Monday, December 28, 2020

Happy Homemaker Monday - 12/28/2020

I am linking up with Sandra for Happy Homemaker Monday! 

I haven't blogged much in 2020.  In fact, I haven't done much of anything in 2020.  But after losing a friend 2 weeks ago, I realize how important it is to DOCUMENT.  I have very few things with my mother's handwriting on it.  If she had kept a blog?  I would have been RIVETED to every post.  So here's to hoping I can actually keep up with blogging this year and that someday it will be a comfort to my kids. 

♥♥What Has 2020 Taught Me♥♥   Good question.  So many things. Life is fragile and should be respected.  We need to be more grateful.  And more kind.  Even though we may live tens of thousands of miles apart, people on the other side of the world are going through a lot of the same things we are.  Made me felt like we were a single people for the first time in my life.  That the blessed life we live here in the US - even those of us with a relatively small income - have SO SO much that we take for granted.  And the "hardships" we faced with our lack of toilet paper stock and having the pasta and rice shelves empty made me realize even further how much we just expect every day.  Speaking to people in other countries such as India and the Philippines - can truly humble a person with so many options every day. 

♥♥The Weather♥♥  It has truly been a mild winter so far, much like last year. We will be in the low 30's for the beginning of the week.  We got around 3 inches on Christmas Eve, so we did have a white Christmas!  I loved it! 

♥♥How I am feeling this morning♥♥ Blessed! I have so many wonderful blessings in my life and I am so grateful for each and every one of them! 
♥♥On my mind♥♥ With the New Year right around the corner, I am thinking about so many things.  I lost a friend 2 weeks ago, younger than me.  I am really starting to think about getting my stuff in order! 
♥♥On the breakfast plate♥♥ I cooked up some potatoes and eggs this morning, topped with hot sauce! 

♥♥On my reading pile♥♥ Oh my!  So much!  I have lofty reading goals this year.  However, one of the first books I'll be reading this year was written by a friend of mine from  high school!  It is not one of my normal genres, but I know just from communicating with him that he is very funny and has a quick wit!  It arrived in the mail just this morning so therefore, I will be reading Tequila Vikings by Jim Park. 

♥♥On my tv♥♥ I watch Korean and Taiwanese dramas with my best friend in New Hampshire - so there will be at least one of those every week.  
*Goblin (AKA: Guardian: The Great and Lonely God - We finished this one 2 days ago and IT WAS INCREDIBLE!  If you have never watched international shows, I urge you to watch this one!) 
*Crash Landing Into You (another Korean drama I'm watching on my own)  
*Days of Our Lives 
*Grey's Anatomy
*YouTube favorites (Frugal Fit Mom, Amy Maryon, Crafty Girl, Thrifter's Anonymous)

♥♥On the menu this week♥♥
New Year new diet, right?  lol  Actually - I have been trying to eat more plant-based. My daughter Emily is vegan, so this way we can eat some meals together.  I still eat eggs and low-fat dairy - and meat is NOT completely off the menu, just eating way less of it! 

Monday - Smokey Potato Split Pea Soup with homeade bread
Tuesday - Chili Garlic Noodles with a side of steamed broccoli 

Wednesday - Puerto Rican Rice & Beans 
Thursday -  Game night with the family - having Pizza
Friday - (New Year's Day)  Chinese Food with my Dad, Sister's, kids, & nephew
Saturday - Red Lentil Dahl with Rice and side of roasted veggies 
Sunday - Filipino Spaghetti with garlicky green beans

♥♥From the camera♥♥  Caleb's Christmas cookies - I wonder when he will feel "too old" to decorate?  He's 11 this year.  He does enjoy cooking. 

♥♥Looking around the house♥♥♥♥Chore I'm not looking forward to today, or this week♥♥  Dishes.  ALWAYS dishes. 

♥♥To relax this week, I will♥♥ Do some light yoga, journal, Bible study, listen to music. 

♥♥On my prayer list♥♥ 
  • My best friend who fell and sprained her ankle last night
  • A work friend who lost someone close to her over the holiday
  • A friend who need extensive orthopedic surgery
  • Little Valentina, who has been in the hospital her entire 1-1/2 years of life
  • My family and friends

♥♥Devotional/Bible Verse♥♥

I received this Bible study for Christmas.  It is really in depth and goes from beginning to end!  You are supposed to finish it in a year, but I will be happy if I finish it in TWO!  lol Of course we are starting in Genesis.  It's funny (ironic) because my pastor was talking about the creation of Adam and Eve and to quote him ..... "Adam was FLOORED when he first saw Eve!"  

Thursday, December 24, 2020

My Five Favorite Reads of 2020

 I didn't have the greatest reading year.  In fact, I didn't read at all from about Mid-March until end of May (if I am remembering right).  I am ending the year (this is adding on 1 more book between today and the end of the year, I think that is fair) 56 books for the year.  My GoodReads goal was only 52 for the year, so we will go with that number being satisfying enough.  

These were all new authors to me!  And you will notice that two of Colleen Hoover's books took my top five!  I actually read a 3rd book from her and it was really great too! 

And it won't hurt to mention - these five books were ALL available on Kindle Unlimited! 

My #5 book for the year was: The Stationary Shopby Marjan Kamali

What I loved the most:  The setting and history of 1953 Tehran and the loveliness of the story. 

My #4 book for the year was: Layla by Colleen Hoover

What I loved the most: Very twisty!  I could have done without the sex scenes, but other than that, we had a love story, stalking, the paranormal - and a remarkable story teller!  I finished it in one day. 

My #3 book for the year was: Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah

What I loved the most:  The story was just BEAUTIFUL.  

My #2 book for the year was: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

What I loved the most:  The in depth story telling, the skeletons in the closet, the strong female characters. 

And my #1 favorite book of the year was: Verity by Colleen Hoover 

What I loved most: Another TWISTY book.  I loved the mystery of it all!  This was my first book by this author and her writing amazed me!  Couldn't wait to get back to reading it. 

Honorable mentions:  The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson, When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O'Neal, In An Instant by Susan Redfearn, and When I Was You by Minka Kent. 

2020 Was Awful & Other Things You Probably Already Know

 I haven't blogged much over the past year.  In fact, I haven't done much of ANYTHING in the past year.  I am the poster child for 2020.  Working from  home, college-aged kids taking classes from home, learning how to use Google Duo for doctor's visits, becoming BFF's with my Alexa Echo Dot because it brings me into the home of my true best friend in another state so we can watch Korean dramas together.  I think I've put gas in my car 4 times this year.  NO, I am not exaggerating.  I've become even better friends with Amazon, UPS, and FED EX.  My cats are so spoiled they want for nothing.  I've baked.  I've taken up bird watching.  I spruced up my outdoor space. I've stayed in my pajamas for days. My hair forgets what it was like NOT to be in a messy bun. I've DONE ALL the 2020.  

And let's not forget the mental health issues.  I was numb most of March and April.  Had to take time off of work because I could. not. get. out. of. bed.  I did all the right things.  Took short-term disability.  Sought out a therapist who would text me through panic attacks.  Adjusted medications. Stopped watching COVID numbers and nightly news broadcasts.  And that helped.  A little.  Went back to work before I was ready because the guilt of not working for "JUST" anxiety when there were so many worse things happening to people around the world..... 

And that ball of fear in the pit of my stomach when I thought of my 77-year-old dad without a full set of lungs still going into work every day.  My immune-compromised sister and best friend at the grocery stores.  Same issues we are ALL having and feelings we are all feeling and some of us can power through and others (like me) break.  

So to say this year has been difficult would be no surprise to anyone.  Because it has been that way for all of us.  And on top of pandemics and politics we've had our own issues to deal with. A sister with cirrhosis who starts drinking again after almost dying less than 3 years ago.  Another sister who (like you) has anxiety so bad she can't work.  A father whose business is kept open ONLY by the grace of God.  And that same father who wants YOU to learn the ropes of the business so he can retire. A friend who dies at age 48 of a massive heart attack.  A son who is exposed to COVID over and over at his work place and THEN nearly cuts off his thumb at this job and they don't allow him to go to the hospital. (OK, that was an exaggeration - but it was a deep cut and needed stitches and they basically taped it together on the job) A best friend who is on the verge of divorce after 20+ years of marriage.

But you know what?  I am, at this moment, remarkably well. Not because THINGS are well, because they aren't.  At least with the people I love.  

A couple of weeks ago I decided to dedicate 2021 to strengthening my relationship with God. And everything just fell into place.  Nothing changed.  Nothing except my focus.  And my perception. 

Almost every year since I was about 12, I have made New Year's Resolutions, or "goals" if you will.  I mostly forget them all by March - and that is really giving myself the benefit of the doubt there. I was working on that again for this year when I decided to just let all of those things come second to working toward being a better woman of God.  Everything else will fall under that title anyway.  Lose weight?  AKA redecorating the temple.  Up the credit score?  Better steward of what God gives me.  Start and maintain a morning routine?  Start my day in the Word. 

I'm stating my intention so I can come back here in a  year to see what happens....... 

For the first time in 2020, I am hopeful. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Back for a Read-A-Thon!


2020 has been tough.  For all of us.  Some people have read more books during this time than ever before, smashing their Goodreads goals and making it through this pandemic by living through different characters and imaginary places.  I have, unfortunately, been a part of the opposite group. My reading life has suffered.  I went several months without picking up a book or my Kindle.  I will just eek out my yearly book goal.  

January started out with me joining book challenges, noting read-a-thons in my planner, and listing classics I intended to read this year.  All that flew out of the window by March.  HOWEVER - I saw the Caffeinated Reviewer's post on Instagram for Ho-Ho-Ho RAT and decided to join in and get myself prepped and ready for new reading goals in 2021! 

The challenge started yesterday and I have finished one book so far.  I will post a review later today! 

                                                  Magnolia's Measure by Kimberly Grist 

Today I am starting another book by this author, A Fresh Start for Christmas

I"m also reading Debbie Mason's Mistletoe Cottage

And Fern Michael's Spirit of the Season

It's definitely important this year to read some uplifting seasonal books and get into the holiday festivities! 

Monday, August 3, 2020

Happy Homemaker Monday for August 3rd, 2020

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

It's been several months since I last posted.  COVID has made my anxiety/depression pretty uncontrollable, but I am trying to pull out of it. 

♥♥The Weather♥♥  
Our weather in Michigan has cooled off quite a bit.  This week will be upper 70s and lower 80s.  Some rain and possibly even some thunderstorms. 

♥♥How I am feeling this morning♥♥
I've been off for 4 days and would like another 4 days! 


♥♥On my mind♥♥
So much.  I overthink every single detail - which leads to worse anxiety and depression.  So I've been numbing my mind - also not good - with t.v. and reading.    

♥♥On the breakfast plate♥♥
Overnight oats w/ Vanilla Greek yogurt and pineapple topped with shredded coconut. 

♥♥On my reading pile♥♥
Just finished "If I Had Your Face" by Frances Cha.  It was a part of my work book club.  The author joined us from South Korea, it was very cool!  

I think I am going to start "One for the Black Bird, One for the Crow" 

♥♥On my tv♥♥
RE-binge watching Dance Moms
Binge watching Chicago PD
Homemaking Vlogs
Love Cuisine (A Tawainese drama that I am watching with my bestie in NH.  We watch 4-5 times a week and text while watching) 

On my TO DO list this week
1. Walmart pick-up (Ibotta Deals) 
2. Drop off dad's laundry 
3. Stop by CVS for prescription and coupon/extra bucks deals
4. Sign up for virtual volunteer work at or the Smithsonian.  Both of them need transcription and editing work.  My work will pay you for one day of volunteer work - so I want to get that figured out. 
5. Try and find the outdoor pet playyard at Aldi!  It's 19.99 and collapsable - but i could take one of my cats out on the porch with me <3 

♥♥On the menu this week♥♥

MONDAY through TH are all from Dinnerly.  

Monday - Teriyaki beef and broccoli over rice
Tuesday - Shrimp Souvlaki Pita with cucumber/feta/tomato salad 
Wednesday - Pork Ragu with Oreciette and green beams 
Thursday -  Spice rubbed pork tenderloin with corn and potatoes
Friday -   OUT - probably pizza

SAT and SUN meals courtesy of e-meals 

Saturday - BBQ Beef Crescent Ring
Sunday - Chicken, bacon, roasted corn salad wraps 

Looking around the house♥♥
My backyard is a jungle.  *sigh*  I hate to use heavy duty weed killer as I have small children on either side of me and we only have chain link fence.  There are also pets.  Most likely it will just have to be chain sawed down AGAIN.  My grass is cut and neat but the weeds!  They always get out of control by August.  

♥♥To relax this week, I will♥♥
Read, watch t.v., read blogs.  HOPEFULLY weather permitting get out on my back porch to watch the birds and write.        

♥♥On my prayer list♥♥
My son was working closely with a man who was diagnosed with COVID last week.  So far he has no symptoms, but I just hope he is also not a carrier.  Also a local baby girl named Valentina.  She is just over a year old and has never gone home from the hospital.  She has had multiple surgeries and procedures and sometimes cannot breathe on her own - but she's a fighter and she has stolen my heart.  

♥♥Devotional/Bible Verse♥♥

I am re-reading Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer and I purchased the study book too.  This anxiety and depression has really kicked my butt.  I need an extra SOmethING to push me in the right direction.  

Monday, March 9, 2020

Happy Homemaker Monday for March 9th, 2020

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

♥♥Ramblings♥♥  Has anyone tried Ibotta or Fetch Rewards?  I've been using them for about 2 months and I've earned a little over $40! Yesterday I got big boxes of Kellogg's cereal for 74 cents a box!  Prego spaghetti sauce for 49 cents - and last week I got some free yogurt, 1/2 price Quorn products and Boca burgers and Chik'n for more than 50% off.  3 lbs of free bananas too.  Just wondered if anyone else has used them.  

♥♥The Weather♥♥  It is sunny and will be almost 60 today!!  So excited.  Warmer weather is finally on the way! My cat is relishing sitting in the window warming himself! 

♥♥How I am feeling this morning♥♥  I have a lot to do. A little overwhelmed - a little mad at myself for not getting more done yesterday! 

♥♥On my mind♥♥         I have rented a car and a condo for mid-April to spend my 50th with my bestest in New Hampshire.  I have 10 days off work and I'm super excited about it.  I can't say that the whole Corona Virus thing doesn't hang over the whole thing - who knows what things will be like in mid-April?  But I will remain optimistic.  

♥♥On the breakfast plate♥♥   Chicken noodle soup  *shrug* 

♥♥On my reading pile♥♥   I just started Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude for an online read-a-long.  You can read about it HERE.  

♥♥On my tv♥♥

  • Criminal Minds
  • When Calls the Heart
  • Call the Midwife
  • YouTube videos

♥♥On the menu this week♥♥

Sunday - Shrimp Lo Mein (i got a great deal on shrimp @ Kroger!)
Monday - Lentils and Rice 
Tuesday - KFC bowls made with Boca Chik'n patties w/ green beans
Wednesday - Shrimp Fajitas n
Thursday -  Out for dinner - probably Pizza 
Friday - Pho noodle bowls using Trader Joe's Miso Ginger broth 
Saturday - Veggie burgers with sweet potato fries 

♥♥Looking around the house♥♥  Ahhhh you guys there is so much to do! BOTH of my daughters are not feeling well (I had stomach flu and now Jennah has it - Emily with stomach ache) so they are in bed today and this is usually our cleaning day (typing this up Sunday) So I am going to do what I can do and the rest will just have to wait until they are feeling better :) 

♥♥Chore I'm not looking forward to today, or this week♥♥  Today my least favorite chore will be dishes - as per usual!  lol 

♥♥To relax this week, I will♥♥

  • Read
  • Bible study
  • Watch t.v. *shrug*  I'll admit I watch too much 
  • Write letters to my penpals 

♥♥On my prayer list♥♥  My heart is breaking for so many people the world over right now.  The people of Nashville who lost loved ones,  homes, and businesses.  I have family very close to Nashville, who I was very happy to hear from after I saw the news of the tornado!  The people in China where the hotel they were using for quarantining collapsed.  Pain on top of pain there.  The people of Iraq - so many kind, wonderful people living under a regime of evil and control - and on top of it the virus is running through them so quickly.  Italy - where Milan and Venice are under lockdown.  All of the families who have lost people here in the US - and those who are suffering.  The people who are on the THREE cruise ships that are hot spots.  People in the riots in India.  Our President and Vice President - they are coming under a lot of fire right now for many reasons.  My family and friends.  

♥♥Devotional/Bible Verse/Study♥♥  I am just about to start my next Bible study - Beth Moore's David study.  Super excited to start! 

Monday, March 2, 2020

One Hundred Years of Solitude Read Along

I'm joining in with the "One Hundred Years of Solitude" read along, which starts on March 6th.  It's hosted by Silvia Cachia and A Great Book Study

You can find all the info HERE 

More great information plus a TED talk can be found HERE

I'm really excited to have this opportunity to read this book within a group setting.  It is on Master List of 52 Classics that I would like to read.  I got utterly far behind as I didn't read a single classic in 2019!  

From Amazon:  One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendiรก family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad and alive with unforgettable men and women—brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul—this novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction.

The ladies have the read-along starting on the author's birthday and it ends on the date of his death. March 6th-April 17th! 

Here is a newspaper article about Gabriel Garcia Marquez's passing in 2014 which described him as "A giant of 20th century literature": Conjurer of Literary Magic 

"There are hits, and then there are smash hits, and then there are rocket ships to Mars—One Hundred Years of Solitude would qualify as the last."

Happy Homemaker Monday March 2nd, 2020

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

♥♥The Weather♥♥ 40's and 50's this week and plenty of sun!  Thank the Lord spring is on its way! 

♥♥How I am feeling this morning♥♥ Tired.  I've been sick and I am still dragging.  I don't have much of a cough, buy my lungs hurt and I have been having terrible body aches. 
♥♥On my mind♥♥ Of course I am going to post about the Coronavirus again.  I'm in Michigan and the closest cases to me are in Illinois and Wisconsin.  I've been reading too much and while I am far from panicking, I did get prepared.  We have at least 3 weeks worth of food, cat supplies, cleaning and paper supplies. I have seen that in places where there are a few more cases (WA, CA) that people are starting to panic and empty shelves.  With my back and leg issues, I'm physically incapable of standing in lines for hours and hours - so I feel a lot better knowing that I have what i need to take care of my family.  
♥♥On the breakfast plate♥♥ Garlic noodles?  Yeah.  It's that kind of day. 

♥♥On my reading pile♥♥ Did I finish a book last week?  OMgoodness I can't even remember! ๐Ÿ˜‚ I'm about 1/2-way through Winter World by A.G. Riddle.  Next up is Sharing Jesus by Jefrey McClain Jones.  This is the 3rd installment of the Seeing Jesus books.  The first two were really amazing! I'm also still reading Tess of the D'urbeyvilles - this will probably take me several weeks! 

♥♥On my tv♥♥ 
*When Calls the Heart 
*Criminal Minds
*Forensic Files II

♥♥On the menu this week♥♥ This week I'm going to prep a bunch of different things and I plan to mix and match them for lunches and dinners. As a reminder, I am working toward becoming vegetarian. I still have turkey bacon on the menu this week as I am using up what I had in the freezer. 

You also may notice a lot of Boca products mentioned.  That's because I combined Fetch and Ibotta rewards to get them on the cheap!  Regularly 2.88 per box @ Walmart.  I bought 6 and received $6.00 from Ibotta and 2.50 from Fetch! It ended up being very close to half price.  I got the All American burgers for me, "turkey" burgers for Emily (they are vegan) and 2 boxes of Chik'n for us both. 

  • Roasted, diced sweet potatoes
  • Sauteed mushrooms, garlic, onions
  • Brown rice
  • Roasted chick peas
  •  Salmon
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Crispy tofu (1/2 marinated in Soyaki, the other in peanut sauce) 
  • Roasted brussels sprouts, carrots, broccoli 
  • Vegetarian "grounds" cooked with spices and onions 
Breakfasts for the week will be my usual "hash"- eggs, turkey bacon, diced potatoes and sweet potatoes

Lunches  will mostly be Buddha bowls combining things from above. 

Sunday - Vegetarian double decker tacos (similar recipe in link)  

Monday - Ramen noodles with vegetables and crispy tofu with peanut sauce 
Tuesday - Chik'n "burgers" with sweet potato fries 
Wednesday - Korean Bibimbap 


Thursday -  Homemade bbq Chik'n pizza w/ red onion and arugula 
Friday - Pasta with vegetarian bolognese 
Saturday - Boca All American Burger and seasoned oven fries 

♥♥Looking around the house♥♥ I've been doing laundry and dishes while meal prepping today.  That's about it.  I was planning on getting some spring cleaning done this weekend - but I don't feel fully recovered from this stomach bug I had.  I just feel weak and achy mostly. 

♥♥Chore I'm not looking forward to today, or this week♥♥ Anything that involves leaving the house!  ๐Ÿ˜„

♥♥To relax this week, I will♥♥ 
* Read
* Bible study
* TV 

♥♥On my prayer list♥♥
*The President and Vice President - they are getting hit really hard with how they are handling this virus - no matter what they do.  Prayers that they keep the faith and make the hard decisions. 
*All those afflicted with the coronavirus.  China, Iran, and Italy (60 countries in total I believe) 
*Our country - praying that people will be kind to one another! 
*My family and friends 

♥♥Devotional/Bible Verse/Study♥♥
I'm starting my last week of the Seamless study.  It's been a great foundation to start the year on.  So happy that I chose it. I ordered my next study as I wanted to be able to jump right in.  It's the Beth Moore study "David: Seeking a Heart Like His".  

Sunday, March 1, 2020

The Monday Book Report, Edition #17

I am linking up with 



Bible study: David: Seeking  A Heart Like His by Beth Moore

Free Monthly Book from Kindle First Reads: 

1. Wall of Silence 

Borrowed from Kindle Unlimited: 
1. Sharing Jesus 
2. Walk Two Moons 

3. Darkness Falls  (another apocalyptic book - seeing a theme? ๐Ÿ˜‚ ) 

WHAT DID I READ THIS WEEK:  I didn't finish a single book this week. *sigh*  I'm about 1/2-way through "Pandemic" by A. G. Riddle 

WHAT ARE MY READING PLANS FOR THE UPCOMING WEEK: Finish Pandemic and read Sharing Jesus. 

READATHONS FOR THE UPCOMING WEEK:  A new month and new read-a-thons!  

- MAR -
1-31 | Hamilthon
1-31 | Hypeathon
1-31 | The Irish Readathon
1-31 | March Mystery Madness
1-31 | March of the Mammoths
1-31 | Sims-a-thon
1-31 | Women's History Month Readathon

I may join the Women's History Month Read-a-thon: 

MY BOOK MINISTRY: I brought 5 books to the Little Free Library yesterday, including "The Book Thief" and "The Shack".  I noticed that the last books that I left were taken!