Monday, September 28, 2015

Weekly Meals in Review - 09/28/2015

Hi friends, here are my weekly meals in review, hope you enjoy. 

I did do my grocery shopping and I know I said I would do a grocery haul, but with everything going on I really didn't have the energy to deal with it, I'm sorry about that, but I will show you the next grocery haul which should be in about two weeks.

For now, here are last weeks meals, hope it gives you all some ideas for your own menu planning :)

Skillet Pork Chops and Potatoes

Weekly meals

Philly Steak and Cheese Burgers

Weekly meals

Crockpot Chicken Stew

Weekly meals

Homemade Spaghetti Bolognese

Weekly meals

Marketside Pizza (hubby and I had to run to Walmart before dinner and just picked up Supreme for dinner)

Hubby and I had to run errands, and with everything going on with my grandmother being hospitalized he wanted to take me out of the house.  He took me to Denny's for a late lunch and I had the Grand Slamwich was soooo good, but extremely filling.

We had a super easy Sunday, no one really wanted big meals so we all decided to just do snacks and grazing all day long.  Sandwiches, chips and dip, fruit, ice cream, it was one of those days.


Happy Homemaker Monday - 09/28/2015

Good morning everyone.  Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

I would like to apologize for my lack of posts the past few days, but things are just not easy for me right now.  I think I've cried more the past week than in the past months or year.  The uncertainty is overwhelming and I'm struggling, a lot.  My blogging will be a bit sporadic for the moment, and I hope you can understand.

The weather outside is::::
Hot still.  We did have some rain on Friday evening leading up to Saturday morning, and last week woke up to some fog too, but for the most part I don't think this part of Texas is ready to welcome Fall yet. 

On the breakfast plate this morning::::
Cup of coffee right now, and I did have a Strawberry Dunkin Donut.  I've been eating a lot of crap the past few days and I'm starting to feel it, so after this donut, it's back to water and watching what I eat. 

As I look outside my window:::
It's pitch black outside, I think living in the country and not having all the light pollution around, it seems that it remains dark for much longer than anywhere else I've lived.

Right now I am::::
Sitting in my living room, typing up this post and talking to my dad about my grandma. 

As I look around the house::::
I need to clean the bathrooms today, from top to bottom, it's one of the rooms in the house that I hate doing and sometimes gets neglected.  There I've said, I'm not super woman, go figure.

On today's to do list::::
Laundry....Put away all the clean laundry that I washed and folded yesterday.  Do one last load of whites and then I'm caught up.
Cleaning....Usual housework
Schooling.....Help Jasmine with her History portfolio.

On my mind::::
My grandmother.  She is still on the ventilator but it's been 7 days so they're actually doing a tracheotomy.  When they lower the adrenaline, her blood pressure drops down to almost nothing and her lungs do not function on their own.  We are starting to have to face some very tough decisions and I'm not sure I am ready for any of this.  Please continue to pray for us, at this point I would be ok with my gran passing away peacefully in her sleep, I just can't imagine her suffering  or being hooked up to all sorts of tubes and machines to live, and then I feel absolutely awful for even thinking about it. 

On the TV today::::
I've been binge watching Lockup and Lockup Raw.
Downton Abbey's second episode from yesterday
Home Fires

On the menu this week::::
Monday - Copycat Panda Express Sweet Fire Chicken and Chow Mein
Tuesday - Lemon Basil Chicken, Roast Potatoes
Wednesday - Penne and Sausage Casserole
Thursday - Beef baked with Yogurt and black pepper, rice
Friday - Pan Bagnat
Saturday - Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
Sunday - Best Chili Ever

What I am creating at the moment::::
Still working on my Fall crochet scarf, it's coming along nicely.

New recipe I tried or want to try this week::::
The copycat Panda Express Sweet Fire Chicken is new and so is the Chow Mein, so I'll share those with you either tonight or tomorrow.

Favorite photo from the camera::::

Prayers, Inspirational Quotes or Devotionals::::
For the Lord's will to be done concerning my grandmother.
For me and the rest of the family, for strength and courage to hold on and get through this difficult moment, but most of all to make the right decisions keeping HER in mind and not be selfish about wanting her to stay around.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Cooking Thursday - Cheesy Garlic Pizza


Good morning friends, hope you've had a good night's rest and are ready for the day ahead.
I didn't sleep very well last night, matter of fact I haven't been sleeping well for days because of the situation with my grandma.  Anyway, I'm here, it's super early but I thought I would go ahead and get this post up before I move on with my day and end up forgetting to do it.
The recipe I'm sharing today is an older one but a favorite around here on Pizza night.  Cheesy Garlic Pizza, so good, give it a try.


Basic Pizza Dough
yield: 2-12 inch pizzas, approximately 1 lb. of dough

1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey {or sugar}
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
3 cups bread flour {give or take 1/2 cup…depending on the heat & humidity}

In a large mixing bowl, preferably that of a stand mixer, stir yeast and honey into warm water. Sit for 5-10 minutes or until bubbles form and mixture starts to foam. This tells you that the yeast is alive and kicking. Pour in salt, oil and half the flour and mix.

Once that flour is incorporated, start adding flour in bit by bit until you get the pizza dough to the consistency you want: slightly tacky, but when you touch it it doesn’t stick to your hands.

Once you reach this stage, turn the mixer on high to knead for 6 minutes. Turn a timer on and walk away! Resist the temptation to stop earlier than 6 minutes! That seems to be the magical number. It should look something like this when it’s done!

The dough should be smooth and easy to work with. And the bowl should be clean!
Lightly grease the bowl & the dough so it doesn’t dry out, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise 1-2 hours. That’s it!

For the Cheesy Garlic Pizza:

1/2 recipe Fail-Proof Pizza Dough
2 tablespoons softened salted butter
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese {use the real stuff!}
1/4 pound grated mozzarella cheese
{salt & pepper, if desired}

Preheat oven to 500 degrees with pizza stone inside. {If you don’t have a pizza stone, use an upside down cookie sheet}

 Mix butter and garlic in a small bowl and set aside.

Spread pizza dough out into a 12-inch circle on parchment paper. {This makes it easier to transfer to the pizza stone.}

Spread the butter and garlic mixture over dough and top with parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.  Bake for about 12 minutes until cooked and cheesy is melted and bubbly.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

{ Happy Fall }

First day of Fall

"Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
fluttering from the Autumn tree." 
- Emily Bronte

First day of Fall

By John Greenleaf Whittier

Heap high the farmer's wintry hoard!
Heap high the golden corn!
No richer gift has autumn poured
From out her lavish horn.

Let other hands exulting glean
The apple from the pine,
The orange from its glossy green,
The cluster from the vine.

But let the good old corn adorn
The hills our fathers trod;
Still let us, for his golden corn,
Send up our thanks to God.

First day of Fall

It's here, it's finally officially here and I'm thrilled.

Not that I needed an actual date to tell me what I already knew, see, for the past few weeks I've been watching my trees turn, the leaves going yellow and falling to the grass below, the mornings getting a little nip in the air, and fog rolling in.

First day of Fall

Fall has arrived, and with it some of my favorite things on earth. 

Scarves, boots, pumpkin flavored everything, hot chocolate, warm days and cold nights, crisp air and hoodies.

First day of Fall

With Fall also comes the beautiful orange glow of the season.  Things take on a different view, vibrant colors become more subdued, the flurry of summer activities start slowing down and preparations begin for the colder months ahead.

First day of Fall

This photo above happens to be my favorite from this set.  You know why?  Because aside from that perfect leaf on the ground, it is nothing but weeds, annoying weeds, but when I look at it I don't see the ugliness or the annoyance of those sand spurs, I see beauty.

It honestly makes me think of life in general and how everything has a beauty of it's own, no matter how ugly it may be labeled by society. 

Seeing the beauty in the hard times, the tough moments, is what gets us through.

I haven't said anything on my blog yet, but if you are friends with me on facebook then you will know that the past few days have been excruciatingly hard for me and my family.

My sweet dear grandma is in hospital fighting for her life.  A month ago she had a pacemaker put in to regulate her poor tired heart.

On Sunday she couldn't catch her breath and was transferred to the hospital.  She has been in ICU since then with an accelerated heart beat, fluid in her lungs and an infection.  On Monday she went into cardiac arrest and is now in renal failure too and on a ventilator.  She is hooked up to 6 IV's and now has a hole in her throat so they can feed her.

I'm heartbroken, I'm angry, I'm sad, I'm lost and I'm feeling absolutely helpless because I can't be there to hold her hand.  It's killing me and I'm struggling really really hard to keep it together.

I know the inevitable is coming, she is after all 92, but I can't let go and selfishly I want her to stay around for many more years, but that is not fair to her.  So I've put it in the Lord's hands and all I can do now is wait and see what happens.

She means the absolute world to me.

So this morning, I stepped outside with my camera and allowed God to calm my heart and to force me to take a deep breath and slow down and try to block it all out, at least for a minute or two.

I don't know what the next few days hold, I find myself breaking down and crying at random times throughout the day, and at first I tried to stop myself, but I can't friends, I need to let it out, it's almost as if my body is preparing for her passing.

This is life, this is the cycle and sometimes we are hit with circumstances that knock us right off course, the trick is to allow yourself to go through the emotions while still moving forward. 

That is where I'm at, the struggle to balance it all......

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

VO5 Fight the Frizz - Hair Review & Giveaway

My daughter and I have always had thick hair, mine has a bit of a wave to it, but hers is super curly, like spiral curls.

With that comes the never ending battle of frizz, and for the most part we've been able to deal with it, but since moving to Texas from Idaho, we've had the worst time controlling the frizz due to the humidity in this area.

I have tried multiple products since moving here and nothing seems to work, so when I was contacted by VO5 and asked if I would like to try their Anti-Frizz products, I jumped right on it.  Might as well give it a try and hopefully find something that works.

Before I show you how we used it on my daughter's super frizzy curly hair, I will tell you a little about the products.

Step one in taming frizz is to understand how it happens. “Frizz occurs when moisture from the air’s humidity infiltrates the cuticles on the head causing hair to literally spring out of control,” said Nina Riley, VP of Marketing for Alberto VO5. “Pre-treating the hair before shampooing with products like VO5 Hot Oil Treatment helps to smooth out the cuticle, while VO5’s Shine, Glow and Go Beauty Oil helps to maintain the rest of your hair, even on the hottest, stickiest days.”

According to a recent survey by VO5, frizz is among women’s leading beauty challenges, with 62% of American women identifying frizzy hair as their most dreaded hair malfunction. So how do these women deal with frizz? According to VO5’s latest nationwide poll, 43% straighten their hair, while 39% get around frizz with creative up-dos.

Born-in-Hollywood and celebrating its 60th birthday this year, Alberto VO5 has developed an easy, three-step frizz-fighting regimen, spanning a once-weekly pre-shampoo treatment to daily maintenance:

Hot Oil Treatment (1x/week): Once a week moisturize and condition hair before shampooing from roots to ends with VO5’s iconic Hot Oil Therapy treatment which helps restore shine, strength and silky softness.

Smooth + Sleek Shampoo and Conditioner (3x-7x/week): Formulated with a unique smoothing complex that helps manage unruly hair, use the shampoo and conditioner together for best results in helping eliminate frizz, pronto!

 Shine, Glow and Go Beauty Oil (7x/week): Light, natural oil blend for both hair and body. This new innovative oil that’s mineral oil-free, quickly helps replenish dry hair and skin to help you feel soft, silky and look radiant.

Are you ready to see the transformation????  I've used it on my hair too and it works wonderful, but I thought I would show you Jasmine's hair because hers is much worse than mine, being curly and all.

So this is what we started with, this is pretty normal, the beautiful soft curls underneath and the crazy frizz on top.  It's hard to managed, it's hard to not frizz and she gets super frustrated with it.

VO5 Hair review

First thing we did was apply the Hot Oil Treatment.  It is applied before shampooing.  We wet her hair, applied the hot oil all over and let it sit for a minute then washed it all off really well.

VO5 Hair review

VO5 Hair review

Once the oil was removed, we washed her hair using the VO5 Smooth and Sleek Shampoo and Conditioner which is especially formulated to fight frizz.

VO5 Hair review

We let the hair air dry, and once it was dry, we applied the last product which was the VO5 Shine, Glow and Go Beauty Oil.

VO5 Hair review

I went ahead and straightened her hair just to show you how much healthier and non frizzy it looks.  What a huge change and it was so soft and silky too.

VO5 Hair review

VO5 Hair review

Overall, we are really pleased with the products and feel like we've finally found something that works to tame the frizz and the unruly hair, which is perfect for living in this high humidity area.

If it works for our hair, I am sure it will work for yours too :)

Now for the giveaway, the wonderful folks at VO5 are giving one lucky reader with all the Frizz fighting products, so you'll get the shampoo and conditioner, the hot oil treatment and the Shine, Go and Glow Oil.  

To enter, leave a comment below.  I will pick a winner on Friday the 25th.

Open to US residents only.

Good Luck!!!!

Thank you to VO5 for providing us with the products.

Monday, September 21, 2015

{ Rainy Weekend}

rainy weekend

We had such a restful beautiful weekend.

I have never hid the fact that I am a rain kinda gal, that the sound of it makes me happy, that the sight of it gives me pure joy.  Yes sometimes it can be a bit too much if you've been pounded by it for days on end, but for the most part, there is just something so peaceful and relaxing about a good rain shower.

This weekend brought us some good ol' rain showers.  Saturday not too much, but Sunday, oh my word, it's like the skies opened up and a deluge of water poured upon us.

rainy weekend

rainy weekend

I grew up in South Africa, the land of thunderous powerful storms, and bright crackling lightning.

It was something that always fascinated me, to the point where many a nights, if a thunderstorm hit us, I would grab my blanket and head out onto the porch, sit on the comfy couch and just watch.

rainy weekend

rainy weekend

Some of my family members would tell me to get back inside, tell me that it wasn't safe, but truth is, I felt safe enough and there was nothing on this earth that would make me pass that up.  Well, unless one of those really loud bright crackling lightning bolts hit right on the street where our house was, then I would leave, not happily, but nonetheless it was the only thing that got me inside.

rainy weekend

rainy weekend

Fast forward a few decades later, we were stationed in Idaho for almost 10 years, then Arizona for 6 years, back to Idaho for another 2 years and I can tell you that I never really experienced another one of those storms.

rainy weekend

Not to say that it didn't rain or that I didn't enjoy those, but I missed the thunder, the really loud booming thunder and the bright lightning.  I don't know why those never really seemed to be part of the rain showers we got in those States but coming Texas brought me just what I was missing.

Goodness, it is almost like being back in South Africa.

The thunder is loud, really loud and the lightning cracks so powerfully that sends the kids and the dogs scrambling for cover.

For me though, it brings joy, that same amount of joy I used to feel back home and there's nothing quite like that feeling.

Well then of course, there's also the beauty of rain.

I've always believed that if we really take the time to enjoy things and to really see them through different eyes, we will be amazed.  A rain shower is not just a rain shower for me, it is filled with loud differing sounds, and it is filled with splashes and plops, patterns of watery streaks dropping down from the skies and grass glistening with big bubbles.

It's certainly not just rain, it's beautiful, really beautiful!!!

Happy Homemaker Monday - 09/21/2015


Monday, Monday, Monday, was so not ready to see you quite so soon.  I think I had just gotten into the weekend mode when the alarm went off this morning.  *sigh*

Well, I guess nothing can be done now but to just get on with the week ahead.

On the weather front:
Had the most glorious of rain this weekend, the kind that pours down from the skies and lights everything up with lightning and loud roaring thunder.  It felt good to sit inside and watch it all come down for hours on end.  The rest of the week seems like partly sunny skies but warm. 

On my bedside table:
My notebook (I write menus, work out budgets, doodle, compose to do lists etc)
Nail polish

On my TV:

This past weekend, Jasmine and I have been doing a marathon of the Lockup series.  I don't know why we enjoy those so much, maybe it's because it gives us an insight into what prison is like?
Aside from that we also watched Unfriended, which was quite creepy, not so much terrifyingly scary but just creepy.
The new and last season of Downton Abbey started last night in the UK and of course you know I will watch it live, I just can't wait until January, sorry.  If you want to watch it online too let me know in the comments and I'll provide some links.

Favorite Youtube Video last week:
I watched quite a few good ones, and found quite a few more new ones to enjoy.  For all you other mommies out there, if you haven't yet subscribed to the channel Channel Mum, be sure to do so.  It is the UK's first youtube community just for moms, and it's filled with brilliant youtubers sharing their life, pregnancies, day to day life, recipes etc.  Brilliant!!!

News story that caught my attention:
You know it used to be that there was 1 or 2 really bad news stories that would grab everyone's attention.  Now I feel like there are so many, all at once, that it's quite difficult to feel safe or joyous about the world we're living in.  I guess for me, this week what really caught my attention was the story of the beautiful little 4 year old girl that was found dead and no one knew her name or where she even came from.  Police were able to finally identify her, give her a name and are now looking for her mom and dad as suspects.  How awful!

On the menu for this week:

Monday - Carne de Porco c/ batatinhas (Pork and potatoes)
Tuesday - Hamburgeres no forno (Oven hamburgers with pepper and cheese)
Wednesday - Roast chicken and potatoes
Thursday - Roupa Velha (Portuguese dish using leftover meat)
Friday - *grocery shopping, don't have the new menu yet*
Saturday -
Sunday -

New Recipe I tried or want to try:
A few I made that aren't yet on the food blog, like my greatgrandma's meatballs.  But I also posted the recipe for the Chocolate Cake and the Portuguese Steaks.

On my To Do List:
I have so much I need to get done today, last week I was pretty busy with Nick being sick, but now I just need to get right in there and accomplish some tasks.
School....need to scan Nick's Science project and submit it.  Also have to help the kids catch up, they're falling a little behind.  Nick because he was so sick, and Jasmine because she's struggling with her Algebra 2 and the lessons are just piling up.
Kitchen....unload dishwasher and reload with breakfast dishes.  Clean up and tidy counters.  Wipe down fridge.
Bedrooms....make beds, open curtains and blinds, open windows, tidy up.
Bathrooms....clean toilets and sinks.
Living rooms....tidy up, vacuum.

In the craft basket:
Crochet scarf is coming along nicely.  I still have my blanket in there but I set it aside for now, I was needing something easy and quick and that I can do while watching TV etc. so the scarf fits all those categories for me.

Looking forward to:
Another week of accomplishments.

What's going on this week:
Monday - Housework and catching up
Tuesday - VO5 hair review
Wednesday - Painting (need to paint my bed side tables and the kitchen table and chairs)
Thursday - Sewing
Friday - Jasmine and I have doctor appointments in the morning, then grocery shopping right after

What I plan on doing for myself this week:

Who knows, I really would like to still catch up on shows but as much as I say I will, I just never get around to doing it.

Favorite photo:

Lesson learned the past few days:
I need to stop worrying about what others think, or feel about me.  I also need to stop trying to want others to feel or act the way I do, because truth is, it's never going to happen.  I'm a very giving person and I'm always ready to help everyone, I tend to bend over backwards for people I care about, and it's very disheartening when they don't reciprocate.  For example, going out of my way to check in on certain people, talk to them, ask about their family, and they make absolutely NO effort in return.  Or when I'm going through a hard time or have a sick family member, they can't even be bothered to ask if I'm ok or if the family member is ok.  Those to me are not real friends, and it just bothers me, so I'm trying really really hard to stop, to not worry about it, to just concentrate on being me and doing what I need to do.  Most of all the lesson I'm being taught is that their actions should NEVER change who I am.  They may not reciprocate but that is not going to stop me from still doing what I feel is right, whether that is to continue checking on them or saying hi, or being who I am. 

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Weekly Meals in Review - September 14th to 19th

Monday 14th
Arroz a Valenciana - Rice with chicken and peas


Tuesday 15th
Tiras de frango com natas - Chicken strips with cream


Wednesday 16th
Almondegas da Bio Ema - Greatgrandma's Meatballs


Thursday 17th
Pizza Caseira - Homemade Pizza


Friday 18th
Cachorros Quentes com molho de pimento e tomate - Hotdogs with spicy pepper sauce


Saturday 19th
Bacon Sandwiches

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Cooking Thursday - Bolo Formigueiro


Good morning everyone, can you believe that it's already Thursday? This week has flown by, not that I'm complaining I'm kind of looking forward to the weekend so I can sleep in and not have to be up at 5:30am.

Anyway, here is my recipe for this morning, this delicious Portuguese cake. Give it a try :)

Bolo Formigueiro
Chocolate, Orange and Coconut Cake

4 egg
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup of orange juice
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup coconut flakes

For the sauce:
5 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar

Separate the eggs, and beat the egg whites until stiff.  Add in the egg yolks, the sugar, flour, orange juice and mix well.  Make sure you don't overmix as not to remove the air from the egg whites.

Next, add in the baking powder, cocoa and coconut flakes.  Mix well with a spoon.

Grease a bundt cake pan and pour in the mixture.  Bake at 350 until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven, and invert onto a cake platter.

For the sauce, dissolve the cocoa in 1 cup of hot water.  Add in the milk and the sugar, mix well.  Use a fork to poke holes all over the cake, and pour on the sauce.  I didn't use all of mine because it was just way too much, but pour in as much as you would like.

When cool, dust with powdered sugar.


Monday, September 14, 2015

A Day in the Life


Hello everyone, I thought I would do another Day in the Life for you, but this time combining a few days into one.

I have taken quite a few pictures, so this will be a photo heavy post, hope you don't mind, though I know that a few of you actually really enjoy these.



I still find myself amazed, on a daily basis, at the beautiful scenery before me.  I almost feel like God placed this house in our paths and said "Here, this is what you've been looking for, this is what you've wanted for so long".



As I watch the seasons transition from Summer to Fall, I make a mental list of things I need to get done before the cold sets in.  Yes I know that Texas doesn't get as cold as Idaho, but it still gets cold, and where we are, we still get snow and ice.


I definitely need to get cracking on the wood pile this weekend, hubby and I are going to do a lot of yard work, thankfully it hasn't been raining much so we haven't had to mow as often, but would like to get a good grass cutting in, if anything to keep these annoying prickly weeds from growing.


My days here in our country home are pretty much the same.  A slow pace, the tending of household chores, homeschooling, pets and a husband.  Bills and the never ending cleaning.

I don't stick to a very set schedule but I do have things I do on a daily basis, a routine of sorts, and it works for me, it keeps me focused and takes away a bit of the monotony of the tasks at hand.



Even though Fall is not officially here, it has slowly started descending on my household in small pieces, here and there.


I've updated my mantel with Fallish bits and bobs.  These Fabric Pumpkins that I made so many years ago.  You can try them for yourself if you like by visiting my post here.  I'm actually thinking of making a few more for the second living room and using some green fabric to match the walls and the decor in there.



Something else I've pulled out is my yarn, I have quite a stash that I don't know what to make with, they're not quite big enough for a blanket, so I thought I would go with something smaller and I've settled on a pretty scarf for Fall.


Those are my colors and I've kind of arranged them in the pattern that I want, I may end up switching something here or there, but I may just leave them as is.  I think it will make for a really cute Fallish scarf.


There's nothing to it, really.  I cast on 41 stitches and I'm working it all in single crochet stitches (US terms) or double crochets (UK terms).

I'm not yet sure how long it will be but it will definitely not be a short scarf, I like mine quite on the longish side.

With Summer coming to an end, life is definitely slowing down for me and that's quite alright, I am always looking forward to Summer but I tend to forget that it's also one of the busiest times of the year for us.

I'm ready for cooler temperatures, pumpkin and apple and cinnamon scents, warm glowy candles, scarves and boots and cozy winter nights in front of the fireplace.  Yes, I believe it's time!!!