Monday, May 30, 2016

Menu: Week 147

We had a great party over the weekend for my middle son. He turned six years old last week and he is supper proud of it. I took him to the store to pick up some food for his party and he told everyone that he passed that it was his birthday. Love that boy.

I took a long weekend off of work so I could spend some time with the family. We've been working on the garden again, adding more veggies and flowers. It is looking great now.

I hope you have a great week and enjoy the menu!

Monday
Parmesan chicken and potatoes

Tuesday
- Crock pot taquitos

Wednesday
- Baked Ravioli

Thursday
- Loaded beef nachos

Friday
- Deep dish pizza casserole

Saturday
- Grilled burgers.

Sunday
- Tuna sandwiches

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Midnight Trail - Part Three

Welcome back to part three of The Midnight Trail. I wonder what Shelby has in store for us this week?

Part Three

With every step I took, the memory of Jarrod seemed further and further from my mind, but I knew that it would take a lot more than just a long walk in the forest to release myself from the guilt I felt. It wasn’t your fault, Shelby. I didn’t know why I was talking to myself, but the further I got from civilization, the more I answered my own questions.

The river beside me began to carve a deeper path in the forest bed. It widened and twisted forming small waterfalls and rocky outcroppings where the water ran white and quick around it. The sound quickly went from a quiet rippling to a rushing that seemed to push me on faster along the path, but the trail was becoming rocky and I thankfully found myself forgetting about my thoughts and concentrating on my footing.

I skirted along a cliff side that was only wide enough for one person to traverse. The trees loomed over head but the sun shone down into the ravine below keeping the air warm as I traveled.

With every passing hour, the trail climbed higher into the mountains. The path turned from dirt, to rocks, to slate that was flat and moved as my foot touched it, but the sun was almost over head and I knew that I was getting close to the end of the Midnight Trail.

As I turned a corner, what I had come here for was in view. The open air of the cliff side showed the beauty of my home state of Oregon. The vast wilderness that stretched out before me and the now raging river that flowed below gave me a sense of accomplishment. This was where the trail ended, on the side of this mountain, with a view like no other.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?”

I nearly jumped out of my skin when I heard a voice. I hadn’t expected there to be another soul on the trail. The empty parking lot hadn’t indicated other hikers and I was sure that no one had passed me on the trip up the mountain. Turning quickly, I nearly stumbled over my own feet to see who was speaking.

Sitting atop a rocky outcropping at the end of the trail was a young man with his blond hair cut short and his eyes as sharp as ice. His back pack was lying next to him as he sipped on a bottle of water. “I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”

I tried to calm my breathing, placing my hand over my heart and bending my body in half to catch my breath. I waved my arm at him, “Don’t worry about it. I was just taken by surprise, that’s all.”

The young man, who couldn’t have been any older than I was, jumped down from his seat and came towards me holding out an unopened bottle of water. I gladly took it. “Thank you.”

“So, you hiking the trail alone?” The young man asked.

I stopped drinking the water, unsure what I was supposed to say. It had been a bad idea to come on the trail without anything to protect me from wild animals, but I hadn’t thought about needing to protect myself from another person. I decided to lie. “Nah, I hiked ahead of my friends. They were taking their time down by the water fall.”

It was at that point that I caught a glimpse of something in the young man’s eyes. He knew I had lied.



Who is this new stranger and does he pose a threat to Shelby’s journey? Make sure you come back to find out what happens next on The Midnight Trail.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Garden

This would be the first year my husband and I have attempted to grow a garden. And I do say attempted. We are great at getting the seeds to grow with our indoor green house, but the minute we take them outside, something terrible happens and we kill all the little plants. We've drowned them, baked them and had the Blue Jays pick them out of the ground. The cats keep digging them up and there is a opossum that nibbles on the stocks. We just can't win.

Even thought we've had to start over on a lot of our little plants, w still have a few that have managed to make it.

Exhibit A
  We have tomatoes, spinach, lemon cucumbers, carrots and radishes. There are also a few marigolds to help keep the bugs away from my tomato plants. They are starting to bloom. I do have to admit that I almost fried those too by leaving them in the sun too long without water. They all survived and look great now.

Exhibit B
Our new baby plants that will need to be put in the ground. Pumpkins (That the birds keep eating) bell peppers, sun flowers, snow peas, water melon and corn. When they all get a little bit bigger, we will plant them in the ground.

 My Marigold and a giant tomato plant. Can't wait for it to start growing tomatoes.

 Squash and my pea tee pee that my husband built for me. I can't wait until the snow peas grow up to the top. 

This is a sunflower pyramid. It should look really cool once the sunflowers actually grow. 

This is the paving stone that my boys made me for mother's day. I can't believe how big their feet are.

This summer is going to be interesting. I can't wait to see what actually grows and gives us fruits and veggies. Or will the wild life in the woods behind the house kill everything in spit of how hard we try.

Menu: Week 146

Call me Grill Master! I learned a very important life skill over the weekend. I can now grill a burger on my propane grill that Jason bought for me. Don't ask me to use the charcoal grill yet, but maybe some day.

My sequel to my first novel Hunter, is coming along nicely. I have six chapters now in only a matter of weeks. I feel like its just flowing out of me. I guess there is something to be said for loving your characters and knowing them well.

This week is my middle child's birthday week. He is turning 6 and my husband bought him a bounce house for his party. He is super excited and so am I. I love that kid!

Enjoy this weeks menu!

Monday
Pot Roast

Tuesday
- Parmesan chicken and potatoes

Wednesday
- Spaghetti

Thursday
- Baked Parmesan Chicken Nuggets

Friday
- Steak Fajitas

Saturday
- Ronan's 6th birthday party

Sunday
- Tuna Sandwiches


Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Midnight Trail - Part Two

Part Two

The melodious sound of birds chirping in the canopy above complimented the early morning light. Once I had stepped through the gateway to the Midnight Trail, it was like I was in a whole other world. The light seemed brighter here, the birds sang sweeter and the shades of green seemed more vibrant. I couldn’t help but smiling at the joy around me.

The path wound its way through the underbrush, along a stream that bubbled with fresh water. I stopped for a moment and touched the surface with my finger tips. I hadn’t expected the cold shiver that ran up my back. It must have been runoff from the mountain nearby, but it was summer. I had thought it would be somewhat warmer, another surprise on the trail.

It had been an hour when I stopped for a break. The path had been fairly easy and well worn as it twisted through the forest. By my calculations I had already gone several miles and I was making good time. If I could keep up this pace for another hour or two, I might make the end of the trail before lunch time.

There was a fallen tree on the side of the path that beckoned me to rest on it. How could I say no to such an offer? I let my backpack rest at my feet and pulled my water bottle from its pocket. As I drank, the underbrush behind me began to rustle. At first, I didn’t notice it because it was so slight, but as it became lauder, my mind began to wonder what was coming closer.

I jumped to my feet tripping over my backpack and falling to the ground. From the sound of limbs snapping and the amount of rustling that was coming toward me, I expected a bear or a mountain lion, Bigfoot even to come charging onto the path. My heart raced as I tried to stand only to be surprised when a doe and her fawn jumped from the forest and bound across the trail to drink at the stream.

My heart nearly beat out of my chest when I realized that I was safe and Bigfoot hadn’t come to take me away to its hidden nest. “Get a grip, Shelby. Nothing out here is coming to get you.”

I told myself that even though I didn’t believe it one hundred percent. There was always something out there that was coming for you. No one was immune to it, not me, not even Jarrod my twin brother.

The day that he died I had found myself on the ground a lot like I was now. We were crossing the street in Downtown Portland, headed to the water front to partake in the festivities of the Rose Festival. The cross walk turned green, I stepped out into the street not noticing the car that had just ran the red light on the other side of the intersection. Jarrod pushed me out of the way just as the vehicle struck him. That was the last time I saw him alive. That was the reason I was here on the Midnight Trail, to try and forget that horrible sight.

I pulled myself to my feet and dusted the dirt off my pants. The feeling of ease was gone, replaced by the weight of my loss. This was going to be a long day.

Do you think Shelby will ever be able to forgive herself for her brother’s death? Find out what excitement awaits her on the Midnight Trail.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Movies, Movies and more Movies

I know I've been writing a lot of movie reviews lately, but when you have a back injury and have to rest a lot, you send a lot of time reading and watching movies. Some of the movies I've been watching have been total crap, and I've shared them with you before. Other movies are pretty dang good and deserve another watch, but sometimes these movies boggle my mind in a totally different way. Like the next movie I am about to introduce, I still don't know what to think of it.

The Adjustment Bureau (2011) - Sometimes you come across a movie that when you first start watching it you think, this seems interesting, but then as you get further into the show, you start to think, WTF? what is going on?

Here is a blurb that I found on the internet about the movie: Just as he is on the brink of winning a Senate seat, politician David Norris (Matt Damon) meets a ballerina named Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt). Though David is instantly smitten, mysterious men conspire to keep him away from the beautiful dancer. David learns that he is facing the powerful agents of Fate itself, and glimpsing the future laid out for him, must either accept a predetermined path that does not include Elise or else defy Fate to be with her.

Now these "Agents" supposed to be angels and the Chairman is supposed to be God. Its a really weird play on how angels watch over us, but it was just weird. The agents wear these special hats that allow them to go through certain doors that take them anywhere they want to go. Special hats people! They also have notebooks that tell them how someones future looks. I had a hard time believing the situation the characters were in.

I did though love the dance part, but that might just be me and my dance background.

The movie wasn't terrible and if you want to watch something that makes you say, what? Then watch the Adjustment Bureau and make up your own mind about how weird it is. I'd give it a 3 out of 5 stars.


SPY (2015) - This has got to be the funniest movie I have seen in a long time, although I wasn't able to watch it with the kids around because of the foul language. It was kind of disappointing because my boys would have loved this movie.

IMDB: A desk-bound CIA analyst volunteers to go undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer, and prevent diabolical global disaster.

If you are looking for a fun movie that you don't need to use a lot of brain power to understand, then watch Spy. I love Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham and Jude Law. They are all amazing actors who bring their own touch to this story. I loved it and would give it a 5 out of 5 stars.









Deadpool (2016) - If you are a big Marvel fan like I am, you know you are going to love this movie. Of course, its not one for the kids due to the graphic nature and strong language, but its a great love story, or revenge story, or something. Who knows?

IMDB: A former Special Forces operative turned mercenary is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopting the alter ego Deadpool.

If you want action, there is plenty of that. If you want a love story, guess what? Its actually got that. If you want creepy little baby hands, well folks, yes, it has that. 

Its not like any of the other Marvel movies but it stays true to the Deadpool comics. I loved this movie and I would definitely give it a 5 out of 5 stars.


Buffalo Chicken Panini


Came across another yummy Buffalo Chicken recipe to share with you. This one comes in a scrumptious panini sandwich, with blue cheese and mozzarella.

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of bread (I used sourdough)
  • Shredded chicken breast (good use of leftovers)
  • Buffalo chicken sauce
  • Blue cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
Instructions:
  1. Mix the chicken, blue cheese and buffalo sauce, use your discretion on how spicy you want it to be.
  2. Layer the chicken mix with the mozzarella on the bread, top with the other slice of bread and place on the panini maker.
  3. Really, just make a sandwich. Its really simple, but delicious. 

Menu: Week 145

Today was such a different day from a few days ago. Friday was almost 90 degrees. The sun was shinning and there wasn't even a cloud in the sky. Today is dark and gloomy. Cold with a constant rain all day. I feel a chill in my bones.

All I wanted to do today was work on my garden, but with the rain I ended up staying in doors all day doing laundry. Not my favorite, but it had to be done.

Enjoy this weeks menu!


Monday
- Cobb Salad

Tuesday
- New Hing Restaurant

Wednesday
- One Pot Sausage Skillet

Thursday
- Ranch pork chops

Friday
- Garlic chicken

Saturday
- Pot Roast

Sunday
- Dinner with the in-laws

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Midnight Trail - Part One

Welcome to my new web series. A collection of short chapters that chronicle the adventures of Shelby as she tries to forget her tragic past and survive the struggles that the trail throws her way. Don't miss an installment or you might not know if Shelby has the strength to survive midnight on the trail.

Part One

It was only in the early morning light that one who was seeking the Midnight Trail could find where the path began, and I was definitely seeking the Midnight Trail. It had taken me months to convince the local hiking community that I was trustworthy enough to keep their secret, but finally with a little luck and a lot of patience, I was given the location and sworn to never tell a soul about what I found there.

As the sun crested over Mount Hood to the East, and the forest around me was lit up with the light of morning, I pulled a small piece of paper from my pocket. Written in small text were the instructions for my journey.

Shelby,” I read out loud to break the defining silence around me. “The Midnight Trail is reserved for those who are seeking something, those who are lost and those who wish to forget. When starting on this journey, you must leave behind all the worries of life and give into the forest around you.”

I glanced down the empty logging road that led to the trail head. There was a feeling in the back of my mind like the forest was watching me, waiting for me to do something, but I didn’t know what it was. It was a creepy feeling, but I pushed it aside and kept reading.

“When the sun shines between the two large oak trees at the end of the road, step through the gateway and begin your quest.” My heart pounded with excitement as the sun continued to rise in the sky. “Your destination is a half days walk, but the view is worth the wait.”

I let the words sink in as I waited, thinking about the reason I had come here. My heart had been heavy for a long time. A weight that was beginning to wear on me and I couldn’t let it rest. My hope for finding the trail was to forget something that I hadn’t spoken of in a long time, the memories were just too pain full.

The sun broke through the canopy with a beam of light. It shown across the road, toward two large oaks standing side by side. The gateway. I took a deep breath knowing that by the end of this day I would be a changed person and with that thought I stepped into the forest finding the hidden Midnight Trail.

Stay tuned to find out what Shelby wishes to forget and what adventures she faces on the Midnight trail.


Monday, May 9, 2016

Menu: Week 144

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms that stop by my blog. I had an amazing day spending time with my boys, my own mother and my mother-in-law. They made it specail for me.

I got to wake up to an amazing breakfast, made just the way I like it from my husband. My boys, amazingly slept in till almost 9:30 and we spent the whole day in the garden. It's coming along nicely.

We also had an awesome time seeing Captain America, Civil War with my dad for my husbands birthday. The movie was very entertaining, but didn't have all the witty banter that the previous movies did, but It was still a five stars.

Enjoy this weeks menu!


Monday
- Ranch chicken and potatoes

Tuesday
- Taco salad

Wednesday
- Steak Quesadilla

Thursday
- Buffalo Chicken Panini

Friday
- Pork schnitzel and baked potatoes

Saturday
- Garlic Parmesan Panini

Sunday
- Toad in a hole

Book Review ~ A shade of Vampire

So, I got roped into purchasing one of those book advertised on Facebook for $.99. They claimed that it was a close rival to Twilight and all though I liked Twilight well enough, I didn't think there could be a book out there that wasn't a complete copy cat. I was hoping for something original. Let me tell you, there is nothing original anymore when it comes to books about vampires. They all seem to be the same.

This purchase was for a novella, not even a full length book, but it had potential from the moment I picked it up. I had to look past the corny awkward love story, but once the main character got involved with the vampire clan I wanted to know how she got out of the whole situation she was in.

I read the book in two days and then purchased the second one which I didn't like as much. I set it down and didn't pick it up for a few months when I was out of things to read. I am now reading the third book and I have a feeling they are all going to get a little worse as the series goes along, but maybe that's just me.

The one point that I can't get over about the book, is the main vampire guy was supposed to be in a sleep for like three hundred years, or something like that. He wakes up from his long nap with a vocabulary like a teenager today. Half the things he says, I've heard come out of my eight year old's mouth. You would expect a man that is supposed to be four hundred years old to talk weird, but not this guy. He is well versed in 21st century lingo.

The end of the second book has a good twist that I'm not going to give away, and the Shade where the vampires live is really interesting and amazingly well thought up. I can definitely see paying the $.99 for the novella and if you like how this author puts word on paper, apparently there are twenty seven books you can read.

I would give this book a 3 out of 5 stars.

Also read in this series:

Monday, May 2, 2016

Strange TV

If you asked me what kind of TV I like to watch, I would tell you that I like the strange shows that make you think and bend your perspective on reality. Its interesting to see what people think about things that others find outrageous and untrue. Its also fun to form my own opinions about strange facts. Here is a short list of some of the strange shows that I've watched recently and what I think of them.

1. Ghost Adventures - I've been watching this show for years and what intrigues me the most about it are all the cool gadgets these guys have. There is a device they use that maps out the outline of ghosts that aren't visible to the human eye. In one episode during the most recent season, there were four ghosts on a stage performing. They even got one to dance. It was very entertaining.

The commentary in this show is very dramatic and at times very dark, but they visit some really cool places across America that, of course, I would never set foot in. They've even come to Portland to visit the Shanghai Tunnels and did a ride along with the Portland police. Love that episode filmed in my own neck of the woods.



 2. Ghost Hunters - This was the show that originally got me hooked on the paranormal. The way they investigate is completely unique to them. They look at everything through a skeptics eye, trying to debunk everything that happens. Unlike other shows, they don't automatically assume that everything is a ghost and they visit locations where people need help to feel more at ease or want answers as to what they are experiencing. They genuinely want to help people, especially when children are involved.  


3. Ghost Asylum - This is one of my new obsessions. The guys of the Tennessee Wraith Chasers build some of the most elaborate contraptions you have ever seen trying to capture ghosts. I don't understand how a lot of them work, but I like the ones that blow up.

Some of the creepiest places are featured on this show, with histories that are dark and dismal at times, but the boys get to the bottom of things with their southern know how. Definitely a show to watch if you want some in depth ghost hunting.


4. Ghost Brothers - I'm really not sure what to think about this one yet, I haven't seen anything yet that makes me think they are serious about the paranormal. I think it's shown on television because there is nothing else out there like them. These three dudes definitely have a unique way of ghost hunt and yes, they are hilarious, but they freak out over everything. If you want a good laugh and absolutely no evidence captured on any of their devices, then check out ghost brothers, you won't be disappointed.





5. Finding Bigfoot - I know this show isn't a ghost show, but a lot of people think that Bigfoot is rooted in the paranormal, plus, I said strange TV, not ghost TV.

This show was born and raised in the great Northwest with sightings of Bigfoot all across the nation and the world.

When I first started watching this show, Renee, the shows resident skeptic was hard to win over with evidence of Bigfoot. Now that the show has been on the air for a few seasons the who cast quickly jumps to point fingers at Sasquatch. To them, everything from wood knocks to howls in the night is a Bigfoot. They don't even bat an eye these days at the "Evidence."

If you would like to see how people hunt for Bigfoot this is the show for you, but beware, the way they edit the show makes you think they caught something on camera, but they never do. So disappointing.


There are some pretty cool shows out there for us strange and unusual TV watchers. I also enjoy anything that Josh Gates is involved in. Expedition Unknown and Destination Truth. There is also another good one, but its long since been taken off the air, Fact or Faked.

Tell me what your favorite strange show is and if there is one that you think I should check out, leave me a comment.



Menu: Week 143

Happy May! Well, the back pain is back, but its tolerable. I just need to be careful.

May is one of my favorite months of the year. My husband and middle son both have birthdays this month and the flowers are starting to bloom.

Jason and I worked on the garden over the weekend and the plants in the sun box are coming along nicely even though I tried to fry them in the sun by leaving the top open too long, oops. Jason saved them. I guess I don't have a green thumb.

Here is this weeks menu, enjoy!

Monday
Crockpot fiesta chicken

Tuesday
Steak and potato stir fry

Wednesday
Pork schnitzle

Thursday
Philly cheese steak sloppy joes

Friday
Broccoli stir fry

Saturday
Ranch pork chops

Sunday
- Tuna sandwiches

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