Tuesday, January 17, 2017

{ Tuesday January 17, 2017 }

January 17, 2017

Rain is pouring down outside, it started around 4:30pm.  Steadily and unwavering, it's pitter pattered on, completely oblivious to it's impact on the ground it's hitting.

Luckily for me, I'm a huge lover of a good rain, even if at times I myself have asked if it wasn't enough, or if it couldn't let off for a bit.  I have friends who live in areas that are going through droughts, and for them, I wish it would head their way, but alas, I can't perform miracles, so I just sit back and enjoy what nature is bestowing upon us.

It's been a slow day.  A day of me dragging myself around, getting things done, though at an almost snail pace speed.

My head hurts.  It started hurting yesterday evening and it's been here all through the day, some times hurting more than others, but nonetheless, just like the rain, steady and unwavering.

I think I'm getting a cold.  Another.  I mean, can't just have one cold without another on it's heels can we?  It's like going to a party without inviting all your friends, they want a chance at some fun as well.

January 17, 2017

On a good day, I'm usually off the couch by 8am, dressed and onto housework.

Today I dragged, I sat around, watched some vlogs, watched some Netflix and started a new crochet blanket.  By the time I looked at the clock it was 9:30am.  So I forced myself off the couch, threw on some comfy warm pajama pants and a tank top and did a quick tidying around.

January 17, 2017

Thankfully yesterday I had most of my housework done, so was able to go slower today.

I have this problem though, which I'm sure most women do.  I feel incredibly guilty if I'm sitting down on the couch for even 10 minutes.  I feel like I should be doing something, cleaning something, tidying something.  The feel of guilty is crazy because neither my husband nor my kids care if I'm sitting down for any amount of time, seeing as everything that needs to be done is.

Do any of you know what I'm talking about?  It's sometimes impossible to actually enjoy doing nothing.

January 17, 2017

I worked a bit more on the crochet project.  I'm loving it already.  If you're wondering what I'm making, it's the Mandala Madness, and I'm using the leftover yarn from my Sophie, the same one I used to start the Demelza blanket which has kind of been set aside for the time being. 

On Netflix, I watched or rather, started watching Killer in the Family.  It's quite interesting, it's almost like a documentary but featuring a different family killer in each episode.  They look into the red flags, the things that set them off and why they did what they did, as well as interview the family of the victims etc. 

I actually watch most of my shows while doing something else, in this case, working on the crochet mandala.  I just switch back and forth between the two.

So, yes, not a very productive or exciting day but it was nice nonetheless.  I finished my menu plan and grocery list, I worked on a list of blog post ideas, did some schooling with the kids and then it was time to get dinner done.

I decided to go with something quick and easy, so made some oven fries and some Sloppy Joe Sliders.

We also still had some Lemon Dream Cake from the weekend.

I'll have both recipes up tomorrow morning. 

Also, if you have any ideas for upcoming blog posts or anything you would like me to feature or post about, let me know :)

Monday, January 16, 2017

{ How I make the most of my Kitchen Appliances }


We've all done it!!!

We see a new kitchen gadget we like and we can't wait to get it.  Maybe it's that George Foreman Grill you've always wanted, or a Rotisserie, or that nifty pasta maker.

I love cooking, I love my kitchen, and over the years either I've bought numerous appliances or I've received them for Christmas or my birthday.  But here's the thing, there is only so much space in our kitchen, so a lot of them end up in the back of cabinets, or tucked away and then unfortunately forgotten.

Out of sight out of mind right?

I'm here to tell you how I keep those appliances in use, without forgetting to use them. 

January 16, 2017

My cabinets are filled with gadgets and appliances and things I love, but I completely forget about them if I don't have them out on the counters or in plain sight.

So a few years back I decided that I had to come up with some sort of system.  A way to not just let them sit hiding somewhere and never see the light of day, and also to make sure I am getting my money's worth.

Take the George Foreman Grill for example, I love it but I don't have room for it to be out on the counter, and I also don't want my counters looking super cluttered. 

January 16, 2017

See how it's dirty?  Well that's because I pulled it out earlier to make use of it for the next menu plan and hubby saw it and decided to cook up a steak for his lunch.  He wouldn't have even remembered it existed had he not seen it sitting there on the counter.

So what do I do, what is my trick?

January 16, 2017

It's very simple.  I menu plan for two weeks at a time, so every two weeks, I look through my cabinets and shelves, pantry etc.....then I pull out one or two appliances for those two weeks.

I try to then plan my menus around them so that I'm getting good use out of them.

As you can see above I have a pasta maker which I haven't used in a while.  I'm going to pull it for next week's rotation so that I can make some homemade Fettucine pasta.

January 16, 2017

When I'm done, I replace those with something else.  So essentially I'm rotating my kitchen tools every two weeks, using them all and even trying out new recipes because sometimes it makes me go and research something to make.

I keep my breadmaker on top of the fridge, so this week I'm going to pull it down a day or two and make some bread for the freezer.

January 16, 2017

And I'm not only talking about the big things like the grill, or a breadmaker or crockpots etc.  I'm also referring to the small gadgets that we buy and shove somewhere on a shelf only to be forgotten, until we move.  You know I'm right, I bet you have things hiding in your kitchen you don't even remember buying or receiving as gifts.

January 16, 2017

The gourmet onion cutter above, right behind the french fry cutter, is something I completely forgot I had until I was looking through the pantry.  The kids and hubby love the blooming onions, so I'm going to pull that one out and use it sometime this week.

January 16, 2017

This Iced Tea Maker was a gift from my husband many years ago.  I don't use it all the time, but right after I took this picture I thought "what the heck am I thinking?  I've been making iced tea in a pitcher for the past few weeks when I could be using this". 

And that ceramic wok?  Perfect for a nice stir fry or even some yummy sesame noodles.

January 16, 2017

The hamburger press down below, and the french fry cutter are both coming out for the next two weeks.  And when I took this picture, I saw my breakfast sandwich maker in the background and remembered that I have some sausage that I need to use up, so going to get some English Muffins and make a ton of freezer breakfast sandwiches.

January 16, 2017

I'm currently planning my next menu, I even asked hubby for help and the first week are all meals he chose on his own.  I'll finish off the next week using items I'm pulling out.

Oh and don't worry about counter space, because as I rotate them, the ones on the counter go in the cabinets and come out again when it's their turn to be used.

I've found that this seems to work for me.  I'm sure there are other ways people make use of their kitchen tools/gadgets/appliances, but this system has been the best for me.

So as you can see, there's no need for you to feel like all your favorite gadgets are not being used, with a little organization and some planning ahead, you'll be happily using all those tools again, in no time. :)

Happy Homemaker Monday - 01/16/2017

Good morning friends, hope you've had a wonderful, blessed weekend :)

The rain is finally dwindling down here in North Texas, goodness it's been ongoing for a few days and the mixture of rain and ice has made things quite yucky around here.

I don't have a lot planned for today, but usual homemaking and the sort, so let's see what today brings. 

Happy Homemaker Monday

If you want to save and use the new button, just click here.

The weather:::
Cloudy at the moment, still all wet outside from the crazy storms we've had, but we're looking at dry weather for the rest of the week.  41 degrees right now and the rest of the week we'll be in the high 50's and 60's.   

On my reading pile::: 
Finally made it to the library and these are the books I picked up.  I'm starting on "And the trees crept in", today.  

  Weekend January 15 and 16, 2017

On my TV:::
Not sure, there are so many shows I want to get through and just not enough time in the day, but I am pretty certain I'll find something to watch while I do my housework.  I don't know how you all do it, but I find it so much easier when I have my laptop near me and I can pop in something to watch while I do dishes, or cook etc.

On the menu for this week:::
I am going to be menu planning today, I have meals until Friday and then Saturday morning I'll be grocery shopping.  I'm trying to cut back a bit on our grocery budget since now we have to say $3000 until April for our taxes.  Blech!!!

Monday -  Beef Curry 
Tuesday - Old Fashioned Sloppy Joe Sliders, Potato wedges 
Wednesday - Grilled Tilapia, Rice, Salad 
Thursday - Rissois with Fries
Friday - Chicken Sandwiches, Potato Salad
Saturday -
Sunday -

On my to do list:::
Laundry......Washing kid's bed linens
Living rooms.....tidying up, vacuuming
Bedrooms......strip kid's beds.  Make my bed.  Vacuum all bedrooms
Bathrooms.....toilets, sinks, bathtubs, mop
Homeschooling.....no school today
Blogging.....Happy Homemaker Monday post, How to make the most of your appliances

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
I'm still working on the Demelza, but actually wanting to start another Sophie because I enjoyed the last one so much.

Looking around the house:::
Needs a bit of TLC this morning, but only because we had family over for dinner last night and so it always gets a bit out of control, lots of dishes to do etc.

From the camera:::

Weekend January 15 and 16, 2017

Something fun to share:::
I came across a super fun site.  If you're looking for fun things or interesting things to do around your state, then go check out Only in Your State.  It will give you tons of information on some of the most visited or interesting places to visit.

What I'm wearing today:::
Black jeans, checked black and white shirt, black flats.  

One of my simple pleasures:::
Reading blogs, but old blogs like the kind of blogs we had when we first started on this blogging journey.  I am not liking the new blogs, they're too business like, it's all about telling people how to blog and what to talk about, competition, who makes more money.  Just not what I enjoy.  Matter of fact I came across one giving some blog ideas for posts and one of the ideas was "Rant or bash a blog".  Like really????  Come on!!! 

Bible verse, Devotional::: 
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Read Isaiah 41

Sunday, January 15, 2017

{ Weekend in Review }

Weekend January 15 and 16, 2017

Good afternoon friends, how is your weekend going?

Well here in North Texas we've been dealing with quite cold temps, lots of rain and icy weirdness all over the place.  There's been fog, there's been icy roads and thunderstorms, so I've tried not to leave the house too much.

Weekend January 15 and 16, 2017

Weekend January 15 and 16, 2017

Weekend January 15 and 16, 2017

Weekend January 15 and 16, 2017

Yesterday I got up, had my coffee and puttered around a little, got the dishes going and tidied up a bit and then went to pick up my sister in law and niece, and we headed to the base commissary.

I had to pick up a few things and so did they, so we made a morning of it.  Right after the commissary I ran to the library to pick up a few books.  I was really missing the library and books and all that goodness, and even though the weather was pitiful, I just had to go.

I dropped them back home and by the time I got back to my own house, I was in no mood to do anything at all.  I slipped into some very comfy warm fleecy pj pants and sat down with a cup of coffee to watch some vlogs and do a bit of reading.

Weekend January 15 and 16, 2017

These are the books I picked up.  As you can tell by two of the selections, I'm back on a history, tudor, Henry VIII kick, and I absolutely adore Phillipa Gregory so got The Taming of the Queen and Three Sisters, Three Queens.

I also picked up And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich.  I've never heard of this author but the book looks so good.  Weirdly enough for me, I never used to be into mysteries or scary books but the past year I've been enjoying them.

Here's a summary of the book:

When Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt's home, it's immediately clear that the "blood manor" is cursed. The creaking of the house and the stillness of the woods surrounding them would be enough of a sign, but there are secrets too--the questions that Silla can't ignore: Who is the beautiful boy that's appeared from the woods? Who is the man that her little sister sees, but no one else? And why does it seem that, ever since they arrived, the trees have been creeping closer?

Does that not sound good?  I think I'm actually going to start with this one.  If any of you have read it, let me know what you thought and I'll also let you know what I think of it :)

Weekend January 15 and 16, 2017

I didn't do much else yesterday, just really relaxed with the family.

This morning I slept in a little, had a little breakfast and then it was right onto homemaking and the usual faffing around.

I started by making a Lemon Dream Cake for tonight.  I'm having my brother and his family over for dinner so wanted something good for dessert.  I am going to make Chicken Fried Steak and Mashed Potatoes with Gravy and my sister in law will bring her yummy Caesar Salad.  Can't wait.

Weekend January 15 and 16, 2017

I've got laundry going, I've cleaned and tidied the whole kitchen, swept and mopped.  Got the bathrooms done, the living rooms tidied, just need to vacuum.

My husband made us a yummy brunch of crispy bacon and omelettes.  It was delicious.

Now I'm sitting here relaxing for a bit while I wait for the last load to finish in the dryer, then it's onto folding and putting away and finishing up some chores.

Still on the to do list:

  1. Mop the bathroom floor
  2. Prep the potatoes for dinner
  3. Prep the steaks for dinner
  4. Set the table
  5. Make some koolaid and sweet tea
  6. Clean out the turtle tank
  7. Put away laundry

It's 3pm and I have about 3 hours before they arrive for dinner, but I want to get as much done as I can in the next hour and a half.  I'm thinking I may even go ahead and make the steaks or at least the breading and egg dip part, so that it will be quicker getting everything fried and ready for dinner.

And that's it friends, another weekend gone by, just a few more hours and we're at the start of another week.  Oh boy!!!!

Also, I wanted to ask you all for your opinions or advice.  We just did our taxes and last year we owed the IRS 30 dollars which was a little annoying but not a problem.  This year, apparently we owe them close to $3000.  I don't even know what to say, I feel like we're in a hole and trying to get out of it and there's always more dirt being piled on.

Apparently we make too much according to the IRS.  For those of you out there in the same boat, can you give us some suggestions on how not to owe taxes next year, or even how to get a return, though I'll say that I would be fine with getting nothing back but not owing anything either.

So, yeah, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Right, I best get on out of here and get cracking on with my chores.  Have a wonderful rest of Sunday and I'll see you here tomorrow morning for another Happy Homemaker Monday :)

Stir It Up Holiday Blogger Mixology Challenge

If you know me, even just a little, you will know that I enjoy a good drink.  I'm especially fond of Moscato wine or anything fruity like Sangria, but a good rum, whiskey or brandy surely hit the spot too.  Let's not even talk about cocktails and margaritas, martinis etc.

I wouldn't say I'm a huge drinker, but I definitely enjoy a GOOD drink.

Stirrings sent me a sample of their Simple Lemon Drop Martini Mix, Simple Pomegranate Martini mix and their Lemon Drop Rimmer and Cosmopolitan Rimmer.

The gist for this year's STIRRINGS STIR IT UP HOLIDAY BLOGGER MIXOLOGY CHALLENGE, was to create some cocktails using the products enclosed.  I thought it would be easy at first, or maybe it's my taste that's weird, but I had a bit of a hard time coming up with combos that I enjoyed, and hubby didn't much care for them either.

If you're not familiar with Stirrings® cocktail mixers, head on over to their website and check out the amazing products available.  Everything you need to turn even the simplest of people like me, into sort of cool bartenders.  Or at least have a lot of fun with it.  

Also, if you want to go out and buy the products yourself, check out the Stirrings Store Locator, to find your local supplier of Stirrings.

What ended up happening is that I decided to go with what I usually enjoy the most, which are flavored fruity wines, and BINGO.  Perfect cocktails right there.

Stirrings Mixers

After a few tries, this is what the end results were, and they were quite tasty too.

Pomegranate, Blackberry and Blueberry Cocktail

3 ounces Pomegranate Martini Mix
Blackberry Wine
Frozen Blueberries
Cosmopolitan Rimmer

Rim a glass with the Cosmopolitan Rimmer.  Fill the glass half full with the blackberry wine, pour in the 3 ounces of Pomegranate Martini Mix.  Top with crushed ice and a few frozen blueberries.

Stirrings Mixers

Stirrings Mixers

Stirrings Mixers

Lemon, Mango and Strawberry Cocktail

3 ounces Lemon Drop Martini Mix
Mango, Strawberry wine
Lemon Drop Rimmer
Crushed Ice
Sliced of lemon and slice of orange for garnish

Rim the glass with the Lemon Drop Rimmer.  Fill the glass half full with the Mango and Strawberry wine, pour in the 3 ounces of Lemon Drop Martini Mix, top with crushed ice, and finish off with a slice of lemon and a slice of orange.

So yummy!!!

Stirrings Mixers

This one was our favorite, the taste combinations are amazing.  Mango, Strawberry, lemon all combined in one yummy chilled cocktail. 

Stirrings Mixers

Check out Stirrings on social media for great inspiration for your next cocktail party.

And if you're wondering what other bloggers are coming up with, check out the hashtag  #STIRRINGSMIXOLOGYCONTEST.

Friday, January 13, 2017

{ Me day....because we all need them }


Every Friday, I tune out from the world and give myself a me day.

That may seem crazy to some of you, or even downright insane.  Thing is, from a very early stage in our marriage and with small kids, my husband and I decided that it was fair, it was needed, in order for me to continue being the best wife, mother and homemaker I could be.

I know the very first thing you think is, "but how, where do you find the time, I can't even go to the bathroom without kids banging on the door".  I know, I've been there, done that, wasn't pleasant and I can say that I get it, I understand, I more than anyone knows that by the time your husband walks in the door from work, you are ready to either drown yourself in some very good wine, or pack your bags and run very very far away from the chaos.

As a woman, as a wife and mother and homemaker, we need to nurture ourselves, and far too often that is neglected because chores, and because kids, and appointments, and errands, and school and more dirty dishes piling up and never ending laundry.


I got to a point where I felt like I was losing myself.  Even to this day if you have to ask me flat out "who are you, what do you like doing?".  I'm not quite sure how to answer that, because I've always been mommy.

So do yourself a favor, set some time aside and start taking a moment for yourself.  It doesn't have to be long.  I started with an hour after dinner.  My husband would play with the kids downstairs, it was their bonding time, and it was my time to take a shower without feeling rushed, and then sit in bed and read for a little, or enjoy a cup of coffee uninterrupted and while it was still hot, or even watch a quick episode of something.

As they got older, it got easier, obviously, they didn't need as much attention as before.  Now that they are about to turn 18 and 14, they need me even less, and so "me time" is much easier to come across.

Friday's are MY days!!!



I do what needs done in the morning and then it's time for me to indulge in anything and everything that calms me down, that renews my soul, that recharges the batteries and gives me the energy I need to get up the next day and get right back into homemaker mode.



I read, and I mean really read, without interruptions and having to constantly put the book down to tend to this or that.


I crochet and don't have to worry about recounting stitches, because I've been interrupted numerous times and the same row I've been working on for the past two days, is not making it past the 10th stitch without me having to recount or sometimes pull apart and start over.


I watch shows, I watch movies or go on Pinterest and spend an hour or so pinning things I'll probably never get around to trying, but nonetheless.


Today, I updated my blog sidebar.  I went back and added some of my favorite blogs, and it brought me so much joy looking back on old favorites from way back in the day.

Can you believe that next month I'll be celebrating 11 years of blogging?  Where has the time gone?

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that if you aren't already taking time for yourself, however little it may be, then please do yourself a favor and do it.  You have to.  I promise you once you start doing this you will go into your days as a mother and wife, with renewed dedication. 

You won't run out of patience as fast, you will feel better about your job and you won't feel so lost and so completely out of touch with who you are.

If we don't take care of ourselves, how are we to take care of our loved ones?

Oh and by the way, I wanted to ask y'all what is easier for you when it comes to replying to your comments.  I sometimes reply to you right in the comment section but I don't even know if you are notified about it to realize I've replied.  Would you prefer it I keep replying in the comments or do you want me to come by your blogs instead?

Not to say that I won't come visit you, I fully intend to start doing that on a regular basis, it's just taking me a little to get back into this blogging groove, after all it's been quite a few years since I've blogged properly :)

Just let me know what you prefer and I will be more than happy to oblige :)

I would love to know if you already take time for yourself, and if you do, when do you do it?  Do you have a set day, or a set time in the day for me time?  What do you enjoy doing during those moments, and how do you find the motivation to keep doing what you do as a homemaker?

Leave your comments down below, I really want to chat with you all about this.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

{ Slow Cooking and Cooking Thursday }

Good morning everyone, and welcome to another Slow Cooking and Cooking Thursday.

The other day I asked you all if you wanted to see any of the old favorite features back, and quite a few of you mentioned the cooking Thursday.  To be honest, it was one of my favorite features on the blog as well.

It all started a really long time ago, when I first began blogging, and I have to say that the Slow Cooking Thursday took off.  Everyone loved it, everyone joined in and it was one of the most popular features here on Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.  It was even where the first posts from Stephanie from A Year of Slow Cooking, showed up.  Crazy huh?

Anyway, I decided to dust off the old feature and make it a regular again.  What I'm going to do is share a recipe every Thursday.  If it's a crockpot recipe then I'll post it under Slow Cooking Thursday, and if it's just a regular recipe it will show up as Cooking Thursday.

As always, I would love for you all to join in and share some of your favorites, it will be nice to find some new things to try and I do love cooking so collecting recipes makes me extremely happy :)

I'll have a linky down below the post, so make sure you enter your info in there, and please make sure as well that it links back to the actual recipe and not to the main blog, it makes it harder to locate the post if you do it that way.

Also, if you want a list of all the slow cooking recipes I've shared over the years, I have that for you, just check out Slow Cooking and Cooking Thursday :)

I'm even using the very first button I used in that post, boy does it bring back memories!!!

For today's recipe, I've picked what we had for dinner last night.  I shared it on the blog's Facebook page last night, but here it is for you all that are not on social media.

Source:  Country Cook

4 bone-in pork chops (or boneless)
1 envelope onion soup mix (1 oz. packet)
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth (lower sodium)
1 can (10.5 oz.) cream of chicken soup
1 envelope dry pork gravy mix (1 oz. packet)
1 tsp. garlic powder
to thicken sauce:
3 tbsp. corn starch
3 tbsp. cold water

In a 5-6 quart oval slow cooker, combine onion soup mix, chicken broth, cream of chicken soup and pork gravy mix.
Whisk together until combined.
Season both sides of the chops with a little bit of garlic powder.
Place pork chops into the slow cooker.
Do your best to spread them out and cover with the gravy mixture.
Cover and cook on low about 4-6 hours.
Just before the pork chops are done - whisk together the corn starch and cold water in a small bowl. Once it is smooth, pour it in with your pork chops in the slow cooker and stir gently.
Cover and switch the slow cooker to high and cook for another 30 minutes (until gravy has thickened.)