Dust Be Gone! 6 Tips for Staying Dust Free

Every time I turn around, it seems that a new layer of dust has collected on my furniture. Well, I say, “Dust be gone!” The dust in your home is made of carpet and clothing fibers, pet dander, dirt and grime from outside, and, yes, dead skin cells. Here are six simple ways to reduce the dust in your house.

Rugs and Mats, Inside and Out

An outside doormat encourages guest to wipe their feet before they enter your home. An small rug place inside will help remove even more dust and grime from the bottoms of shoes. Place sturdy mats and rugs inside and outside of every entrance to your home.

No Shoes Rule

Make a No Shoes Rule for your home. Remove your shoes and ask guests to do the same. Shoes worn outside carry in all manner of dirt, dust, and who-knows-what into your home. It’s just good manner to remove shoes when you enter your own or someone else’s house.

Magic Moisture

Feather dusters look nice, but they whisk dust into the air instead of collecting it. A cloth is better for dusting. Rather than using a dry cloth, which pushes dust around and causes it to billow into the air (to settle elsewhere), use a damp cloth to remove dust from furniture surfaces. I’m not saying wet… I’m saying damp. Barely dampen your dust cloth with water and wring it out as much as you can. The moisture will capture and hold the dust tight. Rinse the cloth often. Run it through the washer when you’re finished dusting.

Filter the Air

Your HVAC system has a filter that should be changed regularly. Check the owner’s manual of your system and make sure you are changing your filter often enough. It’s better to change it more often than less often, where dust in concerned.

Clean Air Ducts

Every room in your house probably has at least one air register. A few times each year, I use a dryer brush to clean as much of the air ducts as I can reach. There are professional companies that will come in and give your air ducts a thorough cleaning.

Murder the Mites

Dust mites are attracted to the dead skin and pet dander that ends up in your mattress and pillows. Wash your sheets and pillowcases weekly. Wash your mattress pads monthly. And several time a year, vacuum your mattress and run your pillows through a dryer cycle to keep them as clean as possible.

How do you keep dust from collecting in your home? Comment below so everyone can learn something new.

My Thoughts on Reading and a Book Recommendation

Educated by Tara Westover #Ad

I have always been in awe of books. Those who know me already understand this. Hardbound, paperback, digital, audio, the format is of little consequence. I am open to them all. With almost every story I read, I am once again reminded how books continue to open my world, open my mind, and open my heart. I am not well educated, nor am I well-traveled; however, my love of books and reading have given me more than mere entertainment. Reading the stories of other people, both fictional and true, have provided me a taste of other places, cultures, and experiences, and it is this “taste” that has taught me how very small my own existence is and how important it is for me to strive to shift and reshape, a better word might be broaden, my mind, my thoughts, my convictions, and my viewpoint. Just think, if you live in a world where everything is yellow, how would you ever know what green or red or blue looks like unless you allow yourself to step out of your yellow world? That example feels too simple, but it’s the best I can come up with at the moment. Books have helped me see this world as a more colorful place, and in seeing so many colors (I would never presume to have seen them all…yet), I am becoming a person who is more aware, more empathetic, more conscious, and more conscientious. This can only be a good thing. I’d even go so far as to say it’s an excellent thing; something everyone should attempt. Books allow me to walk in the shoes of others, allow me to imagine what life is like for people who are different from me. Books are gifts of knowledge, gifts to the imagination, gifts to the betterment and cultivation of my person, and almost every book I read leaves me in awe. And here we are, back where I started, so I will leave it for now. However, I do want to tell you about a wonderful book I just read.

I have always thought my childhood was tough, but after reading Tara Westover’s EDUCATED, I will have to do some reevaluation. Tara Westover was born in Idaho into a distinctly unconventional family; her father did not believe in public education, her mother was distrustful of doctors and the medical establishment. Tara Westover suffered psychological and physical abuse from mentally ill family members, and her experience is eye-opening. This book should be read by everyone. I don’t want to say much more as I don't want to diminish your reading experience with spoilers. EDUCATED will shock you… more than a few of Tara’s experiences made me gasp. This book will open your eyes to a world of religious fanaticism, survivalist ideology, bi-polar behavior and the enabling of that behavior, abuse in many forms, misogynism, and more, but it will also show you the power and invincibility of the human spirit and the importance of education, self-examination, and the persistence of self-development. All of us should strive to become better people, to rise above, no matter what circumstances we were born into. Read EDUCATED. Read it today.

As an Amazon, Nook, and iTunes Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 

This post may contain paid links.

Eggplant Tomato Parmesan Bake by @Donna_Fasano


Eggplant Tomato Parmesan Bake
I went to a local farmer’s market yesterday and bought eggplants, tomatoes, a red onion, and some peaches. Yum! Today, I made a veggie bake that turned out really delicious. Here’s the simple recipe:

Eggplant Tomato Parmesan Bake

4 baby eggplant, peeled and sliced lengthwise
2/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
1/2 of a medium red onion, sliced thin and separated into rings
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

1   1.  Preheat oven to 350° F. Fry the eggplant in two batches so the pan isn’t too crowded. To fry: Place 1 Tablespoon of the oil in a skillet and set over medium heat. Beat the egg in a shallow bowl. Place the breadcrumbs on a plate. Dip the eggplant slices into the beaten egg and then coat with breadcrumbs. Fry the eggplant until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the first batch to a plate and then add the other tablespoon of oil to the pan and fry the second batch.

2   2. Layer the vegetables. Spray an oven proof dish with baking spray. (I used a 10-inch quiche dish. Use your favorite dish.) Arrange half the eggplant in a single layer in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese on the eggplant. Spread a layer of onion rings over the eggplant and cheese. Cover the onions with the sliced tomatoes. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper to your taste. Add the remaining eggplant to the dish for the final layer.

3   3. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are baked to your liking. (I baked mine for 30 minutes as I don’t like my veggies to become too mushy.) Remove foil and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan over the top. Bake for 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Harvest time is very, very near! I love fresh vegetables. This simple casserole is easy and it lends itself to any kind of herbs or seasonings you might like to add. If you like spicy food, add a pinch of red pepper over the top. Or try a pinch of Italian Seasoning or oregano. If you like more cheese, add more cheese. If you like a different kind of cheese, add a different kind of cheese.

I hope you enjoy! What are YOUR favorite summertime veggies?

Magical Murmurations ~ @Donna_Fasano #Starlings


So much is known about starlings—their birdsong, their breeding rituals, their migration routes—but starlings participate in one practice that still remains a mystery. And it is called murmurations. How these birds swoop in such large clouds without colliding is unknown. Here’s a video I found on YouTube posted by National Geographic. I could watch this over and over. The behavior of these beautiful birds is fluid, graceful, magical, mysterious. I am utterly transfixed. 







I hope you enjoy the video!

This month, I’m featuring 2 books on sale.

Save 50% on FOLLOWING HIS HEART. The book is 99¢ and is available at these stores: Kindle  *  Nook  *  Kobo  *  iBooks




Save 66% on THE WEDDING PLANNER’S SON. This book is also 99¢ and is available for Kindle Readers. It is a free read for members of Kindle Unlimited.




As an Amazon, Nook, and iTunes Associate, Awesome Romance Blog earns from qualifying purchases. This post may contain paid links.


New Cover Reveal ~ His Wife for a While by @Donna_Fasano

Brand New Look ~ Same Romantic Story

Desperate Bachelor - Ben Danvers is about to lose everything―unless he finds a woman willing to become his wife. The terms of his grandfather's will are outrageous, but they are ironclad. Just when Ben is about to give up all hope, the last woman he ever expects to help him makes a startling proposal.

Bargaining Bride - Chelsea Carson offers Ben a deal he can't refuse. He can keep the family fruit orchard if he will make her one and only dream come true. But there are to be no strings attached in this deal, no messy emotions when it is over. Their makeshift marriage will be perfect―unless Chelsea allows love to bungle the plan.

What readers are saying:

“For readers who love romance, children, and surviving the odds… you won’t be disappointed.”

“Touching, enjoyable read.”

“…I would definitely recommend!”

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE NEW COVER? :) 

Find this Bargain-Priced eBook:






As an Amazon, Nook, and iTunes Associate, Awesome Romance Blog earns from qualifying purchases. This post may contain paid links.


Happy Mother's Day




To celebrate mothers everywhere, I am offering two 99¢ deals this month. Like me, many of you are still under stay-at-home orders so we won’t get to spend the day with our children and grandchildren. That doesn’t mean we can’t visit with them. I intend to video chat with my sons and my granddaughter.

Since you can’t see your kids, do something fun for yourself. This evening, I plan to cook shrimp and grits for myself and I’ll break open a bottle of my favorite wine. Yum!

Wherever you are, however you can, celebrate. This is your day! How do you plan to make today special for yourself?

Here are the Kindle deals I’m offering. Reduced prices will remain through the end of May and are available in Kindle Stores worldwide.




As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies from qualifying purchases. This post may contain paid links.


Magic Custard Cake #Recipe

I hope you and yours are well! Are you going nuts with this quarantine thing? I am. I’ve been reading, writing, chatting with friends on the phone… and I even dragged out my sewing machine to try my hand at making face masks. (See my favorite in a photo below.) I’ve also been cooking and baking. I saw this “magic” cake online and thought I would try. I liked it. I hope you will, too.

Magic Custard Cake

Ingredients:
4 eggs (whites and yolks separated), room temp
1 tsp white vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
8 Tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk, lukewarm
powdered sugar for dusting cake

Instructions:
      1.    Preheat oven to 325 F degrees. Grease and Line 8 inch x 8 inch baking dish with parchment paper.
      2.    Separate egg whites from egg yolks. Add the egg whites and the vinegar to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until stiff. Set aside.
      3.    In a medium sized bowl, beat the egg yolks & sugar until light (use a wire whisk or electric mixer, your choice). Add the salt, butter, and vanilla. Beat for two mins. Add the flour and mix it in until fully incorporated.
      4.    Slowly add milk and stir until everything is well mixed. Add the egg whites, a third at a time, gently folding in with a spatula. Repeat until all egg whites are folded into the batter.
      5.    Pour batter into baking dish and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the top is lightly golden. Cake will have a little jiggle in it. Don’t over bake as over baked custard tastes eggy. Cool completely and dust with powdered sugar before serving. Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Keeps for up to three days.

      Here's my starfish face mask: 

What are YOU doing to fill your time during the quarantine?

Only 2 days left of my April Sale.
WILD HEARTS OF SUMMER is just 99 cents.
Available for Kindle - Nook - Kobo - iBooks
As an Amazon and Apple iBooks affiliate,
I receive a few pennies from buy links used on this page.



Mother Teresa's ANYWAY Poem


Today I saw a quote that touched my heart. “Your capacity to allow people to live a truth completely opposite to yours, without shutting off your compassion for them, is a reflection of how powerful your love is.” I don’t know who said that, but those words had a profound affect on me. I have been engaging in a lot of political discourse lately and finding myself feeling very frustrated and irritated. I need to work on cultivating my compassion for those whose truth is completely opposite of mine. The quote reminded me of Mother Teresa’s ANYWAY poem. I’m posting it here for myself and anyone else who might need to read these wonderful words.

Mother Teresa’s ANYWAY Poem

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;
Love them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.


Use Library Apps ~ They're Free ~ They're Fun @DonnaFaz


During this time of self-isolation, I have wondered what I might be able to do to be helpful. I have been using my local library via its various library apps (the physical building is closed). I have been enjoying audiobooks, but there are also ebooks, magazines, and movies available for use. All free of charge. I thought I would alert people to these library apps and how to use them.

First, find your local library’s website online, and if you don’t have a library card, apply for one online. It costs nothing for you to apply for a card/account. The “apply now” button on my library’s website is easy to find:


Second, find the link on the website that allows you to download an app. Some of the apps available on my county library’s site are specifically for children which is great for those of you who have children at home. Other apps give you access to movies, magazine, and newspaper, just to name a few of the available resources. The “downloading and streaming” apps on my library’s site were easy to find:


I have also downloaded an app called Libby that allows me to search my library directly from my iPhone (rather than going through the library’s website). If you have an iPhone, click the Apple App Store icon, search for the library app used by your library, and click “get.” Libby and Overdrive are two very popular library apps. Once the app has been downloaded on your phone, click it to open. Then log in, using your library account number. Once you’re logged in you can search for thousands of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and other free reading material.

Library apps are easy to use, and best of all, they’re free! I hope you find this information helpful, and please remember to STAY HOME AND STAY HEALTHY.




DIY Hand Sanitizer ~ #Coronavirus Defense


All this talk of Coronavirus has me feeling nervous. I am planning to fly across the country next week and the last thing I want is to catch a bug. So I went to the store today for hand sanitizer—and the shelves were empty. However, I read online that I could make my own. Here’s my recipe:

DIY Hand Sanitizer

Ingredients:
2/3 cup 91% isopropyl alcohol
1/3 cup 100% aloe vera

Directions:
Measure alcohol and aloe vera into a clean glass mixing bowl. Use a wire whisk to stir until well combined. Pour the hand sanitizer into clean containers.

Yield: 1 cup (about 236 ml)

Other things you can do to avoid getting sick:
Wash your hands thoroughly and often.
Don’t touch your face.
Avoid shaking hands. Some people are bumping fists or elbows. I’m avoiding that, too as it is still skin-to-skin contact. Besides, people often sneeze into their hands and elbows. 

March Madness Sale #Kindle #99cents

March Madness 99¢ Sale

This month, I'm offering 2 books for under $1 each.
Price is good in Kindle Stores worldwide. 

Offer number 1:


What readers are saying about HER FAKE ROMANCE:
"I was in the mood for a light-hearted, romantic read and this fit the bill perfectly."
"A wonderful way to escape from your own reality."
"I started this book and couldn't put it down."

*   *   *   *

Offer number 2:



What readers are saying about DANGEROUS MEMORIES:
"If you enjoy Hallmark Mystery Movies, you'll love this book."
"Great romantic suspense."
"...well done, intriguing to the end."


As an Amazon, Nook, and iTunes Associate, Awesome Romance Blog earns from qualifying purchases. This post may contain paid links.





Simple Apple Cake #Recipe for #Foodies @DonnaFaz


I had some time on my hands, so I deep-cleaned my refrigerator. You know what I mean—I completely emptied it out, removed the shelves for hand-washing, wiped down the inside walls, and then put everything back. I threw away anything I couldn’t remember buying (pickle relish, cocktail sauce, creamed horseradish, etc.); the jars were nearly empty anyway. There were 3 apples in the crisper drawer that were on their last legs, so I decided to use them to bake a cake. I found a recipe in my Betty Crocker Cookbook and decided to fiddle with it. Instead of all white sugar, I used half white and half brown. I added some cinnamon and increased the apple content. All in all, I’m very happy with this Simple Apple Cake. I hope you like it, too.

Simple Apple Cake

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar 
1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 medium apples, peeled and grated (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped (for serving, optional)

1   1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch square cake pan with baking spray.

2   2. In large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and white sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in apples and spoon into pan. Spread out evenly.
3
     3. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool 10 minutes longer and then cut into squares. Serve warm with whipped cream (optional).

Other options: Feel free to toss in a half cup of raisins or a half cup of toasted, chopped walnuts… or both! I didn’t have them on hand when I made the cake or I’d have added them.

Newsletter #Giveaway! You have 48 hours only! Ends Feb 13th.

Newsletter Giveaway! 

In 48 hours, I’ll be sending out my Feb newsletter. Newsletter subscribers (only) will be eligible to enter to win: 1 signed paperback, 1 leather fanny pack, 1 novelty pen, 1 cotton tea towel with LOVE quotes, 1 pumice stone, 1 Bodycology fragrance mist, and 1 Bodycology moisturizing cream. To enter the giveaway, you must be on my mailing list. Join here today:


There’s only 48 hours to join the mailing list. My Feb newsletter will go out late afternoon on Feb 13th. To enter, all you’ll be asked to do is forward my newsletter to a romance-loving friend. Good luck to all those who enter! I will NEVER share your email address with anyone.

Here's a picture of what you could win:



#Recipe - Bacon Zucchini Fritters Plus 2 eBooks for You!

I've had one of those days today. You know the ones, where you’re feeling creative in the kitchen. I pulled some ingredients out of my refrigerator and pantry, and I wondered what I could make with them. I had bacon, a zucchini, Locatelli cheese, eggs, flour, you get the picture. I came up with a recipe that is so delicious I decided to write it down. When you write it down, you know it’s good.

Bacon Zucchini Fritters 

Ingredients:
5 strips of bacon, fried crisp, drained, chopped
3 cups zucchini, grated (leave the skin on)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced (slice a little extra for garnish)
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil for frying

Directions:
  1. Mix together all ingredients, except the oil, until well incorporated.
  1. Heat a frying pan on high until it’s hot, add oil to the pan, and then
    turn the pan down to medium heat. You want the oil almost to the
    smoking point.
  1. Use an ice cream scoop (a large spoon works too) to portion out the
    batter and fry in batches for about 5 minutes or until golden brown.
    Flip and fry on the other side until golden. Remove to a serving
    platter and keep warm.
  1. I serve these fritters as a side dish, garnished with thinly sliced
    scallions and a dollop of sour cream.
Serves 3-4

*  *  *  *



Bacon Zucchini Fritters is just one of the recipes you'll find in my Cooking In All Directions cookbook, a collection of 75 recipes for soups, salads, appetizers, main dishes, and desserts. The cookbook is available in these ebook outlets:






*  *  *  *

Also this month, I'm offering my Second Chance Valentine for just 99¢ – that's a $2 savings off the regular price. Here's more information about this sweet contemporary story:

As teens, Josie and Alex met under golden sunshine, frolicked in the surf and sand, and fell head over toes in love. But circumstances arose that ruined their one glorious summer, and Josie fled Ocean City with a broken heart.

Now Josie’s grandmother is ill and needs help with the family business, a thriving harbor-side diner called Joe’s Place. So after more than a dozen years, Josie returns to her hometown only to discover she has a 180 pound problem—Alex is the Kitchen Commander at Joe’s Place. 


Surely, Josie can work with Alex to keep the diner going and retain her dignity until her grandmother is back on her feet. However, when Alex’s little girl starts scheming, not a single heart will be safe against the twelve-year-old matchmaker.

This book contains bonus recipes from Joe’s Place!

This book is available for Kindle readers


As an Amazon, Nook, and Apple affiliate, I earn a couple of pennies 
on qualifying purchases when you use the links I have posted here.



Two Hearts in Winter ~ New Year Sale #99cents

Wishing All My Readers A Year Full Of Happy-Ever-Afters!


Book 2 of The Ocean City Boardwalk Series
Readers have called this book:
“…a tender tear-jerker.”
“…a wonderful, thought-provoking story.”

Save $3 ~ On sale for 99¢

Available for:
Kindle  ~  Nook  ~  Kobo  ~  iBooks
These international links should take you to your local stores.

 As an Amazon, Nook, and iTunes Associate, Awesome Romance Blog earns 
from qualifying purchases. This post may contain paid links.