Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Local Flavors Swap Reveal!

Are you guys ready to see what I got in my swap?  First let me tell you a little about my partner, Brandi from Lipstick and Tractors.  She's from Iowa and lives on a farm, and works in healthcare. I live in Wisconsin, not on a farm, but in farm country, and work in healthcare.  It was cool when I got my package from her because we even sent each other similar things.

As soon as I opened the box, I could smell yumminess wafting out.  :)  Turns out it was this awesome votive candle that was locally made.  She also sent me a super cute piggy candy and tractor pop (which I have already ate), some local jam (I love jam!), local honey (I love honey and honeybees for that matter), some popcorn because Iowa is known for corn (and it's my husband's favorite brand and flavor) and a beef stick  (yummy!).  All of these things will be put to good use.  :)

If you're looking for a blog by a country girl who knows her way around makeup and cooking, I would definitly check out Lipsticks and Tractors.  And thanks to Brandi for the fabulous treats!

And if you want me see what everyone else got in their swaps or want to be sure to get in on the next swap, go to Chaotic Goddess Swaps.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Musical Monday- "Stubborn Love" by The Lumineers

It's humid and muggy here, but not super hot.  We've had lots of thunderstorms the past week.  And all the flowers are winding down.  It's the kind of weather that is slightly depressing in Wisconsin because you can feel that summer is ending.  Sure, there will still be some hot days, but we're on the downwards slide now.

I stopped at a little gift shop in town today, and the lady gave me the list of fall special events.  I like fall, but it made me a little disheartened to realize the leaves will be changing next month.

This isn't a new song, but it is a good one.  And I haven't heard it for a while, so I thought it'd be a good choice for this Monday.  It's kind of a sad song, but fits for how I'm feeling on this Monday.

If you want to see what everyone else is listening to this week, you gotta swing by My So Called Chaos and check it out.  And if you're a blogger, feel free to link up with us.  It's always interesting to see what everyone else picks.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Brown Bagging It

Do you pack a lunch?  The cafeteria at the hospital only serves lunch so if I work second shift, I have to pack a lunch or try to run out on my half hour break, so I usually pack it.  I actually pack a lunch a lot of times when I work day shift too, just because it's cheaper and better tasting.

Sometimes I take leftovers, sometimes I make a salad or bring homemade soup to heat up; once in a while it's cheese and crusty bread with a little pasta salad, and occasionally it's just good old fashioned PB&J.  Abe's Market recently passed on this info-graphic to it's affiliates about the cost of using throw away lunch products. 

Now, since I'm the only one packing a lunch in my house, my savings would only be about $145, but still, that's $145 I'm throwing away each year. I use a lot of plastic bags, and like individual sized packages of string cheese, chocolate almond milk, and bottled water.  But even more disconcerting is the amount of trash that is being produced by this throw away mindset.

I have made some changes recently to try and be better.  My husband bought a better water purification system for the kitchen (city water is the worst- yuck), and I'm trying to get away from buying bottled water.  I've been getting in the habit of making jello or pudding at home and pouring it in my own containers that are reusable and have lids.  I've also been thinking about getting some of those cloth sandwich and snack bags.  I have this picture in my head of crusty, smelly fabric bags, but I'm sure they're not that bad.

Abe's has a lot of choices in eco friendly lunch wares too.  Like these:

So do you pack a lunch either for you or your kiddos?  If so, what tips can you give to pack a greener lunch.  Also, got any tips to keep lunch from becoming boring?  I'm always looking for new things to try for work lunches.

And if you're thinking of ordering anything from Abe's, they're offering free shipping for the next few days, so be sure to take advantage of that.  No coupon code needed.

Note: This is a sponsored post from Abe's Market.  All links are affiliate links.  But I only choose companies that I would use myself.  I've ordered from Abe's several times and have always been happy with the quality and service I receive.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Clear Your Shelf Giveaway- Broken Harbor by Tana French

So are you looking for a nice read to cap off your summer? Or maybe you want something to cozy up with in the winter, with a nice mug of cocoa.  Bookhounds & I Am a Reader, Not a Writer is hosting their Clear Your Shelf Giveaway hop, and I'm joining in!

I love Tana French and Jolene from With A Little Help from My Friends got Broken Harbor for me when she was my Books and Bloggers swap partner earlier this year.  It was a great read.  Fast paced and even when you think you know how it all goes, there's a twist in there.    Here's Goodreads synopsis of Broken Harbor:
The mesmerizing fourth novel of the Dublin murder squad by New York Times bestselling author Tana French

Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy, the brash cop from Tana French’s bestselling Faithful Place, plays by the book and plays hard. That’s what’s made him the Murder squad’s top detective—and that’s what puts the biggest case of the year into his hands.

On one of the half-built, half-abandoned "luxury" developments that litter Ireland, Patrick Spain and his two young children are dead. His wife, Jenny, is in intensive care.

At first, Scorcher and his rookie partner, Richie, think it’s going to be an easy solve. But too many small things can’t be explained. The half dozen baby monitors, their cameras pointing at holes smashed in the Spains’ walls. The files erased from the Spains’ computer. The story Jenny told her sister about a shadowy intruder who was slipping past all the locks.

And Broken Harbor holds memories for Scorcher. Seeing the case on the news sends his sister Dina off the rails again, and she’s resurrecting something that Scorcher thought he had tightly under control: what happened to their family one summer at Broken Harbor,back when they were children.

With her signature blend of police procedural and psychological thriller, French’s new novel goes full throttle with a heinous crime, creating her most complicated detective character and her best book yet.
 Note: Even though this is technically the fourth book in the series, you don't need to have read the other three to follow it.

If you live in the US and you'd like win my gently used copy, all you have to do is leave me a book recommendation.  That's it, no following, no posting, no tweeting.  No fuss, no muss.  And you can check out what everyone else is giving away over at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Bookhounds or just click the Linky Tools link below...

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Musical Mondays- Somebody Loves You by Betty Who

So for this week's Musical Monday, I was planning on throwing it back to the 1990s, sense I still have a soft spot for a lot of the music that came out while I was in high school.  I don't know if it's because your brain is in overdrive with learning, hormones, and growing up, or what, but it seems like that's the music I remember all the words to and some that I still listen to on Spotify.  But if you ever really look, at them, a lot of the 90s music videos have not aged well.  The fashion is horrid, the videos are pretty dull and unmemorable, and there's a lot of bleached hair on the dudes.  But, I stumbled across something that has a Cyndi Lauper-esk feel instead.

It's Betty Who!  She's pretty cute and her video for "Somebody Loves You" has an 80s look and sound, but is still enjoyable.

It kind of makes me want to cut the sleeves and neck off a sweatshirt and dance around with my cat.  (That's something normal people do, right?)   After all the sadness of Robin Williams passing this past week, I wanted an upbeat pick, and I think this fits the bill.
So, be happy people, and I truly believe there's someone out there who loves each and everyone of you.

And stop over at My So Called Chaos and see what cool picks everyone else has for you...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Living a Conscious Life- Thoughtfulness

A friend recently told me that she wants to live a conscious life, she doesn't want to coast through and just do everything out of habit.  She wants to really be there for it.  I feel the same way, but hadn't really put it into words before.  How many of us get up every day, go to work, come home, do chores, watch TV, and then going to bed, only to start the whole cycle over again in the morning.  You start to feel like you're in a rut or that you're just a hamster on a wheel.  And really, what is the purpose of all this work you're doing if you don't take time to be a real and active participant in your own life?

Since that talk, I've been thinking of how to be more conscious in my own life.  The first thing I thought of is letting people know that I am thinking of them.  Whether it's a thank you, a get well wish, or remembering a birthday, it's nice to do something besides post on a person's Facebook wall.  So, I'm resolving to send at least one card a week (hopefully more) to someone who means something to me.  You know how nice it is to get all those Facebook messages from people you haven't seen in years wishing you a happy birthday, well doesn't it feel even nicer when you get a birthday card from someone, knowing they took the time to pick out a card just for you and took the time to deliver it to you.  I think it's time we give other people that feeling throughout the year.

Here's the plan:

1. Have some cards on hand.  Half the battle is getting the card, so keep some on hand.  Either buy some next time you're at Walmart or Hallmark (both have a .99 Warm Wishes Section, and I think Walmart even has a 2/$1.00 section) or Target, pick up a half dozen or so cards.  Get blank ones or ones with verses that you think will fit.  If you have someone in mind, you can get something specifically for them.  Dayspring Cards (affiliate link) will give you 20% with coupon code SAVE20CARDS on any non clearance card order.  Or if you're crafty, make your own.  I always have these big plans to make all my cards, but unless I make them up ahead of time it rarely gets done.  So, get some friends together and have a card making day.  The key is to have your cards ready to go.

2.  Along with cards, you probably need stamps (unless you plan on hand delivering your cards).  Don't like going to the post office?  I don't blame you.  You can order stamps at USPS and just pay a $1 to have them delivered right to your door.

3.  Think of who you should send cards to.  You can make a physical or mental list, it's up to you, but here's some ideas to get you started: that friend that always lets you vent about work, anyone you know who is battling some sort of sickness or disease or caring for a loved one who is, anyone who has taught you something or introduced something to you that is now a part of who you are (the person who introduced you to a favorite author, a craft, or your multiplication tables), family members you normally only see at Christmas, anyone having a birthday, your mom, a coworker who's feeling a little frazzled.  You don't have to write a long letter, or even a letter at all, just let them know you're thinking of them or you appreciate them.

4. Mail your card.  All done.

Then repeat.

I've sent two cards already this week, and it's made me feel more grateful just thinking about the people in my life.  If you're looking to be more conscious and active in your life, give it a shot and let me know how you feel after you tried it.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Musical Mondays Farewell to The Civil Wars

It's been a busy week here.  Ingrid Michaelson was playing near here Satuday and I found out what of the girls at work was a fan, so we resolved to go.  She was playing about two hours from here, and we headed out pleny early so we'd have plenty of time to take in all the sights because it was an outdoor show at a festivel.  We were about halfway there, having just finished a late lunch at Panera Bread when I got a call from my husband that the show was cancelled.  I thought he was kidding at first, but turns out she had a family emergency and the rest of her August shows were cancelled.  So we hung out in the big city for the day and did all the things you usually don't take time for.  We were at the bookstore for hours looking at books (we're both avid readers) and reading magazines, we strolled Target and TJMaxx and had Mexican for supper and then headed to the big grocery store to get all those weird organic and vegan foods that aren't available in our little town.  We had deep conversations and talked about things we were passionate about and what our dreams were and what we wanted to do in life.  And it was so refreshing!  So nice to skip over chatter about what some celebrity was doing or even talk about work and get right to meaty, soul sustaining conversations.  I've missed that.  There's a quote from C.S. Lewis that pretty much sums up the day and here it is...

And in the end, I didn't even care that the concert was cancelled, because it was such a good day!

On a sad news front, The Civil Wars have officially announced they are breaking up.  Boo!  I remember when their first album came out, and one of my girl friends was raving about how awesome they were, but I thought they were "too country".  But, when "Safe and Sound" came out with Taylor Swift (of all people) came out, they totally won me over.  You want to know the one thing nice about their breakup?  They aren't blaming each other or saying that it's anyones fault or name calling.  It seems an honorable way to end their partnership.

So, in honor of that, here's a video for "The One Who Got Away"

So, as usual, you can check out everyone else at Musical Monday and see what's shaking.  It's always interesting to see what everyone else picks.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Dog Days of Summer Craftsy Sale!

We're officially in the dog day so of summer.  Here in Wisconsin, it hasn't been too bad.  I think we've only had a handful of days where we were above 90.  But that's okay by me, usually there's a stretch of a week or two where we are in the 100s with crazy hot humidity and no relief unless you're indoors in air conditioning.  So, I'm not complaining,

But if you live somewhere hot and humid, never fear!  Craftsy is having a "Dog Days of Summer" sale and all classes are 50% off!  Seriously, if there's any class you've had your eye on, now is the time to sign up!

Last week I found a manual pasta maker, that looked much like this, so now I'm seriously considering signing up for the Homemade Italian Pasta class.  Yum!  Homemade pasta all winter long?  Yes please!


You all know I love Craftsy.  My favorite out of the classes I've taken is  their Artisan Bread Making class and still make homemade bread a couple times a month.  If you're still not convinced an online class is for you, check out my post Craftsy 101.  It explains how you can learn at your own pace, rewatch videos as much as you need to, and the instructors are all great!  And I said it then, but I'll say it again.  If you aren't sure you want to spend the money on a class, there's lot of free ones on a variety of topics that will give you a little taste of what you're in for.

But hurry, because this sale ends on August 11!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Musical Mon.... Tuesday "All About That Bass" by Meghan Trainor

So I'm a day late to the party, but better late then never, right?  Right.  Anyhow, it's been a crazy last few days here.  I've been stressed and at doctor appointments, and worked all weekend, and having mini mental break downs that includes tears at work, which is something I literally try to avoid at all costs.  So, yesterday when I finally got home, I tossed a bag of fast food to my husband, changed out of the scrubs and went to one my coworker/friend's house to sip wine and chill.  We also organized, which is relaxing and rewarding for me.  You can talk, straighten, clean, and then when you're done, you can see order.  It was nice.  Then I promptly went home and went to bed.

I originally intended to use a different song for Musical Monday, but then I found this one and I knew I had to share it, even if it was already Tuesday.  I don't usually weigh in on the body size debate.  And I'm not going to get into that today.  I'm more about being fit than being skinny.  But sense we're constantly bombarded with pictures of "overweight celebrities" who are probably still smaller than the general population (take poor Mischa Barton and Brooke Shields who have their "battles with weight" documented online)   But this song is pretty fun.  And catchy.  And the video is cute. And you know, rock on Meghan Trainor for being comfortable with your body even if it's not a size 2.  We can all aspire to that regardles of our size.

So, check out Musical Mondays over at My So Called Chaos to see what everyone else is listening to.  And if you blog, link up with us.