Window Shopping Wednesday – Love and Toast

Do you like smelly-good stuff?  If you’re a girl, I’m 99.9% sure that the answer to that is ‘yes!’ And if you’re a dude, I’m 99.9% sure that every woman in your life would say ‘yes!’  So – this week we’re going to take a peek at a nifty little shop that specializes in smelly-good products for your body.  With Christmas right around the corner, you seriously might want to pick these babies up!  Individually they make great stocking stuffers.  Together, they make a great gift for any girl in your life (or for yourself!). (sidenote: this company has some of the cutest packaging for their products that I’ve ever seen)

This weeks featured shop:  Love and Toast

One of my favorite scents is lime and coconut.  I think I would love this Honey Coconut collection just as much!

I bet this Mandarin Tea pair would be absolutely amazing in the spring and summer.  I can totally see wearing this while lounging by the pool with a drink in my hand.

This Salt’n Sea set just makes me want a spa day.  Yes please!

These may not qualify as “smelly-good” but they definitely qualify as “lookin-good.”  This Pucker Up Lip Glaze compilation would be a fabulous stocking stuffer!

Speaking of sets – this Super Smoother Collection, comprised of six different kinds of Shea butter handcremes, is totally calling my name.

What are some of your favorite smelly-good products?

Recipe Review: Zesty Herbed Carrots

So I got this recipe from this nifty Kraft magazine that I get from time to time. 

Zesty Herbed Carrots

Serves 6 (approx ½ cup each)

INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing
  • 1 lb carrots, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp walnuts, chopped

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pour dressing over carrots in a large nonstick skillet; stir to coat.
  2. Cover and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes. 
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir in parsley and walnuts.

THOUGHTS

  • I actually left the nuts out because I’m not a big fan.
  • This dish was super simple, healthy, and delicious.  This is an easy go-to recipe for a nutritious sidedish to serve with cooked meat and a side salad.  I would recommend serving with a roast or baked chicken.  So yummy!

I’ve linked up to these great parties:


One Artsy Mama

I Heart Nap Time

UndertheTableandDreaming

Skip To My Lou


Book Review: Kill Shot by Vince Flynn

So back in June I told you about this great book I’d read called American Assassin by Vince Flynn.  Well, I ended up insisting that my husband read it and he loved it just as much as I did.  So, he started buying all of Flynns’ books.  Presently we own the entire series.  The next book comes out in November. 

So the first book, American Assassin, is actually the 11th book in the series but it’s the prequel to the first 10.  This book, Kill Shot, is the sequel to the prequel (say that 10 times fast).  Basically that means it’s the 12th book he wrote but it falls 2nd chronologically. 

Here’s the synopsis:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Vince Flynn is back with another nail-biting political thriller that follows the young Mitch Rapp on a deadly mission to hunt down the men responsible for the Pan Am Lockerbie terrorist attack.

For months, Mitch Rapp has been steadily working his way through a list of men, bullet by bullet. With each kill, the tangled network of monsters responsible for the slaughter of 270 civilians becomes increasingly clear. He is given his next target: a plump Libyan diplomat who is prone to drink and is currently in Paris without a single bodyguard.

Rapp finds him completely unprotected and asleep in his bed. With confidence in his well-honed skills and conviction of the man’s guilt, he easily sends a bullet into the man’s skull. But in the split second it takes the bullet to leave the silenced pistol, everything changes. The door to the hotel room is kicked open and gunfire erupts all around Rapp. In an instant the hunter has become the hunted. Rapp is left wounded and must flee for his life.

The next morning, the news breaks in Washington that Libya’s Oil Minister has been killed along with three innocent civilians and four unidentified men. The French authorities are certain that the gunman is wounded and on the loose in Paris. As the finger pointing begins, Rapp’s handlers have only one choice-deny any responsibility for the incident and pray that their newest secret weapon stays that way, avoiding capture and dying quietly. One person in the group, however, is not prone to leaving things to chance. Rapp has become a liability, and he absolutely cannot be allowed to be taken alive by the French authorities. But it will soon become clear that nothing is more dangerous than a wounded and cornered Mitch Rapp.

So I got about a quarter of the way into this book and I texted my husband to tell him that he was going to be hell to live with when he started reading this book.  He asked me why and I said ‘because it’s going to piss you off.’  You see, there’s a character in this book (well, several actually) that you just are itching to run over with your car.  He repeatedly does stuff that just infuriates you as the reader!  My husband actually just started reading the book so I’m doing all I can to keep him in a good mood when he comes home.  LOL.  This book was fantastic!  Yes, I was miffed at the characters but I totally got sucked in.  I’m so glad that we’re reading this series!!

Ornament Exchange

I don’t normally post on the weekends but I just wanted to give you guys a heads up that I just signed up for the One Artsy Mama Ornament Exchange. 

I think this is a super nifty idea. 

Go here to check it out.

P.S.  Can you believe Christmas is less than two months away???  Craziness.

Recipe Review: Easy Tomato Bisque

This is another recipe from Taste of Home.  You can view it here.  I fixed this with grilled cheese sandwiches the other day for my mom and hubby. 

Easy Tomato Bisque

Yield: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup half-and-half cream
  • Chopped fresh tomatoes, optional

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a medium saucepan, sauté garlic in butter for 1 minute. Stir in flour until blended; gradually add chicken broth. Stir in tomato paste and cayenne until well blended.
  2. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat; gradually stir in cream. (Do not boil.) Garnish with chopped tomatoes if desired.

THOUGHTS

  • I thought this soup had waaaaay too much garlic and I didn’t like the spice that was added from the cayenne pepper.  If I were even to attempt to make this again I would use half the garlic and take out the cayenne all together.  I also didn’t add the chopped fresh tomatoes. 

I’ve linked up to these great parties:


One Artsy Mama

I Heart Nap Time

UndertheTableandDreaming

Skip To My Lou


Making Baby Burp Cloths

A while back I mentioned that I went to a friends baby shower.  This friend is the first friend that I’ve known that I knew before she was pregnant and has then had a baby.  When she told me she was preggo I was totally psyched for her and her hubby.  Naturally, my mind immediately started working overtime trying to figure out what I was going to make for her for her baby shower gift.  Then, as happens frequently in my life, life got completely and utterly out of hand.  In the end, I ended up taking a trip to Carter’s to buy her adorable baby boy some equally adorable clothes.  I’m thrilled with what I gave her (and I think / hope she was too) but I still wanted to go ahead and make something for her even though her baby shower had come and gone.

So – I whipped out some flannel fabric that I had purchased, made a Joann’s run to purchase some terry cloth fabric (i.e. towels) in matching colors and then sat down at my sewing machine for a few hours.

Here’s what I made:

Now – I’ll be honest… I made her 4 (or was it 6?) of these suckers and none a single one of them is the same size.  I wanted a finished product of 10” x 18” and between not being able to cut OR sew in a straight line I don’t think that any of them were on-point with my desired outcome.  Nonetheless, they turned out relatively cute and, if nothing else, functional.  And let’s face it… her kid is going to puke on these.  I sincerely doubt that he cares if my seams are straight.

Burp cloths are a great beginner sewing project.  You take your flannel and your terry cloth (note: you can buy towels at the dollar store instead of terry cloth fabric from a fabric store) and you cut out an 11” x 19” piece of both.  Pin right sides together and sew (using a ½” seam) all the way around, leaving approximately a 2” opening on one end.  Flip your burp cloth inside out, then stitch around the seams again, approximately ¼” from the edge.  Lastly – fold your burp cloth into thirds (length wise), mark the ‘fold’ with an erasable pen or, in my case, frog tape.  Then sew a straight line along your marker.  This helps to adhere to terry to the flannel as well as making it easy to fold the cloths for storage.

Have you ever made anything for a baby shower gift… Or a belated baby shower gift?

I’ve linked up to these great parties:

Bloom Designs
Chef in Training
Chic on a Shoestring
Classy Clutter
Delightful Order
DIY Show Off
Ginger Snap Crafts
Handy Man Crafty Woman
Happy Hour Projects
Home Stories A to Z
I Gotta Create
I Heart Naptime
Lil Luna
Mod Vintage Life
My Girlish Whims
One Artsy Mama
Skip to my Lou
Uncommon Designs
Under the Table and Dreaming

Window Shopping Wednesday

If you know me at all then you know that I have a love for all things ‘animal.’  I have a wonderful dog who I adore and I love to spoil her when I can.  She has more toys then she knows what to do with and she has food allergies so I can’t get her very many treats.  I can, however, spoil my friends dogs on occasion!

This weeks featured shop:  Harry Barker

These Country Treats would be a great Christmas gifts for the pups in your life. 

I really love these Dog Food Containers.  It looks so much nicer than giant bags of dog food hanging out on your pantry floor!

When you’re taking your pooch on a walk you should definitely have these Biodegradable Baggies with you. 

If you like to purchase gifts that give back then you should absolutely consider these Canines for Veterans Dog Treats.  First, Canines for Veterans saves dogs’ lives, rescuing them from shelters.  Next, they teach military inmates how to train these dogs to serve wounded veterans. This gives the inmates a purpose and helps rehabilitate them.  Finally, the trained dogs are paired with wounded veterans, assisting them with everyday tasks and enriching their lives. For more information please visit CaninesforVeterans.org.  A portion of the sale of this product will go to support this worthy cause.

I know my dog would looove to play tug of war with these Cotton Rope Carrots.

If you really want to spoil your pet or to celebrate the addition of a new pet how about this Gift Bucket (there are several options available)? 

Thanks for shopping with me today!  Now go take your pooch for a walk!

Recipe Review: Easy Crockpot Potato Soup

So I found this recipe on Pinterest several months ago and the other day I had a coupon for OreIda potatoes and I thought BINGO!  I totally know what I’m making with those suckers!  So I tried this baby out. 

I found this recipe here.

Easy Crockpot Potato Soup

Serves – not listed

INGREDIENTS

  • 30oz bag frozen, shredded hashbrowns
  • 3 – 14oz cans chicken broth
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 package cream cheese (don’t use fat free – it won’t melt!)

DIRECTIONS

THOUGHTS

  • Are you ever surprised that you do/don’t like a recipe that you made?  I don’t know why I am.  I mean, let’s face it, at this point I know what foods I do/don’t like so if I’m making something, say, featuring mustard (which I hate) wouldn’t it stand to reason that I probably won’t like the dish?  Makes sense to me.  I’m not really sure why that didn’t occur to me here except I suddenly realized ‘hey!  I have a serious loathing for cream of chicken soup and it’s a starring ingredient in this recipe!’  What can I say?  Somedays I’m not the brightest bulb in the box.  Anyway, if you can’t figure out where I’m headed with this let me spell it out for you… this soup tastes like cream of chicken soup with some potatoes thrown in.  Definitely not my style.  Or my husbands really (even though he likes cream of chicken soup).  Neither of us particularly liked this dish. 
  • IF you like cream of chicken soup then what I’ll tell you is that this dish is super quick and easy (both a win-win in my book).  So, if you’re a fan of the ingredients then I say try it out. 

Have you tried any new recipes lately?

“As I stumble through the darkness, I will call your name by night” ~ song: God of Wonders by Chris Tomlin

I started compiling the information for this post several months ago when a dear friend lost one of her grandchildren suddenly.  I didn’t feel appropriate posting it at the time.  Recently though, I’ve lost a good friend to brain cancer and another friend of mine lost her father.  Actually, several people I know have passed on in the last few weeks. 

In truth, I’ve been lucky.  Both of my parents are still alive.  I was too young to remember two of my grandparents who died when I was very young.  The only one I have any memories of died a few years ago but it was expected so I wasn’t destroyed by it.  I also hadn’t been close to her in years truthfully.  My husband is alive and happy and healthy and so are my best friends.

I’ve never lost someone who was really, really super close to me.  So, I can honestly say I’ve never experienced the type of grief that I know I will some day.  I know it’s coming.  It’s inevitable.  I can only hope that my ‘good fortune’ continues and I don’t have to experience this kind of debilitating grief for a long while yet. 

That being said, here are some scriptures and quotes that gave me comfort when I was grieving for my friend and also inspirational quotes to help you help others while they’re grieving.  I hope that they help you and yours.

Matthew 5:4 (NIV)
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Revelation 21:4
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV)
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”

Romans 8:28 (NIV)
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

1 John 3:16,18 (GNT)
“This is how we know what love is: Christ gave his life for us.  We too, then, ought to give our lives for others!  My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love which shows itself in action.”
Note: Words of comfort have a powerful healing effect, but more than words is needed. Remember that the family of someone who has just died is faced with innumerable decisions and arrangements in addition to daily chores. It is frustrating and depressing to lose a loved one and hardly have time to think because you are frantically rushing from one responsibility to the next. So it can be helpful to offer specific help to families in mourning. And if you are in mourning, be willing to gratefully accept offers of help.  But to be a healer, you must go where people are hurting.

Viktor Frankl was a Jewish psychiatrist who survived the Nazi concentration camps. He suffered as his father, mother, brother, and wife died with millions of other Jews in gas chambers. He later said, ”They offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from man but one thing: the last human freedom, to choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances.”

I can’t fathom the kind of grief that I know will come someday.  I know that I’m tearing up as I’m writing this post and that’s just thinking about it.  My heart truly goes out to those who have or are currently experiencing the lost of someone dear to their hearts.  Know that I love you.  Know that I’m praying for you and that my heart is breaking for you. 

One of the hardest things is to comfort someone who is suffering from this sort of grief.  Many of us don’t know where to start or don’t want to say/do the wrong thing.  Here’s what I think: do what you’re best at.  If you’re not good at words, then don’t stress about offering verbal comfort.  If you’re a great cook, bring over a home cooked meal one night (don’t offer, just do it!).  If you’re great at cleaning and you know that the family is going to have everyone over after the funeral then go over the day before and help clean their house, or stay late and wash dishes afterwards.  Personally, I’m a big hugger.  Sometimes what I find I’m best at is just holding on to someone.  You’d be amazed how many times I’ve gone up, just hugged the bajesus out of someone who is grieving and cried with them.  It seems to be a relief and most of the time they just let it all go and start crying.  I can pray over them (even though that’s admittedly totally not my strong suit) and I’m happy to just hold them until they’re cried out (and I am too).  Sometimes all you need to do is just be there.  When my friends granddaughter passed away, I went to the funeral.  I didn’t know anyone in the room besides my friend.  It didn’t matter.  I wanted to be there for her and show her that I loved her and I was supporting her through this difficult time in her life.  I think that mattered to her. 

The key is: do something.  It doesn’t matter what. 

Remember: to be a healer, you must go where people are hurting.

Restaurant Review: The Pecan Creek Grille

So I mentioned yesterday that I’d had some family in over the weekend and that we’d been to dinner but we also went to breakfast the following morning at a new (to us) restaurant.  The restaurant is called The Pecan Creek Grille and I have to say that we’ll definitely be going back to this establishment. 

First off – their customer service was amazing.  I’m fairly certain that the person at the counter taking our order was the person who owned the store but if not I hope that this guy gets a raise!  There’s something to be said for incredible service in THE SERVICE INDUSTRY and this gentleman was top notch.  Example:  my MIL ordered a half Belgian waffle and so did I – he said ‘oh, oh – wait a minute – let me put it in as one whole Belgian waffle and it’ll save you about $2.’  How cool is that?  He was also quick and efficient which says a lot when there are four people order and we’re all saying ‘we want this, but without that and add this instead and oh, hold the onions.’  He rocks my socks. 

Secondly – the food was pretty stinkin yummy!  My husband always orders his eggs over-medium and they end up over cooked, so he has learned to order them over-easy instead in order to get over-medium.  He assumed this place would be the same so he ordered them over-easy and they were actually over-easy (which means when we go back he can actually order over-medium and GET over-medium).  Sweet!  Our entire table (except me, because I don’t eat pork) absolutely RAVED about their bacon.  Apparently it was ‘two thumbs up’ and “not cheap.”  I also had a breakfast taco and it was very delicious.  I’d order those again any day!  My husband said that his hashbrowns were a little lacking but I think that’s because they were just potatoes – order those babies with some onion, cheddar cheese, and in my husbands case smothered in cream gravy and he’d be a happy man. 

I won’t lie – their priced aren’t stupendous.  About $50 for 4 adults to eat breakfast but it was a BIG breakfast and a yummy one at that.  I wouldn’t pay that every weekend but once every few months when we have out of town company or just want to impress someone then this is definitely a place we’d head. 

Sidenote – they also get serious props for funny art.  There were some breakfast-themed cartoon-type art pieces on the wall by an artist named Todd Goldman

Here’s a few of Todd’s goodies: