Holidays Decorations

Most of us decorate our houses for Christmas and the holidays. I get my fake tree up the first weekend of December to put myself in the holiday mood.

But do you decorate your house for other holidays?

My daughter has made it a tradition to decorate for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Spiders and pumpkins are set in the front yard, at the door, and in the living room.

Three years ago, when I screamed after hitting my head against a spider dangling from a lamp in the kitchen, the kids squealed in delight, and made sure they multiplied their cute decorations—I call them disgusting.

Two days before Halloween, my grandchildren invite a dozen of friends who arrive in costume and with a pumpkin to carve and decorate in the backyard. Pizza is served to the hard-working artists and at the end of the party, they fill their basket with candies.

On the following weekend, the Halloween decorations disappear in a plastic container and the Thanksgiving ones come out. This time the celebration is a family gathering with adults and children around a big table. During the traditional dinner of turkey, green beans and sweet potatoes, and dessert of pumpkin pies and pecan pies, each guest, grandparents, parents and children take turns telling us what they are most grateful for.

Setting traditions and building memories is important to raise happy children according to my daughter, a pediatrician who knows her business.

Family, Friends, Fun, Food, and a Good Book

Hello! This is Alyssa Bailey and I’m so excited to chat just before my favorite family holiday, Thanksgiving! My son would also add to the above list … football!

My contribution to the fabulous boxset Love, Christmas 2 – In the Spirit of Christmas begins the weekend after Thanksgiving so now would be a great time to pick up the book and have a read.

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Thanksgiving is my favorite time of year, with Native American Heritage Month (my family is Irish and Native American), Thanksgiving, fun and family snuggled in the wonderland of the autumn season. Because of the military and my adventuresome husband, I have had the pleasure and privilege of experiencing holidays in many parts of the country and world.

We have a large family and for years, have been blessed with a great number of friends, foster children, family, and whomever wanted to visit for the holiday. In the island in Alaska where we live, there is always the expectation of a Thanksgiving Storm and we often lost electricity. Early on, we learned to cook quickly if bad weather was expected. In our early years, we always had a huge cast iron earth stove to finish out the cooking if needed. The sturdiness of the power lines has increased as our number of children still home has decreased. But everyone comes if they can for Thanksgiving.

In the Spirit of Christmas shows Tara in search of the warmth of family and yearning of the traditional, the security of home and family, no matter the size of that family or the age of the person. She finds it. May your season be all you hoped for and you have family and friends to share your good fortune.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Excerpt from In the Spirit of Christmas

The hot air from the heater warmed her. “By the way, I’m Chase Nichols.” He eased the truck back onto the highway.

“Thank you for picking me up, Sheriff Nichols. My ex must have had a flat and neglected to tell me, among other things,” she murmured.

“Just Chase, and it’s obvious your ex neglected to repair it as well.” His tone was condemning. Tara’s first inclination was to defend Roger, but she closed her mouth. Roger was the reason she was even doing this, in the dead of winter.



He nodded. “I’ll get you to the garage. They’ll fix you up in no time.”

“Thank you for your trouble.”

“No trouble. I was going this way and it’d be wrong to leave anyone on the side of the road in this cold.” He turned and grinned in her direction. “Besides, it wouldn’t look good if the Sheriff left a motorist stranded, would it?” She didn’t know what to say to that, so she didn’t respond with more than an answering nod of her own. He continued to watch her. “You shouldn’t be out here alone. New Yorker like yourself should understand about cold weather.”

“I’m from Wyoming and I didn’t plan it, all right? It just turned out that way.” Her tone snapped, but she was dangling precariously at the end of her rope. If she weren’t so close to the ranch, she would have just stayed the night in the next town.

“You sound worn out.” Concern laced his words. “We’re almost there.”

“I’m sorry. I left New York in the early hours day before yesterday, it’s late, and I’m ready to be home.”

He whistled. “You drove that far, alone, in a couple of days, in the middle of winter? Your daddy knows you did that?”

He did listen, she’d give him that. “I’m an adult, Mr. Nichols—”

“It’s Chase, and I get you’re grown but I bet you’re always a little girl to your daddy.”

She hesitated, his correction putting her off her line of thought. He was right. “In answer to your question, yes, he knows I’m coming. And it isn’t that far. I was careful.”

“Mmm hmm.”


Happy Thanksgiving from your friends on the Billboard!! #mgtab

~Happy Thanksgiving ~


This year on the Authors’ Billboard, we have much to be thankful for.

When a group of 30 authors continuously work together, like and respect each other, that’s a truly beautiful thing and something to be proud of.

Over the last year, we’ve managed to support each other in an unprecedented manner, I mean when one of us asks for help, it’s forthcoming. Of course not by all – every time – but enough of the girls kick in so we know someone is always listening and… they care.

Our group, collectively, has put out a huge number of Box sets this year – please visit our Author’s book page on this website – and you’ll see what I mean. I’m particularly proud of our Christmas collections, and by the comments the readers have left on Amazon, they’re well received and enjoyed.

Many of the girls take their turn to write a blog post each month, to share with you special interests they have, giving you a glimpse into their lives, their hearts and their worlds. These posts are fun to read and I look forward to a new one being released most days.

We’ve also built a strong community newsletter – please sign on if you haven’t already done so. We try very hard to provide goodies every Friday that include free books and those on sale. We know how much people depend on authors to be generous and, in turn, we believe our readers pay us back by buying books when their favorite writer releases something new.

In today’s fast-paced, cutthroat world, it’s a lovely thing to be a part of such a warm and delightful gang of ladies who have realized that thirty hard-working souls can have a far longer reach than one solitary person trying to make her way alone.

So – I’m thankful! For the lovely ladies of the Billboard and the folks who support us.

I hope you all have a truly wonderful, family-filled, fun-filled, (and turkey-filled) Thanksgiving weekend.



P.S. By the way…

We’re having a little shindig on our Facebook page – a Christmas Bash for whoever wants to join us. Believe me, we have a lot of fun at these parties and all the many authors involved have numerous, fantastic Giveaways for the folks who participate. (Eg: A beautiful new Kindle, two $25 Amazon Gift certificates, free paperbacks, etc, etc.) So…please go here and sign in that you’ll be joining us and we’ll look forward to seeing your on Nov 29th and/or 30th. Invite your friends, too 🙂


There’s nothing like a potluck to fill you with thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving image. Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! While you’re reading this, I’m probably running around like a chicken with its head cut off (Sorry for the icky mental picture!), getting ready to host a big turkey dinner. There will be 19 people around the tables, plus 3 babies. Wheee!

For many years now, we’ve done our family get-togethers potluck style. Often, we pick a theme, but leave the choice of what people bring wide open. (Our Christmas Eve appie night is a much-loved tradition now, as is the occasional Taco Tuesday.) Other times, we decide on what type of dinner it will be, like, say, a traditional turkey dinner J, and we each pick dishes to bring, according to our mood, energy level, or whatever’s left to choose from by the time we volunteer.

Dinner parties with friends have slowly moved toward this model too—again, usually with a theme: Italian or Greek night, Stone Salad, etc.

So really . . . although I’ll still clean my house (Booo!) for the party and arranging seating will take some work, as will setting and decorating the table (but that’s a chore I always enjoy), my contribution—a turkey, a ham, the punch, and the coffee and tea—will not make me too crazy. I’ll get to relax and enjoy my company, and even clean-up won’t be too arduous. Most of the pots and pans and serving dishes just go home with their owners to get washed up by someone who isn’t me. (And if that isn’t enough to make for a happy Thanksgiving, I don’t know what is!)

For many reasons, I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to do-everything-yourself-hosting. Yes, throwing a feast isn’t as daunting cost and labor wise if everyone brings a special dish, but the real benefits go deeper than that.

Many hands make like work image. Potluck style meals allow everyone the fun and honor of contributing. (When my hubby and I were first married, for example, throwing a Christmas banquet for everyone would’ve broken our budget . . . but I still wanted to do something and create dishes that would become traditions for my kids.)

They make special diets easier (a person can bring a dish they know they can safely eat, then pick and choose from others that might fit).

They’re a great conversation starter/icebreaker if you don’t know people well. Not everyone has family, big or small, but you can create your own, friend by friend, meal by meal. Inviting someone over for a formal dinner might seem intimidating. Saying, “Hey, I’m throwing an Italian themed potluck, want to come over with a pizza or buns or something?” is less pressure on you and your guest.

Sharing the work load is fun as people chat about what they’re going to bring, creates a feeling of community, and allows everyone, even the host, to actually enjoy the hours approaching and during the meal.

Most importantly, however, the act of sharing a meal (literally, in terms of work and cost, not just eating—though the eating part is delightful!) feeds and nourishes the reason people get together in groups in the first place: to nurture and build relationships, create and strengthen connections, and help us appreciate the people we’re blessed by and grateful for.

We’re going into a busy time of year, with celebrations and holiday seasons of many kinds ahead in the next few months. If you feel stressed by the very notion of having people over, consider the simple, comforting pleasure of potluck.

Let me know in the comments if you’re already a potluck fan or if you’ve found other ways to make holiday entertaining more entertaining and less draining!

And hey . . . if you save yourself a bunch of time by having your lovely family and friends help make/bring dinner . . . you’ll have more reading time. Win, win, WIN!

Fall in love at River's Sigh B & B this fall-Dawn Yacovetta quote image