Life as I Know It - Weekly Update #9


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So I'm knitting this dishcloth in public and this autistic kid comes over to me....

Kid:  Why are you knitting?
Me:  What do you mean, why am I knitting?
Kid:  Knitting is for old people.  Not people who are young and in good health.

The kid walks off and mutters, "I guess you're old."
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I go to look for some tea for my yarn and tea swap partner.  While in the store, not finding the tea of my dreams, I spot Mrs. Meyers products on sale.  The aisle price says, "2 for $8.00".  So, I grab one bottle of dish detergent.  Then I go around to the edge of the aisle and see another Mrs. Meyers display.  That sign reads, "2 for $4."  Puzzled, I inquired and the store helper guy was like yes, this is our store special starting today.  I grabbed one more bottle of each.

I get the register and they ring up for "2 for $8," but because they advertised incorrectly, I was able to get all of my bottles at the advertised price.  Needless the say, the manager guy took the sign down.

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Just going to show that fancy stores make mistakes too.


After the detergent episode, I traveled to Bed, Bath, & Beyond to buy an iron.  Mine is practically dead.  On the clearance/as is aisle, I spot the curtain holders of my dreams.  The same type I have at home in gold, but that I was going to spray paint in the correct color.  The ones on sale were already the brushed nickle color I wanted and on clearance for $4.98 because the package had been opened.  You know I bought one set and got my iron.
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This is no Rowenta, but I hope it will do...
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Practically skipping out of the store, still thinking of my score with the Mrs. Meyers detergent, I decided to treat myself to a Mocha Frappuccino from Starbucks.  Ahhh, so refreshing.  :-)

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To randomness,

 

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Snack Squares


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On Memorial Day, I refused to leave the house. No matter what whim of an idea came across my mind, I just refused to put on real clothes and leave the house.

So what did I do? A little of this and a little of that. (Heehee. Don't you just love my vague answers - plus the this and that go more into the upcoming surprise reveal). But what I will tell you is that I made these amazing Oatmeal Peanut Butter Snack Squares.


Now remember I told you that I refused to leave the house, right? Well, this recipe called for whole wheat pastry flour. Well I didn't have that (of course) and so I found this recipe substitution online:

 If you don't have pastry flour, do this:

1 1/3 c of All-Purpose Flour + 2/3 c of Cake Flour = 2 c of Pastry Flour

I'm not a huge fan of peanut butter, but I do believe in having a little on hand (just in case) and so I was able to use up the rest of my PB for this recipe.   Also, although the creator of this recipe says use milk, she actually used almond milk.  I used whole milk which is a surprise because I very rarely have cow's milk in my house.  Trying to use up that too before it goes bad.  Then, back to my almond milk.  I so need to go grocery shopping...

Enjoy!
 

I Thee Wed


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So if you read my "7 Confessions" post from Saturday, you are aware that I attended my cousin's (Angelo's) wedding this past weekend.  It was a lovely ceremony and it, of course, is always a pleasure to be able to see my rather large extended family.

I only took a few images because I do have reservations about being a pew photographer.

Kourtney and Angelo

Here are a few of the wedding images in a slideshow format.  You will be surprised to know that this time I didn't photograph any food.  Surprised?


And here are a few images of my cousins after the ceremony.

Two sisters...with matching bubblegum (lol)
3 Cousins and if you look closely you will see the baby's momma in the reflection on the sunglasses.  :-)

  To More Family Gatherings...
 

My Tea Obsession


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"Cup, cup, cup, cup. Of, of, of, of."  If your mind immediately went to the musical "My Fair Lady", then you and I could be the best of friends.  Seriously, I love Audrey Hepburn and I love "My Fair Lady."  And, I love tea.

So how did this tea relationship begin?  Growing up, the only tea I drank was good ole southern sweet iced tea.  If you're truly southern born and bred you know that buying unsweetened tea in non-southern restaurants and trying to sweeten them after the fact, is really impossible.  I love sweet iced tea and my mom's is the best.  No lie.  Ok, back to the tea relationship.  The only person I knew who drank hot teas was an aunt in New York.  Seriously, it seemed she thought she was British by adoption.  She called everyone by their first and middle names and drank hot tea served in fancy china teacups every day.  Tea with biscuits (cookies) in fact, and she went to London like every two years or something.  If that was what hot tea was about, I was having no part of it.  I was a bit of a tomboy back then and all that frilly fufu stuff was not for me.

In college I was reintroduced to hot teas by an upperclassman friend who lived off campus and drank tea.  Then it was further reinforced by a different aunt who loved tea as well.  The first herbal tea that I fell in love with was a loose tea - Cardamon Cinnamon Herbal Full-Leaf Tea made by The Republic of Tea.    
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This may have not been the case, but it surely felt like I was the only college student who had infuser spoons and balls in my dorm room:


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Since those days, I've sampled many teas.  I spent some years drinking teas for the flavor of them, but in these last few years or so I've mostly enjoyed teas that have some medicinal value to them, like green teas.

I've also stepped up my tea accessories.  I still do have the infuser spoon, but I never use it.  Now I have two steepers.  The first two are a set (the teapot and the storage canister)  The second (the white crane cup) is a gift from a friend...

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There is so much to be learned about tea, but one thing I do know is that all teas are not created equal.  The same name does not mean the same great taste.  When you find a specific tea you like, remember it.  Seriously, I still have the packaging for about 2 or more years now for this very special tea that I love.  It came from China and the parent of a Chinese student is looking for it in New York this weekend.  Crossing my fingers.

So now you may understand a bit why I'm so excited about the Tea and Yarn Swap.  Don't get me wrong.  I do love a good cup of coffee here or there too, but I have so many more tea choices that it's hard to refuse it.

Until next time,
 

7 Confessions


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So, I think it's time to confess...
  1. Whenever I'm not satisfied with a shampoo or body wash, I put it in my soap dispenser in the bathroom.  It still cleanses, right?
  2. I believe in recycling, upcycling, repurposing, destashing, cleaning, but sometimes it gets counterproductive because it's now hard to throw things away because there's always something you could do with it.  And being a hoarder is NOT one of my career choices.  So I glance around (at home) and chunk that soda can right in the trash.  I don't think anyone saw me.  Am I a hypocrite?
  3. Sometimes I wear the same bottom on Thursday or Friday that I wore to work on Monday.  I mean I have so many black bottoms it's hard to keep it straight and sometimes I just don't care.  If I can't really remember, then nobody else will either, right?
  4. I love washing laundry, but hate putting it away and sometimes on laundry day when the bed has been stripped down, I hate making it back up so I just wrap up in the comforter and call it a night.  What would my mother say about me if she knew? 
  5. I always wanted a big sister, but once you're born, it's just not going to happen, you know?  So my brother got married and now I have a big sister.  I just wish she lived closer.  :-) 
  6. On occasion I have drank juice straight from the carton or eaten ice cream right out of the container.  I just never offer that to anyone else and usually it's when it's almost gone.  I promise. 
  7. Sometimes I cringe when spring comes because it means everybody else's wedding.  Sometimes I have to log off of Facebook, skip blogs, and open my invitations on a later date.  I might even scream (where no one will hear me, or at least I think they can't).  Then, I suck it up, buy a present, put on my game-face and say, "Congratulations!"  Now, pardon me as I get dressed for my cousin's wedding....
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Do you have anything that you'd like to confess?

Until next time,
 

A Corner of My World


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What a difference a week makes. Lots of sun and a whole lot of rain.  Rain is hands-down better than tap water.  Looks like I'll be having to look for another pot soon and make some stakes.


Check out the progress:


Ok, so it was a little over a week.  But did I mention just how much rain was happening this week?  And hail?  Yes, hail!

ATTENTION TEA AND YARN PARTICIPANTS:  All of the emails were sent out last night to notify you of who you are mailing your package to.  I purposefully did not reveal who was sending a package to you.  That way you'll be even more surprised.  Now, I've got some tea shopping to do.  :-)

On another note:  I spent yesterday afternoon in a fabulous office with fabulous people.  The view from the dentist chair was picturesque.  As I waited, I knitted on a dishcloth and watched the lightning, rain, and hail from the huge picture window in front of me.  But seriously the people were super friendly and the endodontist listened carefully as I explained the differences between crocheting and knitting.  Seriously, he asked, so I answered.  And I listened just as intently to him as he informed me that my molar was dead and I needed a root canal.  Seriously, will the fun ever end?

* The link to the hail storm is the one we had on Tuesday recorded by a fellow photographer friend.

Here's to real life,
 

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie, Revisited


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Last month, I ventured out to try a homemade chicken pot pie using pie crusts. It was a first attempt and it was pretty good, despite what the pictures looked like.  In that post, I mentioned trying Bisquick the next time. Well, the next time has come.

After purchasing that rotisserie chicken for Mother's Day, I wanted all of it gone.  So, I saved the remains of the chicken breast to make a chicken pot pie.  My inspiration was this recipe that I found on allrecipes.com.

So here's the deal:


Chicken Pot Pie
Ingredients:
  • leftover rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • frozen peas and carrots, thawed
  • 1 can of condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • seasoned salt
  • ground thyme
  • 1 cup of Bisquick baking mix
  • 1 egg
  • milk (they say 2/3 cup, but I just add until I get pancake batter consistency)
Directions:
In a bowl, combine the thawed vegetables, shredded chicken, cream of mushroom soup, seasoned salt, and thyme.  Mix well, then pour into an ungreased 9.5" deep dish pie plate.  In another bowl, combine the Bisquick, egg, and milk.  Pour mixture over the chicken-vegetable mixture.  Bake at 400 F for 20-25 minutes.

What I will do differently next time:
  • Make sure the Bisquick is poured evenly over the entire dish.  I had read some recipes that said not to do that and some that didn't specify, but now that I've seen what happened, I know I want a full top crust.
  •  Keep experimenting on my chicken mixture flavor.  I think I may make the batter a bit more like I do my chicken casserole.  When I make that dish, I usually mix two different cream soups like cream of chicken AND cream of mushroom or celery.  I also add a little broth and stir in some cheese.  Sounds like this is what I'll try next time, but it's getting better y'all.  Practice makes perfect, right?
 

Enjoy,
 

ATTENTION: Tea and Yarn Participants


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Today is the last day to sign up for the Tea and Yarn Swap if you're interested.

For those who have already signed up, this is a gentle reminder that I need you to email me your mailing address so that I can forward it to the person mailing to you.  Also, if you are willing to ship internationally, I need to know that by today as well.

I'm looking forward to a wonderful swap.  I've already been dreaming up what I would like to package.  I hope you share your surprise package too on your own blogs.  :-)

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Hope to hear from you soon...
 

Cleaning Green


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If you follow me on Pinterest or have kept up with some of my latest posts, you may have noticed that I'm on the prowl for economical and effective ways to clean green.  And if you've been a follower of this blog for a while, you've seen numerous posts on DIY hair and body products.  Really in all things, I'm trying to streamline what I do and what I use.  I love products with multiple purposes.  Less is more, right?

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Well, I've been following this blog for a while and the blog author is also a Shaklee business leader.  I've been curious about the products there, especially the ones for the home, but I never wanted to purchase a membership so that I could try their products with a reduced rate.  Well, guess what?  For the month of April, Shaklee was offering free memberships with a purchase and so this was my time to try out a product...finally!

I purchased the Basic G - Concentrated Germicide and two spray bottles.

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This Basic G product tackles over 40 microbes, including several animal viruses.  It can be used in the kitchen, bathroom, and pet areas (although I have no pets).  It's concentrated so one quart of this product makes 64 gallons!  Also, it's Kosher certified and EPA registered.

I've been using this product and so far....

If you'd like to try any of the Shaklee products, guess what?  They've extended their free membership until the end of May and now is your time to try.  Even if you're just a little bit curious.  They don't offer free memberships but one time a year.

Check out the Shaklee line here.

And if you do decide to try it out, if you will, please email me or leave me a message so I can send you a referral code.  I'd love to refer a friend.  :-)


Disclaimer:  I am not a sponsor or business leader with Shaklee.  I am just a happy customer sharing a product.  :-)

Cleaning Green One Step at a Time,
 

Enthusiasm Pottery Has More to Share


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Almost two years ago I had the pleasure of photographing a pottery show hosted by painter/potter Cynthia B. Harrell of Enthusiasm Pottery.  During that event I was able to learn more about how to properly photograph pottery and better light-bouncing techniques.  So, I was excited to be asked to photograph new pieces in the Enthusiasm Pottery line.

I will admit that this shoot was a challenge.  There were lots of pieces and lots of sun.  I am always striving to create consistency in my photography work, especially for products where differences in color matter.  And, I aim to use the mess out of my photography equipment so that new purchases can be easily justified.  I'm still waiting for the day that I can purchase a studio lighting system where I can control the lights to better photograph pieces such as what you'll see below.

I had lots of fun working with this artist to help capture her work so that she can advertise better in printed communications and online.  So here's a snippet of what was captured on that day:

 
 

Aren't her pieces simply gorgeous?!

 Enjoy,
 

I've Reached a Milestone!


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I'm so excited, that I had to share. If you've been following my blog for a while or know anything about how 4b/4c hair typically grows, then you'll share in my excitement.  My hair is still in the stage where it just grows out, not down.  For growth encouragement for any hair type, we tend to look for small milestones along the way on our hair journey.  You know that feeling when you're trying to grow out bangs or layers?  Yeah, I know you can relate.

Well, I finally reached the stage where I can twist my hair from the front, all the way around my head and end at the front again without loading it with bobby pins.  Now this can only be achieved if my hair is blown out, but it wasn't until Thursday that I realized that it could be done.  So, I wore this style to work on yesterday.  My co-workers kept saying that I looked like I was going on a trip to the Caribbean.  Man, I wish!  I still believe in my heart that I have family there who need to send for me, but I digress.

So here's my look on yesterday.  :-D

 
 


And don't forget if you wish to enter the Tea and Yarn Swap, the deadline is fast approaching.


Have a great weekend everyone!
 

A Corner of My World


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I failed to mention that last Saturday I also planted 6 cherry tomato plants.  I had grande plans of a raised bed garden this year, but since I couldn't work my head around how to adequately protect the produce from the abundance of rabbit and deer in my area, I saved that idea for later and decided to once again do a couple of items in a container garden on my deck.

I'm looking forward to planting a few more items and I know that I'll re-pot these tomato plants, but for now they reside in upcycled buckets from another year's produce.  These tomato plants were purchased from a school fundraiser.  They say "full sun", but I'm going to see if they can stand the heat of the "full sun" that invades my back yard.  :-)

Happy Gardening,
 

Got Curb Appeal? How to Create an Eco-Friendly Flower Bed {Tutorial}


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Recently I mentioned the need for time management.  I realized that I can't do everything, but I can do something.  Sometimes I look at all that needs to be done and it incapacitates me.  Yeah, I'm working on that.  So, in my stepping back moments of life, I decided to take bite-sized pieces of projects that can be done in a designated short period of time.  Being able to finish one project in a short period of time gives me such a sense of accomplishment and actually enables me to tackle the next project.

My Saturday project was to finally do something about my "flower bed."  I do love being amongst the flowers but I must admit my yard leaves something to be desired.  I have only consciously planted two plants in the ten years of owning this space - azaleas (I've been contemplating moving them for years.  I might actually do it this year) and day lilies.  The day lilies were given to me from a coworker two years ago because she was thinning hers out.  They have been accidentally mowed down twice by the guy who cuts my grass and so designating a flower bed area is essential, plus it adds to curb appeal.

So what did I do?
  1. Gathered my supplies (red mulch, flower bed stakes, newspapers, white vinegar, and gardening tools).
  2. Cleaned the flower bed area by removing weeds and grass.
  3. Sprayed white vinegar around the perimeter of the bed.  The white vinegar serves as an environmentally friendly weed killer.  Do not spray the plants or you won't have any.
  4. Line the flower bed with old newspapers.  The newspapers serve as an organic liner.  When it decomposes, it will go right back into the soil.
  5. Cover the area with mulch.
  6. Separate the flower bed from the rest of the yard by using the stakes.  I really wanted wrought iron stakes, but my purse dictated that I purchase plastic wrought-iron-looking stakes from a discount store.
I worked for about 4 hours on this project, but it took most of the day because I had to run back to the store, twice!  Word to the wise:  Use your math skills to make calculations.  It does save time in the long run.

What do I plan to do next?
  1. Add some accent plants along side my steps.  (soon)
  2. Add gravel rocks along my foundation wall.  I actually have a trench dug around my house since it sits on a hill and I don't want the water to run towards my house.  (as soon as I can)
  3. Get my house washed down.  It's amazing what you see when you get close to your house. (whenever it's feasible)
You see how I'm allowing myself time to get this done?  #selfimprovementstrategies

Look what I discovered while working in my flower bed....

 
 
 


Below is my video of this process.  This is part of my secret project.





Happy Spring,