Tuesday, June 29, 2010

{ Just checking in }

Not even sure how many of you are still out there reading my blog, because I've been absolutely dreadful at keeping it updated.

But on the off chance that someone is still lurking around and reading or wondering where I've disappeared to, I'm checking in and saying hi.

It's been so hot here, the temperatures have been staying between 106-113 degrees, it's just scorching so when we're not traveling or visiting anything, we're in the house, in the nice cool air conditioner. Talking, laughing until our stomachs hurt, watching movies, playing games etc.

It's been fun. A LOT of fun.

The kids have been enjoying the pool, as all kids do, so I thought I would share some quick pictures for you to see.

There's been plenty of watermelon and high consumption of it too, it's juicy, it's sweet and I happen to believe that no other fruit is as tasty on a hot summer day.

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Tiffany enjoying her watermelon in the pool
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Colby enjoying his too but making sure that it is safe, the whole time his arm was way above the water with the slice of watermelon in the air LOL
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Jasmine loves the water, this child could stay in the pool all day long.
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I think this one perfectly depicts the day to day here, lazy, sunny and fun.
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I love this one I got of Tiffany coming out of the water, so glad I was able to capture this moment.
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The two girls coming up for air
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This adorable little face, I can't get over how much he looks like my brother.
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My baby boy enjoying his pool time.
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Pool time in Arizona means wearing caps and shirts because 5 minutes straight in that sun and you have a nasty sunburn.

Thursday early morning we are heading to California, to Disneyland, we are so excited, for me at least it's been a dream since I was a child and to be able to fulfill it is just a blessing. I can't wait to be there and take photos and share everything with you.

I also have a ton of reviews and giveaways coming up, but those will be up end of next week so keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, you can enter the Personalized Baby Burp Cloth Giveaway below, so far there are only 4 entries. Even if you don't have a little one of your own, be sure to pass it on to any friends or family members with little ones.

I'm off to spend more time with the family, I hope you're all having a wonderful summer and staying cool.

Monday, June 28, 2010

{ Personalized Burp Cloth Giveaway }


I was recently contacted by Joy of Joys of Thread, and asked if I would giveaway one of her Personalized Burp Cloths.

I love helping out fellow bloggers especially those who make handmade items, so I immediately said yes, and after taking a look at her blog, I'm excited for one of my readers to win a Personalized Burp Cloth of their own.

If you want to take a look for yourself, you can go over to Joys of Thread and check out the Bibs and Burp Cloths page.




Here's what Joy had to say:

My name is Joy and I'm owner of a fairly new online store called Joys of Thread. I specialize in fast affordable monogramming. Anyone who grabs my button for their blog gets a freebie! Id love to personalize a burp cloth for the winner with their choice of ribbon, name, and font to be embroidered!


In order to be eligible to win, here's what you have to do:

1- Go on over to Joys blog and become a follower
2 - Come back and leave me a comment letting me know that you're following Joy
3 - Be sure to leave an email or a way to contact you if you win

Contest is open to US Residents. I will draw a winner on Monday the 5th of July, 2010. Good Luck!

{ Happy Homemaker Monday }

hhm



The weather in my neck of the woods:
Still scorching hot, we've hit highs of 112 and 113 already. Lord help us.


Things that make me happy:
Laying on the couch with my pugs


Book I'm reading:
A few books for review


What I'm enjoying on TV:
The Gates - new series about Vampires on ABC, really liked the first episode


On the menu for dinner:
Sweet and Spicy Bacon Chicken


On my To Do List:
Finish preparations for Disneyland this week
Fold and put away laundry
Mop


New Recipe I tried or want to try soon:
Haven't tried anything new the past week


In the craft basket:
Folk Dolls
Bath Mitts for gifts


Looking forward to this week:
Our trip to California on Thursday. We're heading to Disneyland and then Los Angeles, Walk of Fame, Madame Tussauds and Queen Mary Ship. Anyone have any ideas on attractions or anything that we SHOULD see while in the area? Would love some ideas.


Tips and Tricks:
Since we're traveling a lot this month, all my tips and tricks are related. We usually print out a map of where we're going and we let the kids color it in as we travel through the cities and States. Also giving your kids their own camera to take pictures from their perspective, is a great idea, they can later make a scrapbook from their travels.


My favorite blog post this week:
No blog reading last week


Blog Hopping (a new discovered blog you would like to share with the readers):
Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to read anything


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

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Lesson learned the past few days:

Align CenterOne I've learned before but am constantly reminded of..........to enjoy every precious moment you have with your family. Being in the USA with all my family back in South Africa has not been easy, so having some of them here for a month has been a blessing.


On my mind:
Our trip to California


Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

— 2 Peter 3:9

Thursday, June 24, 2010

{ Cooking Thursday }


Won't you join me and share with us one of your new recipes, or an old family favorite, you can even throw in a recipe for homemade soaps or detergents (just remember to specify).

For the guidelines, you can go here.

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While I'm on vacation, I won't be sharing a recipe, but please feel free to share yours so that when I return I can come by and take a look.


Monday, June 21, 2010

{ Happy Homemaker Monday }

hhm



The weather in my neck of the woods:
Hot, Hot and more hot. We've been in the 106's for a while now.


Things that make me happy:
Having my family here


Book I'm reading:
None right now


What I'm enjoying on TV:
Supernatural
The Gates - new series about Vampires on ABC, really liked the first episode


On the menu for dinner:
The Best Chili Ever


On my To Do List:
Laundry
Mopping
Bathrooms


New Recipe I tried or want to try soon:
Haven't tried anything new the past week


In the craft basket:
Folk Dolls
Bath Mitts for gifts


Looking forward to this week:
Just enjoying more time with my family before we head to Disneyland


Tips and Tricks:
When traveling long distances with little ones that get car sick, always remember to take plastic bags, wipes and a change of clothes. Keep ginger ale on hand and some crackers to munch on too.


My favorite blog post this week:
No blog reading last week


Blog Hopping (a new discovered blog you would like to share with the readers):
Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to read anything


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




Lesson learned the past few days:

Align CenterThat people may change but when you have known someone for over 20 years, and you've made the effort to stay in touch, when you get together after long periods of time, it's like you've never been apart.


On my mind:
Nothing important, nothing stressful, just relaxing.


Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

Sunday, June 20, 2010

{ Goldfield Ghost Town }

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I want to update my blog more and share with you all the photos I've been taking and all the fun we've been having, but there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day.

I know you'll forgive me for being so bad at updating, won't you?

But let me show you a little of where we spent yesterday.

The Goldfield Ghost Town in Apache Junction, AZ. It was so so darn hot, I mean, the kind of heat that makes you feel sick and want to cry at the thought of taking another step.

Our main reason for going was that they do gunfights every hour, but wouldn't you know.....they don't when it's too hot, so bummer for us.

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Nicholas and my nephew Colby
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My brother Miguel
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Superstition Mountains
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If you're near the area, it's worth the trip, especially if you're into Ghost Towns like we are. It does get very hot during the day, we were there around 2pm and it was 108 degrees...good grief.

But we plan on returning to get our family portrait made at the antique photography place, I want to play dress up *haha*

Thursday, June 17, 2010

{ Cooking Thursday }


Won't you join me and share with us one of your new recipes, or an old family favorite, you can even throw in a recipe for homemade soaps or detergents (just remember to specify).

For the guidelines, you can go here.

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I'm currently on vacation with family, so I don't have a recipe to share with you this morning, but I'm eager to see what you have :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

{ Coming to America }

Entrance to Grand Canyon

You know for those of us who live in this amazing country, every day is just another busy day in our lives, just the same ol' same ol'......but when it's been your dream to visit the USA and it actually comes true, it's a once in a lifetime experience that you will never forget.

My brother Miguel, sister in law Hayley and my niece and nephew, Tiffany and Colby, are visiting, for the first time in their lives and this is the reason why I've been been MIA from the blog and facebook and pretty much everywhere.

I've been completely absorbed in seeing things through their eyes, in experience things as they experience for I remember that about 12 years ago I was going through the same, happy but also having an almost surreal feeling of being on American soil.

We just returned from the Grand Canyon!

Grand Canyon

UN-BE-LIE-VABLE does not even begin to describe how it felt to be there, I have never in my life and I believe never again will I see something so extraordinary, so beautiful, so breath taking and awe inspiring as the Grand Canyon. If you have never been, please make a plan and visit on your next vacation. Stunning, stunning, stunning.

Grand Canyon

I have so many photos to share and I don't even know where to begin, but I will just share a few today and then more later on.

Grand Canyon

Tomorrow we're staying put, but Thursday morning we're heading to Las Vegas. YAY!

I will definitely try to be better at updating, I too want you to experience things through their eyes and maybe remind you once again just how lucky you are to be born an American and to be able to say that you live in the best country in the world.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite photos from our Grand Canyon trip.....my niece Tiffany and I.

Tiffany and Me

Thursday, June 10, 2010

{ Cooking Thursday }


Won't you join me and share with us one of your new recipes, or an old family favorite, you can even throw in a recipe for homemade soaps or detergents (just remember to specify).

For the guidelines, you can go here.

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Smothered Pork Chops
recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated

3 ounces bacon (about 3 slices), cut into
1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
Vegetable oil
4 bone-in, rib-end pork chops,
1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
Ground black pepper
2 medium yellow onions, halved pole to pole and sliced thin (about 3 1/2 cups)
8 oz sliced white button mushrooms
Salt
2 tablespoons water
2 medium garlic cloves, pressed through garlic press or minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves plus some for garnish


Fry bacon in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate, leaving fat in saucepan (you should have 2 tablespoons bacon fat; if not, supplement with vegetable oil).

Reduce heat to medium-low and gradually whisk flour into fat until smooth. Cook, whisking frequently, until mixture is light brown, about the color of peanut butter, about 5 minutes. Whisk in chicken broth in slow, steady stream; increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, stirring occasionally; cover and set aside off heat. (I didn't cook the mixture until light brown, I was in a hurry and didn't have time to waste)

Heat 1-tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until smoking, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, dry pork chops with paper towels and sprinkle with 1/2-teaspoon pepper.

Brown chops in single layer until deep golden on first side, about 3 minutes. Flip chops and cook until browned on second side, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer chops to large plate and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon oil, onions, mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and water to now-empty skillet. Using wooden spoon, scrape browned bits on pan bottom and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened and browned around the edges, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds longer.

Return chops to skillet in single layer, covering chops with onions and mushrooms.

Pour in warm sauce and any juices collected from pork; add bay leaves. (the recipe doesn't say to add the bacon back in, but come on....you can't just get rid of bacon, I couldn't do it, so in it went and I'm so glad I did it)

Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until pork is tender and paring knife inserted into chops meets very little resistance, about 30 minutes.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

{ Contest Winners }

I have so much to do tomorrow, in anticipation for my family arriving from South Africa early Friday morning, so I'm drawing all the winners today for the giveaways I have going on.



The winner of the book "Unafraid - Living God's Plan on a Ladder and a Promise" by Karon Phillips Goodman....is:

#1 - Renee at A Path of Joy

Congratulations Renee!


http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51gCaa2m2WL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Three winners of a Gillette Pro Fusion Proglide Power Razor are:

#4 - Nancy at In My Neck of the Woods
#5 - Kat at Heart 2 Heart
#12 - Stacey Matlock

Congratulations Ladies.....Please email me your address as soon as possible so I can get your info to the company.

{ In the Kitchen }

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

{ Where have I been? }

I know you probably think I disappeared off the planet, I've been horrible at updating my blog, other than reviews and giveaways and that is certainly NOT what I want my blog to become.

I apologize.

I've noticed not many of you come and visit much anymore and I'm just going to chalk that up to it being summer, and everyone being busy. Or, I'll just pretend it's because you're gearing up for the World Cup 2010. *tee hee* Oh? That's just me? I'm sorry.

Well I plan on posting more later but for now I just wanted to tell my Cooking Thursday and Happy Homemaking Monday participants that I haven't forgotten about you, I'm coming around to say hi tonight. Hope you have coffee and cake, you know how I love a good cuppa and a good yummy treat while I visit with friends.

In the meantime, I have dinner cooking and can't stay long, I'm making Smothered Pork Chops....YUM! I will have the recipe up for you shortly, but for now, you can go on and check out my newly posted recipes at my food blog.


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Monday, June 7, 2010

{ Happy Homemaker Monday }

hhm



The weather in my neck of the woods:
Hot but cloudy skies, I am actually hoping it would rain.


Things that make me happy:
A good donut


Book I'm reading:
Montana Creeds: Dylan by Linda Lael Miller


What I'm enjoying on TV:
Weird or What
Ancient Aliens


On the menu for dinner:
Smothered Pork Chops w/ Rice


On my To Do List:
Laundry
Mopping
Bathrooms


New Recipe I tried or want to try soon:
BLT Pasta Salad


In the craft basket:
Folk Dolls
Bath Mitts for gifts


Looking forward to this week:
My brother, sister in law and niece and nephew arriving on Friday morning. YAY!


Tips and Tricks:
I can't think of a single one this morning....I'm really not ready for Monday.


My favorite blog post this week:
No blog reading last week


Blog Hopping (a new discovered blog you would like to share with the readers):
I'm actually going to send you to one of my blog readers new blog, her name is Jenna and she's a fellow military wife and she's embarked on a new adventure that could really use our support.
On June 1st I started running 1,004 miles to be completed by June 1 of next year. I have a blog that keeps track of my progress and also has a place where people can donate money to Peak 4 Poverty. It's a wonderful non-profit that helps AIDS orphans in Tanzania.
Go on over and check out her new blog.


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

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Lesson learned the past few days:

Align CenterThat if you keep yourself busy, time flies and before you know it, something you've been really looking forward to is upon you.


On my mind:
My family visiting and how much we're going to have.


Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:
"I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him."
Luke 12:4-5