Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving :)

Well my sweet friends, here we are about to celebrate another Thanksgiving day.  There's always such excitement the day before, at least for me, knowing that I get to be up early and start cooking a big meal.

It may be overwhelming for some, but for a gal like me who loves being in the kitchen, I can say that it's definitely one of the days I most enjoy.  Busy?  Of course, but doing something that you truly enjoy can make anything pleasurable right?

I do have to manage my time well so I don't end up having too many things going at once, and this is also where organization comes into play.  If I get those two happily synchronized, then it all comes together without a synch.

Today I worked all afternoon baking the pies for tomorrow's meal.

Two Honey Pecan Pies, two Pumpkin Pies and one chocolate pie.  And I am thinking that I may just make another Pecan tomorrow and maybe an Apple one too.  I'm almost certain that the pies will not last very long between 8 people who really love food :)

Miss Kay's Honey Pecan Pie

This is such a yummy pie, you gotta give it a try.  Straight from Miss Kay's kitchen, who if you watch Duck Dynasty you will know exactly who she is.  I have the recipe for you on my blog if you want to make it tomorrow :)


A super easy Chocolate Pie.   I'm using this recipe.  Haven't tried this one before so I can't tell you yet how good it is.


And of course the traditional Pumpkin Pies which I'm sure you all have recipes for.

Aside from getting the pies made today, I also got my turkey brining, and it will be deep fried tomorrow.  Here's what's on the menu:

Deep Fried Turkey
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Homemade Dinner Rolls
Homemade Gravy
Homemade Cornbread Stuffing
Cranberry Sauce (I don't like it, but my husband and daughter love it)
Green Bean Casserole
Sweet Potato Casserole
Deviled Eggs

As always, I'll be up bright and early, and will have my coffee pot going while I get to work.  So exciting!!!

It's going to be an early night for me, I'm thinking some crocheting by the fire is just the right way to end this day.


So, my dear friends, I leave you with wishes of a very Happy Thanksgiving.  Enjoy yourselves, eat lots of yummy foods, and don't sweat the small stuff.

Please remember to enjoy this day for what it is and count your blessings, we all have so much to be thankful for even when we don't think we do.

Much love to you all, blessings from my house to yours,

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - 11/25/2013

Happy chilly Monday morning to you all. Brrrr indeed!

Hope you had a fantastic weekend and are ready for this busy week we have ahead. I can't believe we are but a few days away from Thanksgiving, goodness. Sure do hope you all spend it well and enjoy all the yummy food you'll eat, might be a good idea to set that scale back 10 pounds right? Hahahah

Here is this morning's HHM, complete with a new little button that you may use, if you wish :)

As I look outside my window:::
The beautiful sun is just coming up.  It's a very chilly 17 degrees outside and of course, we have frost covering everything, and I mean everything, including the 3 towels that I completely forgot were hanging on the line.  Oh boy!

Right now I am:::
In bed, under the covers.  Oh what a wuss I am!  But in my defense, my husband is still fast asleep and it's nice and warm in here, which I think is the perfect place to right up this post.  Oh and I have my cup of hot coffee, so I did venture out and braved the cold for that. 

Thinking and pondering:::
On Thanksgiving, reminding myself to take the turkey out this morning.  Making a list of everything I'm cooking, what I am preparing/cooking the night before and what must be made the day of.  Also thinking about my Christmas tree, I'm itching to go and get it but hubby is very patiently reminding me that it is too early and that the tree will die.  Bummer!

On my bedside table:::
Reading The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle and so enjoying it.  It's just my kind of book.
Also have an Apologetics Study Bible that my mother in law gave to my husband, but I'm going to use it for myself right now as I think it will really help me with my Bible reading.

On my tv tonight:::
Catching up on:
Reign (love this show)
When Ghosts Attack
Tudor Monastery Farm (oh goodness, I have to come and tell you all about this and give you some links)
American Horror Story

Playing on the radio:::
Smoky Mountain Christmas playing on my laptop.  Have you ever heard of this album?  Check it out if you haven't, I think you'll enjoy it.  :) 

On the menu for this week:::

Monday -Shepherd's Pie
Tuesday - Big Eddie's Rigatoni with Salad 
Wednesday - Bifes c/ molho de cerveja (Portuguese steaks with beer gravy), fries
Thursday -Thanksgiving (Fried Turkey, Gravy, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, Sage Stuffing, Homemade dinner rolls, Sweet Potato Casserole, Miss Kay's Honey Pecan Pie, Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Apple Cobbler
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Sriracha Honey Wings, Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Sunday -  *not sure yet*

On my to do list:::
Put all the laundry away
Run to the bank
Pull out Christmas decorations
Bake Cookies

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
Have a few ideas for the holidays but really need to get on it. 

My simple pleasure:::
Listening to Christmas music or watching a Christmas movie on tv. 

Lesson learned the past week:::
Again, to trust in the Lord.  My husband is currently looking for another job, he wasn't happy at all at his previous one, and let's just say that they didn't seem to like military people very much.  It's hard to see your husband being disrespected and treated unfairly.  I truly believe the Lord removed him from that situation and has something else in mind for him.  We are just continuing to be thankful for everything we already have and trusting in Him to guide us.

Looking around the house:::
My cute pugs are fast asleep on the bed, all curled up by our legs.  I can hear Nicholas and Colby upstairs in the living room playing.  Sounds like the teen girls are still asleep too.
I know I have a few breakfast dishes in the sink needing my attention and some picking up and tidying needs to be done in the living room. 

From the camera:::
Sunrise this morning....

Prayer List:::
My husband, he had an interview on Friday and is waiting to hear back this week.  Also has a few others lined up, I'm praying for the right job for him.
Praying for all those struggling through the holiday season, and I know it's usually a hard time for many.

Bible verse, Devotional:::
I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.
Psalms 7:17

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Around here

there's been housework and relaxing and a lot, and I mean a lot of Christmas movie watching.  For me, at least.

I think without fail, the best time of the year is now, right before Thanksgiving and the weeks leading up to Christmas....and the reason?  Hallmark Channel!

One after the other, all day long.  Is there anything better than that?

The one above I actually watched earlier today, such a sweet movie and I wish I could remember the correct name but I think it was something like Help for the Holidays?  Now I'm watching Window Wonderland, another sweet Christmas movie :)

But among all these cutesy, sweet movies, there are other sweet cute things around me, like these adorable little calves that have taken to visiting me.  They come right up to the fence and just stand there staring.


The minute mommy moo's, there they go scampering back to her side.


Adorable, and one of the things I most enjoy about living in the country.

It's been downright chilly here and every morning we are greeted with a white blanket of frost.



Beautiful :)  You wouldn't even know that these are individual blades of grass frozen in time. 


There's been yummy eating, like this Chicken Pepper Pasta which you can find over on the food blog.

Starting tomorrow you may see a few more reviews and giveaways around here, they usually seem to ramp at this time of year, just in time for gifts.  So if you're interested in winning some cool prizes, be sure to check this space from time to time.

I'm also trying to decide what exactly I'm crocheting and knitting for Christmas.  It's kind of late already but I think if I keep it easy and simple, I should be able to get them done in a month.  We shall see, as there have been many years that I start off with the best of intentions and tend to lose myself in too many projects. 

Are you going handmade this year?  Wanna share with us what you're making?  Maybe you'll give someone else a good idea.

I'll be posting a list tomorrow of some handmade gift ideas that I think would make great Christmas gifts. 

Right, I am going to finish watching this movie, then head on upstairs to get dinner started.  Upside Down Pizza Casserole and some Garlic Bread Knots.  Yum!

Friday, November 22, 2013

This week.....

Hello friends, I'm the lady who is supposed to be updating every day but has been having a real problem trying to find enough hours in the day to do everything.

Another whole week has gone by and I'm just now getting a moment to sit down with my laptop, and compose a little update post for you all.

Reading and visiting other blogs?  Forget about it, I haven't had a single moment to do it though I miss you all so very much and am wondering what you've been up to.  I've decided that tonight is an early night for me, and as soon as I'm in my comfy warm pj's and sitting at this chair, I'll be doing just that :)


This has quite possibly become my favorite corner of my bedroom, I get to sit here with my crochet, enjoy the warm fire and either listen to music or watch some tv. Just perfect for the winter :)


A week full of rain, and I've loved every moment.




What I haven't loved though is waking up the past 2 mornings to ice puddles in the driveway.  Pretty too look at but not as pretty to drive on.


The frost has been everywhere, covering the grass and anything left outside with a beautiful sparkly blanket.


And even if it may not seem like much from far, when you get up close and personal you see just how intricate the frost really is, how visually stunning.


Food has been centered around stews and soups, which to me are the favorite meals when it's cold. Warms you from the inside out and fills you up too :)


Veggies, loads of veggies make a very nutritional soup.


And speaking of nutritious, I've been enjoying Cinnamon Apple Water which is supposed to be a detoxifier and a metabolism booster...or so says Dr. Oz.  We'll see how it goes.  For one, it does taste very yummy.


I've also been enjoying this book which is coming up on the blog as a review. 


As you can see, life has just been going on and even faster now that we're approaching Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Guess it's time to kick it into a higher gear, if that is possible without burning out.  Hahaha

How are you all doing though?  Anything exciting going on, are you ready for Thanksgiving?

I'll come back and let you all know what my menu is, but right now I really should get into the kitchen to start dinner which will be a Chicken Pepper Pasta.  Hoping to get it finished before darkness falls so I can get a picture for the blog.

For now, you can head on over to Full Bellies, Happy Kids to get the recipe for these fluffy yummy Buttermilk Pancakes.  Your family will love them, I'm sure :)

The best ever fluffy buttermilk pancakes

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Balance Bar Giveaway Winner!

Thank you all for participating in the Balance Bar Giveaway :)

I used to draw a winner and the number that came up was:

#11 - Annie Lee

Congratulations Annie Lee, I will be contacting you shortly. :)

Slow Cooking Thursday - Chunky Minestrone Soup


Well, another week has flown right by.  I always say that time is flying but am I the only one who seems to feel that it's going at lightning speed the past few months?  Even faster than usual?

Anyway, here is today's recipe, which comes straight from the blog Repeat Crafter Me.  Now this is a soup I think would be delicious on a cold snowy day.

Chunky Minestrone Soup

- 1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 15oz can kidney beans rinsed and drained
- 1 15oz can cannellini beans rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 cups cooked Rotini pasta. Boil pasta for no more than 7 minutes.
- 1 cup sliced carrots or throw in a bunch of frozen crinkle cut carrots like I did :)
- 1 onion chopped or a bag of Birds Eye Recipe Ready frozen chopped onions (I keep these well stocked in my freezer).
- 8oz of frozen cut leaf spinach or chopped spinach (I used half of a 16oz bag)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic ( I have a jar of Litehouse freeze dried garlic... much easier to keep on hand and you can use it just like fresh garlic).
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano

1. Combine all ingredients in crock pot EXCEPT for kidney beans, cannellini beans and the rotini pasta.
2. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. I cooked mine for 6 1/2 hours.
3. Add beans and pasta. Cook for another 30 minutes or until heated throughout.
4. Serve and enjoy! Makes about 8 servings.
You can even top it with a little shredded parmesan cheese. Delicious!

If you have leftovers sitting in your fridge and you notice it has absorbed most of the broth. Add more vegetable broth, mix and re-heat.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - 11/18/2013

Good morning my friends.

I have to start by apologizing for the delay in this post going up.  Our router decided to conk out last night, so this morning I had to run out and buy a new one.  Thankful that I had the funds at the moment or I wouldn't have known what to do.

It's up and running now, and though this may be late, at least it's going up right???? 


As I look outside my window:::
At the moment the sun is trying to shine through the clouds and we are at 34 degrees.  We woke up to a beautiful white winter wonderland on Saturday but as the day went by it completely melted, bummer.  Here's what the rest of the week looks like....

Right now I am:::
Sitting on my bed and trying to quickly get this post up.  I've taken off my boots and am wearing nice thick wooly socks because my toes are just frozen. 

Thinking and pondering:::
On Thanksgiving, on Christmas, on the grocery shopping I still need to finish...just a few things running around my mind. 

On my bedside table:::
Both books are still sitting there waiting, haven't read much at all this past week, but hoping to change that soon.
The Guardian by Beverly Lewis
The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle (for a review)

On my tv tonight:::
Haven - episode from Friday
American Horror Story - catching up
When Ghosts Attack

Playing on the radio:::
Nothing at the moment, it's very quiet and I'm actually enjoying that

On the menu for this week:::

Monday - Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Egg Noodles
Tuesday - *Tiffany's Birthday, out to dinner* 
Wednesday - Beef Stew with Homemade Cheddar Bay Biscuits
Thursday -Shepherd's Pie with Salad and Pickled Beets
Friday - Chicken Pepper Pasta
Saturday - Bifes c/ molho de cerveja (Portuguese steaks with beer gravy), fries
Sunday -  Pumpkin Soup, Grilled Cheese and Tomato Sandwiches

On my to do list:::
Homeschooling - Boys need to make a model of a mountain and the girls have some portfolios due
Laundry - wash, dry, iron, put away
Bake Cookies for Cookie Sheet Review

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
Still working on the Diamond crochet blanket.  It's been another crazy week.

My simple pleasure:::
Having a cup of coffee and a few cookies in the afternoon

Lesson learned the past week:::
God is always in control.  He is the Potter and we are the dirty clay that he molds and pounds and presses into what we're supposed to be.  Something has come up with regards to my husband's job and we are wondering if this is the right job for him or if it's time to look for something else.   The good thing is that we know that God is in control and knows exactly what the answer to that question is.  So we'll wait until it is revealed :) 

Looking around the house:::
Jasmine is in the shower, Tiffany is fixing her hair, the boys are watching a movie, my sister in law is at work and both my husband and brother are running errands.  The house is a flurry of activity and noise, and even though sometimes it drives me a little nuts, more often than not I enjoy all the busyness around me. 

From the camera:::


On my prayer list:::
My husband.  He is struggling with being retired after so many years in the military.  It's hard to see these guys trying to adjust to civilian life.  I pray that he feels peace soon and that he finds the job that makes him happy.

Bible verse, Devotional:::
To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
Proverbs 21:3

Sense and Sensibility - TLC Book Tour

From Joanna Trollope, one of the most insightful chroniclers of family life writing fiction today, comes a contemporary retelling of Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen’s classic novel of love, money, and two very different sisters.

John Dashwood promised his dying father that he would take care of his half sisters. But his wife, Fanny, has no desire to share their newly inherited estate. When she descends upon Norland Park, the three Dashwood girls—Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret—are faced with the realities of a cold world and the cruelties of life without their father, their home, or their money.
With her sparkling wit, Joanna Trollope casts a clever, satirical eye on the tales of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood.

Reimagining Sense and Sensibility in a fresh, modern new light, she spins the novel’s romance, bonnets, and betrothals into a wonderfully witty coming-of-age story about the stuff that really makes the world go around. For when it comes to money, some things never change....

Photo credit Barker Evans

About Joanna Trollope

Joanna Trollope is the #1 bestselling author of eighteen novels, including The Soldier’s Wife, Daughters-in-Law, Friday Nights, The Other Family, Marrying the Mistress, and The Rector’s Wife. Her works have been translated into more than twenty-five languages and several have been adapted for television. She was appointed to the Order of the British Empire in 1996 for her services to literature, and served as the Chair of Judges for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012. She lives in London and Gloucestershire.

Find out more about Joanna on her website.

My thoughts:

Austen Inspired Novels are one of my very favorite things to read.  Why?  Mainly because I'm such a huge Jane Austen fan and in a sense I feel that I can continue to enjoy her work and her characters through these writings.

What can I say about this Sense and Sensibility????

I loved it.  I love the fact that Trollope didn't really deviate from the theme and instead allowed me to once again enjoy this story but with a little twist with the use of modern settings and some technology thrown in.

For me, it worked, because it allowed me to continue enjoying these characters but see them in a new light.  If we think about it, as humans we don't really change the way we act and react to certain situations, no matter the setting or the time period.  I think deep down there are characteristics that will always be a part of our essence no matter in which year we live.

I find it fascinating watching these characters that I've grown to love in Austen's work, wind their way through modern society.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me with a review copy. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Dream come true!

There is something magical and blessed about witnessing someone's dream come true.

Knowing that you are there in that moment to witness their reaction, is a feeling unlike any other.

Yesterday we all headed to Boise for the day....and what a loooonnnnnng day it turned out to be.  As an adult you know that sometimes things happen that are out of our control and as annoying or boring as they may be, we just suck it up and push through.

But when you have 4 teens along, things get a little hairy.  They would much rather be doing fun things, they don't do very well with boring and sitting in a specific place for 3 hours.

Though we did keep ourselves entertained as much as possible. The kids enjoyed the beautiful leaves on the trees outside...



My brother has had this dream car since he saw one back in 2010 when he was visiting us in Arizona on vacation.  Since then, it's been on his mind and he's always said "one day I'll have one."

Well, yesterday was the day.  Not exactly planned but nonetheless, it happened and he was moved to tears when he realized it was coming true.

THAT is where we spent 3 hours with 4 teens and two ragged mommies trying to keep them happy with no way of taking them anywhere but the car dealership.


Was it boring and long? Absolutely! Was it worth the time to see my brother's dream come true? Oh yes!!!

Can't get more American than a Mustang and Apple Pie right???

What a gorgeous car, goodness.  And what a precious moment seeing him drive it away with the biggest grin on his face.  We're thrilled for him and just glad we could be there to witness it.

But the day wasn't all spent at the dealership, because thankfully we started our morning at my favorite place on earth.  When I tell you that I could literally live there and be happy, I mean it, from the bottom of my heart.


I've told my husband that he needs to build me a fireplace as big as this one. 


Oh I can just imagine Christmas stockings hanging on that huge mantle.  *sigh*


Boys will be boys right?  The adult boys decided to play a game of cards while waiting for breakfast to arrive, while the younger boys were more in the mood for some checkers.


Which left us girls to do what we do best.  Chat!

All in all I must say, it was a good day, a little hiccup here and there which is normal when you're going anywhere with kids, but nothing that we couldn't fix with some redirection from stinky attitudes to smiles.

Today, the men are at work in the morning, and will be home this afternoon.  Another blessing that comes with them working at the same place and having the same days off.  What a wonderful Lord we serve.

I had to get up at 6am and turn on the fire because it's downright chilly.  We're at 27 degrees and expecting our first real winter storm this afternoon and tomorrow.  Snow is on the way and I am thinking a big pot of chilli and cornbread for dinner and some carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for some reading, some movie watching, some crocheting, you know, my kind of stuff.

Hope you are all having a wonderful Friday and staying warm.  I'll be back tomorrow morning with my Five Senses Saturday.

Oh and I do apologize for there not being any Slow Cooking Thursday yesterday, I didn't even have a change to get it on the blog as the trip to Boise was a spontaneous thing.  Sorry folks, I promise to be back next week though :)


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Gracious Living Without Servants - TLC Book Tour

Juliet has done the right thing all her life, and where’s it gotten her? She’s a thirty-year-old widow who’s had to move in with her parents.
Things start to look up when her glamorous—but married and much older—neighbor Seth seems to be flirting with her and his wife helps her land a job at a local paper.
Then she’s assigned to investigate Seth’s wife. Juliet is quickly immersed in lies, manipulation, and a deepening sex scandal. But she feels alive for the first time in a long time.
Maybe she needs to do the wrong thing for once. Or maybe she’s headed for disaster.

 I have to say that I didn't enjoy this book, it wasn't a story I could relate to in any sense and I didn't much care for the foul language or all the sex scenes.   I did try to give it a chance, and I will tell you that for the purpose of giving an honest review, I read all the way to the end.

I guess I just had a very different idea of what the book would be about, maybe the cover eluded to something else and it just ended up not being anything like I had thought. 

So unfortunately this book didn't work for me.

Thank you to TLC for providing a book for review.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The daily grind!








Oven Roasted Chestnuts


Life moves on at a fast pace, it's a never ending hum drum of activity around us.

Some days are more exciting than others, but for the most part I am quite happy with the familiar chores that I perform daily, boring as they may seem at times.  I give thanks to God, even for the littlest mundane chore.

Thought I would give you just a quick peek of my day.

One.....I never get tired of looking at the mountains, I could spend a whole day on my deck just enjoying the changing weather, the clouds and the rain and the way the setting sun bathes the mountain in a gorgeous red light.

Two....We've had some beautiful rain around here and I can't help but snap pictures of the rain drops hanging on the fence.

Three....big fat drops hanging from the bare branches of one of my trees.

Four....early morning breakfast of homemade hot oatmeal with cinnamon and honey and a cup of hot coffee. of the never ending chores which I actually enjoy.  Breakfast dishes drying.

Six....another endless chore, laundry, but again one I love doing.  Ironing while watching Christmas Lodge on Netflix.

Seven....Someone tried to get into the roasted chestnuts, someone didn't think I could tell, but someone was very wrong.

Eight....Hot out of the oven roasted chestnuts, bring back so many memories of my childhood in Portugal.

Nine....Delicious Caramel Apple Pie for a Lucky Leaf Review and Giveaway over on the food blog. Go on and check it out, the lucky winner will receive a baking kit including an adorable ceramic pie bird.

Today????  Back to the same grind, with a little homeschooling and housework thrown in.

Oh the joy of homemaking, I wish I could pass this feeling on to all those homemakers who find themselves in a rut and unhappy with their days.

I guess the best I can do is tell you to embrace it, stop fighting it, stop wishing for something else.  Remember why you do the things you do and at the end of the day when your family is gathered around the dinner table eating a delicious home cooked meal, smile knowing that YOU did it :)