Mar 042017


I love soup and this is one from my cookbook

Gooseberry Patch 101 Soups, Salads, & Sandwiches

This was so easy to make, it only took a few minutes to get the ingredients in the pot and it was done in about 15 min. I didn’t eat cornbread with it like Katie French ,the woman who sent the recipe to Gooseberry Patch, recommended. I used croutons instead, and was very happy with that decision. This recipe will go into my rotation to be made every so often. It is really good!

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Se that soup cup? I bought 4 at Publix  and wish I’d bought more. I love them! They’re oven, fridge, microwave, and dishwasher safe and have lids.

This counts toward my Pin It & Do It: Food challenge

Weekend Cooking

Souper Sundays

Feb 282017


Hosted by Joy @ Joy’s Book Blog

I met all my goals for February except Tai-Chi/Qi-Gong (imagine that). Since I’m having trouble with it, I decided to be a little more structured for  March, which means I’ve specified certain workouts for certain days. Hopefully this will get me on track.

Goals For March:
Do every day
Deep breathing:
80 oz. water:

Sunday is rest day
Monday- Tai-Chi/Qi-Gong:
Tuesday- Strength Training:
Wednesday- Tai-Chi/Qi-Gong:
Thursday: Strength Training:
Friday- Tai-Chi/Qi-Gong:
Saturday- Strength Training:

My steps from last week
Tuesday~ 2/21: 9,702 steps
Wednesday~ 2/22: 7,128 steps
Thursday ~ 2/23: didn’t track
Friday ~ 2/24: 8,130 steps
Saturday ~ 2/25: 10,588 steps
Sunday ~ 2/26: 8,508 steps
Monday ~ 2/27: didn’t track

On The Menu
Tuesday: Chicken Corn Chowder recipe (my Gooseberry Patch cookbook)
Wednesday: Corned Beef & Cabbage
Thursday: Taco Salad
Friday: ?
Saturday: ?
Sunday: Chinese
Monday: Cucumber Black Bean Corn Tomato Avocado Salad

Feb 272017


A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley
Narrated by: Vikas Adam
Length: 7 hrs and 28 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:06-12-14
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.

At only five years old, Saroo Brierley got lost on a train in India. Unable to read or write or recall the name of his hometown or even his own last name, he survived alone for weeks on the rough streets of Calcutta before ultimately being transferred to an agency and adopted by a couple in Australia.

Despite his gratitude, Brierley always wondered about his origins. Eventually, with the advent of Google Earth, he had the opportunity to look for the needle in a haystack he once called home and pore over satellite images for landmarks he might recognize or mathematical equations that might further narrow down the labyrinthine map of India. One day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for and set off to find his family.

A Long Way Home is a moving, poignant, and inspirational true story of survival and triumph against incredible odds. It celebrates the importance of never letting go of what drives the human spirit: Hope.

What I Thought:
Wow! This book had me from the first paragraph. It would be scary enough to be left in a place you’re not really familiar with, but on top of that his brother never comes back to get him. He can’t tell anyone anything that will help them find his family, and then he sets out on a journey that was scary for me as a reader, so I can’t even imagine what it was like for Saroo at the age of 5. Finally, after one horrible experience after another, Saroo is taken to a place where people help him find a family that wants to adopt him. Now, although he’s safe with people who care for him, he still has memories of his mom, brothers and sister, and wonders how they are, if they are looking for him, and if he’ll ever see them again.

Although he adjusts really well with his new family, those thoughts never leave him and he starts another journey to see if he can find them. Finally, he does and takes a trip back to India and sees his birth mom and siblings.

This is one of those books that I didn’t want to stop listening to for even a minute. I clung to every word, wanting to hear what happened next.

The book is narrated by Vikas Adam, and he did a great job. Very easy to listen too.

I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait to see the movie The Lion (hopefully tomorrow) based on the book. If you haven’t read this yet, I 100% recommend it!

Feb 232017

The Red Bandanna: A Life. A Choice. A Legacy.

The Red Bandanna: A Life. A Choice. A Legacy. by Tom Rinaldi

Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Penguin Press; First Edition edition (September 6, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1594206775
ISBN-13: 978-1594206771

What would you do in the last hour of your life?

The story of Welles Crowther, whose actions on 9/11 offer a lasting lesson on character, calling and courage

One Sunday morning before church, when Welles Crowther was a young boy, his father gave him a red handkerchief for his back pocket. Welles kept it with him that day, and just about every day to come; it became a fixture and his signature.

A standout athlete growing up in Upper Nyack, NY, Welles was also a volunteer at the local fire department, along with his father. He cherished the necessity and the camaraderie, the meaning of the role. Fresh from college, he took a Wall Street job on the 104th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center, but the dream of becoming a firefighter with the FDNY remained.

When the Twin Towers fell, Welles’s parents had no idea what happened to him. In the unbearable days that followed, they came to accept that he would never come home. But the mystery of his final hours persisted. Eight months after the attacks, however, Welles’s mother read a news account from several survivors, badly hurt on the 78th floor of the South Tower, who said they and others had been led to safety by a stranger, carrying a woman on his back, down nearly twenty flights of stairs. After leading them down, the young man turned around. “I’m going back up,” was all he said.

The survivors didn’t know his name, but despite the smoke and panic, one of them remembered a single detail clearly: the man was wearing a red bandanna.

Tom Rinaldi’s The Red Bandanna is about a fearless choice, about a crucible of terror and the indomitable spirit to answer it. Examining one decision in the gravest situation, it celebrates the difference one life can make.

My Thoughts:
I was really excited to read this book but the first half wasn’t what I was expecting. It told of Welles life, from school, his friends, his family, things he did growing up, just about every aspect of his life leading up to 911. It wasn’t that I wasn’t interested in his life’s story, I just thought it gave too many details.

Then it got to the morning of 911 and what happened, told by the people that were in the tower with him, and survived, because of him.

The images that the words put in your head are horrendous. I can not even imagine being in that situation. And for him to have the state of mind to do whatever he could to lead as many people as he could to safety is amazing. He could have gotten out many times over, but he stayed and directed them to safety.

I won’t go into the details of what everyone went through, but I can tell you that Welles was a true hero, over and over, that day.

This is one book that will stay with me for a very long time.

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Feb 222017


1. Have you ever been fishing? Did you catch a fish? If so did you keep it or throw it back? If you haven’t been fishing is that something you’d like to try?
I grew up on a lake and so yeah, I’ve been fishing. We usually threw them back. I’ve also been frog gigging and fried the legs. They jump all around the pan 🙂 My husband Henry and I had a few pontoon boats during our 27 yrs. together, and he LOVED to fish. By that time I was over fishing, so I’d take a book or two and read

Fish out of water, big fish in a small pond, living in a fishbowl, packed in like sardines, this is a fine kettle of fish, plenty of fish in the sea, fish or cut bait…which fishy phrase most recently applies to some area of your life?
None of them really apply to me, but I’d say fish or cut bait is the most accurate. I do tend to procrastinate

2. What’s something you’re always fishing for in your purse, wallet, desk, or kitchen junk drawer?
I’m always fishing in my kitchen junk drawer for scissors, take out menu’s, or recipes

3. Your favorite fish tale or movie?
Shark Tale. Very funny!

4. Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight or night? Explain why you chose your answer.
Depends on how much sleep I got the night before

5. What’s the oldest piece of clothing you own and still wear?
A grey jacket I’ve had for about 27 years. You can still buy them and I’ve thought about buying a new one, but it’s still really soft and comfy and in great shape, so why do I need another one?

6. We’ve got one more month of (officially) winter here in the Northern hemisphere. Are you feeling the need for a getaway? What’s been the best and worst part of your winter so far?
I always feel the need for a getaway. The best part of winter is less humidity, the worst part is cold but no snow.

7. The Wednesday Hodgepodge lands on National Margarita Day…will you be celebrating? Frozen or on the rocks? Are you a Jimmy Buffet fan? If so, what’s your favorite JB tune?
No, I won’t be celebrating, I don’t drink. I am a Parrothead, and my favorite song is Margaritaville

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Yesterday was a mess. Work was vey hectic and then my car wouldn’t start after I stopped to get gas. Thank goodness it was an easy fix. Then my hip started hurting and my 2 cats drove me nuts. I can’t open a cabinet or closet without them getting in them, and it takes me a few minutes to get them to come out. The kitten follows me into the bathroom 99.9% of the time, messing with the rug or anything else that catches her eye. Plus my dog Kaiyo thew up, which worries me. I don’t want any of my animals to be sick 🙁
But, it could have been worse. Thank God it wasn’t.


Feb 212017


Hosted by Joy @ Joy’s Book Blog

My right hip has been hurting really bad. It does hurt from time to time and I guess I need to figure out why.

Goals For February:
Do every day
Pray/Meditate: ✓
Deep breathing: ✓
Stretching: ✓
80 oz. water: ✓

Strength train 20 times: 18
Tai-Chi/Qi-Gong 6 times: 0 wish I could blame it on my hip but I can’t, can I?
Try something new: 0

My steps from last week
Tuesday~ 2/14: didn’t track
Wednesday~ 2/15: 10,426 steps
Thursday ~ 2/16: 7,199 steps
Friday ~ 2/17: didn’t track
Saturday ~ 2/18: 10,341 steps
Sunday ~ 2/19: didn’t track
Monday ~ 2/20: 7,930

On The Menu
Tuesday: Roasted Garlic & Herb Pork Sirloin, mashed potatoes & corn
Wednesday: BLT’s
Thursday: Chicken Corn Chowder
Friday: Steak, sweet potatoes, okra
Saturday:  Lettuce wrapped hamburgers, tomato, pickles, muenser cheese
Sunday: Eating at a local family owned restaurant
Monday: Corned beef & cabbage

Feb 182017

Last Sunday I went to the Straz Center to see the play Wicked with my daughter in law Susie and her mom Joan. It was so so so good, and very hilarious, which surprised me.

Before we went to see the play, we went to a new to me and Joan restaurant called Datz. For an appetizer Susie ordered the Berrychetta, which is toasted batard topped with goat cheese and Florida Strawberries, arugula and cherry balsamic drizzle. Oh my goodness. It was fantastic!

Everything on the menu sounded amazing, but I ended up ordering the Pepping Tom which is Oven roasted turkey, Swiss cheese, avocado spread, lettuce, tomato and mayo, served on a ciabatta roll. I asked for regular bread instead of the roll (don’t ask me why, it was just a spur of the moment thing)  and the sandwich was amazing. It was one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. Yum E!

All the sandwiches are served with house-made sweet-n-salty chips with creamy blue cheese drizzle and green onions. We all thought they were yummy!




Peeping Tom

Pepping Tom &  Sweet-n-Salty Chips

(you can click the photos to enlarge)

Joan ordered the Roger’s Rockin’ Reuben: Sy Ginsberg’s corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing. Served on rye bread. She loved it.

Susie ordered the The Happy Cow: House-made black beans, fresh corn veggie burger. Topped with Sriracha aioli and shredded lettuce. Served on a sweet sourdough bun.  And yes, she loved it.

The restaurant had a great atmosphere and I would recommend it 100%. I hope to go back soon. Sadly, the only locations at this time are in Tampa.

We had some spare time between the restaurant and the play so we decided to walk around Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. I love the park and enjoy it every time I go. That day they were having Yoga In The Park and I was surprised at how many people were yoga-ing. I also love watching all the dogs that people bring to the park to walk. Someone even brought their pet pig.



Of course my favorite part is walking beside the water. I am a water lover. Pond, river, canal, ocean, puddle. I love em all.

Anyway, if you are ever in the downtown Tampa area and are hungry, I suggest you visit Datz. They have other items on the menu besides sandwiches. Everything we ate was really good.


Hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

Feb 142017


Hosted by Joy @ Joy’s Book Blog

I didn’t get as many steps as I wanted this week. I’ve been more tired than usual on some days, I guess it’s from not getting enough sleep. I’ll be working on that this week.

Goals For February:
Do every day
Pray/Meditate: ✓
Deep breathing: ✓
Stretching: ✓
80 oz. water: ✓

Strength train 20 times: 12
Tai-Chi/Qi-Gong 6 times: 0
Try something new: 0

My steps from last week
Tuesday~ 1/07: 6,312 steps
Wednesday~ 2/08: didn’t track
Thursday ~ 2/09: 5,101 steps
Friday ~ 2/10: 7,043 steps
Saturday ~ 2/11: 11,456 steps
Sunday ~ 2/12: 10,636 steps
Monday ~ 2/13: didn’t track

On The Menu
Tuesday: subs from Publix
Wednesday: Roasted Garlic & Herb Pork Sirloin, mashed potatoes & corn
Thursday: BLT’s
Friday: ?
Saturday:  ?
Sunday: CiCi’s
Monday: Baked Pineapple Teriyaki Pork Chops w/ broccoli

Feb 092017


My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
Written by: Elizabeth Strout
Narrated by: Kimberly Farr
Length: 4 hrs and 12 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:01-12-16
Publisher: Random House Audio

Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable.

What I Thought:
Lucy hasn’t had the best life. Her childhood was spent being so poor that they barely had enough food, didn’t have indoor plumbing for a long while, and she was picked on at school, mostly because of the clothes she wore.

What she did have was gentle heart and a lot of love for her family, her two daughters, and for writing. She also said many times throughout the book about the people she had met, that she loved “her” “him”, “them”. She was very grateful for the people who showed her any kindness.

The book is about Lucy’s life, told in a random order, whatever she thinks of at the time. Still, there’s an even flow to the story.

I thought the conversations between Lucy and her mom were a bit strange at times. I can’t imagine having a relationship like that with my mom.

The narrator did a great job with each characters. I thought it was interesting tha there were characters with the last name Nicely. It’s a very unusual name, and is my mother’s maiden name.

This is the first time I’ve tried a Strout book, but I plan on reading/listening to more from her. I enjoyed learning about Lucy, she felt like a friend telling me her life’s story.

The ending came quite abruptly though, I would have liked more.

Feb 072017


Hosted by Joy @ Joy’s Book Blog

Goals For February:
Do every day
Pray/Meditate: ✓
Deep breathing: ✓
Stretching: ✓
80 oz. water: ✓

Strength train 20 times: 6
Tai-Chi/Qi-Gong 6 times: 0
Try something new: 0

My steps from last week
Tuesday~ 1/31: didn’t track
Wednesday~ 2/01: 9,106 steps
Thursday ~ 2/02: 6,065 steps
Friday ~ 2/03: 7,503 steps
Saturday ~ 2/04: 6,549 steps
Sunday ~ 2/05: 5,789 steps
Monday ~ 2/06: 6,597 steps

On The Menu
Tuesday: Ham, okra & tomato mix
Wednesday: Kielbasa & cabbage
Thursday: Pork Roast with baby red potatoes & baby carrots
Friday:  Chicken Breast, squash & zucchini mix
Saturday:  ?
Sunday: ?
Monday: Lettuce wrapped hamburgers with pickles and tomato

Feb 072017


50 States 5000 Ideas by National Geographic

This richly illustrated book from the travel experts at National Geographic showcases the best travel experiences in every state, from the obvious to the unexpected. Sites include national parks, beaches, hotels, Civil War battlefields, dude ranches, out-of-the-way museums, and more. You’ll discover the world’s longest yard sale in Tennessee, swamp tours in Louisiana, dinosaur trails in Colorado, America’s oldest street in NYC, and the best spot to watch for sea otters on the central California coast. Each entry provides detailed travel information as well as fascinating facts about each state that will help fuel your wanderlust and ensure the best vacation possible. In addition to 50 states in the U.S., the book includes a section on the Canadian provinces and territories.

What I Thought
I love going on day trips, I love traveling, and I love this book! I learned a few new things about each state.

The book brought back a lot of memories from when I lived in California and Ohio.

Here are a few of them:
California: I’ve seen the lettuce fields in Salinas and even though the photo in the book is amazing, they are even more beautiful in person.

I lived in Monterey and 17 Mile Drive is a beautiful place to spend the day.

Ohio: Cedar Point. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been there. It was one of the world’s first theme parks, and I loved going there as a child.

I loved spending days swimming and boating at Lake Erie. Lots of childhood memories from there.

The book mentioned the Cincinnati Zoo, but not the Columbus Zoo, which I thought was strange. Not that the Cincinnati Zoo isn’t amazing, it is, but my favorite is the Columbus Zoo.

Florida: Disney World, Sea World, Legoland, not to mention all the amazing beaches. Everglades National Park. I haven’t been to the Keys, but have wanted to go for years.

Places I put on my Bucket List after reading this book:
(Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, and Arizona were already on it)
New England States, South Dakota, Idaho, Montana…to name a few.

There are beautiful photos scattered throughout the book, and each state has plenty of places to see and things to do. There are also  a few sections each for each state called Little Known Facts, State Of The Art, Local Flavor, Road Trips, Capitalism, Tourism Information, Festivals, Hidden Treasures.

I love this book and will keep it where I can pick it up and scan through it from time to time. It will come in handy whenever I travel, even while traveling in my own state. It would make a great gift for anyone who loves to travel, or wants to travel.

About The Author
During three decades as an editor, writer, and photographer, Joe Yogerst has lived and worked on four continents—Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. His writing has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Islands magazine, The New York Times (Paris), and numerous National Geographic books. During that time, he has won four Lowell Thomas Awards, including one for Long Road South, his National Geographic book about driving the Pan American Highway from Texas to Argentina.

Purchase Links

National Geographic Store | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


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Feb 062017


Miracle at the Higher Grounds Café  by Max Lucado

with Candace Lee , Eric Newman
Narrated by: Ben Holland
Length: 5 hrs and 39 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:02-03-15
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers

Chelsea Chambers is on her own. After a public split from her NFL superstar husband, Chelsea takes a bold step out of the limelight and behind the counter of the Higher Grounds Café, an old-fashioned coffee shop in dire need of reinvention. But when her courage, expert planning, and out-of-this-world cupcakes fail to pay the bills, this newly single mom finds herself desperate for help. Better yet, a miracle.

Then a curious stranger lands at Chelsea’s door, and with him, an even more curious string of events. Soon, customers are flocking to the Higher Grounds Café, and not just for the cupcakes and cappuccino. They’ve come for the internet connection to the divine. Now the café has become the go-to place for people in search of answers to life’s biggest questions.

When a catastrophe strikes and her ex comes calling, Chelsea begins to wonder if the whole universe is conspiring against her quest to make it on her own. After a shocking discovery opens her eyes to the unseen world around her, Chelsea finds the courage to ask God a question of her own. Heaven answers in a most unexpected way.

What I Thought
I was excited to listen to this book. I liked the blurb and thought it would be an uplifting story, and it was. I liked all the characters, especially Manny. He sure added a lot to the story, and I grew very fond of him and his quirkiness.

While I liked Chelsea, she jumped to conclusions a bit too quickly for me, especially about her husband. Everything is not what it seems, which she found out.

The narrator was good, but it seemed that he took a big deep breath at the beginning of most sentence, and listening to that over and over kind of got on my nerves. He did, however, do a terrific job with all the different voices.

This was a quick listen, just a bit over 5 1/2 hours. I liked that it was a good clean book with a positive message. I really enjoyed this book.

One Word For 2017

Feb 062017


Yes, I’m late to the party. I’ve been trying to decide on my “One Word” since I saw Sheila @ Book Journey, post about it. I’ve finally decided that my one word will be:

the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.

I also wish this for all my family members and friends.

Sunday Reflections

Feb 052017

Sunday Reflections


I would like to have a Monday off soon so I can go to the farmers/flea market

My dog Kaiyo, cat Boots, and kitten Jaspurr because they keep me  company when I’m home alone

Murder at Jade Cove (Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery #2) by Dianne Harman

Listening To…
A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley

Today I plan on watching Lord Of The Flies, a co-worker recommended it

To get the house in Zephyrhills finished soon so we can move
Please Please Please Pretty Please

Some people aren’t happy unless they’re unhappy

I’ve decided to eat healthier so I’ll be working on a menu

In The Kitchen…
I’m not sure

Today’s To-Do List…
Watch a movie and do some laundry

One of my favorite things:
Taco Bell Taco Salad

Pin It & Do It…
Button Bookmarks

Looking forward to…
Going with my dil Susie and her mom to see Wicked next Sunday

A Favorite Bible Verse…
The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
Proverbs 15:3

A favorite quote…
“Life will bring you pain all by itself. Your responsibility is to create joy.”
Milton Erickson

From the camera….

Friendly Fill-Ins

Feb 032017

Hosted @ McGuffy’s Reader & 15andmeowing

1. My middle name is Lou. My dad’s mom called my mom “Leelou”, so when my twin brother and I were born she named him Ricky Lee and me Vicki Lou.

2. I never liked surprises until the last few years, now I love them.

3. The Super Bowl is something I’ve never been interested in.

4. My favourite sport is bowling.

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Feb 012017
Hosted @ From This Side Of The Pond


1. Can you believe it’s the end of January? What was the best day of January 2017 for you, and why?
January 13th, because that’s the birthday of my oldest son, Jeremy. And also, it’s the day that I rescued my doggy Kaiyo.

2. What sounds make up the background noise in your life?
A fan and the tv or audio book. At work it’s music, mostly Christian music.

3. I read on the Power of Positivity website a list of ten things to drop from your life right now. They are-

anger outbursts, people who put you down, regret, negative self talk, being a people pleaser, the notion you need to be perfect, the past (but keep the lessons learned!), gossip and judgment, comparing yourself to others, and the word hate (focus on what you love instead)

Which thing on the list do you most need to drop? Are you trying or will you try?
I’m a people pleaser, it’s hard for me to say no to anyone who needs/wants my help. And yes, I’m trying not to be.

4. What is sacred to you?
Anything relating to my religion. If I had to name a few things not relating to religion, I’d say my family and pets, the beach, nature.

5. January is National Oatmeal month. Are you a fan, and if so how do you like it?
I like steel cut oats with cinnamon, wheat germ, flax seed, nuts, sunflower seeds and fruit.

6. What feelings does twilight stir up in you?7

7. Something you’re looking forward to next month?
Going to see Wicked on February 11th with my daughter in law Susie.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Have you ever been so tired that something just didn’t click in your head? I can’t remember ever doing that before, but it sure did yesterday. It took 5 emails about something before my brain finally said “oh my goodness, really? Duh!”