Friday, May 31, 2013

Farmers Market Friday!

Remember this?

New Weekly Link Up - Farmers Market Fridays! too...

April’s Country Life

Life has been reminding me to slow down and stop over-committing lately...  I did not have the time to give this the proper attention and then the kids and I got sick over the last week...a couple times...and I did not get out all the posts I had planned to share with you, including the second installment and spreading the word like I should have.  So I've weeded out a few things and making another run at this and I hope you'll all join in and link up information on your local farmers markets or your favorite recipes made with goodies commonly found at farmers markets (CSA's are welcome to link up too!)!  

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Gro Project - Edible Deck Planters

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Miracle-Gro for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

My daughter was born loving the garden.  This little girl could not keep her nose out of a flower - often she ran around with a yellow smudge on her nose from the pollen.  Her curiousity about all things gardening grew as she got older and I wanted to encourage that.  However, there is always that thing about little kids putting everything they are curious about into their mouth...  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Guest Blogger: Chocolate Chip Graham Cracker Cookies

graham cracker
Well, I'm a day late getting this up - better late than never right?  Life just seems to get in the way and remind us we need to slow down a little sometimes - it was that kind of weekend around my house(es)!
I'm so pleased to introduce you all to Traci from Burnt Apple! We were paired up as part of a group of 30 awesome bloggers for an Old-Fashioned Recipe Swap hosted by  Julie {White Lights on Wednesday}, Kelley {Miss Information} and Rachel {i love my disorganized life}.  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Curious About My Pinterest Pallet Garden?

Have you been wondering about the Pinterest Pallet Garden almost a year after this?

Well I am happy to report that it is still in fine shape and even improving.  Before winter hit I moved my strawberries and a chunk of chives that had been in the previous veggie garden (now horse pasture) to the pallet garden.  I think being somewhat insulated against the side of the barn and with a good pile of leaves over them, they fared winter very well.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

One Step at a Time

Some days its hard to find something positive.  
Its much easier to focus on what didn't go right, 
what mistakes you made, 
the wrongs that were done to you, 
the unfairness of it all.
Those are the days to find some small positive 
and thank God for that one small positive.  
It might be the roof over your head, 
the shoes on your feet,  
the food on your plate, 
a small favor from a friend,

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Guest is Coming! Wanna Sneak Peek?

Recipe Swap Blog Button
We are expecting a guest!
Aren't you curious to know who it is?!  

I am not, as you may know, the most patient person when it comes to surprises but 
I must admit that I do find it fun to be introduced to new friends.

So I signed us up, you and I, for a Good Old Fashioned Recipe Blog Swap

Friday, May 17, 2013

New Weekly Link Up - Farmers Market Fridays!

If you have been following for a while you know how much I love to visit farmers markets in the summer and score great deals and the freshest goodies while supporting local farmers and their families.  It can be hard to find out when and where local farmers markets are and which ones have special types of vendors.  

Here are a few of the farmers markets in my area of Michigan:

Grand Ledge Farmers Market
Bridge St. (by the MayPole)
Saturdays 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Eaton Rapids Farmers Market
1500 S. Main
Fridays 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Charlotte DDA Farmers Market
100 block of Harris (at the Old Courthouse)
Saturdays 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Meridian Farmers Market
Central Park Pavilion, 5151 Marsh Rd., Okemos
Saturdays 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Every Friday through the end of the season I'll post the link up for you to come share local farmers markets in your area, farmers market inspired recipes and other posts.  I just ask that they tie-back somehow to the farmers markets and that if you like what you find here you consider following April's Country Life.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Colors for the New House

One of the fun parts of getting a new house is a whole new blank canvas to chose the colors I want - since every single surface in the house needs to be painted...  In our old house I kinda got stuck after the first baby and never got back to painting or redecorating other rooms.  In this house I want colors I won't grow tired of right away and have to redo often once we have furniture in it but I don't want just all bland neutrals - its time for a little punch here and there.  I also wanted colors my husband would be happy with (of course, they always say they don't care until they see it on the wall, right?).  We both love the shades of nature - blues, mossy greens, grays, wood tones and most of our current furniture blends well with those tones.  The house has a lot of open sight lines between rooms on the first floor so its important that the colors work well together from room to room.

We have used Lowe's primarily (gotta love the MyLowe's tracking system!) and I fell in love with the natural and historical colors offered by Valspar.  Here is what I have so far:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Deep Fried Venison Chips

I know its been a while since I've shared a recipe post so here is one I promise you will love!  This is a venison recipe, although I suppose you could do the same thing with beef or pork if you prefer.  

Heat your deep fryer with canola oil (or a deep pot with about 1 1/2 inches of oil) to about 320 degrees.

Put about a cup of flour, a teaspoon of course salt, a 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and a teaspoon of your favorite wild game seasoning in a pie plate and mixing well.

You want your meat to still be mostly frozen.  I used a small package of tenderloin I had lingering and a package of venison steaks that were still frozen together in a lump and both cuts turned out the same once cooked.  Slice your meat as thinly as possible.  By leaving your meat partially frozen you will be able to slice it very thinly.  

Dredge your meat in your flour mixture and deep fry for about 2 minutes.  Scoop out and drain on paper towel.  

Serve it like I did with your family's favorite dipping sauces and a big salad.  This would also be a great appetizer/snack for a football game crowd or a card party.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Drama, Work Day Party, Keurig Vue V500 Review and 25% off Keurig

I have been so thrilled to win several House Party packages to host wonderful parties for my friends and family.  Unfortunately, sometimes its tricky to get everyone to show up for these parties.  I had tried to win a Keurig party pack a while ago and didn't make the cut so when it came back up a second time, even though we are in the middle of basically a full renovation on the new house, I thought what a great way to reward the friend, family and workers who come help us with the house.  I was super excited to win the chance to host the party this time and went about setting up a great "refreshment bar" for the workers.

Monday, May 13, 2013

This is Why I Love My Mom

Because she is a "real" mom
A buy you a pillow to fend off the naysayers while you tackle two houses mom
A digging in the dirt mom
A send the kids with me so you can get stuff done - or take a nap mom
A you don't have to be perfect, you just have to always give your best mom
A hold my hand for hours of labor without a complaint 
while I crush the bones in her hand mom
A hard-working been-there, done-that mom
A mom who knows when you've been in to her expensive makeup 
(that you are not old enough to wear to school yet) 
and borrowed her clothes
But who figures if that's the worst you are up to at 14 - 
its not worth the fight most days
A come help deep-clean the house mom
A the door is always open mom
A mom who keeps the grandkids dirty clothes to wash 
when they throw up at her house 
but not going to call you that night 
because she knows you'll cut your much-needed date-night short
A I'm so proud of you! mom
An I'd hate to say I told you so - 
but I did tell you so mom
A work a second job nights to pay for you to have a horse mom
A pick you up from the principal's office 
after you beat up that girl who had been trashing you at high school 
but secretly proud that you stood up for yourself mom
A lets go on a road trip mom who likes to go where the road leads and get lost in the magic of discovering a new favorite place
A get down in the mess of toys on the floor with the kids mom
An ice cream and Sprite when you are sick mom
A never run out of ideas mom
A stay up all night to finish a special dress mom - 
who never failed to pull off one-of-a-kind perfection
A why settle for store-bought when we can do it better ourselves mom
An everything has beauty mom
A stroke your hair and hold it out of your face while you hurl mom
A no-nonsense "that is not appropriate" mom
A knock off the drama mom
An if you want it you have to earn it mom
A mom who cringes when she hears our plans 
but never stood in the way of us pursuing them
A bragging mom
A tractor driving, snowmobile riding, muscle car loving mom
A not afraid to admit she's clumsy mom
A mom who handles some of life's biggest challenges with complete grace
A compassionate, visit everyone in the hospital to check on them, 
even your high school girlfriend you haven't seen in years mom
A mom who appreciates diversity and variety in everything
A mom who keeps her family close while letting them spread their wings
And so much more...

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day!

Friday, May 10, 2013

See How Things are Changing Inside the New House

Sometimes its hard to see the progress you are making when you are in the middle of a big project like this house we have taken on.  You just get sucked into the work and the never-ending to-do lists and you forget where you started.  We signed the papers on this place on April 16th.  In just 3 short weeks - which included a 3-day work convention out of town and 3 days of my hubby being out of town too - not to mention hockey for the kids 2 nights a week and both of us working full-time jobs - here are some before-and-after shots of how much things have changed inside so far...

Fireplace Room

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Things I Did Today That Nobody Will Notice

We all make assumptions on what we think people do or do not do in the course of a day.  It might have been the first time you are off your feet the entire day when your husband walks in and it looks like you are just laying around.  It might be the first time you've stepped away from your desk all day to take a bathroom break and that is when the phone will ring or someone will be looking for you...

It is easy to be critical of others and what we assume they have done.  We hear it all the time - stay-at-home moms should be able to keep the house spotless or it means what they have done all day isn't good enough and working moms must surely be neglecting their duties at home.  Its harder to identify how many little things we all do that may not be the big recognizable stuff that we get credit for but keeps the world going 'round for our families, bosses, and co-workers.

Few words can set me off like words that discredit whatever I did for the day - at work or at home.  With the insane pace between both right now I have been questioned recently on both fronts as if what I did was insignificant because it wasn't what others thought I should be doing.  One night I made a list of all the things I did that weren't on anyone's radar but kept me running all day and interrupted progress I would have loved to have made on the bigger "more visible" projects.  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Make Your Backyard a Star with Sweepstakes and Staining Guide

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Flood® Wood Care for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Flood The Wood Care Specialist Since 1841

Well the front porch is done but the back deck and playtower are another story!  They are desperate need of a makeover but are in good shape structurally so we'll just be tackling them with stain at some point this summer.  I've been looking at various stain options and one I came across is Flood® Wood Care and their helpful Staining Made Simple Guide.

I estimated that this large deck, railing, and the multiple steps leading to the backyard would wind up being about 1,000 square feet that we need to stain.  The Staining Guide walked me through selecting the right stain for the type of wood the deck is made of and the type of finished look I want.  Then it provided a recommendation on a cleaner, estimated amounts to purchase (including a printable shopping list!) and application instructions.  It even told me what the perfect weather for the project was and looked up which stores near me carry Flood stains.  How much easier does it get?!

In fact, it was so easy now that I look around I am seeing future projects like this retaining wall and those battered folding tables from the first picture that will need to be tackled...


Give the Staining Made Simple Guide a try yourself!


Then go enter the Flood Better Backyard Sweepstakes to win a $1,500 gift card and make your backyard the star of summer!  You can also instantly win a $10 gift card - is giving away 12 every day.  The sweepstakes ends May 17 so go right now!


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Small Victories

This past week I have tried to celebrate the small accomplishments because the list seems so long.  While the new house is chaos on the inside, I have tackled a few areas in the front that I thought would have big impact with a small amount of work and money.  
We have been so excited about the new cement on the front porch that started out like this...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Because I am having one of those days...

...or weeks...
and posts these amazingly comforting and inspiring 
"I know how you feel" 
posts on just the days I need to hear them most...
Thank you, Rachel.
I am going to let myself off the hook
for all the "I didn't get to it"s,
and "it's not perfect"s,
and even the overgrown lawn.
And enjoy being "hockey mom" tonight.