Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year Fun - 2016 Edition

7:54 AM 3 Comments

New Year Fun - 2016 Edition

So here we are again, end of yet another year and a whole blank slate before us.  I don't much care for this time of year, I always feel like I get this overwhelming sense of dread of what is to come.  I'm trying extremely hard not to let that get me down, but it's hard to do so.

2016 was NOT a good year for us, in many ways, it was one of the hardest years I've had in a very long time, so all I can do is pray and hope that 2017 is kinder.

Anyway, I try to do this post every year, it's just a way to bring it all together, to review what was going on and allow us to remember what the year was like.  I didn't blog much this year, and for that I'm quite ashamed, but the good news is that I plan on changing that this coming year.

Right let's get on with it. 

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

Happy New Year everyone!

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JANUARY

 So, here we are, January 2016!!!

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FEBRUARY

Good morning everyone, it's Monday again, can you believe it?  I had a pretty good weekend and I hope you did too, but now it's time to get back to work and school, you all ready for it?

 


MARCH

No time to breathe!!!

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APRIL

If you've been following me for a few years, you know that one thing my family and I love doing, is going to local Renaissance Festivals.


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MAY

May, I can't even believe we are already in the month of May, this year is flying by.


April 28, 2016

 JUNE

 And then the dryer broke!!!

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 JULY

 One woman struggling to hold on to what she has. . . .

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 AUGUST

 Life has been difficult around here.  I don't know how else to put it, but plainly telling you that I'm struggling through a lot of things at the moment and I've even considered just getting rid of my blog because I don't have time to post, I don't feel that connection to it anymore and I'm not sure if I will get that blogging mojo back ever again.

 

 SEPTEMBER

 I've been meaning to type this up for a very long time, but it just never seemed like the right moment, or I didn't have the right words or felt like there was more to think about before I could put it into words.




OCTOBER

 Right, well it's been quite a while since my last grocery haul, I think it was actually back in February before my family moved in with us.



NOVEMBER

 Good morning friends, how are you all doing?




DECEMBER

Oh my word, it is December, my favorite month of the year.


Friday, December 30, 2016

Wyoming Brave by Diana Palmer - TLC Book Tour

8:06 AM 1 Comments





Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: HQN Books (December 27, 2016)
 
THE WYOMING MEN ARE BACK! IN THEIR QUEST FOR TRUE LOVE ON THE RANGE, ARE THESE RANCHERS BOLD ENOUGH TO OPEN THEIR HEARTS TO THE WOMEN UNDER THEIR PROTECTION?

Ren Colter may own an enormous ranch in Wyoming, but he scorns his wealth. He’s closed himself off since his fiancée left him months ago, so he’s shocked when he allows Meredith Grayling to stay with him. He tells himself it’s only to protect the blonde beauty from a stalker, but Ren’s alpha instincts soon kick in.

The last thing Merrie wants is a devastatingly handsome man like Ren lurking around her. He’s too experienced, too appealing for her already shot nerves. What she needs is just to get away from it all: the man haunting her waking dreams and the one hunting her like an animal. But no woman escapes this Colter cowboy!

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble



About Diana Palmer

The prolific author of more than one hundred books, Diana Palmer got her start as a newspaper reporter. A New York Times bestselling author and voted one of the top ten romance writers in America, she has a gift for telling the most sensual tales with charm and humor. Diana lives with her family in Cornelia, Georgia.

Connect with Diana

Website | Facebook

 



My thoughts:

Oh I do love a Diana Palmer book.  Maybe it's my fascination with cowboys and good looking men in general, or maybe it's just that I love the way she tells a story.

Wyoming Brave is book six in the Wyoming Men Series, and this time we're following along with Ren Colter.  He doesn't exactly have the best of opinions or views when it comes to marriage or relationships in general.  His parents divorced when he was much younger and he was also engaged to be married.....but that was before he found his fiancee cheating on him just a few weeks before the ceremony.

To say that he is closed off and not interested in a romantic encounter, is an understatement.  But like all good romance books, there is always that one person who comes walking into their lives and completely demolishes that wall around their heart.

Enter Meredith.  With problems of her own, she is also not looking into hooking up with anyone.  Her life is on the line, literally as she's sent to Ren's ranch for her own safety.  She is hiding from a hitman, and Ren will make sure she is safe all the while falling for her.

It's a classic romance story, almost predictable, but then again that is what makes me love romance books and the characters and stories they tell.

It was quite fun watching Ren and Meredith tiptoe around their growing feelings.

Diana Palmer’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, December 27th: The Sassy Bookster – excerpt
Wednesday, December 28th: Bewitched Bookworms
Friday, December 30th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Monday, January 2nd: Read Love Blog – excerpt
Wednesday, January 4th: Written Love Reviews
Friday, January 6th: Rachel Henderson
Monday, January 9th: Books a la Mode – excerpt
Monday, January 9th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Wednesday, January 11th: Buried Under Romance
Thursday, January 12th: Becky on Books
Friday, January 13th: Stranded in Chaos
Monday, January 16th: From the TBR Pile – excerpt
Wednesday, January 18th: What I’m Reading
Friday, January 20th: Susan Peterson
Monday, January 23rd: The Romance Dish – excerpt
Tuesday, January 24th: Books that Hook
Wednesday, January 25th: Books and Bindings
Thursday, January 26th: Heather Kerner
Monday, January 30th: Broken Teepee – excerpt

Thursday, December 22, 2016

BLOGMAS 2016 - Day 21 and 22

12:19 PM 3 Comments
I missed yesterday, AGAIN hahaha


I am trying, I really am, but life is busy as heck and I think I bit off more than I can chew.  Have a lot to do and not quite sure how I'm going to get it all done, but nonetheless I will try my best and by the time the clock strikes midnight on Christmas Eve, I WILL have everything done, and I'll be sitting with a glass of wine watching the family open their gifts :)


Anyway, I'm combining the two days into one, they kind of go together.  I've talked about our family traditions in a previous blogmas post so there is no need to repeat.


I'll just talk about what I've been doing to get ready for the big day. 


#1 LISTS.....yes lists of Christmas presents and places to go and get them etc.  I am super late with gifts this year and as I've said before, I have to get everything done tomorrow.  It's going to be insane out there so I plan on knowing exactly what I'm getting who and which store to head to so we can get in and get out as fast as possible.


#2......grocery list and menu planning for the next 2 weeks.  Yes, because even though it's Christmas, it has fallen right in the middle of my two week grocery plan.  I actually think I may try to do shopping for one week at a time again and see how I do.  If it doesn't work, I'll go right back to the usual two weeks.


#3......baking and more baking.  I've been in the kitchen for days getting things done, I plan on having most of the food ready before Saturday.  I won't have time to do anything tomorrow and Saturday I need to wrap, wrap, and wrap.




This takes me right back to my childhood.  I was thinking a few weeks back, that I would love to make this Meat Bread for Christmas, but I couldn't remember the recipe.  About a week ago, I was cleaning and reorganizing and found one of my folders with old recipes, some handwritten.  In it was my dad's recipe for this Bola de Carne.  It is a bread that has ham, bacon and chourico inside.  It came out exactly like my dad's and I couldn't be happier.  I'm planning on making another one either tomorrow night or Saturday morning.


Here's the recipe if you want to try, it's super simple.


Dad's Bola de Carne - Meat Bread

4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 cup of milk
Chopped ham, chourico and bacon

In a bowl mix together the eggs and oil until well incorporated.  In a smaller bowl, mix the flour and baking powder.  Add to the egg mixture, alternating with the milk.  Mix well until everything is combined.

This is not going to be your typical bread dough, it is a wet mushy dough.  Add in the chopped ham, chopped bacon and chopped chourico. Stir to combine.

Pour into a greased dish and bake at 350 F for about 25 minutes or until brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Enjoy!!!





A Portuguese Christmas wouldn't be real without a Bolo Rei - King's Cake on the table.  I made two smaller ones this year, but they are fantastic.  Another dish that takes me back to my childhood. :)


I've also made my usual Fruit Cakes, the Rissois are all made and frozen just ready to fry.  I am currently in the process of making some South African Koeksisters


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I have a house to clean to be ready for guests, and more baking and cooking.


Just a really busy time for me.  How are you all preparing for the holidays?




BLOGMAS 2016 PROMPTS


Day 1 - The Christmas Tag
Day 2 - Christmas Movies on the Must Watch List
Day 3 - Christmas Wishlist
Day 4 - Christmas Playlist
Day 5 - Pictures and Memories of Christmas Past
Day 6 - Pot Simmer Recipes
Day 7 - Cookies to be Baked (can be a recipe you make every year, or some you want to try)
Day 8 - Favorite Family Christmas Recipe
Day 9 - How do you decorate?
Day 10 - Real Tree or Artificial Tree
Day 11 - Stocking Stuffer Ideas
Day 12 - Quiet Christmas or Family Filled Loud Party Christmas?
Day 13 - Christmas Cards (do you send them, show us your favorites this year, or tells your favorite cards to send whether vintage, or bright and colorful)
Day 14 - Advent Calendar
Day 15 - Christmas Party Food Ideas
Day 16 - Winter Tag
Day 17 - Christmas Wishes
Day 18 - Homemade or Store Bought (What are you giving this year)
Day 19 - Recap of Christmas 2015 in pictures
Day 20 -  Christmas Decorations Reveal (show us your tree, your home decor, your mantle, anything you want)
Day 21 - Holiday Family Traditions
Day 22 - Preparing for the big day (show us your wrapping skills, are you making lists, getting the house ready for guests?)
Day 23 - Post whatever you wish
Day 24 - Christmas Eve (Are you opening presents tonight, is this your big celebration, what are you doing)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

BLOGMAS 2016 - Day 20 { Christmas Decorations Reveal }

11:40 AM 6 Comments
Day 20....we are now 4 days away from Christmas.  Is it just me or did this month just go by in a flash?

Crazy.  I'm now sick with a cold, my throat is killing me and I'm all sniffling and stuff.  Just really want to kick this crud before the weekend, so God willing I'll be well enough to celebrate with the family.

Right, let's get on with today's prompt, we want to see all the decorations etc.   OH and before I post mine, I just want to thank those of you who are still following along and doing your own blogmas, and I do apologize for not being by more often to see your posts.  I wish I had double the hours in a day so I can get everything that I want done, done.  Ugh!!!

Anyway, let's see what it's looking like around my house.....

Christmas Tree


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Christmas

Christmas

Christmas

Christmas

And there you have it, some of the little corners of my house all decorated for Christmas :)



BLOGMAS 2016 PROMPTS


Day 1 - The Christmas Tag
Day 2 - Christmas Movies on the Must Watch List
Day 3 - Christmas Wishlist
Day 4 - Christmas Playlist
Day 5 - Pictures and Memories of Christmas Past
Day 6 - Pot Simmer Recipes
Day 7 - Cookies to be Baked (can be a recipe you make every year, or some you want to try)
Day 8 - Favorite Family Christmas Recipe
Day 9 - How do you decorate?
Day 10 - Real Tree or Artificial Tree
Day 11 - Stocking Stuffer Ideas
Day 12 - Quiet Christmas or Family Filled Loud Party Christmas?
Day 13 - Christmas Cards (do you send them, show us your favorites this year, or tells your favorite cards to send whether vintage, or bright and colorful)
Day 14 - Advent Calendar
Day 15 - Christmas Party Food Ideas
Day 16 - Winter Tag
Day 17 - Christmas Wishes
Day 18 - Homemade or Store Bought (What are you giving this year)
Day 19 - Recap of Christmas 2015 in pictures
Day 20 -  Christmas Decorations Reveal (show us your tree, your home decor, your mantle, anything you want)
Day 21 - Holiday Family Traditions
Day 22 - Preparing for the big day (show us your wrapping skills, are you making lists, getting the house ready for guests?)
Day 23 - Post whatever you wish
Day 24 - Christmas Eve (Are you opening presents tonight, is this your big celebration, what are you doing)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Happy Homemaker Monday - 12/19/2016

1:17 PM 6 Comments
Well friends this post almost didn't make it up today.

I'm sick.  Blimey!!! 

So Saturday I took my niece's engagement photos, or tried to at least, because we had no clue it was going to be so cold.  By the time we got to the place we wanted to take them at, we were experiencing record breaking cold, it was -4 with a windchill of -7.  In Texas people....in TEXAS!!!

My hands were so cold that I was in pain and couldn't even feel the buttons on the camera, my camera was having a really hard time focusing, and I knew right then and there that I was done for.

This morning I woke up with a really sore throat, running a bit of a fever, have chills, headache and am just not happy at all.  I can't get sick, there is just no time for me to be sick, I have so much going on this week.  But I've realized it is what it is, and so I'm having to cancel some plans I had with family.  It sucks but there's nothing I can do.  I am just hoping that I'm fine by Friday, otherwise I'm in big big trouble.

Anyway, sorry this is late going up, I am just not feeling well at all....but here it is, nonetheless.




As I look outside my window:::

Beautiful blue skies but still horrible low temps.  We've had temps in the negatives this whole weekend, and seems to continue throughout this week.  Right now it's 29 degrees F and it feels amazing.    

  
Right now I am:::
I just sat on the couch, I'm not well but I can't just sit back, I need to get things done so just finished vacuuming both living rooms, am busy switching laundry back and forth from washer to dryer, and I even reorganized some of my kitchen cabinets.  Don't ask me why, I'm weird like that. 


Thinking and pondering:::
On being sick and what I'm going to do.  I have a full list of food I have to make and bake for Saturday.  I have to get Christmas presents on Friday afternoon.  We have bought 3 presents and that is IT.  So Friday when hubby gets home from work, the 4 of us are heading to the mall and finishing the shopping.  It's not something I'm looking forward to because I'm pretty certain it's going to be completely insane, but unfortunately hubby doesn't get paid until Friday and we are still struggling to get back on our feet after he was laid off.  In between the Christmas shopping and the Christmas Even baking and cooking on Saturday morning, I need to fit in a grocery trip.  Don't ask me how I'm going to do this, I just don't know.

   
On my bedside table:::
Junk....books, water glass, a water bottle, necklace, earrings.....I really need to clean that table out. 
 

On my tv:::
General Hospital
Dr. Phil
Vlogs
Lots of Christmas movies on the DVR. 


Listening to:::
Silence.  My kids are on Winter break and they've been sleeping in and when I mean, sleeping in, Im mean two teenagers sleeping......and that usually entails being in bed until 1 or 2pm.  Crazy. 
     


On the menu for this week:::

Monday -  Fettucine Alfredo, Collard Greens with Garlic 
Tuesday - Slow Cooker Thick and Chunky Beef Stew, Green Beans  
Wednesday - Special Roast Chicken and Potatoes
Thursday - Pork Schnitzel and Rice
Friday - Out to eat....Christmas shopping, Grocery Shopping 
Saturday -   Christmas Eve
Sunday -  Christmas Day - Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Spinach


On my to do list:::

Kitchen.....Dishes, Reorganizing Cabinets
Housework.....Vacuum living rooms

Laundry..... Wash all bed linens
 



What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::

Working on Part 15 of Sophie's Universe.  So frustrated because I want so badly to finish the blanket, but haven't had time and doubt I'll have any at all until after Christmas. 


My simple pleasure:::

Tea with milk


Lesson learned the past week:::
That I'm sometimes a bad mom, and that is perfectly fine.  We're not perfect moms, we all fail sometimes, we all forget to do this or that, and we don't always have it together.  It's fine, it really is :)

  
Looking around the house:::
House is clean, smells clean.  It is fully decorated for Christmas which makes it look so homey and cozy.



From the camera:::

One of the pictures I took for my niece's Engagement.




BLOGMAS 2016 - Days 16, 17, 18 and 19

6:14 AM 0 Comments
Well friends, my Blogmas went to hell.  I am so sorry about this, but the past few days I have been extremely busy, lot of commitments, family things, had to take engagement photos for my niece and yesterday I needed a day of relaxation and doing nothing so that I could catch up on my house cleaning and laundry.

So, that meant that I missed 3 days of Blogmas, and I knew that might be happening because honestly, no matter how much I would like to post daily, the closer it gets to the big day, the more I may miss some.  I think today I'm going to try and actually get all my posts typed up and scheduled to publish so I won't miss anymore :)

Anyway, let's get on with it......

DAY 16 { WINTER TAG }

❄ Top 2 Winter Beauty Essentials
Good chap stick or lip balm and a really good moisturizer too.  Can't go without those. 

❄ Top 2 Winter Fashion Essentials
Boots, I wait all year long to wear them.  Scarves, super cute scarves are a must for Winter. 


❄ Favorite Winter Accessory
Probably some cute beanie hats or slouchy hats. 

❄ Favorite Winter Nail Polish
I tend to wear reds, silvers, but even a nice pink with some glitter. 

❄ Hot Cocoa or Apple Cider?
Hot Cocoa all the way.

❄ Favorite Winter Candle?
My Snowman scented candle from Yankee Candle

❄ Snowboarding or Skiing?
I do neither lol

❄ Have you ever gone Ice Skating? Are you any good or do you FAIL miserably?
Yes, when I was younger back in South Africa, we would go quite often and I absolutely loved it.  So much fun.  Haven't gone in well over 20 years though. 

❄ Does it snow where you live?
Not really, we got one day of snow last year, or rather, one hour of snow and it didn't stick at all. 

❄ Have you ever made a snowman?
Absolutely!



DAY 17 { CHRISTMAS WISHES }

I'm not quite sure if this means wishes for others or wishes for myself.

I guess if it's for others, I just wish for a healthy and blessed Christmas and new year ahead, and same thing for myself and my family, obviously.

If it's for Christmas presents, well I really don't have much I want or need, so I guess I don't really have any.

DAY 18 { HOMEMADE OR STORE BOUGHT }

I love homemade, I really do like knowing that someone took time to make something for me, or that I am giving someone something I put a lot of time and effort into.

This year, I am making two gifts, which will be those candles I showed you many years ago.  You print the picture onto wax paper and then use a hair dryer to transfer the image to the candle.  They're beautiful gifts and not very expensive, which is something I need this year.

Rest of the gifts will be store bought.  BUT, we are keeping it very simple this year, not spending a lot of money and not going overboard.

DAY 19 { CHRISTMAS 2015 PICTURES }

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December 19, 2015


BLOGMAS 2016 PROMPTS


Day 1 - The Christmas Tag
Day 2 - Christmas Movies on the Must Watch List
Day 3 - Christmas Wishlist
Day 4 - Christmas Playlist
Day 5 - Pictures and Memories of Christmas Past
Day 6 - Pot Simmer Recipes
Day 7 - Cookies to be Baked (can be a recipe you make every year, or some you want to try)
Day 8 - Favorite Family Christmas Recipe
Day 9 - How do you decorate?
Day 10 - Real Tree or Artificial Tree
Day 11 - Stocking Stuffer Ideas
Day 12 - Quiet Christmas or Family Filled Loud Party Christmas?
Day 13 - Christmas Cards (do you send them, show us your favorites this year, or tells your favorite cards to send whether vintage, or bright and colorful)
Day 14 - Advent Calendar
Day 15 - Christmas Party Food Ideas
Day 16 - Winter Tag
Day 17 - Christmas Wishes
Day 18 - Homemade or Store Bought (What are you giving this year)
Day 19 - Recap of Christmas 2015 in pictures
Day 20 -  Christmas Decorations Reveal (show us your tree, your home decor, your mantle, anything you want)
Day 21 - Holiday Family Traditions
Day 22 - Preparing for the big day (show us your wrapping skills, are you making lists, getting the house ready for guests?)
Day 23 - Post whatever you wish
Day 24 - Christmas Eve (Are you opening presents tonight, is this your big celebration, what are you doing)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

BLOGMAS 2016 - Day 15 { Christmas Party Food }

7:32 PM 4 Comments
Good evening everyone, welcome to Day 15 of Blogmas 2016.  I can't believe we are this close to Christmas, and may I just say that I'm nowhere near ready for it?


I've bought exactly ONE present, and it was for my daughter's boyfriend.  LOL  That's it, no one else has anything, and we don't get paid until next week Friday so shopping will definitely be last minute.  Oh my word!!!


Anyway, today's prompt is all about Christmas Party Food, so I'm going to leave below the pictures of what I'll be serving this Christmas eve.


Rissois de Camarao - Prawn Cakes




Rissois de Atum - Tuna Cakes




Bola de Carne - Meat Bread




Pao com Chourico - Chourico Bread




Roast Chicken Legs +






Doce de Bolacha e Leite Condensado - Cookies and Condensed Milk Pudding




Queijadas economicas - Milk Tartlets


http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7389/8716193310_eb72b92919_z.jpg


Bolo Rei




Mince Meat Pies


Homemade Mincemeat Pies


There will also be some chips and dip, a few more bits and bobs on the table, but those are the main ones.  This weekend, I'll actually be going over to my sister in law's house to bake and prepare a bunch of these for Christmas.


I've included the recipes I already have up, in case any of you would like to try some of these goodies.  :)


BLOGMAS 2016 PROMPTS


Day 1 - The Christmas Tag
Day 2 - Christmas Movies on the Must Watch List
Day 3 - Christmas Wishlist
Day 4 - Christmas Playlist
Day 5 - Pictures and Memories of Christmas Past
Day 6 - Pot Simmer Recipes
Day 7 - Cookies to be Baked (can be a recipe you make every year, or some you want to try)
Day 8 - Favorite Family Christmas Recipe
Day 9 - How do you decorate?
Day 10 - Real Tree or Artificial Tree
Day 11 - Stocking Stuffer Ideas
Day 12 - Quiet Christmas or Family Filled Loud Party Christmas?
Day 13 - Christmas Cards (do you send them, show us your favorites this year, or tells your favorite cards to send whether vintage, or bright and colorful)
Day 14 - Advent Calendar
Day 15 - Christmas Party Food Ideas
Day 16 - Winter Tag
Day 17 - Christmas Wishes
Day 18 - Homemade or Store Bought (What are you giving this year)
Day 19 - Recap of Christmas 2015 in pictures
Day 20 -  Christmas Decorations Reveal (show us your tree, your home decor, your mantle, anything you want)
Day 21 - Holiday Family Traditions
Day 22 - Preparing for the big day (show us your wrapping skills, are you making lists, getting the house ready for guests?)
Day 23 - Post whatever you wish
Day 24 - Christmas Eve (Are you opening presents tonight, is this your big celebration, what are you doing)


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