Monday, July 31, 2017

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 07/31/2017 }

Good morning everyone, I can't believe it's already Monday again, AND, the end of July.  This month as just come and go in the blink of an eye, faster than all the other months, I think.

Well it's the beginning of August tomorrow, my birthday month, so I guess there's that to look forward to right?

Let's see what we all have going on this week........


The weather:::
It's been insanely hot here, and for some who is used to 120 degrees from back in Arizona, it shouldn't bother me, but the problem is that in Arizona it was dry, here it's humid and the humidity just kills me.  We're looking at temps in the 90's for the rest of the week, including some rain Wednesday and Thursday and I believe a whole week of rain coming up the following week, so that will be quite nice :) 

Right now I am:::
In the living room, attempting to get this post up without interruptions.  I've already made coffee for the hubby and I, tea and toast for the girl who is not feeling very well, she may be coming down with a cold.  I've given her medicine and sent her back to bed to relax.  I just finished my Sweet Caroline Pillow and will photograph it and share it in my post later, but I'm still in my pj's, and relaxing for a bit. 

On my reading pile:::
Have a ton of reviews coming up, just finished Sweetbriar Cottage and am starting another one from the pile, but not sure which is next on the review list, so will check into that here shortly. 

Movies or Shows I watched this weekend:::
Here's the deal, I'm trying very hard to get through Game of Thrones, but as much as everyone says what a great show it is, I'm struggling to stay focused on it.  It's really not that outstanding, I don't know what the big hoopla is with the show, I've seen FAR better.  Please don't throw tomatoes my way, it's just my humble opinion  hahaha
But, anyway, I've been watching a fantastic show on the History Channel, called American Ripper.  It is about a descendant of H.H. Holmes, and how he believes that he was actually Jack the Ripper, so they've been doing research all over trying to connect the two.  So interesting, I watched the first two episodes yesterday and have another to watch today then I'll be caught up. 

On my TV:::
General Hospital
American Ripper
ID Discovery Channel

On the menu for this week:::

Whistle Dogs and Tater Tots (new recipe)     
Spicy Chicken Chili Verde      
Beef Bulgogi and Rice
Pulled Pork Baked Potatoes, Salad  
Bratwurst, Potato Salad, Mac and Cheese   
Crockpot Grinders  
Fettucine Alfredo

On my to do list:::
Kitchen......Empty dishwasher, put away dishes from the dish rack and reload washer.  Normal tidy up.
Laundry.....None, all done this weekend. 
House......Vacuum and dust.  Make beds.

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
I finished my Sweet Caroline.  Next I need to crack on with Part 9 of the Atlanticus, Part 10 is already out and I'm way behind.  Once that is done, I need to get on with my Mandala Madness which has been patiently waiting for months.

Looking around the house:::
I've been adding touches here and there, mainly more plants.  I love a house full of plants and for the past two years, I didn't really have any.  Slowly we've been buying one here and there and starting to fill out house back up with gorgeous flowers and plants.  Love it :)

From the camera:::
Pizza Casserole for a review coming up

What I'm wearing today:::
Still in my nightgown, but I'm about to go and change into my workout gear.  I'm starting the Lucy's Challenge again.  I did it for two weeks back in May and then got sick and had to stop.  I'm determined to pick it back up and stick to it for the full month.  The exercises are super short but designed to hit every single muscle and problem area.  There's no way that I can justify not having time for a 4 minute or even 10 minute routine.  

One of my simple pleasures:::
Going for a drive with my husband and children.  W

Inspirational Quote, Bible verse, anything you want to share:::
Lord our God, with all our hearts we come before your countenance. Our hearts shall always be in your presence, asking, longing, and believing that you will guide our affairs aright. Protect us, for you are our God and Father. Protect all who are in danger or who must go into danger. Make known your great love and your living presence to the hearts of the dying. Draw our hearts together so that we may have community in you, our faith and hope set on you alone. Protect us during the night, and help us to be at peace about all our concerns because they are in your hands. Every concern of every person is in your hands. We ourselves are in your hands, Lord God, our Father, and there we want to remain. Your hands can heal and restore everything. Praised be your name! Amen.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

{ In all things give thanks }

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." 
* 1 Thessalonians 5:18 *


I sat on my couch and looked around the living room.  All my little corners, things here and there that I lovingly set down with the purpose of making it homey.


Even those things that were just set down without a second thought, like my glasses on the book I'm currently reading.  Pieces of me, of my soul, of my likes and dislikes.


I like to think of them as small glimpses into my soul, into what makes me tick, what I'm all about. It's these little bits and bobs that will give anyone who enters my home, a bit of an understanding about who I am as a person.


And surprisingly enough, they also at times serve as a reminder, to myself, about who I am and who I want to be, and more importantly who I want to portray myself as here on earth.  On those days where I'm feeling down or a little lost, it helps to have a visual reminder, to be  able to shift my eyes around the room, from one spot to the other and always see something that is sure to make me smile and feel thankful.


"In all things give thanks".  This verse seems to pop into my mind quite frequently, it's almost as if God is sending me little hints, reminding me of what really matters, and it's not the little things that bother us, like the fact that I feel like I can't catch a break from laundry, or the nagging allergies that out of the blue hit me like a ton of bricks, or maybe the potty accident that Marley once again had in the house.


And I do, I really do give thanks in everything in my life and whatever is going on around me, even the hard moments because they're learning moments,even if we don't see them at the time.



I am so thankful, so blessed.  I have a beautiful family, a husband who loves me and respects me, beautiful children, we are all healthy, we have adorable pets and a beautiful big house.


Our pantry and fridge are full, we have water and electricity, a roof over our heads and a permanent stable source of income.


Every single thing in this house, was bought by us, or gifted to us out of love, or handmade by either my husband or I.  Even the big yards have been worked on by our own hands.  Hours upon hours in the scorching sun, blisters on the hands, and annoying prickly weeds stuck to our fingers and shoes.






Even in those moments when I'm tired and sweaty and clammy, and really disliking being outside, I find that the minute I step into my home, it all disappears, and I'm once again awash with gratitude.

It wasn't always this easy for me, but for a couple of years I have tried extremely hard to live a life of gratitude, to practice daily thanksgiving, and it's changed my outlook on life completely.  It's become second nature, the minute something good happens, whatever it may be, big or small, I immediately thank the Lord, without even thinking about it, it just slips right out of my mouth "Thank you Father, thank you so much".

Thursday, July 27, 2017

{ THAT appointment, that no woman likes }

I had my yearly appointment this morning.  I have always stressed myself and worried leading up to the appointment, throughout and until the doctor gave me the *all good* news.

Much as I still find these appointments awkward and uncomfortable, I have learned to just go in with a peaceful mind and to not let it bother me.  I always tell myself that this is so important to do, and I've been very good about sticking to my yearly appointments, check ups, mammograms etc.

Truth be told, I often sit and think that I wish I didn't have to go to these appointments, ever.  Or I remember how it was before I had to worry about any of these things.  But as a woman, it's imperative that we do our part, no matter how out of our comfort zone it may be.  At least I feel good knowing that if something were to be wrong, I will have done my part and it will be caught early enough.

Anyway, I went in, it didn't take too long, actually took longer finding the clinic, because they've moved yet again.  We've been here 2 years, and the Women's Clinic has been in 3 different areas in the hospital.  I don't get it.

I sat and had a chat with my doctor about a few things that had been worrying me, mainly just changes that I have noticed taking place the past year or so.  I was pretty certain that it's all normal changes due to me getting older and being in my 40's but it's always good to double check with the doctor.  She definitely put my mind at ease, which is a very good thing cause given my mind a chance to overthink, it will go completely off course and imagine the worst.

I came home and I don't know if anyone else gets this, but I have pretty sensitive breasts as it is (sorry if that's too much info, but we're all friends here), and when I have the breast exam done, they press so hard that the rest of the day I'm quite sore.

I took some Motrin, I had some lunch, I chatted a bit with my sister in law and then went ahead and finished my menu plan and grocery list for tomorrow morning.

It's not a big list at all this time, I still have a bit of meat in the freezer, and I planned around that, and also a few meals using pantry staples that I already have on hand, so that definitely helps.

The rest of the day was a bit of blur to be honest.  Nothing really happened, I didn't get anything done cleaning or organizing wise, and that's ok because I've been so busy the whole week that one day is certainly not going to kill me.

Dinner tonight was a new recipe from one of the cookbooks that I'll be reviewing tomorrow night, I have to make a dessert as well, but have to pick up the ingredients when I get my groceries, so yeah, I'm not seeing the review up before tomorrow night.

I have so many reviews and posts that I want to make, and it's quite funny that it feels like I don't have enough blog hours or days to do it in.  Does that make sense?

Like when I wasn't blogging daily, I often couldn't think of a single thing to blog about, and now I have too many thoughts and ideas and not enough days to do them in.  Hahah

So all this to say that I'm healthy, I'm feeling so well lately, and enjoying feeling good and living life to the fullest.  I'm ever so thankful to God for everything that I have, my husband and children and my health, my home, my pets, family and friends.  Just everything in general.

It's a good place to be and it's a great feeling to be truly content where you are.  Best feeling in the world :)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

{ That sad feeling when you finish a good book }

I finished the book, all 608 pages of it.  I think it was a bit of a record time for me to read a book in, considering I don't have much time to sit and really engross myself in a story without having to constantly stop.

I'm not going to say much about it right now, I do plan on reviewing it for you all because I truly think it's one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read.  But yeah, I will do a post on it sometime within the next few days.

Anyway, let me show you my day.  I'm trying to record as much as I can on camera, because I know that years from now I'll really enjoy looking back on my life, what I was doing, and so on.

For a while I preferred to stick to the subject on the other side of the lens, and to not include myself in them at all, but I've started to do the opposite, and to try hard to capture me going about my day, doing my chores or whatever else it may be.  Just think it's so much more interesting that way, though I do plan on continuing to take photos like I always have too.

Boy I can ramble on and on huh?  Hahah

Ok nevermind that, here's what I got up to today.

Morning starts bright and early at 6AM, I make coffee for my husband and then for myself.

July 26, 2017

I don't often eat a big breakfast or a lot for breakfast, I should say, but this morning I enjoyed one of my frozen breakfast sandwiches.  I make these and then freeze them, the kids and Curt love them as a quick breakfast or sometimes even a lunch or snack.

July 26, 2017

They're super easy to make, just English Muffins, Sausage, Egg and Cheese.  Yum!!!

July 26, 2017

You might have noticed two small sausage biscuits on my plate?  That's Mister Marley's breakfast.  They are tiny little sausage biscuits that my husband didn't like, I usually buy him one specific brand and when they didn't have them, I tried a different package.  That wasn't welcomed very well, he did not like the bread or the sausage or whatever, I don't even know.  But nothing is wasted in this house, so once in a while, the little Marley gets to enjoy them.

July 26, 2017

I checked the mail, said hi to the Alpacas and watched them go about their business for a while.  I could sit out there for hours just watching them.

July 26, 2017

Watered the plants, got a little more planting done {as you can tell by the soil bag and pots on the bench}, and got rid of yet another Wasp nest.  What is it with these pesky buggers this year?

July 26, 2017

My Lilies are growing and I'm quite excited to see them in bloom.

July 26, 2017

What is it with puppies and making a total mess of a living room?  Marley is constantly throwing toys around and pulling the stuffing out of some of his stuffed toys.  I think I spend more time picking up after him than I did picking up after my kids as toddlers.

July 26, 2017

The kids and I sat and chatted in the living room for quite a bit. You know as they grow and become their own people, I sometimes feel that I don't know them as well as I used to.  It's not like it used to be when they were little, and always around me.  I knew their likes and dislikes, their thoughts, what they wanted to do and so on.  Now it's a little more difficult, and they don't always like to talk to me or their dad, so I have learned to treasure these moments when they are talkative and enjoying my company.

July 26, 2017

I also started my menu plan for the next two weeks.  Friday is grocery shopping day so I need to have it done by then.  I'm trying to keep to easy meals, not too expensive and so on, but I also get a bit tired of the same things over and over and want to try a few new recipes.  We'll see how I do this time.

July 26, 2017

The dresser is coming along.  I removed the back board which was moldy and falling apart.  I also removed the inside boards behind those doors because they were warped from the water as well.  Then I remembered that I had some extra door handles laying around, so I put those on.  I'll show you the progress as I go along.

Curt is going to help me move the dresser to the driveway this weekend so that I can give it a good sanding and start painting.  I can't wait to show you all the finished result once I'm done with it.  I just hope that my vision of what I want, actually comes true.

July 26, 2017

I managed to get some more work done on my Blog to Book for 2012, I'm now in the month of August. While doing that I had a stupid craving for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You don't know understand, I'm not a big fan of sandwiches, or peanut butter and jelly, but once in a blue moon I will get a crazy craving and just have to make myself one. So that is what I did. And oh my word, did I enjoy it.

July 26, 2017

It was another good, busy, homemaking day for me.  And I apologize if I'm in any way boring you all with my homey posts lately, but I wish I could convey through this blog, just how much I love being a homemaker and doing what I do.  I get such immense pleasure out of these every day tasks, that some may find mundane or trivial.  They bring me such joy though :)

For dinner tonight I made an old favorite of ours, the Long Boy Burgers.  The recipe is on Full Bellies for you all.  

July 26, 2017

Another day done and dusted.  And I do have to say that shower time and relaxing afterward is something I look forward to.

I don't have a lot planned for tomorrow, mainly because I have my Yearly Women's appointment in the morning.  It was supposed to be in September, but I don't like putting it off and would rather get it over and done with as soon as possible.  So tomorrow morning it is.  I just wish that I didn't get so nervous about it the day before.  I know there's not a woman out there who actually enjoys these appointments, they are awkward and a bit embarrassing but so necessary, and I've always been very good about going every single year and doing my part, I mean, after all it's my health that's on the line right?

July 26, 2017

Well I'm going to go and climb into this comfy bed.  Have a wonderful night friends!!!

{ It takes one to tango by Winifred M. Reilly - TLC Book Tour }

About It Takes One to Tango

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (April 4, 2017)
The party line about marriage—what many therapists think and most books espouse—is that it takes two. We’re told that marriage is a two-way street, a fifty-fifty proposition, that successful couples are those who are willing to meet each other halfway. We’re also told that change in a marriage requires couples to have shared commitment to growth. For good things to happen both partners must be willing to put two both feet into the process.

If it takes two people to fix things, what happens when one partner is deeply discouraged, or has one foot out the door? Or when one partner is desperately longing for a more vibrant and loving relationship and the other digs in his heels or think things are fine as they are? Does that mean the more optimistic partner should just call it quits?

Conventional wisdom says yes. Marriage and family therapist, Winifred Reilly, disagrees.
In IT TAKES ONE TO TANGO: How I Rescued My Marriage With (Almost) No Help From My Spouse—and How You Can, Too (Touchstone Hardcover; April 4, 2017; 978-1-5011-2582-9), Reilly assures unhappy partners that one partner, acting alone, can create far-reaching positive change, often accomplishing change in a marriage that cannot be made any other way.

Unlike most self-help books about marriage, IT TAKES ONE TO TANGO uses the author’s personal story about trying to keep her own once troubled marriage from coming apart. Like most couples she works with, she wanted a happier marriage, not a divorce. And waiting for her change-averse husband to leap up and joyfully embrace her grand plans for remodeling her marriage wasn’t working out any better for her than it was for her clients. So she decided to rescue her marriage by herself, even though, at the outset, she had no idea whatsoever what that would take.

This witty, optimistic, and inspiring guide combines psychological theory, practical advice, and personal narrative to empower readers to take a proactive, independent approach to fixing their marriage.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About Winifred Reilly

Winifred M. Reilly is a marriage and family therapist, with a private practice in Berkeley, CA.  She has been committed to helping couples and individuals build strong, loving relationships for more than 35 years. Winifred is the author of the relationship advice blog Speaking of Marriage, and her work has appeared in The Good Men Project, xoJane, and The Huffington Post.

Connect with Winifred

Website | Facebook | Twitter

My Thoughts:

I am not a big fan of self help books, actually saying I'm not a fan is putting it mildly.  I don't like self help books, I find them quite boring and dry material, and I've never been able to get through a whole single book.

When I agreed to review It Takes One to Tango, I knew that I was pushing the boundaries within myself, but the subject at hand is near and dear to my heart and I realized that I needed to read this book, to help me, to help my husband, to help us as a couple.

Boy am I glad I did.

I will start by saying that it's not like the usual self help books.  It is told from the author's perspective and personal experience within her very own marriage, and I think that made the difference in the world.

My husband and I have been married for almost 19 years, it will be 19 years in August.  We've been together for 20 years.  We have a good marriage, but we also have struggles and days were we just want to smack each other upside the head.  Marriage is HARD, but I'm sure I don't need to tell you all that.

This book puts things into perspective, it takes a deeper look into what it takes to make the marriage work, especially when one partner is not too into it, or too busy, or doesn't like change, or thinks it's not going to work.

It teaches you that it takes but ONE person to make some of the most important and bigger changes that can kick start your marriage back to a peaceful and happy place.  I'm always willing to do the best I can to ensure that we continue to have a good marriage.

Great book, I actually enjoyed it even though it is a self help book.  :)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

{ Super Productive Day }

But I am knackered.  My word.  I just sat down for the first time today, I've been on the go since 9am, busy, cleaning, organizing, and all that kind of fun stuff.

Feels so good to be getting a lot done and working on making our house a real home.  Not that's it not homey already but there's always room for improvement.

This morning, Nick and I worked on his bedroom.  He's had a twin bed for a few year, but my son who is only 14, is 6 feet tall already and the poor thing just doesn't fit on the bed anymore.  If he stretches his legs out, they hang off the edge of the bed, and with all that going on he hasn't been sleeping too well.

He needs a big bed and he has requested another bunk bed, like the ones they used to have before when we lived in Arizona.  So I ordered one today and it will be here on Friday.  To get ready for that, we went into his bedroom this morning and started cleaning, organizing and tidying.

I took out two huge trash bags full of clothes that don't fit, old toys, broken toys, baby things he doesn't want anymore because well, he's a teenager.


One of the things that I pulled out of his bedroom is an old dresser.  It was being used at one point but he had his old turtle tank on it, and it broke a seal and started leaking, causing a ton of water damage.

I did think of throwing out completely, but I decided against it and I have some ideas on how to refurbish it.  So I'm going to work on that this weekend, along with yard work and a couple other things.  I know, I just keep piling on the work but we're having so much fun doing things around the house.

We got his bedroom cleaned out, and then I actually moved into the pantry, purely by accident, but ended up reorganizing it all as well.


Those two plastic storage drawers containers, were in Nick's room and he didn't want them anymore, so of course, I grabbed them because I feel that I can never have enough storage containers in my house.

I didn't know where to put them at first, and I had moved them into the kitchen to give them a good wipe down, when I realized that I had the perfect spot in the pantry, and could use them in there to better organize and store my stuff.

I love how it turned out.  I was able to get a lot of things off the shelves, threw out anything that was expired or didn't want anymore, and kept just what I needed.


It really felt good to get so much done today, and in between all that, I did laundry and cooked lunch for the kids and then dinner for the whole family.

Been trying to make a few of our family favorites and take new photos so that I can update the food blog.  A lot of the older recipes either have old looking photos taken with my very basic camera before the Canon....or they were uploaded to older websites that have gone offline and most of the links are now showing missing photos.


It's a work in progress for sure, but I don't mind :)  Dinner tonight was this Creamy Oven Chicken, it's delicious.

I'm gonna leave you with a picture of some adorable birds just hanging out in my backyard, and I'm going to go and finish my book.  I don't want it to end, but sadly it is coming to an end, and I must crack on with my review books anyway.

See you all tomorrow :)


Monday, July 24, 2017

{ A wee peek into my Sunday and a little Monday too }

I never got to show you how I spent my Sunday, by the time I settled into bed and snuggled up to my husband, it was quite late and I wasn't about to pull my laptop back out for anything.

I swear the minute I slide under the covers, it takes nothing but a miracle, someone on fire, the house caving in or the dog about to throw up, to get me back up.  Anyone else feel that way?

So, here I am, again quite late.  We were sitting in the living room, I was reading my book (almost done with it and starting to feel quite sad, actually), and my Nick and hubby were playing Mortal Kombat on the Xbox and have the time of their lives.

I stepped out back with Marley, took my book and sat at the patio table, just enjoyed the sound of the birds overhead and the wonderful evening air.  I was totally distracted {again, that distraction thing}, and didn't realize it was already 8PM.  Usually by this time I'm in bed.

But anyway, here I am, realizing that I didn't get my post up and I need to do that before going to bed.  I'm weird like that, if I have a certain post in mind, or pictures of a specific day, I need to get it up pretty quickly.  I could keep the pictures for another post, but then I don't feel like I'm staying true to my daily entries and it makes me feel out of whack.  I'm a nut case, there, I said it.



Sunday morning, I let Marley out and was in awe of the gorgeous sunrise happening right before my eyes.  It's not often that I'm able to capture the beauty of it, especially those long bright rays shooting up from the sun.


I always find that even the best photographs don't quite capture the real feeling you see with your own two eyes.  I mean, sure it comes pretty close but it is never really quite capable of showing the beauty in person.  Never mind that, I still continue to shoot and try to catch all those little things that I love about being alive.


We had another busy day of yard work.  It's a busy that makes us happy, if that even makes any sense.  Curt and I have been renting this house for the past 2 years and we have signed on another lease agreement for another 2 years, with the option to buy.  We want to buy it so badly, but we want to be smart about it and knock off some debt, before we take the leap.

Anyway, the work we've been doing around the yard, as hard and tiring as it is, it brings a smile to our faces because in essence we feel we are working towards our dream home.


Before we started the day, we sat down with the kids and had a really yummy breakfast.

Let me tell you something, it had been about 2 years since we had been able to do this.  It used to be our family tradition, every Sunday we would have bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy and omelets.  Then the kids got older, their sleeping schedules went completely out of whack and we never saw them before 3pm.

The past two weeks or so we've all been working hard to get them back into a normal schedule and it's finally working.

It was amazing sitting at the table at 8 in the morning enjoying one of our breakfasts.  Surely blessed and thankful for that.


I've been completely captivated by the Alpacas that have just moved in across the street.  I thought it was three that I had seen, but turns out there's 7.  How amazing is that?



I see myself taking a lot of pictures of these guys, just wish I could get closer, but I don't want to just haul myself with the camera in hand, across the street and start snapping pictures.  I don't know if the owner would be ok with that.


The Monarch butterflies have also been migrating and my yard is filled with these gorgeous creatures, fluttering about.


Sunday was spent mainly outside working, but today I got all the housework done and then had to run some errands.

I took Jasmine to base to pick up her prescriptions, because she's 18 years old now, I can't really do it for her unless I have her ID and information etc.  It just makes it easier to have her do it.

After the hospital we stopped over at the base library, and I have to tell you, it made me quite sad.  Most of the book shelves had been pushed all the way to the back of the library, I no longer could find the New Fiction books, all they had was one shelf of Juniors and Young Adults, a bunch of DVD's and a few cookbooks.

I grabbed one cookbook, that's it.

I felt quite defeated as I went to check it out and made a comment to the young girl there that I couldn't find the fiction books etc.  She told me that they are changing things around and matter of fact, they're trying to go pretty much all digital and make room for more DVDs and such.

How sad is that?  It makes me wonder what is going to happen to all the libraries in the next few years.  I'm all for technology and digital, I love my Kindle, but nothing will ever come near an actual book in your hands.  I was quite shocked at what she said.


The book is chock full of delicious looking recipes, but again, quite sad that I walked out with 1 book where before, my library trips almost always ended with me walking out with a bag or two of books.

I got all the bedding washed and hung out to dry, did the usual cleaning and cooking, watered the plants and so on, and then sat and finished Part 2 of my Sweet Caroline.  It's looking gorgeous, and it's not the usual colors I would go for, but together, they are creating quite a visually stunning pillow.


There is just 3 parts to this mini CAL, so Friday we will get the final part and be done with this pillow, though it's quite a big pillow. 


Alright ladies, I am going to end this here, shut this laptop off and watch a little bit of Everybody Loves Raymond with the hubster, before calling it a night.