Monday, January 30, 2012

Happy Homemaker Monday

It's Monday again.  I'm more of a happy work-from-homemaker/homeschooler today, lol!  Please visit Sandra's blog every Monday to see who else is happily taking care of their homes and families!

The weather:::
We had a touch of snow yesterday and it was very cold this morning when I took the two older kids to school.  My fingers were freezing!  About 27 degrees now :)

On my reading pile::: 
Just finished up "
Kisses from Katie" - an amazing story and a must read! 
Just beginning "Voyager", the third in Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series. 
Just finished reading the book of James in the Bible, now doing a short study on Mark.

On my TV:::
Not much of anything.  I will probably catch up on "Grey's Anatomy" on Hulu like I do every week.  Really wanting a super good BBC production or a lovely historical movie.... any suggestions?

On the menu for this week:::
 You can see my entire menu plan here:  Menu Plan Monday  including links to recipes and some pictures.

Monday -  Creamy chicken noodle bake with green beans

On my to do list:::
WORK:  Paperwork, mail, phone calls, return e-mails, list-making, & typing
Housework - Deep cleaning the kitchen counters, stove, refrigerator.  General picking up, dusting, organizing, daily chores.

What I am pinning on Pinterest::: (creative ideas since I am not very creative!)
From Dollar Store Crafts - a hanging herb dryer!  I thought it would be super cute if you painted the picture frame a shabby-chic color!   You can follow me on Pinterest :) 

In Homeschooling:::
There are a lot of changes going on in our little homeschool.  We are finishing up our study of Benjamin Franklin this week, continuing with French, working on the main idea in language, convection in science, and the Great Awakening in social studies - to name a few. 

Looking around the house:::
Castleville is on another tab so I can feed my chickens every ten minutes to make boiled eggs!  LOL  Paperwork is everywhere :(  Dishwasher is running.  Emily's school books are next to me waiting to start for the day!  (We do 2nd shift homeschool as we are not early risers!)

Something fun to share:::
I found a new cooking blog last night while (what else) pinning recipes on Pinterest!  It's called
Plain Chicken


On my prayer list:::
My children
My best friend who is recovering from shoulder surgery
My parents
Children in the Amazima project in Uganda

Bible verse, Devotional:::

I am starting a brand new Bible study today on the book of Mark.  Very happy about it! 
Part of Mark 1:17 - I think it says it all when Jesus proclaims "Come, follow Me!" 

Menu Plan Monday

I'm linking up my menu plan with the organizing junkie over at Menu Plan Monday!

I found a couple of recipes using what I (mostly) have on hand on Pinterest this week!  I do love pinning things, don't you?  You can follow me on Pinterest HERE. 

SUNDAY:  We had chicken enchiladas last night utilizing a little improvisation so I could use up things I had and not have to buy anything new!  I used leftover chicken that I cooked in the Crockpot the day before.

MONDAY:  Tonight I am making this creamy chicken noodle bake found on All Recipes.   Side of green beans.

TUESDAY:  Crockpot ham and potatoes with corn

WEDNESDAY:  Dinner with my parents

THURSDAY:  Spaghetti marinara with roasted cauliflower

FRIDAY:  Pizza burgers with seasoned french fries and baby carrots

SATURDAY:  Dinner with my parents

One thing I am making for lunch this week that I have been craving is tunafish sandwiches!!  I will also make a pot of bean with pasta soup, which I make a few times a month because I love it so much!

And a most definite recipe to try with the kids on Saturday morning.....

Breakfast cups!

Have a very blessed week with your families!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

52 Books in 52 Weeks

Of course no one who knows me will be at all surprised that I am behind on posting about the books I have read so far this year! 

The 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge is on week number five, hence it should be book number five; however, I am going to be posting about my first three books today! I'll be linking up here! 

You see, I started the year off reading Diane Gabaldon's Outlander

These are truly epic novels. 

I remember last year Googling "top historical fiction books" and the Outlander series topped many lists.  I kept it in the back of my head but didn't move forward.  Then the first in the series was offered for FREE for Nook one day and I snatched it up.  I still didn't begin reading it.  Stubborn woman that I am!!  Finally, a friend of mine also got a Nook and she was perusing my library and saw the book there.  She was so excited and she asked me if I loved it as much as she had!  That she had read the first five in the series.  Well, I figured I had enough nudging in that area and I might as well make it my first book of 2012!

The characters in "Outlander" are so rich and the history of the mid 1700s Scottish Highlands so vivid that you are transported along with the main character back in time.  The main character is strong and admirable, making her own way in a man's world.  The love story is captivating and full of romance and chivalry.  (Not to mention some 1700s barbarism!)  There were nearly 900 pages in this first book and I was so engaged in the story that I took my Nook with me everywhere!  I stayed up late at night telling myself "just one more chapter"! 

Not one minute after I finished "Outlander", I was purchasing "Dragonfly in Amber", the second in the series. 

I truly can't go into detail without giving away the story.  I can only say that this books was just as good as the first one.  The characterization was delved into even more deeply.  The romance and love between Claire and Jamie had me in tears more than once, and as the book closed, my heart was aching for the two of them.

                                                                (photo credit)

And yes, I did indeed purchase book three (which I have not started yet) "Voyager".  An impressive 1,005 pages long! 

And the third book of 2012 is completely different from the first two.  It is the story of a young woman who, after her highschool graduation, leaves an affluent family, their dream of her college education, and a beloved boyfriend behind, to move to Uganda. 

"Kisses From Katie"  is a true story written by an amazingly selfless girl who felt strongly led by God to move to Uganda and spread love to the people, and especially the children.

Katie still lives in Uganda and has adopted 14 little orphaned girls, has sent hundreds of children to school, and helps to feed and educate the local villages.  She started a nonprofit organization and feels so blessed with life she doesn't know what to do with herself. 

Here is Katie's blog - The Journey if you want to see what she is doing for yourself!!

I am going to try and finish all 1,005 pages of "Voyager" by Friday so that I can be back next week!


Plan-Ahead Sunday

Oh my but it's been a week!  It's a cold, blustery Sunday here in the Detroit area and I seem to be coming down with something unsavory!  Body aches, sore throat, etc.  Could be worse!

Tonight I am going to make some chicken enchildadas.  Thanks to you, Pinterest

The original recipe comes from the Women Living Well blog, which I also love. 

I have most of the ingredients and what I don't have, I will simply improvise, LOL.  That's the name of the game here in my kitchen!  (I will post my entire menu plan in another post later today)

I have a ton of paperwork to get through today for work as well - mostly just organizing into 'like' piles!  It's going to be a busy week ahead and anything I can do to make things easier I'll appreciate later in the week.

I'm going to be lesson planning today as well.  Emily started French last week and she learned the alphabet, numbers 1-10, and 10 family words.  Thankfully her memory is better than mine!  We're taking two weeks to do an in-depth study of Ben Franklin (tomorrow starts our 2nd week) as well.  Last week was mostly basics and this week we will do a lap book, watch some videos, do a web-quest and who knows what else I will think of!  I will be posting our entire unit study with links on my homeschool blog later this week!

In "fashion" this week (hahahaha i jest!)  there was nothing notable!  I tried a new patterned manicure which was an epic fail.  This week I plan on doing a manicure I saw (where else?) Pinterest!  I think I have the polishes to get the desired effect:

I also have been searching for a dress to wear to my Goddaughter's wedding in June, in New Hampshire.  I'm going to keep searching and will share a few of my favorites next week.

I am trying to follow the 52 Books in 52 weeks challenge this year.  I will only have 3 books under my belt for January; however, 2 out of the 3 were almost 900 pages long!  So I will forgive myself and move on :)   I will be doing book reviews separately, so won't post them here.  I will say that two of the books are from Diane Gabaldon's Outlander series and they are!!!   I read probably about 80% Christian books (or have for the past several  years) so this one has much more language, violence, and sex than the books I am accustomed to reading - but the story and the characters!  Oh my!  I plan to read the entire series!!

I finally finished the 7-week Bible study of James using Beth Moore's James: Mercy Triumphs

This is the first time I have used a Beth Moore study and I have to say, it was so incredible!  I want to do the Jesus: 90 Days with the One and Only study next!  I hope to start this next month so it will coincide with Easter.

I guess that will about do it for today.  I need to get going on cleaning, menu-planning, lesson-making, paper-sorting, etc! 

Have a blessed day,


Friday, January 20, 2012

Divine Intervention

Do you ever have nights where you can't sleep?  Tossing and turning with your mind racing to and fro?  I was examing my life.  41 years old and where am I?  Divorced.  Job on the fritz.  Living in an apartment decorated in hand-me-downs and thrift store finds.  Dating someone new and not sure he's right for me.  Dragging my feet on Sunday mornings going to church.  Not finding joy in homeschooling like I used to.  Procrastinating.  I looked at all areas of my life - mother, daughter, Christian, employee, friend, future partner - and I can't find ONE area where I excel.  I feel like I am holding on by my finger tips in every single area. 

I finally had to recite all of the things that the Lord is to me in order to fall asleep. 

The Lord is my strength.

The Lord is my hope.

The Lord is my protector.

The Lord is my creator.

The Lord is my PEACE.

The Lord is my savior. 

And on and on and on listing every possible name I could come up with for Him.  And you know what?  It worked.  I was filled with peace and I knew He heard me.

I pictured myself weeping at Jesus' knee with him touching my hair like I would do for my own child.  So vulnerable.  So bereft.  So discouraged. 

And I slept. 


I can't say I woke up with all the answers.  But I do have hope.  I do have the peace knowing that God is with me every step of the way & He will guide me. 

He knows I am trying.  He knows that I don't want to give up.  He knows I want to improve in all of these areas. 

So that's where I am at right now.  Leaning heavily on the Lord.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Homemaker Monday

A very late entry - but we all have those days!!!  I am joining again this week at Sandra's Happy Homemaker Monday!

The weather:::  We finally had some snow, but it is going to warm up into the 40's for a couple of days.  Bah.

On my reading pile::: I am about 1/4 of the way through the 2nd Outlander book, "Dragonfly in Amber" - didn't get a whole lot of reading done this week!

On my TV:::
Watched "Poltergeist II" and "Children of the Corn" last night, lol.  Tonight I started the series "A Dinner of Herbs" on Netflix, it is a Catherine Cookson miniseries.

On the menu for this week:::
You can see my entire menu plan HERE.  Tonight we had garlic cheddar pull-apart bread and stuffed shells.  It was super yummy!.

On my to do list:::  Sweeping and mopping floors tomorrow, along with vacuuming, laundry, etc! 

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating::: (I AM CHANGING THIS ONE TO HOMESCHOOL HAPPENINGS SINCE I AM NOT CRAFTY TOO OFTEN!!)   I downloaded Kindle for PC on my laptop to get some free classics for Emily to read.  (They were not available for free on my Nook)  She is going to start with "Alice in Wonderland".  We are also starting French lessons this week, at her request!

Looking around the house:::    I see our beloved cat Jasper hopping down off the windowsill, an oil lamp on my bedside table, and a disconcerting amount of paperwork  :( 

From the camera:::   I borrowed my sister's camera - so next week I will have a pic to share!

On my prayer list:::  Family, friends, church-members, military

Bible verse, Devotional::: Psalm 46:10 - Be still and know that I am God.  

Weekly Menu Plan

I didn't stick exactly to my menu plan last week - seems things always pop up at the last minute!  But I am not giving up on menu-planning!  It has saved my sanity plenty of times.

I am linking up to Menu Plan Monday!

Another very tight week in our household.  Please don't get me wrong, we are so blessed, just having a lean moment!  I'm using up absolutely everything we have in our cupboards and freezer this week!!  Next time I grocery shop I want to load up on some healthier items, as I can see we are pretty carb-laden.  I try and have at least one or two veggies with each meal. 

MONDAY:  Stuffed shells with cheesy-garlic pull-apart bread  (We just had this and it was SO good!  I made my own sauce out of what we had in the cupboards and it was quite good! Also, we used very inexpensive biscuits from Aldi, cheddar cheese I had left from tacos, garlic powder, and margarine - and it was still amazing!)  Seasoned broccoli.

TUESDAY:  Beef lo-mein with onion, garlic, carrots, broccoli, celery (made with Ramen noodles without the seasoning packet)

WEDNESDAY:  Kids and I have dinner with my parents and sisters

THURSDAY: Creamy chicken and rice with broccoli

I will be shopping on Thursday, so we will have a few more options at this point!  lol

FRIDAY:  KID'S CHOICE - Breaded chicken tenders (made from chicken breast & Italian crumbs) baked "fries" (potatoes cut into wedges with olive oil and garlic and baked in the oven) with green beans and baby carrots

SATURDAY:  Kids and I have dinner with my parents and sisters

SUNDAY:  Ham and potatoes in the Crockpot with corn (I don't put the cheese in with the ham and potatoes, but i do add corn, it's really good!  I also use Walmart or Aldi brand cream of mushroom)

                                                                   (photo credit)

BREAKFASTS:  I won't lie - we're down to oatmeal or Thomas' Everything Bagel thins w/ an egg.  Could be worse!! After Thursday there will be plenty to choose from :)

LUNCHES:  Leftovers.  Mac N Cheese w/ raw veggies.  Stir-fried veggies w/ rice. 

Have a blessed week!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Weekly Update - Books, Movies, & Food!

Sunday is always my plan-ahead day.  I make up my menu for the week, plan at least a couple of outfits, think about what manicure I'd like to do, fill in my Day Timer, lesson plan for Emme, and put together a visual in my head of what the week is going to look like. 

This week my boss is leaving town to visit his mother, so work will be at a minimum.  My Sweetness is pretty busy all week, but we will spend Tuesday together.  I have a lot of organizing to do in my home office (now that I have the time) - and plan to cook some very frugal meals seeing as I'm still broke!  lol

I also want to do several memes this week - some I have never done before and others I used to do but want to start up again. 

One thing I am doing right now is downloading Kindle for PC on the mini laptop!  I have a Nook Color and I love it beyond love - but there are several classics my daughter can read for school that are free on Kindle & not on Nook!  Also there is a book here and there for free on Kindle and not Nook - so why the heck not?? 

Speaking of my Nook, I am currently reading the 2nd in the Outlander series by Diane Gabaldon.  Dragonfly in Amber -  these books are amazing!

Tonight's dinner will be cumin-infused lentils and rice with a side of garlic broccoli. 

I'll be starting week 7 (final week) of the Beth Moore James study  and I really want to do her study on Jesus next!

Oh, and my Sweetness & I will be going to see the movie "A Joyful Noise" with Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton.  Looks good! Last week we saw "We Bought A Zoo" and I can highly recommend that as a good, entertaining family movie.

Hope you have a blessed week,


Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy Homemaker Monday

I have missed doing Happy Homemaker Monday for the longest time!  Sandra is just the kindest, most wonderful Internet friend to so many people!  I want you to know you are appreciated!

The weather:::
We still are not having the typical Michigan winter.  It's strange because most years people are walking around complaining to one another about the snow - and here we are complaining to everyone about the LACK of it!  Close to 50-degrees here today!

On my reading pile::: 
My Nook was under the weather (GASP!) for about a week so I just happily returned to the last 1/4 of "Outlander" by Diane Gabaldon.  An epic romance with time travel to the Scottish Highlands!
On my TV:::
If I am completely honest - I will be watching last week's "Grey's Anatomy" on tonight!  It's the one current tv show I actually still wath regularly!

On the menu for this week:::
Monday - Cinncinnati Chili Five Ways
Tuesday - Lemon pepper roasted chicken with potatoes, carrots, and green beans
Wednesday -  Dinner with my parents & kids
Thursday - Ham & Swiss Stromboli with a big green salad
Friday - Tacos with refried beans & spanish rice
Saturday - Dinner with my parents again :)

On my to do list:::
Work from home

  Looking around the house:::
A glass of Coke with ice, My Bible on top of my Beth Moore James study with colored pencils, discarded jewelry I took off in a rush! disorganized paperwork, my cat Sophie curled up on my bed.

From the camera:::

I am camera-less :(  

Something fun to share:::
I read on a blog somewhere (sorry!) where she took the tops of strawberries (red portion still attached) and placed them in a bundt pan, covered them with water, and made an ice wreath!  I thought this was SO cool!  It looked amazing and as it melts the birds will get some fruit. 

On my prayer list:::
Family, work, friends, bloggers, troops, church family.

Bible verse, Devotional:::

I have been doing this Bible Study for about 6 weeks now.  I never knew how AMAZING the book of James is! 

Faith apart from good works is inactive, ineffective and worthless (paraphrased James 2:20)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

This is going to be a tight, tight week!  I have plenty of meat in the freezer but only about $9.00 to
buy additional groceries with.  I am going to get two kinds
of pasta, a green pepper, peanut butter, bread, 2 cans of chicken noodle soup
and low-fat microwave popcorn.  I'll be shopping at Aldi.

This menu is linked up with Laura at Menu Plan Monday!

SUNDAY:  Cincinnati Chili 4-ways

Monday, January 2, 2012

2nd Date Jitters

I am still camera-less :(   I hope to aquire a new one shortly & in the meantime, plan to snag my sis's camera for the solitary purpose of taking bloggy pics!

I am going to the movies with my new squeeze tomorrow & and I am on the edge of my seat with anticipation and giddiness.  I am going to color my hair tonight with "ultra light natural blonde" - which will probably just end up looking exactly like the pic on my blog.  It seems that no matter what blonde color I choose, my hair just always seems to settle itself back into a similar shade.  Figures - has a mind of its own!

I haven't a clue what I am going to wear.  It's just a casual date, yet I want to make a good impression!!  It's that early stage, you know, before he's seen you without makeup and the hair up in a pony tail *grin*. 

I think I'm going to wear black pants and my cute black ankle boots or lace up mid-heel oxfords - but as for the top and accessories??  *sigh* 

I just finished up my "date manicure" which consists of:

Sally Hanson Insta-Dry in "Magenta Motion" with a slash of Wen n Wild's "Glitz" (a fuschia-purply glitter) on my ring fingers.  Topped with Wet n Wild's "Wild Shine". 

Magenta Motion #330

Glitz #237


Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 - Off to a Glamorous Start

Happy New Year all!  There is something about a new year, a clean slate, a veritable open book filled with empty pages waiting to be written in.  Maybe for some it is just another day with no overt meaning, but there are some, like me, people who get a thrill out of making lists, planning ahead, filling in calendars....well, it's enough to make a girl giddy with anticipation! 

I've got my 2nd load of laundry going (I like to start the new year off as glamorously as possible!), hooked up speakers to my computer so I can listen to my favorites on Spotify - currently listening to "Wheel in the Sky" by Journey, my all-time favorite band!  What is not to love about Steve Perry? The plan is to tackle my bedroom today.  Get things more organized in here.  This room is also my home office, and seeing as I work from home, there is a lot of equipment in here! 

Money is going to be a bit tight at least for the next few months - so I need to really work my wardrobe to find new and exciting things.  I have a great penchant for black clothing - probably 75% of all my clothing is black :/    I also have about 6 or 7 skirts and a handful of dresses that I rarely ever wear.  So I want to take some chances.  There are so many fashion and "fatshion" bloggers that I just adore and I've read their blogs all through last year without delurking or trying many of the suggestions they brilliantly come up with.  That is something I want to change this year! 

Again - where money is concerned - I am a big thrifter - love to find really individual pieces and integrate them into my style.  I'll definitely be doing more of that.  DO YOU KNOW I actually let a genuine LOUIS VUITTON handbag go at a thrift store because of a broken zipper?  I'm still kicking myself over that one. 

I'm also starting off the new year with a new man :)   Through texts and calls from his work to my home last night, we agreed to "date exclusively"....   Very excited about the possibilities of this charismatic Christian charmer!

BRING IT ON 2012!!!!  I AM READY!!