featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Note: This site uses Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Today historical and contemporary romance author Marie Laval sits down with us for an interview. Originally from Lyon, France, Marie now lives in Lancashire, England where she teaches French. Learn more about her and her books at her website

When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
I always loved writing. In fact, for as long as I can remember, I was always making up stories and scribbling in a diary or a notebook, but that always in French. I started writing short stories in English several years ago, and when one got published, another won a prize and yet another got shortlisted in an international competition, I thought that maybe I could indeed write in English after all. So I started writing novels!

How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
It took a couple of years, and quite a few disappointments. At one point, my husband urged me to stop sending my manuscript to publishers because, as he said, we would soon be able to wallpaper the back room with all my rejection letters. Needless to say, I didn't listen. When you love writing, you can't just stop. You have to carry on and keep believing in yourself.

Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
I am traditionally published. My first two historical romances, Angel Heart and The Lion’s Embrace are published by Canadian publisher MuseitUp Publishing. A Spell in Provence and my forthcoming historical Dancing for the Devil are published by Áccent Press.

Where do you write?
In my small, cramped and very messy dining room. This is where I set up my laptop and the printer. I dream of having my own space, with all my files and photographs and books. And a nice view too! Perhaps one day...

Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
I need silence but I very rarely get any, except if I get up very early on weekends and sneak downstairs before my family wakes up. Having said that, music is also essential to me, and with every one of my writing projects there are one or two 'special' songs I listen to in order to reconnect with the moods and feelings of my characters.

How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
They are purely fiction, although I must confess that I usually base my heroines on myself a little bit.

Describe your process for naming your character?
I don't have a specific process. Most of the time, the hero's and heroine's names just pop into my mind and feel 'right'. With A Spell in Provence, however, I had to change my heroine's name for the second draft because I no longer felt that the name I'd chosen suited the character I wanted to write about.

Real settings or fictional towns?
A mixture of both. I do set my novels in real locations, which I either know well or research, but I always invent places, too, whether it is a village or a castle...

If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
I would have loved to write The Lady in White by Wilkie Collins.

Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
Mine would be a personality do-over. I would love to be more assertive and more confident...

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
People being nasty to one another.

You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
My three children (although that may be a little selfish, since they may not want to be stranded with me!)

What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
When I was a student, I worked as a secretary in a very posh hotel in my hometown of Lyon for a few hours every week. Part of my job was to serve champagne to the very well-to-do ladies attending the cookery lessons of the chef every Wednesday afternoon. They were very snooty and unpleasant, and I hated every minute of it!

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
This is a very difficult question. There are so many books I have enjoyed over the years, and so many authors I love. I don't think I can answer this!

Ocean or mountains?

City girl or country girl?

What’s on the horizon for you?
My historical romance Dancing for the Devil will be released later on this year by Áccent Press. I am working on another contemporary romance and researching background for a couple of historical romantic novels.

A Spell in Provence
With few roots in England and having just lost her job, Amy Carter decides to give up on home and start a new life in France, spending her redundancy package turning an overgrown Provençal farmhouse, Bellefontaine, into a successful hotel. Though she has big plans for her new home, none of them involves falling in love – least of all with Fabien Coste, the handsome but arrogant owner of a nearby château.  As romance blossoms, eerie and strange happenings in Bellefontaine hint at a dark mystery of the Provençal countryside which dates back many centuries and holds an entanglement between the ladies of Bellefontaine and the ducs de Coste at its centre. As Amy works to unravel the mystery, she begins to wonder if it may not just be her heart at risk, but her life too.

Buy Links

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


This is definitely not Judy's fashion style, but it might just be something her character Keisha would wear.
Judy Alter spent thirty years at TCU Press, twenty of them as director, while raising four children as a single parent and writing novels about the American West. A lifelong mystery reader, she always told herself she wanted to publish one mystery and she’d be content. She now has eight mysteries in print. Learn more about Judy and her books at he website and blog. 

A Fasionista I’m Not
My twelve-year-old granddaughter is a fashionista. She knows how to layer, how to fling or drape a scarf just right, how to combine the unusual and have it come out perfectly. One morning I caught her dancing into the bathroom happily singing, “Makeup time.” Of course, it helps that she’s tall, thin and drop-dead gorgeous. She got none of that from her grandmother.

I almost always wear stretched-out knit pants and a T-shirt when I’m home alone working; often it’s the T-shirt I slept in. In public, I try to class it up a bit with leggings and blousy tunics. But I know my sense of fashion is behind the times. I do manage makeup, though I’m no expert at it. And my hair has a cut I really like, so maybe I’m not completely hopeless.

I tend to dress my protagonists—those amateur female sleuths—the way I like to dress. Kelly O’Connell, of the mystery series with her name, is a bit out of date, choosing tailored slacks and blazers for the office, a silk shirt if she really wants to dress it up. Loafers whenever she can. For dinner out with Mike, she may wear a loose, long shift—she favors beige with turquoise jewelry. At home, she wears my outfit—stretched-out slacks, a T-shirt, and raggedy slip-on tennis shoes. Her daughters are sometimes embarrassed by her clothes, a feeling I know well from my own two girls. Her style is my style—casual.

Kate of the Blue Plate Mystery series wears jeans or khakis and often a white shirt under her chef’s apron, and Susan Hogan of The Perfect Coed usually wears slacks and a shirt, though sometimes she teaches a college class in jeans and running shoes. She, too, can spiff it up for dinner at an upscale restaurant, but it’s not her preferred style.

One or two minor characters break out of this rather ordinary mold. Miss Lorna, the reclusive former diva in the Kelly O’Connell Mystery Series, wears embroidered Japanese housecoats with dragons on them—one even showed up on the cover of Deception in Strange Places.

And then there’s Keisha, Kelly O’Connell’s capable office assistant. I think my fashion imagination went wild with her. She’s young, large (not fat, just a big-boned girl,) African American, and given to flashy outfits to match her larger-than-life personality. She wears loose tunics and even muumuus to the office, with matching high-heeled sandals (and thong sandals hidden under her desk.) If the day’s color is turquoise, her tunic, sandals, toenails, and fingernails are also turquoise, and bits of turquoise color highlight her upswept hair. She doesn’t follow fashion; she defies it.

In one episode she has cut her hair into a spiky, short style—she appears with it highlighted in pink to match the flowing tunic and high heels. Everyone is stunned, and she’s a bit taken back by the reaction, but nothing stops Keisha. In a book forthcoming this spring, Desperate for Death, she buys an outrageous wedding dress and outfits for Kelly’s daughters who will be her junior bridesmaids. Kelly is, shall we say, dismayed! I would so love to have a picture of Keisha in her wedding dress. I can see her clearly in my mind’s eye.

I think my fashion sense for my characters says something about my personality—going along in my own staid way but longing for an occasional something flamboyant. It’s sure fun to play with characters’ clothes.

Skeleton in a Dead Space, a Kelly O’Connell Mystery
Kelly O’Connell never thought real estate was a dangerous profession, until she stumbled over a skeleton in a dead space in an early-twentieth-century Craftsman house she was transforming into a coveted modern home in an older urban neighborhood in Fort Worth, Texas.

From that moment, she runs into teen-age gang members, a manipulative ex-husband, a needy and single pregnant friend, a cold-blooded murderer, and a policeman who wants to be more than her protector. As free-spirited as the chocolate-peanut-jalapeño candy she craves, Kelly barges through life trying to keep from angering her policeman-boyfriend, protect her two young daughters, pacify her worried mother a thousand miles away, and keep her real estate business afloat. Too often she puts herself in danger, and sometimes it’s the girls, not Mike, who come to Kelly’s rescue.

Buy Links

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


photo credit: © Andres Rodriguez
Susan Lohrer is a contemporary romance author who writes about families bumbling through crazy situations. Learn more about Susan and her books at her website

A Well-Balanced Life
How often have we heard from the experts that we should eat more of this, never eat that, and start regularly doing something that pretty much feels like torture? Every day, right? And then every few years, the experts change their minds and tell us the opposite. Argh. In the last few decades, we’ve gone from “Fat and cholesterol are going to be the death of us all” to “Meh, that stuff doesn’t matter as much as we thought, and you should be eating bacon and eggs.” Not only that, but studies have discovered that an aggressive running program (think marathon runners here, people we’ve long thought of as probably some the healthiest folks out there) actually shortens your life.

So what can we learn from observing the ebb and flow of expert health advice?

1. They’re all quacks and we should just do whatever we want.

2. They know best, and we need to stick with whatever the current trend is, no matter how yucky or difficult.

3. We (hopefully) are equipped with enough common sense to interpret the stream of information for ourselves and understand that we need… balance.

Whoa, when I finally realized that I could choose between making myself crazy trying to do everything the way someone else said I should do it… and living a balanced life, did it ever take some stress off.

Mind you, balance can be a tricky thing. Whether we’re stay-at-home moms or we work outside the home, we can get so caught up in chasing our dreams, our lives become the chase. And is that what we had in mind when the dream began? Probably not. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, and I’ve worked outside the home. And it can get crazy—never mind being all things to all people, most of us are doing all that while tracking our calories and potassium intake (you can substitute your favorite health trend for potassium) on a smartphone app. It’s nuts. How do we balance all the important aspects of our lives?

We have to understand one key concept: We can’t achieve our dreams by piling so much on ourselves that we lose balance.

Because just like it’s now a bad idea to run excessively (thank goodness), it’s unhealthy to do anything to excess. Even good stuff like reading, knitting, and watching our nutrition. What good is it to spend so much time reading about the world that you don’t ever really live in it? To knit the most beautiful sweaters but never make time to bundle up and walk your dog? To eat only healthy foods and never enjoy an ice cream cone on a summer day with your best friend?

We need balance. Our dreams need balance. And yes, for the writers out there (myself included), our writing needs balance! The formula for success as an author or any creative person always includes a body of solid work; and I believe with all my heart that the secret ingredient in that formula is not spending 20 hours a day slaving over a computer keyboard—it’s making time to write daily without sacrificing every last moment of time with family and friends… or without sacrificing, say, a good night’s sleep. To create meaningfully, we first need to really live.

Now, I have many things to accomplish today and only a few hours in which to do them. I’ll get a lot done. I’ll write a few pages of my next book. I’ll try not to get fired (again) by my daughter who has Down syndrome and doesn’t approve of the fact that my job includes waking her up in the morning. I’ll drop everyone off and take myself to work. I’ll come home and make dinner and put away the laundry. But first? The sun is shining, and I’m going to go outside and take a little walk with my dog.

A Gift for Chloe
Her carefully ordered world is turning upside down…

Linda is the one who holds her family together. She’s an absolute rock—at least, she was until her daughter announced her pregnancy (wait, isn’t 40 way too young to become a grandmother?) and delivered the news that the baby has Down syndrome.

Now she finds herself standing in the middle of a bookstore, floundering to regain her equilibrium as her carefully ordered world tumbles willy-nilly around her. Instead of making a relatively simple decision about which book to buy, she’s spent an hour waffling between two titles and trying (and failing) to come to grips with this new reality she hasn’t had nearly enough chance to prepare for. It’s not that she hasn’t already fallen head over heels in love with baby Chloe, but this is something she’s not equipped to handle—she can’t even choose a self-help book on the subject, for goodness’ sake.

Her friends and the medical professionals blithely insist she’ll forget all about special needs the moment she sees her grandchild for the first time. Even the too-good-to-be-true, optimistic fellow customer she encounters in the aisle of the bookstore seems to think she’s worried over nothing.

This handsome stranger is obviously compassionate and knows a lot about Downs, but Linda is in no way interested in striking up a conversation with him, let alone a friendship, no matter how intriguing he is… until he performs a random act of kindness she can’t ignore.

Monday, February 23, 2015


Susan R. Hughes writes contemporary and historical romance novels set mainly in Canada. Learn more about her and her books at her website. 

In my newest release, Forever Your Valentine, divorced mother Faith Kinley meets former hockey pro Cole McKenna on Valentine’s Day, and sparks fly. He repairs her broken oven, and in gratitude she offers to make him her famous chicken biscuit pie. Little does he know how super easy it is to make! My mom got this recipe from her friend Wyldeen’s mother in 1955 and has been making it for 60 years! I have warm memories of this dish when I was growing up. I loved the biscuit topper soaked with cream of mushroom soup (and tolerated the vegetables.) It’s a delicious way to use up leftover chicken.

Chicken Biscuit Pie
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup water     
1 cup cooked chicken, cubed
1/2 cup cooked peas
2 tbsp. chopped pimentos
mushrooms, carrots, onion, celery (optional)
baking powder biscuit dough (Bisquick)

Blend all ingredients (except Bisquick) in a bowl. Turn into greased baking dish.

Follow directions on the Bisquick package to make the “topper.” Roll out and shape the dough (about ½” thick) to fit your baking dish and place over mixture. If you have leftover dough, shape them into individual biscuits and bake alongside the pie. Bake at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes.

Forever Your Valentine
Faith Kinley would rather forget all about Valentine’s Day. Last February 14th, she caught her husband with another woman. This Valentine’s Day takes a turn for the better when Faith runs into dead-sexy Cole McKenna. Attraction crackles between them, but Cole’s a confirmed bachelor whose career as a hockey scout keeps him on the road most of the year. With her heart still mending from her divorce, Faith resolves to keep her relationship with Cole strictly platonic—a pledge that becomes harder to keep as they grow closer. Will one night together ruin their friendship, or could they be falling in love?

Sunday, February 22, 2015


paper boat
photo by 
Sergio Fabris
Today we welcome back national bestselling and award-winning author Joanna Campbell Slan who’s got some tips for passing the time indoors while the weather outdoors is frightful. Joanna is the author of the Kiki Lowenstein scrapbooking mystery series and also writes the Cara Mia Delgatto Mysteries, featuring characters who recycle, upcycle, and repurpose items to turn trash into treasure. Learn more about Joanna and her books at her website

Crafty Things to Do When the Weather Outside Is Frightful

Snow, snow, snow. The weather report sounds like a broken record. And as I write this, the Boston area is bracing for yet another blizzard-blast, adding more flakes to the growing mountains of white fluff.

I remember those winter days when we couldn't even get out the front door because the snow was piled so high. The smell of diesel wafted over the neighborhood as the husbands vroom-vroomed from behind their snow blowers. While my son would cheer at the words, "Snow day!" I would groan, wondering, "How am I going to keep him busy?"

The same situation occurs in my newest book—Shotgun, Wedding, Bells—and Kiki Lowenstein's children are going crazy. Because Kiki has a criminal to track down, her good friend Laurel Wilkins helps out by babysitting Anya Lowenstein (age 13) and Erik Detweiler (age 5). Laurel is a kid at heart, so she comes up with these terrific ideas for indoor fun:

Snow candy – You need good, clean snow for this. So the badder the weather the gooder the treat! Scoop up enough to fill a cake pan. Stir together 1/4 cup butter to 1 cup maple syrup in a sturdy pot. Bring to a boil, watching constantly. (This is a job for grown-ups, of course!) After it bubbles for six minutes, pour it over the snow. The candy will harden. Once it is cool, break it into pieces and enjoy. Alternately, you can use 1/2 cup honey and 1/4 cup brown sugar for your mix.

Newspaper sailboats – Grab some newspapers out of your recycling bin. Or grab some paper out of your printer. I could explain it, but instead, go here http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Paper-Boat and follow the directions! Now fill a bath tub with warm water and sail your boat.

Fashion show – Throw open your closet doors and invite the kids to play dress up. Be sure to take lots and lots of photos.

How will you entertain yourself while the snow piles up outside? I suggest you order a copy of Shotgun, Wedding, Bells. Along with this e-book comes a second e-book, your free copy of Tear Down and Die, the first book in my new Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series with 48 five-star reviews on Amazon. As a special bonus, if you send an email to Sally Lippert, my assistant, at SALFL27@att.net , she'll send you a FREE e-copy of Ink, Red, Dead (Book #3 in the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series). Meanwhile, stay safe and stay warm!

Shotgun Wedding Bells
In Shotgun, Wedding, Bells, a very pregnant Kiki Lowenstein and her fiancé Detective Chad Detweiler are trying to race the stork to the altar. But their vows are interrupted by a shoot-out. With the help of her nanny, Bronwyn Macavity, Kiki vows to track down the man who ruined her wedding and put her family at risk. Even a big belly bump won’t stop this intrepid amateur sleuth!

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Left to Right: Alicia Dean, Amanda McCabe, Kathy L Wheeler, Krysta Scott
Alicia Dean is one of the members of the Martini Club. The club is comprised of four writing friends. Today Alicia talks about how they collaborated on a new romance series set in the Roaring Twenties. Learn more about the Martini Club at their Facebook page. 
Martini Club 4 – The 1920s
A few years ago, myself and three of my writer friends—Amanda McCabe, Kathy L. Wheeler, and Krysta Scott—began meeting each Friday evening (unless something extremely important kept one of us away, and trust me, it had to be IMPORTANT) for Martinis and various other libations, at the Martini Lounge in Edmond, Oklahoma. In time, we came to dub our gathering the ‘Martini Club.’ We unwind, vent, chat about writing, laugh, and strengthen an already strong bond of friendship. It’s not only fun, it’s beneficial. As all writers know, no other friend besides a writer friend truly understands us. (We also have an honorary MC member, Cindy Sorenson. Although she is a writer, she declined to write one of the stories, but she has been invaluable as far as brainstorming and beta reading. So, what else could we do…we named a character after her in the series!)

During one of these gatherings, one of us, and I can’t remember who, made an offhand remark about writing stories centered around the Martini Club. The idea blossomed from there, and the ‘Martini Club 4’ series was born. We thought it would be fun to set our first MC4 stories in the 1920’s, but we intend to write more in other decades in the future. During the planning, plotting, and writing, we have had a few weekend retreats that were loads of fun, and some were even productive. J What a joy to do something that I love so much—writing—with a group of ladies that I love so much!

The four books that comprise the Martini Club 4 series officially release on February 26. Right now you can pre-order any of the books at the sale price of only 99¢. The price will go up to $2.99 after the release date.

Martini Club 4 – The 1920s
Four young English women discover friendship, romance, and danger in 1920’s New York City...

Rebellious, Book 1 by Amanda McCabe
Can an aristocratic lady melt the cold heart of a Russian gangster?

Lady Jessica Hatton fled her high-society London debutante life for one of investigative journalism in New York—only to be relegated to the fashion pages. Searching for a juicy story leads her to Club 501, the city's most glamorous speakeasy—and its handsome, mysterious owner, Frank Markov. But his past of war and revolution puts their hearts—and their lives—in danger...

Ruined, book 2 by Alicia Dean
She vowed she’d be no man’s doxy, but fate had other plans...

After the Earl of Goodwin attempts to force himself on her, housemaid Eliza Gilbert flees England for New York, hoping to build a better life. But the land of opportunity proves as harsh as the London docks, and she finds herself in a situation more dreadful than the one she escaped.

When Vince Taggart’s childhood friend disappears, he heads to New York in search of her and meets Eliza, a woman with a less than honorable reputation. Inexplicably captivated, Vince can’t force himself to stay away, especially when he learns Eliza may be the key to finding his missing friend.

Reckless, Book 3 by Kathy L. Wheeler
Lady Margaret turned Lady Bootlegger…

Singer Margaret (Meggie) Montley needs money…fast. Her friend is in a dire situation with nowhere to turn. While Meggie is on the brink of stardom, it’s not soon enough to save her friend.

Harry Dempsey is out to avenge the deaths of his father and brother at the hands of a ruthless gangster. But trouble spirals out of control when Meggie Montley shows up the night he meets his nemesis to settle the score. Saving the impetuous woman from a crime lord might be easier than saving her from her own reckless behavior.

Runaway, Book 4 by Krysta Scott
Can she prove her innocence before more than her dreams are destroyed?

After escaping an arranged marriage, Lady Charlotte Leighton lands on a new shore, determined to realize her dream of opening her own bakery. But her plans are shattered when her former fiancé follows her to New York. Now, she finds herself in a fight for her freedom.

Haunted by a string of failures, Detective Felix Noble is determined to solve his latest case. But his efforts to find a murderer are jeopardized by a forbidden attraction to his number one suspect. While he’s certain Charlotte Leighton is keeping secrets, instinct tells him she’s not the murderess he first believed.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Karen McCullough at the north rim of the Grand Canyon
Award-winning author Karen McCullough’s wide-ranging imagination makes her incapable of sticking to one genre for her storytelling. As a result, she’s the author of more than a dozen published novels and novellas, which span the mystery, fantasy, paranormal, and romantic suspense genres. A former computer programmer who made a career change into being an editor with an international trade publishing company for many years, she now runs her own web design business to support her writing habit. Learn more about Karen and her books at her website and blog.

The Rim Less Traveled

A few years ago I went with my family to visit The Grand Canyon.  It is an incredible place, truly one of the wonders of the natural world. Our first sight of the canyon was from the airplane, flying over it on our way to Las Vegas.  It’s clearly visible as a huge hole in the ground, even from 30,000 feet, when the air is clear, as it was that day. We spent a day in Las Vegas, then hopped in our rented van and headed to the north rim. It’s a long but fascinating drive, through desert and mountains that seem to rise right up from the flat terrain, and then more desert.

Most tourists head for the south rim of the canyon. It’s a bit easier to get to, it’s open year-round, and there are a lot more places to stay, eat, and party. The crowds are also larger.

The north rim has views just as exquisite as on the other side, plenty of hiking trails for all levels, and far fewer amenities. Because it’s harder to get to and has few places to stay, it’s less crowded. That’s not to say there was no one there. We went in August and the lodge and several campgrounds were full. We stayed at an inn about forty miles north, one of only two within reasonable driving distance. The overlooks near the lodge and parking area were mobbed and the trails had plenty of people on them.

But we did get to see the gorgeous, grand views from the overlooks. There were plenty of people, but not so many you couldn’t even get near the overlook. A few minutes’ wait usually produced a prime place at the rail. The trails weren’t deserted, but they weren’t crowded either. We’d meet people along the way, but the prime stopping spots weren’t mobbed and there were plenty of places to take a break and listen to the amazing quiet, broken only by the sighing wind, smell the pines and watch the aspen trees shimmer in the breeze.

A side benefit of going to the north rim and staying in an inn some forty miles away was that we ate breakfast and dinner there, and bought picnic materials for lunch at their little lodge store. We had plenty of time to talk to some of the people who worked there and heard many stories about the history and little-known facts about the area. And in the quiet evenings after dark, we spent time together as a family, sitting around talking or playing games. That time together was as priceless for all of us as the beautiful views and amazing experience of nature.

A Question of Fire
When Cathy Bennett agrees to attend an important party as a favor for her boss, she knows she won't enjoy it. But she doesn't expect to end up holding a dying man in her arms and becoming the recipient of his last message. Bobby Stark has evidence that will prove his younger brother has been framed for arson and murder. He wants that evidence to get to his brother's lawyer, and he tries to tell Cathy where he's hidden it. But he dies before he can give her more than a cryptic piece of the location.

The man who killed Bobby saw him talking to her and assumes she knows where the evidence is hidden. He wants it back and he'll do whatever it takes to get it, including following her and trying to kidnap her.

Cathy enlists the aid of attorney Peter Lowell and Danny Stark, Bobby's prickly, difficult younger brother, as well as a handsome private detective to help her find the evidence before the killers do.

Buy links

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Do you know the best time of year to buy certain consumer goods? Are you getting the best price for seasonal items during the pre-season sales, the during-season sales, or the post-season sales? Have you ever bought something, thinking you were getting a deal, only to find out the following month you should have waited? The best deals can usually be found during the post-season sales, but supplies will be limited, and you might not be able to find what you want.

I recently came across a chart that shows month-by-month when you’ll get the best deals on different products. So if you’re in the market for any of these items, especially the higher priced ones, you might want to wait.

Need winter clothes or new bedding and linens? You missed the boat. January is when you’ll score the biggest deals on those items.

Right now you can find great deals on indoor furniture, certain home gym equipment such as treadmills and ellipticals, and humidifiers.

Wait until March for digital cameras, TVs, winter sports gear, and small electronics such as Blue Ray players.

April is the best month to buy computers, lawn mowers, and spring clothing.

In May you’ll find deals on athletic apparel and shoes, camping gear, mattresses, carpeting, and cordless phones.

Shop in June for swimwear, pots and pans, and dishes.

July is a great month to score on camcorders.

Think ahead and buy your snow blower in August, but wait until September for gas grills.

You’ll find deals on winter coats and bicycles in October.

November is a great sales month for baby products and toys.

Looking for a new GPS or home appliance? Wait until December.


We’re continuing our pineapple theme from yesterday with this easy slow cooker recipe for Sweet ‘n Sour Meatballs. Anastasia loves dinners that cook themselves, and this recipe is about as easy as they get. Just defrost the meatballs and pineapple in the refrigerator overnight, and throw everything into the slow cooker first thing in the morning before heading to work. Serve over egg noodles, cous cous, or rice.

Sweet ‘n Sour Meatballs
(serves 4)

2 lbs. frozen, pre-cooked turkey meatballs, defrosted
2 cups frozen pineapple, defrosted
6 carrots, peeled and halved
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup all fruit peach spread
1 can (14.5 - 16 oz.) diced tomatoes
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup barbecue sauce

Place meatballs, pineapple, dried cranberries, and carrots in a slow cooker. Add tomatoes. Mix together jam, broth, and barbecue sauce. Pour over meat and vegetables. Cook on low 8-10 hrs.