Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year Fun - 2013 Edition

So here we are again, it's time for another New Year Fun, this time for 2013.

Oh goodness, so much has happened this year, good and bad, and I can't wait to go back and see just what I was doing or thinking all those months ago. 

Post the first sentence of your first blog post of each month. You can also add a favorite picture from each month.

If you decide to do one as well, let me know so I can come and see it :) 

Happy New Year everyone!

******************************************


January::::
The first day of the year.

The blank slate.

The open book.

2013_01010001


February::::
I see the dishcloth I posted yesterday was liked by many of you. :)

Flower Dishcloths


March::::
Well, here we are, the first day of March, and I'm still trying to understand just how we got here so fast.

March 1, 2013


April::::
Good morning ladies, hope you all had a lovely weekend and Easter with the family :)

2013_03290025


May::::
Oh boy, what a day I had yesterday.

Hearty Chicken Soup


June::::
Oh I am missing my blog something fierce, I can't believe the last update was on Thursday.



July::::
Good morning from beautiful Idaho :)



August::::
Well, I have decided to put Cooking Thursday on HIATUS until further notice.

2013_08030050


September::::
On Sunday we packed a picnic and headed out towards Glenns Ferry.

_MG_7972


October::::
Ohhhhh my favorite thing in October is the 31 Days of Autumn.  Each day, captured in a snapshot, and shared with my readers.

31 Days of Autumn - Day 1


November::::
This week has gone by not only quickly, but I've also found no time whatsoever to relax even for 30 minutes.  It's been driving me crazy.

_MG_9807


December::::
Well folks, here we are, December 2013.

December 2

Are YOU joining in the New Year Fun? If so, add your name to the linky underneath so we can come and see what your year was like.


Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - 12/30/2013

Good morning dear friends, I hope you are having a good Monday morning so far.

Can you believe that we are right at the end of 2013?  Where has this year gone?

This is going to be our last Happy Homemaker Monday of 2013 and when we return next week, I would like to have it slightly changed, maybe add a few categories or change some around.  But for that I would love your input, so if there's something you would like to see added just let me know in the comments :)


As I look outside my window:::
18 degrees this morning, and some nasty ice outside.  It's the one thing of Winter I really dislike, I will take snow any day over this messy frost/ice.

Right now I am:::
Sitting in bed, typing up this post and hoping my blog doesn't mess up again.  Woke up this morning to a big ol' mess with the template, not quite sure what happened.

Thinking and pondering:::
On New Year's Eve, on what the next year is bringing and if I'm quite ready for it.  I think I am, I have a good feeling about this year.

On my bedside table:::
My bible
Made to Crave
Vicks, Halls Throat Lozenges and Kleenex

On my tv tonight:::
Not sure, I have so many shows to catch up on.  I think though that I need to watch part 3 of Death Comes to Pemberley

Listening to:::
My hubby playing with Lola

On the menu for this week:::
Preparing the new Menu, so not sure yet.  For tonight I have some Elk that was gifted to us, so I guess I'll prepare that somehow.
Monday -
Tuesday -
Wednesday -
Thursday -
Friday -
Saturday -
Sunday -

On my to do list:::
Mopping
Menu Planning
Ironing

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
Crocheting headband for myself and then making another cute scarf for this cold weather
 
My simple pleasure:::

Reading cookbooks from front to back  

Lesson learned the past week:::
Patience, patience and more patience.  Enough said!

Looking around the house:::
The Christmas tree and all decorations have been removed.  The house looks so bare without them, but I'm fine with that, I was ready for it all to come down.  Today we'll take down the outside decorations.

From the camera:::


Prayer List:::
Family and friends.

Bible verse, Devotional:::
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

Friday, December 27, 2013

Low key but wonderful Christmas!


For the first time in 15 years, I was able to spend Christmas with my family, or some of my family nearby.

You don't really understand what it means until you are forced to do without, and for us, being in the military meant not only being thousands of miles away from family in the States, but even further from mine which are all back home in South Africa.

I have such fond memories of my childhood Christmases.  There was always such anticipation leading up to the day.  The buying of gifts and hiding them throughout the house, the cooking of the food, decorating the tree, welcoming a lot of family and sitting around a big table filled to the edges with all sorts of yummy goodies.

Over the years as the kids have grown and married and moved out, the Christmases haven't been what they were, and that is understandable, but for the most part, even though I had moved away, the rest of the clan still managed to get together and enjoy their time.

That feeling of excitement is something my brothers and I have always wanted to pass on to our own children.

For me, it hasn't been as easy because it's always been just my hubby and I, and the two kids.  At times, while he was deployed, it was just the kids and I, and that certainly doesn't make for a very exciting Christmas.

But I've done my best to instill in them the giddiness that comes with celebrating the birth of Christ, and the opening of the presents and counting down the hours until midnight.

I've given them the best of both worlds.  Followed our Portuguese tradition which is to have a dinner of a myriad of goodies on the table, waiting until midnight and then opening the presents, and then still opening the Santa presents and the stockings on the morning of the 25th.  And it's worked for us.

But this year was extra special because I finally had family nearby, and in a sense it brought through the old fashion family Christmases.

I cooked all day long on the 24th, and when my sister in law arrived from work, she helped me finish up.  We all sat down and munched away on yummy Portuguese treats.....


Enjoyed a glass....or two....of Moscato wine and reminisced about previous Christmas nights back in South Africa with the whole family.

At midnight we opened presents, we laughed and we gave thanks for being together this year.

It really did feel like I was back in my childhood, and if just for that moment, everything was back to normal.  I needed that so badly, my soul needed it so badly, almost like a recharging of batteries.

Now as we approach the ending of the year and the beginning of a new one, I wonder what is in store for us all, but instead of worrying about it like I have done previously, I'm choosing to let it go and concentrate on a day at a time. 

THAT is the way to live, not reliving the bad things in the past or fearing the future.

Blessings to you all :)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Sick in bed....

Not exactly how I had pictured my Christmas day or the following days, but we can't always have what we like right?

So here I am, sick in bed with a cold and a nasty cough that is keeping me from getting much rest.  The good thing is that in a house with so many people, I am constantly finding willing parties to help me out with whatever I may need.

I would have to say that the silver lining in this bed confinement, is that I'm being entertained by BBC and ITV and watching all the Christmas specials.  Have you been watching or did you forget about them?

No worries though because if you did, I am about to remind you and give you some ideas as to what you can enjoy at the moment.

Starting with Doctor Who and the Christmas special, which also saw the regeneration of Matt Smith's doctor.  I cried folks, I cried so hard because I loved his doctor version so much, and I'm not a fan of Peter Capaldi, just can't see him as the doctor, but since I'm a fan of the show I'm going to watch and see what happens.  Who knows, he may just surprise me.

If you want to catch up on yesterday's episode, you can do it through the BBC iPlayer or you can watch it online, I even have the video for you below.

http://vodlocker.com/embed-epgfup02a181-640x360.html

Then, there's Call the Midwife and oh my word, I loved their Christmas special.  I think you will too.  Bombs, and weddings, and the closing of Nonnatus House???  It was such a brilliant Christmas episode.

http://vodlocker.com/embed-4gqpp8a73r4s-640x360.html

Next one to watch is the Downton Abbey Christmas special, which I am just now watching so I can't tell you much about it other than the whole family is in their London residence and become implicated in some sort of scandal.  That ought to be good.

You can watch it on ITV player, or online as well.

http://videomega.tv/iframe.php?ref=MTDeUOEGDE&

So there's 3 to keep you busy, but there is another one that is actually airing at this moment on BBC One.  I've been trying to watch but being sick, my attention span is not as usual and I tend to doze off, so I'll watch again later.

Death Comes to Pemberley.  If you're a Jane Austen fan then you're familiar with Pride and Prejudice, well this mini series is based on the book by P. D. James.  A murder mystery set at Pemberley.  Ooohhhh juicy.

You can watch the first part of the 3 part series, on BBC's iPlayer or online, or below :)

http://embed.nowvideo.sx/embed.php?v=ffw7xxwbu9zgy

Don't forget about Tudor Monastery Farm either, that is such a fun show to watch, which reminds me I need to add it to the Period Drama List as well.

Right, well I've given you a few goodies to enjoy, but I feel another cough attack coming on and my eyeballs feel like they're going to explode, so I'm going to sign off and catch up on Downton Abbey.

Hope you are all doing well and having a good Christmas week.

Blessings,
Sandra

Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - 12/23/2013

Well this is going up super late today, but in my defense, I have the in laws visiting and have been pretty busy.


So, let's not waste anymore time and let's get right on it.....



As I look outside my window:::
Foggy, cloudy but not too cold.  We had some snow a few days ago but it's all melting and leaving a big ol' mess outside.  I am hoping for a White Christmas but I have a feeling that is not going to happen.

Right now I am:::
Sitting at the kitchen table and typing this post while I have a few minutes to myself.

Thinking and pondering:::
Dinner tonight, I'll be fixing a Ham for the in laws as they leave tomorrow morning.  Also thinking about all the cooking I'll be doing tomorrow afternoon because we celebrate on Christmas Eve around here.

On my bedside table:::
My bible, and The Witches of East End on my Kindle. Also re-reading Made to Crave to prepare for the Bible Study coming up on January 24th, but I'll tell you more about that later :)

On my tv tonight:::
Catching up on:
Tudor Monastery Farm
The White Queen
Killer Contact

Listening to:::
My hubby and father in law chatting, my nephew playing a game on the X-Box and the dogs running around playing.

On the menu for this week:::
Monday - Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Zucchini, Squash and Tomato Casserole, Salad, Jello Pudding Dessert
Tuesday - Christmas Eve - Rissois, pan fried chicken, croquetes, Quindims, Queijadas, Bolo de Bolacha, Bola de Carne (sorry it's all in Portuguese, but it's our tradition)
Wednesday - Pork Roast, Potatoes, Salad
Thursday - Homemade Fettucine with Meat Sauce
Friday - Carne Guisada c/ Massa (Beef with Noodles)
Saturday - Cottage Pie
Sunday -  Vegetable Soup, Sandwiches

On my to do list:::
Entertain, that's it....nothing more.  Play some board games, watch some movies, laugh, chat.

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
Nothing right now, crochet is still on hold.
 
My simple pleasure:::

Laying in bed with a good book   

Lesson learned the past week:::
More like a reminder that family means everything and some things are not worth getting angry about.  Especially during this time of the year, we need to focus on what we have in front of us and not question or worry or yearn for something else.  Make it count!

Looking around the house:::
The Christmas tree is overflowing and ready for kids to dive into.  It's also starting to die so I'm glad we have Christmas right upon on or I fear it wouldn't make it.  There are board games here and there, blankets on the couch, coffee mugs in hands and people laughing.  Truly the best thing about the holidays.

From the camera:::



Prayer List:::
Family and friends.
And for you all, my faithful blog readers, for whatever it may be that is weighing heavily on your heart, I pray that the good Lord give you the comfort you need.

Bible verse, Devotional:::
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:11-14 NIV

Saturday, December 21, 2013

One more snow day....


Well I don't think we'll be having a white snowy Christmas, but the Lord sure has gone out of His way to give us a little of the white stuff  before hand.

Last night the flakes started coming down, and for a few hours it steadily covered our area.


And as always, snow has a way of bringing out the kids in our hearts.  The children quickly bundled up and headed outside to watch the flakes, and us adults bundled up too, but ended up in a huge snowball fight.

We laughed until our sides hurt, we ran, we smiled and we enjoyed every moment of the beauty that is fresh snow.


When I woke up this morning, this was my view, and I smiled big and uttered up a quick prayer to God for allowing me to enjoy this moment.

I'm so truly blessed to live where I do right now.




The boys especially, have been loving the snow, no matter how cold they get out there.



Kicking snow seems to be one of the favorite activities, seeing just how far it goes and how high the snow flies.




Yes, there are a few things that I could completely do without, like the wet boots and the dripping gloves and coats that are dumped at the doorway, but it's all part of it right?

Other than the snow, we've been enjoying having my mother and father in law here, it has resulted in the usual card and board games, good food consumption and lots and lots of laughs and catching up on each others lives.

Unfortunately they won't be staying through Christmas, but that's ok.  We'll just make the best of it.

The presents are all wrapped, the Christmas tree is overflowing, the menu has been decided, and baking and cooking begins tomorrow.


Only downside to it is that a few of us are starting to come down with a cold.  There are quite a few sore throats going around, including my hubby and I.  Oh boy!

Well, I need to get on into the kitchen and whip up some Grilled Cheese and Tomato Sandwiches.  Being that is is my nephew's birthday today, we had cake, ice cream and some snacks earlier so no one is very hungry.

Might end off the night with a board game or a Christmas movie, not sure.

Have a wonderful Saturday night friends :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Slow Cooking Thursday - Thai Chicken Soup

cookingthursday
Good morning dear friends, I sure hope this post finds you nice and warm. It's so cold here, the frost is an every day sight and I woke up this morning with a very sore throat. Oh no!

Going to attack it immediately, I would hate to be sick during Christmas.

Today's recipe is perfect for a cold day and comes from the blog Foodie Crush. Enjoy!


Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup

2 tablespoons red curry paste
2 12 ounce cans of coconut milk
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 heaping tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon lime juice
cilantro for garnish
cooked white rice



Mix the curry paste, coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce, brown sugar and peanut butter in a 4-1/2 to 6-quart slow-cooker bowl. Place the chicken breast, red bell pepper, onion and ginger in the slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 4 hours.
Add in the peas and cook for 1/2 hour longer. Stir in lime juice and serve with cilantro and white rice.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Winter Frost


Can you believe that Christmas is just a few days away?

I'm looking forward to it, but then again it gets to this time of the year and I'm ready for it all to be over so I can take down my tree LOL  I know, crazy huh?


If there is one thing I do love is Christmas Lights and the beautiful effects you can capture on camera.  Now that is one thing I wouldn't mind having up all year long, some twinkling lights.

But yes, I'm very much looking forward to spending Christmas with my family here, for the first time in 16 years.  It will be a special day indeed :)

To make it that much more special, my mother in law and father in law are both visiting.  They arrived yesterday and will be here a week.  We wish they could stay longer but we are just so thrilled to spend this time with them, it's a blessing.


Another thing I've been loving this week, is the winter frost.  It is so cold but I am just in awe of the beauty of the frost.  There is something about looking out from the deck and seeing these white trees and white fields all sparkly.


The cold I could do without, and I wouldn't mind a snowy Christmas, but I guess in a way I'll still get a white Christmas right?  Silver lining and all :)


Kids are on Winter Break, they finished all their school work ahead of time.  They're also on break from dancing and Tae Kwon Do, so it really is all about the days leading up to Christmas, and the excitement is palpable.

To be honest, I can't wait to dig in to those presents either and see what I got.

Well my friends, it's 10:38pm and I'm so tired that I can't even keep my eyes open, so I'm heading straight to bed.

I just wanted to come and say a quick hi and let you all know that I'm still here, still plodding through, still keeping my head up and my eyes set on the Lord.

Blessings,
Sandra







Monday, December 16, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - 12/16/2013

Good morning my friends, hope you're all staying warm.

I had a good relaxing weekend and now I'm ready to face the new week ahead, I am sure the Lord is going to bless us immensely in the next few days.  I can just feel it. 

Now, it's time for our Happy Homemaker Monday :)


As I look outside my window:::
Foggy and cloudy with a temperature of 13 degrees.  We are supposed to be in the upper 30's this week though, so we'll see how that goes.  I do hope we get some snow for Christmas. 

Right now I am:::
Still in bed with my hubby sleeping soundly beside me.  I should have gotten up already but I'm so cold that I'm not sure I want to brave the cold quite yet. 

Thinking and pondering:::
About life, about Christmas, about things in general.  My mind is quite muddy the past few days. 

On my bedside table:::
The Witches of East End.  Just watched the season finale on TV last night and there's no way I'll make it until next year for the next season, I really want to know what is going to happen LOL 

On my tv tonight:::
Catching up on:
Tudor Monastery Farm
The White Queen
Started watching Dexter, not sure if I like it yet
Breaking the Faith

Listening to:::
The snoring of the pugs next to me and the crackling fire.

On the menu for this week:::
Monday - Chicken Spaghetti
Tuesday - Savory Beef with Rice
Wednesday - Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Thursday - Pork Chops, Cilantro Lime Rice, Salad
Friday - Roast Chicken, Roast Potatoes, Broccoli with Cheese Sauce
Saturday - Baked Manicotti, Salad
Sunday -  Vegetable Soup, Sandwiches, Jello Dessert

On my to do list:::
Homeschooling
Housework - laundry, sweeping, vacuuming, dishes etc
Get ready for my in laws arrival tomorrow night

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
Everything is on hold, I haven't had a chance to work on anything, but still have the blanket and the head bands in progress. 

 
My simple pleasure:::

Baking Bread   

Lesson learned the past week:::
To turn the other cheek.  It's such a hard thing to do when you feel you've been unfairly treated, but it's so easy to lash out and say things in the heat of the moment and then regret them right away. 

Much harder is to stop, breathe, and think before replying.  I've had a very difficult week, many things that were thrown at me were heartbreaking and not something I wanted to deal with or hear, or see or find out.  I struggled big time, especially with control and giving it over to God.  But I pulled through and was once again reminded that with HIM everything is possible.  I may not always have the support of others, but as long as I have God and live for HIM, I will continue to be blessed. 

Looking around the house:::
Need to wash the breakfast dishes, I'm sure the kids have already had theirs.  Living room needs a little tidying up and my bedroom needs a bit of rearranging too. 

From the camera:::

My view

Prayer List:::
My husband and brother have both been for a few interviews and they are waiting to hear back this week, praying that something comes through for them both. 
For me.
Family, that they are reminded of how much we love each other and how some things are just not worth fighting about.
My friend Jen who's son had surgery this morning.

Bible verse, Devotional:::
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? - Romans 8:31

Sunday, December 15, 2013

In bed I stay!

Stress can play such a huge part on your well being, not just emotionally but physically.

I am down for the count today, woke up feeling extremely nauseous, stomach just not feeling right at all, but also have a headache and stuffy nose.  I'm thinking I may have a cold coming on but a little stomach bug as well.


So I'm hanging out in bed with a bowl of chicken soup, some kleenex and the crackling fire.

It's a bit of a wonky day weather wise too, not as cold as usual but very cloudy and dreary and I'm thinking it may be just the right conditions for some Jane Austen movies.  What do you think?

Ok, I'm getting off here, and going to rest, I can't be sick with my in laws arriving in just two days.

Blessings,
Sandra

Moleskine Evernote Notebook Winner!

Thank you all for the comments and the entries on the giveaway.  If only I had one to give every single one of you :)

I think there was some confusion though, the giveaway was not for a tablet like mine, but for a Moleskine Evernote Digital Notebook. 

Anyway, I used Random.org, and the winner was:

#18 - Elisa

Congratulations, will be contacting you shortly :)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Draining week!

My view

Oh my friends, I have had one of the worst weeks in a long time.  It's been so draining, and so exhausting that I'm just glad to see it come to an end.

I always feels that December seems to bring a lot of sadness and trials for some people, and this week we've been extremely tested as Christians.

I feel like I've been put through the ringer, faced with certain situations and really had to dig deep inside to be the Christian that I say I am and want to continue being.

Not easy.  Human nature has a tendency to have us react in certain ways which don't always portray who we really are, so it's been tough trying to not fall into that trap, to turn the other cheek, to be the better person.

Exhausting, I tell ya.

But, here I am, intact and still up on my feet.  If it weren't for the almighty God I serve, I doubt I would be.

Wrapping presents

I have finished all my Christmas shopping, and everything is wrapped.  It's a little hard to believe, actually it's VERY hard to believe that Christmas is just in 11 days.  I'm usually not done with the shopping this early, but this year with having more people around, I've had to organize myself and make every single second of my day count.

Quail prints

We've been having some cold days and even getting down into the negatives.  Woke up one morning to a white wonderland.

Icicles

Icicles


So cold

Enjoyed a beautiful performance by my niece's Senior Company.  This was her first ever ballet performance and she looked like a pro, so proud of her.

Niece's Ballet

Received and early Christmas present from my wonderful husband.  This man knows me so very well.  What else would an ex Air Force Wife want, but an airplane necklace?  I love it so much!

Necklace gift

And so that is just a few highlights from my last week, tiny little tidbits that made an unbearable week that little bit better to cope with.

I think we sometimes get so caught up in the craziness, that we forget to take time to reflect and to be with the people who matter.  So as we go into this Christmas season, I decided to focus on what's important......getting ready for Christmas with my family, getting ready to welcome my mother and father in law next week and just being in the moment.  It means I've also taken a break from Facebook so you won't see me around there.

It's needed.  But for the moment, I think what is really needed is my ripple blanket, a cup of coffee and one of my books.

Have a blessed weekend,
Sandra
xoxoxoxo

PS....I have drawn a winner for the Moleskine Notebook and will announce it in the morning :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Digital Organization Campaign - Google Nexus Tablet Review and Giveaway!!!


I am so thankful to my blog, because it has brought me amazing opportunities to review some really great products.

Today, I'm joining Staples and collaborating in their Digital Organization Campaign.....and I'm also going to be telling you all about my husband's favorite new toy.  Yes, my husband's, because even though the tablet was sent to me, he quickly claimed it and it has been quite difficult prying it off his hands LOL

Google Nexus Tablet

Google Nexus Tablet


World's sharpest 7" tablet screen (323 ppi)
Powerful battery, up to 9 hrs of active use
Quad-core speed and performance, 2GB RAM
Powered by Android 4.3, the latest version of world?s most popular mobile OS

If I had to ask my husband exactly what he likes about it, his answer is quick and simple "Everything".  He is absolutely besotted with it and uses it not only for college classes, but for reading and even playing games.

I did manage to pry it off his hands for two days so I could enjoy it for myself.  Let me show exactly what it does because the possibilities are endless, it really is like having a mini computer in your hands.

First and foremost, I can access my blogs just as easily as if I was on my laptop, which makes it so easy for me when I'm in the kitchen and trying to cook from a recipe on my food blog.  

Google Nexus Tablet

The images are sharp, the text is easy to read, and it's so light that I can carry it to any corner of the kitchen, much better than walking around with a bulky laptop taking up valuable counter space in this tiny kitchen.

Google Nexus Tablet

I'm able to store recipes in the tablet, which I find very useful as I jot them down, save them, and then later I can upload them to my blog without having to go anywhere else.

Google Nexus Tablet

It's got everything I could need, right there on the main screen, and at the touch of a button, I can access all the other apps available.

Google Nexus Tablet

I use so many of these on a daily basis.  I was able to enter in my email information and now I can access my email account through the tablet.

Google Nexus Tablet

Netflix....brilliant quality and I haven't experienced any lagging or buffering issues whatsoever.  I've been able to catch up on my favorite TV shows, watch movies and best part, take it anywhere I go that has wifi access.

Google Nexus Tablet

Facebook.....it's like being on my laptop, same quality, easy to use and the pictures look amazing.

Google Nexus Tablet

Crochet patterns....because you know I'm all about those.  I LOVE having them on the tablet.  It's so much easier to slide the tablet into my crochet bag and take it wherever I need it, knowing that with just the touch of one button, I can have the pattern right there at my fingertips.

Google Nexus Tablet

Games.....I don't play them but my husband does and he LOVES it.  He's all about the good graphics and the speed and whatnot, and he has really been enjoying the tablet.

College....he has been able to access his grades and read his text books.

Homeschooling....I was so excited that I could access the online website and even do some of the lessons.  It's going to be soooo handy knowing that I can take the school lessons  with no matter where we go.

I have yet to figure it all out and I know for a fact that I'm nowhere near finished unlocking all this tablet has to offer.

I'm thinking this would be the perfect gift for someone on your Christmas list.  Can't tell you how much we are loving this tablet. 

For more information about the Google Nexus Tablet, you can check out this link.

Twitter: @Staples
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/staples

Now, for the giveaway, up for grabs is a Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook!!!


The new Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine uses Evernote's Page Camera feature to capture the pages of your notebook with your smartphone or tablet. Plus, each Evernote Smart Notebook comes with a 3 month Evernote Premium subscription! Evernote Page Camera is the iOS version for iPhone and iPad. Evernote Ruled Smart Notebook features the unique "Evernote ruled" page style with dotted lines designed to ensure a clean image when digitally capturing your notebook. Smart Stickers introduce Smart Tagging into your workflow. When you capture a page with Evernote, the Smart Sticker icons become searchable, digital tags that make it easy to keep your ideas organized and to keep your digital and analog workspaces synced.

How awesome is that???

-- The contest is open to US residents only.  Please leave a comment including an email where I can reach you if you're picked as the winner.

-- Let me know in the comments if you would keep this notebook for yourself or f you would give it someone else, maybe a family member or friend?

-- Contest will run until Saturday 14th, 2013.  As always I will use Random.org to determine a winner and will then contact them.

-- Please remember you will have 48 hours to claim your prize, if you don't, I will draw another winner.  

Good Luck everyone, and feel free to share if you think that someone would be interested in entering the contest :)

The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle - TLC Book Tour


The enthralling story of Pride and Prejudice's middle sister, Mary Bennet—an enchanting modern sequel to the beloved classic
For most of her life, Mary, the serious and unpolished third daughter of the Bennet family, has been overshadowed by her sisters—beautiful and confdent Jane and Elizabeth, and firtatious and lighthearted Lydia and Kitty. But with nearly all of her sisters married and gone from the household, awkward, unrefned Mary has blossomed into an attractive young woman with a quiet poise of her own.

When a very pregnant Lydia unexpectedly returns to the Bennet home and scandalously announces she's left Wickham, Mary and Kitty are packed off to visit Jane and her husband, Charles Bingley, in Derbyshire. Yearning for the solitude of home, Mary is dismayed to discover Bingley's handsome and eligible friend Henry Walsh everywhere she turns. Unschooled in the game of love, Mary fnds Henry's warm attentions confounding. Is his interest genuine or does she foolishly mistake friendliness for something more? With her heart and her future at risk, Mary must throw caution to the wind to fnd the truth—a journey of discovery that will teach her surprising lessons about herself and the desires of her heart.

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Be still my heart.  Oh my.  I wish I could find enough words to describe how much I loved this book.

Being a die hard Jane Austen fan, I approach books like this quite hesitantly, because honestly nothing comes close to Miss Austen. 

This one however, I enjoyed so very much that I couldn't put it down. 

The story follows the Bennet sisters.  Lizzy is happily married to Darcy and they have twin girls, Jane is happily married to Charles and they have little ones as well.  Lydia is as scandalous as ever, it's quite hilarious at times.  Kitty is a spoiled little girl hell bent on being a woman.  And then there's Mary, who is the main character in the book. 

I fell in love with her from the get go, she's this sweet, shy girl who seems to be forgotten by the rest of the family.  She has developed this complex that she is not pretty enough and not smart enough and good enough, and so tries to remove herself from everything.  Until she catches Henry Walsh's eye and the struggle begins within her whether he is truly in love with her, or whether he is just looking for a mother for his child.

But I won't say anything more, other than, if you are a Jane Austen fan, you NEED to read this story and catch up with all your favorite characters.  It's truly like a step back in time :)

Huge, huge thumbs up.  I'm only sorry the book ended because I wanted to continue reading and living vicariously through these characters.  Kudos to Pamela Mingle :)

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



Happy Homemaker Monday - 12/09/2013

I'm cold.....so very cold that my right hand is actually freezing as I type this up.  We're in the single digits and actually went into the negative last night, definitely a big change from Arizona LOL 



As I look outside my window:::
Snow, it still lays on the ground, even though now it's mainly ice but it's been so cold that it won't melt at all even with the sun shining.  This morning we are at -6 degrees but with the windchill it is -18.  Help me!!!  LOL 
  
Right now I am:::
Sitting in bed, as always when I type up this post.  Wearing this adorable black nightgown that says "Is it too late to be good?" Hahah
I'm listening to my husband as he tells me about his college grades and the next assignment he has coming up, all the while trying to keep myself warm.

Thinking and pondering:::
About Christmas.  My wonderful mother in law and father in law are arriving next week and we are so excited.  Also thinking about what I'll be cooking while they're here, as it will go from 8 of us to 10.  Oh boy, it's been a very long time since I've cooked for a big family. 
 
On my bedside table:::
On the last pages of The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle. 
Up next is Red Phone Box, for another review.

On my tv tonight:::
Catching up on:
Tudor Monastery Farm
Last night's The Witches of East End
The White Queen
Sherlock BBC so that I can be ready for the next season starting soon
 
Playing on the radio:::
Nothing at the moment, it's very quiet.


On the menu for this week:::

Monday - Chicago Style Hotdogs, Tater Tots
Tuesday - Baked Potato and Bacon Soup, Sandwiches 
Wednesday - Homemade Cheese Ravioli with Marinara Sauce, Salad
Thursday - Slow Cooker Chicken Curry
Friday - Sriracha Wings, Potato Casserole
Saturday - Copy Kat Papa John's Pizza
Sunday -  *Not sure yet, working on menus*


On my to do list:::
Homeschooling
Housework - laundry, sweeping, vacuuming, dishes etc

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
Working on the crochet blanket, also making some crochet head bands for Jasmine and I. 

 
My simple pleasure:::

Church on a Sunday morning  

Lesson learned the past week:::
Not one for me personally, but one we've had to teach our children and remind them a few times.  It is difficult living in a house with two families, there are so many differing personalities and then there's the issue of privacy.  The kids often get irritated with each other and things can escalate quickly, so we've been reminding them that this is not forever, that it's temporary, but most importantly that they need to be respectful of each other, respect privacy, respect boundaries and everyone will get along much better. 
 
Looking around the house:::
Breakfast dishes are waiting to be washed, and the dinner dishes are on the rack waiting to be put away.  I need to give the living room a good dusting and vacuuming.  Also been rearranging some things here and there, so will continue with that. 

From the camera:::

December 7


Prayer List:::
My husband and brother as they continue their search for jobs.
My stepmom and dad as they continue to struggle with their separation.
Friends going through a difficult time.
Lady in church going through chemotherapy.

Bible verse, Devotional:::
Psalm 118:22-24 (NIV) - The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.

The Sweetest Thing by Cathy Woodman - TLC Book Tour

http://tlcbooktours.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Cathy-Woodman-The-Sweetest-Thing.jpg

If only everything in life was as simple as baking a cake...

Jennie Copeland thought she knew the recipe for a happy life: marriage to her university sweetheart, a nice house in the suburbs and three beautiful children. But when her husband leaves her, she is forced to find a different recipe. And she thinks she's found just what she needs: a ramshackle house on the outskirts of the beautiful Talyton St George, a new cake-baking business, a dog, a horse, chickens...

But life in the country is not quite as idyllic as she'd hoped, and Jennie can't help wondering whether neighbouring farmer Guy Barnes was right when he told her she wouldn't last the year.

Or perhaps the problem is that she's missing one vital ingredient to make her new life a success. Could Guy be the person to provide it?


Cathy Woodman

About

Cathy Woodman began her working life as a small animal vet before turning to writing fiction. In 2002 she won the Harry Bowling First Novel Award and is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. She is also a sessional lecturer in Animal Management at a local college for land-based industries.

Her books center around the Otter House Vets, a practice set in Talyton St George, a fictional market town in East Devon (where Cathy lived as a child). Cathy now lives with her husband, two children, two ponies, three exuberant Border Terriers and two cats in a village near Winchester, Hampshire.

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My thoughts:

This was such a cute book to read, I can't even begin to tell you.

Let's start with the fact that it's a British book, and if you've known me for a while, you will know what a huge anglophile I am.  So that right there got me excited, then the cover added to the excitement because when I look at it, it actually reminds me of The Great British Bake Off which I LOVE watching.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story, matter of fact it seemed to go by so quick.  It's a fun, cute, girly read and sometimes that is all I need in my crazy life.

Romance, horses, cake, I mean, come on, who wouldn't enjoy that?

I have to give it a huge thumbs up!!!



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



Saturday, December 7, 2013

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!!

December 7

Well finally, we got our first real snow of the year.  We got a little dusting a few weeks back but nothing that would even stick around.

This morning, however, we woke up to a beautiful white winter wonderland and huge big flakes coming down.  It stayed this way for the whole day, and just now stopped.

I know it's cold, but I do love a good snow and seeing the earth blanked in beautiful white flakes.

December 7

December 7

I love it, the kids love it, the quails love it.....

December 7

My pugs however, not so much.

December 7

Especially Miss Lola who really really really and I mean reallyyyyyy hates it LOL

She just refuses to go out in that cold, even if we go out with her and stand there and try to coax her. Nope, not having it.
December 7

Miss Bella is not so bad, she'll go out, she'll walk around, do her business and quickly run back in.

December 7

December 7

December 7

We had to make a quick trip to Walmart for some snow boots for the kids and some thermal wear, because when it comes to winter clothes, we have none.  When we left to Arizona 7 years ago we got rid of them never thinking we would be heading back this way, but now I'm really regretting that decision because goodness, we are not equipped for this cold weather at all.

December 7

You know it's so funny in a way, being back here where the kids were born, and seeing things and experiencing things as if for the first time. They've grown so much since then, so it's exciting reliving it all through their eyes.

Humbling in a way, sad in another, but always exciting.

Well, I best get on out of here. I have a chicken pot pie in the oven, my fire is going, everyone is walking around with thick socks and hats and whatnot, snuggling under blankets and watching movies and playing games etc.

I am going to run and check on dinner, get the table set, eat, and then I'm thinking a hot shower, some comfy pj's and relaxing either with a good book or a Christmas movie with the family.

God Bless,
Sandra
xoxoxo