Saturday, March 24, 2018

Happy Homemaker In Texas

I am a Happy Homemaker in Texas

Linking with Sandra for Happy Homemaker 
on Monday

The Weather
The weather is gorgeous here.  Days begin around 60 and then warm up to upper 70's and 80's.  Perfect for . . . 
Naps in the sun.

Right Now I  Am
Way behind on getting this post written.  I went out early to look for plants and stopped at the grocery store.  Found tons of bargains but had to divide up packages to make smaller servings for 2. 

On my reading pile

And way too many on my phone . Here's the short list
Night Break by Corey Decevito (for fun)
I'll Be Home For Christmas by Melissa Storm (for fun)
Cake And Punishment by Maymee Bell (to review)
Murder at the Mushroom Festival by Janet Finslivery (for review)
Picked Off by Linda Lovely (for review)

In the kitchen 

This soup looks so good.  I am going to try to make it tomorrow for my lunch during the week.  Go here for the recipe

On the menu
Monday- Leftover Lasagne w/ side of Spinach Alfredo, Salad
Tuesday- Mom's Fried Rice, Salad
Wednesday- Baked Cod, Coleslaw, Long Grain Wild Rice
Thursday-Beef Stroganoff w/ Noodles, Green Beans, Salad
Friday- Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Egg Rolls, Soup

Last week's menu
I got the menu finally completed on Monday.  The Cowboy 
and I had a super busy weekend!

Monday- Beef Tips and Rice, Salad
Thought I had meat in freezer. Nope.  Found Cube Steak on sale at store so we had Chicken Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes (box ick) and canned corn. (not my favorite either) 
Tuesday - Pinto's and Corn Bread  ✔
Wednesday - Roast w/ Potato's and Carrots  
 Thursday - Mom's Fried Rice
Steak on sale! Ceasar Sald, Fresh Fried Okra.  Yum. Yum.
Friday -Bean Soup from leftover Pinto's 
Pork Carnita's Street Tacos
Pinto's (not soup) Steak tacos's from leftovers

In the garden
Same as last week. 
I am adding today (I hope if I get the soil read) corn and 
another round of green beans to be planted by the squash. 
I am doing everything suggested to keep squash bugs away.
Working on the front bed adding a few annuals and some bulbs.
I have Zinnia's and marigolds seeds sowed. 

Something fun to share
New for the blog. I hope you'll join me.  In April and May
I will be featuring your posts about your town or state.
I don't do anything small.  I am hoping to featuring a post from 
every state. 
Please join me and leave me comments and links to posts about your home town or state.
More info. coming soon!

A new blog to share
I stumbled onto Mary Jane at the BeeHive Cottage when I 
was looking for homemade soap.  She has a charming blog. 
I hope you'll go by and visit.  You'll be delighted.  
Click here.

On the to do list
Working on posts/visiting blogs for the Home Town Tour
Working on posts about Domino and pet (dog) adoption
Time in the garden

My Ta Da List
Sadly I don't think I really have a Ta Da moment.  

A new linky party
Cookies and More From The Hearth and Soul Link Party
Click here

In the craft basket
Fabric scraps and lots of crochet patterns.  I need to buy yarn.

Features from the Fabulous Party

New to the party this week. Trisha shared this charming little fun place to shop in Idaho. Click here to visit Trisha's blog. 
Flower-shaped homemade graham crackers with letters pierced into them

Lesley shared yummy homemade graham crackers.  Click here.

From the camera
Fun times.  Playing Clue on Thursday night.

Devo./ Scripture

Hebrews 13:8 #Faith #Scripture
There was no link.  Found on Pinterest

Friday, March 23, 2018

Bountiful Blessings-A Creative Devotional Experience-Book Review

Bountiful Blessings  -     By: Susie Larson

About the book 
Take a moment each day to read a soul-stirring blessing and a short passage of Scripture to point you back to God's timeless truth. This volume contains more than 40 reflections, each paired with a lovely, intricate illustration that brings God's wonders into focus. Read, rest, and create as you soak in the beauty of God's love.
Product Information
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 96
Vendor: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2018
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.25 (inches)
ISBN: 0764230239
ISBN-13: 9780764230233

And I thought 
It's a small book filled with many Blessings.  The drawings 
are great.  And easy to fill in for an adult.  The paper is thick 
and appears to be well suited for coloring.  (I have not colored 
any pages)

At first I thought this would be a good book to share with older 
children for a summer end of school activity.  But I think the drawings are too detail for a child. 

The devotionals are short though and would be great to share with a child.  

The first devotional is simple based on Romans 8:31 (NKJV)
What then shall we say to these things? If god is for us, who can be against us?

The title of this devotional is Look Up and Sing

The devotional is simple and straight forward opening for a good 
discussion with kids.  

The drawing is of a garden with birds and butterflies.  Any easier 
color page might be found for children to color along side the adult.

I liked that there is a collection of different Bible versions used
including NKJV, NIV, ESV, NLT and The Message.

I enjoyed reading the devotional and look forward to coloring the pages.  I plan to share this devotional with my 9 year old grandson.

I received a complimentary copy. 
This review will appear on retail sites and Good Reads. 

Buy the book 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

And The Garden Grows-Garden Signs You Can Buy

Good Morning
Image result for garden welcome
I wish I had a sign like this to welcome you to my garden. 
I was amazed at all the signs that popped up when I googled it!
As I share the new pics of my small but growing garden 
I'll include a few really neat signs.
Image result for garden welcome
Available here
We had a nice rain shower on Saturday night.  I had taken a few 
photo's on Thursday.  The chrysanthemums were looking good 
on Thursday.   
And last night (Tuesday) they looked like this. 
 I could see on Monday morning when I looked out the greenhouse window how much the whole garden enjoyed that rain shower. 
Image result for garden welcome sign
Available here

Another pretty sign.  I really like this one!
You can see in the photo above how much rock there is still in this area!  I think it will be a never ending battle! 

The Pansy's are still doing well.  In the second photo at the very top left you can barely see a few of the sprouts that I transplanted.
I am not sure if they will produce any flowers. 
These are the seeds I planted.  Since this was a trial I did not 
want to spend a lot of money.  I was not even sure I could get them to sprout.  I was hoping to have at least a dozen plants.  
I started them in January.  If I try again I will start them a lot sooner.
Image result for garden welcome sign
Another sweet garden sign.  Found here

I have some veggies making a showing!  I have never ever planted potatoes.  I am so happy at least they are sprouting.  I am a little 
uncertain about this method.  But it gave me the opportunity to try.
My planting area is rather large.  But it is filled with gravel that 
I have had to move by hand.  And then hand till the soil before 
Kale and Radish are actually looking like little plants.  I 
have several plantings of radish because they are companion 
plants to other veggies.  
I have read White Radish will thwart squash bugs.  So I have 
several rows planted by where the squash will be planted in a few weeks.
One of my favorite things in the garden.  I have no idea where I bought it.  Possibly at Stein Mart many years ago!  He actually is meant to hang on a wall.  But I think he is the perfect stepping stone.  Only we don't walk on him.  He is just on the inside edge 
of the garden by the Rosemary.  
Another special little visitor guarding the sweet peas.  The peas 
are read to be thinned. 

One more sweet sign.  I couldn't find a link for it.  

Image result for garden welcome
I have been planning on using a watering method that I saw on 
Pinterest.  I didn't read the instructions.  Basically you put a 
soda bottle in the ground to water your tomatoes.  

So I filled a Dr. Pepper bottle with water and froze it so I could 
punch holes with a nail.  

Last night I decided to get a helper to punch the holes.  I had no idea how much fun he would have!  These photo's are unedited 
and not set up.  My kitchen is a mess we had just finished dinner 
and the dishes are in the sink and well.  It looks awful but he 
is super cute so maybe you won't mind the mess. 

I love working in my garden and planting.  But it's super fun 
seeing him have a good time with something as simple as frozen 
water, a hammer and a nail.  
Image result for blog post dividers
Thanks for stopping in. 
I hope you have a Fabulous Day!
Linking with the Fabulous Party 
and a few others. 
The list is below!

Monday, March 19, 2018

My Crazy Calendar- Random Post-My Crazy Life Changes

It's to happen to me from time to time who know what causes it.
Image result for nothing to say
That's what happened last week.  Or was it the last couple of weeks?  

Anyway the good news is.  At least I think it's good news!
I have plenty say.  The ideas just keep popping into my head!

Blog Post Ideas For When You Are in a Rut
And I didn't even read this!  I have a few posts planned and some great ideas that I think you'll like. 

And then today I was totally messed up!

If your a regular follower I  am sure you've wondered what the 
heck is up with all the book reviews.   I know I promised no or few book reviews here.  And I am keeping my word after today.
I mistakenly published one of my reviews here this morning and didn't realize till this afternoon! 

And then on the other one some how the tour and I both goofed and assigned it here!

It has been a crazy few days for me straightening out my calendar!

And, The Cowboy has been home all day!  And he'll be home all day tomorrow and the next day and on and on.  

It was over 10 years ago he began working in ministry and quit 
his corporate job.  So he was semi-retired but mostly gone. 

And then there were financial struggles with the ministry and 5 years ago he started working again.  

Well now finally he is able to really retire.  He will only be 
working on Saturdays.  

And now he's under foot. So we have this whole getting used to being around each other thing going on all over again!  LOL.  

I planned to work on the blog this morning after sleeping a little late because we had a super busy weekend.  And when I came into my craft room where the lap top is he was sitting in my chair 
working on taxes.  

So my posts were all late.  And they were all messed up because I messed up my calendar so it has been a crazy day!

And there is no post written for tomorrow!  And so just when I thought that I was all back to normal and could leave you something interesting and witty I am stuck and in a rut.  

Because my mind is on over load. 

So whether you read this on Monday evening or Tuesday morning 
I want to leave you with a promise I'll be back to normal as normal as  I can be. 
Until then I wish you Sweet Blessings!
Image result for sweet blessings
Have a Good Week!

Twenty-One Steps Of Courage by Sarah Bates-Book Review

About the book 
Publisher:, Inc.  (Mar 31, 2012)
Category: Literary Fiction, Military Fiction, Adventure, Realistic Fiction
Tour dates: Feb/Mar, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-61434-957-0
Available in Print, ebook, & Audiobook 280 pages

From award-winning author. In 2006, with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan raging, Rod Strong enlists in the Army to achieve the goal his father sought before he tragically died in the Gulf War. His objective: The Old Guard regiment, the elite Soldiers who stand as Sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown in Arlington National Cemetery. Rod overcomes the obstacles that litter his path until an unexpected firefight in Afghanistan changes his life forever.
Read an excerpt
Even with the wall furnaces blasting full on, Rod felt the cold concrete of Charlie Company's balcony floor through his spits. The heavy soled black shoes meant for walking served Guards fine as long as they kept moving, but not standing immobile for twenty-five minutes while snow flurries wrapped the building. The excitement of Christmas and New Year's Eve at home seemed too long ago. He thought about the sad look on Beth's face when he'd left her at San Diego Airport, and felt a pang of loneliness that made him frown; a forbidden gesture.
      "That's one gig, Strong!" yelled Staff Sergeant B.J. Hawkins, descending on him like the predator bird she unfortunately resembled. "Don't let me see five more!"
      The tall NCO walked up and down in front of the new class of Old Guard Soldiers, black eyes darting back and forth watching every soldier for mistakes. Rod heard about Hawkins when he arrived. Of the two noncoms assigned to week one of ROP, she had the rep for being the toughest in the bunch.
      Instantly, Rod pulled his face into an emotionless mask and began to count the minutes, seeing them fall from a clock, rather than speaking them aloud. Inwardly, he cursed his failure to sustain the ceremonial composure he desperately strove to learn. For all the rigors of PT and the stamina he'd developed, standing absolutely still became an almost insurmountable obstacle. I'd better figure this out, he thought. I got 50 minutes to stand next week and 75 week three. Shit.
      By the beginning of week three he'd sorted out a way to trick his mind into standing for 75 minutes with ease. Visualizing the manual of arms, he'd picture the steps like a movie, counting the movements in each routine. Later, he practiced the exacting steps physically under the tutelage of a sergeant. To strengthen his legs, his daily workouts on the roads within Fort Myer became positive highlights. Not content with the three-mile round trip pussy run to the Iwo Jima monument every day, on alternate days he took off for the Washington Monument, six miles. He'd finish the last leg up Cardiac Hill doing Iron Mikes. The punishing lunges strained his thigh muscles to the burning point. He never thought he'd be grateful for the Ranger School endurance ordeal he withstood, yet admitted it prepared him for this.
      One Tuesday, turned out in ACUs, Rod and Private Jackson stood with Sergeant Cleveland on a third floor Charlie Company balcony practicing Eyes Right, Right Shoulder Arms. The nearly twelve pound Army M-14 felt like a beast in his hands compared to the lightweight M-16 he'd left behind at Ranger School. Rod and Jackson stood at parade rest waiting for instruction.
      "You two are going to march until shit runs down your leg," Cleveland said, "So I don't want to see any mistakes when that happens. Half second off and we do it again and again. Got it?"
      "Yes, Sarn't!" They responded
      Rod and Jackson kept their eyes on the sergeant, watching his every move and adjusting their weapons. Each then stood at attention, eyes front, left hands clenched.
      "All right," Sergeant Cleveland drawled. "And that left arm swings smoothly in unison. You are not puppets!"
      "Okay, here's the drill. We're marching, just as our right feet hit the ground, I yell Ready. Next, right foot hits the ground I yell Eyes. Got that so far?"
      "Yes, Sarn't!"
      "Don't anticipate the command. Eyes are forward. Then I give the command Rightand you snap your head forty-five degrees to the right. Everybody does it at the same time."
      "And I want to see your heads snap on those chicken necks." The sergeant paused and looked at Rod. "Show me forty-five degrees, Strong!"
      Rod jerked his jaw over his right shoulder.
      "That's ninety degrees you idiot! Watch me."
      At that, Cleveland snapped to eyesright, his chin pointed halfway to his right shoulder. Jackson, show him how."
      Private Jackson executed the 45-degree head snap, glanced at Rod then turned his attention back to Sergeant Cleveland.
      "Next step, now that Hotrod knows his geometry, is to bring the weapon down. And I don't want to see any jackrabbit or slo moactions. It's uniform. Got that?"
      "Yes, Sarn't," both men said.
      Snow had begun to fall and blow onto the balcony, making the floor slick, yet still they drilled. Soon Rod's breath enveloped his face in moist bursts and the M-14 began to feel twice its weight. By 1700 when winter blackness closed in on Arlington and Sgt. Cleveland called a halt to that day's lesson, Rod's arms and legs felt like lead.
      He passed week one and two of the Friday tests, even managing to get a little positive nod out of Sergeant Hawkins. When Friday rolled around on week three, he faced Cleveland for his test just before ROP graduation.
      "Well, well, Strong, you got your math straight now?"
      "Yes, Sarn't Cleveland."
      "Let's see you execute eyes rightwhile marching, call it out for me as you do it. I'll tell you when to stop."
      Rod stepped off ten times, counting each motion and performing it as routinely aspossible, until finally, Sgt. Cleveland called out.

      "Stop. You got it. Stop," the sergeant ordered, throwing up his hand in exasperation. "At ease."

And others are saying (from authors website)
Support by enthused readers
Here’s what readers are saying...
“The author of this book, Sarah Bates, is a liar. She professes not to know much about the military yet she tells an inspiring story that captures the true essence of what the military is all about -- love of country -- unit esprit de corps -- family values -- personal courage. Every high school student, every parent and all of the politicians in this country should read this book.” Lloyd N. Cosby, retired Tomb Guard (Alexandria, VA, US)

“Really enjoyable and meaningful.  Your writing is very impressive.” Bob Leonard (Fallbrook, CA)

“...this is a book of amazing power and emotion. Please pick up a copy today!” Michael Wolf, Writing Coach and Editor (Oceanside, CA)

" the book and I cried A LOT--it was very heartwarming and extremely interesting. When you described the part about him fighting and saving his brother--I felt I was there--a sure movie deal I hope."  Detra Hoffman (Los Angeles, CA)

"Loved your book. It was hard to put down.” George H., (Crystal Lake, Illinois) 

“Twenty-One Steps of Courage is a well balanced story about military life. Not too left or right, it's a good read, one that I would recommend to anyone, but especially to people who are thinking about joining the military.” -Caradea Linore, (San Diego, CA)

“The book was informative and well-researched. The story was quite interesting.” LAWonder (Los Angeles, CA)

And I Thought
I was actually surprised at how much I liked this book. 
Twenty-One Steps To Courage was much more than I expected. 
It was a book filled with lots or emotion and courage. 
Sarah Bates does an incredible job of research which makes this
book a great read. 
I would recommend anyone to read it.  There is some language 
in it but it kind of goes with the territory. 
Expect a fast paced and fascinating read as you journey along 
with Rod through basic training and then into infantry training 
and then Ranger school and ultimately to the 'Old Guard'.
21 Steps to Courage is filled with love of country/family. 
You'll  find strength and courage portrayed but very strong characters. 
Whether your a fan of military books or not you need to give this one a chance.  
I received a complimentary copy.
This review will appear on retail sites and Good Read.

Buy the book 
Visit the tour
To read more reviews, interviews, excerpts and enter the 
Giveaways visit the tour.  Click here

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Playing with Bonbon Fire-by Dorothy St. James-Great Escapes Tour-Review/Giveaway

About the book 
Chocoholic Charity Penn must smoke out the killer to stop her newly inherited beachside chocolate shop from going up in flames in Dorothy St. James’ decadent follow-up to Asking for Truffle.
Chocolate shop owner Charity Penn is finally settling into life in the quirky South Carolina seaside town of Camellia Beach cooking up chocolate treats. She’s even helped organize the town’s lively beach music festival which has brought rollicking crowds eager to dance the Carolina shag. That is, until one of the band’s lead singers is found dead beside a beach bonfire.
While also trying to balance the amorous attention of music star Bixby Lewis, in town for the festival, and her quest to perfect a new hot flavored bonbon, Charity dives into the investigation. Though it’s more spice than sugar when she discovers a threatening note, comes across decades of age-old secrets, and Bixby comes into the line of fire when a gas grill explodes on the deck of a beachfront house.
Now Charity must turn up the heat and catch the killer before her chance melts away in Playing With Bonbon Fire, the delightful second Southern Chocolate Shop mystery served up just right for fans of JoAnna Carl and Joanne Fluke.
And others are saying
This book has really made an impression on me. It’s getting harder and harder to find books as well done as this one.
~Writing Pearls
This story had plenty of unique characters that readers will enjoy. It was as though you were truly visiting a festival, allowing yourself to people watch.
~Bibliophile Reviews
A story to be savored and enjoyed like a fine piece of chocolate. Playing with Bonbon Fire is sure to leave you craving more from this hit series by Dorothy St. James.
~A Cozy Experience
Even when all the chocolate has been eaten (oh, woe is me!), this delicious story will tickle and tempt your tastebuds! There is enough sugar to make this a sweet story, but not so much that it becomes cloying. Bonbon Fire is just right.
~Back Porchervations
Dorothy St. James is an amazingly talented author who paints a picture of a town and characters so well that you get lost in the story, only fully emerging upon turning the last page.
~The Montana Bookaholic

And I thought
I suspected I would really, really enjoy this book.  I couldn't wait to get to the end and find the recipes!  Which sound so good!  
A chocolate lover like myself will enjoy every minute and bite 
of Playing with Bonbon Fire it's hard not to feel like your gaining inches as you read.  All this talk about chocolate is 
almost a dream come true with the quaint dreamy little seaside town. 

The town is filled with fun and quirky characters that care of each other and help solve the mystery in their own unique way.  
Penn is put to the test not only solving the mysteries but making a go of becoming the Chocolatier she wants to be.  
As Penn goes down the twisty turning road picking up clues 
the reader is swept along the yummy ride. 
In the end everything is wrapped up sweetly or maybe savory.  
Either way it's a win win 5 star read. 

Buy the book 
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Visit the tour to read more reviews, guest posts and interviews.
Click here

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