Monday, July 27, 2015

{ That trip to Dallas }

Trip to Dallas

So Saturday early afternoon, we took off to Dallas, it is just 2 hours from us, but still a bit of a drive.

I don't mind getting there, I mind BEING there because if you've ever driven in Dallas then you will completely understand what I'm talking about.  Not fun, not in the least, matter of fact, quite annoying.  We saw multiple accidents, came to complete stops on the highway also multiple times and it took us an hour to get from our cousin's house to the concert.......a 15 minute drive away.


By the time we arrived, I was so done.

The concert itself was absolutely brilliant, my daughter cried her eyes out when Fall Out Boy hit the stage.  To say she loves them is an understatement, she has been in love with this band for many years and to actually see them live was a dream come true for her.  So glad I was there to share in it with her.


Right after the concert, on the way home, we came upon an In-N-Out Burger place.  Yeah, almost 1am and we HAD to get their cheeseburgers animal style.  Perfect ending to a perfect night.

Regrowing celery

Sunday came about and I was kinda regretting the whole concert, but just in the sense that I've been really battling with my Sciatica for the past week and the whole time standing the previous night, just buggered it up something fierce.

I also seem to have caught something, not sure if I'm just tired, or what it is, but I feel absolutely dreadful and without patience or energy to do anything.  Problem is that I'm the type of gal who can't just sit back and do nothing because I tend to feel extremely guilty and then have to get up and go fix something, clean something, work on something.  Terrible!!!

I did try to take it easy yesterday, pretty much only got through the piles of laundry.

Housework

Tidied up the living rooms, and thankfully the rest of the house is clean and tidy so I didn't have to do anything else.

On a hot day

Everyone was taking it easy, no one wanted big meals, so we kind of snacked all day long.....or as I like to call it, we grazed all day long. It's fine by me, I love cooking but when I'm not feeling 100%, I couldn't be bothered with it and am quite happy just faffing around.

Lunch

My lunch was quite literally, a Bud Light with Lime and some chips with Salsa con queso. Yum Yum!!!

I tried to go outside for a bit, but these guys.....these annoying guys are all over and I can't stand them. Worst is when the dogs track them in from going potty and you step on one barefoot.

Hate these things

I don't know what they're called, my husband calls them hijackers cause they just stick to all your pants and shoes and socks and whatever.  All I know is that they hurt something fierce when stepped on.

Fallen tree

I was actually trying to get out there to check this out.  One of our HUGE trees decided to fall from the front yard right over the fence into the back.  It is huge and we can't move it, so I need to call the realtor and have them send someone.


The trunk itself is double the size of my husband.  I'm so glad my dogs were not out there when it came down.  Goodness!!!

Anyway, I'm going to try and take it easy today, I don't feel well, so we'll see how it all goes.  I kind of want to take my Motrin but it usually makes me sleepy and I don't want to do that when hubster is at work.

I better get off here, hope you all have a fantastic Monday!!!

Happy Homemaker Monday - 07/27/2015

Good morning everyone, hope you've had a fantastic weekend.  Mine was pretty darn good, I took Jasmine to a Fall Out Boy concert in Dallas and we had an amazing time.


Unfortunately I seem to have picked up something because last night I felt absolutely dreadful and still not feeling 100% today.  Not sure what is going on, but hoping it's just something temporary.


Right, on to our Happy Homemaker Monday.....



On the weather front:
We've been seeing triple digits, which is not bad considering we lived in Arizona for 7 years, so 're quite used to this heat.  Just leave the humidity out and I'm good.  We do expect some rain on Friday though and lower temps.

 
On my bedside table:
A Pattern of Lies by Charles Todd
The Ones we Trust by Kimberly Belle


On my TV:
Been watching my vlogs, I have followed The Witts for a long long time, and they are my favorite vloggers, but recently discovered The Michalaks and am completely besotted with their videos, the editing is out of this world, so I've been binging from their very first vlog.  Another favorite of mine is Mrs Meldrum.


On the menu for tonight:
Smoked Sausage and Potato Skillet with Green Beans


On the menu for this week:

Monday - smoked Sausage and Potato Skilled with Green Beans
Tuesday - Biscuits and Gravy
Wednesday - Bacon and Cheddar Burgers, Fries
Thursday - Hamburger Helper, Salad
Friday - Grocery shopping
Saturday -
Sunday -
 
On my To Do List:
Laundry - One load of towels, Jasmine's laundry, Nick's laundry
Mopping and Vacuuming
Bathrooms

 
New Recipe I tried last week:
I love Coconut Macaroons and over the years I've tried numerous recipes which never seemed to quite come out well.  I just recently came across one that I tried last week and it was so good, I'll be sharing it on the food blog soon.


In the craft basket:
Ripple Pillow
Foam Armor for Jasmine's cosplay


Looking forward to:
A relaxed week, getting some things done in the house and hopefully making a quick trip to Lawton this weekend. 


Homemaking Tip for this week:
I have a notebook that I use just for meal planning and grocery shopping.  I write down the menu on one page and the grocery list on the opposite page, and I take the notebook with me to the grocery store, just seems to help.  Also, I can flip back through previous menus for ideas.


Favorite photo from last week:

https://scontent-dfw1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/10418449_10153554533133395_1059282993579479866_n.jpg?oh=eb09f1538f133c2a48c0dff3b2007678&oe=5657A89B


Lesson learned the past few days:
We're only as old as we allow ourselves to be


On my Prayer List:
Myself, for strength, for health and for my heart not to turn bitter towards certain people
My family

 
Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

{ What contentment looks like }

First and foremost, I have to give you all a big shout out, the responses that my last post received were amazing, and it just reiterated what I was feeling and thinking.....that there are so many of us out here just wanting to blog about our lives and stay true to ourselves.  You ladies are amazing and one of the many reasons why I continue to blog :)

So contentment....I think it goes hand in hand with feeling comfortable in your own skin and where you are, and in the home you live in.

It's not always easy, I've struggled with it through the years and there have been times that I felt so lost and so helpless, like I was stuck in a place and time I didn't want to be, without a way out and not quite sure how to get through it, or past it.

As I've gotten older I've learned what contentment was for me.  Something as simple as being fine with where I'm at, knowing that no matter what the future may hold or where it may lead me, this moment in time is where I'm supposed to be and I will for sure make the best of it.

And so I have!!!

What does contentment look like right now?  Let me show you in a few pictures the few moments of my day where I truly smiled and felt content, like there was nowhere else I would rather be.

Thunderstorm on the way

Looking at the sky and seeing the darkness coming our way and being content that rain was about to start.

Incoming rain

Knowing that with the rain came the humidity I really dislike, but being content in the fact that it also meant water for the plants and the animals, and without it, I wouldn't be surrounded by all this beautiful greenery.

Working

Whipping up a batch of Refrigerator Pickles, knowing it takes a bit of time to put together, but being content that I'm doing something I love, cooking, and taking care of my family.

A messy kitchen

Standing in my kitchen and watching this pot boil, seeing the mess that is surrounding it, but being content that I'm creating this mess while making a home cooked meal for my family. 

New car

Seeing my husband driving up in this beautiful car and knowing that we now have another car payment, something we didn't want, but being content in the moment knowing that we also have a reliable vehicle that will get us from point A to point B without worry of being stranded on the road.

Officially mine

Holding this key in my hand and feeling pure and utter joy, and pure and utter contentment for what it represents and knowing that our move to Texas, albeit difficult, has continued to open doors for us.

New car

I'm in a beautiful big house, in a beautiful area.  My husband has a great job that he loves, my children are loving Texas and growing and becoming amazing young adults, and I'm absolutely content in where I am in life.

It's not an easy feeling to come about, I remember many years of feeling unhappy with what was around me or the circumstances we were in, and I'm sure you all knew it, I'm not exactly the best at disguising my feelings.

Often, I would post on my blog and then read it the next day and think "Oh gosh, I sound terribly depressed and unhappy".  It was like I had lost my oomph, but boy am I glad to have that back.

As I get older, it's almost as if my spirit gets younger, I refuse to let age dictate how I should be feeling, but most of all, as I grow into my skin, and trust me it's taken almost 41 years of life to do it, I'm learning to be happy no matter where I am.

Embrace it.

Those dirty dishes in the sink?  Be content for the fact that you had food to feed your family.
The kid's toys all over the house?  Be content in the fact that you have beautiful little beings in your life.
The house that is not exactly what you wanted?  Be content that you have a roof over your head.
The mundane every day tasks that seem to be on a constant repeat loop?  Be content that you're a mom and a wife and a homemaker and that what you're providing for your family are memories and a stable platform from which they will catapult into this crazy world.

Look outside, enjoy the nature, take in the little things that we tend to overlook when we're rushing around.

Just be content, no matter where you are in your life, because, and even though I can only speak for myself, I've learned that if I'm content and I don't fight it, things go so much easier and life seems to be not as difficult to tackle.  A positive attitude can do so much, it's why I am the way I am, laugh through things, maintain the faith and smile every chance I get.

So yeah....that's what contentment looks like to me, and I end this post with a big smile on my face because I love my life and I love my blog and I wouldn't have it any other way, truly, wouldn't change anything for the world.

An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd - TLC Book Tour


• Paperback: 368 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 5, 2015)

In this absorbing and atmospheric historical mystery from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd, World War I battlefield nurse Bess Crawford's career and life are in jeopardy when a murder is committed on her watch

Bess Crawford has been summoned by the War Office to accompany a wounded soldier from Shropshire to Buckingham Palace, where he's to be decorated for gallantry by King George himself.

Heavily bandaged and confined to a wheelchair, Sergeant Jason Wilkins will be in her care for barely a day. But on the morning after the ceremony when Bess goes to collect her charge for his return journey, she finds the room empty. How could such a severely wounded man vanish without a trace?

Both the Army and the Nursing Service hold Bess to blame for losing the war hero. The Army now considers Wilkins a deserter, and Scotland Yard questions Bess when Wilkins is suspected of killing a man in cold blood. If Bess is to clear her name and return to duty in France, she must prove that she was never his accomplice. But the sergeant has disappeared again and neither the Army nor the police can find him.

Following a trail of clues across England, Bess is drawn into a mystery that seems to grow darker with every discovery. But will uncovering the truth put more innocent people in jeopardy?

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My thoughts:

I've never been a huge fan of mysteries, not until I read my first Charles Todd book and then I became hooked, and I wondered why I had never really taken the time to read this genre.

I think one of the things that I most love about this author's work is that it's not only a mystery but he weaves in History, which for this History buff gal, is all it takes to get me interested.

Bess Crawford is a World War I battlefield nurse and she is called upon to escort a wounded soldier to a ceremony where he will be honored by the King for his service.  From the get go she is suspicious as she can't understand why this soldier would ask for her specifically when she can't even remember ever treating him.

The ceremony goes off without a hitch, but it is what happens after that sets the story into motion.

The soldier disappears and Bess is now facing the scrutinizing eyes of the Army and the Nursing Service who consider her an accomplice, I mean it's easy to see how considering she was requested by name by this soldier.  It's quite clear that he has deserted but Bess now has to figure out how to clear her name and set the record straight.

I quite enjoyed this story, watching Bess follow a trail of clues all over England in her quest not only for the missing soldier, but trying to find out what he's about, who he really is, and how to prove her innocence.

Thoroughly enjoyed this one :)



Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me with a review copy.

Monday, July 20, 2015

{ Do yourself a favor }

Sometimes all you need is to go back through your blog, really go back and read some of your previous posts.  It was like the light came back on and I remembered why I started blogging and how much I love it.

Life is crazy, life changes, WE change and I feel like at times we're constantly trying to adapt to what is going on around us.

Blogging is not what it used to be, not by far.  What started as a simple way for us homemakers and moms to connect with others, to share our experiences, to stay in touch with family and just have a platform to speak about the mundane things we do on a daily basis, has become something so Hollywoodized....I know not a word, but it perfectly describes what I feel about this.

Flowers and Crochet

I used to be able to look through blogs and find tons of like minded individuals, cute little blogs filled with recipes, family stories, pictures of toddlers getting up to their usual naughty business and moms venting about their feelings of inadequacy or loneliness, or asking for advice, sharing their budgets and their meal plans and giving words of comfort to others like them.

Now, when I try to find blogs it all seems so commercialized.  It's all about how much money you can make through your blog, how many giveaways, how smart, how to write acceptable blog posts and what you should and shouldn't do.

My question....WHY???

When did blogging become a business, when did it become a place where you feel like you should be watching tutorials or reading manuals or taking classes so you can make a simple post about your day?

Morning coffee

It's not something I enjoy and I think it is one of the reasons, amongst others, why I've felt less attracted to the whole blogging thing.  I kind of feel like I want to remove myself from it, like I should be trying to maintain my blog's integrity, shielding it from the ever fast paced life that the blog world has taken on.

But then on the other hand, I look at my blog and I see what it is, why it was started and amongst the ever changing blog world, I want to keep it just as it is.  Maybe it will be one of the very few original blogs that is all about....well.....life, as a mom, a wife, a retired Air Force family, a crafter, and homemaker who makes not a single penny from this venture.

So my challenge to you today, if you've had a blog for years, is to take a few moments, go back to your very first posts and read.  You'll be surprised at the excitement and joy you exuded during those first few words on the internet. Then keep reading, keep going, because if anything it will remind you of what YOUR blog is all about, and what you wanted it to be.

Do me a favor, don't get caught up in the shoulds and shouldn'ts of this *new blogging* world.  There is no such thing as the right or wrong way to write a post, it's your blog, it's about you, and unless someone lives your life and knows what you're thinking or doing, they have no right telling you one way or the other.

Morning light

In this new day and age where the PC police seem to run rampant, and such airs of self importance and self entitlement abound, it's good to remember where you came from and what you're doing, unless you're really into following the masses, in that case, go for it.  But if you're like me, just little ol' me who likes nothing more than to sit down with a good book and a cup of coffee after washing the dishes and straightening up the house, do what is right for you and stick to your guns, don't let anyone dictate what your blog should look like, how many posts you should have, what kind of ads you need on it and how much money you should be making from it.

That's the best advice I can give you.  Usually I wouldn't even make a post like this, but as I sat here thinking about my own reasons for either continuing on with this blog, or stopping altogether, I have received so many messages from other like minded women expressing the feeling that they feel pressured into a certain standard of blogging, and that my friends is sad.

So I'm making a conscious effort to maintain what my blog is about, to never change it, whether its look or the content of the posts, it doesn't matter.  I want my readers who have been here from the very beginning in 2006 to feel like this is home, familiar, not like a completely different blog they stumbled upon.

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I'm not saying that I'll be back to blogging every single day, I'm not sure I'm quite there yet, but what I can promise you is that I'm not going anywhere, and that I WILL continue posting albeit a little sporadic for the moment, and that the posts you see will be all about life and homemaking, cooking, and kids and husband and what I'm watching on TV etc.

If you've been reading my blog for years and are still around, thank you, from the bottom of my heart because you have no idea how much that means to me, and if you're just now starting, then welcome and I truly do hope you enjoy what you see :)

Blessings,
Sandra

Happy Homemaker Monday - 07/20/2015

Good morning everyone.

I was about to start my Happy Homemaker Monday post and was thinking about my blog and how far I've come.  I've reached a decision, and that is that I will NOT stop posting.  I can't, this blog is a part of my life and has been since February of 2006.  You can check out my very first post right here.

So what am I going to do, well simply take all of your advices and post when I can, not pressuring myself to write something if I'm not up to it.  Who knows, maybe making this decision will actually prompt me to post more.

All it really took was reading your comments, knowing how much you enjoy my blog, and going back and reading my own blog which always seems to remind me just how much I love this little space of mine.  Thank you all so much for the comments and for always knowing just what to say.

Right, moving on to our Happy Homemaker Monday for today, I've decided to do something different, I went back to my very first HHM post and copied the categories, adding them to the ones I already have.  I guess you're getting a mixed bag this morning and hope you enjoy it.
 You can also go and read it yourself if you like, if you're curious about what started this Monday feature back in 2009.  Goodness it's been going on for so many years :)


On the weather front:
We're hitting the triple digits now, by 3pm we're supposed to get up to 107. For some that may seem crazy, but for me having lived in Arizona for so many years, it is nothing. Bring it on......oh but don't bring on the humidity, keep that far far away.

On my bedside table:
A Pattern of Lies by Charles Todd
An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd
The Ones we Trust by Kimberly Belle


On my TV:
Portuguese soaps
Wolf Hall


On the menu for tonight:
Brown Sugar Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

On the menu for this week:

Monday - Brown Sugar Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans
Tuesday - Sausage and Potatoes
Wednesday - Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken, Baby carrots, Salad
Thursday - Cheesesteaks, Fries
Friday - Chicken Curry
Saturday - In Dallas for the day
Sunday - Bacon and Cheddar Burgers, Fries

On my To Do List:
Laundry
Mopping and Vacuuming
Bathrooms
Wash bed linens


New Recipe I tried last week:
Last night I made Fried Ravioli which I hadn't tried yet.  It was a huge hit with Curt and the kids so I'll share the recipe today.

In the craft basket:
Ripple Pillow
Foam Armor for Jasmine's cosplay (speaking of which, would you be interested in a post about it?)


Looking forward to:
Dallas this coming weekend.  We are surprising Jasmine with a concert to her favorite band Fall Out Boy, also trying to get her boyfriend to go and meet her there. 


Homemaking Tip for this week:
Whip up tasty maple butter in no time...yummy on pancakes or French Toast. Just combine 1/2 cup butter with 3/4 cup maple syrup.



Favorite photo from last week:


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Lesson learned the past few days:
Not to give up on people, no matter how much we may want to.  There are people in my life who don't put in as much effort as I do, either because they're busy, or stressed or just don't believe in staying in touch the way I do.  My first instinct is to get frustrated and think "well I'm done with you", but then I realize that is not who I am and not who I like being.  So the I guess the lesson I've learned is to stay true to myself and who I am.  I check in on them every few days, with a simple hello, how are you, thinking of you, you're awesome etc.  It always seems to make their day and I feel better for it :)

On my Prayer List:
Families of the Marines and Navy member killed a few days ago.
Our country, it is starting to seriously worry me and I pray that God place His hands over it and watch over us all, it's quite scary the way things are going.

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:



Saturday, July 18, 2015

Week in review!

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Good morning!!!

It's been a very crazy week for me.  Remember when I said I would start posting daily?  Yeah that didn't work out very well and I've learned a valuable lesson, in which I can't promise or say I'll post this or that because right now, my life is just a crazy roller coaster ride.

So week in review, what exactly kept me so busy the past few days?

I would have to say the biggest thing was finalizing the kid's schooling and finally getting them into Connections Academy.  The weight is off my shoulders, I am now feeling relieved and ready to start the new year, and that is happening in less than a month.  Goodness!!

We've also been working on getting a new vehicle.  I didn't want to get into another car payment, it was not something I feel comfortable with but the truth of the matter is that we are down to no reliable vehicle between us.

My car still needs a new engine so it sits in our workshop, waiting, until we can save up some money and recover from this big move so we can get it fixed.  It gets paid off early next year, can you believe that?

My husband's truck is running, but not very well and we need to have it looked at and fixed very soon, because I'm worried that if he keeps driving it, it will eventually break for good and I would hate to be stuck with two vehicles who need new engines.

Right now, we are looking at purchasing another vehicle, we've actually been driving it the past week and I'm in love with it.  But between the dealership trying to make it's money, which they always do, and waiting on our own bank for a loan approval, it's taken the whole week.  I feel as if I've had the phone attached to my ear for days and if you know me, you know how I feel about phone calls.  Hate it!!!

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As always I'm enjoying the wild life around me, especially the birds.  I feel like every single day, I get to see one I hadn't seen before and they're all different colors.

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I think they're Yellow Bellied Flycatchers, but I may be way off.  If you know what they are let me know.

Anyway, I'm still enjoying my life here in Texas, I'm still loving the new house and our new life and I'm looking forward to getting a reliable vehicle so that we can start adventuring out and getting to know the area, there's nothing worse than moving to a new place and being stuck in the house with no way of going anywhere.

_MG_9543

My plans for this weekend are:

- planting out front
- start seeds
- move exercise machine to the closet
- get office finished
- work on garage
- break down all the empty boxes and move to workshop
- finish putting up pictures, shelves etc
- clean the turtle tank

Yes, quite another busy weekend, but next week we are headed to Dallas, and I'm taking my camera so I can get a lot of pictures to share with you all.

I want so badly to try to do better at posting on the blog, because really my only other alternative is to stop blogging altogether, and I'm not quite sure I'm ready for that step.  Guess I need to do some thinking on this one.

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend, sending you hugs until the next post :)