Memorial Day Giveaway Winner

Thanks to everyone who sent me an email to share their plans for the Memorial Day weekend. Many people indicated they would be spending time with family, enjoying the warm weather, gardening, cooking out or simply enjoying the extra day off from work.

I was touched by several of the responses and wanted to share them with you. But first, congratulations to Mary Lou H., the randomly selected winner of a complete ebook collection of my Grayce Walters series, which features military heroes and heroines, plus a $10 gift card to the ebook retailer of her choice.

I am grateful to all those who serve and sacrifice, now and in the past.  Thank you.

All weekend, any of the family sees a vet eating out, we are going to pay for their tables’ meals.  It is our way to say Thank You for your service. – Vicki S.

We are going to have a BBQ, beer and lots of family and friends. This is a special day for us; my whole family served in the military most of us are Vietnam Veterans. – Dale W.

My husband and I will be spending the weekend with our son, who is in the service.  He is deploying out to the Middle East for a year. – Sonya B.

 

 

I will be spending Memorial Day with family, reflecting on the loss of my brother-in-law, who served in Vietnam. Also, planning with family on the proclamation for my nephew (Marine) who is retiring after 28 years, this June. – Deborah N.

I am planning to write some letters to thank the service members that are in my church for their service. – Holly F.

We travel to my husband’s family in Tennessee where this holiday is still referred to as Decoration Day (because each family buys tons of floral arrangements to decorate the tombstone markers for every deceased member of the family).- Peggy

I am a leader of a Boy Scout troop and we always participate in the placing of flags on veteran’s graves for Memorial Day, marching in the local parade and then the correct removal of the flags and disposal of those which are no longer suitable for use.  This day means a lot to me, since both parents and multiple relatives have served in the military. – Cathy B.

This Memorial Day, I will be at a memorial service that will honor those who have given their all for this country. I hope everyone will honor our military. It’s not just those who wear the uniform, it’s their family as well. They give just as much! – Marlene M.

For this Memorial Day I will be going to a family get-together. All the family shows up and that includes friends. Before eating we have a moment of prayer. We all have a good time catching up on all the family news. – Sharon E.

We will be having a special church service on Sunday honoring our fallen.  We have a number of active duty military.  Their squad recently had casualties on their last mission in the Middle East.  After our church service, we are having a church picnic and we’ll be playing cornhole and horseshoes.- Linda R.

My in-laws recently moved to Arizona so we will be having a small family barbecue.  I only wish that I could be near my father and step-mom in Illinois though.  My dad is a retired Marine of 20 years and we are extremely proud of him for that. – Cyndi J.

There will be a service in my hometown of Middleport, Pennsylvanian. This is done every year for Memorial Day. This year is a little sad. My father who was stationed in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked passed away last December. He always honored Memorial Day. The flag over our Memorial Gardens is flying in his honor. – Pat H.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to the Fur Baby Moms

I saw this adorable greeting card and it reminded me that Mother’s Day means different things to different people. The second Sunday in May has become a celebration of motherhood in many forms, an all-encompassing acknowledgement of the caring and nurturing contributions of all women in our society.

That includes all the fur baby moms.

Being a mother is all about dedication, unconditional love, teaching, tending, healing, inspiring and encouraging others. For all of those moms who love and adore their fur babies, have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

If you have a fur baby, share a photo and tell me how you’ll be celebrating your special day.

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Flower Festivals Around the World

There is something joyful and inspiring about the burst of color and delicately perfumed air that accompanies the arrival of springtime flowers. Here are five incredible flower festivals from around the world.

If your own garden is slow to bud, grab a cup of tea or coffee and enjoy scrolling through these gorgeous photos. You might find one that’s just right for a new screensaver.

Fuji Shibazakura Festival (Japan)

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Skagit Valley Tulip Festival (Washington, USA)

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Flower Carpet (Belgium)

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National Cherry Blossom Festival (Washington DC, USA)

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Canadian Tulip Festival (Canada)

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What is your favorite springtime or flower celebration?

February Reader Appreciation Giveaway

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Happy February! It’s time for another Reader Appreciation Giveaway. In keeping with the theme of Valentine’s Day and love, I’m giving away four totes loaded with romance books and swag because I love my readers!

Want to win? Here’s how:

Each week, visit my website and look for the I ♥ READERS graphic (see below).

I HEART READERSOnce you locate the graphic, fill out this form or send an email to Jacki@JackiDelecki.com.

I’ll announce the winner and post a reminder about the scavenger hunt on my Facebook page each Wednesday throughout February!

Good luck and thanks for being a Jacki Delecki reader!

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Christmas Romance Extravaganza Giveaway

unspecifiedHave you read my historical Regency romance novel A Christmas Code? In celebration of the holidays, you can download the book for free, plus more than 150 fantastic romance novels from an amazing collection of authors – and win over $1,000 in prizes!

To enter the giveaway and download your choice of ebooks, follow this link:  http://bit.ly/christmas-rom

The Christmas Romance Extravaganza is open through December so be sure to check out all of the available ebooks.

Wishing you a joyous holiday season!

#amreading #amwinning

Celebrate December

11Although Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa fall toward the end of December, the twelfth month of the year feels like 31 days of festivities…and with good reason. December is jam-packed with noteworthy celebrations besides more well-known holidays.

Don’t miss any of these festivities. Some are silly, some are serious, but all of them fall in December.

December 5 – Repeal Day commemorates the repeal of the 18th Amendment and the end of Prohibition.

December 6 – St. Nicholas Day is the feast day of St. Nicholas.

December 9 – Christmas Card Day honors Sir Henry Cole, an Englishman who designed the first commercial Christmas card in 1843.

December 13 – Milad un Nabi commemorates the birth of the prophet Muhammad.

December 21 – Winter Solstice marks the start of winter and is the shortest day of the year.

December 23 – Festivus is a non-denominational holiday inspired by a Jerry Seinfeld episode.

December 24 – Chanukah (also Hanukkah), known as the Festival of Light, is a Hebrew celebration which runs through January 1.

December 25 – Christmas is a Christian holiday honoring the birth of Jesus.

December 26 – Boxing Day, also St. Stephans Day, is based on a Middle Ages practice in which alms were distributed to the poor.

December 26 – Kwanzaa is an African-American celebration of “family, community and culture” which runs through January 1.

What special occasions do you celebrate in December?

9 tips to survive holiday shopping

shoppingAre you a Black Friday shopper, battling the masses to get in on super deals, or do you prefer to purchase holiday gifts from the comfort of home on Cyber Monday? Whatever your preference, this upcoming weekend is one of the busiest times of the year for shoppers.

Did you know this weekend includes Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday? Retailers and merchants focus an enormous amount of time and research to cater to shoppers’ preferences and patterns.  According to Fact Retriever, retailers use satellite images of retail parking lots to predict earnings and rely on psychological triggers such as music, visuals and key words to entice shoppers. Read 38 Fascinating Facts about Holiday Shopping for more details.

Holiday shopping can be stressful. It is time consuming and prompts financial anxiety. There may also be concerns about finding the “perfect” gift, obligatory gift giving and trying not to lose sight of the real meaning of the season. Here are nine tips to help you survive–and maybe even enjoy–holiday shopping.

  1. Make a list and check it twice. Jot ideas for gifts so you don’t wander aimlessly. Having a list can also help you determine your budget.
  2. Decide on a gift-giving theme. Have fun by deciding to purchase gifts according to a theme – books, crazy socks, food & cooking, gardening, music.
  3. Buy in bulk. No need to stress about giving each person an individualized gift. If you find an object you think people would enjoy, buy one for everyone on your list.
  4. Be realistic about your budget. Know what you can afford to spend and plan accordingly. If finances are tight, get creative and give handmade or homemade gifts such as jams/jellies, baked goods or coupons for services such as babysitting, yard work, etc.
  5. Give an “experiential” gift. Give a gift that allows people to enjoy a special experience – cooking classes, travel, skydiving. Even dinner or movie certificates are great!
  6. Give of your time, talent or treasures. You don’t have to buy something to give a meaningful gift. People may be even more appreciative of gifts such as preparing a special meal or recipe, piano lessons, creating a painting or handing down a beloved family heirloom.
  7. Don’t shop when you are tired, hungry or pressed for time. Dealing with long lines, crowds and no parking spots is bad enough, but the experience is even more unpleasant when you’re not at your best. Avoid peak shopping times (such as weekends), fuel up before you go, take your e-reader for long waits in line, leave the kids at home and focus on the spirit behind your gift.
  8. Shop online. Save time and money by shopping online. Be sure to allow sufficient delivery time, especially if you are ordering gifts that need to be shipped.
  9. Have fun! Hand out mini candy canes to children (ask parents first!) and store clerks. Wear colorful holiday clothing. Admire the decorations. Indulge in a cup of hot chocolate and cookies. Get your photo taken with Santa.

How do you survive the holiday shopping challenge? Share your tips and strategies. Happy shopping!

 

What will be on your Thanksgiving table?

Americans celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November, which means you have exactly one week to finalize your menu, design a tablescape, confirm RVSPs and decide who will sit where to minimize family squabbles. Actually, that is Martha Stewart’s Thanksgiving To Do list. Mine is half as complicated, and I’ve even been tempted to join those individuals who dine out on Thanksgiving or have the meal catered.

Whatever you do or how ever you celebrate Turkey Day, there’s no arguing the joys of splurging on holiday favorites. Some families have secret recipes handed down from generation to generation while others serve up simple but much-loved dishes like the classic green bean casserole made with Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup and French’s French Fried Onions.

This year I’m breaking with tradition and making a Tangerine Curd Tart for dessert. No, I’m not going rogue just for the heck of it. Thanks to the bounty of the Meyer lemon tree I bought last February at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, I have beautiful fruit that needs to be harvested and used soon.

 

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If you’d like to serve something different to your family and friends, here is the Food & Wine recipe I’m using.

Tart shell

    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
1/4 cup ice water

Tangerine curd

    2 teaspoon finely grated tangerine zest plus 1 cup freshly squeezed tangerine juice (not bottled)
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar
12 large egg yolks
Pinch of kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature

Whipped cream

    1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar

Make the tart shell. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and, using your fingertips, blend it in until pea-size pieces remain. Stir in the ice water until the dough comes together; add another tablespoon if the dough seems too dry. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate for 1 hour.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to an 8-by-18-inch rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. Fit the dough into 13-by-4-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim the overhang. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Line the tart shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake for 40 minutes, until set. Remove the paper and pie weights and bake for 10 minutes, until cooked through. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.

Make the tangerine curd. In a medium saucepan, whisk the tangerine zest with the citrus juices, sugar, egg yolks and salt. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring often with a spatula, until the curd is very thick but pourable, about 30 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl and whisk in the butter. Scrape the curd into the tart shell and press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Refrigerate until set and chilled, 3 hours.

Make the whipped cream. In a medium bowl, beat the cream with the confectioners’ sugar until medium peaks form. Dollop on top of the tart and serve.

For the Thanksgiving purists around my table, I’ll also be serving pumpkin pie.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving Day classic food item ? Does your family have any non-traditional dishes, without which Turkey Day wouldn’t be the same?

Whatever is on your table next Thursday, I hope it is seasoned with love, friendship, good health and happiness.

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A Veterans Day giveaway in honor of ‘war dogs’

Friday, November 11, is Veterans Day. This national holiday is dedicated to honoring veterans of the armed services (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, National Guard, and Coast Guard) who served to protect our country.

Did you know Veterans Day originated from Armistice Day, a holiday enacted in recognition of WW I soldiers? Click HERE to read more about the history of Veterans Day.

In addition to honoring the men and women who have served, I like to acknowledge the contributions of canine service members. I’m not the only American in awe of “war dogs.”  There are several organizations dedicated to honoring and assisting active and retired military dogs.

 

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The United States War Dogs Association – features war dog history, information about the U.S. War Dogs Memorial, and how to participate with this organization.

Save a Vet – provides adoption and rescue support for military and law enforcement working dogs.

Operation Military Care K9 – collects and distributes care packages to military working dogs and their handlers.

Kevlar for K9s – works to provide bulletproof vests for working canines.

 

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If you would like more stories or information about military working dogs, check out these sites or click HERE for a full listing of military working dog organizations/resources.

Dogs of the Navy SEALs

The Dogs of War

Canines in Combat

10 Things You Might Not Know About Soldier Dogs

Dogs of War: 23 Facts You Never Knew About Military Working Dogs

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As an author, I’ve incorporated my passion, respect and enthusiasm for working military dogs into my contemporary romantic suspense fiction. Sergeant Nick Welby and his bomb-sniffing golden lab are leading characters in Men Under Fire, Book 3 in the Grayce Walters series.

This book is one of more than 60 titles featured in the Military Romance Book Giveaway, which includes a Kindle Fire. If you’re a fan of military heroes and heroines, be sure to enter for a chance to win.

 

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In honor of Veterans Day, I’m giving a way an ebook copy of Men Under Fire. For a chance to win, simply comment on my Veterans Day Facebook post. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/2fD26DI

 

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DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte

If you follow social media, you may have noticed that Pumpkin Spice Latte has become synonymous with autumn. Starbucks may have started the trend, but several other chains have jumped on the #PSL bandwagon, including McDonalds and Dunkin’ Donuts. There are even memes poking fun at the seasonal phenomenon.

meme-1 meme-3 1347109851224_4697955While the chain drinks are delicious, they are also expensive and tend to be high in sugar and calories. Here’s a quick and easy recipe to whip up your own Pumpkin Spice Latte…and this one has real pumpkin in it!

pumpkin-spice-latte-ff1 cup milk
2 tablespoons pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup hot espresso or strong brewed coffee
Sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Combine the first five ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and heat until hot. You can also use a small saucepan. Whisk vigorously until the mixture is foamy. Pour coffee or espresso in large mug and add the milk mixture. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon.

Click here for a Skinny Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy pumpkin? Share your suggestions and recipes with other #PSL fans.

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