Saturday, October 22, 2016

Have You Heard of Pocket Letters? Want to Swap?

Have you heard about Pocket Letters yet? They're the creative invention of crafter Janet Lane. Janet was looking for a way to share easy-to-mail cards similar to Project Life Cards and she came up with this wonderful idea. It's taken off like wild fire and Janet's Pocket Letter Pals Network now has tons of members from all over the world.

Just to give you an idea of what a Pocket Letter is, I'm including a PL that I recently did for a Halloween swap with one of my Pocket Letter pals. What's great about this idea is that it uses readily available trading card sleeves. You can get these sleeves just about anywhere and they're super inexpensive. Each pocket measures 2.5 x 3.5, which is the same size as an ATC/ACEO so it's extremely convenient! Pals go all out decorating, embellishing and adding extra goodies for their PL pals to use. It's an excellent hobby that fosters new relationships! There are even groups for kids, so your children can participate and make new mail art friends.

If you're interested in swapping Pocket Letters with me or my readers please feel free to leave a comment below! 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Emotional Paramedics by Susan Barton Book Tour Spotlight

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 7, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1536960322
  • ISBN-13: 978-1536960327


August Gallagher is a sweet and intelligent Brooklyn girl just trying to find her place in the world during the turbulent 1960s. Unfortunately, her mother Alis doesn't make things easy for her. Bad choices, poor parenting and abusive men create chaos at every turn. Yet, through it all, August reluctantly remains a devoted daughter and continues to be Alis's emotional paramedic.

Along the way, August finds friendship, romance and makes a few dangerous enemies. When Alis hits rock bottom, August is forced to come to terms with the fact that it's finally time to cut the dysfunctional cord to save herself from Alis's emotional grasp. This is a wonderful coming-of-age story that will appeal to a wide variety of readers.

*This book deals with serious social issues. It includes some strong language and mature situations. It is recommended for readers 17 and up.



Susan Barton is an author, book promoter, marketer and coach. Susan has written several non-fiction and fiction books with several more books in the works. She currently resides in North Texas with her husband and their two dogs. She invites readers to connect with her via her website and on social media:

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Rowers for Veterans - An AWESOME and Worthy Cause that Could Really Use Your Help

Hi Everyone!

I'm all about supporting our returning and wounded veterans. These brave men and woman have selflessly defended our country and some have paid the ultimate price. Some have returned, but certainly have some struggles and hurdles to overcome. My own son spent eight harrowing months in Afghanistan and I can tell you it was one of the most difficult periods of my life as a mother.

There are many, many ways to give back and to give our heartfelt thanks to our veterans. Unfortunately, our own government doesn't always give as much as they could, so many vets are forced to come up with their own unique ways to help one another. I've found an excellent home-grown group right here in the great state of Texas - these wonderful warriors have come together to support each other mentally, physically and spiritually, and they could use your help.

The Warrior Fitness Center, located in San Antonio, Texas, is a veteran-owned and operated facility designed to provide functional and adaptive training for all individuals regardless of fitness level or limitations. They not only provide rowers to our veterans and community members as an effective workout, they also use these rowers as means to participate in competitions and obstacles courses. These rowers cost 1,000 each and they could use your help in raising the money to purchase at least two more. 

Please visit the Rowers for Veterans page and consider giving back to our nation's veterans. Thank you!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Oliver and Jumpy by Werner Stejskal - New Stories Are FREE for a Limited Time!

Oliver and Jumpy are back and FREE for a very limited amount of time. Grab this awesome children's book of three stories while you can!

DIY Mom Book Review:

Oliver the dapper cat is back with his best friend Jumpy the Kangaroo for three more action-packed adventures:
  1. Flood
  2. Lazy Squirrel
  3. Unexpected Lory 

In “Flood”, Oliver and his friends are waiting out a powerful storm in the treehouse. Things get scary, but Oliver, as usual, is the voice of reason and jumps into action to help his friends stay calm and safe. There’s plenty of excellent role modeling and lessons for children in this one! There’s also a sweet poem at the end.

In “Lazy Squirrel”, Oliver is visited by a distraught squirrel. Of course, Oliver compassionately listens to the poor little squirrel and he soon agrees to help. Children learn about caring for others and apologizing when we’ve done wrong.

In “Unexpected Lory”, we begin with Oliver chasing Mausi the mouse, but all is not as it seems. Oliver is far too kind to cause any harm. When Oliver returns after a hard day of chasing Mausi, he’s intrigued to find that he has a very beautiful visitor named Lory in his treehouse. Oliver listens to Lory’s story and wonders what to do about this new visitor.

I loved these new Oliver and Jumpy stories. Werner Stejskal’s books are always a joy to read and look at! The stories are engaging, filled with action, and the illustrations are colorful and beautiful. I highly recommend this and all of the Oliver and Jumpy books to children, parents, grandparents and caregivers!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Gluten Free Flour Tortilla Recipe

Wow...I haven't posted a recipe in ages! I figured it was time that I did and I just had to choose my new, favorite thing - gluten free flour tortillas.

I hadn't eaten a flour tortilla since going gluten free several years ago. What a shame, since I love them so much! They do have them at my local grocer, in the freezer section, but I've never tried them. Aside from the fact that store-bought gluten free ANYTHING is super expensive, I've found that anything frozen usually tastes awful. So I decided to try making homemade flour tortillas and it worked out perfectly! There are a couple of things I'd do differently next time, and I mention them below the recipe. I used my Kitchenaid to mix the dough, since it was a gift from my children, but you can also mix the dough in a food processor or even by hand.

If you give this recipe a try, please tell me how it works out for you!

  • 2 cups  gluten free all purpose flour (I used Pillsbury. Just be sure yours has Xantham Gum)
  • 4 Tbs. shortening (I used vegetable oil, but you could also use room temp coconut oil)
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 to 1 cup warm water

© 2016 DIY Mom Blog, Susan Barton

Combine the flour, salt and shortening in a food processor or mixer, mixing until it turns into a fine, grainy consistency (only takes a couple or so minutes). Slowly pour the water through the feeding tube until the dough begins to form a ball. The amount of water needed may vary, so keep an eye on it. You can always add a little more flour if you find you've allowed the dough to get too sticky. If you've made dough of any kind you'll know what to look for. 

Wrap the dough in plastic. Let it sit while you heat up an ungreased skillet. Pinch off a small piece of dough and roll it into a ball. You can either use a tortilla press or roll it with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to form your tortillas. Roll to the size you want your tortillas to be…thin enough to remain pliable, but not too thin or the dough with crack. Fry in the heated skillet for less than half a minute or so on each side, turning with a spatula. Watch for slight browning. Don't over fry or your tortillas will become tough and brittle. Gluten free flour can be annoyingly unforgiving. Enjoy!

© 2016 DIY Mom Blog, Susan Barton

*My tortilla press is the smaller kind, more like for corn tortillas, so my tortillas were kind of small and thicker than I’d like. I’d either get a larger tortilla press or roll them by hand next time. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Oliver and Jumpy's Latest Book Installment is Another Wonderful Children's Book!

I LOVE children's author Werner Stejskal's Oliver and Jumpy book series! Stories 52-54 continue this awesome story collection.

These stories are the latest three in the Oliver and Jumpy series. They include:

  1. Oliver the Babysitter
  2. Smoke Over the Sea
  3. Raindrop

As before, readers follow the adventures of Oliver the dapper black and white cat, and his best friend Jumpy the Kangaroo. In Oliver the Babysitter, Oliver learns he’s about to become an uncle again. His sister is expecting her fourth baby and needs Oliver to babysit her three current little ones while she's in the hospital. Oliver soon finds that minding children is a difficult job. Young readers will be amused by Oliver’s adventures and mishaps. There’s a lovely ending and some valuable lessons for children.

In Smoke Over the Sea, Oliver finds that someone is sending SOS smoke signals. As usual, Oliver and his friends are quickly willing to help out. When things don’t exactly turn out as expected, Oliver uses his smarts and ingenuity to save the day.

In Raindrop, readers follow an imaginative story about Droppy the raindrop and her friends. There’s some wonderful kid-friendly science lessons at play here!

As always, I enjoyed these three new Oliver and Jumpy stories. Werner Stejskal continues to write wonderfully engaging, clever and educational books for children. I’m always so impressed by the detailed and gorgeous illustrations too. I highly recommend the Oliver and Jumpy series of books for children, parents, grandparents and caregivers.

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

This book is currently FREE on Amazon:

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Orphan Dani by Simon Driscoll Book Spotlight and Excerpt

  • File Size: 7031 KB
  • Print Length: 124 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Az Publishing Services, LLC; 2nd edition (December 15, 2015)
  • Publication Date: December 15, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English


Dani is a young orphan girl, living on the streets of a medium-sized border town. Her only friend in the world is a dragon. At fourteen years of age, she should be starting her apprenticeship, but all her schooling has come from a dragon. The same day he promises she can some day become a dragon herself, a Mage finally comes looking for her. But is he there to help her, or control her?

Simon Driscoll loves fantasy adventure books and spent years researching magic in many worlds. Now he's created a world of his own, where dragons, swords and scorcery cross paths in this exciting young adult adventure series.



Simon Driscoll has published several books, including the Dragons’ Bane Chronicles, and the Warriors & Watchmen series. Writing is his passion, as well as his hobby. He studied creative writing in college to learn the mechanics of written stories. He has been influenced in his writing by great authors such as Sir Isaac Asimov, Terry Brooks, and Orson Scott Card, to name only a few.

Simon has been a student of the scriptures all his life, and feels passionately about helping others understand them better. The most difficult aspect of scriptures to comprehend is prophecy. That is why Simon has combined his passions for writing and the scriptures to create a fictional account of the fulfillment of End Times Prophecies. The first book in the Warrior and Watchmen Series was published in 2015.



Smooth stones shifted beneath my feet as I limped toward the dragon’s cave. Anger buzzed in my head with no outlet. Two miles of walking on a sprained ankle hadn’t helped my mood, or the injury. In addition to the ankle, which continued to complain with every step, my left eye felt swollen from a recent blow. The blow itself didn’t bother me so much. Instead, I was concerned by why she hit me and how I got away.

Two miles south lay Barrington, a village sandwiched between the kingdom of Puji and the mountains of Goldoon. Almost five thousand people lived in the village, including the families who had taken me in. Every winter for the past six years one family or another had taken me in as a housekeeper or cook, and shared what little food they had with me; rarely enough to truly satisfy me, or them. Eventually they would start to resent having me there. Thus every year, around the start of spring, I would find some reason to leave.

This year, the reason had reached out and grabbed me by the throat, literally. There was no real love for me there, and hadn’t been since my nanny died almost six years ago. Why should they care about a little orphan girl?

The cave before me wasn’t the adventure others might see. I wasn’t here in a vain attempt to gain treasure or impress someone with my bravery. No one else in the village knew there was a dragon nearby. For me, this was my one escape from the cruelty of the world. The only place left where someone showed me kindness instead of hatred and violence.

The last few feet were the trickiest of all and my injured ankle gave out. I scraped my hand on the cliff in a failed attempt to stop my fall.

“Cortiban’s bones!” The curse escaped my lips. Frustration boiled over and I had to close my eyes to contain the anger. Pulling myself up by grabbing the face of the cliff before me, I put all my anger to the task of overcoming the pain. I kept my eyes shut as I limped through the protective magic hiding the mouth of the cave. If someone watched as I entered, they would see me walk through solid rock. A protective spell hid everything inside. Now the magic hid me as well.