Thursday, November 30, 2017

Garden of Lamentations by Deborah Crombie - TLC Book Tour

About Garden of Lamentations

• Paperback: 448 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (November 14, 2017)

Scotland Yard detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James are drawn into separate investigations that hold disturbing—and deadly—complications for their own lives in this powerful mystery in the bestselling series.

On a beautiful morning in mid-May, the body of a young woman is found in one of Notting Hill’s private gardens. To passersby, the pretty girl in the white dress looks as if she’s sleeping. But Reagan Keating has been murdered, and the lead detective, DI Kerry Boatman, turns to Gemma James for help. She and Gemma worked together on a previous investigation, and Gemma has a personal connection to the case: Reagan was the nanny of a child who attends the same dance studio as Toby, Gemma and Kincaid’s son.

Gemma soon discovers that Reagan’s death is the second tragedy in this exclusive London park; a few months before, a young boy died in a tragic accident. But when still another of the garden residents meets a violent end, it becomes clear that there are more sinister forces at play. Boatman and Gemma must stop the killer before another innocent life is taken.

While his wife is consumed with her new case, Kincaid finds himself plagued by disturbing questions about several previous—and seemingly unrelated—cases involving members of the force. If his suspicions are correct and the crimes are linked, are his family and friends in mortal danger as well? Kincaid’s hunch turns to certainty when a Metropolitan Police officer close to him is brutally attacked. There’s a traitor in the ranks, and now Kincaid wonders if he can trust anyone.

As Gemma begins to see a solution to her case, she realizes she holds a child’s fate in her hands. Can she do the right thing? And can Kincaid rely on his friends, both inside and outside the Scotland Yard force, to stand beside him as he faces the deadliest challenge of his career?

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


About Deborah Crombie

Deborah Crombie is a New York Times bestselling author and a native Texan who has lived in both England and Scotland. She now lives in McKinney, Texas, sharing a house that is more than one hundred years old with her husband, three cats, and two German shepherds.

Connect with her through her websiteFacebook, or follow her on Twitter.

My Thoughts:

Garden of Lamentations is the newest book in the Gemma James and Ducan Kincaid mystery series.

It was also my first book by Deborah Crombie, and I have to say I was hooked from the get go.

I'll start by saying that anyone who knows me, knows full well what a huge Anglophile I am and anything that is related to England, takes place in England or comes from England, immediately grabs my attention.

One of the first things that peeked my interest was the fact that the main characters, Gemma and Duncan, are not only both investigators on the police force, but married as well.  They have two children, Toby and Charlotte and I'm sure a pretty big history between them, one which I am going to love going back and reading about when I start on the series from the beginning.  The intricacies of keeping a family together and parenting while both being pulled in different directions with different cases, is quite interesting to see.

So the story begins with the murder of a young nanny named Reagan, who happens to be the nanny of a kid that attends the same dance school as their son, Toby.  Gemma is pulled into that investigation by a friend of hers and from that moment on, it's twists and turns at every corner. 

While Gemma has her hands full trying to solve this mystery, Duncan has his hands full with a completely different case, one that hits much closer to home and sends him into high alert, fearing for his and his family's safety.

I think that as much as I enjoyed the story, I did find it a little confusing at times because there was mention of characters that I'm pretty sure must have been from previous books in the series.  But, that doesn't take away from the book at all and it's definitely one you can read on it's own, if anything it just made me really want to go back and find out who and what and where.

Really enjoyed my first book by Deborah Crombie and can't wait to find the first in the Gemma and Duncan series.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

{ The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay - TLC Book Tour }


About The Austen Escape

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 7, 2017)

Love Jane Austen? Then you’ll adore The Austen Escape.

Falling into the past will change their futures forever.
Mary Davies finds safety in her ordered and productive life. Working as an engineer, she genuinely enjoys her job and her colleagues – particularly a certain adorable and intelligent consultant. But something is missing. When Mary’s estranged childhood friend, Isabel Dwyer offers her a two-week stay in a gorgeous manor house in England, she reluctantly agrees in hopes that the holiday will shake up her quiet life in just the right ways.

But Mary gets more than she bargained for when Isabel loses her memory and fully believes she lives in Jane Austen’s Bath. While Isabel rests and delights in the leisure of a Regency lady, attended by the other costume-clad guests, Mary uncovers startling truths about their shared past, who Isabel was, who she seems to be, and the man who now stands between them.

Outings are undertaken, misunderstandings play out, and dancing ensues as this company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation, work out their lives and hearts.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


About Katherine Reay

Katherine Reay has enjoyed a life-long affair with the works of Jane Austen and her contemporaries—who provide constant inspiration both for writing and for life. She is the author of three previous novels, and her debut, Dear Mr. Knightley, was a 2014 Christy Award Finalist, winner of the 2014 INSPY Award for Best Debut, and winner of two Carol Awards for Best Debut and Best Contemporary. Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University and is a wife, mother, runner, and tae kwon do black belt. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine and her family recently moved back to Chicago. Visit her on line at

Connect with Katherine

Website | Facebook | Twitter

My Thoughts:

This was such a fun book to read. It kind of reminded me of the movie Lost in Austen, which was also about someone being caught in Austen times.  So I'll just say it right now, if you love Jane Austen and are a self proclaimed Austenite, you will really enjoy this one.

The story follows Mary who is a hard working engineer and is desperately trying to get her newest project off the ground.  Unfortunately it doesn't seem like it's getting the reaction she expected.

While stressed through all this, her friend Isabel asks her to go with her to England on a two week Jane Austen themed vacation.  It takes a bit of convincing but Mary finally agrees, and oh my goodness, does it get good from there.

Imagine if you will, waking up one morning and your friend believes she is in Jane Austen's Bath.  What ensues from there is a full immersion into all things Jane Austen, mixed with modern times and Mary having to do a little sleuthing to figure out what exactly is happening with her friend.  She'll get more than she bargained for though as she finds out quite a few juicy details that will make her past cross paths with Isabel's.

I wish I could say more, but I think that if I do, I will completely ruin it for anyone who is wanting to read it.

Truly though, if you love Austen in any way, shape or form, you need to pick up a copy of this book.

Monday, November 27, 2017

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 11/27/2017 }

Good morning, and happy Monday :)

Here we are, after Thanksgiving and looking at the last few days of November. How insane is that?

I have a busy day ahead, as always, but I must say that I am on the ball this year with Christmas.  Usually I wait until December to bring out the decorations and some last year and the one before, I didn't even get to really do any decorating, until the week before Christmas, which was kind of a waste to be honest.

So, this year I'm starting early and really trying to go all out and bring back our wonderful Christmas celebrations.

Anyway, I will be putting up the Village today and doing our fireplace etc., and I'll show you all later in another post.  For now though, let's get going with our HHM :)

Breakfast time....what is on the plate this morning::::
Just had my second cup of coffee with Coconut Creamer, and a bowl of oatmeal to which I added a teaspoon of Hazelnut Chocolate Spread. 

Right now I am::::
On the couch, getting this post up and mentally thinking about what I need to do today. 

The weather outside::::
It is currently 50 degrees and quite a pretty day.  I love crisp mornings with a little bit of a breeze and that's exactly what we have :)   

Looking around the house::::
Christmas has started appearing, and there are a few decorations here and there.  I also have a few Christmas boxes out for me to go through today.  The house itself is pretty clean so I don't have to worry about doing too much cleaning this morning. 

On today's to do list::::
Laundry.....Mine and hubby's laundry is done and just needs putting away.  I have the kid's laundry to tackle today.   
Cleaning.....Empty dishwasher, refill again.  Sweep and mop kitchen floor. 
Homeschooling.....Had Thanksgiving Break last week, but today it's back at it.  Nick has a Sign Language video he has to record and then a few portfolios for Math, Computer Tech and Physical Science.  
Cooking....I don't think hubby will be home for lunch today, so I'm probably going to have a very simple lunch of either a sandwich or maybe even cup a soup.  Dinner will be Shepherds Pie. 

Currently reading::::
I finished The Austen Escape and was supposed to get my review up last week and it completely flew my mind with the Thanksgiving stuff that was going on.  I'll be putting it up this morning.  I'm still reading Soulful Simplicity for a review and need to go check my bookshelf for the next book review that is coming up, so that I can start on that one.

On the TV today::::

Last night's Outlander
General Hospital.
I finished Alias Grace and also finished Poldark. 
I did however start Lockup: State Prisons on Netflix and have binge watched that this weekend.

On the menu this week::::
Have meals planned until Friday, that is when I'm going grocery shopping.  I'll be working on the new Menu Plan some time today.

Monday - Shepherds Pie 
Tuesday - Roast Chicken Drumsticks, Buttered Rice, Salad
Wednesday - Beef Stroganoff with Egg Noodles
Thursday - Not sure, I have Chicken Tenderloins so will figure something out to make with those.  I was going to make General Tso's Chicken but I have no eggs left.
Friday -
Saturday -
Sunday -

If I have a few minutes to myself, I will::::
Pick up my crochet hook again and crack on with my stuff.  I have a blanket I want to finish for my sister in law, also want to continue with my Liliana blanket and my Mandala Madness, so quite busy. 

New recipe I tried, or want to try this week::::

The Tofu Turkey was a big hit with my brother in law, he loved it.  Here is the recipe I used, it's actually for a Vegan Tofu Turkey

Looking forward to this week::::
Getting more Christmas decorations up, also cracking on with more Christmas gift shopping. 

Favorite photo from the camera::::
The beginning of our Christmas decorating. 


Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses::::

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

{ Preparing for Thanksgiving }

Well it's here, without a doubt one of my favorite times of the year.

The food, the family, the atmosphere, the insane amounts of cooking and preparation that goes into it.

When we were an Active Duty family, it was just the 4 of us, and so I would wait until the actual day and then get into the kitchen early morning and prepare everything for us.  It didn't matter if I was in scruffy clothes, if food wasn't ready at a certain time, if something didn't go to plan and so on.  It was just us and we honestly didn't care, because Thanksgiving was just a day of indulging in some really yummy treats, relaxing, watching TV, napping and then enjoying leftovers for days.

Then my family moved to the States, and we now had someone to celebrate the holidays with, so it changed a little but not too much, we all lived together and so our Thanksgiving celebrations were just an extension of our previous ones.

But after moving to Texas, and closer to all of Curt's family, the holidays took on a life of their own.  Our get togethers went from 4 people, to 8 people (with my brother's family), to over 20 at times.

This year it's about 12 of us and so, I've had to make changes.  Namely in the sense that preparing for the meal, takes a few days.

I was actually looking over my to do list for today and wanted to run away.  No joke!!!!

I figured I would write this post, and jot down my to do list in here, just to keep as a memory for future years, because it's always fun to look back and see what we were doing, isn't it?

I'm also going to snap all sorts of pictures as I go about my day, and tonight I'll do another post recapping my day and what I've done.  It will probably be loaded with pictures, or so I hope, lest I forget while in my humdrum of chores.......but I doubt I will :)

I hope you're all getting ready for the big day, and I hope your to do lists are not as long as mine, though to be fair, I kinda hope they are so I won't feel so lonely LOL

So here's what's on the menu, followed by my to do list :)
Fried Turkey
Homemade Dinner Rolls
Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole - DONE
Sweet Potato Casserole - DONE
Potato Salad
Cranberry Sauce
Deviled Eggs
Roasted Vegetables
Tofu Turkey (for our Vegetarian)
Pecan Pie Bars

Chocolate Pecan Pie with Rum - DONE
Honey Pecan Pie - DONE
Pumpkin Pie
Truvia Apple Pie
Jello Dessert - DONE
Cherry Salad - DONE

And now for my To Do list, for today, I'm not including tomorrow's.

Empty dishwasher, refill
Wash turkey fryer
Clean turkey and start brining
Make pecan bars and the pecan pies
Make dinner rolls
Make Jello Dessert
Make Cherry Salad
Make Tofu Turkey
Make Green Bean Casserole
Make Sweet Potato Casserole

Dining Room
Move table and insert leaves
Set up serving tables
Make centerpieces
Carpet clean

Living Room

Clean toilet
Wipe sinks
Sweep and mop
Wash bath mats

Room where family will be sleeping
Change bed linens
Carpet clean
I really do hope I have the energy to get everything done.  I'm giving myself until 9am to have my coffee and breakfast and relax a bit, then it's full steam ahead.  Lord give me energy :)

Monday, November 20, 2017

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 11/20/2017 }

Good morning everyone and Happy Monday :)

It is almost 9am and I am still in my pj's, on the couch, snuggling with Marley and trying to stay warm.  I am freezing, I'm tired (as always) and I'm dragging my feet, which is not a good thing, considering it IS Thanksgiving week.  I have a lot going on, have another full house for Thanksgiving, some family arriving Wednesday and yeah, just trying to get everything done and taken care of in the next 3 days.

But yeah, I'm going to go ahead and get this post up so that I can start my day. It's time to start ticking things off the list.

Breakfast time....what is on the plate this morning::::
Coffee with Vanilla Creamer and toast, which I ended up giving to Marley because it got slightly burned (think one of the kids turned the knob a bit higher than usual), and I do NOT like dark toast.  I'm going to finish this post, and then I'll make myself some Cream of Wheat, which I'm actually craving.

Right now I am::::
Typing up this post, thinking that I do not want to get up off this couch or get dressed. 

The weather outside::::
Currently 30 degrees but the real feel is 27.  It's going to be in the 60s the rest of the week and then 75 on Thanksgiving WHY? 

Looking around the house::::
It's not too bad, but Marley has all his toys laying around so I need to pick those up and start getting the house clean and organized for Thursday. 

On today's to do list::::
Laundry.....All laundry was done this weekend, so nothing to do, aside than putting it away which I loathe doing. 
Cleaning.....Empty dishwasher, refill again.  Clean kitchen.  Clean and tidy living rooms.  Wash all the glass panels in my doors and wash windows. 
Homeschooling.....We're on Thanksgiving Break but Nick has a bit of catching up to do, so I'm going to have him work on some things, while I'm busy. 
Cooking....Hubby is coming home for lunch, and I'm not sure what he wants to have, but I picked up a pouch of some Tikka Masala Chickpea Curry for myself, when I went grocery shopping, and I'm really craving that.  Dinner will be Breaded Pork Chops with Mash and some roasted corn. 

Currently reading::::
The Austen Escape and Soulful Simplicity.

On the TV today::::

Last night's Outlander
General Hospital.
Binge watched Alias Grace on Netflix and loved it
Been binge watching Poldark on Amazon.  I had seen Season 1 when it first came out, but none of the other seasons, just didn't have time.  So I started it again from Season 1 and am watching it all through. 

On the menu this week::::

Monday - Breaded Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Corn. 
Tuesday - Crockpot Smoked Sausage and Hashbrowns
Wednesday - Slow Cooked French Dip Sandwiches, Potato wedges
Thursday - Thanksgiving - Fried Turkey, Ham, Mashed potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Sweet Potato Casserole, Stuffing, Deviled Eggs, Salad, Roasted Vegetables, Gravy, Homemade Dinner Rolls, Pecan Pie Bars, Pecan Pies, Pumpkin Pie, Jello No Sugar Dessert (my father in law is diabetic), Truvia Apple Pie (again so my father in law can eat it), Cherry Salad and Tofu Turkey (my brother in law is Vegetarian) 
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - General Tso's Chicken, Rice
Sunday - Potato and Onion Soup, Sandwiches

If I have a few minutes to myself, I will::::
Continue watching Poldark and maybe crack on with some crochet.  I actually made a wool shawl/poncho kinda thing for a my niece for her birthday, and she loved it.  I need to get some more yarn and make a few more for Christmas gifts. 

New recipe I tried, or want to try this week::::

It will be my first time attempting to make a small Turkey out of Tofu for my brother in law.  We will see how that turns out hahaha

Looking forward to this week::::
Celebrating Thanksgiving with my family, really excited to sit around the table and enjoy delicious food, laughs and good company.

Favorite photo from the camera::::
Love my handsome boy, he has brought so much love into my heart and has helped me heal tremendously from losing my baby girl Lola. 

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses::::

Saturday, November 18, 2017

{ Crazy busy day }

I used to look forward to weekends because I knew that I would be sitting around, doing nothing but either catching up on tv shows or spending time with family.

The past few weekends have been nothing like that for me, actually the more I think about it, the minute we moved to Texas, my life became a flurry of activity.  I won't say I completely dislike it, after all, I don't much care to sit around doing nothing.  Even when I've been on the go for hours and sit down for a bit, I get this immense guilt feeling, like I shouldn't be allowed to sit and I need to be up doing something else.

I don't know if anyone else feels this way, or if this is a mom thing, but good gravy, for once it would be nice to sit and do literally nothing without feeling bad about it.

Last weekend I was busy and by the time I blinked, I was getting into bed and setting my alarm for Monday morning.  Nope, not the kind of weekends I enjoy LOL

Today was again, what has become a pretty typical Saturday for me.  Wake up early, enjoy my coffee, and then it's go go go.

 First thing this morning, grocery shopping.  I don't like going on Saturdays because of how busy it gets, and with Thanksgiving looming around the corner, it was pretty insane.

I did manage to get everything I needed, went over budget (typical for the holidays), and wasn't able to record a grocery haul.  I am starting to think that grocery hauls and weekly meals will be more on a *if I have time and can manage to film, so not on a set schedule* kinda thing.  I'm by no means getting rid of them, just not going to worry about it because I do them for fun :)

I came back home, hubby helped me get everything brought inside and then I put it all away.  By far the most boring and annoying part of the whole grocery shopping process, am I right?

Once that was done, we had to go back out.  My niece is turning 21 tomorrow, and I needed to get one more little thing to add to her birthday gifts.  Also stopped at Walmart and picked up milk and eggs, which are cheaper than the commissary, at the moment.

Back home again, and then it was full on house cleaning and washing laundry, then making dinner.  By the time I sat down at 5pm, I was so tired and so achy.  My feet were killing me from being on the go since early morning, my lower back was aching and my neck was still sore from a few days ago I really need to invest in a good neck pillow, because the two I have right now are not working.  One is too soft, one is too hard and I'm constantly in pain with these. 

I told the family to go ahead and eat without me as I wasn't too hungry just yet, and went for a nice long soak in a hot tub with Epsom Salts.  It worked miracles and I feel so much better.

It's now not even 8pm yet, and I am in bed getting ready to watch Ghost Adventures and then some more Poldark.  I feel like a very old lady, but you know sometimes we have to stop and listen to our bodies and if it's demanding bed and rest, that's what I'm going to do.

Tomorrow we have a lunch and then cake at my brother's house for my niece's birthday.  I'm going to take my camera because I would love to get some good pictures, and if I get any good ones, I'll be sure to share with you all.

Right, I'm going to turn this laptop off and get that much needed rest.  Have a beautiful blessed night, friends :)

Friday, November 17, 2017

{ When life just won't let up }


I'm incredibly sorry for not being around much, life has gotten in the way, worries and fears and health, schooling and work and family and just all sorts of things going on.  It's been quite difficult to maneuver around life at the moment, and unfortunately some things have been left behind

I didn't get a chance to do the grocery haul two weeks ago, and I didn't get a chance to do my weekly meals video for last week either, OR this week, which I've found myself not able to record either due to time constraints.

As we approach Thanksgiving, it's getting even more busier around here and I'm struggling, I'm really struggling.


I hate moaning and complaining because there are so many others out there who really are going through some difficult moments in their lives.  Beautiful friends and family battling cancer and other health issues, heart break and financial woes and so on.

I tell myself that I should just be content with what I have, be grateful and not whinge but it's human nature isn't it?

With everything going on, I'm forcing myself to slow down, or rather, my body is forcing me to slow down, and you know sometimes that's what we need because given the choice we won't do it for ourselves, and so we find that suddenly we are made to stop, breathe and restart.

I've turned to my Bible app again in an effort to reclaim my closeness to the Lord, and to find strength and encouragement.

It's helping, it's not instant gratification because I'm a definite work in process, but it helps.


So in between the chaos, I've loved seeing the seasons change and finally getting some cooler weather here in North Texas.  We spent many years in Arizona where everything was a constant shade of desert brown, so to be able to look out my window and see this, is bliss.


One thing I love about this time of year, is that we always get a lot of deer running through our property.  I've seen them daily, just walking around my yard, or prancing off into the field across the street.


It really is a daily sight for us, one which I thoroughly enjoy.


These guys don't like it too much and usually get in quite a tizz over it.


Something else they don't very much enjoy, and I have to say it's not just them because Marley gets quite excited watching from inside.....are the flocks of Starling that swoop around in my yard.


Funny enough I saw them do this the first year we moved to Texas but they weren't around last year, and this year they're back again.



The first time I saw them in my yard and trees, all I could think of was Hitchcock's The Birds Hahaha

It can be quite intimidating to see, hundreds of birds swooping up and down through your yard, and they sometimes fly straight towards the house and swoop up right before hitting the door.  It's insane.

But it's beautiful at the same time and I find it contrasts with my own life at the minute, after all, you can always find beauty even in the darkest moments, right?


So yes, it's been crazy insane around here but I still give thanks to it all, so much so that my chalkboard has been bearing this message for the past week and a half.  Just a reminder to be thankful, because like I said above, it could be much worse.

Hope you're all doing well and getting ready for Thanksgiving.  There will be 12 of us this year, so I have a lot of preparations and cooking to do, but I love every minute of it and am really looking forward to celebrating with family.

I best get on out of here and get started with my day, I have a house to clean, a second cup of coffee to drink (it's one of those days), and a pretty busy weekend ahead (again). 

Blessings and much love to you all, and thank you again from the bottom of my heart, for always checking on me and continuing to follow me along even where are no updates for a while.  I'm so blessed to have readers like you :)

Monday, November 13, 2017

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 11/13/2017 }

Hi everyone, I am so sorry this is going up so late today.

I've had my mother in law visiting, she arrived Sunday morning and spent the night with us, and she just left to go back home to Sherman.  I was going to try and get this posted early this morning, but I didn't get very good sleep last night and am dealing with a whopper of a headache, so slept in a little later than usual, then made a delicious breakfast for me and her and we've just sat and visited, chatted and enjoyed each other's company this morning.

I'm so sorry, but I know you understand :)

Right, let's not waste anymore time and jump right in.

Breakfast time....what is on the plate this morning::::
We both had coffee with coconut cream creamer, and then I made scrambled eggs with ham and cheese, toast with butter and jam, and we had some leftover Victoria Sponge cake which I made to celebrate her birthday which was on Saturday.

Right now I am::::
Sitting on my couch, I literally just saw her off and am finally sitting down to relax and get this post up.  I've had a very busy weekend, was visiting or off with family every single day.  Kinda feel bad because I didn't get to spend much time with my husband this weekend.

The weather outside::::
It is 57 degrees and we're staying in the 50's this whole week, which I'm absolutely loving. 

Looking around the house::::
It's clean and tidy.  I cleaned pretty much everything yesterday morning before my mother in law arrived so I don't have anything to do today.....aside from the usual dishes and cooking etc.

On today's to do list::::
Laundry.....I have Nick's laundry to do today, some time, not sure when but will probably be after lunch.  Everything else is washed and ironed and put away.
Cleaning.....Just dishes from breakfast and then dishes later tonight. 
Homeschooling.....Have quite a bit to catch up on with Nick, last week was just insanely busy and we didn't do any schooling on Friday.  He will be doing a lab portfolio with Curt tonight, it's all stuff Curt has done in his College Chemistry classes, so they will have fun.  
Cooking....I had a big breakfast with my mother in law, so I'm not having any lunch today.  Dinner will be Oven Baked Spiced Chicken with Garlic and Butter Red Potatoes. 

Currently reading::::
The Austen Escape for an upcoming review. 

On the TV today::::

Last night's Outlander
General Hospital.
Alias Grace on Netflix (new Period Drama and it looks fantastic)
Lore on Amazon (hubby and I have been enjoying this one)
Have two Walking Dead episodes to catch up on.

On the menu this week::::
I did not do a Weekly Meals video last week, we ended up switching meals here and there, and my mother in law took us to dinner on Thursday so, yeah, just didn't work out for me to record.  I'll try to get back on it today, so look for that video next week :)

Monday - Oven Baked Spiced Chicken, Garlic and Butter Red Potatoes
Tuesday - Pork Patties with Spices, Homemade Mac and Cheese, Salad
Wednesday - Spaghetti, Homemade Garlic Bread
Thursday - Stuffed Crust Pizza - Pepperoni and Hawaiian
Friday - Grocery shopping (will be making the new menu sometime this week)
Saturday -
Sunday -

If I have a few minutes to myself, I will::::
Honestly, no clue, I need to keep cracking on with my crochet, but haven't done much of that the past week.  So I might actually just read if I have more time to myself.

New recipe I tried, or want to try this week::::

I have been trying to be better about uploading the recipes to the food blog, last week I added the Christmas Fruit Cake recipe.  Today I'll be adding this Strawberry Poke Cake.

Looking forward to this week::::
Getting closer to Thanksgiving.  My niece is arriving this weekend and I'm so excited to see her, she's turning 21 years old AND she is also expecting her first baby.  I'm giddy with excitement at the prospect of a baby in our family next year.

Favorite photo from the camera::::
Love this time of year, we always have deer in our yard.  This one I saw on Friday, and this morning we had another two just jumping around our front yard.  Love them. 

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses::::
"Because all flesh is as grass, and all glory of man as the flower of the grass.  The grass withers, and it's flower falls away." - 1 Peter 1:24 NKJV

Monday, November 06, 2017

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 11/06/2017 }

Good morning my friends, how are you all doing on this beautiful Monday morning?

It is quite a chilly one here today, the trees have all finally changed color and I feel like we are indeed experiencing Autumn and getting ready for Winter. Makes me happy :)

What doesn't make me happy is the time change. My word I feel completely lost, I'm ready to go to bed and it's only 6pm, then I get up in the morning and realize it's super early. I think I'll be completely lost for the next week until I get acclimated Hahah

Well, let's get going with our Happy Homemaker Monday, shall we?

Breakfast time....what is on the plate this morning::::
I just had a cup of coffee with Coconut Creme Creamer and some toast.   

Right now I am::::
Trying to get this post up, also starting on my book review which will go up after this post and at the same time I have my Weekly Meals video rendering in the background.  It's not even 8am and I'm getting quite a bit done already, feels good.

The weather outside::::
Quite chilly this morning, well, for us Texas folk who are used to hot.  It's currently 47 degrees, it's super cloudy and a little foggy.  A pure, perfect depiction of a Fall morning! 

Looking around the house::::
It's clean and tidy.  I do want to vacuum and carpet clean a few spots here and there, and also have a few other things I want to move around and such, but other than that, not much to do housework wise. 

On today's to do list::::
Laundry.....I spent all week, last week, doing laundry.  I think I did a load every single day, between everyone's clothes, bed linens, kitchen towels, bathroom rugs and shower curtains...yeah all week.  I have 3 comforters to wash today and then I think I'm finally done and can give my washer a break.   
Cleaning.....Dust, vacuum, carpet clean a few spots. 
Homeschooling.....Nick has a livelesson at 1pm to attend.  He also has a portfolio for Physical Science and one for Sign Language. 
Cooking....I think lunch today is going to be very simple, just some yogurt and fruit for me.  Dinner is Ham, Cheese and Potato Layered Casserole. 

Currently reading::::
Just finished The Crooked Path by Irma Joubert, and will be reviewing it this morning.  I'm starting on a Jane Austen inspired read next, really looking forward to that one.  

On the TV today::::

Once I'm done with all this computer work, I'll get dressed for the day and then I can sit and quickly watch last night's Outlander.

General Hospital.
Have two Walking Dead episodes to catch up on.
Also started this show that I'm quite obsessed with at the moment, it's called Rich House Poor House and it's absolutely fantastic.  

On the menu this week::::
Here are last week's meals:

Monday - Ham, Cheese and Potato Layered Casserole
Tuesday - Steaks with Mustard Cream Sauce and Rice
Wednesday - Chicken and Noodles Baked in Cream Sauce, Veggies
Thursday - My mother in law is driving by on her way to Lawton, and is wanting to take us to dinner.  So not sure where we will be eating.
Friday - Pork Patties with Spices and Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
Saturday - Teriyaki Steak with Ric
Sunday -My mother in law is coming back this way and is staying with us all day Sunday and spending the night too.  We will figure out something for lunch, but I'll be making a Beef and Macaroni Casserole for dinner with some Garlic Bread and Salad

If I have a few minutes to myself, I will::::
I am currently trying out something with crochet.  It's a pattern I've been wanting to try for a while and want to see how it looks before I make some for my sister in law, niece and daughter.

New recipe I tried, or want to try this week::::

There are a few new ones I'll be making this week, the Steaks with Mustard Cream Sauce, Chicken and Noodles Baked in Cream Sauce, Pork Patties with Spices and the Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese.  I will add them to the food blog as I make them.  

Looking forward to this week::::

Seeing my mother in law on Thursday.  We haven't really had a chance to visit with her and spend time with her the past few months.  The kids haven't seen her since Jasmine's Graduation back in May.  Life has been busy and she's also been battling breast cancer for the second time, is back and forth to chemo and radiation and doctor appointments.  It's been insane, so we're really looking forward to seeing her this week.     

Favorite photo from the camera::::
One of those while sitting by the fire :) 

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses::::
My heart is breaking for the victims in yet another senseless act in Texas this weekend.  It's even worse when it's done in the Lord's house.  I'm sending my prayers and thoughts to the victims and their families of Sutherland Springs.

John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Romans 12:19: “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
Psalm 11:5 “The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.”

{ The Crooked Path by Irma Joubert - TLC Book Tour }


About The Crooked Path

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 7, 2017)
From the bestselling author of The Girl From the Train, comes another compelling coming of age story of delayed love, loss, and reconciliation in WWII-era South Africa.
Lettie has always felt different from and overshadowed by the women around her– this friend is richer, that friend is more beautiful, those friends are closer. Still, she doesn’t let this hold her back. She works hard to apply her mind, trying to compensate for her perceived lack of beauty with diligent academic work and a successful career as a doctor. She learns to treasure her friendships, but she still wonders if any man will ever return her interest.
Marco’s experiences in the second world war have robbed him of love and health. When winters in his native Italy prove dangerous to his health even after the war has ended, he moves to South Africa to be with his brother, husband to one of Lettie’s best friends. Marco is Lettie’s first patient, and their relationship grows as she aids him on the road back to restored health.
In the company of beloved characters from The Child of the River, Marco and Lettie find a happiness that neither of them thought possible. With that joy comes pain and loss, but Lettie learns that life—while perhaps a crooked path—is always a journey worth taking.

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Purchase Links

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About Irma Joubert

International bestselling author Irma Joubert was a history teacher for 35 years before she began writing. Her stories are known for their deep insight into personal relationships and rich historical detail. She’s the author of eight novels and a regular fixture on bestseller lists in The Netherlands and in her native South Africa. She is the winner of the 2010 ATKV Prize for Romance Novels.
Connect with Irma on Facebook.

My Thoughts:

The minute I heard about this book, I knew I had to review it.  If you have been following me for a while, you will know that I spent most of childhood and young adult years, in South Africa.  To this day, I still call it home, and so to be given the opportunity to review a book that takes place in South Africa, is a huge deal for me.

The story follows Lettie who is a doctor living in South Africa, and Marco living in Italy and recovering from WWII.  Their paths meet when Marco moves to South Africa to heal from the war and ends up being Lettie's first patient.

Lettie is a character filled with complexities, she lives in a constant state of comparison with her friends, always thinking she's not good enough or pretty enough, and most of all not believing that she deserves to find true love.

Watching the two cross paths, watching Marco break down the walls around her heart, all the while enjoying both South Africa and Italy described in such vivid detail, made this for a very and I mean very enjoyable read.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

{ Meal plan with me - Old recipe collection }

I'm getting ready to menu plan for the next two weeks.  I was looking for inspiration and while cleaning my kitchen cabinets yesterday, came across some of my old recipe collections.

You probably have some of these yourself.  I started collecting them many, many years ago, when Jasmine was still little.  I've always been fascinated by old cookbooks and recipes.

Actually, my greatgrandmother has this cookbook, a really old Portuguese cookbook that I adored.  I had my eye on it for the longest time and really wanted to have it for myself, but she ended up giving it to my Uncle, and when he passed away the book just disappeared along with a lot of his belongings.  (his wife at the time just cut off all communication with our family).

It always stuck with me, because I loved that book so much and it was well taken care of and one of my greatgrandma's prized possessions, so when she gave it away to someone else I felt quite sad.  I can't help but think that if it had been with me, it would still have been here and used and loved.  But, let bygones be bygones.

Here's the book, it was called "ABC da Culinaria by Etelvina Lopes de Almeida.

As I was sitting down to get started, I thought I would bring you along with me and actually show you what I ended up doing with the old recipes.


A lot of these I found at Yard sales or thrift stores. 



And some I bought, or my husband bought for me.  I enjoy these recipes because they're not fancy or require all these gourmet ingredients to produce, tasty, home cooked food.  At the end of the day, whether you work at home or outside the home, you don't want to spend hours trying to fix super complicated meals.


I've pulled out my meal plan book, and I've showed you this before in a previous post about the notebooks I use for meal planning and my budget and bills.

As you can see above that was from the last menu plan.  I always write the menu on one side and the grocery list on the other, it makes it easier when I go grocery shopping because if I ever wonder why I am buying a specific ingredient, I can quickly glance over the menu and see what it's for. 


It's also happened before, that I couldn't find something I needed, and having the menu plan with me, I was able to quickly change the meal, right there at the store.


One thing I don't like about these, is that a lot of them came with no box or folder or anything to put them in, so I had them in tupperware boxes, which is not the best way to keep them and it made it quite difficult to flip through and find what I wanted.


I had these blue dollar store containers, so I popped them all into one and not only do they fit but they make it extremely easy to quickly browse through.


The container now sits on my cookbook shelf and I have easy access to it, when I need to look for a recipe, I pull the container down, find what I need and back it goes.

I found a few recipes that I want to make this meal plan and am quite excited to try those.  There's nothing worth than getting stuck in a rut when it comes to dinners, is there?

I would love to know if you all have some of these recipe collections too or if you use them at all.