Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Toad Whisperer

Frog said, I wrote 'Dear Toad, I am glad that you are my best friend. Your best friend, Frog.

Oh, said Toad, that makes a very good letter.

'Then Frog and Toad went out onto the front porch to wait for the mail. They sat there, feeling happy together.
 ~ Arnold Lobel

My husband is the toad whisperer.  I don't know why it is but the toads actually hop out to greet him.  He could be in the driveway or the yard or the woods and sure enough, a toad will hop out right up to him. He often pets them and they look very content. I don't mind petting them but they seem to enjoy his company more than mine.
Isn't that strange? ♥

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Hello Fresh ~ Oh Bother...

When I received a promotion code to try Hello Fresh, I thought why not try it.  And so I did.

Hello Fresh is a service that provides fresh produce, herbs, spices, and meat to make select meals that you choose online.  You can choose a plan for three, four, or five meals a week either for two people or for a family of four.

Everything comes packed in a cooler right to your door ready to prepare.  The ice packs and the cooler keep it all fresh.  You just unpack, place what needs to be kept cold in the refrigerator and you are all set.

The promotion I took advantage of was for three meals for two people. The regular price for this is usually $59.94.  I paid $29.94 with this promotion.  I chose Honey Mustard Chicken, Thyme and Honey Pork Chops, and Winner Winner Chicken Orzo Dinner.

I eagerly awaited my Hello Fresh box due to arrive today.  The box arrived early this afternoon.  Little Bear was more excited that I was.  She danced around as I opened the box.

The first thing that I saw were three huge recipe cards:

Thyme and Honey Pork Chops over Couscous with a Peachy Salad

Honey Mustard Chicken with Roasted Potatoes, Zucchini, and Onion

Winner Winner Chicken Orzo Dinner with Cheesy Roasted Zucchini and Tomatoes


Let's peek inside the bags!

Thyme Honey Pork Chops Dinner

Balsamic Vinegar
Vegetable Stock

Honey Mustard Chicken Dinner

Red Onion
Sweet Potatoes
White Wine Vinegar
Whole Grain Mustard

Winner Winner Chicken Orzo Dinner

Italian Seasoning
Panko Breadcrumbs
Roma Tomato
Orzo Pasta
Fresh Mozzarella Parsley
Parmesan Cheese

Looks delicious, doesn't it!

After I peeked in the bags (and took my pictures), I put away the ingredients.  I then removed the ice packs to check out the meat. The instructions said that the meat was underneath the ice.  I was very pleased that everything was still cold.

And then...

I noticed that the vacuum packed meat was not terribly vacuum packed.  In fact, they were sealed very poorly.  Chicken (for lack of a better term) juice was on the bottom of the ice packs and all over the packages of meat.  Oh bother...  I was so disappointed!  I put the packages of meat in the sink, washed my hands, and then made a phone call.

I called Hello Fresh and explained the situation. Thankfully, the vegetables, fruit, herbs, seasonings, and cheese were not contaminated.  Still, I really did not feel comfortable cooking/eating the meat since it was not sealed properly.  They offered to send me three new meals next week.  I said no thank you and requested a refund.  After a few moments, they agreed to the refund and that was that.

I said goodbye to hello fresh.  I'll stick to my grocery store, thank you very much.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Coffee, Cake, and Creativity Thyme

I mentioned in an earlier post that I wanted to host a coffee/craft get together.  And so I have.  The first one will be this coming Thursday afternoon.

I invited a dozen ladies and so far there are three yes's and two no's. The invite is very last minute. The next few weeks are going to be very busy and I wanted to make some kind of farewell to summer craft.

So far, I've planned that we'll make a card and also a really cute bag with a gift tag.  I wanted to start simple as some of the ladies have mentioned that they are new to paper crafting.

Stampin' Up!'s Paper Pumpkin box for June featured these adorable watermelon/fruit projects.

The card I made (pictured above) is slightly different than the one they suggested.  I've added some watercolor red cardstock behind the white/yellow element.  I think it makes the card front colors pop more.  I stamped the greeting onto the banner, wrapped the red string around the white element and tied a bow.  The Hooray banner gives the card a 3D element that really turned out nicely.

I LOVE the watermelon bag with the red & black tissue paper!!  As per instructions in the kit, you fold the melon cardstock  along the score lines, and add adhesive to the bottom to create the bag.  I made the gift tag pretty much as instructed.  I stamped the watermelon image and the greeting, added the bow, and then adhered that to the yellow tag. With a tiny clothespin, I clipped it to the bag. SO CUTE!!

I'll precut all the elements needed for both crafts and "set the table" before they arrive. They can stamp, stick/glue, tie, and create!  I think it will be a lot of fun and I hope they think so too.

And then there is cake!  I've found a number of recipe ideas online.  I'm leaning toward making a box cake and adding crushed pineapple and perhaps nuts to the mix before baking. I will then frost it with either a cream cheese frosting or a whipped cream type frosting. I want the cake to be very summer-y!

And then there is also coffee, tea, lemonade, or water.  In case anyone works up a thirst ~ or if the cake is horribly dry.  Just kidding about the cake being dry... (I hope)

I wish I could invite all you sweet ladies too. Maybe some day! ♥

PS If you are interested in trying Stampin' Up!'s Paper Pumpkin kit, now is a great time. From August 11th to September 10th, new subscribers can order one month's kit for half off the usual $19.95 price. If you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them. Click HERE to enjoy this sweet promotion!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Where Feet May Fail

We sang this beautiful song in church this morning ~ the lyrics so powerful and true. May you be blessed.

Ocean (Where Feet May Fail)

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

Songwriters: Joel Houston / Matt Crocker / Salomon Ligthelm

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Berry Berry Delicious!

Last night, we went to dinner at our good friends' house.  We met M & S at church and immediately bonded as we are all from California.  They moved to NC about six months ago. They love it here. North Carolina is truly home.

Dinner was delicious.  Dessert was heavenly!  S made a strawberry shortcake with a very special whipped cream.  She asked me to guess what the secret ingredient was.  After tasting it, I guessed nutmeg or possibly cloves. I was wrong. The whipped cream was flavored with basil.  Yes, basil!!

She explained how she simmered the heavy cream with leaves of basil the cream, removed the basil, strained the cream, and then refrigerated the basil cream until she whipped it. Oh my gosh ~ it was so delicious!  I absolutely loved it as did my husband.

Have you ever tasted whipped cream with basil?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Once in a Melon...

One of the many wonderful things about summer is the abundance of fresh fruit, especially melons.  And for once... we have cantaloupes growing in our garden!

It isn't for lack of trying...  for some reason, our efforts failed ~ either the vines had some kind of mildew on their leaves and died or the vines just never produced fruit.  I have no idea what we did differently this year but it worked!  Hooray!

I spy at least three more growing in the garden along with a watermelon!  The watermelon is growing bigger and bigger and bigger but it's not ready yet.  I'm counting the days!

How is your garden growing this August?

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Secret of Life

The secret of life is enjoying the passing of time. ~ James Taylor

I love the blue friendship card that I made but I think I love this  card even more!

I really love the dark floral designer paper with the pink/mauve of the card stock.  And burlap ribbon is a favorite of mine.

I used the same stamp set (retired Stampin' Up!'s From My Heart) with this floral card as I did with the blue friendship card.

I am planning to make a collection of 4 cards using the stamps from the From My Heart set.  Each will have a floral paper element and a burlap element.  I will be posting them throughout the next few weeks along with some other crafty items that will be available for sale if anyone is interested in purchasing them.  I will be opening up my very own Etsy shoppe.

Stay tuned....♥
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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Dinner From the Garden

Not entirely from the garden... the chicken I bought at the market. The vegetables though came straight from the garden. And they were delicious.

The chicken legs were slathered with bbq sauce and baked at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. While the chicken was baking, I thinly sliced the zucchinis and peppers, added a little olive oil, and then seasoned with salt, pepper, and a bit of garlic powder. I roasted them at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes until they were tender. Everything was so delicious!

What did you make for dinner tonight?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Pretty Friendship Card

She was truest to them in the season of trial, as all the quietly loyal and good will always be.
~Charles Dickens
A Tale of Two Cities

My goal is to make at least two different cards each week. This coming Friday evening, my husband and I have been invited to dinner at some new friends' house.  I wanted to make a thank you card to give them along with a little gift.

I offered to bring dessert or an appetizer but they assured me that we should just bring ourselves.  I have this really pretty candle that I think I'll wrap nicely along with this card.  I think they will like them. ♥

Monday, August 7, 2017

Give Me an F ~ Give Me an R ~ Give Me an E & E

What's that spell?

Woo Hoo!
Free Free Free Free

I hit the jackpot today while shopping at my local market (well, next county over local).

These items were on sale and it was double coupons $2 and below day. At this grocery store, you are allowed 3 like coupons and a total of 20 coupons a day. I picked up:

3 packages of Galbani String Cheese, 12 oz ea
6 packages of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, 4 oz ea
3 boxes of Plum Organics Applesauces, 4 packages ea for total of 12.68 oz
3 tubes of Crest Complete Toothpaste, 5.8 oz ea

The string cheese and the applesauce was on sale for Buy 1 Get 1 Free.  The crescent rolls were on sale for 99 cents each.  Aren't the little packages adorable!  The toothpaste was on sale for under $4 ea.

I had either $1 or $2 off for each of the above products that doubled and made them free.  Without the sale price or coupons, I would have spent $46+ for all the above.  Woo Hoo!

The expiration dates are great on all the products.  I'll share the toothpaste with my daughter and give her 90% of the crescent rolls.  We don't eat them very often.  The baby food/applesauce has an expiration date of June 2018 and I will give it to my daughter for Sam.

Did you find some great sales at your grocery store lately?  What treasures did you find?

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Tomorrow Tomorrow

It's almost 10 pm.  It has been a busy day.  The morning started with church then home again for lunch and a time of rest.  We then drove into the big city to see the musical Annie put on by a community theater group.  Annie is my husband's favorite musical and we've seen it a number of times at a number of different venues.

This particular one was interesting.  It took place at a church thus the settings were limited but done well, I thought.  A few of the actors were pretty good.  A few could sing well.  The actress that played Annie sang well but sadly couldn't act.  She showed little to no emotion.  She isn't terribly young (in high school) but I understand it is community theater.  She will no doubt get better the more she preforms.

The dog that was cast to play Sandy was not on the set today.  Instead this Sandy was a beautiful white Samoyed.  The dog did what it was supposed to do but didn't look like the orphaned mutt that we are all used to.

During admission, cake, coffee, and punch was served.  :-)

Home again and it is time for bed.  Good night!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

An Early Morning in the Woods

This morning, little Bear and I went for a walk in the woods.  It was early (7 am) and there was a mist in the air. The woods were quiet. It was too early for the birds to sing. The squirrels must have slept in this Saturday morning. They weren't scurrying about or playing in the trees. The other woodland creatures were nowhere to be seen either. We were careful to be very quiet as not to wake their weekend slumber.