Friday, August 19, 2022

{ First foggy morning of the year.. }

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Do you know the old folklore quote “For every foggy morning in August, it will snow that many days this winter.”?
 
Is it true, does it actually work, do you trust it?
 
I have heard of it but honestly, I've never really given it much thought.  But seeing the dense fog this morning, made me think of it, and then my friend Jo on Instagram mentioned it too.  Whether it actually works or not, we will have to wait and see, but I love snow, so I'm all for it.
 
 
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Woke up this morning to some dense fog, cloudy skies, and 60 degrees.  It even smelled like Fall outside.  

I opened my windows, let the fresh air in and totally indulged in this beautiful cool morning.  It may be pretty early for Fall to roll around, but days like these always remind me of what we have in store.
 

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Stepping outside, I noticed the dew drops on the grass and plants.  You could feel the humidity in the air, my hair certainly reacted, and if you're a woman, you know exactly what I mean about that.  

But just the one night of rain we got on Wednesday, and this drop in temperature, has helped our garden and vegetation, tremendously.  The plants are all standing up tall, they're greener, sturdier, happier.

The grass is no longer completely dry yellow blades, but turning greener.  It's been a tough two months, weather wise.

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I shifted some things around, made the living area cozier, all in anticipation for cooler weather.  Again, I say, I know it's early, we're halfway through August, but can you tell how desperate I am for cooler days?

I can't wait to sit right there on that couch, with that big crochet blanket, candles lit around me, a cup of hot coffee and a period drama on the tv. 

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After giving the house a quick run through, and having some toast for breakfast, I headed out to get my Walmart grocery pickup.

Funny story, they changed the pickup area from one side of the store to the other, and I had no clue.  They did this in the past two weeks, after my last pickup day.  So, I drove up, wondered why there were no numbers for the parking spots, and why the usual side door, was now closed and titled "Emergency Exit".

I may or may not have sat there for a minute wondering just what in the world?  Then drove around looking for the new pickup spot.  I found it, and had to chuckle as I saw other vehicles doing the same thing I did.  At least Walmart keeps us on our toes.

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I returned home with the groceries, and then started the process of putting it all away.  I usually give my fridge a good clean on grocery day, so that I can pack everything into a clean and sparkly fridge.

There's such a wonderful sense of joy when you see a full fridge, especially when it's packed with fruits and veggies, milk and eggs.  I don't know why in my mind, that is what I picture as the ultimate food filled refrigerator.

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Yesterday, I went through my cookbooks again.  Remember I mentioned the other day, that I had a pile or two of cookbooks to figure out where to put?

Well I found a spot for them on my bookshelf, and then while putting them away, spent some time going through a few.  I tend to forget what jewels I have hidden in there.  I am particularly drawn to old church cookbooks, as they (in my humble opinion), seem to contain the most delicious recipes.

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One of the recipes I came across, was for a Slow Cooked Southern Macaroni and Cheese.  Being that mc and cheese is one of my kid's favorites, I decided to make it for lunch today.  The one thing that I wasn't expecting to put in it, was eggs.  
 
I have never used eggs in my macaroni and cheese, but the addition makes for a much creamier and thicker result.

One thing I didn't use was the Velveeta Cheese, because it's not something I keep on hand, and it's not something my family enjoys, aside from the fact that Jasmine can't have any kind of yellow cheese due to her lactose intolerance.  So I left it out, and even then, it is still delicious.  I will share the recipe tomorrow, on the food blog.

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For dinner tonight we are doing Dominos pizza.  They are doing a special when ordering online, until Sunday, you get 50% off all pizzas.  We also have a free pizza available, so that will be yummy.

And that is basically it.  That was my Friday.  We are expecting rain starting tomorrow and lasting all week through until next weekend, so I'm quite looking forward to rainy days at home.

Have a wonderful Friday night, enjoy your weekend, and if I don't get around to posting, I will be here Monday morning for our Happy Homemaker Monday!

Thursday, August 18, 2022

{ Cooking Thursday - Orange Ricotta Cake }

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Good morning friends.

We woke up to the most beautiful sound.  Rain drops hitting the roof of the house.  I thought I was imagining it, we've needed rain for so long.  If you could only see the smile on our faces.

A good start to our Thursday, for sure.

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Now, let's shift our focus to today's post, which is of course, our Cooking Thursday.  The recipe I'm sharing today, is not even on my food blog yet, I will move it over there after this post is up. 
 
Orange Ricotta Cake!

That may sound a little weird to you, but trust me, you are going to want to make this cake as soon as possible.  You will love it, and your family will love you for it.


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Orange Ricotta Cake

 
3/4 cup of butter
1 and half cups of sugar
15 oz Ricotta cheese (425 Gr) 
3 large eggs
1 and half cups of flour
Zest and juice from one orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy and pale yellow.  Add in the eggs one at a time.  Next add the ricotta, the flour, zest and juice from one orange, vanilla, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.  

Mix until well combined.

Pour into a greased and floured cake pan.  (I used my 9 inch springform pan).  Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center, comes out clean.

Let cool completely, remove from cake pan and dust with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

{ A quick trip to town and my Mythologie birthday candles, have arrived }

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Wednesday!  

I guess I blinked and we're halfway through the week.  I woke up this morning, and had some errands to run that would take me to our little historic downtown.  It is littered with old antique stores, some really neat coffee shops and restaurants, museums and just a sense of small town living.

My idea was to go into one of the best antique stores in town, or rather one of my favorites, and look around for a bit.  I don't really buy anything every time I visit, but I enjoy I very much enjoy walking around and checking out all the new items that have come in.  

I don't usually go during the week because Curt enjoys going with me, so it's a weekend thing we do.  I guess I should have looked before I went, because it so happens that today it was closed.  Bummer!

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I was back home around 10:15, so got right into my house chores.  I made the bed, vacuumed, dusted, did the dishes, pulled out meat for dinner, fed the animals, watered the veggie garden, started the pool pump, and checked the mail.

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Waiting for me in the mail box, was the last two books from my birthday haul.   Longbourn that tells the story of one of the servant's from Pride and Prejudice, and Prarieblomman, the sequel to Butter in the Well, which I shared with you yesterday.

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A few hours later, I had a delivery from UPS.  It was my birthday candles that hubby ordered for me.  I was so eager for these to arrive, I can't even tell you how exciting it was to see the box outside my door.
I immediately opened it and dug right in.  
 
I have seen these in a few youtube videos, mainly book vlogs, and they just looked so pretty.  Everyone raved about them, and what caught my eye, aside from how pretty they are, being hand made and pet friendly, and made with coconut wax, was the fact that they are fantasy inspired.
 
When I started seeing candles with the name Camelot, Secret Garden, The Tudor House, Stonehenge, Shakespeare Stage, The Queen's Court and so on and so on.....well you kinda get the idea.  That is me in a nutshell and everything that I love.
 
They ARE a bit pricey and that is one of the reasons I never took the plunge to order for myself, but when my birthday rolled around, hubby was a bit stumped on what to get me, and surprised me with these.  I was shocked and ecstatic and could not wait to receive them.
 
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He had heard me mention the Camelot Collection, so he got me those, but he wanted to get something else too, and he picked the Emerald Isle candle.
 
I didn't even know that was one of the candles in the store, there are so many to pick from, and they constantly add new ones.   He just picked something that he thought I would like, based on my kind of candle scents and what I usually go for.
 
So, Emerald Isle.....first can we just admire how pretty it is? 

It smells amazing.  I keep saying this about these candles, but oh my gosh.  You know when you pick a scent and then sometimes you smell the actual candle and it's not quite what you wanted or thought?  I was a bit worried that I wouldn't like them, but they just exceeded my expectations.  

This Emerald Isle candle, I can't even describe the scent.  It's exactly what is described but to a whole new other level.  I can't put it into words.  I wish you could all smell it.

Mood: Atop the jagged cliff, a Celtic cross of stone stands before an ancient tomb. Seaspray and soft rain erode the rock, the secrets of its legends lost to time.   
 
Smells Like: Notes of seafoam resting on salt-crusted driftwood, fresh ocean air, and sweet green tree sap.
 
Just wow!
 
Also, the packaging, the candle containers, the labels, the wooden lids with the carvings.  Everything is just done so beautifully.

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Now for the main collection, the one I had in my sights for so long.  I mean, Camelot, King Arthur, Lady of the Lake?  I knew that the day I finally got Mythologie Candles, these would have to be my first.
And they did not disappoint.  The box itself was gorgeous, with quotes appropriate to the collection theme.
 
'for it is better that we slay a coward, than through a coward all we to be slain. ' - Sir Thomas Malory

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Each of these smell out of this world good.  None of the scents are overpowering, they are so smooth and just perfect.  If I have to think of a word to describe these Mythologie Candles, it is PERFECT!!!
 
Curt loved the candles too and all the scents.  He now knows that these have become my favorite, and I hope to be able to collect them all.  It will take a long time, because as I mentioned above, they're a bit pricey, but I think they will make the best gifts.  At least my family knows where to go for my birthdays and Christmas.  

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Just look at the detail on these wood carved lids.  How stunning is that?  Just minute details so perfectly carved.  All the candles are hand poured.  Also, the founder of the Mythologie Candles is Leah McHenry, a recording artist who some call Metal Enya.
 
Celtic Metal.  I have never heard of this genre, I do love Celtic music, but metal is definitely not a musical genre I enjoy.  
 
But, nonetheless, the vision for these candles actually began when Leah was creating some candles for the release of her new album.  I for one am glad she took that jump and started creating even more fantasy inspired candle collections.  

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I'm so happy with my birthday gift and these gorgeous candles, that I just had to share with you all tonight.  If you want to learn more about these, or see all the beautiful candles they have available, be sure to check out their website.  I'm sure you'll find a candle you will fall in love with.

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The Camelot Candle is currently burning in Curt's office, and oh my word, does it smell good.  One of the ingredients is Tonka Bean which I had never heard of, but the scent is described as having notes of cinnamon spice, almond, cherry and sweet hay.

Look I have no clue, but it smells so good.  SO GOOD!!!

Ok, I think I've babbled enough about these candles.  Just go and look for yourself, I won't bore you any longer.

It is after 8pm, my laptop battery is about to die, and I am ready to take some pain pills (that time of the month), and get some rest.

Have a blessed, restful night friends, and I'll see you all back here tomorrow with a recipe, for our Cooking Thursday.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

{ Butter in the Well by Linda K. Hubalek }

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I ordered this book last week, and when it arrived in the mail, the first thing that caught my eye, was the simple book cover.  Simple, pretty, to the point but yet effective.

For as long as I remember, I have been fascinated by eras gone by, especially when it comes to wagon trails, homesteading, and biographies, or journals from people who actually lived it.

In Butter in the Well, we learn about the life of a Scandinavian Woman named Kajsa.  Born in Sweden, married to Carl and with a 3 month old little girl named Anna Christina, the family make the trip from their home country to the prairies of Kansas, where they start a homestead.

This book follows 20 years of their life, the joys, the struggles and everything in between.  The land they settled in eventually becomes the Smoky Valley region of Saline County, Kansas. (if you click on the Smoky Valley link, you will be taken to the Smoky Valley Historical Association, where you can find a ton of information about the area)


From The Prairie Ecologist "Situated along the boundary between mixed-grass and shortgrass prairie, the Smoky Valley Ranch contains 16,800 acres of grassland – including a wide variety of prairie types – along with bison, lesser prairie chickens, prairie dogs, and even black-footed ferrets."
 
Funny enough, in one of the first journal entries, Kajsa talks about the Bison they encounter, and how they would collect Bison chips for fire.
 
As I read through her entries, and mind you, these are written by the book author who interviewed relatives and neighbors who knew this family and remember the stories they would tell about their life on the prairie.  So it's not exactly Kajsa's own journal entries but it is a fictionalized account based on her stories.
 
The Svenssons had 80 acres of land.  I look around at my 3 acres and feel it's so much already, so I can't even imagine 80 acres of my own land to take care of.
 
The reason I'm sharing this book with you, aside from thinking that many of you will enjoy it as well, is that I find that when I read books like this, I end up learning so much.  Things I didn't even know about, never looked into and find so interesting.
 
Like dugouts.
 
Early on, when first arriving at their land, they are basically living in their wagon, which quickly becomes uncomfortable and not exactly the best place for a young child to thrive in.  So they need to build themselves a home, but lack the equipment and of course the funds to buy the equipment.
 
So they build a dugout.  I had no idea this was even a thing, so had to go and look it up.  I found a few pictures at the Smoky Valley Historical Association, so I'm gonna share them with you, but make sure to go over there, and read up on the dugouts, and the Hoglund family who actually lived in this very same dugout, below. 
 
 
 
 

I mean, how amazing is that?  So many families lived for months in these dugouts, while slowly building their new homes around them.  These dugouts became root cellars, after the main home was ready to be lived in.


April 18
Today we start digging our home.  I hate to live in the ground, burrowed in like a gopher, but we can't afford the lumber it takes to build a house.  What lumber we did find money for will be used sparingly.
 
People say being in the ground protects you from the heat of the summer day and the freezing cold of winter.  It will only be about 10 by 12 feet in size, just enough for our bodies and belongings.  I'll continue to cook outside on an open fire.  We've scoured the creek for rocks to reinforce our walls.  For our dugout to be a legal homestead house, we must have one window in it.  We bought a small pane of glass in Salina that Carl will frame and put next to the door.
 


May 1
I'm ready to move back to Illinois, or back to Sweden.  Besides the three of us in bed, we have the company of a multitude of bedbugs that have hatched out of my "prairie feather" mattress.  Fleas jump all over the floor (we have no dog to blame), a toad somewhere in the sod roof croaks all night, and crickets, spiders and mosquitoes are everywhere.  Carl keeps telling me that conditions will get better in time.

Can you just imagine the hardships these families went through?  The daily battle to stay healthy, to make a home, to take care of their animals, to farm the land, all in hopes of living a good life?

It's one of the other reasons why I read books like these, and love them so much.  They keep me in check.  They remind me that nothing I possibly go through now, could have been as difficult as what our ancestors went through.  

Farming the land wasn't exactly easy, not then and not now.
 
 

May 25
We got the corn planted.  Now we pray that the rains come at the right time so we get a good stand.  We need corn for the horse and for our cornmeal.  We are so dependent on our land this year.
Carl saw three Kaw Indians near the river today.  They haven't bothered us yet and I hope they keep their distance.
 



And again, I know a lot of Native American Tribes, but I wasn't quite familiar with the Kaw or Kansa/Kanza.  They are a federally recognized tribe in Oklahoma and parts of Kansas.  

Did you know that the name of the State of Kansas was actually derived from this tribe?  And that the name of Topeka which is the capital of Kansas, is the Kaw's word Tó Ppí Kˀé which means "a good place to grow potatoes"?  How neat is that?
 
This is what I mean by reading a book but actually learning so much from it.  I try to do that with every book I read, even if it's a fictional fantasy book.  There's always something to learn, to research, to find, and since I love learning, it's so much fun for me going online and researching all these places and people.  It puts you right in the middle, feeling like you're actually there.


June 26
We have seen quite a few buffalo this year.  In fact, two ended up as buffalo robes for us to use this winter.  The meat is strong tasting and stringy, but it makes good stew.   Mr. Lapsley had been to Salina and was told that a herd 30 miles long was seen 10 miles south of us.  When the herd got to the Smoky Hill River, it almost drank the river dry.



I'm not yet done reading this book, but I am loving every minute of it.  Every page I turn teaches me something new, and takes me back a step further into what life was like on the Prairie in the 1800s.




If this is a topic you find interesting, be sure to check out Linda K. Hubaleks' book series.

I know this may not be the type of post everyone enjoys, but I enjoy it and thought some of you may too.




Monday, August 15, 2022

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 08/15/2022 }

 
Happy Monday sweet ladies! 
 
I hope you've had a wonderful weekend, full of rest and time with family.  Mine went by far too quick, I feel like I was just getting ready to start the weekend and it's already over.  Good gracious!
 
I didn't get any posts up this weekend either, it was that busy.  As we look at the week ahead, I pray God blesses you, and your family, in every way possible.

Now, let's go see what is happening around our homes......
 
 
 

♥♥ The Weather ♥♥ 
Hot, hot, dry and dry.  However, it looks like next week we are actually expecting rain, for the whole week, which will be such a blessing. 

Monday -  Sunny to partly cloudy, 102
Tuesday - Partly cloudy, 103
Wednesday - Partly cloudy, 95
Thursday - Partly cloudy, 93
Friday - Mostly sunny, 97
Saturday - Partly cloudy, 98
Sunday - Scattered Thunderstorms, 93



♥♥  As I look outside my window ♥ 
Gorgeous blue sky as the backdrop to the greenest of greens trees.  God is such a brilliant artist, isn't He?

 
 
♥♥  Right now I am ♥♥ 
Had to get gas this morning, but already back home, having my breakfast and typing up this post.   
 
 
 
♥♥  Thinking and pondering ♥♥ 
On Fall and Thanksgiving.  I know, you are probably cursing me over on that side and thinking I'm nuts.  However, aside from the heat that is driving me insane, I just love Fall and am already thinking about the holidays, crisp mornings with dew and fog.  Cracking pecans, making pies, soups and stews.  The fire burning......*sigh* 
 
 
 
♥♥  How am I feeling ♥♥ 
I'm good, but am dealing with the usual sinus issues.  My voice actually sounds nasally and I'm quite congested.  Forehead pressure and so on.  If you deal with sinus you know what I'm talking about.  Already on the Sudafed so that will clear it up in the next few days.
 
 
 
♥♥  On the breakfast plate ♥♥ 
Cup of coffee with some cinnamon.  I tried the Willy Wonka Coffee Fudgy Caramel Creamer, but didn't like it, neither did Curt.  Maybe it's just me but, I find that they try to come up with so many different flavors, that they end up missing the ball.    Sometimes it's best to stick to the simple ones.
 
 
 
♥♥   On the lunch plate ♥♥ 
Last night, I made Gyros for dinner.  I actually found a Gyro Kit at Sam's club, and we decided to try it out.  They were so good.  Everyone enjoyed them, Jasmine and Curt took some for lunch today, and there are still 2 left.  So that's what I'll be having for lunch.

 
 
♥♥  On the dinner plate ♥♥ 
Southern Chicken Spaghetti, Salad
 
 
 
♥♥  What I'm wearing  ♥♥ 
Shorts and a tshirt.       
 
 
 
 ♥♥  On my reading pile ♥♥ 
Reading through Isaiah in the Bible
Paul David Tripp New Morning Mercies devotional. 
 
I set aside the Janette Oke book.  As much as I love her stories, sometimes you seem to hit a brick wall when reading a certain book.  I find that if I try to push through it, it just frustrates me and I end up not enjoying reading at all.
 
So often, I'll set that particular book aside and move on to another.  I decided to start on one of my new ones from Linda K. Hubalek.  Butter in the Well....I am loving it. ♥


 
 
 
♥♥  On my TV this week  ♥♥ 
Mad About You
Homemaking vlogs 
Becoming Elizabeth (watching the last episodes)
The Lost Kingdom (only watched the first season, so getting back on it)
 
 
 
♥♥  On the menu  ♥♥ 
 
Monday - Southern Chicken Spaghetti, Salad
Tuesday - Sausages in Tomato Sauce, Rice, Green Beans
Wednesday -  Chicken Curry, Garlic Naan
Thursday - Kielbasa and Potatoes, Salad
Friday - *New meal plan kicks in*
Saturday -
Sunday

Desserts this week - Orange Juice Bread



♥♥  Looking around the house  ♥♥ 
House is clean and tidy.  I reorganized and tidied up this weekend, so everything is where it should be.  I just love these days where you wake up and look around, and aside from the daily chores, there is nothing much to do. 
 
 
 
♥♥  To Do List for the week ♥♥ 
- Start the new menu plan, for the next two weeks
- Get pool back on track (we couldn't find chlorine for a while, finally did, and now we are on the battlefield with the pool water)
- Start the Walmart Grocery Pickup
- Fold and put away the last load of laundry in the dryer
- Pickup my prescriptions at the base hospital
- Start writing the Bible (I've decided to start writing down the Bible.  I've seen people doing this for many years, and feel it's something I want to start now)
- Clean and reorganize master closet
- Finalize the Fall garden plans
 
 
 
♥♥  From the camera  ♥♥ 
Just love books and candles and plants, and when you put all three together, you get the most prettiest photos.    
 

 
 
♥♥  Devotional  ♥♥ 
Have you heard this familiar saying: “When you point a finger at someone else, you have three fingers pointing back at yourself”?   While most of us relish pointing out the ignorance, foolishness, or corruption of others, we are often experts at ignoring our own responsibility or sinfulness. 
 
David thought he had gotten away with murder. After all, he was the king and able to cover his tracks well. But no one can escape the eye of an all-knowing God. The Lord sent His prophet Nathan with a message. Nathan did not confront David directly. Instead, he told the story of a rich man with lots of sheep and cattle and a poor man who owned one precious lamb (vv. 2–3). This lamb ate from his owner’s table and even “slept in his arms” (v. 3). 
 
When a traveler came to the rich man, the wealthy man took the lamb from the poor man and cooked it for his guest. As David listened to this story, he was outraged. Suddenly, he became deeply concerned with what the Lord would think of the rich man. God was on the side of his righteous anger: “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die!” (v. 5). 
 
In one of the most famous verses in Scripture, Nathan turned the story on David and proclaimed, “You are the man!” (v. 7). Nathan’s parable had gotten under David’s defenses and allowed him to see his actions from God’s perspective. Convicted by the guilt of what he had done, coupled with the hypocrisy of his outrage at Nathan’s story, David repented. He confessed, “I have sinned against the LORD” (v. 13). While there were serious consequences to David’s sin that would resonate for years to come, God forgave David (v. 13). 
 
Lord, today we pray for those heavy-laden with secret sins. Show them Your forgiveness for the vilest offense. The most righteous among us falls short of Your holiness, yet all can find redemption in Jesus’ blood. 
 
BY Ryan Cook



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