Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cashin' in the New Year! $190 Cash Giveaway!!

Hosted by Home Grown Families and Mama to 4 Blessings with the help of several other fantastic groups of bloggers we bring you Cashin' in the New Year! This giveaway runs from 12:01 AM on Friday 12/30 until Monday, 1/2 at 11:59 PM (all Eastern times). One winner will receive $190 Cash into their Paypal account!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Lovely Original Song by my Daughter

She really amazes me with her talent. : )  I don't think that's just her mom talking either.

We'd love to hear what you think!

Decorative Ceiling Tiles Have Many Uses

Decorative Ceiling Tiles has drop ceiling tiles, tin ceiling tiles, faux tin ceiling tiles, styrofoam ceiling tiles and much more available on their website.  I received two ceiling tiles for review. 

The first is styrofoam ceiling tile.  These are a very economical way to cover a ceiling (perhaps an old popcorn ceiling).  They can be painted to match any decor using water based paints and they add insulation to the room.  I'm painting mine in light pinks and purples to hang on my daughter's wall as an accent piece.

The second tile is a faux tin tile.  It totally fooled me and my husband when we opened the package.  We both thought it was a real tin tile.  It so pretty and it's big!  2 feet square!  We're going to use it as a frame for light fixture by punching a small hole in the center and mounting the light fixture through it.

One of the coolest uses for the tiles (other than on a ceiling) shown on the website, is using them as a photo backdrop.  They make lovely textured backgrounds for photo shoots.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I Made Caramel and Banana Quesadillas

I'm a caramel maker!  : D  I've always been afraid to make caramel because I know it can be a bit tricky.  A few nights ago I decided to go ahead and give it a try.  My first attempt crytallized into a hard lacy lump at the bottom of the pan.  The second time, I searched the internet for ways to avoid having that happen.  The 3 tricks I found were to:

  • Add lemon juice (I added about a teaspoon)
  • Add corn syrup (I found an old bottle in my cupboard and added about 2 tablespoons)
  • Stir until it boils and then don't stir again until it's dark enough to add the cream

The second time it worked like a charm and I created a fabulous caramel sauce to serve over my banana quesadillas.  They were decadent and delicious!  Kind of like crepes without the bother of making crepes. Other then the time it took to make 2 (1 successful) batches of caramel it was an easy recipe to make.  You can find it here at Food Network. I used the caramel recipe in the link and it worked after I made the above mentioned adjustments.

Are there any foods that you're afraid to make?  I've still never cooked a artichoke even though I want to.  That'll be my next project.

Pic from Food Network

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

$100 Rafflecopter Giveaway!!!

$100 Giveaway sponsored by Amee from Madame Deals and Jen from Kobiso, Makobi Scribe, Sason and Pobi, etc

Wordless Wednesday - Memes

Just a few pics from the internet that made me laugh.  Hope they make you smile too.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I'm joining a Twitter Blast

Amee from Madame Deals and Jen from all her blogs  (Kobiso, Makobi Scribe, Sason and Pobi, etc) are sponsoring a Twitter Blast with a $100 prize.  For details go here.

My readers should come back on December 15th for a chance to win $100!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Parenthood and Aspergers

Sometimes the television show Parenthood really knocks me out. Part of it is that they cover Asperger's Syndrome in such a real way. So many times when I'm watching it feels like the show is about my family's and my feelings. I really like the characters.

I just watched the most recent episode called Missing. The son with Aspergers left his home to go to the museum by himself because his family couldn't take him. One reason this really hit home is that one time my son left home because he was tired of waiting for his father to come home and do something with him.  My husband was dropping off our daughter about 2 miles down the road and my son decided to walk there because he knew where it was and he felt that my husband had taken too long.  A couple stopped and tried to help him but he would not say a word to them.  Fortunately my husband saw him as he drove home. Not good!

Another reason that the episode really touched me is that it showed how hard it can be on older siblings.  I have a teenager that struggles with this as well.  A child with Aspergers can cause huge disruptions in the family and we as parents don't react in the same way we would if he was neuro-typical.  It feels unfair.

Have you seen the show?  Have you ever seen a reflection of your life?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Prefense Hand Sanitizer - Review and Giveaway!

I use so much alcohol based sanitizer everyday! I use it at least 10 times a day. It's stinky and it burns all of the little cracks in my hands. I'm pretty sure all of that alcohol adds to the dryness of my hands. Not the best system but what else is there? I certainly can't walk around with germs all over my hands!

Before I received my Prefense hand sanitizer the only thing I knew about it was that the protection would last 24 hours. So I was interested to see how that was possible. What I discovered is that the protection is silica based and basically works by destroying the germ's cell wall. As Marissa Amoni of Beacon-News put it, "essentially acting like a glove with tiny spikes — penetrating the bacteria wall and killing what might be lurking on a public surface."
That makes a lot of sense to me because I like to use diatomaceous earth around the farm because it's an all natural way to kill bugs in the same manner. There's no chemical or poison involved.

So I'm liking how it works, but how will it feel on my hands? I was concerned that there might be a gritty feel but that was definitely not the case! I used one pump of foam and rubbed it into my hands until it dried. There was no residue, no greasy or oily sensation. My hands felt clean dry and comfortable. It has a very very light citrus smell. And you'll be happy to know that it doesn't have any aftertaste (yes, I tried it). : )

So I can have germ free hands from one squirt a day with no residue, drying alcohol, or smell? Sign me up!!!

You can buy this on the Prefense website or from Amazon.


The great news is that I get to give an 8oz bottle of Prefense to one of my readers! This is an $18 value and could last one person up to 2 years.

Sponsored by

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Uncreative-Mommy's Digital Creations

Lena from Uncreative-Mommy's Digital Creations gave me the opportunity to review the Dots printables from her Etsy shop.  She has a lot of great forms, lists and planners available for only $1 each.  The Dots pattern is cute and fun.  Once you make your purchase, Lena will email you the form and you can print as many copies as you need, whenever you need them.

I found so many helpful items.  Two of my favorites are the Grocery List and the Emergency Info list.  I also liked the meal planner, What's to Eat, a lot.  The Grocery List is especially helpful because it breaks the list up into categories and that makes it easier and faster when you're at the store.

Something that I think will be very helpful is to use a hole punch and a three ring binder to make a planning book.  You could include forms such as the anniversary list, monthly calendars, budget planner and contacts pages.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Slice™ Safety Cutter - Great for couponers

I had the chance to try the Slice Safety Cutter from Slice Products.  It's a handy little tool for cutting coupons, scrapbooking, opening plastic packaging and many other uses.  It has a very small ceramic blade that you draw across whatever you are cutting.  It's very sharp when used on paper but is also very safe. I poked myself with it (as shown in the product pictures on the website) and I was not injured at all!  So this would be safe for my kids to use as well.  Also since the blade is ceramic it stays sharp and won't rust.

The Slice can fit easily in my purse (where I carry it), has a hole to add it to a keychain, and also has an internal magnet so that it can hang on the fridge.  I like that I can easily cut out a coupon while I'm at the store!  I really like how attractive the Slice is as well.

As I've mentioned before, my son has Aspergers Syndrome.  So I was excited to learn that they company funds Autism research.  Here's some information from their website: "Slice was founded in 2008 by TJ Scimone as a way to help fund long-term care for his son, Alex, who is autistic. A minimum of 1% of all Slice product sales is donated to help fund autism research. By purchasing our products, you’re helping to find a cure for the millions of children and their families who live with autism every day.

Using it to cut school pictures

Used the magnet to hang it on the fridge
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Were You Surprised by Any of the New Shows this Fall?

There was one show that really surprised me.  Pan Am.  I was fully prepared to hate this show.  It seemed like a silly concept.  I was thinking it would basically be "Playboy Bunnies on a Plane".  I kept hearing about it though and so I gave it a shot.

I'm hooked!  It's smart, funny, interesting and occasionally heart-wrenching.  I'll admit that I've cried during a few of the episodes.

Some other new shows I really like are New Girl, Revenge, and Terra Nova.  My favorite series though are not new.  The Office and Parenthood are at the top of my list!

What shows do you consider "must see tv"?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Meyer Hatchery Catalog Came Today!

I'm excited to have received my 2012 Meyer catalog today!  I pore over it for hours putting little stars next to types of chickens, ducks, turkeys and more that I would like to have strutting around my farm yard.  I'm not yet sure what I'll be getting but I'll have fun dreaming.

They have some exotic birds that I know that I won't be getting.  A sebastopol goose is a white bird with long curly feathers. They're lovely but fairly expensive. They aren't cold hardy though so they wouldn't enjoy our freezing winters.  I also won't be getting  a pair of White Mute Swans.  At $780 for the pair plus $320 shipping and handling they're outside of my price range! They also have pheasants, partridges, and peacocks.

There are also dozens of chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese to peruse.  The price for chicks varies but in general it's in the neighborhood of $2 to $4 each plus shipping.

Well, I'm off to dream of my colorful flock additions.  In the meantime I'll leave you with a few pictures of my current chickens.  Here you'll see them in their favorite hangout.  There's about 4 feet of weeds growing between our garden and our yard.  The chickens LOVE to hang out in this little jungle.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

UGLee Pen Review and Giveaway

The UGLee Pen is an ergonomic pen created by Dr. James Lee.  The name UGLee comes from Ultimate Grip combined with Dr. Lee's name.

I was fortunate to be chosen as one of the bloggers to review this pen.  This is definitely my favorite pen!  The grip is extremely comfortable and reduces hand fatigue.  There's been so many times that my hand has cramped and ached as I took notes at school or work.  The UGLee Pen makes an amazing difference.

This is also a great pen for my son who has Asperger's.  The grip helps him to hold the pen correctly which is something that he has an issue with.  The grip is also soft so his hand is much more comfortable.  He usually hates writing.  I'm going to ask his teacher to let him try writing with this pen instead of a pencil.  I think it will make a difference in his resistance to writing sentences.

My son using the UGLee Pen to draw a robot crab.  He holds this pen much better than a standard pen or pencil.

Another feature that I like is the ink.  It's a very smooth flowing ink which makes it easy to write with and makes writing more fun.  Am I the only one who loves to write with ink that flows beautifully?  I always feel like my writing is more attractive when I have just the right pen and ink combination.

You can purchase the pen from their website.

The giveaway is open to US residents only.  Sorry to all my other readers. : (


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Nalgene Water Bottle from

 I was given the opportunity to review a water bottle by the kind people at  Their motto is "reusables for every part of your life" and they do indeed have a huge variety of green products that can be help to keep us green and reduce waste.

One way that we try to reduce our waste is by using reusable water bottles but they are not created equal!  The water bottle that I chose is made by Nalgene.  The full product name is the Nalgene 32 oz Wide Mouth Reusable Bottle, Tritan.  Their were several reasons that I choose this bottle.  One is that it's BPA free.  It's also dishwasher safe so I know that it will be clean and germ free.  I like that it comes in a large 32 ounce size and the wide mouth allows me to add ice as well as being able to thoroughly clean the inside.  I don't have to worry about losing the lid (or dropping it somewhere gross) because it's attached to the bottle. It's made in the USA and I think the price is very reasonable.  Not to mention the beautiful green color!  

In addition to a selection of water bottles that are both functional and attractive they have a lot of other exciting products.  I was especially happy to see the bento box selection.

I'm very happy with my water bottle and I'm looking forward to using it to keep hydrated while reducing the amount of waste I create.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

I won a makeup giveaway and got some yummy extras

I wanted to share the giveaway that I won from Jessica Allison.  Look at all the cute extras she sent along with the makeup that I won!  

I love all the things she sent me but I have to especially mention the Kasugai gummies. Oh yum!  I never had them before.  They are so good. : )

Thank you Jessica!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Kittens!

Olive (calico) and Oliver were rescued together.  Olive is ours and Oliver is with my sister waiting to find his furever home.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Apple Harvest From Our Own Trees!

Well, it may not be a bumper crop but it's their first year after being planted.  I took a couple pictures as we picked our last few apples from our trees.  I'm very impressed with how well they did this year.  Bagging the apples seemed to work at keeping worms out of the apples.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Seen These Flowers Before?

We have these lovely yellow flowers grow around our grape vines each year.  They're about 7 or 8 feet tall, perennial, and they bloom in early Fall.  I haven't seen them anywhere else.  I'm curious about what they are.

And some gratuitous chicken cuteness provided by Teeny the bantam hen

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Butterfly Bush
A couple of weeks ago we found about 15 monarch butterflies on some flowers in our backyard.  Lovely and magical!

T-Shirt Review from

I received a t-shirt from T Shirt to review.  I wasn't sure what to expect since I've seen many promotional shirts that are super thin fabric that falls apart after being washed a few times. This t-shirt was nothing like my preconceived notion of a promotional shirt.  The fabric is soft and comfortable.  The design is vibrant and attractive.

The shirt:  I'm very impressed with the thickness of the material.  It's not your typical flimsy promotional t-shirt. It is a nice thick shirt and it's cottony soft. The tag says it's 90% cotton and 10% polyester. It's been worn and washed multiple times and there hasn't been stretching, shrinkage, or pilling.  The sizing does not run small either.  This shirt was a medium and fit my daughter well. 

The design:  After being washed and dried (in the dryer on normal) three times there has been no peeling, cracking, splitting or fading of the design.  It looks great and is thick enough to last but is still very flexible and moves with the fabric.

Need a t-shirt for your business or event?  I'd suggest contacting!

My adorable daughter in her Funky Monkey t shirt from

I recieved the shirt for review purposes only. No other compensation was received and the opinions expressed are my daughter's and my honest opinions.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Top Ten Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time

This is a meme from The Broke and the Bookish called Top Ten Tuesday.  I'm late to the party but this week's theme really caught my attention because it's something I was talking to my daughter about a few days ago. 

Most of these books I've read many times, but I miss the first read when I didn't know what was going to happen.  When I was exploring this new world and I was so caught up in it that I couldn't stop reading and if I had to stop it was all I could think about.

So here is my list, in no particular order.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card: 
I think that one of his great strengths in writing is making such interesting characters. The world of Battle School is fascinating as is the psychological manipulation.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen:  
Aside from the romance which IS lovely, one of the things that I love about Jane Austen is that she understands people so well and she's able to make us laugh about it.

Midnighters by Scott Westerfeld:  
This was a fun YA adventure that opened up an extra hour in the day that only some people get to experience.  I really like books that draw me into a new world that I haven't experienced before.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Another great romance and I love Jane's quiet strength.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Wow! This book was stunning and the language is often poetic.  Not lyrically poetic, more rythmic and touching.  

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Another book that drew me into a new world

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing:
I didn't think I would like this book at all.  I was desperate for something to read and so I went through my husband's library books.  I started reading this and I could not put it down.  An amazing true story.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore:
I read this because my oldest daughter couldn't stop talking about how much she loved it.  I soon found out why. : )

Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter:
I've read this book so many times from when I was a child to now.  I actually just reread it last month.  A story about a teen-aged girl growing up through tragedy to become a strong confident woman. I highly recommend it.  

I considered adding Little Women to my list but I get something different out of it each time I read it based on my age and experience.  I loved it as a child but as I get older each reading brings me more understanding of the characters and a different perspective.  I wouldn't want to give that up.

I'd love to hear your opinions on these books or the books that you would like to reread for the first time.

"Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Rescued Kitten

About 2 months ago I got an email from my sister telling me that she and her husband found two kittens abandoned in the woods.  They weren't feral because they both came over to them when they were called.  Poor babies were covered in so many fleas and were soooo hungry. She also had worms.  : (  

My husband knows that I've wanted a cat for a while but he didn't want one so we've been catless for about 10 years.  I KNEW he couldn't be so heartless to refuse to rescue a kitten though!

So he was laying down upstairs and I went and started telling him the very, very, very, very sad story of the lost, abandoned and starving kittens and he started laughing (or crying?) and put his pillow over his head. And then I pulled the pillow away from him so he wouldn't miss any details.  And then he tried to conclude the story for me by saying that the kittens were put in a gas chamber crying mew mew mew.  And I beat him with his pillow.  I concluded the story with a much happier ending in which I had advised my sister that I would take both kittens.  And he said (and I quote) "BOTH kittens?!?!"   And that my dear readers was most definitely permission to get one! HA HA HA!  Then he asked if everyone would take care of it or if it would get dumped on him.  I said... dumped on him. : )  Just to set the correct expectations.

And here is our lovely Olive.  Oliver is still living with my sister while she finds him a home.

p.s. He actually hasn't had to do much for the cat at all because our children have been doing a fabulous job of taking care of her. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Tiger Daughter

A couple of pics of my daughter after she got home from the circus yesterday. : )  She was so sleepy!