Monday, July 21, 2014

{ Rainy Monday }


Wonderful rain has been coming down today and I do love a rainy day.

Candles are lit, windows are slightly opened to enjoy the rainy aroma, and life seems to slow down.


It always seems to be a day for relaxing on the couch and either watching movies, or reading.

Rainy day relaxation

But that is all after the housework has been finished. It really is never ending, there are daily tasks that need to be done without fail and I choose to just get them done so that I can then enjoy the rest of my day.

Yummy breakfast....I'm a wheat toast and creamy homemade butter kinda gal.


Cath Kidston Surprise.....An interruption in breakfast to get the door, and this beauty was delivered.  I am so very happy, what a beautiful bag from Cath Kidston.  My husband surprised me with this gift, yes ladies, he is a keeper.

Cath Kidston Bag

Ironing.....again, me and the ironing.  I know some of you think I'm nuts, but I don't know, I just enjoy it and find it quite relaxing.


Crockpot....dinner cooking away.  I love using my crockpot on rainy days, it gives me more time to sit down and not have to worry about dinner prep.

Crockpot Stroganoff

Pretty flowers.....another surprise from my husband.  He picked them up at Walmart the other day and thought that I would enjoy them.  He was right, I do like them, a lot.

Beautiful flowers

Oil Lamp.....I have this slight obsession with lamps and lanterns. If I could, I would have them all over my house.

Oil lamp

Relaxing and hour spent on the couch with my crochet hook in hand, working on a new cushion and enjoying the candle light.

Rainy day relaxation

Dinner....these delicious bread machine yeast rolls.  So many people shy away from fresh bread, but a  bread machine is your best friend when you want fresh yummy bread in a pinch.   (recipe will be up later)

Bread Machine Yeast Rolls

Paired with this comforting, filling crockpot beef stroganoff.  Will also have that recipe up later.

Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

Now, for some TV viewing case you didn't know it, The Mill Season 2 just started this weekend. 

If you like Amish shows like I do, you may have watched Expecting Amish on the Lifetime Channel this past Saturday.  If you didn't, you can watch it online, and I do believe it will be shown again on the 26th of July.

I'm going to go enjoy the rest of the rainy day, and I think my husband and kids want to watch a movie, not sure which one.

Have a wonderful Monday night!!!

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 07/21/2014 }

Good Morning friends, sure hope you had a great weekend and are ready for this new week ahead.

It's Monday morning, which means Happy Homemaker Monday.  I do enjoy this feature and look forward to it, it's like my week can't get started until my HHM is up :)

Breakfast time....what is on the plate this morning::::
A big cup of coffee with some vanilla creamer, and a bowl of oatmeal. 

On today's to do list::::
Laundry - one last load to wash, put away one basket of clean laundry
Finish painting the kitchen table, give the benches their first coat of paint
Bank - deposit two checks
Take Jasmine to Tae Kwon Do tonight

Currently reading::::
Painting the Moon by Traci Borum.  Really enjoying this one, it takes place in England at Chilton Crosse and it is about Noelle who inherits a cottage and a gallery from her Aunt to recently passed away.  Noelle leaves behind her life in California to move to a quiet village.  MY dream hahahah

On the TV today::::
Portuguese Soaps - Beijo do Escorpiao, Mulheres, Agua de Mar
The Strain - hubby and I have been wanting to watch this one and it just started
Expecting Amish - movie I recorded from Lifetime channel on Saturday, want to watch it today

The weather outside is::::
Cloudy, we actually got some rain last night which has cooled the temperatures around here, thank goodness.  It's supposed to rain again, but we'll see. 

On the menu this week::::
Monday - Slow Cooker Meatballs in Mini Bread Bowls, Salad
Tuesday - Teriyaki Chicken with Rice
Wednesday - Homemade Quesaritos
Thursday - Chicken Tetrazzini, Veggies
Friday - Grilled Half and Half Pizza
Saturday - Cheesy Spanish Rice Casserole
Sunday - Fettucine Alfredo, Roasted Spaghetti Squash

If I have a few minutes to myself, I will::::
Pull out my sewing machine, I want to make some bunting this week.

New recipe I tried, or want to try this week::::
Scalloped Potatoes and Ham.  I adapted a recipe from using what I had on hand, and it was a hit.  I am such a lover of potatoes though, you would give them to me ever which way and I would be happy. 

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

In the garden::::
My chili peppers are soooo big and they are starting to turn color, can't wait.  Still waiting on the tomato and cucumbers to do anything, but I did harvest another strawberry.  I also planted lettuce and spinach, and they are already growing. 

Favorite photo from the camera::::
How cute is this Alpaca? 


Homemaking Tip::::
We all buy appliances thinking that we are going to get a lot of use out them, and then they end up tucked in the back of a cabinet or in the pantry, even in the garage.  Go through them all, pull them out and decide what you will use and what you want.  Give away, or do a yard sale with the items you no longer want to keep, but for those that you do, make sure to pull them out at least every other week and rotate them in the kitchen.  I know I've given this tip before, but I thought I would remind you all again. 
I usually pull out one of mine and use them for that week, whether it be the Bread Maker or my Rotisserie.

Visiting with Blog friends (blog you want to share, blog post that caught your eye)::::
One of my favorite blogs to visit, which can actually be found on my sidebar, is Bratte Bakka og grone lier.  It is not an English blog, but it doesn't matter to me because the photos are absolutely gorgeous and I just love to sit and visit for a few hours.  Give it a try, I am sure you will enjoy it just as much as I do. 

Praying for::::
Our prayers were answered last week, we received the our rent deposit.  Obviously they didn't return the full amount and they also charged us to repair something which was broken when we moved into the house and they KNEW about it.  But you know, I'm just happy to have the deposit in my hand and never have to deal with those people again. 
Our moving claims ALSO came in last week, so thankful for that too.
I don't have anyone or anything specific that I'm praying for this week, just health and happiness for my family and friends. 

Bible Verse, Devotional that is resonating with me at the moment::::
gif Black and White stuff sea Bible verse

PLEASE, don't add links to this list that are not part of the Happy Homemaker Monday. I've asked numerous times, and I'm frankly quite tired of having to remove links to other posts that shouldn't be in this list. Please be respectful of my request!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

{ Saturday Outing }

I don't know about you all, but as much as I enjoy going out with the family and having fun, there is nothing like the minute I return home, kick off my shoes and sit on my couch.

It feels so very good, especially when it's hot outside.

Last night we had the family over for dinner, and then my niece and nephew slept over.

It's always fun when that happens, all the kids have fun and we tend to do things that we wouldn't usually take a walk to McDonald's at 11:30pm.  Crazy!!!

As usual though, the kids try to make an all nighter of their sleep overs, but it never really lasts as by 3am they're all fast asleep...well except for my Jasmine, who has her father's sleep patterns and can stay up all night, which she did.

This morning though, she jumped right into the kitchen and decided to make breakfast for everyone.  Scrambled eggs, toast, pancakes and bacon.  It makes this mama's heart proud to see her enjoying cooking as much as I do.


She did so well, and breakfast was enjoyed by all.

Some housework was done, and then around lunch time, we all headed to the county fair. I had heard that it was a big one, that it was one of the best in the area etc. Truth be told, it wasn't anything like we expected.


But we all still ended up having fun, you know it's always a good time when you can go somewhere with the family, walk around, laugh, talk and just kick back for a couple of hours.


I always have so much fun watching the kids on the rides. It truly takes me back to when I was their age, and the thrill of going on these fast rides was all I looked forward to.


Nowadays, I'm much happier with my feet firmly planted on the ground.


The boys wanted to try rock climbing, and did quite well, but they both quickly realized that it is not as easy as it looks.


And then of course they quickly moved on to the next thing....some boxing with these huge gloves. It was hilarious watching them try to punch each other out while on a bouncy castle. HA!!



Ooopssss!!!! Needless to say, Nicholas was done after this shot. LOL


It was quite hot too and I think the boys were feeling really hot in those gloves and helmets.

We didn't stay for very long, there wasn't much to see, and we didn't want to wait until 8pm for the rodeo to start, so we said our goodbyes and headed home.

Nothing like walking in the door to an air conditioned house, is there?

Tonight I'm going to find a nice movie to watch, work on my niece's crochet blanket and just take it easy. Tomorrow I plan on pulling my kitchen table apart so that I can finish painting it, and I'm also painting the chairs. Want to get it all finished by tomorrow night. Of course, there's laundry, and the daily housework, and I'm planning on some pool time.

Do hope you're all having a wonderful Saturday.

Friday, July 18, 2014

{ I hope you dance }

Pretty little white dress

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
GOD forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
(I hope you dance...Lee Ann Womack)

I unplugged successfully!!!!

Seriously, I did, and I don't miss Facebook one single little bit.  What I thought was going to be a huge effort on my part, has become extremely easy, and for that I have the Lord to thank.

Yesterday I got down to business, to what really matters in my life, and that means home and family.  To really give it the attention it needs, and I don't mean the usual daily tasks we do with our homemaking, I mean to look around and change things up.

To give it a little love here and there, whether it is crocheting a little doily for a small corner in your house, or repainting a piece of furniture, it could even be bringing in some flowers from the garden.

Painting project

Just a sneak peek at what I'm doing in my kitchen. Painting and more painting, a project I have wanted to do for many years but never got around to it, because I kept telling myself I didn't have time. Guess what? I DID have some extra time, I was just using it the wrong way.

New color

I'll show you all once it's finished.

School is restarting in a little over a month, and I've been busy getting things set up. This house doesn't have an extra bedroom, so we have to make do with what we can. I've turned the small closet under the stairs into a Homeschool supplies area, books, and school items and the printer are housed in there. It works for us.

School supplies

I took care of the garden, I pulled weeds, I watered, I cleaned and rearranged a few things, and then when I was done, I danced....I headed to the back yard under the trees and really soaked in the fresh air and the beautiful summer afternoon.

Pretty little white dress

All it takes is a little white dress with the prettiest eyelet fabric, and some pretty flowers in hand.

Stop worrying about others, or what they will think if they see you out there spinning around bare feet. Who cares?!?!?

Pretty little white dress

It is exactly what I did, and it felt AMA-ZING!!

The rest of the day I spent indoors with laundry and dishes and cleaning....but I also got time in to exercise, read and hang out with the family.

Dinner time quickly came around and I put together a delicious, filling and yet simple meal.

Hot corn on the cob

Dinner table

Corn on the cob and Scalloped Potatoes and Ham.  Yum!!!

As the sun started setting for the night, I quickly turned on my fairy lights and enjoyed how it made everything look so warm.

Mom and Nic

Mason jars, and floating photos of me and my baby loves.

Mom and Jas

"But mom, the lid says beets!" she said.  HA!!!

That's ok, I happen to think it gives it more character.  I'm hoping to try these again but with smaller photographs in a vintage black and white tone.  What you can't see from the front, is that there are lavender flowers floating inside too.


Speaking of loves, my pug loves seem to really enjoy the fairy lights, anytime they are on, you can find them sitting under there.

We're having some horrible haze caused by fires in the vicinity. Smells horrible out side and everything looks grey, but it did provide quite a stunning sunset.

Hazy sunset

So, my wonderful friends, I'm here to tell you to dance, to embrace life, to remember that there is more out here than on a computer screen on Facebook or Twitter.

I quickly realized that the time I was spending on there, was time I was missing out on my real life...instead it was just zipping by me at a super fast pace.

And one day when I die, I don't want to look back and think that I could have been sitting on the couch reading with my kids, or chatting or watching a movie, or that I could have been out in the garden enjoying nature, or making a home, or holding my husband's hand while out on a walk......but instead, I was sitting on the computer, talking to a screen.

Definitely not what I want to remember my life as. I made the change, and now I'm dancing through it. Yes I am!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

{ A look back at canning }

Every summer, I head to the Farmer's Market and purchase fruit and vegetables for cheap, then bring it home and start my canning process.

I'm by no means an expert, I can a few things, I try a few things, but I am nothing like those pictures you see of kitchen counters filled with produce and canning jars.  I wish I was, and maybe one day I will be, but for now, I'm quite content with the little canning I do.

It got me wondering about the earliest methods of canning.  Who started it, where did it start, what kinds of food were canned?

All questions that have floated around my mind for a long time.  Recently I took the internet in search of answers, and also because I love history and love learning about things in the old days.

I thought I would share with you some of the photos I found and some of the interesting facts about food preservation.  After all, quite a few of us take on this canning task.

Did you know that the canning process actually dates back to the late 18th century?  Napoleon Bonaparte offered a cash prize to anyone who could figure out how to preserve food, so that he could feed his armies.

A man named Nicholas Appert came up with the idea, thinking that if you could preserve wine in bottles, why not food.  So he experimented for 15 years and finally figured out that if food is heated in glass jars, then it won't spoil.

And so canning began.

Later, an English Man called Peter Durand, took it a step forward and figured out how to preserve food in tin cans.

The demand for preserving food primarily started as a means to feed armies.

In 1858 when a New York tinsmith, John L. Mason, invented a glass jar that had a threaded lip and reusable metal lid. The Mason jar was born, and it revolutionized food preservation in America and Europe.

Some of the first home canned foods were tomatoes, and at that time, most home canners used what was called the “open kettle method,”.  Boiling jam or brine would be poured over the hot, sterilized jar until it almost overflowed. This was meant to kill any bacteria, both on the inside and the lip of the jar as well. 

By the 60's and 70's though, the home canning revolution began slowing down due to the availability of canned and prepackaged food in stores. 

Thankfully within the last few years, it seems to have taken off again and I'm only too happy to jump on that bandwagon.

I don't now about you, but canning for me is not just a fun activity, it's also a means of always having that special treat, or quick side dish, or hearty tomato sauce in the pantry.  It does help with meal preparation, and even better, when the winter rolls in and you find yourself craving something that only grows in the summer, you know you can turn to your canned goods.

So tell me, do you can???

{ Cooking Thursday }

It feels so good to revive old blog favorites, like my Thursday cooking feature.

For those of you that don't know, I actually started a Slow Cooking Thursday feature many years ago, and for a long time it did extremely well, then it sort of dwindled away.  At that point I decided to change it a little and make it a general Cooking Thursday, figuring that it may be better for sharing recipes since it opened it up to all sorts of recipes and not just the slow cooking kind.

It did ok for a while, but then went sort of the same way.

Anyway, to make a long story short.  I'm reviving the Cooking Thursday again, I always have recipes to share.  Way back in the day, I used to think that the measure of a good blog was about how many comments a person would get on a single post.  I've since learned that is so far from the truth.  What really matters is whether the blog author is enjoying what she is doing, and I am,  so whether I get a lot of participation on Cooking Thursdays or not, it doesn't matter, it will continue to be posted.

Here's the new little button I created.  I think I have far too much fun with these.  :)

For today's recipe, I picked this yummy Cinnamon Roll Cake, and it does really taste like a cinnamon roll.  It is perfect with a cup of coffee.

Cinnamon Roll Cake
Cinnamon Roll Cake

3 c. flour
1/4 tsp.salt
1 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. butter, melted

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Mix everything together except for the butter. Slowly stir in the melted butter and pour into a greased 9×13 pan. For the topping, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Drop evenly over the batter and swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes.

2 c. powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

While warm drizzle the glaze over the cake.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

{ The decision to unplug }

You would think it is an easy decision.  What's so hard about unplugging from Facebook or any other kind of social media?

It's hard folks, especially when your family and friends are on there and you use it to stay in touch with everyone.

But, here's the thing, I've gone back and forth numerous times, and my decision has waned over and over.  Disconnect, stay, disconnect, stay, take a break, come back.  It's draining honestly.  I never really could make the final decision, and I guess in a way, I still haven't made it official.

This morning however, I decided that it's time to deactivate my Facebook account for a bit, to just let it sit and see how I feel about it.

I love talking to my family and friends on there, but I also see a lot of drama and negativity, and quite frankly it's boring 99% of the time.  Nothing really going on, the same photos and recipes being shared over and over, the moral high horses, the soap boxes, and the worst for me.....the cliques and the groups and the mentality to pounce on everyone like they are enemies.

It's just not me, it's not what I like and it's definitely not something I need in my life.  I need positivity and happiness and joy, not the opposite.

So, with that said, here in about an hour, I am deactivating my account for the indefinite future.  Truth be told, I don't know if I'll be able to completely delete it in time, but for now this feels right.

It's almost like an addiction, when you want to cut the cord you start panicking and feeling like you shouldn't and if and if and if.....and that for me is the biggest red flag that somethings is NOT good.

I love my blog, I love this little corner that I created on an afternoon back in 2006.  You can read my first post here.

I think my problem was trying to keep up with the Joneses, everyone moved on from blogging to Facebook and naturally I went along too.  The fact that posting something and getting an immediate reply was so appealing, was a huge push for me to do more on there than here.  Ridiculous!!!

It just never felt completely right for me.

Now this ol' little blog.  This is what I love, this is where I feel at home.  I don't care if people think I'm old fashioned or behind the times because I'm not facebooking or tweeting or vlogging like every one else.  That's ok.  I much prefer things this way.  Guess it's my calling to keep it simple.

So, here I am, devoting myself completely to my blogging, I'm sure you've noticed I've been posting a lot more and I intend to continue that way.

If you were friends with me on Facebook, I do hope you will come visit me here instead and stay in touch.

By the way, I don't begrudge anyone their time on social media, and am in no way saying that it's a bad thing for everyone.  I'm merely speaking from my own experience and my own views, and it just doesn't DO it for me.

Goodness, I've blabbed long enough about this.   It's time to enjoy a cup of coffee and get going with my busy homemaking day.

Moving on, here's a look at what my day will look like:

For lunch it will be sandwiches and fruit. Dinner, I'm making a Tomato and Basil Pasta, and I'll share the recipe once it's up.

Have two loads of laundry to iron
Starting the paint job on the kitchen table legs
Get the sprinklers going out front and back
Clean out the pool, had to drain it all to give it a good cleaning
Sweep and Mop
Run to Dollar Store to pick up some bleach and other cleaners