Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Homemaker Monday - 10/31/2016

Good morning friends, how was your weekend?

I'm sorry this is going up a little later than usual, but the internet here has been wonky lately, to put it nicely.  It is going on and off this morning so I'm going to try and get this up as fast as I can, while it's working properly. 

The weather outside is::::
69 degrees at the moment, but with a high of 80.  Looks like we're still in the 80's around here, but mornings and nights are definitely cool and crisp. 

On the breakfast plate this morning::::
Had a cup of coffee when I got up with the puppy at 7am, and have been busy ever since.  So just finished cleaning the kitchen and made myself another cup of coffee and am finally having breakfast.  Onion bagel sandwich with cream cheese, ham and provolone cheese slice.  Yum!! 

As I look outside my window:::
The trees in my backyard are almost deplete of leaves and there's beautiful colors all around.  I love Fall, my favorite season along with Spring.

Right now I am::::
Eating my breakfast and drinking my coffee, typing up this post and getting the puppy down for a nap hahaha  I swear I feel like I have a baby in the house again. 

As I look around the house::::
It's clean for the most part, nothing like the usual Monday horror.  I need to pick up Marley's toys that are all over the floor in this living room.  Just a little tidying here and there and nothing major. 

On today's to do list::::
Laundry....Wash the bathroom rugs.
Kitchen....Empty dishwasher, reload with breakfast dishes.  Clean counters, sweep and mop floor. on school with kids and getting them caught up.  It's never ending, I feel like we just can't get ahead.

Happening this week::::
Monday.....Halloween, taking my daughter out for her last trick or treat.  I know she's 17 and some people are against teenagers trick or treating, but honestly, I saw let them have some good innocent safe fun while they can.  I would much rather she's out getting candy, instead of out with bad company doing drugs or alcohol. 
Tuesday....Baking Bread
Wednesday....Taking puppy for his second round of shots.

Currently reading::::
The Women (Old west time life series).  Such a phenomenal book.  I picked it up at a Thrift Store and absolutely love it.  

On the TV today::::
The Voice Portugal
General Hospital
Paranormal Lockdown Halloween Special
Dark Angel - Starting tonight on ITV.  It follows the story of Mary Ann Cotton who was Britain's first serial killer

On the menu this week::::
Monday - Beef Stroganoff with Egg Noodles
Tuesday - Ranch Chicken Thighs, Mash
Wednesday - Indian Fry Bread Tacos, Refried Beans with Bacon and Green Chilies
Thursday - Feijoada (Portuguese bean stew), Rice
Friday - Beef and Potato Nacho Casserole
Saturday - Homemade Pizza
Sunday - Jambalaya, Salad

What I am creating at the moment::::
Finished the Cthulhu for my daughter's boyfriend.  I must actually take a picture to show you. 
Still working on my new blanket. 
Made my husband a dragon scale dice bag (picture below)
Need to finish Marley's blanket.
Started a beanie hat which I'll probably put up for sale here on the blog, along with a few other things, but I'll let you know all about it and show you the stuff soon.   
Finished the owls for my friend Cheri, need to mail them to her.


New recipe I tried or want to try this week::::
The Crockpot Chicken Philly Cheesesteaks was pretty good, but I didn't even get a chance to take a picture, so I can't post it  on the blog.  This week the  Indian Fry Bread Tacos are new so I'll share that one.

Favorite photo from the camera::::

Prayers, Inspirational Quotes or Devotionals::::

Let those who fear the Lord say: "His love endures forever." When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Psalm 118:4–6, NIV

Lord our God, dear Father in heaven, we thank you. How often you rescue us from all fear and distress! How often you hear and answer us! Grant that our hearts may always be eager and joyful because you answer us. There is nothing else for us in this world; you are our one hope, our only hope. You alone can help our times, help the nations, help each person. Nothing else matters to us. Lord our God, for the rest of our life on earth you alone are our help, our comfort, and our strength. Amen.

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!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Honor Bound by B.J. Daniels - TLC Book Tour

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN Books (October 18, 2016)

Protecting her life will mean betraying her trust

Ainsley Hamilton has always been the responsible one of the family. As the oldest daughter of presidential candidate Buckmaster Hamilton, she’s also a potential target. For months she’s sensed someone following her. When an expedition to scout locations for a commercial takes a terrifying turn, she’s rescued by a natural-born cowboy who tempts the good girl to finally let loose.

Sawyer Nash knows just how reckless it is to fall for someone he’s gone undercover to protect. Yet masquerading as an extra on set, he starts to see beneath Ainsley’s controlled facade. And with the election—and a killer—drawing closer, Sawyer stands to lose not just his job and his life but the woman for whom he’d gladly risk both.

About the Author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author B.J. Daniels lives in Montana with her husband, Parker, and three springer spaniels. When not writing, she quilts, boats and plays tennis.

Connect with B. J. Daniels

Website | Facebook | Twitter


My Thoughts:

Honor Bound brings to an end the Montana Hamilton series.  I hadn't read the previous ones and as such I was a little worried that I would be lost. 

Luckily for me, I've found that a lot of the series books can be read as stand alones which is great if you ever happen to pick up one of the books without having prior knowledge of the author or their writing style.

I love western themed stories, I love cowboys, I mean I live in Texas after all :)

So in this last chapter of the Hamilton clan, we follow the story of Ainslee who is the eldest of 5 girls, as she tries to keep things stable and together, while their father runs for office.  Yes, for office, as in Presidential office.

She scouts locations for commercials which in itself is not a dangerous job, but being the daughter of a Presidential candidate comes with all sorts of danger and problems.  Enter Sawyer Nash who happens to be portraying the role of an extra on set, but is really there undercover and with the intent of protecting Ainslee.

What follows is a romance, but not just any old romance....a suspenseful romance full of twists and turns and love and danger and all the glorious things that make a great read :)


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Girl Unbroken by Regina Calcaterra - TLC Book Tour

Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 18, 2016)

In the highly anticipated sequel to her New York Times bestseller Etched in Sand, Regina Calcaterra pairs with her youngest sister Rosie to tell Rosie’s harrowing, yet ultimately triumphant, story of childhood abuse and survival.

They were five kids with five different fathers and an alcoholic mother who left them to fend for themselves for weeks at a time. Yet through it all they had each other. Rosie, the youngest, is fawned over and shielded by her older sister, Regina. Their mother, Cookie, blows in and out of their lives “like a hurricane, blind and uncaring to everything in her path.”

But when Regina discloses the truth about her abusive mother to her social worker, she is separated from her younger siblings Norman and Rosie. And as Rosie discovers after Cookie kidnaps her from foster care, the one thing worse than being abandoned by her mother is living in Cookie’s presence. Beaten physically, abused emotionally, and forced to labor at the farm where Cookie settles in Idaho, Rosie refuses to give in. Like her sister Regina, Rosie has an unfathomable strength in the face of unimaginable hardship—enough to propel her out of Idaho and out of a nightmare.

Filled with maturity and grace, Rosie’s memoir continues the compelling story begun in Etched in Sand—a shocking yet profoundly moving testament to sisterhood and indomitable courage.

 About the author

Regina Calcaterra, Esq. is the bestselling author of Etched in Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island, which has been integrated into academic curriculums nationwide. She is a partner at Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz and is a passionate advocate for children in foster care.

Find out more about Regina at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.


 My thoughts

Fve siblings, an alcoholic mother, five different fathers, and a life filled with sadness, regret, dark moments and grief.

This book was a bit hard to get through, not because it's not well written, but because it IS.  Let me explain what I mean.  I've often thought that the best stories are those which tend to put us right in the middle, the ones where we are reading and it's as if we become one of the characters, seeing what they're seeing and feeling what they're feeling.  Hence the hard part about this book.  

We follow the story of the five siblings and their survival through weeks of being left to fend for themselves by their mother.  When one of the girls decides to break the silence and tell her social worker what is going on, the children are removed and separated, and there begins some of the hardest moments these siblings will have to endure.

Rosie and one of her siblings, a brother, manage to stay together but at a very huge price.  As they are placed in a foster home and made to suffer yet more torment and abuse.

At one point, their biological mother kidnaps the two youngest and flees to Idaho.

The story takes twists and turns, as we become aware of the abuse these children are suffering, the good for nothing mother they were born to, and the men who are in and out of her life, some pretending not to see the abuse, while others adding to it with their own torment.

Brilliantly told story, but make sure you have the stomach for it, it's quite emotional to read.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Happy Homemaker Monday - 10/24/2016

Good morning friends, hope you've had a great weekend.  I can't believe it's Monday again, but then again with hubby being laid off, it doesn't really matter to us because week days or weekends all seem the same.

I do miss a normal routine and a schedule, so I'm starting to feel a little frazzled, but it's ok, it will be fine and I'm sure very soon he will be back to work.

Well, let's see what we have going on this week shall we?

The weather outside is::::
The temperatures have finally dropped.  Mornings are crisp, evenings are cool and I'm loving the temps right now.  Still going to be in the upper 80's this week though.

On the breakfast plate this morning::::
Just coffee for now, not sure if I want anything to eat quite yet.

As I look outside my window:::
Fall is really here, my trees in the back yard are changing into gorgeous yellows, reds and oranges.

Right now I am::::
Trying to get this post up while watching a puppy, which is a struggle, good grief, I had forgotten how naughty and what a handful they are.

As I look around the house::::
Need to do some major cleaning, I don't know what it is about the weekends, but the house always looks like a tornado swept through.

On today's to do list::::
Laundry....Wash the bathroom rugs.
Kitchen....Empty dishwasher, reload with breakfast dishes.  Clean counters, sweep and mop floor. on school with kids and getting them caught up.  It's never ending, I feel like we just can't get ahead.

Happening this week::::
Monday.....Give house a good cleaning
Tuesday....Carpet clean
Wednesday....Clean back yard

Currently reading::::
Not sure yet, need to see what the next review book is and dig into that one.

On the TV today::::
Supernatural from last week with hubby.
General Hospital

On the menu this week::::
Monday - Shepherd's Pie, Salad
Tuesday - Crockpot Chicken Philly Cheesesteaks
Wednesday - Spaghetti, Garlic Bread
Thursday - Ranch Chicken Thighs, Mash, Salad
Friday - Beef Stroganoff with Egg Noodles
Saturday - Amish Chicken Pot Pie
Sunday - Indian Fry Bread Tacos, Refried Beans with Bacon and Green Chilies

What I am creating at the moment::::
Almost finished with the puppy's blanket.  Also made a crochet cable hat, and am making a crochet Cthulhu that my daughter requested for her boyfriend.  Just finished the owls I need to send to my friend Cheri too.

New recipe I tried or want to try this week::::
The Crockpot Chicken Philly Cheesesteaks is a new recipe, and so are the Indian Fry Bread Tacos.

Favorite photo from the camera::::

Prayers, Inspirational Quotes or Devotionals::::

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!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Six Days in Leningrad by Paullina simons - TLC Book Tour

Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (September 20, 2016)

From the author of the celebrated, internationally bestselling The Bronze Horseman saga comes a glimpse into the private life of its much loved creator, and the real story behind the epic novels. Paullina Simons gives us a work of non-fiction as captivating and heart-wrenching as the lives of Tatiana and Alexander.

Only a few chapters into writing her first story set in Russia, her mother country, Paullina Simons travelled to Leningrad (now St Petersburg) with her beloved Papa. What began as a research trip turned into six days that forever changed her life, the course of her family, and the novel that became The Bronze Horseman. After a quarter-century away from her native land, Paullina and her father found a world trapped in yesteryear, with crumbling stucco buildings, entire families living in seven-square-metre communal apartments, and barren fields bombed so badly that nothing would grow there even fifty years later. And yet there were the spectacular white nights, the warm hospitality of family friends and, of course, the pelmeni and caviar.

At times poignant, at times inspiring and funny, this is both a fascinating glimpse into the inspiration behind the epic saga, and a touching story of a family’s history, a father and a daughter, and the fate of a nation.


About the Author

Paullina Simons is an internationally bestselling author whose novels include Bellagrand and The Bronze Horseman was born in Leningrad in 1963. As a child she immigrated to Queens, New York, and attended colleges in Long Island. Then she moved to England and attended Essex University, before returning to America. She lives in New York with her husband and children.

Find out more about Paullina at her website, follow her on Twitter, and connect with her on Facebook.


My Thoughts

I've often wondered how authors get inspired, how they do research or what drives them to write the stories they do.  In Six Days in Leningrad, I actually got to see a bit of that process as I followed Paullina Simons and her dad on a trip to the place of her birth.

The book title actually refers to the six days she spent in Russia doing research for her book The Bronze Horseman.

I love history, I love memoirs and I think in this book you get a little of both, plus it feels like we've traveled to Russia and learned a bit more about the country.  To be honest the only real stories I've ever heard about Russia have not been exactly positive, it tends to instill a sort of fear into people.

I guess for the author it was sort of the same thing.  She left when she was very young, immigrating to the States and more specifically New York.  She had never returned, nor did she ever feel the yearn to do it, so when her father asks her to accompany him to the place of her birth, she tells herself that it's just for research.

Thing is, when they arrive, she is hit with wave upon wave of emotion.  She is forced to face her past, to walk the streets of Leningrad, to see the deplorable way in which some families still live to this day.  Mind you this is not the current Russia, this was back in 1998, but it still gives you a pretty good idea of the comparison between the pretty and flashy and the parts of Russia still trying to recover from Communism.

I so enjoyed this book, because as with many other memoirs or historical fiction, it sets me on a path to research.  I find myself putting the book down and opening google to look up a place, see it's images, try to place myself there and learn more about it's history.

I don't think many people understand the devastating history of Russia, but it's well worth a read.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Grocery Haul - Weeks October 22nd to November 5th

Hello ladies, I'm back with another grocery haul.  I just went grocery shopping this morning, at the base commissary.  I can't tell you how blessed I am to be able to continue shopping on base.

I worked on my menu plan and grocery list yesterday, went through the freezer, fridge and pantry to see what I had on hand and worked out the meal plan around that.

Once again, this was the food shop for the next 2 weeks, and I managed to do quite well, spending only a total of $144.69.

Proud of myself.

I'll show you what I got, and then share the menu plan beneath.  :)

Grocery Haul

Two loaves of bread, two packs of the burrito style tortillas to make some freezer burritos for lunches.  3 bags of chips, I get the pretty inexpensive ones which are still good.  I find chips so expensive lately.

Grocery Haul

Didn't need too much, so just a few things for the fridge.

Grocery Haul

Gallon of milk which I thought was quite expensive at over $3 a gallon, it's cheaper at Walmart.  Orange juice, creamer, sour cream and butter.

Grocery Haul

I got 4 dozen eggs, they were only 69 cents.  These will be great not only for breakfast but as a quick meal if needed too.  Turkey Bologna, Pepperoni for homemade pizzas.

Grocery Haul

Potatoes O'Brien for a Nacho Casserole I'm making, and some Mixed veggies for Shepherd's pie.

Grocery Haul

I had a 50c coupon for these, so got a provolone and a pepper jack.  They're only a little over a dollar to begin with so it wasn't bad. 

Grocery Haul

Swiss cheese singles for sandwiches

Grocery Haul

Had another 50c coupon for these shredded cheese.  I know they're not as good as shredding your own, but I just buy them for the convenience and the Cooper Brand are usually super cheap.

Grocery Haul

My family loves these for lunches, and they're usually 2 dollars something, but today they were over $3, so I only bought one and then bought some ingredients to make my own.

Grocery Haul

Chicken Thighs.  I always get these bags because they're cheap and usually have enough for 2 meals, depending on what I'm making.

Grocery Haul

The two pizzas I got for lunches, a thin crust pepperoni and a special deluxe pizza.  These were only $2.75 each.

Grocery Haul

Potatoes were on sale, a 10 lb bag for just $1.69 so I got 2 of those.  I'm thinking side dishes, potato soup, baked potato for a quick lunch etc.

Grocery Haul

Grocery Haul

Seedless grapes.  I've been loving grapes lately and they're pretty cheap right now so I'm either buying the green or the red. 

Grocery Haul

Red leaf lettuce, it was 75c.

Grocery Haul

Green onions, I don't buy them often because I grow my own from these bunches and they last me a month or two.

Grocery Haul

2 medium sized tomatoes, 2 green peppers and a bag of onions.  I always buy these bags because they're only 99c.

Grocery Haul

3 cans of Pinto beans, kidney beans, 2 cans of refried beans, 3 cans of Rotel tomato and green chilies, cheddar cheese soup for a recipe, pizza sauce, tomato sauce and pumpkin puree.

Grocery Haul

Vegetable oil, a small bottle of olive oil and some ranch dressing.

Grocery Haul

I have quite a bit of machine coffee which I need to use up, but I bought a small Nescafe Clasico for a quick cup of coffee here and there.  Skip creamy peanut butter, my 13 year old son has been going through peanut butter like crazy.

Grocery Haul

Box of black beans and rice to use as a side dish, some Jambalaya mix for a meal (I already have smoked sausage in the freezer), hamburger helper (not a fan but my family likes it), 15 bean soup mix, two taco seasoning packets.

Grocery Haul

Sweet n low for the hubby and I, and some active dry yeast for bread and other baking, I had run out.

Grocery Haul

Don't usually get this rice, we prefer the Basmati, but it's quite pricey for a small bag, so I got this big 5lb bag for a little over 2 dollars.

Grocery Haul


Grocery Haul

Some roasted vegetable crackers, they were on sale.  Instant oatmeal, my daughter loves these.  Krave cereal which was only sale as well for $2. 

Grocery Haul

As always, ramen noodles.

Grocery Haul

These were on sale for a dollar so I got a pepsi for my son, a diet coke for me, a dr pepper for the hubby and a coke for the daughter.  We all like different things.  And these are pretty much the only soda I got for the rest of the month, there is juice, kool aid, sweet tea and water to drink the other days.

Grocery Haul

2 packs of treats for Bella.  2 boxes of the U by Kotex pads, and a cheapy hair color for me. 

Grocery Haul

I was supposed to get trash bags and mine have to be 39 gallon because we have a pretty big trash can.  I thought I grabbed the, and when I got home I realized I grabbed lawn and leaf bags, bummer.  But it will have to make do, I can't justify going out and buying more bags.  Dishwasher tabs, I actually really like these, they work well in my washer and are only 2 dollars something.  Some dish soap, it's only 79c.

Grocery Haul

Still have toilet paper but don't want to run out, that's like my fear hahaha  So I got a small 6 pack.

Grocery Haul

Paper plates, and below these 3 baking foil dishes which were on sale for 75c.

Grocery Haul

And that is it, that was my grocery haul for the rest of the month and a week into November.

I don't know how the next meal plan and grocery haul is going to be, I truly hope my husband has a job lined up by then otherwise we are in serious trouble.  But, we will cross that bridge when we get there.

Hope you enjoyed my grocery haul.  Now for the meal plan, and I'll kind of explain each meal, if I'm using leftovers or something already on hand etc.  Might give you some ideas on how to make use of what you already have in the fridge, freezer and pantry. 

Most of the meals I'm making are using meats I already have in the freezer and items I have sitting in the pantry, so I'll tell you below which is which, like I said, it may give you some ideas :)

Remember last time I went shopping the ground beef was on sale so I bought extra, which is what I'm using for a lot of the meals this time.

Saturday 22nd
Roast Chicken with roast potatoes (Have a whole chicken in the freezer so using that)

Sunday 23rd    - 
Chicken Alfredo (use leftover roast chicken, and have a jar of Alfredo sauce in the pantry that I haven't used yet)

Monday 24th  - 
Shepherd's Pie and Salad (Ground beef from the freezer)

Tuesday 25th  -
Crockpot Chicken Philly Cheesesteaks, Fries (Have a bag of chicken legs I didn't use from last meal plan, going to use that.  Will also make my own hoagie buns to use)

Wednesday 26th  -
Spaghetti, Garlic Bread (Ground beef from the freezer, Spaghetti sauce I had in the pantry, and garlic bread I had in the freezer that hadn't been used yet)

Thursday 27th  -
Ranch Chicken Thighs with Mash (Chicken thighs I bought, ranch dressing dry mix that I have in the pantry)

Friday 28th  - 
Beef Stroganoff with Egg Noodles (Ground beef from the freezer, Egg noodles I have in the pantry)

Saturday 29th
Amish Chicken Pot Pie (Leftover Ranch chicken, making my own dough)

Sunday 30th  -
Indian Fry Bread Tacos with Refried Beans with bacon and chilies (Ground beef from the freezer, will make the fry bread.  The refried beans side dish is a new recipe and aside from the refried beans I bought today, I already have bacon and canned green chilies)

Monday 31st  -
Smoked Sausage Jambalaya, Salad (Smoked sausage from the freezer)

Tuesday 1st  -
Beef and Potato Nacho Casserole (Ground beef from the freezer, canned green chilies and tomatoes from the pantry.  New recipe and will share it on the blog when I make it)

Wednesday 2nd  -
Biscuits and Gravy, Bacon, Eggs  (homemade biscuits, have 2 packets of sausage gravy in the pantry so I'll use that, and also have bacon that I didn't need to buy)

Thursday 3rd  -
Hamburger Helper (Ground beef from the freezer)

Friday 4th  -
Feijoada (Portuguese bean stew.....using dried beans that I have in the pantry, bacon I already have and tomato sauce I bought today)

Saturday 5th  -
Homemade Pizza