Showing posts with label friends. Show all posts
Showing posts with label friends. Show all posts

Friday, June 7, 2013

SURPRISES! WHO DOESN'T LOVE A SURPRISE?

I wasn't sure if I should blog about this or not because I'm not 100% sure the person who made these for me wants her art out in the world but I just couldn't help myself.

I was given these as a gift a little while back and it was a complete surprise.  The young woman who gave them to me is a gifted artist.  I've been telling her she should sell her art on etsy or join in on some art fairs but she maintains that she only enjoys drawing as a way to relax, nothing more.

So to M.E.F... I am very touched by the fact you took the time to draw these for me.  They will not end up on a shelf or in some closet, they will be on full display in my home for all that enter to see and appreciate.  Thank you so much for thinking of me, the wolves are beautiful and YOU are very very talented.


Monday, June 3, 2013

HANDMADE GIVEAWAY

Nothing gets me back into the blogging groove like a giveaway.  If you enjoy handmade items than this blog post is for you.

I am part of a card swapping group over at Splitcoast Stampers.  Every month a group of us ladies swap handmade cards with one another.  Well... when you swap 10 cards every single month you end up with a whole lotta cards, so... I'm going to give some away.

All of the cards that I receive are beautiful so whomever wins won't be disappointed.  I went through the bunch I've collected and picked out my favorites to give away.  There will be 2 winners, 5 cards for each winner.  I've selected 2 birthday cards, 2 holiday cards and 1 thank you card for each.  All you have to do to be entered into the giveaway is tell me what your favorite season is and why :-)



I will use Random.org to choose the two winners.  Deadline to enter is June 10th, I'll announce the winner on June 11th.  Please make sure to check back to see if you won so I can get your mailing address (through private messaging of course) and send your cards out no later than Monday, June 12th.

If all goes well with this giveaway (meaning: enough people interested) I plan on doing a giveaway every two weeks over the summer.  Why you ask? Because Every one loves to win things and receive packages in the mail, plus it motivates me to be create on a regular basis.

Some of my giveaway ideas: candles, soap, wool dryer balls, hemp bracelet, yarn.  So please check back often :-)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

FRIENDS AND FUTURE


“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” ― Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934


Thank you Shirley and Joe for your wonderful gift of friendship!  We feel very fortunate to have connected with such caring individuals as yourselves.  The bracelets that arrived today were such a sweet surprise.  We love them!  I'll never take mine off!!  


Thank you Teresa for always making me laugh and encouraging me to write.  I am so very lucky to have you in my life!  You truly are an extraordinary friend.

AS FOR 2013 - my plans...

Do more of what I'm currently doing but try really hard to do it better.

1. Be a better mother, wife, sister, friend, activist, writer, crafter...

HAPPY 2013 EVERYONE!  (even if this post is 12 days late).








Tuesday, December 11, 2012

HOLIDAY COOKIE SWAP

When you can't do an "in person" cookie swap with friends you go for the next best thing...

A VIRTUAL COOKIE SWAP!

The participants and rules are:


So here are my recipes:

Salted Caramel Brownies
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
8 oz. plus 6 oz. Hershey's semisweet chocolate chips
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate 
3 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee granules, such as Nescafe
1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 Tbs. of sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. all purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
5 to 6 oz. good caramel sauce, such as Fran's
2 to 3 tsp. flaked sea salt, such as Maldon



1. Preheat the oven to 350.  Butter and flour a 9x12x1 1/2 inch baking pan.
2. Melt the butter, 8 oz of the chocolate chips and the unsweetened chocolate together in a medium bowl set over simmering water.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes.  In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee, vanilla and sugar.  Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature (it is very important to allow the butter to cool before adding the chocolate chips, or the chips will melt and ruin the brownies.)
3. In a medium bowl, sift together 1/2 cup of the flour, the baking powder and salt and add to the chocolate mixture.  Toss the remaining 6 oz. of chocolate chips and the remaining 2 Tbs. of flour in a medium bowl and add them to the chocolate mixture.  Spread evenly in the bottom of prepared pan.
4. Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick come out clean.  Do not over bake!
5. As soon as the brownies are out of the oven, place the jar of caramel sauce without the lid in a microwave and heat just until it's pourable.  Stir until smooth.  Drizzle the caramel evenly over the hot brownies and sprinkle with the sea salt.  Cool completely and cut into 12 bars.

Note: the above recipe isn't a family recipe, it was just something I found in the Food Network magazine that turned out to be a big hit with my knitting group and my family so I figured they were awesome enough to share here :)

Holiday Rolo Melts
I have no idea what these are called, I just made them because the recipe was on the back of a rolo bag and again, another hit with everyone I shared them with.  They are yummy and really easy to make.

1 bag of holiday pretzel rings
1 bag of rolos
1 bag of glazed pecans (found in the baking section of the grocery store)



1. pre-heat the oven to 350
2. line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
3. lay out as many holiday pretzel rings as you can fit on the parchment paper
4. place one rolo in the center of each pretzel ring
5. place cookie sheet in oven 1-3 minutes (test every minute because some ovens melt the rolos faster than others). 
6.  when the rolos is melted (usually in about 2 minutes), remove from oven and set the cookie sheet on counter.
7. place a glazed pecan into the center of every rolo, push down until the chocolate fills the pretzel (if it doesn't fill the pretzel then the rolo and pecan will fall out of pretzel when it cools).
8. you can allow the rolo melts to cool on the counter until hard enough to eat.  I usually pop mine in the fridge to cool them quickly.  

and even better than what is above...

More Recipes!
Please stop over to visit the blogs of the wonderful virtual cookie swappers.  All of these awesome ladies have great recipes to share and bake a million times better than I do so don't miss out!!  (a few may not have finished uploading their recipes yet so stay tuned because all recipes will be live soon).





Tuesday, December 4, 2012

OFF THE COB: SWEET CORN CHIPS

Ok... I needed to blog about this young man.

A while back Andrew Zimmern (Minnesota's famous chef) had twittered about this Kickstarter fundraiser for a guy named Cameron Sheldrake.   Cameron is a young entrepreneur that started a company called Off The Cob Sweet Corn Tortilla Chips.  His chips are unique in that they are made using real sweet corn, they contain no artificial ingredients, no artificial coloring, they are certified non-GMO, gluten free, and cholesterol free. When Cameron was looking for backers on Kickstarter I decided to give a little.  Now knowing that the company is legit (yes, I do worry about that on Kickstarter) I wish I had given more.  

The other day a package arrived for me and when I opened the box and discovered a bag of chips my first thought was "who in the heck would send me chips?" Forgetting about Cameron's Kickstarter Project.  When I found the handwritten thank you note it all came back to me.  

I was really excited to try the chips but I'll be honest, I didn't expect them to be very good.  I've purchased several types of chips at the Natural Food Store and I have always found them to be either too salty, not salty enough, lacking taste or being too hard, etc... but I wanted to know what "sweet" corn chips taste like so I tore open the bag and started eating :-)

I have to report that Cameron's Sweet Corn Chips are the best I've ever eaten.  My family and I devoured the entire bag in a matter of minutes, they were sooooooo yummy! Lots of flavor and just the right amount of salt. I'm bummed that we don't carry the chips locally yet but perhaps soon.  Luckily, the chips are for sale out east in some Whole Foods Stores (for those of you who live out that way) and they are also sold on Amazon (for those of us who don't live out that way).  Now I'm just waiting on my delivery so I can make some guacamole to eat with my chips :D








Saturday, October 13, 2012

REAL FRIENDS MAKE SURE YOU NEVER STOP CREATING

I wish I had a bumper sticker that said real friends make sure you never stop creating or maybe even better would be real friends know that creating keeps you sane or something like that.

My friend Teresa over at Homestead Notes (growing, writing, creating) is the person my bumper sticker would be referring to.  When I was giving up on knitting, she mailed me a a pattern for knitted sox to keep me going, when I told her I wish I could bake like her she sent me an awesome cookie recipe to get me baking, and most importantly when I don't say anything at all she knows exactly what I need - like the wonderful wolf fabric she sent me yesterday.  It came at the perfect time, bringing a smile to my face after learning that the injunction to stop the wolf hunt has been denied.  Yes, fabric with beautiful wolf faces makes me smile in the midst of all the idiocy of hunting and trapping.

Teresa knows that one key to inner peace is being creative.  Whether that be writing, making soap, knitting or baking... creativity is the spice of life :-)

So this post is for you T - Thank you!!

The beautiful wolf fabric Teresa sent:



My first lace scarf.  I'm actually about to finish it and it only took me 2 months. Yay! (don't laugh but I'm thinking I might frame it. LOL!)





and... the awesome cards I received in a swap.  I don't have pix of the ones I sent to others but here is what I received back:















Wednesday, June 27, 2012

AN ADORABLE STORY TO SHARE

My good friend Teresa over at Homestead Notes: Raising Our Own is a very talented writer and is the Enchanted Conversation Contest Winner over at Enchanted Conversation: A Fairytale Magazine for writing an adorable children's story (13+)  The article is titled "Matches and Races" - please pop over there to check it out, it is a lovely read.

Monday, February 13, 2012

SOAP SUDSATIONS




(Sorry about the picture quality. The iphone at night in a dim lit kitchen does NOT make for the best photos).

I'm so excited to share that my new soap from Soap Sudsations arrived today and included in the box was something extra. Thank you Monica for the wonderful soap and the extra special frog that made the trip alongside our little green buddy :D

I could barely get our frog out of the package before my 5 year old made off with it. She's running around the house with Mr. Frog right now calling "ribbit, ribbit, ribbit." I chose this particular soap because it goes so well with the kids bathroom. Not that the soap will last very long once little bodies hit the tub but I had great visions of it sitting on the counter for a while next to the frog toothbrush holder and in the midst of the frog shower curtain. Ah well :) The frog soap is being loved and shortly it will be rubbed down to tadpole size.

If you are in the market for some awesome handmade soaps please check out Soap Sudsations. Monica, the owner, is a fabulous soap artist selling numerous fun, creative soaps for children & adults. While you are checking out her soaps don't forget to visit her blog Bubbles in My Head where she talks about her business ventures and other interesting things.

Note: now my 5 year old has taken the soap and is using it to play dolls with her LaLa Loopsy. Who knew, right? lol!

Monday, January 30, 2012

BLOG GIVEAWAY: BEESWAX CANDLE

When I took my beekeeping course two years ago there were a few beekeepers on hand to show us treasures from the hive. One man and his young daughter had a tiny beehive candle that I fell in love with. I asked if they sold the mold, which they did not, but they said I could purchase one from a bee supply company and make my own once my bees started giving me some wax to use.

Well, I've waited ever so patiently for my honeybees to create a surplus of honey and beeswax for me to take but we've gone another year without any extras. Am I sad? Not really. Our bees know what they are doing and why they do it so I just have to make do with other people's extras :D

The other day I drove over to Natures Nectar, our honeybee supplier, and picked up 4.5 lbs of beeswax to make candles with. There is nothing better than beeswax straight from the hive, except, of course, HONEY! Beeswax from a local beekeeper is the best! I have to keep my kids from pawing all over it, wanting just one last sniff because it smells so amazing!

Here is our lovely slab of beeswax:



But... beeswax in slab form doesn't do me any good when I'm about to make candles so I had to break it into chunks.



Once the beeswax was cut up I had to get my mold ready. I purchased this cute little beehive mold from Mann Lake, the same company we buy most of our bee equipment from.



I heated up the wonderful beeswax in a double boiler.



Poured them into molds.



and what did I produce?



The cutest little beehive candle ever :D

Now for the giveaway. I've not been the best "blog giveaway" person but all of that is about to change. I'd like to start 2012 off right by sending one of these cute candles to someone in the blogosphere to say THANK YOU for reading my blog. The only thing you have to do to qualify is post in the comment section on why the survival of the honeybee is important to you.

The winner will be determined by random number generator (online) and announced on this blog February 10 :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

HANDMADE SOAP GIVEAWAY!!!



My friend Teresa over at Raising Our Own...kids & food is having an awesome blog giveaway. Don't miss out! Teresa will be sharing some of her sisters amazing handmade soaps with fellow bloggers so make sure you follow the link above to get all the details and enter for a chance to win.

This giveaway is for residents of Canada & the U.S.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

UNDER THE WILLOW GIFTS


My dear friend Carrie over at Under the Willow Gifts makes the most awesome products that each year or throughout I always need to get my hands on some. I can't blog about what I purchased too much right now as I've ordered these for Christmas gifts and the recipients read this blog but I couldn't contain my excitement so I wanted to say at least this...

If anyone is looking for high quality handmade body products filled with at heart and soul, wrapped up in the most creative, adorable fashion, then shop at Under the Willow Gifts. Carrie, the owner, has experience and knowledge to create the best products and I am very excited to share her creations again this year.

Thank you Carrie for the extra goodies! My kids immediately noted that there were 3 small lipbalms for little hands and one large one for momma :) Middy wants you to know that she loves how creamy soft your lip balm is.
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Friday, June 25, 2010

FRIENDS, TRAVEL, CRAFT...

We recently took a small trip to the North Shore of Minnesota. Always a beautiful location to spend time in with the family.



This year we rented some Trikes for Life and it was well worth it. If anyone is ever up in the Two Harbors area, check out Bob's trikes and you'll have a great bike ride along Lake Superior. It is really wonderful way to experience nature in the North Woods. Very relaxing yet challenging at the same time. We even rode the last stretch in the rain and we loved it!




We spent most of our time hanging out at the cabin and playing on the shore of Lake Superior. We also went to the falls by Gooseberry state park. Here are the girls enjoying themselves:






I managed to finally make some strawberry jam. It wasn't as difficult as I thought. Turned out to be quite easy. I followed this VIDEO , although I did use more berries than she suggested and I also didn't end up with a lot of foam at the end like she did. My jam turned out great! I did learn one valuable lesson though. It sure takes a lot of berries to make one jar of jam so I will definitely be planting many more strawberries in my backyard. I really enjoyed it and so I plan on doing pickles next.






The last thing I want to share is a little gift sent by a childhood friend that I reconnected with on facebook some time ago. She has the best memory!! I was a collector of E.T & Smurf figurines when I was around 10 yrs old and so my friend, Athena, sent my kids these little chocolate eggs that contained mini smurf figurines. My two oldest know what smurfs are but my youngest doesn't, it makes me realize how far away the 80's actually are. But... Aiyana not knowing what they are loved them anyway and now maybe can start her own collection :)

THANKS ATHENA!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

UNDER THE WILLOW: DOG SHAMPOO



Carrie over at Under The Willow Gifts has created some great dog shampoo. I recently purchased a bottle from her for my little ones (I have three chihuahuas) and decided to give it a go. Normally, they hit the groomers, but since my oldest isn't doing well on trips away from home and the others don't like to go anywhere without her, we've decided to do their bathing ourselves.

Here is my oldest getting a clean coat


Lathering her up:



Enjoying the warm water and massage:



I really love this dog shampoo.

#1 It is natural
#2 It lathers a lot
#3 It is silky smooth
#4 A little goes a long long way
#5 It smells great
#6 The scent lasts (2 days later and my dogs still smell beautiful)

Carrie was also very sweet as to send me two bags of laundry soap for cleaning my dogs bed and fluffy toys. Thank you Carrie!!

Please check out Carrie's store at:

ART FIRE
or at her website
UNDER THE WILLOW SHOP

Friday, January 22, 2010

THE LEMONADE STAND AWARD


Has been given to me by my friend Teresa over at Homestead Notes. If you've never read her blog please check it out, you won't be disappointed. She's a very funny and intelligent blogger, her blog is always interesting. You'll love all the pictures she shares as well.

The lemonade award presented to me by Teresa is given to those whose blogs show great attitude and demonstrate gratitude. Thank you Teresa for thinking of me!!

I'm supposed to choose ten recipients whose blogs show great attitude and gratitude. Unfortunately I'm limited to 10. I have several blogs that I follow and enjoy reading very much. If I miss your name on this list it doesn't mean I think any less of you. Your blog name is most certainly on my blog roll to the right of this page :)

I'm going to start with Teresa because although she's already been given this blog award by someone else, life just wouldn't be right if I didn't give it back :)

1. Teresa (Homestead Notes)
2. Carrie (Under the Willow)
3. Amber (Ambers Ambry)
4. Joanna (The Soap Bar)
5. Marisa (Getting Back to Basics)
6. Gracefruit
7. Rhonda (Down to Earth)
8. Julie (Inspirational Techniques)
9. Liz (The Fragrant Muse)
10. Deb (Muddy Bare Feet)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

THE GIFT BASKETS ARE A HIT!!

This year for my sister and her staff I decided to have a Christmas party. The girls and I have come through so much together in the past 9 months I wanted to do something nice for them. Since I'm always preaching to my staff about the dangers of chemicals in our environment (LOL) I thought it would be fun to make them gift baskets comprised of only handmade goodies. At the same time I wanted to support some of my fellow indie business pals.

I asked the following people to make some goodies for the baskets.

Teresa and her sons from Homestead Notes and Two Tadpoles on Artfire made 8 soap dishes.

Carrie from Under the Willow Gifts, Mud Puddle Girl and Under the Willow Gift Shoppe made 8 bars of soap.

Amber from Ambers Ambry and Ambers Ambry Etsy Shop made 8 containers of bath salts and included with each container was a handmade spoon for scooping.

Joanna from Product Body, The Soap Bar and the Product Body Blog made 8 Creams and 8 Bath Milks.

Amy from the Great Cakes Soap Works Blog and Great Cakes Soapworks made 8 packages of bath truffles and also sent along 8 little round balls of soap.

I must apologize for my lack of pictures. I had intended to take pictures of everything that was sent but, as usual, I procrastinated and on Sunday (2 days before the party) me and 3 daughters came down with the stomach flu which left us bed bound until early Tuesday morning. Our staff party was Tuesday evening so I quickly put the baskets together forgetting to take photos of individual gifts :(

Middy reminded me to take a picture of the completed basket.



As usual, I'm a dope when comes to photography and I forgot to switch the camera into the correct mode when I took the following pictures at the staff party. I hope they aren't too awful.

Angie smelling her sexy laundry day cream from Joanna.



My sisters support team gathered around for a holiday photo.



Joy, Daba and Mia giving big smiles to show they love the gift baskets.



Thank you everyone for creating such great prezzies. Everything was loved by everyone. You may even be hearing from a few people :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

UNDER THE WILLOW SENT ONE OF HER GIFTS

So no, I couldn't take a single picture of Carrie's laundry soap that would do it justice. So I'll just have to convey my excitement and the beauty of her product through words.
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Carrie from Under the Willow Gifts sent me some samples of her natural laundry detergent recently and the only reason I dragged my feet on blogging about it is because I can't take good pictures. Seriously! I always manage to buy the wrong camera... either that or I just have absolutely no talent for taking pictures.

I'll be honest, when I received Carrie's natural laundry soap it looked and smelled fantastic but I doubted its ability to maintain that great scent throughout the washing cycle. I've used natural laundry soaps for years and I've never had any luck getting the scent to stick when I put my clothing in the dryer. When my clothes are hung on the line, they smell wonderful but the dryer sucks every little bit of fragrance right out of the clothes before they finish drying.

When Carrie's package arrived I was eager to use it right away. Sadly, all I had to wash were towels and I always dry towels in the dryer since I haven't found the cure for line drying towels and having them NOT dry crunchy and scratchy (any tips???)

I felt like I was wasting this great product on my towels cause I really wanted the scent to linger after I washed but... I REALLY WANTED to try the laundry soap.

Ah well, life is about sacrifices right?!?

I chose the cambridge rum scent. They all smelled beautiful but cambridge rum is my favorite. My 9 year old was equally as excited as I was, she loves when packages arrive, so she took the first picture of the laundry soap in hand.

Shock #1, when I pulled the towels from the washer they had a beautiful light scent of cambridge rum. I held on to one of the towels for a minute or two because I knew once I tossed them into the dryer that the scent would be gone :( I even hemmed and hawed about possibly just putting them on the line so they'd still smell pretty when they dried but I couldn't stand the idea of drying myself with a hard towel later.

Shock #2, I'd gone out back for something and I could smell the light fragrance of cambridge rum coming from the dryer vent. Wow! I was impressed. It was about 20 minutes into drying time and I could still smell it.

Shock #3, after 40 minutes of drying on low heat I pulled my towels from the dryer. To my surprise they smelled beautiful. The cambridge rum scent hung in there for the long haul. I love that the scent isn't perfumy or overbearing, it was just perfect. I think I talked about it all day long to whomever would listen about how great this natural laundry soap is.

Shock #4, The ultimate shock was how soft the towels felt. Now, I said that my towels are softer when dried in the dryer as oppose to the line but they aren't VERY soft. I don't use fabric softeners so I don't get that fluffy soft that one would get with something like downy. I've tried natural fabric softeners but they don't seem to do much except add a fragrance. My towels felt soft, much softer than they ever were before, which makes for a very happy household because we all love soft things over here.

Of course, I used up all 3 packages of laundry soap samples that day. I decided I needed to wash bed sheets and a few other things. Never have I been so eager to wash. Now at least I know where to buy a laundry soap I can be happy with.

Thank you Carrie for sending me the samples and the beautiful wash cloth. I have the bar of soap sitting on my kitchen sink, we all love washing our hands with it. It has a wonderful fragrance and feels really nice.

Friday, August 28, 2009

SHOUT OUT TO A DOMESTIC GODDESS

Yup, this is me :)


Not too long ago Amber over at AMBERS AMBRY blogged about an apron she made, stamping it with rhubarb and strawberries. Well, of course I had to have it.

View that blog post HERE

I wanted this apron because I have fond memories of rhubarb and strawberries. Seems silly but it is true. My great aunt, who has passed, use to make many things out of the strawberries and rhubard she grew in her garden. The recipe that was my favorite was rhubarb/strawberry crisp. Then later when I was married with children I moved next door to a woman that would make us rhubarb and strawberry crisp for Christmas. Tasted just like aunties.

BTW/if anyone has a rhubarb/strawberry crisp recipe they are willing to share with me, I'd really appreciate it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

HELLOOOO BLOGGING WORLD!

Things are somewhat settled and stable on our end so I've decided to return to blogging. Of course, I missed it like crazy and would peek in time to time just to make sure I wasn't missing out on toooooooo much.

So glad to be blogging and can't wait to visit my blogroll and start posting again.

First thing I want to share is the beautiful handmade gifts that came from my dear friend Teresa over at Homestead Notes. Teresa and family are so creative. She made me two envelopes out of a chicken calender. Since the photo was taken I've framed the chicken and put it next to my buddha statue on my "meditation alter." It makes me smile so I want to see every day. She & her son made two soap dishes and a lizard pendant. My oldest has fashioned the lizard pendant into a necklace. The soap dishes have found homes in two of our bathrooms. Thank you T for such wonderful gifts (((hugs)))




While not blogging I did manage to attend to my little garden more. It is growing great guns after all the rain we've had. We still don't have the rain barrel hooked up (OH HUBBY WHERE ARE YOU???) - I'm going to guilt him into that today.

I was worried all the rabbits in the backyard would eat my little garden but the chicken wire seems to be doing its job. So far, nothing crawling underground and eating up my veggies **crossing fingers, knocking on wood here.

I must say, I'm a slow learner. When the pot says "plant 12 inches apart" it really means 24". I swear, every year, my plants, flowers, whatever I plant, ends up smothering each other. What is the secret???



This is the challenge for the rest of the summer. See this bench? This is what my entire backyard looks like. A JUNGLE. The more we cut down, the more that grows. The people who built our home and lived here until we bought it basically did some landscaping in 1983 and then let it go. There is mulch and garden rock in places it shouldn't be. Paths are covered by green foliage. Since it is in the 90's today and super humid I've given up on the yard and decided to clean house instead.

We have decided the backyard will become a fairy garden. We have the plants lined up that we want (thanks to those who gave advice on that in an earlier post). We have some plans on how to set it up. The girls want it to look like the hobbit trail at the Renaissance Festival so we are working on that :)



Well, that is enough for now. Time to wash dishes.