New Website!

Hi All!

Exciting news – I am in the process of revamping Three Hundred Pages!  I am currently working on a brand new and improved website at!  I’m hoping it will be ready to launch by the end of this week.  This shouldn’t affect your subscriptions, but if it does, you may just have to enter your email address again on the new home page (just click on the link above.)  I’m working hard on making the site more user-friendly, adding some more categories, and also creating some fun free printables!

I sincerely hope to see you all over there, and am hoping to make some new friends, as well.  Enjoy the rest of your week!



Whole 30, Day 1

The Whole 30 is something I’ve wanted to try for at least a year. The problem was, no one wanted to do it with me. Not my boyfriend, (who, by the way is supposed to support me more than anyone), not my sister, not my best friend. I tried to convince my four year old it would be good for us, but he insisted that he doesn’t like vegetables (yes he does,) and that he only wants to eat candy (not going to happen.)

I suppose I could have done it alone, but everything I’ve read about the Whole 30 made it seem like a community or a least a single person to be a support system makes the chances of success higher, and success is something I’m definitely hoping for.  So last week, when I was on Pinterest and noticed my friend Jessica pinning healthy recipes, I squealed a little and asked her if she would be interested in doing the Whole 30 with me.

Unlike my boyfriend, sister, and other friends, Jessica said yes, and we decided to start today to give us time to meal plan and shop for food.  And here we are, Day 1.

What I’m eating:

Breakfast was 3 eggs poached in chicken broth with spinach, a handful of blueberries, and hot water with lemon juice

Lunch was a big bowl of chili with extra meat and zucchini instead of beans and noodles.  I made a big pot of it yesterday so I’d have leftovers.

Afternoon snack was going to be cashews but then I noticed on the label it said peanut oil and that is a no-no!  Instead, I had an apple.

Supper is in the crockpot – turkey tenderloins with roasted vegetables.

So far, I feel pretty good and haven’t noticed any uncontrollable cravings, but just to be on the safe side, I’m going to pack up all the “bad” food in my house and sent it to my boyfriend’s so I’m not tempted to eat it.

From what I’ve read, day 2 is much harder, so we’ll see how tomorrow goes!  Have any of you done the Whole 30?  Do you have any tips, tricks, ideas or recipes to make things go smoothly?

Plotting a Novel

Something I was not aware of until after I wrote my first draft is that there are ways of plotting a novel before you begin writing that makes the entire process of writing/revising a novel SO MUCH EASIER afterwards. One of the easiest ways of plotting a novel is credited to Michael Crichton. It’s super simple, and it uses 3×5 index cards. Every time you think of an idea for your novel, whether it’s lines of dialogue, a plot point, an interesting fact about a character, you simply write it on an index card and throw it in a shoe box. After you have several cards in the box, you can then go through and arrange them until they’re in the order you want.

Once you have the basic outline, it’s easy to go in and make new cards to fill in spaces, or add depth to the story. When you can’t think of anything else to add, it’s time to start writing. What makes this easy is that every time you sit down to write, you can grab a card and know exactly what you need to accomplish that day. Simple and easy. I wish someone had told me about this years ago! It almost makes me want to go back and start all over from the beginning. Almost.

Has anyone tried this? How does it work?

Writing a Book


As some of you may or may not know, I am writing a book. It’s very hard work. Before I began this process, I thought the hardest part would be writing the story. You know – figuring out what was going to happen and writing it down.

As it turns out, that is the easy part. It’s fun making up characters and deciding what’s going to happen to them. It’s fun making them say funny things, and serious things, and angry things, and happy things. It’s fun making them do brave things, and stupid things, and fall in and out of love, and make new friends, and lose friends, and experience new things. What’s hard is after the story is written – reading it and realizing that it needs A LOT OF WORK. It needs structure, and conflict, and all kinds of stuff that you never even thought about when you were writing it. Passages need to be rearranged and reworded. Sometimes whole chapters and characters need to be cut from the story. It’s hard, tedious work. And. it. takes. forever.

The hardest part, I’ve found, it finding time to do it. When I was writing my first draft, I was great at making the time. I couldn’t wait to write. As soon as I shut my son’s bedroom door at night after putting him to bed, I’d race off to my laptop and would spend hours writing. I’d often stay up until 1 am or later without even realizing how late it had gotten. But housework cannot be ignored forever. Friends, either. Most will be patient with you for a few months while you’re writing a first draft, but when it’s finished, you’re expected to be a good friend again. You’ll need to eat, also, and sleep, and at some point, you will run out of clean underwear. And that’s when you realize that you have to find some sort of a balance.

Revising has definitely been the hardest part for me. I’ve lost count, but I think I’m on my 14th set of revisions. That means going through and re-writing and editing the whole book 14 times!!!! Sometimes I think I’m getting somewhere; sometimes I think I should just delete the whole thing and start over. At some point, (hopefully), I’ll be okay enough with it to say I’m done. But it’s going to be awhile yet.

Getting Back Into Reading


Being a single mother means that by the time I get around to reading a book I really want to read, one of three things usually happens:

1.) I stay up way too late reading – to the the point that no amount of green tea will make me feel like a normal human being the next day; 2.) I listen to the audiobook version so that I can clean at the same time, and end up missing major plot points because the vacuum or the running water was too loud, or 3.) I’m too tired to read and end up watching several minutes/hours of whichever TV series I’m currently obsessed with (right now it’s Sons of Anarchy. I’m on Season 2.)

I was thinking today, after one of my library patrons mentioned that she didn’t want the audiobook version of a book, because she’s trying to “get back into reading,” that maybe I should do that, too. There’s something about reading words on a page that creates a different kind of experience than is possible through any other format. I never enjoy audiobooks the way I enjoy reading a book. Audiobooks are awesome, especially for busy people, or people with long commutes, or people who, like me, feel guilty sitting around reading a book when there are things to be done. But maybe we all could benefit from taking a few minutes (or hours) out of our day to sit down with an actual book. What do you think?

Break from Blogging

I know I’ve been terrible about updating the last couple of weeks and I apologize for that.  I’ve had a lot going on in my personal life.  My son and I moved out of our family home due to some major problems that my husband and I have been having, so the last week or so, we’ve been staying with a friend until we can get our own place.  It’s been really hard on my 9 month old son, having to adjust to new surroundings, and for me, too.

I’ve decided to take a small break from blogging – probably for the rest of the month – so that Liam and I can get settled and figure stuff out.  I promise I’ll be back soon, and will post all of the fun projects I’ve done in the meantime.

I hope you and your families enjoy the holiday season!


Spice Boil

Here in Wisconsin, it’s very humid in the summer and very dry in the winter.  This can cause dozens of problems come November – itchy, flaky skin, stuffy/runny noses, dry, cracked lips and hands, etc.  I’ve found that the best way to lessen these irritations is to add moisture.  Some people use humidifiers to accomplish this, but because I’ve never found one that isn’t a pain to use/clean/refill constantly, and because I’m too cheap to purchase one of the expensive ones, I’ve found the easiest alternative ever – boil water!

For the last two or three years, I’ve been simply boiling water on my stove to steam up my house.  Around the holidays, it’s fun to add a few spices and let it fill the entire house with its delicious aroma.   It’s wonderful.  (Note: please only do this if you’re going to be home.  It probably isn’t a good idea to leave your stove on all day while you’re at work.)

Another way to do this, if you’re uncomfortable with leaving your stove on ALL DAY, even if you are home, is to use a crockpot.  Plug it in, turn it on high, and put the cover on for an hour or so until it starts to boil.  Then, remove the cover to let the steam fill your house (and skin).  When the water gets low, just add more water.

Here are some delicious scent combinations to add to your water:

Apple Cinnamon – Just add a few sliced up apples and a few cinnamon sticks to your water. You can also use a tablespoon or so of ground cinnamon if you don’t have cinnamon sticks handy.

Christmas – Add some pine needles or pine cones, a handful of cranberries and a few cloves to your boiling water.

Winter Spice – Add a sliced orange, a dash of cinnamon, some cloves and a few sprinkles of nutmeg.

Chai – A vanilla bean, a dash each of ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and a few cloves.  You can also toss in a bag of black tea for good measure if it suits you.

For a Cold – Add a few drops of Vicks VapoSteam, just like you would to a humidifier.

Clean – For a fresh, clean scent, and to remove odors from your home, add a few cut up lemons and a few tablespoons of baking soda.

Calm – Add a vanilla bean and a few drops of lavender essential oil or a few sprigs of lavender.

Vanilla Bean – Simply add vanilla beans to your boiling water.

Coffee Shop – Add your choice of coffee beans to the water.

Clean Laundry – Add a splash of your laundry detergent to fill your home with that clean laundry smell.

Does anyone have any other ideas?

Creating Characters – Part 1

Often, the most important part of your story will be your characters. Sometimes, you decide to base one or more of your characters on someone you know. This can be a great way to start. You already know most of the things about them, anyway – how they act, how they speak, what they would or wouldn’t do. But unless you’re writing non-fiction, you will probably have to come up with some of the characters on your own.

Deciding Who Your Character Will Be:

The first thing you must do when creating a character, is to decide on basic defining characteristics. Will your character be male or female? Approximately what age group will your character be in? Is he or she a small child, or a teenager, or a young adult, or middle-aged? Maybe he or she has just had their 100th birthday. Once this has been decided, you must decide what this character will look like.

Maybe your character will be tall, dark and handsome. Maybe not. Maybe he or she will wear glasses, or have blue hair. Maybe your character has a pug nose or bushy eyebrows or very tiny ears. Find that one thing that will set your character apart, and use it. Readers like your characters to have flaws. It makes them more believable, and it’s very important for your audience to relate to your characters. The success of your novel will depend upon this.

How does your character speak? Is his or her voice very low or very high? Does he or she speak in complete sentences or fragments? What words does he or she use often? You need to be able to hear in your mind what this character will sound like, because this will help you immensely with dialogue.

Each character needs to have his or her own distinct personality. Maybe he or she is one of those happy-go-lucky people who always has a smile on their face. Or maybe he or she is very shy and quiet. Your character could be very funny, or dry, or cynical, or romantic, or even some odd mixture of everything. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Try something, and if it doesn’t seem right, change it. Getting to know your characters often continues long after you’ve begun working on your novel, and sometimes, you’ll have a flash of insight and suddenly just “know” that your character has a fear of dogs, or an interest in aviation. Go with it. It’s easy to go back and change things if you need to.

Naming your Character:

Once you’ve figured out who your character will be, you need to name him or her. Try to pick a name that suits them. Often, naming your characters can be one of the hardest parts. But sometimes, you’ll just know. You know that the sweet old lady living down the street is named Betty, or the cute little baby in the stroller is named Davy. You don’t know how you know that, you just do. Sometimes, all you need to do is get to know your character a little better, and the name will just come to you.

Happy writing!

Frozen Samoan Dessert

I am a huge fan of chocolate in any form, and am constantly looking for new ways to incorporate it into my diet.  Recently, I came across this delicious dessert by a talented lady from My Creative Stirrings.  It’s a frozen Samoan pie.

Frozen Samoan
1 (16.5-oz.) Pillsbury® Create ‘n Bake Refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
1 quart French vanilla ice cream (block form preferred)
2 ½ cups coconut, toasted* and divided
10 fudge covered graham crackers, broken and divided
14 hard macaroon cookies, broken and divided
1 cup carmel sundae syrup, divided
½ cup miniature chocolate chips, divided
Smucker’s® Chocolate Fudge Magic Shell® Topping

Heat oven to 350º F. Grease the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. Spread the cookie dough evenly across the bottom of the pan and bake at 350º F. for 18-22 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Spread 1/3 of the coconut, 1/3 of the chocolate chips, and 1/3 of the caramel on top of the cookie layer.

Using a large butcher knife slice the ice cream block into 1-inch sections. Take half of the ice cream sections and spread evenly across the chocolate chip layer. If necessary, break ice cream segments up to make sure all gaps are filled. Layer half of the fudge covered graham crackers, half of the broken macaroon cookies, 1/3 of the chocolate chips, 1/3 of the coconut (press into the ice cream), and 1/3 of the caramel on top of the ice cream. Take the last half of the ice cream sections and spread evenly. Repeat the broken cookie layer, adding the rest of the coconut. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the freezer for 2-4 hours or until frozen throughout.

Before serving let the pan sit out for 10-20 minutes to soften. Run a knife around the edges of the pan. Release the springform. Store covered leftovers in the freezer.

*Tip: To toast coconut, spread on cookie sheet; bake at 350º F. for 7 to 8 minutes or until light golden brown, stirring occasionally. Or spread in a thin layer in microwave-safe pie pan. Microwave on LOW for 4 ½ to 8 minutes or until light golden brown, tossing with fork after each minute.  Created by

Yield: 16 servings