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 :-)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I HAVE A LOVE HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH DEER

I like deer, I really do but they seriously are destructive little suckers and even though they have their place on this planet like every species does, I don't understand why they are one of the few species besides ourselves that we allow to flourish beyond what is ecologically healthy.

Last year I counted 12 deer in my backyard at one time, this year I counted 15, seems they are multiplying pretty quickly.  The number of deer would be understandable if our home backed up to a gigantic forest but we only have an 80 acre public park behind us and apparently the coyotes we're always being warned about are too small to take the deer down.

Fact: Minnesota has 900,000 deer and prior to the wolf hunt and predator control killings which resulted in some 600+ dead wolves, we had about 3000 wolves in the wild.

I'd give my right arm to live in wolf country right now.



Today I found my brand new North Star Cherry tree (plum full of cherries two days ago) half eaten by deer.  Previous to the buffet had by those annoying pests my neighbor tried to get me to spray the tree with this stinky concoction of rotten eggs and coyote urine to protect it but like a fool I opted to let it be because I was hoping to eat the cherries once they ripened.  BIG MISTAKE! I should have sprayed the tree this year just to give it a chance to grow large enough so that the deer couldn't reach the branches in the future.



All I can say is that I'm a slow learner.  I have two 3 year old apple trees that haven't produced a single fruit, thanks to our deer.  One is finally reaching a point in its growth that the deer are no longer able to reach the branches but the other looks in need of a funeral.

So... wish me luck on saving what is left of our little tree.  My husband has made an attempt this evening to protect it so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  If there's nothing left tomorrow we'll know it didn't work :(


Deer devoured the left side of tree








Monday, May 13, 2013

REVIVING THE BLOG

Starting with a random post about everything.

Well, in the last couple years I've been a complete failure when it comes to this blog.  I delete, undelete, delete, undelete, promise to post more regularly and then don't, promise again and fail once more. So...

Here I go again.

I've held back on making a lot of posts just because there has already been something similar on another blog or website somewhere but I'm no longer going to let that hold me back.  I was talking to someone recently about handmade laundry soap and she asked if I ever blogged about it and I said no because there are numerous blog posts about it already, lots of links to great laundry soap recipes on Pinterest also.  This individual tells me that she never goes on Pinterest and doesn't have time to follow a bunch of blogs but if I wrote something about it she'd check it out.  Hmmmm... I thought.  So maybe it doesn't hurt too much to blog about something that's already out in cyberspace??? With that in mind, I guess I'll just blog about whatever the heck I want and if no one reads it, oh well, someone may find it useful.

So... as for random whatever's that someone else has probably already blogged about here goes nothing:

Midwest Shepherd's Harvest Festival 2013

Lama

Sheep Shearing





 Yana Pretending to Spin


Spinning Demo


Maya & Yana petting the angora rabbits


Lots of raw fiber


Creative Activities

I purchased a bunch of stuff too but I'll share that in a later post :D

I have to toot my own horn here.  I knitted a washcloth! Yes, yes, you can stop the applause.  The washcloth was easy but since I'm a wee bit "special" (ahem... perfectionist) it only took me a month to make just one O_O


Making candles! Lots and lots of candles!  I'm up to 20 so far.


New Addition to the Family

Last but should have been first, our beautiful little dog.  She came to live with us this winter and my husband is so in love with her.  She's not your typical American looking chihuahua, my husband says she's a Mexican version :-) I think she looks like a baby seal.  Here's Gypsy:


My next post will be a bit more coherent. 

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).








Friday, December 21, 2012

WINTER SOLSTICE 2012

Happy Winter Solstice Everyone!

The Solstice marks the Mayan rebirth and according to American Indian prophesy we are in the time of the 7th Fire.  

We humans are at a crossroads.  We can choose to continue down the path humanity has been traveling for decades or find a new direction, one where our thoughts and feelings are no longer controlled by the media and/or politicians but instead guided by our inner wisdom that tells us the difference between right and wrong.  It is time to treat all sentient beings as equals, recognize their value in this world and fight for their protection.  

The choice is ours... we can walk into the new world the same people we were yesterday or we can be better.  


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