mini lemon blueberry cakes. Bursting with blueberries and drizzled with a simple glaze. The fresh lemon zest gives this cake a beautiful brightness.

  Gluten Free Vegan Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Gluten Free Vegan Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Wouldn’t this apple cinnamon coffee cake be a delight to serve at your Easter brunch? Vanilla cake, topped with sliced apples and covered in cinnamon crumb topping. Everyone will be asking for a second slice.

  Gluten Free Vegan Raspberry Hand Pies

Gluten Free Vegan Raspberry Hand Pies

I remember the first time I made these raspberry hand pies. It took me right back to my childhood. Eating those “home run” pies that we would get from the local market down the street. This homemade version is even more delicious and let’s not forget…it’s pie you can eat with your hands!

  Gluten Free Vegan Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

Gluten Free Vegan Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

Every kid loves a good frosted sugar cookie. This gluten free version is just about as yummy as you can get. Let the kids help with the decorating and get creative. They may end up eating more frosting and sprinkles along the way, but that’s the best part!

  Sarah Bakes Gluten Free Treats- Sarah Hornacek

You can check out more of Sarah’s recipes at Sarah Bakes Gluten Free Treats. You can also follow her on facebooktwitterpinterest, and instagram. Happy baking!

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Apron Full of Giveaways 04.08.14

April 8th, 2014

mint-red apron

Source: Imagine That,  $38.99


Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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Thai Coconut Chicken Curry

April 7th, 2014

From our food contributor, Shaina Olmanson.

Thai Coconut Chicken Curry #recipe via Shaina Olmanson at
Thinking fast on your feet is one of those skills no one ever tells you you’ll need as a mom. I often feel like there should have been a prerequisite before choosing to have kids, a mini boot camp that presented you with harrowing situations and tight time limits for figuring out the solution. Where were those life skills taught?

More often than not, when I reach the 5 o’clock hour I’m in a mad rush to throw something together before whatever activities the evening holds. I have four kids emptying their backpacks on my dining room table as I stare into the refrigerator, and as I’m stress-searching the contents of crisper drawer and the inner door, one of them is bound to ask for homework help. Why didn’t I remember to take the meat out of the freezer?

It is in these parenting moments where I feel utterly defeated by life that I find the greatest opportunities to defeat it instead. This meal is one of those that lends itself to last-minute meals. I try to keep ingredients for it on hand, ready at a moment’s notice, along with a Greek seasoning blend and taco seasoning and cans of beans in the pantry (which isn’t really a “pantry” as much as basement shelves and a cupboard in the garage at my house). They’re the things I turn to when everything is falling apart, when I’ve dropped every ball there was to juggle. The thing they have in common: quick cooking times.

Cutting the chicken thin helps it cook faster. If you only have chicken in the freezer, thaw it partially and then cut it. It’s wonderfully easy to slice thinly when there’s still a bit of frozen resistance. The vegetables are interchangeable, for the most part. Use what you have on hand. Zucchini and mushrooms can be great in this curry, too.

Thai Coconut Chicken Curry #recipe via Shaina Olmanson at
Let’s talk rice. I’m not going to judge the type of rice you use here, whether you’re a boil-in-the-bag home, a minute-rice family, you rely on those microwaveable pouches and trays, you are a diehard stovetop rice cooker, or you – like me – are devoted to your rice cooker. For me, I find that the best way to cut down on rice cooking time is simply to make exactly the amount you need. My rice cooker takes far longer to cook six cups of rice (I like leftovers) than it does to cook two. Similarly, if you are making it on the stove, bringing several cups of water to a boil is going to take more time than if you only make what you’ll be eating.

Thai Coconut Chicken Curry
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 4-5
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into thin slices
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 daikon, julienned (see notes for substitutions)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 can (15 ounces) coconut milk
  • 4 green onions, diced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  1. In a wok or large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add in the chicken and cook until white on all sides. Stir in the curry paste. Add the red bell peppers and the daikon and saute for 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in the brown sugar, fish sauce, and coconut milk. Bring just to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle green onions and cilantro over the top just before serving. Serve over rice.
You can substitute bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, or another vegetable for the daikon.


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Sundays With Writers: Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn

April 6th, 2014


One of the highlights of running our MomAdvice Book Club has been our author interviews. It is truly a dream come true to share these interviews with you and to get to ask writers my questions about their process, their pieces, and their own recommendations for great books.

With that in mind, I am starting a new series called, “Sundays With Writers.” It will not be a weekly feature, but as I read books that I think you will love, I will share an interview with you about them and about their books.  It gives me the chance to continue sharing about incredible books and the beautiful minds and thoughts behind their creation. It also gives me a chance to swim a bit more in their words and hopefully share about an author you may not know about.  So grab your coffee and let’s chat about beautiful books together!

We will begin our series with an incredible book that I hope you will run out and pick up! It is called, “Hush Little Baby,” written by Suzanne Redfearn. It is a well-paced psychological thriller that I could not put down. The recommendation came from my friend Kristen, at Dine & Dish, and as I closed on the final pages, I knew that I needed to interview her.

Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn

Hush Little Baby is the story of a woman named Jillian Kane who has the life that she always dreamed of. She is a successful businesswoman, she has two beautiful kids, she wants for nothing financially, and her husband is a well-respected cop who every woman wish she had. Jillian is living with a secret though.  For nine years, her husband has abused her and he is calculating enough to abuse her in ways that no one would ever suspect that she is a victim.

When things escalate too far, Jillian decides to run away from him with her two kids. Unfortunately, she has no money, no plan, and no one that she can turn to.  It is in this most pivotal moment of her life that she develops unlikely friendships and learns to finally save herself and her kids. Her husband though, is a cop and is determined to do everything in his power to get his children back…and kill her.

I could not put this book down because I was so worried about Jillian and her kids. For two days, every moment I had, I was reading this to make sure that they could get to safety. When I say that I had my heart all wrapped up in this one, it would not be an understatement.

Today I am talking with Suzanne about her amazing book and a little bit about her process in writing this!


The abuse that Jillian suffers is so painful to read through and yet illustrates how important it is for her to break free. Did you struggle with this as you were writing these scenes?

In order to accurately depict what Jillian was going through, I needed to do extensive research on domestic violence and reading the first person accounts and testimonials of victims was very difficult.  And then internalizing what I’d read so I could use it in the story was exhausting.  Writing is a lot like acting, in order to do it well, you need to get inside your character’s head, put yourself in their life, and experience what they are going through.  Jillian is a lot like me in some ways, so it wasn’t difficult to feel her plight.  The nice thing about being an author is that, unlike my characters, when it gets to be too much, I can step away and return to my real life, the one that is loving and warm and not full of violence and fear.

 One thing that really struck me in your book was that Jillian often thinks of herself in pivotal moments and not her children. This part really pulled at my heartstrings, but I wonder if it was meant to do that. Was this meant to showcase the guilt that we all have as mothers in putting our own needs first?

Great question and one I haven’t been asked.  This was a result of the research I did as well as my experience of being a mom myself.  Oftentimes this is the dilemma an abused woman faces, save herself or stay to protect her kids.  Fear plays havoc on the psyche and self preservation is an instinct that is hard to override.  But you’re right about the resulting guilt that occurs after a woman has those treacherous thoughts.  Even if she doesn’t act on them, it can be devastating.  Some readers have told me they didn’t like Jillian because they didn’t think she was a good mother.  I would defend that she is a real mother, one who is not perfect, who sometimes made mistakes and had selfish thoughts (haven’t we all?), who had been beat down to believe she wasn’t a good mother, but who ultimately risked everything to save her kids.

There is a pretty scary scene for me, as a mom, when Jillian finds her son torturing a frog at a birthday party. Was this meant to show us how the abuse had weaved its way into Drew’s life?

Thank you for picking up on that.  I think it was a pivotal moment foretelling of the perilous path Drew was on to follow in his dad’s footsteps.  Abuse begets abuse, and I believe it is because of that moment that Jillian realizes something needs to change, if not to save herself, to save her kids.  I contrasted the frog scene with the gift scene of the Hollyhock seeds to show that Drew is at a crossroads and that there is still hope to save him.

I had a secret hope that you would bring Jillian back to the Flying Goat and reunite her with the people that helped keep her safe. Did you consider bringing her back or weaving those characters in at the end?

So many readers have mentioned this, and I too fell in love with Goat and Paul and the entire crew from Elmer City, but the story told itself and ended where it was supposed to.  I will leave it to the readers’ imaginations to figure out when and where their paths cross again.

 I find it so unbelievable that this is your first novel- the writing is so beautiful and the scenes were woven together so well. It reminded me a lot of some of my favorite books from Heather Gudenkauf or Diane Chamberlain. Since you are an architect by profession, what brought you to this moment in your life to pursue writing and was this a difficult career transition for you?

 I am what someone termed an accidental author.  I did not go to school for writing and never considered becoming an author, but one day I sat down with an idea for a story and started to write and it poured out of me (that was seven years ago and it was not Hush Little Baby), and I discovered that I love to tell stories.  My grandfather was a storyteller, and I believe I inherited the gift from him.  I was hooked, and since architecture had tanked with the recession, I had time on my hands, so I set out to learn the craft and kept writing.  Hush Little Baby is the fifth novel I wrote but the first one to get published.  I still love architecture, and, if inspired, I will switch hats again and build something.  It’s not one or the other for me, it’s wherever I’m at in any given moment of time.  For now, the stories continue to flow, so I continue to peck at the keys, but who knows where this crazy path will lead or what I will do next.

 If you could tell anyone to read one book (other than your own) what would that book be?

 The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay.

 What do you have in store for us with your next project?

I am very excited about the next project.  It is another story about a mother protecting her children but in a very different context and with a very different protagonist.  I can’t disclose more than that, other than to say, it’s another rollercoaster ride of emotion.

*This series may contain affiliate links! 

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