Wednesday, December 31, 2008

And so the year comes to an end.....

And what a year it was, so much happened, there was the trip back home to Africa after 10 years of being away, and there was a new addition to the family with little Anastacia.

It's been ups and downs, scary moments and happy times and everything in between, but we made it didn't we? We survived another whole year of this crazy roller coaster called life.

I want to thank each and every one of you for being here with me through my blogging journey, it's been amazing and it's surpassed anything that I had ever imagined this blogging world to be.

So I leave with wishes of a wonderful New Year filled to the brim with love, health and happiness and all that you could ever wish for.

I'm off to eat pizza, snack on chips and have a glass of wine safe in my home. I'll see you all next year LOL
Don't forget Slow Cooking Thursday tomorrow!

God Bless!

Prayers Please!

I just found out this morning that my oldest brother Paul, is in the hospital. He wasn't feeling well and is currently in ICU awaiting test results.

Please pray!

UPDATE: First I want to thank you all for the prayers, you are amazing :)

My brother is home now, he is doing well. The doctors say it's nothing to do with his heart, they were afraid it may have been at first because he was complaining of not being able to breathe and pains in his chest. I think it might have been an anxiety attack.

They ran some tests and it turns out that his choleresterol and triglicerades are high and he has high blood pressure and stress. So he's been sent home with some medication and told to take it easy and try to avoid stress of any kind.

I'm SO glad that he's home safe and sound and that it's nothing serious, there is absolutely nothing worse than knowing one of your siblings is in the hospital, what a helpless horrible feeling, especially being this far.

Again I thank you all for the prayers, I'm sure it means a lot to him and my sister in law Lilian and the kids too.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year Fun - 2008

The wonderful Kelli at "There's is no place like home" is doing this really cute feature. Here's what she said:

With the New Year right around the corner, this is the perfect time for a peek through the past year of blogging. I would love for you to join in with me!

Post the first sentence of your first blog post of each month. You can also add a favorite picture from each month.

Is it safe to come out now??? I've been counting down the minutes until I could finally say "I'm FREE from the holidays and the craziness".......not a minute too soon I tell you.

Blackout - January 27, 2008

I wish it was bedtime, but I still have a couple hours to go since it's only noon here. *sigh*

The kids with Jason Bell from the NY Giants

It took us 15 hours to move the whole house and two 24 foot truck trips.

Base Carnival

That neck/shoulder muscle pain is just not going away so I'm off to the doctors this morning.


Well the internet has been down for us for the last 2 days

Kruger Park - May 29, 2008

I have so many more photos I want to share with you and once I'm back home in the States I will, but for now I wanted to leave you with a few more pictures taken during our stay.

Kids and my grandma in South Africa

I'm sure you're wondering just what I did with myself this past week. Well, I cooked and baked and I cleaned

Monsoon season here in Arizona

Have you ever had one???? Because if you haven't, you don't know what you're missing and when I tell you that they're SUPER easy to make, I mean like super easy you won't believe you ever lived without making them, kinda way.

Peter Piper Pizza

Hi everyone, come on in and see what's in my daybook!

Dust storm

The sun may be setting, but in a child's world the fun is just beginning.....

Candy, Costumes, Children and a Crazy question!

You know you don't need to go out and do something expensive to enjoy the Christmas season or have fun with the family.

This year needs to be over.....

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I can't stand this little week between Christmas and New Year, it's such a waste of time for me LOL

I want my house back to normal and I want the new year to begin but we're in this limbo where you can't really sit back and relax because the impending New Year's Eve celebration is just around the corner.

What do you do? Do you go out and tackle the big crowds and the drunks and crazy drivers or do you stay home like I do?

I can't remember the last time I went out on that night, it must have been in my teens because since then I've just pretty much ignored it LOL No I'm serious, we don't go anywhere, it's just a normal day for us and lately we don't even stay up until midnight, we just go to bed and wake up in a new year. Is that wrong? Are we missing out on anything special?

Anyway, Curt is back to work this week but the kids are still home on Winter Break, though I think next week can't come fast enough for me, the bickering and fighting between them is just ridiculous.

What is it with kids and the competitive thing? I didn't know that if one picks Frosted Flakes for breakfast and the other wants it too it's apparently called "COPYING"????
Really???? Huh, I had no idea!
There are also invisible boundaries around the house known as "my place" and "my chair".

Where is the memo for all the parents, shouldn't we have something on paper to teach us these kid rules?

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I have a few things I need to get done today, like relieving the lemon tree of some of it's lemons, the poor thing is packed full and the branches are bending down with the weight LOL I think I'll spend some time in the kitchen afterwards using them for lemonade, lemon curd, lemon drizzle cake and whatever else I may think of. I'll probably pop some into the freezer to keep for another time.

There's also sweeping and mopping to be done around here, laundry to put away and menu planning for the next two weeks PLUS the grocery list for tomorrow.

I'll be making a few dishes that I haven't shared with you before, so you'll start seeing some updating on the food blog. Am also hoping that I'll get some knitting time in, I want to finish my little shrug this week so I can start on some new dishcloth patterns that I have been wanting to try.

We're also trying to plan another trip to Africa next year, but so far I'm not feeling very encouraged. To start off obviously it's a lot of money and the only reason we were able to afford it last year was because we used the tax return money plus the money we got from moving ourselves to a new house on base.....I doubt they'll let us move again just for extra cash LOL
The air tickets also seem to have gone up a bit, so right now it's a waiting game.....if we can't go to Africa then we'll be going somewhere else within our budget.

We want to do family vacations every year and there's so much to see without having to go too far from home. So we'll see, though I would LOVE to go back home again, it was great being there but it also felt rushed, we were constantly on the move and ended up not really just sitting down somewhere and chatting and catching up with everyone.

Here's where you come in. I need some ideas for inexpensive family vacations, tell me where you've been or where you suggest we go. Those places that you think everyone needs to visit at least once in their lives. Can you do that for me? Help a girl out, remember that I'm not American and so I really don't know much about the best places to visit or where they're at, just imagine I'm some foreign tourist and you're the tour guide. LOL

Alright, I need to get going on my to do list and grab myself a fresh hot cup of coffee, nothing like typing on the computer and taking a swig of cold yucky coffee. Blech!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The hills are alive with the sound of music.....

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Ok who watched it last night? Who screamed for joy and clutched onto that remote control so no one could change the channel?

One of my favorite favorite favorite movies EVER, is The Sound of Music.

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Last night while channel surfing I came across the movie on and though I had missed the first 5 minutes, that was just fine for me. There is something absolutely magical about this movie, and that is saying a lot because I admit, I'm NOT into musicals, like.AT.ALL. Nuh uh, they just don't do it for me...but this one is different. It's also my grandmother Jacinta's favorite movie, so I thought of her immediately when I saw it on the screen.

I can't believe I don't have this movie on DVD yet, I really need to get it

I don't think there is a single song in that movie that I don't like, they all make me smile. What about you, any other Sound of Music fans out there? Anyone watch it yesterday? What were your favorite parts?

...the first three notes just happen to be, Do-Re-Mi.
Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti, oh let's see if I can make it easier
Doe, a deer, a female deer, Ray, a drop of golden sun
Me, a name I call myself, Far, a long, long way to run
Sew, a needle pulling thread, La, a note to follow So
Tea, a drink with jam and bread, that will bring us back to Do

Nicholas watched a bit of it with me and he absolutely loved the Lonely Goatherd, he thought it was funny.

Anyway, I was so thrilled to see the movie on TV, now THAT is a good family holiday show.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


I can finally say that the house is back to normal, the tree is down, the decorations put away and every last bit of Christmas cheer safely packed in boxes and rubbermaid containers, for next year. Until then, I can breathe a sigh of relief!

I don't have the patience for Christmas, I just realized that this year, I think the older I get the more annoyed I become with the whole rush of the season, the blowing of budgets and extravagant get togethers, I think it's just not for me anymore, I would be perfectly happy just spending a quiet day with the family, having a good dinner and exchanging one gift.

So with everything put away, I turned into a cleaning machine and I've dusted and mopped and scrubbed and vacuumed and reorganized every single room in the house, not one was left untouched, and it makes me feel good. You know that feeling you get when you walk into your house and every nook and cranny is clean and tidy and homey?

Yesterday we spent the day playing the Wii, I rocked it out on Guitar Hero by myself while everyone was doing other stuff, then we proceeded to a game of Mario and Sonic and the Olympics and can I just say, I hate Skeet? Hate hate hate skeet LOL
After getting my butt handed to me in that game, we switched to Carnival Games and boy was that fun. Have you played it?

By the time we looked at the clock it was 10pm, a whole day of Wii goodness, laughing and some frustrated emotions from loosers, chips and snacks, a quick break for a delicious dinner of Beef Stew with Potato dumplings and family time which is something that I absolutely love.

In the middle of all this I've been able to enjoy the PBS Series, honestly if you've never seen them and you like history and learning about old times, you will like these.

The one that struck me the most and made me really stop and think was The 1940's House. It really brought home the fear and hardship that these families had to endure during World War II.

The Hymer family were placed into the home complete in 1940's garb and then put through a series of simulations of what their day to day would have been like in that era, during The London Blitz.

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This was the beginning of the Blitz - a period of intense bombing of London and other cities that continued until the following May. For the next consecutive 57 days, London was bombed either during the day or night. Fires consumed many portions of the city. Residents sought shelter wherever they could find it - many fleeing to the Underground stations that sheltered as many as 177,000 people during the night. In the worst single incident, 450 were killed when a bomb destroyed a school being used as an air raid shelter.
Life was hard, everything seemed to take longer to do and the tools needed to accomplish something were not always available. For me the worst was the Food Rationing, I thankfully have never had to be in that situation and quite frankly don't know how I would react, but it can't be easy knowing you only have a few items to last you a whole week.

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If that wasn't hard enough to deal with, they had to build an underground shelter in their yard as well as keep up with the BlackOut Rules.

The blackout began two days before the war began. Under blackout rules, everyone had to cover up their windows at night with black material. This was to make it difficult for german bombers to find their target in the dark.
The street lamps were turned off and often people bumped into one another. Traffic accidents were common because car headlights had to be blacked out, and deaths from drowning increased as people fell off bridges or walked into ponds.

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And if you were caught not covering your windows you were heavily fined. At one point there was a Bomb Raid, the family gathered their supplies and the two children and ran to the back yard, the back door was left open for a few minutes while they were moving out of the house and the next thing they know they are getting a letter in the mail and being fined for not having followed the blackout rules. Goodness!

Anyway, I learnt a lot from watching this show. A couple of you asked me where I got the series from....well, I'm watching through Netflix but you can find them on Amazon too. If you're interested in taking a virtual tour of the home used for this documentary, you can go here.

Well that does it for me, I'm off to have my coffee and eat my oatmeal, not sure what else I'll be doing today since all the work was done yesterday, but I'm sure I could find something to knit, or watch, like Helen of Troy Disc 1. Yes, maybe that's what I'll do.

Have a great day everyone!

Friday, December 26, 2008

And just that quick, it's over!


We had a good Christmas, it was just the four of us as usual, but we try really hard to make it a wonderful day and we succeed.

Behind the smiles and laughter lurks the sadness of not being with other family members, but we don't allow it to dampen the experience.

We took photos, lots of them, we ate good food, we opened presents and we watched Christmas movies and played tag. And now with the craziness over, we relax. So here I give you a Christmas in pictures, be prepared there's quite a few, mainly for all the family that is far and wants to see what we did.















There was present opening and the funniest expressions from the kids LOL




Unfortunately Nicholas came down with a really bad cold which meant a night of no sleep for us both. He was running such a high fever that he was delirious, you know when they just sit there and babble nonsense? He was upset that Timmy Turner (Fairly Oddparents) had gotten hurt and he was also going on about "having all my eggs in a basket" from the Easter Bunny LOL

Poor baby, I spent the night battling the fever, there was juice and medicine and damp washcloths and there was vicks and cuddling to try and remove some of that heat from his body. It was tiring and this morning we're both walking zombies but his fever seems to be staying away for the past couple of hours, we'll see once this dose of Motrin wears out if it returns or not. I've put it in the Lord's hands and I know he'll be fine, thankfully they are on Winter Break so we can beat this before they return to school.

Yesterday, do you know what I did? While Curt and the kids were watching a movie, I reorganized Jasmine's and Nicholas bedroom, AND the closets in my bedroom too. I don't know what got into me, it was like Spring Cleaning in the winter LOL

Then I lay down in bed with Nicholas and popped in "The 1940's House", it was SO good, I think my favorite of all the PBS series. They take a family from 2000 and set them up in a house in London that has been redone in the 1940's style during World War II. They live in it for 3 months and go through what a family would have during that era. The bomb raids, the underground shelters, the food rationing and the blackouts where every night they had to cover every single window in the house to prevent any light from showing through or they would get fined. It was just crazy but I learnt so much about that era, so fascinating and heartbreaking all in one.

Well I just wanted to come in and drop off some photos and say hi, now I'm off to take care of my sick little boy and get some housecleaning done too. Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

My beautiful niece Anastacia who is doing extremely well and has now doubled her weight. Bless you all for the prayers :)

Thank you for the wonderful comments left on my post yesterday, they touched my heart and I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one having these feelings during the holidays. I've decided to put it all behind me for today and completely immerse myself in my children and husband, cooking and eating and present opening.

Slow Cooking Thursday will not be up tomorrow, it will return next week.

Merry Christmas to you and yours......I will be back after Christmas and hope you will join me!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Family at Christmas!

I've struggled with whether or not to write this post, it's like a fight inside me but I feel that the need to put it all out there for the world is something that I can't control, it's almost like the Lord is pushing me to do this and I don't know why, but who am I to question right?

It's going to be a long one, a lot of venting so I apologize in advance, and if you're still here reading at the end, then Bless you.

Christmas for me used to be absolutely magical and it still is to some extent, but I've noticed as I've grown older and as family members have passed away, it's become one of the most difficult times of the year. One I look forward to for the sake of my children and for myself too in a way, but mostly, one that I cringe about and find myself fighting back tears constantly. It's hard being thousands of miles away from family and having just the memories of what it used to be like with me and my brothers running around, laughing and playing together, everything seemed perfect.

So here I sit today at 34 years old, reminiscing about family Christmases where my grandfather Julio was present, he was such a joy, he made everyone laugh and was just that light in the family. He is no longer with us and I miss him terribly during the holidays.

My greatgrandmother Ema, oh where do I begin? This amazing little lady was the rock in the family, the one constant there for me.....she lived with us and when both my parents used to work, it was her that got us up for school in time, fed us, took care of us, cooked and cleaned and did it all. I remember sitting in the kitchen with a cup of tea while she told me stories of how life was for her as a child born in 1906, the struggles she went through, the death of her mother when she was 4 years old, the suicide of her father when she was 13 years old and how she found him, and all the other little things. I sat fascinated by her stories. Unfortunately she is also no longer with us and the pain of not having her around is just more than I can say.

Same goes for my other grandfather Antonio and my Uncle Carlos, both wonderful men who unfortunately I didn't get to enjoy as much as I would have liked because they lived overseas.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that at this time of the year, my eyes fill with tears and I yearn to be with them, to see them one last time, to laugh with them and enjoy their company. It's hard, it's extremely hard.

The reason I'm bringing this up is because the past two days I've been feeling really down, it seems to hit me around the 22nd of December and goes right through until the day after Christmas, it's a tough couple of days where I smile and put on a brave face while inside my heart is breaking.

But they're not the only people I miss, I miss my family in South Africa and after having the joy of spending a month with them back in May, it just hurts even more, it's like an old wound was reopened. I got to embrace my brothers again and my little nieces and nephews. I would give ANYTHING to be near them today.

I know, this post is all soppy and miserable, not at all my usual blogging style is it?

One of the reasons I felt the need to post this is because on Sunday night I lay in bed watching the movie "Click", it's about Michael (Adam Sandler) who is so busy with work that he neglects his family, he doesn't have time for them. He goes to Bath Bed and Beyond and gets a Universal Remote for his home but what he doesn't know is that it actually controls his life. He can pause, he can fast forward, he can go back in time. With all the fast forwarding he does to just get through his days he ends up missing a whole year of his life with his family and in a sense looses them. He misses the death of his father which really devastates him, watching him trying desperately to deal with the fact that he wasted so much time and never told his family how much he loves them, was sad, to say the least.

I watched the movie and it hit me hard that we are so busy with stupid things nowadays that a lot of times we push aside our families, we take it for granted that they'll be there everyday. But what if they aren't? What if you wake up tomorrow and they're gone? What then?

My emotions were still raw from watching this movie and last night I again was watching tv, the Season Finale of "Little People, Big World" when Mike, their family friend suddenly dies of a heart attack. I actually I bawled, that ugly cry where your face contorts and you look absolutely horrible. I felt like a friend of mine had passed away, you get so used to seeing someone on TV, it's hard when they die. But I sat there and wondered, why am I crying? I don't know these people personally, it shouldn't affect me that much.

But it does, because it makes me think of my own family and how devastating it would be to me if they passed away.

It's so easy to get caught up in the here and now and the smallest insignificant things that we allow into our lives, that make us fight and say harsh words, that make us do stupid things and make horrible choices. The kind of things that we allow to fester, to cloud our judgement, to make us forget that the people we are fighting with are the same ones that we love unconditionally, that we spent our whole lives loving and laughing with, the same people we would do ANYTHING for.

We push all that deep inside and in it's place we allow the bad, the unimportant stuff to stay.

Something like this is happening in my family right now, my brothers aren't speaking and it absolutely breaks my heart and brings me heartache like you'll never know and there's nothing I can do about it. I can only sit by and pray and hope that they remember the love and not the hurt, that they realize that family is more important than anything else, that the same happy and loving little boys that loved each other, are STILL there, they grew up, they didn't change.

Deep down we're all still the same brothers and sisters that used to run around being naughty, that played hide and seek and hospitals and cars, that slid down stairs with sleeping bags, that played video games and board games, that skipped school, that got run over by bycicles and then chased the guy to beat him up, that built little go karts and sped down the street, that camped out at the Kruger National Park and sat up and chatted and laughed until our sides hurt.

It's all still there and I hope that soon it will all resurface, before it's too late.

I'm sorry for venting, I know this was a super long post. If you have a similar problem in the family I know you will completely understand where I'm coming from, and if you don't, consider yourself lucky and Blessed. Bottom line, love each other and enjoy each other TODAY, never let a moment go by without telling someone just how much they mean to you.

God Bless!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Spirit!

My sweet bloggy friend Susanne over at "Living to Tell the Story" tagged me for this meme/award combo. Thank you Susanne :)

5 Things I Love About Christmas

1. Christmas Tree - There is something magical about the tree when it's lit up, especially at night. I absolutely love turning all the lights off and leaving just the tree with it's pretty wrapped presents underneath and allowing it to illuminate the whole living room. It's not the first time that I've been caught laying underneath the tree, just staring up into the twinkling lights.

2. Christmas Baking - The hours spent in the kitchen on Christmas Eve are my favorite. It brings back so many wonderful memories from my childhood. After breakfast on Christmas Eve, the family members would start arriving at my dad's house and the kitchen would be buzzing with moms and grandmas cooking up amazing meals and yummy treats. The whole day was a mixture of excitement, last minute gift wrapping and the scent of delicious meals wafting throughout the house.

3. Christmas Snow - One of the things I miss the most from Idaho are the wonderful holiday snow storms, standing in the kitchen with a cup of hot coffee in my hand and looking out the window as the snow falls and Christmas music plays in the background.

4. Christmas Movies - Sitting down in front of the tv with my husband and children, cuddled in blankets and with bowls of popcorn on our laps while sipping on hot cocoa. The old movies, the new ones, anything Christmas, especially the ones on the Hallmark Channel and Lifetime. Love it.

5. Christmas Mail - Is there anything better than getting beautiful cards from friends and family? The whole month of December I literally wait in anticipation for the mailman to come, then run to the mailbox as fast as I can. I love displaying the cards near the Christmas Tree and knowing that somewhere near or far, another friend or family member is thinking of us.

I'm passing this Spirit of Christmas Award/Meme Combo to the following wonderful ladies who have made blogging such a joy to me.

Mari - My Little Corner of the World
Amy - The Joy of my Heart
Eden - The Khaje Khronicles
Sarah - Another Bend in the Road
Cheri - Just Another Day in Paradise
Roberta Anne - Little House in the Desert
Sherry - The Journey Back
Renee - 2 Peas in a Pod
Tamy - 3 Sides of Crazy
Elizabeth - Turtle Cottage

The Simple Woman's Daybook!

Hi everyone, come on in and see what's in my daybook!

If you want to join in, just go visit Peggy over at The Simple Woman, read the guidelines here and then add your name to Mr Linky. There are so many other participants sharing their day, I'm sure you'll enjoy looking through them :)

Outside my Window...
a chill in the air....landscaping people mowing lawns

I am thinking...
that I really enjoyed last night's movie and it's made me think about a LOT of things, I'll post about it later today.

From the learning rooms...
nothing this week

I am thankful for...
my husband's work issue being sorted out last week, it was stressful and scary for a few days

From the kitchen...
For breakfast oatmeal for the kids and toast and coffee for me, lunch will be Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, and dinner will be Impossibly Easy Taco Pie

I am wearing...
black sweat pants and a white tank top

I am reading...
The Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg

I am hoping...
to get a good cleaning on this house today

I am creating...
different dishes for Christmas Eve Dinner

I am hearing...
the kids playing on the computer, a Christmas movie on the TV

Around the house...
Board Games to be put away after our Family Game Weekend....breakfast dishes to be done, house to be cleaned

One of my favorite things...
Watching my children's faces on Christmas Eve

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
Tomorrow we'll be making Reindeer Food to set out on Christmas a bunch of different things for our dinner that night and then opening presents at midnight. A run to the library to return books and nothing else.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

Christmas Moonlight

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