Friday, October 9, 2015

Five on Friday!!!

Good morning friends, and a very Happy Friday!!!

I decided to do something a little different today and join in with Amy over at Love made my home, with her Five on Friday.

It's my first time joining in and I'm not quite sure how it really works, but, I'll get right on with it and share 5 things that made me smiles this past week.

If you want to join in, please go and say hi to Amy, grab her button, write your post up and then go back and link with her and all the other Five on Friday participants. :)

1.  My grandmother has been so poorly the past two weeks, but she's making wonderful progress and is getting back to her old usual self.  We've learned so much the past few days, mostly about the Lord's power to perform miracles.  This wonderful lady was at death's door, we said our goodbyes, and then a day later she woke up and was back to normal.  Unbelievable!!!!

2.  The most beautiful of Fall weather has crept up on us here in North Texas.  I've smiled just watching the season take hold, the leaves changing, the beautiful sunrises and the seasonal flowers bloom.



3.  Food, food and more comfort food.  I love cooking and I love baking and I truly believe that one of the best ways to take care of my family and to show them how much I love them, is through the meals I serve them. 

Beef and Chicken baked with Yogurt

4.  Catching up on some favorite TV shows and finding new ones.  I've watched quite a few this past week, here are a few that I'm really enjoying.

5. Corners of my house.  Those little nooks and crannies that bring a smile to my face every single day.  It's those little spaces that I've added a special little touch, or just something to make it feel homey and cozy.  I like nothing more than pottering around my house and when I walk by an area and see a simple touch of homeliness, it makes the monotonous chores not so bad.

View from my dining table

Crochet and flowers, need I say more?

Fall decorations

Thank you for stopping by, I'll be sure to come by and visit you all later today :)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A fallish kind of week....

It's been such a pretty Fall week here in North Texas.

The temperatures have dropped, there's a nip in the air and our mornings are seeing temperatures in the lower 50's.  I'm loving it, I'm soaking in every single moment and preparing myself for the full beauty of Fall.

This week has certainly given us preview of what is to come.


Even our mornings take on a sort of magical aura. Dew drops on the grass, blue and pink, orange and reds in the sky contrasted by the stark darkness of the tree limbs.


If I were to pick one of my top favorite subjects to photograph, it would have to be just that....the contrast between the early morning trees and the sky.




I could ask if there was anything more beautiful, but in all honesty, there is we are constantly surrounded by beauty and nature, we just sometimes fail to soak it all in while busy with the craziness of our lives.



My grandmother's hospital stay has taught me so much.  Oh my word, just when I thought I was old enough to know quite a bit, something like this comes along to teach me that I still know nothing, and I will continue to learn new lessons.

If I were to sit and tell you everything I've learned or opened my eyes to, I think I would easily get the award for the longest ever blog post.

To put it all simply, I've learned that I spend too much time focusing on what doesn't matter.

I've learned that I am who I am, and I can't expect other people to be who I expect them too, if I do, I am always disappointed.

Most of all, I've learned to slow down and to take a deep breath and to worry about myself and my family and what I'm doing in the here and now.  Everything else will fall into place.


With that new knowledge before me, I've also learned to not be so quick, but rather listen, take it in, see both sides and not sweat the small stuff, which usually gets turned into major big issues and drama.

I've gone into a sort of zen state.

I've drank copious amounts of tea, worked on numerous projects around the house like these fabric covered boxes below.


I've baked pies and cakes with my daughter.

And I've taken in every single sight of the changing from summer to fall.


My camera has once again become my best friend.

It has a tendency to bring me back to the simple joyful things in life, I sometimes think of it as a little child and how you see things so differently through their eyes.  That is what it does for me.


How beautiful is that? 



A week of Fallish beauty and of reflection.

I almost feel like I'm learning to gain back my time, like it was lost in some black hole somewhere and now I'm regaining it all back.  It feels really really good, to be honest.

I've taken this time to catch up on some shows and scout out some new ones starting soon.  Oh there are some really great ones coming up.  Home Fires is brilliant, you need to watch that one, also Midwinter of the Spirit though a little scarier, Olympus, Sons of Liberty is also really good and I actually want to see if it's ok for my kids to watch.  Coming up there is Jekyll and Hyde and The Frankenstein Chronicles, both from the UK and both look super good.

In between all that, I've been dealing with my gran's situation.  She is doing so much better but is refusing Physiotherapy, we have to convince her to please do it so she can go home.  Old people can be quite stubborn at times hahahah

She is a bit bruised from all the tubes and pipes and whatnot, but is in good spirits, although very confused at times.  I understand that it is normal at her age of 92, when they've been in the hospital for a long period of time they tend to get a little confused, but once the family gets therE and staRts talking to her, she snaps right out of it.

It's just going to be a very long process for her, but she is one tough lady :)

I've also been thinking about doing an October prompt kind of thing, just for the last two weeks of October.  Almost like our Christmas one that I started last year, but with October/Fall/Halloween specific categories, and not really questions to answer persay, but more along the lines of one word prompts that we can then talk about, share pictures etc.  For example.....for the 15th of October, the first day I'm doing it, the prompt will be Chilly.  Let me know if you would like to join in, it could be kinda fun and might break up the writer's block for some of us :)

Anyway, it's been a bit of a Fallish week around here, lots on my mind, lots that I've learned, lots that I'm focusing on, and lots more of drawing closer to God which is always a good thing.

I do hope you've all had a pretty good week so far and that you enjoy the rest of your Thursday.

Blessings to all,

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

VO5 Giveaway Winner

Thank you all for entering the giveaway :)

I'm sorry I'm so late drawing the winner, but the giveaway happened to fall right on the time my grandmother was very sick and I just didn't have the time to come to the blog and do anything.

Anyway, I used to draw a winner and it was.....

#14 Melanie Dorsey

Congratulations Melanie, I will be contacting you shortly.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday - 10/05/2015

Good morning dear friends, how is your Monday looking so far?

I know this post is going up a little later than usual, but I've been so busy with my brothers trying to sort out my gran's care.  She is not in ICU anymore, they have moved her to a normal ward, but they want to release her sometime this week, problem is that she is going to need frail care.  Now we are scrambling to see what is available and what she can afford etc.  Decisions are so hard at this point.

Anyway, hence the reason I've been late getting this post up, but nevermind that, let's get right on with it.

Oh and you'll probably notice that some of the categories are different.  I've decided that I've done so many of these HHM posts over so many years, and sometimes I want to go back and change up the categories and use some that I haven't in a while.  Feel free to do the same, long as you're using old HHM posts, it's all good, I only ask that you don't add your own in, because then....well, it really wouldn't be my Happy Homemaker Monday feature anymore, would it? :)


The weather in my neck of the woods:
62 degrees and cloudy.  We are supposed to have some rain this week which will be so nice.  It's finally starting to feel like a proper Fall. 

Things that make me happy:
Sitting at my living room window, working on the computer and enjoying this view.

Book I'm reading:
Ok I have to be honest, save for a few review books that I read, I haven't picked anything up in forever.  I'm thinking though that now that the weather is cooling down, I'm going to take a look through my bookshelf, and Kindle, and pick out some good ones to read.  I miss a good book.

What's on my TV today:
Been fascinated with Prison/Jail documentaries, so been watching quite a bit of those on YouTube
Been wanting to rewatch McLeod's Daughters and may do that.
Not sure what is on the DVR but will take a look.
I've given a few of you links to online places that allow you to watch all your favorite shows, but seems some keep losing track of them, so I'll try to give you a few right here, right now.
TVMuse, WatchSeriesOnline, Coke and Popcorn, Watch Series, Couch Tuner

On the menu for dinner:
Beef Baked with Yogurt and Pepper, Steamed Rice

On my To Do List:

Finish off laundry, iron and put away
Homeschooling with the kids
Fabric Covered Boxes, need some more storage and figured since I have so many boxes from the move, I'll cover them in pretty fabric and use those.

New Recipe I tried or want to try soon:
Jasmine and I tried a new Lemon Meringue Pie yesterday and it turned out so good.

In the craft basket:
Fall Scarf

Looking forward to this week:
Just hoping for some peace and quiet and rest, really, that's all I am wanting right now

Tips and Tricks:
I recently came across a great post to keep on hand.  It's at Common Sense Homesteading and it talks about and teaches us how to do substitutions in the kitchen.  Let's face it, as much as we may think that we have everything on hand, sometimes we forget to buy a certain item or replenish it in the pantry.  It's nice to know that you can still make what you want with some clever substitutions.

My favorite blog post this week:
I have been pretty good about reading blogs lately through my Feedly account, but I have to admit, I didn't do any reading the past 10 days, just haven't been able to or had the brain to sit down and do it.  I'll probably look through some today.

A newly discovered blog or youtube channel you would like to share with the readers:
I've come across some really neat vlogs over on Youtube, as well as some great documentary channels.  The first one is WorldWide Prison Documentaries.  Another one I really enjoy is Lily Pebbles.  Check them both out.

No words needed (favorite photo or picture, yours or others you want to share):

Lesson learned the past few days:

Oh goodness, so many lessons, especially in regards to my grandmother being so close to death.  I've learned that in times of need, those we think will be there are not, and some we don't expect step forward in more ways than one.  I've also learned that in this day and age of social media, we spend way too much time and energy on things and people who DON'T deserve it, often times placing ourselves in a spot to be insulted, attacked and demeaned, when we really should be not allowing it, and rather spending our efforts on things that matter.
I've once again been reminded of how toxic and absolutely awful Facebook really is, you can't post on there anymore without someone immediately assuming you're talking about them, and attacking you for it.  People are just not happy anymore, it seems and their sadness and anger and bad moods are being projected onto those that just want to have a good life and mind their own business, so with that said.  It's time for me to once again take a break from Facebook, I did last year when I took a couple months off and it felt AMAZING.  Time to do it again, though this time, I'm not actually sure if I'll ever come back.  I will be posting on Instagram rather, so you can follow me along there if you wish :)

On my mind:
My grandmother
The decisions we are now being forced to make for her care

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Preparing for cooler weather


I've spent a very busy and productive weekend.

There's been much to do around our house and property as we get ready for cooler weather.  Country living is wonderful, but it also means quite a bit of work and that's something that Curt and I don't shy away from.

Yesterday was mostly spent inside, I had some deep cleaning I wanted to get to but also a run to the base commissary for some grocery shopping.


When I did my big grocery shopping trip last week, the commissary had some sort of power outage which resulted in them shutting down the store pretty much the whole weekend.  I had just arrived when I saw the signs and had to turn right around and come back home.

By the time I was able to get back to base, they had reopened it, and I was able to get some groceries, but the frozen and dairy areas were still closed off.  Basically all my items from those areas, I was unable to buy.

Long story short, I returned yesterday to finally pick up the few things that I wasn't able to before, so it wasn't a big haul at all.

After returning home and putting everything away, I kind of pottered around a bit, but mostly tried to relax and take it easy, I was so exhausted and stressed from everything going on with my grandma, that I just needed some time to myself.

Watched a few shows, worked a bit on my crochet, stuff like that.


Today was a full day of chores, both for the hubby and I.

I started with some major cleaning and organizing, and what prompted me to it, was the discovery of a mouse in our pantry last night.  I hate mice, I really really hate mice, they make my skin crawl like nothing else.

Curt was able to catch him and dispose of him in the field, but the thought that he had been in my pantry just grossed me out, so first thing this morning, I tore apart the pantry, washed and disinfected every shelf, and bleached it all out, including the floors.


Removed some of the items you see above, because I wanted nothing that any other mouse could climb on, through, in and so forth.  Everything was placed above the kitchen shelves.

The remaining shelves in the pantry were filled with boxes, tightly closed that don't allow for any mouse to get behind and hide.

I need to get some peppermint oil and I need some mouse traps too, but for now, I've gone through and bleached all the baseboards throughout the house and the areas I found evidence of the mouse having walked through.

Also tracked down any hole that I thought he could have come in through and closed it up with aluminum foil and tape.



After all that work, I also decided to rearrange some of my kitchen drawers. One of the things I did was take all my tea that was just hanging out in a basket, and actually made a Tea Drawer. I will have to take a picture of it to show you. I just love it because it's so much easier to quickly find what I'm looking for.

I then helped hubby mow the yard.  Ok, we have 3 acres and we recently bought a riding mower from craigslist.  Honestly it's not something we could really afford, to get a new one.  We saw a good deal and jumped on it.  Unfortunately, as is the case many times with items on Craigslist, you sometimes get things that don't work.

It ran for one day and now we can't get it to run at all.

The grass however does not stop growing and we would rather not get into trouble with the city, so a few weeks ago we bought a very cheap push mower.

But's 3 acres, which when you think about mowing with a push mower, it is just crazy.

We took turns mowing, the kids actually helped a bit too, but most of the work was hubby and I.  Seemed like it took days to do, but thankfully we finished it though we're both quite a bit sore.

After the grass, we worked on gathering, cutting and stacking fire wood.


We still have a long way to go, just had to stop for the day as we were both exhausted.

Once inside, I took a shower, slipped into my pj's for the rest of the day and then did some baking with Jasmine.  We made a Lemon Meringue Pie and also my Portuguese Cookie Cake, then I got dinner in the oven, which was Italian Sausage Penne Casserole.

All in all a very busy productive day, but I'm beat.  I'm currently sitting on my bed working on this post and as soon as it's up, I'm thinking I may watch some more Lockup Raw and then turn in for the night, that 5:30 am alarm comes around way too quick.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Miracle!!!!

I'm so sorry I've been missing from my blog, I haven't been able to concentrate on anything other than my grandmother, and friends, it's been really really tough the past 10 days.

I thought that I would come and give you an update on what I've been going through and what is happening with my granny.  Be forewarned this is going to be a long post and will also include some photos that some may find a little hard to see, just scroll through if you need to, but I have to share it and feel compelled to share it all in order to tell you exactly what is happening.

My grandmother was on the brink of death, literally at death's doors.

3 days ago the doctors let us know that there was no hope, that they had done everything they could and that death was imminent.  We were told to say our goodbyes, and there's nothing more excruciatingly difficult than to know that the person you love so very much, is leaving this world and you will never be able to talk to them or see them again.

The photo above was sent to me by my oldest brother.  It was shocking to see and it absolutely broke me. Not being able to be in South Africa during this time was something that I found very difficult to deal with.   I wanted so badly to be there, as hard as it was to see her like that,  i needed to be able to hold her hand, hug her, just let her know I was there.  To say that I was and am completely physically and emotionally drained, is an understatement.

I have yet to have a good night's sleep, the time difference makes everything that much harder, when the family was getting news about my gran, it was middle of the day for them but middle of the night for us, so my phone was constantly buzzing throughout the night, not to mention my heart was heavy and I was scared and worried and just couldn't sleep.

Her body had shut down, she couldn't breathe on her own and needed the ventilator, her heart beat was slowing down, she had diarrhea, there was blood in her urine, and the doctors and nurses told us that her body was ready to stop.

I sat in my walk in closet, closed the door, and poured out my heart to my grandmother in a voice message.  I told her what she meant to me, I told her how much I loved her and how thankful I was for everything she taught me and everything she saw me through, and I said goodbye, and let her know that as selfish as I wanted to be to ask her to please stay, I had to think of her and if this was her time, then she needed to know that it was ok to go, that we would miss her, but that we would understand and we would eventually be fine.

I cried for days, I cried until I felt I couldn't cry anymore and just when I thought I had nothing left in me, the flood gates would open again and I broke down.  My husband and children did their best to comfort me.  I literally walked around like a zombie.

My oldest brother played messages to my gran, she couldn't talk, and was in and out of consciousness, but when she heard our voices, she squeezed her eyes shut to acknowledge.

My 3 brothers and I have a group on Whatsapp where we exchange messages, photos, supported each other through this, and where my two brothers in South Africa kept me and my brother here in Idaho, up to date.

Every time one of them visited her, we got photos, we were told what was going on, what the doctors and nurses said, what my gran was doing etc.

It's really helped my brother and I here in the States feel like we are there and going along this whole process with them.

And then Thursday, my youngest brother was at the hospital and posted this photo to the group with the caption "You are NOT going to believe this".

As he walked into the ICU and up to her bed, she turned her head towards him and opened her eyes.  She acknowledged him, she nodded, she tried to talk even though she couldn't because of the breathing tube in her mouth.

Her blood pressure which was 8/5 the day before was now normal, her heart was beating normally and she was breathing all on her own.  We were all stunned.  The nurses and doctors were immediately called in to assess her.

She wanted the tube out and again tried desperately to talk.  She recognized everyone visiting her, and seemed to have come out of whatever state she was in.

My brother messaged me and asked if I could please send her a voice message as she was feeling a little confused, I did.  I said hi, I said I missed her and I loved her so much and I asked if she could do something for me "give me a little smile, it would make me so happy grandma".

She did!!!!  She heard my message, she nodded, she gave me the smile when I asked her to.  I cried, I cried so very hard but I was terrified of getting my hopes up, after all this had happened so many times when people seem to suddenly come out of their unconscious state only to immediately after pass away.  The calm before the storm...that is all that I could think about.

Her cardiologist and physician came in to check on her and told us we need to wait 24 hours to really know what is going on.

When my brothers visited her that night, she was wide and propped up in bed.  Huge folks, that is HUGE!!!!

On Friday morning, 24 hours after she first woke up, she was propped up in bed, watching TV, still trying to talk, her ventilator removed, her vitals all back to normal, the urine in her blood completely gone and her diarrhea gone.  The nurses said they actually had her sitting on a chair in the afternoon.

When my father talked to the doctors, their exact words were "This is a miracle, we have no explanation what we are witnessing, it surpasses all human understanding.  We really don't have an explanation from where she was 2 days ago to today, again, it's a MIRACLE!!!"

Praise the Lord!!!   Oh my friends, there have been so many people praying for her the past 10 days, family and friends and friends of friends and people in South Africa, Portugal, USA, England and all over the world.

She has continued to improve, and today she celebrated her 92nd birthday.

The family gathered around her, the tubes had all been removed and she was able to finally talk and have a sip of water and some ice chips, the first in 10 days.  She talked to everyone, she was back to her old self, she laughed she joked and she doesn't remember anything before the last 2 days.

And then she dropped a bomb that has hit us all like a ton of bricks.....

"I saw my mother.......I actually went through the tunnel."

My word!!!!!

I have always believed in the tunnel, in life after death, in seeing our loved ones waiting for us on the other side, but even though I've read books about it, watched TV shows on the matter and believed it, it was never something I could really say for sure that it was true, mainly because I didn't personally know anyone who had been through it.

And now here was my grandmother, one of the women in my life that means the world to me, one of the women in my life who has NEVER lied about anything in her life.

She didn't elaborate, and when asked if she saw her husband too (my grandfather), she just looked at them and didn't say a word.  We won't push, but I believe that as she starts feeling better, she may just divulge all the details and I for one can not wait to hear.

This was her today.........

She has come so far.  I'm beyond thankful to every single one of you who prayed for her, who kept her in your thoughts and who has been there offering words of comfort and support the past few days.

It has meant the world to me and my family.

I don't know what is in the future, how long she will be around or what is happening next week, but I know one thing for sure, that the Lord has pulled her from the brink of death and performed a miracle for our family and I will never forget it for as long as I live.

I've loved Him for as long as I can remember, I've been a Christian for so many years and have always known and believed in the power of prayer.  He has been with me through so much and I love Him with all my heart and soul.

I'm not here to change anyone's mind, I'm not here to tell anyone they need to change what they do or what they think, I'm merely here to share our story and to pass on this amazing miracle that we are witnessing.  But if this post helps even one of you out there who is struggling or still questioning the power of God, then that is all that matters to me.

A miracle is an event not explicable by natural or scientific laws.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Cooking Thursday - Panda Express Sweet Fire Chicken


Morning everyone, welcome to another Cooking Thursday.

The recipe I have for you today is one that my family absolutely loved and couldn't get enough of.  If you like Chinese food and Panda Express especially, you'll want to give this one a go.

Panda Express Sweet Fire Chicken

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups diced pineapple, fresh or canned
1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce, or more, to taste
2 green onions, thinly sliced
For the chicken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Working one at a time, dredge chicken in flour, dip into eggs, then dredge in flour again, pressing to coat.

Working in batches, add chicken to the skillet, 3 or 4 at a time, and cook until evenly golden and crispy, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bell pepper and pineapple and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in chicken and Thai sweet chili sauce until well combined, about 1-2 minutes.

Serve immediately, garnished with green onions.