Friday, July 8, 2016

Merry Christmas!! ... in July!! | We Talk to Ourselves...a Lot! by Loree Lough and Cerella Sechrist

This month, we got to talkin’ about The Winter of 2015, when the Mid-Atlantic was slammed with 3-1/2 feet of snow in a 24 hour period. Which led to some reminiscing about how we celebrated Christmas, and we thought… Why don’t we start a brand new “July – We Talk to Ourselves…a Lot!” tradition! Drum roll please as we present our First Annual CHRISTMAS IN JULY party!

A (really, really) Brief History of Christmas in July:

There are plenty of theories about how this festive event began, but our favorite is the story of the Irish tourists who, during a July 1980 trip to South Wales’s Blue Mountains got so excited at the sight of snow that they convinced their hotel owner to host a Yulefest party. It was such a hit that he repeated the event, which caught with restaurants, resorts, car dealers, nightclubs, and retail sales of every type…worldwide!

The “We Talk to Ourselves” blog just wouldn’t be complete with one of our tasty recipes…


And it just wouldn’t be Christmas without some cool (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves!) “We Talk to Ourselves” gifts for the blog-post drawing…a $100.00 value! (On Monday, July 18, we’ll choose a random winner from the names of those who comment, below.)

One lucky commenter will win the following Christmas prize package:
  • Celtic Woman Christmas CD
  • A Very Special Christmas CD
  • The Piano Guys: A Family Christmas CD
  • Set of two “Reindeer in Sweaters” ceramic mugs
  • Box of assorted Christmas cards/envelopes
  • A $10 Starbucks gift card
  • Paperback copy of THE FIREFIGHTER'S REFRAIN by Loree Lough
  • Paperback copy of THE PARIS CONNECTION by Cerella Sechrist


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Feel free to share this link with all your book-loving friends, and good luck in the drawing!

Tune in for our August post because, well, trust us…it’s be HOT!



About Loree:

With nearly 6,000,000 books in circulation, best-selling author Loree Lough's titles have earned numerous 4- and 5-star reviews and industry awards. She splits her time between her home in Baltimore and a cabin in the Alleghenies (where she loves to show off her “Identify the Critter Tracks” skills). The release of The Firefighter's Refrain (#3 in the “Those Marshall Boys” series for Harlequin's new Heartwarming line) brings Loree’s number of books in print to 105! Loree loves to hear from her readers and answers every letter, personally. Visit her at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and www.loreelough.com!


About Cerella:

 CERELLA SECHRIST lives in York, Pennsylvania with two precocious pugs, Darcy and Charlotte, named after Jane Austen literary characters. Inspired by her childhood love of stories, she was ten years old when she decided she wanted to become an author. These days, Cerella divides her time between working in the office of her family’s construction business and as a barista to support her reading habit and coffee addiction. She’s been known to post too many pug photos on both Instagram and Pinterest. You can see for yourself by finding her online at www.cerellasechrist.com. Harper’s Wish, Book #1 in her Findlay Roads series, is her third Harlequin Heartwarming novel.

116 comments:

  1. Hi, everybody, we're so glad you could stop by! We're looking forward to seeing what you think of an annual Christmas in July blog...and who will win this amazing "it's never too early to start planning for the holidays!" prize package. And if you're so inclined, feel free to share a favorite Christmas recipe of your own (NOT a requirement to win the prizes)! Wishing you a fantastic Friday and a wonderful weekend!

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    1. I hate July weather and thinking about Christmas always makes it seem better.

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  2. Great giveaway, and oh, yum, the recipe...

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    1. One of the best things about that recipe, Liz, is the fact that the entire house (even the attached garage!) fills with a tantalizing, welcoming aroma that lasts for hours. Wishing you a great and restful weekend!

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    2. Loree, I think you're right - I could make this cider for the delicious scent alone!! Drinking it would just be a bonus!

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  3. Merry Christmas in July, Ladies! What a great prize pack. I don't think I've ever seen a hot apple cider recipe where you actually make the cider. Usually it's just spices added to apple juice. Definitely going to have to try this one.

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    1. Not the quickest recipe in the books, but certainly worth every minute it takes to make it! (And your HOUSE will smell terrific!) Have a beautiful weekend, Carol!

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    2. Loree never does things by halves, does she, Carol? I think the cider recipe will be worth the extra effort! :)

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  4. My family celebrates Christmas in July by giving each other yard sale finds! Never knew there was an explanation to its "existence!"

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    1. That's such a great way to celebrate Christmas in July, Liz - better deals than Black Friday! :)

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    2. What a cool idea, Liz! We might have to start a similar tradition...and clean out some overstuffed toy boxes! Enjoy your weekend, m'dear!

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  5. I love Christmas in July :) I've been reading Tara Randel's upcoming novella for the Heartwarming authors upcoming holiday anthology and it really has had me craving Christmas! A camp in Lake George, NY, as a Christmas themed week in July and it's the best time to book a site. Great idea!

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    1. What a perfect way to celebrate this month, Karen - by reading Heartwarming novella that takes place at Christmas! I also love that Hallmark airs their Christmas movies in July. Not that I want to rush summer, but it's kind of fun to think about Christmas in the middle of a heat wave! :)

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    2. You just gave me a great idea: Instead of 35-40 people for a big sit-down dinner on Christmas Day, maybe we'll split the celebration in half: 20 or so people for a Christmas-themed BBQ, and 20 or so for the sit-down... Or not. LOL Still, it'd be fun to have a party in the summertime, complete with brightly-wrapped packages! Enjoy your weekend, Karen!

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  6. Christmas in July is so fun! Thank you for this blog and your sweet books. The cider sounds delicious.

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    1. Give that cider a try, J! You won't be sorry! Good luck with the giveaway!

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    2. My only regret about that cider is...I can't bottle the aroma! Have a great weekend, J!

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  7. Love the notion of Christmas in July. Am currently enjoying that celebration on the Hallmark Channel. Used to manage a bookstore/Hallmark shop in my wild youth, so accustomed to having Christmas ornaments appear in July. Fascinating to find out how it technically began. Though I think Hallmark may have been ahead of those Irish tourists. The recipe sounds wonderful. Thanks for another fun blog. Happy weekend.

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    1. Me, too on the movies, Muriel. I love Hallmark!

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    2. I have to bargain with Ron - every Mariners game I sit through, he'll endure a Hallmark movie.

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    3. I'm with you, Ladies! Love those Christmas Hallmark movies, ANY TIME of the year!

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    4. I so agree, Muriel! Those Hallmark Christmas movies are great, especially this time of year! Our daughters' school used to host a Christmas in July event--in June, right before school let out. Kids donated toys and whatnot to be given to children in homeless shelters. A big hit for all concerned. As for that deal you worked out with your husband? I might try that for each tennis match, golf tournament, or fishing show I endure! (Stay tuned for the success/failure ration! LOL)

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  8. Thank you for the recipe! Love your books! Can't wait to read more!

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    1. So glad you stopped by, Sandy! Hope you'll enjoy the recipe as much as you enjoy all the terrific Heartwarming stories! Good luck in the drawing, and have a great weekend!

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    2. Thanks, Sandy! I always appreciate your comments! Have a great weekend and good luck with the giveaway!

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  9. Thank you for the recipe! Love your books! Can't wait to read more!

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  10. I love the idea of Christmas in July, it is my birth month so it is double the fun. My sister used to do a beach themed Christmas party at her house on the lake it was so much fun. The cider sounds delicious but I will have to wait for the weather to cool down some here before I make any.

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    1. Happy Birthday! You know your last name has a Christmassy ring to it too ;)!

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    2. Oh, Darlene, I LOVE the idea of a Christmas-themed party in July! And Rula is right - your name has such a lovely, Christmas sound to it, too! :) Have a wonderful weekend and happy birthday!

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    3. What a great idea for a birthday party! That recipe is a go-to when those oddball cool-weather nights roll in...whether it's wintertime or not! And Rula is right--anyone with "Holley" for a last name just has to be a Christmas-lovin' gal!

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  11. I have a question---where did you find The Piano Guys CD? I saw them on PBS and so wanted to buy some copies for myself and my daughters. That being said, I love Christmas in July. Maybe thinking about snow right now will make our 104 degrees today less hot. Once where I lived "Christmas in July" meant a group going out to help fix up homes for the elderly. But recipes and books---can't get much better. Thanks, you two.

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    1. Loree got the CD at Amazon, Roz. I love The Piano Guys! But what I love even more is the idea of helping out the elderly, as a means of spreading holiday cheer no matter what time of year. I'll raise a glass of cider to that!

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    2. I 'Googled' them and found a few CDs at Amazon, Roz. I've always lied the Piano Guys and wish I'd ordered a collection of their music for myself! I'm trying to adopt your attitude: Thinking Christmas in July will make the 100+ temps seem cooler. Hey, it's worth a try, right! Love the idea of fixing up homes for the elderly!

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  12. What a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas in July!

    Terrific post, Loree and Cerella!

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    1. Thanks, Kate! Since July 4 has passed us by already, it seemed like a fun way to celebrate this month!

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    2. Thanks, Kate! We hope your weekend will be filled with cool breezes and bright colors. Thankfully, we won't need to hope NO SNOW for...for a few more months, anyway!

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  13. Merry Christmas in July! My sons have been practicing Christmas songs on their violin and cello for an upcoming performance at a community dinner.I'm always ready for a celebration, no matter the season!

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    1. Oh, the violin and cello are my favorite instruments, Amie! I'm jealous that you're getting to hear such beautiful music this month! Enjoy it!

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    2. LOVE Christmas songs played on the violin! Wish I could be the proverbial bug on the wall when your sons perform at the community dinner. Have a marvelous week, Annie, and good luck in the drawing!

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  14. Love the recipe. I've never made from scratch but I'm going to this year! I like remembering Christmas past as it's fun and makes me feel cooler. It was 100 yesterday in the Deep South! We could melt huge glaciers in no time! Hugs to you Ms. Loree

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    1. You absolutely should try this from scratch, flower! Valencia orange and brown sugar in addition to the apples - mmm, what's not to love?? Do try to keep cool in that Southern heat, though. You might need to ice that apple cider! :)

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    2. You'll love this recipe, flower! It seems intricate and time-consuming, but really, it isn't. And as I've said time and again, the aroma that'll fill your house is as tantalizing as the flavor! Stay cool down there in the deep South, and big hugs to you, too!

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  15. What a fun idea! :)

    Congrats on both of your books. They look wonderful.

    Loree--105 books! That's amazing!

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    1. Thanks, Patricia! Have a great weekend!

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    2. Cerella and I make a great team, always have, always will. I think that's because we have so much in common, including our writing styles! As for the blessing of 105 books my out there, I have to credit READERS for that! Readers, and talented editors like those at Heartwarming, whose confidence in me and willingness to help me put that final 'shine' on each story... Good luck in the drawing, Patricia, and here's hoping your weekend is wonderful!

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  16. I wouldn't have thought the Christmas in July story would have been so relatively recent! Merry, merry and thanks!
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. I know, it's fun trivia, isn't it, JHolden? Good luck with the giveaway!! Have a great weekend!

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    2. We felt the same way when we learned about the 1980 date, holdenj! (There are other reports out there claiming earlier dates, but since we enjoyed the Irish tourists story so much, we decided to highlight it. Have a great weekend, and good luck in the drawing!

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  17. Great post as usual...and yummy recipe! I always wondered how Christmas in July got started!

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    1. I did, too, Rula, which is why I turned to our trivia expert, Loree! I love when she shares these little things with us! Have a great weekend!

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    2. If only I could parlay this so-called trivia talent when I play the game! LOL

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  18. Love the Christmas in July idea. I'll have to try out that recipe, it sounds great. I sometimes start Christmas shopping in July. I need to this year because we've added 4 more family members this year.

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    1. Here's my email if you need it.
      linda dot henderson70 at yahoo dot com

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    2. Thanks for your email, Linda - it's always helpful to have! Adding family members is a good thing. But you're right, you might need to start shopping early! :) Have a great weekend!

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    3. Once upon a time, Linda, I started shopping in July. By Halloween, I'd purchased everything, and it was all wrapped and labeled by Thanksgiving. These days, I consider myself well-organized if I've made a list by Thanksgiving! LOL Congrats on the addition of four new family members! Wishing you luck in the drawing and a wonderful weekend!

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  19. Hi, Great idea to have Christmas in July and a thank you to all the authors who participated.

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    1. Thanks, Sharon E and good luck with the giveaway! Have a great weekend!

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    2. Cerella and I aim to please, Sharon, and if we can accomplish that with something new and fun, well, that pleases US! Glad you enjoyed the blog post, and hope you'll have a great weekend!

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  20. Oh boy, I love Christmas in July! One year, we actually celebrated it by putting up a Christmas tree, decorated it patriotically and exchanged gifts. Fun! Fun!Fun!

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    1. That's brilliaint, Melanie! I want to come to year house in July - I'll bring the apple cider! Lol :) Have a great weekend!

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    2. What a neat idea, Melanie! That won't happen here at my house because, well, I'm too lazy to decorate twice! LOL Have a good weekend!

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  21. I loved this post!! I've always started making and buying Christmas presents in July. Certainly by August. This year our county Symphony group are doing a fundraiser that is Christmas in July. I should share your recipe!!

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    1. Please share the recipe, Catherine! It'll be a hit, I'm sure! And what a great idea to hold a Christmas in July fundraiser for the local symphony! I admire you for getting started on your Christmas gifts--handmade and purchased. Makes me long for the days when I was that organized! Enjoy your weekend, m'dear!

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    2. Oh, I second Loree on this, Catherine - I love the idea of a Christmas symphony in July! That's a great excuse to enjoy Christmsa music out of season!

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    1. It is pretty cute, isn't it, LynnB! Wishing you a wonderful weekend and luck in the drawing!

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    2. Thanks, LynnB! Good luck in the drawing and have a great weekend!

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  23. Christmas in July is such fun! One year we celebrated with a tree, decorations, and a gift exchange. Thanks for sharing a great post and giveaway, ladies!

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    1. I want to do a gift exchange in July, Britney! I might have to suggest it to my friends and family! :) Have a great weekend!

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    2. I'm with Cerella...I want to do a gift exchange in July, too, Britney! What a nice way to distract ourselves from heat and humidity! Stay cool this weekend!

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  24. Sounds like a good thing. Christmas in July has been a thing for me ever since I was a kid as we gathered things for missionaries.

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    1. What a great thing to do...gathering things for missionaries! And what a great time to do it: Christmas in July! Have a beautiful weekend, Connie!

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    2. What a lovely way to celebrate Christmas in July, Connie! Hats off to you for the missionary gifting!

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  25. We all need more Christmas is our lives, especially when the temperatures were over 100 where I was visiting. I read Firefighters's Refrain on the plane coming home. Great characters. It made a long flight go by quickly.

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  26. We all need more Christmas is our lives, especially when the temperatures were over 100 where I was visiting. I read Firefighters's Refrain on the plane coming home. Great characters. It made a long flight go by quickly.

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    1. Happy to hear you enjoyed the book, Beth, and that it made the flight pass more quickly! Have a happy weekend, and good luck in the drawing!

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    2. Great choice of a book for your plane ride home, Beth! Loree's books make perfect airplane reading because it helps the time "fly"! ;)

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  27. Many places where I live do a Christmas in July. Today on my last leg of getting home a local store/ barn had set up a Christmas in July theme. They set up one of the huge outdoor balloons along with a white Christmas tree decorated and other items on the wagon as I drove by. Now I will have to stop up and check it out! Pam

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    1. Snap a picture of that white Christmas tree if you get a chance, because I'd love to see it! Enjoy your weekend, and good luck in the drawing, Pam!

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    2. Pam, that sounds awesome - that store sure knows how to celebrate Christmas in July! Good luck with the giveaway!

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  28. With everything going on today I would be thrilled to win this Christmas In July package. I'm a big Celtic Woman fan.

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    1. I could listen to those gals play/sing all day long, Molly! Hope your weekend is wonderful, and good luck in the drawing!

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    2. Me too, Molly! The Celtic Woman CDs are great. Good luck with the giveaway!

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  29. Christmas anytime is fine with me! The give away if perfect. It contains two of my favorite things. Celtic Woman and anything written by Cerella Sechrist. I am a big fan of both!

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    1. You have great taste in books and music, Susan! It just so happens those are two of my favorite things, too! Enjoy your weekend, and good luck in the drawing!

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    2. Thanks, Susan! You're a sweetheart! Good luck with the giveaway!

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  30. My boys would like this recipe. I have to pass on it. They can enjoy it when I am not around. I am allergic to cinnamon. I have wondered over the years about who came up with Christmas in July.

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    1. Found this cinnamon substitute one of my favorite cookbooks...a gift from my mother-in-law called THE GRANDDAUGHTER'S COOKBOOK:

      Per teaspoon:

      1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or ground allspice.

      I haven't tried it, but it sounds like it'd taste pretty good! Bet it'd smell lovely, too!

      Wishing you a wonderful week, Cheryl, and much luck in the drawing!

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    2. I think Loree's suggestion of the nutmeg would be a great alternative here, Cheryl! What a bummer that you're allergic to cinnamon though!

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    1. It's a great distraction from 98 degree (real time!) temps and 100% humidity, isn't it! (Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU Mr. Carrier for inventing the air conditioner!) Hope your week's end and weekend are wonderful, Nina!

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    2. Glad you enjoyed the idea, @Nina's! Good luck with the giveaway and stay cool!

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  32. I love this recipe thanks and thanks for the chance to win
    Penney

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    1. I think you and your family will enjoy the cider as much as mine does! Wishing you luck in the drawing and a wonderful weekend, too!

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    2. Enjoy that cider, Penney, and good luck with the drawing! :)

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  33. I love Loree's Books! And Christmas in July is such a neat idea! I hope to never go through another winter like 2015 again! This past winter was so much more milder.

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    1. You have great taste if you love Loree's books, Michelle! :) I'm with you - I never need another 2015 winter again. But celebrating it in July is nice when you don't have to worry about blizzards!

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    2. I agree, Michelle... An inch or two of snow is okay, provided it doesn't come with temps that makes it stick around until it turns all gray and ugly. Wishing you a marvelous Monday and luck in the drawing!

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  34. Good giveaway. The cider sounds awfully good

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    1. The cider recipe is delicious, JoAnn! I recommend it! Good luck with the giveaway, too!

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  35. Good luck to everyone that entered. Great prize

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    1. Thanks, @Nina's! Good luck to you!

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    2. You'll LOVE the cider, Nina! Here's wishing you a wonderful week and luck in the drawing!

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  36. Good luck to everyone that entered. Great prize

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  37. Replies
    1. Sharing recipes is one of my favorite things! The sages say "Misery loves company", but I say "Food lovers love company!" LOL

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  38. It's going to be hot, hot, hot this week in northwestern Wisconsin - Thursday, heat indexes of 110. Thinking about Christmas may make things feel cooler. Thanks for the recipe and a chance to win.

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    1. Whew, and I thought the 99 degrees we're supposed to have this weekend in southern PA was hot enough! I don't envy you those temps, Tina, but I do wish you good luck with the giveaway!

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    2. I was born 'n' raised in southeastern Wisconsin, Tina (Kenosha), so moving to Baltimore was a big adjustment. Today the actual temp is 98; with the heat index, it's over 100. Bleh! Wishing you comfy days and cool nights...and luck in the contest!

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  39. I love Christmas! I have decided that this year I am making everyone's gift so I need to start yesterday!:)

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    1. What a lovely idea, Jody! I'd love to see some photos of the gifts you'll make!

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  40. DRUM ROLL, PLEASE...

    ANNOUNCING THE WINNER OF THE "CHRISTMAS IN JULY" prize package: AMIE DENMAN!

    If you'll send your mailing address via Facebook private message or to loree@loreelough.com, we'll get your package into the mail asap!

    Congratulations, and we hope you'll enjoy every li'l item in the box!

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  41. Whohoooooo!! I can't believe I won this awesome package. Thanks, ladies!

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