weekend haps

Holy Moly!  Weekend haps… haven’t had much time to post on that, but let’s get started.

Been away from the homefront to bond with the gbaby and help mommy out.  I have loved every minute of it so much.  There’s a lot to be said for small town living.  Perks- no traffic jams (comes in at #1),  grocery store shopping (#2), I don’t seem to hate shopping at these as much as the ones back home…hmm! Air seem cleaner and no rushing!  What a concept!!!

Anyway, BEST PART… definitely spending time with my kids.  I sure do love them!

Here’s some of what else I did… I started my Friday with a lunch date with a beautiful friend I hadn’t seen in several months.  We dined at the local coffee shop.  Then going to John Wayne’s hometown, awesome!  Some local shopping and other sightseeing AND lots of cooking to leave some prepared meals for the kids so the new mommy can just indulge in new babyness!


the haps~

  • lunch date at the Linden Street Coffee Shop
  • John Wayne’s hometown sightseeing
  • lots of cooking for the new little family
  • catching up and watching chick flicks with my lovely daughter
  • bonding time with the g-baby

the pics~

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John Wayne’s homestead

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Madison County Courthouse

Want to help a new mommy out?  Lots of homemade meals to freeze and store so she doesn’t have to worry about cooking and can just focus on the new addition.  Definitely & for sure a great help for a new mommy!
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Crock-pot shredded chicken is fab for lots of meals.  I made two different casserole dishes.   King Ranch  & Chicken Broccoli.  Super easy and freezable!

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And of course lots of this…

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huggin’ n squeeze time~

keytoad1

baked banana bites to go

What to do with your banana fana? Or over ripened bananas???  How about some delicious and healthy mini baked banana bites!

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 Baked Banana Bites

  • 1 3/4 c. flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. apple sauce
  • oil
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t. vanilla bean paste
  • 1 ripe banana (mashed)
  • 2 T. coconut pieces finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 c. coconut milk
  • *chopped nuts (optional)

For Coating:

  • spicy sugar (1/4 c. granulated sugar mixed with 1 t. allspice)
  • 1/4 c. melted butter

Preheat oven to 350, spray your mini muffin tin & set aside.

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In a medium bowl whisk together the flour & other dry ingredients.  In a measuring cup add the 1/4 c. applesauce and when adding oil, have it reach the 1/3 c. mark.  combine this and a large bowl with the sugar, egg and vanilla  Mix well and gradually add in the mashed banana then gently stirring in the milk.  Toss in the coconut pieces and nuts if preferred.

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Add the dry ingredients into this wet mixture, mixing just until well combined but careful to not over mix or stir.  Drop by spoonful into each mini tin cup and bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool for 2 minutes then remove and gently roll in melted butter and then toss around in the spicy sugar mix.

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Serve warm or cold.  Either way, they’re delicious little bites that are great with a tall glass of ice cold milk or to go for those very busy mornings.

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You can also freeze, thaw and reheat or enjoy at room temp.  Easy peasy~

keytoad1

in search of the bridges

“I don’t want to need you, cause I can’t have you”.

A beautiful line from one of my favorite romance/drama flicks…

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I love that movie!

I’ve been visiting my sweet girl, her hubby and my awesome gbaby and while I hated to tear away from the baby, I did just that so that they could have visiting time with their friends that came to meet the baby.  I went on an excursion… in search of the bridges from that beautiful movie.

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Away I went on a beautiful, sunny, Saturday afternoon.  Driving through many a graveled country road and sipping on my iced tea, finally arriving in the sweet little Midwestern town of Winterset.

The following are some of the many beautiful covered bridges located in quaint Madison County.

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The sun was in full form and while it interfered some with my attempt at getting some decent photos, I enjoyed having the sun on my back & shining on my face with it’s steady rays teasing and hinting of spring around the corner.  I didn’t get to see all of the covered bridges as I was running out of time, but nonetheless, I enjoyed a lovely day out.  Spending the remainder of my time in the town square, lunching at the local drugstore/ice cream parlor and doing a little bit of shopping.  Truth be told though, I couldn’t wait to get back to my little man…cause I can have him~

keytoad1

shredding, jumping and get busy



Do you have enough time in your day?  Enough time for work, meal prep, exercise, laundry?  I could go on and on but what’s the point.  We’ve all been there and we ALL wish we had more time in a day to get everything done that’s on our daily lists.  I love when I find something new that can make my life easier.  And that meaning , it saves me time to do something else…perhaps an exercise regimen???  So let me tell you about my recent products that I got to review for two great companies.


Shredding…

I received this cool little spiral slicing tool by Kitchen Supreme to use for shredding.  You can shred veges & fruits to use on fresh, cooked  or for presentation.  Be creative!  It’s amazingly sharp but so easy to use with the twist of the hand. Food prep awesomeness!!!

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I decided it to try it out with fresh zucchini and it sliced it perfectly, quickly and the end result… a fun new way to serve up cooked zucchini!  I put a bit of olive oil in a pan, dropped it in, cooked for a few minutes and added fresh lemon juice & pepper.  It was perfection!

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Jumping…

I love when I get to review cool products!  No exception here when I received this handy jump rope that I am in love with.  As a child, jumping rope ranked right up there with my favorite things to do.  Not cause it was exercise.  I just thought it was fun.  Well, Naturalico has come up with this very lightweight jump rope that has ball bearings that helps in never having the cord tangle.  Remember the jump ropes of old?  Actual rope and a wood or plastic handle?  Well this is quite different!  It spins inside the handles and makes it very easy to rotate with each jump.  Did I tell you that it’s very lightweight?

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Speed Jump Rope

When I tried it out and was impressed with the “never tangling” aspect of it, I took it to a friend who’s a PE teacher (AND she’s tall), cause I wanted to give it a “2 thumbs up” on it’s rating but wanted to make sure it would work for a tall person, (as well as mini me).  Guess what?  YEP!  She loved the ease as well!  It even comes with this awesome little pouch and you can’t beat the price.

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So now I shouldn’t have an excuse to not burn calories right?  I’ve got this handy little gem of an exercise tool that can help me get in shape after serving up some delectable sides using my spiral slicer!  Gotta get busy right?

keytoad1

is it soup yet?

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I love ♥ love soups!  Hot or cold- I love ‘em!  For many years now I’ve had this little cookbook, Is it Soup Yet?, and I keep it pretty close by during the cold months, (which around here is maybe January..lol)!  One of the things I like about this book is looking through the pages because it has great illustrations and great little recipes, but doesn’t looking at soup pictures just give you comfort and a warm feeling?  Or am I weird?

Some of the recipes are really good but I like to be creative with my cooking so I use some as inspiration and then go in the kitchen.

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A must for any good recipe is using fresh ingredients ESPECIALLY HERBS!  It just makes everything taste so much better.  Trimming fresh herbs, the smell and appreciating that they just taste so gosh-darn good is one of the best when you have a readily available herb garden!

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Then the smell of sauteed fresh veges is also fab!  Great ingredients for great dishes!

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The two soups I made recently were creamy cheddar potato corn chowder & creamy wild rice chicken soup.

And YES, they are comforting.

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What will I miss about my MIL not going to Minnesota each summer?  Getting wild rice from up there- you betcha!  Lucky for me though, I have a pretty nice stash in the freezer ;)  Ration, ration, ration as in Oregon Trail!

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readysoup you ready to warm your tummy?  How about some Creamy Cheddar Potato Corn Chowder?


Creamy Cheddar Potato Corn Chowder

  • 3 medium russet potatoes
  • 2 c. frozen corn
  • 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 T. flour (more if you want thicker consistency)
  • salt, pepper, cayenne
  • 1 T. fresh thyme
  • 2 minced cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1/4 c. diced fresh chives
  • hint of fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheddar

Peel and cut potatoes into small cubes, place in large pot and cook in water on high temp.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook til tender. Drain and set aside. In a large stockpot on medium heat, add the broth and mix in the green chiles & corn.  Stir.  In a small covered container, mix the flour and cream along with the seasonings, shake until well blended and pour into stockpot with the broth mixture.  Continue to stir well until smooth and evenly blended.  Cook for about 5 minutes and then add your potatoes.  Continue cooking and simmering for about 20 minutes, adding the fresh herbs in the last 10 minutes of cook time.  To serve sprinkle with cheese and a little extra cayenne.

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keytoad1

get that fire going

…with some homemade firestarters!  At Christmas time I bought my husband and I a new fire pit.  We had thought about making it or getting a chiminea but then while shopping around we found a really nice one that we thought would meet our needs.  It’s perfect for these colder nights when you can just go out into the backyard and relax under the trees with a warm fire going.  That’s if it’s not too frigid or drizzly out.

I started researching firestarters online and then came across a site where they gave you pointers on how to make your own.  They are so easy!  And who doesn’t have candle wax sitting around?
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There are different ingredients you can use but I opted for the ones I readily had on hand already.  Wax, check.waxes

Cardboard egg carton, check.

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Then sawdust, check!  That’s all you really need.

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I lined my surface with newspaper, filled the egg carton spaces with ample amounts of sawdust.

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Melted the wax I had on hand…

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poured over the individual areas and allowed to dry completely.

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Once cooled, I tore each individual cup off and placed them in a storage bag til ready to use.  Now when we are needing to get the fire pit started, we just toss one of these cups in there.  Along with making it easier to get it going, you have a nice smelling fire going as well.  These are super easy to make and so much cheaper than buying actual firestarters!!!

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Reuse, re-purpose, recycle–love it!  Next go around I’m tossing in some fresh lavender and rosemary before the wax is poured.  Now we’re set for those cooler Texas nights~
keytoad1

covering my shades of gray

So life happens.  And I do not like colorless, lifeless hair.  I’ve neglected my hair the last few years in that I haven’t seen a hairstylist for awile.  Mainly due to time and moving around and not wanting to go out in search of a new person that will do what I want.  My hair has gotten super long and I’ve nipped it here and there.  What else have I been doing?  Cutting and coloring it myself—yikes!  Yes, hair coloring at home.

I love shiny, glossy and dark hair but the last few years my gray has been winning.  My son asked me a few years ago, when I would stop coloring my hair- he loves natural!  I told him whatever came first…55 or a grandbaby.  Well, we revisited the convo because I reached 55 and our daughter had told us she was expecting. LOL

But he told me he really didn’t care what I did- whew!  So on with covering my shades of gray.

That is until esalon and I met.  I read all the wonderful reviews before jumping in and trying their product.  Ladies, I’m here to give you a great referral on this stuff.  They customize your color based on your responses and you can even send them a picture of your hair for better customization.  Typically a “do it yourself” coloring lasts about 4 weeks and starts to immediately fade and doesn’t completely cover the gray.  Right?  One box typically doesn’t cover my entire head of hair either.  AND, the price is right–actually pretty reasonable!

I waited to respond to their inquiries because I wanted to see what my hair would look like after the 4th wash.
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Still shiny, great coverage and it blended into my entire head of hair!  Shocker!!!

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Sorry for the dumb selfies but I wanted to show you some different angles of the coverage.

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I have very thick hair.  This product has covered even the most stubborn grays and has lasted.  Like I said, the price is VERY reasonable and for these results, I will definitely keep using this coloring system.

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Yes, some day I will go natural, but until I am ready to face that big challenge…I’ve found a great new product with great coverage for every shade of gray I have earned.  AND, don’t look so closely at my split ends~

keytoad1