Sunday, July 24, 2016

Weekly reflections and planning - Monday July 25th

MONDAY JULY 25th, 2016 

Today I am linking with Sandra for Happy Homemaker Monday 

In the kitchen...On the menu this week::::

Sunday: Oven fried chicken, corn on the cob, pasta salad 

Monday:  Szechuan chicken and veggie stir fry with spring rolls 

Tuesday:  Turkey burgers and oven vegetables with green salad 

Wednesday:  Dinner with family 

Thursday:  Shrimp Alfredo with broccoli, salad 

Friday:  YOYO 

Saturday:  Dinner with family 

Sunday: Garlic bbq ribs, green beans, stuffing

Work lunches:  Brown rice, garlic lime chicken w/ summer salsa 

The weather outside is:::: HOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!  HUMID!!!!

On the breakfast plate this morning:::: Nothing. 

As I look outside my window::: Storms are brewing!  Overcast. 

Right now I am:::: GEtting ready to go to Aldi. 

As I look around the house:::: Ummmm - lots of cleaning to do today! 

TO DO::::
SUNDAY COOK AHEAD:  Chicken chunks, turkey burgers, garlic lime chicken, oven veggies and salsa. 
Grocery shop
Sweep/mop kitchen
Jake putting Jennah's new bed and Em's new chair together
Lesson planning 

Currently reading:::: Still reading Gone with the Wind for book club.  Finishing up "Millie" by Shanna Hatfield.  About to start "Where Hope Prevails", an ARC for Bethany.  SO EXCITED!!!  

On the TV today:::: 
Falling Skies
Ghosts of Sheperdstown
Ghost Adventures
The Dead Files 

I am thinking..That I wish I had 3-day weekends every week

I am thankful... for air conditioning!!!!!!!!! 

One of my favorite things... going to the beach on a hot day

I am wearing...  jean capris, black t-shirt w/ design 

In the schoolroom... Almost time to start 11th grade!  Trying to get the entire 1st marking period lesson planned. 

In the garden... Most everything is hanging in there with this heat!  I resurrected my basil that committed suicide (twice) by jumping out of the pot onto the ground! 

Favorite blog posts or pins from this week::: 

Favorite picture from the camera: from the beach, Saturday. 

Prayers, Inspirational Quotes or Devotionals::::

I don't even know where to start with prayers - the world I suppose!  This evil is spreading and can pop up anywhere at any time.  

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Happy Homemaker Monday July 18th, 2016

MONDAY JULY 18th, 2016 

Today I am linking with Sandra for Happy Homemaker Monday 

In the kitchen...On the menu this week:::: 

Sunday: Paszteciki (Polish meat pies) 

Monday:  Burrito bar with fresh veggies 

Tuesday:  Frozen pizza with salad 

Wednesday:  Parents house for dinner 

Thursday:  Chicken and broccoli with gravy over noodles 

Friday:  BBQ ribs, oven roasted veggies, rice 

Saturday:  Dinner with parents again! 

Sunday: Chicken parm subs 

The weather outside is:::: Warm and sunny right now - expecting thunderstorms later! 

On the breakfast plate this morning:::: Leftovers 

As I look outside my window::: We've had a very dry summer.  The grass in most neighborhoods is starting to dry out.  The flowers are not as perky as they should be.  Still beautiful and summery! 

Right now I am:::: Putting off finishing cleaning the kitchen :) 

As I look around the house:::: Already puffs of white kitty fur on my newly cleaned wood floor! 

TO DO::::

  • Finish cleaning kitchen
  • Fold and put away laundry
  • Mop kitchen floor
  • Water flowers
  • Fill bird feeders
  • Paint nails
  • Cook ahead a few things for the week 
  • Read 

Currently reading:::: I just finished 2 ARC books, both Christian historical fiction, you can find reviews on my blog.  
*Finishing up "Millie" by Shanna Hatfield (love!) 
*Re-reading "Gone with the Wind" for the Paper and Glam Bookclub 
*2/3 done with Farm City by Novella Carpenter (this one is for research for the book I am writing) 
*Just starting Candace Cameron Bure's "Dancing Through Life" for review on NetGalley
*Twice Dead - a zombie book 
*The Girls by    on audio book.  (I have a 3-month trial to so I got it for free) I listen to audio books while I am at work! 

Books I'm looking forward to:::
On the TV today:::: 
*Jennah and I just finished up our several month binge of "Charmed" 
*Starting season 6 of "Criminal Minds" with Jennah as our next binge (we watched 1-5 several months ago) 
*Going to try out a couple of new shows ...  

Movies I'm looking forward to::: Gods not Dead II

In the schoolroom... I was able to purchase Em's school books for 11th grade!  American Government, World Literature, Astronomy (we started astronomy last year but switched to biology) Bible studies, etc. etc.  I can't wait for the books to come! 

In the garden... My basil has jumped out of its pot - TWICE now!  I'm hoping with some extra care it will spring back.  lol  Parsley is limp, rosemary and strong and hearty, oregano and cilantro hanging in there.  MOST of my flowers are doing fine - I need to get out there and do a massive dead-heading!  A friend is going to give me some transplanted hostas and lilies for the side of my shed!  Happy to put in some perennials.  

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Book Review: A Changed Agent by Tracey Lyons

This is my first time reading Tracey Lyons and I am so happy I got the opportunity to do so!  I love adding new authors to my favorites! 

                                  A Changed Agent by Tracey Lyons 

About the author (from Amazon): An Amazon top ten bestselling author, Tracey sold her first book on 9/9/99! She holds membership in Romance Writers of America, Liberty States Fiction Writers, and Novelist, Inc. Tracey always wanted to be an actress but couldn't get past her stage fright. Writing gives her the best of both worlds; she can act out the parts on the pages without ever having to go on stage! Tracey's books have been translated into several languages. Tracey has appeared on the award winning Cox Cable Television show, Page One and at the famous Lady Jane's Salon in NYC. Tracey also writes the Wine Country Vixens contemporary romance series. You can learn more about Tracey by visiting or You can follow Tracey on twitter @TraceyJLyons. Follow on Pinterest

About the book (from Amazon): When schoolteacher Elsie Mitchell meets rugged William Benton on a train platform in Albany, it appears they have nothing in common. He isn’t the sort of fellow a proper young woman of the 1890s would ever speak to, much less become involved with. But when she arrives at her small town in the Adirondack Mountains, Elsie is offered a job as caregiver for this mysterious out-of-towner’s niece and nephew, who’ve been tragically orphaned. Heartbroken for them, she accepts.
Unknown to her, William is an undercover Pinkerton agent posing as a lumber-company foreman. He’s never wanted family—his work is too dangerous. Yet as Elsie transforms his house into a home and he spends time with the children, he feels drawn to family life—and to Elsie.
As a good Christian, Elsie is troubled by William’s secrets…though she does find him intriguing. And when a sinister figure from her past arrives, Elsie and William will have to trust in faith and newfound love to protect their unlikely family from danger.

What I thought:  I LOVED this book.  It was right up my alley.  Schoolteacher in the Adirondacks in a one-room schoolhouse.  CHECK!  Nice, proper Christian lady.  CHECK!  Adorable orphans. CHECK! Big, strong handsome man with a secret.  CHECK!  

This is the epitome of sweet Christian historical fiction.  The characters draw you in and you are rooting for them from the start.  You care about them and want to know what happens to them (*hint* I'd love to see a sequel) 

This book does what it is supposed to do - it entertains, it warms your heart and it makes you smile.  It gets 5 stars from me. 

*I was given a copy of this book for my honest review from NetGalley* 

Book Review: A Beauty Refined by Tracie Peterson

Tracie Peterson is one of my favorite authors!  I was so excited to get the chance from Bethany Books to review a copy of "A Beauty Refined".

FROM AMAZON:  Phoebe Von Bergen is excited to accompany her father when he travels from Germany to purchase sapphires in Montana. Little does she know that her father's plans--for the gemstones and his daughter--are not what they seem.

Ian Harper, a lapidary working in Helena, finds the young woman staying at the Broadwater Hotel more than a little intriguing. Yet the more he gets to know her, the more he realizes that her family story is based on a lie--a lie she has no knowledge of. And Ian believes he knows the only path that will lead her to freedom.

Meeting Ian has changed everything. Phoebe is determined to stay in America, regardless of her father's plans. But she may not be prepared for the unexpected danger as the deception begins to unravel.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I was not a huge fan of the character Phoebe Von Bergen and I feel tremendously guilty saying that out loud! I just couldn't warm up to her.  While Tracie Peterson's writing and story-telling was wonderful as always, this character didn't elicit the emotional connection I have come to expect from her books.  

The other characters (estranged mother, evil father, love interest and others to round out the story) were all good - just not exceptional.  

There was great detail in the description of the hotel and the sapphires themselves.  The account of Phoebe's wardrobe was one of my favorite parts.  I could picture her lavish furs and flowered casual dresses.  Her jewelry and elaborate hair-dos. 

I always have and always will love Tracie Peterson's books - this was just not my favorite.  I give it 3.5 our of 5 stars.  

*I was given a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Happy Homemaker Monday for July 11th, 2016

MONDAY JULY 11th, 2016 

Today I am linking with Sandra for Happy Homemaker Monday 

In the kitchen...On the menu this week::::

Sunday: Grilled chicken, roasted vegetables, cucumber salad & watermelon

Monday:  Baked chicken tacos with Spanish rice 

Tuesday:  One pot wonder tomato basil pasta  (my basil is growing like crazy outside!  This will help me to use some of it) 

Wednesday:  Dinner with family 

Friday:   Stromboli 

Saturday:  Dinner with family 

Sunday: Lentils with Brown Rice and Feta 

The weather outside is:::: It's been crazy.  Mid-90s, humid with crazy, wild thunderstorms or low 80s and sunny.  Yo-yo. 

On the breakfast plate this morning:::: No breakfast. 

As I look outside my window::: Sunny and pretty today. 

Right now I am:::: Still getting over a stomach virus. 

As I look around the house:::: There is always something to do. I never catch up completely. 

TO DO::::  
Grocery shopping
Vacuum and wash car 
Laundry X3
Sweep living room 
Watch "Outlander" 
Water flowers
Plant new flowers
Refill bird feeders 

Currently reading:::: I've been reading the Mara Dyer trilogy by Michelle Hodkin.  Also re-reading Gone with the Wind. 

On the TV today:::: Charmed, Outlander, The Dead Files. 

I am thinking.. that I am tired!

I am thankful...for my family.

One of my favorite air conditioner!  LOL 

I am wearing...Jean capris, a black tank top and a black and white t-shirt. 

I am learning... that it is hard to be the mean mom - but sometimes it is a necessity. 

In the schoolroom... Still light summer schedule.  We will start 11th grade next month! 

In the garden... Lost one plant this week - bought 3 more!  lol  As much as I watered it - just wasn't enough I guess.  

A moment from my day... Paying for groceries - the young man cashier told me MUCH more than I ever needed to know about the Gem and the Holograms movie! 

Favorite blog posts or pins from this week::: 

Favorite picture from the camera: 

Prayers, Inspirational Quotes or Devotionals::::
Wow.  Everyone needs prayer.  We Christians have GOT to work together because our nation OUR NATION - is falling apart.  If we don't do something - and SOON - the downhill slide of our country will just snowball until it is completely unrecognizable as the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.  

Also linking with Menu Plan Monday @ 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Delilah by Angela Hunt - Book Review

Delilah is the third in the Treacherous Beauty series by Angela Hunt.  I feel that each book is a stand alone and can easily be read in any order.  

Everyone knows the story of Samson and Delilah from the Bible.  But one thing we don't know is what Delilah was like growing up.  What was her home life like?  What lead her to betray Samson in such a way?  

This books answers those questions using Hunt's gift of story telling.  The novel follows the factual account of the Bible carefully interwoven with fiction.  It blends perfectly and reads like a tragic love story. 

I spent most of this book feel sorry for Delilah, feel compassion and understanding for most of her decisions; however, at the end of the book, I was still angry and broken with her decision to betray Samson.  I love how Hunt was able to play with my emotions, drawing me in to like Delilah - and then at the end reminding me exactly why she is one of the BAD GIRLS of the Bible! 

I'll admit, I put off reading this book because I was afraid it was going to be dry.  I am very happy to say that this book is colorful, accurate, interesting, and most of all is a wonderful read.  I plan to read the other books in the Treacherous Beauty line.  In fact, I just purchased "Esther"!   I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

About the author: (from 

Christy-Award winner Angela Hunt writes for readers who have learned to expect the unexpected in novels from this versatile author. With over four million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the best-selling author of more than 100 works ranging from picture books (The Tale of Three Trees) to novels.

Now that her two children are grown, Angie and her youth-pastor husband live in Florida with Very Big Dogs (a direct result of watching Sandlot too many times). This affinity for mastiffs has not been without its rewards--one of their dogs was featured on Live with Regis and Kelly as the second-largest canine in America. Their dog received this dubious honor after an all-expenses-paid trip to Manhattan for the dog and the Hunts, complete with VIP air travel and a stretch limo in which they toured New York City. Afterward, the dog gave out paw-tographs at the airport.

When she's not home writing, Angie often travels to teach writing workshops at schools and writers' conferences. And to talk about her dogs, of course. 

Readers may visit her web site at
*I was given a free electronic copy of "Delilah" by Bethany Books and NetGalley for my honest review*