Wednesday, October 29, 2014

This week, so far.....


There have been clouds and rain showers, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and thousands more leaves dropping from their trees.

My front yard is now a sea of red crunchy leaves, with just a mere peek of green grass here and there.


It's also been a week of extremely cold mornings and frost all around.  I'm not quite sure I'm ready to head into the dead cold of winter yet, but I have a feeling this one is going to be extra hard this year.

A week of full speed ahead homeschooling, lots of work, lots of tests and essays and long division for the boys.  We're working extra hard in anticipation of Halloween, neither of the 4 kids wants to deal with school of any kind on that day.  So we plow through and get as much done as we can.

Arm knitting

Arm knitting

I've been fully engrossed and obsessed with arm knitting, whipping out scarf after scarf after scarf.  I tried to do a photo tutorial but that is not exactly working very well, so I'm thinking I'll do a video instead and give one of the finished scarves away too.  What do you think?

Arm Knit Scarves

The girls have happily jumped in too, I was so thrilled to see them both wanting to learn and then having so much fun making their own scarves.  I think this is one of those projects that would work well to do in a group setting, or with your daughters and nieces and friends.

Afternoon reading

Mindless reading of some favorite magazines.  Ideas have swirled through my head for Christmas gifts as this year our budget is quite tight.

Bread baking

Bread rising

Bread baking has taken over the kitchen, whether it be rolls or tall fluffy buttermilk loaves.

Starting the fire gathering


Firewood gathering has began in preparation for the cold weather. I for one, am quite excited to get the fire going as I imagine lazy warm nights with crochet blankets, cups of tea and the flickering flames.

Morning light

As October draws to a close, I find that I start getting a little antsy, just for the fact that in a few weeks we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving and then a few weeks after that Christmas and the start of a new year.  Just that quick, in the blink of an eye.

This past week my blog has also gotten a makeover.  I get pretty tired of the same template after a few weeks and need to change it up again.  I was going to stick with an Autumn themed one, but the pinks were pulling me in again, and so this one came about.

This past week, my niece Tiffany has also started a blog of her own.  She actually started a food blog named Horsing Around in the Kitchen as part of her Senior Project for this year....she will be recording all her experiences as she learns to cook over the next year......but enjoyed it so much that she created another blog where she is recording all her experiences and thoughts while making the transition from South Africa to the USA.

If you get a moment, I know she would love to have some visitors come by and say hi.  You can find her at Live Large, Dream Big

I have quite a busy day ahead of me.  My Bella pug has been drinking water like crazy and has also started wetting herself, so this morning I need to get her into the bathtub for a quick wash up.

Next up, need to wash her bed and blankets.

I'll also be working on last minute Halloween Costume fixes.  Need to tighten Jasmine's top as it's very loose on her, and all the kids will be trying out their costumes today to make sure that everything is ready for Friday.

They are wanting to carve pumpkins too, so we'll see how that goes, we may just end up carving on Friday, we'll see how time goes the next few days.

And that is pretty much what I've been up to, I still need to go visit all the HHM participants and I've been an awful blog reader and commenter lately, just don't seem to ever find the time to go and do that.  I'm so sorry, I hope I can figure something out and get a few moments to come say hi to you all.

If I have some time, I will probably also get a few more diamonds made for my new lap blanket....

New crochet blanket

Right now I need to get some food into me, and also make hubby's lunch before he heads off to school for the day.

Hope you are all having a good start to your Wednesday, and just know that even if I haven't come by your blog to say hi in a while, I do think of you all on a daily basis and keep you all in my prayers.

Monday, October 27, 2014

DogVacay Review!

You all know how much I adore my pugs right?  As much as I do love having my girls, they can sometimes be a bit of a tie down when we want to consider a family vacation or even a few days out of town.

It's not always possible for a family member to watch them and it's hard to find someone to trust to watch our little furry babies while we're away.

Enter DogVacay!!!

You're probably wondering what exactly it is and why you should consider using it?  Let me tell you a little about it.

DogVacay is an online community that connects dog owners with their 20,000 vetted and insured pet sitters across North America, ready to care for your dog like a member of their family.

All reservations include free pet insurance, 24/7 customer support, and daily photo updated of your pooch enjoying a "Vacay" of his own. You can finally travel with peace of mind — at prices half the price of the local kennel!

How it works: 

  • Simply type in your zip code and find a PAWesome sitter in your neighborhood.
  • Schedule a meet ‘n greet to meet your Host, then book your pup’s Vacay and pay online.
  • You can now travel knowing your pup is having the time of his life in a loving home with one on one attention!
  • Receive photo “pup”dates showing how much fun your pup is having, and rest assured knowing each Vacay is covered with our free pet insurance and 24/7 customer care.

DogVacay has already been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the NY Times, Forbes and The Today Show.

I really love the fact that all the reservations include free pet insurance and a daily photo updated.  It's not easy leaving our babies behind and the few times I've had to do it, I was worried sick not knowing how they were and if they were being treated well.

Now, I haven't personally been able to try DogVacay for myself, but we are thinking of planning a family vacation and I love knowing that I have this option for my girls.

But that's not all, now that I've told you how the DogVacay works with regards to your pets while you're away, I will tell you how it works if you want to become a host yourself and enjoy the company of some sweet doggies in your own home.

How to become a DogVacay Host

What better way is there to make money than watching adorable pups in your own home? DogVacay Hosts from all over have told us hosting pups has helped them spend more time with their families, pay for school, and save up for weddings or travel. Hosting pups on DogVacay is a low stress way to do what you love.

Who can Host? You! Whether you're a professional dog sitter or just a regular dog lover, DogVacay makes it easy to earn money watching pups. Simply create a free profile, set your own rates, decide which dogs to take and when to take them. We do the rest!

Need help? Our Host Happiness Team is dedicated to helping you with everything from changing profile pictures to handling emergency situations. Call us 24/7 at (855) 364-8222, or email

With over 1 Million doggie nights booked, our Hosts rest easy knowing each Vacay is covered by free pet insurance and 24/7 customer care.

Host FAQ are here.

With holidays just around the corner, I know that a lot of us pet parents are starting to think about the best possible place for our babies to stay while we're away.  Why not give DogVacay a look, it might be that the perfect sitter is just around the corner :)

Obligatory legal disclaimer: This post is sponsored by DogVacay with affiliate links

Happy Homemaker Monday - 10/27/2014

Good morning everyone, how was your weekend?

Again it seemed to have zipped right on by at a million miles per second.  Then again, the weeks seem to be doing the same and before we know it, we'll be at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I'm not sure I'm quite ready for that yet.

So for today's Happy Homemaker Monday, I am switching a few of the categories up and adding a few old ones back in.  The fun thing about this feature is that you can switch it up with any of the previous or current categories, so long as you follow my structure and don't come up with your own, because then it really wouldn't be my blog's HHM anymore, would it?  LOL

Right, so if you want ideas on previous categories, you can do a search through the old HHM posts here on my blog and switch it up as you please :)

Let's get going shall we?

The weather outside is::::
Cold, it is 33 degrees at the moment, there is frost everywhere and the high for today is 54.   Looks like that is the high for the rest of the week with some thunderstorms thrown in. 

On the breakfast plate this morning::::
Just coffee at the moment, I'll see what I feel like later, but it will either be toast or oatmeal.

As I look outside my window:::
The sun is shining but there is frost everywhere so it looks like everything is twinkling, very pretty.

Right now I am::::
Working on this blog post, watching hubby get ready for school and chatting with my Nicholas who just got up.

As I look around the house::::
It looks very Fallish, I am loving all the decorations and especially the pumpkins in the corner.  I will have to take a photo for you today.

On today's to do list::::
Laundry....have some clothes and a load of quilts and sheets to do.
Cleaning....In the kitchen, I have dishes in the sink, have to unload the dishwasher and reload it.  Give the counters a good wipe down, update the chalkboard menu for this week and sweep and mop.
In the living room....need to vacuum and clean the couches, vacuum the rug, sweep and mop, dust and tidy up everything.
In the bedrooms....make the beds, pick up and tidy up, open curtains and blinds and windows to let in some fresh air.
In the bathrooms....clean the toilets and showers/tub.  Sweep and mop.
Homeschooling....prepare the lessons, check grades and help Jasmine catch up on Spanish.
Crocheting....need to finish my niece's blanket.  Work on my newest project.
Cooking.....for lunch we are having Clam Chowder.  For dinner we are having Pork Chops, Mashed potatoes and green beans.

Currently reading::::
Still reading my Diana Gabaldon Outlander series.

On the TV today::::
Yesterday's Downton Abbey.  I am also going to try to start watching Wentworth, I've heard it is really good and I'm curious about the show.  I think it is an Australian series actually.

On the menu this week::::
Monday - Pork Chops, Mashed potatoes, Green beans
Tuesday - Lemon pepper fish fillets, Tomato rice and Mixed veggies
Wednesday - Chicken and Leek Pie, Homemade Fries and Zucchini Squash Casserole
Thursday - Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Pork, Rice
Friday - Homemade Potato Gnocchi Bolognese
Saturday - *Grocery Shopping*

What I am creating at the moment::::
Working on getting a tutorial ready for the arm knitting.  Working on some crochet projects.

New recipe I tried or want to try this week::::
Last week I tried the Pepperoni Garlic Knots and also a Copykat Wendy's Chili recipe.  Both will go up today on the blog.

Favorite photo from the camera::::


Prayers, Inspirational Quotes or Devotionals::::

PLEASE, don't add links to this list that are not part of the Happy Homemaker Monday. I've asked numerous times, and I'm frankly quite tired of having to remove links to other posts that shouldn't be in this list. Please be respectful of my request!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Linder Farms


We spent our Saturday at the Linder Farms. Initially we were all supposed to go, but unfortunately my brother had to work and my sister in law didn't get to go either, so it was just me and the hubs, our kids and our niece and nephew.

If you've been following me for years, you will remember that I mentioned the Linder farms many many years ago, my Nicholas was only about 4 years old when we were last there, and he is now 11, so yeah, a long time ago.

It's always such a thrill to return to these places that I remember being at when my children were so little.  If you want to see which post I'm referring to, go on and check out Welcome to Pumpkin Land.  Wow does that bring back memories!

Like I said, it had been so many years since we were last there, 2006 to be exact. 


The farm has changed dramatically, it is now huge, has added so many new features and was just packed today.  As much as I loved taking my children back now that they are much older, I also really enjoyed being able to take my niece and nephew along.


First thing on the agenda, the maze.  Did I ever tell you how I don't like mazes?  I don't know if maybe it has something to do with being claustrophobic, or maybe the fact that I can never find my way around those things and end up walking for ages without finding the way out.


However, Tiffany and Colby had never been in one and the last time my kids were in one, they were 4 and 6, so it was something they all wanted to do.



Whether you like Mazes or not, you have to admit that they are beautiful, or at least I think they are.

We found a few of the checkpoints and then decided to find our way out, everyone was tired, thirsty and hungry and the kids had their minds set on trying the zip line.



One thing Linder Farms is, is beautiful.  For someone like myself, who has always wanted to live out in the country and have my own little farm, this is a place I could totally see myself in.




My Jasmine asked me for the camera, and though I'm always so iffy about letting the kids use it for fear they will drop it or something, I do like to see them enjoy photography as much as I do.

The next photos were taken by Jasmine and I'm so proud of her, they came out stunning.





Don't you think she did a great job?  My kids love taking photos and they constantly ask me to show them what to do with my camera.  I'm certainly no professional photographer, but I love sharing what I know.

I took a few pictures, not too many this time around there were so many people there and it was kind of hard to have the camera in hand while picking up pumpkins and riding the hay ride etc.






We had such a great time, and it was a gorgeous Fall day.  We ended up only getting 2 little small pumpkins as none of the bigger ones looked too good, maybe we got there too late for the good ones?  I don't know, but we've decided to pick up Pumpkins at the store and carve those.

Right before we left we quickly popped into the petting zoo, and Jasmine once again requested the camera, she got some very cute photos of the animals, but I am not going to post all of them here, I'll link you to the photo album on Flickr down below.


By the time we left the farm everyone was starving so we stopped at Carl's Jr for some burgers. I had forgotten just how yummy they are, the last time we had Carl's Jr was back in Arizona, so it's been at least 2 years or more. How time flies!


After dropping off my niece and nephew, we came home and Nic noticed how many leaves were under our tree out front, so he went under there to play with the leaves and I decided to hang out with him for a few minutes.



Of course since his sister had used the camera at the farm, he wanted to use it too and actually snapped this picture of me throwing leaves up in the air. I think he did a pretty good job :)


All in all, we had a good day doing the kind of things that I love, being with family and doing the whole Pumpkin farm thing. I will take a day like this over anything else.


I do hope you've enjoyed the photos, to see the rest you can check out my Flickr Album Linder Farms.

I'm going to have a cup of tea and get ready for bed, I'm quite tired from all the walking around we did.  Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend :)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Lost Tribe of Coney Island - TLC Book Tour

Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: New Harvest (October 14, 2014)

Readers of Erik Larson will love this tale of sex, greed, and the American dream: A huckster imports a tribe of Filipinos to Coney Island’s Luna Park, and two cultures collide.

The Lost Tribe of Coney Island unearths the forgotten story of the Igorrotes, a group of “headhunting, dog-eating savages” from the Philippines, who were transported to New York in 1905 to appear as “human exhibits” alongside the freaks and curiosities at Coney Island’s Luna Park. Millions of fair-goers delighted in their tribal dances and rituals, near-nudity, tattoos, and stories of headhunting.

Journalist Claire Prentice, who has spent years researching the topic, brings the story to life with her fluid prose and vivid descriptions. The book boasts a colorful cast of characters, including the disgraced lieutenant turned huckster Truman K. Hunt; his Filipino interpreter, Julio Balinag; the theme park impresarios behind Luna Park, Fred Thompson and Elmer “Skip” Dundy; and Dogmena, a beautiful girl who became a favorite with New York’s social elite. The Lost Tribe of Coney Island is a fascinating social history and a tale of adventure, culture-clash, and the American dream.

Claire Prentice_credit Solen Collet

Claire Prentice is an award-winning journalist whose work has been published in The Washington Post, The Times of London, The Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald, BBC Online, Cosmopolitan, and Marie Claire. Connect with Claire on her blog,

Wow was this a fascinating book to read.

I am usually someone who prefers fiction over non fiction, unless it is a book that really captivates my attention from the get go.  I was lucky in that not only did this book appeal to me when reading the summary but it managed to deliver exactly what it stated it would.

This book is filled with such interesting people, beginning with the main one who is Truman Hunt.  Such a sketchy character this one.  He brings over the Igorrotes from the Philippines and displays them at the Coney Island Luna Park alongside a myriad of freaks and curious other characters.  At first he may seem like a businessman just worried about providing entertainment to the carnival goers, but we quickly realize just how horrible this man really is.

On the other side, we have the tribe who are brought over thousands of miles away from their home, and put on display.  At first they seem willing to entertain, but things quickly turn sour when they start realizing just how mistaken they were and how they are being taken advantage of by Truman Hunt.  It's almost, or rather, it IS like they are prisoners held captive in a strange land.

These were men, women and even children who were brought over with the illusion that they would be paid a monthly wage, but also make money from any sale of items they would make.

This story was just so fascinating to me, it was a times frustrating wanting Truman Hunt to get caught and seeing him just get away by the skin of his teeth, moving the tribe from town to town and carnival to carnival, always seeming to elude the police.

He had this web of spies and cohorts and seemed to be one step ahead of everyone.

I am huge history fan and so glad that I got to review this book, not only was it a good story but it was also part of history and when you're able to find a book that combines those two so seamlessly, then you definitely have a hit on your hands.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me with a review copy.

Claire Prentice’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, October 13th: Sophisticated Dorkiness
Monday, October 13th: Booksie’s Blog
Tuesday, October 14th: Kahakai Kitchen
Tuesday, October 14th: Time 2 Read
Wednesday, October 15th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Monday, October 20th:  girlichef
Monday, October 20th: Wordsmithonia
Tuesday, October 21st: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, October 22nd: She Treads Softly
Thursday, October 23rd:  Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Friday, October 24th:  Dwell in Possibility
Monday, October 27th: BookNAround
Monday, October 27th:  Mental Foodie
Tuesday, October 28th:  Lisa’s Yarns
Wednesday, October 29th: A Bookish Affair