Archive for the ‘Food and Treats’ Category

End of summer #amreading reviews and easy #TuesdayTea treat!

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

End of summer reading…cooling off from the summer heat or heading out for an adventure on the trail?

What a different summer this has been for us! Hiking in the mountains is our favorite summer activity, but this year we’ve only made it out on the trail a few times. Both my husband and I had important writing projects to complete…his PhD dissertation and my 70,363-word inspirational romance novel for Harlequin’s Manuscript Matchmaker historical writing contest. Since I’ve submitted my manuscript and hubby is still working on his project, I’ve had some time to catch-up with reading, so here are some suggestions to end up your summer with some great reading.

Snowplow along Wolf Creek Pass.

Snowplow along Wolf Creek Pass.


If you’re steaming in the hot weather, and this picture cools you off, you would enjoy Ruth Logan Herne’s Her Unexpected Family. This book features Emily, a wedding planner, and Grant, a hero who works for the highway department. Since we need to drive the mountain passes often during the winter, I’m grateful for the people who keep the roads safe, even when they must work in dangerous conditions.

Her Unexpected Family (Grace Haven, #2)Her Unexpected Family by Ruth Logan Herne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A PERFECT delight!

The whirlwind of precious two-year-old twins, the peek into the fun (usually) job of wedding event planners, and the warmth of the small community of Grace Haven all mixes together for an amazing story about the grace of forgiveness…a perfect story. Emily is so likeable with her common sense approach to life and the joyous love she expresses. As a protective father, hardworking Grant struggles with the past and the future, but he is a good man, willing to see his mistakes and to work on his flaws…my kind of hero.

I love this story, including the shout-out to dedicated highway department employees who work helping others during very challenging weather conditions. As a former special needs teacher, I appreciate the portrayal of Dolly and the viewpoint of parenting. From the details given about the event planning business, author Ruth Logan Herne knows about wedding planning…and I now want to do the job of organizing special memories for happy brides.

If you love small town stories of hope and forgiveness, this delightful story is perfect for you. You’ll love the ending!

Favorite quotes:
“Faith, forgiveness and trust were key factors in life.”
“God doesn’t care that we make mistakes. He cares that we fix them.”

*I was given a copy of this book with no requirement to write a review. I’m honored to share my honest opinion of this delightful story.

Along the Continental Divide near Wolf Creek Pass...summer!

Summer along the Continental Divide above Wolf Creek Pass…near the spot where the winter photo was taken…big difference!


If you want to extend your summer by venturing out on the trail, then you will enjoy Love Will Find A Way, a novella collection by Cara Lynn James, Myra Johnson, and Sandra Leesmith. Each story features an adventure on a trail…in Connecticut, in Texas, and near the Grand Canyon.

Along the trail...

Along the trail…

Love Will Find a Way: A Contemporary Novella CollectionLove Will Find a Way: A Contemporary Novella Collection by Cara Lynn James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A perfect collection of three inspirational romances for summer reading!

STAGING A ROMANCE, by Cara Lynn James, is such a fun romance! I enjoyed this sweet story set at Blue Lake Christian Camp in Connecticut, where home stager Jenna Carlyle and businessman Nate McKenzie met as teenagers. Now they are adults facing responsibilities and considering their future plans. They work their way through issues using prayer and consideration for each other. Jenna’s occupation as a home stager was interesting. On a personal note, I liked this story because my husband and I attended church camp in Connecticut as teenagers…and walked down by the lake. This is a fun and uplifting romance!
Favorite quotes:
“I’m a firm believer that prayer matters.”
“I want to do what we want to do. It’s about us, not just me.”

WORTH THE RISK, by Myra Johnson, is a wonderful story of overcoming with faith! I love and sympathize with the characters in this story. Facing a new location and a new job, single mom Cara Gallagher deals with regrets and unresolved issues of resentment. Tour guide Lucas Montero is struggling with disappointments, but keeps his godly focus on serving others before himself. The secondary characters add sparkle…lively kindergartener Zoe, friendly Sandra, and kind Rosalinda. Weaving their way toward friendship and new beginnings, Cara and Lucas find their faith a strong support. I especially enjoyed the trail hike to see the pictographs and the visit to Candelaria.
Favorite quotes:
“But thank goodness God is in control.”
“Things happen. But it never changes God’s love for us.”

NEW BEGINNINGS, by Sandra Leesmith, puts you right into realistic action on the trails of Grand Canyon National Park! The author’s writing takes you on an adventure along the hiking trails of a favorite National Park. This story is filled with action and emotion as ex-police officer, Samantha Reynolds, and Flagstaff lawyer, Zach Williams, find love while helping others in a desperate situation. Great kissing scenes!
Favorite quotes:
“Let go and let God.”
“Don’t dwell on what could have been.”

*I won this book with no requirement to write a review. It is my pleasure to review this collection.


Now for our tea celebration!

#TUESDAYTEA TREAT: Summer Fruit Marzipan Tarts

Farmers’ markets bring such joy during the summer…supporting local farmers and finding fresh delicious product. This easy recipe for Summer Fruit Tarts was created after I returned from shopping with apricots and honey. Please enjoy this summery treat with a glass of iced tea or lemonade.

Easy summer fruit tart...apricot.

Easy summer fruit tart…apricot.



Puff pastry sheets

Marzipan-almond paste roll

Summer fruit–apricots, peaches, cherries, plums, berries


Preheat oven to 450 degrees or temperature indicated on the package.

Cut the puff pastry sheets into squares, approximately 3″ x 3″ and place a 1/4″ thick slice of marzipan in the center of each pastry square. Bake according to the package directions, until golden brown.

Meanwhile, cook slices of the fruit of your choice over low heat to make a sauce. (The apricots were good as a stewed sauce, but instead of cooking the fruit, you could top the tarts with sliced fresh fruit or use berries…even easier.)

To serve, top a pastry/marzipan square with fruit and drizzle with honey. You could add ice cream or whipped cream. We didn’t use additional sugar because the marzipan/almond paste is sweet.

BIBLE VERSE: This is the Scripture written at the beginning of Her Unexpected Family, a good verse to tuck into our hearts.

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 (KJV)


Dear Lord,

Bless these Christian authors who spread your word through their writing. May they have strength to continue the writing journey. Please give them comfort in the knowledge they encourage others through their work. We pray all the people of the world come to know You and accept Christ as Savior. Please be with us all during the busy last days of summer.

In Jesus’s name we pray, Amen


So, end of summer reading? Air-conditioned comfort as you read in a comfy favorite chair or out on the trail devouring a book while taking a rest break sitting on a rock? How do you relax during the last days of summer? With an awesome book, I hope!

May you be blessed with God’s treasured blessings of summer–good weather, relaxation time, and fresh produce. Thank you for joining me for #TuesdayTea!




#TuesdayTea review of Back in the Saddle by Ruth Logan Herne!

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

Welcome to a HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY celebration for Back In the Saddle, by Ruth Logan Herne!!! This is the launch day for this newest book by a favorite author, so we’re celebrating with a tea from my favorite tea shop!

Ruthy’s newest book is a delight…full of handsome cowboys, strong family bonds, and sweet romance. Prepare to swoon as you take a look at this cover.

BACK IN THE SADDLE by Ruth Logan Herne

BACK IN THE SADDLE by Ruth Logan Herne

And the scenery is sigh-worthy, too. Washington is a beautiful state, especially the central valley setting of Back in the Saddle. Peaceful orchards dot the hillsides, amid ranches and small towns, with veggie farms tucked here and there. A very pleasant place to spend some time as you get to know the Stafford family of the Double S Ranch in Gray’s Glen.

BLURB for Back in the Saddle (Double S Ranch Book 1)


It’s been a long time since Colt Stafford shrugged off his cowboy legacy for shiny Manhattan loafers and a promising career on Wall Street. But when stock market manipulations leave him financially strapped, the oldest son of legendary rancher Sam Stafford decides to return to the sprawling Double S ranch in Gray’s Glen, Washington. He’s broke, but not broken, and it’s time to get his legs back under him by climbing into the saddle again.

He doesn’t expect to come home to a stranger pointing a loaded gun at this chest–a tough yet beautiful woman Sam has hired as the house manager. Colt senses there’s more to Angelina Morales than meets the eye, and he’s determined to find out what she’s hiding…and why.

Colt’s return brings new challenges. Younger brother Nick, who’s long been Sam’s right-hand man, isn’t thrilled when Colt inserts himself into Double S affairs. And the ranch’s contentious relationship with the town’s people forces all the Stafford men to reconsider what it truly means to be a neighbor. As Wall Street recovers, will Colt succumb to the call of the financial district–or stay in the saddle for good?


MY REVIEW: as posted on Goodreads and Amazon.

Back in the SaddleBack in the Saddle by Ruth Logan Herne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved every page of this book!

Filled with humor, warm characters, and western wisdom, Back in the Saddle is an uplifting story of strong family bonds and of a couple discovering their relationship within a legacy of hard work and commitment.

Reading Back in the Saddle takes you out West…the West of today, with life around a modern ranch, with small town interactions and community problems, and with real-life cowboys who are dedicated and ruggedly handsome. This is a story about family…..the hurts, the mistakes, the understanding, and the love that weave through the bonds of family. Sam Stafford, the strong-willed patriarch of his family of three sons, is the owner of the Double S Ranch, located in the beautiful central valley area of Washington State. Oldest son, Colt, has returned home after his high-powered New York City financial career faced a major setback. Colt finds a perplexing and outspoken woman, Angelina Morales, running the ranch house and caring for his ailing father.

I loved every page of this book as Colt and Angelina strive to do the right thing for those they care for and as they struggle with their deepening attraction. Forgiveness and faith play a vital role in their decisions, as this prodigal son returns home and finds the place for his heart. Written with just the right pace, from a heart-stopping “click” at the beginning, with continually escalating tension, then building to plenty of excitement towards the end, and finally a tear-inducing last scene…..I truly enjoyed every moment of Back in the Saddle.

*I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book. It is a pleasure to post my honest review.


“This is, I think, our juncture. A time of looking back and moving forward. For some reason we are here, at this place, in these moments. God provides and we partake. Or we mess up.”

“Because that’s what neighbors do. They help each other.”

“For the first time in a long time, I had to put my trust in something other than myself.”

Click here for an Amazon link to Back In The Saddle.


Angelina's Cherry Cupcakes

Angelina’s Cherry Cupcakes


Now for a special treat. In Back in the Saddle, Angelina is the house manager, cooking for the family and ranch hands. One of the delights she serves is her own special Cherry Cake. Ruthy puts this recipe in the back of the book and also gave it out during post at the Yankee-Bell Café. She said I may share it with you, my #TuesdayTea readers. Click here for Angelina’s Cherry Cake recipe! Rather than the layer cake topped with whipped cream frosting Angelina uses, I decided to bake the recipe as cupcakes, with a simple sweet glaze, for our #TuesdayTea treat. I hope you enjoy!

#TuesdayTea Cherry Marzipan Tea from Queen Mary Tea Room

#TuesdayTea Cherry Marzipan Tea from Queen Mary Tea Room

Angelina’s mother, Isabo, previously lived in Seattle. I’m sure she enjoyed afternoon tea at the very popular Seattle tea shop, Queen Mary Tea Room. My daughter-in-law introduced me to this charming shop. If you are celebrating an event (birthday, contest entry, book published, job promotion, anything), you’re given a glittering tiara to wear while having tea. And you know how much I like my sparkles! The afternoon tea is amazing…..simply perfect! Click here to visit the Queen Mary Tea Room. For our tea today, I’m serving their Cherry Marzipan green tea….perfect with the cherry cupcakes, don’t you think?

Cherry Marzipan Tea from Queen Mary Tea Room, Seattle, Washington

Cherry Marzipan Tea from Queen Mary Tea Room, Seattle, Washington


And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 (KJV)


Dear Lord,

You know Ruthy so well and have blessed her with gifts beyond measure. Please continue to place the perfect words on her heart to reach others with Your Word as she writes of forgiveness and redemption. Thank you for giving her the spirit to inspire and encourage others….in so many ways. We ask for her continuing success as an author and as a generous faith-filled servant. Please bless all Christian writers as they spread the hopeful message of Your Word.

We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

SOME EXCITING NEWS: There will be two more Double S Ranch books featuring the other brothers. The next will be middle son Nick’s story and the last will be about Trey, the youngest, a country and western music star. Fun to anticipate! I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know the Stafford family and the Gray’s Glen area of Washington as much as I did.

Thank you for joining me for #TuesdayTea. May you be blessed with an abundance of God’s treasured blessings!

BACK IN THE SADDLE by Ruth Logan Herne

BACK IN THE SADDLE by Ruth Logan Herne




#TuesdayTea review of Rocky Mountain Reunion by Tina Radcliffe

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

Please join me for a #TuesdayTea review of Rocky Mountain Reunion by Tina Radcliffe….including a special treat from Patti Jo’s Café and Bakery….a favorite place to stop in Paradise, Colorado.

Rocky Mountain Reunion by Tina Radcliffe

Rocky Mountain Reunion by Tina Radcliffe

Rocky Mountain Reunion is small town romance at its best!

Having lived in many small towns, I appreciate the strength of friendship and faith found in these communities…..and this book highlights these qualities. Located in a beautiful valley surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, Paradise, Colorado, is a special place. With its mix of loveable town characters, complete with failings and quirky behaviors, you feel you are among friends as you read this story.  I’ve loved each of the books in this series….and I’m hoping for more. There is just something about the hard work, wisdom and values of small town folk which bring hope and contentment to my heart. If you haven’t read this series yet, you should know each book is definitely a stand alone. This fourth book adds a charming Victorian house, a sweet black lab and a young girl who needs comforting. Hero Matt is honorable….trying to do his best…as he deals with many difficult issues. Anne makes me smile with her kind and giving personality. Their tender story is about understanding and forgiving….and trusting God and His perfect timing. I just love visiting Paradise, Colorado…..where I feel at home.

Here is my review as posted on Goodreads:
Rocky Mountain ReunionRocky Mountain Reunion by Tina Radcliffe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love rekindled in Paradise, Colorado….small town romance at its BEST!

If you like romance stories filled with endearing characters, special places and inspiring love, I suggest you visit Paradise, Colorado, a perfect small town, complete with beloved townsfolk who value friendship and faith…….a place for a beautiful romance to bloom.

In Tina Radcliffe’s Rocky Mountain Reunion, ER nurse Anne Matson has centered her life around her demanding job and caring for her aging aunt…..the aunt who years earlier coerced her to leave the man she loved. Construction company owner Matt Clark returns to Paradise Valley with a nine-year-old daughter who just recently entered his life.

I loved this story! The looming problem is certainly compelling with the decisions that must be made….and the deadline is fast approaching. Waiting……and forgiving is hard.

I absolutely loved all the characters…..dedicated Anne, feisty Aunt Lily, hurting Claire, steadfast Marta, fun Juanita, faithful Stanley and, most of all, Matt, the handsome hero who has waited patiently, trying to be an honorable man. Though this book is definitely a stand-alone story, I enjoyed the glimpses of characters from earlier in the series.

With the backdrop of a beautiful mountain valley and the charm of a Victorian century-old house, Rocky Mountain Reunion brings you home… a place of faith, hope and love, with a picturesque conclusion.

If this is a return visit to Paradise or your first, be sure to stop in at Patti Jo’s Cafe and Bakery for a chocolate chip cookie or a cinnamon roll. You won’t be disappointed!

Examples of small town wisdom expressed in a few favorite lines from Rocky Mountain Reunion:

“I’m your friend and friends are there for each other no matter what.”

“Forgiveness is a decision. A step of faith. I’ve forgiven. The hard part is the pride.”

“We’ve all got a mountain of pride that stands between us and happiness.”

*I purchased and was given a copy of this book. I was not required to write a review. I love giving my enthusiastic opinion of this novel.



One of the reasons I like to visit Paradise is the story always includes a stop at Patti Jo’s Café and Bakery… for a foodie like me….this adds to the story. This visit, I selected the chocolate chip cookies…..made with extra chocolate chips just the way Aunt Lily prefers them. Perhaps this time, you’d like your tea sweetened with honey from a favorite honey shop located in the San Luis Valley of Colorado.

Chocolate Chip Cookies from Patti Jo’s Café and Bakery

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Honey

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Honey

I used a recipe from All Recipes for this treat.

Chocolate Chip Honey Cookies

This recipe uses a bit of honey, which I thought was a good addition. We like to stop at a sweet little honey shop located in the Colorado San Luis Valley, which is very similar to Paradise Valley. Haefeli’s Honey in Del Norte, Colorado





I’m giving away a paperback copy of Rocky Mountain Reunion–US mailing addresses only. By entering the giveaway, you agree to have read and understand the rules per the legal page on my blog. So I can contact you about delivery if your name is selected, leave a comment with your email address, using AT and DOT to avoid scammers, then fill out the Rafflecopter form. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Dear Lord,

Please continue to bless author Tina Radcliffe in all she does as she gives to others. Help her stories of faith reach the readers who need to hear the message of your love…..that we wait on you and your perfect timing.  We ask that you give all Christian writers strength and encouragement as they write from their hearts, spreading grace and hope. May the readers of these books and this blog be encouraged and blessed. Thank you!

We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.


Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.

Psalm 31:24 (KJV)

Thank you so much for joining me for #TuesdayTea in Paradise, Colorado. May your days be filled with God’s treasured blessings!


A special Christmas #TuesdayTea celebration!

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

Please join me for a celebration of the Christmas season while we enjoy a festive treat of Cranberry Apricot Scones. I’m reviewing A Heart Full of Christmas, a collection of contemporary novellas all filled with the heartwarming joy of romance and happily-ever-after endings. These stories are written by five of the Seekers of Seekerville.

Christmas Tea

Christmas Tea

A Heart Full of Christmas, Contemporary Inspirational Holiday Romance CollectionA Heart Full of Christmas, Contemporary Inspirational Holiday Romance Collection by Debby Giusti
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A Heart Full of Christmas is a sparkling collection of five inspirational romances written by five of my favorite authors. Each story has a different quality. The charming angel ornament on the cover is a precious hint of what is inside, as all the novellas feature the touch of a angel.

A MIRACLE FOR CHRISTMAS, by Debby Giusti, is an exciting love story of overcoming fears and focusing on the future. Watch for Gabriel, a secondary character, who is the kind of guy we all need for comfort during stressful situations.

HOME TO HIS HEART, by Ruth Logan Herne, is a story about former high school acquaintances who must confront difficult childhood memories. A relationship develops between them as his rambunctious and adorable twin boys bring them together. Ruthy knows how to “write” kiddos!

UNDER THE MISTLETOE, by Tina Radcliffe, has the flavor of my favorite Christmas tale. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but this is a charming novella, filled with trademark Tina humor. I love this story. And a recipe for gingerbread cookies makes for a perfect treat-filled ending.

HOLIDAY HOMECOMING, by Sandra Leesmith, starts with a sweet pre-Christmas birthday gathering of old friends. At the suggestion of a special waitress, they reminisce about first loves. A delightful holiday celebration and romance with Southern California style.

SNOWFLAKE KISSES, by Missy Tippens, is a warm small town romance set in High Hope, Georgia. A lovely romance evolves as a family secret comes to light. Vintage ornaments and a Christmas Eve surprise add to a sweet story.

With this group of favorite authors, you will experience suspense, heart-touching emotion, laughter, warmth, and sweet romance…..all with the strength of faith-filled grace. What a perfect set of stories to get ready for the Christmas season. A great Christmas gift to fill someone’s virtual stocking…..errrr, Kindle!

*I won a copy of this book, with no requirement to write a review. I’m thrilled to share my honest opinion about this collection.


Another Christmas collection of Seeker novellas is Home for Christmas, a set of historical romance stories. I highly recommend both collections….great authors, great stories, great value. And these sets are excellent for gifting!

TEA TREATS: Cranberry Apricot Scones with Orange Glaze, compliments of author Mary Jane Hathaway.

Cranberry Apricot Scone with Orange Glaze

Cranberry Apricot Scone with Orange Glaze

I first saw this recipe when author Mary Jane Hathaway posted a picture on Facebook. She was preparing these scones for sharing the recipe on the Yankee-Belle Café blog. ( She graciously allowed me to share the recipe with you. Thank you, Mary Jane and all the Yankee-Belle Café gals!

Here is the recipe Mary Jane Hathaway and the gals at the Yankee-Belle Cafe let me share with you:  RECIPE FOR CRANBERRY-ORANGE SCONES

I used dried cranberries, which worked fine. These are simply delicious…..and taste and smell like Christmas….a perfect treat for a Christmas tea celebration.

If you want to learn about Mary Jane Hathaway’s books, click here.


Dear Lord,

We pray for all Christian authors as they bring the message of hope and love to others through their books. We pray that others learn about the light of the world, placing their faith and trust in You.

In Jesus name, Amen.


I’m sending my prayers for all of you, dear friends, for a blessed Christmas and a year of treasured blessings in the New Year!

Thank you for visiting me and taking a bit of quiet time to celebrate the treasured blessing of Christ’s birth.

Sherida Stewart



#TuesdayTea-LOVE’S DREAM SONG with Sandra Leesmith

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

We’re having tea…or Chocolate Velvet coffee….today with author Sandra Leesmith as we talk about her amazing new book, Love’s Dream Song, a romantic suspense set in the Navajo area of northern Arizona.

Since I have lived near the eastern edge of the Navajo Nation, it is especially fun to read a suspenseful adventure set in this beautiful desert country ….. along with the passionate romance story of Autumn and Jess. Sandra does settings so well… feel you are there! An example from the book:

Nature entertained them with a display of sunset color. Bright magenta deepened to red and then turned fluorescent orange. The jagged outline of cliffs was silhouetted like black sentinels against the vermillion brilliance.

This is a great romantic adventure with realistic heart-racing excitement.



A few more of my favorite lines from the book:

“Know your heart. Walk in the way of your dreams.”

“But I refuse to be bowed by the hatred. Real Tall Man taught me that when you let hatred affect your life, it then exists.”

“Being alone in the wilderness makes you face up to yourself. I’ve grown to love the desert country.”

This book releases October 17 and is available to pre-order. You can pre-order Love’s Dream Song HERE  .  So please have a piece of pumpkin bread as you read the blurb and my review of Love’s Dream Song. The giveaway form is near the end of this post.


Autumn O’Neill came to Arizona on an archeological dig hoping to find out what happened to the ancient Anasazi tribes, but her true desire was to discover her own Navajo roots. It didn’t help that the dig was located on Jess Barron’s ranch and that the handsome rancher scorned his own native American heritage and believed Autumn was part of a drug ring operating on his land. When the dig is compromised and danger threatens their lives, Jess and Autumn can no longer fight their attraction for each other. They both come to understand that finding answers means listening to the voices of their ancestors and the longings of their hearts.

My review of Love’s Dream Song:

Love's Dream SongLove’s Dream Song by Sandra Leesmith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A blend of suspense and romance with an adventure in the Navajo cultural world…a great story!

I was completely engaged with this suspenseful book. Archeologist Autumn O’Neill is assisting with a trouble-plagued exploration of Anasazi ruins on the northern Arizona ranch of Jess Barron.

The suspense in this book is developed well, with many possible motives and suspects. I was definitely guessing until the end. The reunion romance between beautiful Autumn and undercover agent Jess is touching, yet complicated because of both their past relationship and their feelings about their Native American heritages. Both are interesting, complex characters.

The well-researched Navajo cultural elements added interesting flavor to the story, with tribal customs and bits of Navajo language included. Additionally, I liked this book because of its vivid and accurate depiction of the red rock country of Arizona….a uniquely stunning desert. Sandra Leesmith is an author who excels at bringing to life the settings of her books. You feel you are right there in the experience. I have lived near the Navajo country of Love’s Dream Song and find the sense of this amazing place is very realistically presented.

Author Sandra Leesmith has balanced suspense and passionate romance perfectly in Love’s Dream Song to bring readers a great adventure in the desert southwest. I highly recommend Love’s Dream Song!

*I was given an electronic review copy of this book. I’m delighted to post my honest thoughts about this story.


Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread

The pumpkin bread ( PUMPKIN BREAD RECIPE from All Recipes ) seemed appropriate to serve as a treat while talking about this Navajo-inspired story because of the importance of squash to native people in this southwest region. The Three Sisters- squash, corn and beans- have been important food sources for the native people. The Three Sisters are crops which are mutually beneficial, so are planted together in mounds of dirt…the corn stalks provide a climbing trellis for the bean plants which provide the soil with nitrogen, enabling the squash plants to thrive and shade the base of the plants for water retention and to crowd out weeds. For more information, you can read about the Three Sisters here.

INTERVIEW:  If you didn’t read my interview with Sandra during the cover reveal post, you might enjoy learning about her research through the following questions.
SHERIDAHow did you get the idea for this story?

SANDRA:  My husband and I have traveled many times in Northern Arizona Color Country. We have explored many of the ancient Anasazi ruins in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. Being a writer with a vivid imagination, I’ve always been fascinated with the history of these people.

It has always been a mystery as to what happened to the very advanced and flourishing Anasazi people. They are the native Americans who lived in the ancient cliff dwellings found in the Southwest. Hundreds of years ago, they suddenly disappeared and archeologists are not certain as to why. I used one of the less popular, but more intriguing speculations as part of the premise in Love’s Dream Song.

The summer I started this story, my hubby and I were hiking around a lot of the Anasazi ruins so the story evolved from the interesting facts we were learning about the ancient culture.

SHERIDA:  What is your connection to the setting?

SANDRA:  I have lived in Arizona most of my adult life. Most weekends and holidays were spent hiking and exploring the beautiful deserts in this colorful state. I love the variety and color, so describing the setting and bringing it alive is easy for me. I love sharing the beauty with others.

The cover is a photo of Monument Valley. It is one of the most popular areas. But all of Color Country is gorgeous. My husband is a scientist and very knowledgeable about the geology. In Color Country, which is a term that refers to the red rock areas of Northern Arizona, Southern Utah and Norwestern New Mexico, you can see so much of the geological features in vivid colors.

SHERIDA:  How did you research the topics covered in Love’s Dream Song?

SANDRA:  As mentioned above, my hubby is a scientist so we whenever we travel to an area, we study the geology and explore the historical aspects of the locale. Consequently, I am very familiar with the geological and historical elements presented within the story.

Being a teacher in Arizona, I was required to know the anthropological history as well. I love studying about ancient cultures. I love learning about different cultures.

When I finished writing this novel, I happened to be invited (through my work with ASU) to the Navajo nation to present educational workshops to the teachers on the reservation. Several women I met helped me with many aspects of the culture of Dineh (The People).

Author Sandra Leesmith

Author Sandra Leesmith


Sandra Leesmith writes romance designed to warm the heart and make you smile. Sandra loves to play pickleball, hike, read, bicycle and write. A retired teacher, she lives in Arizona with her husband. During the hot summers she and her husband travel throughout the United States in their motorhome, where she enjoys the outdoors and finds wonderful ideas for her next writing project.

You can connect with Sandra through her website, Sandra Leesmith website.

Her books are available through Amazon:  Sandra’s books.


Sandra has generously offered a copy to a reader. Thank you, Sandra! Please fill out the Rafflecopter entry form below to enter. Be sure to make a comment in the blog comments with your thoughts about Love’s Dream Song and whether you want an ebook or print version if you win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

We’d love to hear your thoughts about Love’s Dream Song. Do you enjoy romantic suspense? Do you like to learn about diverse cultures through reading stories? Have you traveled to the desert Southwest?

Thank you so much for having teatime with us today! May your days be blessed with God’s abundant treasures!

A very special teatime! #TUESDAYTEA

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015


Ginger Scones

Ginger Scones

We love our tea celebrations!

Recently we were blessed to take care of our grandsweeties for a few days while our son and daughter-in-law had a weekend away attending a wedding in New York City. Granddaughter and I made blueberry muffins one afternoon for an after nap teatime. Fun!

While in New York City, our daughter-in-law had tea at Alice’s Tea Cup, a very special tea house. (Visit Alice’s Tea Cup.) Knowing our mutual love of tea celebrations, she thoughtfully returned with a gift for me of Alice’s Tea, a delightful floral blend. Then she baked Ginger Scones (as pictured above), so the whole family could enjoy a lovely afternoon tea together. ( Basic scone recipe from All Recipes. Add 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger to dough. )

Tea from Alice's Tea Cup, NYC

Tea from Alice’s Tea Cup, NYC. Thank you, DIL!


One of the many books we read to the grandsweeties while we were visiting was My Very First Tea Party by Michal Sparks. This book is published by Christian book publisher, Harvest House Publishers. I especially liked the thoughtful blessing included as part of teatime.

My review on Goodreads:

My Very First Tea PartyMy Very First Tea Party by Michal Sparks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a sweet book! This is a cute gift for a toddler (the board book) or preschool child (the hardback version). Adding a tea set would be a perfect combination. My granddaughter and I love to have teatime together, and this rhyming book details all the elements of a tea celebration, complete with invitation, blessing and thank you note. Charming!


Not only are the grandsweeties lovers of books, but art is also a favorite activity. Here is a picture painted by Grandson. He knows what Grammy likes!

"MOOSE" by a favorite artist

“MOOSE” by a favorite artist!

We are thankful for the treasured blessing of our family and the sparkling times we spend together.

May you be blessed with God’s abundant treasures.

Tuesday Tea with Refuge of the Heart by Ruth Logan Herne

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015
REFUGE OF THE HEART by Ruth Logan Herne

REFUGE OF THE HEART by Ruth Logan Herne

Welcome to Tuesday Tea! Please join me for some Cinnamon Cake served with spiced cider as we chat about an amazing book, Refuge of the Heart, by Ruth Logan Herne. I was honored and blessed to read this book before its official release.

THIS IS A STUNNING BOOK! Isn’t the cover simply BEAUTIFUL?! And as much as the cover glows, the story inside is even more illuminating.

Ruth Logan Herne is a favorite author who often writes about difficult topics in her inspirational romance books, and the story in Refuge of the Heart is no exception. The horrors of war and the courage and faith necessary to survive these terrible situations are topics of this new release by Franciscan Media. (This publisher’s tag line is “Live in love. Grow in faith.”……perfect for the books they publish.)

Ruth Logan Herne’s writing touches my heart with compassion for Magdalena Serida, a struggling refugee from the war in Chechnya. Mitchell Sanderson is a District Attorney with his own sorrows to overcome, as he tries to live his Christian faith. The story is compelling, the characters engaging, and the message of faith brilliantly composed. I highly recommend this book …….which may change your heart in the same way my heart was touched……to have the courage to live my faith in a more complete way. I pray you will be blessed by this book as I have been.

Just to highlight a few of the many passages which touched my heart as I read this book:

“We move forward because we have to. Not because it is easy.”

Maybe God had put her in this place, with this church, to let her light shine unto the heavens.

“Remember to trust God’s love, his timing, his grace.”



District Attorney Mitchell Sanderson wanted for nothing and lost everything in a tragic accident. a dogged worker, Mitch’s conviction rate earned him respect and trust. Now up for reelection, Mitch’s law-and-order persona makes him a shoo-in candidate. But when faith, conscience, and love of a troubled refugee ripple the smooth waters of his existence, can Mitch risk everything for love?

Magdalena Serida fought her way out of the terrors of a government-quelled insurgent uprising in Chechnya . The church-sponsored refugee knows the horrors of war firsthand. Now in America with her five-year-old sister, Lena is uncertain who to trust. Her Christian faith has maintained her through the loss of her family, but when Mitch Sanderson shows interest, Lena longs to take a chance. Should she open herself up to this man of law and order, a man who imprisons women like her? Or slip quietly back into the shadowed fringe of anonymity?

But choices slip away when Mitch’s friend spews half-truths about Lena, rumors that cost Mitch his new love and possibly the election. Can he find his way to a faith deep enough to love again, and to offer Lena the refuge of his heart?

My review on Goodreads:

Refuge of the HeartRefuge of the Heart by Ruth Logan Herne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A heart-touching book!

My heart was so affected by Refuge of the Heart, a story filled with hope, forgiveness, and sweet romance. I loved Lena Serida from the moment she struggled with a grocery cart in a snowy parking lot. She shines as a bright light living her Christian faith to such an amazing level. Mitch Sanderson, as a tender, yet strong, trying-to-be-good man, is struggling with complex issues. His personality glows as he realizes his weaknesses and strives to become a better man. I raced to the end of this book, cheering for Mitch and Lena, as they faced many challenges they needed to overcome. In addition, there are so many wonderful characters, but Anna, Lena’s five-year-old sister, is a complete delight of positive joy….I just wanted to hug her…..and make cookies with her. Anna convicted me with the realization I can do more for children’s safety and comfort where I live.

Refuge of the Heart is a profound and thoughtful book on many levels, changing the way I look at the world and at how I live my faith. Filled with so many perfect moments of enlightenment, for both the characters and me, I highly recommend this book to all, but especially those who desire a story of amazing faith. Thank you, Ruth Logan Herne, for writing such a heart-touching book!

* I won this book, but was under no obligation to write a review. It is my honor to express my honest opinion about this book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, RUTH LOGAN HERNE: Born into poverty, Ruth Logan Herne is the mother of six and grandmother to thirteen. She and her husband, Dave, live on a small farm in upstate New York. She works full time but carves a few hours each day to write the kind of stories she likes to read, filled with poignancy, warmth, and delightful characters. She is a 2011 award winner from the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

Ruthy can be found on her website, chatting and giving wise advice in Seekerville, or cooking up goodies at the Yankee Belle Cafe.


Sister Mariel is remembered in Ruth Logan Herne’s dedication of this book as a very special teacher. In the story, Sister Mariel bakes a delicious cinnamon cake for Mitch and Lena, so this seems to be the perfect treat to offer with the review of Refuge of the Heart. The characters enjoy the cake with coffee, but Mitch’s cider or a cup of tea would also go well with this snack.

Cinnamon Cake and Spiced Cider (two versions)

This is the easy version. 🙂  I was planning to bake this mix for our tea today and display a stunning, mouth-watering photo. However, it is too hot here (no air conditioning) to even think about turning on the oven, so I hope you’ll understand. Here is the photo of what I intended to mix up for you:

Easy Cinnamon Cake and Spiced Cider

Easy Cinnamon Cake and Spiced Cider

Then I also have a second version to present….a yummy sounding recipe for Cinnamon-Laced Coffee Cake from

Cinnamon-Laced Coffee Cake

And here is my recipe for Spiced Cider:

Combine the following ingredients in a saucepan.

4 cups of cider

2 Tablespoons of brown sugar

1 stick of cinnamon

4 whole cloves

Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

Strain out the spices, then pour into 4 mugs. Float a small pat of butter (Yes, real BUTTER!) on each serving.

Thank you for joining me for Tuesday Tea. I hope you enjoyed my thoughts about this amazing story, Refuge of the Heart.

Please help yourself to a slice of cinnamon cake and a cup of cider (tea or coffee, if you prefer) and share your thoughts about this book and it’s BEAUTIFUL cover in the comments. May each of your days be filled with God’s treasured blessings!



#TUESDAYTEA with CROSSROADS author Cathy Bryant–devotional message and giveaway!

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015


Author Cathy Bryant

Author Cathy Bryant

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.

1 Peter 3:15 KJV 

I’m delighted to welcome contemporary Christian romance author Cathy Bryant to our tea time today. Cathy has written a devotional message titled “Does God Really Exist?” to help us be ready to share God’s message with unbelievers and answer their hard questions. She also has some details about her newest book, CROSSROADS,  her upcoming Facebook party, and a recipe for crab dip. Please see the link below to RSVP for the Facebook party and join in the fun. Cathy is also offering an ebook copy of CROSSROADS. Please see the Rafflecopter entry form below.


Does God Really Exist?

Every one of the Miller’s Creek novels (Christian romance and romantic suspense) took root in my head because of a spiritual theme. The latest book CROSSROADS took on even more importance because of its theme of winning back those who have defected from the faith.

We all know someone–maybe a friend, co-worker, or even a family member–who has turned away from the faith in Christ they once professed.

During the course of the story, I tried to examine their objections to the faith as well as the tough questions we’re often asked by unbelievers. This devotional guest post attempts to answer one of the most frequent questions: Does God really exist?

Not at all for the sake of argument, I hope instead that my research on this topic provides each of us with answers we need to “…make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15).

Proof of God – Man’s Innate Moral Code

Within each of us is a universal moral code that exists despite differences in culture, socioeconomic status, and upbringing.

Think about it for a second. Every person, regardless of whether they are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or where or how they grew up, have a sense of right and wrong behavior. Though we don’t always live by this unwritten code of ethics, we can attest to it. We all have a sense of fairness or justice that’s somehow embedded deep within us.

So where does this ethical or moral code come from? Does it originate with man? Hardly.

The very fact that men are incapable of keeping this code proves that it originates outside of us. Therefore it can only be assumed that Someone or Something bigger than us created the code or at least created us with the code buried deep within the fiber of our being.

To me, this is evidence exhibit number one in the case for God’s existence and superiority to mankind.

Proof of God – Creation

Another proof lies in Creation itself. And no surprise, but this very point is illustrated and confirmed in God’s Word.

The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world. -Psalm 19:1-4 (NASB)

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. -Romans 1:20 (NASB)

Notice that the heavens are continuing to express God’s glory and His role as Creator. And across the globe and around the planet, all men have seen it. This leaves us all without excuse.

Proof of God – Arguments and Answers

There will be those who take the position of the big bang theory and evolution as a way of denying God. My answer to either of those theories is that it takes a lot more faith to believe either one than it does to believe in the existence of God. In addition, if they’re right and I’m wrong, then I’m no worse off. However, if I’m right and they’re wrong, for them it means a life of eternal separation from the presence and power of God.

And as stated above, our evidence for God’s existence is two-fold: the moral code within each man and the glory of God’s created universe. May we equip ourselves with this Truth so we might better answer those who have tough questions.

Thank you, Cathy, for sharing your thoughts with us!


CROSSROADS by Cathy Bryant

CROSSROADS by Cathy Bryant


About the Book

CROSSROADS-a Miller’s Creek novel and Christian contemporary romance

A former soldier battles for the soul of a prodigal…

After a devastating divorce, a bitter single mom and atheist starts her own real estate company in the nostalgic and picturesque town of Miller’s Creek, Texas. Then her young daughter’s disturbing symptoms lead doctors to discover that her leukemia has relapsed. With her new life now turned upside down, Mara Hedwig struggles to keep her business afloat. And her daughter’s worsening condition forces her to rethink her beliefs about Carter Callahan and his God. Will Mara make the return to Christian faith in the face of life’s greatest challenge?

An ex-military operative struggles with the return to civilian life while coping with his rebellious teen-aged daughter. During a house-search, Carter meets Mara, a headstrong Realtor who wants nothing to do with his God. But when Mara’s little girl is diagnosed with leukemia, the clock begins ticking for him to convince Mara to return to a life of faith. Just as he seems to be making headway, circumstances beyond his control throw his efforts into a tailspin. Can Carter learn to rest in the sovereignty of God?


CROSSROADS Facebook Launch Party & Kindle Fire HD6 Giveaway!


What: CROSSROADS Book Launch Party

Where: Facebook (from the comfort & convenience of your own home)

When: April 30, 2015 ~ 7:00-8:30 p.m. (Central time)

Why: To celebrate the book launch of CROSSROADS (a Miller’s Creek novel and Christian Romance by Cathy Bryant)

LOTS of Fun, Games and Prizes!

Prizes Include: Miller’s Creek pens, tote bags, t-shirts, mugs, digital books, autographed print books, Amazon gift cards, and

an Amazon Kindle Fire HD6!

Click here to RSVP and enter the Kindle Fire drawing.


About Cathy Bryant

Amazon best-selling author Cathy Bryant writes Christian fiction set in the heart of Texas. Her popular romance and romantic suspense novels take place in the fictional town of Miller’s Creek, where folks are friendly, the iced tea is sweet, and Mama Beth’s front porch beckons. All the Miller’s Creek novels have been on the Amazon Best-Seller list and are rated at 4.5 stars or higher on Amazon. Her debut novel, TEXAS ROADS, was a 2009 ACFW Genesis finalist. Since then five other stand-alone novels have been added to the series, one of which was a reader-nominated 2013 Grace Award nominee (PILGRIMAGE OF PROMISE). Readers have compared her work to that of Karen Kingsbury and Nicholas Sparks.  A native Texan, Cathy currently resides in the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico with her minister husband of over thirty years. She’s written devotions for The Upper Room devotional magazine, two devotional books in collaboration with other Christian authors, and for online sites. She also has released a Bible study book, THE FRAGRANCE OF CRUSHED VIOLETS. In addition to her writing, she enjoys thrift store shopping, romping in the great outdoors, and mini-farming. To learn more about Cathy and her books, visit her website at or make contact with her in these places:

|Facebook| Twitter | Pinterest | GoodreadsAmazon | YouTube | Google+|


For our tea treat, I’m serving a recipe Cathy shares with us…..Carter’s Crab Dip, which was inspired by the brawny soldier-turned-policeman and hero of CROSSROADS. He uncovers the heroine’s penchant for seafood and creates this special seafood dip for a picnic lunch the two share. Please have a cup of lemon tea, which goes wonderfully well with the crab tea sandwiches.

Crab dip served on toast triangles.

Crab dip served on toast triangles.


1 8-oz. cream cheese and 1 3-oz. cream cheese, softened

1 T. Worcestershire sauce

1 T. lemon juice

2 T. mayonnaise

1/2 small finely chopped white onion

1 7-oz. can of crab meat

garlic powder and salt to taste

1/2 bottle of cocktail sauce on top (can substitute Tabasco sauce if you want the heat)

fresh or dried parsley

cocktail crackers


1. Blend the first seven ingredients together well, and spread on a serving dish.

2. Spread the cocktail sauce on top as a sort of icing.

3. Garnish with fresh or dried parsley.

4. Chill in the refrigerator, and serve with cocktail crackers.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


I hope you enjoyed #TUESDAYTEA with Cathy Bryant! Please join in the fun of her CROSSROADS Facebook party on April 30.

#TUESDAYTEA with Travel & Treats!

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Just a quick post featuring some tea treats we found during our recent travels….

This cute little teapot is in a display at the Hill Air Force Museum in Utah….a little spitfire replica.

Spitfire Teapot, WW II era--Hill Air Force Museum, UT

Spitfire Teapot, WW II era–Hill Air Force Museum, UT

We had a delightful brunch at a Scandinavian cafe in Portland, Oregon, which featured these DELICIOUS aeppleskivers.

Yummy aeppleskivers served in a Portland, Oregon, cafe.

Yummy aeppleskivers served in a Portland, Oregon, cafe.

And the tea was served with this unique infuser.

Interesting tea infuser at a Scandinavian cafe.

Then we made a stop at my husband’s favorite cookie bakery, Big Moe’s, in Price, Utah. He loves their double chocolate chip cookies.

COOKIES! Double chocolate chip from Big Moe's bakery in Price, UT.

COOKIES! Double chocolate chip from Big Moe’s bakery in Price, UT.

We had a perfect trip, visiting family and going to Easter church services with four generations of my family. A very special treasured time together. And we enjoyed treats along the way. Hope your spring travels-near or far–are filled with great treats and God’s treasured blessings!


Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

This is just a quick post today, since I’m participating in #SPEEDBO, with many of you. For those who don’t know about #Speedbo, this is a writing challenge offered in SEEKERVILLE ( where writers are encouraged to set their own writing goals for the month of March. The Seekers offer advice and encouragement to those hoping to sail off Unpublished Island. Great experience!

It is well into the new year, but I wanted to share MY ONE WORD for 2015. At the beginning of the year, Seekerville suggests you choose ONE WORD to be your thought for the year. I’ve done this three years now. Past words for me have been LIGHT and HIKING. For 2015, my word is LOVINGKINDNESS. I want to live with LOVINGKINDNESS in my heart….and yes, it has already been a challenge at times, but thinking of MY word has calmed my reactions to some situations… this is a good word for this year.



Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.

Psalm 107:43 KJV

Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.

Psalm 63:3 KJV

Since I am writing, we’ll just have a quick snack for our tea today……a local group was selling baked goods for a good cause….Pediatric Cancer, so I picked up some perfect scones for us…and double chocolate cookies for hubby. This group of young people shows LOVINGKINDNESS through their good works for others. LOVINGKINDNESS is a treasure in our lives. Please enjoy a blueberry scone with me….and please share your thoughts on LOVINGKINDNESS or your ONE WORD for 2015. Thanks for visiting! Blessings to you!

Blueberry scone+good works=great!