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Are You Ready for Some Football Food?

If you follow this blog regularly, you know that I’m a bit of a football fan.  Okay, more than ‘a bit’.  It stands to reason that this is my favorite time of they year–those few weeks before the opening kick-off when we’re all still in the hunt for the NCAA championship or the Lombardi Trophy.  But there’s more to football than just watching the game or listening to the marching band.  There’s food.  Tailgate food, specifically.

Next week, the fourth book in my Out of Bounds series, Sleeping with the Enemy, will hit e-readers and bookshelves.  To publicize it, I created fun recipe cards that double as book marks.  The recipe we put on the back is a great football snack whether you’re tailgating or camping out in front of your big screen.  Since I can’t send you all a bookmark, here’s the next best thing:

Thanks to Su at Earthly Charms for the beautiful recipe cards.

Thanks to Su at Earthly Charms for the beautiful recipe cards.

Here’s the scoop on Sleeping with the Enemy:

Dot-com millionaire Jay McManus is discovering that owning a pro football team like the Baltimore Blaze isn’t easy. An anonymous blogger is out to destroy his reputation, and now his team is being sued by its own cheerleaders. If Jay’s not careful, he could lose big—and not just financially.

Bridgett Janik’s brother may play for the Baltimore Blaze, but she’s not thrilled to be defending Jay McManus, the man who broke her heart. It’s bad enough she has to mingle with Jay during games, but working beside her former lover may be too much for her body—and her heart—to resist.

Jay’s determined not to let Bridgett slip away from him a second time. But, as the two follow the mysterious blogger’s trail, secrets—both past and present—are revealed, and Jay and Bridgett must decide if their relationship can be something more than just sleeping with the enemy.

Get your copies here:

Apple iBooks
Barnes & Noble
Google Books
Powell’s Books

Best of luck to your team this season!!

Where Did the Years Go?

It seems as though every day I’m reminded my kids are growing up and away from their youth. Recently, for example, my son announced he’s decided not to play football his senior year of high school. My husband took it like a champ–better than most dads would–as my oldest explained his reasons for walking away from a sport he loves. I’m okay with his decision and I support him one hundred percent, but it was another door closing on his childhood and I couldn’t help but feel sad.charlie flag football 2

We enrolled our now almost eighteen year old in organized sports when he was three, and we’ve enthusiastically spent every weekend at one field or another for the past fifteen years. Although he’s still playing baseball, I’m not sure how I’ll handle not seeing him on the sidelines come fall at the Friday night football games. I wonder how he’ll handle it, too. I do know he’ll learn as much from walking away from the sport as he would have by sticking it out for another year. He’s growing up and making decisions on his own and that’s a very good thing.

Besides baseball, we still have the youngest and the wonderfully entertaining sport of lacrosse, but I’ll miss the pigskin and seeing my little man in shoulder pads. What I’ll miss more than anything are the years that went by way too fast. Oh, Father Time, slow down a little, would you please?

Where Has The Time Gone?

My kids are growing up too fast. Our weekends used to be spent rushing from one sporting event to another. We still do that, but not nearly as often. Case in point, my son’s football games are on Thursday and Friday nights now, so Saturday is free. My daughter isn’t doing a sport this fall and therefore our Saturday and Sundays are wide open.

And I HATE it!IMG_0256

I know. I’m as shocked as anyone would be. My husband thinks I’m crazy, but I can’t stand passing ballparks and football fields where scores of little kids and their frazzled parents convene knowing we don’t have to be there.

“But we can go to Athens and see the Dawgs play,” my husband says. Well, yes, we can and we do. But it’s not the same.

“We can go to the lake, get stuff done around the house, do whatever we want,” he continues. But I’m still not convinced.

When my oldest was three, I scoured our area for organized sports that he could participate in and found one not too far from our house. I bought us all Yankee t-shirts (even though I can’t stand the Yankees) because that was the team he was on. That long ago season seems like just yesterday and I can’t believe we are phasing out of that part of our lives already.

Yes, there will be baseball and lacrosse in the spring and we’ll be back out there again (thank goodness), but for now, on these beautiful fall weekends, I’m feeling melancholy.

Am I crazy??

Where Did Thanksgiving Go?

“Black Friday, black Friday, everybody loves black Friday!”

Thanks to Kohl’s Department Stores, I can’t get that obnoxious little ditty out of my head.  As if I needed another reminder that today is the official start of the holiday shopping season. Yep, only 30 shopping days left.  Perhaps you’re one of the estimated 152 million people who’ve already been shopping this morning. Or last night. Maybe, you’ve got all your shopping done.  Yes, I know there are those people out there.  One in particular will call me this weekend to let me know of her superior, Martha Stewart like, shopping skills.

Except this year, I’m not going to let it get to me.  I’m taking a stand.  I’m clinging to the last vestiges of Thanksgiving. You know, the actual holiday we celebrated this weekend.

When did we lose Thanksgiving?  It wasn’t long ago the last Thursday in November was a restful day when family gathered to eat too much, drink too much, and watch too much football. (Note to husband:  I know you think there can never be too much football, but this post is geared toward women readers.)  Yep, Thanksgiving Day was always the boring, restful, reprieve before the frantic holiday season.

Now, the Thanksgiving holiday is simply a time to fill our bellies and plan our strategy for late night shopping runs.  We comb through ad circulars while stuffing the turkey.  We ready the car, not for the long trip home from Grandma’s, but to fill it with gifts. We nap after dinner, not because we’ve overindulged, but to ready ourselves for the melee sure to follow in a discount store parking lot later in the evening.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good bargain as well as the next gal.  I’m just not willing to get out of my pjs to get one.  Sorry kids. Nope, you won’t get me out among those crowds, especially when OSHA has to issue warnings to retailers to protect their employees from hordes of overzealous shoppers.  I’ll sit (or sleep) this one out, thank you very much.

Will I miss the deals?  Hardly.  Many retailers have begun to offer Black Friday prices BEFORE Thanksgiving.  In fact, you can shop on Thanksgiving Day if you want—22 million folks did last year. Forget about parades with hot air balloons and marching bands.  Forget about the tryptophan daze of a turkey dinner. Nope, all of that is relegated to second place when it comes to bargain hunting.  Soon, folks will simply snap up their turkey and sweet potatoes at a mall food court so as not to miss a good deal.

Oh wait—that’s already happening!  Bass Pro Shop was open all day yesterday, treating customers to turkey they’d deep fried out in the parking lot.  (Note to husband:  If you had gone—even for a little while—you’d be eating your Thanksgiving dinner there for the rest of your life.)  Walmart and several other discount stores were open yesterday as well.

And I think that’s kind of sad.

If you were out there among the millions shopping already this weekend, l hope you got everything you were looking for.  I hope the deals were outstanding.  As for me, I’m sleeping in and enjoying my post-Thanksgiving breakfast of cranberry pancakes with a side of leftover apple pie. For dessert, I’m going to enjoy George Clooney in The Descendants.  Tomorrow I’ll take advantage of Small Business Saturday and pick up some gifts. Happy Black Friday!  Shop til you drop!

How about you?  Do you miss the old fashioned Thanksgiving? What was the best deal you found out there?

Football, Family Traditions, and Legends in the Making

My family and I went to the Georgia Bulldogs football game on Saturday where they beat the snot out of the Auburn Tigers. We did the whole experience. We went to the corner of the field at the end of the game and cheered on the players as they went to the locker room. One of the kids even got a sweaty glove! They had their picture taken with the quintessential Georgia fan who paints his baldhead with a bulldog for every game and also with “Russ,” the UGA stand-in for the unexpectedly departed UGA VIII. They even rang the bell on North Campus—a tradition after every Georgia victory.

All in all, it was a great day and a wonderful tradition for our family. Both my husband and I went to the University of Georgia where we met and fell in love. After such an awesome day at our almamater, it got me to thinking about Penn State University. Our family takes great pride in being a fan of Georgia football. We have a well-respected coach and an iconic program. My memories of the University are so intertwined with my memories of Georgia football, I’m not sure how I’d feel if one or both were embroiled in scandal.

Of course, the verdict is still out on all fronts, but I feel for the alumnae and their families who, like us, have grown up loving the traditions around the esteemed football program. The victims of the scandal are the ones who deserve our most heartfelt support, but the alumnae and fans are left feeling…lost and not sure where to place their allegiance. I’d imagine they feel like I did when I realized Santa wasn’t real and that my mom was the Tooth Fairy—shocked, saddened, and very disappointed.

We have wonderful friends who are PSU grads and huge fans of the program. For their sake and for the sake of the victims, I hope everyone responsible is brought to justice. If we take anything away from this developing scandal, I hope it is the knowledge that sometimes doing the right thing, both morally and legally, is what being a true legend is all about.

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