Cinnamon Roll Cake

It’s no secret that I’m a Pinterest Junkie. I find many great craft ideas and recipes there. Most everything I have tried have turned out great.

Going back to my childhood, I have a wonderful recipe for cinnamon rolls that my mother passed down to me. The only downfall to Mom’s recipe is that it has to rise twice, and so you have to plan ahead and start at the beginning of the day to have the rolls made by suppertime. I’m not a morning person. So, when my chef husband started hinting, fairly heavily I might add, that he wanted some really good cinnamon rolls, I turned to Pinterest for some simpler cinnamon roll ideas.

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Here’s what I found, and you can see from the margins of the paper I wrote it down on, it was a winner! (Hubby’s writing, not mine, lol!)

Cinnamon Roll Cake (By Chef in Training)

3 cups flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 ½ cups milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
½ cup butter, melted




1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Mix everything for the cake together except for the butter. Slowly stir in the melted butter and pour into a greased 9×13 pan.

For the topping, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Drop evenly over the batter and swirl with a knife.

Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes

2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
5 Tbsp. milk

Mix and pour over warm cake.

It’s the perfect warm, sweet, homey treat for your winter days. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did!


Inksper’s Social Media Links

We’ve spent the past couple weeks talking about the benefits–and some of the downsides–of social media, and we figured our readers would love to know where to find each of us. We’d love for you to Follow … Like … Friend us, and we’ll even return the favor if you leave your links in the comment section.

Lorna Seilstad

Lorna Seilstad


Shannon Vannatter (2)

Shannon Vannatter

Rose Ross Zediker

Rose Ross Zediker

Shari Barr

Shari Barr

Dawn Ford

Dawn Ford

Stacy Monson

Stacy Monson


Brenda Anderson

Regina Merrick

Regina Merrick



Managing Your Time on Social Media

NetworkingFacebook … Goodreads … Twitter … Vimeo …  Tumblr … Google+ … Pinterest … LinkedIn … Shelfari … Reddit … YouTube … Blogging … and so many more  …

It almost makes my head ache thinking of the ways we can waste our time networking, chatting, procrastinating. How do we manage it all?!

To be honest, if I weren’t a writer, if I didn’t need to build a platform, I’d probably chuck it all. But, since that’s not an option, there are steps I take to managing it.

  1. You can’t do it all. No one is Super Social-Media Man (or Woman), unless that’s their full-time job.
  2. Pick the most effective outlets for you. Once you realize you can’t do it all, it’s time to pick and choose which media outlets will best suit you. Which ones are you most comfortable with? Which let you network with readers, not just writers? Are any just for fun? My choices:
    1. Facebook – this site lets me interact with readers and writers
    2. Goodreads – mostly I use this site to track the books I’m reading or have read. So far I’ve avoided joining groups because they can be big time suckers. But I like the potential for this site as it is about the reader.
    3. Blogging – I blog consistently on my personal site twice a week, then on Inkspirational Messages every other week.
    4. Blog reading – Using Blogger, I keep a list of blogs I follow (which I keep to a minimum). I’ll typically skim through the posts unless something really catches my eye. I periodically comment, but rarely just to comment. I want to say something of value–not that I always succeed!
    5. Pinterest – I have a Pinterest site, but haven’t decided how to best use it yet. So far, thankfully, it hasn’t become a black hole for me.
  3. MP900449122[1]Set your clock. Even when you choose just a few outlets, they can still be time drainers. Establish a set amount of time you’ll spend on each site, and stick to it. My schedule:
    1. Write my blog posts on Monday.
    2. My first hour every weekday morning: read blog posts and check Facebook and Pinterest.
    3. If I can’t read through all my sites in that hour, that means something needs to be cut.
    4. No blogs on weekends. Periodically check Facebook and Pinterest for fun.
  4. Be a God Pleaser. This is probably the toughest point to follow, for me anyway. A big reason many of us–especially writers–are on social media is to add numbers to our platform. To do that we need to be people pleasers, we need write what our (potential) audience is interested in, and our posts need to reflect that as well. In so much of social media we’re asked to *like* or *follow* posts, authors, businesses, boards, etc. Agents and publishers want/need to see big numbers beside our name. And let’s face it, we all want to be liked and followed. So, how do we balance pleasing God while attempting to extend our outreach?
    1. Before posting, ask yourself what the purpose of the post is? Are you writing it merely to garner attention, or do you have information that will be useful to others? Who are you trying to reach–to please–with the post? And be honest with yourself–that’s the hardest part.
    2. Pray – I know this goes without saying, but it’s also easy to forget, especially for the mundane tasks of social media. Does God really want to be bothered with all the minutiae of our lives? Of course he does! So before you post, take some time and ask, “What is Your will?”

Which Social Media outlets do you use? How do you effectively manage your time when using them?

Always Late to the Party

I’m always behind on social media. Blogging originated back in 1997. I started blogging in 2010. Facebook originated in 2004. IMomento jar joined in 2010. Twitter originated in 2006. I joined in 2010. Pinterest originated in 2010. I joined last week.

Each time I join a new social network, I become obsessed with it and it cuts into my productivity. That’s why I don’t just jump into everything. If I did, I’d never get any writing done. So, all you wonderful writer friends who keep inviting me to join Google +, I’m sorry, but I’m dancing as fast as I can with all my other social networking.

Back to my latest obsession–Pinterest. This is a must have for an author. I’m in the process of cleaning out all my files stored on my computer. I have pictures I used for inspiration in my published books, future character pictures, pictures of houses, cars, trucks, and pets that belong to my characters. It’s all getting transferred to my Pinterest boards. So far, I have a board for character inspiration, a board for each of my most recently published books, and a board for upcoming releases.

Along with book stuff, I created a board for furniture my husband made, crafts I made, my office, my husband’s man cave, and our son’s Bass Pro Shop themed room. I also have a board for nifty craft ideas for future use. I’m planning a recipe board even though I try really hard not to cook much. With Pinterest, I don’t forget things or lose them. The possibilities are endless.

My favorite pin so far – the memory jar I made. When my son was younger, he loved collecting unique things. Crystals, colored rocks, crawdad pincers, empty wasp nests, fools gold, arrowheads, seed pods, and countless other oddities we found or bought. When he was ready to get rid of his collection, I wasn’t. I put it all in a jar and display it on a shelf. It’s pretty and makes me smile every time I look at it. I still have his collection of feathers too. I’ve been trying to find a really tall jar to put them in. I thought about a vase, but with a lid, you only have to dust the jar. And I’m not a fan of dusting either.

In the meantime, I gotta go. I’m working on a new board on Pinterest. Since my name never fits, I’m stvannatter or search Shannon Taylor Vannatter. Come check out my boards.


Guilty Pleasures . . . Everybody has a few . . . The cool thing is when they CHANGE over the course of a few years!

You realize this does NOT include chocolate? I mean, I don’t feel a SPECK of guilt about that . . . Gilligans_Island_title_card

When I was a child, TV was my guilty pleasure of choice, and after Popeye, there was Gilligan’s Island. Yes, I can sing both the beginning and ending theme songs . . . as well as the theme to Green Acres . . . and Petticoat Junction . . . and . . .

SpockA few years later, it was reruns of Star Trek, Perry Mason, Bonanza . . . No, not soap operas . . .  it changed according to what syndicated reruns were on at the time – but I can tell you I would rearrange my schedule completely for one of those shows.

Nancy DrewReading has ALWAYS been on my list – from Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew, to Harlequin Romances, to Christian Fiction . . . there’s always SOMETHING on my TBR pile!

Then there was Solitaire, both on the computer and with playing cards. There’s just something comforting about a game that your only opponent is YOURSELF!


Fanfiction, like Kim earlier this week, was an obsession for a few years, during which time I wrote prolifically. My particular site is gone, along with a lot of wonderfully-written stories, but many of the friendships remain!

PinterestI had a short-lived love-affair with Angry Birds, but Solitaire won out over that app . . . Then there’s Pinterest, what I lovingly call “Facebook without having to TALK to anybody!” It has become my favorite cookbook, interior design book, style book, craft book, and all-around reference book. We won’t discuss just how many pins I have . . .

But my current can’t-seem-to-stop guilty pleasure?

PolyvoreLogoPOLYVORE.COM. It’s shopping. It’s design. It’s organization. It’s . . . It’s . . . It’s . . . FREE. Yes, you put together outfits according to MANY variables, then you can post the picture of your collage on Facebook or Pinterest, print them out, get a list of where those items are available to purchase, and look at outfits others have put together.

PolyvoreRMI originally started using Polyvore on my laptop, and when my laptop went kaput, I downloaded the app on my iPhone. WAY too small! My bifocals did NOT like that . . . but then, just last week, I discovered that the iPhone app works amazingly well on my IPAD!!!!!

So, I’m back in business . . . the business of shopping without spending a dime, all while sitting in my living room!

Since we know most of our Inksper friends have reading on their list of guilty pleasures, we’re giving away a (gently used) copy of Sarah Sundin’s On Distant Shores to one lucky reader, and a copy of Laura Frantz’s Love’s Awakening to another reader. Every time you leave a comment on posts dated September 9, 2013 through September 20, 2013, your name will be entered.

The two winners will be chosen after midnight on Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 and posted on Saturday, September 21, 2013!

Pinterest Junkie

Thumb TackThere’s no count down for me on my guilty pleasures. I’m completely hooked on Pinterest. It’s just that simple. It started so innocently, you see. Just a few pins here and there. Then there were people who actually liked my pins and pinned them to their boards. What a thrill of anonymous approval. Oh, and then people started following my boards. Squee!! They like me, they like me, they really, really like me.

Cue the record scratching sound effect. Okay, they like my pins. But, hey, it’s still a great feeling when someone else loves the same things you do. I’ll be the first to raise my hand and admit I’m Laura Frantz’s number one Pinterest pin stalker. She’s got amazing pins!!

Pin sharing adoration aside, I have found a whole new world through Pinterest. It’s not just a wasted past-time for me. My first big find was for a ‘home-made’ laundry soap to use since I am dye and fragrance sensitive. It really has saved me tons of money on laundry soap, and I can trust the ingredients. Find that wonderful recipe here.

I also found different ways to make stepping stones for the memory garden hubs and I planted this year. It did take me three tries to Psalms 119105find the method that worked, but I think they turned out great. The photo on the right was taken in July and I used PicMonkey to doll it up a bit.

My biggest find was a project I’m still working on (and is a total secret!) for Christmas gifts. Not only have I gotten hooked on Pinterest, I’m completely ga-ga over Kathy Orta’s scrapbook creations. Check Kathy’s website Paper Phenomenon out here, or look her up on You Tube where she has numerous step by step tutorials posted.

I must warn you though, it’s an expensive habit, scrapbooking. So, I turned to You Tube for tutorial videos on how to save money and make things like alcohol inks way cheaper than the more expensive professional brands. Thanks to You Tube I found out that Big Lots is one of the best places to find odd little scrapbooking accessories for a fraction of the cost elsewhere. It’s probably a good thing I don’t live in the city or I’d be broke.

Who else is a Pinterest Junkie?

Since we know most of our Inksper friends have reading on their list of guilty pleasures, we’re giving away a (gently used) copy of Sarah Sundin’s On Distant Shores to one lucky reader this week, and a copy of Laura’s Love’s Awakening to another reader. Every time you leave a comment over the next two weeks, your name will be entered. The two winners will be chosen after midnight on Friday, Sept. 20 and posted on Saturday!

Verrrrry Pinteresting . . . .


The mere thought of it conjures up images of crafts I will never do, landscaping that is out of reach, entertainers that don’t know I’m alive, and recipes that makes my husband actually encourage my love of all things “pinned.”

You see, when I started with Pinterest, I had the basic boards – “Sweets to the Sweet” for desserts; “Savory Solutions” for, you guessed it, savories; “Entertainment” for things such as Doctor Who, Castle, etc.; “Inspire Me” for inspirational quotes and blogs; “Crafty? Me?” for all things crafty; “DIY (or, bigger than “crafty”)” for home improvement, etc.

Now I’ve subdivided until I have fifty boards and nearly 9,000 pins. Yes, you read that right.

I mean, once you have over 200 pins in a board, it’s just too hard to find things . . . so you create more boards. Just one “sweets” board? Au contraire . . . There are now four. Just one “crafty” board? You’re kidding, right? Now you can find four of those, as well. And, I now own a sewing machine.

What is the draw of this thing called “Pinterest?”

It lets you hoard ideas and pictures somewhere besides your top dresser drawer . . . or the junk drawer in the kitchen . . . or the basement . . . or the attic . . . or the closet in the hall . . . or all of the above!

It’s hoarding for neat freaks!

Now if I could just get them to make the organizing part easier . . . for instance, when I create a whole new board, I have to move ONE PIN AT A TIME, where if there were check boxes, you could move them en masse . . .

Pinterest may prove to be a gateway drug for something big and bad, but for now, I’m going to enjoy it. I’m going to continue trying out recipes that prove to be the BEST I’VE EVER EATEN. I’m going to try those household tips that REALLY WORK. I’m going to sigh when I read a Doctor Who quote I’ve not seen before. I’m going to (eventually) make some of those crafts that look so EASY (or talk someone else into doing it!).

And I’m going to share the wealth with my pinning buddies.

Happy Pinning!

Oh . . . did I mention there are also pictures of KITTENS? 🙂