Monday, October 29, 2007

Out of the way..........I'm starting to craft!

"Pack away summer linens with sachets so they'll be fragrant when unpacked in the spring"

And that's exactly what I did this morning, I had a couple of fabric squares laying around and no clue what to do with them so I placed a handful of poutporri in the middle of the squares, gathered into a bundle and tied them with a little bow. All done and they smell divine!

It did however catapult me into a crafty mood and I finally decided to pull out my knitting needles and yarn and start on a scarf that I've been wanting to make using this amazing pattern....are you ready for this????

This knitting technique is called My so called scarf on the internet and I found it while blog lurking some of my favorite craft blogs. It looks complicated but it's actually pretty easy and get this, there's even a video on youtube teaching you how to do it. You can just follow right along and that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Here's the video if anyone else is interested in learning the technique.

Me, I'm going to polish up my knitting needles and jump right in, I also have a couple summer dresses to finish for Jasmine (yes for next summer), some old dresses of mine that will be turned into long tops and a candlewicking pillow that has been waiting since Idaho to get finished. OH and that wonderful fabric to make something into, so you can see that I'm going to be busy busy busy.

Halloween is pretty much upon us and I'm happy to report that the kiddos have their costumes all ready. Nicholas is going as a Pirate ARRRRRR (I just had to do that lol).....Jasmine was supposed to be a fairy and we even had the wings and the wand and flower crown but suddenly she decided against it and would rather be a Gothic Enchantress and all because the dress is "oh so pretty". (that's the costume on the left.)

I'm sure there will be pictures to post after the actual Trick or Treating!
We're going to see how many houses we get to because usually back in Idaho, by the time Halloween rolled around it was rainy and really really cold and after 4 or 5 houses the kids were ready to head home.

Seeing as this is Arizona and it's still hot as heck, I figure we may luck out and be able to go to a few neighborhoods, the weather will be great and we'll also have the trusty old wagon along for when the tired little feet want to rest but continue trick or treating.
The good part about this all is that mommy and daddy are paid for our efforts in chocolate candy bars.......they've started bringing them to me instead of having to go through the usual 'mommy stealing candy' routine.

Switching gears to my kitchen, right now I have a Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff going, it smells wonderful and I'll serve it over some hot noodles.

Last night we had some Garlic and Herb Fish Fillets with Tomato and Spinach Rice and a spinach salad to go's healthy and it was delicious and both kids had seconds and thirds and actually cried for more fish when it was over, guess I'll have to double the recipe next time.

If you want the recipe for my rice, it's on my food blog under Tomato Rice. While you're there be sure to check out my menu plan for this coming week and if you're interested, run on over to Laura's blog and see all the other great menus.

I wish I could stay and chat longer but Nicholas has a bad cold, a fever and a runny nose and he's just cranky and clingy....he's also worried that he won't be fine in time for Halloween and that would be a tragedy wouldn't it?

Anyway, I better get some things done around here, but I leave you with a list of crafts I want to get into and accomplish the next few weeks:

Wastebasket Fabric Cover - I'm thinking of doing this for my bathrooms in coordinating fabrics with the decor in there.

Tote Bags - I'm in love with fabric tote bags, just completely and madly head over heels in love with them so I'm jumping in and hopefully making at least one for me and Jasmine.

Gum Drop Pillows - I think these would be great in the kids bedroom or even some in the living room for watching tv or when they have friends over.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

When life gives you pumpkins.............

You turn them into an amazing mouth watering Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake....and I'm not just saying that because I gave you the recipe, but because I made it last night and after one bite I literally felt like I was floating towards heaven. Well, not really, but it was THAT good.

You eat it warm or cold, of course the aroma in the house was the determining factor because by the time the cake came out of the oven, the only thing that kept me from shoving my face into the cake pan was the heat....oh and the fact that it would be socially unacceptable?!?!? LOL

See the whipping cream dripping as it melts???? Tell me you don't want to just stick a fork in it and take a big bite??? I have yet to find a cake that screams Fall as this one does, it's going to become one of our family favorites, that's for sure.

But you can't have cake without some kind of beverage to go along, so I reached for a Viennese Coffee and again, the floating and heaven thing happened all over again.


3 c. strong brewed coffee
3 T. chocolate syrup
1 t. sugar
1/3 c. whipping cream

Optional: 1/3 c. chocolate liqueur
Garnish: whipped topping, chocolate shavings.

Combine coffee, syrup and sugar in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low setting for 2 to 2- 1/2 hours. Stir in cream and liqueur, if using. Cover and cook on low setting for an additional 30 minutes, or until heated through. Ladle into mugs, garnish with dollops of whipped topping and chocolate shavings. Makes 4 servings.


I must say, it was a great day in the kitchen, let's not forget that for dinner I fixed Johnny Marzetti and it was SO good, Nicholas who is the picky-never-hungry eater, had two servings and mmmm'd and ooooo'd throughout the meal.

I still haven't had the chance to go blog hopping, so I know a lot of you are wondering where I am or if I just forgot about you but I didn't and as a matter of fact, I've allocated myself time tonight to do it.

As a matter of fact there's a couple new blogs I found that I'm loving and want to share with you all, so I'll do that soon, maybe tomorrow morning, hopefully, if I remember LOL

Jasmine's reading corner was the best idea I could have had, I just wish I had thought of it a year or two ago but hey, better late then never right? Here she is, actually enjoying reading and as she put it "this is so comfy, I like it now".

I just recently got her into the Junie B. Jones books, she was never interested before even though she has pretty much the whole collection, but last week thursday I took one off the shelf and started reading it and laughing, not faked laughing because if you've read Junie B. Jones you KNOW that is hilarious. She came up to me and asked what I was doing and before long she had taken off with the book herself to read.....can't tell you how happy it made me :)

Here's the best part though, through the Junie B. Jones website I found a link to another one called Teachers@Random and what it is, is different activities and ideas to do with the kids in the classroom, now of course I'm NO teacher but I can still use these for Jasmine. They even have it set up by the different books, like for example, Jasmine is busy reading "Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus" so they have a page for it with different activities that go along with the book. I am so thrilled you can't even understand, I almost want to dress as a teacher and set up a classroom just so I can play "school" LOL

Of course I won't do that, but I will be working with her and doing the different activities, I think she'll enjoy it. But don't think it's just for Junie B. Jones, you can pick what grade you're looking for and what books you want to work with etc......seriously, take some time and browse through the site, it's fascinating.

Feeling - Inspired

Drinking - Viennese Coffee

Writing - Grocery lists and menus for the week to come

Thinking - that I need to get some crafting done

Contemplating - Sewing or knitting

Knowing - that I'll probably start the knitting before the sewing

Listening - to cartoons on the tv

Jumping - everytime one of the kids runs up to me and yells in my ears

Savoring - Audio book of Pride & Prejudice (via Librivox), can't tell you how happy I am to have found that website

Resisting - the temptation to have yet another slice of Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake

Eating - Nothing right now

Hiding - my fast break candy bar so the kids don't eat it

Feeling - impatient for the fall weather to finally arrive in Arizona

Friday, October 26, 2007

Cottages, Crafting and Cooking!

I was reading one of my favorite blogs and this amazing lady is not only one of the best crafters out there, she has an amazing house and lives in one of the most stunning places ever. Literally sounds like she has it all doesn't it???

Anyway, she posted this photo, the one on the left here, and said this was about 100 yards from her childhood home. Is that not the most peaceful and charming place you've ever seen???

I don't think I need to tell you how much I love English Cottages and how I wish I could live in one, maybe one day who knows?

Things here have been crazy busy and I'm trying to get it all done, I have a house desperately asking for attention, I have fabric begging to be made into beautiful projects and I have ingredients sitting on kitchen shelves asking to be made into delicious food. I really should start making a list of what I need to accomplish and then jump right in with both feet.....maybe that's what I'll do today?!?!?!

Yesterday afternoon I had a Parent/Teacher conference for Jasmine, she's doing great, the teacher loves her to death and we got to talk about the usual stuff parents talk about, are they good in class? Are they respectful of others? Is there anything I need to be working on her with? So I was happy to hear good things about Jasmine, we always knew she was a great student so it's good to have it reiterated by the teacher. She got two A's, one B and two C's.....we'll be working on those C's for sure LOL

I don't know about the rest of you out there but we're not the kind of parents to get upset or ground them or whatever when they don't get straight A's, to me what matters is that I'm seeing my child work hard and devote herself to her school work, if she is still getting C's then so be it, do I condone it though? No, and we've talked to her about it so she doesn't think that it's acceptable to not try and better herself but we've also made her realize that she must never hide or be scared of her grades......we're in this together, whatever her grades we'll all work at it as a family and I think for me that is what matters.

One of the big things with Jasmine is that she does not enjoy reading, she finds it boring, no matter what books we throw her way.........and it's funny because she's the 3rd top reader in her class......go figure.

Anyway, I realized that I need to turn reading into something that she will enjoy so she's now got a small area in her room that has become her reading area, just throw down a cute little quilt, a couple pillows and some books, she likes reading there and she likes it even better when the pugs join her and take a small nap at her feet. (btw, ignore the date on the picture, I just realized that I haven't reset my date on my camera in forever LOL)

After the conference we came home and the kids wanted to decorate their little pumpkins so that's what we did, there was paint and yarn and fabric and all sorts of goodies available but my children are painters.......they have blinders to everything else around LOL
So here's the masterpieces, they didn't want help with theirs and I love watching the kids just having fun and doing whatever their hearts desire.

Back in Idaho, I went to the base thrift store and came upon this beautiful fabric, I just fell in love with it, it was free, there were a couple yards on it and I just love the pattern, so I picked it up and it's been sitting in my crafts box for months now. I've decided to take it out and finally do something with it but I need your help, see I seem to have hit a blank when it comes to sewing, I look at it and I know it would look beautiful somewhere in my house, but where???? Curtains, pillows......what?????? Help please, I know there's tons of crafty ladies out there with great ideas so help a girl out will ya???

Right now I have a wonderful Beef Curry cooking away in the crockpot and it's a first for me because curry is one of those dishes that I make myself on the stove top, that's how I learnt from my greatgrandmother but you know the crockpot looks so inviting and I have so much to do around here that I want, no, I NEED this day to focus on the house instead of the kitchen.

I swear Curry has to be one of our favorite dishes in this house, we never get enough of it :)

I'm heading out to get started on the house but I wanted to leave you with this photo of Nicholas, while watching tv this morning I heard my name from the couch and turned to find him trying to hand me a rose.....ok so a plastic rose, but still it's the thought that counts right?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Slow Cooking Thursday

All my slow cooking recipes are now online and starting today, I will add all the recipes shared weekly to my online site too. So if you're wanting to find ALL the slow cooked recipes that have been shared since the first SLOW COOKING THURSDAY, here is the link for you.

Morning ladies, it's thursday and time for another Slow Cooking Thursday. I'm sporting a new SCT banner so go ahead and update your old ones when you get a chance.

Thank you again to all the participants, I've gotten such a wonderful collection of recipes already and can't wait to see more.

Don't forget to add your name to Mr Linky and a link back to your SCT post so others can come by and see your recipe too.


Credit: Taste of Home Slow Cooker Recipes

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

6 beef cube steaks

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large onion, sliced and separated into rings

3 cups water, divided

1 envelope brown gravy mix

1 envelope mushroom gravy mix

1 envelope onion gravy mix

Hot mashed potatoes or cooked noodles

Place flour in a large resealable plastic bag. Add steaks, a few at a time, and shake until completely coated. In a skillet, cook steaks in oil until lightly browned on each side. Transfer to a slow cooker. Add the onion and 2 cups water. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until meat is tender.

In a bowl, whisk together gravy mixes with remaining water. Add to slow cooker, cook 30 minutes more. Serve over mashed potatoes or noodles.

Yield: 6 servings

Monday, October 22, 2007

And there I go again..............

I am pretty good about blogging but then there's times that a few days or a week will go by with no posts and that is usually when life comes at me full force, I'm caught between kids and hubby and housework and all that other fun stuff. Yes, it's fun for me, I've always wanted to be a mom and wife and have my own house so to me this is living my dream......only in my dream I had a bit more money, but that's neither here nor there LOL

So how was your weekend??? Mine was quiet and slow and not much got accomplished, we went out on Saturday to try and get the kids Halloween costumes, only to return home with nothing, zilch, nada. Either everyone around here is wearing more than one costume or the stores didn't have enough in stock. Of course I tried to coax Nicholas into being a Peanut or a Little Devil but he was not thrilled and specifically told me that he is to be a COWBOY, all other deals are OFF the table.

Jasmine is going as a Fairy and we've got her wings and her wand, we have her flower crown but no dress, yes my friends, she still doesn't have the most important part of the outfit. But, I'm not going to fret or get upset. I was going to order it online and then realized that I have but a week before Halloween and the only time to ensure that I get the costumes here on time is to pay a ludicrous amount for can do. I will just keep looking this week and we still have this coming weekend to find something.

I've finally finished my first book from the Fall Reading 2007 List and I loved it. It was "Moonlight on the Millpond" by Lori Wick. The first book in the Tucker Mills Trilogy and it did not disappoint, though I admit that when I started reading it I had just finished Lori Wick's other series "The English Garden Series" and this one seemed a bit slow in the beginning, but boy am I glad I hung in there.

In all of her books there seems to be a theme of "finding God and having faith" and to me there's nothing better than to go through the ups and downs and watch a character who is distant from the Lord, finally realize that they need Him in their lives and them make the necessary changes, I get almost giddy everytime one of these men or women reach that moment where they drop to their knees and welcome the Lord into their hearts......

I'm starting the second book in the series tonight and I can't wait!

I've just posted my Menu Plan for this week too, it's on my food blog as always. I ended up not making some of the meals last week and I've brought them over to this one.....I like having a menu that is but a mere draft or idea of what the meals should be, I don't necessarily like feeling like I HAVE to eat that certain dish that certain day.

So anyway, I am cutting this one short, I have to finish the laundry and then go pick Jasmine up from school. I hope you're all having a great monday!

God Bless

Friday, October 19, 2007


Tomorrow is the day, the Rugby World Cup final being played in France.........South Africa vs England and of course I am pumped and I'm excited and I can't wait, I'm hoping our Bokke bring home the cup again, last time they did it was 1995.

I remember being in South Africa still and everyone was sooooo excited but now it's a completely different feeling, having family in Johannesburg means that I still know what is going on there.....I've been watching the SA news, blogs, facebook and myspace sites and the whole country is hyped and impatiently waiting for the final.

Today everyone in South Africa wore green and gold to match the Springboks (Bokke) colors, stores were sold out everywhere, the BBQ's have been planned, the food and drinks bought and now it's just a waiting game, until tomorrow night when our team goes up against England. I'm so thrilled I can't even contain my excitement and let me tell you it would have been easy to get depressed today, if you only knew what it's been like for me.


So my day has been awful, I feel like I have negativity just flying towards me and I'm standing here trying to dodge it all and not doing a great job of it.

It started last night with a sore throat and a headache which led to a congested nose and in turn led me to toss and turn all night and that led me (you see the pattern?) to pulling a muscle on the right side of my back which again........say it with me........led me to being in pain and not able to move very well.

I thought that was the worst of my problems and was prepared to have some coffee and take something for the pain, but right as I was standing at my kitchen window I looked out towards the driveway and my durango seemed to be tilting to the right. At first I thought it was my eyes, but then I see this:

And upon closer inspection I found the culprit

That just upset me, these are NEW tires, I just got them about 2 days before we moved to Arizona, so it's disappointing to see that.....but anyway, my awful day wasn't over, I set my coffee pot to go and walked to my computer so I could check email and blog.

I turned it on and it start loading windows and then gave me the "blue screen of death", shut down the computer and refused to work again, wouldn't load anything, it kept restarting and giving me all these errors.

Seriously, who is trying to annoy me today??? I've had to reinstall windows which meant I lost everything I had on there.....yeah it just gets better and better doesn't it??? LOL

So I've prayed and I've thanked the Lord for being with me and for helping me get through this today because after the computer first broke down I broke down along with it, had myself a little cry and then prayed for patience and I'm pushing and prodding through it....sick and in pain but just smiling through it, I don't know if it's nerves or what, but I'm at the point where thinking about my day sends me into giggles LOL

I wish I could stay longer, but I'm in the middle of fixing the computer and reinstalling everything I lost, which is always frustrating.

Hope you all have a wonderful friday, I'm going to have dinner and then settled down in bed to watch the Most Haunted Live in Winchester House.....7 LOL

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Slow Cooking Thursday!!!

All my slow cooking recipes are now online and starting today, I will add all the recipes shared weekly to my online site too. So if you're wanting to find ALL the slow cooked recipes that have been shared since the first SLOW COOKING THURSDAY, here is the link for you.

Morning ladies, it's thursday and time for another Slow Cooking Thursday. I'm sporting a new SCT banner so go ahead and update your old ones when you get a chance.

Thank you again to all the participants, I've gotten such a wonderful collection of recipes already and can't wait to see more.

Don't forget to add your name to Mr Linky and a link back to your SCT post so others can come by and see your recipe too.

I made this recipe for last night's dinner and it was REALLY REALLY good....the enchiladas came out so creamy and were just delicious.

Credit: Howstuffworks

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 7 to 8 hours (LOW) • 3 to 4 hours (HIGH)
Yield: Makes 6 servings
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chicken broth
1 small onion, diced
1/4 to 1/2 cup canned jalapeño peppers,* sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons whipping cream or milk
6 (7- to 8-inch) flour tortillas
6 thin slices American cheese or American cheese with jalapeño peppers

Cut each chicken breast lengthwise into 2 or 3 strips. Combine 1/2 cup flour and salt in resealable food storage bag. Add chicken strips and shake to coat with flour mixture. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Brown chicken strips in batches 2 to 3 minutes per side. Place chicken into slow cooker.

Add chicken broth to skillet and scrape up any browned bits. Pour broth mixture into slow cooker. Add onion, jalapeño peppers and oregano. Cover; cook on LOW 7 to 8 hours or on HIGH 3 to 4 hours.

Blend remaining 2 tablespoons flour and cream in small bowl until smooth. Stir into chicken mixture. Cook, uncovered, on HIGH 15 minutes or until thickened. Spoon chicken mixture onto center of flour tortillas. Top with 1 cheese slice. Fold up tortillas and serve.

Serving Suggestion: This rich creamy chicken mixture can also be served over hot cooked rice.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What a crazy few days I've had!

You ever have those weeks that fly by and you don't even realize it??? I finally got a moment to post this morning and I notice that my last post was on!!!

Anyway, the kids and I have been fighting a cold and Jasmine was home sick from school yesterday. Isn't it amazing how kids have a fever and are not feeling that great but seem to be well enough to bicker and fight with their siblings??? They were both going at it yesterday, I caught myself yelling like a bainshee at one point and then had to remind myself that:

A - It's not right
B - Doesn't even phase them
C - It does not stop the fighting
D - Only thing I get out of it is irritation and a sore throat

Just can't win.

Anyway, before I carry on I want to tell you about Ladybugs and Lilipads, it's this wonderful blog by Sara and they sell the cutest baby outfits and accessories ever.

She's one of my readers and she loved the Fairy House post so she decided to be sweet enough and give my blog friends a discount on their Fairy Pillows. All you need to do is head to her store here, enter the Coupon Code FAIRY and receive 10% discount off any tooth fairy pillow purchases between today and Dec 31. These make wonderful Christmas presents. They also offer FREE shipping for all orders $99 and up.

Here's a few photos of some of the pillows: (You'll have to be patient today, seems that Blogger is PMSing again so I'm having trouble posting pictures)

Aren't those just the cutest Fairy Pillows????

I have the worst headache today and I think it's because I'm not feeling great and not getting sleep either. I can't for the life of me keep Nicholas out of our bed, there's days that he will stay in his room all night but those are so few and far in between that it's seriously affecting my sleep. I need help and I need do you keep a 4 year old in his room all night long???

I've even tried the Super Nanny technique and it does NOT work for us, he keeps saying he doesn't like being alone and is scared.....I've pretty much exhausted all my ideas and thoughts, so now I turn to you, all the mothers out there, to give me some tips and tricks.

I got Jasmine off to school and now I'm going to try and lay down for a bit with Nicholas, he's not feeling that great either so we may actually be able to sneak in a good nap.

My slow cooker will be fixing dinner tonight, it's one of the reason why I love using it, days that I'm not well or tired or busy are just so much easier to do deal with when you have the food cooking away for you.

Dinner is Chicken Enchilada Roll-Ups, it's a new recipe so we'll see how it turns out.

Hope you all have a wonderful wednesday, I won't get around to visit any blogs today, maybe tomorrow :)

God Bless,