Friday, June 28, 2013

Mossy Heart

1.  When we took our canoe trip a couple of weekends ago, and docked briefly at a little island, I discovered a perfect little mossy heart on the trail. 
2.  When I was 7 (1982) I used my allowance to buy a gypsy fortune teller doll.  She had a tiny magic 8 ball.  You couldn't see her too well in the box, so when we got her home and opened the box to discover a very much unclothed and anatomically correct well-endowed upper half, my mom and I were shocked.  And we had to laugh.  And then my mom designed a shirt for her so she could be covered up and decent.  Why they would have designed a shirtless toy like that is beyond me - wonder how many of them sold? 

3.  If we have some free time, I take the boys to the library.  They are signed up for the reading program, and have to read 600 minutes this summer to get the prizes.  So we check out a lot of books.  I love the library - they have comfy couches I can sit on and free fast wifi, and the boys are happy to play with their puzzles and train table. 

4.  Never assume someone is a bad parent when a child is acting out.  Recently we put Cort on a new preventative for his asthma (he continues to struggle with this), and the steroids in it made him mean.  And I do mean MEAN.  It finally got to the point where we were in a parking lot trying to run an errand and he was screaming at me at the top of his lungs and hitting the sidewalk with his fists and I thought, "This is NOT my child".  That was my breaking point.  I took him off the medication, and explained to his doctor why.  He'll be going for a breathing test later this summer. 

5.  I like it really cold at night when I sleep.  In the winter I don't even turn on the heat in our bedroom. 

This post linked with Nancy for Random Friday at A Rural Journal and Clytie at Random Hearts. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Gone Canoeing

For Father's Day we decided to take the boys canoeing.  This is the first time we'd ever been as a family.  We got off to a slow start when Paul discovered one of the tires on the trailer was stripped.  We had to make a detour to buy a new trailer tire along the way.

An hour later, we finally launched the canoe.  My aunt and uncle gave us this canoe years ago, and we've been so eager to use it - but waiting until we felt certain that the boys would be able to sit quietly on our adventure.

Still, I was nervous enough about capsizing that I decided to leave behind my good camera.  Instead, I dusted off my old point and shoot for the ride.

The boys did really well though.  I think the fact that the boat rocked when they shifted weight helped.  It provided a little scare factor - just enough to keep them in their seats.

About halfway into our adventure we discovered a marvelous tiny island (we were paddling in a local lake and nature preserve called Carvins Cove). 

On the tiny island is one of the most perfect picnic spots I've ever seen.  Next time we are definitely bringing along lunch! 

Paddling on the water is so relaxing.  And Carvins Cove doesn't allow noisy boats like jet skis and motorboats, so it really is a serene setting.

Lots of smiles, all around.  I'd call our first canoe trip a success!  Hopefully there will be many more to follow.

Helpful Tip of the Day:  If your three year old says, "Mom, now can I do exercise in the water?" while you're in the middle of packing up the boat, don't distractedly tell him "Yes".  Unless you want a soaking wet 3 year old to bring home. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Oh Those Socks!

Have you ever......loved a pair of socks so much......that you pulled them up high for all the world to see?

Have you ever...loved a pair of socks so much that you wore them....even when they didn't match a single item of clothes you were wearing?

Have you ever.....loved those socks so dearly that you hid them from your Mom when they were dirty so you could keep wearing them and they wouldn't be delayed in the wash?

Have you ever....loved your socks to such an extent, that if you discovered with horror that they had made it into the wash one day, you sat down and sobbed over having to wear a different pair?

Me neither.

But I know someone who has.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Kindergarten Moving On Ceremony

On June 6th, Pierce had his Kindergarten moving on ceremony.  It was so cute.  They sang a wonderful collection of nursery rhymes set to catchy modern day music.  Pierce was the clock from Hickory Dickory Dock. 

After the program, they gave out candy awards.  Each child received an award.  Awards included Symphony Bars for the most musical, Mr. GoodBars for the best citizen, Mounds bars for the kid who showed mounds of improvement, and Babe Ruth bars for most athletic.  Twenty awards for each class, and each kid received one that was unique to their personality.  Pierce's?  He got the Smarties award, for the kid who was "always having the smartest ideas and thinking outside the box"
Shucks if I wasn't so proud of him!  He worked hard this year, and he did such a great job with his reading and writing.  I plan to continue to work with him this summer on his reading and his handwriting (which is kind of scribbly still).    We have so much going on that it isn't always easy to squeeze in some schoolwork, but I plan to try for a few minutes each day.

Readers, do you have any summer goals?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pralines and Cream Scones Recipe with International Delight #spon

I have blogged before about how much my boys enjoy scones. They eat them for breakfast, but also enjoy having them as a snack. I'm always trying to create new versions of scones for them, so they won't get bored. In trying to come up with a new scone, I realized that International Delight's Caramel Macchiato creamer has such a decadent flavor it would be an amazing addition to a scone recipe. I decided to try combining the International Delight Caramel Macchiato (Sugar Free) creamer with chopped pecans to create a pralines and cream style scone. It's a bit sweeter and moister than your average scone, and the boys and I loved them.

2 1/2 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick butter
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup International Delight Caramel Macchiato creamer (I used Sugar Free)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Cut in butter using a pastry blender (or knife and fork) until mixture is crumbly and resembles cornmeal. Combine egg, International Delight creamer, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture, adding just enough to moisten the mixture (you may have some leftover). Stir in pecans. Place on floured cutting board (if mixture has become to wet to work, add more flour) and pat into a round disk about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 10-12 wedges. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 400* for 15 minutes or until light brown. Serve warm with butter and jam if desired.

Readers, instead of commenting on this post, I'd love for you to go check out What's Your ID? International Delight is looking for their most passionate flavor fans. Put your ID on the map to enter to win a Magical Trip, play games and discover more unexpected delight. Share your ID flavor at

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Delight. The opinions and text are all mine.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Why Do You Have to Bolt?

1.  Dear Lettuce,
     Why must you bolt?  I love you so dearly.  You can't beat a quick dash to the garden for a fresh, organic, almost-free side dish to dinner.  That goes with any meal.  Lettuce, you could take a note from kale, who seems committed to hanging around a bit longer.

2.  Maternity clothes spoiled me.  Ever since my pregnancy, I can't stand to wear restraining clothes like jeans, which I used to live in prior to pregnancy.  Now, even years later, I'm all yoga pants, yoga pants, and more black yoga pants!

3.  Do you all follow Chatty Crone?  Well the other day I was completely overwhelmed.  Paul was out of town for a week, and on the home front I was dealing with some scary asthma (Cort) and a stomach bug (Reid).  I glanced outside in the pouring rain, and there was a package sitting by the horse arena.  I walked down and discovered a box from Sandie.  She'd had a yard sale recently for her grandson, and was kind enough to send us a huge box of his toys.  What a welcome distraction!  From the boys and I, thank you!!! 

4.  My hair is naturally curly and I straighten it with a blow dryer everyday.  It isn't cute curly.  It's bad 80s perm that has partially fallen out curly.  And don't get me started on the frizz this time of year.  Virginia humidity in the summer is not kind. 

5.  The other day we were at the library and a little girl asked Cort and Reid why they were wearing the same shirts.  They looked at each other and looked down at their shirts and then got these confused looks on their faces.  I don't always dress them the same, but I guess when I do they don't really notice, or think about that it might be because they are twins. 

This post linked with Random Friday at A Rural Journal.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lone Ranger DVDs (set of three) GIVEAWAY

I received 3 Lone Ranger dvds for review purposes.  The opinions written below are my own.

When I think of the Lone Ranger, I think of my Mom.  She has frequently talked about how much she loved watching the show when she was a kid, after she got home from school.  I thought a set of Lone Ranger dvds would make a wonderful father's day gift for Paul this year.  He often gets a hankering to watch westerns, and we didn't have any Lone Ranger. 

Sure enough, on Sunday morning when I headed out early to do my long run, Paul snuggled up on the couch with the boys to watch The Lone Ranger.  The boys loved it!  They said they liked that the Lone Ranger pretended to be a bad guy in one episode, but was really a good guy. And of course they loved his mask.  Plus, you can't beat that the Lone Ranger is a classic symbol for truth and justice. 

The Lone Ranger:  Hi Ho Silver Away, The Lone Ranger Kemo Sabe, and The Lone Ranger Who Was that Masked Man are now available on dvd.  These 3 dvds are up for grabs in my giveaway to one lucky winner!  Just click on the Rafflecopter below.

Also, for the truest of Lone Ranger fans, there is a special collector's edition that includes all 5 seasons (221 episodes on 30 dvds) plus an episode guide and more.  The collector's edition retails for $199.99. 

Readers, are there any classic television shows that you love to watch? 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer is for Root Beer Floats #MyPlatinum #sponsored

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Cascade.  I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

This is my final post in my series on Cascade Platinum.  I have continued to enjoy testing out the product in my dishwasher.  This past week, I put in a casserole dish that had contained homemade baked macaroni and cheese, and was pleasantly surprised when it came out clean and sparkling.  My dishwasher is so clean after running a load of dishes, thanks to the special triple action recipe in each Platinum Pac. 

This week, Cascade has a "My Platinum Clink" contest - just upload an image of your favorite drinks served in shining glasses to Instagram to enter.  You could win a new dishwasher or even a Platinum kitchen makeover! 

My glasses have looked incredibly clean and shiny since I started using Cascade Platinum, so I had fun making a few special drinks.  First, I treated the twins to a root beer float.  They had never had one before, and were delighted.  It was the perfect summer treat.

And then then I made a adult version special drink treat - mimosas.  I don't drink often, but I do love a mimosa on a special occasion.  I have to admit - my wineglasses have never looked better! 
I will continue to use Cascade Platinum in my dishwasher, as it truly has performed up to expectations.  Readers, I hope you'll give it a try in your own dishwasher, if you have one!  Do you have a favorite drink for special occasions?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Field Trip Day

Pierce's class recently had their year-end field trip.  We went to see Stuart Little at the theatre, and then spent the rest of the day at the Mill Mountain Zoo.

This bird made me laugh.  He squinted his eyes like he thought he would blend in or something.  No blending in to be had for Mr. Fluorescent. 

It was a beautiful day for walking around the zoo.  I was bummed that the Pallas Cat, my favorite animal, wasn't out.  I hope he is okay.

Also notably absent was the prairie dog exhibit.  Not sure what happened there.  But at least Pierce's favorite animal, the snow leopard, was still around.  Sorry I don't have any pictures of him.  I don't like taking their picture when they're behind bars.  I feel kind of bad for them.  Even though they are healthy and well-tended.  It's just not quite natural, is it?

Pierce got to pet a ferret, and for the first time, held back from petting a snake.  He said he didn't want to get any bacteria.  That's a new one! 
What about you, readers?  What's your favorite zoo animal?

Monday, June 17, 2013

My Horse Has Lyme Disease (Part 2)

Thank you, thank you, thank you readers, for your support and your research and your advice after I blogged last week about how my horse has lyme disease.  Many of you have emailed and asked for an update, so I thought I would share what we are doing now.

The preferred treatment for lyme disease in horses is doxycycline, but due to recent HUGE hikes in prices, it was not an affordable option for us.  I looked into ordering the medicine from another country, but there were a lot of obstacles and I finally realized it wasn't very feasible.  So I started doing a little more research on lyme disease. 

Ironically, my husband and I had just watched this documentary on lyme disease called Under the Skin, the night before Phoenix's lyme disease test came back positive.  One thing that struck me in the film was that people may look like they are doing just fine, but might be in a lot of pain.  I worried that Phoenix was in a lot of pain and I didn't know it - his only symptom being mild lameness at the trot.  My vet tried to reassure me, saying that Phoenix would let me know if he was in pain, but I wasn't so sure.

I discovered when doing my research that amoxicillin is the second drug of choice for treating lyme disease.  It's what they gave Pierce last summer when he developed a bulls eye rash on his leg.  And I met someone who is allergic to doxycycline that has lyme disease, and she said they treated her with amoxicillin.  I called my vet again (I hope he's not getting sick of me!) and he agreed to do his own research to see if it made sense to treat Phoenix this way.  In the end, we decided to give it a try.

Sneaking 16 amoxicillin pills into a horse twice a day isn't easy.  First I tried mixing the capsules with applesauce.  No way.  Then I tried adding maple syrup and alfalfa pellets.  Phoenix gave me a look of disdain, and then kicked over the feed tub!  Then he turned his butt to me!  Hmmm.  I got that message loud and clear.

I then went to the feed store and purchased some extra yummy sweet feed for him - full of grains and molasses.  That worked for two feedings and then he was over it. 

I guess I'm going to have to stop playing nice.  I bought a large syringe (no needle), and am going to try making a paste of the pills mixed with water and molasses, and shoot it into the side of his mouth in the same manner you would deworm a horse.  I hope this method will work.  Obviously, the antibiotic treatment won't work if I can't get the medicine in him.  I guess you can lead a horse to grain with sneaky meds in it, but you can't make him eat it.

Thanks again, readers, for all of your support.  The whole situation has been so distressing, but your kind words and emails have meant the world to me!  Thank you.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Flown the Nest

1.  I spent several days spying on our baby birds out the window.  I got to see them stand on the edge, flapping their wings.  Then, suddenly one day, they were gone.  I'll miss them.
2.  The other day Reid and I were at Target, and I absentmindedly called him Cort.  He looked at me in horror, and said, "Mom?  Did you just call me CORT?!?"  Whoops, bad Mom!

3.  We lost power from the storm yesterday afternoon.  It's still off.  I hope it's not for 8 days this time.  We always lose power right after I've done a big grocery store trip.

4.  The twins are finally old enough this year to do a short morning camp, and the one they picked is Dinosaur Camp.  It's next week.  I think they'll have fun. 

5.  A very Happy Father's Day this weekend to all the dads out there, including my own!  :-)  Here's a classic memory of my Dad.  Back in the 80s, when I was in 5th grade or so, we were driving down Electric Rd. when the song Electric Avenue came on the radio.  I remember my Dad making a big deal about it coming on while we were driving down Electric Rd., and bobbing his head and singing at the top of his lungs.  To this day, I can't hear that song without getting a little excited. 

This post linked with A Rural Journal for Random Friday. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bumbleberry Pie Sundaes #MyPlatinum #sponsored

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Cascade.  I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

I am continuing to enjoy using Cascade Platinum in my dishwasher.  The dishes have never been so clean.  This week, my focus was on food presentation.  I'm sure you've noticed I love to try new recipes and take pictures of food to share with you.  I had to laugh when we went to a Mexican restaurant a few weeks ago and Pierce pretended to take a picture of his food.  Like mother like son?  I love how sparkling my dishes are now with Cascade - I don't have to angle them in the picture to try to hide a streak from view - they look shiny from every side.  And I couldn't believe the other day when I put two new glasses with sticker residue in the dishwasher with Cascade Platinum.  When I took them out, the residue was completely gone! 

This weekend I had a friend coming into town, so I made Gail Simmons' Bumbleberry Pie Sundae recipe.  Berries are in season right now in Virginia, and I was eager to take advantage. 

3 cups plus 3/4 cup mixed berries, well washed and divided (any combination of strawberries hulled and quartered, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries halved)
4 tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 pinch coarse salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 pint vanilla ice cream
1 pint raspberry sorbet (I substituted raspberry sherbet because it was a little more economical)
6 graham crackers, crushed
2 tbsp. fresh lemon zest

1.  In a medium saucepan heat three cups of mixed berries, 2 tbsp. sugar and lemon juice over medium heat, until the blueberries begin to burst and the other berries break down, about 10 minutes.  Remove off heat and stir in pinch of salt.
2.  Place half the berry mixture in a blender and puree until smooth.  Return the sauce to the saucepan and stir well to combine with remaining fruit.  Allow to cool slightly.
3.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl crush 3/4 cup mixed berries with remaining 2 tbsp. sugar using a fork, until slightly chunky and loose.  In a large bowl or stand mixer, using a balloon whisk or hand held mixer, beat the cream at medium speed until soft peaks form.  Gently fold crushed berries into whipping cream.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.
4.  To serve: spoon 2 tbsp. of sauce into 6 parfait or rocks glasses.  Top w/ a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a sprinkling of crushed graham crackers, and a pinch of lemon zest.  Then add a scoop of the raspberry sorbet and another 2 tbsp. of sauce.  Top with a dollop of whipped cream and finish with a sprinkling of the graham crackers and another pinch of zest.  Serve immediately.

We all loved this dessert.  The berries have a divine flavor that practically jumps off the spoon.  And speaking of spoons, did you notice how sparkling my silverware is in these pictures? 

Don't forget that you can submit images to the Cascade My Platinum Instagram contest to win wonderful prizes.  And stay tuned for next week - I'll be blogging about favorite drinks!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My Horse Has Lyme Disease

My dear horse Phoenix has been lame for some years.  Initially, I took him for x-rays, but they were inconclusive.  I tried a couple of arthritis drugs, but they didn't seem to help.  When my vet came by a few weeks ago to do rabies shots, I was having my annual talk with him about Phoenix's lameness.  He is only lame at the trot, a mild lameness, the sort of thing you can't put your finger on, but that doesn't improve with loosening up.  My vet, who has treated him for his annual shots and once mild allergies over past ten years, said, "Well, it's a long shot, but do you want to test him for lyme disease?".  Both of us were SHOCKED when it came back positive.

The thing is - Phoenix has likely had this for years.  So his lyme disease would be chronic, and he will need a longer term on antibiotics.  A minimum of 620 pills of doxycycline.  Had this happened a few months ago, it wouldn't be such a big deal.  Unfortunately, doxycycline recently took a HUGE hike in pricing.  So huge, in fact, that one local pharmacy gave me an estimate of $3500.  Sadly, we cannot afford that.  My vet, who is wonderful, has said he's willing to send the prescription anywhere.  So I'm exploring options, including ordering the medicine from Australia.  Many thanks to the bloggers who helped me connect with some Australian bloggers to answer questions for me about the website I am considering!

This horse and I have been through so much together.  Eighteen years ago, when I was in college, I rescued him from an abusive situation.  They told me that he was unrideable.  That he bucked off anyone who dared to climb on his back.  It took him a long time to learn to trust.  In the beginning, I could barely catch him.  When I placed my hand up to him, his whole body would tremble in fear. 

He tentatively gave me his heart, though, and we rode in parades and did some schooling shows.  He was the sort of horse, who even at the tender age of 4, would try so hard when I asked him to do crazy things like walk across a bright blue tarp or jump over a river.
In the landscape of my heart, Phoenix owns a large and rambling acreage.  I promised him years ago that I would always take care of him, and that he could trust me.  I have stayed true to my promise all these years, and I don't plan to stop now.  I just need to figure out a loophole in this doxycycline business.  Hopefully, since he isn't lame or stiff at the walk, he isn't in excruciating pain and doesn't mind the delay as I search for the best treatment.  Sadly, I can't know that for sure.  But every day I walk down to the pasture and brush him, and tell him I'm doing everything I can to find him treatment. 

Update:  I got an email this morning that they cannot accept prescriptions from outside of Australia in their pharmacies.  So I guess it's back to the drawing board.  Readers, if you have any ideas or suggestions, I would love to hear them! 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pierce Gets a Kiwi Crate

Disclaimer:  I received one Kiwi Crate in the mail for review purposes.  The opinions below are my own.

Kiwi Crate Gifts is a monthly service for kids age 3-7 to receive a package in the mail full of stimulating themed crafts and information.  I had heard a lot about Kiwi Crate, and when they contacted me to see if I'd like to do a review, I was excited to have the opportunity.

The theme of the box we received centered around birds.  The box came with all the craft supplies needed to create an individualized bird mask and a pair of bird wings.  In addition, it had informational coloring books that told about different types of birds and had ideas for games and supplemental learning activities.  And as an extra bonus, the box even included a pair of children's Fiskars scissors (we are always losing our kiddie scissors, so I was thrilled to have an extra pair).

Pierce set to work creating his mask and wings.  One of the fun parts of the mask was that it had interchangeable beaks - a woodpecker beak, a kiwi beak, and a duck beak.  Pierce decided to be a woodpecker first.  Once his costume was completed, he flew around the yard and pecked at the wood on his playset.

Next the 'woodpecker' created a nest of eggs.  Pierce was able to do his crafts with minimal help from me - I only assisted with a couple of tricky glue dots and the tying of knots in the wings and mask. 
One thing Pierce loved about his finished bird nest was that the eggs crack open to hide treasures inside.  Talk about some fun imaginative play! 

Kiwi Crate is one of the best kid-friendly products I have ever reviewed.  It is unique, educational, and so much fun.  If you have a grandchild or niece or nephew you'd love to send something special in the mail, this would make such a marvelous gift.  A month runs $19.95 plus shipping, getting less expensive if you purchase several months at a time.  You can also find them on Facebook

Readers, what was one of the favorite crafts or projects you remember making as a kid?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Strawberry Picking

Strawberries came in late this year.  The extended cold temperatures this spring left us picking berries several weeks later than normal.  Nevertheless, when we arrived at the patch the berries looked ripe and ready for picking.

Of course before any berries could go in the bucket, there was some sampling to be done.

The berries met with the approval of all three boys.

Finally they got down to work.  They were competitive this year.  Each one wanted to be the one to pick the most berries.

Hard at work.

Hard at work?  Or just stuffing the face?

That night, I made lemon pound cake, and we all stuffed ourselves silly after dinner. 
Strawberry season is always one of the best delights of Spring.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Car Racks Make Good Bird Perches

1.  I haven't actually put my car rack to use yet, but the birds have!  We have a nest on our side porch by the door, and the car rack makes the perfect spy location for hovering parents to watch us go in and out of the house, making sure we don't mess with their babies.  Happily, our cat Willie doesn't seem to know the nest is up there.
2.  Reid has a habit of tearing up matchbox cars.  A few weeks ago I asked him who kept tearing the wheels off the matchbox cars.  He looked at me with wide blue eyes and said, "Cat Cat did".  Cat Cat is my Mom.  A few weeks later, he brought me another broken matchbox car and asked me to fix it.  I said, "Reid, who broke the wheels off this car?"  He said, "Miller did."  Miller is our foster kitten.  Reid may need to do a little work on his accountability...

3.  I just finished reading an interesting novel called Sight Hound, by Pam Houston, and fell in love with a short passage written from the dog, Dante.  I thought I'd share:
Aren't the humans perfectly marvelous creatures?  Doesn't it make you double over with laughter the way they remain committed to the idea that they're the only species that feels deeply, because--what--they have words to talk about their feelings?  Has it not ever occurred to them that perhaps the reason they need so many words, the reason their words constantly fail them, is that they are so much poorer at interpreting their emotions than we are, that interpretation, per se, is a step that in the dog world we just skip?

4.  Speaking of dogs, I think that there are dog people in the world and there are cat people.  Sure, you can love both, but it seems like all of us have a preference.  As much as I love our dog, Scooter, I am definitely a cat person.  Paul is more of a dog person, although he likes cats. 

5.  At Pierce's school, they are having a drive to collect money for the tornado victims.  All the teachers have big jars with their pictures on them, and kids can put money in the jar of the teacher they MOST want to see hit in the face with a pie.  Unbeknownst to me, Pierce cleaned out his Darth Vader bank and took the change to school.  He deposited it all in his gym teacher's jar.  He adores his gym teacher.  He came home and told me about it, and all I could do was smile at a kid who's willing to donate his pocket change to a good cause and a pie in the face.  I decided to contribute, and the next day he took my change and put it in the principal's jar.  I can't wait to see who the winner is! 

Readers, are you a cat person or a dog person? 

This post linked with Random Friday at A Rural Journal. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Putting Cascade #MyPlatinum to the Test #sponsored

 I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Cascade. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Last week I blogged about how I was selected as an Ambassador for Cascade Platinum, and this past week I received the product in the mail to try.  One thing Cascade Platinum does that other dishwashing products do not is prevent the build-up of hard-water film on dishwasher walls, thanks to a specially designed chelant and polymer system.  It also is strong enough to wash away food that has been stuck on for over 24 hours.

I filled up my dishwasher with icky dishes (not difficult, since I cook all of our meals), some of which were covered in barbecue sauce that had been sitting for over 24 hours.  I didn't pre-rinse anything.  I even included a bowl Pierce and I had used in a craft, that was covered in dried glue.

When I opened up my dishwasher, the dishes looked spotless, and the dishwasher interior was very clean.  I pulled out the little bowl that had been used in a craft, and all the dried glue was gone.  My glasses were sparkling with no streaks, thanks to Cascade Platinum's triple-action formula.  I was so pleased! 
Currently, Cascade is hosting a My Platinum Instagram contest, where you can show off your sparkling dishes, silverware, and glassware for chances to win fabulous prizes.  Just take a picture of your favorite meal on a sparkling "My Platinum" plate and enter it through the link above. 

Stay tuned next week - I'll be testing one of Gail Simmons' recipes on my blog!  Gail Simmons, Top Chef judge and editor of Food + Wine magazine, is working with Cascade to discuss why food presentation is just as important as preparation.

Readers, do you have any special tricks you like to use in food presentation? 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Steiner - New Parts for Old Tractors - Promotional Items GIVEAWAY

Disclaimer:  I was provided with the bottom pictured Steiner promotional items for giveaway purposes.  I am NOT giving away a tractor.  The opinions in this post are my own. 

We have an old tractor.  It's from the 70s, a Ford, and a brilliant blue.  The boys love it. 
 Old tractors are pretty cool to have around, and for the most part, ours has done the job over the past 12 years getting up hay from the pasture, raking the horse arena, and fixing the driveway when it washes out.  But the thing about old tractors is that they break down.  A lot.  And since they're vintage, it can be challenging to find replacement parts.  Thank goodness for the internet, right?  You can find a huge assortment of new parts for old tractors at Steiner
Steiner is providing the following fun items for one lucky winner:  a funnel, a mousepad, a t-shirt (size large), a hat, and a heavy duty canvas bag.  The winner will be able to show the world their love for old tractors!  (Sorry, but I am not giving away a tractor!) To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Pauline's Rhubarb Crisp - Vintage Recipe

When I was digging through my great grandmother's recipes recently, I found a recipe labeled "Pauline's Rhubarb Crisp", written in Granny Besse's neat script.  Pauline was my great great aunt, and I called her Poppy.  My rhubarb hasn't had the best year ever, but I had enough for a crisp, so Cort and I headed to the garden to gather some rhubarb.  Below, I've typed the recipe exactly as it reads.

Mix together thoroughly:
1 c. oatmeal
1 c. flour
1 c. brown sugar (packed)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup melted margarine

Place 1/2 of above mixture in an 8x8 pan.  Add 3 1/2 to 4 cups finely cut rhubarb.  Put rhubarb on top.

Cook until clear and thick:
1 cup water, 1/2 cup white sugar, 2 tbsp. cornstarch, 1 tsp vanilla

Pour on top of rhubarb.  Add remaining crumbs to top of mixture.  Bake at 325* for one hour.  Pauline leaves in oven 'til oven cools. 

Readers, do you have any recipes that have been passed down through generations in your family?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Running Recap May 2013

After a rough start to the  year, my approach to May was to just tough it out.  I decided to push some on my running and hope that things got better.  As a result, I had many runs on very tired legs that I just forced myself to run anyway.  On a couple of days, I ran twice - once in the morning and once in the evening.  Did it work?

Well, I can say I had a week mid-month that went very well and I was feeling much better.  But then I kind of dragged again the week after that, so I'm not sure.  June will be a cut-back month for me, and I'm hoping to see my legs bounce back.  At any rate, I'm pleased to see my mileage higher (because I'm behind for the year!) and I don't seem to be having any injury issues, so that is a positive.

Running - 112 miles
Weights - 8x
Swimming - 3x
Yoga - 4x

I also treated myself to some new running shoes this month.  They are PURPLE.  Not my usual choice, but it was what was available when I ordered them online.  And they seem to be doing the job.

A part of me has missed all the racing this season.  By now I've typically run several races.  But I haven't done a single speed workout, so I wouldn't be ready.  June is going to be a very busy month, but I hope I can hit the track a time or two.

Readers, are any of you behind on your goals for the year?