Tuesday, December 12, 2017


Photo by Annisa Lam (former member of Stock.exchng)
Licensed photo DO NOT COPY

Currently I am keeping the following in my thoughts &  prayers:

-----A family that had a house fire last year. You know, it can take SUCH a while to recover from that!
-----An employment situation.
-----That a good friend in physical rehab gets to come home soon! It would be wonderful for them to be home for Christmas!
-----A sibling that is extremely ill. :-(
-----I need to be in better physical shape and beat the symptoms of several thyroid problems. I am trying to rid myself of Chronic Fatigue, send Hashimoto's Disease into remission and lose gained weight. That the results of blood tests are good and come soon.
-----Someone I used to know that committed crime and is now incarcerated. I am hoping that they come forward with any truths that may help victims and that they decide to go down the path of rehabilitation. I think that in this situation it would be great if the victims could somehow see that rehabilitation was occurring.


This post is in no particular order. Prayer/thought requests just go to the top as I hear more about what is going on. If you can think of a way to help these people, PLEASE do so. This post will be second-from-the-top during the midst of an emergency (such as an Amber Alert).

Note: I would not advise linking to this post...you will wind up with a broken link each time I have to change the post-dating to keep this a Vigil at the Top.

At JPUSA. Summer 2011.


2018 New Release Challenge

There are 5 possible levels:
1-30 books per year – New Release Newbie
31-60 books per year – New Release Pro
61-100 books per year – New Release Veteran
101-200 books per year – New Release Enthusiast
200+ books per year – New Release Obsessed

So, I think, FOR NOW, I am going for the New Release Pro level. I reserve the right to up my participation.

A Chris Stapleton cover. We homeschool and I will be showing this to our children (I like them to see other kids exploring their talents and having fun).


Sign up HERE.

There are a few different ways of doing this challenge...I am doing "Coyer Switch" and making sure it requires a maximum amount of reading. :-)

So, my reading will be in three sections. An 83 day challenge!
(Note: It doesn't have to be as CHALLENGING as I plan to make it.)
December 16 – January 12 "The One With the Twist" During this phase I will read only on-paper books that belonged to my mother.
January 13 – February 9 "The List" 19 more of my Mother's books and then 5 more for each 5 read...all on a list.
February 10 – March 9 "The Strict" Catching up on Netgalley...a LOT of e-book reading. Also some audio books with the kids.

The List:
1. "The Source" by James A. Michener
2. "Rose Cottage" by Mary Stewart
3. "Vermillion" by Phyllis A. Whitney
4. "Jeweled Path" by Rosalind Laker
5. "To Dance With Kings" by Rosalind Laker
6. "Complete Stories Edgar Allen Poe"
7. "The American" by Henry James
8. "The Far Pavilions: Volume 1" by M.M. Kaye
9. "The Far Pavilions: Volume 2" by M.M. Kaye
10. "Trade Wind" by M.M. Kaye
11. "Halibut Schooner" by Lyman R. Ellsworth
12. "Smith and Thompson's First Year Latin"
13. "Legacies: A Chinese Mosaic" by Bette Bao Lord
14. "The Silver Oar" by Howard Breslin
15. "The Judas Tree" by A.J. Cronin
16. "The Classic Myths in English Literature and in Art" by Charles Mills Gayley
17. "The Blue Runner" by Barlow Meyers
18. "The Red Badge of Courage"
19. "The View from the Fortieth Floor" by Theodore H. White
-----15-Minute Coconut Curry Noodle Soup

Monday, December 11, 2017

It's Grohl...expect cussing.
Mr. Astley's voice has become better with age(not that it was bad before, I just think the deeper tone is nice for this song). ...and an EPIC band to be on stage with. :-)

We watched recently. Colorful and suspenseful...at times. I need to watch again as I missed so much during various house tasks.
---The most expensive film ever shot entirely in China! Of course, they could not shot on the actual wall itself...so I guess a lot of that money must have gone to sets!

-----Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs
-----Molasses Whipped Cream
-----Gingerbread Cake with Molasses Cream Cheese Frosting. I have all the ingredients and should try this.
-----Stuffed Cinnamon Toast Sticks. A freezer recipe. Cream cheese filling! It makes a lot of sticks at once.

Monday Book Date

I am on page 63. Thus far no sexual content (I was worried that it might get explicit at some point...hoping it won't because I am enjoying the book). There is a death scene that is fairly gruesome...and maybe historically accurate(there is so much debate over what Pocahontas's people were really like). The book is written by a distant relative of Pocahontas. I really like the cover picture.

On page 17
Returning to the Blue Ridge Mountains from the Civil War. I am waiting to get through the initial flashbacks, dreams and baggage...to see beauty in this tale. I think my Mother really liked this book. I would love to visit the places mentioned!
National Book Award Winner

Well, as to be expected, this is barbaric in places. Historically interesting. I wish the barbarian parts were a little less interrupting of the love story that is unfolding. I don't usually read tales of "forbidden passion" but inherited this one and thus am reading it for the historical details and good storytelling.
On page 70.

I finished watching...
The Amazon Prime description:
An honest, hard-working salesman has lost his job, his girlfriend, and left part of his sanity behind as he heads to New York to pick up the pieces of his life.
The Goodreads description of the Saul Bellow book (which I want to read):
Deftly interweaving humor and pathos, Saul Bellow evokes in the climactic events of one day the full drama of one man's search to affirm his own worth and humanity.
My thoughts: A well-done character portrait of a man whose life is unraveling while juggling complex relationships with several difficult loved ones. The ending makes no sense without having perhaps read the book...I had to Google to figure it out. Robin Williams does well with this person who might be on the verge on insanity and definitely has intense emotion.

A 'seize the day" scene from another movie (which came out after)...

Well, that's different...for a baby shower. DLG Ice Factory

I want the kids to see this one and it would be nice to read the Paddington stories.

-----Emily Dickinson's Coconut Cake

A highlight of this week was Krampusnacht/St. Nicholas Day. :-)


Saturday, December 09, 2017

-----Slow Cooker Ginger and Rice Chicken Soup

-----Early Spring Risotto
-----Easy Brown Rice Risotto with Mushrooms and Fresh Oregano. I love brown rice!

-----Bourbon-Bacon Slaw

-----Chocolate Chip Cookies Filled with Chocolate Ganache
Follow my blog with Bloglovin
So, I was very vaguely on Bloglovin' before. Now it's time to find all sorts of neat blogs. :-)
-----Spring Pea and Asparagus Risotto
***There is wine for flavor in the recipe.:-) (The wine can be skipped.)

~~~How to grow peas...among them, English Peas.


FACT: Chris Stapleton has written songs for both Kenney Chesney and Luke Bryan.

Written by Chris Stapleton:

Monday, December 04, 2017

-----Crock Pot Pepper Steak. The salt, MSG and other stuff can be controlled or eliminated by making Homemade Montreal Steak Seasoning.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Here is how I brush my teeth. First, I drink Gatorade and spit it into the sink. Next, I wet my toothbrush. Then I put toothpaste on it. Finally, I brush my teeth. The end.
-Answer for ElementarySchooler's sequencing activity
Mommy: Why drink Gatorade? So you have something to get off your teeth?
ElementarySchooler: No, because I'm thirsty.


Cool stuff on Facebook:
-----Christmas Tree Leaf Ornaments

-----The frosting to decorate cupcakes as turkeys looks pretty easy. :-)

When I lose toys, when toys are lost, I imagine them in a dark place, with a little bit of light,playing Tic Tac Toe or something.

Food and Music...
Music and Food

I made:
Red Potato Salad with Whole-Grain Mustard Dressing
This was so yummy! We had tons of red onion in ours.

I made:
Cauliflower Stuffing. This one doesn't look like it will become stuffing...and then it does. Taste is AWESOME! It tasted kind of like there were raisins (Husband said I could have added them). Yummy smell...you could tell it was stuffing once the final herbs were added. Cooking time was a lot more. I detest vegetable broth and used chicken.
We will be having this again. :-)

I made:
Greek Yogurt Curry Dip
Greek Yogurt Curry Dip is especially yummy when loaded on the veggie. It was afternoon, so the breakfast tray wake-up was swapped for bring Husband a Veggie Tray in bed. I shared a sampling and this recipe with a friend the next day...tasty recipes should be SHARED and SHARED.

I want to try:
-----30 Second Sangria. Of course, I will have to look up a simple recipe for Sparkling Lemonade as I am not sure where I could get it.
-----Monster Skillet Cookie

I made:
Saucy Hungarian Potato Goulash

Monday, October 23, 2017

Have you ever eaten at restaurant and you realized you forgot your money?
No. There used to be a restaurant we went to where the people were really familiar with us and one day the debit card wasn't working correctly...they told us to just pay for those meals next time.

True or false-you can pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time.
False, for me.

Do you prefer to drink out of cans or bottles?
A bottle when possible and affordable. I like both the feel of glass and the taste better. I am nostalgic...so, there's that, too.

Do your socks match today?
Yes, gray and warm. Gray is always good. Warm is always good.

What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it?
I am reading several anymore. In that it is suspenseful, yes, I would recommend what we are working on now in homeschool..."The Chronicles of Narnia." Once we are done with the complete series, I don't know that I would get as much enjoyment on a second read...maybe waiting a while to reread.

Are you currently borrowing something from someone?
A teacher often lends our youngest several games and such.

Write an extremely random statement.
What is the best use for two kinds of salsa and some marshmallows?

Are there any major holidays you don’t celebrate?
Yes. This is often the result of drama...we just don't feel like celebrating after whatever some person(s) have concocted. I am hopeful this will change!

What is one thing you will never understand?
Those who cannot act respectful of others (you can always choose to have good manners).

Have you ever stepped on a bee?
Not that I can remember. I did have a female sweat bee sting me the other day when I thought I might compassionately release a fly (it so looked like one). Little pucker-y marks.

What helps you wake up in the morning?
Needing to be awake to get ready for the activities we are doing with the kids.

What did you have for breakfast this morning?
I couldn't sleep well. It thundered loudly and was hot last night. I think my Vitamin D pill contributed to this only-a-few-hours-sleep but have to take this big dose when I do! I started the day with a turkey sandwich and hummus.

What is your favorite thing in your room?
My husband...well, that was the first answer I thought of. My Mother's globe.

Do you worry about small things?
Not really.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

This shall be fun...making a list of 26 spoonfuls. :-) Join HERE. :-)

B- "The Best Of Both Worlds: An Anthology Of Stories For All Ages" by Georgess McHargue (712 pages, on Page 11)

Post-in-progress. :-)

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Frightful! FrightFall!

This month, I have read at least 10 pages of "The Magician's Nephew" to 1st-Grader and Pre-K-er. We are reading the chronicles in chronological order. In fact, we finished Magician's Nephew this month...an origin story...I appreciated the humorous touches, particularly what the animals did about their impression of Uncle Andrew. We have read "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" already...so, we are skipping it in the order (also viewed so many different movie interpretations). Next, we are starting "The Horse and His Boy." #HomeschoolLife
UPDATE: Now at 42 pages and I am reading/re-reading some on my own for lesson planning. #HomeschoolLife

34 pages thus far. Jefferson is about to return to his beloved childhood home (father's plantation).

11 pages. The particular story was "Jack the Giant-Killer." Hildebrandt is a beloved illustrator to me...he, and his brother, did artwork for a lot of Tolkien stuff...such pretty use of light.

On page 63. I am going through this one for the historical content(taking notes) and deciding if I want to keep it (depends on how her relationship with John Smith is handled). So far, a very interesting read...written by a distant relative of Pocahontas. I inherited this but will re-home it if there is excessively explicit sexual content.

12 pages thus far. Frir Sir Thomas Malory's "Le Morte d'Arthur." Launcelot sure did rack up a broken people count (a few dead, too)!

35 pages. Based on a true story...a horse called Old Bones/Exterminator.

48 pages...picking up where I left off. Read the short story "The Black Suit"...creepy and now makes a song I like a bit creepy.

The life of George Washington and others who made a difference in his time. Thus far, the kids and I have also read about Daniel Boone and John Adams.
3 pages

FINISHED. 637 pages. I have to say that the main character took some very brave moves! The best Grisham that I have read.

175 pages in. Unusual loner boy who is invited to become a part of a secret art community.

And 3 pages from my children's science textbook.

I didn't get a horror book finished...but I am happy considering we had the flu and some other things come up.

Saturday, September 23, 2017


Love the title and the suspense. I am puzzled though as to where this book is going. It doesn't seem the main character is going to suffer any loss in terms of family casualties post-apocalypse...so, maybe it is just a harrowing journey back to the family that he somehow gets WAY separated from. Well, I don't know how separation is going to occur (maybe another less than wise decision on his part). It just seems all the emotional growth is foregone...I hope not though.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Back to The Never Cooked With List

Licensed photo. "Farmhouse Fireplace." Taken by Roger Kirby. 

Well, I haven't been keeping up with my ingredient wish list for a while...high time I got back to it. :-)

-----Barley Malt Syrup. The best way to use it is along with other natural sweeteners...I do not know which sweeteners I will use it with yet.
-----Bay scallops...or any scallops. Some of the people on "Hell's Kitchen" make cooking them seem like Rocket Science. They ARE finally starting to get close to affordable and that is cool!
-----Bean sprouts. I have eaten them but I have not cooked with them.
-----Black sesame seeds
-----Cashew butter. I have now had it on toast but not used it as an ingredient. Not strongly nutty...even a little sweet...you think it is going to add up to oily but it doesn't. Aldi's now carries cashew butter.
-----Chevre (goat's cheese). I can't remember what but I have now used this blended into several dishes. We liked the cheese to be herbed.
-----Chipotle Tabasco
-----Curry powder. Now used in all sorts of ways.
-----Dark sesame oil
-----Dry mustard. I keep it on hand regularly now.
-----Enoki mushrooms.Mild.Crunch. Used for soups and stir fries.
-----Fried squash blossoms. I have a bottle of canned pumpkin blossoms in the cupboard that I need to figure out what to do with.
-----Garlic Tobaseco
-----Gray Salt
-----Ground Szechuan Peppercorns
-----Halloumi cheese
-----Haricot Vert. French green beans. We have cooked with this and now want to start growing them.
-----Hoisin sauce
-----Hotel Bar Butter. Part of New York cuisine for over a century. I think I first heard of it when reading "Julie& Julia."
-----Kelp. It is supposed to increase thyroid function...I have several thyroid problems.

Post-in-progress. :-)

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

-----I haven't made this Zucchini Pie in a while.
-----"Sherm's Pepsi Up Float." I am going to try this. A simple recipe that sounds fun....I don't know if it will be great...the "Up" is 7-UP...we will have fun trying it. We will have ours without the Cool whip and cherry on top first. Of course, we will be having Cool Whip and cherries on top later. :-)
-----Bourbon-Bacon Slaw. Hmmm.
-----Spinach-Mashed Potato Stuffed Mushrooms? Well, I have never experienced vegan butter.

Friday, August 18, 2017


Of course, it's one of those movies with a bet...there's always a bet. A lot of the supporting actors are abnormally bad actors. Still, the plot is moving along.

On this month's menu, thus far.....

-----Creamy Lemon Chicken Picatta Meatballs

-----Husband and Kids might LOVE this Peanut Butter Cup Spread for their bagels!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Last year's words of wisdom from Preschooler:
"If he was here, I would call the police on this pretend phone."
-on the Devil
Also said:
"Respect your Mom and Dad. If you do not respect your parents, God will not give you any respect."

Listening To.....

Oregon is raising its smoking age to 21.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

What I'm watching now as I sort through papers, magazines, etc. #SpringCleaning
Liking the characters somewhat...but really not liking that the hero is in a relationship, staying there while liking someone else and looking down on the intelligence of his current partner. :-( GRUMBLE.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Willy Nilly Friday Five

Around Roanoke

This rose bush has at least 27 open flowers. :-)

A coffee cup that I won as part of a gift package at a friend's birthday party recently. I currently use it to drink my Celestial Seasoning Tension Tamer Tea...I love the scent and soothing of the peppermint. I knew that I would likely win the party game involving finding small safety pins in a bowl of rice...I just called on my calmness with which a mother handles things like changing diapers in an unexpected space (hope that makes sense).

The morning glories have started blooming. :-)

Excellent for slow-cooking drumsticks. This sauce is sold at our local Walmart.

A bouquet of roses and a peony from Husband. The last I counted, this particular rose bush had at least 84 open flowers!


Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup
5 medium red potatoes, skin on, half-inch pieces
2 small Vidalia onions, large dice
6 cups chicken broth
1 green pepper diced
Black pepper
Himalayan sea salt
Small amount of powdered ginger
Garlic, optional
Corned beef and cabbage leftovers (ours included red potatoes)
Himilayan Sea Salt, if needed
Boil potatoes until soft. Drain water from potatoes. Add onions, chicken broth, green pepper and some seasoning. Add minced garlic if it is not already in your corned beef. Bring soup to a boil. Simmer until onions are softened. Skim all fat off corned beef and cabbage leftovers and add carefully to the pot. Heat through, adjust seasonings and add salt (if needed).


The previous night's brisket I used for the above soup. It included cabbage, onions, an inexpensive dark German beer, ginger, basil, freshly ground black pepper, salt, minced garlic and red potatoes.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

I am reading the book for the Clean Sweep ARC Reading Challenge.

Monday, May 01, 2017

You have to love a reading CHALLENGE!

clean sweep 2017
So, for the "Clean Sweep ARC Challenge" I will be going through and reading any unread books but I have also decided to go back and do a more thorough job on some feedback and/or reviews. What I am starting with is below.

I know I have read this one...but I bet I could offer a better review, promo, do more activities with the kids, etc.

American Emma Hanson came to England to study at Oxford, but joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force at the height of World War II. She is stationed at beautiful and historic Danesfield House west of London as part of the highly secretive Photographic Reconnaissance Unit.
Englishman Will Fleming is a handsome young artist who has been commissioned by the British government to record the changing landscape in paintings. His path intersects with Emma's when his real mission—tracking Nazi spies—leads him to Danesfield House, the target of a sinister plot.
Emma and Will become friends, but neither can reveal the true nature of their assignment. Can their relationship grow amid such secrecy? And can Will save Danesfield House—and Emma and her coworkers—before it's too late?

Retold from a turn-of-the-century (1897) tale collected in Calhoun, Alabama. This story about a pesky trickster rabbit and a little girl working her garden, has delightfully illustrated spreads throughout.

In this bestselling and delightfully quirky debut novel from Sweden, a grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.
Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?
Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.
A feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Fredrik Backman’s novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.

---The movie is on Amazon Prime and I am in the progress of watching a bit-at-a-time.

Stormwater management as art? Absolutely. Rain is a resource that should be valued and celebrated, not merely treated as an urban design problem—and yet, traditional stormwater treatment methods often range from ugly to forgettable. Artful Rainwater Design shows that it’s possible to effectively manage runoff while also creating inviting, attractive landscapes.
This beautifully illustrated, comprehensive guide explains how to design creative, yet practical, landscapes that treat on-site stormwater management as an opportunity to enhance site design. Artful Rainwater Design has three main parts: first, the book outlines five amenity-focused goals that might be highlighted in a project: education, recreation, safety, public relations, and aesthetic appeal. Next, it focuses on techniques for ecologically sustainable stormwater management that complement the amenity goals. Finally, it features diverse case studies that show how designers around the country are implementing principles of artful rainwater design.
Artful Rainwater Design is a must-have resource for landscape architects, urban designers, civil engineers, and architects who won’t let stormwater regulations cramp their style, and who understand that for a design to truly be sustainable, people must appreciate and love it. It is a tool for creating landscapes that celebrate rain for the life-giving resource it is—and contribute to more sustainable, healthy, and even fun, built environments.

In the second installment of William Shatner’s Zero-G series, Director Samuel Lord must identify a mole sabotaging the top-secret NASA project aboard the US space station Empyrean, while also fighting a fast-replicating virus that threatens humanity.
In the year 2050, the United States sends the FBI to govern its space station, The Empyrean. Under the command of suave, eighty-year-old director Samuel Lord, the “Zero-G” men are in charge of investigating terrorism, crime, corruption, and espionage, keeping an eye on the rival Chinese and Russian stations as well.
Lord and his team are assisting NASA in conducting a top-secret project in the agricultural center of the Empyrean. Using microscopic robots called nanites, they plan to construct a vine that can survive in space. The vine will grow structural material for an elevator that will reach from the Empyrean to Earth. Unfortunately, a Russian spy inadvertently causes the growth to rage out of control, not only threatening the Empyrean, but the Russian space station Red Giant.
Under the guidance of Director Samuel Lord, Zero-G must not only identify the spy, but help find a way to stop the fast-replicating vine…and a form of “space zombie” birthed by the nanites. The surprising solution takes Lord and a Russian pilot on a dangerous mission to Venus—where a shocking discovery awaits.

-----One that I started reading but never finished.


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