Monday, November 30, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday - 11/30/2015

1:19 PM 11 Comments
Good morning everyone, I am so very sorry this is going up so late.

For those who don't know, I have my brother visiting from South Africa, he came to surprise me for Thanksgiving :)  I've been devoting my time to him and spending time with him, because we hadn't seen each other for 7 years.  Lots to catch up on.

Anyway, let's get this HHM on the go, shall we?


The weather:::
Since last week Wednesday we've had rain, non stop rain, freezing rain actually and very low temperatures.  Today is the first day without the constant rain coming down and it's actually nice :)  Temps are still a little low but nothing too bad.


As I look outside my window:::
Even though the rain has stopped, everything is still wet, there are lots of puddles and a few iced over patches here and there.  We have the sun trying to shine through the clouds though which is a nice change from the cloudy days. 


Right now I am:::
Sitting on the couch, typing up this post while my brother talks to his family back home.  I just finished doing the dishes and have laundry going at the moment.


Thinking and pondering:::
About Christmas coming up so fast, I'm not sure I'm quite ready for it, to be honest.


On my bedside table:::
Nothing, cleared it up the other day and have been really good about keeping it that way.


On my tv this week:::
I've had no time to watch anything, TV or vlogs or anything.  I'm so behind but I'll catch up on Thursday after my brother leaves.


Listening to:::
The humming of the washer going


On the menu for this week:::

Only have planned until Thursday, then need to go grocery shopping.

Monday - Chicken in Cream Sauce with Mashed Potatoes, Salad
Tuesday - Taking my brother out to eat
Wednesday - Swedish Meatloaf, Spaghetti, Green Beans
Thursday -
Friday -
Saturday -
Sunday
 
On my to do list:::

Laundry - Finish the laundry, have two more loads to wash
Homeschooling - School is back up today, so we're back at it.


Happening this week:::
Monday - Taking it easy, trying to get the house back on track after Thanksgiving
Tuesday - Heading to the mall and downtown for my brother to do a little shopping, then taking him to dinner
Wednesday - Relaxing, spending last day with my brother
Thursday -  Grocery shopping in the afternoon
Friday - Putting up Christmas decorations


What I am creating:::

Nothing at the moment, still just working on the corner to corner


My simple pleasure:::
Catching up with family, just chatting over a cup of coffee  


Looking around the house:::
Starting to look a little like Christmas, put up my village and a few bits and bobs here and there

 
From the camera:::




Prayer List:::
Friends and family

Bible verse, Devotional:::



Monday, November 23, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday - 11/13/2015

7:06 AM 17 Comments
Good Monday morning everyone, hope you've had a wonderful restful weekend.  I can't believe that we are but a few days away from Thanksgiving, oh my goodness, it's going to be a super busy week for us all.

Let's see what we have going on, shall we?



The weather:::
Freezing and icy.  We had a cold front move in this weekend and the temperatures dipped down to 30 degrees, and we woke up to a blanket of white ice on the ground outside.  Looks pretty but my word, is it cold.  The rest of the week looks about the same with temperatures getting just to the low 60's for the highs, lots of rain, and even sleet and snow in the forecast for next weekend.  Oh my!!!


As I look outside my window:::
The sun is just starting to rise, so while the top of the sky is black and starry, the bottom is light blue.  I always love this time of the morning.


Right now I am:::
In bed, have the small heater going because it's freezing in our bedroom.  This side of the house seems to be so cold.  Working on this post and realizing that I forgot to grab my menu plan and too cold to get up and go find it.


Thinking and pondering:::
Thanksgiving.  So many people coming in and so much I have to do today.  My mother and father in law arrive tomorrow, and then Wednesday my brother in law and then Thursday the rest of the guests.  I'm trying to remember everything I need to do because once I'm off here, I am going full turbo mode and will not stop until bedtime with everything I have to get done.


On my bedside table:::
Cup of coffee, a plate with a piece of toast.


On my tv this week:::
Monday:
Cursed:  The Bell Witch

Tuesday:
 American Experience - The Pilgrims
The Curse of Oak Island
Secrets of the Dead PBS - Forensic anthropologists excavate the early American colony of Jamestown, Va., and find bones of a 14 year old English girl.

Wednesday:
Expedition Unknown
Lockup

Thursday:
Haven
Lockup

Friday:
Reign
Lockup

Saturday:
Lockup
Lockup Raw
Dead Files Revisited

Sunday:
The Walking Dead


Listening to:::
Watching The Voice Portugal while typing up this post


On the menu for this week:::
Easy meals until Thursday which is Thanksgiving day.  I will come back and post the menu, but for now I'll just give you the Thanksgiving Day meals.

Monday -
Tuesday - Mother in law is making a big pot of Potato Soup
Wednesday - Spaghetti, Garlic Bread and Salad
Thursday - Fried Turkey, Roast Turkey, Ham, Mashed potatoes, Green bean casserole, Corn Casserole, Broccoli Casserole, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Sweet Potato Casserole, Dinner Rolls, Turkey Gravy, Banana Pudding, Pumpkin Pie Sheet Cake, Pecan Pie
Friday -
Saturday -
Sunday
 
On my to do list:::

Laundry - Jasmine's laundry
Homeschooling - Kids are on Thanksgiving Break this week, so they'll use it to catch up on any overdues they have.
To do list for Thanksgiving
Finish painting table legs black
Make dinner rolls (they will be frozen until Thursday)
Make Casseroles (Freeze)
Get bedrooms set up
Carpet cleaning
Switch out curtain rods in Office (want to switch the curtains)
Bake cookies (Jasmine will do this, want to have a ton of cookies for snacking and enjoying with cups of coffee)
Make breakfast casserole (freeze)


Happening this week:::
Monday - Preparing for Thanksgiving, post office
Tuesday - Carpet cleaning
Wednesday - Getting house finished up for guests, last minute dishes
Thursday -  Thanksgiving Day
Friday - Spending day with family


What I am creating:::

This week, absolutely nothing that is not Thanksgiving related.


My simple pleasure:::
Spending time with family, hosting get togethers at my house  


Looking around the house:::
Feeling slightly overwhelmed because I know I have so much to do and just hoping enough time to do it all in

 
From the camera:::



Prayer List:::
All my friends and family

Bible verse, Devotional:::
 http://simplereminders.com/domains/simplereminders.com/uploads/images/blog/troy-amdahl-focus-be-thankful-difficult-times-4e7a.jpg

Friday, November 20, 2015

An Old Fashioned Christmas by Ellen Stimson - TLC Book Tour

1:38 PM 3 Comments


Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Countryman Press; 1 edition (November 2, 2015)

With its snowy streets, pine forests, sleigh rides and woodsmoke curling from the chimneys, Vermont was practically invented for the Christmas postcard. And no one celebrates the season better than Ellen Stimson, author of the best-selling Mud Season, and now the author and home cook behind this cozy new collection of holiday magic.

From warm drinks for the first snowfall to treats for furry friends, from indulgent snacks for carolers to a traditional menu for Christmas day, An Old-Fashioned Christmas will keep you and your loved ones eating, drinking, laughing and baking all through the holiday season.

Anyone who loved Mud Season will remember Stimson’s hilarious and heartwarming stories of life in her small Vermont town—and An Old-Fashioned Christmas brings her trademark touch to holiday memories new and old. Readers will be inspired to begin their own family traditions like the Stimsons’ annual Christmas Adventure, the collection of nostalgic tree ornaments, and of course, the legendary Christmas party attended by friends and family from all over. This is a book you will return to year after year.

A guide to celebrating Christmas in proper Vermont style—from sleigh rides to country stores—rounds out this deeply personal and completely delicious collection. The 98 homey recipes in this book will soon become annual favorites for your family too, including:

Maple Pecan Cookies

Root Beer Pulled Pork

Maple, Fennel, Sausage and Cheddar Meatballs

Chestnut Mousse

*********************
About Ellen Stimson

Ellen Stimson is a bread-and-butter homecook…possibly more butter than bread. Her table is usually overflowing with friends, family, and folks who have come just to listen to her stories. Some of those tales made it into her bestselling memoir, Mud Season. She cooks and writes from a farmhouse in Vermont.

Connect with Ellen


*********************
My Thoughts

I am so beyond excited to tell you all about this cookbook.  If you've known me for years you know how much I love cooking and collecting cookbooks from all over the place. 

This book combines stunning photography with delicious recipes and beautifully told stories that leave you wanting to turn the pages as fast as you can, and the best part?  It takes place in beautiful Vermont.

Ellen Stimson retells stories of her family's fondest traditions, Christmases past and in between shares recipes for good home cooked dishes that are sure to please your family too.

I got the book in the mail, paged through it really quickly and set it aside.  Not because I didn't want to read it, but because I wanted to indulge in it with a big mug of coffee and a cookie, a warm crochet blanket and a glowing fire.  And so I did, the day came and I settled in with the book, and before I knew it, I had been reading it for 2 hours and shushing anyone that tried to get my attention otherwise.

I don't think there is a single recipe on these pages that I will not try, especially with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up and hosting dinners at our house.  If one thing this book did for me was get me in the Christmas mood and now I am literally counting down the days.

So I tried to pick a recipe that I could make today, that would be easy and that would use ingredients I already had on hand, so I settled on the Eggnog Gooey Butter Cookies, and oh my word, am I ever happy that I did. 

These cookies don't take many ingredients, take only about 5 minutes to get together and then you can pop them in the fridge for 2 hours and go work on something else.  They bake up a dream and taste AMAZING.  My kiddos love them.


Eggnog Gooey Butter Cookies

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons rum extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 package yellow cake mix
1/2 cup powdered sugar, more for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Beat in the egg.  Mix in the rum extract and nutmeg.  Lastly, mix in the cake mix until thoroughly incorporated.  Cover bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Roll the chilled batter into 1-inch-sized balls and then roll them in powdered sugar.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.  Bake 12 minutes.  The cookies will remain soft and gooey.

Cool completely and sprinkle with more powdered sugar (more is always better).


This book would make a great Christmas gift, if you have a family member or friend who love cooking, or collecting cookbooks, then this is it.  I know that if I had received it as a gift, I would have been extremely happy :)




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

Monday, November 16, 2015

Productive Saturday!!!

5:16 PM 4 Comments
_MG_1225

I should have put this post up on Sunday but got busy and didn't get a chance to.  Doesn't matter really, I can still show you my productive Saturday, you won't mind that it's a few days late will you?

Over the past few days it's gotten considerably cooler in our area, and this weekend was picture perfect Fall.  Dark skies, cold, and lazy days.  We quickly realized that we needed to get the fire going but for that, wood needed to be gathered and chopped etc.

So began our productive day......

14 November 2015

I remember watching shows or reading books about families living in the country, and always wondering what it would be like to have to gather the fire wood, get the house ready for winter, or use what is at your disposal to decorate inside.

What would it be like to live that way?

I can't say that we are living or following in the exact same footsteps of the pioneers, but living out here in the country has sure provided us, and me in particular, with a greater appreciation for simpler times and for what it really means to become one with your land.

14 November 2015

We have tons of wood at our disposal, some easy to gather, other in the form of huge tree stumps which we need to chop down.

My husband and son have taken to that job very well, they quite enjoy going out there and swinging that axe, but then, what man wouldn't right? Maybe it's the male instinct in them, that need to chop and destroy.

14 November 2015

While they chopped wood for me to bring inside, I took a walk around the property and gathered a bunch of pine cones and some juniper for decorating.

My plan is to actually make some wreaths, one for the front door, and one each for the big windows we have in both living rooms, the windows that face the front of the house.

14 November 2015

We brought in quite a bit of wood and in no time had a fire going, it quickly warmed the whole house up.  Makes me so happy knowing that I don't have to depend on the central heating, which can get so expensive in the winter months.

_MG_1235

So yes, a productive Saturday though it may not sound like it from this post.

_MG_1273

Today we're expecting severe storms, mainly overnight, but all day long the weather has been super windy and weird.  It's certainly been causing these guys to go nuts, they've been flying huge flocks from one tree to another.

_MG_1241

_MG_1281

Aside from the crazy birds, one thing is for certain....the minute the winds come in, it  immediately kicks my allergies into high gear.  The sniffles, sneezes and the itchy nose are out in full force, oh my word, does anyone else find it so frustrating when you feel like you just want to scratch your face right off???

And unfortunately I'm all out of Benadryl so I'm having to suffer through it.  UGH!!!

Anyway, I started this post this afternoon and it's now a couple hours later and I'm finally finishing it up.  The life of a busy homemaker and mom right?

Well friends, I'm closing off, going to relax and maybe crochet a little, catch up with a show on TV and wait for these storms to move in.  I'm hoping we don't get very bad ones and that the tornado warnings subside, crossing fingers.

Goodnight all :)

Happy Homemaker Monday - 11/16/2015

7:05 AM 7 Comments

Good morning dear friends, come on in and sit with me a little, I have some French Vanilla Coffee for us to share.

I don't know how this Monday came about so fast, I feel like I blink and it goes from Friday morning to Monday, my word, can time please slow down a little?

Anyway, it's quite a dreary day here today and I have so much to get done around here and not a lot of motivation, so let's see how it all goes. 


The weather:::
Cold, grey, dreary and we're expecting severe storms later today, with strong winds, hail and the possibility of tornadoes.  I'm not really looking forward to that, I love a good storm but please no tornadoes, I'm not prepared for that mess having always lived in States where there weren't any.  Praying it doesn't get that bad.

As I look outside my window:::
The wind is whipping through the trees and I see a lot of leaves falling down to the ground.  The trees around my yard are starting to look very bare, actually.  The current weather situation is making everything look so dark and gloomy and blue, almost like a scene from a scary movie.  Ha!!


Right now I am:::
Sipping the last few bits of coffee left in my mug while laying in bed under the covers where it's nice and warm, looking outside the window at the birds flying around and listening to the pugs snoring away. 

Thinking and pondering:::
On Thanksgiving coming up, I have got to get so much done.  I need to first write up a to do list, as I have quite a few things that need to get done, also need to finalize the menu and pass it on to the family members who are joining us.

On my bedside table:::
At the moment, a cup of coffee, the TV control, some Vicks, Kleenex and lotion.

On my tv this week:::
Monday:
Yesterday the family and I found a new show.  We love science fiction shows, anything like Star Trek and Stargate etc, so were quite thrilled to find Dark Matter and we pretty much did a marathon yesterday, tonight we want to watch the last 3 episodes of this first Season.
Cursed:  The Bell Witch

Tuesday:
The Curse of Oak Island
The Bastard Executioner

Wednesday:
Ghost Hunters
Expedition Unknown
Paranormal Witness

Thursday:
Heroes Reborn
Haven

Friday:
Reign
Lockup

Saturday:
Lockup
Lockup Raw
Dead Files Revisited

Sunday:
The Walking Dead

Listening to:::
The news on TV

On the menu for this week:::
Only have the menu plan for half of the week, I have to go grocery shopping on Saturday morning, Friday we will eat leftovers or sandwiches or something easy.

Monday - Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana, Olive Garden's Homemade Bread Sticks
Tuesday - Crockpot Beer Braised Chicken, Rice
Wednesday - Chicken and Hashbrown Casserole
Thursday -*out to eat*
Friday -
Saturday -
Sunday
 
On my to do list:::

Laundry - Have a full basket to wash
Homeschooling - both kids are a little behind.  Jasmine is a perfectionist and she takes her time with her lessons, which means she gets behind quite a bit, but she's pulling in straight A's so I can't really say anything.  Nick on the other hand is just lazy and hates school so it's a bit more of a challenge with him.  Hoping I can work with them and get them caught up this week.
Menu planning
To do list for Thanksgiving - couple projects I want to finish before then

Happening this week:::
Monday - Inside day, housework, baking, schooling etc
Tuesday - Rain is supposed to be done by tomorrow, I'm hoping to gather Juniper greenery to make some wreaths, gathering fire wood too
Wednesday - Housework, computer work
Thursday -  Out to dinner
Friday - Trip to base (library, post office etc)

What I am creating:::

Still working on the corner to corner, actually haven't done anything on it the past few days so tonight while watching TV with the family, I'm going to work on it more.


My simple pleasure:::
Pinterest, looking up ideas for decorating, crafts etc  

Looking around the house:::
I'm kind of getting sick of my family room set up and trying to decide how I can change it around.  It's a little hard because of the wall space, doesn't leave many options for the TV and couch placement.  I need ideas, I need help.  LOL  

From the camera:::




Prayer List:::
The families and friends of the victims of the atrocious attack in Paris.  Praying for the whole country and praying that these animals get dealt with once and for all. 

Bible verse, Devotional:::



Saturday, November 14, 2015

In the Kitchen - Creamy Beef Noodle Bake

9:36 AM 4 Comments


If my kids could eat but one single thing for the rest of their lives, it would have to be Pasta.  They will have seconds, sometimes thirds during dinner and if there is any leftover, they will snack on it late night, they love it that much.

Which means, I'm sure to put pasta dishes on the menu quite often, and any pasta recipe I come across has to be tried, at least once in this household.

This creamy pasta bake is delicious and filling and I'm sure your families will enjoy it just as much as we did.

Creamy beef noodle bake

Creamy Beef Noodle Bake



1 lb ground beef
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
12 oz egg noodles
3/4 cup sour cream
1 container (16 oz) cottage cheese
2 cups grated cheese, I always use Colby Jack


Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the ground beef in a skillet until no longer pink. Drain any excess fat.
Add in the tomato sauce, salt, pepper, and onion powder into the meat and let simmer on low while you prepare the rest.

Cook the egg noodles according to package directions [don't forget to salt the water!]

In large bowl, mix together the sour cream and the cottage cheese.
Drain the noodles and pour them into the mixing bowl with the sour cream and cottage cheese. Stir to coat all the noodles.

In a 9x13 sprayed with cooking spray. Start with half the egg noodle mixture, top with half the ground beef mixture, and then half the shredded cheese. Repeat.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Creamy beef noodle bake


Five Senses Saturday

8:46 AM 3 Comments
FSS

I love my Five Senses Saturday, and although I don't post it every single Saturday, I still think it's a great way to review the past week. What I saw, what I touched, tasted, felt etc....


 ::::HEAR

November 13, 2015

- Kids talking about a youtube video they watched, laughing and retelling it to each other
- Jets flying above on the way to base
- Wind loudly whipping outside
- Favorite shows on the TV
- Kettle boiling for tea


::::SEE

November 13, 2015

- The sun shining through the windows early in the morning
- Birds flying from tree to tree
- Mountains of laundry waiting to be washed
- First fire of the season
- My kids laughing as they play card games with dad


::::TOUCH

_MG_0762

- Firewood
- The softness of my crochet blanket
- Hot cup of coffee
- Bubbly soapy water as I do the dishes
- Bread dough as I knead it


::::TASTE

Creamy beef noodle bake

- Chocolate covered peanut brittle
- Gingerbread spice tea
- Bubbly Pear Juice
- Creamy Beef Noodle Bake
- Kettle Fried Chips


::::SMELL

11 November 2015

- Thunderstorms
- Amber Romance Body Lotion
- Buttermilk Bread straight out of the oven
- Prairie Sky Zebra Stripes Candle Melts
- Wood burning in the fireplace

Friday, November 13, 2015

From dusk til dawn.....

5:54 PM 6 Comments
November 13, 2015

Happy Friday friends!!!

Thought I would show you my day in pictures again.  Before I do though I wanted to answer a few questions that were left in the comments.

Christal Banks wanted to know where to buy the game the hubby and kids were playing.  The game is called Magic the Gathering and you can pick it up at Walmart or any other store that sells board games, cards etc.

Cher asked if I have a recipe for my laundry soap.  Yes I do, you can find it here.

Rhonda was wondering if I would be posting the recipe for the bread, and it's already been shared here before, it's Buttermilk Bread, just click the link.

Right, now to show you what I was up to today, come along with me :)

Early morning foggy windows, right as the sun started rising

November 13, 2015

Cuddles with the baby pug.  Hanging out in bed, watching my Portuguese soaps and Youtube vlogs and staying warm under the covers.

November 13, 2015

Letting the puppies out to potty and marveling at the gorgeous way the light is hitting the grass.

November 13, 2015

November 13, 2015

Breakfast.....coffee with frosted sugar cookie creamer, cinnamon raisin toast

November 13, 2015

Morning shower, it's so cold in this house and it feels wonderful to step into that hot water.  Not so great when you have to step back out, but nonetheless it's enjoyable for the moment.

November 13, 2015

After shower routine.  The Amber Romance is my favorite body lotion of the moment, it smells so good.

November 13, 2015

  Checking the mail and enjoying the sights of Fall around me.

November 13, 2015

The birds were all out tweeting loudly and flying about so I spent a few moments taking random pictures.

November 13, 2015


November 13, 2015

November 13, 2015

Lunch time, I wasn't in the mood for anything major, so grabbed a pack of Ramen Noodles Creamy Chicken.

November 13, 2015

The base must have been having a fly day, these guys were all over the sky going back and forth, for quite a few hours.

November 13, 2015

November 13, 2015

I love it, it makes the yearning for living back on base, not as bad.  I really do like that I can still hear them and see them overhead.

November 13, 2015

As night started to fall, it got colder in the house.  I had already been wearing long pants, long socks and long sleeves and my boot slippers, but it's such a big house that it seems to just keep in the cold.

November 13, 2015

I'm not quite ready to turn on the heat yet, I really don't want to start using it and I know how expensive it can get, so we've been stocking up on fire wood and plan on using as much as we can without having to touch the central heating.  We'll see how long we can do that, hopefully all winter through :)

Now I think I'm going to go take a hot shower, get into my warm comfy pj's and try to enjoy the rest of the night, though I tell you it's not going to be easy as I sit here watching the events unfolding in Paris.

My thoughts and prayers are with all the victims as well as their families and the French people in general.  This world is so completely lost and it breaks my heart to see this kind of carnage going on.

Please stay safe, have a wonderful Friday night and I will see you all back here tomorrow.

In the Kitchen - Thai Peanut Beef

12:54 PM 3 Comments

Asian food of any kind is one of my family's favorites, so anytime I come across one such recipe, it immediately goes on my menu.  Such is the case with this Thai Peanut Beef.

I changed the recipe slightly by adding in some pear juice, and it turned out fantastic, it was quite reminiscent of a Korean Beef Bulgogi.

Thai Peanut Beef

Thai Peanut Beef
Adapted from: Le Creme de La Crumb


1-2 lbs beef, cut into thin strips (suggestion: flank steak or stir fry beef strips) +
2-3 teaspoons oil
*if using more than 1 pound beef, double the sauce recipe below

sauce

¼ cup creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons tabasco hot sauce
pear juice, I just poured in a little, didn't measure


Whisk together all sauce ingredients excluding peanuts, set aside.

Add oil to large pan or skillet and heat over medium high heat until hot. Add beef strips and cook 8-10 minutes, stirring throughout to ensure even cooking. When Beef has browned around edges and cooked to desired doneness.

Add ½ of the sauce to the pan. Stir and cook 1-2 minutes longer. Serve beef hot and top with remaining sauce and chopped peanuts. Garnish with sliced green onions if desired.