I absolutely love Christmas, and MJ Schiller is definitely helping get me ready! Please welcome her back!

For this Five For Friday I want to get you in the mood for the holidays, so I’m sharing Five Fun and Useful Christmas Tips.

  1. For Christmas Drinks- 

Freeze whipped cream on a cookie sheet, then use cookie cutters to make fun shapes for hot chocolate.

This one works for any time of year. To keep drinks from becoming watered down, make ice cubes from ingredients. For instance, freeze tea in ice trays for serving iced tea. At Christmas, though, you can make things special by suspending items in ice. As an example, for my pineapple mimosas I’ll freeze strawberries in pineapple juice. Last year I used small plastic containers and put cranberries and sprigs of rosemary in them to make festive cubes for my punch bowl. To get that suspended look I filled the containers halfway with water and froze them, then added berries and greenery, covered with water, and refroze.

  1. For Wrapping Paper-

To keep your wrapping paper in line, here are two tips. Save toilet paper rolls, cut a slit on one side, and they make perfect cuffs to hold the ends of your wrapping paper down. Love this one!

In addition, use a clear hanging bag/dry cleaning bag, (the kind that zip and have a bottom), to corral wrapping paper. Place rolls side by side in bag and hang in a closet. You save space, and it’s easy to bring out a number of rolls at the same time when it’s time to wrap.

  1. Place Card Holders-

To make easy, festive place card holders, glue two miniature candy canes together to form an easel (long sides together, curved sides down in J position so that you can slide a card through them.) You can decorate them further by tying a ribbon around the top section. These are great at parties for holding cards with the names of the dishes on them, so you don’t have to answer a zillion times, “What kind of dip is this?”

  1. For Small Ornaments-

Use egg cartons to store smaller ornaments.

  1. For Frequent Fragrances-

Put a dot of Essential oils on the inside of your toilet paper roll. Every time it spins, the scent will be rejuvenated.

Hope this gives you some new ideas and that you have a wonderful holiday season!

And since we’re talking about the season, I’ll share my holiday romantic suspense, UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR.


Dylan Fisher is an EMT and part-time Santa Claus at a mall in Denver, Colorado.

He has logged plenty of time with children sitting on his lap asking for anything from the latest electronic gadget to a week’s worth of homework passes, but he never heard anyone ask for what little Delaney Kelly asked for on one snowy night in December. A dad! When Dylan’s eyes search the crowd for Delaney’s mother and land on Keira Kelly, the paramedic almost finds himself in need of a little CPR. She is stunning!

Keira Kelly is still grieving over the loss of her husband…

… but a reckless driver has her thinking about nothing but survival as she’s headed home from the mall. When Keira wakes in the hospital to find a hunky EMT at her bedside, she begins having a few thoughts that would put her on Santa’s Naughty List for sure!

Neither is ready for what is coming UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR!

When she finds out the EMT is only hanging around because the police believe someone is out to get her, she’s not sure what to think about his kindness. Is he helping her because he wants to, or because he feels he needs to? And what about the man who rammed her car, could he have had something to do with her husband’s death?


Max didn’t expect the explosion. He heard the tremendous, almost rhythmic sound of metal crunching as the car cartwheeled down the side of the cliff like a preschooler at recess. The thunderous BOOM of the sedan going up in flames caught him by surprise. He was rushing to peer over the edge, but was stopped dead in his tracks by the blast. By the time he got to the side of the ridge, the fire had already engulfed the vehicle. The flames licked hungrily at the night sky like so many devils’ tongues and consumed the car with such vehemence that, within seconds only a black outline of the frame remained.

Looking back on it, standing on the side of the road was an incredibly stupid thing for him to do. Anyone could have seen him as they whizzed up the side of the mountain, and perhaps even noted the dents in his car and copied down the license plate number. But he wanted to see the results of his handiwork. Besides, he wasn’t thinking at all clearly that night.

It gave him a raw thrill to chase the sedan over the edge of the cliff. He followed Kevin home from work, desperate, not knowing what he would do to solve his problem. At first he only picked up speed to keep pace with Kevin, but then recklessness began to pump in his veins. He pulled out into the lane meant for on-coming traffic, not even realizing what he was doing. His eyes darted everywhere, his pulse raced, frightened witless as the scenery flew by. Luckily, for some reason, the usually well-travelled road lay deserted. Thinking he wanted to pass him, Kevin slowed down, no doubt cursing the crazy driver beside him. But he only matched the sedan’s speed. Kevin glanced over, and in the flash of a streetlight, seemed to recognize him.

He must have thought ol’ Max didn’t have it in him. But I did.

He remembered the changing expressions on Kevin’s face as he began to understand his adversary’s intentions. At first his brow had been furrowed in confusion. Then his jaw went rigid and he tightened his grip on the wheel, glaring at Max, who feinted with his car. Kevin had to swerve onto the shoulder before correcting the path of the sedan. That was when Max’s prey stared back, his eyes hollowed by fear. A wild laugh burst through the air and Max wondered at first where it came from, before realizing it belonged to him.

The vehicles jostled, and tires screeched. When Kevin’s car finally did careen over the edge of the cliff, Max could have sworn he felt the heat of the gigantic explosion, although he knew that was impossible. For him it was like an orgasm, a wave of pleasure and relief. Kevin Kelly was no more.

If only that had been the end of it.

Buy Links

Amazon – myBook.to/UponAMidnightClear

B&N – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/upon-a-midnight-clear-mj-schiller/1117301357?ean=2940148890393

iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/upon-midnight-clear-real-romance/id805679618?mt=11

Kobo – http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/upon-a-midnight-clear-8

Author Bio

MJ is a retired lunch lady in the heart of Central Illinois. My gosh! Can you get more folksy than that? She met her husband at the University of Missouri-Columbia and now she has a twenty-three-year-old (how did that happen?) and three twenty-one-year-olds. That’s right, triplets! She loves to read, karaoke (where she can pretend she is a rock star) and spends WAY too much time on Facebook. She grew up in St. Louis and still has family there.

Author Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/MJ-Schiller-Romance-Author/286382241460365?ref=hl

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mjschiller/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mjschiller

Tumblr: http://mjschilz.tumblr.com/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/mjschiller

Google + : https://plus.google.com/u/0/110797684036386240402/posts

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/M.J.-Schiller/e/B009JOQFQQ/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6479377.M_J_Schiller


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