Monday, July 26, 2021

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 07/26/2021 }

Good morning everyone!
 
Welcome back to my blog and our Happy Homemaker Monday feature.  I hope you've had a great weekend, ours was wonderful, a lot of family, good food, memories and laughs.  Just what we needed.
 
I am running a bit behind this morning, haven't been sleeping much, late nights and early mornings, and need to get my day started and out the door, within the hour.  So I won't dilly dally and just get right on with it.  


 
♥♥Weather♥♥
Incredibly hot, we are in the triple digits around here.  We have another pretty hot week ahead, which means I'll be spending more time indoors.   

Monday - Partly cloudy, 100
Tuesday - Partly cloudy, 99
Wednesday - Mostly sunny, 99
Thursday - Mostly sunny, 99
Friday - Mostly sunny, 100
Saturday - Sunny, 103
Sunday - Mostly sunny, 103


♥♥How I am feeling this morning♥♥
Really tired and have a raging headache, most likely from the busy weekend.  I am finishing this post, taking a motrin and hopefully the headache starts dissipating before I head out the door for errands. 


♥♥On the breakfast plate♥♥
Cup of coffee with Caramel Macchiatto creamer, I'll have a sandwich here in a bit too.     


♥♥Looking around the house♥♥
I cleaned up as much as I could after everyone left, yesterday afternoon, but I have carpets that need cleaning, and some tidying up to do still, plus lots of laundry. 


♥♥On my reading pile♥♥
in the Bible I'm finishing up Luke. 
Also reading The Ocean in Winter by Elizabeth de Veer. 


♥♥On my TV♥♥
Nothing over the weekend, will catch up on some vlogs today. 


♥♥On the menu this week♥♥

Monday - Gnocchi Bolognese, Salad, Garlic Bread
Tuesday - Beef Curry, Rice
Wednesday - Sweet and Spicy Bacon Chicken, Mash
Thursday - Tacoritos, Cilantro Lime Rice
Friday - Steak with Egg, Fries, Salad
Saturday - Rapid Fired Pizza
Sunday -  Sausage Alfredo


♥♥From the camera♥♥
Family Reunion is always so much fun. 
 


♥♥I am thankful for♥♥
Time with family this weekend, time with Marley, just time here on earth. 


♥♥I am hoping to♥♥
Have a calm week, and also hoping this headache leaves soon.   

 
♥♥ Prayer List♥♥ 
- My SIL has lost all her hair, and she is having a difficult time with it.  Please continue to hold her in your prayers. 
- Marley. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

{ Pottering around the house, and some new period dramas }

July 19, 2021
 
Embracing slow and simple living. 
 
I have a few books that talk about homemaking in eras gone by.  Old fashioned, some would say.  I tend to believe that homemaking never went out of fashion and actually, it should be given more attention than it currently is.
 
But as I was reading through one of the books, it was very clear that the homemakers of years gone by, did their work not only out of necessity, but of a love and true passion for their homes.  Everything was done with love, with attention to detail, even the smallest or biggest of task on their homesteads, were seen as a blessing from God.
 
July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

I was letting Marley out to potty, the other morning, and the most beautiful fog was hovering over our street.  I was a little taken back since it's been so incredibly hot here and we are smack dab in the middle of summer.  
 
Nonetheless, summer or not, the fog went about it's business.  Much like our daily chores, that need to be taken care of no matter the weather, the time of year or whatever is going on around us.
 
I smiled, took that picture and then started my day.  The first thing on the list was mopping my floors.  As I went to fill the mop bucket with hot water, I remembered that our water heater was turned off, as we had a leak and the plumber was arriving within the hour to take a look.

July 19, 2021

My first reaction was to feel annoyed at the inconvenience of not having hot water, right there, flowing out of the faucet, so that I could use it.
 
And then I thought, "we are so dependent on modern amenities, that being without them makes us panic."
 
How did my great grandmother and all the other women, back in her time, get by without a water heater?  Believe me, they had hot water, even if not provided to them by a heater.  If I really wanted to wash the floors at that moment, then I needed to be creative, or rather, tap into days gone by.
 
So I did.  I boiled water on the stove, filled my bucket and got busy.  I felt a sense of accomplishment as I swished that mop back and forth.   

July 19, 2021

While the plumber worked on our heater situation, I went about my homemaking chores.  Dusting, vacuuming, dishes and laundry, some of those we do every day, others once a week, and others yet once a month.   

July 19, 2021

Being back on track, working around the house, doing the things I have always loved, has helped me so much the past week.
 
It's also brought back very fond memories of my great grandmother and grandmother, the stories they told and the love for homemaking that they instilled in me.  

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

I've cleaned and cooked, and organized quite a bit the past few days.  It's like this feeling of needing to stay busy, kicked in and I've gone full speed ahead.  
 
I am seeing my home come alive again, every little corner speaks warmth and cozy.  I no longer dread walking in the door, but rather rush home to my safe haven.  My spot on the couch with my soft blanket, my books, my pets and my sweet family.
 
July 19, 2021July 19, 2021
 
I've been posting on the food blog too, so if you haven't been over there in a while, there are quite a few recipes to try.
 
Glitter grapes are always a favorite around here, and a great way to use up those grapes before they go bad.   

Totchos are another favorite, and a fun twist on the usual nachos.  

I have also gone back to my much beloved period dramas.  It had been a long time since I felt like I could sit and watch a series, from beginning to end, without feeling like I was constantly distracted by other thoughts.

Oh how I missed immersing myself in these beautiful series, allowing myself to be taken away to a different time and beautiful places.


On Netflix I watched The Cook of Castamar.  
In 1720 Madrid, a talented cook catches the eye of a widowed duke just as he returns to aristocratic society.  It is based on the novel by Fernando J. Munez.
 


On Amazon Prime I am currently watching The Vineyard.  Another great Spanish period drama. 
Mauro Larrea finds his destiny as he works to restore a vineyard to its former glory while winning the love of combative widow Soledad Montalvo who once owned the property.
 
 
Both really good, and I'm excited to get into some others that are currently on my watch list.  I'll be sure to add both of these to the Period Drama Series list, which by the way, if you love period dramas and have not yet seen that list, you are missing out on some really good shows.
 
Now, I am off to do some ironing, I also need to get my meat out for dinner, almost forgot to thaw it, and then I'll be taking Jasmine to work this afternoon, and grabbing some last minute shopping for the reunion.
 
I hope you're all having a blessed Tuesday, thank you again for stopping by and saying hi, I appreciate your visits. :)

Monday, July 19, 2021

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 07/19/2021 }

Good morning everyone.  
 
How was your weekend?  Did you spend it resting, having fun, hanging with family?  
 
Ours was spent working around the house and the garden, in preparation for next weekend's family reunion.  It will be our first since mom passed in September of last year, so will be bittersweet for sure.
 
Not much happening other than that, and I'm just praying for a blessed calm week ahead.  I pray the same for you and your family. 


 
♥♥Weather♥♥
It's been so hot, and paired with the humidity, I am struggling.  Ever since entering Perimenopause, I just can't handle the heat anymore, and trying to do anything outside is ridiculous.  I do 5 minutes of work then need to come inside to cool down.  We have another hot week ahead, so my fans will be working overtime, no doubt.     

Monday - Sunshine and clouds, 89
Tuesday - Mostly sunny, 87
Wednesday - Mostly sunny, 89
Thursday - Mostly sunny, 91
Friday - Mostly sunny, 94
Saturday - Mostly sunny, 98
Sunday - Partly cloudy, 93


♥♥How I am feeling this morning♥♥
A bit tired and sore, we worked a lot in the yard yesterday, so this morning both Curt and I are feeling it.  We were laughing yesterday afternoon, because we're only 48 and 47, but we feel like we can't do the amount of yard work we used to do. 


♥♥On the breakfast plate♥♥
Cup of coffee with Caramel Macchiatto creamer.  I am not sure what I'll eat, my breakfasts are usually very boring and consisting of just a piece of toast.   


♥♥Looking around the house♥♥
The back door is open, with just the screen closed to let in the morning air.  Marley is sleeping at my feet, and Elliott is sleeping on his cat tower.  
I need to vacuum both carpets, but the house itself is clean and tidy, which makes me quite happy.  Nothing like waking up to a clean house.   


♥♥On my reading pile♥♥
I'm almost done with Luke.  I should have been done by now, but I haven't been reading my Bible every single day, like I should be doing.  I am reading it every other day and last week, shamefully only picked it up once.  Need to remedy that.  
Also reading The Ocean in Winter by Elizabeth de Veer, very good so far. 


♥♥On my TV♥♥
I have been watching a ton of Period Dramas.  You know how much I love them and hadn't really been watching many, but this past weekend, I watched a few.
The Cook of Castamar on Netflix, which I loved.  
The Vineyard on Amazon, which I'm still working through. 
 
I'll be adding some of the Period Series post, so you can find them all there.


♥♥On the menu this week♥♥

Monday - Creamy Chicken Enchiladas, Cilantro Lime Rice
Tuesday - Beef Casserole, Fried Cabbage
Wednesday - Cubed Steak with brown gravy, mashed potatoes
Thursday - Out to Dinner (Jasmine's friend is coming to visit and arrives on Thursday)
Friday - Reunion Starts (we are ordering pizza for everyone)
Saturday - Reunion - Breakfast (Continental Breakfast) Lunch (Finger Foods, sandwiches, chips and dip, cookies etc)  Dinner (Barbecue burgers, hotdogs, potato salad, Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad)
Sunday -  Reunion - Breakfast (Continental, coffee, juice, pastries, croissants, fruit)


♥♥From the camera♥♥
From 6 tomato plants, only one has been thriving and giving us tomatoes, every week.  Just love the bounty we are receiving.



♥♥I am thankful for♥♥
The time we have with our Marley.  We don't know how long, but we are making sure to treasure every single day with him.  
Also thankful for a renewed and refreshed spirit within me, that I am again completely immersed in my housework, taking photos and doing blog posts.


♥♥I am hoping to♥♥
Have a blessed calm week.  Marley has a vet appointment this afternoon, we have to get more steroids for him and just see how he is doing. 

 
♥♥ Prayer List♥♥ 
- My SIL had her second chemo treatment on Friday, and has just started losing her hair.  It will grow back, but I know this is extremely hard for her, as is with everyone else who has had cancer treatment and lost their hair too.  Please continue to pray for her.  And I know some of you have been through breast cancer treatment too, if you have any advice for her when it comes to brain fog, please let me know.  She is doing ok through the treatments, not having many side effects, other than what they usually refer to as Chemo Brain Fog.   
- Marley, that he continues to feel ok.  That God will heal him, but if it is not according to his will, then that my boy will not suffer.     

 

Friday, July 16, 2021

{ Faith and Food Friday #2 }


 
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." - Matthew 11:28 
 
 
The past two weeks have been so difficult.  After Marley's diagnosis of  Lymphoma, Curt and I have been living almost holding our breath, not knowing if or when he is leaving us.  Trying our best to keep him comfortable, all the while trying to keep ourselves busy so as not to fret about the situation.
 
I've thanked God innumerous times for giving us more time with him, for taking care of him, for making sure he is here and not in pain.

But to reconcile my mind with what is happening, I've had to change the way I think.

I was holding my breath constantly.  

Each time I looked into his eyes, I broke down into tears.  He looks fine, but inside he has this horrible disease killing him.  How can this be?  Why?  He doesn't deserve it, he is only 4 years old.

Why and why and why!

Those whys wreaked havoc on my mind.  It was almost overwhelming at times.  But as we've navigated this diagnosis, I've leaned more into God.  More into His word, more into His promises, and my heart has softened, my worries have fled and my joy has returned.

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." - 1 Peter 5:7

1 Peter 5:7 is my favorite verse of the Bible.  It's always been one I've looked to in times of trouble.  But let's be honest, it's easier said than done, right?

It seems so simple, just a small statement to cast all our cares on God, because He cares for us.  He will take all our troubles and worries and fears, and He will carry them through, while we just let go and embrace joy and each day.

If it only were that easy, at least for me, I struggle with that concept, always have and I probably always will.  Though truth be told, I hope not.

So what are you carrying in your heart today that you need to let go of, cast to God, put in His hands?

Bang Bang Chicken Kabobs

Bang Bang Chicken Kabobs 
 
 
 
Ingredients 
Boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tbsp mayonnaise
4 tbsp sour cream 
1 tsp mustard 
1/3 cup sweet chili sauce 
1/2 tsp sriracha 
1 tsp honey 
Wooden skewers
 
 
 
Instructions 
Soak the wooden skewers for at least 10 minutes, to prevent burning.
 
In a big bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, sweet chili sauce, sriracha and honey.  
Add the chicken cubes, and stir well to combine.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for about an hour.  
 
Add the chicken pieces to the wooden skewers.  Preheat your grill, make sure to brush on some oil on the grates so the chicken won't stick.  
 
Cook about 5 or 6 minutes on each side, until cooked through.  
 
Drizzle on any remaining sauce over the chicken, and serve immediately. 
 
 
Recipe adapted from:  4 Sons 'R' Us


Thursday, July 15, 2021

{ Do it cheerfully }

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“What must be done is best done cheerfully.” - Laura Ingalls Wilder 
 

 
I set about my home cleaning and tidying, with a bad mood.  With everything we are dealing with at the moment, the last thing I wanted to do was wash yet another dish, fold one more shirt, or vacuum the carpet for what seemed like the millionth time this week.

My mind filled with thoughts of things I would rather be doing, than tackling another homemaking task.

I even asked myself "Why bother?  It's a never ending job, often overlooked by the other family members, and completely repetitive with what feels like no rewards in sight."  

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At one point or another, we all feel that way.  We look around the house at the same mundane tasks, day in and day out, no matter what else is happening around you or the world in general.  It's easy to get caught up in those thoughts, but to stay in them is counter productive.
 
It was in one of these frames of mind that I found myself the other day.  I wanted to just lay on the couch, cover myself with the blanket and sleep the worries away.  After all, when we're asleep the problems are out of mind, out of sight, buried in the subconscious.   Almost like a monster laying in wait, so that the minute you open your eyes, it pounces.

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And then as I was standing at the kitchen sink, washing dishes, in a methodical way, rinse, wash, rinse and set in rack to dry......I started thinking about the homemakers of eras gone by.  Even my own great grandmother and grandmother.
 
I never once heard my great grandmother complain about her mundane tasks.  She woke up with a smile on her face, tied on her apron, and faced the same daily chores.  Always cheerful, always thankful for her life, always humming some old song her mother used to sing to her, while preparing the evening meal.
 
She would sit at the kitchen table and snap green beans, while telling me stories about her life as a child.  How her mother had died of cancer when she was four years old, and it was just her, her father and older brother.  How at the age of 8 she became the homemaker and cook for the household, and how every meal she would sit at the table with her dad and brother, and they would offer her a small glass of wine.
 
Today, we would frown upon giving an 8 year old a glass of wine, but back in the early 1900's that was not a big deal.  That simple act from her father, stuck with her, her entire life.  For every meal, until she passed at 94, she had a glass of wine.  Not a bottle, or a few glasses, but one, just one single glass of wine. 

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She was an incredible woman, who take great pride in her housework and being a homemaker.  To her it meant the world.  She had an important job and she made sure that it showed in everything she did.
 
I grew up wanting to emulate her.  I was determined that I would be the homemaker and woman she was.  And I was, well AM!!!
 
But sometimes life throws you for a loop and brings you down so much that you forget certain things.  You allow the enemy to keep you captive in those negative thoughts, and before you know it, you're in a slump, fighting and clawing your way back out.

“It's sad if people think that's (homemaking) a dull existance, [but] you can't just buy an apartment and furnish it and walk away. It's the flowers you choose, the music you play, the smile you have waiting. I want it to be gay and cheerful, a haven in this troubled world. I don't want my husband and children to come home and find a rattled woman. Our era is already rattled enough, isn't it?” - Audrey Hepburn


I was standing in my garden, looking at my pumpkins, watermelon and cantaloupe plants, and it's almost like my great grandmother came up behind me, touched me on the shoulder and said......

"You're having a hard time, you're struggling, but that's ok.  Remember that you need to shine even in the darkness, you have an important job to do, and you need to do it, cheerfully, with joy and love in your heart."

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That was an eye opener.  This job that I have always loved, respected and took to heart, was being set aside, so that I could dwell on the bad things, the problems.  I think for me the biggest thing was that I was not wanting to come home.

Every time I would leave the house I felt relief.  Every time I would drive back up my driveway, I would feel dread.

This home that I have always adored and took such pride in keeping, was now being transformed into the walls that kept me stuck in my problems.  Not out of it's own doing, but rather from my own perception and negativity.  

So I faced it head on.  No more.  

Dwelling and sitting in the problem does not make it go away.  

I started going about my chores with a smile on my face.  Forcefully at first, but I did it anyway, and before I knew it, I had smoothly slipped back into my happy homemaking.

“Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well." - Louisa May Alcott 
 

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“A true home is one of the most sacred of places. It is a sanctuary into which men flee from the world’s perils and alarms. It is a resting-place to which at close of day the weary retire to gather new strength for the battle and toils of tomorrow. It is the place where love learns its lessons, where life is schooled into discipline and strength, where character is molded. Few things we can do in this world are so well worth doing as the making of a beautiful and happy home. He who does this builds a sanctuary for God and opens a fountain of blessing for men. Far more than we know, do the strength and beauty of our lives depend upon the home in which we dwell. He who goes forth in the morning from a happy, loving, prayerful home, into the world’s strife, temptation, struggle, and duty, is strong–inspired for noble and victorious living.” - J.R. Miller 
 

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My home is a safe haven, not the place where all my problems, worries or fears are contained.  Those?  They belong in the Father's hands, and not within my home walls.
 
I am now going about my days with a joy in my heart.  Cleaning, laundry, dishes, cooking, baking, taking care of my family and my pets.
 
I come home, and immediately breathe a sigh of relief, when I walk through the door.  This is the place I belong to, whether I'm going about my usual homemaking tasks, or whether I'm sitting on the couch with a good book, or indulging in a rare afternoon nap on my comfy bed.
 
So yes, I'm doing it all cheerfully.  The problems are still there, but no longer have an impact on my attitude, nor do they possess the power to dictate how my days go.
 
Are you taking care of your house with a cheerful, joyful attitude? 

Monday, July 12, 2021

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 07/12/2021 }

Good morning friends.  Hope you've had a blessed weekend!
 
Mine was good, got quite a bit of organizing and cleaning done, which my house was desperately needing.  I am exhausted today though, Marley is on steroids and they always make him extremely thirsty and having to go potty all the time, which means nighttime is spent letting him outside.  
 
But, rather that, than the alternative right?
 
Thank you all for the kind comments on my last post, where I mentioned his diagnosis of Lymphoma.  We are still struggling with it, it's a rollercoaster of emotions.
 
Anyway, he is doing fine with the steroids, the swollen lymph nodes have almost disappeared, which is so difficult to wrap our minds around.  The swelling may be dissipating and he is acting his normal happy self, but we have this unseen disease that is killing him from the inside.  Awful!
 
For now we are just enjoying every moment we have with him.  We don't know what the future holds, but it's in God's hands and we are determined to give him a great quality life, for however long we have him.
Now, onto today's Happy Homemaker Monday!


 
♥♥Weather♥♥
Really hot around here.  Thankfully we got a nice thunderstorm on Saturday night, but for the most part, it's just been hot and humid.   

Monday - Abundant sunshine, 91
Tuesday - Mostly sunny, 95
Wednesday - Sunny, 95
Thursday - Partly cloudy, 97
Friday - Mostly cloudy, 95
Saturday - Partly cloudy, 96
Sunday - Partly cloudy, 93


♥♥How I am feeling this morning♥♥
Exhausted, but overall blessed and thankful to have our baby boy still with us. 


♥♥On the breakfast plate♥♥
Just had a cup of coffee with sweet cream creamer.  Feeling so tired that I feel a bit nauseous, so can't even think of eating anything, right now.   


♥♥Looking around the house♥♥
Marley is sleeping at my feet, and Elliott is sleeping on his cat tower.  Curt just left for work, Nick is sleeping, Jasmine is getting ready for work.
I have the back door open to let in the fresh morning air.  Nothing like it.  


♥♥On my reading pile♥♥
Still trying to get through Luke, I try to read my Bible every single day, but I haven't been doing much of it this past week.  I get a little here and there, but it's taking me so long to get through Luke, that I'm hoping to just hunker down with my Bible, and get as much in as I can. 
Also, starting The Ocean in Winter by Elizabeth de Veer, for an upcoming review in August. 


♥♥On my TV♥♥
I started the new season of Virgin River on Netflix.  It was just released on Saturday .


♥♥On the menu this week♥♥

Monday - Spicy Sausage and Pasta Casserole, Salad
Tuesday - Cracker Barrel Sunday Chicken, Mashed Potatoes
Wednesday - Pork Chops in Mustard Sauce, Butter Pasta, Fried Cabbage
Thursday - Chicken Stroganoff, Rice, Beans
Saturday - Stuffed Shells, Garlic Bread, Salad
Sunday -  Loaded Totchos


♥♥From the camera♥♥
Life right now is an up and down of emotions.  But what God has shown me, is to just take a deep breath, and take in what is around me.  Everything is a blessing.  Even just looking over at my coffee table and seeing my book set up for a photo op.  It looks so calm, so pretty, so peaceful, and so I take these little bits and bobs, and inhale them into my soul.  The rest, I leave up to God.



♥♥I am thankful for♥♥
Answers in Marley's situation.  
Having our boy still here, feeling well, happy, eating, drinking, playing, being himself.  
Thankful that even though we know it's serious, and it will ultimately take our boy home to Heaven, God is walking us through each minute.   


♥♥I am hoping to♥♥
Have a quiet, uneventful, blessed week. 

 
♥♥ Prayer List♥♥ 
- My SIL has her second chemo treatment on Wednesday.   she continues her battle with breast cancer. 
- Marley, continuing to do well with the steroids, as we search for the next step, and make difficult decisions for treatment options.    
- South Africa is under turmoil and I fear for my family's lives.  I pray God surrounds them with a hedge of protection and a Holy fire wall from Heaven.  That he walks with them, guides them, protects them through everything they are facing at the moment.  Not just Covid related, but riots and upheaval, making things very dangerous. 
 

Thursday, July 08, 2021

{ Eva and Eve by Julie Metz - TLC Book Tours }

 

Eva and Eve by Julie Metz

 

• Publisher: Atria Books (April 6, 2021)
• Hardcover: 320 pages

 

The author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Perfection returns with an unforgettable account of her late mother’s childhood in Nazi-occupied Austria and the parallels she sees in present-day America.

To Julie Metz, her mother, Eve, was the quintessential New Yorker. Eve rarely spoke about her childhood and it was difficult to imagine her living anywhere else except Manhattan, where she could be found attending Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera or inspecting a round of French triple crème at Zabar’s.

In truth, Eve had endured a harrowing childhood in Nazi-occupied Vienna. After her mother passed, Julie discovered a keepsake book filled with farewell notes from friends and relatives addressed to a ten-year-old girl named Eva. This long-hidden memento was the first clue to the secret pain that Julie’s mother had carried as a refugee and immigrant, shining a light on a family that had to persevere at every turn to escape the antisemitism and xenophobia that threatened their survival.

Interweaving personal memoir and family history, Eva and Eve vividly traces one woman’s search for her mother’s lost childhood while revealing the resilience of our forebears and the sacrifices that ordinary people are called to make during history’s darkest hours.

Purchase Links

IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

 

About Julie Metz

Julie Metz is the New York Times bestselling author of PERFECTION. Her new release is EVA AND EVE: A SEARCH FOR MY MOTHER’S LOST CHILDHOOD AND WHAT A WAR LEFT BEHIND. Julie is the recipient of fellowships at MacDowell, Yaddo, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She has written for publications including The New York Times, Dame, and Salon and essays have appeared in THE MOMENT and THE HOUSE THAT MADE ME. She lives with her family in the Hudson Valley.

Find out more about Julie at her website, Instagram, and Twitter.


 
 
REVIEW:
This book blew me away!
 
So first, it is right up my alley and exactly the kind of subject matter I've been binging lately.  Anything to do with the Holocaust, WWII, and the stories of survival from living in an environment of antisemitism and xenophobia.

I knew I would love Eva and Eve, and moreso because it is a family record of Julie Metz's mom and the stories and tragedies that she had no clue had happened, until her mother passed away and she found her keepsake book.

What transpired from those numerous pages, were accounts of her personal childhood life, living as an immigrant and a refugee, trying to survive Hitler's Nazi regime and constant attacks on the Jewish people.

10 year old Eva, just two months before the Nazi takeover of Austria


Julie had no idea that any of this had happened, her mother was never one to share much about her younger years or the life she lived back in Vienna.

As she pages through the book and reads the entries, she begins to get a better understanding of the consequences that shaped the woman her mother Eva, became.

Through a myriad of investigations, interviews and pouring her heart and soul into finding out her family history.  She traveled to Vienna and visited the home where her mother Eva had lived with her parents, and also the factory that her father owned.  She was lucky to come upon some people who actually had information for her.  

Photos, questions being answered, a deeper look into what life was like for Jews living in in Vienna during the Annexation of Austria, and especially what life was like for her then 10 year old mother.  Stuck inside a home they could not leave, separated from friends, their belongings taken by Nazis, and the constant threat of death at their door.
 
The third Reich passports with the American Visas, that saved their lives.
 

What a fantastic trip back in time, filling in blanks, exposing us to cities we have never traveled to, and bringing together the story of yet one more Jewish family who was torn apart by the atrocities and horrors of Nazi Germany.

If you love reading about World War II and specifically the Holocaust and what happened to so many innocent people, this book is a must for your home library.  It is going right on my shelf with Corrie Ten Boom's The Hiding Place and many others pertaining to this subject.

Check out the book trailer below:



 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours, Atria Books and Julie Metz, for this fantastic review copy.

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

{ Marley has a diagnosis }


Yesterday started out pretty normal.  I got ready in the morning, and then took Marley to the vet, to drop him at 8am, off for his surgery/biopsy.  I filled out the paperwork, signed the usual pre op sheet and kissed him goodbye.  

The nurse told me that she would give me a call around lunch time when he woke up, to let me know how it went.

I came back home, walked in the door, started the water boiling for a cup of coffee and was talking to my sister in law, when the phone rang from the Vet.

I picked it up and it was his doctor.  She told me that Marley was not well, that he was getting worse quickly, that she wouldn't be able to do his biopsy, because when they drew blood for his Fever of Unknown origin panel, that they had a hard time getting the blood to clot.  She just didn't feel comfortable doing surgery on a dog that wouldn't be able to clot his blood.

To say that I was stunned is an understatement.  I immediately started crying and asked her what now, is my dog ok, is he going to be ok?

She informed me that she would like me to come and pick him up and take him immediately to the big Vet Clinic in Oklahoma City to see one of the Internal Medicine Specialists that has been following his case.  They could better assess the situation and maybe do the biopsy themselves since they have all sorts of equipment at their disposal.

She gave me the number for the Vet and told me she would keep Marley as long as needed and would keep watching him, but that he really was not doing very well and needed to be seen by Internal Medicine as soon as possible.
 

I hung up the phone and just broke down in tears.  I couldn't understand how everything just went downhill so fast.

I immediately called Curt to let him know what was happening and he rushed home.  While I was feeding Elliott and getting ready to leave, he quickly called the other vets and made the appointment.

We then rushed to our vet to pick up our boy, and got on the road for a 2 and a half hour drive, with a sickly puppy.  He sat on my lap the whole well, breathing hard, panting and extremely uncomfortable sitting on his swollen back legs.

Our vet couldn't give him any steroids to bring down the swelling because she didn't want to interfere with whatever the specialists may need to do for him.


It was one of the hardest drives I've ever had to make.  You are in a truck, with your baby feeling sick, and your mind going over multiple scenarios, none of which seem good to you.  I prayed so hard, the whole way, asking God to please just help us and help Marley.  To give us wisdom, discernment and to just help us get the best treatment for him, no matter what it was.  God's will be done was my last word.

We finally arrived and he was seen immediately.  He was examined by the internal medicine specialist, they also did a sonogram on his belly, and went through all the records from that our vet had sent over.

The specialist told us right off the bat that she was leaning towards Lymphoma.  But she wanted to do a thin needle prick aspiration to send off to the lab and to also draw some blood to make sure his clotting was ok.

We once again said goodbye to our boy, they took him back, sedated him and did what they needed to do.  We waited for an hour and a half, then were able to get our baby, who was sedated and quite out of it, and start our drive home.  She didn't want to give him any steroids for his swelling until she had the results of the biopsy.  So again, we made a drive of 2 and a half hours with a sickly dog, even worse off than he was when we first arrived.  Sick to his stomach, groggy, out of it, still swollen and really hot because of the heat we are experiencing.


About an hour from home, we got the call from the specialist.  The results from the pathologist were in.

Marley has Lymphoma.

It is extremely rare for a 4 year old puppy, but it is also one of the most common cancers in dogs.  Our next step, an oncologist to talk about treatment and so on.

We talked to the doctor, hung up, and stared at each other in shock.  To tell you that I never saw this coming, I never saw it coming.  I have always been very good at relying on my instincts and any time I have asked the Holy Spirit to guide me in something or show me, or just tell me if this was going to be ok, or was that fine, or is this bad or good etc.  I ALWAYS get an answer and it's never been wrong.

From the first moment he developed the swollen nodes, everything within me, and every time I prayed, I got "It's not cancer, he is going to be just fine".

Weird thing?  I still feel that way deep in my heart.  Maybe I'm in denial, but I've never been wrong before, and neither has my husband, so this was shocking.

Shocking to us, and shocking to the vet and specialists because Marley's symptoms have never fit into lymphoma or any other cancer.  He was fitting more into infections, especially with the fevers, rash and so on.

Let me just make something very clear.   The vet and specialists did everything in their power, the past 4 months to nail down what was wrong with him.  We checked off every disease and infection from the list, and were working our way down.  The reason a biopsy was only going to be done now, is because Marley has been fine, playful, happy, eating, drinking, just being Marley.  The only thing wrong that we could see was the swollen nodes which didn't seem to bother him at all.

The biopsy that was supposed to happen Thursday and then changed to yesterday (Tuesday), was practically our last resort, kind of a "it's nothing else, let's just do the biopsy and see if anything shows up".

Unfortunately everything just took a turn yesterday morning.  Out of the blue, from good to bad.

I'm so thankful to God, not only for moving the appointment from Thursday to Tuesday, but for literally saving Marley's life by having us rush him to Oklahoma City, which prompted an immediate aspiration biopsy and rushed lab results.  He was able to start steroids again last night which have saved his life.


This is Marley this morning.  The swelling has almost completely gone, he still has a bit of swelling on his back feet but those are quickly going down as well.

He is still not eating very well.  He didn't eat all day yesterday, and had about 5 blood tests done, sonograms and exams, plus the stress of being left with strange people in two different veterinary clinics, and then super long car rides.  He went through a lot.

Curt and I had to force the steroids down, and we hated doing it, broke our hearts, but we had to get them in him as quickly as possible and he refused to eat.  Had to break down the steroid pills, mixed them with a little water and used a big syringe to get it down into his mouth.  

He is still slowly coming around, but is already feeling much better.  He also ate 3 chicken strips around 10 am which made me so happy.  It's not a lot but it's something.  And he is still drinking water as he normally does and going potty, so that's good.

Please understand that this diagnosis is extremely devastating for my family and I.  My heart is broken, especially since we got Marley to help me with my grief over losing Lola 4 years ago.  To know now that I face losing my baby again, is so painful.

Ultimately, God has the last say and He may use this situation for a testimony in the future, and for praise to be given to Him.  But if not, if Marley is going home soon, then I will have to accept that and deal with it as best as I can.

We have a long road ahead of us, and I can't believe I'm sitting here talking about my Marley having cancer, while also dealing with my SIL's breast cancer diagnosis too.  It's too much, but if God is letting or allowing this at the moment, then it must be for a reason, a good one.

Just keep Marley in your prayers please.  

We are going to do whatever we can to save him, and keep him comfortable for as long as we have him around.  It's not going to be easy, we've been down this road with Lola and with Bella just 4 and 2 years ago, and to think we are facing it again so soon, is just.............

Thank you to all who have reached out, left messages and emails, private messages on social media and have been praying and covering myself, my family and our Marley with so much love.  We appreciate it more than you know.

{ The Conjurers Fight of the Fallen - COVER REVEAL }

 

In the epic conclusion to the Conjurian series, siblings Alex and Emma must fight to save the enchanted world where magic is real and skilled illusionists can perform actual tricks--for better or worse. This highly-illustrated fantasy series is perfect for fans of  The Land of Stories series.

Years ago, Alex and Emma's parents disappeared trying protect magic. Now, Alex thinks he knows how to find them—if only his sister, their talking rabbit Pimawa, and their friend Savachia would trust fate to guide the way. The problem: Alex's “fate” keeps leading the group straight into danger. Specifically, into an enchanted jungle where a tree-like creature named Awen seems intent on doing them harm.

But Alex is certain Awen knows more than she is letting on. And when she is captured, the kids follow the trail to the city of magic: Las Vegas. In the desert, sleight-of-hand runs the show, and at the center of it all is Angel Xavier, an evil conjurian who will stop at nothing to seize power. The kids need a trick up their sleeve—and a few new allies to help—if they have any hope of saving their parents—and magic--once and for all!


“A magical adventure inspired by us? We have to read it! And so do you!” –Penn Jillette, one-half of the Emmy-winning magic-comedy duo Penn & Teller

 
Don’t miss the action-packed third book in The Conjurers series! 
 
It comes out with @randomhousekids on 2/22/22 and you can preorder it now!   
 
If you want to keep an eye on your copy and know exactly when it will be arriving, you can use this Trackable Preorder Link.


 
 

Monday, July 05, 2021

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 07/05/2021 }

Good morning everyone, hope you've had a great 4th of July weekend.  
 
For the first time ever, we didn't celebrate.  Marley is not feeling well at all, the swelling has gotten worse, and his back legs and paws are also now swollen which make it hard for him to walk.  He was fine on Saturday and then by the afternoon, the swelling started.  He also seems to have some sort of rash in his groin area.  We are more and more convinced that he may actually have a fungal infection, which is something the doctor was going to check for on Thursday during the biopsy.
 
Unfortunately we can't wait any longer, so he will be going to the vet this morning.  Please continue praying for a breakthrough in this situation, my poor boy needs healing.  
 
I'm trying to get this post up as quick as possible, before  I head out the door.
Have a wonderful rest of week everyone!


 
♥♥Weather♥♥
So hot.  All that rain we were expecting last week, didn't materialize.  We had one morning of some drizzle but nothing else.  It's hot, it's muggy, it's just yucky all around. 

Monday - Cloudy skies, 88
Tuesday - Partly cloudy, 89
Wednesday - Partly cloudy, 91
Thursday - Mostly sunny, 91
Friday - Mostly sunny, 93
Saturday - Partly cloudy, 95
Sunday - AM thunderstorms, 88


♥♥How I am feeling this morning♥♥
Tired and a bit stressed over Marley, but I know things will sort themselves out.  Didn't get any sleep from Saturday to Sunday, was up all night with Marley.  Last night, got a little sleep, but was up at 3 to check on him and then up at 5am with him again. 


♥♥On the breakfast plate♥♥
Nothing, just a cup of coffee, I'm not feeling hungry at all. 


♥♥Looking around the house♥♥
Same ol' Same ol'.  House needs attention, house needs deep cleaning, but I haven't been able to do it between helping my sister in law and Marley.  It will get done, eventually.



♥♥On my reading pile♥♥
I am finishing up Luke in the Bible.
Also reading Eva and Eve for a book review.


♥♥On my TV♥♥
Haven't watched anything this past weekend, and not sure if I will have time to this coming week either.  But if I do, it will probably just be a quick vlog on Youtube.



♥♥On the menu this week♥♥

Monday - Copycat Hamburger Helper, Salad
Tuesday - Chicken Stir Fry with rice, Egg Rolls
Wednesday - Favorite Baked Spaghetti, Garlic Bread
Thursday - Garlic Cheese Pizza
Friday - *Grocery Shopping, new menu will start*
Saturday -
Sunday -


♥♥From the camera♥♥
My sweet boy Marley. 




♥♥I am thankful for♥♥
That God has kept his hand on Marley through the past few months, and that even though we are still dealing with this mysterious illness, that we WILL have a breakthrough in His name.
That my SIL had her first chemotherapy treatment on Friday and has breezed through, only felt nauseous once and has been just fine.  Praise God for that. 


♥♥I am hoping to♥♥
A breakthrough with Marley, that we can finally be told "THIS is the problem, let's fix it."

 
♥♥ Prayer List♥♥ 
- My SIL as she continues her battle with breast cancer. 
- Marley, we need to flood him with prayers for a resolution.   
- More friends who have passed away in South Africa from Covid.  It is devastating what is happening back home, so many dying, and so many in ICU.  Only God to see us through this because it's hard getting a call every day, with the news that someone else we know just passed.  
 
 

Thursday, July 01, 2021

{ The Conjurers by Brian Anderson - TLC Book Tour }


About The Conjurers #1, Rise of the Shadow

• Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers (July 28, 2020)
• Hardcover: 240 pages

Siblings Emma and Alex tumble into a secret world where magic is real and skilled illusionists can perform actual tricks–for better or worse. Perfect for fans of the Magic Misfits and the Land of Stories series.

After their parents vanished, Alex and Emma are sent to live with strict Uncle Mordo. Only Emma’s pet rabbit, Pimawa, keeps them company. But when flying skeletons called Rag-o-Rocs storm their once-quiet home, the kids escape just in time with Pimawa leading the way.

The rabbit takes the siblings to the Conjurian, a land where magic exists and Pimawa can talk. But the Conjurian is in trouble. Magic has been disappearing, and the Shadow Conjurer, the most mysterious sorcerer of all, is on the hunt for the Eye of Dedi, an object so powerful it could destroy the Conjurian and human worlds. The battle to control all magic has begun. There’s only one problem: Alex and Emma don’t have any!

Masterful storytelling and dozens of captivating illustrations fill author-illustrator Brian Anderson’s world with charm and intrigue. Fall under the spell of the Conjurers.

Purchase Links

IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Brian Anderson

Brian Anderson is the creator of the syndicated comic strip “Dog eat Doug”, which enjoys an international fan base both on and offline. He is an optioned screenwriter and the author of several children’s books, including “Nighty Night, Sleepy Sleeps” and “Monster Chefs”. He is currently working on the upcoming YA series, “The Conjurers” with Crown Publishing.

Find out more about Brian on his website, and follow him on Instagram and Facebook.


REVIEW:
I love a good ol' fantasy book, movie or tv show.  There's something about being taken to a fantasy world, with things that you wouldn't obviously see on a day to day basis, and letting your mind take you for a crazy ride.
 
Let me start by saying that this is a Young Adult Fiction book, and I'm not usually drawn to these, although there have been some really good ones that I've read before.
 
I wasn't quite sure if I would enjoy The Conjurers or if I would find it too kid like for me.
 
Not only did I like it, I absolutely loved it.  It was such a fun read, a quick read too by the way.
 
So we meet siblings Emma and Alex.  Orphans who are sent to live with their very strict and no fun at all, uncle Mordo.  Their parents have just vanished almost into thin air, and they have no idea where they went, what happened and if they are ever coming back.

Living with their uncle they start to run into all sorts of secrets that bring up more questions than answers pertaining to their parents.

Their only company in the middle of it all, is Emma's Rabbit.  But when the rabbit takes them to a magical land called Conjurian, the adventures really begin.
 
Brian Anderson does a fantastic job of pulling the reader right into the story.  It's almost like you open a page and are immediately transported right into the middle of this fantastic story.  His vivid descriptions, along with the illustrations throughout the book, really paint a picture of Conjurian and the magical land we are taken into.

I won't say much more on this because I fear it will give away the story, and it is one that I know you and your middle graders will love to read for yourselves.

The Conjurers is book one of a new series by Brian Anderson.

#1 The Conjurers  Rise of the Shadows
#2 The Conjurers  Hunt for the Lost
#3  Yet to be released, but if you're interested in seeing the cover reveal, come back here on the 6th of July, for a sneak peek.  

Thank you to TLC Book Tours, the publisher Crown Books for Young Readers, and the author Brian Anderson for the really awesome signed review copy.

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