Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Cozy At Home - And A Challenge

It's that time of year again.  November will be here in a few days and that means special holiday meals. At our local food pantry, clients get to go once a month. That means starting November 6th they are giving away the fixings for a Thanksgiving feast. This is the time to make donations!

Normally people can expect to find: 
  • cans of vegetables, fruits soups and beans
  • cereal
  • peanut butter & jelly
  • pancake mix and sugar free syrup
  • bread (donated by Panera Bread!)
  • margarine and cheese slices
  • meat items (which are most consistently chicken nuggets, bologna & hot dogs)
  • rice, pasta, potato box mixes - lots of mac & cheese 
  • pasta & sauce 
  • a choice of treats which varies greatly - can be anything from candy to crackers to cookies or raisins
  • a little toilet paper, a small jug of laundry detergent
  • a small can of chicken or tuna
  • one personal item  - like a toothbrush, toothpaste, paper towels, tissues, bar of soap - per family
  • cat or dog food
  • once in a while there will be eggs

Sometimes there can be other things, but this is the norm. Things not normally found:
  • spices, even salt & pepper
  • flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder
  • feminine products 
  • real butter
  • real cheese 
  • cooking oil
  • coffee/tea
  • whole wheat pasta (people who need this are very excited if they can find one)
  • cream soups - especially cream of mushroom
  • chocolate  - candy or for baking - even cake/brownie mixes 
  • food for any pet other than cats/dogs

During the month of November everyone will also get instant potatoes, stuffing mix, canned cranberry sauce, a turkey breast, canned yams, and a can of gravy - there may be something else, or something less, but this is typical. 

Think about the things you reach for every day from toilet paper and tissues, toothpaste, soap and shampoo, to sugar, flour, butter, oil and spices and consider buying some extra for people who would really appreciate it.  And believe me, people are appreciative. 

You know those small things which come in the mail, are handed out in goody bags, come from hotels and the dentist, are a gift with purchase,  etc? Those are always great! Any trial size/travel size/sample size is always welcome in addition to the typical canned and boxed foods. 

I am committing to a cozy-at-home November, which means I will be cooking every night in November. We enjoy a nice trip to a restaurant, carry-out and delivery as much as the next guy, but we also enjoy delicious meals prepared at home. While we are saving money we would have spent dining out, I pledge to make more generous donations to our local food pantry. 

I challenge you to give a little extra this November and December, too. How will you do it? 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Steam In The Valley On The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

Nickel Plate 765 Steam Engine along the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in Cuyahoga Valley National Park Northeast Ohio NEO

We had talked about riding the train through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park for years. It was one of those things I was always going to do when the fall foliage was the prettiest. I always found a reason to put it off, and then it was too late, or too early. Too hot or too cold. I was looking at the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad website  recently and saw there was going to be a special even with a steam engine. It looked like fun so we bought our tickets.

CVSR Nickelplate 765

We went for a ride on the Nickel Plate 765 Steam Engine a couple Saturdays ago. We boarded the train in Akron, Ohio. If you ever plan to do this exact excursion, be sure to arrive early. We were an hour early and did not spend any time standing around bored. Parking is a beast on this day because they are basically adding an extra passenger train with many cars full of people to the normal schedule and you have to sort of invent a parking space on the back lot, after driving up over a curb. It's worth it.

Both the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and the Nickel Plate 765 are completely run by volunteers. I can not say how much I appreciate all of the hard work which goes into keeping this beast going. They actually saved the 765 from ending up sitting in a park somewhere when they fully restored it. That is dedication!

Here's one of the wonderful 765 volunteers now:
Nickel Plate 765 volunteer working on the 765

When it was time to board the train, the quintessential trainman, Lonnie was there to help us aboard. Once we were on board and underway he had some of the most interesting information about our area I have ever heard. I'm so glad we ended up in his car. Make sure to look for him when you ride the train! I thought I was getting video of him telling one of his amazing tidbits of information, but I am me. I have a video of two seconds before he started telling it. Oh, and another, even less compelling video of the two seconds after he was done telling it. So there you go!   Sorry about that - you'll have to go ride it yourself.
Quintessential Trainman on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad - Lonnie Cobb
 He even encouraged us to wear his hat! 
riding the rails - CVSR 

 We rode from Akron to Boston Mills, where we were able to disembark and stand nearby so we could take pictures of the steam engine roaring past us. Roaring may be a bit of a stretch, since they are only allowed to go about 35mph inside the national park. But still, it was really cool. I even got a little emotional. Don't ask me why, some things just fill me with awe and my eyes start to leak.

Afterwards we got back on the train and rode back to Akron with the steam engine pulling us, and lots of people lined up along the way to watch it go by. I felt quasi-famous for an hour, as if the paparazzi were all over, capturing us. All of the kids on the train seemed to be enjoying it. There was lots of excitement and no tears at all during the two hour trip!  Definitely take your kids.

Although the steam engine is gone for this year, the fun keeps on happening on the rails. There are breakfasts, luncheons, dinners, beer tastings, wine tastings, ghost story rides, polar express, etc. There's lots of options. I think one of the coolest is the all day pass, where you can get off and on again as much as you want, while exploring some places along the way. Whether it is lunch at The Winking Lizard in Penninsula, or a stop at Hale Farm & Village or the huge farmers' market, you will be able to make a day of it. They also allow you to board with your bike for about $3. You can get off in the park and pedal around, then go back to the station where you parked. Options abound on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Another Crack In My Heart - More Light Gets In


I am feeling so overwhelmed - I am certain I have reached the pinnacle of love and joy possible in this world.
I was born into a family who know how to love and make you feel special, we are all treasured. We all know it, and we all treasure each other.
I had my first child and thought "This is the height of love. This is as full as a heart can get." Then more children came, and with each one a magical expansion I could have never imagined possible. More treasures - there are no words to do justice to this.
Those children walk and talk, start school and graduate. They reach all kinds of milestones. With each one my cup runs over, and so do my eyes.

My daughter brought home a young man who was immediately recognized as someone special. Right away I knew he is hers and she is his. I watched them carefully get to know each other. I watched her in awe of him, overwhelmed by her respect for him. I remember this feeling. I felt it when I met the man who has loved me so deeply and looked after my heart so well.

As I watched them stand, trembling, reciting the vows they wrote to each other my heart did it again.
I think we were all anointed again, with even more love than we knew we could hold.

It's overflowing.

There is an abundance of love and joy for us all. More than we could ever imagine. It will keep on coming, overwhelming us in new ways. Wonderful ways.

My daughter is a Mrs. now! These two are going to have a beautiful life together. 

I have linked up at:  The Talented Tuesday Link Party

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Nobody can be perfectly who they wish to be. We all disappoint ourselves, and often. We fall short of our noble intentions every day. Christian or not, I think we do this. If you hold any of us to a standard of personal perfection, none of us pass muster. 

My belief is Christ taught us compassion and love for others. We are called upon to love others as we love ourselves. We fail constantly, every day. Hopefully we also succeed. When, the other night, I helped a client load her car and we were done she asked if she could hug me because I was so nice. I admitted to her I had wanted to hug her too, but did not know if I should ask. We hugged.  A few weeks ago at the dentist I offered to give an elderly couple who were there with an out of state daughter a ride for follow up visits because I heard them saying they did not know how they would get back for them. The mother asked me what church I go to and before I could even get a chance to answer she said "Because you sure are doing what the church is teaching!" All I did was offer a ride to some people who had no other way to the dentist. Shouldn't any human being be willing to do such a simple thing for another? 

It was the nicest compliment I have ever received. Not because nobody has ever been more charming with me, but because someone could feel the love I try daily to put out into the world in whatever ways I can find. 

For the record, I do not attend church, and have not for years. (Although I expect this will be changing very soon) My family is full of church-goers. Lots of churches I have been too teach things I feel are vile, and not at all loving. I refuse to show my support to a place teaching hatred. It makes me sad there are children learning from these churches - children who may grow up thinking God doesn't love them because they have sinned. 

I recently reminded one of my own (older) children what I think is and is not from God. So many Christians say things like "God told me that guy is wrong because..." I remind my children Christ never would have stood beside us and pointed out the faults of others. He was too busy telling us to love them. 

We were told the greatest of our commandments is to Love God with all our being and love others. Loving others includes being in service to them, because isn't that a lot of what love is? 

Boiled down to the simplest form, I think it is for us to express gratitude and love as much as we are able. 

Nobody probably needs to go around announcing to others "I am expressing gratitude and love and doing the very best I can!" because it should be wholly unnecessary. People don't need to be told you are doing it - because they know - they feel it. 

Those old bracelets asked "What would Jesus do?" What would he do, indeed. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ten Things I Hope to Accomplish This Summer

This is a year of learning new things. My daughter is getting married later this year, and I am learning how to wedding. Did you know wedding planning is a lot of work? It is! I am counting on the whole 'strength in numbers' thing when it comes to getting it all done on the big day.  Forgive the photo quality, please. I'm working with what I had in my hand, which was my phone. (Like always, pretty much!)

wedding venue, as someone else sets it up for a graduation party

1.  Wedding planning. I want my daughter to have a day she remembers forever as one of the happiest days of her life. 

2. Getting rid of the boxes. Oh my, the boxes. I can't even tell you...

3. Growing lots of good cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, etc. I am looking forward to all the fresh veggies. 

4. Putting in more flower beds - we have one, but I'm planning two more. I'd love to get them both going this summer, but I would realistically settle for one, with all there is to do this summer. 

5. Help the kids get their house fixed up. They bought a house already and he is living in it. There is constantly work going on. I would love to help them get it all just the way they want it. 

6. Entryway project: This has been on my list of things I want to accomplish this season for about three years. I really want to get it done. I hope it will help decrease the self-loathing. I know it is going to be great!

7. Find my earring. It sounds crazy, and it feels even crazier, but my favorite earrings went flying off my nightstand and I can only find one of them. This was six months ago. I've taken apart the bed, gone through everything I can think of repeatedly, etc. It has to be here somewhere, right? 

8. Go somewhere with my husband. Even if it is just for a weekend, I want to go somewhere away from five kids, two dogs, kitchen and laundry duties. When we get away together we recharge in some kind of magical way. We get to feel like who we are. 

9. Get rid of stuff. When we built this house three  years ago we moved from a much smaller house. We gave away most of our stuff before moving in, and yet now we have too much stuff. We are magnets for stuff. I want to get it out of here this summer. 
Me in the flower bed. 

10. Spend time with family. This is the most important one. My kids are all at home for the last summer ever. I want to capture it and enjoy it. Also, I want to spend time with my mom and grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We have a great family. I love spending time with them. 

Once again, this post was inspired by Mama Kat's writing prompts.  You can find her weekly roundup here: Mama Kat's

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Big Time Savings!

Today I am using another one of Mama Kat's writing prompts. 

Describe a time when you saved BIG. 

In reality, there are so many options, because I tend to do a lot of research before I make a purchase, which can net me some really great deals. There is one deal which was both recent and exciting, though. 

A couple of weeks ago I decided to bite the bullet and buy some Philosophy brand face wash called Purity. I have a small 2 ounce bottle of it  which has been fantastic. I was headed towards a mall so I stopped and bought the 8 ounce bottle.  It was $24. When I think about the price per gallon it makes me cringe. It's a lot of money. Then again, it's my face, you know? I bought it, feeling moderately guilty. 

The very next day I got an email from Philosophy for $25 off $50. Woo hoo! Jackpot!  A 32 ounce bottle is $52, so I don't have to add anything else to the cart, I get four times as much for  $3 more - SCORE! 

It's such an unimportant thing in the grand scheme of things, but it felt like an amazing victory to me. 

Mama’s Losin’ It

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Who Was At The Front Door?

I was over at Mama Kat's writers workshop because, let's face it, I'm as much of a slacker blogger as I am a housekeeper, DIYer, etc. Which is to say I am a bad, bad slacker blogger. We all have stories to share, though. It's just that when you sit down to blog you are not face to face with someone in a conversation. So sometimes you just don't think about certain stories. Mama Kat's prompts help you think of your stories.

The one I chose today is:

Who was at your front door? 

I'll start the day before the door. I was sitting outside with a friend. She was one of those friends who wasn't really a friend - she didn't like me, I could tell. But she sort of tolerated me because our husbands were good friends. But on this day she was really my friend. Sometimes that happens, you know? Someone just has a true change of heart. I think when people get to know you, they love you. 

Anyway this day we were sitting out together and I was at the lowest point. My heart was shattered and I was truly lost. I didn't know what I would do. I always felt like I was broken, but on this day? I was at a whole new depth of despair. I wasn't ready for it. I was young - 21 years old. I had two little daughters. And I did not know what tomorrow was going to be for me. My life was suddenly a swamp and I was in quicksand up to my neck. The particulars of why I was at such a low no longer really matter. What is relevant is the pain, confusion, and fear I was feeling. They were all I was feeling. As we sat talking I said to her "I just wish someone I don't know who doesn't know me would walk up to me and say 'This is what you need to do'. Because I really do not know what to do."

I cried, I washed my face, I fed my kids, I bathed them and played with them and changed diapers and did all the mom stuff you have to do in any given day. Finally the relief of darkness came and I put them to bed. I put myself to bed. I woke up in the morning to a knock at the door. 

Two young women, standing in my door in the bright sunshine. Two young women from a church, standing there early on a weekday morning. Two young women who did not know anything about me. Two young women I did not know. They were there to help me find my way because I was lost. They were there to tell me what to do.

I told them about the conversation I had with my friend the day before. The three of us stood in the door and wept. 

Mama’s Losin’ It

*One of them, whose name I still remember, was Leah Stratton. The other name I can  not remember right now but I can still see her face. Should out to Leah if you ever google yourself! Hi! I miss you! Her husband was named Willis Stratton. She had three lovely children. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How Highly Imaginative People Use Their Ingenuity!

Pull up your chair, I want to show you what happens when you really use what is on hand. 

Contractor in Question, Uncle P. 
When my uncle was visiting from Texas last year he realized his sister and her husband needed stairs from the garage to the house. Maybe there was just one big step here before? I can't recall. Anyway, he built them some nice little stairs.

He was here this week and noticed they still did not have a handrail. He fixed this for them.

Are you impressed? This isn't your average DIY blog! 
Uncle S., clearly thrilled by his new handrail
Admit it, you wish you had this in your family - and in your garage! 

Total cost for this DIY:  Zero dollars. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What To Watch Now That Downton Abbey Is Done For The Season

Now that Downton Abbey has gone away again, we have to entertain ourselves some other way. If you enjoyed it, you might enjoy a few of these shows:

We have seen everything on this list plus others!

Larkrise to Candleford (Amazon Prime, I think. 3 or 4 seasons of it!)

Daniel Deronda (Basically anything George Eliot, but this is a gorgeous show)

Bleak House 

Mr Selfridge

Little Dorrit

Doc Martin

Upstairs Downstairs (I think the old version is way better)

Hemingway and Gelhorn (doesn't exactly fit, but I loved it!)

House of Eliott ***** we really loved this one!

Forsyte Saga

The Grand

Great Expectations

Monarch of the Glen

The Tudors


Death Comes to Pemberly

The Duchess of Duke Street

Wives and Daughters

David Copperfield

He Knew He Was Right

The Way We Live Now

The Chamomile Lawn

I know I omitted some of the most obvious ones. I do not think you need me to bring 'Pride and Prejudice' to your attention. This should keep you busy for a while. If you have any other suggestions I'd love to hear them. I need new stuff to watch, too! 

Friday, February 13, 2015

We Really Did Ring In The New Year!

     There are so many great things happening my mind can't get calm. Christmas was lovely. Four generations of happy, healthy people getting to share so much together is a gift better than any other. 

     Just a couple of days ago I celebrated the 89th birthday of my grandfather with him. 

     New Years Day was exciting, too. 

These two kids got engaged! 

     My daughter is getting married. How odd it feels to say it, and to hear myself say it. I might have said it a hundred times by now and it still feels weird. I am so happy because she has really met a wonderful man and I know they will have a happy life together. I have watched her become happier as the days go by, even just since New Years Day! 

     A few days after the proposal we went  dress shopping.

     We found her an amazing dress. (No, this isn't the one) We spent hours and she tried a lot of dresses. Then she tried on the last three many more times. Then she tried on the last two many more times. There were many which were gorgeous on her. (Face it, everything was gorgeous on her!)  I think she chose one which is very much 'her'.  A few days after finding the dress we went to a bridal show and she kept going back to one booth - it was a venue. She loved it already. We came home that night and she called to make an appointment for us to go see it the next day. She doesn't usually act so quickly, so I knew she really wanted to get this place reserved. We went to see it and the next day when she got home from work and school she told me her groom had secured the place for them! I guess he really wanted to make sure they got it, too!

     Now we are working on everything else. Boy is there a lot of stuff to do! If you have hints and tips I'm accepting them all because I really do not have a clue what I am doing.  I think the real important things are already in place. The right two people, the dress, and the place. Anything else is a bonus. 

     So tell me, what's going on with you? 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Merry Christmas


We had a lovely Christmas. I hope you had lovely holidays, too.
 Shenanigans and tomfoolery ruled the day.
Of course!

 But so did Love.
Of course!

And little girls.
In feather boas.
Of course!

Friday, December 5, 2014

KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway

Who wants to win a KitchenAid mixer? You do, that's who!  Here is your chance.

KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway

Culinary Depot is giving away a free Kitchenaid Professional mixer to one lucky winner this month. With a retail value of $559, we’re giving away the Alfa KP600 Kitchenaid 6 qt Professional Mixer with Stainless Steel Bowl. Simply use the giveaway widget below to enter. Entry options include linking on Facebook, following on Twitter, tweeting about the giveaway, blogging about the giveaway, and more!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas! Please Remember Your Local Food Pantry. {Giveaway}

      I just shared about going to the Fabulous Food Show last weekend and it was great fun! We stuffed ourselves full of food truck goodness and partook of the generous samples from the booths. We will be spending the holidays with our extended family and enjoying lots and lots of good food. We are all so blessed.

     I know not everybody is as fortunate as we are. When people are going through a difficult time, one thing which can really help is knowing there is enough to eat. Last year I shared this article about ten things foodbanks won't ask for  on this blog post: Can you spare a square? What food pantries really need.

     Again, I'll tell you I think the items are better off donated straight to the local food pantry, since the local food pantry has to pay the food bank for items. I know it's less costly than buying at the store, but your donation straight to a food pantry avoids the middleman. We support the  Sharing Center  at St. Paul's in Sharon Center, which offers help to people in Medina County. Once a month, people can come in and shop the Sharing Center. 

     The Sharing Center is helped along by so many different sources. School food drives sometimes go straight to the sharing center. Every other Thursday night is their night for Panera Bread donations. Volunteers go pick up everything left at the end of the night from Panera. As a matter of fact, Panera Bread does a lot to help hungry people. You can even sell Panera Bread gift cards as a fundraiser for your non-profit organization! Now there's a fundraiser I can appreciate. Gift wrap and questionable candy? Not so much. You can learn more about all the ways Panera Bread helps at Panera Cares.

*this was not done as an advertisement. It's just me appreciating a company who gives so much where others opt to throw good food in the trash. 

    Sometimes the clients speak up about what they never see at this (or any other) place where they get free food. They don't see spices, not even salt and pepper. There is never sugar or flour. These are pantry staples for everyone, so there must be some reason for it. I just do not know what it is. Personal care items are sometimes unavailable or in low supply. Cream of anything soups are in high demand, but not often on the shelves. Rarely have I seen chocolate, crackers, or baby items, People appreciate toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, dish soap(!) and shampoo/conditioner. There are also no condiments. 

     I bet there's a place close to your house just like our Sharing Center. I bet they would be thrilled if you and some of your friends dropped off a few bags of stuff. Why not go out to lunch with your friends and then swing by with a donation? Calling ahead is good, of course, since these volunteer run places do not have paid staff - make sure someone will be there to take your donation. If you do not have time  you can always donate cash.

     Last weekend at The Fabulous Food Show we met these great students from John Carrol University who are doing their group project to help end hunger and homelessness. They started something called Coins For Cleveland.  They are partnered up with the Cleveland Food Bank. If you click this link right here you can make a donation. All of the money goes straight to the food bank, but the kids get the acknowledgement for the fundraising.  The page shows what your donation will do. For example, a $30 donation will buy 450 oranges or 150 pounds of pasta! That's your donation really going far! If you want to donate easy peasy on the internet, this is a great way to do it.

     Really, if you can do it, you will feel so great to know you have helped other people have a great holiday season. Now that I have implored you to do something for people, how about something for you? Because I was yapping about Panera Bread and everything they do to help, how about a $50 Panera Bread gift card for one of you?

     In addition to the Panera Bread gift card, my friend Ilene from Hippie Chick Granola has generously donated a $25 gift card for you for the best granola in the world. I have tried other granolas and they shouldn't even be called the same thing. Win it now, order and enjoy - you can thank me later, when you are addicted to this delicious stuff! I am a huge fan of the Kimberly blend because I love ginger. She has fantastic flavor combinations. You just can not go wrong.

     Who wants to win!?

     First, I'm going to ask you a little favor. But it's fun, and I think you will enjoy it. Please watch this video:

     Thanks. Now, go ahead and enter this giveaway in the form below.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Fabulous Food Show, Cleveland Ohio


Thanks to Justin over at In A Cents I won tickets to the Fabulous Food Show in Cleveland last weekend. Thanks, Justin! We were not sure exactly what to expect, but we did know it would be a fun day full of one of our very favorite things - food! As we first walked in we saw this: 

One of the things that is so great about Micheal Symon, besides his fantastic food, is that he is a local boy who goes all out with his love of Cleveland. Everybody loves him. Good job, Michael, not getting too big for your britches.  I heard they rejected him being at the Fabulous Food Show last year because he was local and they were trying to prove they were not just a Cleveland show. I'm glad they got smart and brought him in. It would be like telling Lebron not to come to your basketball show.  

These kids were hanging out close to the beer. Ahem. 

On the left we have a Marine Corp chef and on the right we have a Navy Chef who worked in the White House. They were nice and more than willing to pose for a photo. 

One thing I noticed Saturday is that all the chefs walked around with a sense of pride. It was fun to see so many of them all in one place. 

There were booths selling products, like Vitamix.  The Vitamix crew definitely had one of the more energetic demonstrations. They seemed happy to be showing us how to use their mixers. 

I know this isn't the best photo, but I had to add it because the lobster ball was AMAZING! 
(From the Orange Truk)

Wholly Frijoles did not disappoint with their delicious chicken tacos. The Tequila lime chicken tacos with the mild sauce (it was still spicy enough) were delicious.

Yes, another taco truck. But let me explain:
'nuff said.

Also, I had it on good authority that this guy makes the best tacos:
Hello, Damon, you are a taco genius!

 And he was even working both of the windows. Whatta guy! 
You can find Barrio Tacos in two locations; Tremont and Lakewood. 

I give their pork taco two thumbs up. I give their cilantro lime chicken taco an engagement ring.
Will you marry me, cilantro lime chicken taco from Barrio?

There were chefs doing demonstrations. Say hello to Brian Doyle of Sow Food.
He is a local chef down with the farm to table food. Yum! 

These kids stole the show for me. 
They are students from a local university using their project to help the homeless and the hungry.
 It was very touching to meet them.

There were copious amounts of samples. We were given the opportunity to taste everything from apples and pears to sausages and cakes. 

I would like to personally invite all the food trucks to come and park in my driveway and the driveways of my neighbors. No, I don't need to ask the neighbors. We've all got to eat, right?

Yet another reason we are lucky to live in Northeast Ohio. Thank you, Fabulous Food Show.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Good Luck With That!

Hey kids! Daddy and I will be at the Fabulous Food Show in Cleveland today.

Be good! 

 Some of the inmates will be running the asylum.

It should be okay, we're taking the bus with us.

I hope your Saturday is filled with promise. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

How To Waste Time Like a Pro

     I just spent 25 minutes cleaning out the lint that got past the lint trap in my dryer. This event included taking all the paper towels off the roll so I could use it to extend the vacuum just an inch short of what was necessary for it to be useful. This also involved accordion-folding the now orphaned paper towels.

     I'm not sure which level of crazy this qualifies me for, but I am sure it probably increased my level of crazy. 

     If I was a better blogger there would be pictures. To be honest, I thought of it, but I'm lazy. 

     I have been preparing for the super-cold winter The Old Farmer's Almanac says we will have. But not by weatherproofing my house. I've been doing preparing by making sure I have enough supplies for baking. I've also watched 82 (and counting) episodes of Gilmore Girls in the past two weeks. I'm feeling super prepared for pretty much anything. As long as it doesn't involve weatherproofing or actual work. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

This Is What Happens

This is what happens when you tell the manager at our local Melting Pot restaurant that you want a puppy:

Three cheers to our sever, Dame, and the manager, Justin!

$100 Target Gift Card Giveaway


I am very excited to be teaming up with Holyjeans N' My Favorite Things, Thrifty Momma's Tips, and several other amazing bloggers to bring you this fun giveaway.  One lucky winner will receive a $100 Target Gift Card to help with #Back2School purchases. 

$100 will buy a lot of pencils and paper! Or 100 things from the dollar spot. Or anything else your heart desires.

*Giveaway ends July 24th at 11:59pm CT.  Open to US and Canadian residents, ages 18+. Excludes Quebec. Only one entrant per household, per address. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Chances of winning depends solely on amount of total entries. Enter using the giveaway form below. Good luck!
Disclosure: All thoughts and opinions are at the discretion of this writer and may not be the same as your own. This contest is in no way associated with Facebook, Google, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social media network. This disclosure is done in accordance with the FTC 10 FCR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. For questions, comments, or to have your product featured on Holyjeans N’ My Favorite Things, email Amy at pnppowell09@gmail.com.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Few More Favorite Things

     Sometimes I run across things I really enjoy and it's always heartbreaking to not be able to find them again. In this day of the internet, sometimes you can find things again. I find this awesome - and heart mending. 

     One of the heart-mending things I have discovered is Blue Bell ice cream. In Ohio. Oh yes! Outback Steakhouse uses Blue Bell ice cream. And one time when the manager visited our table I told him how wonderful it was to have a taste of it in Ohio. He offered to let me order it from them. You have to order the big three? three and a half? gallon size. But who cares!? It's Blue Bell Ice Cream! And the cost is quite reasonable for the amount of ice cream you are getting. I think it's $25.

     Alternatively, you can get Blue Bell to ship straight to your house at the price of $129 for four half gallons. If Homemade Vanilla is what you want, your local Outback Steakhouse manager is your new BFF, saving you literally hundreds of dollars on ice cream! 

     Another heart-mending thing is Dunroven House Direct. Our little town had this amazing Ace Hardware which carried great quality stuff. One of the things it carried was really nice tea towels. I require a certain kind of towel in the kitchen, and most towels you can buy just don't cut it. Even Williams-Sonoma towels, when you buy an assorted package, are only half okay. One kind is great, but the other kind gets wonky when you wash it. No bueno. These are lovely and stay nice forever. Their prices are fantastic and there is never a shipping charge. 

     Speaking of frozen treats, have you ever tried Talenti? They make these ahhh-mazing gelatos and sorbettos. They even have pops now. Oh my gosh, I already knew I was in love with the rich tastes of their many flavors. Then this happened: 

          Unassuming, no? 

     But wait until you taste it! There are not sufficient words to describe the experience. You will just have to try it for yourself. I've always been a fan of the Roman Raspberry, Lisbon Lemon, Caramel Cookie Crunch,  and their Caramel Apple Pie is so good I'm tempted to use words like 'Amaze-balls', but I really don't talk like that. You're welcome. I see they are selling some of their flavors in quarts now, too! (Yes, this is exciting for me.) I hope they make their way to places I shop, soon. They have a lot more delicious flavors. I'm sure you will find one/s you love. 

*Their containers are great for saving, too. We have used them for everything from storing a pint of paint to carrying individual cupcakes to very special people. 

     You know what would probably go great with some of this Talenti? I think the Tahitian Vanilla would be complemented greatly by Ilene's "Granola so Great I would share it with God - if I could." Hippie Chick Granola is what all granola should taste like, but no other granola does taste like. You're welcome.

     Reminder: Don't forget the seven places you should be shopping online.

     One more heart-mending thing: About a year and a half ago I lost my wedding rings. They fell right off my hand during the course of a day and we never did find them. My husband replaced them recently with something just as amazing! A part of me will always be looking out of the corner of my eye for those rings, but I think I wont cry over them again. (Unless I do, because who can understand why we are overcome with tears sometimes?)