Sunday, December 30, 2018

Happy Homemaker New Year Monday

Welcome to this week's Happy Homemaker Monday.  I am linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.  

The weather::: Two months of gray dreariness and no snow.  It's beyond depressing. (Ok, ok - it's sunny today) 

On my reading pile::: I started reading two books that I've been waiting for to come available at my library: 

Girl, Wash Your Face 

The Prayer Box 

Movies or Shows I watched this weekend::: I watched "The Count of Monte Cristo" last night with my sweetheart.  We also watched the Robert Redford version of "The Great Gatsby" earlier this week.  

I watched the much talked about "Bird Box" on Netflix.  It was pretty good.  I read the book a couple of years back and it was MUCH better!  

Currently watching one of my favorites, "Under the Tuscan Sun" 

On my TV::: Days of Our Lives, Y&R 

On the menu for this week:::
Sunday:  Pizza 
Monday:  NYE dinner with my Sweetie 
Tuesday: NYD dinner with my family, the tradition for us is Chinese food 
Wednesday:  Spiced lentils and rice 
Thursday: Tacos
Friday: Dinner with family: TBD
Saturday:  Leftovers of some sort 

On my to do list::: 
Getting rid of this terrible cold/flu dealio 
Taking down the Christmas tree and decorations
Organizing the house/closets/drawers, etc
Spend time with my honey

What I am crafting or creating::: I was seriously busy over the Christmas season - just as many of you were as well.  I really want to start a new junk journal to use as a scrapbook/diary for my new relationship.  I have the supplies ..... just need to get started! 

Happening this week::: New Year's Eve of course.  For the first time in a very long time I will not be at home asleep at midnight!  

Looking around the house::: I've been getting things cleaned and organized but there is always more to do. 

What I'm wearing today::: Not leaving the house today - so in my comfie clothes to clean in! 

One of my simple pleasures::: Reading blogs and watching YouTube videos.

Bible verse, Devotional::: 1 John 4:15, NIV: "If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God." 

Book Review: Julia's Hope by Leisha Kelly

I first heard of this book from another blogger, and I apologize for not getting her name!  After reading that review, I found the book in the most charming used bookstore in Cheboygan, MI, while on a short vacation.  Purple Tree Books. 

Leisha Kelly is a new author to me, but after finding out more about her, I see that she has published many books since this one.  She has found a new loyal reader! Her books can be found on Kindle Unlimited.  Right now they have an offer to join for three months for just 99-cents, so I re-upped my membership just to continue with this series!

"Julia's Hope" can most definitely be read as a stand-alone novel.  In a word, it is charming.  The characters are vivid and flawed.  There is faith through trial, kindness from strangers, judgment from neighbors, and joy in simplicity. 

The story takes place in 1931, shortly after the Great Depression.  A typical family loses everything and travels (a lot of the time by foot) through the MidWest toward Illinois, hoping for a stable job for father, Samuel.

When their hopes are dashed and they are contemplating heading back home, they happen upon an empty farmhouse.  What they find there is more than they ever expected.

4.5 stars


Like countless others in 1931, Samuel Wortham lost his job. And he lost his wife's inheritance, their home, and much of his self-respect. Samuel, his wife, Julia, and their two young children hitchhike from Pennsylvania to Illinois in hope of work. Caught on the road by a sudden storm, the Worthams take shelter in an abandoned farmhouse out of desperation.

Feeling oddly at home, Julia insists on finding the owner of the property, despite Samuel's objections, and asks for permission to stay. The owner is Emma Graham, a woman in her eighties who longs for home but can no longer live by herself. Emma and the Worthams work out a plan to live there together and restore the farm. Samuel struggles with not being able to provide for his family, and Julia and the kids confront unpleasant surprises when a busybody neighbor turns against them. 

Julia's Hope is an endearing story of faith and faithfulness as Emma teaches the Worthams to live fully, give generously, and love unconditionally. She insists that the family grow where they are planted, like the garden they tend, and each member of the family is forever changed by her wisdom.

Half finished HHM

I am linking up with Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy Homemaker Monday

The weather in my neck of the woods..... For a month now I've been complaining of gray weather and no snow.  This week is no different! 

Right now I am.... Cooking a meal to bring to my dad,

Thinking about.... I have a date tomorrow night that I am very excited about!  And VERY nervous! 

On the blog last week..... Only HHM.  It has been a very busy week. 

On my reading pile....  

On my TV..... I watched a couple of Christmas movies on Hallmark this week, but that was all. 

Movie of the week...... My sister, nephew and I are going to see Emmett Otter's Jugband Christmas on the big screen today!  Very excited about that!  I love that movie, it never gets old. 

On the menu for this week....
Sunday - Roasted vegetables and rice 
Monday - Date night!  I won't be cooking anything. 
Tuesday - 
Wednesday - 
Thursday - Herb-crusted cod, rice pilaf, steamed broccoli 
Friday - 
Saturday - Spinach and feta turkey meatballs over Greek ziti 

Hello, Goodbye

At this point in the year, most people take stock of what has happened over the past 52 weeks and what they would like to see happen for the next 52.  Whether you call them "resolutions" or not, a lot can be said for planning ahead, setting goals, and ruminating over what you've accomplished (or not!) since you last set such ambitions.

I've decided to take a different approach, and list the things I said hello and goodbye to in 2018.  I was thinking about it on my drive in to work this morning.  My life has been pretty stagnant over the past five years, without any big personal changes.  I'd like to see that shift in 2019.  I guess it's time to take some chances.


  • In March I said goodbye to working side-by-side with one of my best friends.  I miss her every day!  It hasn't been the same around here since she's left. 
  • A very sad goodbye to a dear friend of mine just a few weeks ago.  She passed away after being in a coma for 10 days. 
  • On a positive note, I said goodbye to 42 pounds.  I didn't lose as much as I wanted to, but then again, I guess it's better than nothing! 
  • A temporary goodbye to the gym, while not canceling the membership!  Hahahaha.  
  • Said a permanent goodbye to Mr. On-Again-Off-Again. We remain good friends. 


  • In March I received a promotion, becoming the office manager as well as head biller at my job.  Not sure the stress of it has been a positive thing. 
  • In April my entire family said hello to my sister's diagnosis of end-stage liver disease.  We came very close to losing her the week of my birthday.  It has been a roller-coaster ride since then, with dozens of doctors, classes, labs, procedures, tests, etc. to get her on the transplant list.  Thank God she is doing remarkably well right now. 
  • I joined the Classics Club to encourage myself to read more of the classics this year!  It's been wonderful finding others that are passionate about Austen, Dickens, Salinger, the Brontes.  
  • On the same note, I started doing a little bit of book blogging (which I plan to continue because, well BOOKS) and did a read-a-thon.  
  • I met two new friends through the Victorian Letter Writer's Guild!  I love snail mail and it has just been so lovely corresponding with them both so far!  I hope to meet more interesting ladies next year as well. 
  • And the best hello of 2018 was most definitely a surprise.  I decided to accept a date, which led to another and another.  I now have the most wonderful boyfriend and I am grateful for him every day.  

Sometimes when we look back over a year (or even a decade!) we may not see the growth that we have desired.  You can either beat yourself up, which I have been known to do, or you can feel blessed with what has happened and strive to live more often in those moments of joy.  

Happy New Year!