Thursday, May 29, 2008

Good Evening from the Kruger National Park!




I only wish I could have brought every single one of you with me, I'm sitting here and it's 8pm, there is nothing but stars above me and the sound of lions in the distance......yes, I'm at the Kruger National Park and I'm extremely happy.




I don't have much internet access time here so this has to be a short one, tomorrow afternoon I will be back in Johannesburg and then I'll write a longer post from my dad's house. I just thought that it would be a great idea to pop in and say hi and let you all know what I'm up to.




From sunset walks along the Rhino trail, to long and exciting car rides through elephant herds, groups of baboons and tons of giraffes and rhinos, to sitting at the cabin surrounded by NOTHING but darkness and the sound of crickets. It's heavenly and it's something that I hope you all will one day have the pleasure of doing.




Anyway, dinner is ready so I must get off here. I'm going to try and post at least one picture of what is surrounding me so that you can see exactly what I mean.




Until tomorrow, stay safe and tons of hugs and kisses.




Saturday, May 24, 2008

Back to my roots!

And having the time of my life!

I know it's been over a week since you've heard from me, I just got to a computer and wanted to come in and let you all know that we made it safe and sound. It was a LONG LONG airplane ride, 20 hours total but the kids were great and we were just happy to be home.

It's been amazing being with my family, there have been tears and laughs and hugs and reminiscing.....and I've been able to smell the ocean and wet my feet in it and watch the delight in my children's eyes as they gathered seashells and dug their feet into the sand. Amazing!

I'm making this one short because I'm heading out for breakfast at my dad's coffee shop (I have photos of course LOL) and I have tons of pictures of the family and my house and the aquarium inside an actual ship that was washed ashore.

I'll be transferring all of those pictures to my dad's computer today and will be starting my visual journey with you. What's coming is even better because monday morning we're heading to the Kruger National Park....I can't wait.

So I'm sending you all huge hugs and kisses all the way from cold South Africa. I miss you all, I can't wait to get back and visit your blogs and see what you've been up to. Until then, stay safe!

God Bless,

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

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 del.icio.us 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.

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.

By the time you read this post I'll be on an airplane heading home to South Africa, so this is my only SCT post for the next 4 weeks, as soon as I return I will restart it again :)



Southwest Breakfast

Ingredients
  • 1 pound bulk pork sausage cooked and well drained
  • 1 meduim onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 can 4 oz chopped green chilies drained
  • 2 and 1/2 cups grated pepper jack cheese
  • 18 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions
  1. spay the inside of your crockpot with nonstick cooking spray
  2. beginning with the sausage layer the meat, onions, bell pepper, chilies and cheese repeating until all the ingredients are gone
  3. in a large bowl whisk the eggs until well combined and all the yolks are broken and mixed in well
  4. pour over the layers in the crock pot
  5. cover and cook 8 hours on low heat
  6. serve with sour cream and your favorite salsa


I'm packed and ready to go!

I'm not kidding you, and you know that huge list of To-Do's????? All done LOL

There's no holding me back now, all that's left is the laundry that I'm washing right now, I'll throw whatever else we need from there into the luggage and pack the toiletries and that's IT!

We have to be up at 3am so I'm wondering if maybe I should just not even bother going to sleep, I'll have plenty of rest on the super long airplane rides. The kids WILL be going to bed because last thing we need is overtired and cranky kiddos.

I have a couple of errands to run today, just last minute stuff, then I have to pick up Jasmine at school (it's her last day), come back home and clean the house. Am I the only one who can't go away without leaving everything neat and tidy? I've had people tell me "why do you bother cleaning, you're not going to be here for a month?". Well actually that's exactly WHY I want to leave things tidy, can you imagine returning from that exhausting trip at night and walking into a dirty and messy house? It would be enough to send me back out the door LOL



Remember the baby bird from yesterday? Well this morning we found him dead. The kids were heartbroken. The problem is that it seems the mom came back and then took off again and didn't return so the little thing must have been starving and cold and scared all night long. It's so sad.

Right before Jasmine left for school, the kids wanted to bury him, so that's what we did. Buried the bird at the foot of the tree, then they place a mound of pretty white rocks on it and they even put flowers on there. How sweet is that?

A few minutes later I heard Nicholas talking about the baby bird being gone and Jasmine said "He's in heaven now Nicholas, now he's happy and he's not alone anymore"......to which Nicholas replied "YEAH, he's with God, he's lucky". It is a wonderful thing to see and hear, knowing my children already understand these things.



I guess I need to get my errands started, so I'm heading out. I'll come by and visit everyone before I leave and then I'll update the blog as soon as I can so you know we made it safe and sound there.

Don't forget the Slow Cooking Thursday post tomorrow, I'll have it up for you all but then you won't get another one until I get back, I know you understand :)

Hugs,

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I'm singing in the rain!!!

What a wonderful day it is. First of all, it's HERE, the passport is HERE in my little hands and I couldn't be happier. Praise the Lord, all our prayers have been answered!

Thank you all so much for the prayers and the thoughts and the comforting words while I felt like I was loosing my mind and worried sick. It means a lot to me to know that even though I haven't met you personally, I can still say I have great friends in the blogging world.

And if that wasn't cause enough for celebration he also blessed us with some much needed rain. As I write this it's thundering and raining really hard outside, it's bringing a huge smile to my face, we were desperate for some water here and finally got some. Praise the Lord again!





On sunday we also got our fence up in the backyard, we had been waiting since pretty much the week we moved into this house and only now they came out. But again, it works out just fine, we're having one of the airman stay at our house and watch the girls for us, and I didn't feel right making him take them out on the leash, this is better for everyone involved.

The girls love it out there and we've had ZERO potty accidents in the house since then.


Then I stepped out front to bring the trash can back in and saw this......I thought she was hurt or had fallen off the tree with the high winds we've been experiencing the last two days....but no.....

She sat there for a few minutes and then took off leaving this little bundle behind RIGHT as the rain started pouring. Oh it broke my heart to see it sitting there, but the mommy come back, and I'm glad she did because I'm helpless when it comes to birds and I have no clue how or what I would have done to help the little one.



I'm pretty much all packed and ready to go but I have a few last minute things to throw in the luggage.

Here's what my to do list looks like:

  • Finish Packing
  • Do all the laundry and pack what we need, put away what we don't
  • Change all the bed linens
  • Gather the recipes I want to take
  • Pack away all the digital camera accessories
  • Make sure all the passports and travelling documents are together and ready
  • Leave phone numbers and contact list on refrigerator
  • Finish uploading songs to my MP3 and movies to the Ipod
  • Return all books to the library
  • Pick up Jasmine's report card and yearbook from school
  • Ziploc all medicines etc for the carry ons
  • Make sure kids backpacks are ready
  • Run to bank to withdraw some money to leave behind in case dogs need something

Let me tell you, just reading it makes me want to run away considering that I only have tomorrow left before all this has to be done....but I have no doubt I'll knock everything off that list.

Thursday morning I'll have the Slow Cooking Thursday post up for you all, but then there will none until I return.

I do plan on blogging from South Africa, I have access to internet and my oldest brother already told me he has an extra laptop I can use for whatever I need. So I'll be posting photos and taking you along on my journey, starting at Phoenix and ending back on base when we return. I'm so thrilled I can't wait.....just knowing that this time next week I will be enjoying the feel of sand beneath my feet, the smell of the ocean and a much deserved break at the beach.

I'm off to pick up Jasmine from school and give her the good news that mommy's passport came in, she will be over the moon.

God Bless,



Monday, May 12, 2008

Where do we stand?


You all are amazing, the prayers have been heard and I just got off the phone with the South African Consulate. My passport is in and it's being overnighted to me, I should get it by Wednesday the latest....I'm hoping since we're only 5 hours from LA that it gets here tomorrow, then everything will be done.

I can't tell you the stress I've been under, it's just all finally coming together and I literally feel like a huge weight is being lifted off of my shoulders, the foggy haze is being cleared up and I can finally really really let the feeling sink in. The feeling that after 10 years of being away from home, I'm finally going to be touching African soil again, smelling the air, smiling at the beauty that is the country and enjoying every single second I have with my family. It's almost surreal at this time and I think it will only hit home the minute that airplane lands on that runway.

So again, I love you all, more than I could ever say and I thank you from the bottom of my heart, you sent up your prayers for little old me and as always, the Lord obliged, IN HIS TIME, but he did. How does that saying go?

"Nothing worth having comes easy"

Praise the Lord indeed!


Here is what is going on around me:

Luggage

More luggage

And more luggage

Wii games being packed to take on the trip....I mean, we can't just go and not take the fun with us can we?


In between all the packing and worrying, I've been cleaning and cleaning....I clean the best when I'm upset LOL

Look at those shiny floors.


Now remember these? I started them for christmas last year and then ended up not finishing any. Well I was able to finish some in time to take with us....this way everyone can have one on their family tree this year.

I also finished my "Road to Avonlea" series and I'm so sad to see it end. I can't believe that 7 seasons went by so fast. For now my Netflix is on hold until we return and then next on the list is:

Elizabeth: The Golden Age
- (Click for trailer)
Elizabeth The Virgin Queen - Click for trailer)
Mary, Queen of Scots

It's that time of the day, I have kids to round up, bathes to check on and all that other fun stuff. I also need to get some more packing done. As soon as the kids are in bed, I'm coming around to visit you all so I hope you're still up.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Prayer Request and a Lesson in Lemons!


Well ladies here is what is going on with the passport. After all this running around and the Home Affairs in South Africa telling my father to come in this Tuesday and pick up the passport to mail to me, it turns out that they took the passport, finished it and mailed it back to the South African Consulate in Los Angeles.

I called up the consulate yesterday morning and talked to the lady in charge of the passports, she was extremely understanding and sweet, according to the list of passports she has and the reference number given to me by the Home Affairs in South Africa, my passport is arriving on Monday morning. THIS coming Monday morning and then the consulate in Los Angeles overnights it to me.

I don't think I need to tell you how stressed out this whole thing is making me since we're leaving a the end of the week. If that passport doesn't arrive on Monday, I can't go home and it's not just a huge disappointment but it will be $6000 down the drain. I'm praying....hard. I'm begging and praying and hoping and pleading, I've put it in the Lords hands and I know that He's watching over this issue and He's going to make it happen for me. Of course prayer and lots of it helps, so this is where you, my faithful readers come in....I'm in desperate need of prayers, I need that passport to arrive in Los Angeles on Monday morning.

Some people will say that "not even prayer will help you", I say "Just sit back and WATCH the power of prayer in numbers".


Now for our lesson in lemons, I tell you, having that Lemon Tree out back has been one of the best things that base housing has ever had to offer us. We've spent countless times out there exploring, learning, watching and smelling the wonderful citrus emanating from it's flowers and fruit.

So yesterday while turning the sprinkler on, Nicholas and I noticed that the grass under the tree was littered with the tiniest of green lemons, I just couldn't bring myself to leave them there or to throw them out, so I picked up this small glass container and we filled it to the top. It sits on my windowsill as a decoration but also giving out that beautiful lemon scent.


I have to love my grass, because really it's mostly clovers or whatever LOL

But hey, it makes for a soft padding under your feet and who am I to complain right?


One of the tiny baby lemons Nicholas picked up, he wouldn't let it go, he kept saying "Awwwww, it's so little"


Here's another view of the tiny one.....


Little hands and Little Lemons, the perfect combination


Not until I saw this photo did I realize that I had a hung nail on my thumb....yeah laugh all you want but I'm sure if you didn't notice it before you're all squinting at the monitor now trying to see it. HAHA


We brought the little container inside and Nicholas wanted to cut open one of the lemons to see what they looked like inside. Tell me is that not the cutest little lemon ever? I mean look at the segments, so perfectly made.

God truly is an amazing being, when I see things like this it reminds me of how much attention and detail He put into everything that He created.

But now what to do with all those chopped up little lemon tops???? What to do? What to do?



Hand them over to the 5 year old who quickly arranged them as hats on the heads of his Funkey's. He said it was Christmas hats LOL Then told me very strictly that I was to take a picture of his creativity and post it on the blog to teach us a thing or two.....though the only lesson I learned is that when those things dry up and fall off, you will be stepping all over them and then cursing under your breath at the squishy mess left on the floor, because you know, it means mopping AGAIN. *snicker*

I wonder if I could make Little Lemonade from those LOL



Let me tell you, that beef stew I made in the crockpot yesterday was SO SO GOOD. Oh man, the kids loved it and asked for more too. If you're looking for a quick (well, relatively speaking since it's in the crockpot hahaha) stew recipe, this is it. Check out my Slow Cooking Thursday post yesterday for the recipe.

I think tonight's dinner is Homemade Pizza.


Curt has been working weird hours for the past month and a half....they're doing night flying. I know the other air force wives know exactly what I mean especially since it doesn't matter which part of the base you live on, you still have the loud thunderous jet engines screaming all night long.

But anyway, he's going in at 2:30pm and not getting home until 3:30 or 4:oo am. For lack of a nicer way to put it "It SUCKS". It really really really really sucks big time. We don't see him, we don't spend time with him and the kids miss their daddy. It puts a huge strain on the marriage too, we tend to get snippy with each other because of the situation, it's just the stress of it all.

I do know that I'm blessed enough to have him here with us where some military spouses are not. So for that I'm greatful and thankful and it gives me the strength that I need to put up with anything as long as he's home and safe.

I'm closing off this post sending out prayers for all of those in the path of the tornadoes. We have friends in Greensboro, North Carolina and I'm praying that they are safe today.

Before I leave I want you to go over to Adopt a Troop in Prayer. This wonderful website allows you to sign up and adopt a soldier to pray for daily, it's the least we can do for the troops overseas putting their lives at risk for us back home.

I already have a soldier that I'm praying for daily, but if you don't want to adopt one specifically you can also go to the Prayer Wall and leave a prayer for our troops.



Prayer for Those in the Armed Services



O God of Mercy, we beg You now to protect in a special way those who are fighting for us and for the country we love. Bless them and take care of them. If they are tired, give them strength. If they are wounded and suffering, give them comfort. If they are lonely, touch them with Your gentle hand and let them know that You are near them. Grant them strength, wisdom and help through Your power and Your limitless love. Amen.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

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 del.icio.us 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.

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.

This is what is in my crockpot right now, can't wait for dinner :)


HEARTY BEEF STEW

6 potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
3 lbs. stew beef, cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes
1/3 c. soy sauce
1 t. paprika
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
3 T. all purpose flour
12-oz pkg. frozen chopped onions
10-1/2 oz. can beef broth
8 oz. can tomato sauce

Arrange potatoes in a slow cooker; top with carrots. Add beef; sprinkle with soy sauce, paprika, salt, pepper, flour and onions.

Combine broth and tomato sauce; pour over top. Cover and cook for 9 to 10 hours on low setting, or 4-1/2 to 5 hours on high setting. Serves 8 to 10.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Because they're part of the family....

I love my pugs, actually WE as a family love the pugs. I don't have to tell you how adorable and amazing they are, the perfect little family dogs.

So I thought today I would share some pictures I snapped this morning as the girls did what they do best........lay around and nap LOL


Miss Lola.......she's going to be 3 years old this year. I love this pug to death, she's the sweetest little thing.



Tell me you don't want to just grab her and hug her?

Dreaming about treats I'm sure....wonder if it's ham or cheese or doggie bones?


Miss Bella sleeping in her bed, she had no clue I was right there with the camera

Until I sneezed and she lazily opened her eyes....she always gives me that "what are you doing?" look.


And the last one of Lola.....that little tongue hanging out always does me in. I love grabbing her cute little head and kissing her senseless.

But enough of canine stuff, let's talk about the weather. I'm sure you're wondering just how much about it I have to say since here we seem to have two seasons "Hot" and "Gonna melt you Hot".

I woke up this morning, early, really really early because a certain Miss Bella just HAD to go potty at 5:30am. I tried to ignore her, I know I know, how awful of me but come on when you're snug in bed and in a deep sleep having great dreams (no clue what they were), last thing you want is to be dragged out of bed.

But I couldn't ignore her after 10 minutes of whining, I got up and threw on a thick robe, my flipflops and headed out the back door. Remember I don't have a fence up yet (should be installed this weekend) so there I was.....hair all messed up, sleepy eyes, a thick robe and flipflops. Bet you wish I had taken a pic of that don't you??? HAHA

After she was done eating grass, yes, she got me up to go chow down grass, maybe she was sleepwalking and dreaming she's a cow in a pasture somewhere? But anyway, after the grass munching, I looked up at the sky and low and behold....it was like being in two different places at one time.

Look to the left:


Beautiful deep blue sky.

Now turn to the right, then stick your left foot out and shake it all about *snort*

Yep, dark gloomy clouds. I got excited I thought we were getting some rain but no, within 30 minutes they were all gone. I felt like a kid watching a big lollipop being waved in my face only to watch it be eaten by another snotty brat.

Anyway, I have some things to do around here. There's been a delay in the passport and now it's down to the crunch, I need prayers please, all the prayers you can offer. I don't like asking for help for anything but this is just getting to the point where it's serious, I don't have much time left before the trip.

God Bless,