Friday, August 31, 2012


I want you to stop what you're doing right now, and I want you to take a look outside???

No matter where you are, just simply look outside your window, or step out into the front or back yard. Just look around you and take in every single thing.

The blue sky, or the dark clouds. The birds flying above, the green trees, the grass beneath your feet, the little ant making it's way across the driveway, a dog barking, a beautiful flower swaying in the breeze.


Just stop and look!

Now ask yourself how many times you do this?

Just how many times do you actually take a moment to see what is around you, to notice nature, to notice God's work in action?

We live in such a fast paced life, always in a hurry, always busy, always needing to be somewhere else than where we are at the moment.  It's a flurry of movement, cars zooming by, people talking hurriedly on cellphones, rushing at the grocery store, rushing home, fixing a quick dinner, sometimes hardly saying a word to their family.

Days turn into nights, back into days and back into nights and before you know it, weeks, months, years have gone by without you ever stopping to appreciate life.

I've made it a habit to stop, to look, to smile, even if for just 5 minutes, and to thank God for what I have in my life and for what is around me.

When you learn to look at things through the eyes of a child, you will be surprised at what you've been missing.

Grass seems more greener.

Sky seems bluer.

Flowers are more gorgeous than what you remember them.


Ants are not just an annoyance anymore, they are a work of art.

So please, if nothing else today, just STOP!  Look at what you've been missing and make a conscious decision to appreciate life more, to not let days slip by.

I look at everything that surrounds me with new eyes, I try to really see it for what it is, not just glance and move on.


An intricate design on a picture frame, the gorgeous dark green of the rosemary plant as it dries on my kitchen curtain rod, the beautiful pastels of the flowers on the curtains and how it all looks against the wood of the cabinets.

Or in the evening, when darkness sets in and I turn on the lamp watching the soft orange glow wash over everything....a book looks more decadent, more inviting.  It brings me comfort.


And I just hope that when you read this post today, that you will choose to enjoy life more.  That you start really seeing things around you.  Snap pictures if you will, capture those moments for eternity, remember to enjoy the NOW, for the future will come way too fast!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cooking Thursday - Homemade Beef Jerky

And we're back to Thursday again, my word, I know I say it all the time but seriously, time needs to SLOW down.

Homemade Beef Jerky

Easy Homemade Beef Jerky

2 lbs of beef
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon honey
liquid smoke (you only need a drop or so, it's very strong)
garlic powder
onion powder
1 jalapeno pepper

Slice the jalapeno pepper up.  Be careful please, use gloves and wash hands very well afterwards.  You don't need to be precise, just rough slice it up and add it to a bowl.

Grate in the garlic cloves.   Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well, then add in the sliced beef.

Give it all a good stir, then pour into a ziploc bag and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, lay out the beef strips on your dehydrator trays.  Crack a little bit more black pepper on top and set it on LOW for 6 or 7 hours.

My dehydrator is really old, it doesn't have a low or high setting, just an on/off button.  I turn it on and walk away for 6 hours or so.

Check on it often, rotate the trays.  Remember that the outer edges dry quicker than the inner ones.  If need be rotate the beef pieces as well, move the outer ones to the inside and the inside ones to the other edges to dry.

When done, remove the jerky and enjoy :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012



1. Wilting Rosemary
2. Sudsy dishes
3. Learning about the Civil War while cleaning the kitchen
4. Spelling pretest for the boy
5. Cheese and Marmelada (Quince paste) sandwich for lunch
6. Reading out back
7. Lemon and Ginger Tea steeping for dinner
8. Smiles from the boy
9. A gimp hand (think I pulled a muscle and it's really painful)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


There are days that I feel like I'm completely surrounded by yummy stuff, scents, tastes, colors and different textures

:::: early morning breakfast prep

:::: best way to use up stale bread...cinnamon raisin french toast got the kiddos out of bed and into the kitchen with a smile on their faces

:::: honey, lime, ginger...3 of my favorite scents all in one

:::: prepping dinner

:::: delicious rotisserie chicken

:::: and just because the lighting was perfect and the colors caught my eye :)

In preparation for winter time

Thankfully, ever since we began homeschooling, my kids have rarely been sick, which in turn has made it where hubby and I rarely get sick too. Not that hubby ever really does, that man is made of something extra special LOL

We do get the occasional sore throat even though it doesn't develop into anything more. But we all know that sore throats can be the absolute pits. There is nothing worse than trying to swallow through what feels like sharp knives lodged in your neck.

I'm all for natural remedies and using what is around us to help with simple ailments, matter of fact I tend to use a lot of the things I learned growing up.

One for example was my grandfather's *treatment* so to speak, for a cold or flu. He would give us a small glass of warm milk with a little shot of whiskey right before bed. We would get all snuggled up in our blankets and would sweat like crazy during the night, but come morning, we were all better.

I've always used a teaspoon of honey with a drop of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

But about a year ago, I came across a simple recipe (if we can call it that) for this wonderful marmalade sort of concoction to make a tea base for when you start getting sick.   It seems to be very popular in Asian countries.  Catherine from A Little Life shared how she had first tried this at a Korean neighbor's house. 

Funny thing, is that I just saw this mentioned on Facebook again and realized I hadn't shared it with you all.  I follow so many wonderful blogs and if I had to post about every single thing I have tried over the years, I'd probably be cranking out 10 posts a day LOL

Winter Tea

You need a small mason jar, fresh ginger, fresh lemon or lime and honey.

Winter Tea

Slice the lime and the ginger thinly.  I like to make layers not only because it looks so pretty but also to get it mixed up nicely.   So I started with lime slices on the bottom, then added a layer of ginger, then more lime and then ended with more ginger.

Winter Tea

Now you're going to take honey and you're going to pour it in.  There's no set amount, I just poured enough to get all the way to the bottom, up the sides and barely covering the top layer.

Winter Tea

Pop the lid on it and place it in your refrigerator.  I like to let mine sit for at least 48 hours.  The cool thing about this is that it starts forming a jelly, almost like marmalade.

Ginger can be very powerful/overwhelming, so if you don't like a strong ginger taste, add just a slice or two.  We love ginger so I add quite a bit to mine.

To use this tea base, use a teaspoonful of the jelly in a cup, pour in hot water.  I've also added it to my cup of tea.

The first batch I made, I actually kept going in the fridge for almost a year, all I did was replenish the lemon/lime slices and the ginger.  You could keep it going for years, as honey is a natural preservative, but I am kinda iffy about stuff like that, so I'm making a new batch for this winter.

Nothing like a hot cup of honey/lemon/ginger when you're feeling under the weather, or have a sore throat, or just on a cold winter night :)


Does it not look pretty already?  Just you wait until the lemon and ginger start dissolving into the honey, it is gorgeous.  I will have to take another picture to show you :)

NOTE:  Please remember not to give honey to children under 1 year of age.  And to be on the safe side, if you are prone to allergies, organic honey may be the best way to go for your family.

Just to answer a few questions you guys left in the comments......

Jenplusfive asked how long it will last in the fridge?

Jen, it will last for years and years, all you need to replenish really is the sliced lemon or lime and the ginger if you use it. I like to make a fresh batch every 6 months to a year though, just because, I don't know lol

Tammy asked how much I take, if it's a cup or just a tablespoon or two.
Tammy, I use a heaping tablespoon of the jelly/marmamale and add it to a cup of hot water, stir it up and drink that. OR I add it to my cup of tea.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Through the lens

:::: sometimes all you need is some peanut butter and a drizzle of honey

:::: sleepy Miss Bella

:::: this is my cutey pie Miss Lola, always with the tongue hanging out

:::: afternoon reading

:::: fresh rosemary

:::: dinner prepping

:::: Fettucine Alfredo

Don Tomas Coffee Review

One of the things that I think everyone knows about me, is that I love my coffee.

My day just doesn't begin until I've had that first cup in my belly.

I wouldn't call myself a coffee snob, and I'm not really into the flavored coffees and the bells and whistles. I think I just love a good ol' cup of good coffee.  Matter of fact, I don't think there is much out there that can compare to that aroma of the first cup brewing in the morning.

The only thing I really dislike is the bitter taste that some brands have.

Don Tomas coffee

I was asked if I would like to review the Don Tomas brand of coffee. I couldn't say no, first because of my love for coffee and secondly because after giving the Don Tomas coffee a quick browse through their website, I was intrigued.

For over a century, four generations of the Don Tomas family has been producing high quality 100% Arabica coffee in beautiful Jinotega, Nicaragua. 

 Without a doubt, the first thing that caught my attention when I received the coffee, was that I could smell it through the box.  No kidding.  It was this amazing, delicious, coffee aroma that even caught my kid's attention.

I got the whole bean because I love grinding my own coffee in the morning.  I do buy the ground coffee too but I guess I like the whole experience of going from the package to the grinder to the coffee machine and ultimately to my mouth.

The next morning, bright and early, hubby and I had our first cup.  I don't know if there are words to describe how good this coffee smells as it's brewing, and I don't think there are equally words to describe how it tastes.

Big plus for me, NO bitterness whatsoever.  Not when I'm drinking it and not as an after taste.

Don Tomas coffee

But the big test came when I had a cup of black coffee.  I have never, and I will say NEVER been able to enjoy a cup of black coffee without having to put in sweetener and milk or cream.  Why?  It goes back to that bitter taste I was telling you about.

This Don Tomas coffee though?  My word!

And if you're anything like me, you like the scent of coffee at any time of the day.  I took a few beans, filled a small mason jar, popped in a tealight and lit it and house smells fantastic.

Don Tomas coffee

I have to send you over to the Don Tomas website to check out their selection of coffees.  You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.  If you're a coffee lover and would like to try out this superb coffee, you can buy some for yourself here.

I only wish I could have you all over for a cup.

Happy Homemaker Monday #33

Good morning :) 

I woke up today yearning for fall.....for pumpkins, spice cake, boots, scarves and hot chocolate.  *sigh*    Can't wait for the temperatures to cool down. 

If you want to save and use the new button, just click here.

The Weather:::
Still hitting the triple digits right now, but we've been lucky to get some rain in last week, hopefully we get a little more soon. 

On my reading pile:::
On book #4 of the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series.  Need to find the last book still.  
Also started Out of this world - A woman's life among the Amish by Mary Swander.

On my tv:::
Hell on Wheels Episode 3
My Portuguese soaps
Warehouse 13 (have to catch up on last week's episode)
True Blood episode from last night

On the menu for this week:::
Monday -  Texas BBQ Burgers, Tater Tots
Tuesday - Beef Curry
Wednesday -  Fettucine Alfredo
Thursday - Rotisserie Chicken, Baked Potatoes
Friday -  Homemade Pizza
Saturday -  Lasagna, Salad
Sunday  -  Bratwurst, Potato Salad, Apple Pie

On my to do list:::
Sweep and vacuum and then mop
Prepare the lessons for the kids

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
I've been missing my crochet so badly, but with my hand hurting, I can't do anything.  Bummer! 


Homemaking Tips:::
So you have all these great kitchen appliances, but not enough counter space.  You stash the stuff in the pantry or in kitchen cabinets and then forget about them, right?   Been there, done that.
What I do, is that every two weeks, I rotate my appliances out.  I pull out the rotisserie and the crockpots, for example, and make my menu plans according to them.  The next two weeks, I put those away and pull out something else that hasn't been used in a while.  This way, everything gets used and I don't forget that things exist :)

Looking around the house:::
Living room looks pretty clean and tidy even though it's a Monday morning, which usually after a weekend of everyone home and relaxing, looks like a tornado has swept through. 
My kiddos are still sleeping and hubby has just walked out the door for work.
I have a cup of lukewarm coffee next to me, my Kindle, my Bible and a little sleepy pug snuggled up against my leg. 

From the camera:::
This has to be one of my favorite pictures from this past week....simply because I still get so much pleasure out of hanging my laundry out to dry :)


On my prayer list:::
My husband as he beings his journey towards his Bachelors Degree. 
My children, that they do well in school.
My family and friends who need prayer right now, for whatever reason it may be.

Bible verse, Devotional:::
Even the most confusing day opens up before you as you go step by step with Me.  My Presence goes with you wherever you go, providing Light for your path.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Slow Sunday

This weekend flew by at lightning speed, didn't it?

I spent a pretty quiet, slow Sunday.

::::  There's something about hanging clothes out to dry

:::: if I close my eyes for a second, I feel like I'm transported to the country, surrounded by trees and green grass and a gentle breeze

:::: made my hubby very happy with some Homemade Beef Jerky

:::: afternoon snack while watching Deadliest Warriors with the family. I love homemade popcorn, not microwave

:::: kids love watching it popping

:::: ended off tonight with a dinner of fresh salmon, some butter rice and some fresh fried calamari

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sometimes you have to take it easy

I will tell you right now that I can't sit still.

The worst thing you can do to me, is to tell me to sit down, take it easy, and not worry about housework or cooking or cleaning.  I have the hardest time with this, to the point where I'm sitting down and almost want to panic because I feel so guilty of doing nothing LOL

Crazy isn't it?

Well I was forced to sit back and relax today.

Two days ago, I cleaned out and reorganized the storage shed.  I don't recall hurting myself, I don't recall bumping or pinching or anything.  But, the truth is that for the past two days since I did that cleaning, my right hand has really been hurting me.

I have a bit of a bruise on the palm of the hand, right under my index finger bone and anytime I try to grab something, any amount of pressure on that bone/area hurts.  It's started radiating to my whole hand and wrist area.  I know it's not broken but I'm not sure what I did.

Anyway, long story short, I have been yelled at by my family to stop, to take it easy, to NOT do anything with this hand.  Ugh!   Struggle, I tell you LOL

But I've been trying really hard to take it easy today.  So here's just a little peek at what my Saturday consisted of.

:::::  first thing this morning, I got beef in the dehydrator for some beef jerky

:::: typical weekend around here, there's kindle reading, snuggling with crochet goodies, games etc

:::: sat outside and enjoyed the blue skies, green leaves and water drops flying from the sprinkler

:::: still enjoying pretty flowers inside

:::: after lunch trip to the library, and these are my finds.

Jane Austen and her World by Marghanita Laski
Out of this world - A woman's life among the Amish by Mary Swander
I was Jane Austen's best friend by Cora Harrison
Pies and Prejudice by Heather Vogel Frederick
The Goodbye Season by Marian Hale
Book of a Thousand Days by Marian Hale
The Man who Loved Pride and Prejudice by Abigail Reynolds

::::  After returning home, I was ordered, and yes I mean ORDERED to the living room, to the couch and told to not get up.  My wonderful husband and daughter fixed dinner.

::::They made spaghetti, they made garlic bread and salad, and it was soooooo good.

My hand is still kind of throbbing. I'm wondering if I didn't pull a muscle somehow.

Funny though, it doesn't hurt to type, only if I put pressure on it. Oh well, I'm sure it will be well soon :)

Just to let you know, starting Monday, I'll be back to my daily photo posts. I sure have missed those :)

I'm off to read a little, watch some TV with the family and maybe get an early night's sleep.

God Bless,