Live Happy Magazine Review + Giveaway

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

So, my family rarely watches the news. Why? Because it's nothing but negativity. Rarely, if ever, do large news programs show positive segments that last longer than 2-3 minutes. When it comes to the books I choose to read, I try to keep them uplifting and positive, because really - there's enough bad stuff going on without media just cementing the negativity.

When I heard about the publication Live Happy, I was chomping at the bit to give it a try. I received the May/June issue, and it is packed with positive reinforcements. From mood-boosting foods, to tips on how to heighten your compassion for others (and yourself), and even a calendar of tips for the theme of the month - compassion - with simple things you can do every day to show more compassion.

This issue also had an incredible interview with the Dalai Lama, and some great recipes.

When you flip through this magazine, or sit down and read it cover to cover, you'll not only be taking in positives, but you'll walk away feeling happier, have concrete ways to help yourself and your community, and you'll leave feeling more hopeful about the future - and that's an amazing statement to make about a publication.

Live Happy is joining with me to give away an entire year's subscription to one lucky reader!  This is a beautiful full color magazine that's a breath of fresh air compared to the typical mags. See below for details!

S'mores Brownies

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Seriously, I have a problem with S'mores. No joke. I'd eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I could get away with it. I've tried many recipes for S'mores brownies, but I've always ended up with a mushy or crumbly graham cracker crust, a too-dry of a chocolate middle, and not much of a toasty marshmellow on top. But I can proudly say I've found MY perfect S'more brownie recipe.

 These didn't last a full 24 hours in my house, and they were super easy:

You'll need:
Brownie mix (Plus whatever ingredients are needed on box) or your own brownie recipe
Milk chocolate chips
Graham crackers

First, take a regular brownie mix, or make them from scratch. Add a few handfuls of chocolate chunks or MILK chocolate chips (Seriously. ALWAYS use milk chocolate chips. Semi-sweet? no thanks. Go big or go home, I say). Bake brownies according to package directions. Once they are done, preheat your oven to broil, and add marshmallows on top. Sprinkle some graham cracker pieces on top, and throw in that hot oven and watch it like a hawk until those marshmallows are toasty. Pull out, and enjoy.

These brownies are a definite hit with whomever happens to come over while these are out, so whip up a quick batch of these, and take them to a party, friend's house, whatever. I promise you won't leave with any left!

Shoplet Review + Date Night

I love Shoplet. They have some of the coolest products. This month, I got to review the SlimMate Storage Clipboard, a recycled clipboard, a Uhu glue stic, and a glue style pen. These products came just in time, because my husband and I have started doing weekly dates - and these tools came quite in handy for my latest date, a drive-in night. I got this idea from the Dating Divas, and used their drive-in printables to create a "treasure hunt" in my hubby's truck. I hid the clues with the help of the glue stic and style pen, and surprised him on date day with it. I've been using the clipboard to keep all my dating stuff in order and ready. Take a peek:

I ended up breaking out our inflatable mattress, and airing it up. Throwing it in the back of the truck, along with pillows, blankets, and my laptop, and we had a movie night. It was super fun! Dating is something I've missed, and I love being able to look forward to a date night with my hubby. If you're looking for some fresh date ideas, The Dating Divas have you covered!

Gardening 2014: Pumpkin on a Stick...or not?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

So, every year, I decide to grow at least ONE thing I've never grown before. While I love to garden and preserve, the normal tomato-cucumber-squash-herb stuff can get kinda boring. And I'll be honest - I've given up on growing beans. It's just too much work. I may buy a bushel at one of the Amish auctions or a few bags of organic beans at the grocery store as well, but beans and I just don't get along that well. But I  digress.

I've expanded my garden this year, and I decided to plant some "Pumpkin on a Stick" seeds. I know very little about them, but here's what I do know:

1. They are adorable.

2. They're some type of eggplant

3. They look vicious.

To illustrate the viciousness of this plant, I present you with photographic evidence. I swear, these things should've come out of Alice in Wonderland, or the Secret Garden or something. These are some serious spikes, readers. These plants looked great in the greenhouse, and stayed quite small until a few weeks ago, when they all of a sudden decided to grow spikes and shoot up out of the ground like an invading army of angry triceratops/plant hybrids.

Seriously. No joke.

It's like they're half porcupines or something.

I've looked at pictures of what this plant is SUPPOSED to look like, and NONE of them sport the hardware these are threatening me with. What on earth have I done to deserve this?

So, I'm hoping that these are really the "Pumpkin on a Stick" that I thought I bought, but if not, these are interesting nonetheless!

Stay tuned, I'll hopefully be posting more gardening/farming/canning stuff very soon, along with some really awesome giveaways!

Spring is Here, and I am Not Ready.

Monday, April 14, 2014

So, I'm really not known for being fit. I'm pretty normal.This is moi, at the Lexington Comic Con.

And I'm really out of shape. I may not be "Overweight", but I definitely am not where I should be fitness-wise. And after having my daughter, fat has ended up in weird places-places that fat shouldn't be.

So, I've bitten the bullet and I'm starting to work out.

I live almost 30 minutes from the nearest gym.

I am a stay at home mom.

I love peanut butter, chocolate chips, and potatoes. 

I could seriously eat mac n cheese every meal.

So, this is going to be rough.

I've decided to start out with "John Cena's 10 Week Body Change". I really didn't know who this guy was, but, I heard about the program, and was interested. When I was told that I don't need a gym/equipment to do it, I was sold. I mean, I realize exercise is important, but getting a program in place that you actually ENJOY and see results from is honestly like finding the holy grail.

I've tried other workouts in the past (Here's looking at you, P90X) and I enjoyed those workouts, except having to get all the equipment was a definite down-point for me.

So, if you want to join in on this with me, you're welcome to!  I hope to take some better "Before" pictures to reference in case you decide to follow along with me.

Organic step at a time.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

In my constant progress toward living an organic life, I've had to take a tally of what organic items are critical, what items are nice, and what items I'm okay with having non-organic. It's a give and take, and it's always a work in progress.

Mohawk Valley Trading Co. has a variety of really great organic products. Based in New York, they offer candles, honey, and maple syrup. I've been using their Tulip Poplar - Black Locust honey in my tea almost every day, and it's really been helping my morning sore throats.

I made some waffles last week, and their dark, robust maple syrup went perfectly on top. It was simply divine. I've never had pure REAL maple syrup, and the difference is just amazing. If you've never had the chance to try raw, organic maple syrup, you're missing out.

So the next time you're in need of some organic maple syrup or honey products, Mohawk Valley Trading Co. is happy to help! They've also agreed to host a giveaway with me for the products you see here, plus more! Enter below!

Shaun the Sheep Birthday Party!

Monday, February 10, 2014

I threw Annabelle her third birthday party over the weekend, and it was perfect! Annabelle loves "Shaun the Sheep", so I based my party theme around the show.  Honestly, I haven't seen many good "Shaun the Sheep" parties online, so I contacted a bunch of awesome vendors to throw an awesome, one-of-a-kind "Shaun the Sheep" party!

I started with these pom poms. I made them by hand, and they were surprisingly easy. If I can make them, you can make them. It's a basic pom pom, but I didn't fluff them into a full circle. Just a half circle.


I then just took black and white card stock, and made some general sheep head outlines from screenshots of the show.

The "Shaun the Sheep" website had some awesome templates and ideas, so I took white yarn, along with their printable heads and legs, and made some cute yarn pom-pom sheep!

They were cute, but they were pretty tedious to make.

As you can see, I used tissue paper grass on the table.  I searched EVERYWHERE for a good tissue paper grass, and I couldn't find it anywhere.  I finally stumbled upon, who stocked the tissue paper grass, along with some of the goodies for the goody bags, including the animal finger puppets and the farm stickers.

I love making goodie bags.  And BisonBleu worked with me to create all the printables for this party.  The little boxes were perfect for my theme, and they were so easy to put together! She also created the banner, the water bottle wraps, candy bar wraps, thank you tags, invites, and cupcake toppers (Which I ended up putting on the serving utensils) BisonBleu is one of the best in the party planning biz. No joke. All her work is wonderfully detailed. There's no end to her creativity, and I am so honored to work with her!

The "Sheep Poop" is Raisinets, and the fake grass in the mason jars is green Twizzlers pulled apart. They were a huge hit! (What three year old doesn't think poop is funny?)

I also scored these milk bottles for sweet tea at 50% off at Hobby Lobby. They fit right in with the theme.

The cake and cupcakes came from Confused Confections in Lexington, Kentucky. They were a dream to work with, and gave me exactly what I was looking for!

In addition to the great goodie bags, each kid got a party hat from PAPALOTES.  Honestly, these were some of my favorite things at the party!  Her work is incredible. She has a hat for any occasion/theme! She's simply wonderful.

I decided to do two games during the party.  Pin the tail on Shaun...

(Which was incredibly hard to draw free handed)

And a pinata! I made this pinata from scratch, and I used 2 different layers of paper mache.  I purposefully did it light hoping it would break easily, but that sucker wouldn't break for anything! We had to do it inside due to the weather, and thankfully nobody was hurt. LOL. I went a little overboard with the candy. That pinata weighed every bit of 40 lbs!

I also included these cute cookies in the goodie bags.  They're from a new retailer on Etsy, TheSweetBCookies.  Not only are they cute, but they were soft and yummy as well! The kids loved them. She's got incredible attention to detail when it comes to the cookies, and she has a huge number of designs available, along with custom cookies.

So cute, right?

Annabelle loved her party, as you can see, and it was so much fun to throw! I want to give a huge thank you to each vendor that I worked with for this party.  Feel free to check them out below!

Printables: BisonBleu
Party Supplies: Shindigz