Thursday, January 26, 2017

MuMu Muesli- Review and Giveaway! (4 winners!!!)

i'm super excited to be working with the folks from Mu Mu Muesli to offer this fantastic giveaway!
Lisa and Mike are the faces behind Mu Mu Muesli.  They moved to New York City from Oakland, California in 1995 to pursue painting careers and ended up moving to an abandoned Italian boarding house on 80 acres in Historic Sharon Springs located in Schoharie county of Up state New York. They have year round gardens with the help of high tunnels in the winter, use solar power and love and cherish the land and wildlife around them.

They believe that optimum health is derived by eating a plant based diet of whole, unprocessed, delicious REAL food.

So what exactly is Muesli? Muesli is a cereal which is a combination of whole grains, fruits and nuts which Europeans have been enjoying for centuries. Mu Mu Muesli starts with the freshest whole rolled oats, organic dried cranberries, dates, coconut,  raisins,  roasted almonds and organic flax seeds.

Mu Mu Muesli is made in New York. It is a blend of 8 simple, whole ingredients. These ingredients are sourced from farms in the USA, the organic coconut is imported from Multiple Organics. 

Muesli is similar to granola, except that it has NO ADDED SUGAR, NO OILS and NO ARTIFICIAL ANYTHING. It's a great source of fiber and iron. It's a heart healthy food!

Mu Mu Muesli cereal combines fresh whole rolled oats with organic fruit, almonds, coconut and flax seeds & toasted wheat flakes to create the best muesli on the market.

Mu Mu Muesli was named one of 5 "most scrumptious" cereals in the country by Vegetarian Times! 

It can be eaten hot or cold. You can prepare it like oatmeal, using 2 parts water to one part Muesli. Stir into boiling water, cook 3 minutes.  You can also serve it like a cold cereal with milk, or try it the traditional way by combining it with milk and yogurt, fresh fruit and then refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.  Visit the Mu Mu Muesli blog for more recipes!

i've really been enjoying it layered with Greek yogurt and my frozen homegrown blueberries, and raspberries. It's really delicious, and i love the chewy texture of the dried dates and cranberries. 

Mu Mu Muesli can be purchased on their website
Connect with Mu Mu muesli on facebook 
Follow  them on Twitter
You can also add them to your circle on Google+
Subscribe to their youtube channel

The kind folks at Mu MU Muesli have generously offered to send 2 bags of delicious muesli to 4 winners!!  This giveaway is for US residents only. Enter below using the Rafflecopter form and don't forget to leave a comment on this page.  Good luck!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Stainless Steel Bento Box Storage Containers- Still working towards #noplastic

i'm still moving forward on my goal to eliminate most of the plastic in my kitchen. One area i still struggle with is storage containers and in the kids lunch boxes for school. Both kids take a reusable lunch box, and i try to use reusable containers instead of plastic bags as much as i can.  i've looked at different stainless steel lunch compartment boxes like planet box, but they just are not big enough for my high school son.   i use a lot glass for storage in my kitchen, but the kids are not allowed to have glass containers on the school bus, so i can't pack glass in their lunch boxes.

So when i had the opportunity to review these Stainless steel bento box storage set, i was thrilled! The set comes with three different sized containers, and leak proof lids.  The lids are made from plastic, but it is BPA free and has a silicone ring seal inside to prevent leaking. These containers fit inside each other with their lids on for easy storage. 

The containers are lightweight, but durable. They are made from 304 (18/8) grade stainless steel and are completely food safe  The  different sizes hold approx 1 cup, 2 cups and 4 cups.  So these work well to store leftover, or to pack a good size meal for a growing teenager. The only downside, is that they can not be heated in a microwave, so they are best for packing cold foods.

  • BENTO LUNCH BOX SET: These food grade stainless steel lunch box set includes three different sized boxes. Great for leftovers, entrees, sandwiches, salads and snacks. This set makes it easy to transport food to work and school each day. 

  • STAINLESS STEEL: Our high quality food storage container set does not degrade or rust. Each stainless steel box is carefully constructed to be reliably rust proof, unlike other so-called stainless steel containers. Stainless steel does not break, like glass, and is super lightweight in your lunch bag. Our design is durable, reusable and eco-friendly.

  • LEAK PROOF LUNCH CONTAINERS: Each container has a plastic lid with a liquid tight seal that fits on easily. No need to worry about spills or leakage. 

  • DISHWASHER SAFE: The containers are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. They do not absorb odors or stain like plastic. 

This Stainless Steel Bento Box Food Storage set is available on amazon for $24.99.   

These are a nice addition to my kitchen and help me to get closer to my goal of #noplastic in my kitchen. i like this set a lot, my only complaint is the plastic lids. i would prefer them to be entirely silicone, but i appreciate that they are at least BPA free and have the silicone seals. 

*i received this set for free or heavily discounted in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. i was not compensated for my review. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Glass Goals for 2017- Art with Purpose

i have really been enjoying working with glass this year. Last year, i started making leaf pendants right before the holidays, but as soon as the temperatures warmed up i abandoned it to play in the garden. Although i enjoyed working with glass, i was really lacking focus and had no real direction or ideas about where i wanted to go with it.

In 2015, one of my husband's childhood friends passed away and he was asked by the family to create a glass 'cremation' marble keepsake. It turned out very well, and other people began contacting him asking if he could encase the cremains of their loved ones.   However, he really had no interest in it, as it took time away from his other work, and the one he made was a gift to the family. 

Several of my friends went through devastating loses last year, and asked me if he could make a creation pendant for them.  It hurt my heart to tell them that no, he was not interested in it and then i would direct them to websites where they could order one from a stranger. It seemed so impersonal to suggest such a thing, and i began to realize that this is something i really wanted to do. To be be able to offer a small token of healing in the form of a glass heart. 

So i started this year by making heart pendants. It's still a learning process.  Although i can make them pretty well, i'm constantly working to make them more consistent and improve my technique. Once i felt like i was doing okay with the heart shapes, i started learning to make spirals. 

What i eventually plan to do is encase cremains in clear glass, then do the spiral with both the ashes and colors.  So i'll be making cremation pendants similar to these, but hopefully a lot nicer. 

i'm still practicing my spirals, and once i can make them consistently i'm hoping to learn to work with dichro glass (metallic sparkily looking) and learn to encase ash. i'll start of by using ash from the woodstove, which acts similar to cremains when encased. Then eventually begin offering this service to my friends. i'm really excited about it, and feel that this is art with purpose. It allows me to create, while helping others to heal. 

These are something else i've been working on. i had a request for a breast cancer awareness pendant, and after i made it i began getting other requests for different ribbon colors. This isn't something i plan to sell as a regular item, but i will occasionally take custom orders for them.

So that's what i'm working on this year. Hoping to still find some time to work on dolls, and other crafts which is another passion. Of course, once garden season starts i will be putting a ton of energy into that as well.  i'm also doing a lot of product review again this year, just for fun. So yeah, i have a lot going on, i'm really excited about it and can't wait to see what this year brings.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

4 years.

"Sorrow prepares you for Joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart far better things will take their place." ~ Rumi

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Wolf Moon Rising. First full moon of 2017.

January's full moon is known primarily as the "Wolf Moon," according to the Farmers' Almanac.  The Wolf Moon was sometimes referred to as the Old Moon or the Moon After Yule. Some tribes called January’s full moon the Snow Moon, but most tribes applied that name to February’s full moon. 

What is a Wolf Moon? In January, amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Native American villages. Thus, the villagers began calling January’s full moon the Wolf Moon. 

i've never been able to capture good moon pictures, they always just look like a bright light in the sky. The other day, i saw the moon out during the day and it was so huge, and clear that i couldn't help but try to capture it with my camera.  i was so surprised when my picture came out so well. You can even see the craters on the surface of the moon. How amazing is that? i just used a point and shoot digital camera with the auto setting.

A few night later, when the moon was almost full it had this beautiful halo around it, so i went out again and tried to get a picture. Lunar halos usually signify that rain is coming.

The first full moon in January 2017, was on the 12th.  i tried to capture it just as it was coming up over the trees.  i thought this photo turned out neat.

i took many photos trying to get the moon into focus, but it wanted to focus on the trees in front of it instead. i thought this photo was just as amazing. i'm actually tempted to turn it into a painting.

Once it got above the trees i took a ton of photos. This was the closest to in focus as i could get. My son got a telescope for xmas, and had it outside looking at the moon. The moons was actually so bright that it hurt our eyes to look at it through the telescope. The night was surprisingly warm for January, and we really enjoyed being out in the moon light staring up at the night sky. The full moon is a time for releasing and letting go of negative energy.  Although the poem below is about a summer moon, i still really liked it and couldn't find one for a winter moon that i liked as much.

The moon is at her full, and riding high, 
Floods the calm fields with light. 
The airs that hover in the summer sky 
Are all asleep to-night.
- William C. Bryant

Thursday, January 12, 2017

New Year, New Resolutions. #noplastic

So i know i already mentioned that i've never been one for resolutions, but this year i really wanted to start off the New Year with some goals to work towards. De-cluttering and removing most of the plastic from my kitchen is is one of those goals.  When our house burned down in 2013, we were gifted/donated a ton of stuff, and now coming around to 4 years later we are still using a lot of it. Some items i kept because i needed them and hadn't gotten around to replacing them, but many were kept because of emotional attachment. Even the plastic measuring cup set i've been using evokes memories of the kindness of the neighbors that gave it to us. 

This year i am finally ready to let it go. 

Pro kitchen Chef contacted me about working with them to promote their stainless steel kitchen products, and i thought this would be a good opportunity to finally replace all that hand-me-down plastic with Stainless steel.  The appliances in my kitchen are all stainless, so it's not only functional, but it looks nice as well. 

ProChef Kitchen tools set me this Stainless steel kitchen utensil set to review. It features 6 different utensils and a rotating stand. Each of the utensils are made from one seamless pieces of stainless steel, they are all heat and dishwasher safe.The set also includes a slotted turner, a ladle, a pasta fork, a turner and a spoon. The handles are quite long, and they feel very strong and durable. i love that the stand rotates making it easy to grab the utensil you need.  

The large slotted spoon/skimmer is my favorite new tool. i'm not sure where this has been all my life! It will be perfect when i'm blanching and freezing garden produce.  

It also works great when i'm making cheese. i'm able to scoop out all the curds, while the majority of the whey stays in the pot. Then transfer it to a colander to drain.  i use to pour the curds and whey into a colander to drain it, but there is so much whey it would always make a huge mess. This is so much easier, and less messy.

With all of the utensils on a convenient stand, it also means less clutter in the drawers.  i'll be working this week on cleaning out all those plastic utensils cluttering up my kitchen drawer and passing them on to someone else. This is big step in my #noplastic resolution goal.

i'll be sharing more #noplastic posts as i replace items in my kitchen with non-plastic solutions. i already use a lot of glass, pottery, wood and stainless steel, but do have a fair share of plastic in my kitchen as well.  

Did you make any New Year's resolutions? What are your goals for the new year?

i received this set of stainless steel kitchen utensils in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. My opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

First Snow 2017

Winter has officially arrived.  First week of January, we saw our first big snow storm of the season. Around 8 inches fell overnight and we woke to world covered in snow.  

We had filled up the feeders the night before, anticipating the snow. The birds seemed quite grateful for the meal. They completely cleaned out the feeders in only a few hours, and my sweet husband bundled up to go out and refill them all. We've been visited by goldfinch, purple finch, juncos, titimice, nuthatch, chickadee, a pair of cardinals, bluejays and a redbellied woodpecker.  

The kids bundled up as soon as they saw the snow and headed outside to play in it. It was so cold, they couldn't stay out for long. They came in warmed up, made hot cocoa and headed back out.  It's not unusual for us to only have a snow for a day or two all winter, so we have to make the best of it when it comes.

So we all bundled up and went out sledding.

We threw a few snowballs along the way.

Then took a walk through the woods, enjoying the beauty and peace that this season brings.

Winter came down to our home one night
Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,
 And we, we were children once again. ~Bill Morgan, Jr.

Friday, January 6, 2017

New Year's No plastic Resolutions and French Press Review. #noplastic

So hard to believe it is 2017. We rung the New year in at home, sitting around playing bored games with the kids.  i don't usually do a lot of New Year's resolutions, but this year i do have a few goals that i am working towards. One of them is to eliminate plastic in my kitchen and replace as much as i can with wood, glass, pottery and stainless steel products. 

My husband loves French press coffee. We've been using one i picked up at the goodwill a few years ago. It has a glass cup, but the lid and handle are plastic. So when i had the opportunity to try out a stainless steel french press, i was very excited to get the old one of my kitchen and pass it on to someone else. 
This Stainless Steel French Press by #BitElegant is a 4 cup french press. It holds 34 oz. It is made from stainless steel and borosilicate glass, so it is thermal shock resistant. It's easy to use and dishwasher safe. 


Using a french press is easy, just remove the lid and add your freshly ground coffee to the cup, then pour in boiling water. Stir slightly, replace lid and let seep around 4 minutes. Then slowly press down the plunger, which traps the grounds in the bottom of the press so you are not drinking grounds. When you use a french press the grounds steep instead of filter, so the coffee tastes richer. You taste all the flavors, which adds to the experience. 

The press cup has a pour spout for easy pouring. French presses can also be used for brewing loose leaf teas. i really like the look of this french press, and fits well with the rest of the stainless steel in my kitchen. It really makes a fantastic cup of coffee. We grind our own beans for it, and the finer the grind the richer the cup. 

This set is part of the Delux series and would make a great gift for the coffee lover in your life. It includes 3 extra micro filters and a spoon to scoop your coffee . The glass can be removed from the base for easy cleaning. My only suggestion is that i would love to see this set come with a metal spoon instead of plastic, since i'm trying to eliminate  plastic. 

Overall it's very nice set! Available on Amazon Use the following code QUG5EUSY at check out to get 20% off as a new year promotion. The coupon is good until  31 January, 2017.

i received this product for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. i was not compensated. 

Yule traditions, creating new memories and a bit of magic.

This year's celebrations were simple, but special. We had no family visiting, so it was just us.

This years celebrations were simple, but special. We had no family visiting, so it was just us.  We usually dig our Yule tree, but the one we had last year didn't survive and our past Yule trees were all too big to dig. i went out looking for a live potted tree and came home with this small Norfolk Island pine, that i named Stanley. i was afraid the kids would be a little disappointed, because it was so small but they loved it. My daughter introduces everyone that walks in the house to Stanley. :)  Norfolk Island Pines are native to the South Pacific and will not survive our cold winters, so Stanley is inside with us year round. i'm hoping i can keep him alive so we can spend next Yule with him as well.

In 2012, my girl received this doll house on the left from Santa (my mom found it at a garage sale), and less than a month later our house burned down and we lost everything including this dollhouse. Although Santa surprised my girl with a brand new wooden doll house the next year, she has never stopped talking about that old plastic doll house.

This was her santa letter that appeared in the paper Dec. 2013. They wrote them at school and they were published in the Floyd press. Although she received a new doll that year, she never really liked it.  Every year since, she has asked for the giant dollhouse with dog and the accessories. i had looked for another one at the goodwill/garage sales, but since it was an older model used doll house i was unable to find it.  

This year when it came time to making her list, she again asked for the giant dollhouse with dog and the accessories like she had before the fire. She is 10 years old, and i realized that in another year or two she'll be too old for dolls and dollhouses, so i started looking again and found the same style (different colors) on ebay. It didn't come with any furniture or accessories, but it was a start. i started checking the local thrift stores for barbie furniture and accessories and found a bag that contained a barbie dog, barbie puppy, a toilet and a few other accessories.  Then i purchased a few pieces of furniture to go with it.  

It was a bit challenging fitting all of our packages under such a small tree, but we managed. ;)

Now that she is 4 years older, the doll doesn't seem quite as giant but i think she loves it anyway. Even if just for the memories. i didn't want her only memory of that dollhouse be that she lost it. i'm hoping she can replace that memory with new ones now.

Many of our holiday traditions are a bit unconventional. We tend to add new ones each year. The last couple of years we started opening wizard crackers. Ours are not as fun as the ones at Hogwarts, but they are filled with treats and small toys. We also have a Christmas pickle, that we hide and who ever finds it gets an extra gift. This year, we went and saw the Nutcracker Ballet. It was a first, but i think we'll probably be making it a new tradition as well. 

Our stockings and wizard crackers were filled with Jelly Slugs, Bertie Botts and doctor who mini-figures among other fun things. :) 

We ended the evening with pumpkin pasties, chocolate frogs, warm mugs of butter beer and a Harry potter marathon. A wonderful end to a magical day.