Monday, August 31, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday

It's my supposed day off (ha!) today, and Ella's working on her lessons. We have SO MUCH to do today it's not even funny (so much for my day off!) I am beginning the dreaded clothes switch from spring/summer to fall/winter (cue dramatic music). I have no idea how I'll ever do it with more than one kid, as this is my least favorite thing about seasons changing and it feels like it takes for-absolutely-ever.

Well, bring on Happy Homemaker Monday :)

On the weather front: Absolutely BEAUTIFUL. Cool-ish days, cooler nights. I can't remember the last time I've had to turn on the air!

On my bedside table: My kindle, pen and paper

Books I'm reading: I am still struggling through Where Secrets Sleep by Marta Perry. It's the romance I'm telling you. I just can't.
I finished Unseen, and the plot twist was crazy. I loved it!!!

On the news: I am so sad and disappointed in this country. The renaming of Mount McKinley has received more coverage than the killing of yet another police officer. What the HECK is wrong with the United States of America? When I came here in 1992, this country was a very different place and I don't even know how to put into words how deeply saddened I am by the changes taking place.

On the menu this week: LOL. Last week, the train derailed again. Don't ask. It's always something. End of story. This week, ya'll! This week! Keep me accountable!!!!

Monday: Chicken Enchiladas
Tuesday: Zucchini Boats
Wednesday: Spicy Chicken Soup
Thursday: Asian Ribs
Friday: BLT's, because tomatoes are still plentiful
Saturday: Potato Soup
Sunday: 3 Cheese Marinara Pasta

New recipe I want to try: The Zucchini Boats

To-do list: Finish School
                 Pharmacy for eye drops (my eyes are on fire, thanks to the goldenrod)
                  Clean the house
                  Hopefully not scratch my eyes out (did I mention my eyes are burning!?)

In the craft basket: Don't get me started!!!

What I plan on doing for myself this week: Um, redneck wrestling. Watching, not participating. A friend invited me along and um, it sounded too awful to pass up.

Favorite Photo: 

So, um....cough, we're expanding our family by 4 feet. Her name at the Humane Society is Malibu, but we will likely rename her, so I need suggestions. We gravitate toward "S" names  and names of birds (see: Sparrow)

Here's a better picture, for the record.

Lesson Learned: Midnight Madness at Food City really IS midnight MADNESS and there are crazy people driving motorized carts. Yikes.
Also, this country is in massive trouble and we need to be praying. Bigtime.

Devotionals, Scriptures, Key Verses: 

Have a blessed week, everyone! Remember to thank a police officer this week!

Sunday, August 30, 2015


35/52: Sand art takes serious concentration. Thank you to the sweet friend who gave us a sand art set. Ella has loved it!!

35/52, Sunday: This dress is so pretty and Ella says it's super comfortable. A friend gave it to us after her daughter outgrew it, and we are very grateful!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Word of Caution, Friends...

Be careful who you trust with your information. Email addresses, logins, anything.

I've recently experienced something that caused me to have to change my passwords for everything. This is the kind of stuff that compromises your internet security, heck, your security in general, and maybe even your family.

When something seemed off, I followed my gut and checked it out. Sure enough, dumb little things had been done on Facebook. People taken off my block list, etc. Nothing major, but certainly noticeable.

Be careful who you give any kind of information to. If the people aren't your husband/living in your house/someone who is trustworthy beyond any doubt, don't do it. I'm hoping I've prevented any further damage by changing everything, but I really don't know.

Here's the kicker. This person was someone I thought I could trust. Sure, I'd been warned about them by various people here and there, but "I knew better." Turns out I don't know better. Ugggggh.

Here's to being more careful in the future, friends.

Please take these words to heart, and take care of you.


God Bless ya'll, and until next time.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Oh, goodness: General Chaos Update, August 2015

Where do I even begin?

Life shows no signs of slowing down around here.

All 3 of us (Gabe, Ella, me) are in school, and that makes for some interesting days. (Especially since I also work 2 jobs, and Gabe works full time, and I am Ella's teacher)

As busy as that makes us, it's all going to be so very worth it in the end. Plus, I get to see this lovely, eager-to-learn face every day!

I haven't posted a garden update in a while, but that's because I've been too busy harvesting to post! We had a huge pepper crop which totally threw off my meal planning for the week (but, hey, stuffed peppers, so I'm not complaining!!!)

I get to bring in a few handfuls of these beauties a day.

I've been eating them off the  vine...and I know I need to stop that, and start freezing them, (and everything else!!!!) because we are supposed to get one heck of a winter this year!

In other back yard news, how gorgeous is this plant? It's about 65 years old and I can see it off my deck. I never get tired of looking at it.

It's a bit windy this morning, and it's been pretty cool out. Sweater weather! I'm sure in a couple of months I'll be whining about snow and cold, but right now it's amazing!!!!

Gabe had a guys' night out last night and won a food challenge at Primo's Pizzeria. He ate a giant 4.4 lb calzone in under 45 minutes. He got his picture taken and got a free T-shirt. Yay, Gabe :)

And then last night, I had the most incredible thing happen.

Yes, that is a gorgeous dragonfly. On my hand. Amazing!

In my devotions today, I read about not turning back to what you were before. The words struck home. I've done a lot of stupid stuff in the past...those closest to me know about it, but I'm not sure the blog-verse is ready for such stupidity. When one becomes a Christian, one is supposed to grow up, and I'm working on it. A lot of it is letting go. Letting go of things you used to do. Places you used to go. People who are toxic for you. And when you've done that, you aren't supposed to look back, or go back to what you were before Christ. So, I'm making it a point to move forward.

Have a blessed week, everyone!!!!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday

Good morning! Why is it that when I think I'm going to have a quiet, slow week, it turns into exactly the opposite before the week even begins? I guess that's life, and I'm just along for the ride :)
Saturday, Ella and I went on the Farm Tour, like we do every year, and it was loads of fun, but exhausting.

Sunday, we went to Grandma Jean and Grandpa Bruce's, which was lots of fun (and less exhausting.) I am eternally glad for Grandma and Grandpa, because both of our sets of parents are so far away.

That's Ella and Grandpa Bruce on the lawn mower. Yes, she is totally wearing a princess dress. No, I totally don't care. That's what laundry detergent is for ;)

Speaking of parents, I called my parents the other day, and Mom told me that Dad's last appointment with the doctor went great! He is still in remission and his body is recovering from the beating that the cancer put it through.

I recently reconnected with an old friend named Christy, and she is also battling multiple myeloma, the same cancer that Dad had. She recently got married, and wants a long and happy life with her new hubby, so please pray that treatments work and cancer takes a hike!!!

That said, here we go!

On the weather front: Cooler than last week and less humid, too. Hear that? That's just me, in the NC mountains, cheering ;)

What I'm reading: I'm about 15% into Unseen. It's a great book, I've just had zero time to read. Here's to finishing it this week! I'm even less than 15% into Where Secrets Sleep. Also a great book, although there's more romance than I like. Don't get me wrong, I love me some romance, but in real life.

On the news: I don't even know what else to say on the whole Ashley Madison/Josh Duggar scandal. For those of you who don't know, apparently Ashley Madison is a site where married people go to look for other (possibly married) people to have affairs with. (If you're saying "WHATTT?", I did too) My advice for high profile people (or anyone, really): QUIT HAVING AFFAIRS. QUIT TELLING PEOPLE THAT YOUR MARRIAGE IS HAPPY AND AWESOME AND THAT YOU VALUE YOUR MARRIAGE when it isn't and you don't. Ugh. That is all.

On the menu:  Oh, dear. I've gotten so far off track, thank you Farm Tour, and the fifty billion other things I've had to do.
In it to win it this week though!!!
Monday: Chicken Alfredo Casserole
Tuesday: Gone-all-day Beef Stew
Wednesday: Chicken Enchiladas
Thursday: Chicken Kebabs, and rice/couscous
Friday: Breakfast for dinner
Saturday: Spicy Chicken Soup
Sunday: Spaghetti

New Recipe I tried or want to try: That spaghetti squash is still sitting in my basket, ya'll.

On my to-do list:
Prep some chicken
Clean the house

In the craft basket:
More headbands.
A skirt.

Looking forward to: Um, is it bad if I say "the weekend" like this one just didn't happen?

What I am doing for myself this week: To be determined. Honestly, I just want to make it through this week with having done everything that needs to be done: work, school, the house, etc.

Favorite Photo: 

I love love love this. Every year, Grandpa Bruce gives Ella a pumpkin. This one is currently at his house, turning more orange. We'll pick it up when it's "ready."

Lesson Learned: Apparently, I look a lot younger than I am. And I should probably enjoy that, even if people give me a hard time about it.

Scriptures, Devotionals, and Key Verses: 

Have a blessed week, everyone!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2015


34/52: Farm tour. Ella and friends posing at Avery Tree Farms.

34/52, Sunday: This dress was a gift from a sweet and thoughtful friend. Love love love!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

That Quiet Panic

Where do I start?

We've begun yet another school year, and Fall is on its way. It's easily my favorite season, and yet...there's that panic. And it's so familiar that I'm almost used to it, 10 years later, but it still hurts.

When I made the decision to homeschool Ella, it never crossed my mind that I would be dissecting every assignment years later, wondering how her older sister would handle it.

And this year, more than any other year, I'm feeling it. That wondering. The what-if's? It's this quiet panic, bubbling up inside me when I'm alone or planning a lesson or simply when I have too much time to think...which blessedly isn't that much.

One morning this week, before everyone else woke up, I sat on my porch swing and stared out at the mountains. The mountains, you guys. Ella has grown up in these mountains for the past 5 years and her big sister has never seen them. Ouch.

And now the leaves are starting to change and it's really freaking me out. I don't know why. I lost her in May, when everything was green and blooming and gorgeous. And every year, the Fall hits me hard. Maybe it's because everything is dying.

Maybe it's because things change so much in the fall. And yet, she still remains the same. That same tiny little human being...I don't know. Maybe it's because things tend to slow down a little bit in the evenings. Ella's in bed earlier, Gabe still works crazy night shifts and I'm alone to think. And over-think.

I miss her a lot. I miss her more than a lot in the Fall. Sometimes, on quiet night like this, I want to run away and go up North and cry at the cemetery. I want to write her name a hundred million times, but mostly, I think I'd just like to know what life would be like with two little girls: one ten, and one nine.

That's all.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday

I'm late putting this up, of course. It's been an eventful morning, and Ella and I both still have the crud, so trying to do work/school/life has been extra exhausting.

Here we go!

The weather in my neck of the woods:  Humid, and too warm for my liking. Bring on Fall, I'm so ready!

What I'm reading: "Where Secrets Sleep" by Marta Perry (slow start, I have no time to get into it) and "Unseen" by John Michael Hileman (on the Kindle, I'm 2% in, that should tell ya'll how much time I've had to read)

Things that make me happy: My husband. My kitties. The ipsy bag I got today, even if the lipgloss makes me look like a wild west saloon girl (no, there aren't any pictures, and no, I will not be keeping it. I'm already looking to trade with someone)

On the menu for this week: I did SO well, until the end of the week, when Ella and I both got sick. Bleeeeeh. Making up for it this week (let's hope, ya'll, let's hope)

Monday: Zuppa Toscana
Tuesday: Pot Roast, Potatoes
Wednesday: French Dip Sandwiches
Thursday: Chicken Enchiladas
Friday: Chicken Kebabs
Saturday: (Farm Tour) Beef Stew, Potatoes
Sunday: Spaghetti/Spaghetti Squash (it's an experiment!)

Looking around the house: It's kitty nap time. Ella's studying the solar system.

To-do list: Library
                   Post office

New Recipe I tried last week: Zucchini Chocolate Cake. And it.was.amazing.

In the craft basket: What if I told you it was headbands? lolol

Looking forward to: Grandma Jean's house, like always. Starting a study on bats with Ella.

Homemaking Tip of the week: Clorox bleach wipes are a lifesaver...especially to clean up cat puke (gak)

Favorite Photo: 

Lesson Learned: Oh, man, where do I start? Hot tea is wonderful. When your husband doesn't like someone you know and then offers you a reason (a perfectly valid reason), make sure you listen to it.

On my prayer list: My parents.
                                A baby girl named Ruth who has stolen my heart
                                A situation that is out of my hands but is breaking my heart.
Devotionals, Key Verses, Scripture: 

Have a blessed week!!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2015


33/52: Always in motion. Also, those rain boots have seen some serious mileage. I'll be needing to upgrade them before too long

33/52, Sunday. Nope, this isn't wear your nightie to church day. We're down with the cold. Bleh.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday

I'm late getting this up today. Why? Because this.

That's right, I'm officially the Mama of a 4th grader. And I'm officially OLD. Moving on, it's really hard to think about posting this, when I'm teaching, running interference with a black cat (Sphinx) absolutely everywhere and doing about fifty other things. Whew.

That said, here.we.go!!!

The Weather in my neck of the woods: It rained. A lot. And we almost got caught in it. Holy moly. It's supposed to be a warm and rainy week.

Things that make me happy: Trading fresh veggies with friends and neighbors, the fact that my little girl has an awesome, unselfish, giving spirit.

Menu for the week:  So, last week's plan went great until Wednesday or so when life intervened and the plan unraveled completely.
So, here's an updated plan for this week:
Monday: Steakhouse soup
Tuesday: Breakfast for dinner
Wednesday: Chicken Noodle Soup
Thursday: Stir fry
Friday: Chicken Enchiladas
Saturday: Zuppa Toscana
Sunday: Chicken and Veggie Pasta

Looking around the house:  It is very clearly a school zone.

To-do list: Head to the garden and get some swiss chard.
                   Go see hubby at work for a few minutes
                  Finish up some headbands (yes, THOSE headbands) for a baby girl

New Recipe I Tried Last Week:  Not so much a recipe, but those salad bowls (exactly what they sound like, layered taco salad in a bowl) were awesome.

Recipe I want to try soon: I was given some spaghetti squash today...can you believe I've never made spaghetti squash? Any tips and tricks would be appreciated.

In the craft basket: Headbands, but those are leaving said basket today. I SWEAR.

Looking forward to: The rest of this school year. A farm tour we are going on in a few weeks. FALL!

Blog hopping: The Pleated Poppy . She makes me want to dress up all cute!!!

Favorite Photo: 
I hit some yard sales with a friend this weekend and found an awesome doll house for Ella, super cheap. Love getting a good deal and love seeing her happy!!!

Lesson Learned:  Sticking by your values is super important, and sometimes it's best not to argue and get dragged into other people's drama. Not my circus, not my monkeys.

On my prayer list: My friend Tessa, whose uncle is dying.
                                My parents, as always.
                                This school year. 

Devotionals, Key Verses, Scriptures: 

Sunday, August 9, 2015


32/52: We made kindness bombs on Wednesday. That involved writing positive things on slips of paper that we then hid in library books. Hers, of course, was hidden in a book about owls.

32/52, Sunday. I apologize for how incredibly dark these pictures are. But, hey, she has an awesome tiara in her hair :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Settling In

We've been in this house since two days before Ella's 9th birthday, and we are slowly settling in. I mean that in all ways. Yes, we've unpacked (most of) our stuff and the house is looking like a home, but I mean we're settling into a nice routine and it's good.

The loss of Tom really shook us up hard. After losing Sparrow, it was amazing how seamlessly Tom fit into our little family unit. He was a big guy looking for love and we were absolutely more than willing to give it. It's been different with Dave and Sphinx, well...with Sphinx mostly. She was found stray and didn't really trust us her first week here. Dave actually reminds me a lot of Tom, he's just a chill guy who likes hanging out and relaxing. Sphinx has settled in and will follow us around here and there now. It's sweet.

This house is the first time since we left the place on Nelson Road that I feel stable and content. The place we lived in after Nelson Road was more trouble than it was worth and we had some questionable neighbors. The place after that didn't have a working stove, a VERY dishonest landlord, and more questionable neighbors, and while we made some friends while living there, I was very very glad to leave.

I love where we are now. Absolutely love it. We have a porch swing, and a working stove (because ya'll know it was the first thing I checked for when looking this place over) and awesome neighbors and there's just this CALM. For the first time in a very long time, there is a calm. I can wake up in the morning, go to work, do schoolwork with Ella and there is a calm and contentment and I love it.

I often joke to Gabe that I would like to take this house and move it up north with us when the time comes, whenever that is. For the first time in a long time, I don't feel an overwhelming rush to move home...which is amazing in its own right.

I guess in the middle of all this insanity, it was time for a happy post, and that's what this is :)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday

It's my day off! Which is awesome, because yesterday was our (9th!!!) wedding anniversary, and of course Gabe had to work and I had 659832312 things to do and he came home and we had a very unromantic dinner (how romantic can you get with a big striped cat begging for food every five seconds?) and I went to bed because I was exhausted.

HOWEVER, we are both off today and I think that once we get Ella off to bed this evening, we are going to try to catch up and maybe watch a movie and just spend quality time together. Or maybe I will ask Gram to watch Ella for a few hours. Hmmm.

Moving on!

The Weather in my neck of the woods: The last couple of days have been PERFECT. It'll be warming up some the first half of the week, but is supposed to cool down by the weekend. Yay!

Things that make me happy: the increasingly rare day off, my family, crazy kitties, the fact that I can take a few ingredients and make a good-tasting meal (I've come a long way, trust me)

Menu for the week: Um. Yeah. Last week, I started off great, then halfway through, life happened. Here's hoping for a better meal planning week!

Monday: At Ella's request: Grilled chicken strips, couscous and veggies (from the GARDEN ya'll, from the GARDEN!!!!)
Tuesday: Taco Bowls (something new, update maybe)
Wednesday: Chicken kebabs, rice
Thursday: Smokey bacon macaroni and cheese
Friday:  Back to school shopping for me and E, so we'll just grab a couple take and bake pizzas
Saturday: Steakhouse soup
Sunday: One pot spaghetti

Looking around the house: One cat sleeping, one cat jumping counters. Going to attempt a light cleaning today.

To-do list: Straighten up the living room, kitchen and the master bedroom. Possibly laundry. Trip to the garden to trim up the tomatoes and maybe pick more peppers and harvest chard. Quick trip to the grocery.

New Recipe I tried last week: Uhm, I did cook couscous in a new way. Made it toasted, instead of the normal way of simmering it. It was AMAZING. Ella had 3 helpings and asked for it again this week.

New Recipe I want to try soon: Not much of a recipe but we had Walk'n Tacos at an event on Saturday, and I totally want to try making those.

In the craft basket: Everything. I cannot even deal with the craft basket this morning ;)

Looking forward to: Back to school shopping and a few days worth of a study break for me. I took my last test early so my brain could get a break this week!!

Favorite Photo: 

Lesson Learned: Time passes by really quickly. Really, really fast. Last night, I was in the kitchen, making dinner and dancing to Taylor Swift and being silly with Ella when it hit me. Holy moly, she is 9 years old. I can't even...

On my prayer list: This country, because things are getting bad, and fast.
                                 My parents, like always.
                                 The upcoming school year.
                                 My husband.
                                 My sanity ;)

Devotionals, Key Verses, Scripture:

Have a blessed day, everyone!

Sunday, August 2, 2015


31/52: We went to an event yesterday. There was a wildlife demonstration. Ella was very taken with Bindi, the corn snake. There may be another pet in our future.

31/52, Sunday: She looks like a little princess. Gotta love Goodwill for awesome dresses!