Thursday, January 30, 2014

Slow Cooking Thursday - Super Easy Skinny Veggie Crockpot Lasagna


This one looks delicious and a pretty healthy version of a lasagna. Can't wait to try.  Thanks to the wonderful blog A Pinch of Yum.

Image credit:  Pinch of Yum

Super Easy Skinny Veggie Crockpot Lasagna
 Serves: 9


(2) 24 ounce jars or cans of Italian tomato sauce (see notes)
9 thick lasagna noodles with wavy edges (mine were called bronze cut)
24 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese OR cottage cheese
3-4 cups chopped vegetables of choice (I used kale)
2 cups shredded Mozzarella or Provolone cheese
Parmesan cheese for topping
fresh parsley for topping


Spray the crockpot with nonstick cooking spray. Spread ½ cup tomato sauce to the bottom so the noodles don’t stick.
Break noodles so that they fit and mostly cover the bottom. They will probably be awkward looking – not a big deal. Cover with about one third of the ricotta, veggies, sauce, cheese, and end with noodles. Repeat layers two more times for a total of three complete layers. End with a layer of noodles on top, covered with a thin layer of sauce and a little bit more shredded cheese.
Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 5-6 hours. Turn the crockpot off completely and let the lasagna sit for at least one hour. This allows all the moisture to get soaked into the lasagna, and if you don’t do this it will probably be more like lasagna soup – still good, but not pretty. Depending on how long you let it sit, you can either scoop pieces out or just cut with a knife like normal lasagna.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sweet Rain!


Oh it felt so very good to see the rain coming down.  It started last night and it continued throughout the whole day, and it's still pitter pattering a little.

We needed it so badly, because the past 3 weeks we've had the worst haze and fog lingering around, so this glorious rain came to wash all that nastiness away.


One thing about a rainy day though, is that it makes the house so dark, it's like nighttime all day long.

Perfect for reading, crocheting, watching a movie and eating yummy stews and soups.


I've been very good with keeping up with the crochet mood blanket.  I think the fact that it's just the one square a day makes it easy to not fall off the wagon.  And it's actually inspiring me to continue with other projects too, I'm also thinking that I may end up making this blanket just big enough for a twin bed and then moving onto another blanket so that my kiddos will end up with a blanket each by the end of the year :)

Week 3

I'm loving it so far, just totally besotted with this blanket, the colors, the pattern, the joining, just everything about it makes me happy.


I just finished today's square which I chose to do in all the colors (or mostly all the colors) in the blanket so far.  Just to make it different, I may not even add it to the next row, we'll see how I feel once it's all ready to join.


 I do enjoy a cup of hot coffee while I crochet, or sometimes some hot tea, whichever I'm in the mood for.

One of the spots I like to sit at and kick up my feet, is this chair.  You've seen it many times before in our previous home, and no matter where I place it, it always ends up being one of my favorite corners maybe due to the large amounts of crochet goodies :)


If I'm not crocheting then I'm usually enjoying a good book.  And speaking of which, in case you missed it, I've started a new list that you can find up top on my link bar, for Period and Historic Books.


I have so many to add to that list.  Not only ones which I have read and enjoyed, but classics and others on my "to read" list.

I know that some of my posts seem like I'm just blabbering right along, and I guess that I just type exactly how I speak because I tend to go from one subject to another.  HA!!!

It's just that sometimes I have so much I want to tell you about and am not always the greatest and switching from one thing to another, so I basically throw it all out there.  Hope you don't mind.

Hubby had another job interview this afternoon and we feel really good about this one.  Will see how it goes.

Now he's gone off to take the kids to Tae Kwon Do and to pick up Tiffany from dancing.  I'm just relaxing a little and will go with him to pick up the kiddos when they're done.

Then, I'm going to watch the new Ghost Hunters on TV and also want to check out the new series on Starz called "Black Sails".  I do love Pirates and Pirate shows so I'm quite curious about this one.  Have any of you seen it yet?

Alright my friends, I better get on out of here.

Have a wonderful night and thank you for stopping by, as always.  God Bless!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Period and Historic Book List

So we got the TV series, documentaries and movies covered, but what about books???

My sweet friend Elizabeth from Attempting to be a Super Mom asked me if I could compile a list of some Period books, and I of course jumped on it because it's one of my favorite genres to read, and it would be quite fun to have a running list of all the books I've read that are either Period or Historic.

Atonement by Ian McEwan
Anne of Green Gables (#1) by L.M. Montgomery
Anne of Avonlea (#2) by L.M. Montgomery
Anne of the Island (#3) by L.M. Montgomery
Anne of Windy Poplars (#4) by L.M. Montgomery
Anne's House of Dreams (#5) by L.M. Montgomery
Anne of Ingleside (#6) by L.M. Montgomery
A reliable wife by Robert Goolrick

A breath of snow and ashes (Outlander #6) by Diana Gabaldon
An echo in the bone (Outlander #7) by Diana Gabaldon
A leaf on the wind of all hallows (Outlander #8.5) by Diana Gabaldon
A little princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A Match made in Heaven by Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, Carol Cox


Christy by Catherine Marshall

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon
Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) by Diana Gabaldon

Emma by Jane Austen

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Gone with the wind by Margaret Mitchell
Girl with a pearl earring by Tracy Chevalier
Ghost Riders (Ballad Series #7) by Sharyn McCrumb


I capture the castle by Dodie Smith
If ever I return, pretty Peggy-O (Ballad Series #1) by Sharyn McCrumb

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

King's Mountain (Ballad Series #10) by Sharyn McCrumb

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House on the Prairie (#2) by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Love comes Softly by Janette Oke

Mansfield Park
Miss Pettigrew lives for a day by Winifred Watson
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Persuasion by Jane Austen


Rainbow Valley (Anne of green gables #7) by L.M. Montgomery
Rilla of Ingleside (Anne of green gables #8) by L.M. Montgomery
Romeu and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
She walks these hills (Ballad Series #3) by Sharyn McCrumb
Sarah's Quilt (Sarah Agnes Prine #2) by Nancy E. Turner

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaeffer
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Constant Princess (The Tudor Court #1) by Phillipa Gregory
The Other Boleyn Girl (The Tudor Court #2) by Phillipa Gregory
The Boleyn Inheritance (The Tudor Court #3) by Phillipa Gregory
The Queen's Fool (The Tudor Court #4) by Phillipa Gregory
The Virgin's lover (The Tudor Court #5) by Phillipa Gregory
The Other Queen (The Tudor Court #6) by Phillipa Gregory
The Pillars of the Earth (The Pillars of the Earth #1) by Ken Follett
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusack
The Fiery Cross (Outlander #5) by Diana Gabaldon
The Night Circus by Erin Morgensten
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
The Hangman's Beautiful Bride (Ballad Series #2) by Sharyn McCrumb
The Rosewood Casket (Ballad Series #4) by Sharyn McCrumb
The Ballad of Frankie Silver (Ballad Series #5) by Sharyn McCrumb
The Song catcher (Ballad Series #6) by Sharyn McCrumb
The Devil amongst the lawyers (Ballad Series #8) by Sharyn McCrumb
The Ballad of Tom Dooley (Ballad Series #9) by Sharyn McCrumb
These is my words (Sarah Agnes Prine #1) by Nancy E. Turner
The Star Garden (Sarah Agnes Prine #3) by Nancy E. Turner


Voyager (Outlander #3) by Diana Gabaldon

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
World without End (The Pillars of the Earth #2) by Ken Follett
Written in my own heart's blood (Outlander #8) by Diana Gabaldon
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke




Where to watch your favorite shows!!!!

I think most of you know that I watch 99% of my favorite shows online.  The main reason being that most of what I enjoy is in the UK and so I can't watch live here in the States.

Another reason being that I don't always have the time to catch them when they're on TV.  Some are on way too late at night, others are on right in the middle of kid activities and others I just plain forget that they're on.

I've always relied on online websites to do all my TV watching, and so throughout the years I have managed to compile quite a big list of websites where I know I can find what I'm looking for.

A friend of mine on Facebook, asked me if I would be willing to write up a post with a list of these sites because she can't always find what she's looking for, and as many of you may have noticed, a lot of the network websites now require you to provide your dish or cable account information.

So, here we are, I'm going to share with you all the websites I use to watch my shows and hopefully these will come in handy for you.  :)


Up until a few months ago, the website would post all the links to the shows, but then they stopped.  No worries though because you can still watch all your favorite shows on there, and trust me there are SO many up to date ones.

The trick is to search for the show you're looking for, when you find it click on it.  It will open up another page with the show's information and all the seasons.  When you find the episode you are looking for, scroll all the way down to the comments.

In the comments section, look for comments that contain a list of links, if you can find any, then look for any posts that say the comment is hidden.  I've added a picture below for you to see what it would look like.

That's it!!!!


Watch Series
Same as above, search for your show and then click on the season or episode you wish to watch and pick one of the links to watch online.




Couch Tuner


Delish Shows


 Coke and Popcorn


Series Zone


Watch Series Online


Video Bull


Mer DB
This one, you can watch TV shows AND movies, including new releases. 




There are so many others out there, but these are the ones I use the most.  I also use Netflix Streaming and the free Hulu, though many times the newest episodes are not listed on either of those so I really do rely on my online websites for all my viewing needs.

I do hope you'll find this list helpful.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday - 01/27/2014

As I look outside my window:::
22 degrees at the moment, cold, grey, foggy....AGAIN!  I have to say that as much as I love Idaho, I'm actually starting to feel quite claustrophobic.  It's been foggy for 2 weeks, I haven't seen the beautiful mountains in the distance in what seems like forever.  I'm starting to miss Arizona at this point LOL 

Right now I am:::
In my bedroom.  Just finished making the boys breakfast and the hubby and I some coffee.  Now I'm typing up this post and preparing for the day ahead.  mental list of what I have to get done today. 

Thinking and pondering:::
On a lot of things.  Mainly the lessons that I'm supposed to be learning right now, on being thankful even through the hard days and on accepting that this is the path I'm supposed to be on for the moment. 
On my bedside table:::
Playing St. Barbara, a book for a review.
On my Kindle I'm reading Love by the Letter by Melissa Jagears
On my tv tonight:::
Hubby and I are but a few episodes away from finishing Heroes.
Next we'll be watching Sleepy Hollow.
I also have Call the Midwife and Musketeers to catch up on today.

Listening to:::
Mix 106 Radio 

On the menu for this week:::
Monday - Steaks with Pepper Sauce and Scalloped Potatoes
Tuesday - Sloppy Joes and Fries
Wednesday - Amish Chicken Pot Pie
Thursday - Four Cheese Spaghetti, Olive Garden Bread sticks 
Friday - Chili Dogs, Salads
Saturday - Boise Stampede Game
Sunday - Zuppa Toscana, Sandwiches

On my to do list:::
Iron and put away laundry
Homeschooling with the boys, girls have done all their work for today and tomorrow, so they have 2 days off.
Bake Bread

Plans for this week:::
Monday - Dancing, Tae Kwon Do
Tuesday - Dancing
Wednesday - Dancing, Tae Kwon Do
Thursday - Dancing, Tae Kwon Do
Friday - Grocery shopping, finishing off Tax Return

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
Working on my Crochet Mood Blanket
My simple pleasure:::

Snuggling in bed with Miss Lola  

Lesson learned the past week::: 
It's been an onslaught of lessons for us.  Some I see clearly, others I don't, and quite honestly right now we're in the middle of some huge tests and lessons that don't make a lick of sense to me.  I am just trusting in the Lord and knowing that we are supposed to be learning something big here.

Looking around the house:::
The house is dark and quiet, I think the weather makes it look so dreary.  I am thinking it's a candle lit, fresh bread and soup for lunch kind of day. 

From the camera:::

Kitchen window

Prayer List:::
My husband has another job interview on Wednesday and it would be a great job if he got it.
My brother went for an interview on Friday morning, hoping to get a phone call for him this week.

Bible verse, Devotional:::
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:12-13 NIV

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!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A day of puttering around....

It's been a good day.  A nice, quiet, relaxing day of just plain old pottering around my house.

My niece had a dance performance today and unfortunately we were unable to attend, so my brother and sister in law and niece and nephew left around noon and have yet to return.  It means my little family and I got some much needed alone time.

You know, you never really understand how much family time is important, until you no longer have it.

We love having my brother and his family here, but I think it's so imperative that both families carve out some alone time, even if just for a day....and we were needing this so very badly.

Did we do anything fantastic?  No.  We did what we always do, we just hung around the house, puttered here and there, ate a simple lunch, laughed, talked, sat down just the four of us for dinner and enjoyed the quiet moments.....because you do know that a household full of people is a constant buzz of noise.

I wanted to share my day with you and just show you a little here and there.  I haven't done it in a while.

Remember those posts I would do, the daily ones where I showed you pictures of some corners of my home?  I've missed those, so this one is kind of like that, just a bunch of pictures that will give you a little insight into my corner of the world.

♥   Changed out the kitchen curtains, removed my little pumpkin garland and added my dried orange slices again.

Kitchen window

Turned on my beautiful Scentsy holder and enjoyed the wonderful scent that permeated through the house.

Scentsy holder

A quick, easy, filling lunch of Asian Wraps.


Watered all the plants in the house and smiled at this little Christmas tree that is still thriving and looking ever so pretty.

Little Christmas tree

Rearranged some of the items on my baker's rack and added the pumpkin garland to it.  At first I just hung it there until I decided where to place it permanently, but I love how it looks, and so it stays.

Baker's rack

Some housecleaning, which of course includes the not so popular bathrooms.  One of my least favorite chores in the house.


Stepped out front for some fresh air and smiled at the flags, all lined up, standing at attention.  A welcome pop of color on a dark, grey foggy day.

Front Yard

Dusted the shelves and shook out all the crochet blankets, then set them back on the shelf and sat back to smile.  I do love how crochet items look all neatly folded.

Crocheted Blankets

This afternoon, I turned the fire on, made myself a cup of coffee and sat down to work on the Period Drama Lists.  You can now look through either the Period Drama Documentaries, Period Drama TV Series or Period Drama Movies.

I think it will make it much easier for you all to find a specific show to watch, so I hope you enjoy these :)

And now, my crochet is calling my name, so I better skedaddle on out of here.

Have a wonderful night!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday evening!


Hello my sweet friends.  Well, it's after 7pm and I am showered, in my warm pj's and sitting in bed with the laptop and my crochet.

It's been a bit of a long day for me, I couldn't get to sleep last night and ended up out of bed very early this morning.

So early indeed, that it was still dark out, the sun barely starting to come up and the dense fog engulfing the land as far as the eye could see....which wasn't much at all, to be honest.

I realize that once again, my last post was made on Monday and I haven't had a chance to come back in to post anything.  Ugh, I'm actually sick of saying the same thing over and over and I think it's best left unsaid.  Truth is, you all know I'm busy, I'm dealing with a lot changes, I am dealing with a full house and this and that and whatnot.

There, it's been said for the last time and now we can all just move right along.  Or so I hope.

My week has been filled with the usual going ons of a household, like cleaning, and homeschooling and cooking and laundry and dishes and the like.  With a little bit of crochet thrown in to balance it all out, because we can't have just chores, we need a bit of that which makes us smile inside, on a daily basis.  Even if for just a few minutes.


The weather has been quite cold and dreadful around here. We've had ice and fog and chilly temps with no end in sight.



Laundry, is it ever ending?  Though to be honest, I'm glad we have washing machines and driers today, aren't you?


Freshly baked cookies, gingerbread at that.  These didn't last very long, matter of fact, within a few hours they were gone.


Ironing and folding and packing away and then back to washing and ironing and folding and packing away, and so on and so forth.  *whew*


A lot of bread baking is done in this house.  Everyone prefers homemade bread to store bought so I stay quite busy cranking out loaf after loaf, cinnamon rolls and dinner rolls.

Oh and just like the cookies, they don't last for very long.


I usually make my Buttermilk Bread or the Four Loaf White Bread recipes, I love that they are very easy to make, always turn out well and are delicious.


And sometimes, a quick simple cake is whipped up. This one reminds me so much of my grandfather, my dad's dad. Growing up there was a time when my grandparents lived with us, and we used to sometimes tell my grandfather that we felt like cake. Do you know that he would get up, walk into the kitchen, no matter what time of the day it was, and bake a simple cake?

Oh how many times we sat up past midnight enjoying a slice of warm cake straight from the oven and giggling.

This isn't the recipe for my grandfather's cake, but it's still easy, simple and scrumptious.  Simple Vanilla Cake.


Although I've been horrid at updating my crochet mood blanket post (I WILL update it this weekend), I have been keeping up with it and it looks so pretty.  I think the squares that I picked are simple but effective, especially when you start lining them up and joining them, makes for quite a pretty effect.


I've also started another blanket, just using up scraps of yarn I have around. This pattern is from one of my crochet books, can't remember the name off the top of my head.


I just had to show you a picture of the bunnies we have living under our shed in the back yard. I don't know much about bunnies, but these don't look wild to me and my friend Michelle told me that they are not wild, they are dumped bunnies.

It saddens me to think that someone had these as pets and then just dumped them. We've tried to catch them and raise them ourselves but they are fast little buggers. So we keep them fed and hope to eventually grab them.


In the meantime, I'm glad they've found shelter under our shed and are out of this icy cold.


Well, I am hoping to have a quiet and relaxing weekend filled with crochet, some period dramas and some family time.

Oh and speaking of period dramas, I have updated the Period Drama List, added in quite a few series and some movies.  This weekend I'm hoping to actually split the list into two, giving you a Period Drama Series and a Period Drama Movies list to make it easier to find what you're looking for :)

Alrighty, my friends, I do believe it's time for a cup of hot coffee and some Friday night TV.

Good night and God Bless,

The In Between Hour by Barbara Claypole White - TLC Book Tour

• Paperback:
400 pages
• Publisher: Harlequin MIRA; Original edition (December 31, 2013)

What could be worse than losing your child? Having to pretend he’s still alive…

Bestselling author Will Shepard is caught in the twilight of grief, after his young son dies in a car accident. But when his father’s aging mind erases the memory, Will rewrites the truth. The story he spins brings unexpected relief…until he’s forced to return to rural North Carolina, trapping himself in a lie.

Holistic veterinarian Hannah Linden is a healer who opens her heart to strays but can only watch, powerless, as her grown son struggles with inner demons. When she rents her guest cottage to Will and his dad, she finds solace in trying to mend their broken world, even while her own shatters.

As their lives connect and collide, Will and Hannah become each other’s only hope—if they can find their way into a new story, one that begins with love.


My thoughts:

This one started pretty slow for me, I just wasn't feeling it, and it's not that the story itself is boring or lacking in any sense, I don't know what it was for me that just wasn't clicking.

As I got more into the story, it did start to get much better and I began really enjoying getting to know Will and Hannah, but especially Will and his life and what he is dealing with.

I began to appreciate both characters, where they came from, and the struggles that they were dealing with.  Both very different in a way but then almost alike in others.

It was interesting watching them face their own demons and come together as one towards a blossoming love story.

But it's not all this story is about, because there's so much more going on, so many personalities and issues to get through, while confined to the same space.

Not a bad read when you actually get into it.....but you have to stick it out, it's worth it. 

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

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Star for Mrs. Blake by April Smith - TLC Book Tour

352 pages
Publisher: Knopf (January 14, 2014)

The United States Congress in 1929 passed legislation to fund travel for mothers of the fallen soldiers of World War I to visit their sons’ graves in France. Over the next three years, 6,693 Gold Star Mothers made the trip. In this emotionally charged, brilliantly realized novel, April Smith breathes life into a unique moment in American history, imagining the experience of five of these women.

They are strangers at the start, but their lives will become inextricably intertwined, altered in indelible ways. These very different Gold Star Mothers travel to the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery to say final good-byes to their sons and come together along the way to face the unexpected: a death, a scandal, and a secret revealed.

None of these pilgrims will be as affected as Cora Blake, who has lived almost her entire life in a small fishing village off the coast of Maine, caring for her late sister’s three daughters, hoping to fill the void left by the death of her son, Sammy, who was killed on a scouting mission during the final days of the war. Cora believes she is managing as well as can be expected in the midst of the Depression, but nothing has prepared her for what lies ahead on this unpredictable journey, including an extraordinary encounter with an expatriate American journalist, Griffin Reed, who was wounded in the trenches and hides behind a metal mask, one of hundreds of “tin noses” who became symbols of the war.

With expert storytelling, memorable characters, and beautiful prose, April Smith gives us a timeless story, by turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, set against a footnote of history––little known, yet unforgettable.


My Thoughts:

You know when I think about favorite book genres, or genres in general, I am always pulled towards Historical fiction.  It fascinates me to no end and I find it highly educational too.

What April Smith as done in this book, is to bring us right to the forefront of WWI and to a group of 5 women who have lost sons in the war.  They may be completely different from each other, but the grief and the bond that connects them is one that runs deep.

Not only is this book well written, vividly descriptive and beautiful, but it touches on a very important but sometimes forgotten moment of WWI.  The aftermath and the lives touched by the war.

As a military wife and now retired Air Force Wife, this book touched me to the core.

I loved every single second of watching these 5 women come together to grieve their children, but especially on Cora Blake who's only son, enlisted without her knowledge and lost his life at the young age of 16 on a battlefield in France.

At times this book became painful to read, not for lack of good storytelling, but because my heart ached for these extraordinary women.  But I pushed on and kept at it, always wanting to know what was coming next and how these women would find closure from this trip to the quiet battlefields where their sons lost their lives.

Giving this one a huge thumbs up.

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