Monday, February 28, 2022

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 02/28/2022 }

Good morning friends, welcome back to my blog.  Hope you've had a wonderful weekend with your family.
The past few days I've been so busy, that I didn't get to post my daily posts, and I missed them.  Isn't it weird, I wasn't posting daily for the longest time, then did so for a week and the minute I miss a post or two, I actually felt it and missed them.  It's a good thing to miss though :) 
So, welcome back, hope you're all doing well, and let's see what is happening around our homes.   
Have a blessed week friends ♥   

♥♥ The Weather ♥♥
Still waiting for all the snow and ice to melt, but thankfully it is almost gone.  I am hoping that was the last winter storm of the season.  Woke up this morning to icy car windows and 20 degrees, but we're warming up to 67 this afternoon, and the rest of the week we are well into the high 70s.  Looking forward to that.  

Monday - Partly cloudy, 67
Tuesday - Partly cloudy, 74 
Wednesday - Sunny, 76
Thursday - Mostly sunny, 78 
Friday - Partly cloudy, 78
Saturday - Sunny, 80
Sunday - AM thunderstorms, 72

♥♥ How I am feeling ♥♥
Really well.  I've been sleeping well the past two weeks, and I've also started taking probiotics which have made a huge difference with my stomach and overall feeling.  
Curt and I went to pick up Jasmine from work last night, and as we were driving I was looking out the window and just thinking, how content and happy and joyful, I felt.  There is is this peace over me, and a general feeling of contentment, which I hadn't felt in many many years.  It's wonderful.   

♥♥ On the breakfast plate ♥♥
Had a cup of coffee and some toast, with butter and homemade cream cheese

♥♥ On my reading pile ♥
Started  The Sugar Camp Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini.  Also have Who are You Following by Sadie Robertson, for a review coming up.

♥♥ On my TV ♥♥
*  My Portuguese soaps, Quero e Viver, Serra and Para Sempre. 
My Family Secrets Revealed - It is over on Britbox and is very similar to Who do You think you Are and Finding Your Roots.  I love shows like these, it's fascinating to me seeing other people's genealogy discovered.
Lark Rise to Candleford - rewatching this favorite of mine. (btw, you can watch on Hulu)

♥♥ On the menu ♥♥
This week I'll start working on the new menu, I think I want to try and keep it budget friendly again, make some family favorites, some easy and inexpensive meals. 

Chicken and Pork Pastries, Oven roast potatoes, salad
(I have some leftover chicken, and pork from meals last week, that I'm going to use to make these pastries.  I always try to used things up and not waste any food, and especially nowadays, I feel it's something we should all be doing.)

Pasteis de Massa Tenra

Baked Ziti, Garlic Bread, sauteed zucchini 

Baked Ziti

Skillet Spanish Rice, Steamed Broccoli

Fried Chicken with Milk Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Salad 

*Grocery Shopping*



♥♥ From the camera ♥♥
I have so much enjoyed having the fireplace going, last week.  We made s'mores, I cooked toast over the open fire, and it kept our home nice and warm without having to rely, as much, on the central heating.  
The family gathered around it.  I found the kids just sitting in front of the fire, chatting or watching videos on their phones.  It's wonderful to see them just sitting there, and makes me reminisce back to when they were little one. 

♥♥ Looking around the house ♥♥
The house is quiet, both Curt and Jasmine are off to work, and Nick is still asleep.  Elliott is sleeping as well, at my feet, while I type up this post.
There is a basket of clean laundry needing folding, just sitting on my couch.  I set it there this morning before heading out the door.
At this moment, the house is lit up by the warm sun, and I honestly believe there is nothing like that early morning glow covering the entire house. 

♥♥ To do list ♥♥
* Vacuum and dust living room and dining room
* Start new menu plan
* Fold laundry, and do another load
* Pick up Jasmine at 3
* Pull out my older cookbooks for meal inspiration
♥♥ Today's Devotional ♥♥
If wrong were right, grace wouldn't be necessary.  If sin weren't evil and wrong, Jesus would never have had to come.  
 - New Morning Mercies Devotional by Paul David Tripp 

Thursday, February 24, 2022

{ Do not fear, but be prepared }


I wish I could say that I am having a great day, or that my heart is full of joy.  The truth however, is that my heart is heavy, and my soul burdened with the current situation in Ukraine.  It is mind boggling to me that in this day and age, we are still observing these kind of wars, these kind of invasions and total disregard for human life.

Here we are, sitting in a warm house, safe, joyful and free, while thousands of miles away, mothers are trying to soothe their children under the sound of sirens and explosions, and husbands and fathers are picking up arms, and preparing to fight for their nation.  It really is heartbreaking.

But my heart breaks for the citizens of Russia as well, because they too did not choose this at all, and are also being thrown into the middle of this conflict.  

As Christians we have to pray, pray for the innocent lives that will be caught in the crossfire of this senseless war.  We also need to pray for the people in power of both nations, for discernment, for wisdom, that the Holy spirit speaks to their hearts and they listen to God.

So although our hearts may feel broken or burdened, we are not to be fearful.  We need to prepare because if you have ever studied history or researched wars of this kind or any kind, for that matter, it ends up having an effect on everyone.  It has a trickling effect that absolutely touches every nation in the world.



So we pray, and we prepare.  Make sure that you are stock piling, even if you can only afford a few extra cans of soup when you get groceries, that's fine.  Just remember that gas prices will soar even more, it will affect food chains, and so on.  This isn't meant to scare anyone, but we need to be keeping our eyes on God, and praying ourselves, our families and the rest of the world, though this season.

I'll close in saying, remember to read Matthew 24:6.   
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.


The winter storm we've been under, is still hanging on.  Our roads are so icy, so icy, that we are pretty much stuck at home without being able to leave.  Traveling is tricky, I have seen many videos of traffic on the highways sliding and struggling to stay on the road.

Thankfully the snow and ice stopped last night, but the temperatures are still pretty cold, and without sun and warmth to start melting the ice, we may just be stuck again tomorrow.

Schools in the area have been closed all week, and so has the base.  

I tell you, I love winter, but at this point, I'm ready for it to leave, take it's snow and ice and let spring come alive.  



As we were all sitting around talking about what is happening, Nick made a comment that made us laugh, because he said that it's my moment to shine, if things get difficult.  He said that I have spent years reading up on history, learning about the great depression, world war I and II, wartime recipes, rationing and so forth.

I found it funny that he said that.  But truly, the more I think on it now, the more I realize that all that knowledge I learned about in books and documentaries, really can come in handy were we to be thrust into similar situations or difficult times.  The prices of everything right now are already quite bad, and if they continue to rise, I definitely need to take a look at our budget, and start figuring out what to feed my family with the food I am able to get.  

I've even thought that maybe I could do a fun series over here on the blog and together with the food blog too, on easy, cheap meals, ration recipes, wartime and so on.  It would be educational for us all, but also provide some ideas on inexpensive meals to make.

If I do decide to do that, I will need to do a lot more research, but I think it could be interesting.
For dinner tonight we are keeping it easy, everyone wants to do just leftovers, or sandwiches or cereal.  I guess no one is very hungry for a big meal, which is fine with me.  I will probably have a cup of tea and a sandwich later.
Right now, I am going to read my devotional for today and my Bible, and then probably read my book.  I haven't felt much like watching anything on TV, nothing is catching my interest today.
I am praying I wake up to clear roads tomorrow, so that we can all get back on track, back to work and our normal routines.
Have a wonderful rest of Thursday.  Please remember to stop for a few minutes and pray for the people of Ukraine, Russia and the world in general.  We all need prayer right now.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

{ Another Winter Storm }


This week, oh this week has been a bit unproductive.  Partly because we've been dealing with another winter storm, which has actually shut down the base today, and caused icy roads.  But also, partly because I've taken the past two days, Monday and Tuesday, to stop, sit and recharge.

Ok so what was I recharging from?

I need to be completely honest with you all, and lately social media, news, the world in general is really starting to get on my nerves.  There is too much noise, too much nonsense, too much going on.  Althought the only social media I really stick to is Instagram,  even that is starting to irritate me.

Can we just talk about the new influx of reels on that platform?

Why?  It used to be a place where we enjoyed a feed of beautiful photos, and then of course stories, if you wanted to.  Now, it is a constant push for videos.  I try to scroll down my feed and it is just reel after reel, I may as well be on TikTok.
Sometimes all that constant visual attack becomes a bit too much.  So I took Monday and Tuesday to sit.  I just did my housework, sat and had coffee, read and basically just turned things off.  I feel much better now.



I caught up on one of my Portuguese soaps, snacked on things I shouldn't, and finished my Year of Wonders book.

I also:
Used some of my book credits on Paperbackswap to order a book series that I have been wanting.
Janette Oke's Women of the West.  I got books 1 through 8.

Made a delicious but simple cake for our afternoon coffee.  It is a condensed milk cake, all done in the blender, so really easy to throw together.


Talked back and forth with my stepmom in South Africa.  My mother is not doing very well and may need to be put in a home, which is a very difficult decision to make.  We are trying to figure out what to do, which home is best and how to go about this without making my mother angry.  

You know I always heard about situations like this, and knew that one day I may be faced with it myself, but when it finally comes knocking at the door, you're never really prepared to make that decision and all the consequences that come with it.


I also took some time to deal with all my plants in the house.  I'm propagating my Heartleaf philodendron right now.  It was so full, and had many hanging branches, so cut it back a bit, cut off some of the dead leaves, and have a ton of cuttings sitting in water to root.
I was going to propagate my money tree as well, but it doesn't have many good branches yet, and I didn't want to mess with it.  It is looking beautiful though.  I actually need to get a new bigger pot to transplant it.



The weather.......what can I say that isn't summed up in one single word.....CRAZY!!!  I will never understand going from 83 one night, and waking up to 20 degrees in the morning.  

It does make everything look beautiful, so there's that at least.  Funny thing though is that just a few days ago, I was commenting with Curt on how the grass is all starting to turn green.  He loves it but also doesn't look forward to that simply because of the time it takes to cut all the grass, in a 3 acre property. 


The past two days, I did a quick tidy up on my bookshelves as well, rotated some out, moved some to the front and others to a different shelf.  I got some review books in the mail that I need to place in my usual "Book Review" shelf, so that I don't get them mixed up with my own books.
Which reminds me, I need to check my emails and make sure all the review books have made it in from the publishers.

Dinners these past two nights have been some of our faves too.  Monday night we had Spaghetti and Meatballs, and last night we had Sausage Rice.  Tonight I'm making my dad's favorite chicken with carrots, will pair it with potato and carrot mash and a salad.

We have snow coming down at the moment, and this winter storm is lasting until tomorrow night, so we may all be snowed in again tomorrow.  It will be another day of reading, watching TV, and spending time together.

I also went through my Youtube and removed some subscriptions to channels I don't watch anymore.  I've done the same with Instagram, and have removed any account that is anything political related or news or anything of that sort.  Instead I have kept my feed to homemaking, crochet, and other pretty things that bring me joy. 

I don't know folks, the older I get the less patience I have for nonsense.  I want my life to be surrounded by good Christian things, pretty things, people that I find inspiring and so forth.  I've struggled lately even with some homemaking channels and accounts who have become exhausting to follow.  

Everything is about keeping up with the Joneses, the latest trend, making money, bringing in more followers and the kind of things that do not interest me at all.  I just want peace and quiet  Hahahah

Anyone else feeling the same way lately?

Just peace, just quiet, real homemaking without commercializing it, reading good books and staying true to ourselves.   Let's get back to exchanging recipes, talking about our families, showing our crochet doilies and things of that sort.   Maybe it's just me, but that's how I've been feeling.

Anyway, that's where I've been the past 2 days and what I've been up to.  I am going to type up the recipe for the cake, so that I can post it on the food blog.  I hope you're all doing well, and keeping warm.

I WILL be back tomorrow with another post, so see you then.

Monday, February 21, 2022

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 02/21/2022 }

Good morning sweet ladies, how was your weekend?
Mine was wonderful, quiet, but too short.  Though, I am quite happy today is a holiday, and I have my whole family home with me.  Curt is going to take Jasmine driving today to get her the practice she needs, but other than that, nothing else planned, especially since we have thunderstorms incoming later today.
I hope you all have a blessed week ahead, thank you for always coming by, joining in with this feature, and leaving such sweet comments.  I appreciate you all very much. 

♥♥ The Weather ♥♥
It feels so good out this morning.  It is currently 48 degrees, no wind just a little breeze.  I already opened my back patio door to let in the fresh air.  We are expecting a high of 78 today but by Wednesday there is another Winter storm incoming with ice and snow.  *sigh*

Monday - A mix of cloud and sun, 78
Tuesday - Mostly sunny,51
Wednesday - Wintry mix, 25
Thursday - Wintry mix, 35 
Friday - Partly cloudy, 41
Saturday - Cloudy, 43
Sunday - Sunny, 60

♥♥ How I am feeling ♥♥
I have been sleeping amazingly well, since using Alexa for the sleep sounds at night.  It's unbelievable just how well they help me sleep. 

♥♥ On the breakfast plate ♥♥
Just a cup of coffee so far, in about an hour or so I'll have some toast and an egg. 

♥♥ On my reading pile ♥
Finished Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, and today I'm starting The Sugar Camp Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini.

♥♥ On my TV ♥♥
*My Portuguese soaps, Quero e Viver, Serra and Para Sempre. 
*Youtube vlogs

♥♥ On the menu ♥♥
On the menu for the next two weeks, are family favorites.  I went back on my food blog, and just added meals we've enjoyed over the years.  All recipes are on Full Bellies, Happy Kids already, some I need to update, they are either missing photos or have really old ones that need updating.   So if you follow one of the links and the recipes don't look right, that is the reason.

 Sausage Rice, Fried Okra
 Chicken Alfredo, Salad

Meatballs and Spaghetti, Garlic Knots
Dad's Favorite Chicken, Mashed Potatoes with carrot, Salad
Sandwich Ring

Baked Ziti, Homemade Garlic Bread

Honey Mustard Chicken Strips, Homemade Waffle Fries, Bacon Thousand Island Chopped Salad

♥♥ From the camera ♥♥
I'm sharing this photo below to show you, that even I have cakes that sometimes stick to the pan.  It doesn't happen very often, and I'm not even sure why some choose to do this, but it happens.  As long as it doesn't affect the taste, that's all that matters.  
This is a condensed milk cake, that I made yesterday afternoon.  

♥♥ Looking around the house ♥♥
The back patio door is open and the only sounds coming in are birds chirping loudly.  I love it, it's one of my favorite things about living in the country.
Elliott is currently laying across the back of the couch, enjoying the sun rays coming in.  Aside from the sound of my keyboard keys, and the birds outside, the house is silent, as everyone is enjoying sleeping in on their day off. 

♥♥ To do list ♥♥
* Vacuum living room and dust
* Pay bills
* Tidy house
* Start new book
* Take pictures for next blog post
♥♥ Today's Devotional ♥♥
The good life is not found in the success of my will, but in the submission of all things to God’s will. - New Morning Mercies Devotional by Paul David Tripp

Saturday, February 19, 2022

{ My kind of Saturday }


When I was younger, actually when I was a teenager, I loved sleeping in.  I would sleep until 10 or 11 and sometimes feel like I didn't have enough sleep.

I also remember seeing my parents taking afternoon naps on the weekends, and I couldn't understand why.  I felt that it was such a waste of a good day.  Musings from a teenager who didn't understand adulthood and how much she would one day come to treasure the naps and the early mornings.

Nowadays, if I get a chance to get in even just a 10 minute nap, you bet I will take it.  Although, to be honest, it's like my body just goes into nap mode if I am sitting down for longer than 10 minutes.  The eyes start closing, your body starts relaxing, and before you know it you're sitting on the couch, mouth wide open and fast asleep.

My kids like to laugh at me when they walk by.  I must look quite the sigh Hahahah


About 10 years ago, I started realizing that I am in fact, a morning person.  I treasure the quietness, the darkness of dawn, being able to sit on the couch with a cup of hot coffee, and being with my own thoughts and the Lord, while the house is still fast asleep.

Though, before my Marley passed away last year, he would be at my feet too.  Now my company comes in the form of a fluffy cat.  Who would have ever thought that I would have a cat for a the highly allergic to cat person.  But he brings me so much joy.  He waits for me every morning, on the other side of my bedroom door, and the minute I open it, he starts purring and meowing softly at me.

As I walk into the kitchen, he drops at my feet constantly, laying on his back, stretching, meowing, tail wagging, purring loudly, and those moments right there, bring me such happiness.  They truly warm my heart.

My Elliott, my sweet boy ♥




My morning started at 6am, I made myself a cup of coffee, fed Elliott and opened the curtains in the living room.  I prayed, I scrolled through Instagram for a few minutes and then enjoyed the last bit of my coffee, while watching the sun rising and the birds outside the window.



After dropping Jasmine at work, I made my way home and started the laundry going.  Made a sandwich, and refilled my salt container.




Gave the kitchen and the island a quick clean and tidy, and watered my plants.  

Speaking of plants, I wanted to show you this Peace Lily.  I received it from my mother in law, 4 years ago when my grandmother passed away.  Since then, I've been able to propagate it a couple times, have lost some of it, but it's coming back again and I'm so happy to see it thriving.

It's sad that I've lost both my grandmother and my mother in law within these past 4 years, but each time I look at this plant, I remember them both fondly, and I smile knowing that they are both in Heaven, probably having the biggest chat over a cup of tea.


I got all my housework done, then sat down on my bed with my book.  It's the kind of day that I just love.  Not having real commitments to be anywhere and being able to read for as long as I want to.

I wasn't sure I would enjoy the book, it started really well, then it got a bit blah and I almost, almost put it aside and reached for a different one.  However, I didn't.  I told myself I had to read these books, that was the goal and that were the rules I made, so it would be kind of wrong to break them.  Besides, I am trying really hard to stick with my reading goal for this.

Around lunch time, I set it aside, because Curt and I had to run to Walmart to pick up some laundry detergent, which I didn't get at the commissary, and a few other little bits that the commissary didn't have.

We returned home and I went right back to my book.



As I read more into it, I am finding it more interesting and am quite enjoying the story.  If you don't know, it is a novel about the plague in London and tells the story of Anna Frith, in the year 1666.  The story itself is inspired on the true events that occurred in the village of Eyam during that horrible plague.

If it's something that interests you, you may enjoy this book.

And that my friends was my Saturday, nothing really going on.  Just a very laid back, slow day that is now culminating in me sitting on my bed, again, this time showered and in my warm pajamas, ready to continue reading a little more before calling it a night.

I know, it's a Saturday night and my idea of a fun time, is curling up with a book and being asleep before 10pm.  *snicker*

Friday, February 18, 2022

{ Grocery shopping was interesting }


I've tried to be nice about this weather, but I'm now over it.  Today was much colder than Thursday, we woke up to ice all over the cars and lawn, and a bitter cold that really cut to the bone.

It was 18 degrees.  I know I probably have no right to complain about the cold, because I think some of you are in much colder areas and still dealing with a ton of snow, but as bad as I feel for you all, I still dislike this cold we're having over here.  

Cold weather usually calls for a bowl of hot oatmeal, and the one I always make in my instant pot, always hits the spot.  I don't think I've ever made a creamier oatmeal, so good.

I added in a chopped banana that I had in the fridge, it was already super ripe and no one was going to eat it.  

I got my bed made, got dressed and ready for the day, and then headed out to drop Jasmine off, and head to the commissary.

I hadn't been to a grocery store for a while, I've been using the Walmart pick up, but I missed the actual shopping in person, and was very excited to get in the store.


It was an interesting grocery trip.  I think it was the first time that I really struggled to get what I needed, lots of empty shelves, and the prices seem to have doubled and tripled.  My first reaction was to get a bit worried, you can't but feel a bit scared.  

But I quickly felt a peace come over me.  It was as if God was telling me to stop and not let it scare me, to remember that He is in control and that He is our provider.

I was also quickly reminded that this is when I thrive.  That sounds a bit strange to say, but what I mean is, I love cooking and love a challenge, and trying to figure out what meals to make with what I have on hand is quite exciting for me.

So, the way to get through this is to pray on it, leave it in God's hands and then get to work being creative, and making meals that are inexpensive but still delicious.  At least that's what we are hoping for, right?

Ok, so for groceries today, I think this was the most I've paid in many many years.  My total came to $332.  



I am so glad that I've always menu planned, because it does help a lot when trying to stay on track and not overspend or impulse buy at the store.
I got just what I needed for the next two week's meals, although there were a few items that I had to buy because we were completely out of.  Things like toothpaste, deodorants and then some spices that were empty as well.  Those things are not things I buy on a regular basis, but it just so happened that today was the day I had to replenish them. 


I noticed that the fridge with the coffee creamers , was quite empty.  There were only a few in there, and they were so expensive.  I just grabbed a French Vanilla and walked away.  
The big Great Value Vanilla creamer you see on the shelf above, is from my last grocery run.  I've been making it last.  I also never make coffee with just creamer, because it's too sweet and it will finish really quickly.  I always do milk and then a splash of the creamer.

Do we love our creamer in the coffee?  Yes.  Is it absolutely a need to have?  No.  I grew up drinking coffee with just milk, and if need be, it will go back to that.  It's all about adjusting and going with the flow.

We need to start looking at grocery shopping, as wants and needs.  Some things are needs, of course, but a lot of our groceries are sometimes wants or splurges.  Extras so to speak, and if we need to go without those for a while, then we do.


Perfect example of a want and not a need, is this bag of salad.  I make salad at home all the time, but this one looked good and I've never tried it, so grabbed a bag.  Thankfully, it was only $2, so not a splurge per say.


Fresh vegetables is something I always pick up as well.  This time I got some carrots, zucchini, and bean sprouts for some egg rolls I'll be making next week. 

Also picked up tomatoes, and I always pick the roma tomatoes because they're cheaper.  I am not at all a person who has to pick the best brand or the best of this or that, I've always tried to be very thrifty when I shop.

Onions, broccoli and some peppers.



Got some sliced cheese, the Freedom's Choice brand which is the military commissary brand.  It is usually a lot cheaper than other brands.  




Got some of the cheaper ham and shredded cheese as well.  One thing I did notice is that the shelves with the pillsbury products was completely empty, save for a can or two of biscuits, and thankfully some crescent rolls which I actually needed for tonight's dinner.  Everything else was completely bare.


I got some ground beef, chicken and pork, and then some soups, canned tomatoes and spaghetti sauce, pasta, coffee, oil, butter and such. Nothing really out of the ordinary, just my usual groceries. 
And some cat treats and food.  Oh and a downy ball for my washer.  I've never used one but it was only $2 and I'm having the worst time with my washer leaving stains on my clothes from the softener, so hopefully this eliminates that issue while leaving my clothes smelling good.

I do love pulling the laundry out and having it smell wonderful.  I'm not a big fan of dryer sheets, but I've been making do for a few week with those.  Will have to see how I like the downy ball.


I don't feel like I got a lot, but my wallet surely felt it.  I wasn't the only one taken back with the prices of everything and the bare shelves, there was quite a few shoppers complaining to the cashiers and the manager.


But as I said, I refuse to let this get me down or worry me.  I am leaving it in God's hands and I'm just moving on, and concentrating on my home and family.


I've started planting and regrowing some of my veg, in preparation to get them in the ground, as soon as the last frost is done.  Which I'm hoping is soon, considering we are supposed to get another snow storm next week.  

At least inside it looks like Spring.  I already have lettuce, green onions, 4 avocados that are rooting at the moment, and I even grew a cactus from seed.


Also, I promised  to share with you my teas every day, and this morning's tea was,  A Bronze Dragon's Brew.

It is a caffeine free Rooibos tea.  So good!!!




The rest of the day, I paid bills, got some housework done and then fixed us a yummy dinner.  I try to do quick meals on Fridays and Sundays, it's usually either pizza or sandwiches, chili dogs, just simple meals like that.
Today I made French Dip Squares.  They are so good, and a fun dinner to have.  I'll have the recipe up tomorrow.
I've kept the food blog updated, been trying to add at least a recipe a day, so if you're interested in any of the food I show here on my main blog, be sure to head over to Full Bellies, Happy Kids and check those out.


And with that said, I am going to call it a night.  Thank you all so much for the sweet comments, and the excitement over the fact that I'm daily blogging.  It means the world to me.

Starting tomorrow, I'm going to try to come and see you all, I'll also start replying to your comments here on the blog too, so we can interact and chat back and forth.

Have a wonderful night friends.