Sunday, April 10, 2011

bookmarks, cookies, and books

Spring break was a blur of bookmarks, cookies, and books - not a bad combo:) A little sun, a few walks. I even spent a day editing/writing on the deck and am sunkissed, to boot. It was good being home with the boys. They kept me busy baking and bringing home surprises from the mailbox. Here are a few at left. You'll probably be seeing them in your mailbox this summer, right before release day. I love the vivid blue background on the bookcards. The bookmarks are more muted but look very pretty in person. And they serve a very practical purpose;) One can never have too many bookmarks, right?

Over break I received this treasure from Amazon. Wyatt is reading it for history class and it's quite a wild ride! I snagged my own copy for researching the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia for the series I'm working on. Young Adult books are one of my passions ~ my personal favorite, Ann Rinaldi, is taking over my office! This book isn't a comfortable read but is full of wonderful detail from that very terrible time.

Love those God-instances of being blessed with just the right book, a friend, or another fulfilled need. Speaking of books, I have exciting news to tell you about the new historical series I'm writing but will save it till next time as this post is sprawling...

No spring break would be complete without lots of baking. Thanks to the Pioneer Woman and my friend Patti in Kentucky, I discovered this cookie recipe. Beware, malted milk lovers ~ these cookies are nearly as good as a chocolate malt! If you add ice cream and sprinkles, you can have it all;)

Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar and 3/4 cup white sugar
2 whole eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/4 teaspoon salt
1 12 oz. bag milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup malted milk powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter, both sugars, till fluffy. Add eggs and beat slightly, then add vanilla and beat till combined. Add malted milk powder and beat till combined. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture, beating gently until just combined. Add chocolate chips and stir gently. Drop by teaspoonfuls and bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool completely, then use two cookies to make an ice cream sandwich. Add sprinkles to the sides of the ice cream, then wrap individually in plastic wrap.

I guess my week can be summed up in 3 words ~ bookmarks, cookies, and books. If you could sum up yours, what would they be? At least one of you dear readers could say, "boxes, boxes, boxes" as it's moving day! I'd love to know what you've been up to;)


  1. yay! I cant wait for your next book! You know we'll have to do some more for it on my blog :) and of course I have to read it!
    I think I've seen that yellow fever book but havent read it. Looks fascinating!
    And I love baked stuff. I hosted a babyshower this weekend and about baked everything I could think of ;) things got interesting when the angel food cake foamed up out of the tin in the least burnt angel food cake smells good ;) And you know the pioneer woman is from just up the road from me ;)

    Tomorrow is my library day, so I am looking forward to getting new books. Really bummed that the one I was talking to you about turned out to be so sad....but, ah well ;) onward and upward!
    glad you had a nice break :)

  2. Sounds like an enjoyable spring break! We had ours back in March.

    I'm ordering your newest release this week, Laura. So good to see another one is on its way!

  3. Surprises, and honey melon. I have had a lot of surprises this week. Plans have been out the window, but I do believe God has guided me which made for a better week. I added the honey melon because I have had the fortune of eating honey dew this week. This week is the first time I have seen it in the market.
    Those bookmarks look really neat. Since the dress covers most of it, I had to look a few times to really see everything. It's always interesting how something simple sometimes leads to more. I guess that is good for a bookmark though because then the viewer will have to catch the title and author as well.
    Have a great Sunday!

  4. Church, history, faimly would be the three words to sum up my week and it has been a blast. Had some nice weather this week as well a storm, and now temps close to ninety. I guess thats what you have to deal with in Kentucky, but I love my state. If you don't like the weather stick around it would change, and sometimes it changes quickly.

  5. Heather, Can you believe we're about to share another book:) This one gives you a happy ending, promise, though I must admit you'll wonder in a few places. All the more an adventuresome read, huh?

    Bet your library has this yellow fever book as it's so popular. if not, try to get through inter-library loan which is often free! I use and love it. If you want a quirky, wonderful, rich series, try Jan Karon's The Mitford Series. It's about an artist among other things and reminds me of you!

    LOL about the angel food cake;) I didn't realize PW was a neighbor but YES, she is! Love her site! Anyway, so happy to come back and see you. Y'er a blessin', as one of my favorite authors says...

  6. Eileen, YAY! Thanks so much for ordering! Praying it blesses you when it arrives. This one is more historical fiction than CML but has plenty of romance, as well. And that requisite happy ending, albeit after a few twists and turns.

    I think breaks are a blessing, whether long or short. I know, from your blog, that your hiatus was full and inspired. But so glad to have you back!!

  7. Adrienne, Love that combo - suprises and honey melon. I've actually seen some at the market, too, and now you've whetted my appetite:) As for your surprises, sometimes involving a change of plans, you sure have the right attitude. Sometimes His delays or denials are blessings in disguise but we only see them clearly in hindsight.

    I can't wait to send you a bookcard and bookmark. Thanks for the warm Sunday wishes. It's truly a good one because you stopped by!

  8. Carissa, Love your triple whammy:) If you don't know already, I LOVE storms, wind, heat, whatever! Must appeal to my dramatic author's heart! Sounds like you've been having a wonderful time. I know the Lord loves it when we laugh and have fun. Since He gave us good times, He's right there with us! Thanks so much for sharing that. It ends my evening on a high note:)

  9. They look beautiful!

    I read Fever 1793 several years ago when researching Kindred, since it played a part. A great book. If you need more books on the 1793 epidemic, let me know. I have some good nonfiction titles.

  10. Those bookmarks and book cards are lovely, Laura. I'm looking forward to the book itself. =)

  11. Thanks, Lori - I always enjoy the bookmarks, especially, and they're fun to hand out. I'd LOVE if you'd list some of your nonfic titles here or anywhere! I've found some treasures lately, even some out of print regarding Philadelphia. Pennsylvania is such a fascinating state with such a rich history.

    I was thinking your word (s) for the week would be "Genesis"! Congrats again! Well deserved!

  12. Thanks, Keli - it's truly a mutual look forward to:) Like Carla, I'm really excited to hear about your first cover and title and all. Of all the wonderful things about publishing, those things are among the best. Bless you for your always gracious words!

  13. The bookmarks look beautiful! I can't wait for your new book to be released! I guess to sum up my weekend it would be reading, quilting (I finally finished my breast cancer awareness quilt!!)and church. It was a nice quiet weekend which was nice since I know next weekend it already booked full. But thats ok, its fun to stay busy. Right now I am about halfway through Ken Follett's book The Pillars of the Earth. A very long book but really good. I saw the mini-series on Starz and absolutely fell in love with it and the book is only better!!

  14. Oh Cassie, You're a quilter! That sure warms my heart! It's something I dream about doing and even tried to turn my newest series character into a quilter but she told me she likes spinning instead;) It's so important to support and heighten awareness for breast cancer. I admire you so much for it!

    Ken Follet is a master writer! No wonder you're enjoying your reading. Sounds like you had a wonderful trio of things to be busy and happy about. Bless you for sharing here - it starts my day off right!

  15. Welcome back! You were missed, but I'm so glad you had a great week with your boys. You provide a great example for us when to draw back and do the important things, like focusing on your family. Pioneer Woman has some great recipes! Did you see the Devil Dogs? And you teases us! Can't wait for your next post to hear your news. Your bookmarks and cards are beautiful.

    My week? Books (lots of reading), Bed (under the weather - better now), and BlueStockings (regency research).

  16. Most of my week was spent watching children, reading, and shopping with my sisters on Friday! I've been working my way through the Anne of Green Gables series again in order. I just finished the fourth book, Anne of Windy Poplars. Next will be Anne's House of Dreams where she gets married.

    I cannot wait to read The Colonel's Lady and just love looking at the cover. :)

  17. My week was a little crazy, but next week is our spring break. I love my students, but I'm soooo looking forward to time off!

    I'm glad TCL will be offered on Kindle. I didn't pre-order it because I'm waiting for that Kindle purchase. One of the reasons I'm also eagerly anticipating summer break! Love the bookmarks and book cards, too. Blessings!

  18. I can't believe we're getting that close to your next release! You're an old pro by now! LOL!

    You're week sounds divine -- and so does that cookie recipe. I have never heard of malted milk powder before. I'll have to check around and see if we have such a thing in the stores around here.

    Alas my week was filled with stress, stress and more stress! Luckily I can escape it all by diving into a good book -- and there's no shortage of them! Just finished my first Karen Kingsbury (Leaving) and now I'm settling into a new Amish one -- Beside Still Waters by Tricia Goyer.

  19. The 3 B's for you, Carla ~ I'll take books anyday! So glad you're better. It's so hard to get anything done when I'm sick so I truly sympathize. You've been in my prayers. Maybe we need some DEVIL DOGS;) I keep thinking of you and your beautiful cover - somehow they're linked in my mind!

    And thanks for the thumbs up for taking time off. It was needed and I feel ready to come back. Having you here to greet me makes it all the better!

  20. Sylvia, You sound busy but happy! I think it would be wonderful running around with all those sisters of yours, especially since I don't have one! Interesting you mention rereading the Ann books as I turned on the TV (a rare event) last night and Ann was showing. It was hard going to bed because I even love her in the series:) Wish they'd make a film of The Blue Castle. It's such a stellar book! Just as worthy as Ann...

    So happy you like Roxanna's cover. Praying you like the story just as well. Only 3 more months now! Bless you today!

  21. Renee Ann,
    You sound so busy but in a good way, especially after that contest final:) I'm just thrilled for you. I'd love to hear more about your writing if you ever want to share it. Or you might be like me. For years I didn't tell anyone I wrote, not even Randy prior to marrying. Imagine his surprise;)

    Hoping you have the best spring break ever. Will you take a blogging break or does all that free time make you more cyber-savvy than ever? I'll have to come over and find out!

  22. Kav,
    Randy calls these cookies "pancakes" as they flatten out like you wouldn't believe. But they are sure good! If you ever get bored and want a new recipe, spend 5 minutes with Pioneer Woman. She also has a hilarious book out as you'll see in the margin over there.

    Praying this is a calmer week for you on all fronts. I had one of those stressful weeks that seemed to go on forever prior to spring break, one of the reasons I took a blogging break. Fortunately, blessings usually follow... Hope that's the same for you. Books are such a divinely inspired escape!

    You'd think I'd feel more "with it" after 2 releases but still have the release jitters, especially with my POV expanding this book. I can hear readers howling now, esp. those who liked my limited POV. Sigh. Am so thrilled for Lorna as today is THE DAY that CBD says the books are IN!

    Bless you so much, Kav. Always a better day when you stop by.

  23. Laura--I just tried to leave a comment, but I think blogger ate it. If it ends up posting twice, will you delete one? . . . I laughed to read that you didn't tell Randy about your writing. I didn't tell anyone but family about my writing for the longest time! It began when my school closed, and I couldn't find another job right away. I borrowed every writing book the Mid-Hudson Library System carried, read them, and wrote a mystery--not necessarily a good one.

    Last summer I joined ACFW and hopped into the course loop. After which, I revamped the mystery into an inspirational romantic suspense and found an ACFW mentor. I've entered various parts of my story into three contests and have heard back from two.

    I had just entered a season of asking God if He wished me to continue on this path when I received the Genesis results. So I felt like He was saying, "Keep going, my child. There's a good purpose in this--no matter the outcome." His encouragement had me grinning pretty big all weekend long!

  24. Renee Ann, I'm so glad you shared your writing story here - thanks so much. I must admit I was amazed when I saw your name on the list and I thought, "WHAT?! Our very own Renee Ann!?!" We all come to writing in such unique ways, tailor-made for each of us. I wish I had started on the ACFW loop and gotten a mentor, like you. That's so wise and forward thinking. He does have a plan for you! And it's a joy to see it unfold!

    Glad you got a chuckle out of my coming out of my writing closet. Randy is still trying to adjust;)

  25. I guess my words would be: Thai food, band aids, and petticoats. This Italian girl was quite adventurous this week making Thai chicken lettuce wraps! They came pretty good for my first try, LOL :P But it marked the beginning of a week full of band aids :( Had a little knife mishap when I was trying to go all “Iron Chef” on the veggies for the dish – watch your thumb with sharp knives! Then when grating fresh ginger on a microplane the ginger slipped – I’ll spare you the details of what happened my knuckle. Ugh! I’m an embarrassment to my family! A few other things happened that required band aids but I’m sure this is enough for one day, LOL! Me and the kitchen aren’t on speaking terms at the moment ;)

    Oh, and I can’t forgot the petticoats part! I finished Mary Connealy’s “Wrangler in Petticoats” and it was AWESOME!! And not even 10 minutes after finishing it I went to Amazon and splurged on “Sharpshooter in Petticoats” because I just couldn’t wait to see what happens next!! I love the covers of these books and wish I could wear a petticoat, too. I guess I could be “clumsy chef in petticoats” – has a nice ring, no? ;)

    Laura, those bookmarks are SO BEAUTIFUL!!! I can’t wait till they show up in my mailbox :D


  26. Hello Laura,

    Your cookies look yummy. I have been eating far too many chocolate covered marshmallows. They are just too easy to dip and slip into the freezer for 5 minutes! And my three words for the week have been, sew-sew-sew! I made pillow shams and valances to match etc from a new quilt. I just love the results and wish I'd done it all sooner! The Lord blessed me. =)

    Your bookmarks are beautiful, I am so 'taken' with art like that. It draws the eye as much as a famous painting but perhaps that is what I'm looking at! I'll have to look for the author you mention.

    Right now I am rereading 'A Fruitful Vine' by Carrie Bender. And I finished ' Katie & the Lemon Tree' (by Esther Bender )a few days ago. Sweet stories! and, I did not know before that Esther Bender has Parkinsons Disease (which was told at the end of the story). She was raised not to far from Springs,Pa. Its a treat to drive up that way and see the Amish. Sometimes you don't get very far before you are behind an Amish buggy. Usually a closed buggy, but our last trip there was an Amish lady driving an open wagon type buggy, and the black brim of her hat was so deep her face was completely hidden. They are brave to take on today's traffic!

    I too am looking forward to your new book! Wishing you a cozy evening, Maggie Ann

  27. Hi Miss Laura! I missed you. I am so glad you had a great Spring break. There is a lot to tell you so look for a missive in you email inbox soon! Don't you love the word missive? I used it one time talking to my former history teacher husband(he is a principal now) and he did not know the word! He must not read enough historical fiction ;). I do love teaching my husband things, it makes me feel all warm and smart inside!!


    PS..The bookmarks look marvelous and I know they will even look better holding my place in "The Colonel's Lady"!!

  28. Amanda, No wonder you haven't been here yet - between bandaids and Thai food and all;) Speaking of Thai food, it's one of my all time favorites, including those lettuce wraps and my all time favorite Pahd Thai and crab wontons... Hope those bandaids are retired now - I've been attacked my a microplane grater myself, not to mention a knive or two. You have my sympathy!

    Oh, about those Mary books... I was just talking to another author who LOVES them, too, and when I asked her favorite (we shouldn't really have favorites, should we?!), she said The Husband Tree. Mary's humor and writing style are really remarkable. Amanda shared the book trailer for her upcoming one this fall and it sure is fun. Love those book trailers!

    You can expect Roxanna to arrive via post in July, dear friend. I have so many to send I think I'd better get busy addressing them now...

    Eat a lettuce wrap for me, please;)

  29. Maggie Ann, I always discover such delightful things about you - like our mutual love of chocolate and marshmallows;) The other day in the grocery I came across bags of coconut-covered marshmallows and almost swooned. I'm such a huge coconut fan, except I don't like coconut cake...

    Your sewing sounds like a true blessing. And I so understand the feeling of finishing a project and taking such joy from it that you wish you'd done it earlier. Creating things by hand is surely one of His best gifts!

    Enjoying your reading list here. Like me, you read a wide variety of books, both inspirational and mainstream, etc. The Amish have always been so fascinating to me. When I went to college in Ohio, I was surrounded and love the buggies. Right now I'm kneedeep in Pennsylvania history for this new series. What an amazing state! I had set my story in Lancaster, 1785 but given the Amish connection, moved it to York instead.

    So happy you find the bookmarks appealing. All that blue is truly lovely. The art team always does a stellar job.

    Bless you today in all that you do!

  30. Amanda, Excuse the typo, I was thinking Amber and typed Amanda:0
    Amber shared the book trailer here a few posts ago. At least I think she did!

  31. Stacie Hope,
    YES, I use the word MISSIVE in TCL which proves I love it, too;) I had to smile at your warm and smart feeling - you are a writer, my dear! Since my mom retired from teaching not long ago, it's neat to know your husband is a principal and former teacher. History is certainly what I would have picked to teach! Even more than English.

    Hope that missive contains good news! My missive to you will arrive in July with a few bookmarks for you to share with any reading friends or family. It's always fun sending them out and like you said, they look quite nice with the right book!

  32. Forgive my typos, all! It's early here... Wish Blogger had a way to let you go in and edit;)

  33. Sounds like a wonderful Spring Break, Laura! Ours isn't until next week (a little late if you ask me). Once we come back from break, there will only be a month left before Summer break. Weird.

    The bookcards and bookmarks are lovely!

    Praying that you're having a wonderful week. I'm still reading TFD, and I've finally met Ian. :D We've had a few distractions at my house the past couple weeks, so my book reading has been pushed aside. But I'm back at it; on Chapter 40. : )

    Sweet Blessings,
    Michelle T.

  34. Michelle, You've been on my mind and heart as I know life's been a whirlwind for you lately! If you've met Ian at last, you're getting into the heart of the book. Bless you for pesisting in your busyness! My schedule hasn't been conducive to reading either lately.

    I wish we'd had a late spring break this year since Easter is so late. Praying yours has some pockets of rest! Bookmarks coming your way in July:) You are a blessing!

  35. The bookmarks and cards are so lovely, Laura! I can't wait to have that beautiful book sitting right here in my sitting room, on the little table next to my Bible and my recliner. And of course, TCL will be joining me out in my flower garden, just like Morrow did, that goes without saying!:)By the way those cookies look deliciously sinful. lol

  36. Diana, Oh, you sure know how to stir up my excitement over this book;) I can just picture TCL in your lovely room and garden! I'm going to ask readers to send pics of them with the book and post here on the blog. Summer is a good time to do that. Bless you for your encouragement and support! I couldn't do it w/o you!

  37. Busy busy busy that sums up my week! I've been planning the blog party for my dog, which is going on now, researching some bed and breakfasts that are for sale and visiting the ones with "potential," visiting colleges across the area with my little cousin (she's a senior this year), and of course housework LOL!

    I LOVE your bookmarks and postcards, that must mean the real book isn't far behind. ;-)

    XOXO~ Renee C.

  38. LOL, thats ok! I find people sometimes mix up mine and Amber's names - and I couldn't think of any better to be mixed up with! :) But, YES, I want to read The Husband Tree and all Mary's other books, too! Her writing style is awesome and has me laughing quite often :D

    Oh, and I just LOVE Pad Thai and crab rangoons!! We're so alike ;)

    Can't wait for July!!!


  39. Laura, we must have the same devotional book. That devotinal post from Frances Havergal is the same one that I read this morning. I've had "Streams in the Desert" for a few years, but this is the first year I've actually used it every day alongside by Bible. It seems to have things in it that mean more to me this year than probably would have if I would have read it in years past.

  40. Sylvia, Isn't Streams an amazing devotional? Like you, I used to find it a bit fuddy-duddy when my mom read it years ago and I would peek. Now I can't wait to get up and read the entry for the day each morning - so much of it speaks to me. We're certainly kindred spirits. Frances was such an amazing woman and I'm reading a bio of her now. Now when I pick up Streams I'll think of you reading it, too:)

  41. LOL, Renee! I will have to come over to see what you and that canine of yours are up to;) You sound very busy but happy! Looking at schools is on my list for Wyatt but won't be for another couple of years. Can't wait to send some bookmarks your way!!

  42. Amanda, That's the word - rangoons! Ummmm. Thank you for being so gracious and excusing all my typos. I DO know the difference between my readers here, even my 2 Michelles;) Blame it on my reading glasses...

  43. Thank you so much, Laura! I'll be looking forward to the bookmarks, and if it's not too much trouble, could I get two signed bookplates also? I'm going to order both of your other books as well (I checked out CML from the library the first time, but I'd like to add it to my "keeper" collection).

    Sweet blessings to you, Laura! And thank YOU for being such a blessing. : )


    P.S. Page 250 in TFD = WOW! Someone get me a fan!

  44. Ah, the waterfall scene... Now you know why a fan is high on my list;) Would you believe I'm still getting mail about Captain Jack, or CJ, as I affectionately call him. He's a keeper!

    Bless you again for reading amidst your busyness! That sure delights my heart! And I'd be so happy to send you bookplates and bookmarks. I need to have some tailormade to match the bookmarks and am looking into that. Praying you're having a great day! And happy reading!

  45. Laura, Thank you so much for taking the time to see how I was doing. I think things will slow down a little for me in about a week as this is my last Creative Writing class. And my kids have birthdays on April 4th and April 8th!

    Your cookies sound wonderful. Pioneer lady always has such beautiful pictures of her food. I'm so glad you had a fun break with the kids. The last week in March we "took" our spring break, much needed.

    I love Ann Rinaldi, too. We just finished Understood Betsy, it reminded me so much of Anne of Green Gables. I love reading all these books I missed when I went through school.

    I know I've been absent of late, but I wanted to let Laura's readers know that the poetic Amanda Stanley is guest posting on my blog tomorrow about her hero of the faith.

  46. Not boxes, boxes, boxes yet, lol. More like stress, stress, stress. I absolutely cannot wait to just get through this. I'm looking at about 36 hours or so until I move, and I'm definitely feeling very stressed out right now.

    Love the postcards and bookmarks! I will definitely be sending you my new address.

    Oh my mom was using the bookmark from CML that I gave her last year. She was reading a book my grandfather had about the Big Sandy Valley.

    Would definitely appreciate prayers for this weekend.

  47. Julia, It's been a wonderful start to my day hearing from you and then Amanda over at your blog! I hope readers stop and read her heartfelt post - it really blesses and inspires. Your blog series is so needed and appreciated!

    Glad you are a Rinaldi fan. I hope she has more books coming up but haven't checked lately. She is quite prolific! Last one I read was about Kitty Greene, one of my favorite Revolutionary War heroes kin.

    Your writing class sounds like it's going well and you're busy. How fun to have 2 children with April birthdays! Spring is a great time to be a mom. Only I hope your weather is sunny - we woke up to snow this morning!

    Bless you today and so happy to see you!

  48. Michelle, Prayers with you all the way! I hope you have enough help moving. Your new place sounds so very nice! As it's my old neighborhood I'm certainly partial;) I know how much stress it creates as it's so chaotic trying to pack and coordinate and get everything turned on and in place. Hopefully by Sunday eve you'll be putting your feet up and sipping some iced tea!

    Thanks for telling me your mom is using my bookmark. I'll be sure to send enough for her, too.

    Bless you as you master this move! Thinking of you and praying!