Authors in Bloom and Back Care Tips for Gardeners

Hello Dear Readers,

Once again, I’m excited to be a part of the  5th Annual Authors in Bloom blog hop from April 7-16th, hosted by Dianne Venetta.

Home of dozens of giveaways, prizes, gardening tips, recipes and more.

Dianne Venetta_AIB Logo_2015

How it will work:

Authors participating will post their giveaway, gardening tip, recipe or both on their website, beginning April 7th and leaving their contest open through April 16th.  You will have 10 days to enter each individual author contest and then submit your entry for the grand prize!!  To win the grand prize, you must visit each and every author on the hop.  Most authors will post all the links of participating authors, but I was unable to do so here without losing my comments section…grrrr.

(Addendum: To activate comments section, just click on the title of my blog at the top of the page. This should refresh the site and the comments should show up. If you are unable to leave a comment, please enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the page. I will choose a winner from the Rafflecopter giveaway and also from those who leave a comment. Thanks for your patience and persistence!)

Please visit Dainne Vanetta’s website to find the author link list at any point in time. Some authors might offer more than one entry to win, ie. a “follow” on Twitter or a “tweet,” maybe even a visit to their facebook or pinterest page, however only one is required to enter.

How do I submit my grand prize entry?

Grand prize entrants will be entered via a rafflecopter giveaway widget, available on the initial and final landing page of this hop, located on BloominThyme.  All entries (and actions) will be verified to deem winners.

What can I expect out of this hop?

Each author will be posting a giveaway, gardening tip, recipe or both!  It’s a spring celebration designed to introduce you to authors and give you a chance to win prizes. Individual authors may offer more than one chance to win their individual giveaway, so increase your odds and enter them all!

What will be given away?

Everything from books to swag, promotional products and more! The grand prize is an e-reader of your choice (up to $200 value). A second prize of $25 gift card ~ winner’s choice which e-book retailer gift card, available to INTL residents (VOID where prohibited by law).

Authors will note US or INTL for their giveaway eligibility. Where US or INTL is not specifically noted, US eligibility will apply. The grand prize is available for US entrants only. Winners will be announced on the landing page, BloominThyme after the contest ends.

What do I do when it’s all over?

By April 18th we will post the grand prize winners on the main page and the landing page.  Individual authors will announce and contact the winners of their author-specific giveaways. You will be required to claim your prize according to each giveaway’s terms and conditions.

So have fun and let’s start hopping!

Up for grabs here on my blog is your very own signed color print copy of


(A Practical Guide to Improving Health, Fitness, and Well-being for Desk Dwellers and Couch Potatoes)

3-facebook-coverSimply leave a comment (feel free to share a back-saving gardening tip) to be entered. For more chances to win, see below.

PJ’s top tips for injury prevention and back care for gardeners.Bee on a coneflower pic

  1. Start slow. Realize you’ve been sedentary for most of the winter…or at the very least, have likely not engaged in this particular activity for several months. Pace yourself!
  2. Take frequent breaks and be sure to stay hydrated. Keep a bottle of water handy at all times while in the garden.
  3. Use the right tool for the right job. Try sitting on a low garden stool rather than bending over for long periods of time, invest in knee pads or a kneeling pad to save your knees, and buy sturdy gardening gloves to protect your hands. If shovels, rakes, or trowels are broken or in disrepair, replace them and buy the best ergonomically designed tools you can find. It’s worth the extra money to save your body from injury!
  4. Watch your body mechanics. Bend at your knees and hips, NOT your back, and know your limitations. Don’t lift more than is safe for you! Rocks are heavier than they look and slinging 25-40 pound bags of dirt and mulch can take it’s toll. Break up loads into smaller/lighter cargo, ask for help, use a cart or dolly, or hire someone to do the job.

proper lifting

 Improper lifting

5. Consider yourself a domestic athlete and do a warm up and stretch before and after you tackle hours of lawn work or gardening. A hot bath with Epsom salts and a few drops of lavender essential oil can do wonders after a long day of pruning and planting. It’s not pampering, it’s prevention! Your body will thank you.

Try a few of these stretches right out of


Wrist flexor stretch 1Wrist Extensor stretchtricep stretch with sidebend

  • Pec stretch hands behind backRhomboid stretchscalenes stretchStanding HS stretch 1Quad Stretch standing Lt
  • Standing piriformis stretch lower trunk rotation 2 Seated Forward fold 1 Seated twist with leg crossedStanding back extensionlegs up wall 1


Most importantly, enjoy your time with nature and rejoice in the power of co-creation!

To keep you healthy and energized, here’s a favorite smoothie recipe from the book:

Green Choco Monkey Smoothie

Inspired by my addiction to the Coco Monkey Smoothie from the Granby Village Health Food Store in Granby, CT., I’ve adapted their recipe and added a few twists.

Choco monkey smoothieIngredients:

1 cup Silk Chocolate Almond Milk (or make your own chocolate almond milk by adding 2 tsp. of cocoa powder and a ½ tsp. vanilla extract to your homemade almond milk)

1TBSP. almond butter (or organic peanut butter)

1 frozen banana (peeled and cut into pieces)

1 scoop Green’s Organics Superfood (Amazonian Chocolate) powder.

1 tsp. vanilla extract

(For extra thickness, add 2 TBSP. plain Greek yogurt, and for an extra boost of energy, try adding a tsp. of Maca powder)


Blend all ingredients on high (Smoothie setting on Blendtec) for 45-60 seconds until smooth. Drink and enjoy. Best shake you’ll ever taste and packed with nutrition. Makes two servings with about 250 calories each.


Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed color copy of


(A Practical Guide to Improving Health, Fitness, and Well-being for Desk Dwellers and Couch Potatoes)

A $35 value!


(Offer good for U.S. residents only)

To increase your chances, visit my Facebook page, sign up for my Newsletter, and follow me on Twitter, and let me know you’ve done so in the comments section.

Or get a copy now for your Kindle for only $2.99 while sale lasts!

Feel free to browse around before you leave.

Here, you’ll find links to a free download of Waning Moon, Book One in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael, a dystopian trilogy. If contemporary YA romance is more to your liking, check out my award winning Contemporary YA novels. I’ve got healthy teen tips and my best practices for staying active and balanced on my OYSL page. Or visit PJ’s Pantry for healthy eating ideas. Subscribe to my monthly blog in the upper right hand corner of this page to keep tabs on me and my books!

Have a wonderful Spring season and be sure to hop on over to the other author’s blogs to see what great prizes and giveaways are available! Find a list of links to participating authors HERE.

Peace and blessings,

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. How about from husband, just joking, testing out the reply. Love you, Addy

  3. Thanks for the chance to win this great book!

  4. helpful tips
    signed up for newsletter

  5. Great idea for a post. I bet the number of people who over do it their first weekend gardening is high.


  6. Savannah Miller

    Well my back saving tip is to pay my boys $5 to pull all my weeds :)., I know cheating, but they like playing in the dirt lol

  7. I’d recommend to garden in the early morning so that you can miss out on the hottest parts of the day. It stinks to get sunburn from being outside gardening. Thank you 🙂

    kissedbymidnight AT

  8. Great tips! Thanks for the giveaway and being part of the hop!
    sienkiel1821 at yahoo dot com

  9. Thanks for the healthy back tips! Always useful. cchant86 @

  10. My back is always hurting. Thanks for the helpful tips!

    videoclimber AT yahoo DOT com

    • My pleasure! I struggle with chronic back and neck pain too. Stretching, strengthening, and stabilization exercises keep me fit enough to handle tasks like gardening and yard work. I’ve also learned to work in sprints (30 minute intervals with rest and stretch breaks). It has made a huge difference.

  11. Time to start stetching. After snowflakes floated down from the sky today, temperatures in the 70s are expected this weekend, so we’re anxious to get out in the garden!

  12. I do need to exercise more, thanks for the tips.
    (mybeach52 at yahoo dot com)

  13. Thanks for the tips!
    jeanna_massman at hotmail dot com

  14. My tip is to check for ticks! I usually end up with at least one on me even when I’m in the vegetable garden. So check check check!

    blueberrycrisp@gmail dot com

  15. Yeah, I should get up and plant some potatoes before I turn into one.

  16. Oh: rsbrandt44 (at) hotmail (dot) com

    That’s me!

  17. Excellent advice (too late for me, lol). Hindsight is always great as I realize I have overdone it the next day! Thank you for the giveaway. elewkf1 at yahoo dot com

    • It’s never too late to start good stretching habits. The above stretches are also great for recovery the day after you’ve done yourself in, lol! Best of luck

  18. Looks like a very helpful book!

    Happy Gardening!


    sprocket 215 at g mail . com

  19. Thanks for the amazing giveaway!

I love hearing from readers!