Halloween Mixed-Bag

>> Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy spooky Halloween!

Can you believe Halloween is here?! Wow, this month flew by. This whole year is flying by and now it’s Halloween weekend. Are any of you dressing up? I’m not (zzz) but so far at work today I’ve seen a Pac-Man (which made me laugh), a scary Nun, a lady with devil horns and a red scarf (??), a ski bum (woman dress in ski clothes with a prosthetic butt), a ketchup bottle, and a woman with witchy leggings. There may have been others but with some people in the metro area it’s hard to tell what’s a costume and what’s not. Hee hee!

I’m so excited to take YS2 out trick-or-treating Sunday. This is a whole new experience for him this year. He’s still not old enough to get it really or appreciate the traditions or festivities but he’ll get a taste. Well, not literally. I don’t plan on feeding him any candy. Next year might more of a challenge on that issue. :/

I’ll post post-Halloween pics when I’ve got them (*remember camera*) but here are a few from last year - he was six months old:

Only a few more days left to enter my giveaway for a Trek Light Gear hammock. Even if hammocks “aren’t your thing” you can give it away to someone who would enjoy it. Also, in case you’re nervous about relaxing or sleeping in one or even setting one up, here’s a helpful blog post from TLG. It might just change your mind or put it at ease. As I previously mentioned, we set up our hammock a little too tight but it was still very comfortable and secure. Giveaway here.

I’ve been mulling over the idea of entering in a small yet fun food challenge. Yeah, you heard me. I’m not going to say which one or what it involves exactly because I don’t want to commit and then not follow through. I’m just thinking about it at this point. I’ll decide this weekend. Maybe. :) I’m so non-committal. How annoying.

I finally ordered a few items from CSN Stores to review. If you recall, I mentioned a couple weeks ago about CSN offering me a chance to review something from their website. Did you know I’m one of their Preferred Bloggers? Pretty cool, huh?

Anyway, I was able to order three items: two kitchen items – I’ll let you know what they are when I do the actual reviews of each – and one thing for YS2. Look for those reviews soon.

Awhile ago, I won a sample of Maggie’s soap nuts from Kelli. I’ve been curious about these for so long but never broke down and bought any. I waited to win some and my patience paid off. And hey, these are pretty cool. Just put five little soap nuts in the cotton bag provided and toss in the wash and let it do its thing. Clothes were clean and soft. Lasts about five washes but depending on how you wash they can last a little longer. For us, about six washes but might be able to push it to seven. Very cool that these grow on trees. What they are is the dried fruit of the soapberry tree and contain saponin, a natural detergent or cleaner. So, very eco-friendly. Thanks again to Kelli and Maggie’s.

Have any of you read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson? I recently picked that up to read on my daily commutes. Where I bought it at the cashier noticed it and said her 4 yo daughter’s daycare is reading that to her and her classmates. ??? Seriously? What a weird thing to read to a young child (or is it just me?). I was already familiar with the description before reading it but once I began I thought it even more strange that a daycare would read this to little kids. HOWEVER, I completely understand the temptation to read it to whomever or wherever because it is that intriguing. I will continue to refrain from reading it to my lil one though.

Enjoy the Halloween weekend whatever you do, even if it’s passing out candy to the kiddies and watching a movie (that sounds fun actually - with popcorn).


Quiet Days

>> Sunday, October 24, 2010

Remember to enter my giveaway for a Trek Light Gear double hammock. You really don’t want to pass this one up (but for the other entrants they do, you know, to better their chances *wink*). And don’t let the cooler weather keep you from entering (if you’re a hardcore outdoorsy type then weather isn’t an issue) because this hammock is so lightweight and compact that storing wouldn’t be an issue until you’re ready to take out. Or you know, the holidays are coming up; would make a great gift…anyway, go enter if you haven’t.

We took Caleb to the mall the other night just for fun – window shopping and people watching. I always enjoy that and I know Caleb had fun. We let him walk around a bit, albeit carefully. He still hasn’t taken to wearing shoes so he was walking around in his socks. Although, Sam found him some shoes at Target he would finally wear. Looks like a great fit to me. What do you think?

 At the mall:

Bummer thing is, less than 12 hours later, he woke up with a cold. His first ever! Pretty remarkable though dontcha think? I mean his first cold/illness at 17.5 months. Not too shabby. Not sure if it was the mall trip he got the cold from or from someplace else or even from me. I thought I was coming down with a cold a few days ago but it never turned into anything so I can’t say. On top of that, he’s teething again (canines are coming in-woo hoo!). Really though, he’s a tough guy and he’s so patient and so good that even his worst days are pretty tame.

He woke up the next day (today) feeling so much better! Phew! And yay for homeopathy. Some people don't believe in the stuff, but I do.

This post isn’t meant to be all about lil Yardsnacker but hey, he’s my pride and joy. Can’t help it. :)

So while at the mall, we spotted a lovely window display:

I love flying kitties. Who doesn't?! I had to share this knowing you'd love it too. It still makes me giggle.

The other day, the lovely Vegan Lisa on twitter mentioned making a warm salad inspired by the lovely Angela of Oh She Glows. It involves chickpeas, tahini, red onions and butternut squash. Yum! Lisa’s version used sweet potato in place of butternut. Even more yum!

Growing up, the only time I really remember having sweet potato was at Thanksgiving time. We didn’t have the typical version of sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top but if it were up to me as a kid, you betcha we would’ve had lots of marshmallows! Nowadays, marshmallows are not required but I sure do love sweet potatoes and not just for Thanksgiving. So when I saw Lisa’s version of Angela’s salad I said I must try.

So glad I did too! Oooh, yummy! I followed Angela’s recipe with the exception of sweet potato. However, the canned tomatoes I had weren’t really that great so I added a little bit of leftover sketti (aka spaghetti) sauce to the dressing. Is that weird? Probably but it still worked. I don’t really care for store-bought canned tomatoes but if I had some homemade canned tomatoes that would’ve been ideal.

For leftovers, I wish I had extra dressing for it but it was still tasty. YS2 certainly thought so. He ate most of the chickpeas. Ha! Guess I'll be making this again.

Can you believe next week is Halloween?! Got any plans; dressing up? I better find Caleb his costume. ACK!


Strollin’ in Autumn

>> Thursday, October 21, 2010

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came -
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.
~George Cooper, "October's Party"

Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.
~Elizabeth Lawrence

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.
~Stanley Horowitz

falling leaves
hide the path
so quietly
~John Bailey, "Autumn," a haiku year

Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter.
~Carol Bishop Hipps

I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house.
So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
~George Eliot

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
~Albert Camus

Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
~Emily Bronte

The winds will blow their own freshness into you,
and the storms their energy,
while cares will drop away from you
like the leaves of Autumn.
~John Muir

Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile.
~William Cullen Bryant


HammockTime: review and giveaway (CLOSED)

>> Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Howdy Folks! Sorry for the absence. Been a little busy lately so I’m a bit tardy in posting, including today’s. But stick around – got a good one for ya.


One of my favorite things in the whole world is a hammock. I mean, come on, who doesn’t, right? There might be some who don’t care for them for one reason or another but I figure they’re far and few between. For me a hammock is so relaxing just gently swaying while it cocoons you - looking up at the sky, the trees, the stars, the clouds…ahhh…so nice. So nice you could even sleep in it, huh? Well depends on the hammock probably and your surroundings.

I remember as a teenager wanting a hammock instead of a bed in my bedroom. My mom, believe it or not, thought that was a cool idea. Not sure why it didn’t pan out though. But it was a fun dream.

Recently, I got to check out Trek Light Gear’s double hammock. Let me tell you it’s sooo nice! One I could definitely sleep in or relax in while reading a good book. I love that it conforms to your body perfectly that you feel so snuggly inside.

And hey, I could realize that dream I had of having a hammock inside. But I probably won't. :)

I will say that I’m not exactly the most graceful person getting in and out of a hammock but I eventually found a method that works with this one and won’t cause embarrassment. Fortunately, the way this is designed any fears one might have of having it flip and making you fall to the ground would be nil. It’s also safe for kids, however, you’ll still want to be careful getting in and out and always supervise your children.

YS2 sure was having fun!

With the double hammock two people can lounge together in it comfortably (hopefully you like the person next to you!). One person could use it too – it would just give you lots more room. I did find that when in it by myself (lengthwise) the sides enveloped me, I like to lay smack dab in the middle, but you might notice from the pics that actually it was a bit too taut. I didn’t feel claustrophobic or swallowed up – I mean I could still breathe (yay - lots of breathing room) I just couldn’t see out. A looser hold would remedy this. Of course, you could lie across it diagonally or horizontally too. It’s durable and strong enough to support whatever position you prefer.

And just for the record, no trees were harmed in the process of hammock-ing. Sam used the rope kit we received to secure it around the trees so none were stabbed with hooks. Yay! It was very secure and very comfy.

Also, much of the work (knot-tying) is done for you. With the hammock and rope kit you are ready to go!

This hammock is made from parachute nylon and is super lightweight – another bonus. It weighs 20 ounces! Perfect for the backyard, camping, hiking, or taking anywhere. It’s very portable; very compact; very light. Also, there are accessories you could pimp your hammock with like a bug shield or tarp. And hey, it won’t mold! Major bonus for us living in the damp states of Washington and Oregon.

Pretty awesome huh?

Buy it: Trek Light double hammock for $69.95 and Go Anywhere rope kit for $9.99.

WIN IT: one lucky entrant will win a Trek Light double hammock in their choice of color (based on availability) with a rope kit courtesy of Trek Light Gear!

To enter: visit their website and comment here a feature you like or something you learned. This is mandatory – doesn’t have to be done first just has to be done.

Extra entries – leave a comment for each entry. Entries count as one unless noted; if it’s more than one entry it equals same number of comments:

Where would you use the hammock if you won?
Follow Trek Light on Twitter
Like Trek Light on Facebook
Subscribe to Trek Light’s newsletter (believe me, you won’t be spammed or inundated if you do) – 2 entries
Follow me publicly via Google Friend Connect
Subscribe to my blog via email (I don't blog daily so this should be safe too) – 2 entries
Follow me on Twitter – provide your @name
Tweet about this giveaway (provide status link) - you can tweet this: "Win a super sweet, super comfy double hammock from @TrekLightGear! Enter @hihorosie's blog http://is.gd/g8Bo4 Ends 11/2"
Blog about this giveaway (provide the link) – 3 entries

Giveaway will end November 2nd, 2010 at 9:00 PM PDT. Open to all residents in US and Canada only. Winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org.

We had a lot of fun reviewing this hammock and know we’ll be enjoying it for years to come. It’s getting a bit chilly outside for my tastes to do much outdoorsy stuff but I'm taking advantage of the dry weather while I can. Next time I go camping or hiking this is definitely coming with us, no matter the weather.

Many thanks to Trek Light Gear for providing me the opportunity to review their double hammock and for their generosity in giving one away to some lucky reader.

Good luck to you all!

Disclosure: I was provided a double hammock with rope kit from Trek Light Gear to review. My opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. Your experience and opinions may differ but I hope not.


Reviews Galore

>> Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Howdy folks!

Got what I hope is a fun post for you today but first I wanted to let you know that CSN Stores contacted me about an opportunity to review a product from one of their online stores. Yeah, CSN and I are like this.

If you’re not familiar with CSN Stores, they have over 200 online stores to shop from. You can buy things like end tables, kitchen rugs, or greenhouses.

I haven’t decided what I’m going to review just yet but wanted to let you know to be on the lookout for it in the near future.

Hope you don’t mind but today’s post is mainly random non-sponsored product reviews. Things I picked up along the way recently and thought I’d share with you.

Soooo, I finally bought my first jar of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Butter. Averie has spoken very highly of the stuff that when I spotted it I didn’t hesitate to pick it up. Let’s just say I can totally understand why she stocks up on the stuff for year-round! Oh my! Now, I know this isn’t the healthiest thing but hey, it’s seasonal and why not give myself a little treat. Snarf!

While at TJ’s we picked up a frozen bag of Quinoa Duo with Vegetable Mélange. We normally would cook our own quinoa (and veggies) but here it’s all ready to go (takes like six minutes to cook). Gotta have a cheat once in awhile or what I’d refer to as a Rachel Ray or more like the semi-homemade lady (she annoys me - the lady that is, not RR, although I'm sure RR is annoying to others). It’s great as a meal or an addition to one for lil Yardsnacker. He loves the stuff. It has red and white quinoa with sweet potato and zucchini. It’s a hit-n-miss with the zucchini for my lil guy but otherwise, it’s a winner. I have to admit I like it too.

Still with me?

We picked up a HUGE bottle of Ohgave raw agave syrup as it was on sale at Whole Foods. This is a new product to me. Say what you want about agave but I’m not opposed to it…for the most part. We don’t have it much to be honest but I’m not going to shun it like Dr. Mercola wants me to (I sometimes like Dr. M but find he’s annoying a lot of the time with his scare tactics). This bottle has a pic of Matthew Kenney on the back so it must be good, right? Well, as a matter of fact, it is! I will say that not all agaves are the same. Some people will argue about the fructose content or the color of agave (I’ve heard that if it’s not clear there’s no guarantee you’re getting 100% raw agave - Ohgave says I am) but I do believe in GOOD agave. I will rate this as a good agave. So many are mass produced that I believe there is validity to some of the arguments. However I don’t think I have to be running scared because some aren’t “raw” (although, I do prefer the raw ones, if possible) and/or is amber in color. If you’re not against agave syrup then I do recommend Ohgave’s raw blue agave nectar.

At my Whole Foods there is a product we’ve tried many times before because we love it so much but then forgot about it until recently. I think we od’d on it before…it’s Zane & Zack’s honey-chipotle gourmet sauce. Oh my, so good! It’s spicy, it’s sweet, it’s smoky, it’s d-lish! It’s made here in Washington so I’m not sure if it’s sold at other Whole Foods. But if you spot it and it sounds like your kind of condiment, I (we) highly recommend it. Great on tacos (raw or not) or with guacamole or whatever. As you read, it contains honey so if you don’t do bee products then you’ll want to pass.

Hello? Still there? Good, if you are.

Last review. Recently, I won a Vapur water bottle from Julia’s blog Easy Eco to Go. Thanks again, Julia and Vapur! So I’ve had time to test it out and it’s awesome. Very handy with its design (when empty it can be stored folded or rolled or just flat) and carabiner clip. Well, YS2 loves the bottle too. He can drink out of it (with assistance since it’s made for big people) pretty good. However, he reminded me of those old old old Samsonite commercials where the gorilla goes “ape” on the luggage. Caleb didn’t sit or stomp on the “un-bottle” like the gorilla but it was thrown, dropped and folded while half filled with water. I don’t recommend doing these things normally but I can report the integrity of the un-bottle is still intact. Phew! It’s a mighty good reusable bottle if you ask me. If you’d like to read Julia’s review on the vapur, read it here.

Hopefully, I didn’t bore you too much. Just had to get that off my chest. :) Thanks for sticking to the end if you did.

Do you like/appreciate product reviews? I hope so because I like to post them and will continue to do so. But just curious if you like them or find them helpful.

Do you do agave? I didn't go in detail above about the pros and cons of agave (I left that one to other people and experts to duke it out) but I just don't believe that all agaves are bad. What do you think?

And Dr. Mercola. *sigh* He puts out some good info; I even subscribe to his newsletter but find many times deleting them before reading because of his scary negative approach. There are other sources of info besides him but what do you think of him?


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