Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tuesday Times

Hey there my Peeps!!!  Stopping in to do a quick Tuesday Times update and to let you know I have a pretty stinking cool event to share with you tomorrow too!!   

Let's get started shall we?

Reading:  Lately I've been catching up on the caboodles of magazines I've got around here.  I'm saving up books because we will be heading to the beach in a few days so no worries, I'll have more than a few to tell you about soon. 

Listening:  To either jets or thunder.  Honestly sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. Either way I think it is going to be another stormy night here in the D F Dub. 

Watching:  Game of Thrones, it's all I have left.  No Fixer Upper, No Night Shift, No Amazing Race.  The summer TV slump has begun. 

Cooking/Eating/Drinking:  Nothing out of the ordinary.  Hubster is usually home for a week then out of town for a week so I eat pretty good for a week then not so much for a week.  It's summer so as you can imagine the salads are ever prevalent! I did make an awesome Apricot Crisp that was in fact Gluten Free last week.  

Pinning:  Mostly Gluten Free recipes to try and essential oil stuff.  

Tweeting:  My woes of GF baking and pics of products I review.  I'm @SammaSpot 

Crafting: I haven't really been crafting. There's too much yard work, gardening and general stuffs to be done.  

Doing: The inside of the house is still sub par (well at least in my world) but we've had S O MUCH rain that any break in the rain we get we have to get outside and mow the jungle that is the yard.  Definitely not complaining though since I think Texas is finally out of drought conditions. 

Going: To the BEACH!!! I'll have to do a little bit of work while down there but we always do at the beginning of high season rentals.  

Loving:  Trying out some new oils and experimenting on which ones work best for me.  Like LemonGrass is my current favorite.  It's awesome and when we are sitting out in the evening it does keep the bugs at bay for me.  Of course I smell like a jug of lemon pledge but hey, is that all bad??

Hating: Being so far away from my family, it's hard. 

Enjoying: The rain because we haven't had to run our sprinklers yet this year.  The checkbook certainly appreciates it too!

Starting: To get a better idea of the direction I'm ready to take this blog. 

Reviewing:  Couple of items to review for you this week!

 First up is a product I received from BzzAgent to review.

To get started on this campaign I had to make a little trip to Sally Beauty Supply where I found the Clairol iThrive products.

I selected the Keratin Rescue combo.  This is what Clairol has to say about these products:

Clairol Professional iThrive Keratin Rescue System

  • Specifically formulated with IntenseCURE to revive dry, damaged hair by creating a layer of protection around each strand
  • Regular use of the System (shampoo, conditioner and treatment) provides long-lasting body and movement, moisturization, strength and protection from damage 
  • Safe for use on color-treated hair 
  • Elements of the reconstructive regimen include: Keratin Rescue ShampooConditioner, and Treatment
What I thought:   Honestly I thought it was "ok".  I wasn't unhappy with the product but I wasn't extremely thrilled either.   My main complaint was the treatment was very difficult to rinse out of my hair.  We have very hard water at our house and I can't imagine how difficult it would be if you had soft water. It's also a little on the expensive side and you have to go to Sally's Beauty Supply to get the product.  On the plus side, I didn't seem to have any allergic skin issues with the products so that's always a bonus. #FreeFromClairolProfessional 

Once again a reminder that I received the above items complimentary from BzzAgent in exchange for my honest opinion after personally using the product. 

Next up we have a line of products being tested out for Smiley360.

I honestly love their box!  I mean it's a happy box!!!
Let's see what is inside.

Truly Radiant Rejuvenating toothpaste.

There was also a Truly Radiant Spinbrush in the box. 

And finally the Truly Radiant mouthwash. 

Guys...there are no words to describe my love for this line of products!   I was a die hard life long fan of another brand of toothpaste and I sampled the Truly Radiant toothpaste awhile back and have never gone back to my old brand.  If you want you can click right here and read that particular review.  Now I have to admit I didn't personally try the toothbrush because it's a manual toothbrush and I'm a little bit of a "overly vigorous brusher" and my dentist prefers I use a non-manual toothbrush.  Hubster kindly tested the toothbrush for me and he liked the spinning part of the toothbrush but thought it was a little harder than he prefers.  The mouthwash was well mouthwash.  I couldn't tell that it made my teeth any whiter using it in addition to the toothpaste but the taste was pretty good so I've not really anything negative to say about it.  The toothpaste is definitely my favorite and one that I continue to use and sing the praises. 

I received these products free from Smiley360 in exchange for my honest opinions after testing the products. 

So that's all I've got for you tonight peeps!!!  Hope you are doing great and and I'll be back in a day or so to tell you all about the blogger event I attended today and how much fun was had by all!

Peace, Love & Rain!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Koi Pond

Happy Happy WedNesDay Peeps!!

Yesterday I told you I was going to start painting our Dining Room today and yet that didn't happen.  I cleaned the house instead.....BORING!!    Anywho I'm gonna go ahead and show the formal living room that I painted and redecorated 2 weeks ago.  To recap the whole house painting situation for those of you who are new or don't remember, we've been in this house a year now and I've successfully managed to only take on the little half bath off our den area.   Seriously it's taken me a whole year to do 1 little ole' half bath and now the formal living room.  You know, one room which we refer to as Winston's room and one room that the most use it sees is the Christmas tree in December.  I'm a go getter aren't I?

Before we cover the Living room let's take a quick look at the half bath.

This is the only before picture I can find.  I believe this was right after I used gel stain on the vanity.
Dog water bowl belongs to Winston of course.  

This is a picture of the side wall after I painted the whole bath a blue.
It looks fine in this photo but let me tell ya it was a baby blue, blue. 

You'll also notice the breadboard on the walls.  We added that and my poor husband did more than his share of cussing trying to get that bed board in such tiny spaces.

Now here you go, a nice gray.  MUCH better.   Winston thought the blue was a bit immature for him. 

Here you can see the slate tile backsplash we added behind the vanity. There is also slate tile on the floor of the bathroom. 

It's very difficult to take photos of a tiny powder room but you get the idea. A little less barren and a little more farmhouse.   But moving on to the feature presentation, my before photos are a bit scattered, my apologies I keep forgetting to take actual before photos.

This is the living room as you walk in the front door.
Well, it was the way it looked at one time or another in the past year.

And here's the left side of the room before.

Now here's the after as you walk in the front door.   Paint is Koi Pond by Sherwin Williams.

And here's how the left side of the room looks now.

The right side of the room.

The left front side of the room.

A peek from the front door

The right corner by the window. 
The pelican stained glass was made by Hubsters mom.

A look through the room to the backyard. As you can see it was a lovely rainy spring day.
(as a small side note, the red cover on the "bench" is also temporary until I find fabric to coordinate.  the "bench" is actually the housing for the extra leaves for the dining room table)

 A close up of the painting on the table which was also done by the Hubsters mom.
All the antiques in this room belonged to the Hubsters mom and we're the lucky caretakers of them at this time.  

This photo is me standing in the middle of the living room and looking into the dining room which is next up on the painting rotation.    I will probably get started on that tomorrow.

The whole room just evolved into a New Orleansy type semi formal area. Which is fine because Hubster is a Louisiana boy and it seems fitting to have a room like this in the house.   

Now here's the funny part, this is the inspiration photo that I wanted the room to evolve into:

Me either Erin from The Office, me either. 

What about you guys?  You ever have an inspiration photo and then somewhere along the way you make a big ole' u-turn in the road and end up someplace completely different?   On the bright side, I shopped the house so other than a half gallon of paint, I purchased nothing.  I do intend to add a nice round rug to the center of the room but I'm going to take my time finding one.  

So quickly let's talk paint.  I bought 1 gallon of Sherwin Williams SuperPaint in Koi Pond and people let me tell you this is THE paint of all paint.  I must warn you it's a bit pricey but folks I don't know if you noticed I said I used a half of a gallon.  I painted the whole room 1 coat with a half of a gallon of paint.   This paint goes on like butter, smooth and even and honestly there is no way I'm painting with any other paint now.  I'll just watch good old Sherwin Williams for sales and buy paint as it goes on sale.   It's THAT good I'm telling you.   They aren't sponsoring me or paying me or anything to say these amazing things about the paint, although I'm not opposed to pimping myself out to them at all!!!!     Oh and in case I failed to mention, it's a paint and primer all in one so go ahead paint that red room, I dare you!!!    

That's it for today my peeps, hopefully I'll be back soon with a painted dining room but don't hold your breath on this one, it's not just the walls I'm painting.  There is furniture to be painted, chairs to be recovered and maybe if I'm a lucky lucky ducky I'll find a vintage bar cart.  

Have a great evening!!!

Peace, Love and Paint

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Waste Not Want Not

Hi De Ho there Peeps!!!

Just dropping in to say hello and show you what's been occupying my time lately.

That's 16 quarts of tomatoes, 2 pints of cinnamon applesauce, 4 quarts of marinara sauce canned and in the pantry. There was another ¾ pint of cinnamon applesauce and 24 oz jar of salsa that went into the refrigerator.   Then I added about 5 jelly jars of mandarin orange marmalade to the mix. 

We specifically bought the tomatoes from Bountiful Baskets to can.
I did a post awhile back about canning tomatoes and you can view it right here.  The best source for canning questions is always the Ball website and the link to tomatoes can be found here.

One additional tidbit of information that makes for great canning discussion,  I do not peel my tomatoes any longer.   I am fortunate enough to have a Vitamix blender and I have found that I can quarter my tomatoes, toss about 3 or 4 in the blender then pulse them until they get to the consistency I like and then dump them in a big stock pot until I get enough for a batch to cook.  The prep time for this process is more manageable, I use all the tomato (except the core) and while I enjoy having company in the kitchen on big canning projects using the blender makes it a manageable one person job.  

After doing 16 quarts of tomatoes  I decided to venture out and cook up a few batches of marinara sauce and can those as well.   I've never done marinara sauce this way so hopefully it'll taste awesome and we can free up the freezer space for other things coming this summer. 

In case you wondered you can get the recipe for the marinara sauce here but I'm also gonna give you a few modifications I've made over time.  

Instead of 1 can of crushed tomatoes I use a qt. jar of my canned tomatoes.
I also toss in a small can of tomato paste and a heavy pinch of red pepper flakes.
When I decided to can the marinara I made sure to toss in each jar some citric acid, the same measurement for a qt. of tomatoes.  

The applesauce was done because I had a bunch of apples that were about to go bad on me.  I absolutely detest throwing out food so while I was working on the tomatoes I decided to toss those in the crock pot and make some applesauce.  
If you are interested in doing something with your apples I used this recipe.  I adjusted the amounts to the quantity of apples I had on hand.  While the recipe I used indicates it is for apple butter, I just cooked the apples until they were pretty mushy and then used the immersion blender to get the applesauce to my preferred consistency.   Then I processed them in pint jars in the water bath canner for 10 minutes.  

On the whole issue of throwing out food, that's how the Mandarin Marmalade happened.  I also happened to have purchased a large box of the Halo mandarins from Sam's Club a few weeks back and they weren't the best we've had and there they were just staring at me so off to the internets I go and I found this recipe to use.   

We don't eat much in the way of jams or jellies in this house but at least it is preserved and I didn't have to toss it out.  That's a WINNER in my book!   

I did scour Pinterest and found more than a few recipes that use orange marmalade.  I'm thinking of trying my hand at some orange chicken, orange marmalade cake, orange muffins with a marmalade center, orange marmalade BBQ sauce for meatballs.  I think I'll have no trouble using that marmalade after all!!!

Not to mention it sure looks pretty on the windowsill. 

Now this morning I'm getting an egg out of the refrigerator and something smells "off".   I remembered I had bought a big bag of spinach for smoothies and it was beginning to get that I'm going bad smell.   Off to the world wide web systems I go again and I find where I can just dump all that spinach in the Vitamix blender and basically juice it smooth.  Poured it into ice cube trays and into the freezer it went.   When it is good and frozen I'll pop them out of the trays and into a plastic bag and throw it on the shelf in the freezer with the other cut up frozen fruits for smoothies.   Honestly I think maybe from now on I'll just do this when I get one of those big bags of spinach!

I also had 2 very large heads of broccoli that was about to get a little too limp to revive so I cut it up and roasted it.  I bragged on Instagram that I didn't have to share it.   Jokes on me!!!!  For gastro intestinal reasons we shall not go into, I don't recommend eating that much broccoli alone and in one sitting!!!     

What about you guys?  How do you keep from tossing out perfectly good food? 
Do you buy things in bulk and put it up for use in the off season?   I'd love to hear how your family deals with excess produce. 

I'm off to start painting and hopefully I'll be back tomorrow with the painting I've done so far and the progress on the next room I'm tackling!

Peace, Love & Preservation!

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