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Monday, February 29, 2016

Blog Book 2015

I love receiving my yearly blog books! I just received my 2015 book!!!!!!
 I love making memory books or journals of my blog. I've been making them since 2008 when I started my blog. 

It's been amazing to have this many years of beautiful books full of photos and journaling.
 I've started making them all black and hard bound instead of soft bound covering.
 This was a big book of 438 pages.
A quick peek inside of one of the memories of 2015. 

This is why I blog, to capture memories of my life. 
Every time I review a book, I realize how blessed I am and what a wonderful life I have.

Leap Year Birthday! Happy 1st Birthday Samantha (4)

Happy Birthday Samantha! 

She is our leap year baby. 

Today she turns 1 years old.

Although she is really 4.

What a special day to have your birthday on.
 Princess Samantha

Laura, Samantha and Rhonda

Monday, February 22, 2016

54th Birthday

WOW! 54 years old. Time just flies by when your having fun. 

My mom came to town over President's Day weekend and we were able to celebrate my birthday together. I was completely spoiled!
 She bought me this beautiful orchid. It's lovely and I hope I can keep it alive. 
 She also crocheted me a pair of pot holders. The red and white were for Valentine's Day and the brown were for my birthday. 
 My sister Chris spoiled me with garden gloves, lots of seeds which I absolutely LOVE! A $25 dollar gift certificate to Fred Meyers for flowers!!! What an awesome gift because I love planting lots of flowers in my yard and can't wait until spring!! Plus a couple of books because I love to read! She completely spoiled me!
My visiting teacher dropped by these garden stakes - Smile, Simplify, Relax. 

 My mom Zoey, Jason and I went to a movie at The Village and enjoyed the fountains there. We had to take a couple of pictures. 
 Jason and Grandma Zoey

Sondra and my Mom, Zoey.
Jason and me.

We also went to Sizzler for Steak and all you can eat shrimp and salad bar. I do love Sizzler!

After the movie we went and had some Frozen Yogurt while we were at The Village. 

It was a bunch of fun. While we were there we also saw the fountain perform or dance to the music "Jump". My mom hadn't see the fountain dance before and she loved it. 

It was great having my mom visit for a few days. 

I had a great birthday / Valentine's Day and President's Day celebration all at once.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Book Review: Painting Rain by Annette K. Larsen

Book Review of Painting Rain by Annette K. Larsen

Also this from Annette 2/21/2016: To celebrate Painting Rain's release, I'm doing a free promo on Just Ella for five days starting today! So if you know anyone who might want to read it, now is the time for them to get it. Happy Reading!

  My Review of Just Ella
My Review of Saving Marilee

I guess I didn't review Missing Lily. ??
I think Painting Rain was my favorite book so far from Annette K. Larsen - however, I may say that about each of them. I wish I had re-read Missing Lily before reading Painting Rain to completely remember what happened between Raina and Tobias. So I find myself currently re-reading Missing Lily so I can re-read Painting Rain. Each of her books are stand alone books, but there is more detailed information if you read Missing Lily first. 
About the Book from Amazon:

 A proper, clean romance. 

How do you heal your heart after tragedy leaves you broken? When the person you loved didn’t deserve it and they can’t earn your forgiveness because they’re already dead? How do you move on, and heal, and love? 

If you’re Princess Lorraina, you paint. 

A year ago Lorraina watched Tobias die, and she still doesn't know how she's supposed to heal—or forgive. How can she when she’s still running away? In an attempt to reinvent herself, she steps outside her comfortable life as princess and seeks the tutelage of a master painter—a man who is not at all impressed by her pedigree, and demands not just talent, but emotional honesty. 

Struggling to learn what’s being taught, she finds herself drawn to someone who not only knows her secrets, but who she once considered far below her notice. Now she is compelled to seek him out despite knowing their relationship would be forbidden if discovered. Staying away from him doesn’t seem possible when discovering him may be the key to healing her heart and rediscovering herself.
My Review:
Painting Rain spoke to my heart. I am a person who has tried for perfection and has unfortunately kept people at arm’s length in order to protect myself and my imperfections as Raina does. 

I love how Raina has to grow and become the "best her"for herself and not for other people or what they expect of her. She has to learn to work through her imperfections, to open her arms to let people in and to love herself. 

I fell in love with West. What a noble man! West was a completely beautiful, loving and encouraging man. Raina is very fortunate to find happiness with West as she finds herself and develops her talents. 
 I feel the need to go visit an Art Museum after reading this wonderful book! I also have to say that I love Annette's writing. I love how she can pull me completely into her stories where I can feel emotion. Annette has become one of my favorite Authors and I always look forward to each book she has published.
Reviewer - Jennifer Jones: Finished...and loved it all the way to the end. Emotional and intriguing. In my mind's eye, I could see it all...even "Painting Rain." Thank you so much for sharing their wonderful story with us! And now to wait impatiently for the next installment.
Reviewer - Marianne Morris: Just finished Painting Rain. I loved the depth of getting to know Lorraina. I understand the perfectionist in her. Sometimes it's just hard to be human with imperfections and all. I loved how she had the determination to find herself and love herself as who she is. Great defining of character. Where do you go from here? Who is left? I'll miss this series but comforted to know I can read the 4 books over again.
Reviewer: Amy Reibelt:  Finished! As I was reading, I could see why you were having trouble writing her story. It would have been so challenging getting inside Raina's head. Nevertheless it was amazing! I'm so excited for Kinley's story!

 As a pianist I really related the way she expressed herself through her chosen art medium. It felt authentic, probably because you do the same in your chosen medium! To know what it feels to express emotion, and not just achieve technical perfection, only comes by experience.
The next book out from Annette K Larsen: As for where I'm going next: I am working on the story of Gavin's younger sister, Kinley, and I'm really excited about it!
Completely Loved Painting Rain!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine Goodies 2016

This year I didn't want to spend a bunch of money on my children's goodies because I had just helped Jason buy a car and I bought Brady a new bedspread and sheets. 
 Jason's Car
 Brady's new bedspread.

So I bought a few things and took things out of my home storage for Valentine's day on a budget. 
 This is the loot I sent Brady for Valentine's Day. 
 Popcorn: You Make My Heart Pop

Kisses: Hugs and Kisses

Reeses Peanut Butter Cups: There Are A Million Reeses Why I Love You.
Colored Pencils: Color Your Heart Out! Happy Valentine's Day

Extra Gum: You Are Extra Awesome Valentine!

Highlighter: You're The Highlight Of My Day! Love Mom

Hand Soap: I was "Soapin" You'd Be My Valentine.

Lip Balm: Boom! Splat! You're The "Balm" Valentine  LOL! 
Here's the decoration inside of the Box for Brady's package I mailed.
I also made Jason and me some yummy sugar cookies.

It is always fun to do something extra special for my children to show them how much I love them. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Recipe: Banana Bars

 Recipe: Banana Bar's from my niece Robyn. These are so yummy and one of my favorite things to do with ripe bananas.


1/2 Cup Butter
1 1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 Cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Allspice
1 Cup Mashed bananas (about 2 - 3 bananas)
1/2 Cup Milk

Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix. Add dry ingredients and mix. Add mashed bananas and milk. 

Bake in a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Top with glaze.

Banana Bar Glaze
1/4 Cup Butter
1 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 -3 Tablespoons boiling water

Cream butter and powdered sugar. Add vanilla and mix. Add boiling water until you reach the desired consistency. Spread over bars. 
Being an empty nester, I have to freeze these bars so they stay fresh and don't go bad.

I cut them into bars.

I use wax paper or parchment paper cut into squares to put on top of the frosting so that it doesn't stick to the plastic wrap.

Then I wrap the bar in plastic wrap.
 I put in a freezer bag and freeze.

I take out a bar each day and add to the cooler I take each day for work. It thaws by lunch. 
Best banana bar recipe I've made. I love these! Enjoy!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Walking Into The Danger Zone

Last week after I came home from work I noticed that one of my sons friends was parked in the alley where I drive into my garage. I thought Jason must be home and they were visiting him. They had stayed at our house on New Years Eve so they wouldn't be driving impared. While they stayed they  left a few things from their car at my house so they could fit more people in as they went to a party. 

I thought they were there to pick up the items they left. When I opened the garage so that I could pull in, I noticed that they came in through the garage instead of the gate to get in the house. My garage is detached from the house - it is it's own building. 
A summer view of my garage. 

When I came out of the  garage door to come into the house, I noticed that a screen was off one of the windows, a baseball bat that was in the garage was by the back door and my sliding glass doors were open. I knew that they had broken into my house.
Not thinking of danger, I let myself into the back door and confronted Katie. She apologized for breaking into my house and said she was there to pick up her things and couldn't get a hold of Jason. 

I was pretty mad and called Jason with Katie there to find out where some of her things were put. Jason told me to call the police. 
Katie confessed that she had stolen a few more items from my house. She took and returned  4 DVDs that were on top of the TV in my bedroom (where the sliding glass door is) and an iPod / iPhone docking speaker station. 

I was mad, but I let her go - leave my house.

The thing that surprised me is that a sliding glass door can be lifted off the track like a closet door. 

My home is pretty secure, I call it Fort Knocks because my doors are ALWAYS locked and I never open the door at night. 

I have dowels in all the windows. That is why they didn't go through the window that they took the screen off of. 

My sliding glass doors had the shorter dowel in the track which gave them some lead way to lift the door off the track and enter my house.

I was physically shaking after I told her to just go. I ran to the store to pick up some things to make my house extra secure. Some padlocks and tension rods. 

I put padlocks on both the front gate and the back gate to my back yard. My garage door is also secure and the door to my garage is also locked with a padlock.

I added a tension rod to the top of the sliding glass door so that it could not be lifted off the track again. Also I secure the bottom with a new dowel with no extra room. (You can see it in the picture above - the tension rod is white and at the top of the door and a new longer dowel is on the bottom in the track). Now my sliding glass door is completely secure. 

As I was shopping I decided that I needed to report this to the police.

No. 1 reason is if they really only wanted their stuff, they could have come to the front door knocked and I would have let them in to pick up their stuff. 

No 2 reason is that they really had intentions of stealing more stuff from my house if I hadn't arrived home while they were there.

No. 3 reason, what were they going to do with the baseball bat? Beat me up?

No. 4 reason, would they have broke a window to enter the house if the couldn't get through the sliding glass door?
This is Cameron Hatch and Katie Cutts. They are the stupid people who broke into my house. They are theives! Beware of these people. Don't let them into your home!

I did report it to the police. They took a statement, pictures and evidence.

The next day they brought me a line up of photos for each of them and I had to pick them out.
Then they came back and took finger prints off the sliding glass door. 

It makes me so angry that Jason let bad people into my house. It makes me angry that they made me feel insecure in my own house.

I will have to testify against them when they are arrested, but I'm OK with that. 

They shouldn't have broke into my house!

So, what does a single woman do to feel secure in her own home again? She goes and purchases a 9MM hand gun. My first response will be to call 911, but if someone breaks into my house again, I will shoot them. Sorry, but I will. Don't break into my house!
I also have a shot gun my kids gave me in 2010. Yup, I'm a gun toting woman. 
Honestly, I have got to stop walking into danger zones. 

A few weeks before I walked into my customer's home whose door was broken into (entrance from the garage) to see if he was OK. Luckily for me it happened the night before from the firemen when he was in distress. 

I don't know why I am so brave, but I have seriously got to quit it! 

Don't walk into danger zones - Sondra!


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