Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Falling in love with Fall and #Starbucks #FallBlend

 My favorite season is Fall. The colors, the temperatures, the scents, the local attractions, everything - well everything but the occasional sleeting rain. There is just something about being outside bundled in a soft sweater that makes me feel happy.

  Another thing that is perfect during this cool weather is curling up under a homemade afghan with a fresh brewed cup of coffee. Pressing it cup against your chest as it cools warms the soul and livens the senses. A peaceful cup of coffee is a great way to wake up for the day!!

   Many thanks to Modern Mom and Starbucks  for sending me some 2014 Fall Blend coffee and I truly mean it - many, many, many thanks!! This is by far the best blend of coffee I have ever had! It is a warm and rich blend of three coffees that fill this medium roast in flavor. 

    How can you not enjoy the start of the Fall season with a delish cup of warm, amazing coffee?? Especially when Fall means its Back to School time!! 

    Starbucks did a great job selecting this blend for sure! Sumatran beans bring warm spice notes to the bright citrus Kenya beans both blended with a subtle nuttiness of Peru beans. A serious full-bodied, medium roast. 

    You can pick up a bag or two or three at major grocery stores for $8.99 per 10oz. package. Hurry up though before they're all gone. 

     Are you a savvy shopper? Visit Starbucks here and click on the top of the screen for a special savings. 

     Want to see more pics? Join me on Instagram!

   Not so fine print - Many thanks again to Modern Mom for the coffee - All opinions are my own and I really do mean it - this Fall Blend is awesome!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Beautiful, Strong and Amazing

    I want to share a story about a strong, beautiful woman I am so fortunate to have in my life. It's my cousin. We joke that she's the younger sister I never wanted but truth is she is the younger sister I really did want. My brother and I sure put her through the ringer growing up but what did we know? We might made her scared to use aloe-vera gel telling her it was Slimer from Ghost Busters but she was an only child so we gave her experiences only kids with siblings could get. (In all honesty I am sorry but we were kids.) 

   She is so incredibly strong, much stronger than I will ever be. She is beautiful and kind and thoughtful and simply amazing!!

   Over the past few years she has traveled beyond her path and her shoes are worn, her soul and heart have been tested, pushed to the limit and she has stood tall and strong.  

   Two years ago she found out she was expecting her second child which they found through a series of tests had a terminal condition. Through a network of bereaved parents they were given a recorder to capture their daughter's heartbeat forever. They later put that recording device in a bunny as a keepsake. And as those who have been pregnant know, hearing your baby's heartbeat is one of the most treasured sounds that will grace your ears in your entire life! 

    Her baby was born and while some may think the nine days she spent on Earth were too short, she will forever carry live on in our hearts. She was just like her mama - beautiful, strong and a fighter. 

   Over this past weekend my cousin held a bike run to raise money and awareness for the organization that gave them the recording device so that others can have this piece of their baby with them. She did an awesome job for a first annual event and raised over $1000! And I am so thankful that I was there to help. 

   I'm hoping I can talk her into having a dedicated page or two on social media so that we can raise awareness and even fund-raise year round. When that happens I will post any and all links here as well as on my social media accounts. 

   I am happy to finish up this post with letting you know she did end up having a wonderful "rainbow" baby who is just as beautiful as her sister and mother. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

We can because we can - Its #canningseason

    You read that right, it's canning season. My mother-in-law cans peaches and tomatoes that they get at a farm up where Great, Great Grandpa use to live. I have yet to tag along on a peach canning day but this is my second tomato canning afternoon since being with my Hubs.

    Lulu and I drove out to her house where she was already blanching and peeling away. Once we washed our hands, we dove right in. After a few batches and lunch we started picking up and I asked her what happens to the skins. She kind of look at me weird and said she just tosses them out. For some reason I felt like there was just something that could be done with them so I took them home with me (Lulu stayed to play while the jars cooled and the MIL would drive them both over before dinner.)

    I got home I started in on my search and found that many people dry the skins, grind them up and use them a lot of different ways. So TW and I started sorting our bag of left over tomato parts and pieces. I pulled out the skins, flattening them on parchment paper and scrapped away any extra meat.
TW had a blast until his belly was full. 

My little kitchen co-pilot 
(He found a tiny tomato that slipped past the cans)

Separating the skin from the rest of the left overs

    Once I had three trays full they went into my convection oven at 200 degrees for about three hours. In the mean time TW and I continued to sort through the bag of skins and parts. I put all the extra parts in a pot and boiled it up for maybe about an hour or so then ran it all through a sifter creating tomato juice (the Hubs was happy). 

How purdy is that??!
Dried tomato skins are delish as is - like fancy tomato chips - lol

    When my MIL came I shared with her what I found and she was over the moon. All these years she's been tossing out all of that thinking it was just waste. Looks like I may have updated the family canning process for the better. Use it all up! 
That's all that's left when I was done - into the compost it goes!

Ran it through my herb grinder and voila! 
Tomato skin powder

    Wondering what you can do with dried tomato powder? 
    ~ Make a paste using a one part water, one part powder ratio. 
    ~ Need a soup base? Use a two part water, one part powder ratio
    ~ Add to marinades, dips, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes
    ~ Lots more!!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Getting my #flawlessfinish on with Sheer Cover Studio

    I've been unplugged from most social media and online with all the recent events that have popped up over the past few weeks, but things have settled down and I'm back! 
    As many know I am a mom of three beautiful children and for a year now I have been a stay-at-home mom to three beautiful children. What a job that is! Some mornings its rough to survive until the coffee hits the system and those are the days that I wear pajamas or yoga pants or lounge wear or whatever you call it all day long. 
    Thanks to running around and making sure things go smoothly, everyone is dressed and everyone has everything they need I often forget about myself and will just toss something on and tie my hair back. Shower? That would be nice. Blow dry? Nope. Nail polish? Whatever is left on from a few months ago. Makeup? If lip gloss counts then sure. 
    Guess what? Not any more! Before it was just a thought to pamper myself or fuss with how I look but now I'm taking my time. The kids are getting older and I've come to the bridge where if they forget something they'll learn for the next time. (Of course I'll still check on the important stuff like lunches, letters and homework but show-n-tell things are on their own). I have to show my face at two schools daily and I don't want to look tired and worn down. I don't want to showcase my wrinkles, bags and uneven skin tones. 
    I was recently given the amazing opportunity by Modern Mom to try out the Sheer Cover Studio system and it is heaven sent. At first it was a bit intimidating but it really is easy to use. 
The Sheer Cover System - 5 steps to a beautious face

The super to easy follow guide aka the Sheer Cover Bible 

    Armed with my guide and all the pieces of the system I locked myself in the bathroom to experiment and play around. Digging the base perfector primer. I applied after I washed and moisturized. The concealer took a bit for me to master but wasn't too bad. I like the brightener and could see the difference between my eyes. Cover up and illuminating were fun with the blush brush but my favorite part of the system right now is the eye lash mascara and fibers. My lashes are so lush and plump and it only took three "sch-wipes". 
Can you see the difference between the left side and the right side? 
My right (your left) has the makeup and mascara on - much more even.
Check out those lashes there!

     I want to also note that the real stories that came in the literature are amazing! This makeup system is awesome. It doesn't feel like I am wearing makeup. It is smooth and light. 
     Many, many thanks to Modern Mom and Sheer Cover Studio. This mama is definitely going to be taking more time for herself before getting in the car to shuffle off to a school for a kiddo or two.
     Win a year's supply of Sheer Cover Studio #FlawlessFinish.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Mom Confession #35448 - Selling NIB toys

    Normally I space out gifts that the kids have received from Christmas and Birthdays but lately I've been selling them. It's true. They haven't asked so I'm not going to offer up. 

   My eldest usually recalls gifts that she has picked out to tuck away but the entire Summer vacation just passed and she did not ask once for one of her toys. Not once. So I grouped them all up and took pics, listed them and sold them. One of my selling features is that "its not too early to get ready for Christmas!!"
    So what have I been doing with the money? I'm splitting it. Half has gone to clothes and school supplies. The other half has gone into envelopes to put towards their big Christmas gift. If they ask me for a toy that was sold I'll just tell them it was sold to someone who really, really wanted to play with it now. It's cool.

     Do you space out opening gifts or let them have them all?
     Do you regift any of them? (I'm guilty - I've done that a few times) 


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Not bad for first time bowlers and rusty old bowlers 

Do you follow me on Instagram yet? 
Send me a request! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Community supplies at school? I say Bah!

    35 sticks of glue, 24 pencils that are sharpened, 5 boxes of Crayola branded crayons as per supply list, 3 boxes of Crayola branded markers (again as stated on the supply list), 4 boxes of tissues, 1 Sharpie (really? just one? the list is already outrageous why stop at 1?), 5 bold colored dry erase markers (Dear Teacher, did you know these come in backs of 4 and you want 5??! Guess you're getting 4), 3 pocket folders and 1 colorful folder, a pencil case and oh yeah.., 1 composition notebook to be decorated with anything sparkly or shiny to be the poetry notebook for the school year. 

   Is anyone else's supply list a bit out of hand? I mean come on, this community bank of supplies in the classroom is nice but ultimately stinks in my opinion. There is no way my child is going to use 35 sticks of glue. I've seen her in action, she's all about making her glue sticks stretch. So I guess while she is working with her first glue stick, Little Jimmy will be covered with another glue stick after he eats his? Yeah, that's a stretch but you know what I mean. I remember (yes here is a back in my day speech) I had a supply box with all my items labelled. They were ALL mine and no one else's. It was my responsibility to care for my supplies and make them last. When did schools start doing community supply banks? Do they keep track who uses what? Where is the lesson in preserving and being responsible for your supplies? 

   I am sure I sound harsh and "old school" and maybe even bitter that now I have to be a deal seeker on obtaining 35 sticks of glue for under $2 to maintain a back to school budget that isn't blown on supplies but I also think we're missing out on a lesson of taking care of supplies. 

   To leave this post on a positive note - I do "donate" crafty stuff throughout the year like stickers, seasonal cut outs from my Cricut, odd little things like cotton balls or even fabric scraps. 

   What are your supply lists like? Does your teacher have a community supply or is your child responsible for their own supplies?