Thursday, July 30, 2009

Slow Cooking Thursday


Don't forget to add your name to Mr Linky and a link back to your SCT post so others can come by and see your recipe too.

Here's what I have planned for next week, the recipe comes from Dinners for a Year and Beyond. I can't wait to try it.

The Great Goulash with Potato Dumplings

The potato dumplings are a delicious addition to this tasty goulash. If you are pressed for time, serve goulash on top of wide noodles or mashed potatoes.

adapted from a recipe in The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes

serves 5
for the goulash,
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 pounds stew meat, cut in large chunks
2 cups onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon oregano, dried
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 cups beef stock
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup sour cream

for the potato dumplings,
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubes
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh parsley, chopped for garnish

In a large saute pan over medium high heat add the olive oil and brown the stew meat in batches. Transfer to slow cooker.

In the same pan, reduce the heat to medium and add onions and garlic and saute for 3 - 4 minutes. Add paprika, oregano, pepper, and flour and cook for an additional minute. Add tomato paste and stir well. The mixture will be thick. Add beef broth and lemon juice and cook, stirring, for a minute or two.

Transfer mixture to slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or on HIGH for 4 - 5 hours. The beef will be very tender and shred easily.

About 45 minutes before dinner time, make the potato dumplings. Cook potato chunks in a large pot of water until tender. Drain and mash until smooth. Add bread crumbs, egg, and salt and mix well. Form into 2 inch balls. Set aside.

Stir sour cream into goulash. Top with potato dumplings, spooning some of the sauce over them. Cover and cook on HIGH for about 15 minutes.

To serve, spoon goulash and dumplings into shallow bowls and sprinkle with parsley.

I'm trying out the new McLinky, we'll see how it goes today if anyone has any problems or it doesn't work right, then I'll switch back to Mr Linky.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blue like Play Dough Review & Giveaway

About the book: In the everyday stretch and squeeze of motherhood, Tricia Goyer often feels smooshed by the demands of life. In Blue Like Play Dough, she shares her unlikely journey from rebellious, pregnant teen to busy wife and mom with big dreams of her own. As her story unfolds, Tricia realizes that God has more in store for her than she has ever imagined possible.


Tricia Goyer delivers an outstanding book that quite honestly I think every woman should have. It spoke to my heart, it made me smile and nod and laugh and feel like if there ever was a book that should have been written by me or about me, this would be it.

You can read an excerpt here.

Right in the first few pages Tricia Goyer said something that made me go "Wow!".

That made me stop and think, wait a minute she's onto something here and it peeked my curiosity.

"Even though seeking God is worthy, that doesn't mean it's easy or natural. In fact, it almost seems wrong to squeeze God into the middle of a busy, ordinary life. God is BIG. My pursuits are small. God is GLORIOUS. Scrubbing sinks and changing poopy diapers is not. Nor is pushing a shopping cart filled with teetering toiletries, humming "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" as the song plays through the store speakers.

It doesn't matter to Him that I can hardly see my desk under the piles of mail and bills and kid's craft projects. He doesn't care that I'm twenty pounds overweight (or maybe thirty, no matter what my driver's licence says). He loves me just as I am."

One thing I quickly learned with this amazing book is that I have this weird expectation of what my relationship with God should be, like it's supposed to be this perfect glittery and shiny example.


He wants a relationship with me, He wants me just as I am, belonging to Him is enough. What a realization, it certainly put a lot of things into perspective for me.

I've found myself changing my attitude completely since I first opened the book, starting with the fact that when I first picked it up my thought was "I have laundry that has to be done, I should clean up a bit before I sit down to read".

Again, it was my sense of having to be something that I'm not.

Tricia Goyer says something else in the first few pages that knocked the wind right out of me and made me nod empathically.

"It was not as if God says "I was going to visit you today, but I think I'll wait until you balance that checkbook, clean out your fridge, and start that Bible study you've been meaning to get around to."

Now tell me honestly how many of you giggled with that little quote? How many of you, just like me, have this crazy notion that we need to be all sparkly and clean and almost perfect before we approach God? I'm raising my hand here, I'm not ashamed to admit it.

This book has changed me and it's not often that I say that and it's not just because I'm doing a review. It's because it's the truth. Plain and Simple.

I know I suggest a lot of books in my blog, but if you can only take one of those suggestions today, I hope it's this one. This book will change your life, it will change the way you see yourself and the best part? It will strengthen your relationship with God!

You can purchase the book at Random House, or click right here.

But guess what? One of you is going to win a copy of this amazing book.

That's right and all you need to do is leave me a comment, include an email to contact you if you don't have a blog and just let me know if you think this is a book you would enjoy and why.

I'm going to open this giveaway to everyone and when I say that, I mean EVERYONE, not just US and Canada. Why? Because I feel this strongly about the book!

Good Luck, the contest will run until next week Wednesday August 5th, 2009!

And be sure to tell all your friends about it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

One of my favorite times of day........


That is my kitchen window and it's bathed in sunlight, beautiful orange and pinkish light from the setting sun.

Every evening around 7pm, I get to walk into the kitchen and just smile. Usually around this time, the dinner is long finished, the dishes are done, the kitchen is clean and the candles are burning. It's by far one of my favorite times of the day.

Let me show you yesterday's sunset, I think it's the one thing about Arizona that I'll miss when we move, whenever that is *snicker*


I love the sun hitting the walls outside.


There's just something about the Arizona sunsets!

But apart from the sunsets, this time of the day is when everything starts slowing down, the noise outside begins diminishing, the kids are sitting back and relaxing and winding down getting ready for bed.

So this is pretty much what you'll see laying around the house.........


He's 6 years old but he still has the baby toes which I adore, I can't resist baby toes all cute and chubby.



My beautiful girl, she's growing so fast and entering into a new phase of her life, the one that includes training bras and such *snicker*

I can't believe it, I just want to grab her and keep her little but alas I can't so I have to just watch and prepare myself for this chapter in her life.


These two little ones bring so much joy to my life and I keep thinking that I haven't really been taking photos of them as much as before, I may just have to remedy that because I know the family back home wants to see them more.

Do you have a favorite time of the day too?

Well dinner time awaits, I best get on out of here and start on that pizza dough. Oh and if you're in the mood for some great quick and easy butter cookies, be sure to check out my food blog "Full Bellies, Happy Kids".

Monday, July 27, 2009

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - July 27 }


The weather in my neck of the woods:
Still very hot and dry, we got some nice rain last week so I'm hoping for some more soon.

One of my simple pleasures:
Taking virtual tours, since we can't just pack up and get on a plane, there's nothing like sitting on the computer and taking the trip virtually, just like we did yesterday when we visited quite a few places in England.

On my bedside table:
Little Heathens - I'm really enjoying this one, it's the life of a family on an Iowa farm during the Great Depression

On my TV:
Love Finds a Home
Little House on the Prairie Season 2

On the menu for tonight:
Good ol' comfort food, Shepherd's Pie, veggies, homemade bread.

On my To Do List:
Iron and put away two loads of laundry
Clean the bathrooms
Change bed linens

New Recipe I tried last week:
Green Chili Stew. YUM.MY!

In the craft basket:
Loads of yarn but no project in sight. I want to find something to make, just gotta find a few minutes to go through some patterns and determine what I'll make.

Looking forward to:
Shopping this coming weekend. School starts in just two weeks so it's out for clothes and school supplies, a stop at Golden Corral and Sunday we're heading to the Pioneer Living Musem.

Homemaking Tip for this week:
I always make extra batches of pancakes or waffles, whatever is not eaten on the weekend, I put in ziploc bags or tupperware boxes and save for breakfast during the week. Just pop them in the toaster or microwave for a few seconds.

Favorite Blog Post of the week (mine or other):
Farm Chick Paula's *Summertime* post, it just made me smile.

Favorite photo from last week:

My homemade maple syrup. You have to try it for yourself, it's pretty darn good if I do say so myself.


Lesson learned the past few days:
It's not a new lesson but it's one I'm reminded of daily. Time flies, not just when you're having fun, but all the time, it just flies. There are not enough hours in the day to spend with my children, I keep looking at the calendar and seeing their school start date quickly approaching and I want to run outside and scream out "NOoooooooo, not yet, I'm not ready".

On my Prayer List:
**My brother Bruno, he is just getting over Pneumonia
**My grandmother Odete, she's still slowly getting back to normal after her stay in the hospital
**My grandmother Jacinta, she has osteoporosis and her poor spine is curved. It seems that she pulled something or did something to her ribs and has been in a lot of pain lately.

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:

The Greatness of small deeds

Seldom do we realize the importance of small deeds, or to what degree of greatness unnoticed kindness leads. - Helen Steiner

He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
Job 6:14

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pack your bags.......

I'm taking you on a trip, well, a virtual trip but nonetheless you still need to pack some things, like a drink and some snacks and maybe a notebook and a pencil to jot down some of these amazing places.

Who knows, maybe one day you'll get to go there in person. I certainly hope so, all I can do is dream right now.

So where are we going you may ask?

We're taking a little trip across the ocean. If you show you an aerial view, will that give you a clue?

Avebury circle and village from the air.

Oh yes, I am sure most of you who know me already guessed that we were heading to England. I'm nothing if predictable right? *snicker*

Anyway, I hope you're ready for a full day of travelling, we'll just go from village to village, town to town and explore along the way. I'm excited are you?

We're going to start heading east from Bristol, I don't know about you but I would rather see the small villages along the way than stay in a big city like Bristol.

Our trip takes us past Mangostfield which is a village in South Gloucestershire, England.

Mangotsfield Station
Mangotsfield - Flickr Image


Our first stop is at Littleton Drew, a village of 44 properties and 120 villagers. It dates from before the Norman Conquest, being known at that time simply as "Litle Tun" (little farm). From the 13th Century it became known as Littleton Dru, Walter Driwe Dreu having held the manor from about 1220.

Aren't those beautiful? I absolutely love old churches and graveyards, though many find that a bit weird of me, but what can I say?

Let's keep going we have plenty more to see. Coming up on our right is West Sevington.

Ahhhh here we are. I think we'll hang around here for a bit.

A quiet bridleway

This is the Manor House in Stanton St. Quintin

Manor House, Stanton St Quintin, Wiltshire

Main gate to Stourhead House - The Stourton family had lived in the Stourhead estate for 700 years when they sold it to Henry Hoare I, son of wealthy banker Sir Richard Hoare in 1717. The original manor house was demolished and a new house, one of the first of its kind, was designed by Colen Campbell and built by Nathaniel Ireson between 1720 and 1724.

Main gate to Stourhead House

I think I would be happy living around this area, it's just stunning.

"Where Sheep May Safely Graze"

As much as I enjoyed this little stop we really should get going, hop in, we're heading to Dauntsey.

Here is the Old Rectory

Another beautiful church

Did I tell you where exactly we're going? I didn't? Well, I'm taking you to Pendle Hill.

It will take us another 3 hours to get there since it's further up north, but with such beautiful scenery all around I think we'll have an enjoyable trip.


Pendle Hill

Pendle Hill is located in the north-east of Lancashire, England, near the towns of Burnley, Nelson, Colne, Clitheroe and Padiham. Its summit is 557 metres (1,827 ft) above mean sea level. It gives its name to the Borough of Pendle. It is an isolated hill, separated from the Pennines to the east and the Forest of Bowland to the northwest.

Pendle Hill  1

There is something magical about this place, I can't quite put into words just how stunning and surreal it looks.

sunset after the rain 1

Divided Wall 1

The story of the Pendle witch trials is the best known example of alleged witchcraft in English history. The hill continues to be associated with witchcraft and large numbers of visitors climb it every Hallowe'en.

Local magistrates, conducted ruthless witch-hunts in 1612 in the hope that they would find favour with King James who lived in fear of Catholic rebellion having survived the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. One of these hunts resulted in the arresting of Alizon Device in Pendle, Lancashire.

The crime she was accused of was setting a curse on a pedlar and paralysing him. She confessed, and incriminated two other women, named Demdike and Chattox.

The pendle circle

Pendle Hill and the stones

Moon over rimmington lane

I really could stay here forever couldn't you?

However, I think we've been travelling for quite a while and it's best to head on to the The Pendle Inn for the night. We can always explore more next weekend right?

Yes I think these accomodations will do just fine.

Well I'm off to get some rest, I hope you enjoyed this little trip with me, I'll keep going next Sunday and if you wish, I would love to have you along again :)

All Images from Flickr

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday Movies!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Saturday afternoons have become my movie watching days, mostly because daddy is home from work and the kids cling to him. It's fine by me, I don't mind this forced reprieve.

I've been thoroughly enjoying the Little House on The Prairie Season 2 discs but today I'm taking a break to jump into something just as equally wonderful.

The Love Comes Softly Series by Janette Oke. Who's watched most of these? Or at least the first one? Come on, put your hands up I know you have.

I just watched Love Comes Softly, the first one in the series, a few weeks ago and then I watched Love Takes Wing which, well, was kinda of stupid of me to do, I like keeping to the series not bouncing and jumping all over the place but it happened and it doesn't matter, I will just go back and watch everything else and then act all surprised when I happen upon Love Takes Wings again * snicker*

Love Takes Wing
Love's Enduring Promise
Love's Long Journey
Love's Abiding Joy
Love's Unending Legacy
Love's Unfolding Dream
Love Takes Wing
Love Finds a Home

Another reason for this movie watching marathon is that I woke up with a really sore throat and it's those nagging pains that just won't go away, plus, I got hardly any sleep at all because the neighbor across the street has a habit of throwing parties every weekend, brings all his friends over, then they get drunk and start yelling and playing music in their cars RIGHT.OUTSIDE.MY.BEDROOM.WINDOW.

Have I ever told you how frustrating living on a military base can be at times? It just boggles my mind that some people seem to have absolutely no respect for others around, it's 3am, you would think they would have the decency to realize that there are people around them with young children, trying to sleep. But, that's a whole other post LOL

I've done the housework, I've got the chicken roasting in the oven with the potatoes and I have a cup of hot tea with honey, I think I'm set right?

Oh and remember that new crochet project I mentioned yesterday? Well, scratch that, I started it and then realized that I wasn't happy with it at all and the instructions were not very clear either which resulted in row after row of pulling apart, restarting, pulling apart and culminating in me just throwing the yarn into the yarn bag and saying "forget it".

Well I'm off, hope your Saturday is as quiet and relaxed as mine has been.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Come with me into the kitchen.....


I've been cooped in my little kitchen all day, I've been in one of those "feel like cooking up a storm" moods and besides there's no place in the house I enjoyed being in more.

It's actually pretty funny if I count the actual hours spent inside my kitchen LOL

So come on in and sit with me, let me tell you what I've been up to today, me in my cute little apron and nothing but pots and pans and cups of coffee.

Speaking of aprons, before I even begin, are you an apron wearing homemaker or do you forego the apron at all? Because if love them as much as I do, boy do I have the place for you to go and check out, it's called madetogether and it's on Etsy and OH.MY.GOODNESS, I'm in love.

How adorable is this apron?

And this one?

Yeah, I love all of these, again if you're looking for a super cute apron check out the ladies at madetogether.

Now back to the cooking.

I know a lot of you don't do any baking during the summer because it's too hot, I guess I'm the odd one out because I don't care if it's 10 or 100 degrees, if I want to cook something I'll do it either way LOL


So first thing I did was get the ingredients going in the crockpot for the Green Chili Stew recipe I shared on Thursday, it smelled heavenly and it tasted divine. I did cheat a bit because I threw in some potatoes o' brien *snicker*

While that cooked away, I baked some Amish White Bread, two loves of this delicious, simple and quick bread.

You know something? My loaves never turn out perfect, I am definitely not a baker but what they lack in prettiness they more than make up in taste. YUM!

As soon as the first loaf was out of the oven I slathered on some homemade butter which I had just finished making. I know, I know, I pretty much made everything today didn't I? LOL


And then I was left with the buttermilk, which means tomorrow morning we'll have those amazing fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes.


Which got me thinking that I needed to make some yummy homemade maple syrup, so that's what I did too. I all my bottles from when we went to the farm nearby and bought a bunch of flavored syrups. They really do come in handy now.

We actually prefer this syrup to the store bought and it's so quick and easy to make, you have all the ingredients in the pantry and what's better than putting a platter of hot off the griddle pancakes on the table and pouring on some syrup made by you?

Oh and I didn't make these today, I made them a few days ago but if you haven't been over to the Food Blog in a few, you have GOT to go check this recipe out. It was one of those days when I threw a bunch of things together and came up with what is now one of my family's favorite meals and a bunch of readers too, I don't think any of my other recipes have made their way around the net as fast as this one LOL


Seriously drool worthy, I don't know if I can go another week without making it again, good grief, it's THAT good if I do say so myself.

Anyway, I'm going to wash all the dishes and light some candles, make myself a cup of hot tea and then I'm starting on a new crochet bag, I'll show you all tomorrow :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Slow Cooking Thursday!


Don't forget to add your name to Mr Linky and a link back to your SCT post so others can come by and see your recipe too.

Here's what's in my slow cooker today, it smells divine.
Credit: Taste of Home

Green Chili Stew


  • 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, optional


In a large skillet, brown beef and onions in oil; drain. Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker.
Combine the beans, tomatoes, chilies, water, bouillon, garlic, sugar, salt if desired and pepper; pour over beef. cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until beef is tender. Sprinkle with cheese if desired. Yield: 8 servings.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I love Little House on the Prairie!

No, I'm serious, I really do love the Little House on the Prairie series and if anyone out there likes it as much, raise your hand.

I've recently started rewatching the series through Netflix, I mean yeah I've seen it before back when I was a young girl but so much of it I've forgotten about and I also think as I grew up tastes changed, shows changed, it was no longer *cool* to be one of the kids watching pioneers running around and baking bread from scratch.

I'll admit that for a while I didn't really think about it at all and then I got married and had kids and the past few years I've gotten a whole new respect for the show and what it portrays.

But anyway, I don't think I need to tell you anymore, I'm sure we're all aware of Laura Ingalls and Ma and Pa and all the adventures in the tv series.

I think what I love the most is that with each episode I'm watching, and mind you I'm only on the second disc of Season 2, there is always something to smile about, always a lesson to be learned and I find myself jotting down little notes as I watch. Nevermind that my kids think I'm completely insane for doing this *snicker*

Like the episode where Charles looses his job and the family pulls together to make ends meet and to pay the bill at the Olson's.

I sat there watching and thinking about how many times we've run out of this or that at home and my first reaction was to complain and whine and go on about "what am I going to do? We're out of tea.".....or "we're out of sugar, this is bad".

Now I have to laugh because as frustrating as it is to run out of something, it all comes down to the way you deal with it.

The Ingalls sat at the kitchen table about to eat some berries and Pa asked for sugar to which Ma told him that they were out, they were also out of coffee and tea and tabacco but instead of crying about it, they laughed, they sat at the table eating their berries with a smile on their faces and determined to not let it get to them.

It's that sense of family that I think should be shown on TV more. Look I admit I like all sorts of shows, all different genres and I can watch a comedy movie followed by a drama and then a horror. I just think that lately we're missing the good wholesome shows, I'm sure plenty out there may disagree with me, but personally I would rather my kids watch shows like Little House on the Prairie than some of the other stuff available on the channels.

But enough about that, here's some fun stuff for you, in case you know, you ever wondered what to do in Walnut Grove.
About Walnut Grove:

Walnut Grove was founded in 1840 by Lars Hanson. It was going to be called Hansonville, but he changed his mind because it was made by the whole town, not one person. Lars Hanson, Lem McCary, Jess Moffet, George Madox, Les Sutherland and his wife Maddy, all built the town. The town was named by Jess Moffet after the group of walnut trees on the hill. The name was briefly changed to Olesonville. The population of Walnut Grove is 127 people. It is nearby to Mankato, Sleepy Eye, Springfield, and Rochester.
Where to Stay:

Your best choice is to stay with the friends or relatives you are visiting here in Walnut Grove. But there are accomodations available at the Mae Flannery or the Wilder Boarding House. Nellie's Restaurant and Inn may also be open at the time of your visit.

Where to Eat:

Walnut Grove offers a variety of eateries for your dining pleasure. Check the date of your visit, as new restaurants are opening, and others are closing.

Nellie's Restaurant & Inn
Mrs. Sullivan's Kitchen
Oleson's Restaurant
Caroline's Restaurant
Where to Shop:

The Oleson's Mercantile has a wide variety of goods, including fabric, stoves, dry goods. Come by for a look!

Visit Ebenezer Sprague or Bill Anderson at Walnut Grove's Bank for all your banking needs.

Legal Services:

Adam Kendall is Walnut Grove's lawyer.

Religious Services:

Church is held in the white building at the end of Main Street, which also doubles as the schoolhouse. Services are held every Sunday morning, by Revered Robert Alden.

If your visit is permanent, we suggest enrolling your children in Walnut Grove's one-room school house, with their wonderful teachers.

Miss Eva Beadle; Mrs. Eva Simms
Mrs. Caroline Ingalls
Mrs. Harriet Oleson
Mr. Hannibal Applewood
Mrs. Alice Garvey
Miss Laura Ingalls; Mrs. Laura Wilder
Miss Eliza Jane Wilder
Miss Elliot
Miss Etta Plum
The subjects studied include history, spelling, grammar, math, french, art appreciation, reading, crafts, current events, government, and geography.


Just reading the above makes me smile. I hope it does the same for you.

I'm off to finish dinner, I'm making Chicken Soup as I have a kid with a runny tummy for the past 4 days, doesn't help that behind my back she's been eating chocolate and drinking orange juice, I mean really? LOL

We gotta keep our eyes on these kids every second of the day.

Have a wonderful night everyone and come back tomorrow for Slow Cooking Thursday, I'll be sharing my Green Chili Stew. Yum!