Bietjie bietjie, y’all.

6 weeks into the new job and things are lookin’ good!
I did survive the voicemail system (thank goodness for phone technicians) as well as our annual banquet, and am getting a handle on all things ‘Chamber’!

If you are wondering what the title of this post means (or whether I just made up some words), the Afrikaans translation of ‘bietjie bitjie’ is ‘little by little’ – and y’all translates from Texan to ‘you all’. ;)
Little by little, I am making 2017 progress. From new job tasks to joining a new church, to improvements on our little house, things are going well and I am so thankful! Now if only I could start a habit of working out. Ha. We just can’t win everywhere. :)

While there is still a huge mound (Huge. Major. *in Trump voice) of general work to get through at the chamber, I am focused this week on working through the logistics of implementing a new spring event: Corks and Kegs Queso Fest.
Yes. I know. It’s awesome – and I hope it will be a roaring success!
Food trucks, Vendors, Music, Texas Hill Country Wine and Craft beer, and a Queso Competition?
Sí, por favor.  .

While they have big ol’ wine fests farther north in the Hill Country with German themes, we are going to South-Texas-fy it and have mariachi music, folklórico, Mexican imports, enchiladas, empanadas, queso, and a fiesta of a good time. (Matter of fact, Fiesta winery is on my invite list.)

Stay tuned for updates on this amazing event! Logo, Facebook page and all, coming soon!
(Date set for Saturday, March 25th, 2017)

In the meantime, check out this video for a briefing on some of the things that make Uvalde County great!

Settlin’ in.

Hello there, 2nd week of 2017.
How you doin’? (In the Boston accent)

Going pretty dern good so far. I am getting my head above water in the new job – still so much to do though. So, so much. Oy vey. Pray for me, y’all. (I’m pretty sure the voicemail system may give me a hernia.)

As far as the resolutions go…. meh.
It’s only the second week though, so lets give ourselves a break.

I have gotten the meal planning thing down purdy good – even bought all my groceries for each meal this week from my handy dandy app, Paprika. What I have not accomplished once is working out or running. Ha. Surprise? I think not.
But, in case you haven’t heard, we did recently have a Texas blizzard.
No, not like you’re thinking. No snow or anything – it just got so cold here (18*F) that we Texans didn’t know how to function anymore. But that’s okay – clear skies and sunshine into the high 70*’s later this week. Hallelujah!

We have gone to church every Sunday so far, and have tried out a new church closer to home. So far we have really enjoyed it and look forward to next Sunday. Instead of attending my super-awesome girls bible study group tonight I went to a Jr. High basketball game to watch my little cousin, Kaylea, play. It was much more entertaining than I anticipated. The coach of the opposing team was hilarious – I can’t even explain his erratic body language and odd comments. He had everyone, including his own team, in awe of his demeanor- some with stifled giggles and others with shocked faces that just couldn’t look away. Throughout the game I reflected on how thankful I am for my former athletic career, as well as the impactful and respectful coaches and teachers I had the opportunity to be molded by. We were a great team. Aggressive, but also full of sportsmanship. If we ‘accidentally’ or otherwise knocked an opposing player down, and didn’t offer a hand to help them up, you better believe we were on the bench the rest of the game. That mentality was certainly not the case here, and it disappointed me very much.

Not too many updates today.
Until next time. Night night!

Goodbye, 2016!

Man, oh man. What a year, y’all.

We moved back to Texas, remodeled a tiny house, got a puppy (Boykin Spaniel- Xena), went skiing for the fist time, experienced Universal Studios and Disney Land, I got my braces off (HALLELUJAH), got a new car, bought my first compound bow and discovered the love of archery, got my concealed handgun license, became a Texas Parks and Wildlife Hunters Education Instructor, planned weddings, fed many-a-Giraffe, Kangaroo, and Camel, drove military tanks and fired artillery, and learned a lot about myself both professionally and personally.

I think that during the last week of December, most people tend to feel a bit reflective and introspective naturally – but this particular week of 2016 has me feeling that way much more than in years past.

This Friday, December 30th, will be my last day of work as Event Coordinator for the Ox Ranch due to my acceptance of a new position – as Executive Director of the Uvalde Area Chamber of Commerce. While I have immensely enjoyed my time with the Ox Ranch – I am so very excited for my new job! I feel so grateful for this opportunity and am extremely hopeful for all of the awesomeness 2017 surely has in store!

I LOVE that this year, we can wake up on Sunday, January 1st, 2017 and begin a new day, week, month, and year. How refreshing is that?!
I hope to begin that particular day with my husband and I sitting in a church pew, giving thanks for all that 2016 has brought us, and that 2017 will as well.  Continue reading

Wedding Planning 101

“Hi, yes.. We would like to have 400 guests, and our budget is $10k.”

I get inquiries similar to this all the time.
If you are engaged and starting to plan your wedding, before you tell every person you know that they are on your guest list, a reality check is going to need to come into play.
Practical. Finances. Continue reading

The ‘Six Day Notice’ Wedding

Oh, the wedding that I had six days to plan…
It turned out to be amazing!

I did accomplish everything on my checklist- and it all looked so beautiful.
As with all weddings, we ended up having some logistic problems (crises), but they were sorted out as well as could be, and sometimes you just have to remind yourself: “que sera, sera”.

They exchanged their nuptials under our custom-built cedar and chiffon chuppah adorned with a beautiful spray of flowers, and drove off into the sunset on our Abbott Tank. Continue reading

“We’re getting married… in SIX DAYS.”

Six. Seis. Ses. Sei. Sechs.
SIX. DAYS.

I’m currently on planning day #2- Sunday the third of July is their wedding date.

While I am so excited for us to have our first wedding on the property- there is so much to do! Continue reading

Event Coordinator? Why, that’s me!

Hello there, long lost blogging world!

I can’t believe I haven’t posted in almost five months!
Life can certainly get busy and change – and quickly, too! Continue reading

Cowboy Mardi Gras!

In case you didn’t catch my Instagram feed blow-up: We went to Cowboy Mardi Gras this past weekend, and almost needless to say with those words put together- it was so much fun! Although Mardi Gras is traditionally done by those over in that coastal area of Louisiana, when you give us Texans a party theme- we’ll probably do it bigger (and maybe better).

So, should you happen to find yourself in the San Antonio, Texas area during the next Mardi Gras time- I strongly suggest moseying on over to the little weekend town of Bandera. (The town has a resident population of 861- until Friday afternoons when it can skyrocket up to the thousands.)

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Cowboy Mardi Gras was originally started by the famous 11th Street Bar – which they argue is the ‘Biggest Little Bar in Texas’.

This year’s festivity marked the 11th annual Cowboy Mardi Gras! Each year there is Cajun food cooked by food trucks hauled in from Louisiana, Costume Contests, Live Zydeco and Country Music, and the ever-anticipated Mardi Gras Parade. This year marked the first Gumbo cook off- and man did that food look good. Continue reading

Your First Safari

I’ve been meaning to do this post for quite sometime now… but there is so much to tell it’s almost impossible to put it all together! Luckily- I DID put it all together- in our Safari Brochure! So what better way to share that with you?

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I love this quote so much! It perfectly describes the emotion you’ll feel from your first safari.

Now, each African country is completely different, but i’ve gotta say i’m pretty partial to South Africa- it’s the only African country you can go on Safari to and not have to worry about lots of immunizations you haven’t already had- Malaria is very rare, and Yellow Fever is only up north around the equator. Plus, most in South Africa speak English as their second language, so speaking barriers are unlikely.
South Africa is the perfect country for your first safari, or a safari with your family- Great food, elegance, safety, electricity and running water, excellent hospitality, AND every animal you can think of in its native environment. Additionally, your heart can sing knowing that your dollars spent, whether through your camera button or trigger finger, go directly to the conservation of habitats, breeding of species, local families, and outreach and research. Safaris drive the African economies like no other!

*Please note as you view the images and words below: they are our personal words and photos taken and put together through many hours of hard work and miles traveled across varying landscapes- please respect them and don’t use them yourself, unless granted permission. :) Thank you!

“In a country that offers a truly astounding variety of animals, plants, and birds, hunting proves to be the challenge that it should be. We believe that a safari should combine excitement with safety, and that the conservation of our heritage is a matter of the highest priority. We believe that the Client, whether equipped with rifle, bow, fishing rod, or camera, should be treated with the utmost consideration and that our dealings with him/her should at all times reflect the highest of ethical standards.” – Andreas Dühring Safaris’ Company Mission Statement

Continue reading

“The Girl on the Train”

As listed on the handy-dandy widget sidebar over there →  (if you’re reading from a landscape iPad or computer) I recently read the book “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins. -and by recently I mean I started reading it on Friday and finished it on Saturday.

I could hardly put my kindle down! This was my first mystery/thriller genre of book and if I know I won’t have time to read another one like this all the way through (like on a long trip or a lazy weekend) I doubt that I will have the gall to start another- it was just way too addicting! I couldn’t stop reading until I found out what happened. Such a good read though!

The author, Paula Hawkins, worked as a journalist for fifteen years before turning her hand to fiction. Born and brought up in Zimbabwe, Paula moved to London in 1989 and has lived there ever since. “The Girl on the Train” is her first thriller, and from what I can find out, also her first novel. Very impressive. I was also drawn to reading this book because she is from Zimbabwe originally. :) I support those fellow ties to Africa!

I can’t explain the book too much without giving away key details, but it is a very well-descripted book told from various characters’ viewpoints, at various settings, and different times. I was this close to writing down the dates and characters of each chapter on a piece of paper, so that when the next chapter would begin I would know where I was just left off from- but I survived without it just fine. :) The main focus is a slightly-obsessive, definitely depressed, alcoholic woman that was cheated on by her now ex-husband… and the events that followed. You just gotta read it! It was great. I wouldn’t suggest it to anyone under the age of 18 due to some mild adult content and language, but still a great read!

Have you read any thrillers? Did you also become a book-reading-zombie only stopping to eat? Let me know!

Huntresses UNITED!

Are you a blogger who happens to also be a huntress?
Then join the Huntresses United list!

I created the Huntresses United collective so that we as huntresses can meet and support other like-minded outdoors-women and their blogs – there seems to be a lack of huntress/hunter blogging collectives/guilds or a way to find other hunting bloggers.

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Huntresses United is a blogging collective of women across the world who share their passion for the outdoors, whether it be wing-shooting, rifle shooting, bow hunting, or angling.”

Click on the link to the Huntresses United info page above (https://texaninsouthafrica.wordpress.com/huntresses-united/) for more information about what being a United Huntress means. :)

Should you wish for your blog to be added to the Huntresses United list, please either comment on this post or on the Huntresses United page with your blog address, or tweet to @vld_safarigirl with #HuntressesUnited.

You don’t have to have a blog dedicated to hunting or the outdoors to be a Huntress United- you just have to have a love for it! ♥

And by all means, once you join in on the list, please display the logo on your blog so that others will be encouraged to join!

I hope to see our little list grow exponentially!
Happy hunting!

 

Meal Planning Reality Check

I feel like I go to the grocery store all the time. Seriously.

Lately, every two days or so I end up needing a main ingredient to make for supper – at 5:30pm. This is pretty equal parts due to getting settled in a new living area, and lack of planning..
With classes starting up in a week and a half (eek! *heart palpitations*), I’m going to end up having even less preparation and organization time.
So something’s gotta give.
The solution is that i’ll be hopping on the meal-planning-bandwagon.

There are all sorts of benefits that come from meal planning – budgeting being an obvious one, but also only buying groceries once or twice a month, eating more healthily, and mostly, just having an easy, already thought out meal that’s ready to be tossed together in my kitchen.
So much easier than going to the grocery store at 6:00pm and eating at 8:00pm – and better for you, too!

I just downloaded the Paprika App for Mac, and although I haven’t added in any info other than having a bag of potatoes in my pantry, it looks AMAZING already.Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 1.03.53 AM

I’m so excited to use it tomorrow! (It might be 1:00am as I type this, currently. whoops…. time management out the window with the night owl.) One of the reasons this app is so popular is because of its simplicity and effectiveness. I can add and save recipes that I either type out myself or that are pulled onto the app directly from the web, then add them to certain days of the month for particular meals (I will probably plan the whole rest of the month), and then the app generates a grocery list for me! Pure. Genius.

I think that the key for our utilization with us being a family of two, is going to be understanding where in our plan that we will eat leftovers, and ensuring that the recipes I choose aren’t too savory and amazing- resulting in a very expensive grocery store trip. You can’t eat a roast three times a week, you know? You have to throw in some lighter meals with less expensive cuts of meat.

I also think that this app may be a way for us (me) to experiment with a lot of recipes that I wouldn’t normally try. Yay for variety!

You’ll definitely be hearing how it goes in the near future!
Do you meal plan? How do you do it?!

 

P.s. Did you notice that I changed my blog logo from my (beloved) giraffe picture with the overlay of the flags, to just the flags?! I love it so much! I also added in an aqua vector pattern background. :) Oh, so much happiness!

Baffin Bay Speckled Sea Trout

As mentioned previously, we spent the weekend a couple of weeks ago with some (great) friends at their house on Baffin Bay, just south of Corpus Christi, and as all do when you have a pier right outside your door- you go out fishing- a lot.

Luckily, we love fishing!

But, before ending up in Baffin Bay, we met up in Corpus Christi at potentially the most amazing fishing shop known to mankind- Roy’s Bait & Tackle Outfitters!

I mean- look at all of that inventory! They have any and every thing you could dream of needing for any kind of fishing! I even found a hook they use for Great White Shark fishing (permit required)!

Once the first light came up the next day, we were in the boat and out on the bay until sundown. Unfortunately, we didn’t have so much catching luck – we only caught one little Speckled Sea Trout, that was too little to keep.

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However, under the green light (after I left the cold-bearing fishing crew and fell asleep) they caught several more Speckled Sea Trout that were above the length limit and were able to be kept.

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So we (husband) kept them, and they came all the way back to our house- where we cooked them that night! (Recipe below)
Maybe our next trip I will get to catch a Red Drum, or a Flounder!

 

Speckled Sea Trout Recipe:

First, you gotta do what husband did and clean the fish- I was asleep for that part. Then, keep them on ice until you are ready to cook them- two days max on ice i’d say- then put them in the freezer for up to two months until you are ready to cook them.

Ingredients:
Trout
Baking Pan
Foil
Olive Oil
Sprigs of either fresh Dill (which we used), Tarragon, or Rosemary
Salt and Pepper, freshly ground to taste
Two large lemons, sliced into wedges
Additional deep pan, filled with warm water, to keep fish moist. (This is referred to as a ‘water bath’ when baking, mostly used with cheesecakes.)

Preheat oven to 400*F
Line your baking pan with the foil. In a bowl, mix together the olive oil and  seasonings. Rub most of it on the inside of the fish, making sure to get some on the bottom so that there is a surface of oil between the fish and foil. Place the lemon wedges along the inside of each fish cavity. Use remaining oil/seasoning mixture to cover tops of fish, and garnish with additional lemon wedges and sprigs of herbs.
Bake on the middle rack (with pan of water on bottom rack) until done- about 20 minutes. When the meat starts to easily flake off, it is done.
Make sure as you are eating that you don’t get any little bones- but ours easily fell right off without any problems.

Easy, pleasey, lemon-squeezy!
We enjoyed our trout with fresh broccoli and couscous – It was delicious!

Have you been saltwater fishing? What is your favorite fish??

New Year- New Blog Look!

Oh my goodness, y’all… I just love it SO much! I changed the theme on my blog, and it is just so amazing!! I don’t know why I was so apprehensive about doing it… It is a big change and it’s hard to go back if you decide you don’t like it- but as previously mentioned, I LOVE IT!

It’s the Penscratch theme (and did I mention I love it?). It is clean and crisp and lookie there –> My widget I love so much is no longer a hidden hard-to-find pop-out menu. Whoop whoop. I also love that the date and comments are able to be seen at the top of each post on the home page, and all of my pages are listed at the top! The only dislike I have, is the dark blue of the hyperlinks are hard to notice as you are reading, but alas, the rest makes up for it.

I hope you like it, too! Let me know! :)
Oh, happy day!

Blogging Tips and Tricks

Hello, there! Are you a blogger, or new to having a blog?
Whether it’s your New years’ resolution, you’re coming back to a dormant page, or you’re an avid post-maker, here are some tips for all bloggers alike. :)

Now, I don’t have the most ‘successful’ site, in the eyes of others – I don’t have sponsors, or over 1,000 followers, but I have posted 46 heart-felt posts and interacted with some pretty awesome people across the globe because of it since September 2014. Throughout the short lifetime of my blog, I can reflect on some learned tips that could be of use to others.

  • Firstly –Choose your blog name very wisely! – You can’t change this– so even though I am the ‘Texan in South Africa’ that is now back in Texas, that will go back every year for an undisclosed amount of time back to South Africa…. I really think that in hindsight, even though it seemed such a perfect name at the time, I could have picked a less concrete name to have gone with. If you know of a way to change your blog name on your blog- please do tell! I have done a bit of research and it seems the only way is to potentially upgrade to the paid platform or create a whole new blog- which is not an option for me- too many dear posts to lose!
  • Write down a blog schedule – Topics should be those that will inspire you and be easy to manage. Drafting a schedule makes goals- so start with just two posts a week on specific days – do that for a month and then increase to three. And you don’t have to sit down on the Tuesday you want to post- you can do them both on the same Sunday evening and schedule them to post on the days you want!
  • Interact with other blogs! <– This is a biggie! The only way you are Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 12.05.48 PMgoing to increase your blogging confidence (therefore blogging more and completing your posting goals) is by getting a tad bit of traffic and feedback (comments) on your blog! And the only way that is going to happen is to go visit other blogs on your reader – follow a topic, (preferably one that is similar to your blog) pick one (I always pick blogs to read that don’t have thousands of followers- helping the other little guys out!), read it a bit, and then click that follow button – they will be sure to check yours out and then reciprocate that follow to yours! And don’t forget to join in on the conversation and COMMENT on a post! As a blogger speaking to a fellow blogger- comments are the hugs of the blogosphere, are they not?! They are the warm little notifications that someone has read your post you potentially spent hours on, enjoyed it, and taken the time to give you their thoughts back! Which brings me to our next bullet…  Continue reading

Happy 1st Day of 2016!

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Except for the fact that it is today instead of tomorrow, and it’s a leap year this year, Brad. ;) so 366 pages.

Oh, happy day! A whole year has come and gone, and a new one has taken its place. People all over the world for the next couple of weeks will be using that eraser to scratch out the ‘5’ and replace it with a ‘6’ for 2016 – I know I will be! I have to remind myself for weeks on end that it’s a new year- almost until the point that it’s the end of that year with a new one on the way again!

Did you notice on the home page? I changed the year on the copyright! It looks like i’m entering my third calendar year of blogging! Whoop whoop! I can’t wait for all that 2016 will bring- good and exciting things indeed- and I wish the same for you, too!

 

As far as resolutions are concerned, I can’t remember the last time that I sat down and wrote some out on a January 1st, so why not now? I am sitting, after all…

Victoria’s 2016 Resolutions/Goals:
Be more patient.
Be more kind.
Be less critical of myself and others.
Develop better time management. (Although i’m sure this will come on its own as soon as this school semester starts- yep, you read that right- school semester- stay tuned for that update..)
Bring pilates back into my life as a daily routine. – this will require the purchasing of some mat equipment.
Start running. (cliché, yes, I know… i’m sure that of all of the lists written across the globe today, this is probably the most common one, but it’s always a good one!)
-Hunt more. (duh)
-Join a Texas IDPA group
-Get my concealed handgun license.
-Curse less. (it’s a problem, i’ll admit)
-Take. More. Pictures!!
-Become a more confidant swimmer.
-Take a beach vacation.
-Read more (going back to time management…)
-Wake up earlier
-Stop settling for throwing my hair in a bun- appearances matter!
-Eat out less.
-Plan our meals- and buy accordingly.
-Create a financial budget.
-Get more crafty.
and last but not least,
-Blog more!

What are your New Years’ resolutions or goals? Do we have any that are the same?

Until next time!
I hope you had a most blessed and wonderfully refreshing January 1st, 2016!

P.s
As previously mentioned (again), I have been absent as of late due to the crazy busyness of life. A couple of things that I (we) have done in the last couple of weeks, includes remodeling a small house, surviving family encounters throughout the holiday season, and going hunting (although unsuccessfully) a couple of times. It even snowed while we were in the blind- in Del Rio of all places!

The air was so pretty filled with all of the dainty dancing white specks, and the Whitetail Deer looked to be having some fun with it, too.

 

Update; NaBloPoMo Results

Well hello, hello there, long-lost friends!

As previously mentioned in my last post – we have been so busy since landing back in Texas- and I mean exceptionally busy! We have done our own tiling, flooring, paving, and all sorts of other remodeling projects. We are still getting our clothes out of a suitcase every day, but I do finally get a kitchen sink and cabinets installed in TWO days!
Bietjie bietjie maak baie! (← one of my most favorite Afrikaans sayings, and it translates to ‘little by little, makes a lot’!)
Moving to another country always has its little battles! Still on my list is to sort out medical insurance and university documents- but I am registered for classes! Bachelors of Arts of Interdisciplinary Studies, here I come! ….but give me a year and a half. :)

As for NaBloPoMo: Continue reading

We Are Here!

So, as it turns out, there was zero airport entertainment in the way of quirky passengers or otherwise during our travels this time. So sad.

I apologize for my lack of posts- and yes- I technically failed at NaBloPoMo since my last November post was on the 23rd, and only managed to crank out one post on the ‘Thankfulness Challenge’. Whomp whomp. :( NaBloPoMo was still a really great try and a wonderful experience! My upcoming stats post is going to be pretty mind-blowing!

We literally hit the ground running once we landed back in Texas and have been excessively busy ever since- and there is STILL so much to do! We did make the wise decision to get away from all the madness this weekend and visit some friends at the coast- Baffin Bay. I’m so glad we did!

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It’s just past 11:00pm here now, and everyone except for me and a very attention-seeking Maltipoo (Maltese/Poodle cross) named Honey are outside fishing off of the pier. Continue reading

Almost There!

Departure day draws nearer by the minute! We (I) have successfully packed one carry-on case, three hard case suitcases, two large duffel bags, and a bow case with right at 350 pounds of jackets, sweaters, pants, shorts, (many) dresses, shoes, a gilly suit, game caller, binoculars, holsters, hunting gear, fishing gear, books, and 500 brochures. Tomorrow I just need to pack all of our tech and valuables into our last carry-on case and my purse, and we will be ready to go!

I must say, I am so very thankful for the South African work force. Day laborers seek work by the thousands, so house-helpers such as maids and gardeners are very common for just about every household to have. We don’t normally have a maid at our house, mostly because I’m too picky and because we live so far away it ends up being more work to get someone here than for me to do it myself. But today, while going crazy ripping our house and bedroom apart and stuffing them into suitcases, I really needed the extra help to clean the house- and oh my goodness what a difference it made! I am very thankful that we were able to have Dorah come today and help us with the house. I got everything packed and ready- and a spotless house to relax in afterwards! It really is a blessing and I am so grateful for it and her.

Stay tuned for airport entertainment to come soon! 😃

As Close To Oblivion

 Here I am, once again at Brooklyn mall, pretty tipsy off of one glass of TriBeCa’s house Sauvignon Blanc, listening to none other than Robbie Wessels’ Grootste Treffers- the one at the moment being “Leeuloop”.  I just finished eating some super awesome chicken strips (my favorite) and it was such a huge serving, that it could have easily fed two. My super amazing cappuccino just arrived, and I’ve gotta tell you, that is certainly one thing I’m going to miss in upcoming weeks- the amazing coffee everywhere you go in South Africa.
 Seriously- this culture enjoys their coffee! I have been exceptionally spoiled with gourmet, properly made, high quality, coffee in the variety of cappuccinos, lattes, espressos, and filter coffee that hasn’t been sitting in a pot since 6:00AM. Ah, South African coffee, how I will miss you so. Continue reading

Thankfulness: Day 1

 Today I am thankful for:

My super awesome bible app on my phone, and the fact that I have the ability to have an iPhone.


Even though the word is literally right at my fingertips almost every minute of everyday, I still fail at bringing it into my life each day. I’m really hoping that this thirty day thankfulness challenge through scripture will change that and encourage me to make the amazing words of the bible be more a part of my daily life. Continue reading

Thankful Challenge

A friend of mine from a women’s bible study group I am part of back home in Texas, sent this to me at the beginning of November.


It is intended to be a “Thanksgiving Thankfulness” challenge, but I am a bit late catching the boat. I’m actually in my own kayak following the path the boat has left…  Continue reading

Life in Limbo

It isn’t unusual for the week before our international departure to be a bit hectic; our lives go into a kind of limbo, even more than it usually is…

There are countless things to do:
*Get rid of all of the perishables from the fridge and pantry.
*Clean. the. whole. house.
*Service and prepare our vehicles that will be driven very minimally for the following months.
*Pack all clothes we want to take with us- which is always an immense hoard of winter clothing…
*Decide on and pack all of the other things we do or don’t want to bring with us- Mountain bikes? Bow? Mohair Coat? Play Station? Fishing Poles?
*and, the most difficult of all to manage- Spending time with family and friends. Continue reading

Never-ending Laundry

Laundry is just one of those never-ending chores.
Laundry, Dishes, Sweeping, Mopping… As soon as you thought they were done, they are ready to be done all over again.

When I first moved to South Africa, I wasn’t too pleased with the fact that no one uses tumble dryers here- everyone hangs their clothes out on drying racks.

But shortly thereafter, I fell in love with laundry all over again. Continue reading

“Excuse Me.”

Alright. You caught me. I missed posting yesterday. 😩 and I was doing so good! Two whole weeks! Only to have my lazy Sunday interrupt my perfect cycle. Ah, it’s still a personal record, anyway. NaBloPoMo is really just there for inspiration, and inspire me it has!

So, here I am today, at the Brooklyn Mall here in Pretoria sipping on some yummy coffee from the not-so-South-African Seattle Coffee Company. Lol This will probably be my last time at Brooklyn for at least six months, so you’d think I’d go and get coffee at TriBeCa, but no, I came here. I just didn’t want to walk further, okay! 😉 Continue reading

A Lifetime of Decisions

We make decisions every minute of everyday.
Conscious ones, unconscious ones, all the time.
Some we are thankful for for the rest of our lives.
Some we regret for the rest of our lives.
But every one, even the smallest one, does effect us.
Forgetting our keys and walking back inside the house?
Those two minutes could have saved you from a life-altering car crash, or put you in one. Continue reading

Aunt June’s Peach Cobbler

Because it’s Friday, we had company over, and in preparation for that I spent most of the day getting the house and everything else ready for making lots of pizza, so I didn’t really have just a whole bunch of time on my hands to sit down and think up a subject for a post much less write one.
So, you all get the recipe for what I made and served for dessert.
Lucky you, I made my Great Aunt June’s Famous Peach Cobbler.

Now, if you aren’t from Texas, you may not know what a cobbler is. My friends that just left our house here in South Africa told me it was like a pudding…. If you are from Texas, don’t take offense to that- they have odd ‘puddings’. Think bread pudding. :)

Regardless of what you do or don’t know about it, trust me when I say it is pure awesomeness and you need to make it. It’s super easy, and you probably have everything you need right in your pantry and fridge.

Now, just one more note… I failed completely at getting a final product picture. :( It got gobbled before I thought about taking one. Sorry about that…

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10 Funny Afrikaans Animals

It’s almost 4:00 in the afternoon over here in sunny South Africa, and this girl doesn’t have just so much to say today. So, in honor of NaBloPoMo, I’ll share with you some Afrikaans words that I find to be quite funny. It’s a very descriptive language, so sometimes direct translations can be pretty entertaining- with the animal names taking the cake. Enjoy!

Afrikaans Word: Ystervark 
Direct Translation: Iron Pig
English Word: Porcupine
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My Hunting Dream List

One of the things that comes with being a part of the global hunting community, is a vast knowledge of species around the globe, and therefore a big hunting ‘bucket list’.
(much to my husbands’ wallets’ dismay..) ;)

So, without further ado, here is a simple, yet comprehensive, list of the species I would like to hunt during my lifetime.
More than likely, I will only ever be able to hunt about 10% of this list- but i’ll be more than happy with whatever I am ever able to have the opportunity to take.
The asterisk (*) means it is a priority species for me. Continue reading

Afrikaans Language History

Have you ever heard of the Afrikaans Language?
No?? Well, it is a pretty big deal over here.

South Africa has 11 national languages:  Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu.
However, English, Afrikaans, and Zulu are the most widely used across the rainbow nation.

Learning any language is always a good decision- it enables you not only to connect more intimately with other cultures, but also to know what people are saying when they think you are just the average American tourist. :)
If you are visiting South Africa any time soon, I suggest learning some Afrikaans phrases, as well as knowing the commonly used terms.

So, some history on the Afrikaans language:
(A bietjie geskiedenis op die Afrikaanse taal.) Continue reading

Picadillo: Mexican Hash

Picadillo Tacos are one of my most favorite go-to lunch tacos.

When growing up in Southwest Texas, tacos are a staple for breakfast or lunch, and usually run you at about $2.00/taco and no more than five minutes drive away.
It wouldn’t be far from the truth to say I was raised on them.
Working out on the ranch all day, we would have breakfast tacos after rounding-up sheep, goats, or cattle, and then a variation of either bean and cheese or meat and rice tacos for lunch after a good amount of livestock had been worked. Most of the time, it was my grandmother or a workers’ wife who prepared these in the wee hours of the morning, or even the night before. So, it’s safe to say I have a fondness for tacos. ..I may or may not have had a taco place on speed dial in High School. Continue reading

Sunday Funday 🍃🌲🚴🏻

Ahhh the laziness of yesterday was made up for today.

We are at Rosemary Hill today, but aren’t here for their fabulous morning or afternoon tea- we came to cycle.

Rosemary Hill is located just east of Pretoria and they are well-known for having a truly awesome mountain biking trail. (6km/10km) …but I’ve gotta admit – I chickened out and stopped at the 5km mark. My husband kept going and did the full 10km’s. He said it was awesome. It has a huge hill, and several tricky parts. And if he is saying they’re tricky, you better be a bit experienced to handle them. He also said you ride through abandoned buildings, and there are portions where you can choose the ‘chicken’ or ‘bull’ path. The first 5km’s that I can tell you about from experience, has about six spots with little hill-bridges and a whole forest portion with some tight turns.

 

The first little bridge ramp- by far the smallest, but the only one I could get a picture of easily.

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Saturday Blues

This is a pity post.
It’s existence is merely due to my vow to complete NaBloPoMo this month.

Even though it’s only 1:25pm at this exact moment, and there is still more of the day to happen, it has not been the most amazing day. Not that every day has to be amazing to have meaning.
Today means that I was able to relax and have time all to myself at home.
Sometimes that is good for mental well-being.
Sometimes it means you go stir-crazy. Continue reading

The Hunting Topic and its Controversy

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One of my greatest passions is hunting –
and why do I have to be afraid to say that?

I am new to the Twitter-Sphere and I have been trying to learn how to utilize it for our businesses, as well as for personal purposes. There is a Twitter site (do you call it a site?) @AverageHunter and they do a weekly hashtag that is very popular called #TrophyTuesday. I have participated in that hashtag a couple of times, once with a picture of me and my ducks, and once with a picture of me and my Axis Deer.
A few days after the last #TrophyTuesday I did, which happened to be of my ducks, I got a notification. (It’s easy for me to check each one because traffic on my twitter account is quite rare.) It was a notification of someone that had re-tweeted my Axis picture.
I clicked on the account of the re-tweeter and it was @Blueskyemining.
Doesn’t sound like a hate page, right?
As I scrolled through their twitter page, I saw countless re-tweets of hunting, but not in a good sense. One common re-tweet I came across was originally from a man who posted edited pictures of hunting where he included the hunters/huntresses name, work address, and work phone number, encouraging people to get them fired.  I mean… the only appropriate response to that is “What the french toast??”.
Needless to say, I blocked them and deleted my tweet faster than you could say ‘Hot Tamales’. Continue reading

Young International Married Couple: Common Questions

There are all sorts of assumptions and questions that people have when you are a young married couple:

“I could never get married so young.”
“Don’t you think you should have enjoyed your youth?”
“Shouldn’t you have dated more to have a better idea of what you want?”
“So, when are the babies coming? You shouldn’t wait too long, you know.”

But when you are a young internationally married couple- Ohmygoodness.
The questions. (said with an eye twitch)
Sometimes, they are just too much for me to handle – mostly because they are always the same and I have answered them to many different people many times. I mean, show some originality! Just kidding… but really.
Below are some common questions that really tend to irk me. Continue reading

NaBloPoMo: Confession

Since I am new to the National Blog Posting Month, I have to admit, I was a bit misled in what it’s all about. Since it is called the National Blog Posting Month, I was under the assumption that this was a one month a year thing- as it turns out, I was wrong. There is a NaBloPoMo every month.

AND to top it off, since the suggested blog prompts on the Blog Her site are only on weekdays… I also thought that those were the only posting days. Wrong-o! Its EVERY. DAY.  Oy vey.

So, i’m not ending my challenge just yet, peeps- but this may be more difficult than I imagined.

Good news is, if it’s really successful and I really enjoy it (as it has been so far) I don’t have to wait a whole year to try it all again! I can do the challenge every six months, every other month, or just when I feel I have all my creativity coming the the brink of explosion. :)

International Travel: Flying Habits

Hello there again! We booked our plane ticket back to Texas last night, and it got me to thinking about how much of a seasoned international traveler I am. Traveling a lot is one of the things that goes hand-in-hand with having an international marriage.

Because of this, I know airport call signs by heart, which airlines have the best food and entertainment, time zone differences off the back of my hand, and I have my passport and frequent flier numbers memorized – for myself and my husband.
Last but not least, another skill that comes with traveling often- I am an expert packer. I know exactly how to pack our check-in bags and what to carry on the plane, both in my carry-on luggage in the overhead bin, and what I want in my purse within easy arm reach.

After 12 transcontinental flights, you get a bit of a gist for what you need on the flight and a timeline of how to survive it best. Continue reading

Blog Stats

Hello again! Two days in a row- I haven’t failed at NaBloPoMo, yet! Whoop!

While taking part in this challenge, I want to see if posting more often produces more traffic to my blog- or if longer article-like posts less often (as I have done before), have similar results.

Here are what my stats looked like for 2015, on Sunday evening the 1st of November, just before starting NaBloPoMo. Continue reading

#NaBloPoMo- say what?

No, that is not the phonetic spelling of me speaking with my mouth full, it’s an acronym of sorts that stands for “National Blog Posting Month”.

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NaBloPoMo is a very popular challenge amongst bloggers during November of every year where the participants pledge to write a blog post every week day throughout the month. It was originally started by Blog Her –> on this link to her website, you will find a list of participants who have registered for the challenge- I’m number 348 of 494 who have registered so far! Continue reading

Happy Halloween!

…and a very Happy 16th Birthday, to my oldest nephew, Tate (AKA: TaterTot)!

I am trying really hard to incorporate shorter posts into my blog, so that I can have more content more regularly. One of the downfalls of being a writing perfectionist, is taking forever to draft, edit, and finalize a post.. and it also usually results in a lot of words to read! oops!

Since we are almost never in South Africa for Christmas, we always try to find a way to do something special with my husbands’ family before we go back to the US each November.
(We spent Christmas day here in South Africa four years ago, and let me tell ya, it was weird. A hot Christmas? No, thank you. It’s the last day of October today, and it’s 88*F outside! Dis warm, manne!)

This year, we decided to go to Montecasino and see a theatrical performance- one of my most favorite things to do! Continue reading

The Versatile Blogger Award: Facts About Me

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An award?! Someone nominated me for an award?!

I am so flattered- not only that I have been nominated with my few amount of posts, but also that someone diligently reads and enjoys my blog! So, thank you ever so much, Natasja of Her Arrow Points North! Be sure to check her blog out- it’s California awesomeness.

The Versatile Blogger Award was put together to “Honor those bloggers who bring something special to your life whether every day or only now and then.”. My blog nominations below are just a couple of my favorites. I always look forward to reading their posts because of the great information they share, awesome pictures, life blunders, new products, as well as finding out the similarities we may have in common even though we come from completely different backgrounds.

Even though my “About Me” is quite detailed, here are some facts you may not know:

  1. Ek kan Afrikaans praat… maar ek het nog baie om te leer. ;)
    Translation: “I can speak Afrikaans, but I still have a lot to learn.”
  2. I can make most Mexican food from scratch, but have yet to master the corn tortilla.  Continue reading

This thing called a ‘blog’.

Hello there kind reader.
Once again, thank you for taking time out of your day to read the words I write.
Speaking of that, do you know how long it takes to formulate a blog post and incorporate all of the niceties such as format and pictures? A long time.

It takes at minimum, about 2 hours per (normal, long) post to get everything done. (Not including the time I spend reloading my own website, re-reading, and editing for the next week…) Now, while I enjoy doing this all, and really do so for my own form of entertainment, it is still really nice to see visitors and feedback to a post. It feels great to know that people are reading my blogs, and even better to get a comment or two.

So, to those of you who have commented previously, I give you a big virtual hug and “Thank You!”- it means a lot to me and provides (sometimes much needed) encouragement to spend another span of time writing the next post. :)

Thanks again for reading!

I.D.P.A. – for all pistol lovers.

To start off my ‘Firearm Friday’ I thought that an introduction into just what IDPA is, would be appropriate. :)

I.D.P.A. – International Defensive Pistol Association.
This organization is one you will want to be a part of!
Originally founded in 1996 in the US, there are now over 22,000 active members in more than 50 countries, with most likely a club near you!

IDPA competitions have stages that solve real-world defensive scenarios using everyday practical carry equipment. The main goal is to improve and test the skill and ability of the individual by combining accuracy and tactical engagement procedure with speed.
Needless to say- it is a lot of fun.

At the Hluhluwe, KZN club shoot in 2014.
At the Hluhluwe, KZN club shoot in 2014.

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Homemade Pizza Dough and Sauce

Hello there and Happy Heritage Day! I was going to do a post today on a recipe for a lamb potjie- but that will have to be for another time as we did not end up making potjie today. Instead, we went to a wine festival… but more on that later. :)

So, for your Thirsty Thursday post, you have below the most amazing pizza dough and sauce recipe known to mankind.

We love making pizza’s- especially since we built a pizza oven.
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It is SO much fun! and when you have your own pizza oven, it is cheap and easy to eat yummy pizzas whenever you want. Anytime I can eat Italian food and not have to put on makeup, i’m a happy camper. :) Continue reading

Diverse Gauteng

As I delve into all of the different areas of South Africa over the next couple of weeks, I thought it would be best to start at home, with the Gauteng province.

Oh, Gauteng, such a unique province you are.
It truly has so much to offer and is extremely different from one area to the next- even just traveling a mere 40 kilometers away.

We live just outside of Pretoria, so obviously that is where we spend most of our time, and therefore where I know most about.

I would like to think I’m not biased, but I am. I love Pretoria.
The Jacaranda trees lining the street in full bloom in spring is something that everyone should see first hand.

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My Wedding Dress

If you haven’t heard the story of my wedding dress: Brace yourself- it’s pretty unique. I knew exactly what I wanted, and my stubborn self wasn’t settling for anything other than what I had in mind. What I ended up with was more than I could have dreamed of.

I did the traditional try-on’s at David’s Bridal and Alfred Angelo’s in San Antonio with family and friends, and was sorely disappointed in my options. Every ‘lace’ dress I tried on was just lace appliqué, seemed very mass produced, and were way over my price range. After searching online for inspiration, I found a picture of a designer dress style that was perfect- but it had a designer price and was in Arizona.

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(Designer: Claire Pettibone, Dress: Yolanda)

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Wanderlust is Wonderful!

We do a fair amount of traveling in our line of work, and I am so thankful for it! I have seen more of South Africa’s landscape than most native-born residents have. Truly. From Hoedspruit to Cape Town, Mafikeng to Johannesburg, Kuruman to White River, Kimberly to Polokwane, Hluhluwe to Ellisras- I have been there!
Method of travel has mostly been by means of driving our trusted Land Cruiser, but also via Kalahari Ferrari, commercial airline and private jet a select couple of times.

Over the next couple of weeks I am going to highlight on the larger topographic areas that we have been to, as well as select trips that we have enjoyed, with of course the aid of many pictures.
So stay tuned because there is much more to come soon!

Scones and Strawberry Creme

Ahhh.. the English culture spread its’ roots in South Africa long ago, and the best part of that would be the culinary influences it brought with it.  Tea time, anyone?

My husband loves scones. Absolutely loves them. Once I made them myself, I easily saw (or rather tasted) why. Warm yumminess that is similar yet sweeter than a southern biscuit, with strawberries and creme oozing out from the middle. You just have to eat them once to truly understand why tea time became a cultural staple- setting aside a time to sit quietly and enjoy some hot tea with a side of this wonderful creation is good for the soul.

Here is my recipe, that has been slightly adapted from the BBC Food’s original recipe.
It really doesn’t take long to make at all- give it a try, your tastebuds (and spouse) will thank you!
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Hello, Hallo, Здравствуйте, Bonjour!

Hello there, people of the world.

I must apologize for not having had the diligence or inspiration to really sit down and put thoughts to words since my last post. Interestingly enough, that post (5 Reasons My Children Will Hunt) has been extremely popular. Since I posted it in March, it has been viewed 446 times, by people from 29 different countries! My homepage (which has access to all of the blog posts) has been visited 722 times! The most popular countries have been the United States, South Africa, The United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, France, and Australia. I am shocked by how worldly diverse the visits to my site have been! The internet truly is an amazing tool.
Therefore, whoever and wherever you are as you happen to be reading this right now- Thank You for visiting my site!

…So what all have I been up to for the past six months?
It includes a lot of new experiences, travel, adventures, laughs, and learning-
But you’ll just have to stay tuned to find out more! :)

5 Reasons My Children Will Hunt

*Gasp! “She said that she will teach her children to be vile, cruel, HUNTERS!”

Yep. I did. And hunters they shall be.
However, my experiences with hunting that define that word for me, connote not one negative word or emotion associated.

DISCLAIMER To The Reader:
Hear me out. 
Have an objective viewpoint.
Learn to live in love and appreciate those that have different lifestyles or opinions than you.

Whew. Now that we are over the modern popular social ideology that we need to hate all hunters…. maybe I can get to the point of this article. :) Sorry about that….

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