Soft and Chewy

One of the things that Brian likes to do to relax is bake. And he’s been known to create some wonderful desserts (like red velvet cake, cupcakes, brownies, etc.,). He even subscribes to several cooking/baking magazines. But, there are some times when he just doesn’t have the time to whip up a sweet treat with a lot of steps. And it’s times like that when he goes to our freezer and pulls out some pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough balls that we always keep on hand. (We have a long-time friend who runs a wonderful catering business in Rochester MN–called Catering By Design—and they sell their cookies frozen, so we stock up from her regularly.) He just puts a few of those onto a cookie sheet, pops them into the oven and 10 minutes later we’ve got fresh, hot cookies—straight from the oven.

Of course, this brings up that age-old question—how do you like your chocolate chip cookies? Soft and chewy…? Thin and crispy…? (Or maybe you’re like me…and just have to have one raw…?)

Minnesota Nice

There’s a phrase that’s commonly used to describe people who live here…they’re called “Minnesota Nice.” It means that Minnesotans will often go out of their way to help others…and this is particularly true when it comes to helping out their friends…!

We were recently helping some friends who’d gone away for a few days by going over to their place to feed and water their cats, check for packages/mail…and just generally keep an eye on their place. We’ve done this for them many times before (as they have for us), so knew the code to open their garage door to access their house.

On this particular morning, we went over to their place…but the code wouldn’t work. We tried it multiple times…but to no avail. We were stumped…because it had always worked before. Returning home after our unsuccessful venture, Brian did an online search to see if he could find what the issue could be—and if there were any suggested solutions. He found that, indeed, this is a common problem—cold temperatures can affect the functioning of these keypads. A quick look at a weather app showed that our current outdoor temperature was 17 degrees…!

One of the suggested solutions was to cover the entire unit with a heating pad—letting it warm up—and then trying it again. We figured it was worth a try, so back to their place we went…heating pad and extension cord in hand. (Luckily, they do have an outdoor electrical outlet.)

So, there we stood…holding a heating pad in place over the keypad to warm it. Finally, after about 10 minutes, we tried the code again. VOILA…the code worked, the door opened…and we were able to get inside to feed the cats—who were VERY happy to see us…!

I can’t even imagine what any of their neighbors must have been thinking as they watched this…!

Kindle First

The official release date for my new San Francisco-based thriller THE NIGHT BIRD is February 1.  BUT, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can get the e-book for your Kindle for free right now.  The book is one of six novels selected for the “Kindle First” program in January — and it’s already #1 on the US Amazon Kindle Bestseller List.

Not an Amazon Prime member?  You can also enter the Goodreads giveaway.  We’re giving away 100 (yes, 100!) free copies of THE NIGHT BIRD, so enter before January 31 to be part of the drawing.  You can enter here: