Showing posts with label friends

 Spent a day visiting a dear friend in northern Minnesota a week ago. My friend lives completely off-grid on over 80 acres of land in the middle of the forest surrounded by the most diverse wildlife (plants and animals) you will find in the state of MN. It truly is a little piece of heaven at his place. It was a great place to escape to for the day.

Back in 2007 my friend Carrie over at Under the Willow presented me with a digital Mud Puddle Girl award (see original post about that HERE).




Carrie had her own line of Mud Puddle Girl products and the idea, I believe, came from having her own little Mud Puddle Girls (granddaughters). So... I was very honored when she presented me with the above award, so much that I still haven't forgotten about it. The other day I was standing at the screen door watching the rain pour down when it popped into my head.  I thought... when did I stop being a mud puddle girl and how can I be that girl again? I told my 7 year old to get her rain coat on and we headed outside to play in the rain. I had no idea how much she would love it. I told her how when I was a kid we'd always play in the rain and I didn't know why when we reached a certain age we stopped. As we played in the ankle deep water we sang and danced to the rain Gods, Walayka and Thul we named them (Aiyana said we had to combine water + lake and thunder + lightening), and we got soaked. I, being the old one, gave up before Aiyana did but it felt good to play outside and teach my daughter how great it is to be a Mud Puddle Girl.  Thank you Carrie!!









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 :-)


“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).








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).





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:















SOAP SUDSATIONS

5:40 PM, in
(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. 
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.
I received the most awesome bars of soap and a bag of natural laundry soap in the latest swap. There was no theme, just a deadline. We swapped out on Sept. 1st. After years of smelling EO's and FO's I must say that this latest swap was full of the most fabulous scents EVER! Thank you ladies for your friendship and continuing to share your creativity year to year :) I can't wait to use everything!!
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.

We recently took a small trip to the North Shore of Minnesota. Always a beautiful location to spend time in with the family.
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.
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.
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 :)
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.
Yup, this is me.
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.
Years ago, after learning about the benefits of Reiki from a woman sitting next to me at a Tibetan Film Festival in Minneapolis, I decided to become a practitioner. It took be several years to actually commit to doing it but I recently found the right teacher and have since taken my journey into the wonderful world of Reiki very seriously. 

REIKI

4:38 PM, in
For many years I wanted to become a trained Reiki healer and today I finished getting Attunement I. It was a powerful experience. My instructor was Beth Hanson, she is an amazing artist and a very kind individual. Just being around her is relaxing. There were 2 others in our group, Susan & Casey. It was
My friend Donna wanted to try her hands at some lotion so she came over on Friday and we whipped up a few recipes.
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