Friday, June 22, 2018

Unicorn Party-in-a-box! My baby girl is 12!! #sponsored


Happy Birthday to my baby girl!! i can't believe she is 12 years old!  What better way to celebrate than a rainbow unicorn party??


We were super excited to check out this Party in a box by Partypros!  This 100-piece kit contains all the supplies you will need to throw a magical unicorn themed birthday party, all neatly packaged in one box!



The kit contains 2 large unicorn foil balloons (32”), 4 heart shaped foil balloons (18”), 6 purple latex balloons, 6 pink latex balloons, 6 white latex balloons, 14 pc Happy Birthday foil banner (ribbon included), 1 air pump (for inflating balloons), 1 unicorn headband, 24 cupcake wrappers, 24 cupcake toppers, and 12 piece set of unicorn photo props.


The cupcake wrappers are absolutely adorable! i had to put a piece of tape on each one to keep them from unfolding, but they were easy to fold and really make the cupcakes extra adorable! 



My girl helped blow up all the balloons and decorate. We couldn't believe how big the unicorn balloons are. She loves them and is planning to keep them in her room after the party. 


All ready for our guests to arrive!  This turned out great and we still have more balloons to blow up! 


The photo props are adorable. i decorated this little unicorn jar with my silhouette to hold them. 



They really are too much fun. They are good quality and she'll be able to keep them after the party and pull them out on days when friends come over. 


i impressed myself with the unicorn cake i made. TYpically my cakes look like something you'd see on cake wrecks, but this one actually looks pretty good!  i used fondant to make the horn and ears and cheeks. The horn is colored with a gold glimmer dust. It looks yellow in the photo, but it was shimmery gold. 



As a special surprise my daughters grandpa and almost all of her uncles arrived on her birthday!! They are here for the weekend for a brothers retreat, but showed up in time for the party!  i totally meant to have everyone use a photo prop in this photo, and then spaced it and forgot! Ah well, it was still super fun! i still can't believe my baby is 12!!! 

 You can check out the Party-in--box kit here ->  https://amzn.to/2ybbVp3  It made decorating so much easier having everything we needed right in the box! This is definitely the way to go! We were super pleased with everything and my girl is planning to reuse all the unicorn decorations to decorate her room.


i received this party in a box kit at no cost in exchange for my honest review.  My opinions are my own.  The amazon link is a referral, and i may earn a small commision if you click on it and order. #sponsored #freeforreview #referral

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Floyd Friday Artisan Market- things to do in Floyd, VA

It's market season! 
Every Friday night from 5pm-9pm in downtown Floyd, VA is the Artisan Market.  


It is held under the Community Market Pavilion. Featuring local and regional artisans, selling handmade arts and crafts!  There is live music and sometimes food vendors as well. 



 This is the first year i'll be setting up at the Floyd Artisan Market every Friday selling my lampwork glass pendants, beaded jewelry, hand woven dishcloths and more. i also plan to bring any extra farm fresh eggs i have at the end of each week. . 


My glass pendants range in price from $10- $20. i also usually have a few seconds available for $5 each.  i have turtles, mermaids, goddess, dragonflies, hearts, leaves and more!


i also have beadwork and hand woven dish cloths available. i plan to offer my crocheted goods, batik bags and possibly waldorf dolls in the future. i'm still kind of feeling out the market crowd to know what items would sell best.  


There have only been two markets so far this season, and the vendors have changed a bit with each one. You can find a nice variety of products though. Concrete planters and plants, tie dyes, crocheted squid, paintings, batik work and gorgeous hand carved bowls.


Just a few of the things you may see for sale.


You can find original watercolor batik art by Deborah Carrino and original paintings and prints by Starroot. 


The Artisan Market is located across from The Floyd Country store, in the pavillion next to The Station. If you are coming out to enjoy the Friday night Jamboree  stop by and check out the beautiful work of Floyd's local artists and crafters.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Oyster Mushroom Recipes.


We've had a good flush of oyster mushrooms this spring, both from logs we plugged and just foraging. Now that we've learned how to correctly identify them, we seem to see them everywhere! This basket contains foraged oysters and a couple of shiitake we grew.


These are blue oyster just starting to fruit. These are on plugged logs. We grew several variety of oyster mushroom this year. They seem to be the easiest to grow.



First thing i did with our homegrown oyster mushrooms was make a homemade pizza. The pizza crust was made from scratch, i added homemade pizza sauce from tomatoes canned last year, homemade mozzarella cheese, homegrown spinach, asparagus and onion.  Before putting the oyster mushrooms on the pizza i sauteed them with some garlic. It was delicious!


i also used some in an omelet. In the spring, i love making meals using all homegrown foods. These are made using eggs from our hens, spinach, asparagus and sauteed oyster mushrooms. You can tell what is in season right now from the meals i'm making. :) 



We had a lot of the wild oyster mushrooms, so i made them into a vegetarian bbq.  Just cut or shred the oyster mushrooms, saute in a little oil and add bbq sauce. Served them on onion buns with swiss cheese and a homegrown salad with sliced shiitake. These were really tasty!

i also bookmarked this link that has a bunch of yummy looking recipes i can't wait to try! https://homesteading.com/oyster-mushroom-recipes/

It's been a lot of fun growing our own mushrooms, i check the logs daily for any new mushroom growth.  We just plugged more logs with shiitake, so by next year we should have more mushrooms than we know what to do with.  We have so much going on here this year, i'll try to keep up with the updates!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Family Game Night- Wild Dash by Roosterfin Games (sponsored)




This weekend we tried out a new game for family game night! Wild Dash is the imaginative card game where animals race to the finish line! It's a fun and fast paced game that is really easy to learn. Wild Dash is an educational game to improve counting, number adding, and logic skills. 

Wild Dash was Created by RoosterFin games.  Roosterfin strives to combine the fun of board games with the joy of learning. They makes games that are perfect for everyone, no matter if you are 6 or 60! Wild Dash is perfect for all ages; from kids and teens, to college students, parents, and grandparents! Founded by Joe RoosterFin, a former teacher with a degree in mathematics, these award-winning games are easy to learn, educational, and fun for the whole family! 


The game is similar to the card game War. You choose your highest number card and flip it over and hope your racer has the highest number.  However there are a few challenges to keep things interesting...like stoplight dice (roll red and you lose your card) and booster cards to increase your speed (score).


We played it last night to try it out and then played again today when my daughter had a friend over. 


i had to take a break to make dinner and my boy had homework, but the girls kept playing for almost an hour! They had a lot of fun and really enjoyed it! Winning has a bit to do with luck (getting a good hand) and strategy (knowing when to put down your highest card).  There is a lot of counting involved, so it really does strengthen math skills. 


Wild Dash is the card game where animals race to the finish line! Players compete to get the best score by racing with fun animal cards. Reveal your animal card, then add booster cards to propel your animals to the checkered flag at the finish line. Players: 2-6 Ages: 7 to adult
 Skills: Memory, Strategy, Logic
 Contents: 96 Cards 9 Coins 3 Cubes 1 Dice Roller and Instructions

You can find out more info about Roosterfin Games on their website  www.RoosterFin.com.  
follow them on social media

Facebook- RoosterFin Games 
Twitter- @RoosterFin 
Instagram- @roosterfin

To join mailing list visit: https://roosterfin.com/pages/contact
How to Play : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0s3VjAmeGQ



i received a product and/or compensation in exchange for my honest review. My opinions are my own.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Mushroom farming and foraging.

Spring is a great time for foraging fresh mushrooms! Our favorites to find are the morels, but we've slowly been learning to safely identify and forage other types as well. 


We found a couple dozen morels in the woods behind our house. It wasn't a spectacular harvest, but i'm not complaining. We enjoyed them breaded & fried and also sauteed with butter & garlic. They are one of the easiest wild mushrooms to identify. 


 Last spring we plugged a bunch of logs with mushroom spores, and have been patiently waiting for them to fruit. It usually takes about a year, but we were getting a few here and there this past fall so we were hoping for a good harvest this spring.  We got a large water trough to help soak the logs to make sure they were staying damp enough.  Within just a few days of soaking these elm oysters began fruiting!



One of my first harvest pictures of the season. Homegrown spinach, lettuce, asparagus and oyster mushroom. i also foraged morels, chickweed, lambs quarter and purslane.


We have another oyster log beginning to fruit.  It has several clusters like this on it. 


 We also have a gorgeous shiitake coming in one of the logs. So far these have just been one at a time, i'd really love to see them take off and really fruit. The shiitakes are really yummy.


We spend so much time looking at our cultivated mushroom logs that we tend to forget about the wild ones that often fruit on the stumps of the trees that we cut about 7 years. Yesterday i was walking through the goat field and saw this giant flush of oysters in the woods on the other side of the fence. They were growing from a Tulip Poplar stump.

So far it's looking like a great mushroom season! We are in the process of plugging more logs and hope to continue cultivating fresh mushrooms for years to come.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Our First Bee Hive Inspection

We performed our first inspection of the new hives this week. It was a little bit nerve racking, as we were hoping for the best, but not sure what we would find.   It has been almost 2 weeks since we installed the bee packages. Installation went okay, but we had a problem with one of the top feeders and were concerned with that hive especially. We didn't know if all the queens had been released or if they had been accepted. Sometimes the hive will kill the queen in those first days.


We were super pleased to find a lot of new drawn out comb in all of the hives. We have been feeding the bees syrup and pollen patties and it appears to be working for them. It was really pretty cool they way we could check the frames and only a bees were buzzing around, most just seemed focused on their tasks and ignored us. 


We were able to find all 4 queens! They are busy laying eggs and seem to have no problems being accepted by the hive.  Can you find the queen? She's right in the center of the photo. She has the long skinny body. She is depositing her eggs in each of the cells.


We also lots of comb filled with glistening nectar and pollen. We saw larvae, and eggs in every hive! The first two are larger hives and seem to be behind a bit, i think because they work harder in the larger hive. The two smaller hives are almost filled up already. Larva and eggs are really important to see, because in a couple of weeks all of the worker bees will die and (hopefully) be replaced with the new brood. The worker bees only live 5-6 weeks during an active season. So if there isn't eggs and larva, in a few weeks time the entire colony will collapse.  



We found capped brood (baby bees) in the 2 smaller hives.  Very excited to see that things are going so well so far!!!!! We were really worried about the first hive that had the problem with the top feeder, but it looks like they have recovered well and are doing great! So far no one has gotten stung! 

Kenan has set up an electric fence to hopefully deter the bears that have become common visitors on our land. They are the biggest threat to hives right now. We'll be doing another inspection this evening and we'll be adding  brood boxes on the smaller 8 frame / medium box hives. We are pretty optimistic that we may get a little bit of honey this first year, which isn't always a guarantee. Looking forward to our hive inspection this afternoon, we are waiting for the kids to get home from school so they can participate. This has been a fun learning experience for the whole family.  In just the two weeks we've had our hives, i've learned so much about bees i didn't know.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

You deserve to be Pampered! Perfectly Posh Giveaway!


Have you heard about Perfectly Posh? i had never heard of it before, until a good friend of mine became a consultant and i began seeing her post about it on instagram. i admit, i was a bit intrigued and asked her about it. Perfectly Posh is a cruelty- free bath body/skincare brand similar to Lush or Bath and Body works, but their products are made using mostly natural ingredients. It is all made in the USA and never tested on animals.


The packaging is adorable and fun and there is a huge selection of products! Everything from soaps and lotions, to shampoo and lip color!  i’m a huge sucker for cute packaging and Perfectly Posh definitely has that down! With product names like Espresso yo'self, My hands are Thai'ed and Toes before Bros, you can't really go wrong! They also have an entire line of vegan products!


Right now they have a mermaid theme going on for all of you mermaid fans!  You can get silky-smooth skin with Show Me What You’re Mermaid Of™ Sea Mineral & Salt Body Scrub scented with juicy melon and coconut. The Resting Mermaid Face™  (love that name!) Probiotic Face Mask contains probiotic yogurt and fermented pomegranate for a balanced complexion. Trop the Beat™ Coconut Body Balm is scented with pineapple and hibiscus. The Oh My Shell™ Snarky Bar will transform your driest skin while hydrating and soothing with marine nutrients like algae and nori,  plus softening shea butter, scented with citrus, melon, coconut, and vanilla. Sounds pretty amazing right? 

The best part is that Perfectly Posh uses natural ingredients that are good for your skin.  Fragrances are gentle, phthalate-free and often over 95% natural. 




Perfectly Posh products are made in the USA. Everything is under $25, It's Paraben-free, Sulfate-free, Cruelty-Free, Mineral Oil-Free and Lanolin-Free. 

Perfectly Posh brand philosophy is all about taking the time (even if it's just 10 or 15 minutes a day) to pamper yourself and to make yourself feel good.

Take a peek around Sheryl's Perfectly Posh page for more info about the products.

Interested in hosting a party or becoming a consultant for Posh?  Visit this page for info!

Now for the giveaway!

One lucky reader will win a full size BFYHC ( big fat yummy hand creme) of your choice.

Enter below using the rafflecopter form (it might take a minute to load). One entry per person/IP address.  US only.  The winner  will have 48 hours to respond by email or another winner may be chosen.



Friday, April 27, 2018

Adventures in Beekeeping. We have bees!

We've been anticipating this day for quite a while, but we finally got our bees! The weather has not been cooperating, and so the date kept getting pushed back. This has been the coldest April we've ever experienced here. With snow showers several times the first 2 weeks.  All the flowers are about 2 weeks behind, so that pushed everything back two weeks. 



Kenan is both excited and nervous. Beekeeping is a pretty large investment, and the strange weather has made it feel like a bit of a gamble. Last year many very experienced beekeepers lost almost all of their hives. For first time bee keepers it's not unusual to lose a hive a two the first year. If the weather isn't cooperating the loss could be even higher. 


To keep the bees passive they've been sprayed with a sugar syrup solution. They are so busy sucking up the sweet treat, they become docile and kind of 'sugar drunk'  and so they don't attack.




When it warmed up we added our bees to the hive. Bee behavior is affected by temperature. They rarely work when the temperature is below 57 F or above 100 F. They cannot fly when the temperature is below 55 F.   So we wanted to wait until it was warmer to add the bees. First thing is to remove the feed can. 


Next you remove the queen cage and make sure she's alive. The queen has to be separated from the hive until they get use to her and accept her scent. There is a 'candy' plug at one end of the queen box. It should only take the worker bees a couple days to eat through the plug and release the queen. 


Once the feeder can has been removed and the queen is set aside you remove a few frames from the center of the hive and literally dump the bees in. Once the bees are in the box you replace the frames and place the queen box on top of them. Then you close up the hive box and hope the bees release and accept her. We checked our queen cages after 2 days and 3 out of the 4 queens had been released (we have 4 hives). So today we'll check the remaining queen to make sure she is out. If not, we'll have to remove the plug and manually release her and hope that she is accepted into the hive. 


We had a few hiccups with the top bar feeders we used in two of the hives, and switched to canning jar feeders.  It looks like all four hives are doing well now though We had a couple days of cool wet weather right after we installed them, but yesterday it finally warmed up and they were flying in and out and very active.
  


We may or may not get any honey the first year. It's all a learning process at this point, and we are really just hoping our bees survive. We hope to see an increase in the pollination our gardens and fruit trees and eventually we look forward to harvesting honey, pollen and honeycomb. 

We purchased our bee boxes from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm and our bee suits from Humble Bee US.  The bees were ordered through the local bee association.  If you are interested in keeping bees i would recommend taking a bee class and connecting with your local bee association. Although raising bees isn't difficult, there is a lot of information to learn. It's definitely the kind of thing you want to research before jumping into it. We'll be sharing our beekeeping journey on the blog, as well as the many other projects we have going on this year.