Monday, May 10, 2021

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 05/10/2021 }

Good morning sweet friends.  I hope you've had a really good weekend, and a wonderful Mother's Day. 

I had a great one, which culminated yesterday with Curt and I becoming members of our local church.  It was a a blessing for sure, it is always great to be part of a church family, to know that you have so many around you that love you and pray for you, and welcome you with open arms. 

As I mentioned last week, today I'm going back in time and using one of my older Happy Homemaker Mondays, from 2012.  It's basically the same categories, but just wanted a bit of a change, so here we are. Hope you all have a fantastic week ahead!

 
Happy Homemaker Monday
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The weather::: 
It's been pretty hot around here already, we had some high 90s just this weekend.  Also have had a lot of rain, and have more on the way today and tomorrow.  As long as it's not tornado weather, I'm good, you know that I love rain. 
 
 
On my reading pile::: 
So many review books. Currently I am listening to an audio book for review, called Don't give the enemy a seat at your table by Louis Giglio.  It is SO good! 
 
 
On my TV:::  
Watched a few Netflix shows this weekend.  First, I am a Killer Released.  I also started The Confession Tapes.  
 
I quite enjoy these type of shows, I can go about my business and just listen to what is going on without having to stay in front of the TV watching. 
 
 
On the menu for this week::: 
Our lives have been so busy lately, we've been back and forth, either between trying to deal with my mother in law's house, or school, work etc.  I feel like most of our days I've been out of the house during meal times, and it's really starting to bother me.  I am making a conscientious choice to do better, for my family and for myself.  I will do my best to work our schedule around our meal times, to be sure that there is always a cooked meal on the table for dinner. 
 
Tuesday -   Big John's Chili Rubbed Ribs, Potato Salad
Wednesday -  Fricassee Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Salad
Thursday -   Ground Beef with Chayote Squash, Rice
Friday -  Grocery Shopping
 
 
On my to do list::: 
Housework - dishes, vacuuming, dusting, laundry 
 
Last week of school for Nick, I can't believe it will be our last schooling forever.
 
 
What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating::: 
Working on a new crochet blanket.  I have needed something to make that didn't require a lot of attention, stitch counting etc.  Crochet is very therapeutic for me, and this past week it has been a life saver. 
 
 
 
Looking around the house::: 
It is quite dark this morning, we have rain coming in.  The house is pretty quiet at the moment.  
Curt is off to work, Nick is asleep and Jasmine is up and getting ready for work. Both Marley and Elliott are hanging out in the living room, watching the birds at the feeder, near the patio door. 
 
 
From the camera::: 
My beautiful Philodendron plant is huge.  I will have to get a picture later to show you.  I've been cutting it back and have been propagating it.  This planter holds some of the propagated clippings.  They're doing amazing already.  
 

 
 
Something fun to share::: 
I really wanted to share this one with you all today.  I think it's not only beautiful but pretty poignant for Mother's Day, since it was just yesterday. I hope you enjoy. ♥ 
 
  
 
 
On my prayer list::: 
Our Marley as he fights off this infection.  Thankfully, he has been on medication for the past 4 days and his swollen glands are already going down. 
 
 
Bible verse, Devotional::: 
“Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from men of violence who plan to trip my feet.” Psalm 140:4


Thursday, May 06, 2021

{ Cosmic Queries by Neil DeGrasse Tyson - TLC Book Tour }


• Publisher: National Geographic (March 2, 2021)
• Hardcover: 312 Pages

In this thought-provoking follow-up to his acclaimed StarTalk book, uber astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tackles the world’s most important philosophical questions about the universe with wit, wisdom, and cutting-edge science.

For science geeks, space and physics nerds, and all who want to understand their place in the universe, this enlightening new book from Neil deGrasse Tyson offers a unique take on the mysteries and curiosities of the cosmos, building on rich material from his beloved StarTalk podcast.

In these illuminating pages, illustrated with dazzling photos and revealing graphics, Tyson and co-author James Trefil, a renowned physicist and science popularizer, take on the big questions that humanity has been posing for millennia–How did life begin? What is our place in the universe? Are we alone?–and provide answers based on the most current data, observations, and theories.

Populated with paradigm-shifting discoveries that help explain the building blocks of astrophysics, this relatable and entertaining book will engage and inspire readers of all ages, bring sophisticated concepts within reach, and offer a window into the complexities of the cosmos.
For all who loved National Geographic’s StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cosmos: Possible Worlds, and Space Atlas, this new book will take them on more journeys into the wonders of the universe and beyond.

Social Media

Please use the hashtag #CosmicQueries, and tag @tlcbooktours and @startalkradio.

Purchase Links

National Geographic | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Neil deGrasse Tyson

Legendary astrophysicist NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON is the host of the popular podcast StarTalk Radio and Emmy award-winning National Geographic Channel shows StarTalk and Cosmos. He earned his BA in physics from Harvard and his Ph.D. in astrophysics from Columbia. The author of more than a dozen books, including the best-selling Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Tyson is the first Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

Follow him on InstagramTwitter, Facebook, and TikTok.

 
REVIEW:
My husband and I are huge, and I mean HUGE science nerds.  If there is a science related documentary, we watch it.  If there is a science fiction movie, series, special, book, you name it, we have probably watched it and read it.
 
We just love anything space related.
 
Watching Neil DeGrasse Tyson is something we became accustomed to.  Cosmos was one of our favorites to watch.
 
When I was given the opportunity to review his latest book, Cosmic Queries, I immediately jumped at it.  I could hardly wait for it to arrive, and when it did, I grabbed it out of the box and immediately showed my husband.  He stared at it (had no clue I was receiving it for review), and made a comment about how cool and how he couldn't wait to read it too.


𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳.

𝘜𝘯𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘮𝘶𝘭𝘵𝘪𝘱𝘭𝘺 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧 𝘣𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘭𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘴𝘲𝘶𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘥.

𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘌𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘨𝘺

- 𝘕𝘦𝘪𝘭 𝘥𝘦𝘎𝘳𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘦 𝘛𝘺𝘴𝘰𝘯


This quote had me laughing so hard.  My kids thought I was crazy, but my husband got a good laugh out of it too.  I guess that's humor for nerds like us.  

Neil DeGrasse Tyson is a very well known astrophysicist, and he has delighted audiences with his knowledge of the universe, how it was made, how it exists and everything and anything related to black holes and stars, galaxies and nebulas, so forth, and so forth.

In Cosmic Queries we are privy to a one on one lesson with Neil, the book is stunning in an of itself, beautiful photography, and some very interesting topics.  

He tackles the tough questions that so many of us have had.  Or maybe it's just me and my nerdy family.  But I have stopped many times to think about our life on planet earth and wondered what would happen if the gravity pull were altered by a mere second?

What if another planet hurled into ours?

How old is the universe?  How will it all end?

Albeit scary to even imagine, he gives us a pretty detailed explanation of how it all will come to a halt.  Reading through his description of the Sun's trajectory, it's life, what is going to happen to it.

In five-billion years, as the Sun beings to die, it's outer layers of glowing plasma will expand stupendously, engulfing the orbits of Mercury, then Venus, as the charred ember that was once the oasis of the life called Earth vaporizes into the vacuum of space.

If that is not a scary thought, I don't know what is.  But it is something that physicists have looked into and studied for many years.

If we stop and really think about the planet we live in, where it is situated in space, what is around us, and how absolutely amazing God is to keep it all moving and rotating in precise ways, we can be amazed.  The other side of that is realizing that one little shift can throw it all into chaos.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson breaks the book into categories, namely:

What is our place in the universe?
How do we know what we know?
How did the universe get to be this way?
How old is the universe?
What is the universe made of me?
What is life?
Are we alone in the universe?
How did it all begin?
How will it all end?
What does nothing have to do with everything?

 
This book is amazing, and I honestly believe that everyone and anyone who is even slightly curious about space and our universe, needs to have this one in their library.

I had a lot of questions answered within the pages of this book, but many more remain to be answered, not because Neil DeGrasse Tyson forgot to mention things, but merely because as he likes to remind us,
many questions about our own humble universe, remain to be answered.  

That's not really a bad thing, because it pushes us to keep asking, to keep looking up to the stars, and to keep searching.

The book also contains many of his twitter posts, with tidbits here and there and fun facts from our universe.

And.....I got to learn about Tardigrades.

Do you know what a Tardigrade is?  Let me show you.


They are also known as water bears.  I had never heard of them, where they lived or what they did.  In the book, I learned that they tolerate extreme conditions.  They can live in frozen polar lakes, boiling hot deep-sea vents and can even survive high doses of radiation.

They can survive without water for decades.  Just think about that.  By the way, they are microscopic.  Wow!

Cosmic Queries is so well written and so filled with information, that you'll spend hours just completely immersed within it's pages.  

5/5 stars


Thank you as always to TLC Book Tours and National Geographic for providing me with this fantastic copy.

Monday, May 03, 2021

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 05/03/2021 }

Good morning sweet friends, hope you had a good night's rest.  
 
Are you ready for the week ahead?  How are we already in May?  My goodness.
 
I want to start by thanking you all, from the bottom of my heart, for the sweet comments on my last post.  It really thrills me that so many of you have been following the blog for so long, and still enjoy it or find some motivation or encouragement.  I feel that it is my calling from God, He has kept me very grounded when it comes to this little blog, and any time I start feeling discouraged, or questioning why I am still here, He reminds me that I'm here to do His work.  Who am I to question that?
 
So yes, I am very much looking forward to sticking around, and to continuing to share my homemaking, cooking, and life in general with you all.  
 
Next week Monday, I am going to change up the Happy Homemaker Monday slightly.  I am just going to use one of the older templates for it.  I feel a bit bored with the current one, so I'm thinking of going back in the blog a couple years, snatching one of the others and using it.  
 
If you want to join me, let me know down below in the comments, and I'll edit this post later today, with the older template, or give you a link to it so you can use that one instead.  As always, if you have any categories you would like to see added to our Monday feature, let me know as well.
 
Hope you all have a blessed week ahead! 
 

♥♥The Weather♥♥ 
We had to turn on our AC.  That should tell you how hot it is already becoming here.  I used to love the heat, and looked forward to it, but as I've gotten older and as I navigate this perimenopause, I am finding it extremely hard to deal with the temperatures.  Looks like we have a pretty warm week coming up. 

Monday - Sunshine and a few clouds, 81
Tuesday -  Partly cloudy, 70
Wednesday - Sunny, 76
Thursday -  Sunny, 79
Friday - Partly cloudy, 83
Saturday -  Partly cloudy, 94
Sunday -  Mostly sunny, 89

♥♥How I am feeling this morning♥♥
Pretty good.  My girl arrives this evening, and we are all very much looking to having her home.  I did manage to get sleep last night which is always a plus.  Other than that, I am dealing with some pain in my middle finger, left hand.  It is right on the joint.  Been going on for about a month or so.  The finger itself doesn't hurt at all, but if I put any pressure on that joint (picking something up, opening a door handle, washing dishes etc), it hurts so bad that I actually drop what I'm holding.  
I tried to massage it last night thinking maybe I pulled a muscle or something, but oh boy, that only made it worse.  It's been throbbing all night and morning.        


 ♥♥On the breakfast plate♥♥
I have had a cup of coffee with vanilla creamer.  Will have some toast in about an hour.


♥♥On my reading pile♥♥ 
Reading Matthew in the New Testament.
Finished Night by Elie Wiesel yesterday, and my goodness, so heartbreaking.  
Moving on to my next review book, just need to check the list and see what it is.


 ♥♥On my tv♥♥
Homemaking vlogs on Youtube
 
Also been loving watching Giselle Waldner on Youtube.  I mentioned the channel on my Instagram but don't think I did here, and I need to share it with you all.  Giselle is a Hutterite, lives in a colony of about 120 in Canada, and shares her life through weekly vlogs.  
 
Here is her opening video, be sure to go follow her.

 

 
♥♥On the menu this week♥♥ 
 
Tuesday - Ground Beef with Chayote Squash, Rice, Best Beans Ever
Wednesday - Chicken a la King, mashed potatoes, salad
Thursday - Italian Beef Sandwiches, Fries
Friday - Hot and Spicy Lasagna, Garlic Bread, Salad
Saturday - Big John's Chili Rubbed Ribs, Potato Salad, BBQ Beans
Sunday - Leftovers

 

♥♥From the camera♥♥
Jasmine loves Star Trek, so this year, for her birthday, I made a Star Trek inspired cake.  She absolutely loves the original series, and her favorite is Spock, so I his uniform is the inspiration for it.
 
I will never be a cake designer, but my husband and children have gotten so used to me baking them birthday cakes, that every year they ask me to please do another.  It's just a fun way to personalize each cake, and play with fondant.         


 
♥♥Looking around the house♥♥
It's getting brighter earlier in the day, so the sun is already up and shining, throwing it's beautiful golden rays through the entire house.
 
As always, at this time of the morning, Curt is off to work, the animals are napping and Nick is still in bed too.  
 
I have comforters that were washed, draping over my couches to finish drying overnight.  I need to pick those up, fold them and put them away.  I also need to vacuum both living rooms, especially the green one, as Marley tore apart one of his toys last night.  I picked up all the fluff I could get, but I think he went at it again this morning hahaha    

♥♥To relax this week, I will♥♥
Read and crochet.  I have a new blanket I'm working on, it's a small lap sized blanket, so it works up pretty quickly, which I'm enjoying.  
 


♥♥Something I want to share♥♥ 
Oooh do I have another fantastic video and channel to share with you.  This one comes from Mayo Utuk.  Mayo lives in Nigeria and shares beautiful slow loving videos, from her village.  
 
This one is titled Night Routine of a Salary Woman in a Small Village.  Enjoy :)


 
♥♥Devotional, inspirational, prayer list or Bible verse♥♥
Yesterday in church, our Pastor talked about the difference in an occupation and a vocation.  What we do for work, and what we are called to do by God.  
 
I had never really given it too much thought, until this past week when I was searching, praying and figuring out what to do with my blog.  I have really felt a pull from God to use my blog to continue sharing my homemaking, encouraging other homemakers and share my testimony, and the Lord's word.
 
It was so strange when one of the comments left on my post yesterday, actually said:


I LOVE your blog! I always look forward to it! Your homemaking is a true vocation from God! I truly appreciate your faith - thank you for sharing with me! God bless..........

 
Wow!!!  

This is what I've talked about many times before.  God always, gives us a sign, or points us in the right direction, through someone else's words.  Through a movie we watch, or something we read.  He is always there, we just have to learn to listen to His voice.

Confirmation for me, from two different sources.  The sermon at church and my sweet follower Rooted Gramma.  :)

{ The Amish Cowboy's Homecoming by Ophelia London - TLC Book Tour }


Publisher : Entangled: Amara (April 27, 2021)
Publication date : April 27, 2021
 

What happens when a traditional horse whisperer clashes with an unconventional trainer within the charming Amish community of Honey Brook?

Grace Zook has always held a talent with horses, ever since she was a child growing up in her quaint Amish village of Honey Brook. Now, as an adult, she’s become a master trainer—but still struggles to prove to her father that she is worthy of taking over the family’s horse farm. With a fiery new stallion coming soon, Grace knows this challenge is her chance to prove she can finally take the reins.

When widower and horse whisperer Isaac King is offered the lead training job on a new farm out of town, he’s thrilled to finally make a name for himself and provide some permanent roots for his young daughter. But not only is the stallion seemingly unbreakable, so, too, is the owner’s headstrong daughter Grace, who has drastically different ideas about how to handle the impossible horse. Yet somehow, he can’t seem to get the confident, beautiful woman out of his mind…even though as his boss’s daughter, she is completely off-limits.

There’s too much at stake for Isaac to gamble his future on Grace…even though suddenly, he can’t imagine one without her.

Each book in the Honey Brook series is STANDALONE:
* Never an Amish Bride
* The Amish Cowboy’s Homecoming

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About Ophelia London

USA Today bestselling author Ophelia London was born and raised among the redwood trees in beautiful northern California. Once she was fully educated, she decided to settle in Florida, but her car broke down in Texas, and she’s lived in Dallas ever since. She enjoys cupcakes, treadmills, reruns of Dawson’s Creek and obsessing over her Italian Greyhound, Peanut. Ophelia is the author of NEVER AN AMISH BRIDE (Honey Brook series), her very first Amish romance! As wells as the Sugar City series, the Perfect Kisses series, the Abby Road series, and other adult, NA and YA sweet romances. Visit her at ophelialondon.com, but don’t call when she’s streaming The Walking Dead.

Connect with Ophelia

Website | Facebook | Instagram

 

REVIEW:

Well, let's start with the fact that it's an Amish fiction, so for me, that is already a winner.  
 
Technically, this is the second book in a new series called Honey Brook, by Ophelia London, but I don't think it matters, as it can be read as a stand alone.
 
With that said though, you can be sure that I'm going to hunt down book number one, because aside from the fact that Amish fiction is one of my favorites, I really enjoyed the story and the author.  

This was my first Ophelia London book but it certainly won't be the last.

The story revolves around Grace who is a horse trainer in her father's horse farm.  She has always had a natural talent for taking care of, and training horses, but as an Amish woman, it is not exactly something approved of.  The fact that Grace wants nothing more than to inherit her father's farm, is also something that is not usually allowed, as Amish women don't normally own businesses.

Isaac, is the newcomer, a horse whisperer coming to work at the horse farm.  He is a widower, left with a young daughter, just trying to make a living, take care of her and mind his own business.  What he isn't counting on is the head strong and stubborn Grace, seemingly always in his way and wanting to run things differently than he does.

I think we can all get an idea on how this is going to go, right?

And as predictive as the story is, I still gobbled up every word and enjoyed every page.  The two characters are wonderful on their own, but together there is a palpable chemistry that brings a huge smile to our faces.

Throw in the wonderful community of the Amish, and you have a wonderful book to enjoy.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Entangled: Amara publishers for a review copy.

Saturday, May 01, 2021

{ Back to my roots }

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I sat back this past week, and thought about my blog, where it was headed, if it was headed anywhere, and even contemplated closing it down.
 
I have never before even come close to considering shutting down my blog.  So the fact that it came to mind for more than a second, made me halt and really take a good hard look at what I want to do moving forward.
 
I have been blogging since February of 2006.  That is a long time to be here in this little corner, sharing my life and my days, my thoughts, my successes and failures.
 
But the truth is that, as time has gone on, as the years have passed by, whether we want to admit it or not, things change, WE change.  I've changed in some ways, thankfully mostly for the better, and all through God's work within me, especially the past year. 

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I prayed on it, took it to God and allowed the Holy Spirit to guide me.  I had to answer some pretty hard questions about my blog and myself, especially what I was wanting to convey through it.  See that's the thing, am I still blogging because I love it, and love sharing, and also because I am wanting to have a place to record our journey through this earthly life?
 
Or am I blogging because I feel I have to, because after 15ish years it would be wrong to just stop?

I guess for me it came down to a mixture of both, but mostly because I love blogging and want to continue sharing my days with like minded people.

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The next thing God had me do was take a look at what my blog is, what I've been sharing all along.  Do I want to stop, or do I want to continue what He has moved me to share?
 
That was probably the easiest question to answer, because my blog has always been about homemaking, cooking, family and keeping that notion alive.  I've often talked about how I took home economics in school and how I wish it was still available to kids today.  How important it is to teach fundamental skills that every child should know, regardless of the path they choose for themselves later on in life.
 
I'm going to be completely honest with you all.  I've been extremely blessed to have a group of wonderful, God loving, like minded women, who have been with me on this journey for many years.  Many of you still remember my children being toddlers, first days of school, moves across states, deployments, military life and so on.
 
You saw me struggle at times, you saw me rejoice at others.  You prayed for me, you encouraged me, supported me and gave me amazing advice.  Many of you, actually most of you, have become real life friends, and I'm beyond thankful for that.

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So, what do I want to do?  
 
Is it time to close up shop, or make my blog private and just keep sharing for myself and for future memories?
 
Or is it time to forget all the nonsense around, and once again slip back into doing what I always felt led to do, which is inspire and motivate other homemakers to love their homes, their families, and all the mundane daily tasks we do over and over again?
 
I started the week confused.  Not sure which way I was going to go.   

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Talking to my husband and children, they all said the same thing "Why would you even consider closing down the blog?  Don't do that."
  
And they're right, I think if I were to do that, I would come to regret it.  
 
After a few more days, I came to the realization that I'm not supposed to close it down, but rather, embrace it fully again.  Continue posting about homemaking, sharing book reviews, recipes and all that fun stuff that started it all back in 2006.

So if you've been following me all along and love me, my family and my blog, thank you.  I hope you continue to follow and read and comment as you always have.
 
If you have followed for a while but have now decided this isn't for you anymore, thank you as well.  No hard feelings whatsoever, I wish you and your family all the Lord's blessings.
 
If you don't like me, my family, my opinions, my life and my blog.  Feel free to click out.  The beauty of blogging or any kind of social media, in general, is that you follow and stick with the channels, blogs, instagrammers that you like, that you connect with, that you relate to and that you feel some sort of connection to, while being able to ignore, not watch, not read, not follow those that you have an issue with.
 
I know my blog will never please everyone, but then not even Jesus pleased everyone, so I'm in pretty good company there.  Right?

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My hope is that if you plan on sticking around, it is because you like what you see, you feel a connection, or inspired in some way, but also, want to give homemaking and family life, the recognition it rightly deserves.
 
It's time to pull out the aprons again, to tackle chores with a renewed energy, to set a dinner table where you can all gather at the end of the day to enjoy a homemade meal and talk about life.
 
To make a meal plan, bake that loaf of bread you've been wanting to bake, read the book that has sat on your shelf for a while.
 
Blogging is a personal journal for me.  
 
I'm just a 46 year old woman, moving through this life with the same struggles, heartaches, joys and ups and downs as everyone else.  
 
So the decision I have made is to stick with the blog.  Not shut it down, not make it private (at least for the moment), continue sharing as I see fit, for as long as the good Lord allows me to.  I follow Him and His guidance above everyone and everything.
 
2021 is nothing like 2006.  It is different in so many ways, even blogger itself has completely changed over time.  The way we blog is changing, but the content doesn't have to.  That was what I was mostly afraid of, having to change everything about my blog to fit in with the times.
 
I have chosen not to.  I guess my blog is always going to stay the same, nothing fancy, no crazy widgets, pop ups, flashy templates or professional photos.

It's just going to continue being my life, the reality of it.

And speaking of reality of life, I need to end this post, get ready and head out to deal with more house issues.  Still praying on the Lord to help us with insight, revelation and wisdom, and most of all clarity as to what we should do with my mother in law's house.

I wish you all a blessed weekend, hope you get to rest, relax, have fun and spend time with your families.  Above all, use your time wisely.  Don't waste it on things that don't matter, life is far too short.  

If you don't like someone don't talk to them, if you don't enjoy a blog, don't read it, if you don't like a certain movie, don't watch it.  Do the things that bring you joy and happiness, and let go of everything else.  

I will be back on Monday morning, bright and early.
 
Take care friends,
Sandra
xoxoxo

Friday, April 30, 2021

{ Everybody Fights by Kim and Penn Holderness - TLC Book Tours }

 


Hardcover: 256 Pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 30, 2021)

My wife drives me crazy sometimes. My husband should already know what I need. Is our marriage in trouble if we fight all the time? Is it possible to learn how to fight?

For the last several years, Penn and Kim Holderness have done the hard maintenance and the research. With the help of their marriage coach Dr. Christopher Edmonston, they break down their biggest (and in some cases, funniest) fights. How did a question about chicken wings turn into a bra fight (no, not a bar fight; a bra fight)? How did a roll of toilet paper lead to tears, resentment, and a stint in the guest bedroom?

With their trademark sense of humor and complete vulnerability, Penn and Kim share their ten most common Fight Fails and how to combat them. Throughout the book, they offer scripts for how to start, continue, and wrap up hard conversations. Couples will emerge equipped to engage and understand, not do battle—and maybe laugh a little more along the way.

In Everybody Fights, couples will learn how to
· conjure the magic of metacommunication
· break free of secret contracts
· banish the three Ds—distraction, denial, and delay
· carry their own individual baggage while helping each other deal with theirs

Penn and Kim want people to know they’re not alone. Marriage is messy. Marriage is work. But marriage is worth it. Fight for it.

Purchase Links

Thomas NelsonAmazon | Barnes & Noble

About Kim Holderness

Kim Holderness was born and raised in Sarasota, Florida, and was a competitive dancer (once crowned Miss Dance Florida).  She went to the University of Florida, then began her career in TV journalism. Penn and Kim met in Orlando while working in local news and were married in 2005. In 2013 they left the TV business and launched a digital content company called Greenroom Communications. Part of that launch was a video called “Xmas Jammies” that went viral, and led to appearances on GMA, the Today Show, Fox News Channel, and CNN. (Apparently Xmas Jammies are bipartisan.)  The Holderness Family currently lives in Raleigh with their dog, Sunny.

About Penn Holderness

Penn Holderness was born in Durham, North Carolina, to a Presbyterian minister and a public school teacher. He was super into Boy Scouts, show choir, and synthesizers as a kid, so he wasn’t exactly a ladies’ man. He went to the University of Virginia, then started a two-decade career in TV journalism. Penn and Kim met in Orlando while working in local news and were married in 2005. In 2013 they left the TV business and launched a digital content company called Greenroom Communications. Part of that launch was a video called “Xmas Jammies” that went viral and led to appearances on GMA, the Today Show, Fox News Channel, and CNN. (Apparently Xmas Jammies are bipartisan.) The Holderness Family currently lives in Raleigh with their dog, Sunny.

Connect with Kim & Penn

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


REVIEW: 

Ok so, if you are married, in a relationship, getting married soon, whatever the case may be, you need to get a copy of this book.

Curt and I have been together for 24 years, and this August will have been married for 23.

We have been tested, multiple times.  We've been through ups, through downs, arguments and fights, misunderstandings.  We've fought about serious things, we've also fought about the dumbest things, which usually result in us bursting into laughter and later on talking about how ridiculous that was.

So why do we fight?  Why do married couples, relationships, go through these moments, and does that immediately mean it is destined to fail?

Kim and Penn takes us through a myriad of situations that teach us how to address these moments, and how better to engage in communication with our partners.

From experience I can tell you that it's very easy to fall into the trap, of saying something just to hurt the other person because they've hurt us first.  I used to be the queen of ignoring though, I would go a day or two without talking to my husband because of something he did or said.  Did that solve anything?

Absolutely not, it actually just made things worst.

I've learned how to approach these fights/arguments, in a different way, and Kim and Penn show in the book, so many other tips and tricks and advice to keep your relationship healthy.  Yes, even while fighting through it.

What wonderful book this was.  

Thank you to TLC and Thomas Nelson for providing me with a review copy.

Monday, April 26, 2021

{ An Invincible Summer by Mariah Stewart - TLC Book Tours }


 
Paperback: 377 Pages
Publisher: Montlake (May 1, 2021)

It was a lifetime ago that recently widowed Maggie Flynn was in Wyndham Beach. Now, on the occasion of her fortieth high school reunion, she returns to her hometown on the Massachusetts coast, picking up right where she left off with dear friends Lydia and Emma. But seeing Brett Crawford again stirs other emotions. Once, they were the town’s golden couple destined for one another. He shared Maggie’s dreams—and eventually, a shattering secret that drove them apart.

Buying her old family home and resettling in Wyndham Beach means a chance to start over for Maggie and her two daughters, but it also means facing her rekindled feelings for her first love and finally confronting—and embracing—the past in ways she never thought possible. Maggie won’t be alone. With her family and friends around her, she can weather this stormy turning point in her life and open her heart to the future. As for that dream shared and lost years ago? If Maggie can forgive herself, it still might come true.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About Mariah Stewart

Mariah Stewart is the New York TimesPublishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of several series, including The Chesapeake Diaries and The Hudson Sisters, as well as stand-alone novels, novellas, and short stories. A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life, tends her gardens, and works on her next novel. She’s the proud mama of two fabulous daughters who—along with her equally fabulous sons-in-law—have gifted her with six adorable (and yes, fabulous) granddarlings.

Connect with Mariah

Website | Facebook | Instagram

REVIEW:
Awww my goodness, I hadn't read a sweet book like this in a really long time.  I've always been a Mariah Stewart fan, and have quite a few of her books.
 
I think what the author does best, is tell a story where you are pulled in from the first page, taken on a heart wrenching adventure for the rest of the book, then left wanting more by the time the last word leaves your lips.
 
Stewart's way of writing just flows.
 
As I've gotten older, I seem to be more open to books that talk about reunions, characters around my age, their life struggles and journeys and so forth.
 
In An Invincible Summer, we see a friendship of 3 woman, who has withstood the test of time.  The main character is Maggie, and she is just coming out of a heart breaking situation, losing her sweet husband to cancer, and in the process losing herself.  She decides to take the step to start taking care of herself again, and with her upcoming 40 year high school reunion on the horizon, Maggie feels it is the best time to step back into life, revisit her old stomping grounds and catch up with good friends.
 
Then we have Lydia and Emma, her closets friends.  Both around her age, both going through their own life struggles and just trying to keep their heads above water.
 
With everything going on, what Maggie doesn't count on, or even want to entertain, is the thought of another relationship, even if that is in the form of her high school sweetheart Brett.
 
But as we well know, with these kind of stories, that is exactly where it's headed.  As predictable as some books are, you can't help but still go along for the ride, and this is one of those stories that really clutches at your heartstrings.
 
Maggie buys her old family home and plans on settling down with her two grown daughters (each dealing with their own set of issues).  Of course that is easier said than done, when Brett is right around the corner.
 
If you're looking for a sweet book about life after 40, lifetime friendships, and a budding romance rekindled between high school sweethearts......this is the book for you.  
 
You won't regret it, I promise.  Mariah Stewart did it again!!!
 
Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Montlake publishers for providing me with a review copy.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.
 
 

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 04/26/2021 }

Good morning dear friends, how was your weekend?
 
Mine was good, but too short.  What is it with weekends lately, they come in and then just as quickly leave.  It's almost dizzying the speed they come and go.  But, here we are, Monday morning, ready for another week.
 
I am going to have a full week of homemaking, without having to go anywhere, other than Friday morning for my mammogram appointment.  Can't believe it's that time again.
 
Jasmine is away this whole week, which always makes me feel anxious.  I tend to count down the days until she is back home, guess it's the mama thing right?
 
Please keep her in your prayers as she travels.  
 
Now, let's get right on with our Happy Homemaker Monday!  Have a blessed week friends!
 
 

♥♥The Weather♥♥ 
Our tornado season has officially started, we were under tornado watch on Saturday, and had 4 tornados touch down about 30 minutes from us.  It's never a fun thing to go through, but when you live in Tornado alley you learn to live with it and just make the best of the scary season.  
We had pretty cold temperatures last week, but looks like we're headed back to warm weather this week, with some thunderstorms thrown in. 

Monday - Partly to mostly cloudy, 87
Tuesday -  PM thunderstorms, 82
Wednesday - Thunderstorms, 78
Thursday -  Partly cloudy, 73
Friday - Sunny, 75
Saturday -  Sunny, 85
Sunday -  Partly cloudy,92
 

♥♥How I am feeling this morning♥♥
Pretty good.  Was able to get good sleep last night, and that always helps doesn't it?     


 ♥♥On the breakfast plate♥♥
As always just had coffee at 5am, but will have either toast, or oatmeal later this morning.  
 

♥♥On my reading pile♥♥ 
I am now in the new testament, in Matthew.  Yay!!!
Also getting through some review books, there is a book review going up this afternoon, for an Invincible Summer by Mariah Stewart.  

 

 ♥♥On my tv♥♥
Youtube homemaking vlogs
Lots of slow living vlogs.  Check out my last post if you're looking for some really wonderful calm, relaxing channels to follow.   


♥♥On the menu this week♥♥ 

Monday - Beef Roast with gravy, garlic buttered noodles, salad
Tuesday - Creamy rotini with ham and asparagus, garlic bread
Wednesday - Steak garlic bites, basmati rice, brussel sprouts and squash
Thursday - Cheesy BBQ Sloppy Joes, Fries
Friday -  *Grocery Shopping*
Saturday
Sunday -


♥♥Looking around the house♥♥
It is quite dark due to the cloudy skies.  The back patio door is open, and letting in a warm breeze that just feels amazing.  Elliott is sleeping on my bed, Marley is sleeping in the living room.
Curt is off to work, and both Jasmine and Nick are still asleep.  
I really need to clean my carpets again, and tidy up a bit. 


♥♥To relax this week, I will♥♥
Read, and also work on a new crochet blanket that I have just started.


♥♥Something I want to share♥♥ 
I'm going to point you to my previous post "Slow Living and why I embrace it".  In there you will find a bunch of channels that have some of the most beautiful videos you will ever watch.  
But, of course as always, I'll share one with you today. 
This one is called Slow Living at Home and comes from the channel Daphneinthetrees.  Daphne is 24 and lives in The Netherlands.  She is in art school and just shares the sweetest videos.  I think you will enjoy her channel ♥  

 
 
 
♥♥Devotional, inspirational, prayer list or Bible verse♥♥

Saturday, April 24, 2021

{ Slow Living and why I embrace it }

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Slow living..... 
 
What is it?  Why do I love it?   Why do I embrace it in my own life? 
 
Slow living is merely the act of being intentional with your time and the way you approach everything in your daily lives.  
 
In Japan they use the word 'ukino' to describe slow living.  It literally means 'to live in the moment and be far from common life matters'. 
 
Just reading that description makes my soul do somersaults.   Yes, yes and another yes!!!

It's no secret to anyone here, that I've been all about the slow life, living simply, country living, stepping outside to enjoy nature, kind of life.  It's something I've aspired to for many years.  Granted, there are times that chaos and busy schedules can't be avoided, but in between those rushing moments, I still find time to stop and breathe.

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In my attempt to research this whole way of life, I came upon some very good channels on Youtube.  I know you love all the videos I share on Mondays, but prepare yourselves for another whole level of calming and beautiful imagery.
 
I'm going to share some of my favorites here with you, but if you want to find others, just try doing a search for Slow Living on Youtube.  Just be sure you have an hour or so on hand, it will draw you right in and you'll be sucked down a hole.  Haha
 

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But before I share these channels with you, let's dig a little deeper into what slow living really is.
 
Being mindful and present is one of the biggest needs if you're looking for this way of life.  We have so many distractions, and I speak for myself when I tell you that I too am constantly being flooded with information and scattered thoughts.
 
Sometimes even while trying to pray, I get lost, start thinking about other things going on around me and lose track of what I was doing.  So many ideas, cellphones, tvs, text messages pinging us throughout the day.  That has become a normal part of life, but we don't have to let it completely envelop our beings.
 
So being mindful and present is the first step to conquering the craziness in our lives.
 
Embracing the quiet.....so many out there have an aversion to quiet.  I even have family members that don't like being alone, don't like being in the quiet and prefer a busier, on the go lifestyle.  
 
This one for me was easy.  I've always been a homebody, always thrived on silence and being alone, and I have no problem whatsoever being in my house for days at a time, minding my own business and puttering around.
  

January 28, 2021

Truly, there is no right or wrong way to live a slow life.  We all have different lifestyles, different family needs, different homes and different ways of doing things.  
 
It is being present with your family.  For example, how many times have you gone out for a fun family day, and then spent most of that time with your nose glued to your phone using the excuse that you're sharing to Facebook, Instagram, taking pictures for later memories?
 
*raises hand*
 
I used to be extremely guilty of doing this.  All in the name of blogging and now Instagram.  A visit to the museum just meant some really cool photo opportunities for  later.  A meal at a restaurant garnered some amazing food shots.  Walking through the park or by the river meant my phone in my hand constantly taking videos or candid moments between family members.

I almost felt like I was present but only in body because my spirit and thoughts were elsewhere.

Now here's the kicker, you don't have to stop posting your photos, stop sharing what you're doing online, or let a good opportunity for a photo op go by.  You can do both, take the shot you want, share the instagram story you want, then set the phone aside and immerse yourself in the moment.  
 

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Bake that bread at home, enjoy the process from dough to beautiful loaves that will sustain your family.
 
Stop and appreciate every little thing you do.  The swirls the milk makes as it pours into a hot cup of coffee.  The steam that seems to dance up from the rim of the cup, and the way the sunlight splashes on the petals of the flowers at the kitchen window.

Slow!

Slow down, take it in, leave the crazy world outside.  Search calmness and quiet.  Find peace within your home, and spread it to your husband and children.  

And to finish off, one thing that really helped me was learning to say no.

I've always been a people pleaser, I would rather put myself in uncomfortable situations, go to places I didn't want to, or say yes to doing something with someone, for fear of hurting their feelings.

But while their needs and wants were being met, I was feeling overwhelmed, sad, and stretched thin.
 

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So I started saying no.  No thank you.  No I don't feel like doing that.  No I really can't.
 
At first I felt awful, guilty, like I was being a horrible person.  But what I quickly started realizing is that every time I said no, my inner peace would grow.  
 
People weren't angry at me for declining things, they just moved on with their day.  
 
All of this just to tell you that you CAN have a slow paced life, if you take the time to breathe, to choose to slow down and say no to the fast life we are all thrown into.
 
Ok, now with that out of the way, let me introduce you to some {a lot} of Youtube channels, that are all about the slow paced kind of life.  
 
I hope you get as much joy and peace out of watching them, as I do.
 




 



 







 
 
I have many and I mean many, many more to share, but I don't want to overwhelm you all at once.

So, I will continue sharing them, but in a different post.  These are just some of my favorites, and as always keep in mind that just because I enjoy them, others may not, they are merely suggestions.

I wish you all success in your own simple living, slow living journeys.  I would love to know if any of your already follow this way of life, how you got there, what made you crave it.  

Let's have a chit chat in the comments :)

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