Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year Fun - 2014 in Review

Hello friends, well, here we are, the last few hours of 2014.  As with every year, I always do a Year in Review.

I can tell you that I am very much looking forward to seeing this year behind me, so much has happened, so many sad moments, deaths of loved ones and some struggles.

I'm waiting for the blank pages to open up, and for the opportunity to start fresh.

New Year's Resolutions?  None....more like goals, and really if I think about it, it's just some changes that I want to focus on, some things I stopped doing that I want to bring back.

So, let's see what this year was like.

If you want to join in, here's what you need to do.

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

Happy New Year everyone!



I'm so excited about this challenge, I've never really joined any challenge before as I don't like committing to something that I am  not sure I'll be able to stick with.



Oh goodness, it's February already? I'm afraid this year is going to zip by just as fast as the previous ones.


Well first and foremost, happy 1st of March. Can you believe it?



Though not with some lingering cold weather. Brrrrr!!!



It is such a beautiful glorious Spring day.

Lilacs on Window sill


Good morning friends, happy Sunday!

Mandala Love


Happy 4th of July my sweet friends!!!


Oh my friends, I want to sit and just cry. Have a good, good cry, maybe even one of those ugly, nose running, mascara smudged, loud cries.



I can't believe it is Monday afternoon already, this long weekend sure flew by didn't it?



Hello my sweet friends, how are you all doing?



Hello friends, how was your Halloween?



I am a little shocked that we are already at the end of the year, it seems it was just January. Goodness!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday - 12/29/2014

Good morning everyone, here we are, the last week of 2014, or rather, the last few days.  I can't believe that we are finishing up one more year of Happy Homemaker Monday.

It's been going strong for a long time, much longer than I thought it would and I'm so thrilled about it.

I do want to try and maybe change up the categories a bit for the new year, so if you have a suggestion and would like to see a certain category up, just let me know :)

The weather outside is::::
Snowy.  It started coming down again this morning but seems to have stopped now, and honestly, I hope it stays that way.   

On the breakfast plate this morning::::
Cup of coffee, and here in a few minutes I will have some leftover chocolate chip pancakes that Jasmine made yesterday for breakfast.   

As I look outside my window:::
Frost everywhere, but blue skies.  It looks really pretty actually, but then Winter time for me is one of the most beautiful times of the year. 

Right now I am::::
Sitting at the kitchen table, watching the snow falling outside and the cars driving by.  Still in my pj's as I'm too cold to go change out of them, but I will have to get that done very soon.

As I look around the house::::
It looks so much better with all the Christmas stuff removed.  I need to give the living room a quick tidy from the weekend, it's mostly Nick's gaming stuff. 

On today's to do list::::
Laundry....Not too much, did most of this weekend so only have to throw in Jasmine's laundry, but I have to wait for her to get up so I can get into her bedroom. 
Cleaning....In the kitchen, Unload the dishwasher and reload with breakfast dishes, clean the chalkboard wall, water the plants. 
In the living room....Vacuum, sweep and mop.  Tidy up the couches and brush off the dog hair.  Open blinds and windows to let in some cool air.
In the bedrooms....change the bed linens, vacuum, dust.  Open blinds and windows. 
In the bathrooms....Toilets, sinks and mirrors.  Sweep and mop.
Homeschooling....we're on a break, but Jasmine and I need to catch up on some overdue lessons for her and tomorrow I'm having my niece over too so we can get some work done. 
Cooking.....lunch today will be Ham and Cheese Sandwiches.  Dinner tonight, Pepperoni Pasta Bake.

Currently reading::::
Nothing, absolutely nothing.  I don't know what is going on or if it's just due to the busyness of the season, but I haven't felt like reading at all. 

On the TV today::::
Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife Christmas specials.

On the menu this week::::
Monday - Pepperoni Pasta Bake
Tuesday - Pork Chops, Baked Potatoes
Wednesday - Pizza
Thursday -
Friday -
Saturday -
Sunday -

We are so sick of food at the moment that the next few days we'll be having very simple meals.  I need to work on the next menu today and will hopefully go grocery shopping on Friday.

What I am creating at the moment::::
A tidier house, post Christmas.    

New recipe I tried or want to try this week::::
Nothing new.  I am hoping that as the new year kicks in, I will be able to pay more attention to my food blog.  It's been poorly neglected.   

Favorite photo from the camera::::


Prayers, Inspirational Quotes or Devotionals::::

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?
Psalm 56:3-4

PLEASE, don't add links to this list that are not part of the Happy Homemaker Monday. I've asked numerous times, and I'm frankly quite tired of having to remove links to other posts that shouldn't be in this list. Please be respectful of my request!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Winding down!


Oh goodness, I feel like I haven't been on my blog in forever, and truth be told, it really has been almost a week.

Life has been full, absolutely full, of laughter, of family and food.

It's been a wonderful past week, we had one of the best Christmas Eve's in a very long time, a freak snow storm that blew in right before minute and left us with no power for 4 hours, and opening presents by candlelight.  It was a little weird at first, you couldn't really see much but it did make for a very magical setting with the snow coming down outside and the fire burning inside as we laughed and scrambled for gifts.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Day was spent at my brother's house, a very low key, nice meal and just some catching up and relaxing from the crazy rush before the holidays.

Friday we were home, trying to take it easy.  I wanted to do absolutely nothing, to sit in my pajamas all day, to drink coffee, watch a movie or read a book, but the family had other ideas, they wanted to go by Walmart to use some gift cards we got from family.  Thing is, we weren't the only ones with that idea as I think half of America was doing the exact same thing.  Just can't get away from the crowds can we?

Saturday was spent cleaning up from Christmas.

I like the holidays but honestly, the day after, I am already itching to put everything away and get my house back on track.   Just seems like everything looks so cramped for the month of December, and once it's tidied up, the house suddenly seems so much bigger.

Anyway, today we woke up to this.....


It snowed overnight, it snowed a little throughout the morning and it is supposed to continue snowing for the next two days.


I love snow, but I don't like the fact that my car is absolutely horrid in icy conditions, don't to the point where I can't drive it if there is a lot of snow outside.  I need to get new tires, and unfortunately that is not something that we can afford at the moment.


Truth be told, at moments like these, I miss Arizona and the warmer weather. 


So yeah, I know that may have sounded like a total squirrel moment, but it's just frustrating when you need to go somewhere and quickly realize that you are stuck in your house because the car can't even make it out of the driveway.  Not a good thing.

I'm hoping, and really hoping that the weather lets up a bit.

I'm trying to get myself mentally ready for the new coming year, it's weird thinking that we are just a few days away from 2015.  Time usually flies but 2014 for me seems to have gone by quicker than usual, right?

I don't usually do resolutions, but this coming year there are a few things I want to get back to doing, just a few changes that I think will benefit me immensely.

Water is a huge one for me, so I'm choosing to focus more on drinking it, instead of turning to diet coke, which I love.   I also want to go go back to drinking my green tea daily, and I'm definitely returning to my one hour of Zumba each morning.  I have missed it so much and I'm dying to start again, so I'll be doing that on Thursday for sure.  Starting the year off right.

How have the past few days been for you?  Are you looking forward to the new year?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Blogmas 2014 - Day 23 Favorite Christmas Story


From Luke 2: 1-20
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, everyone into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Blogmas 2014 - Day 22 A day in the life as we prepare for Christmas

Well, it's 9:30pm and I'm starting to type up this post.

Let me just say that I am a gal who goes to bed around this time every night, but for the past week I have been staying up way later than usual, and I think my body is getting a little used to it.  Problem is that even though I'm going to bed later, I'm not getting good sleep at night and still getting up early, so it's not really working for me.

But, anyway, today's prompt is a day in the life as we prepare for Christmas.  I was supposed to do some baking but ended up not doing it, so it's on tomorrow's agenda :)

Here are some pics from my day::::

December 22, 2014

First thing in the morning, has to be a big cup of coffee.....

December 22, 2014

The kitchen counter is forever being used as a catch all, it drives me quite bonkers to be honest, especially when it looks like this every morning even though I clear it out at night.....thing is, I go to bed before everyone else and these brats of mine are always in there for snacks.

December 22, 2014

Dishes are just never ending.  I load the washer, I empty the washer, I wash by hand, I soak...and on and so forth and rinse and repeat, literally.

December 22, 2014

This brat only likes going outside when it's not raining or snowing, look how happy she was today with the rain gone and the sunshine out.

December 22, 2014

Still loving that some of the trees have retained some leaves.  What a beautiful sight!

December 22, 2014

I am desperately wishing for snow for Christmas, BUT, I don't know.  I just wish the snow on those mountains would make it over here to us.

December 22, 2014

Rainy days are good for one thing though, candles and warm cozy feelings.

December 22, 2014

December 22, 2014

My poor tree is starting to die, I told the family we should just open the presents now, but they are not falling for it.  Again, RUDE!  hahaha

December 22, 2014

Tomorrow as I said, I'll be in the kitchen getting the final things done for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  I do hope that you have all been enjoying Blogmas as much as I have.  I also know that some of you are not able to keep up and have had to stop, that is ok, I myself may end up putting the Blogmas prompts for the 24th and 25th on Friday 26th. 

Happy Homemaker Monday - 12/22/2014

Good morning.  Oh boy, are you ready for this week?  Christmas week is finally here and I think my kids are bursting at the seams, quite frankly, I look forward to it more for them than for me.

Is there anything like watching their faces when they open their presents?

So anyway, I have a busy week ahead (I'm sure that is not shocking at all considering my life seems to be all about busy, right?), I better get on with these posts and get my day started.

PS.....the Blogmas prompt for today will be going up tonight, because it IS a day in the life and so I want to take photos throughout the day.

The weather outside is::::
Well we have had rain for 3 days in a row, and it seems it is finally letting up, not that I'm complaining because I love rainy days.  I was hoping for some Christmas snow but it doesn't seem like it is happening for us, it IS happening about 45 minutes in every direction from where we are.....Rude!  

On the breakfast plate this morning::::
Coffee, coffee, and coffee.  I should get something else in my stomach but I'm not sure yet what.  I am kind of craving eggs, so I may do toast and scrambled eggs, or a fried egg?  We'll see. 

As I look outside my window:::
Wet, everything is wet and it's cloudy.  It does look beautiful though and perfect for this time of the year.  

Right now I am::::
Sitting here typing up this post, already dressed for the day and have a running list of to do's in my head.  I am also enjoying my coffee, enjoying the lights from the Christmas tree and listening to the radio.

As I look around the house::::
It looks so cozy and warm right now.  It is still a little dark because of the clouds outside, so with the Christmas lights and the candles it creates a beautiful atmosphere. 

On today's to do list::::
Laundry....Have a few loads to finish, didn't quite get everything done this weekend because I was out most of the time. 
In the kitchen, Unload the dishwasher and reload, clear off the counters, change the tablecloth out and water the plants on the window sill. 
In the living room....Vacuum the rug and carpet clean it, it needs it before we have the family over for Christmas Eve.  Dust.   
In the bedrooms....make the beds, vacuum. 
In the bathrooms....Toilets, sinks and mirrors. 

Cooking.....Grilled Cheese and Onion Sandwiches for lunch.  For dinner it will be Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes and Stuffing.

Currently reading::::
White Christmas Pie by Wanda E. Brunstetter.......though I haven't picked it up in a few days because I just haven't had time.    

On the TV today::::
I am so behind on my vlog watching and I haven't really been able to sit and watch anything either.  Thursday night my daughter asked me to watch a scary movie, I was soooo tired but I went ahead and did it, we tried As Above, So Below but only made it about 15 minutes.  It was horrid, I can't stand movies where the camera is carried by one person and it shakes everywhere, it makes me sick, honestly.  We ended up watching Jessabel, that was a bit creepy.

On the menu this week::::
Monday - Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing
Tuesday - Ham and Cheese Quesadillas, Rice
Wednesday - Christmas Eve..... Bacon and Ham Ring, Shrimp and Tuna Rissoles, Meat Croquetes, Pizza bites, Finger Sandwiches, Pigs in a blanket, fruit cakes, rice pudding, cookies and candies, King's cake
Thursday - Christmas Dinner....Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Salad, Veggies, Christmas Pudding
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Roast Chicken Legs, Potatoes
Sunday - Pepperoni Pasta Bake

What I am creating at the moment::::
A Christmas gift for my sister in law......still haven't gotten around to it, but really have to either today or tomorrow.   

Favorite photo from the camera::::
Took some photos of my girl yesterday afternoon and I'm shocked at how much she has grown.  If you've followed me for a few years, then you will remember this cute little red head, now she's 4 months from turning 16 yeas old, getting ready to go for her driver's permit, and this gorgeous young woman.  Her dad and I are just in awe of how stunning she is.


Prayers, Inspirational Quotes or Devotionals::::

Christmas is the perfect time to celebrate the love of God and family and to create memories that will last forever. Jesus is God's perfect, indescribable gift. The amazing thing is that not only are we able to receive this gift, but we are able to share it with others on Christmas and every other day of the year.  *Joel Osteen*

PLEASE, don't add links to this list that are not part of the Happy Homemaker Monday. I've asked numerous times, and I'm frankly quite tired of having to remove links to other posts that shouldn't be in this list. Please be respectful of my request!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Blogmas 2014 - Day 21 Share your favorite Christmas poem or picture

Good morning from a very wet, rainy, cold Idaho.

It's been pouring down for the past two days and I couldn't be happier, I really do love rainy days.  It's 9am and it looks so dark in my house, so it's fairie lights and candles today.......oh and lots of laundry, blech.

Anyway, today's prompt is all about our favorite Christmas poem or picture.  I have so many that I enjoy, so I decided I would put up a picture and a poem.

I just love this one, it's actually my desktop background at the moment.

No other words needed.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Blogmas 2014 - Day 20 Last minute gift ideas

Ok, so another long day, but I had the family over and just wanted to have a day devoted to them without the computer being in the mix.

Sometimes you just need one of those days, right?

So, moving on to today's prompt which is about last minute gift ideas.  I have been good this year, and I have bought things throughout November and am actually completely done shopping for everyone, so I am not worried about last minute gift ideas.

But I do have some ideas if you're still looking for some for anyone on your list.....

Netflix or Hulu Subscription - we actually did a Netflix subscription for my in laws one year and they loved it so much they continued on with it after it ran out.

Beauty box - monthly delivery of different serums, pomades, polishes, colognes etc. to try. (I know there's Birchbox and Goodebox)

Hair, Nails Certificate -  I've received these for birthdays before and really love them.

Gift Certificates - can't go wrong with these.

Gift Baskets - it could be a flower, cookie, candy, or even a personalized basket for a movie fan, or a spa or kitchen fan. 

Kitchen tablet holder - this is SUCH a great idea, I am going to have my husband actually make me one. 

Quick Bread in a Bottle - I would love one of these.

Those are just a few of my ideas for a quick last minute gift.  I hope you enjoy it, and that it may give some of you out there an idea for a last minute gift.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Blogmas 2014 - Day 19 Preparing for Christmas


Hello my friends, how are your Christmas preparations coming? I am glad to say that we are well under way here and pretty much on the home stretch.

Today I spent most of the morning in the kitchen with Jasmine, she loves baking and was just on a mission. Oh goodness, I'm tired BUT I'm happy, because for years I wanted her to get into baking and cooking and have days in the kitchen with her and now I finally get that. Wouldn't trade it for the world.

Let me show you what we made.....

Chocolate Mint Bark

Chocolate Mint Bark

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Chocolate Mint Cookies

Chocolate Mint Cookies

Yuletide Bars

Yuletide Bars

In the fridge we have a batch of fudge that we are still waiting on to firm up.  I am not good with fudge though so I'm crossing my fingers and we'll see how that goes LOL

As for the rest of the preparations, there is a lot of this going on....


and crazy baking days....


Desperately trying to get Christmas cards out.....


Christmas dishes being pulled out of storage.....


And a fruit cake that has been boozing it up since November....I can't wait to get into this one.


So as you can see, we are almost there, just a little longer and we'll finally make it right?  And then the day will come and within an hour it will be done and we get to look forward to it again for a whole year and do it all again.  Oh boy!!!

How are you preparing for Christmas?