Homemade Dog Food


hate to waste anything which is how this recipe was birthed. I have two dogs, a hound (who could eat anything without a problem) and a Yorkie, who has a sensitive stomach. Both love the homemade d

og food and seem to be perkier since adding this to their menu.

I should say that I’m not a vet, or a K-9 dietician. I did a little internet research is all. Do your own research or ask your vet if this is okay for your dog before introducing. My dogs eat table scraps (despite how much naysaying I’ve heard over the years, all of my dogs through the years have done fine with them and th

ey’re dogs, what would they be eating if they were on their own? Besides, if I had to eat the same dry dog food every day, well, boooooring. (I’m not judging you if this is what your dog eats btw.)


Okay, fine print out of the way. When I cut up veggies/produce, or have scraps of bread, pasta, whatever left overs, I add them to a freezer bag I have marked (“dogs”) and just keep adding them to that freezer bag (of course kept in the freezer) until it’s full. Make sure what you’re put

ting in there isn’t on the toxic to dogs list: http://www.caninejournal.com/foods-not-to-feed-dog/

I’ve read that something like 50% of a dog’s diet should be protein. Normally, I will take a leftover chicken carcass (one we’ve eaten a meal from) and pressure cook it until the bones are pretty soft. [30 minutes to an hour. ]  Once they’re soft enough to bend, I pour the bones, stock and whatever other nasties from the pot into a food processor and blend until smooth, adding water until it’s a pate consistency. At this point, it smells just like canned dog food.

I use my slow cooker for everything else. I add the above paste to whatever veggie bits I have. Normally, I’ll have to add extra starch to keep a balance (whole wheat pasta, bread ends, rice, whatever).

Be sure to add some fat. I usually add a bit of oil or bacon grease to whatever fat com

es off the skin of the chicken carcass). Dogs need some fat in their diet. (Just like we do. It’s essential to brain function, and for their skin and coat not to dry out… among other things I’m ignorant on.)

They also need quite a bit of calcium. (I will grind dry egg shells into a talcum like powder if I’m not including chicken bones and add that to their food while cooking.)

I left this mix cook over night, then turn it off while I’m at work so it’s cool by the time I get home. For my dogs, one crockpot full will last 3 days. I keep it in the fridge.

Because they also eat a steady diet of store bought dry food, I don’t stress about any vitamins they’re missing in my homemade concoction. If they were only eating homemade, I’d probably add a doggie daily vitamin.

Bon appétit!

Don’t Throw Away Those Bread Tails! (Homemade Bread Crumbs)

If your house is like mine, no one wants to eat the bread crusts… or the mashed pieces. You could feed them to the birds, which is nice. Or add them to your homemade dog food. Or for a sick dog, dipped in milk and egg helps an ailing belly (per my country boy husband, and it does seem to help). But, my favorite use is homemade breadcrumbs.

I haven’t had to buy any in many years. I reuse my store bought breadcrumb tube as a container.

Recipe: (super simple)breadcrumb

Take old pieces of bread or crackers and lay them open to air until COMPLETELY dried out. (this is important or they will mold.) I lay mine on the empty bread wrapper and then will tuck them inside once dry and tie up until I’ve accumulated enough to make a batch of breadcrumbs.

Throw these dried pieces of bread into your food processor (a blender works too, but you’ll just have to break the bread into smaller pieces or it will catch). Add seasoning (if you like) and a pinch of salt. (I use italian seasoning). Keep in your breadcrumb container or any tupperware with a lid.



Homemade Spray Deodorant

There’s been a lot of scientific back and forth regarding whether or not the aluminum used in antiperspirants is linked to breast cancer and other health issues (like Alzheimer’s). With the jury out, many are looking for other alternatives. I like to save money and use natural products when I can so I love this recipe. I’ve been using it for several weeks now and it works like a charm to nullify body odor.

I originally had a recipe for men’s aftershave, but my husband is particular and didn’t use it. A friend shared a link for her 16.00 a bottle (3.4 oz) spray rose deodorant, which got me to thinking…

I made a modification to the aftershave, and voila!

spray bottleHere’s the recipe:

1/2 cup rubbing alcohol

1/4 witch hazel

1 tsp glycerin (softens the underarm where the alcohol might dry it out)

as many drops of your favorite essential oil as you like for scent. I use rose and it serves dual purpose as my fragrance.

Simple mix and pour some in a small spray bottle. I found mine on (where else?) Amazon. 

I keep the extra in a sealed mason jar and I imagine this one batch will last me most of the year.

Super Simple Homemade Laundry Detergent

It may sound like a lot of trouble to make your own laundry detergent, but it’s ridiculously easy. Truth be told, few things make me so deliriously happy as mixing together a batch, knowing it’s costing me pennies to whip up enough for the month. I only wish I figured this out sooner. For me, every penny saved (in this case quite a lot of dollars!), is money that goes into my savings for retirement. Security is something I’m beginning to value a lot as I enter middle-age. I don’t count on social security to be there for me. Taxes eat away at half of what I make and with 5 kids between myself and my husband, well….

Photo on 2014-02-13 at 09.00    Super Simple Laundry Detergent:

   1 cup Borax (Kmart, Walmart, grocery stores usually carry, if not, Amazon.

   1 cup Wash Soda (I make my own from baking soda, it’s easy and a lot cheaper and easier to find. Directions below)

   1 cup soap flakes. (You can buy these as is, but I make my own by using bar        soap (choose one that has a nice smell if that does it for you. I like Irish Spring, but will use whatever is on sale.) I’ve tried to use a food processor. It didn’t come out so good. A good old cheese grater (the big metal kind with four sides. I use the biggest grate.) This is a chore I give my boys. They do two bars each about once a month.

That’s it, just mix it into a bucket. I use a plastic tub with lid I bought Value Kroger brand detergent and I write the recipe right on the front so I always have it handy.

 2 tablespoons per full load. For me, it works great.

To make wash soda:

Photo on 2014-02-13 at 09.02

Wash Soda










Spread baking soda onto a cookie sheet (I do two cookie sheets at a time.) Bake at 400 degrees for half an hour to hour. The texture should go from a baby powder feel to a course, almost salty feel.

I make extra and keep it in a big jar because I also use it for dishwashing detergent. I make sure I always have plenty handy and make it when it starts running low.



Jesus Freak Hideout Reviews Wings of Glass

Author Gina Holmes does a masterful job pulling the reader into this character’s life without overloading the reader in a world which can be disconcerting to many. Rather than begin the story in a tedious development of abuse, or saturate us in the violence of the present, she starts us at a point where Trent is injured, leaving Penny to fend for their family, offering her both challenges and opportunities. As Penny writes to her young son, Manny, “I hate to wish bad things on you, son, but I hope you get the privilege someday of having no one to lean on but God. It changes a person. It sure changed me.” Penny is forced to connect with others, and as God often does, He provides someone who can see through the lies Penny uses to “protect” her husband, and can guide her in ways to protect herself.” Jesusfreakhideout.com Read the rest HERE.

Join me, Karen White, Diane Chamberlain and others February 9th…

Book Club Movable Feast

Bookmarks invites you to join us for a Book Club Movable Feast 
Sunday, February 9
3:00 – 5:00 PM 
Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts, Winston-Salem, NC

Back by popular demand, Bookmarks will present our 2nd Annual Book Club Movable Feast. It will be held at The Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts, in Winston-Salem, NC. 

The program will begin at 3:00 PM sharp. Attendees will be seated at tables where they will be joined by an author. Over the course of the Movable Feast, 25 published authors from all over the country will sit with attendees to talk with them about his or her recently published book. This year, each table will be visited by 8 authors for 10 minutes each. Opportunity for further discussion will proceed and follow the Movable Feast.

Doors open and book sales begin at 2:15 PM. Booksignings will follow the program.

Tickets include light refreshments which will be served throughout. 

From Instagram

Just saw this on Instagram and it made my day. Thanks Robin Salvadore!

“..sometimes, love demands the impossible.” – Crossing Oceans <3 Getting halfway done though I just started reading it. It’s the second Gina Holmes’ book I have and I’ve already read the other one. Both books are astonishingly written. I just love this author so much :)) ugh. I have classes tomorrow but I can’t stop reading. ️ #crossingoceans #ginaholmes #greatbook #book #quotes #love #quotw #bookquote #reading

A Lovely Review From Goodreads (Wings of Glass)

From Goodreads: (Thanks Audrey!)

Audrey Grant rated it 5 of 5 stars

“Amazing how REAL AND EXACT some of the thoughts and emotions are, even if the story isn’t exactly the same! The Author NAILED it! If you want to “understand” “WHAT IS/ WAS SHE THINKING?!?!”.. read this book. My copy is full of yellow highlights and I’m going to have my own “Manny” who is almost 19 read it to further explain some things to him better than I ever have.

Wow, What a Month!

We have lots of exciting news this month:

Gina’s latest novel, Wings of Glass, is again an ECPA and CBA bestseller for November 2013!

Wings of Glass was named one of the best books of the year by Library Journal for 2013.

Wings of Glass is a finalist in Romantic Times’ Reviewer’s Choice Awards.


Hurry! Just 1.99 ebooks, for a limited time

Wings of Glass is just 1.99 Kobo, Nook, & Kindle!

Crossing Oceans

My debut novel, Crossing Oceans (Tyndale 2010) is once again on the ECPA’s (Evangelical Christian Publisher’s Association) bestseller’s list. Special thanks to Parable Bookstores for featuring it last month… and for those of you who took advantage of the sale!

31 Chances to Win! (Born of Persuasion Launch Party!)


What can you win?
We’re glad you asked!
Week 1 – Getting Set for Downton Book-club Tea
August 1: Stacked Teacup Painting byWanda Wright
August 2: Gracie China TeaSet
August 3: Faerie Cakes for Tea
August 4: Wooden Flower Napkin Rings for Tea
August 5: Hand painted Teacup Cookies
August 6: Loose Tea Sampler
August 7: Honey Tea Favor plus Signed Copies of all 3 of Gina Holmes’ novels, Crossing Oceans, Dry as Rain and Wings of Glass)
Week 2 – Now for the Book
August 8: Magnetic Clothes Pins + 3Copies of Abbey Cooks(4 winners that day)
August 9: Edwardian Ladies Apron Pattern
August 10: Jane Austen Fairy from this Etsy Store
August 11: Audio Book of Born of Persuasion, donated by Oasis Audio
August 12: Personalized Wooden Book Stamp
August 13:Vintage Ex Libris Book Stamp
Week 3: – Getting Dressed For the Tea
August 14: Packable Portwine Velvet Hat
August 15: Dapper Fox Neck Tie
August 16: Victorian Neck Ruff
August 17: Tribal Jewelry is coming out of retirement to design a Downton Abbey Necklace- Reveal is on August 17th!
August 18:Even the Cat Dresses for Tea! (Can’t wait to buy one for my own cat, Miss Marple)
August 19:Edwardian Necklace and Earringsspecially designed by this Etsy Shop. Reveal coming August 19th!
August 20: Lace Cuffs
August 21: Vintquies Necklace – Reveal August 21!
Decorating your House for the Tea!
August 22: Vintage Pink Garland of Hearts
August 23: Winners Pick of 3 Tutorials from the Feathered Nest
August 24: Clay Magnets made from Old Button Impressions plus Historical Author’s Michelle Griep’s Book Club Kit with A Heart Deceived, printed invitations, CD of the music.
August 25:Jane Austen Pillow
August 26: Paper Wreath
August 27: Angel Wing Soap plus novella giveaways by Carrie Fancett Pagels and
August 28: Instant Library – 35 Fiction Titles from Tyndale House Publishers
August 29: Message Chalkboard with hand-painted roses by this artist
August 30: Paper Flower Bouquet
August 31: Queen Anne Scarf
HOW can you win? It’s easy! Simply like Jessica’s author page on facebook and check back every day to enter for that day’s prize(s). 

50% off Sale

Barnes and Noble is having a buy one get one half-off sale on Christian fiction. My latest Wings of Glass is included in this promotion. Please pass it on!


Interview Tuesday May 28th with Kite Runner Author, Khaled Hosseini!

Photo credit: John Dolan

I Photo credit: John Dolan

Only on NovelRocket.com! It’s a great interview you don’t want to miss.

Wings of Glass ON SALE–This Week Only

From April 21st thru 27th, Wings of Glass will be on sale for only $3.99 on Amazon Kindle and B&N Nook. Please let your friends and family know if they might be interested. Thanks!

Dream of Publishing a Novel?

Here’s an article reworked from some advice I gave into a nice format that makes sense of the process: http://mommamindy.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/how-to-get-your-novel-published/

Is Wings of Glass a Memoir?


Every author in some way portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will.~ Goethe

Frank Peretti said in an interview that readers can tell the journey he’s been on by the books he’s written. It took me years and several books to understand that the same was true for me.

After I’d written Crossing Oceans, I was often asked where the idea for the novel came from. The easy answer was true enough, I was laying on the couch one evening when a what-if situation popped into my mind: what if a woman was dying and had never told her child’s father that he had a daughter?

That was the truth, but it wasn’t the entire truth.

When I began on the journey to write novels, I had no clue how much of my own personality, hopes, failures, and more than anything, struggles, would reveal themselves in my fiction.

When I read novels by other authors, what they are dealing with in their personal lives is sometimes painfully clear. We can all think of writers whose novels all seem to have a recurring theme.

Best-selling author and editor, Karen Ball, wrote The Breaking Point based in part on her own marital struggles. She wrote this in her acknowledgments of that book:

 “A wise friend and gifted writer, Robin Jones Gunn, once said that when we write the books that stem from our truest passion, we find ourselves ‘floating on a sea of reluctant transparency.’ That’s certainly true of this book.”


It wasn’t until long after I’d written Crossing Oceans that it dawned on me that my subconscious had been working out the death of my marriage and the mommy-guilt that followed knowing my children would forever be effected by the failings of their parents.

Like the cancer that Jenny was suffering, divorce was not my choice, but the consequences for my children had to be dealt with regardless. I did a tremendous amount of soul-searching and healing during the writing of that book.

Many who read the novel thought that I must have lost someone I loved to the disease because, to them, I portrayed the struggle so convincingly. The reason I could portray dying with so much emotion, was of course, because divorce feels very much like death and that’s something I knew a lot about.

But Crossing Oceans wasn’t my only cathartic book. If you’ve read Dry as Rain, you might assume I have either been an unfaithful wife, or have had an unfaithful spouse. My marriage did not end due to infidelity, (in case you’re wondering), but I know what it’s like to get far from God and need forgiveness. I also know what it feels like to be betrayed on the deepest level and have to find it in me to forgive the unforgivable.

My most revealing novel however, isn’t Crossing Oceans or Dry as Rain, it’s my latest release from Tyndale House, Wings of Glass. This novel deals with the subject of domestic abuse within a Christian marriage.

Liz Curtis Higgs read it for endorsement and here’s what she said: “Gina Holmes pours her heart onto the page in Wings of Glass. . . . If you’ve ever suffered at the hands of someone whose idea of showing love is being abusive, you will find a kindred spirit in Penny Taylor. You’ll also find hope and a gentle but firm call to open your eyes to the truth. Wings of Glass is a powerful, can’t-put-down novel, so real that it reads like a memoir.”

Of course I love the quote, but what makes my stomach clench just a little is the last line . . . “so real that it reads like a memoir.”

And she wasn’t the only one who thought that. Rachel Hauck said, “I was swept away by Gina Holmes’s memoir-like story of beauty rising from the ashes.”

The thing with writing first-person, more so than third, is that people assume the author is the main character. I was, after all, writing “I” did this and “I” did that.

I suppose if I had never been the victim of domestic abuse, the word “memoir” associated with my novel wouldn’t make my stomach cramp, but I have and so it does. My past is something that defined me for much of my young adult life. As I matured and God healed me, I chose to leave that past behind me and focus on the future and good things. That is until I felt the need to slash open my veins onto the pages of Wings of Glass.

I’m not Penny, the main character. I’m all of the characters in the book to some degree. I am both the abuser and the abused. The sinner and the saint. All of my ugliness, and triumphs are right there on the pages for friends, foes, and strangers to read. And although all of those terrible things didn’t happen to me the way they unfolded for Penny, many of them did in one form or another over the course of my life. That makes me feel terribly exposed, but it also makes me feel incredibly liberated.

Darkness hates light and by sharing our experiences even under the guise of fiction, we are able to minister to those who are travelling the path we’ve already come down. By exposing our own sins and secrets, we are able to understand and sympathize in a way those who haven’t gone through what we have can. More than that, we are allowing others to share their struggles and find healing and support.

I believe, really good fiction happens when we get emotionally naked—make ourselves known on a level our parents, spouses, children, best-friends…even ourselves… have not experienced. Sometimes when we delve into our souls, the blackness we find there can be disturbing. Sometimes our shovel clinks against the lid of an unopened treasure chest— but as novelists, it is our job to break that ground, come what may. It is only then that we can heal and help others heal, and say to the world, you are not alone. I’ve been there and I understand.

Roanoke, VA Book Signing Sat. March 23rd!

I‘ll be signing copies of Wings of Glass (Crossing Oceans & Dry as Rain) Saturday, March 23rd at Books a Million in Roanoke VA. 2-4 pm. This particular store is going out of business so I’m told all books will be discounted at least 20%!

Hope to see you there.

More Money for Books

So, I’ve had this obsession lately, which I know is shared by millions of other Americans–get my financial house in order. The Dave Ramsey craze really opened my eyes to common financial sense, and well, there’s no going back now.

Even though I’m supposed to stay “on brand” with what I blog about, living frugally and simply is something I’m passionate about and I love to share things I’ve learned and learning, so I shall.

My tip today is about saving money on your home phone.

Yesterday, I received a call from the local cable company that went something like this:

Them: “Do you have TV service?”

Me: “Yes, I get hundreds of channels for less than fifty a month with satellite.”

Them: “Very good. What about home phone service?”

Me: “Yes.”

Them: “We can get you phone service for less than 30 a month.”

Me: “Um, I pay less than 30 a year.”

Them: “Very good. Have a nice day.”

Ha! I will have a nice day because I’m saving money.

Years ago, my bff had a service called Magic Jack. I hated that service because our calls were static-y and dropped about every 30 seconds. She bragged how little she was paying for it but whatever she was paying, it was too much for that cruddy service in my opinion.

When Magic Jack Plus came out for less than 30 a year and promises that it was much improved, I was skeptical but even the cheapest home service was 30 a month. I know I could just use my cell and drop the home but there were several reasons why I didn’t want to.

1. I have children, one who is too young (in my opinion) for a cell phone.

2. I lose my cell phone every day and like to be able to use the home phone to call it.

3. The cell phone sometimes goes dead.

4. I do not like to loan my cell phone to my youngest who loves to talk on the phone for hours.


I’ve been using Magic Jack Plus for over a year and couldn’t be happier. It plugs into my internet router, the calls are clear, the calls almost never get dropped and the price is definitely right. (No, I get no kickback from them for recommending the product.)

Exclusively through Crossings Book Club

Wings of Glass is available in hardcover exclusively through Crossings Book Club! http://www.crossings.com/pages/browse/newArrivals.jsp?numOfItems=15&scopeMatch=&pageNum=1&resultView=LIST