Tuesday, August 27, 2019

{ The Beginner's Guide to Winning an Election by Michael R. French - TLC Book Tour }

About The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election

Paperback: 272 Pages
November 25, 2018

Brit Kitridge’s plan was just to get her high school diploma and head to college and med school, but nobody can escape from fate, or is it history? The Beginner’s Guide To Winning an Election reveals our main character’s love for history, and after a summer reading books that fuel her passion for politics, Brit decides to join TM (Team Mathew), a fourteen-member group that has helped Mathew Boltanski win every election he’s ever entered. Now he’s going for the big one—student body president.

By orchestrating brilliant campaigns one after the other, TM has made Matthew a national young star and promising politician who could even run for higher office in Washington. When Brit is accused of sabotaging the team, she realizes that Hawthorn High has its secrets, and someone needs to shed some light on them. The story is set in a world six years ahead of our time. Security is a constant issue.

Politics isn’t black-and-white, it’s not even gray anymore. Inflation is out of control and the educational system is in crisis. But what happens when you find out what’s really going on? What do you do with secrets no one but you wants to hold up to the light?

Monday, August 26, 2019

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 08/26/2019 }

Good morning everyone, hope you've had a blessed weekend.

I'm sorry this post is going up a little later than usual, but I've just been busy with bills and schooling and am only now getting a chance to come an get this up for you all.

Let's get right on with it.

Oh before I get going, I want to once again ask you NOT to leave links down below that are not relating to our Happy Homemaker Monday.  I have been having to remove links every week, to other blog posts that are not part of our Monday feature.  Please be respectful of my request, it is a pain to have to go in every Monday and manually delete these links.   Thanks :) 

Sunday, August 25, 2019

{ A quick trip to Lawton and a cake for Sunday }


Hubby and I took a short trip to Lawton, to help my mother in law with moving some items from her home, into storage.  She is trying to sell the house they have up there.

I always enjoy driving across Oklahoma and seeing the beautiful land, the cows, the sky and the old buildings teetering on old beams, barely hanging on.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

{ Ancestry DNA - The Beginning }

Oh my friends, I am so beyond excited to start this journey.  Before I do though, let me just tell you that I am in NO way affiliated to or sponsored by Ancestry.com.  I wouldn't turn down some kind of partnership, of course, but this post is my own and in no way an advert.

I've been into genealogy for a very long time, years and years and years.  That curiosity peaked when I first watched an episode of Who do You think You are?  around the time it first came out.  I love watching it and find it absolutely fascinating following the different individual journeys through different countries and eras, right back to their ancestors.  I wish I could do the same, it would be the best thing ever if I was able to not only retrace my ancestor's steps, but actually go to the physical places they once lived, worked, and eventually passed.

But I can't, cause you know, I'm not famous, and I don't have money to travel all over the world LOL

The next closest thing is to just do what is available to me, online and try to go back as far as I can.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

{ Finally rain and a diagnosis at the doctor }

We have just had the most glorious of rain showers. 

Aahhh there is nothing quite like it, especially when you've been dealing with horrible heat and triple digits that just won't budge.  The first thunder boomed out and I must have looked like a crazy woman with a huge smile on my face.

It didn't last very long, about 30 minutes, but it cooled things down and the plants in the garden certainly welcomed the water.

I've had a bit of a busy day, an appointment, and a few hours homeschooling with Nick.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

{ Soapberries aka Soap Nuts - What they are and how to use them }


A couple of weeks ago I mentioned my soapberry tree, and how I had started harvesting the berries and using them for laundry soap.

I first noticed these berries on the tree, about 2 years ago but I had no idea what they were, or if they were edible or usable for anything at all.  I kind of forgot about them, and then the beginning of this year I again thought about the big tree in my back yard, and all those questions came flooding back.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

{ What makes a house a home }


a building for human habitation, especially one that is lived in by a family or small group of people.


We all have houses we live in, and that can be an actual house or an apartment, but there is a huge difference between a house and a home, at least in my eyes.

I follow a ton of accounts on Instagram, mainly homemaking and such because I love seeing like minded women going about their days, and sharing their lives, just like I do.

Monday, August 19, 2019

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 08/19/2019 }

EDIT:  Oh my goodness, I am SO sorry, I completely forgot to put the link up.  It is up now, thank you all for reminding me LOL

Good morning ladies, and a very Happy Monday to you all.

How was your weekend?

I had a pretty good one, didn't do much which is always nice since we tend to work through our weekends like they're weekdays.  Sometimes your body needs a rest and thankfully that is what we got.

Yesterday afternoon, the hubby, myself and our daughter, headed to our local Antique stores.  Unfortunately they were all closed, except for one, and we had a nice browse around it.  I LOVE antique stores, honestly I could live in them LOL

I ended up just picking up two books, a cookbook and an old book to add to my collection of old books, you know how much I love those.

Anyway, it is Monday, I actually am home all day today and very much looking forward to it.  I have a pretty easy week, my girl is not working many days which is a nice break from the constant driving back and forth.  I do have my annual breast exam and smear test, on Thursday morning.  It's been 5 years since my last smear so I'm up for one again, but then it will be another 5 years after that.

It's not an exam I look forward to, much like the mammogram, but it is a necessity and I encourage you all to go.  If you haven't been for either of these tests, please, please book yours now.  It is so important to do.

Ok, enough babbling, I always tend to ramble on these hahahah

Let's see what we all have coming up in our Happy Homemaker Monday

Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep - TLC Book Tour

About Protect the Prince

• Paperback: 448 pages
• Publisher: Harper Voyager (July 2, 2019)

Magic, murder, adventure, and romance combine in this second novel in the exciting Crown of Shards saga from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep.
Everleigh Blair might be the new gladiator queen of Bellona, but her problems are far from over.
First, Evie has to deal with a court full of arrogant, demanding nobles, all of whom want to get their greedy hands on her crown. As if that wasn’t bad enough, an assassin tries to kill Evie in her own throne room.

Despite the dangers, Evie goes ahead with a scheduled trip to the neighboring kingdom of Andvari in order to secure a desperately needed alliance. But complicating matters is the stubborn Andvarian king, who wants to punish Evie for the deaths of his countrymen during the Seven Spire massacre.
Dark forces are also at work inside the Andvarian palace, and Evie soon realizes that no one is safe. Worse, her immunity to magic starts acting in strange, unexpected ways, which makes Evie wonder whether she is truly strong enough to be a Winter Queen.

Evie’s magic, life, and crown aren’t the only things in danger—so is her heart, thanks to Lucas Sullivan, the Andvarian king’s bastard son and Evie’s … well, Evie isn’t quite sure what Sullivan is to her.

Only one thing is certain—protecting a prince might be even harder than killing a queen…

Friday, August 16, 2019

Meal Plan Friday #10

Good morning everyone, and a very happy Friday to you all :)

It's that time again, meal planning day, so let me show you what is on the menu for the upcoming week.

This past week I managed to stay on track.  I did change up on meal, I ended up not making the breaded pork chops last night, I was not feeling well at all and needed something quick, so made the Chourico Carbonara instead. It was delicious.  I don't have a recipe for it, I basically fried up some onions with garlic, olive oil and half of a green bell pepper.

I then sliced up some chourizo and popped that in.  Cooked it until it was done, then added a small can of Media Crema (cream), some parsley and cilantro and seasoned it with salt and pepper.  Mixed it all up with some noodles and popped it in the oven topped with some cheese.  Easy peasy and usually one of the family's favorite meals.
Hey guys welcome back to my blog.

I have a few Portuguese recipes this week, I've really been missing the food I grew up on, and so it's time to get a few served up.  The theme will more than likely continue on through next two weeks as well, but we will see how that goes.

As always you can check out the food blog, there are a ton of recipes on there that I'm sure you will enjoy.

I made the brownies a few days ago, they were delicious, and I'll try to get the recipe up either today or tomorrow, whenever I get a chance.  For desserts next week, I'll be whipping up a simple Portuguese pudding of sorts made with Maria Biscuits and condensed milk.  I'll share when I make it :) 




FRANGO COM CHOURICO NO TACHO (Chicken and Chourico Bake)

CROQUETES DE ATUM (Tuna Croquetes)

BIFE A CERVEJARIA (Steaks Brewery Style) with homemade chips


Doce da Casa (Biscuit Coffee Pudding)

Thursday, August 15, 2019

{ Digging a little deeper into my ancestors }

Great grandfather Jacinto and great grandmother Maria da Nazare

I'm the kind of person that walks into an old building and wonders, who was there before me, did they walk these same floors, did they touch these same walls, who were they, what did they do?

I'm completely intrigued by my past and my ancestors and I would like nothing more than to find out everything I can, and go as far back as I possibly can go.  This genealogy thing is not easy, you hit a lot of walls, you win some and you lose some, but when you actually hit on something, the surge of energy and excitement that flows throw you is like nothing else.

Woke up this morning, sent hubby off to work and then lay back down and let my mind just wander.  I have so many questions and not enough answers, and knowing the person I am, I won't rest until I feel that I've exhausted every single tip and hint and have gone as far back as I can.

I got up soon after, got the house taken care of and got right to work.

My stepmother had sent me some information she was able to dig up.

Ok.....before I proceed, let me take a second to explain my crazy family dynamics.  I have talked about it before here on the blog, a very long time ago, but I don't talk about it too much because it's not exactly something that I think everyone understands.  It's one of those things that worked for us as a family but may be looked down on on weirdly upon by others.

I am in no way ashamed of my family, I have been blessed with wonderful role models and had a great childhood, but it's just something that is a little strange to try and explain to strangers.

Right, you ready???

When I was two my mother and father divorced.  After a year or two, my father married my mother's sister, my aunt.  She became our stepmother, raised us, loved us as her own and to this day is the woman I consider my mother.

My mother is still alive, but I have minimal if any contact with her.  It's sad, but it is what it is.  She was never a loving and caring person and she makes no effort at all to contact me or my two brothers or her grandchildren.  It's sad but it's something I've grown used to and it really doesn't bother me anymore.

Now that you are caught up, my stepmother (aunt), has worked for the Portuguese Consulate in South Africa, for well over 30 years.  She is the person to go to for anything to do with the registering of births or deaths or marriages and so on.  She has access to all of this, including the ones in Portugal where most of my family is from.

THAT is why she has given me more information and has been helping me look up names, people, dates and places.

I don't know a lot about the family on both my dad and my mom/stepmom's side.  I know some stories that we were told and a name here and there, but details?  None!

It's frustrating to say the least.

But as we have started digging into our relatives, I have been quite surprised by what I'm finding out.  I know for sure that we have roots in Portugal, Mozambique, Spain, Asia, Madeira and France. 

Great grandfather Jacinto - Born 1892 and died 1955

The Asian roots come from his side, somewhere down the line and I would LOVE to find out where and how.

This morning I actually came across his church baptism registry.  It named his father and mother and had their profession as newspaper sellers or distributors.  I'm assuming they sold or delivered newspapers, as the term used in Portuguese is Jornaleiro and the translation of that is "newsboy". 

Funny thing, his name is Jacinto but it was written down as Jacintho.  I always find it interesting how names used to be written and spelled and how they tend to change as time goes by.

I now know the name of his father and mother, so my great great grandparents, as well as his grandparents, which would be my great great great grandparents.  Wow!!!

By the way, Jacinto is my grandmother's father, on my mother and aunt's side.

When it comes to my mother and aunt's dad side, we have a family very well known in Portugal.  Matter of fact my grandfather Antonio played guitar for one of the top Fado singers in Portugal, and his brother Artur, was the great Maestro/Composer Artur Vaz da Fonseca.

My grandfather Antonio on the right

My grandfather's brother Artur, very well known Maestro is the first on the left

Maestro Artur Vaz da Fonseca, in his younger years in Mozambique

This is all so fascinating to me, and it makes sense now why we are all such a hugely musically inclined family.

I honestly can not wait to keep digging and finding out more, I'll be sure to share my journey as I go, not only because I think some of you may find it interesting as well, but as I always say, my blog is my personal journal and I definitely want to record all of this or future reference.

I'm currently using Ancestry.com as well as Familysearch.org (thank you for mentioning it Dianna, I went to sign up only to realize that apparently I signed up last year and had already started compiling a tree).

Well friends, it is late and the morning comes way too quickly.  I am heading to bed, but I'll be back in the morning with my new Meal Plan Friday.  See you then :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

{ Those days where nothing goes as planned }

I'm having a cup of tea and sitting down to take a deep breath, after a bit of a crazy morning.

It was.....well, come on in and sit, I'll get you a cup of tea and tell you how it all went.

Grandma said there would be days like these, and she wasn't lying!!!

Jasmine had the day off work, but she had made an appointment to go and apply for a passport.  She has been saving money for a while and has plans to travel next year to visit friends overseas. 

So, off we went this morning.  It was downtown and I had never been to the building before and wasn't quite sure where it was, our town also has a lot of one way streets which confuse me, so I was a little nervous but I'm not one to shy away from things like these.  I got the GPS going in the truck and just got on the road.

It started with the GPS getting confused and wanting me to go one way where I didn't want to.  Basically I didn't want to have to take the highway when there was no need because the access road went straight to where I needed to go.  I just had Jasmine pull up the address on her phone and we followed those directions.

Then we arrive and there is no parking, all the parking is on the side of the road, so parallel parking and we have a huge truck .  There was no way I was going to even attempt that.  So drove around for 5 minutes to find a spot, and ended up having to park a block away at a different parking area.

Got all the paperwork done, the photos taken and so on and when it came to paying for it, the machines wouldn't take my daughter's bank card.  She had the funds, obviously, but turns out their machines went downright when we were paying, so the lady asked if we could go to an ATM and bring cash.


By this time I needed to go to the bathroom really bad.  I drink a lot of water, enough said.  I asked the lady if there was a bathroom around and she said, yes, but it's on the third floor. 

So, I decided to just go find the ATM first and then when we returned to pay, I would go to the bathroom.  Regretted that decision the minute we got to the truck because I realized that I REALLY had to go.  LOL

We drove around for 20 minutes trying to find an ATM.  Oh my word, there was nothing around.  I had to park 3 times, parallel parking a huge truck mind you, and all the while walking around town feeling like I'm about to burst.

Walked into 3 different bank buildings with no ATMs (my daughter's bank is in Idaho not local), and while in these buildings tried to use the bathroom.  2 of the bathrooms were locked and one was only for employees.  I actually debated running in but I didn't want to get in trouble.

We returned to the passport place, and the lady quickly informed us that their machines had come back right after we left.  Great!!!

Paid for it all, then had to take the elevator to the third floor to use the bathroom.  The building itself is old, dated back to the 1800's and absolutely gorgeous, but I was so done at this point.

Then we get back in the elevator and I hit a complete blank and instead of hitting the 1st floor button, I hit B for basement.  Jasmine and I looked at each other and quickly punched in the 1.  It's an old building folks, there's no way I'm going down to the basement hahahah

Finally headed back home and Jasmine asked me to stop at a Sonic because she wanted to buy us lunch to thank us for driving her around to all these places.

It should have been a quick and easy stop right???  Wrong!!!

If you've been to a Sonic you know you press the red button to let them know you're ready to order.  Pressed the button and wait 15 minutes with NOT one single response.  So drove around to the actual drive thru, stopped, waiting for the person to ask me what I wanted and again NOTHING.  Waiting 10 minutes, no cars behind me thankfully, yelled out a couple times "Hellooooooo".  Nothing!!!

I think you can take a gander at how I was feeling by this time.

So I pulled up to their window and asked the lady if their drive thru was not working.  She tells me it is, but sometimes it doesn't register inside that there is someone there.  She apologized and took my order, and while that happened, 3 more cars pulled up behind me, all were able to use the drive thru with no problems.  Go figure!!!!

By the time I got home, I was so done, mentally and physically because of the heat. 

But hey, I survived and I had to smile thinking back on it because when my grandma used to say "there will be days like these", I laughed it off and thought she was just trying to be, well, grandma.

Tell me, have YOU had days like these?

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

{ Let's clean the house }

When I was a newlywed and had little ones, the thought of cleaning the house was usually something that would frustrate me.

I didn't have time, I had my hands full and I found that trying to clean while the toddlers ran under foot, was a waste, and so it annoyed me and the more I thought of it, the more I used to feel overwhelmed to the point that I would tackle the cleaning with a bitter heart and mind.

That whole demeanor radiated through everything that I did.  I'll be honest, I hated it, hated the mundane tasks and cringed when I thought about washing one more plate, making one more bed and so on.


I rejoice when I know that I have a full day for homemaking, without any interruptions.  Yesterday was one of those for me, so I grabbed the camera and took you along through my day.

Hope you enjoy :)


I can't be the only one that has noticed the mornings are starting to get darker again.  It's becoming a little harder waking up at 6am, especially when there is not a single light in sight.

Mondays are my bed linen changing days, so I strip the bed early morning, spray down the mattress topper, mattress and pillows with my homemade Febreeze mixture and let it air out for a few hours.


In the meantime I wash and set out to dry all the linens.    I'll be enjoying the wash line as long as I can, actually I think I've used my dryer maybe once this whole summer and it was during a rain storm and I needed Curt's and Jasmine's work clothes washed.

I would love to show you a shiny clean sink, first thing in the morning, but this is reality.  There are days that I go to bed with my kitchen spotless and then there are days that I load the washer after dinner and there are still dishes laying around.  So I pop them in the sink with hot water and soap and let them soak overnight.

I know, I know, not exactly what all the homemaking books tell you and truth be told if my great grandmother was here, she would no doubt let me know quite quickly that this is NOT the proper way to do things.

I can almost hear her voice and see her smile while she shook her head "Sandra, Sandra, you know better."

But I can't lie to you and I believe in being completely honest and transparent, and so here you go, a view of my Monday morning sink.  It's quite alright though, I popped on a documentary on the laptop and in no time the kitchen was set straight.



We've always lived in areas with hard water and the dishwasher is one of those appliances that is supposed to make my life easier, but at times makes it harder when I'm pulling out dishes that haven't been washed properly.  A few years ago I started using vinegar as my rinse aid, and it's done me a world of goodness, it really helps.


I love having a big pantry but it's in a constant state of disarray.  Why do kids just grab things and leave it all a mess?

My Polka Dot plants needed to be transplanted, and I've been putting it off.  Actually, I knew I had to do it but kept forgetting, there, that's more like it.


Since I had time yesterday, I took them outside and quickly got them situated in new pots.  They are thriving, growing in leaps and bounds and looking gorgeous.  It's so much fun learning about new plants, seeing the different colors on the flowers and learning all about their wants and needs.





I've been keeping my eye on these two cantaloupe and waiting for them to be ready to harvest.  I am still pinching myself at the thought that I grew these from seed.



I have gone back and forth on this living room color.  We didn't pick it, it was already here when we moved in.  I've debated painting it either white or a darker green, like a sage maybe, but I've also been thinking that it would be a lot cheaper to just accept it, and work with it and around it.

So I've thrown on some cheapy slipcovers on the ugly couches (I really dislike them but they are still in good condition and it makes no sense to be vain and go out and buy new ones, all in the name of keeping up with the joneses).

I'll keep working on this room, but for now, it's coming along and I'm slowly starting to like it.



One of the areas on my house that doesn't get as much attention as the rest, but definitely needs it, is the linen closet.  I don't know ladies, but I find that I will go in there, clean and tidy and soon enough it is a disaster.  I am going to assign the guilt to my kids because even though one is 20 and the other 16, they can't seem to grab ONE thing without tumbling everything else about.


I spent quite a bit of time in there, took everything off the shelves and wiped them clean, then got everything back in again, neat and tidy.

One way that I keep things organized, is by keeping the bed sets together.  I grab the fitted sheet, top sheet and matching pillowcases, fold them, then slip them inside one of the pillowcases from the set.  When I go to change a bed, I just pick out the set I want and know that everything is in there.

I don't have to go searching for the matching pillowcases or the sheets etc.  On the top shelf are the bedding sets and the bottom shelf holds the comforters and blankets.


After the house is clean, it's usually around the time I need to get dinner started or at least prepped, especially if I'm picking up Jasmine right in the middle of dinner time.






One tradition we have never done without and absolutely make sure that it happens, every single day, is having dinner at the table.

We live in a day and age where people tend to grab a plate and sit in the living room, or go to their bedrooms, no one eats at the same time, everyone eats here and there and so on.  Curt and I have always made sure that dinner time is family time, no matter what is happening.


It's important to connect, to sit down and talk about our day.  It's like clockwork, we sit, we dish up, we start eating and within a few minutes my husband will go around the table and ask each one how their day was, and then we ask him about his day.

If you were to sit at our table you would no doubt be included in all sorts of topics, it could be physics, gardening, video games, movies, news or whatever else.  I'm glad that my kids get involved and contribute to the conversations because honestly, I feel that nowadays most kids are raised by the internet and highly influenced by outside voices.

Curt and I are determined to be the loudest voice in their heads and hearts, no matter what.



Once dinner is done and the kitchen is clean and dishes taken care of, I start putting the rest of the house to bed.  This house is so big and I really don't need to be in every room, so I tend to clean and put to bed the part of the house that I know we won't be in the rest of the night.

Dining table is clean, curtains are closed and I usually light a candle for about 30 mins or so.




As the day drew to an end, my body ached but my heart was so happy with everything that I had achieved, and for the fact that at least for yesterday, I was fully immersed in my homemaking, taking my time, doing what needed done and what I liked doing, without any interruptions.

I'm going to finalize this post, get it published and then watch some TV.  I really enjoy Who do You think You are, especially the UK edition, so I've been binging those while working around the house.

It has made the niggly little itch start again for me to continue with my own family tree, and so I've contacted family members and have requested information from both my dad and mom's side.  I'm excited to find out more and learn where I came from.

I will have to share all that with you when I have more information and am further along in my genealogy journey.

Right, I need a motrin for this hormonal headache I have brewing, it also didn't help that I got completely soaked today while running to the hospital to pick up some meds.  Oh goodness!!!

Have a blessed night :)