Autumn Reads

A Single Thread
by Marie Bostwick

Driftwood Summer
by Patti Callahan Henry

The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series
by Alexander McCall Smith

Bloomin' Pumpkins

A pumpkin and fresh flowers are all you need to make a cheery fall centerpiece.

Cut off the top of a small pumpkin and hollow out the inside. Place a small can or glass of water inside the pumpkin and fill with popular fall flowers like zinnias, mums, or sunflowers.

Pumpkin Bread

½ cup + 1 Tbl. canola oil
1 ¾ c. sugar
3 lrg. eggs
1 15oz canned pumpkin
⅔ c. water
3 ⅓ c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
¾ c. coarsely chopped walnuts
¾ c. golden raisins

Mix together oil, sugar, eggs, and pumpkin in a large bowl. Stir in the water. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Add walnuts and raisins.

Use shortening to grease two 8x4x2" loaf pans. Divide batter evenly into both pans. Bake at 350° for 70 minutes.

Makes two loaves. About 16 slices per loaf. 156 cal. per slice.

Season's Change

Fall, more than any other time of year, speaks to me of new opportunities. While change can be uncomfortable, it stretches us to see what is possible. As I walk through the stages of life, I often find myself in need of courage. Courage to embrace the new experiences that change brings, and to grow beyond the familiar. Whether you're starting a new job, going back to school, or facing the empty are a few words of wisdom I've collected along the way.

"Be brave little Piglet." - Winnie the Pooh

"Courage means being scared to death but saddling up anyway." - John Wayne

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow." - Mary Anne Radmacher

Book Club on a Budget

With summer vacations over and fall upon us, don't you wish you could relax with a good read? Now is a terrific time to join a book club or gather some girl friends and start your own.

October 10th kicks off National Reading Group Month, so why not treat yourself?

If money's tight and you can't afford to buy a new book each month, consider this option.

First I invited eight women to join a book club.

With nine women attending, we decided to purchase three books of the same title each month and divide the cost. That meant each member paid $3 to $5 a month.

We divided into three groups of three. We paired the fastest readers with the slowest. The fastest readers were the first to receive the new book. When they finished reading it, they passed it on to the next person. The slower readers received the book last. Some of the women read the book within a couple of days, and usually by the end of the second week the third woman in each group had two weeks to finish.

We met once a month, usually at my house, where we visited over a light lunch. Afterward, I served tea and we discussed that month's book selection.

At the end of the meeting, we each put our names in a basket and had someone draw three names. The three women picked received one of the books to keep.

We then read a synopsis of 4 or 5 books and chose one for the coming month.