Monday, August 31, 2015

Broken Homes and Gardens - TLC Book Tour


Paperback: 268 pages
Publisher: Blank Slate Press (April 28, 2015)

A girl, a guy, a broken-down house. Not exactly on-again, off-again, Malcolm and Joanna are in-again, out-again: in love, out of each other’s arms, in an awkward co-living arrangement, out of the country. Their unconventional relationship is the only way, Joanna says, to protect herself from the specter of commitment, which inevitably leads to heartbreak.

When Harry Met Sally for the Millennial generation, set in the damp and drizzly neighborhoods of Portland, Oregon, Broken Homes and Gardens is an ode to friendship, lust, and the unrelenting pull of love.

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http://tlcbooktours.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Rebecca-Headshot1-240x300.jpg
About Rebecca Kelley

Rebecca Kelley grew up in Carson City, Nevada, wandered for a few years, and eventually landed in Portland, where she teaches writing at Oregon College of Art and Craft. She is the co-author of The Eco-nomical Baby Guide. Broken Homes & Gardens is her first novel.

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My Thoughts:

Joanna has had enough of relationships, she feels like she always picks the wrong guy and all relationships lead to is heartbreak, so she's determined to not go there again and just be friends with everyone.

She buys a broken down home and begins the process of renovation, only thing is that Malcom comes into her life asking to be her roommate.

As things heat up between the two, Joanna decides that it's best to just stay friends and avoid the hassle of commitment, so they embark on an off-again and on-again relationship.  She keeps pushing him away while realizing that she may really like him more than she things, and as much as she says no, she can't help but feel jealous of any other woman around Malcom.

I enjoyed this story, but I have to say that at times I wanted to reach through the book and shake Joanna, she got a little tiring with the push and pull, but overall it was a sweet, lighthearted story that I truly enjoyed :)



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

Happy Homemaker Monday - 08/31/2015

Good morning friends, sure hope you had a blessed weekend.

Mine was a little busy, Saturday especially as we had to make a quick trip to Dallas.....I say quick but 2 and half hours there and 2 and half hours back, and have I mentioned how absolutely appalling the Dallas traffic is?

I really avoid going there unless absolutely necessary, and unfortunately we had to go pick up Jasmine and her boyfriend's badges for the Anime Fest next weekend.  Goodness!!!

Anyway, let's get on with our Happy Homemaker Monday shall we?



On the weather front:
We had a rain shower the other day, just out of nowhere, but today we're looking at pretty clear skies and a high of 97.  Thankfully I have to stay inside the next few days because I have SO much going on.   
 

On my bedside table:
Two review books
Lotion
Motrin 800mg (might be TMI, but it's the week before that time of the month and my breasts just get so sore, have struggled with this for so many years)


On my TV:
Whatever is on the DVR, yes we got the Dish back after more than a year and so far we're enjoying it, but it may not last, we'll see how we feel in a month and decided whether to keep going or cancel it for good.



Favorite Youtube Video last week:
Discovered a new Vlog to watch by Britneyandbaby.  Enjoying watching this young mom go about her day.



News story that caught my attention:
The live killing of the two journalists.  What is going on in this world?  I am just so disgusted by the actions of some people and the worst thing for me is that they take innocent lives and then take the coward's way out by killing themselves. 


On the menu for this week:
I'm back on track, thank goodness.  I got my grocery shopping done yesterday, for the next two weeks and I'm happy to report that I'm still keeping under my $250 budget for two weeks worth of food.  I've managed to keep the same budget for the past 10 or so years, the key?  Menu planning and cooking from scratch.

For the most part it will be just us, on Thursday though I'm going to have another full house.  My daughter's boyfriend, brother and their mutual friends, 4 of them, are arriving at noon and spending the night, then they're all headed to Dallas for the Anime Fest. 

Monday - Italian Sausage Pasta Bake
Tuesday - Grilled Pork Chops, Grilled Zucchini and Salad
Wednesday - Chicken Quesadillas, Salsa, Sour Cream and Mexican Rice
Thursday - Pizza, Chocolate Sheet Cake, Cookies, S'mores, Chips and Drinks
Friday - Fettucine Alfredo
Saturday -Anime Fest will eat something there
Sunday - Braised Pork Chops, Bacon and Cheese Mashed potatoes


New Recipe I tried or want to try:
Made some Cheese stuffed sausages, will have the recipe up later.


On my To Do List:
School
Kitchen....my kitchen sink is not draining and I've already called the landlord but still waiting.  Meanwhile, I have to hand wash all the dishes.  Sweep and mop!
Bedrooms....make beds, change kid's bed linens.
Bathrooms....clean toilets and sinks.
Work on Cosplay:
- Polyurethane coat on chest and bracers then they're done
- Cut out, paint and attach detailing to boots
- Paint gold designs on fabric, let dry and hot glue to armor pieces
- Finish painting gold design on fabric pieces
- Finish painting staff
- Add gold detail to Nick's (Jasmine's boyfriend) glove


 
In the craft basket:
Crochet blanket, Cosplay Armor
 

Looking forward to:
Being finished with all this armor and putting the anime convention behind us.  I'm tired folks, like really tired and I just want a break.


What I plan on doing for myself this week:
Last week I wanted to watch Far from the Madding Crowd and guess what?  I never got around to it, dangit.  I am hoping to do that this week while I work on the cosplay.  Also want to go back into my Feedly account and check out some old blogs I used to follow, been wondering how everyone is doing.


Favorite photo:




Lesson learned the past few days:
That my life seems to go through certain phases.  I tend to really enjoying doing something and will do it for months or a year, then I'll forget about that and get into something else for a while, but I always come back to the things I love.

 
Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:



Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday's Letters - 08/28/2015

Friday's Letters

Dear weather......I was so happy to see some rain this week, it didn't last long and it wasn't for many days, but it was enough to quench the thirst for you.

Dear butterflies.....you are one of God's most beautiful creations and I'm so blessed to see you fluttering around my yards.

Dear pecan trees.....goodness, do you know that you're one of my favorite nuts?  Do you also know that I'm so happy to have 5 of you on my property?

Dear America.....what is happening with you?  Where has this amazing, beautiful, power country gone?  All I see lately is political correctness, attacks, sadness, fighting, violence and disregard for fellow human beings.  I'm so sadness by these events and I can only pray that things change, and they change fast.

Dear body.....I think the last few months have finally caught up with you.  I'm sorry for waking up crying my eyes out, that ugly uncontrollable gut wrenching cry brought on by months of physical exhaustion and mental drainage.  It felt good to let it out though and I feel much better now.

Dear finances.....we are in a power struggle at the moment, and you're winning, I'll give you that.  Thing is, I'm not a quitter and I plan on not only catching up but overcoming, just you wait and see.

Dear school.....it's been two days since the online servers have gone down and I know that you're technicians are working diligently on it, but it's a little frustrating when I realize how much work we're getting behind on, nevertheless, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and just wait it out.

Dear God......thank you for always being there, for seeing me through everything and for continuing to light my way, I could never make it without you. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A day in the life - Tuesday, August 25 2015

Flowers

Hi ladies, welcome to another Day in the Life.

My days are pretty consistent, I tend to keep the same routines, but once in a while, depending on what is going on in my life at the moment, things are added or removed. Lately, my life has seen an increased surge in sewing, painting and armor making, as if I didn't already have enough on my plate, right?

Anyway, come along with me and let me show my yesterday.

5:30 AM....I am up with hubby to make him coffee before he heads off to work. Most days I get right on with computer work, but sometimes, if I'm not feeling well or my Sciatica is kicking up, I lay on the couch with Miss Lola and try to get back to sleep until about 7AM.

7:00 AM....up and at 'em. Get dressed, make myself some breakfast, clean up the kitchen.  You know I always walk into my kitchen in the morning and find remnants of my children's late nights.  Ramen noodles wrappers, Nerf guns, bowls and glasses etc.  Annoying, but I also know that one day I'll miss waking up to these things.

Cleaning up

8:00 AM.....let the girls out to go potty.

The girls

8:05 AM....start laundry, yesterday I pulled all the bed linens out to wash.  I usually do it on Mondays but didn't get around to it this week, so yesterday it was.

Laundry

I've been upping my water intake again, the past few months with the moving I haven't been very good at drinking water and have overdone the soda.  Time to get back on track.

Water

10:00 AM....went to check the mail and took a little walk around the front yard, we figured out that we have 5 Pecan trees in our property, so excited.  These little guys were on the ground.

Pecans

We had one of our trees break and the realtors sent out someone to take care of it.  They were kind enough to chop it all down for fire wood and left us two piles, one in the back and one in the front.  This weekend, Curt and I will move them to a designated spot, I know it may seem a bit early to be doing this, but I think if we start now we'll have plenty of wood for the upcoming winter.

Fire wood?

Fire Wood

One thing I've also noticed is that we have a huge amount of butterflies in our property, beautiful, big bunches of butterflies fluttering around all over the place.

Butterflies

Butterflies

12:30 PM....lunch time. Usually it consists of sandwiches or leftovers, but yesterday I was craving something sweet and something different, so I went for this instead...

Waffle making

Cookie Butter

Waffles and ice cream

3:00 PM....bread rising for homemade hotdog rolls.

Hotdog Buns

In between all these homemaking chores, I also have my daughter's cosplay armor going which is taking up a lot of my time.  One nice thing about it is that it's enabled me to get my sewing machine back out and some much needed sewing therapy going, right in front of the big living room window.

Sewing

Sewing

And that my friends, is basically how my day went.  It was a busy flurry of tasks going on, I feel like the moment my feet hit the ground it's non stop until bed time, unless you count the time I sit down to compose this post.

Country living

I'm still loving where I'm at, I know I've said that so many times but I truly haven't felt this way in many years.

I've tried to be happy where our lives have taken us, and sometimes I felt successful in that and other times I didn't.  True contentment wasn't always found in my life, but I must say that right now, this is pretty close to being absolutely and 100% content.  I'll take it!!!

Red Barn

The Lord always knows exactly what we need and where we need to be, and I believe he places us in those places throughout out lives, so that we may learn some valuable lessons.

I thank Him every single morning and night, for blessing us and for where we are right now.

Is life perfect at the moment, do I have a good financial stability, are there stresses and outside factors affecting us?  No life is not perfect, no we do not have financial stability right now, and yes there are many stresses and outside factors affecting us, but it's all part of the journey we're on, and though not always welcomed, they are to be embraced and learned from.

So, I'm off to make some pizza dough for tonight's dinner, then I believe I have more painting and sewing ahead, life is fast paced lately and I'm counting down the minutes until it all slows down.  For now though, I'll just knock back another cup of coffee and roll with the punches.







Monday, August 24, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday - 08/24/2015

Good morning everyone, how was your weekend?

I sure hope you were able to rest and recharge and that you're ready for this week of work and school.  I know that by now most kids have returned to school so a lot of mommies are getting a break and I'm sure enjoying it :)

We are going on our second week of schooling here and so far the kids seem to be doing well, Jasmine is a little behind, just by a day but that is due to the fact that she had horrible toothache, which resulted in a tooth extraction on Friday, so hopefully today she can catch up.

Right, let's get going with our HHM, I'm adding in a few new categories just to change it up a little so it doesn't get too boring.



On the weather front:
We are awaiting a cold front which seems to have stalled just above us but is doing nothing, really.  I wouldn't mind cooler temps to be honest.  It's a little cloudy out this morning, yesterday we had an afternoon rain shower but don't think there is any rain on the forecast for today or the rest of the week.    
 

On my bedside table:
Two review books
Lotion
Anti Itch cream (chiggers got me)


On my TV:
Watched the first episode of Fear the Walking Dead (it was ok, a little slow but I'm hoping it will pick up)
Vlogs


Favorite Youtube Video last week:
I love discovering new vlogs to watch, the latest channel I am loving is The Life I'm Living.



News story that caught my attention:
I have to say without a doubt that the one that really caught my attention, was the 3 American Heroes who foiled that terrorist attack in Paris.  Things could have gone horribly wrong and so many people would have died or been injured, so I'm extremely proud of these 3 young men and their quick thinking. 


On the menu for this week:
I am so completely off on menu planning and grocery shopping, I swear that since the move I haven't been able to get back on a regular schedule and it's starting to really irritate me.  I ended up going grocery shopping yesterday for just this week, which is something I never do because as you know I shop every two weeks.  Yeah, completely off and it's making me mess things up and not plan properly, run out of things etc.  Need to get back on track and hopefully now that all our social commitments are done, I can do just that.

Monday - Chicago Style Dogs, Cheesy Fries
Tuesday - Fried Chicken, Homemade Fries
Wednesday - Homemade Pepperoni and Olives Pizza
Thursday -Ham Steaks, Mashed Potatoes
Friday -*Payday, have to get groceries*
Saturday -
Sunday -

New Recipe I tried or want to try:
*sigh* nothing here, again I'm so off and have been so busy that I haven't been able to really work on anything new.


On my To Do List:
School
Vacuum
Menu Planning
Work on Cosplay:
- Put a thin layer of black paint on chest piece, figure out how to wear, either velcro sides or laces.
- Paint bracers and attach laces to the back
- Finish painting boots and attach detailing
- Finish painting gold design on fabric pieces
- Make staff
- Finish Ezreal Glove for daughter's boyfriend

 
In the craft basket:
Crochet blanket, Cosplay Armor
 

Looking forward to:
Breathing, and slowing down, and not having any commitments to go anywhere or host anything.  Really need a break already.


What I plan on doing for myself this week:
I really want to watch the new version of Far from the Madding Crowd, and if I get some time to myself this week, that is exactly what I'm doing.


Favorite photo:




Lesson learned the past few days:
That I really despise Chiggers.  Darnit, they got me good.  I had forgotten about these annoying things, and now I'm realizing they were one of the things I didn't like about Texas.  I'm suffering through major itching on both legs, just below the knees.  Ugh!!!! 

 
Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:


Thursday, August 20, 2015

What is that smell?????

 
Oh man, oh man, ohhhh man!!!!

So here I am, it's 5:30am, I'm just sitting down on the couch with a cup of coffee and waiting for hubby to leave for work.

The air conditioner kicks in and this horrid stench permeates the air.  It was so gross and I knew exactly what it meant.....a dead something or other.

I can still smell it, it is one of those smells that seems to stick to your nose and just remain, and it's gross, and it makes me randomly shiver with disgust.

Curt walked around the house and didn't see anything, then decided to check the garage because that's where the air conditioning unit is.

A dead snake, in our storm shelter!!!!

As if the smell isn't bad enough, the word snake makes me cringe.  Guess this is what country life has to offer and I better get used to creepy crawlies and weird smells.

Anyway, snake disposed off and now to air out the house and hope it clears this stench around me.  *shiver*

I'm still trying to catch up from the reunion, which was a success by the way, we did end up with almost 20 people sleeping in my house, there were blow up mattresses and pillows and blankets everywhere.

Overall, everyone had a blast and there have been plans for another next year May.  Probably at my house....again.....hahaha  This time though, we're opting for a camp out kinda reunion, tents and campers etc out in the front yard which is huge.  I think that will be a lot of fun!

A lot of photos were taken and I'm not going to post them all because that would be crazy, but here are a few favorites.


_MG_9996

_MG_9916

Now that the reunion is over with, I'm tasked with getting my house back to normal and also preparing for the Anime Con coming up the beginning of September.

Oh my goodness, the amount of work I give myself, I have to finish all of Jasmine's armor and costume and am also making a bracer for her boyfriend, I'm really just looking forward to some rest and relaxation which will only happy starting the middle of September. 

So yeah, my life has been non stop for a few months now and I'm quite ready for it to slow down.

I'm sorry I haven't blogged much, I just wish I had more hours in my day, but by the time I actually sit down to relax, I have to get ready for bed. 

Hope you're all doing well and having a blessed week, can you believe that we're almost at the end of August?  Before we know it Christmas will be here, oh boy.

The Ones we Trust - TLC Book Tour



ISBN: 9780778317869
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: 7/28/2015
Format: Paperback

A moving and evocative exploration of grief and guilt in the wake of one family's devastating loss

When former DC journalist Abigail Wolff attempts to rehabilitate her career, she finds herself at the heart of a US army cover-up involving the death of a soldier in Afghanistan—with unspeakable emotional consequences for one family. As the story of what happened comes to light, Abigail will do anything to write it.

The more evidence she stumbles upon in the case, the fewer people it seems she can trust, including her own father, a retired army general. And she certainly never expected to fall in love with the slain soldier's brother, Gabe, a bitter man struggling to hold his family together. The investigation eventually leads her to an impossible choice, one of unrelenting sacrifice to protect those she loves.

Beyond the buried truths and betrayals, questions of family loyalty and redemption, Abigail's search is, most of all, a desperate grasp at carrying on and coping—and seeking hope in the impossible.

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My Thoughts:

This story had everything you could ask for in a book, intrigue, suspense, action, love and everything in between.  I think what first drew me to it was the fact that it deals with military, or Army specifically and you know that as a former Air Force Wife I love anything to do with that.

Abigail is a former journalist who decided to leave her career when one of the targets she talked about in an investigative report, meets his demise.  Obviously she feels guilty and swears that she will never write again.  That is until she receives some classified documents about the death of a soldier and how it is being looked at as suspicious.

Much as she does not want to go back into the field, she can't help but feel pulled in, especially when realizing that her own father, a retired Army general seems to be have played a part in the story.

That is the moment when the story really took off for me.  Like I said above, there is a tad bit of everything to keep you hooked.  I wanted to know just as much as Abigail did, what was going on, what happened, why her father's name was involved and what were the answers to so many questions.

Loved every minute of this book and definitely recommend it.



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