Why My Outdoor Lights Stay Up Until March

Why My Outdoor Decorations Stay Up Until March by @_NancyRadke #mgtab

I am one of those who put my outdoor lights up around Thanksgiving and don’t take them down until after March. I especially love the white fairy lights that cast a warm glow on everything. This year I plan to put up some larger, colored lights, but I still want the tiny white fairy lights around my windows.

So why do I leave my decorations up so long? It has nothing to do with decorating and everything to do with a slight amount of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I live near Seattle where it gets dark around 5 pm, starting in November and continuing through February. I happen to be very sensitive to outdoor light or lack of it.

In the summer, I get up with the sun and am pretty much happy all day. I rarely close my curtains. (Some of my windows don’t even have curtains.) But in the winter, when it is dark out, it makes me want to sleep and not get anything done. Closing the curtains doesn’t work. I KNOW it is black on the other side. Pitch black. Dark as the inside of a wolf’s mouth at midnight.

One year I put up fairy lights as a decoration. I didn’t think much of it until I realized that it kept my windows from feeling dark. Even though I KNEW it was dark outside, it didn’t FEEL that way. I could leave my curtains open. Even with them shut, light shone on them from the outside, as if it wasn’t dark out.

I no longer wanted to start closing down at 3:30, 4 pm, and instead felt full of energy. Hooray! Fairy lights are wonderful. I put them on a timer so that they would come on before it started getting too dark and not go off until 10 pm. This worked so great that I left them up until the spring equinox was close enough that I no longer needed them.

So if you feel dreary during the long northern winter nights, get those fairy lights working for you. Don’t take them down in January just because the holiday season is over. You may be the only house on the block with your lights on, but if it works, keep them on.

My Christmas story this year, Three French Hens, takes place on a Montana ranch, with freezing cold weather, darkness, and the bank threatening to foreclose on a widow and her son. The hero finds his way to her door because she had put a bright light up on the barn to help guide herself back home. He thought at first it was a star helping him find his way. That’s the way I feel about fairy lights.

Click here for set containing this story.

The set shown here is Unforgettable Christmas Dreams, put out by the Authors’ Billboard. If you want to enter our monthly contest, click this link.

https://authorsbillboard.com/

Sweet & Sassy Holiday #mgtab @natalieann121

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During Christmas, an angel comes to the rescue, the hardest decisions are made, assignments turn deadly, choices are made, lovers realize they are meant to be together, dreams come true, true love comes from distracting romances, and old loves show up in the nick of time.

Mischievous Christmas Angel (new): Mimi Barbour, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author: He couldn’t cope with life or love without the help of his special angel.

My Girl (new): Jacquie Biggar, USA Today bestselling author: Sometimes, the right decision isn’t the easiest one to make.

Two Hearts’ Christmas Promise (new): Tamara Ferguson, USA Today bestselling author: Can an Air Force pilot convince his fiancé that beauty is only skin deep, when her news assignment turns deadly?

Carnations & Hot Toddy Kisses (new): Stacy Eaton, USA Today bestselling author: Is it destiny or fate that brings the past and present together?

Burning for the Nanny (new): Suzanne Jenkins, USA Today bestselling author: When Firefighter Leon Saint gets a surprise visit from a one night stand, a beautiful neighbor with a reputation comes to the rescue.

Because You Said So (new): Dani Haviland, USA Today bestselling author: Sometimes that’s all it takes.

Holiday Love: Natalie Ann, USA Today bestselling author: Can the magic of the holiday make these coworkers realize they are finally meant to be together?

Once Upon a Christmas: Denise Devine, USA Today bestselling author: When old friends reunite, will a new enemy keep them apart?

The Right Kiss: Mona Risk, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author: What’s a girl to do when she dreams about another man while in her fiancé’s arms?

Her Christmas Secret: Alicia Street, USA Today bestselling author: Lila courts a cold-hearted investor for her handmade toys, but finds herself instead drawn to a handsome maintenance man. With her sister’s family on the line, a distracting romance is the last thing she needs.

Right Man/Wrong Groom: Patrice Wilton, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author: When an old love shows up for the wedding, Nadine has to make that final choice.

Lemon Tree Very Pretty by @JoanReeves #mgtab

You’re probably wondering why there’s a picture of a lemon on top of a can of tuna.

That’s the only thing I could think of to show perspective for this giant lemon my husband picked from our lemon tree today. This was our last lemon of the season, and it’s a whopper.

Since we really like lemon desserts, this beauty will be turned into one that will please us all. It won’t exactly be a cake, and it isn’t quite a pudding.

I call it my Fake Lemon Souffle. Whatever you want to call it, make one. You’ll love it if you like light citrus desserts. Here’s the recipe.

Fake Lemon Soufflé

Ingredients
· 1 cup white sugar
· 1/4 teaspoon salt
· 4 tablespoons plain white flour
· 1 lemon (just a normal size lemon)
· 2 eggs
· 1 cup milk
· 1 tablespoon melted butter

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Select an ovenproof baking dish that will make a lovely presentation since you’ll be serving directly from the baking dish. Also put on some water to boil for step 6.

2. Grate the rind of the lemon until you have 2 teaspoons of rind. Squeeze the lemon to yield at least 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. In a bowl, mix sugar, salt, flour, rind, and juice.

3. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a glass or metal bowl, not plastic. (Egg whites won’t beat well in plastic.) In a large measuring cup or small bowl, beat the yolks, milk, and butter. Add this to the flour mixture. Then beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold carefully into the flour mixture so you won’t lose the lift.

4. Pour the mixture into the ovenproof bowl. Set the dish in a larger ovenproof pan. Pour hot water in the outer pan. (This technique is called a water bath, and it keeps soufflés and puddings from burning or getting hard on the bottom and sides.) The water should come up about an inch on the side of the baking dish holding the pudding.

5. Bake at 325 degrees F. for about 50 minutes. You know it’s done when you insert a knife around the sides and there’s no liquid left because it’s all been absorbed.

6. Serves 4-6. This delicate lemon dessert is as light and delicious as any soufflé you’ve ever had. Best of all, it can be served warm or cold.

If you’d like a sweet treat with no calories, try Brianna’s Season for Miracles, an Man and woman embracing in the winter snow forms the Cover art of Brianna's Season for Miracles by Joan ReevesAmazon exclusive, free read on Kindle Unlimited or buy for $2.99 and keep forever.

About Brianna’s Season for Miracles

Brianna Walker. She hated her life. Too much whisky, too much misery, and too much loneliness had resulted in a very public embarrassment. Vowing never to return to her hometown, she left for Vegas, a city where she could be anonymous instead of grist for her hometown’s gossip mill.

Brianna faced the fact that if she wanted her life to be different, she had to change. Instead of partying all night and sleeping all day, she ditched her so-called friends and the seductive persona she hid behind and vowed to do whatever was necessary so she could look at herself in the mirror without being disgusted. She knew that changing her actions wouldn’t do a darn thing to “fix” her, but she had to start somewhere.

When her father demands she come home for the holidays, she’s devastated and afraid she’ll revert to old habits to deal with social situations that have always terrified her. Then she meets Daniel Kelly.

His warmth and kindness—qualities she’d never found in any of the men she’d dated—attract her. To her surprise, she finds his intelligence, courtesy, and “niceness” enormously appealing—and sexy. Best of all, he’s a stranger in town and doesn’t know her reputation, but she’s learned it’s safer to avoid men like him for fear she might want forever out of the relationship. A man like Daniel would never want forever with her once he knew her true self, but believing that doesn’t stop her from falling for him.

Daniel already knows the secret Brianna is hiding. He knows he shouldn’t complicate the situation he’s in, but the attraction between them is hot and sizzling.

What will happen when Brianna realizes Daniel has a secret too?

Hope you enjoy my Fake Lemon Soufflé and Brianna‘s story too. Happy January!

Do you believe in the magic of Christmas?

They say Christmas is the most magical time of the year, that miracles can happen on the day when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. I don’t particularly believe in miracles, but there’s still some magic of the winter holidays left in my heart.

I loved Christmas when I was a child, even though my parents were not wealthy and we never had a pile of gifts under the tree. But we were better off than a lot of other people, and I’m grateful for that now.

As I became an adult, the practicalities and problems that come with being a grown-up took away a little of my holiday enthusiasm each year. Stretching the budget, organizing things, breaking my back in the kitchen… The real tree turned into a plastic one to avoid the hassle and the mess, buying gifts turned into a stressful process, even going shopping is less fun every year because of the growing lines and interminable city traffic.

However, this year I believe in the magic of Christmas more than I ever had. Why? Because my friends in the Authors’ Billboard practically put the most amazing present under my tree: a USA Today bestseller badge!

A little over a year ago, the seed of what seemed like a crazy dream took root in my mind: to become a USA Today bestselling author. Not only that, but I realized that if I made it, I would be the first Romanian in history to achieve this prestigious title. Since that moment, I worked relentlessly toward this goal, and I’m still amazed by how many incredible people I met on the way, people who joined me in my journey and fought hard to help me achieve my dream.

Together, we did it with the anthology Love, Christmas 2!

My story in this box set is a romantic comedy called Boyfriend Wanted for Christmas.

THE DESPERATE YET HUMOROUS QUEST OF AN AMERICAN BRIDGET JONES TO FIND A BOYFRIEND IN THE SEVEN DAYS SHE HAS LEFT UNTIL CHRISTMAS

Thirty-three-year-old librarian Andrea Sachse doesn’t have the time or skills to date. No man can ever live up to her dreamy book boyfriends, so why bother? But with her parents looking more desperate each time she shows up solo for their annual Christmas party, this year she’s determined to find herself a boyfriend by any means—fair or foul.

There are so many people I owe this accomplishment to, and who deserve a special THANK YOU:  Carmen, Mimi, my editor Sue, Jackie, all my wonderful co-authors of Love, Christmas 2 and of course, all of you, our dear readers and friends, who bought this box set.

The most meaningful THANK YOU goes to my husband, for being there for me, for believing in me, for offering moral and financial support, emergency hugs, pep talks, for playing housekeeper, tear-wiper, even chef when I was too exhausted, and never complaining when I worked twelve hours a day until 2 or 3 am, for keeping my spirits up with his endless supply of optimism, and for putting up with me – which is no easy job.

Each and every one of you who read this post, this victory is yours, as much – or even more – than it’s mine.  ♥ ♥ ♥

Now do you believe in the magic of Christmas? Here’s something that will make your holidays even more fun:  We’re looking for Santas and Reindeer! Visit our December Contest and YOU could win gift cards, paperback books, and book bundles. Click here to play! 

Wishing you the best holidays ever!