Tuesday, October 26, 2021

{ National Geographic Complete Photo Guide - TLC Book Tour }


About Complete Photo Guide

• Publisher: National Geographic (October 19, 2021)
• Hardcover: 416 pages

Photography is a fundamental skill with the power to enhance our lives, and this next book in National Geographic’s revamped how-to photography line shows how to create great pictures–from composition and camera basics to smartphones, social media, and digital editing.

With more than two billion pictures taken every day, everyone is a photographer now–and we all want to get better at it. This definitive guide shares top secrets and skills from National Geographic’s most talented photojournalists, all sure to help you capture the best pictures of what matters most.

Easy-to-follow, step-by-step pages take you through every technique you’ll need to create stunning images, from exposure to flash to image enhancement. You’ll also discover the broader dimensions of composition, photography history, and how to look at the world like a photographer. Engaging how-to features include “assignments”–such as photographing a single object to explore angles, lighting, and context–and “Why I Love this Photo,” with penetrating commentary from National Geographic photo editors on iconic photos and what makes them great. Finally, a fascinating illustrated time line of photography tracks progress from daguerrotypes to smartphones.

Practical and inspiring, this is the perfect how-to, how-it-works, and how-to-get-better guide from National Geographic, the ultimate source for everything photographic.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


REVIEW: 

Anyone who knows me, knows how I love photography and my camera.   My canon is by far, one of my most prized possessions, and something that I always take with me, if I know I'm going to a really cool place for the day.
 
I often think,  how I wish I had had the camera when my kids were born.  The amount of fantastic pictures I could have taken.
 
Nonetheless, I use it pretty much daily to record my days, and share them with you here on the blog.
 
When the opportunity came up to review the new National Geographic Complete Photo Guide, I almost fell off my chair.  How could I not want to look into this beauty.  Have you seen the photos taken by National Geographic??  WOW!!!
 
This book........oh this book.  
 
Imagine wanting to take photos just like the professional photographers, and then having their insight, secrets and advice given to you freely, page by page, with assignments included.  Yes, assignments to help you take better photos.
 

I must say over the years I've gotten pretty comfortable with ISO, lighting, composition and so on, but you never know it all, and there is so much more that I have learned just from reading through these pages.
 
I honestly can not wait to learn more, to practice and even to share more photos with you all.
 
I think that if you have a photo enthusiast in your home, this is the perfect Christmas gift.
 

 
 
Thank you to TLC Book Tours and National Geographic for this fantastic copy.
 

Monday, October 25, 2021

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 10/25/2021 }

Good morning everyone, wishing you all a blessed week ahead.
 
I know I haven't been around the blog much the past two weeks, other than the Happy Homemaker Monday posts.  I've already explained that it's been super busy around here, and I don't want to keep repeating that over and over.  I think at this point we're all sick of hearing it  Hahaha
 
Thankfully Jasmine's driving school is done, so I'll definitely have more time to devote to the blog and my home.  Very happy about that.  
 
I sure hope you're all doing well, again thank you for always stopping by and leaving such kind comments.  They mean the world to me.
 
Now, let's see what's happening in our Happy Homemaker Monday.
 



♥♥The Weather♥♥ 
I am loving all the cooler temperatures, it's been wonderful.  Crisp cool mornings, and then 70s in the afternoon.  I think if I were to pick my perfect every day weather, this would be it.  
 

 

♥♥How I am feeling this morning♥♥
I'm doing good, slept really well which is always a plus.  
 
 

♥♥On my mind♥♥ 
I got bit on my middle finger, right on the knuckle, about 2 weeks ago or so, and now I'm dealing with some pain.  I can't see anything, other than a small red spot where the bit was, but my knuckle is a bit swollen and my finger seems to get really stiff and sore when I sleep.  Through the day, the pain goes away completely though.  I am actually wondering if I am not dealing with arthritis.  
 
If any of you have arthritis, was this how it started for you?  What can I do to help the pain? 
 
 

 ♥♥On the breakfast plate♥♥
Cup of coffee with vanilla creamer.  Will have some toast later.        
 

♥♥Right now I am♥♥
Working on this post, while watching Monsters Inside:  The 24 faces of Billy Milligan, on Netflix.  Have any of you watched it?  I've heard so much about it.       
 

♥♥On my reading pile♥♥ 
I am now in James in the Bible.  
Also reading The Last Tudor by Phillipa Gregory. 

 

♥♥On today's to do list♥♥
We had family over for dinner last night, so I need to get the house back in order from that.  By the time they left, it was quite late, almost 10pm, so I picked up the essential and left the rest for today.

  • Dishes to wash
  • Pull out the leaves from the table and put them away
  • Vacuum and dust
  • Change bed linens
  • Laundry

 ♥♥On my tv♥♥
Homemaking vlogs
Monsters Inside:  The 24 faces of Billy Milligan
Crime channels on Youtube
 
Deborah at Bobbing Along, asked me in the comments about my favorite homemaking vlogs.  Most of the ones I watch are from Brazil.  But here are some favorites of mine, not just homemaking but overall:
 
Moss Family TV
Large Family Love
Dainty Diaries
Red White and Bethune
The Indie Projects
Chickens by the Lake
Sage Lilleyman
Giselle Waldner
Bernadette Banner
Darling Desi

♥♥On the menu this week♥♥

Monday - Buffalo Chicken Pasta, Salad
Tuesday - Instant Pot Beef Tips, Mashed Potatoes
Wednesday - Shrimp Alfredo, Garlic Bread, Steamed Broccoli
Thursday - Gnocchi with Spinach and Sausage
Friday - *Grocery Shopping*
Saturday -
Sunday

 
♥♥From the camera♥♥
Rainy days are my favorite.



♥♥Looking around the house♥♥
A bit of a tip.  Needs some tidying and cleaning today.
Curt is at work, both kids are still sleeping, though Jasmine will be up soon for work.

 

♥♥New recipe I tried last week, or one that we really enjoyed♥♥
For the family dinner last night, I made these delicious pork chops in a creamy oregano sauce, some basmati rice and roasted Brussells Sprouts with bacon.      
 

♥♥To relax this week, I will♥♥
Still need to make my door wreath.  But, will definitely be reading this week, I'm trying to get back into my reading routine.   



♥♥On my prayer list♥♥
My sister in law, she has 5 treatments left.
For the sale of our house in Oklahoma, to go through smoothly and soon.



Monday, October 18, 2021

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 10/18/2021 }

Good morning sweet ladies, hope you've had a wonderful weekend.  
 
I haven't been able to get a post up since last week's Happy Homemaker Monday.  It was a week a bit busier than usual, if that is even possible.  This coming week will be somewhat calmer, thankfully.  
 
Our weekend was......I don't even know how to describe it.  Let me just say, if you follow me on Instagram you will know what happened, but if not, I'll just quickly tell you that Curt was chopping wood on Saturday morning.  It's something we do every year.  He was using a chainsaw, and unfortunately the chainsaw slipped, came up and hit two fingers on the left hand, his pinky and ring finger.
 
We ended up in Urgent care, with one finger needing to be glued and the other receiving two stitches.  What a fright I got, and Curt too.  All is good now, he is on antibiotics and some pain meds, but he is ok, thanks to God.  It could have been much worse, he could have lost his fingers, or a hand.  But God as always, stepped in and protected us.  
 
Yesterday we started taking down the pool for the year.  I did most of the work, as I didn't want Curt doing anything with his fingers like that.  So this morning, I am in so much pain, my neck, my lower back, my fingers.  Goodness.  Nothing some prayer and motrin won't cure though.
 
Anyway, now you're caught up, I do have more posts going up this week and I'll fill you in on whatever else is going on then.  
 
Now, let's get going with our Happy Homemaker Monday.  


♥♥The Weather♥♥ 
Fall weather is finally here, in all it's cold glory.  We've been seeing 40 degree mornings, and highs of 70s.  I think I could get used to that, actually would be nice to have those temps all year round. 


♥♥How I am feeling this morning♥♥
Sore, but otherwise good.     
 

♥♥On my mind♥♥ 
How God is always there, always looking out for us, and doing miracles that sometimes we don't even realize.  
I went for my women's check up last week Tuesday.  Not only did I get a clean bill of health, but one of the issues I was having because of perimenopause, has completely reverted, shocking even the doctor.  She couldn't believe it and told me it doesn't just happen, it's not something that reverts, and even with treatment specific for that kind of situation, it doesn't usually work.  Praise God!!!!   
 

 ♥♥On the breakfast plate♥♥
Went completely off track this weekend, but back to the grind today.  I just had a cup of coffee, and will have some toast, or oatmeal in about an hour.      
 

♥♥Right now I am♥♥
Sitting on the bed, under the warm covers, working on this post, watching a video on TV and using my Tens Unit to try and ease up some of the pain on my neck and shoulders.     
 

♥♥On my reading pile♥♥ 
Have started Hebrews in the Bible.  I am so close to the end of the New Testament.  So happy and proud of myself for reading through the whole Bible.  
Couple review books as well.
 

♥♥On today's to do list♥♥
Homemaking.....Didn't carpet clean this weekend, so need to do that sometime this week.
Some dishes in the sink from last night, need washing.
Tidying up around the house.   
Blogging.....Still need to post the recipes on the food blog.   
 

 ♥♥On my tv♥♥
Homemaking vlogs

 

♥♥On the menu this week♥♥

Monday - Chicken Stir Fry, Egg Rolls
Tuesday - Spaghetti, Garlic Bread
Wednesday - Chicken Manicotti, Salad
Thursday - Pressure Cooker Beef, Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli
Friday - Italian Sausage Hoagies, Fries
Saturday -Gnocchi with Spinach and Sausage, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
Sunday -  Leftovers, Sandwiches

 
♥♥From the camera♥♥
This sweet boy, Elliott ♥



♥♥Looking around the house♥♥
The sun came up not too long ago, so the sun is peeking through the trees and flooding into the house.  Beautiful Fall morning rays, covering everything in a beautiful golden glow.  
Curt is off to work.  Nick is sleeping and so is Jasmine.  She is switching jobs at the moment, so she has until Wednesday to relax. 
Elliott is laying on the bed, next to me, asleep.   
 

♥♥New recipe I tried last week, or one that we really enjoyed♥♥
The Pumpkin Spice Apple Butter is delicious.   
 

♥♥To relax this week, I will♥♥
I am making a Winter Wreath for my front door, using Juniper branches and some pine cones.  Will be doing that to relax. 


 ♥♥Something I want to share♥♥ 
Bringing another beauty from Whitney Barkman.  A beautiful short video called Spend a Rainy Day with Me.  Love it and I hope you do too.

 


♥♥On my prayer list♥♥
As always, my SIL and her fight with Breast Cancer.
For our country and the whole world in general, there is so much chaos at the moment.   


Monday, October 11, 2021

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 10/11/2021 }

Good morning everyone!!!

I apologize for the post going up quite late today, but it's been a pretty crazy night for us.  A random storm blew into town last night, around 6pm.  It was so strong and the winds so high, that we couldn't see out the windows, it was just white with rain.

We immediately lost power, and end up without any power until almost 3am.  We made do, played some board games, lit some candles, had some family time which was wonderful.  However, trying to sleep was just unbearable.  It was so hot and muggy, and without electricity we couldn't turn on the fan or the air conditioner.  Me and my perimenopausal self were drenched in sweat, it was awful.

I ended up not sleeping all night, and then having to rush this morning to get Jasmine to work, and here I am now, to finally sit down and get this post up.  So, without any further delay, let's see what is happening around here.

Hope you all have a blessed week ahead.
 

♥♥The Weather♥♥ 
It is currently 63 degrees and the sun is shining.  We have more rain this week, which I always love, as long as it's not like yesterday's storm.  We ended up with a ton of broken trees, and a neighbor's trampoline in our yard, from across the field.  Crazy!!! 

Monday - 82
Tuesday - 84
Wednesday - 82
Thursday -  81
Friday - 72
Saturday - 72
Sunday - 75

♥♥How I am feeling this morning♥♥
Really tired, and hoping I can find at least 10 minutes to sneak in a quick nap.   
 

♥♥On my mind♥♥ 
A lot that I have to get done, but not sure how to do it when I'm this tired.  I will most likely just push through as I always do.  
Also have my yearly ob/gyn appointment tomorrow afternoon, and I really dislike those, so not looking forward to it at all. 
 

 ♥♥On the breakfast plate♥♥
Starting today, I am back to counting calories and watching what I eat.  Between my perimenopause and my bad eating habits the past few months, due to the stress around Marley's sickness and then his passing, I've put on 10 pounds, and it's time to get rid of them.  
I just had coffee and some toast this morning.    
 

♥♥Right now I am♥♥
Actually sitting on my bed with a blanket on my feet and legs, as I'm feeling a bit cold.  I'm typing up this post, and watching a youtube video at the same time.   
 

♥♥On my reading pile♥♥ 
I am now in 2 Thessalonians in the Bible.
Also reading Divine Encounters by Donna Rigney. 
 

♥♥On today's to do list♥♥
Homemaking.....Tidying up from the weekend and yesterday's power loss.  There are candles around the house, board games needing to be put up and just basic tidying up.  
Blogging.....Finish a post from last night that I was typing up when we lost power, and post it.  Post a few recipes on the food blog.  
 

 ♥♥On my tv♥♥
Homemaking vlogs
Some crime shows
 

♥♥On the menu this week♥♥

Monday - Ikea Style Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes,  Kobucha Squash
Tuesday - Slow Cooker Bang Bang Chicken, Rice
Wednesday - Slow Cooker Hamburger Hash, Salad
Thursday - Slow Cooker Sausage Rigatoni, Veggies
Friday - * Grocery Shopping *
Saturday -
Sunday -  

 
♥♥From the camera♥♥
Rainy days call for baking.



♥♥Looking around the house♥♥
Curt is home today because of the holiday, so he is in his office, working on his college classes.  Nick is asleep, of course.  Jasmine is at work, and I'm doing what I already told you I was doing  hahah
Elliott is laying by the front door, looking at the birds outside. 
 

♥♥New recipe I tried last week, or one that we really enjoyed♥♥
I made some Esfihas for dinner last week, it's one of the recipes that will be on the blog.  
 
 

♥♥To relax this week, I will♥♥
I have no clue what relaxing means, at least at the moment.  There is too much going on. 


 ♥♥Something I want to share♥♥ 
Let me introduce to one of my favorite kind of videos to watch on Youtube, at the moment.  I'm sure you've all heard of ASMR.  I don't care for most of this type of video, because some are sounds of chewing, or eating, whispering, and just weird things.  But, there is also the type of ASMR that brings us an ambience sound, and my absolutely favorites lately are the kind I'll show you below.
 
I just love to pop one on while I'm busy cooking, or cleaning, it brings me so much peace. 

 


♥♥On my prayer list♥♥
My SIL Hayley, her oncologist is happy with her progress so far, but her white blood cells are quite low, and if they go any lower, they will have to stop the treatments until they come back up.  She is now going 3 times a week to get shots to make her blood marrow produce faster.  Please pray that she is able to get her blood cell count raised.  
For me, for my appointment tomorrow, that everything goes well.



Sunday, October 10, 2021

{ Canning and fresh cut flowers }

IMG_1753

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” 
— L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables 
 
Oh beautiful October, beautiful fall, beautiful leaves and warm morning glow.  This time of the year brings so much peace to my soul.

It's started to get darker earlier, by 7pm the sun is already dipping below the horizon, and yesterday we had to turn on the car lights while driving home.  And I love every second of this transformation from warm to cold.

I wanted to come in and just share a bit of what I was up to the past few days.  

#1 - I would love to say that I got the recipes on the food blog.  Truth is, I didn't.  I haven't had the time, and the little downtime that I have, I end up just wanting to sit for a bit and don't have the motivation to do anything that requires me using brain.  You understand, I'm sure.

#2 -  I have so many projects that chores, tasks that need doing before the cold weather truly arrives, and I'm so hoping to get them going this week.  They need to happen and soon.
 
Okay, now that we got that out of the way, let me show what I've been up to.
 
 IMG_1756
 
My slow cookers have been working overtime.  They're either making dinner, or a side dish, or something that I need to process to be able to can for the winter time.
 
Last week's slow cooker meals, were not only delicious, but they saved me so much time, and ensured that we had a home cooked meal on the table after a day of running around.

IMG_1757


IMG_1758

I also made a delicious Pumpkin Spice Apple Butter, and canned two of them for the pantry, and left one out in the fridge.  It is soooo good, so so delicious.  It's one of the recipes on the list to be posted.

I also canned some of my nectarine brown sugar jam, and some pecans as well.  Forgot how much I enjoyed canning and am determined to get back to it, as soon as possible.

We are slowly filling our cellar with canned goods and all sorts of canned food.  I will be getting some big buckets soon for flour and sugar too. 

IMG_1759

I mentioned last week how I made this Immune Booster drink.  I've been taking a tablespoon every day, especially going into the cold and flu season.  It packs quite a punch and I'm sure it is going to be wonderful especially with such ingredients as grapefruit, lemon, ginger, cinnamon and tonic water.

IMG_1769

IMG_1777

As our gardens come to a crawl and put out the last of their beautiful blooms, I've been trying to make the most of them by bringing them in, and adding pops of color to different rooms of the house.
 
Walking into a room, smelling the outdoors and seeing the beautiful flowers, is sure to brighten your day, at least it does mine.

IMG_1781

IMG_1809

IMG_1782

I also brought out more of my candles, and placed them in different rooms.  Not just for those nights when we lose power due to strong storms (which happen more often than we would like), but even though I light candles all year long, there is something magical about candlelight.  

It invokes a feeling of cozy and warm, of soft blankets, cups of coffee or tea, a cheeky cookie or a slice of cake.  Crackling fires, and the sound of rain or a winter storm blasting outside.

IMG_1812

IMG_1816

I've started gathering wood and getting the fireplace ready, and can't quite wait for the first fire of the season to be lit.  

As I type this post, a storm has moved in, and is howling outside, trees are dancing to and fro, and our lights are starting to flicker.  


I had no sooner finished typing that line, and we lost power.  It would go on to last from 7pm to 3am.  I think one of the longest we've lost power due to a storm.  There is a lot of damage outside, a neighbor's trampoline from across the field, is in our front yard.  A mangled mess of bent iron and torn fabric.

Trees have come down, huge branches have broken off and toppled to the ground and we have a lot to clean up.

I just wanted to come in and quickly finish this post so that I could post it for you all.  Thankfully, we were ok, and aside from losing power, we were kept safe by the Lord.


Friday, October 08, 2021

{ A Royal Christmas Fairy Tale by Karen Schaler - TLC Book Tour }

  A Royal Christmas Fairy Tale
 
 
• Publisher: HawkTale Publishing (October 5, 2021)
• Paperback: 358 pages
 
A “sweet Christmas charmer…” – Publishers Weekly

This feel-good, humorous, and heartwarming new Christmas romance, about the power of believing in yourself to find your happily ever after, is from the Emmy Award-winning writer of the Netflix sensation A Christmas Prince and Hallmark’s beloved Christmas Camp, the movie and novel. This enchanting escape is just what your heart needs this holiday season…

A charming Christmas village, a storybook castle, a royal ball, and a gorgeous prince are the last things New York City reporter Kaylie Karlyle expects to find on her holiday freelance assignment to Europe. But when the family she’s interviewing turns out to be the royal family of Tolvania, Kaylie has a meltdown when the quirky queen wants her to write a Christmas fairy tale for the spunky, young princess. Kaylie must battle the princess’s father, who doesn’t trust the media, and her own insecurities about writing anything beyond the news.

To spark inspiration for the fairy tale, the queen recruits the prickly Prince Alexander to show Kaylie the family’s most spectacular royal holiday traditions. And sparks definitely fly when the only thing Kaylie and the prince agree on is that they’re both more “bah humbug” than “ho, ho, ho.”

But somewhere between sleigh rides and snow angels, merrymaking and mistletoe, upside-down Christmas trees, and a legendary Christmas crown, Kaylie and the prince open their hearts to Christmas and start believing in themselves and each other. It’s a real-life fairy tale in the making until Kaylie discovers a secret about a royal Christmas heirloom that jeopardizes everyone’s happily ever after. Can the magic of the season save this holiday happy ending?

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Thriftbooks

 

About Karen Schaler

Photo by Scott Foust

Karen Schaler is a prolific and passionate three-time Emmy Award–winning storyteller, author, screenwriter, journalist, and national TV host. In the last three years, she has written five rom-com novels and five Christmas movies for Netflix, Hallmark, and Lifetime, including the Netflix sensation A Christmas Prince and Hallmark’s Christmas Camp. Karen also wrote the Christmas Camp and Christmas Camp Wedding books (HarperCollins). For her next novels, Finding Christmas, Christmas Ever After, and A Royal Christmas Fairy Tale, Karen is also writing the movies and writing three feature films, including a summer rom-com and an inspiring true-life story.

All of Karen’s books and movies have received ongoing national TV, print, and online media attention including two exclusive features on NBC’s TODAY show and features in Forbes, Parade, Entertainment Weekly, Entertainment Tonight, The Wall Street Journal, Southern Living, Bustle, and Cosmo.

Embracing the Christmas spirit of giving back, Karen trademarked her Christmas Camp concept and is bringing her Hallmark movie and books to life hosting fun and festive one-of-a-kind Christmas Camp experiences worldwide where everyone is invited! All of Karen’s stories are filled with humor, heart, and hope. For more

Find out more about Karen at her website, and connect with her on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

 
REVIEW:
You guys, this book.....this book.  If you love Christmas and are ready to get into the season (like I am), then this is a must read.
 
Bonus?  You even get some yummy recipes included, which is always a big seller for me.
 
So, what is A Royal Christmas Fairy Tale about?  Well, let me tell you, first of all, that it is written by the Queen of Christmas Romance herself, Karen Schaler.  If you don't know who she is, you need to get acquainted and quick, but then again, perhaps you already have without even knowing because Karen is the author and writer of many Christmas movies for Netflix and Lifetime.  
 
One of my favorite Netflix movies for Chrismas, last year, was A Christmas Prince.  Yes, that movie was written by this outstanding author, and now she brings us a story very similar but in book form.

Kaylee is excited about her freelance writing assignment to Europe.  She can not wait to get overseas, find out exactly what her assignment is, and show off her journalistic skills.

Only, she is going to be in Tolvania, writing a Christmas fairy tale, for a young princess.  If that doesn't throw her off, she also has to deal with the Queen herself, who happens to the be the grandmother requesting this writing piece for her granddaughter, and the rude, obnoxious, hates anything to do with the media, Prince Alexander, who is the young girl's father.

There are mishaps, and frustrations, but in good Christmas romance fashion, there is a romance that takes off no matter how much Kaylie or Prince Alexander try to avoid it.  

It's just all we expect from a wonderful Christmas movie, rolled into page after page of brilliant writing. 

I had already told my husband, yesterday, that I was skipping Halloween and going straight into Christmas decorating for the holidays.  This book just made me want to do it all the more, and I may just have to start digging out the decor by next week.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Hawktale Publishing for providing me with a review copy.



Thursday, October 07, 2021

{ Autumn is here....sights and sounds }

 
(click to play, while reading this post)
 
 
It is a beautiful, crisp, Autumn morning. 
 
I just love this time of year, when Summer starts slowing down, and Autumn creeps in slowly, but steady.  I always think of this season as the quiet intruder, coming in slowly, not making much noise, a change in a leaf here, a change in the leaf there.
 
A few degrees cooler one morning, and before you know it, you are smack dab in the middle of it's beauty, and left wondering how you got there, without you hardly noticing.
 
 IMG_1751

IMG_1725

Curt and I took a walk around our property this weekend, and of course, the camera was in hand to capture the signs of Autumn, because as I said above, you often miss them in your day to day life.  We are so busy with life that we tend to miss the small details.

I never used to pay attention, until I started blogging.  I then realized that I needed to always be on the lookout for a blog worthy picture.  It started that way and with that intention, but it taught me to stop and really look around everywhere I went.

I started to take in the details of the smallest and sometimes trivial things around us.  Before I knew it, I was searching these things out, not for a blog post, but just because of the peace and joy it brought me.

IMG_1726

IMG_1727
 
As we walked around our 3 acres, it dawned on me that God had brought us here, picked this house and placed us in a place that He knew I would fall in love with.
 
Outside our property gate, is life.  With it's technologies and busy schedules, cars and trucks, highways and shopping malls.
 
But the minute I pass my gate, through the driveway, to the house, I step into another place, especially during the cooler months of the year.  

IMG_1732

IMG_1733

IMG_1734

IMG_1735

IMG_1736
 
And as we walked around, looking at the property line, making sure everything is as it should be, planning and talking, I realized that there are areas that almost feel magical.

Secret Garden kind of magical.

IMG_1737

I walk between the trees, the only sounds coming from the crunching of the leaves beneath my feet, and the birds chirping on the trees.

Leaves of every color, shape and size, fall gently to the ground around me.  The air smells different, it's a mixture of cool, mulch, compost soil and pine needles.  Isn't it wonderful how certain scents and aromas can transport us immediately to a specific place?

Pine trees, pine needles and pine cones have that trigger for me.

One whiff of those and I am 5 years old, living in Portugal.  It is a cool Autumn day, and we are at the forest attending a huge picnic.  I don't recall what it was for, who the people were, or why we were even there, but I do recall the same feeling, the same trees, the same smells, the same crunching of leaves beneath my feet as I ran laughing with my brothers.  And at the end of the day, when we packed up our belongings in the car and got ready to leave, I remember feeling this sadness that I had to leave that beautiful magical place.
 
IMG_1739

IMG_1742

IMG_1745
 
In my need and attempt to slow down, and to grab hold of my life instead of letting the busy routine take over, I am finding ways to calm my soul.
 
Sometimes, it is through a home cooked, stick to your ribs kinda meal, or a sip from a hot chocolate topped with the whitest fluffiest cream.  And sometimes, it is through sounds and music.  Lately it's been more sounds and ambience creating videos that really touch deep inside and invoke in me a peace and calm that is very much needed.

IMG_1746

IMG_1750

IMG_1749

Right at the top of this post, I left you a video and I invited you to click on it and listen while reading my thoughts this morning.

When ASMR first came out, I was so put off by it, because it seemed to go in a very weird direction that I did not feel comfortable with.  Sounds of people eating, chewing, drinking, breathing and so on.  Many people grabbed onto it right away, and enjoyed these type of videos.  Me?

I shrunk back.

See I tend to be the one that goes against the flow, with many things.  That whole tik tok for example, I can tell you that I may be one of the very few who has never created an account on it, never downloaded it, don't ever go on there, and the only time I even see anything is by scrolling through Instagram, or if one of my family members shows me.

It's not my thing.

But back to the ASMR.  Once the weird side of it got played out, many decided to take it in a different direction, one which I absolutely adore.  It has brought me hours of peace and calm, like I can't even tell you.

There is something about the sounds of nature, birds, creeks, or the sounds of a quiet kitchen in the winter, the fire crackling, whisking of batter in a bowl, or even washing a dish.

Now those sounds, create just the right ambience for me.  And so lately I have found myself with these kind of videos on repeat.  Many are above 2 hours, most are 5 or even 8 hours long.  Perfect to turn on, and go about your day with relaxing sounds that calm the anxiety and the tense soul.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

I hope you enjoyed this little look into Autumn on my side of the world, and I sure hope that you too are seeing signs all around you.  Take a step outside, breathe in the fresh air, it will do you a ton of good.

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

{ Trying to grasp this temporary routine }

IMG_1699

It is 55 degrees outside, the birds are chirping, my windows are open and the house is quiet. If I bottle up a perfect Fall/Autumn morning, it would be this one.

I'm still trying to get used to this new routine, and knowing me, I will master it the day before it ends.  Hahaha

We still have another 2 and a half weeks of driving school, but my girl is doing so well, she has her permit now and she is getting ready to start doing her actual driving hours.  She is excited and albeit a bit anxious still, but that is normal.  I've been driving forever and I still get a bit anxious especially on the highway.  

But, the routine is just insane.  I feel so tired, like I haven't really been able to relax or get much downtime, so I'm trying to cram everything I want to do get done in my day, into every single spare moment.

IMG_1700

I am so determined to get a grip on my days, that I've pulled out my planner and have actually been using it.  If you're a huge planner person, you're probably laughing at me, and that's quite alright.  But I'm the girl who loves the concept of planners, and buys them, and then never touches them.  I don't know why.

But I pulled it out, and have been using it to keep me on track, or try to at least.

IMG_1727

In the middle of this craziness, driving back and forth and all that, Fall is well under way, which means we have a ton of work to do around the property.  So we are also trying to get things done, as we can, and cramming most of it into the weekends.  It's great, but also kind of counter productive in a way, because I'm so busy during the week, and Curt is so busy with work and college classes too, that we don't get to rest or relax on the weekend either.

It's just our life at the moment and we're both getting through it without complaining, because really there is no sense in wasting time doing that when it changes nothing, right?

It is temporary.  That's all!

Some of the things I've been doing, is preparing for the cold weather.  If you've followed me for a while, you know that every year, around October, I make my Winter Concoction for the fridge.  If you want to make it for yourself, there is a recipe, or step by step rather, already on the blog.  


IMG_1722

This year I also made a new mixture that is amazing for the winter crud, let's put it that way.  It brings out all the phlegm, it helps with colds and flus and is just brilliant for your immune system.  I will share it on the food blog, just haven't had time to sit and do it, but hopefully today.

IMG_1723

IMG_1729

Our pecan trees are about ready to be harvested.  We actually have some of the most beautiful pecans growing this year and we are so excited for the harvest.  They don't produce every year, I think I've mentioned it before, but it's something we had to learn after moving to this house.  I had no clue about pecan trees, or any trees of any kind. 

Our Pecan trees produce every two years.  

We have 6 on our property and a few baby ones growing too.  It's wonderful that God has blessed us with some many producing trees, but the harvest usually yields far more pecans than we can handle.  We gift them to family and friends, and then I use as much as I can.

We still have two buckets from 2 years ago, that I am trying to shell and process as fast as I can, before the new ones come in.  So, will be making pecan milk, pecan pie filling for canning, and also canning  roasted pecans.  A lot to do and I'm not sure how or when I'll be able to get it all done, but I'll do it.

IMG_1748

I know my posting has been a bit sporadic, since I was working so hard on getting back on track here on the blog, but our plans are never really our plans.  God's plans supersede everything, and so we just go with the flow.  
 
This whole driving school thing came out of nowhere because of Jasmine's job, so we got thrown into this routine, literally from one day to the other.  Life is like that though, isn't it?

On my to do list for today, I have to iron a few work shirts for Curt and a few other things, I am also going to be taking Jasmine to school later, and to pop into her work real quick at 1pm.  

In between all this, I need to get this post up, hopefully get some of the food blog recipes up too, and I also want to get some Pumpkin Spice Apple Butter going in one crockpot, so that I can process it all later tonight, as well as getting dinner going in a second crockpot.

Oh goodness.

But, what I'm going to actually do, is instead of dropping her off, coming back home and returning to pick her up, I'm going to stay there.  It's two hours, but I'll take my laptop, and use that time to get all the recipes up on the food blog, edit photos and if I still have time, maybe watching something on Youtube.  Who knows.

Again, it's all about organizing and planning.

I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday.  I am going to get up, make my bed, get dressed and start on some of these tasks.

Instagram