I'm working on the revisions for my fourth novel, The Last Camellia, and I just stopped to snap this photo. I love looking up out of my office window at this spooky moon and ominous sky above. It's so cozy and fun, and it gets me in the right mood to right the sort-of-spooky scene that I'm working on, and the romantic scene that comes next. Don't you love when you spot the moon outside your window? I think our house is situated exactly right, because I can see the moon when I'm writing, and then when I hit the hay, I can see it outside my bedroom window (facing west) when I'm dozing off. Sweet dreams.

So, say you want to impress your pals and you have no experience making fancy French pastries. Do this: Buy pre-made pound cake and cut into square-sized bites. Next, drizzle easy, 60-second icing (4 tablespoons of water to 2 cups confectioners sugar) over the top (color it pink if you want!) then let set. You will love the result! (Photo: Country Living)

Hi all! I'm going to be starting a new series here called "3 Things" where I'll share the latest and greatest things (or people or places!) that are making me smile. First installment: 1. Bento boxes! My boys are 5, 3 and 1, and I've been trying to think of ways to make mealtime more fun and interesting (and also figure out how to get them to eat more vegetables---like every mom on the planet, right?). Well, my latest solution is bento boxes! I ordered three cute bento boxes (a frog, a duck and a panda) and a bunch of cute bento accessories (vegetable presses to make carrots look fun; seaweed presses to make animal shapes to put on rice; and rice presses to make triangles, flowers and heart-shaped rice balls). My kids are loving this. Every day they get excited about what's in their bento boxes and are less likely to complain when I throw a veggie inside. I also am crazy about these cute little critter-shaped fork-picks that make veggies and fruit more fun to eat. 2. Mason jars. I'm on a mason jar kick these days. I bought a pack years ago when I decided I wanted to get into canning. But I never did. Instead, I use mason jars for all other sorts of things---vases for flowers, food storage, and my favorite new thing: mason jars as portable water glasses (my dad got me started on this). So much healthier than plastic water bottles and they're so easy to clean! 3. My new garden. I'm discovering all these great things in the garden at our new house, like this amazing flower (not sure what it's called!). I can't wait to harvest the figs from our fig tree, and the plum tree is loaded with little green Italian plums that should be ripe in a month or so. Also, Jason and the boys planted pumpkins, eggplant and lemon cucumbers for me!

Yesterday, we bought a new house. Well, an old house, with wonky plumbing, faulty electricity, and a faint smell of must in the air. But, it has the biggest, loveliest, sunny yard with lilacs, a prolific fig tree, plums, a Southern magnolia, Japanese maples, camellias and all kinds of wild strawberries, raspberries, herbs and irises. It's in Seattle, a few blocks away from our current house, and we're excited to build a new home for our family on the property. And so begins the dreaming and design phase! I'll be sharing snippets of the process here, so you can follow along. Kitchen ideas! Paint swatches! Kids room concepts! A great big office with built-in bookcases for all of the books I currently have stacked in piles in my office (can't wait!). My parents built a house when I was 12, and I remember "helping" my dad work on it (hammering nails on the roof, even). Ever since, the idea of building a house from scratch has been in my blood. My husband and I have looked at all kinds of properties over the years, and nothing seemed just right until we found this house. Now, to come up with a name for the house and property! I love how Martha Stewart names her homes (Skylands, Turkey Hill, etc.), and I adore Jane Green's "Figless Manor." What should we call our fledgling home? Because a little green tree frog was spotted on the property by the former owner, our 5-year-old wants to call it Frog Hollow. Hmm---not quite sure about that one! More updates soon!

Today, Blackberry Winter (my third novel, set to debut in the U.S. on September 25!) sold in Norway, to the amazing publisher Cappelen Damm. I couldn't be happier about the sale, especially since I grew up in Poulsbo, Washington---a town that takes its Norwegian heritage very seriously! To date, my books have been/will be published in twelve countries. I'm very, very grateful for the work my literary agents do to get my stories out there, and I can't wait to hear from Norwegian readers---soon!

A career highlight happened yesterday: I got the chance to interview Dr. Maya Angelou for Glamour. Here's some bits from our conversation, which I shall remember for the rest of my life. We also talked about addictions that are killing people every day all over the world, like alcohol and drug addictions. This is massive problem in the world, people should talk more about rehab centers and try to get over the addiction, for example last week I sent one drug addict to https://www.drugtreatmentfinders.com/locations/missouri-drug-rehab/