Sunday, January 21, 2018

Happy Homemaker Monday January 22nd, 2018

THE WEATHER::  Upper 30s, lower 40s.  Lots of rain.  Eh.  I don't like the in-between weather. 

RIGHT NOW I AM:: Meal prepping for the week. 

PLANNING:: Not much.  Life is blessedly slow right now. 

ON MY READING PILE::  I just finished Find Me Unafraid by Kennedy Odede & Jessica Posner   I have mixed feelings on this one.  I will post a review in a day or two!  

Right now I am reading In the Woods by Tana French 

and Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance 

ON MY T.V.::  Still binging Hawaii 5-0 (in season 3) and started watching E.R. from the beginning on Hulu.  Oh, and all of my YouTube videos!

FAVORITE BLOG/VLOG THIS WEEK::  Another very cool junk journal! 

FAVORITE THING OF THE WEEK::  Finishing my first junk journal. 

SUNDAY:  Chicken and gravy with 2-ingredient dough biscuits  (WW point friendly) 
MONDAY:  Dinner with a friend
TUESDAY:  Turkey tacos with pinto beans
WEDNESDAY:  Pork chops with corn and Spanish rice 
THURSDAY: Taco pasta salad (using leftover turkey taco meat) 

FRIDAY:  Herbed baked fish, baked potatoes, green beans
SATURDAY:  Dinner @ Dad's house 

TO-DO LIST:: Very mundane things.  Work, homeschool, Bible study, Weight Watchers, housework. 



My youngest @ 7, 12, and 17.  She'll be 18 in 3 weeks!  Ack!  My baby!  <3 

WHAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO::  Just the simple things.  Being at home with the kids, reading, being cozy. 

CRAFTING:: Finished my first junk journal!  I'm using it as a memory journal. 

GRATEFUL:: Very grateful for the simplicity of life right now.  I pray that it remains for a long time. 

BIBLE STUDY:: Continuing on with my God & Glam Living the Christian Year study & starting Candace Payne's Defiant Joy study that starts today! 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Happy Homemaker Monday for January 15th, 2018

THE WEATHER::  It's a very traditionally cold January type of weather this week.  Highs in the 20s.  We might get some snow mid-week. 

RIGHT NOW I AM:: Relaxing.  I just got back from Meijer for grocery shopping and Dollar Tree for some fun goodies.  

PLANNING:: The kids and I are going over to my dad's this evening.  I'm going to make everyone dinner.  Meatloaf, potato wedges, veggies, and a big salad.  

ON MY READING PILE::  I finished "Caroline: Little House Revisited".  You can read my review HERE. 

I'm mid-way through "Find Me Unafraid". I started this book a long time ago, took a break and now I am back.  

I started Tana French's "In the Woods" last night.  It was on sale for Kindle at 2.99 and I have heard good reviews.  

ON MY T.V.::  
Binge watching Hawaii 5-0  
YouTube videos 

FAVORITE BLOG/VLOG THIS WEEK::  I really, REALLY want to make one of these amazing "junk journals". I love how this YouTuber uses hers to document her everyday life.  I've already purchased some of the materials needed!  Squeeeee! 

FAVORITE THING OF THE WEEK::  How happy and appreciative my dad was when I cooked dinner for the family on Saturday.  I wish he would let me do more for him.  I would cook him dinner every night if he'd just let me! 


BREAKFASTS:: I plan to try the two-ingredient dough that has broken the internet! Not sure how I'll use it yet, but most likely I will try these everything bagels. 

Breakfast hash using Simply Potatoes 

Skinny Ms. Chickpea Mediterranean Rice 

Also going to make a chicken and vegetable stir-fry over quinoa 

Slender Kitchen's Lemon and Broccoli Pasta with Shrimp 

Spaghetti & Turkey Meatballs
Turkey tacos 

Slow Cooker Cajun Red Beans and Rice 

Fish Taco Cabbage Bowl

WINNING RECIPE OF LAST WEEK::  Super simple but it will definitely go into the rotation.  It was quick, easy, and yummy.  (p.s.  I used the Aldi multigrain wraps) 


Sunday:  Meal prep, clean, Bible study 
Monday:  Work, pick up a few odds and ends @ Aldi 
Tuesday:  Gym, work, Weight Watcher's Meeting, Bible study, read 
Wednesday:  Gym, work, doctor's appointment (finally getting my knee checked out) 
Thursday:  Work, visiting a friend 
Friday:  Gym, work, thrifting with Emme 
Saturday:  Family day with kids and family 


(My main planner) 

 (My health/fitness planner) 

TRYING TO BE CREATIVE::  I am going to try and make this $2 heart garland from Tater Tots & Jello.   I bought the ribbon and felt hearts, so I am ready to go! 


WHAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO::   After hurting my knee AGAIN - I am looking forward to being completely independent again.  I have had to rely on my daughters to help more with the housework and shopping, etc.  While I think they need to do their share, I don't want them to HAVE to do it because I'm unable.  

GRATEFUL:: Wednesday morning I was on my way to work.  It had been warmer on Tuesday and a lot of the snow melted, so there was a sheet of ice on everything.  I slid through at least 3 stop signs.  It was the kind of ice you can do nothing about.  At a stop light after a mild curve, I was going very slow and started to pump my brakes and I started to fishtail and slide into the car in front of me. I was able to steer into the median, praying the whole time that I didn't hit anyone.  I missed hitting a pole in the median by less than a foot when I finally was able to stop.  Then I saw in my rearview mirror a black SUV hitting the same patch of ice and doing a full 360 before sliding toward us.  I started praying again and he was able to find some control.  I was SO SO grateful to God that I was able to avoid hitting anyone or anything!  I felt God with me, that's for sure!  <3 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

"Caroline: Little House Revisited" Book Review

My personal review:  ***  Three stars 

From Amazon:  In the frigid days of February, 1870, Caroline Ingalls and her family leave the familiar comforts of the Big Woods of Wisconsin and the warm bosom of her family, for a new life in Kansas Indian Territory. Packing what they can carry in their wagon, Caroline, her husband Charles, and their little girls, Mary and Laura, head west to settle in a beautiful, unpredictable land full of promise and peril.

I really wanted to love this book.  I was SO excited to find it on sale for my Kindle.  I chose it to be my first read of 2018.  But unfortunately, I did not love it.  

There were so many references to the stories I read growing up and the t.v. show I watched into adulthood that there were warm, happy feelings reading parts of this book. Laura's precociousness, Charles' great love for the West and hard work ethic, Mr. Edwards' jovial personality - all of these things made the book worthwhile.  

It was Caroline herself that ruined it for me.  She was just miserable.  She held in all of her feelings and shunned herself for having any.  She got very tangential and at times even seemed a little bit loopy in the head.  It was not the "Ma" that I knew and loved.  

At first I thought it might just be me!  But then I went and read some of the other reviews on GoodReads and Amazon and I see that there were plenty of other readers like me who were disappointed in Caroline's portrayal.  HOWEVER - there are plenty of other people who just love it.  

If you are a diehard Little House fan, give it a go. Maybe you'll be one of the people who gushed and gave it five stars.  Personally, I think I will go and re-read the originals. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Reading Plans & Book Challenges for 2018

My goal is to read at least 52 books in 2018.  I have found a couple of challenges and a book club that I will follow along with.  I pick and choose what best fits in with my life, so I don't really follow any one thing completely.

About 10 of the books I read last year fell under the Modern Mrs. Darcy challenge.  I read 3 books by the same author, a book set in a place that I want to visit, a book over 500 pages, a classic, a re-read, etc.  This year I plan to read most of the items on the list above! It puts some intention into my reading.

One book I already have planned for MMD for "memoir, biography, book of essays" is

"Just Kids: Patty Smith" 

Another challenge that I plan to work off of this year is the Book Riot Read Harder challenge. 

Here is a link to a printable pdf of the Book Riot challenge

This challenge has very diverse labels and I am excited about changing up my regular reading.  For a "Western", I plan to read Lonesome Dove, by  Larry McMurtry. 

I love the ladies and the leader, Lisamarie Landreth, of the Paper and Glam Book Club.  I have chosen to read at least two of the books they have chosen for this year.

In May we will be reading "Alice's Adventure's in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll.  Barnes and Noble online had this beautiful hardcover on sale before Christmas for around $8.

In October the group is reading "Interview with the Vampire" by Anne Rice.  A long-time favorite of mine, I look forward to re-reading this.  I got a gorgeous hardcover copy of this one at the same BN sale.  It was $10.

A third book I may read with them is the Hemingway classic, "A Moveable Feast".  I am not a fan of Hemingway, but I think it's time I gave him another shot.  We shall see!

Those are just a few of my reading plans for the year.  If you want to keep up with what I am reading, you can follow me on Goodreads by clicking the link below!

A final P.S. If you want a head's up on what books to look out for this winter and spring, check out THIS POST by The Millions! 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Happy Homemaker Monday for January 8th, 2018

THE WEATHER::  We're finally coming out the other side of a polar vortex.  Last week with the windchill we got as low as -20.  This week we may hit 50.  I, myself, prefer the cold. 

RIGHT NOW I AM:: Catching up on Empire.  

PLANNING:: My best friend is coming from New Hampshire for a visit this weekend.  I'm super excited to see her! 

ON MY READING PILE::  I'm reading "Caroline: Little House Revisited" by Sarah Miller.  It's the Little House story told through the eyes of "Ma".  

ON MY T.V.::  
Chicago Fire/P.D./Med 
When Calls the Heart 
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman 
Bring It 
Criminal Minds
Hawaii 5-0
YouTube videos 


This vlog gave me some great ideas to try in my Bible journaling.  

FAVORITE THING OF THE WEEK::  Is it terrible to say my cat? 

Breakfasts:  Homemade egg "mcmuffins" or Lara bar
Lunches:  Turkey taco bowl w/ veggies 
Snacks:  Boiled eggs, string cheese, carrots, Greek yogurt 

MONDAY:  BBQ chicken flat bread pizza
TUESDAY:  Weight Watchers 0-point Chicken Enchilada Soup   (I didn't stir in the Greek Yogurt in the end)  

WEDNESDAY:  Marinated pork chops, Spanish rice, green beens
THURSDAY:  Dinner @ a friend's house 
FRIDAY:  My friend is in town - we'll cook dinner at my dad's, probably chicken 
SATURDAY:  Going out with my bestie 

Dinner @ a friend's 
Prepare for my bestie \


My new baby, isn't he cute?  I got him from a family who was going to take him to a shelter because of a family member with allergies.  He's 7 years old and his name is Mr. Beatnik.  He's a very good boy :) 

WHAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO::   My besties visit, of course!!!! 

GRATEFUL:: For my warm little house, my car running in this vicious cold, my kitties, and of course, family. 


Continuing on with the God and Glam "Living the Christian Year" Bible study  

I'm also doing this month's devotional from Her Binder Project - they have a free printable study monthly - really amazing.  Check them out! 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Stepping Out of Grief

It's been a frozen tundra here in Michigan for the past couple of weeks.  I am one of the very few who seem to enjoy it!  It makes one realize how blessed you are when you step inside of a warm little house, sit under old family quilts while reading a book, or having a kitty snuggling in your lap. 

2017 was really difficult for me.  Losing my mother early in the year painted the remainder of the months with grief.  The sting is still just as sharp when I need to call her to seek out her advice or when I go through the motions of a holiday without her magical touch to make it truly special.

I spent a lot of last year lost in the mind-numbing world of binge watching.  It was the most simple way to shut my thoughts off and have time pass. My reading suffered.  It was too difficult to raise that amount of attentiveness for very long. I only finished the year with perhaps 20 books read. 

My Bible and Bible study suffered along with me.  God and I had a lot of long, winding conversations during her illness and her death.  Then things got a little quiet afterward.  I was never angry at God for taking her, I didn't blame Him.  Or so I thought.  It took some soul-searching and songwriting to finally figure out that maybe I did blame Him a little bit after all. So we have been recovering and reconnecting over the past couple of months. 

What did come out of 2017 for me is a stronger reverence for extended family and friends, both old and new.  During our difficult time they knit together around us to keep us from falling.  With every stumble, I was picked up with a kind word, a prayer, or a shoulder to cry on.  I can't find the words to express how much this changed the experience from one of utter desperation to one of shared love and support. 

Taking a cleansing breath into the New Year, I plan to step out of my grief and try to move forward.  It's what she would have expected of me.