Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Holiday Traditions!!!

So it's finally here, I've been talking about this for a while and I'm glad the time has come because I'm so eager to find out about all your traditions. As I said before, I just want to hear about what you do as a family during the holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas....

Do you and your family have a special tradition every Christmas Morning, or maybe it's a special dinner for Thanksgiving??? Do you all go out on a certain day to get a Christmas Tree??? Is there a special ornament or fun way your family decorates for the holidays??? How about different Heritages, how are the holidays celebrated all over the world???

I'll start with mine.

I'm sure you all know that I'm portuguese and since I can remember we have celebrated and opened Christmas presents on the 24th of December, Christmas Eve.

The whole day is spent in the kitchen, cooking and catching up with family, laughing and just having a great time. At dinner time we always have something like Roast or Bacalhau (Cod Fish) which are pretty traditional meals for a Christmas Dinner.

About an hour after dinner, the table starts being loaded with all sorts of different goodies, consisting of Codfish Cakes, Prawn Cakes, Prawns, Fried Chicken, Pasteis de Nata (cream cakes), Pudim Flan (Caramel Custard), Arroz Doce (Portuguese Rice Pudding), Rabanadas or Fatias Douradas (pretty much like French Toast), Bola de Carne (Meat Pie) and then a bunch of small things like dates, raisins etc.

Everyone sits around the table talking and eating, there's TONS of food, just before midnight we all move into the living room and sit around the tree counting the minutes.

We always open our presents on midnight and it was funny because when I first came to the States I just couldn't understand having to wait until the morning of the 25th LOL

But anyway, after opening presents the table is usually covered with a big tablecloth, anything that has to be refrigerated is put away, but everything else is pretty much left as is. The next day, on Christmas day, the whole family has leftovers, we spend the whole day YET again, just eating and enjoying our new presents.

Since getting married, we keep my tradition but now we leave some presents and the stockings for the Christmas morning.

Every year I also hang up christmas ornaments with the names of all the family members that can't be with us, either because they live far away or they've passed on. It's a great way to make it feel like they're here.

The kids and I also put together a Nativity Scene, they love being able to help me do it and it's also a wonderful way to teach them about the real meaning of Christmas.

And that is pretty much all we do, I just can't wait to start hearing about everyone's traditions, remember you can talk about Thanksgiving or Christmas, and if you don't have any traditions yet I'm sure you'll get great ideas from everyone else :)

Just go ahead and use the banner up top and don't forget to add your name to Mr Linky so others can come see your post.

Have fun :)

Anyone want to send some heat my way???

Don't forget about Holiday Traditions tomorrow, I'll put up mine and then add Mr Linky for you all to share yours....pass the word around if you get a chance too :)

Woke up this morning "freezing cold", just checked the temperature and it's 12 degrees. WHAT?!?!?! That's a bit too cold for my liking, I'm not ready for this, my poor sciatica is having a field day, but you know, who cares???

Lately I've felt like a walking muscle pain, and if it's not that it's a cold or sinus or a headache, I say enough is enough, I've let my guard down the past few weeks and I can see the enemy attacking in full force. So I'm putting my protection back up and grabbing onto the Lord's hand real hard, I know he'll get me through this.

So before I continue, HAPPY HALLOWEEN everyone, have a safe and fun day!!!

The kids are ecstatic and already tried their costumes on yesterday, they look soooooo cute. Nicholas is Spiderma
n and after putting on the costume and the mask he looked at Jasmine and said "I'm spiderman and I'm going to kick someone's butt" LOL OKie dokie!!!
Jasmine is a Glamor Witch and she looks beautiful as always, I LOVE seeing her in big flowing dresses :)

We were sitting at the dinner table last night, eating Pumpkin Soup. YUMMY!!
The ki
ds loved it, but while we were eating, Jasmine was instructing Nicholas on how to eat soup and I just quietly sat in the background listening...it was hilarious, she said, well....this is how it went:

Nicholas - OW it's hot!!!
Jasmine - Nicholas pick up your spoon like this and now get some soup, then blow just like this (
she blows on her soup) and then you put it in your mouth and eat it.
Nicholas - (all wobbly trying to hold the spoon and soup without dripping) like this???
Jasmine - Yeah!!! Good boy!!! (here fido here's a treat lol)....now take the napkin and wipe your mouth like this. (she pats the sides of her mouth)
Nicholas - ok Jamine (that's what he calls her)
Jasmine - Goo
d job, you know nicholas that's how rich people wipe their mouths and that's why they have all that money.

LOL HUH?!?!? Ladies and gentlemen, we've been wrong all along, apparently to have a lot of money w
e just have to wipe our mouths after eating soup. Who knew?!?!?!

Then she sat there and ate and out of the blue:

Jasmine - I'm fancy!!!

LOL I swear my kids crack me up. She's fancy she says, sitting there eating her soup wearing only a tshirt and underwear. That's fancy alright...I just have to look at her and smile, silly girl.

So last week at Jasmine's School Book Fair, I picked up 3 cookbooks for myself. You know me, I love cooking and I have an obsession with Cookbooks. I got Fix it and Enjoy it, Rival Crock Pot Slow Cooker Recipes and Silly Snacks.
I've just finished my menu plan for this week and I'll be trying a few new recipes, can't wait.

Here in a few minutes I have to get Jasmine ready for school, so since I'm feeling a little better and I've missed visiting you all, I'll be heading your way for a quick visit, hope you have some hot coffee ready, these 12 degrees are cutting right through my bones LOL

Susanne had asked me for my recipe for roasting pumpkin seeds, so here it is. You can also add garlic powder, chili flakes or seasoning salt...whatever you want.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds
2 tsp. melted butter or oil (olive oil or vegetable oil work well)
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 300° F.

While it's O.K. to leave some strings and pulp on your seeds (it adds flavor), clean off any major chunks. Toss pumpkin seeds in a bowl with the melted butter or oil and seasonings of your choice. Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.

Alright, well I'm off to brave the cold, see you all tomorrow, if I'm not a frozen popsicle.

Last night I made Pumpkin Soup with all the pumpkin I've cooked up, it was so good and so filling, the kids loved it.

Tonight's dinner is Bacon and Tomato Spaghetti, just a quick meal that I came up with one day when I had pretty much nothing left in the refrigerator and pantry. It's really good and quick to fix.

Rachael Ray
Advice on childhood behavior; Halloween costumes; harvest recipes.
General Hospital
Ric sets his evil plan in motion.
Most Haunted Live
A webcam streams images of the scariest Edinburgh, Scotland, locations as viewers e-mail the studio with sightings, and the team may visit or revisit a room if strange occurrences are taking place.
A young interracial couple (Jurnee Smollett, Raviv Ullman) suffer acute abdominal pain shortly after he saves her from being raped during a holdup attempt at a diner. Then she goes into a coma.

Put away laundry
Jasmine's Class Party
Trick or Treating

Monday, October 30, 2006

Around the House.....

We had a cozy and comfortable weekend, not many like that at times due to the crazy hectic life surrounding us everyday.

I shared the pictures of our trip to the pumpkin patch, which turned out to be such a great day for all, hayrides and picking the perfect pumpkins, culmunating in us sitting around the kitchen table, eating snacks, laughing and carving pumpkins. It was great, just the kind of weekend I enjoy.

I've never been one to go out and visit people....I remember so many of my friends growing up, their families were always out on the weekends, on saturday they were at so and so's house and then sunday it was someone else....they liked the social life. Me??? I'm a home body, I just want to be left in my house, alone with my family, cooking or watching a movie, or curling up on the couch with a blanket and cup of coffee or tea while flipping the pages of a favorite magazine, or drifting away totally immersed in a great book.

So with all the pumpkins around this house....I spent yesterday in the kitchen, no place I would rather be quite frankly. I separated pumpkin meat from seeds, not once, but a couple of times, seems it takes quite a few steps in this lengthy process between pumpkin strings and beautiful seeds waiting to be roasted. Yes, I did roast pumpkin seeds, to which my family surrounded me with hugs and kisses and I think I heard a few "OH THIS IS THE BEST SNACK EVER". :)

I'm having a bit of a problem with blogger today, it's not letting me post pictures, which is frustrating, honestly I thought that we were over the blogger problems, but I guess not. So I'm having to do it manually, using HTML code...at least I know my way around it right??

I've been really slow today, over the past weekend I've managed to hurt some muscle in my body, started with Saturday on our drive back from the pumpkin patch, you parents out there know what it's like right??? One kid wants something, or tries to hand you something, or asks you to open a toy or whatever...I don't even remember what it was, all I know is that I quickly turned back to Nicholas and pulled a neck muscle. GREAT, now I'm doing the weird full upper body turn to look to my left or right.

Then yesterday while trying to lift Nicholas up, I somehow pulled a muscle on my left, right under my rib cage. It HURTS, let me tell you. When it happened I actually had that sickening pain where you want to throw up??? And then you try to breathe and it hurts like heck???
So this morning I'm walking around all discombobulated, and it's painful sitting down for any amount of time because my ribs seem to press on the muscle that is pulled.

For THAT reason I'm cutting this post short, I've put it off all morning, but wanted to come and say hi and let you all know that I'm here, just not able to post much or visit you until later.

I'm going to take some pain medicine and lay down for a little before going to pick up Jasmine, have a wonderful afternoon everyone...Oh and I'll be posting the Ravioli Lasagna recipe this afternoon, so be on the look out for that :)

God Bless,

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Welcome to Pumpkin Land!!!

Let me tell you right now, if you don't like pumpkins, I suggest you move along because I'm surrounded by them, literally.

Yesterday we finally made it to the Pumpkin Patch, remember we had wanted to a while ago but they were closed and then hubby was gone for a while, so we figured we better get on out there with Halloween being only 2 days away.

We had a GREAT time, we spent the day going on hayrides, finding our way through the corn maze and searching for the perfect pumpkins. By the time we got into the truck and headed home we were exhausted but happy.

So come on in and sit with me, I have some Pumpkin Pie Spice Coffee. Remember the other day I tried cinnamon and then yesterday som
e chocolate??? Well I just tried putting about 2 teaspoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice and OH.MY.GOODNESS, it's wonderful, it's like drinking pumpkin pie.....well put that way it sounds kinda gross, but trust me it's really good.

Go ahead and take a seat on one of the bales of ha
y, I thought it would be a perfect setting for all the pictures I want to show you.

So the first thing we did was go on the hayride, the kids were so excited to go and had a great time, you can see by their expressions.

See those pumpkins??? Those were just the big ones we got, at this point we hadn't made it to the small ones or the squash.

After we left the hayride we got the pumpkins paid for and loaded in the truck, but then it was time to go to the Corn Maze. We had a lot of fun, we were supposed to find 4 checkpoints, but we only found 1 LOL
We did see the other one right across from the corn, but we couldn't go through it, how unfair is that? LOL

Here are the pictures from the corn maze.

Nicholas did NOT enjoy the maze at all, he kept saying "this is not fun for me, I want to go home, we have to find our way out, I want to go home and play with my toys" LOL
It was hilarious seeing the faces he was pulling!!!

After the maze which took FOREVER, we found the way out and the kids insisted on the Cow Train Ride, of course since parents were going on it too, I had to go.....Curt declined the offer LOL He stood out and took pictures.....and we're off:

While we were waiting for Curt to get the tickets to that awesome ride up there (I felt like an overgrown kid on the wrong ride LOL), the kids went on the little straw maze and of course when I tell them to pose for a picture, I get a tongue sticking out....typical LOL

Here's some pictures of the pumpkins, aren't they just the prettiest things???

And that was the end of our day at the pumpkin patch, but of course we couldn't just walk past "these two" things....we would have been in major trouble :)

And with one last look at the beautiful pumpkins we were on our way home.

When we arrived I decided to grab a quick picture before the carving began, we were all antsy to get in there and get cutting into them...

We got all of those pumpkins for about $25, now tell me that is not a steal???

So we set to work, and this is the final result, I took a picture of them all together and then each individual one. Now if I just remember to post them at Theresa's Blog-O-Lantern Contest.

And with that my friends, I'm done....I think I've kept you here long enough and I'm sure by now your coffees are all cold, mine is. Hope you enjoyed the pictures....I'm off to start dinner and no I didn't forget about the Ravioli Lasagna Recipe, I'll be posting it on my food blog soon.

Have a great sunday, and I hope you remembered to turn back your clocks, hubby and I forgot this morning and when we went by Burger King we were very annoyed that they were almost an hour past time to open, little did we know that WE were the ones in the wrong LOL

See you all tomorrow, I'll be posting some pics of our front yard decorated for Halloween.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Five Senses Saturday!!!

Well this morning instead of the cinnamon in my coffee, which I just LOVED, I decided to change it to a teaspoon of chocolate powder. Oh goodness, it's sooo yummy, and you know what I'm thinking for tomorrow morning??? Some Pumpkin Pie Spice, that should be interesting, either really good, or puke inducing....hopefully the first one LOL

I don't have much time to write a lengthy post, we're heading to the Pumpkin Patch here soon and I have two kids to get ready, well and me and hubby too, but the kids is the hardest thing....ever try to get out of the house in a hurry??? I had Jasmine complaining that she couldn't find her shoes this morning, and then she proceeded to throw a tantrum while stairing at the ceiling, because you know, that would be the obvious place for the shoes to be???? I'm just saying!!!!

Anyway, I wanted to leave you with my Five Senses Saturday, it's a nice way to end off the week and kinda go back and remember everything I did the past few days, if anyone wants to play along, just let me know in my comments so I can come see yours when I return from the pumpkin patch. Have a beautiful day :)


- the quiet crunch of fallen leaves being walked on
- the hum of the dryer drying the freshly washed clothes

- rain hitting the windows at night
- the sound of my kids laughing together

- the tv in the background while I read my book


- pinecones everywhere in my yard

- the beautiful fall sunrises

- my favorite shows on tv

- the look of joy on Jasmine's face after moving up a level in AR Reading

- my husband walking towards us at the end of two weeks TDY


- the feel of the wool as I knit Jasmine's scarf

- paper cut on the book I am reading

- arms of my husband around me

- the cold air in the morning, cutting through the warmth around me

- the heat of my coffee mug around my fingers


- Ravioli Lasagna hot out of the oven
- Cinnamon Coffee

- The first slice of bread from the freshly hot homemade loaf

- The gooey first bite of a snickers bar

- grilled cheese sandwiches made with really good cheese and homemade bread


- the rain outside

- the pine smell filling my backyard

- chicken and sausage gumbo cooking away in my crockpot
- coffee brewing before I get out of bed

- climbing into bed with clean fresh linens

Friday, October 27, 2006

Cinnamon Coffee Anyone?!?!?!

There's nothing more inspiring than waking up to a beautiful sunrise. Something about the dawning of a new day, the expectations and the eagerness to get out there.

It always reminds me of the beauty surrounding us, that same be
auty which we so often taken for granted and don't even bother to look at. I for one enjoy every single pinecone, brown leaf and beautiful sunrise that comes my way.

So this morning as I went to make my coffee, I decided to sprinkle in some cinnamon with the coffee granules.....let me tell you, it's pretty good. It gives it that zing that makes you go "oooohh, that is good". It's not overpowering, just good coffee with a hint of cinnamon. Hubby loved it!!! Go ahead and give it a try sometime, you'd be surprised how good it is.

I've been enjoying these cooler temperatures, though I must say that it's like being in the winter season already, I don't think we've gotten above 40 degrees the past week and going outside in the morning is sure to feel like a good ol' slap in the face. Boy is it cold, cuts right through you too.

I think winter is upon us faster than we know, I for one welcome it, it means Thanksgiving and Christmas, family get togethers and glorious food. I've been eagerly anticipating Thanksgiving, that turkey is calling my name.

But with all the holidays around the corner, it means that I also need to get my lists started and you know I'm a little weird when it comes to that. I mean, I LOVE making lists, I find it entertaining and powerful in a way, I can control everything around me for that moment that I'm writing it down....but I tend to feel overwhelmed at the same time, if that is even possible, though in my universe ANYTHING.IS.POSSIBLE!!!

So I think I just figured out, well maybe not JUST figured out, but I think it finally hit me that being a mommy is a great thing, but it's also one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. There's good days and then there's crazy, hectic, banshee like days. My kids have this sibling rivalry thing nailed down, really if there was a test on it I'm sure they would pass with flying colors. Just this morning they had it out because apparently Nicholas was copying Jasmine....something about eating the same cereal on a bowl that looked the same as hers and *GASP* he was using a spoon like her......how DARE HE?!?!?!?

Then to end off these crazy days (yes I say days because it's not just a one time thing), there's always the great BATH TIME ADVENTURE.

What is it with kids and bath??? I might as well just get in with them because by the time they're done, I'm looking like a drowned rat, there's water everywhere including the ceiling, which they so proudly point out to me....and then we start the bathroom shuffle...

I have to time it just right, because God Forbid I take one out when the other one is noticing, there's the whole "Me first" and "that's MY towel" and "don't stand next to me" thing. So I calmly get one distracted with bubbles or spraying water or something (at this point who cares if there's more mess right?) and quickly grab one out, and send them on their way to their room.

Oh did I ever tell you about meal times and seating arrangements....because for some reason all of a sudden, NO ONE wants to sit next to anyone. Sometimes I just stare at my kids and wonder if they'll turn out like the guy in Office Space, the grumpy one that sits all alone and constantly complains about someone taking his stapler??
Yeah not exactly what I have in mind for my kiddos, but they're young and I'm sure I can change that.

Nicholas being his chirpy boyish 3 years old, I don't know I say boys are harder to raise than girls, but what do I know right??? Anyway, he's latest favorite thing is back talking when he's in trouble, and not just doing that but asserting his independence while doing it. It goes something like this.

Me - Nicholas I said do NOT climb on the counters

Nicholas - I said YES!!!

Get it??? HE SAID YES, so I'm to shut it and jump to attention. Tell me all you moms of grown boys, does this last for a long time??? Is there a support group for moms of boys, maybe the MOB Support Group (Mom's Of Boys)???

Anyway, it's friday and I'm thrilled, because tomorrow we're heading to the Pumpkin Patch...there's a hayride and a corn maze and who can forget the 50-100 lb pumpkins for $4. So I guess we're getting a few, and then we're coming back home to carve them, can't forget to enter them in the Blog-O-Lantern Contest hosted by Theresa. It started today, and you really NEED to go see hers, it's brilliant.

So with that said, I'm going to take my cup of coffee and refill it, this one is cold and yucky, then I'm heading over to your house for a visit. Oh don't freak out, as long as you have coffee for me I'm happy, I'm easily amused LOL

Have a wonderful friday everyone :)

Last night I fixed Crockpot Stuffed Peppers, they came out SO good. I actually changed the recipe a bit by substituting the ground beef for maple syrup sausage...OH.MY.GOODNESS...it was heavenly.

Tonight for dinner, I'm fixing Ravioli Lasagna, I'll have the recipe up at the food blog later.

Rachael Ray

Recycling household items; do-it-yourself fixes; getting a woman who doesn't like fish to give it a try.
General Hospital
Luke realizes that Laura has no memory of events leading to her breakdown;
Lainey warns Luke not to force Laura's memory;
Laura is confused by how much Lulu has grown;
Sonny, Jason and Sam keep Ric from taking Molly;
Sam vows to make Ric pay;
1 vs 100
One contestant competes for cash against a group of 100 people by answering trivia questions in this game show.
Trading Spouses: Meet your new mom
Part 1 of 2. Moms from Colorado and Massachusetts switch places.

Most Haunted
Mains Hall is visited in Blackpool, UK, for a paranormal investigation.

Put away laundry
Clean living room
Clean downstairs bathroom
Sweep and Mop
Bake Bread

Thursday, October 26, 2006


With fall just around the corner and so many wonderful recipes being shared, constantly, amongst the blogging ladies....I thought that it would be neat to have a feature every thursday, just for crockpot recipes.
What do you think??? Do You have some great recipes to share, or perhaps you're looking for some delicious ones to give you a reason to pull out the ol' crockpot???
Well it's thursday ladies and you know what that means. Time to pull out those crockpots and put them to good use. If you want to join in, just grab the banner and add your name to Mr Linky :)


1 1/2 pounds boneless beef round steak, cut 3/4 inch thick
1 14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup chopped onion (1 small)
1 to 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
6 9 to 10 inch flour tortillas, warmed
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Sour cream (optional)

Trim fat from meat. Cut meat into 6 pieces. In a 3/12 or 4 quart crockery cooker place meat, undrained tomatoes, onion, chipotle peppers, oregano, cumin and garlic.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. Remove meat from cooker. Using 2 forks, pull meat apart into shreds. Place meat in a large bowl. Stir in cooking liquide to reach desired consistency. Divide meat among warm tortillas, spooning it just below the center.

Top with cheese, Salsa and if desired, sour cream. Roll up tortillas.