Friday, November 17, 2017

{ When life just won't let up }


I'm incredibly sorry for not being around much, life has gotten in the way, worries and fears and health, schooling and work and family and just all sorts of things going on.  It's been quite difficult to maneuver around life at the moment, and unfortunately some things have been left behind

I didn't get a chance to do the grocery haul two weeks ago, and I didn't get a chance to do my weekly meals video for last week either, OR this week, which I've found myself not able to record either due to time constraints.

As we approach Thanksgiving, it's getting even more busier around here and I'm struggling, I'm really struggling.


I hate moaning and complaining because there are so many others out there who really are going through some difficult moments in their lives.  Beautiful friends and family battling cancer and other health issues, heart break and financial woes and so on.

I tell myself that I should just be content with what I have, be grateful and not whinge but it's human nature isn't it?

With everything going on, I'm forcing myself to slow down, or rather, my body is forcing me to slow down, and you know sometimes that's what we need because given the choice we won't do it for ourselves, and so we find that suddenly we are made to stop, breathe and restart.

I've turned to my Bible app again in an effort to reclaim my closeness to the Lord, and to find strength and encouragement.

It's helping, it's not instant gratification because I'm a definite work in process, but it helps.


So in between the chaos, I've loved seeing the seasons change and finally getting some cooler weather here in North Texas.  We spent many years in Arizona where everything was a constant shade of desert brown, so to be able to look out my window and see this, is bliss.


One thing I love about this time of year, is that we always get a lot of deer running through our property.  I've seen them daily, just walking around my yard, or prancing off into the field across the street.


It really is a daily sight for us, one which I thoroughly enjoy.


These guys don't like it too much and usually get in quite a tizz over it.


Something else they don't very much enjoy, and I have to say it's not just them because Marley gets quite excited watching from inside.....are the flocks of Starling that swoop around in my yard.


Funny enough I saw them do this the first year we moved to Texas but they weren't around last year, and this year they're back again.



The first time I saw them in my yard and trees, all I could think of was Hitchcock's The Birds Hahaha

It can be quite intimidating to see, hundreds of birds swooping up and down through your yard, and they sometimes fly straight towards the house and swoop up right before hitting the door.  It's insane.

But it's beautiful at the same time and I find it contrasts with my own life at the minute, after all, you can always find beauty even in the darkest moments, right?


So yes, it's been crazy insane around here but I still give thanks to it all, so much so that my chalkboard has been bearing this message for the past week and a half.  Just a reminder to be thankful, because like I said above, it could be much worse.

Hope you're all doing well and getting ready for Thanksgiving.  There will be 12 of us this year, so I have a lot of preparations and cooking to do, but I love every minute of it and am really looking forward to celebrating with family.

I best get on out of here and get started with my day, I have a house to clean, a second cup of coffee to drink (it's one of those days), and a pretty busy weekend ahead (again). 

Blessings and much love to you all, and thank you again from the bottom of my heart, for always checking on me and continuing to follow me along even where are no updates for a while.  I'm so blessed to have readers like you :)

Monday, November 13, 2017

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 11/13/2017 }

Hi everyone, I am so sorry this is going up so late today.

I've had my mother in law visiting, she arrived Sunday morning and spent the night with us, and she just left to go back home to Sherman.  I was going to try and get this posted early this morning, but I didn't get very good sleep last night and am dealing with a whopper of a headache, so slept in a little later than usual, then made a delicious breakfast for me and her and we've just sat and visited, chatted and enjoyed each other's company this morning.

I'm so sorry, but I know you understand :)

Right, let's not waste anymore time and jump right in.

Breakfast time....what is on the plate this morning::::
We both had coffee with coconut cream creamer, and then I made scrambled eggs with ham and cheese, toast with butter and jam, and we had some leftover Victoria Sponge cake which I made to celebrate her birthday which was on Saturday.

Right now I am::::
Sitting on my couch, I literally just saw her off and am finally sitting down to relax and get this post up.  I've had a very busy weekend, was visiting or off with family every single day.  Kinda feel bad because I didn't get to spend much time with my husband this weekend.

The weather outside::::
It is 57 degrees and we're staying in the 50's this whole week, which I'm absolutely loving. 

Looking around the house::::
It's clean and tidy.  I cleaned pretty much everything yesterday morning before my mother in law arrived so I don't have anything to do today.....aside from the usual dishes and cooking etc.

On today's to do list::::
Laundry.....I have Nick's laundry to do today, some time, not sure when but will probably be after lunch.  Everything else is washed and ironed and put away.
Cleaning.....Just dishes from breakfast and then dishes later tonight. 
Homeschooling.....Have quite a bit to catch up on with Nick, last week was just insanely busy and we didn't do any schooling on Friday.  He will be doing a lab portfolio with Curt tonight, it's all stuff Curt has done in his College Chemistry classes, so they will have fun.  
Cooking....I had a big breakfast with my mother in law, so I'm not having any lunch today.  Dinner will be Oven Baked Spiced Chicken with Garlic and Butter Red Potatoes. 

Currently reading::::
The Austen Escape for an upcoming review. 

On the TV today::::

Last night's Outlander
General Hospital.
Alias Grace on Netflix (new Period Drama and it looks fantastic)
Lore on Amazon (hubby and I have been enjoying this one)
Have two Walking Dead episodes to catch up on.

On the menu this week::::
I did not do a Weekly Meals video last week, we ended up switching meals here and there, and my mother in law took us to dinner on Thursday so, yeah, just didn't work out for me to record.  I'll try to get back on it today, so look for that video next week :)

Monday - Oven Baked Spiced Chicken, Garlic and Butter Red Potatoes
Tuesday - Pork Patties with Spices, Homemade Mac and Cheese, Salad
Wednesday - Spaghetti, Homemade Garlic Bread
Thursday - Stuffed Crust Pizza - Pepperoni and Hawaiian
Friday - Grocery shopping (will be making the new menu sometime this week)
Saturday -
Sunday -

If I have a few minutes to myself, I will::::
Honestly, no clue, I need to keep cracking on with my crochet, but haven't done much of that the past week.  So I might actually just read if I have more time to myself.

New recipe I tried, or want to try this week::::

I have been trying to be better about uploading the recipes to the food blog, last week I added the Christmas Fruit Cake recipe.  Today I'll be adding this Strawberry Poke Cake.

Looking forward to this week::::
Getting closer to Thanksgiving.  My niece is arriving this weekend and I'm so excited to see her, she's turning 21 years old AND she is also expecting her first baby.  I'm giddy with excitement at the prospect of a baby in our family next year.

Favorite photo from the camera::::
Love this time of year, we always have deer in our yard.  This one I saw on Friday, and this morning we had another two just jumping around our front yard.  Love them. 

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses::::
"Because all flesh is as grass, and all glory of man as the flower of the grass.  The grass withers, and it's flower falls away." - 1 Peter 1:24 NKJV

Monday, November 6, 2017

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 11/06/2017 }

Good morning my friends, how are you all doing on this beautiful Monday morning?

It is quite a chilly one here today, the trees have all finally changed color and I feel like we are indeed experiencing Autumn and getting ready for Winter. Makes me happy :)

What doesn't make me happy is the time change. My word I feel completely lost, I'm ready to go to bed and it's only 6pm, then I get up in the morning and realize it's super early. I think I'll be completely lost for the next week until I get acclimated Hahah

Well, let's get going with our Happy Homemaker Monday, shall we?

Breakfast time....what is on the plate this morning::::
I just had a cup of coffee with Coconut Creme Creamer and some toast.   

Right now I am::::
Trying to get this post up, also starting on my book review which will go up after this post and at the same time I have my Weekly Meals video rendering in the background.  It's not even 8am and I'm getting quite a bit done already, feels good.

The weather outside::::
Quite chilly this morning, well, for us Texas folk who are used to hot.  It's currently 47 degrees, it's super cloudy and a little foggy.  A pure, perfect depiction of a Fall morning! 

Looking around the house::::
It's clean and tidy.  I do want to vacuum and carpet clean a few spots here and there, and also have a few other things I want to move around and such, but other than that, not much to do housework wise. 

On today's to do list::::
Laundry.....I spent all week, last week, doing laundry.  I think I did a load every single day, between everyone's clothes, bed linens, kitchen towels, bathroom rugs and shower curtains...yeah all week.  I have 3 comforters to wash today and then I think I'm finally done and can give my washer a break.   
Cleaning.....Dust, vacuum, carpet clean a few spots. 
Homeschooling.....Nick has a livelesson at 1pm to attend.  He also has a portfolio for Physical Science and one for Sign Language. 
Cooking....I think lunch today is going to be very simple, just some yogurt and fruit for me.  Dinner is Ham, Cheese and Potato Layered Casserole. 

Currently reading::::
Just finished The Crooked Path by Irma Joubert, and will be reviewing it this morning.  I'm starting on a Jane Austen inspired read next, really looking forward to that one.  

On the TV today::::

Once I'm done with all this computer work, I'll get dressed for the day and then I can sit and quickly watch last night's Outlander.

General Hospital.
Have two Walking Dead episodes to catch up on.
Also started this show that I'm quite obsessed with at the moment, it's called Rich House Poor House and it's absolutely fantastic.  

On the menu this week::::
Here are last week's meals:

Monday - Ham, Cheese and Potato Layered Casserole
Tuesday - Steaks with Mustard Cream Sauce and Rice
Wednesday - Chicken and Noodles Baked in Cream Sauce, Veggies
Thursday - My mother in law is driving by on her way to Lawton, and is wanting to take us to dinner.  So not sure where we will be eating.
Friday - Pork Patties with Spices and Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
Saturday - Teriyaki Steak with Ric
Sunday -My mother in law is coming back this way and is staying with us all day Sunday and spending the night too.  We will figure out something for lunch, but I'll be making a Beef and Macaroni Casserole for dinner with some Garlic Bread and Salad

If I have a few minutes to myself, I will::::
I am currently trying out something with crochet.  It's a pattern I've been wanting to try for a while and want to see how it looks before I make some for my sister in law, niece and daughter.

New recipe I tried, or want to try this week::::

There are a few new ones I'll be making this week, the Steaks with Mustard Cream Sauce, Chicken and Noodles Baked in Cream Sauce, Pork Patties with Spices and the Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese.  I will add them to the food blog as I make them.  

Looking forward to this week::::

Seeing my mother in law on Thursday.  We haven't really had a chance to visit with her and spend time with her the past few months.  The kids haven't seen her since Jasmine's Graduation back in May.  Life has been busy and she's also been battling breast cancer for the second time, is back and forth to chemo and radiation and doctor appointments.  It's been insane, so we're really looking forward to seeing her this week.     

Favorite photo from the camera::::
One of those while sitting by the fire :) 

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses::::
My heart is breaking for the victims in yet another senseless act in Texas this weekend.  It's even worse when it's done in the Lord's house.  I'm sending my prayers and thoughts to the victims and their families of Sutherland Springs.

John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Romans 12:19: “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
Psalm 11:5 “The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.”

{ The Crooked Path by Irma Joubert - TLC Book Tour }


About The Crooked Path

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 7, 2017)
From the bestselling author of The Girl From the Train, comes another compelling coming of age story of delayed love, loss, and reconciliation in WWII-era South Africa.
Lettie has always felt different from and overshadowed by the women around her– this friend is richer, that friend is more beautiful, those friends are closer. Still, she doesn’t let this hold her back. She works hard to apply her mind, trying to compensate for her perceived lack of beauty with diligent academic work and a successful career as a doctor. She learns to treasure her friendships, but she still wonders if any man will ever return her interest.
Marco’s experiences in the second world war have robbed him of love and health. When winters in his native Italy prove dangerous to his health even after the war has ended, he moves to South Africa to be with his brother, husband to one of Lettie’s best friends. Marco is Lettie’s first patient, and their relationship grows as she aids him on the road back to restored health.
In the company of beloved characters from The Child of the River, Marco and Lettie find a happiness that neither of them thought possible. With that joy comes pain and loss, but Lettie learns that life—while perhaps a crooked path—is always a journey worth taking.

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Purchase Links

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About Irma Joubert

International bestselling author Irma Joubert was a history teacher for 35 years before she began writing. Her stories are known for their deep insight into personal relationships and rich historical detail. She’s the author of eight novels and a regular fixture on bestseller lists in The Netherlands and in her native South Africa. She is the winner of the 2010 ATKV Prize for Romance Novels.
Connect with Irma on Facebook.

My Thoughts:

The minute I heard about this book, I knew I had to review it.  If you have been following me for a while, you will know that I spent most of childhood and young adult years, in South Africa.  To this day, I still call it home, and so to be given the opportunity to review a book that takes place in South Africa, is a huge deal for me.

The story follows Lettie who is a doctor living in South Africa, and Marco living in Italy and recovering from WWII.  Their paths meet when Marco moves to South Africa to heal from the war and ends up being Lettie's first patient.

Lettie is a character filled with complexities, she lives in a constant state of comparison with her friends, always thinking she's not good enough or pretty enough, and most of all not believing that she deserves to find true love.

Watching the two cross paths, watching Marco break down the walls around her heart, all the while enjoying both South Africa and Italy described in such vivid detail, made this for a very and I mean very enjoyable read.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

{ Meal plan with me - Old recipe collection }

I'm getting ready to menu plan for the next two weeks.  I was looking for inspiration and while cleaning my kitchen cabinets yesterday, came across some of my old recipe collections.

You probably have some of these yourself.  I started collecting them many, many years ago, when Jasmine was still little.  I've always been fascinated by old cookbooks and recipes.

Actually, my greatgrandmother has this cookbook, a really old Portuguese cookbook that I adored.  I had my eye on it for the longest time and really wanted to have it for myself, but she ended up giving it to my Uncle, and when he passed away the book just disappeared along with a lot of his belongings.  (his wife at the time just cut off all communication with our family).

It always stuck with me, because I loved that book so much and it was well taken care of and one of my greatgrandma's prized possessions, so when she gave it away to someone else I felt quite sad.  I can't help but think that if it had been with me, it would still have been here and used and loved.  But, let bygones be bygones.

Here's the book, it was called "ABC da Culinaria by Etelvina Lopes de Almeida.

As I was sitting down to get started, I thought I would bring you along with me and actually show you what I ended up doing with the old recipes.


A lot of these I found at Yard sales or thrift stores. 



And some I bought, or my husband bought for me.  I enjoy these recipes because they're not fancy or require all these gourmet ingredients to produce, tasty, home cooked food.  At the end of the day, whether you work at home or outside the home, you don't want to spend hours trying to fix super complicated meals.


I've pulled out my meal plan book, and I've showed you this before in a previous post about the notebooks I use for meal planning and my budget and bills.

As you can see above that was from the last menu plan.  I always write the menu on one side and the grocery list on the other, it makes it easier when I go grocery shopping because if I ever wonder why I am buying a specific ingredient, I can quickly glance over the menu and see what it's for. 


It's also happened before, that I couldn't find something I needed, and having the menu plan with me, I was able to quickly change the meal, right there at the store.


One thing I don't like about these, is that a lot of them came with no box or folder or anything to put them in, so I had them in tupperware boxes, which is not the best way to keep them and it made it quite difficult to flip through and find what I wanted.


I had these blue dollar store containers, so I popped them all into one and not only do they fit but they make it extremely easy to quickly browse through.


The container now sits on my cookbook shelf and I have easy access to it, when I need to look for a recipe, I pull the container down, find what I need and back it goes.

I found a few recipes that I want to make this meal plan and am quite excited to try those.  There's nothing worth than getting stuck in a rut when it comes to dinners, is there?

I would love to know if you all have some of these recipe collections too or if you use them at all.