Friday, December 19, 2014

Silly Kids

 What a couple of handsom boys! (messy faces and all!)  They might drive me crazy, but they sure can take a decent picture.
If anyone out there in internet land wants to take a peek at some of my other photographs, please feel free to check them out HERE.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

How I Get Free Samples

I love free stuff. I'm not going to lie. I mean...who doesn't? A few days ago I found myself wonderfing if I could get my hands on some free stuff. After finding a site that gave a list of some companies (major name brand companies mind you) that had links to get a free sample. I thought it was great! After I had hit about every link on said site, I came across someones blog post on how they get way more samples than the other sites offered. Naturally this intrigued me. "How"?! I wondered. It was simple: Just ask!
Seriously! If there is a company that you would like to try products from, just ask them! Ask them if they have any samples or even possibly any coupons they could send you. I have found many times that if a company doesn't have any free samples available, they will offer a coupon in it's place (either by mail or a coupon code). Even though I have had a lot of success with companies saying "yes" to me, there's even more that say "no", so don't get discouraged! 
I scoured over many, many forum posts on which companies give free samples and which ones do not. I have found that a lot of time the case is, one company will give one person free samples and then will not for another person. I'm not really sure why this is, but it's always worth it to ask anyway! Below is the ever growing list of companies that have said "yes" to giving me free samples.

 Cosmetic Companies

*Jane Iredale
*Kjaer Weis
*Napoleon Perdis
*Ellis Faas

Skin care Companies

*Pangea Organics
*Nature’s Gate
*Skyn Iceland
*Dr. Hauschka
*Aubrey Organics
*Radical Skin care
*Organic Fiji
*DHC Beauty
*Paula’s Choice
*Canus Goats Milk Skin Care
*Jack Black
*EO Products
*Just Hatched
*Absolutely Natural
*Love & Toast
*Hempz Products

Hair Care

*Living Proof
*Original Sprouts

Children’s Skin Care

*Rainbow Research 


*Joie Fragrance
*The Laundress
*Mrs. Meyers Clean Day
*Crabtree & Evelyn
*Stash Tea
*Archipelago Candles
*Yes Yes
*Mamacat’s Q Tea
*Natural Calm for Kids
 *Kirks Natural
*Grandpa Brands

I can say that most of these companies are VERY generous with their sample giving and I cannot wait to try out all of my new products and the new ones to come! 
Good luck and enjoy! 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Autumn Happenings

The start of this new season has been lovely. I love that it actually feels like fall outside already which is a treat because summer usually likes to stick around for awhile here in central North Carolina. We've already marked a couple of things off of our Fall list. Corn maze, check! Homebrew Pumpkin ale, check! And this weekend we'll be able to check off going to the NC State Fair! (we can't wait!). I've also been doing a lot of Fall cleaning around the house which feels great, but I have to admit, my house never actually feels clean with three little boys living here. Oh well. 

Wishing everyone a lovely Autumn! 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Labor Day

Labor Day was a hot one this year. Seriously. Despite the weather, I still thought it best to brave the heat and try to capture a few moments from the day.

 (Why oh why did we build a fire!?)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Recipe: : Philly Cheesesteak Mac n' Cheese

There are very few things that taste better than a good Philly cheesesteak sandwich. You just can't beat the ooey gooey cheese, the sauteed peppers and onions and the meat....oh that glorious steak! I recently decided after seeing a pin for a Philly cheesesteak & Mac n' Cheese mashup that I would create my own version.


* Noodles (any kind of short noodle will work, I used callentani noodles)
* Steak-Umm sliced steaks (I used 7 slices)
* 4-6 mini sweet peppers, sliced thin
* 1 small red onion, sliced thin
* 4 Tbs. Butter
* 2 cups fresh grated Monterey jack cheese
* 2 cups fresh grated mild cheddar cheese
* Approx. 4 cups of milk (I used whole milk)
* Approx. 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
* 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs
* Salt & pepper to taste

To Make

1. Boil the noodles as directed, drain and set to the side
2. In a heavy bottomed soup pot (on that you can bake in is best), melt your butter
and then add your onions and peppers. Saute on a medium-high heat until soft and a little blackened.
3. Add your steak slices and with a spatula, chop up the steak pieces to your liking, cook thoroughly.
*now is the time to pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F.*
4. Make a roux by sprinkling in the flour over top of the onion, pepper, steak mixture and stir. Let it cook down for a minute or two. 
5. (still on a medium-high heat setting) With a wisk, slowly stir in your milk, making sure it gets thick again before adding more milk.
6. Once you've added all your milk and it's slightly thick, add in 1 1/2 cups of each kind of cheese leaving the rest for the topping.
7. Once your cheeses are all melted, add in your noodles, and stir (don't forget to season with salt and pepper!) 
*If you must, now is the time to transfer your macaroni and cheese into an oven safe dish*
8. Sprinkle your panko bread crumbs on top of your mac n' cheese and then top off with the rest of your leftover cheese.
9. Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes
10. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Recipe : : World's Best Snickerdoodle Cookies!

If you're on the hunt for the perfect snickerdoodle cookie, stop right here! 
These cookies turn out perfect every time. They are light, buttery, slightly crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. They go perfect with a cup of coffee or tea and can be enjoyed any time of the day. I have slightly altered this recipe, but the original can be found HERE.


* 1 cup of soften butter
* 1 1/2 cups natural granulated cane sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
* 2 tsp. cream of tartar
* 1 tsp. baking soda
* 1/2 tsp. real, all natural salt
* 2 3/4 cups of unbleached, all purpose flour
* 1/2 cup natural granulated cane sugar
* 2 tsp. Cinnamon

To Make

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (or you can wait to do this step until after the dough has chilled)
2. In a large bowl, cream together your butter, eggs, sugar & vanilla until nice and "fluffy".
3. Next, mix in your cream of tartar, baking soda & salt until well incorporated
4. The last thing to mix in is your flour. Stir until there is no more flour visible and everything looks smooth.
5. Place the cookie dough in the freezer for 10-15 mintues to let everything rest and firm up a bit.

**While your dough is chilling, in a smaller bowl, mix together your 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon.**

6. After your dough is done chilling, with a small cookie scoop, scoop out your dough and one at a time roll the entire ball in your cinnamon and sugar mixture.
7. Place your balls of cookie dough on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and ever so gently press down on your cookie dough balls (as pictured below)
8. Once your cookie sheet is filled up, place them in the oven for 8-10 mintues (I found that 8 1/2 minutes is the perfect time for me.)
9. Once done, let them cool and enjoy! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Recipe: : Scrumptious Chickpea Sandwich

If you'd like an alternative to the classic Tuna Sandwich or you're just looking to switch things up a bit at lunchtime, then look no further than my Scrumptious Chickpea Sandwich!
This sandwich is amazing! Seriously. Full of fresh flavor and healthy nutrients, how could anyone not love this glorious spread?! (Just a side note - my young children loved it too!)

* One 15oz-ish can of chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) - drained, rinsed & dried
* 2-3 TBS mayonaise
* 2 tsp dill relish
* 2 green onions, thinly sliced
* 1/2 tsp dried dill
* 1/2 tsp dried parsley
* Squeeze of lemon juice
* Salt & Pepper to taste

To Make
1. Take your drained/rinced/dried chickpeas and place them in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork until you've reached a desired consistancy.
2. Add in your mayonaise and stir until well blended.
3. Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir until everything is mixed in nicely. 
4. Spread on sliced bread or crackers if you prefer.
5. Enjoy!!
 (Don't be afraid to play around with the flavors in this recipe! If you like more dill, by all means add more dill! You get the idea.)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Friday, May 9, 2014

This Moment

*This Moment* Inspired by Amanda Blake Soule

 A moment to remember.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Random Bits

Delicious homemade White Pizza. 
 A growing boy who is looking less and less like a baby everyday.
 Prints from my recent purchase at Artifact Uprising. I am so pleased with these beautiful little images!
 He just melts my heart.
 On a different note: :
Please consider buying local for Easter this year. When you do, it helps support families like my own. I cannot express enough how grateful I am for all the support I've recieved over the years.  Being able to create has brought so much joy to myself and others and I hope I can continue for many more years to come! 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Gratitude Sunday

                    Today I'm joining Taryn over at Wooly Moss Roots for Gratitude*Sunday

In Taryn's words: :
G r a t i t u d e * S u n d a y
"{Sunday's heartfelt tradition. A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful. A list of gratitudes.}"
 This week, I'm grateful for...
* Having a nice movie night at home with The Husband which included enjoying some homemade guacamole, local beer and a virgin margarita! 
* Rain and warmer weather! (Although the tornado thread we had last night was NOT fun)
* Pretty nail polish in a fun color! A great way to make a girl feel a little more put together.
* Finding an awesome website that allowed me to create some very unique prints! So excited to see the finished product!
* Finding a neat fold away high chair that is perfect for our tiny place.
* Coffee! 
* A clean house (although this is rare)
* Tiny blessings everday - even if they are hard to see sometimes
* Good music
* And as always, God!

Friday, March 28, 2014

This Moment

*This Moment* Inspired by Amanda Blake Soule

a moment to remember.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Busy, Sick & Happy

 I told him to smile, so of course he growled at me. 
 Such serious looks!
Spring is finally upon us, well, kind of. Like I've written before, here in NC, the seasons are never in order. The other day it was almost 70 degrees, today, we could see snow. Oh well. When the spring weather comes to stay, it will be short lived and then the heat and humidity will set in. Fast.
The last week was filled with visiting family, fun impromptu photo shoots, thrift store finds and an illness I am still trying to shake. Hopefully this hacking cough will be done with for good, soon! The next week will be filled with lots of shop work. (I should probably get my hands on some more coffee.)
Now off to find some Catholic Easter crafting inspiration on you guessed it.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Almost Spring

Today is St. Patrick's Day and I'm sick. 
Despite the sickness, I've had a lovely week. 
A trip to the park was taken, yummy food was made and spring like weather came to visit.
Here's to hoping warmer weather decides to stick around for good! (We never know what to expect here in North Carolina as far as the weather is concerned.)

I'm sure you are wondering about the little one's arm. He decided it would be a good idea when Mama wasn't looking to climb on the coffee table and fall off. Thankfully it was just a minor fracture and the cast will come off at the end of the week. I have three boys. I suppose I should get use to this. 

Lastly, I'd like to plug my Etsy Shop for a minute. I have many great items available for Easter this year! Playsilks, wooden eggs, wooden acorns, rainbow bowls! Come and "like" me on Facebook to keep up with the latest shop news. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!