Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Guest Posts & Giveaway with two of our favorite authors: Sara Humphreys & C.H. Admirand!!!

Sara Humphreys ~ Sharing the Christmas Spirit 

Thank you so much for hosting C.H. and I today! Let me start by saying that I absolutely adore the Christmas season and it’s my favorite time of year. When I was little the season itself seemed like torture because it was the all-important Christmas morning that took center stage.  

My sister, Megan and I would always wake up well before sunrise and although we were desperate to go down to see what Santa had left for us, my mom and dad had a firm rule—Nobody goes downstairs before they do! The other rule was that Christmas morning didn’t start until six a.m. I remember sitting in the doorway of my parent’s bedroom with Megan and watching the red numbers on the digital clock. Let me tell you, that last minute felt like it took F-O-R-E-V-E-R! 

However, as I’ve gotten older and had children of my own, it’s the season leading up to Christmas Day that I take pure joy in. The day itself is nice but nothing beats the feeling that Christmas spirit in the air for a solid month. 

Our Christmas celebrating begins the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. Every year we drive to a tree farm in Connecticut to cut down our Christmas tree. My four sons usually argue over whose turn it is to cut it down and now that they’re all teenagers, they’re actually strong enough to do it.   

Hayrides, hot cocoa, and family. What’s better than that? 

Of course, as soon as we get home, the decorating begins. Usually A Christmas Story or It’s a Wonderful Life are playing in the background while we tangle with the lights and reminisce while pulling out different ornaments. Once it’s all decorated, and the fire is burning in the fireplace, I grab a glass of wine and sit in the living room enjoying the soft glow of the tree. 

Perfection. 

As for Christmas morning, I have continued our nobody goes downstairs before mom rule with my own children. In fact, when my sons were little, I told them that if they broke the rule and snuck downstairs, Santa would know they did it and all of their presents would disappear.  

Not everyone’s presents. Just theirs. 

Okay. I know that’s kind of evil but it worked. They still haven’t broken that rule and I doubt they ever will. 


To celebrate the release of UNCLAIMED, I’m giving out a full set of all 5 Amoveo Legend novels (e-book or print-winner’s choice) to one lucky person who leaves a comment. Just tell me what your favorite Christmas tradition is. 


Merry Christmas!!!

Sara Humphreys 

Contact info for Sara: Website  /  FacebookTwitter




C.H. Admirand ~ Sharing the Christmas Spirit 


Thanks so much for inviting Sara and I to guest blog today! We’re delighted to share some holiday spirit with you and your readers. ;)
There are so many different ways of spending the holidays, and it’s only once in a while that I think of tossing tradition aside and heading for warmer climes. But let’s not go there right now, first I’d like to share some Christmas spirit with you…my favorite part about the holidays is definitely hands-down the time spent in the kitchen and the scent of cookies baking, vanilla swirled through my Grandmother’s confectioner’s sugar icing, and a hot cup of tea or coffee to wash down the yummy goodness. Well, that is if it’s early in the day—after dinner it’s nice to have a sip of something more potent with the freshly baked cookies…eggnog with a “shtick” as my hubby’s Grandfather used to say—he preferred a shot and a half of Schenley (Rye Whiskey). If we have it, a nice glass of cream sherry, or Irish Coffee;)
I love the warmth that radiates from the kitchen through the house right to the front door. I don’t always notice the scents that mingle from what I’ve baked, but it’s the first comment I hear when one of my guys walks in the door from work—they have very discriminating noses that can name-that-baked-good as they inhale and follow their noses to the kitchen.
I used to have little helpers mixing, rolling out dough, and adding coloring to the icing, but those little helpers are all grown-up now. I don’t have anyone begging to lick the bowl—well unless you count our fur-baby Jameson. He is always underfoot when I’m baking and you can hear him getting closer because his doggy behind hits the floor with a decided thunk as he inches closer and closer to where I’m stirring and mixing whatever it is I’ve decided to bake. He waits patiently while I spoon out, scoop out and empty the bowl—eager for me to ask “Would you like to lick the bowl?” His eyes get really big and his tail starts to wag as he dives into the bowl, getting every last bit of batter. Yep our little black puppy rescued from a high-kill shelter in Georgia just loves his job of cleaning the bowl as much as our kids did when they were little.
I baked braided bread last night and this morning, he was right there watching and waiting while I punched down he dough and let it rise, but he didn’t get to lick the bowl last night—but he had a few samples of the bread first thing this morning. His little black nose just twitches in delight when he knows he’s about to get a special treat. Lucky Dog!
To celebrate my 15th book, I’m giving away signed copies of all three books: A Wedding in Apple Grove, One Day in Apple Grove and Welcome Back to Apple Grove to one lucky winner. Be sure to leave your email address, so I can get in touch with you.
Happy Holidays!
C.H. Admirand


Contact in for C.H. Website / Facebook / Twitter

78 comments:

  1. My favorite tradition is the xmas eve box filled w new jammies a holiday themed book and popcorn and goodies...& having 4 kids yes the no downstairs til we r is in effect as well happy holidays thanks for a chance

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    1. Love it Victoria! Our mornings start much later now that our kids aren't kids anymore. I do miss those days. Enjoy them while they last ;)

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  2. Good Morning Shonna, Wendy & LT! Thanks so much for inviting Sara and I to guest blog today. It looks so festive and pretty. Thank you ;) Can't wait to see you ladies in New Orleans and have some beignets!

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    1. Thanks C.H. we love having you both here. I'm looking forward to New Orleans- love that town

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    2. Wendy gets all the credit. She is the one that added the color and cute pictures. Can't wait to see you in New Orleans. Let's try to go to Cafe du Monde and try some of their beignets together.

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    3. Love the pics and color, Wendy ;) We are going to have to meet at the Cafe du Monde and share a plate or two of beignets ;)

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  3. My favorite tradition is Christmas Eve, sitting in my new pyjamas and drinking a glass of red while we just chillax, my hubby and I. We celebrate christmas on the eve here in Sweden, and my best time is when all is over and I can relax.
    Thanks for the giveaway & Happy Monday!
    //Linda

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    1. That sounds like a wonderful idea, Linda ;) This year our daughter, son-in-law, and darling grandson are coming over on Christmas Eve. We get to have them on Christmas Day every other year. Jackie-boy is 2 yrs. old and doesn't understand "chillax" yet. We're working on him ;)

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  4. My favorite Christmas tradition, also one I've carried over to my family, is everyone gets two gifts each on Christmas Eve. One is new pajamas and the other is a new book. My father started the new book tradition because he had to drop out of school before he learned to read, and he was determined that his children wouldn't suffer the same fate. So this was one way to encourage a passion for reading, it worked too.

    candineedham@yahoo.com

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    1. Your father is courageous as well as intelligent. To be able to read unlocks so many doors and he knew this. What a wonderful gift to have given to his children--and you're passing it on. My dad loved to read and whenever he went to the bookstore, we went too, books were always a favorite gift from dad.

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  5. Opening presents in the morning and watching xmas films (and doctor who) in the evening are my fav traditions. Another one is having xmas choc for breakfast. Thanks for the giveaways!
    Rachaelconstant@ntlworld.com

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    1. Hi Rachel! We met here last year ;) Love the idea of Christmas chocolate for breakfast, but do you mean chocolate as in the hot drink, or chocolate as in candy to eat?

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    2. loved the book you sent me last year by the way
      x

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  6. Great to meet another Mom of four! Merry Christmas, Victoria!

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  7. Hi Linda, Yes! Relaxing after the big day is great too.

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  8. Anonymous---LOVE the book tradition!!~

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  9. Hi Rachael--Santa usually puts chocolate in the stockings and it definitely gets eaten in the morning!

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  10. Thanks so much for hosting us today, Shonna!!!

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  11. My newest Christmas tradition (well 25 years of it) is to put the decorations up on the weekend after my daughter's birthday on the 5th. But my favourite and a long standing tradition is that we toast the family 'where ever they are' at 11 O'Clock on Christmas Day in the time zone we are currently dwelling.

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  12. My favorite tradition is one my kids actually created.. When they were little, I told them that they had to stay in their rooms until 7AM, because if Santa was running late and saw that they were already up, he might not stop. Sooooo my kids decided that they must spend Christmas Eve together (all night)

    They decided to all sleep in one room (not much sleeping going on) they would tell stories, read books, watch movies until 7AM rolled around. Cute while they were little but special because they still do it as adults. Last year they were all home at the same time for a mere 24 hours. TWELVE of them were spent in the same bedroom watching LotR extended version and waiting for 7AM to roll around. Fortunately they did allow me to join them.. They were 18, 21, 22 and 24 at the time..

    I am worried though, when they all get married and have children, will the room be big enough?

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    1. Oh my God!! Shauni--that is the most wonderful tradition!

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  13. Hi, Sara and CH!!

    My favorite tradition happens when we decorate the tree. The TV gets turned off, and Christmas music from every genre gets played. We decorate our tree with our home made ornaments, and balls in the color scheme we have that year. Last year was purple, blue and silver. The year it is red and silver. I have a wax warmer going with different scents, too!
    tonischneidt@comcast.net

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  14. We really don't have any Christmas traditions in our family and since the hubs and I were unable to have children I couldn't start any of my own. I guess just gathering together fora Christmas meal is the closest we have to a tradition.

    Robin
    Robbibird3@aol.com

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    1. Gathering for a meal with loved ones is the best part...

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  15. Wait, only one favorite tradition? But there are all of the Christmas movies (and I do mean all of them), baking the cookies and brownies, making Christmas tree decorations, setting up Christmas villages all over the house, piling everyone into the car to drive around looking at Christmas lights, letting the dogs open their presents first, the Gin Rummy tournament and the Scrabble tournament, the Christmas-shaped pancakes...How can I choose a favorite?

    sandra.h.machon@gmail.com

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    1. A Christmas Story and It's a WOnerful Life are my faves.

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  16. My favorite Christmas tradition is when we tell all the kids we are gonna wake up before them and we make it a contest. Love seeing their faces in the morning with so much joy.

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    1. Agreed!! Seeing the kids' faces is one of the best parts.

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  17. My favorite Christmas tradition is STILL saying some presents are from Santa. Gotta keep that child-like spirit alive.
    parabookworm [at] gmail [dot] com

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    1. yes! I have a sign in my front hall that says, "When you stop believing in Santa, you get underwear."

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  18. Making cookies with the kids for Santa
    jenn41080@yahoo.com

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    1. I am a terrible cook but I'll buy the cookies.

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  19. mine is a simple tradition,be all the Holidays season with the all entire family,be close to each other,have everyday dinner and after that its all night game time(cards,bingo...)until 3 or 4 in the morning..and all the days goes like that until the 6 January cause in Italy the Holidays goes until then..The last day is the January 6th and its Ephifany day:means that a old lady wicth will be bringinr at night time goodies (if you have been good) or charcoals(if you have been bad)...that is le last day for Holidays season...

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  20. the old Christmas movies !!!!
    merry Christmas!!!!

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  21. Definitely Christmas music & Christmas movies. Mom & I watch Christmas movies on TV all through December.

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  22. We have several traditions that I love. We always go looking at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve. We have cinnamon rolls every Christmas morning and me and the hubby always sit next to the fire Christmas night with a spiked cup of cocoa.
    We have the no one goes near tree in the morning before mom rule also, I told them the same thing you did, lol. Kids are older now but it still works, hehe.

    fsteph55(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Christmas lights--we go see those on Christmas eve before mass.

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  23. My favorite Christmas tradition is making cookies with my 3 boys.

    ruthmarie94(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  24. Sara my favorite was and still is Christmas Stockings! As a child it was such a thrill to dig into my stocking and discover what treasutes Santa left me. As a parent I adores watching my children discover their treasures...Thanks for the trip down memory lane. MERRY CHRISTMAS

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    1. My email... glittergirl54 at ymail dot com

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    2. Agreed! I always open my stocking last because it's full of treasures.

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  25. OMGoodness...I leave to start baking the Cream Scones for tomorrow night's book event at the B&N in E. Brunswick and come back and see the love and comments from readers! Romance Readers totally Rock. I'm going to let Sara do the direct replies this time and I'll do the separate responses since we're sharing the guest blog ;) Thanks for your responses and entries ;)

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  26. Ilona I love your tradition sounds like fun and if you have lots of relatives, one could end up toasting for quite a nice bit of time and by the time you're finished everyone should be relaxed and in a wonderful mood. I'm going to borrow your tradition if you don't mind :)

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  27. OMGoodness Shauni! I love that your kids created their own tradition and still like to get together for it. The more the merrier I always say , but you might need to move the furniture to the edges of the room and lay down a bunch of quilts and sleeping bags for the future ;)

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  28. My grandmother decided to accommodate the in-laws and celebrate Christmas on the Sunday before. We have a had a party for 65 plus years to see our aunts, uncles, and cousins. Yes it predates me.

    maryjo@maryjoburke.com

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    1. I love traditions that go on for decades like that.

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  29. Hey wolfquilter (aka toni) love the addition of changing color schemes each year and having warming incense. I was just listening to a record from my past while baking for tomorrow night--Sing Along with Mitch LOL! Loved it as a kid, love it more sharing it with our grandson. :)

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  30. Hi LadybirdRobin sharing meals and celebrating, toasting, however, and whomever you share your holidays with is what keeps you going through the dark days of Winter, IMHO. I'm still debating what to cook for Christmas Eve...might go with my grandmother's favorite Garlic Tomato Cheddar Cheese Fondue, crusty Italian and French Bread and lots of red wine ;)

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  31. Hey Sandy M...I'm totally borrowing your Gin Rummy Tournament! Love it. ;) It is hard to choose, isn't it?

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  32. Beth! What a great idea. I used to love watching our kids' faces on Christmas morning, well except for the one year our daughter was 2 and looked at her unopened presents and started to cry. LOL!

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  33. Alyssa! Love it! I still do and our guys just roll their eyes. Our sons still live home, saving for their own places, so it is kindof funny. BUT I do still leave a gift or two unwrapped, because we always told our three kids that those were the gifts from Santa ;)

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  34. Jenn a woman after my own heart. Baking keeps me sane and I love the way the house smells when I bake. I really, really, really miss baking cookies with my kids. Our grandson is 2 and wasn't interested in the baking part yet...maybe next year ;)

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  35. OMGoodness, Agnes, what a lovely idea. Having the holidays last all the way to the Epiphany! I love the part about the old lady witch bringing goodies or coal. ;)

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  36. Hi Anonymous - old Christmas movies are always playing here during the Holidays. My favorites are It's a Wonderful Live, White Christmas and Babes in Toyland (the Laurel & Hardy Version and the Annette Funnicello and Tommy Sands one from the early 60s )...OH and my favorite from when I was a kid...Rudolph! LOL

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  37. Hi Holly - I love watching the Hallmark Channel, especially this time of year. They have such wonderful Christmas movies on ;)

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  38. Oooh Christmas lights and spiked cocoa, Steph...sounds great! These days, I'm up way before our guys...it is hard to get used to seeing my DH and our two sons sitting there and they all have five o'clock shadows! Time flies!

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  39. Hey Ruth! Cool - second comment about baking cookies with your kids. A personal favorite of mine, that I really miss ;) Enjoy every minute of it!

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  40. Hey Glittergirl...your favorite is one of my DH's too ;) I still fill stockings for our guys and they still go for the stocking first ;)

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  41. Hey Mary Jo--waving from NJ ;) Your Grandma was ahead of her time, being so accommodating to the in-laws while at the same time creating a wonderful tradition for everyone to follow ;)

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  42. My favorite Christmas tradition is stringing popcorn and rolling peanut butter and feed balls for the animals. My family would always say that around the holidays we sometimes forget our furry and feathered friends. So we would pick a day to do something special for them. I have so many birds around my house, they all hang on my screen door waiting for the treats. :) LadyVampire2u AT gmail DOT com

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  43. Sara,
    For my own personal Christmas tradition I always watch IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE while I prepare food and have a glass (or two) of wine the day before Christmas.
    Cheers

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  44. decorating the tree together

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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    1. We used to save the very bottom of the tree for the unbreakable ornaments, but haven't had to do that in a long time--but this year we will since our darling grandson likes to touch ornaments. ;)

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  45. Watching my children's faces light up while they open that special gift they've waited for all year long! angelarosebooks@yahoo.com

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  46. this was an awesome turn out.. nothing better then when the author get really involved.. thank you all for coming

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  47. Shonna - we wore out the first two tapes we made of It's a Wonderful Life when it came on the TV years ago--before we had cable! LOL ;) Thank goodness we have a DVD of it. I love that movie.

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  48. Hey Angela, I miss watching for the surprise and delight as we used to call it. When our kids were little we used to attach a string from their bedroom door to the "gift" under the tree. That was fun too ;)

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  49. Hey LT! Waving from a snowy north Jersey! It was a great turnout. Thanks for inviting us ladies!

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  50. My favorite Christmas tradition is wrapping my pets treats the night before and coming down the next morning to see that they've already opened theirs! We all laugh. <3

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  51. Watching white christmas after thanks giving dinner

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