Monday, November 20, 2017

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 11/20/2017 }

Good morning everyone and Happy Monday :)

It is almost 9am and I am still in my pj's, on the couch, snuggling with Marley and trying to stay warm.  I am freezing, I'm tired (as always) and I'm dragging my feet, which is not a good thing, considering it IS Thanksgiving week.  I have a lot going on, have another full house for Thanksgiving, some family arriving Wednesday and yeah, just trying to get everything done and taken care of in the next 3 days.

But yeah, I'm going to go ahead and get this post up so that I can start my day. It's time to start ticking things off the list.

Breakfast time....what is on the plate this morning::::
Coffee with Vanilla Creamer and toast, which I ended up giving to Marley because it got slightly burned (think one of the kids turned the knob a bit higher than usual), and I do NOT like dark toast.  I'm going to finish this post, and then I'll make myself some Cream of Wheat, which I'm actually craving.

Right now I am::::
Typing up this post, thinking that I do not want to get up off this couch or get dressed. 

The weather outside::::
Currently 30 degrees but the real feel is 27.  It's going to be in the 60s the rest of the week and then 75 on Thanksgiving WHY? 

Looking around the house::::
It's not too bad, but Marley has all his toys laying around so I need to pick those up and start getting the house clean and organized for Thursday. 

On today's to do list::::
Laundry.....All laundry was done this weekend, so nothing to do, aside than putting it away which I loathe doing. 
Cleaning.....Empty dishwasher, refill again.  Clean kitchen.  Clean and tidy living rooms.  Wash all the glass panels in my doors and wash windows. 
Homeschooling.....We're on Thanksgiving Break but Nick has a bit of catching up to do, so I'm going to have him work on some things, while I'm busy. 
Cooking....Hubby is coming home for lunch, and I'm not sure what he wants to have, but I picked up a pouch of some Tikka Masala Chickpea Curry for myself, when I went grocery shopping, and I'm really craving that.  Dinner will be Breaded Pork Chops with Mash and some roasted corn. 

Currently reading::::
The Austen Escape and Soulful Simplicity.

On the TV today::::

Last night's Outlander
General Hospital.
Binge watched Alias Grace on Netflix and loved it
Been binge watching Poldark on Amazon.  I had seen Season 1 when it first came out, but none of the other seasons, just didn't have time.  So I started it again from Season 1 and am watching it all through. 

On the menu this week::::

Monday - Breaded Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Corn. 
Tuesday - Crockpot Smoked Sausage and Hashbrowns
Wednesday - Slow Cooked French Dip Sandwiches, Potato wedges
Thursday - Thanksgiving - Fried Turkey, Ham, Mashed potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Sweet Potato Casserole, Stuffing, Deviled Eggs, Salad, Roasted Vegetables, Gravy, Homemade Dinner Rolls, Pecan Pie Bars, Pecan Pies, Pumpkin Pie, Jello No Sugar Dessert (my father in law is diabetic), Truvia Apple Pie (again so my father in law can eat it), Cherry Salad and Tofu Turkey (my brother in law is Vegetarian) 
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - General Tso's Chicken, Rice
Sunday - Potato and Onion Soup, Sandwiches

If I have a few minutes to myself, I will::::
Continue watching Poldark and maybe crack on with some crochet.  I actually made a wool shawl/poncho kinda thing for a my niece for her birthday, and she loved it.  I need to get some more yarn and make a few more for Christmas gifts. 

New recipe I tried, or want to try this week::::

It will be my first time attempting to make a small Turkey out of Tofu for my brother in law.  We will see how that turns out hahaha

Looking forward to this week::::
Celebrating Thanksgiving with my family, really excited to sit around the table and enjoy delicious food, laughs and good company.

Favorite photo from the camera::::
Love my handsome boy, he has brought so much love into my heart and has helped me heal tremendously from losing my baby girl Lola. 

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses::::

Saturday, November 18, 2017

{ Crazy busy day }

I used to look forward to weekends because I knew that I would be sitting around, doing nothing but either catching up on tv shows or spending time with family.

The past few weekends have been nothing like that for me, actually the more I think about it, the minute we moved to Texas, my life became a flurry of activity.  I won't say I completely dislike it, after all, I don't much care to sit around doing nothing.  Even when I've been on the go for hours and sit down for a bit, I get this immense guilt feeling, like I shouldn't be allowed to sit and I need to be up doing something else.

I don't know if anyone else feels this way, or if this is a mom thing, but good gravy, for once it would be nice to sit and do literally nothing without feeling bad about it.

Last weekend I was busy and by the time I blinked, I was getting into bed and setting my alarm for Monday morning.  Nope, not the kind of weekends I enjoy LOL

Today was again, what has become a pretty typical Saturday for me.  Wake up early, enjoy my coffee, and then it's go go go.

 First thing this morning, grocery shopping.  I don't like going on Saturdays because of how busy it gets, and with Thanksgiving looming around the corner, it was pretty insane.

I did manage to get everything I needed, went over budget (typical for the holidays), and wasn't able to record a grocery haul.  I am starting to think that grocery hauls and weekly meals will be more on a *if I have time and can manage to film, so not on a set schedule* kinda thing.  I'm by no means getting rid of them, just not going to worry about it because I do them for fun :)

I came back home, hubby helped me get everything brought inside and then I put it all away.  By far the most boring and annoying part of the whole grocery shopping process, am I right?

Once that was done, we had to go back out.  My niece is turning 21 tomorrow, and I needed to get one more little thing to add to her birthday gifts.  Also stopped at Walmart and picked up milk and eggs, which are cheaper than the commissary, at the moment.

Back home again, and then it was full on house cleaning and washing laundry, then making dinner.  By the time I sat down at 5pm, I was so tired and so achy.  My feet were killing me from being on the go since early morning, my lower back was aching and my neck was still sore from a few days ago I really need to invest in a good neck pillow, because the two I have right now are not working.  One is too soft, one is too hard and I'm constantly in pain with these. 

I told the family to go ahead and eat without me as I wasn't too hungry just yet, and went for a nice long soak in a hot tub with Epsom Salts.  It worked miracles and I feel so much better.

It's now not even 8pm yet, and I am in bed getting ready to watch Ghost Adventures and then some more Poldark.  I feel like a very old lady, but you know sometimes we have to stop and listen to our bodies and if it's demanding bed and rest, that's what I'm going to do.

Tomorrow we have a lunch and then cake at my brother's house for my niece's birthday.  I'm going to take my camera because I would love to get some good pictures, and if I get any good ones, I'll be sure to share with you all.

Right, I'm going to turn this laptop off and get that much needed rest.  Have a beautiful blessed night, friends :)

Friday, November 17, 2017

{ When life just won't let up }


I'm incredibly sorry for not being around much, life has gotten in the way, worries and fears and health, schooling and work and family and just all sorts of things going on.  It's been quite difficult to maneuver around life at the moment, and unfortunately some things have been left behind

I didn't get a chance to do the grocery haul two weeks ago, and I didn't get a chance to do my weekly meals video for last week either, OR this week, which I've found myself not able to record either due to time constraints.

As we approach Thanksgiving, it's getting even more busier around here and I'm struggling, I'm really struggling.


I hate moaning and complaining because there are so many others out there who really are going through some difficult moments in their lives.  Beautiful friends and family battling cancer and other health issues, heart break and financial woes and so on.

I tell myself that I should just be content with what I have, be grateful and not whinge but it's human nature isn't it?

With everything going on, I'm forcing myself to slow down, or rather, my body is forcing me to slow down, and you know sometimes that's what we need because given the choice we won't do it for ourselves, and so we find that suddenly we are made to stop, breathe and restart.

I've turned to my Bible app again in an effort to reclaim my closeness to the Lord, and to find strength and encouragement.

It's helping, it's not instant gratification because I'm a definite work in process, but it helps.


So in between the chaos, I've loved seeing the seasons change and finally getting some cooler weather here in North Texas.  We spent many years in Arizona where everything was a constant shade of desert brown, so to be able to look out my window and see this, is bliss.


One thing I love about this time of year, is that we always get a lot of deer running through our property.  I've seen them daily, just walking around my yard, or prancing off into the field across the street.


It really is a daily sight for us, one which I thoroughly enjoy.


These guys don't like it too much and usually get in quite a tizz over it.


Something else they don't very much enjoy, and I have to say it's not just them because Marley gets quite excited watching from inside.....are the flocks of Starling that swoop around in my yard.


Funny enough I saw them do this the first year we moved to Texas but they weren't around last year, and this year they're back again.



The first time I saw them in my yard and trees, all I could think of was Hitchcock's The Birds Hahaha

It can be quite intimidating to see, hundreds of birds swooping up and down through your yard, and they sometimes fly straight towards the house and swoop up right before hitting the door.  It's insane.

But it's beautiful at the same time and I find it contrasts with my own life at the minute, after all, you can always find beauty even in the darkest moments, right?


So yes, it's been crazy insane around here but I still give thanks to it all, so much so that my chalkboard has been bearing this message for the past week and a half.  Just a reminder to be thankful, because like I said above, it could be much worse.

Hope you're all doing well and getting ready for Thanksgiving.  There will be 12 of us this year, so I have a lot of preparations and cooking to do, but I love every minute of it and am really looking forward to celebrating with family.

I best get on out of here and get started with my day, I have a house to clean, a second cup of coffee to drink (it's one of those days), and a pretty busy weekend ahead (again). 

Blessings and much love to you all, and thank you again from the bottom of my heart, for always checking on me and continuing to follow me along even where are no updates for a while.  I'm so blessed to have readers like you :)

Monday, November 13, 2017

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 11/13/2017 }

Hi everyone, I am so sorry this is going up so late today.

I've had my mother in law visiting, she arrived Sunday morning and spent the night with us, and she just left to go back home to Sherman.  I was going to try and get this posted early this morning, but I didn't get very good sleep last night and am dealing with a whopper of a headache, so slept in a little later than usual, then made a delicious breakfast for me and her and we've just sat and visited, chatted and enjoyed each other's company this morning.

I'm so sorry, but I know you understand :)

Right, let's not waste anymore time and jump right in.

Breakfast time....what is on the plate this morning::::
We both had coffee with coconut cream creamer, and then I made scrambled eggs with ham and cheese, toast with butter and jam, and we had some leftover Victoria Sponge cake which I made to celebrate her birthday which was on Saturday.

Right now I am::::
Sitting on my couch, I literally just saw her off and am finally sitting down to relax and get this post up.  I've had a very busy weekend, was visiting or off with family every single day.  Kinda feel bad because I didn't get to spend much time with my husband this weekend.

The weather outside::::
It is 57 degrees and we're staying in the 50's this whole week, which I'm absolutely loving. 

Looking around the house::::
It's clean and tidy.  I cleaned pretty much everything yesterday morning before my mother in law arrived so I don't have anything to do today.....aside from the usual dishes and cooking etc.

On today's to do list::::
Laundry.....I have Nick's laundry to do today, some time, not sure when but will probably be after lunch.  Everything else is washed and ironed and put away.
Cleaning.....Just dishes from breakfast and then dishes later tonight. 
Homeschooling.....Have quite a bit to catch up on with Nick, last week was just insanely busy and we didn't do any schooling on Friday.  He will be doing a lab portfolio with Curt tonight, it's all stuff Curt has done in his College Chemistry classes, so they will have fun.  
Cooking....I had a big breakfast with my mother in law, so I'm not having any lunch today.  Dinner will be Oven Baked Spiced Chicken with Garlic and Butter Red Potatoes. 

Currently reading::::
The Austen Escape for an upcoming review. 

On the TV today::::

Last night's Outlander
General Hospital.
Alias Grace on Netflix (new Period Drama and it looks fantastic)
Lore on Amazon (hubby and I have been enjoying this one)
Have two Walking Dead episodes to catch up on.

On the menu this week::::
I did not do a Weekly Meals video last week, we ended up switching meals here and there, and my mother in law took us to dinner on Thursday so, yeah, just didn't work out for me to record.  I'll try to get back on it today, so look for that video next week :)

Monday - Oven Baked Spiced Chicken, Garlic and Butter Red Potatoes
Tuesday - Pork Patties with Spices, Homemade Mac and Cheese, Salad
Wednesday - Spaghetti, Homemade Garlic Bread
Thursday - Stuffed Crust Pizza - Pepperoni and Hawaiian
Friday - Grocery shopping (will be making the new menu sometime this week)
Saturday -
Sunday -

If I have a few minutes to myself, I will::::
Honestly, no clue, I need to keep cracking on with my crochet, but haven't done much of that the past week.  So I might actually just read if I have more time to myself.

New recipe I tried, or want to try this week::::

I have been trying to be better about uploading the recipes to the food blog, last week I added the Christmas Fruit Cake recipe.  Today I'll be adding this Strawberry Poke Cake.

Looking forward to this week::::
Getting closer to Thanksgiving.  My niece is arriving this weekend and I'm so excited to see her, she's turning 21 years old AND she is also expecting her first baby.  I'm giddy with excitement at the prospect of a baby in our family next year.

Favorite photo from the camera::::
Love this time of year, we always have deer in our yard.  This one I saw on Friday, and this morning we had another two just jumping around our front yard.  Love them. 

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses::::
"Because all flesh is as grass, and all glory of man as the flower of the grass.  The grass withers, and it's flower falls away." - 1 Peter 1:24 NKJV

Monday, November 6, 2017

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 11/06/2017 }

Good morning my friends, how are you all doing on this beautiful Monday morning?

It is quite a chilly one here today, the trees have all finally changed color and I feel like we are indeed experiencing Autumn and getting ready for Winter. Makes me happy :)

What doesn't make me happy is the time change. My word I feel completely lost, I'm ready to go to bed and it's only 6pm, then I get up in the morning and realize it's super early. I think I'll be completely lost for the next week until I get acclimated Hahah

Well, let's get going with our Happy Homemaker Monday, shall we?

Breakfast time....what is on the plate this morning::::
I just had a cup of coffee with Coconut Creme Creamer and some toast.   

Right now I am::::
Trying to get this post up, also starting on my book review which will go up after this post and at the same time I have my Weekly Meals video rendering in the background.  It's not even 8am and I'm getting quite a bit done already, feels good.

The weather outside::::
Quite chilly this morning, well, for us Texas folk who are used to hot.  It's currently 47 degrees, it's super cloudy and a little foggy.  A pure, perfect depiction of a Fall morning! 

Looking around the house::::
It's clean and tidy.  I do want to vacuum and carpet clean a few spots here and there, and also have a few other things I want to move around and such, but other than that, not much to do housework wise. 

On today's to do list::::
Laundry.....I spent all week, last week, doing laundry.  I think I did a load every single day, between everyone's clothes, bed linens, kitchen towels, bathroom rugs and shower curtains...yeah all week.  I have 3 comforters to wash today and then I think I'm finally done and can give my washer a break.   
Cleaning.....Dust, vacuum, carpet clean a few spots. 
Homeschooling.....Nick has a livelesson at 1pm to attend.  He also has a portfolio for Physical Science and one for Sign Language. 
Cooking....I think lunch today is going to be very simple, just some yogurt and fruit for me.  Dinner is Ham, Cheese and Potato Layered Casserole. 

Currently reading::::
Just finished The Crooked Path by Irma Joubert, and will be reviewing it this morning.  I'm starting on a Jane Austen inspired read next, really looking forward to that one.  

On the TV today::::

Once I'm done with all this computer work, I'll get dressed for the day and then I can sit and quickly watch last night's Outlander.

General Hospital.
Have two Walking Dead episodes to catch up on.
Also started this show that I'm quite obsessed with at the moment, it's called Rich House Poor House and it's absolutely fantastic.  

On the menu this week::::
Here are last week's meals:

Monday - Ham, Cheese and Potato Layered Casserole
Tuesday - Steaks with Mustard Cream Sauce and Rice
Wednesday - Chicken and Noodles Baked in Cream Sauce, Veggies
Thursday - My mother in law is driving by on her way to Lawton, and is wanting to take us to dinner.  So not sure where we will be eating.
Friday - Pork Patties with Spices and Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
Saturday - Teriyaki Steak with Ric
Sunday -My mother in law is coming back this way and is staying with us all day Sunday and spending the night too.  We will figure out something for lunch, but I'll be making a Beef and Macaroni Casserole for dinner with some Garlic Bread and Salad

If I have a few minutes to myself, I will::::
I am currently trying out something with crochet.  It's a pattern I've been wanting to try for a while and want to see how it looks before I make some for my sister in law, niece and daughter.

New recipe I tried, or want to try this week::::

There are a few new ones I'll be making this week, the Steaks with Mustard Cream Sauce, Chicken and Noodles Baked in Cream Sauce, Pork Patties with Spices and the Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese.  I will add them to the food blog as I make them.  

Looking forward to this week::::

Seeing my mother in law on Thursday.  We haven't really had a chance to visit with her and spend time with her the past few months.  The kids haven't seen her since Jasmine's Graduation back in May.  Life has been busy and she's also been battling breast cancer for the second time, is back and forth to chemo and radiation and doctor appointments.  It's been insane, so we're really looking forward to seeing her this week.     

Favorite photo from the camera::::
One of those while sitting by the fire :) 

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses::::
My heart is breaking for the victims in yet another senseless act in Texas this weekend.  It's even worse when it's done in the Lord's house.  I'm sending my prayers and thoughts to the victims and their families of Sutherland Springs.

John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Romans 12:19: “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
Psalm 11:5 “The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.”

{ The Crooked Path by Irma Joubert - TLC Book Tour }


About The Crooked Path

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 7, 2017)
From the bestselling author of The Girl From the Train, comes another compelling coming of age story of delayed love, loss, and reconciliation in WWII-era South Africa.
Lettie has always felt different from and overshadowed by the women around her– this friend is richer, that friend is more beautiful, those friends are closer. Still, she doesn’t let this hold her back. She works hard to apply her mind, trying to compensate for her perceived lack of beauty with diligent academic work and a successful career as a doctor. She learns to treasure her friendships, but she still wonders if any man will ever return her interest.
Marco’s experiences in the second world war have robbed him of love and health. When winters in his native Italy prove dangerous to his health even after the war has ended, he moves to South Africa to be with his brother, husband to one of Lettie’s best friends. Marco is Lettie’s first patient, and their relationship grows as she aids him on the road back to restored health.
In the company of beloved characters from The Child of the River, Marco and Lettie find a happiness that neither of them thought possible. With that joy comes pain and loss, but Lettie learns that life—while perhaps a crooked path—is always a journey worth taking.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble



About Irma Joubert

International bestselling author Irma Joubert was a history teacher for 35 years before she began writing. Her stories are known for their deep insight into personal relationships and rich historical detail. She’s the author of eight novels and a regular fixture on bestseller lists in The Netherlands and in her native South Africa. She is the winner of the 2010 ATKV Prize for Romance Novels.
Connect with Irma on Facebook.

My Thoughts:

The minute I heard about this book, I knew I had to review it.  If you have been following me for a while, you will know that I spent most of childhood and young adult years, in South Africa.  To this day, I still call it home, and so to be given the opportunity to review a book that takes place in South Africa, is a huge deal for me.

The story follows Lettie who is a doctor living in South Africa, and Marco living in Italy and recovering from WWII.  Their paths meet when Marco moves to South Africa to heal from the war and ends up being Lettie's first patient.

Lettie is a character filled with complexities, she lives in a constant state of comparison with her friends, always thinking she's not good enough or pretty enough, and most of all not believing that she deserves to find true love.

Watching the two cross paths, watching Marco break down the walls around her heart, all the while enjoying both South Africa and Italy described in such vivid detail, made this for a very and I mean very enjoyable read.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

{ Meal plan with me - Old recipe collection }

I'm getting ready to menu plan for the next two weeks.  I was looking for inspiration and while cleaning my kitchen cabinets yesterday, came across some of my old recipe collections.

You probably have some of these yourself.  I started collecting them many, many years ago, when Jasmine was still little.  I've always been fascinated by old cookbooks and recipes.

Actually, my greatgrandmother has this cookbook, a really old Portuguese cookbook that I adored.  I had my eye on it for the longest time and really wanted to have it for myself, but she ended up giving it to my Uncle, and when he passed away the book just disappeared along with a lot of his belongings.  (his wife at the time just cut off all communication with our family).

It always stuck with me, because I loved that book so much and it was well taken care of and one of my greatgrandma's prized possessions, so when she gave it away to someone else I felt quite sad.  I can't help but think that if it had been with me, it would still have been here and used and loved.  But, let bygones be bygones.

Here's the book, it was called "ABC da Culinaria by Etelvina Lopes de Almeida.

As I was sitting down to get started, I thought I would bring you along with me and actually show you what I ended up doing with the old recipes.


A lot of these I found at Yard sales or thrift stores. 



And some I bought, or my husband bought for me.  I enjoy these recipes because they're not fancy or require all these gourmet ingredients to produce, tasty, home cooked food.  At the end of the day, whether you work at home or outside the home, you don't want to spend hours trying to fix super complicated meals.


I've pulled out my meal plan book, and I've showed you this before in a previous post about the notebooks I use for meal planning and my budget and bills.

As you can see above that was from the last menu plan.  I always write the menu on one side and the grocery list on the other, it makes it easier when I go grocery shopping because if I ever wonder why I am buying a specific ingredient, I can quickly glance over the menu and see what it's for. 


It's also happened before, that I couldn't find something I needed, and having the menu plan with me, I was able to quickly change the meal, right there at the store.


One thing I don't like about these, is that a lot of them came with no box or folder or anything to put them in, so I had them in tupperware boxes, which is not the best way to keep them and it made it quite difficult to flip through and find what I wanted.


I had these blue dollar store containers, so I popped them all into one and not only do they fit but they make it extremely easy to quickly browse through.


The container now sits on my cookbook shelf and I have easy access to it, when I need to look for a recipe, I pull the container down, find what I need and back it goes.

I found a few recipes that I want to make this meal plan and am quite excited to try those.  There's nothing worth than getting stuck in a rut when it comes to dinners, is there?

I would love to know if you all have some of these recipe collections too or if you use them at all.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

{ Happy Halloween - Scary stories }

It is October 31, 2017.  Halloween!!!!

I would love to come in and say that we've carved pumpkins, hung decorations, have picked out our costumes and so forth, but the truth is that, we haven't.

My children are grown, they no longer pay any attention and so, neither do we.  I won't say I don't miss it, I do, I miss the kids being excited, the anticipation of going around getting candy, dressing up and having a blast.  I miss those days.

But times have changed and so we no longer get to do these things, which makes me feel extremely nostalgic.

As I sat this morning thinking about my own childhood and missing it so much, I remembered one of the houses we used to live in.  This house was THE one house that made me a believer in ghosts and the paranormal.

I know a lot of people think it's all a lie, there's no such things and so on, but unfortunately I've had my fair share of experiences and sightings that really affected me for the rest of my life.  They've stayed with me and I think in a way are the reason I enjoy anything supernatural.

So since I'm not doing anything Halloween specific this year, I thought that today would be the perfect day to do something a little different.  I've mentioned some of my experiences with ghosts, quite a few years ago in a different blog post, but I figured that I would tell you all some spooky stories today, more specifically about this house that really started it all.

167 Church Street in Turffontein, Johannesburg, South Africa.

There were so many things that happened to me and to some other family members in that house, and I hope I don't leave anything out, but if you're interested in some spookiness this Halloween and find this kind of stuff interesting, then I suggest you grab a cup of coffee or tea, and sit back.

I'm going to start by showing you the house, and keep in mind it looked very different back then, this was 30 something years ago, but I'm showing you what it looks like now, which is just appalling.

Those two metal gates were not there, the smaller one which was the entrance to the house, was a wrought iron gate, and the one in the driveway (orange gate on the left), was not there at all, it was open. 

The house was pretty big, there was a bedroom for my parents, one for my grandparents, one for my greatgrandma, one for me and one for my 3 brothers.  It had a fireplace, two enclosed patios, a dining room and a big living room etc.

Now before my greatgrandma had her own bedroom, she shared mine with me, and that is when I had my very first experience which completely freaked me out and started this whole journey of turning me into a believer.

When you walked into the bedroom, my bed was on the left, hers was on the right up against the window.  Here's an example of the layout:

It wasn't too long after we moved into the house, couple months maybe.

I woke up in the middle of the night, I din't know why but just did.  I remember looking around the room in the dark and then I noticed someone standing at the window, by the curtains, just looking out.

It was my greatgrandma, she was wearing her white nightgown and had her crochet shawl around her shoulders.  I remember thinking "what is she doing?  did she hear something or see something out there?".  She was standing still, just facing the window and staring out.  I found it strange but wasn't really thinking anything other than it being weird, and just as I was about to call her and ask her what she was looking at, I had this thought come over me that told me to look at her bed.  I don't know why, I can't explain it, but I looked from her figure at the window to her bed and there in bed, she lay, sleeping soundly, snoring away.

I was so scared, I kept staring at her in bed and in that moment questioning what I was seeing, almost debating in my mind or trying to make sense, and as I looked over to the window again...POOF!!!  Nothing.

There was no one standing there. 

I pulled the sheets over my head, and lay there until I fell back asleep.  The next morning I asked her if she was up the night before and she was so confused.  She didn't get up, she didn't look out the window and she had no clue what I was talking about.

That was enough to set me on edge, but little did I know that was just the beginning of my experiences in that horrid house.

Another time, I went to take a shower and while I was waiting for the water to warm up, I felt two hands on my back push me, and it wasn't just a little shove, it was quite a hard push enough that I caught myself on the sink right before my head hit the mirror.  It was so scary that I ran out screaming.

A few months after that, I woke up in the middle of the night to see hands right above my throat as if wanting to choke me, I couldn't see anything other than just darkness and these white hands moving closer and closer.  I tried to scream and couldn't make a sound.  It was terrifying and by the time I got a scream out, they vanished.  I remember running out of my room and jumping into bed with my greatgrandmother.  I refused to sleep in my room for the longest time.

There are so many stories involved with this house.  It got to the point where a lot of us were having experiences and started hating the house, but my dad absolutely loved the house and never understood what the problem was.

Anyway, I've been sharing these stories over on my Instagram stories as well, so if you want to hear them go on over and take a look.  I'll be sharing more tomorrow :)

I'm only sharing the experiences I've had and in no way am I telling you that you should believe in ghosts or what I have to say, I'll leave that up to your own discretion.

But it's a little hard to not be a believer after going through some of these things.

Monday, October 30, 2017

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 10/30/2017 }

Good morning, and Happy Monday!!!

Hope you've all had a wonderful, blessed weekend.  Mine was quite enjoyable, went to a Haunted House Tour on Saturday night with the whole family, then yesterday had the family over for a snacky dinner, some card games and some good ol chatting and fun.

I would say I don't think I got nearly enough rest, and I'm feeling quite exhausted this morning, but then this seems to be the recurring theme as I get older, constantly tired hahah

Anyway, let's get right on with our Happy Homemaker Monday.

Breakfast time....what is on the plate this morning::::
I have had a cup of coffee with Peppermint Mocha creamer and some plain toast with butter. 

Right now I am::::
I'm sure you know the drill by now, but I'm sitting on the couch, under a blanket, still in my pj's.  I just let Marley out to go potty and the back door is's chilly out there. 

The weather outside::::
A little chilly at the moment but we'll be up to lower 60's this afternoon.  Unfortunately Wednesday and Thursday will see us in the high 80's again before dipping down to 40's after that.  Honestly, the constant change in temperature is going to see us all sick. 

Looking around the house::::
It's clean.  I gave it a good clean this weekend so that I could enjoy a Monday of not having to face a totally turned upside down, mess of a house.  I do have a lot to do today, I want to paint a shelf, I want to move some things around and also need to clear up the table from last night's get together. 

On today's to do list::::
Laundry.....Have the kid's laundry to do, and also their bedding.  I switched Jasmine's yesterday so need to wash the dirty one, and Nick's I have to remove this morning and put on fresh linens, wash the dirty one etc.  I also want to give my bathroom curtains, and Nick's bathroom curtains a good wash.  I did Jasmine's bathroom yesterday, so no need to worry about that. 
Cleaning.....Just want to dust today, that's mainly what needs doing. 
Homeschooling.....Nick has an essay for English he needs to write.  Have I ever told you how much he loathes essays and writing?  It's like pulling teeth, so I'm not particularly looking forward to that.         
Cooking....I've had too much soda this weekend, even though it was diet, but still my stomach is not impressed.  Also had take out quite a bit, so need to get back on track with my healthy eating, especially with Thanksgiving coming up.  I'm going to switch back to just water, and for lunch I may do a smoothie, or have some yogurt with fruit etc.  Dinner is Padre Island Shells. 

Currently reading::::
The Crooked Path by Irma Joubert.  Really enjoying it since it takes place in South Africa :)

On the TV today::::

I have last night's Outlander all ready to go, and I'll watch it sometime today.
General Hospital.
Walking Dead from last night.
Also have some scary shows that recorded on the DVR. 

On the menu this week::::
Here is last week's meals:

I also have to work on the new menu plan for the following two weeks, so I only have meals until Friday, which is when I'll be grocery shopping.

Monday - Padre Island Shells
Tuesday - Chicken Stew, Biscuits
Wednesday - Meat Pastries, Homemade Fries
Thursday - Spaghetti, Garlic Bread
Saturday -
Sunday -

If I have a few minutes to myself, I will::::
Continue with Part 5 of my Liliana blanket and maybe finish off the row I'm working on the Mandala Madness. 

New recipe I tried, or want to try this week::::

I added my Vanilla Popcorn recipe to the blog.  I'll also be making more fruit cakes this coming weekend and I'll be trying a new recipe, so I'll share that one as well.  Tonight I'll be making the Pare Island Shells, which is not a new recipe on the blog, but I'm updating all the photos, so I'll come back and share the link with you when that is up.      

Looking forward to this week::::

Truly just hoping for a good week, all around.  Don't have anything specific planned, so we will see what we get up to.    

Favorite photo from the camera::::
Jasmine is cosplaying one of her Anime characters, so as always I had some fun snapping some pics. 

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses::::
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? - 2 Corinthinas 6:14

Thursday, October 26, 2017

{ It's finally cooling down }

I think that Texas has finally realized that it's Fall.

The past few days we've had pretty cool weather, and it was cold enough yesterday morning, that we started a fire.

My husband and I were able to sit, drink our coffee, chat and slowly wake up before he went to work.  I could get used to those mornings, it felt so good to sit in the quiet darkness and enjoy the crackling fire with a delicious cup of coffee.  Helps you set the tone for the rest of the day.

I've been puttering around lately, not really with a specific project in mind, but getting the housework done and then moving things here and there, and trying to make it more homey.  I'm still struggling to feel like I did about homemaking a few years ago, where I spent every available minute working hard at making things for my home, placing decorations just right and making it a true representation of who I am and what I like.

So I've slowly been trying to get back at that.  One of the things I did a few days ago, was finally make my garland for the fireplace, and I love how it turned out.

All I did was use crochet thread to string the dried orange slices and some Fall leaves from my yard.  The effect is just what I was looking for, beautiful, homemade, simplistic and something that goes perfectly with the Fall and Winter seasons.

You know I was thinking yesterday about how much I miss my kids being younger, in the sense that we always went out of our way to decorate for all the holidays, and the past 2 years we've stopped.

I no longer decorate for Halloween or Easter, or Valentine's day.  Come to think of it, the only season I really go out of the way for is Christmas. 

I miss going to the Pumpkin Patch, and carving pumpkins with the kids, decorating and buying costumes and the anticipation of Trick or Treating.  I see younger families still excited and having that to look forward to, and I remember how that felt, and truly miss it.  But, you know life changes, people change and we are in a new Chapter and Season of our lives and so we adapt and go with the flow.

I guess now I have to look forward to doing all that again with my grandchildren, one day, right?

I've been enjoying watching My Mother and Other Strangers.  It is a fascinating period drama set in Northern Ireland during WWII when the US Army Air Force set up a base in their small town.

What I don't like is that as with so many other period dramas I enjoy, just when I get into it I find out that it's either been cancelled or only has a few episodes.  This one has just 5 episodes and at first I thought that it might be a good idea to not even get into it, but I couldn't help it, I'm a sucker for period drama and even though I know it will end much too soon, I've been loving it.

If you want to watch it for yourself, the link can be found in the Period Drama Series list I posted a few days ago. :)

Crochet wise, I've been trying desperately to finish my Mandala Madness, not for any other reason than I'm quite sick of seeing it staring at me from across the room.  My Atlanticus and my Nuts About Squares are going to turn into Christmas presents for someone, I'm not sure who yet, but just want to give each of them a nice edging, a wash and block and it's done.

My Liliana CAL is coming along nicely, and I'm surprised at how much I like my color combo, I stuck with just 3 colors and am throwing in the occasional white row here and there, but it's very minimal as I don't want it to be a big part of the blanket.

It needs some blocking, but I tend to wait it out and not block as I go.  Some people do, some don't, and I'm in the *leave it until the very end* group.

Not much else is going on around here, at least not anything exciting or worth mentioning at the moment, as the life of a stay at home mom is not really glamorous is it?

I'm finishing up this post and then it will be time to get dinner going.  Tonight we're having one of my favorite comfort meals and something that I would often request as a kid.  Sausages in tomato sauce with Mashed Potatoes.  You'll see it in my Weekly Meals on Sunday night :)

With that said, I just  saw the UPS man drop off a package, which I'm sure is another book for review, so I better go grab that.

Have a wonderful Wednesday night and stay warm friends.  Blessings.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Grown Ups Guide to Teenage Humans by Josh Shipp - TLC Book Tour

 About The Grown-Up's Guide to Teenage Humans

• Hardcover: 336 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (September 19, 2017)

A practical guide to understanding teens from bestselling author and global youth advocate Josh Shipp.

In 2015, Harvard researchers found that every child who does well in the face of adversity has had at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive adult. But Josh Shipp didn’t need Harvard to know that. Once an at-risk foster kid, he was headed straight for trouble until he met the man who changed his life: Rodney, the foster parent who refused to quit on Shipp and got him to believe in himself.

Now, in The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans, Shipp shows all of us how to be that caring adult in a teenager’s life. Stressing the need for compassion, trust, and encouragement, he breaks down the phases of a teenage human from sixth to twelfth grade, examining the changes, goals, and mentality of teenagers at each stage.

Shipp offers revelatory stories that take us inside the teen brain, and shares wisdom from top professionals and the most expert grown-ups. He also includes practice scripts that address tough issues, including:
  • FORGIVENESS: What do I do when a teen has been really hurt by someone and it’s not their fault?
  • COMMUNICATION: How do I get a teen to talk to me? They just grunt.
  • TRUST: My teen blew it. My trust is gone. Where do we go from here?
  • BULLYING: Help! A teen (or their friend) is being harassed.
Written in Shipp’s playfully authoritative, no-nonsense voice, The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans tells his story and unpacks practical strategies that can make a difference. Ultimately, it's not about shortcuts or magic words—as Shipp reminds us, it’s about investing in kids and giving them the love, time, and support they need to thrive.

And that means every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


About Josh Shipp

Josh Shipp helps adults understand teens and teens understand themselves. He is a global youth empowerment expert and an acclaimed speaker. He has appeared on MTV, Lifetime, The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, FOX, 20/20Good Morning America, and in the New York Times and other media. A former at-risk foster kid turned youth advocate, he is renowned for his documentary TV series that followed his groundbreaking work with teens. His organization, One Caring Adult, produces resources and training events for parents, educators, and caring adults.

Visit to learn more and for free resources.

Find out more about Josh at his website, and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

My Thoughts:

When I agreed to do this review, it was with a mixed sense of emotion.  On the one side I was absolutely ecstatic, because as the mother of an 18 year old daughter and a 14 year old son, navigating the teenage years has been full of emotions and tears.

I knew I wanted to read the book, after all, we certainly could use all the help we can when it comes to understanding or at least beginning to understand, the teenage mind.

On the other hand, I wondered just how good this book could be, because it's quite hard to generalize all teenagers.  Yes they are for the most part quite predictable, but they are also intricate, exquisite and unique individuals, each with their own thoughts and opinions (oh those opinions huh? hahah).

I got the book in the mail, opened the first page as I was busily chattering away to my husband and only realized that I had completely gotten immersed in the book, when I heard him say twice "are you listening?  Sandra????".

The book is written by Josh Shipp, and he is not just a book author per say, he speaks from experience and talks about his own struggles as a teenager in the foster system.  This isn't a "oh look all teens are like me and therefore the magic words to get them to comply, isssss........".

Not at all, but what Josh does is delve a bit into the intricacy of the teenage mind and try to help us start to understand how to better reach them, how to talk to them, what they really want.

One of the first pages in the book touches on the fact that the main concern for teenagers, is the amount of time they spend with their parents, or, lack of.  Now I know it's hard to understand, I found it a bit hard myself because when I look around my own home and my children, they are more likely to be hiding out in their bedrooms and trying their best to avoid spending time with my husband and I, so how could this be?

And when explaining this in the book, this stuck out for me:

"They (teenagers) know they need something from their parents.  They might not be able to articulate what it is, but they know they need it."

Part 2 of the book deals with the Phases of the Teenage Human and boy was that fascinating to read.

I don't want to give much away because I think that this is a book that every parent needs to read, and I'm not talking just to the parents of teenagers like I am, I'm talking to parents of any age group because eventually you WILL be parenting a teen, and that is not easy at all.

This book is phenomenal, it takes you through the mindset of the teenager, touches on important achievements and developments at different ages, from 11 to 18, helps you troubleshoot some of the common challenges and offers some insightful and informative help.

I am never letting go of this book, matter of fact, it has found a permanent spot on my bedside table and I've gone back to it a couple times over the past two weeks when dealing with certain situations surrounding my teens.

Do yourself a favor, and get a copy for yourself, you certainly won't regret it.

Monday, October 23, 2017

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 10/23/2017 }

Good morning friends, hope you're all doing well.

Well, here we are, another week has gone by, another weekend has just ended and we're back to the beginning of a new week before us.  I can hardly believe it's Monday again, it feels like I just did this post yesterday, my word.

I hope you've all had a brilliant weekend and I wish you all the best for the week ahead.

I wanted to touch on a few things real quick before we get started.  I've asked before but I think I need to again as last week I had a few links added that were NOT related to the Happy Homemaker Monday.  Please, don't link up any other post that does not pertain to this meme, as it makes it quite difficult for the participants to visit each other.  All links that are not Happy Homemaker Monday posts, will be deleted.

Also, there seemed to be a bit of confusion as to the categories.  I didn't change anything, but you all know that I get bored after a while, and so I tend to just switch categories around and mix it up a little, with previous Happy Homemaker Mondays.  You do NOT have to follow that, please, if you would rather stick to the categories that best apply to you, then do so.  Long as it's still conforming to the HHM rules, and staying within the categories that I've added over the years, I don't have an issue with it.  Just don't make up your own, that's all I ask :)

Right, now that we got the not so pleasant stuff out of the way, let's get right on and see what the new week holds for us :) 

Breakfast time....what is on the plate this morning::::
All I've had so far is coffee and I'm not really feeling much of anything for breakfast.  I always eat in the morning, but today I'm more tired than anything, so after this post goes up, I'll have to see if I can find something that appeals to me.  Will probably be  poached egg :)

Right now I am::::
Still wearing my nightie and wrapped in a robe, it's quite chilly this morning.  I'm typing up this post while listening to the birds loudly chirping outside.  Mornings are one of my favorite times of the day :)

The weather outside::::
48 degrees though the real feel is 40.  I love it.  I think we're finally starting to cool down here in North Texas.  This week we're staying in the low 70's and then it looks like we're heading to the 60's and 50's. 

Looking around the house::::
It is a mess, not even going to lie.  Usually I get a lot of cleaning done on the weekends, but today, I can say is a proper Monday after a weekend.  We watched movies, and relaxed and did nothing much of anything, other than the laundry for the week ahead.  I have quite a lot to do today, but for now, I'm enjoying looking around and seeing the sun just beginning to come up and bathing the walls in a beautiful golden color.   tidy. 

On today's to do list::::
Laundry.....All the laundry is done, just putting it all away.  (anyone else dislike that task as much as I do?)  
Cleaning.....The house is in a tip, it definitely needs a good clean and tidying up.   
Homeschooling.....We had Fall break for two days last week (two daysssss, like why even bother hahah).  Anyway, today it's back to work and getting everything done and caught up.       
Cooking....I think I might do a tuna salad for lunch, and then dinner is Pollo Loco with Mexican Rice.    
I also want to continue with my Blog to Book.  Haven't done that in a few months now and would like to get it finished.

Currently reading::::
The Grown-Up's Guide to Teenage Humans.  Also, The Crooked Path, both books are coming up for a review within the next few days.    

On the TV today::::

Just finished watching last night's Outlander and OH.MY.WORD, do I love that show.  I could easily watch it hours at a time.  I might even restart the series because I love it that much.
Walking Dead also returned last night and I watched it, and as always, it irritated me so much hahah
I have a Haunted USA that was recorded on the DVR.
General Hospital.....anyone else enjoying the whole two Jason's storyline?  I haven't been this interested in the soap in a long time.

On the menu this week::::
Here is last week's meals, hope you enjoy :)

I also posted my new Grocery Haul, and I did add the menu for the next two weeks, but I've changed it slightly around yesterday, just to what will work better for us. 

Monday - Pollo Loco and Mexican Rice (new recipe)
Tuesday - Better than Olive Garden's Fettucine
Wednesday - Taco Bell Tacos
Thursday - Mongolian Beef, Rice
Friday - Mexican Lasagna
Saturday - Sausages with Tomato Sauce, Mashed Potatoes
Sunday - Padre Island Shells (already have a recipe, but am updating all the photos)

If I have a few minutes to myself, I will::::
I doubt I'll have any time today, but if I do, Jasmine will be sewing to finish off her Halloween Costume. 

New recipe I tried, or want to try this week::::

I've tried a few that NEED to be updated on the blog.  I've become absolutely horrid at keeping my food blog updated and it's really frustrating me.  I want to get back to cooking and posting as much as I used to, so really hope I can get going with that.     

Looking forward to this week::::

Just hoping to get all caught up on homeschooling (portfolios that is), also hoping to get all the Pecans cracked and shelled.  

Favorite photo from the camera::::
Was outside a few days ago, and watched this guy on the top of one of the tree branches.  He just stood there for what seemed like an eternity, with a nut in his mouth.  I had to take a picture :)

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses::::
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
—2 Timothy 1:7