It is almost 1pm and grandma just left the house. She came to visit yesterday afternoon and stayed the night with us.
Grandma Pat always makes an effort to come and visit the kids for their birthdays, it's something they love and look forward to, and so do Curt and I. She is an amazing woman, sweet as honey and with a faith so strong that it's at times almost intimidating, in a good way :)
It's the 1920s and the North African territory of Rif is resisting being ruled by Morocco, leading to the War of Rif. During the conflict, Queen Victoria Eugenia sends a group of nurse trainees from Madrid's upper class to open a hospital in the city of Melilla to help Spanish soldiers who have been injured in battle. Along the way, the women find friendship and romance while saving the lives of the soldiers on the front lines.
Y'all!!!! I have a twenty year old, a TWENTY.YEAR.OLD!!!
I just can't even wrap my brain around that.
My baby, the little girl that made me a mama, my feisty red head, my mini me, turns 20 years old today.
She is working, she is growing up, she is a woman, and I'm sitting here just wondering where on earth time went.
Our daughter has gone through a lot, but she's managed to come out on top, pushed through the obstacles, the heart aches, failed relationships and a tough battle with depression and anxiety.
She is absolutely glowing, loving life, full of ideas for the future and just basically enjoying every minute of growing into an adult.
As parents, we sit back and watch and try to guide, which isn't always easy but watching your children grown from little ones to full grown adults with a life of their own, is insane. I'll leave it at that.
So today, as she turns 20, my wish for her is that when the hard moments in life come
knocking at her door, that she will continue to have the strength,
wisdom, morals and values to guide her through and come out shining on
the other side. The world is at her feet, and it can be scary at times, but beneath the sweet and tiny little body, is a fierce, strong, driven young woman and whatever she sets her heart to, I know she will achieve.
Happy Birthday my babe, I love you and I'm so proud of everything you've accomplished until now.
It’s been a year since fifteen-year-old Mia Hopkins was in the car crash that killed her older sister and left her terribly scarred. The doctors tell her she was lucky to survive. Her therapist says it will take time to heal. The police reports claim there were trace amounts of alcohol in her bloodstream. But no matter how much she tries to reconstruct the events of that fateful night, Mia’s memory is spotty at best. She’s left with accusations, rumors, and guilt so powerful it could consume her.
As the rest of Mia’s family struggles with their own grief, Mia is sent to New York City to spend the summer with a grandmother she’s never met. All Mia wants to do is hide from the world, but instead she’s stuck with a summer job in the bustling kitchens of the café down the street. There she meets Fig—blue-haired, friendly, and vivacious—who takes Mia under her wing. As Mia gets to know Fig and her friends—including Cooper, the artistic boy who is always on Mia’s mind—she realizes that she’s not the only one with a painful past.
Over the summer, Mia begins to learn that redemption isn’t as impossible as she once thought, but her scars inside run deep and aren’t nearly so simple to heal … especially when Mia finally pieces together her memories of the night Rachel died.
From acclaimed author Heather Hepler comes We Were Beautiful, a poignant young adult novel about tragedy, forgiveness, and love. Perfect for fans of Robyn Schneider and Justina Chen.
Heather Hepler is the author of several books for teens and tweens, including Frosted Kisses, Love? Maybe, and The Cupcake Queen. Having lived in East Texas, Alaska, and Death Valley, she currently resides with her son, their two spoiled cats, and their ridiculously smart dog in Maine.
It kicks off with a tragic accident that takes Mia's sister, and leaves her with quite serious injuries, scars on the surface but deeply ingrained scars on the inside too. Mia has a lot to deal with, her bodily scars are a constant reminder of the horrible day, but those are easier to heal than the hurt and grief she pushes through on a daily basis.
Mia is 15, a teenager and we know that at that age everything seems so much harder to go through, so when given the opportunity to go to New York to spend the summer with her grandmother, Mia takes it. She is struggling to deal with her new life, one without her older sister, one where she fights with her internal struggle of survivor's guilt, and she is also now having to adapt to a new place with a grandmother she doesn't really know.
Mia's grandmother finds her a job and before long she is making friends with Fig, a quirky, bright colored hair girl that brings joy and laughs to not only Mia's life but to us as readers. I quite enjoyed getting to know this character, as well as her strange but quirky group of friends.
What Mia learns through this summer is that grief is different for everyone, and that every single person you come across, has a past they've had to deal with, struggles they've had to overcome and are just trying to do the best they can.
Those words, those simple words were talked into my heart, a few months ago when I was struggling with my role as a homemaker and living with purpose.
I'm not going to talk again about our roles as homemakers and how important those are, if you look back on my blog archive, there are numerous posts on that subject alone.
I am however going to address the reason, or one of the main reasons why I left Facebook a few months ago. It wasn't a decision I made on the spur of the moment, it was something that had been a long time coming and finally deeply ingrained in my heart by none other than God.
But let me backtrack a bit so this all makes sense.
I've gone back and forth with Facebook a couple of times, and have even gotten off of it for months at a time, only to return and get sucked right back in again. The main reason was that my family and friends were all on there and it was a way of staying in touch, of seeing our family, of seeing the kids grow etc.
I was recently asked why I left again and so I thought I would address it here on the blog, because even though I've left, I haven't deactivated it. I put up a post on there for my son's birthday on the 11th and I will put one up for my daughter on the 25th and my husband's next month.
Why? Because I think they deserve that recognition on that day. Other than that, I don't think you will see me on there at all.
Please keep in mind that I'm talking for myself. I am no here to change your mind about social media, I'm not here to judge you if you use it daily, I'm merely here to talk about myself and my thoughts.
Aside from the fact that I find Facebook extremely boring, a waste of time, a playground for bullies and ridiculous fights, I think it is one of the biggest thieves of joy of our current times.
Let me explain why.
As homemakers we are often made to feel that we are not good enough, that we don't fit with the norm and that that we should be out there working, contributing to the homes and not being lazy. It takes some thick skin to learn to let all of that nonsense just roll right off your back, but then you add in social media and the dangers of comparison kick into play.
I let myself fall into that trap.
We are a simple, down to earth family, and while we have enough money to pay bills and get food, sometimes eat out, there are a lot of things that we need to buy, need to fix or would love to do that is not possible on our income at the moment.
When you go on social media and see family and friends living it up, going on all these vacations to super cool places, eating out, buying this new thing or that new gadget, as a human, your first instinct is to feel some jealousy and immediately start comparing. I'm guilty of that, or rather, I WAS guilty of that.
As I started my journey to a closer relationship with God, there are certain aspects of myself and my personality that I want Him to help me change or tweak. One of those such things was the feelings of jealousy or the need to compare to others.
I knew that social media was a big issue for me, Facebook especially because I'm such a simple person, I don't like drama, I don't like confrontations and fights and more and more I was feeling like I didn't belong on Facebook because all of those things above seem to be what it's all about on that platform.
The more I prayed, the more God kept telling me loud and clear "Sandra, you are more than enough. Stop comparing yourself to others, you are not them, you are you. You may not have what they have, at the moment, but I have great things ahead for your and Curt, just wait and see".
Being the disobedient child of God I am, I kept going to Facebook, kept scrolling through all the way to the bottom, back up to the top and nothing had changed. You may have 200 or 300 friends but really only see about 10, and they post the same things over and over, no offense to any of my friends or family, but it's true.
All the while God kept hammering into my head that I am more than enough, that I need to stop feeling inadequate or not good enough. Every time I would pray and ask Him to show me what to do, the answer was always the same, I already knew what needed to be done, I just didn't want to do it.
This went on for about a year, until January when a light bulb finally went off and I knew what I had to do. I made a short post on Facebook letting people know that I wouldn't be on there and wasn't sure I would be back.
I closed the app down and walked away.
I was fully expecting to start doubting myself, to start feeling like I had to go in every day and just check real quick, but guess what? I didn't!!!!
I don't miss it, I don't think about it, I honestly forget it exists unless a family member or friend mentions something about it. I don't feel the need to go and look, to go do anything on it and I've even thought about deactivating it completely.
So you ask why I left?
First and foremost because that is what God put on my heart to do, and secondly because it was the biggest thief of joy for myself. It made me feel so bad about my life and what I've accomplished and God knew that it wasn't healthy for me.
I don't regret that decision, I'm so happy since I've been off there, I'm calm, I'm content, I'm free for lack of a better word.
You may be wondering what about Instagram, isn't that social media too?
Yes, yes it is, but I find Instagram not as time consuming for me, I only really follow homemaking and crochet pages, I don't see drama and fighting and bullying going on there and I don't post on it daily either. So for the moment, I am not getting rid of Instagram, but if I ever feel that need in my heart, then I will have no problem disconnecting from that too.
In the end the only things that really matter are my family and my real life, and I don't need social media to have those.
In National Geographic’s comprehensive and easy-to-use illustrated pet reference, a renowned veterinarian offers expert advice on common health, behavior, and training for cats, dogs, and other domestic pets.
Combining first aid, medical reference, and tips and tricks of the trade, here is your go-to-guide for at-home animal care, focusing on dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, and more! Building on more than two decades of veterinary experience, Dr. Gary Weitzman covers topics including upset stomachs, house training, physical ailments and behavior tips. The president and CEO of the San Diego Humane Society and former co-host of the weekly NPR show The Animal House, Dr. Gary brings a wealth of experience to essential veterinary questions, revealing basic first-aid techniques, when a trip to the vet is necessary, dietary recommendations, simple training techniques, necessary supplies, essential behavior cues, and much more.
Don't you just love National Geographic books? I do!!!
I am so excited to tell you about this one. It is called Complete Guide to Pet Health, Behavior, And Happiness by Gary Weitzman, DMV.
Now, first things first, this book is not in any way, shape or form, meant to replace a visit to the vet, it is merely meant to be used as an informative tool, and informative it is. My goodness it is brilliant and filled with so many tips, tricks, basic first-aid techniques, when a trip to the vet is necessary, dietary recommendations, simple training techniques, necessary supplies, essential behavior cues, and much more.
It came in handy for us just a few days ago, when our Marley started shaking his head, flapping his ears and scratching at one specifically. I quickly searched through the book and found quite a few tips and advice on what it could be, how to clean his ears properly and when to actually take him to the vet.
Marley suffers from allergies, poor guy, and one of the things that can impact their ears are allergies, so I know that is exactly what the issue is. I gave the affected ear a good clean, following the directions and suggestions in the book and he is already feeling better.
The book is divided into different categories:
Animal Happiness and Responsible Pet Ownership Everyday Pet Health and Nutrition Pet Behavior and Training Emergencies and Disaster Preparedness Common Health Issues Diagnostics, Aging, and Holistic Medicine
Like I stated above, it is brilliant and I think it deserves a place on the bookshelf of every pet owner.
It mentions essential oils, teaches you how to pick the perfect pet, how to exercise them, what to feed them, how to train them and so on. It is filled with beautiful photographs, great ideas and a lot, and I mean a LOT of important and interesting information.
It has become my go to when I have a question about something to do with our pets, or even just an interesting read on a rainy day. Definite thumbs up for this one!!!
Good morning friends, how was your Easter weekend?
I had a blessed one with my family, brother and sister in law and nephew. We had a delicious lunch, chatted, caught up on life, laughed as always and then played some VR games, which are always a ton of fun. I feel incredibly thankful to have family near by.
I have a pretty easy week, Jasmine is only working two days so that frees up a lot of my week and we are expecting some major storms too, so I'm happy to be home and not out in the mess.
I've noticed some new faces around, so I wanted to welcome you to my blog and our Happy Homemaker Monday. I hope you enjoy participating and feel free to take a look around, read some of my older posts, and do say hi down below so that I can come and see your blog and visit too :)
Alright, let's get on with our HHM!!!
We have some bad storms coming in tonight, it's getting to that time of the year where Tornado season is almost upon us, and living in Tornado alley inevitably brings some pretty intense weather. The temperatures have surely warmed up and we've been in the 80's, but this week we will see a bit of a drop because of the 3 day intense weather heading our way.
On my reading pile:::
By Invitation Only by Dorothea Benton Frank
Movies or Shows I watched this weekend:::
Nothing, I have not had a chance to watch any kind of TV this weekend, it's been one of those busy, haven't had time to even sit, kinda weekends.
On my TV this week:::
On the menu for this week::: Monday
Chicken Tetrazzini, Salad Tuesday
One Pot Baked Ziti with Ricotta Wednesday
Chili Dogs Thursday
Chicken Tikka Masala, Garlic Naan, Rice Friday
One Skillet Mexican Rice Casserole Saturday Out to dinner for Jasmine's Birthday Sunday
Panda Express Chow Mein Noodles
On my to do list:::
Change bedding and wash linens
Iron a load of washing
Edit and post recipes on food blog
Take Jasmine to work What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
I am working on more placemats. Looking forward to:::
Finding some time to sit and read my book. It's getting harder to fit my reading in during the day, I'm either busy, or by the time I sit in bed to read, I fall asleep.
Looking around the house:::
We had family over yesterday so I need to give the dining area a quick clean and tidy. Just have to remove the table leaf, and get rid of some of the extra chairs we put out. The rest of the house is clean so I don't need to worry about it today.
From the camera:::
These two sweetheart :)
What I'm wearing today:::
Comfy shorts and a tank top.
One of my simple pleasures:::
A cup of hot coffee while it rains outside. I like to open the back patio door, watch and listen to the rain and enjoy the coffee.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.Whoever believes
in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and
believes in me shall never die.” -- John 11:25-26
Just wanted to pop on real quick to wish you all a very Happy Easter. Hope you have a blessed day with your family, and remember that our Savior is Risen, there is nothing more joyful than that thought alone.
I sat down, for the first time today, about 30 minutes ago.
To say my lower back is aching is quite the understatement. Ouch!
Why is it that you don't realize how sore you are until you actually stop and sit? And then try to get back up again and are met with horrible back pain.
It's just been one of those days, where laundry took up most of my time. I lost count of the loads I've done, and spent most of the day in different stages of laundry. Throwing in washer, carrying big loads out to hang on the clothesline, removing those when dry, hanging another load in, and tossing another in the washer. My ironing pile is humongous, thank goodness I enjoy ironing or this may have been the straw the broke the camels back.
While that nonsense was going on, I vacuumed and washed both living room carpets (hence the culprits for my lower back being so sore right now), baked hot cross buns for Easter, cooked a dozen eggs for deviled eggs, washed a ton of dishes and moved plants around, watered them and so on.
Curt did a lot of mowing, matter of fact, the only thing left to mow is the enclosed back yard, but I told him to leave it and I will get to it this week. He got a mighty ugly sunburn out there too, guess it's already that hot.
When he popped to the local hardware/garden store to get a new belt for the mower, I went along just to keep him company, and ended up coming home with 3 new plants that were 25% off. I got a Tabasco Hot Pepper Plant, a hybrid tomato and some sweet basil. They've been planted in the new little garden area.
Back at it with the laundry. It is never ending.
I wanted to show you a quick tip for the kitchen. To make my dishwashing liquid last longer and to also get the dishes even cleaner and fight that hard to clean grease, I use a mixture of washing liquid and vinegar.
I don't measure, I simply mix them together. For example, before I went grocery shopping I noticed that I had that much left in the dishwashing detergent bottle, instead of buying a new one, I fill the rest of that bottle up with white vinegar, shake well and use as normal.
It really makes a difference. You all know how powerful vinegar is for cleaning, I use it in quite a few homemade cleaning mixtures.
Hope you enjoy that tip, and if you try it out, let me know what you think.
Finally, for dinner, I was keeping it very simple. We had basically breakfast for dinner, I made some buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy, and then a hashbrown casserole very similar to Cracker Barrel's.
It was delicious, filling, and quite an inexpensive meal to make.
Here in a few minutes we have to go pick up Jasmine from work, and then I'm coming home, getting into my pajamas and getting into bed. My back is killing me. I already had my shower and just put on a little summer dress to run out.
Tomorrow we are having family over for Easter lunch, so I'll have to be up early to make the deviled eggs, and the rest of the dishes.
But I'll be back in the morning to wish you all a Happy Easter and to share our menu and some of the food we will be having.
Hi everyone, I am just finished putting all my groceries away, and taking pictures to share with you all.
I've been asked a couple times to go back to doing grocery hauls, the thing is, I don't want to film on Youtube, and I know that grocery hauls are some of the most popular videos there, but I've tried the Youtube thing and it's really not for me. I will however do grocery hauls on Instagram, and I did my first one today, so if you want to see that video, just head on over and check out my stories.
Most of you already know that I shop for two weeks at a time, but I've had some new faces pop up recently so for those that don't know, we are a retired military family and I'm blessed to be able to still shop at our local base commissary.
I shop for two weeks at time and menu plan which really helps keep the cost of food down, although, I'm noticing that I've had to up my food budget slightly, but I'm still managing to keep it between $250 and $300 for a family of 4. That budget is not just food, it includes all the toiletries, cleaning supplies and pet food and treats, so not bad at all.
Keeping in mind that Easter is on Sunday, I did buy a few extras that I wouldn't usually buy. Right, let's get going because this is a bit of a long post, as the grocery hauls usually are. I'm going to give you the prices as well this time, so you get an idea of what I pay at the commissary.
Fridge and Freezer - Sweet Cream Coffee Creamer ($2.38), Sour Cream ($1.42), Ricotta Cheese ($1.56), 2 small plain Greek Yogurts ($1.58 for both), 2 whole chickens ($5.21 and $5.33), 1 pound Chicken Tenderloins ($4.05).
And finally all the bad stuff....ruffles, tortilla chips, jalapeno kettle cooked, funyuns, 2 lay's stax, 2 munchos, gardetto's mix and 3 of the shrimp chips
This grocery list was slightly different than usual, only because it contains some things that are specifically for Easter on Sunday, and I also didn't buy a lot of meats. My two week meal plan has a lot of simple quick meals, as well as a few meatless meals as well.
We are trying to see if we like it this way so that I can try and maybe cut back a bit on the amount of meats we eat, it will also help with the cost of the food budget as well.
I'll leave you with the Menu Plan for the following weeks:
Saturday - Biscuits and Gravy, Hashbrown Casserole Sunday - Easter Lunch (Pickled Fish, Roast chicken, Potato Casserole, Creamed Spinach, stuffed eggs, hot cross buns, mini cheesecakes and upside down apple pie) Monday - One Pot Baked Ziti w/ Ricotta, Salad Tuesday - Chili Dogs Wednesday - Panda Express Chow Mein Noodles Thursday - Jasmine's Birthday (Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala, Garlic Naan and Rice) Friday - One Skillet Mexican Rice Casserole, Broccoli Saturday - Dinner out with mother in law Sunday - Leftovers, Sandwiches Monday - Pork Sloppy Joes, Pasta Salad Tuesday - Chicken Tettrazini Wednesday - Burgers, Fries Thursday - Homemade Pizza
I've been meaning to do this post for quite a while and just never got around to it, mainly because I needed to snap photos as I went and some days there are not enough hours to go around. At least that's what it feels like for me.
Today is one of my typical days, so let me show you what I do. My weekday mornings begin at 6AM, I would say bright and early but truthfully it's usually still quite dark outside.
While hubby gets dressed for work, I head into the kitchen, turning on lamps as I go because, like I said, it is quite dark. The first stop though is always out back to let Marley out to potty.
I get the water boiling, and then get hubby's travel mug and my coffee cup ready, pack his lunch and make sure he has everything set for the day.
The sun slowly starts to rise while all of this is going in the kitchen.
Marley knows the routine very well, he knows exactly when daddy is leaving, and he will come and stand at the big window and wait for me to open just one side of the curtains so that he can watch daddy's car driving away.
They have this thing where Curt will open his car window and yell out "Bye Marley, bye handsome, bye Marley". Hahah
At this time, Marley will run back to the bedroom and onto the bed, and quickly falls back asleep. It's quite sweet watching him go through his own routine every morning.
I take this opportunity to climb back into bed myself, turn on the TV, watch some Youtbe vlogs and enjoy my cup of coffee and reading my devotionals.
At about 7:30AM, I take Marley back out to potty
Uncover the birds and make sure they have fresh water and food
And open the curtains
Once all this is done, I then get dressed for the day. If I'm staying home I'll throw on a simple dress or shorts and a tank because I'm basically going to be doing housework.
Jasmine is working today and she is opening, so we have to leave by 9am, which means getting actually dressed and ready pretty quick.
Put on my make up, fix my hair, brush my teeth and all that other stuff that needs doing.
Once I'm ready, I head back into the kitchen, but will usually stop in the dining room to open the other curtain for the day.
Next I pack Jasmine's lunch which is either leftovers from the night before, or a sandwich with some chips and fruit, crackers etc.
I also fix her some breakfast. I don't have to do any of this, she is more than capable of doing it, but while she gets herself ready for work I go ahead and do this to make things easier and not so rushed before we head out the door.
While she eats her breakfast, I quickly get my purse and make sure I have my phone and truck keys, as well as anything else I may need. By this time she is done, and while she brushes her teeth and puts on some makeup, I clear up her breakfast dishes, take them to the kitchen and clean up the dining room table....then we are out the door.
Baby girl is dropped off and I make the trip back home.
She works about 20 minutes from home but with the morning traffic, it's about 30 minutes. On the way home I will pop on a sermon to listen to, or if there is none available then I will listen to the Christian radio station K-Love.
As always, Marley knows when I get home and he will be at the window jumping up and down, in excitement.
Once I've said hi to him, been kissed a hundred times and give him some big hugs, I move on to the plants. I keep them on a little table near the back patio door, and every morning, I move them all out one by one.
I water them and leave them outside for a few hours and then bring them in when the sun starts getting too hot.
Today I don't need to pick Jasmine up from work, she leaves around the time Curt gets off work too, so he picks her up. That means that I have the rest of the day to myself and don't have to worry about running back out for errands or appointments or anything.
On days like these, I change into more comfortable clothes, and today I threw on some pajama pants and a tshirt. I have a bit of a headache going on and the ringing in my ear is also a little loud. No, my retracted eardrum is not yet healed and though some days are pretty good, some are not so good and I'll get anything from headaches, louder ringing and even some vertigo.
There is also a lot of wind outside which seems to be affecting the pressure in my ear, and just making it all of these symptoms worse, so I'm doing the basic of necessities in the house today and then trying to get some rest.
When I don't have to drive Jasmine to work early morning, I make my bed immediately. I find that I can't quite get my day going if my bed is not made. But when I drive her in, I wait to make it until I return so that I'm not rushing in the morning.
Next thing I'll do is take out the meat for dinner that night, quickly empty the dishwasher and reload it and give the kitchen a tidy.
The rest of the house is in order and so all that I'm going to do is get this blog post up and I also want to post a recipe on the food blog.
Honestly, by the time all this is done, it is usually noon and I'll fix some lunch for myself and move on to my afternoon routine. I may do an afternoon and evening routine post as well, but that will be next week.
I hope you enjoyed a little peek into my typical weekday morning routine. It tends to be the same unless I'm grocery shopping, as is the case tomorrow, or I'm heading to a doctor appointment or an unexpected errand.
I used to let my days just flow however they wanted to, but I've found that once I got into an actual routine, everything runs a lot smoother and I even allow myself time to read, watch tv or crochet in the afternoons.
Routines don't have to be complicated or involve hundreds of little tasks all squeezed into a few hours. Figure out what works for you, and what doesn't, and go from there, but most importantly keep in mind that although things may usually run a certain way, there will be days of unexpected changes and that is ok, don't panic, don't fret, just embrace that and keep pushing on.