Friday, July 29, 2011

Sometimes you just gotta unplug

 Artwork by Anna Rose

There's no use in denying that we live in a time and place where technology is all around us and in it's eagerness to make things simple, I feel that it's actually doing the opposite for me.  It's removing the simple things that make a home and a family.

I am sure you are wondering where I disappeared to and the answer is simple, I didn't, I'm here, just decided to unplug from this internet and recharge with what matters.

I have never wanted to let myself  become so attached to the internet and the online world that I would start to lose who I was, start to neglect the world around me, or my house and while that didn't happen, I can tell you that it came very close.  Why?  Because I was more worried about if I had a post on blogger or what was happening on facebook.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, I'm human, I mess up and just like everyone else I do tend to lose myself in certain things, but I think the difference is in knowing when that is happening and being able to see it for what it is.

So I unplugged, I removed myself from all of that and I have really enjoyed doing it.


I won't begin to attempt to even remotely say that internet, online, facebook etc is bad for everyone, that would just be naive on my part, but I can speak for myself and I have realized that so much time is spent on those sites that it tends to start chipping away at the real life, at the things that matter.........and I won't even try to say how much I loathe the whole feel of being back in high school, with the drama, with the cliques, with people thinking that everything I say on there is somehow directed at them because you know, I don't have my own life to worry about.


Do I think I will leave it all for good, no, that would be silly of me, but for now, yes, I'm stepping away, I will come in and post the usual Happy Homemaker Monday and Cooking Thursday and there are a few book reviews that will have to get posted too.  But, I've also decided that when I do get back to blogging full time that I may just change the feel of this blog.

I got lost along the way.  I admit it.  My blog used to be about ME and my family, what we were doing and that seems to have disappeared and been replaced with reviews, giveaways, posts that don't really say anything about me or my life, just random generalized stuff that I don't think portrays who I really am.

I am a wife, I am a mother, I am a homeschooling mom and most of all I am a woman who adores her family, adores taking care of the house, cooking and cleaning.

I am NOT a socialite, I'm NOT interested in being on facebook and competing with people over who gets the most comments or who has the most interesting status, I'm not interested in using facebook to push my beliefs on anyone or get lost in the drama.  It's now who I am and I'm making a conscious decision to leave that behind, to move forward and to once again assert myself into my blog who really is a mirror of my personality.....or at least it WAS in the past.

I've had a lot of time to think, to put things into perspective and to recognize what I was doing wrong and now I'm on the path to fixing it, to make it better for ME.

I hope you will all still be around and will follow me through this crazy time, I'm not going away, I'm not leaving the blog for good, heck I'm not even saying I'm taking an Hiatus.  I'm saying that I am needing some time to think to figure out all the puzzle pieces and where they fit and then I'll be back on here.

As for Facebook, I might go on and play Frontierville for a little but that is about the extent of it. 

So now you know what I've been doing, what I'm thinking and where I'm headed, not that I felt I need to give anyone an explanation but I've grown to know a lot of you well and consider you friends :)

Without saying goodbye, I'll say be back very soon ;)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cooking Thursday

I know that I haven't been around but I'll have a post up later explaining why :)

Beef and Beer Sliders

Beef and Beer Sliders

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup beer
salt and pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons mustard

Mix the ketchup, mayo and mustard well and set aside.

In a bowl, mix the beef and the rest of the ingredients, divide into 12 parts, shape into small patties and grill or fry in a skillet.

Beef and Beer Sliders

I fry them for about 5 minutes, then flip them over and fry for another 4 or so minutes, add a little slice of cheese and cover with a lid for about 30 seconds or until cheese is melted.

Split the dinner rolls in half, on the bottom bun put a slice of lettuce, a slice of tomato and then top with the burger, add a teaspoon or however much you want of the sauce and top with the top half of the bun.

Beef and Beer Sliders


I served these with some chili fries

Beef and Beer Sliders

Monday, July 25, 2011

Happy Homemaker Monday

(New HHM button)

The weather in my neck of the woods:
Had a nice storm last night, today it's cloudy again and 79 degrees right now, feels wonderful :)

Things that make me happy:

Book I'm reading:
Sarah's Quilt by Nancy E Turner

What's on my TV today:
Not sure, whatever is on the DVR I guess

On the menu for dinner:
Fettucine Alfredo

On my To Do List:

Iron clothes, put away
Clean bathrooms
Vacuum bedrooms

New Recipe I tried or want to try soon:
Malasadas, Portuguese snack that I haven't had in a really long time.


In the craft basket:
Same as before, haven't been crocheting at all so have a few things in there needing my attention

Looking forward to this week:
Hubby back on a normal shift so it will be nice to have him home for dinner :)  Getting the kids Homeschooling material sorted out and ready for school.

Tips and Tricks:
Got nothing this week, sorry

My favorite blog post this week:
Didn't get any blog reading done last week.

Blog Hopping (a new discovered blog you would like to share with the readers):
^^^^^^^^ read above

No words needed (favorite photo or picture, yours or others you want to share):

Lesson learned the past few days:

That life is short and that you have to make the effort to stay in touch with those you love.  Having all my family in South Africa is so hard, I want to just pick up the phone and call them constantly but unfortunately I can't, so we're all making a conscious decision to try REALLY hard to stay in touch, through Skype or whatever else we have available.  I love being able to talk to everyone but especially my grandma, I miss her so much :)

On my mind:

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:
Do everything in love.
1 Corinthians 16:14

Thursday, July 21, 2011

{ Cooking Thursday }

I apologize for there not being any Cooking Thursday lasts week but we were away on vacation, and usually I will leave the post up but between the traveling from one place to the other I honestly forgot about it.  Will you forgive me???

Now here is today's recipe, one that your kids and adults, will love.

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread


  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 lbs pizza dough (I used refrigerated biscuits)
  • 6 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes (I used  mozzarella sticks)
  • 48 slices of Turkey pepperoni (from 1 package)
  • 2-3 cups marinara sauce, warmed, for serving


  1. Heat garlic and butter over medium heat just until the garlic begins to brown. Remove from heat and let sit.
  2. Lightly brush the inside of a bundt pan (or other oven-safe dish) with garlic butter.
  3. Pull off large marble-sized balls of dough and flatten (a kitchen scale makes this very easy). Top with a slice of pepperoni and a cube of mozzarella.
  1. Wrap the dough around the pepperoni and cheese, pinching well to seal.
  2. Very lightly brush the pizza ball with garlic butter and place into the bundt pan (I dabbed the pizza balls on a butter-dipped silicon brush to keep butter use low - there will be 1+ Tbsp leftover - and my hands butter free. Buttery hands make it hard to get the pizza balls to seal).
  3. Repeat until all of the dough is used.
  4. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes, while preheating the oven to 400.
  5. Bake for ~35 minutes, until the top is very brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes.
  7. Turn out onto a platter and serve with warmed marinara sauce for dipping.


Yields: 48 pieces

Monday, July 18, 2011

Almost back to school time

School begins August 8th, so in less than a month.

On Friday afternoon I received the curriculum and materials for Nicholas who is going to be in 3rd Grade.

I don't know about other homeschooling mama's but I actually get really excited when I see all the stuff and I want to jump right in and start right away, matter of fact Nicholas wanted to go ahead and start already, but I told him no, we still have about 2 weeks of summer and we're going to finish enjoying it.

Tomorrow Jasmine's materials arrive, she's going to be in 7th grade.  Goodness how time flies, I feel like she just started Kindergarten the other day.

So along with the set curriculum, I'm also going to be doing a Bible Study with the kids and adding a few more materials here and there, and I thought I would share some links with you all in case you don't have them yet and could find them useful.  If you have any other websites that I don't mention in this post, please feel free to leave them in the comments, I would love to know what else you are using.


Nicholas:::::::::: 3rd Grade

Art 3
This course focuses on arts and crafts inspired by the four seasons. The student will examine and create artwork based on seasonal characteristics or common cultural trends. The student will be exposed to art history, art criticism, and art production activities with a multicultural focus.   Educational Technology and Online LearningSkills covered in this course include: keyboarding, creating and editing a word processing document, adding graphics to a document, using the Internet to research various curriculum areas, sending and receiving e-mail messages, using a database, creating a multimedia project, and creating, saving, and printing a document.  Language Arts 3AThe student will read daily, practicing comprehension and fluency skills as she reads. Skills and strategies for reading comprehension and vocabulary development are introduced in the context of brief reading selections presented in Scott Foresman’s Reading Street. The student then has the opportunity to practice these skills while reading longer selections in a variety of fiction and nonfiction genres.
Language Arts 3BThe student will learn to structure and write complete sentences and then create paragraphs and longer compositions. After learning the five stages of the writing process—prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing—the student will master this process through weekly writing assignments. The student will also write for different purposes and use a variety of writing forms, including letters, narrative and expository compositions, research reports, poems, and summaries.   Math 3AIn Math 3 A, the student will learn mathematical concepts that are organized according to the following categories: number and operations, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. Within each category, concepts are developed through the mathematical processes of problem-solving, reasoning, communication, connections, and representations.  Math 3BIn Math 3 B, the student will continue to expand upon his understanding of mathematical concepts, which are organized according to the following categories: number and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, data analysis, and probability. Within each category, concepts are developed through the mathematical processes of problem-solving, reasoning, communication, connections, and representations.  Physical Education 3 Each week the student will learn one or more new activities. In addition, the student will learn the importance of nutrition as it relates to health and physical fitness. The student will learn life skills throughout the curriculum.  Science 3AIn this course, the student will design an experiment to discover what plants need to survive, make a model of a cave, and delve into many more exciting experiments. The lessons in this course are designed to accommodate a variety of learning styles and to provide a variety of opportunities for the entire family to participate in the student’s education.   Science 3B Throughout this course the student will continue to perform hands-on activities to explore organisms, investigate changes, and examine the solar system.   In this course, the student will create a model to investigate how simple machines work, investigate why the moon's shape appears to change during the month, and delve into many more exciting experiments.   Skills for Success Skills for Success is a web-based learning program that provides skill building and practice to acquire their state’s learning standards.  Social Studies 3A  This Social Studies course focuses on the theme of community through the study of geography, history, government, and economics. The course text is Scott Foresman’s Communities. In this course, the student will explore a variety of communities, past and present, from around the world.  Social Studies 3BShort stories, biographies, poetry, case studies, songs, and other resources emphasize the role of the individual in the community, as well as the influence of geography on communities.   What I'm adding to the curriculum is the following:  -----  We'll be using Children's Bible Studies throughout the year, Old Testament and New Testament, each lesson includes a coloring picture, memory verse, true or false, fill in the blank, word search and crossword and much more.  -----  Whit's End which concentrates on character building stories.  Audio stories which I think the kids will really enjoy listening to.  -----   National Geographic Expeditions....geography lesson plans for K-12.  Really awesome tools to use with the kids and all lessons are printable.  -----  Homemaking, Crafts, studies on wildflowers, birds etc.  Plan on getting a few of these, they are pretty cheap.     -----   Now this is a great one, PBS American Experience Teacher Resources.  You can browse the history topics, for example Colonial and early American Life.    Are you homeschooling your children too?  Do you have any great websites to share with me and the rest of our homeschooling families?
Would love to hear what you are doing this year, whether using an online homeschool, or getting the curriculum yourself.

HALO Comfortluxe Review

HALO® ComfortLuxe™ helps little ones with sensitive skin stay comfortable.  This innovative fabric outperforms cotton by wicking away moisture and regulating your little one’s temperature. It’s breathable, it dries twice as fast as cotton and most of all it is comfortable. In fact, ComfortLuxe™ Sleepwear is the only sleepwear to be awarded the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association. With ComfortLuxe, little ones stay cooler when it’s warm and warmer when it’s cool, for healthier skin and ore comfortable sleep.
ComfortLuxe Sleepwear is available for newborns to children size 4T in the following styles: ComfortLuxe™ Base Layer, coverall and two piece set.  The two piece set is available in two lightweight fabric styles: Silky (smooth texture) and flannelfeel (soft and fuzzy texture).

Product Features

• It’s lightweight and breathable.
ComfortLuxe is a smart fabric, lightweight and knit to allow fresh air to circulate to keep the skin cool, dry and comfortable, regardless of the time of year.
• It wicks moisture.
ComfortLuxe has unique properties to release moisture from your little one’s skin in exchange for fresh air helping to maintain a stable body temperature which helps prevent the onset of triggers (usually heat and perspiration) which cause the itch/scratch cycle to begin among many children who suffer from atopic dermatitis, a common form of eczema.  ComfortLuxe fabric helps to manage this trigger and help control discomfort and minimize eczema flares to protect baby’s delicate skin.

• Dries twice as fast as cotton.
ComfortLuxe outperforms cotton, the current standard for children’s wear by releasing moisture to dry twice as fast as cotton.

• Thoughtful details to prevent irritation.
Designed for little with sensitive skin, ComfortLuxe Sleepwear is constructed thoughtfully to help prevent the onset of the “itch‐scratch” cycle when skin is irritated.  These details include: rollover cuffs on the coverall and Base Layer to prevent scratching and flat interior seams to reduce abrasion.
• Recommended for sensitive skin.
With its unique moisture wicking properties ComfortLuxe is the only sleepwear to be awarded the Seal of Acceptance by the National Eczema Association.  Check out Halo ComfortLuxe for more information.

• 100% Chemical‐free.
ComfortLuxe is chemical free so its unique benefits will never “washout” in the wash.

You can purchase HALO ComfortLuxe Sleepwear on their website for $21.95 for the two-piece set!

I was recently given the opportunity to review this amazing product and being that I don't have any little ones, I sent it along to a friend of mine, in the meantime I talked to another friend who was trying it for the first time and asked for her opinion.

She quickly told me that the first thing that caught her attention was the fact that it's great for sensitive skin.  Having a 3 year old that usually suffers with skin irritations and having to be extremely careful with laundry products that tend to worsen her condition, she was really excited to find sleepwear that is wonderful for the little one's skin.

She loves the fabric, says that it's very comfortable and that her daughter considers these one of her favorite pj's.  

I only wish I had toddlers, I remember when my children were little it wasn't always easy to find the perfect fitting, comfortable pajamas for them.  

Thank you to HALO Sleepwear for providing me with a set to review. 

Happy Homemaker Monday

Had an amazing week and now it's back to reality.  :)

(New HHM button)

The weather in my neck of the woods:
90 degrees right now and a 20 % chance of rain.  Oh if only it would rain.  Highest is supposed to be 108 today, perfect weather for staying inside.

Things that make me happy:
Being with my family, road trips and just talking

Book I'm reading:
Sarah's Quilt by Nancy E Turner

What's on my TV today:
Catching up on my DVR shows from last week

On the menu for dinner:
Chicken wings in a tomato sauce, mashed potatoes and corn.

On my To Do List:

Two more loads of laundry
Mopping the floors
Bathroom cleaning

New Recipe I tried or want to try soon:
While in Tombstone I picked up a cookbook of cowboy food and inside I found a recipe for Old West Ranch Style Barbecue Sauce.  I made it yesterday and used it with the ribs for dinner.  SO good.

Old West Ranch Style Barbecue Sauce

In the craft basket:
Blankies, pillows and all sorts of projects that I need to finish.

Looking forward to this week:
Getting Jasmine's school materials and curriculum and getting things set up for school

Tips and Tricks:
Having a little one that gets car sick, I always have to be careful when we're on the road somewhere.  I make sure that he is not allowed any kind of milk, cheese or any dairy because that just seems to make him really sick.  I keep sprite with me and some crackers handy, I also pack plastic bags for when/if he gets sick and an extra change of clothes, plus wipes.  I think the thing that works the best though is once we're out on open road, I let him lay down in the back seat, he still keeps his seat belt on but laying down definitely helps settle his tummy.

My favorite blog post this week:
Didn't get any blog reading done last week.

Blog Hopping (a new discovered blog you would like to share with the readers):
^^^^^^^^ read above

No words needed (favorite photo or picture, yours or others you want to share):

Lesson learned the past few days:

That you don't need to travel thousands of miles or pay a lot of money to stay in fancy hotels, when you can have an amazing vacation close to home.  All you have to do is research the area, talk to the locals and go out and have fun.

On my mind:
Beginning of school
Posts I need to make on the blog, so many things running through my mind and not enough time for everything

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me -- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:9

Saturday, July 16, 2011

All good things must come to an end...........

but boy do I wish they didn't.

We had a wonderful week, time spent together, traveling close to home but far enough where we can completely unwind and relax and recharge.  I don't know why we don't do this more often, we definitely need to.

The beginning of the week we started by going North to Prescott for 2 days and then ended the week with a pit stop at home on Wednesday and then on to Tombstone on Thursday and Friday.

I really enjoyed Prescott, matter of fact we all did but NOTHING could have prepared us for how much we would enjoy Tombstone, not only enjoy but we all fell in love with the "Town too tough to die".

It's like stepping back in time, immersing yourself into the 1880's and learning all about the history of this amazing place, walking the same wooden sidewalks that infamous people like Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp and so many others walked.

Let me show you a little of what we did, I wish I could post all the pictures but that would be ridiculous since I took over 400.  Hahah, yeah, over 400 pictures and I could have taken so many more, matter of fact we plan on going back because we didn't get to see and do everything we wanted to.

Our Thursday started early, we set off at 10am and headed south towards Tombstone which is 3 and a half hours away.

Arriving in Tombstone..........

Entering Tombstone

Our first sight was the O.K. Corral  Gunfight Site.

O.K. Corral

First thing we did was take the Stagecoach Tour.  I wish I had the words to explain what it feels like stepping inside one of those wagons and actually riding inside just makes you stop and take in everything and really realize that this is how people would get around.

Stagecoach Rides

The kids absolutely loved the ride and so did we, our tour guide was very friendly and took us around for 25 minutes, showing us all the main buildings, what happened in what, who stayed where etc.  Very informative and interesting.

Stagecoach Ride

Stagecoach Ride

Then I made a beeline for the ONE place in Tombstone I was determined to see and NOT miss out on.  The Bird Cage Theater and that was I think for me, one of my favorite things to do in Tombstone.  There is SO much rich history, it literally looks like they closed the doors in 1889 and just re-opened them for us to step inside.

Chandelier at Bird Cage Theater

The Black Moriah, the hearse that took all the bodies from Tombstone to the Boothill Graveyard.

The Black Moriah

Inside the bird cage, if you look at the ceiling you can see the bullet holes.  The ceiling is riddled with them.  You can also see the cribs, the areas where the soiled doves would do *business* with the rich paying customers.

Another view of the Bird Cage Theater Cribs

Downstairs in the basement is where the gambling area was, these tables were the original ones used during the 8 year long poker game.  Unbelievable isn't it?  Everything has been left as it was.

Poker Room

Across from the poker tables are the bedrooms that were used by the soiled doves.  These have just recently been opened to the public and nothing has been touched, dusted or cleaned in any way.


At 2pm and 4pm, the O.K. Corral actors put on a show, a reenactment of the gunfight.  At 2pm they just go straight to the area and do the little play, but the 4pm one is the one we went to and that one actually starts outside in the streets, right outside the Bird Cage Theater and then  moves down to the actual area where the gunfight took place.

Wyatt and Morgan Earp

There's Wyatt Earp on the left and his younger brother Morgan Earp on the right.

O.K. Corral Gunfight

The Earp Brothers.....from the right:  Billy Clanton, Ike Clanton, Tom McLaury, Frank McLaury and Billy the Kid.

Morgan Earp and Doc Holliday

Morgan Earp in the background and Doc Holliday in the front.

We walked around a little more but it was getting late, so we decided to go check in at our cabin and then come back for some dinner at the Crystal Palace Saloon.

Golden Eagle Brewery now known as The Crystal Palace

I don't think there is anything that can prepare you for what it's like being inside these buildings, there is this electricity in the air, this feeling that is indescribable.

Crystal Palace Saloon

The next morning we started bright and early at 7:30am.  Stopped over at The Longhorn Restaurant for some breakfast.  The tables are filled with all sorts of interesting things to read, like this Reward poster for Billy the Kid.

The Longhorn Restaurant Table

We had a great breakfast, really yummy food and very affordable prices.  You can see the rest of the pictures on my Flickr Tombstone Album.

I had to take a quick pic of the inside of the Big Nose Kate's Saloon which was previously the Grand Hotel.

Big Nose Kate's Saloon

Walking down Allen Street......

Allen Street

Stopping over at the Tombstone Epitaph for a free copy of the newspaper from the day AFTER the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.   There is also a museum inside which is free of charge and you can see all the machinery used as well as tons of articles and old newspapers, including the last edition of 1886.

Tombstone Epitaph Museum

Now let me quickly show you the cabin we stayed at.  If you ever head to Tombstone, DO yourself a favor and stay at Katie's Cozy Cabins, I promise you, you will not regret it.  We are in love with these cabins, they are very affordable and have all the amenities you could need, they are also pet friendly.




For the rest of the pictures of the inside, which you HAVE to see, just go to my Flickr Katie's Cozy Cabins album.

Friday morning before setting off for home, we had to stop at the Boothill Graveyard.  Another place I absolutely loved visiting.  Again to see all the photos I took at the graveyard, just go here to my album.

Boothill Graveyard

Lester Moore

If you go to my album, there are descriptions of each grave, including the story of how these people died.

Marshal Fred White, 1880

I'm sure you all know who these men are, the famous O.K. Corral shoot out.

Billy Clanton, Tom McLaury, Frank McLaury

Legally Hanged 1884

And with that came to an end our visit to Tombstone.  We left feeling sad, we wanted to stay longer, we wanted to visit every single building and do every single tour, one day was just not enough to see everything we wanted to so we are already planning to return very soon.

But I didn't leave without stocking up on some souvenirs, it just wouldn't be right you know?


Now  I think I'll go watch Tombstone and Wyatt Earp. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hello from beautiful Prescott

I'm sitting here surrounded by trees, in this cute little cottage and just breathing in the purest of airs and pine scents.

It's rejuvenating for the soul and it's just what we needed, a getaway where we are not in a rush to do anything, not surrounded by the busy and noisiness that make up our day to day.

But let me tell you, the getaway didn't start without hiccups, matter of fact, an hour away from our cottage our truck broke down, in the middle of nowhere.  Our fan belt stripped and frayed, getting caught up on the motor, so we were overheating and lost power steering.  It was SCARY.

I think the worst part for me is watching other cars drive by and not one single one stopped and asked if we were ok, if we needed help or needed for them to call someone.  NOTHING.  Unbelievable.

Using just the tools we had on hand hubby was able to remove the belt, remove the frayed parts and then reposition the belt again to just get us to the nearest town.  We turned the truck on and set off back down the highway but within 5 minutes the belt snapped completely off and we were once again left overheating and without power steering, managed to maneuver the truck to the nearest place which thankfully had an auto parts store right off the highway.  Bought a new belt, hubby put that in place and we were finally on our way to vacation.

Not exactly how you want to start off but we had the Lord on our side and he saw us through, it was scary though and having the two kids and the two pugs with us just made it worse, especially when the pugs started finding it hard to breathe, I was dumping water bottles on them and praying for the best.  What a mess.

Anyway, enough of the bad things....we're having a wonderful time, we are relaxed, we are enjoying the fresh air and I've taken many many photos.  I will share them all with you when we get back home to high speed internet, this internet is much too slow and takes forever to upload anything. 

Just to show you where we spent the much fun.

We head back home tomorrow and then on to Tombstone on Thursday :)