Friday, April 28, 2017

Garden Center Visit

Last weekend my hubby and I went to our local garden center, Greenstreet Gardens. They had a tour through their greenhouse with their spring flowers! Man, they've got a huge production. I adore going there even though I can't have all the things!

That being said, I wanted to share some of the beauty of their plants. So happy it's in my garden!

 So many ferns!

 Who doesn't love a hibiscus?

2000 of these hanging baskets will be going to D.C. I believe and 6 pots will go around each light pole.

 Isn't this German Iris gorgeous? It's now living in my garden! Those colors...

I kinda dig Lantana. Their ombre colors are just so fun!

I've been chomping at the bit for peonies to be ready to plant. The one I have is ok, but I want a big, full on bloom like the one I had back in MN! Unfortunately, they only have ones like the one that's in my garden. Wah wah wah So the wait continues. I did bring home the divine iris above as well as portulaca and everbearing strawberries! I can't wait to get the strawberries planted! I miss having them in the garden! YAY I've only ever had Junebearing so it'll be great to have everbearing ones.

Have you been picking up any flowers or veggies at a local garden center?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

May The Fourth Be With You

You can't live in my house and NOT like everything Star Wars. Now, I admit to not being as deeply committed and knowledgeable about every character, planet, or vehicles. My oldest son is what I'd consider an aficionado and my husband knows a ton as well. I'm pretty sure they both think that May 4th should be an official national holiday. That being said, check out these post that celebrate all things Star Wars...You're welcome.

This room may have been done for a 6 yr old, but I can guarantee you that my almost 18 yr old would live quite happily in it! One Happy Housewife changed up her son's room into a Star Wars Themed Bedroom, and you will be over the moon to do the same to your kiddo's room! We may have to implement a few of these ideas into my son's room.

Now, you can't celebrate May 4th without some treats, right? Grab a big old box of candy bars and use these fabulous wrappers to put them in! Fancy Shanty created this Free Star Wars Party Printables for you. Not only that, but there are some other great Star Wars themed ideas on her site as well!

Do you remember at the beginning of Rogue One, Jyn received a crystal necklace from her mom? Check out how you can make a DIY Crystal Necklace Worn By Jyn Erso! Pretty cool tutorial from Jennifer Maker. She makes it look so easy. Any Star Wars fan will love it!

Time to head to the sweeter side of the Dark Side! How about you whip up this Star Wars Hot Chocolate! Nothing wrong with having a foamy mustache after having a sip. This drink by Thrifty Jinky was inspired by The Force Awakens. Hot chocolate is delicious any time of the year, but it will be especially delicious on May 4!

Let's continue on in the same vein of delicious goodies with Galaxy Brownies. Now there are some jacked up brownies that my entire family would sink their teeth into! This is the right kind of dessert to celebrate Star Wars. Thank you, The Monday Box, for baking up such yummy colorfulness! You know you wanna take a bite.

Do you have a budding artist in your family who also loves Star Wars? Print a Colouring Page from eParenting and let them go to town. Of course when you visit the site you'll be able to get the black and white version. ;)

Have fun with these three ideas from Saving Dollars & Sense! The first is an Activity Pack from The Force Awakens. The second is a super cool looking Storm Trooper White Chocolate Cocoa. You're going to have to make one for each person in your family. Then, if you don't get enough of THAT cocoa, you can always try the Bantha Cocoa. That is one colorful drink!

Last but not least, finish your day by snacking on a cupcake. I have a feeling in my house the light sabers would become toys for my boys to play with, but why not, right? lol My family loves all things cupcakes so they wouldn't last long around here. Thanks for the fun Star Wars Cupcakes recipe  Highlights Along the Way!

Now that you have amazing ideas, how are you planning on celebrating the day?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Becky Wade's 'True to You' Author Facebook Chat Party

Raise your hand if you're ready for Becky Wade's new series! Celebrate the release of book one, True to You, with Becky and other readers on Facebook on May 4th during a fun author chat party at 8:00 PM EDT (that's 7:00 Central, 6:00 Mountain, & 5:00 Pacific)! Becky will be chatting about the book and answering your questions about the new series, and of course, there will be plenty of fun giveaways too!

Pre-order your copy of True to You so you're ready for a fun book discussion. Find out more about the book here.

Hope to see you on May 4 for Becky's True to You Facebook Party!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

POP Pilates, Barre, and Cardio Hip Hop

Well, I haven't lost a single pound and I found out that I can't fit into my shorts from years past, including the new ones I bought last year. THIS my friends is NOT good news. I'm still keeping on keeping on. I think there are two pieces that have to be worked on to actually see significant change.

First is my eating habits. I eat terrible! I've never eaten great, so that's not helpful. I've done the right thing by adding fitness to my life, but that's not making any changes. I guess at this point I'm maintaining where I'm at, which isn't where I want to be. In my head I want to make changes to my diet, I just haven't translated that into real life.

That being said, I also know I need to do more than Zumba. It's an amazing cardio workout, and I love it every single time I go! I'm guessing Amanda thinks I'm a total groupie. lol I've told her several times how much I appreciate her enthusiasm and energy!

I've tried several other classes now! A few weeks ago I went to the pilates class. I've actually gone a couple times. One of the things I like about it, is it comes right before Zumba! Hello bonus. I need to get a yoga mat and some good socks for that class. The mats they have there are nice and thick, but not necessarily made for tall people. When I do certain moves, my feet hang off and slide with my socks. I could get yoga socks and that would definitely help.

It's really a good workout. I didn't expect to sweat so much because I thought it was more core work, but there's some cardio involved, too. Let's just call it a warm up for Zumba. It totally works muscles I didn't even know I had. I actually really like it and the instructor is really lovely.

On Fridays there aren't many classes except earlier in the day. Totally a bummers since I work. It's the same on Sunday, but I guess that's a good thing or I'd probably be there on Sunday, too. HA! About a month ago, they started a barre class on Friday evenings. The first time I went, a gal I'd seen at Zumba was there. We shared a barre and chit chatted as we were dying together! I watched a couple of videos before going to this class, but holy mama, I was shaking like I tree by the time we were done. My legs aren't fans of that kind of workout. Of course that means I need to go back. I haven't been back, but I did like it! The instructor there was pretty great as well.

I went back to my regular Zumba classes, and the gal I'd worked out with at the barre class convinced me to try cardio hip hop. She said it was fun like Zumba. So off I went. It was definitely fun! There were a lot of moves I couldn't do, and she tried to get us as a class to try them, but they weren't very easy. lol She actually had to nix one of the songs because we were all over the place. hahahaha The instructor was very upbeat and was so smooth with her dancing. I'll never be her, but I will do her class when they fit my schedule.

Not sure if I've mentioned Zumba enough in this post so I figured I'd mention it once more before I finish this post. lol I'm really digging my classes and trying out new ones. There are a couple during the day I'm interested in, and I supposed if I want to try them I'll have to do them while we're a bit slow at work. I also need to muster up the gumption to get dressed and leave the house at 8am. Ish it's not ideal for me. Why can't aqua aerobics be later in the day? lol I'll aways stick with my Zumba. ;)

Do you prefer cardio or core workouts?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

ZeroWater For Healthy Drinking Water & Giveaway

I'm not a huge fan of water. I know, I know seems like a strange way to start off a review for a product that has me drinking the stuff. I have to add some clarity to my initial statement. I like water, but I'm particular about it. First it has to be ice cold, and second it has to taste good. When ZeroWater reached out to me, I jumped onboard and you'll understand my reasons why.

I've never really drank much water. Like I said above, it has to be ice cold for me to enjoy it. Since I started working out I've been drinking a bottle of water every day. Now that's something for me! We have well water at our house, but let's just say I'm not a fan. We can get water through our fridge, but our filter needs to be replaced. It's needed to be replaced for probably a year. Since my hubby is the only one who drinks that water now, he's not concerned. Needless to say, I'm not drinking the fridge water.

When I saw that I could test my water with the 12-cup Ready-Pour ZeroWater pitcher, I was thrilled. I've had some concerns about our well water and haven't known what to do about it. I knew that once the water went through the pitcher, I could test it to see if it was safe. We had well water at our house back in MN, too, and I wasn't impressed.

I've been drinking the water from my ZeroWater pitcher for a couple of weeks now, and I'll say it's been great! Of course since it sits in my fridge it's always cold, just like I like it. I grab a cup, take it upstairs to my treadmill, and I'm set for my walking time. It's also been nice that I can take my reusable water bottles with me to the gym again.

Like I said, not liking the well water, I've been using the bottled water for my workouts. Blech! I found it interesting when I put the water in a bottle I'd had for a while and it tasted really strange. I thought the bottle was clean as I hadn't used it in a while and it was just sitting in my cupboard. I was concerned it was the pitcher water. I ended up dumping out the water, yes it tasted that bad. I poured another glass into a different reusable water bottle and it tasted exactly like it should. I can't tell you how much that impressed me. I honestly didn't realize there could be that big of a difference or that it would be so noticeable.

So, how easy is it to use and test? You just fill up the water reservoir and let the water filter through. Once the water has gone through, you fill it again to let it filter through until body is filled with water. The test meter snaps into the lid, which is great for safe keeping! You take a clean glass to put the water into so it can be tested. You push the on button, it reads the water, and it gives you a number. At some point it will get up to 006 and you know it's time to change the filter.

I like that my ZeroWater pitcher also came with a map that shows me what I should expect, for the most part, from the filter. In Maryland, I should be able to get between 25-40 gallons of water! Not bad! Completely worth the cost of a filter. Also, as you can see above, the handle has the spout attached. That makes it easy to tuck it onto a shelf and not have to finagle it to easily dispense the water! It you want it quicker or more at once, you just pull it out and use the tip of the pitcher.

Now you have the opportunity to win the same pitcher as the one I have! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Homemade Household Cleaners

This has happened over and over again, but I just kept putting off making a change because...change. I'm not a fan. I'm also not a fan of not being able to breathe in the same room room I'm cleaning. I've used numerous household cleaners and most of them overwhelm me and I end up hacking and leaving the room.

Finally, I figured it was time to search out some good homemade household cleaners that everyone could use, including me! As I looked through some of these ideas, I was surprised at how many different home and personal DIYs it's possible to make! Things I actually wouldn't have considered.

Let's start with a disinfecting spray. Mama's Instinct has a DIY Natural All-Purpose Disinfecting Spray that's sure to get the job done! Looks like for homemade cleaning products I'll have to invest in some good glass bottles. I'm a fan of anything lemon so of course this one grabbed my attention!

Next we head over to Miss Information for a couple of ideas. My bestie has been making her own laundry detergent for years, but I've been too lazy to jump on that bandwagon, but I have taken dryer sheets 99% of the time out of our laundry routine with my dryer balls. Miss Information's other cleaner is a powdered cleanser to help get your home clean! Both have piqued my interest!

First let's start with the laundry detergent. This Homemade Laundry Detergent will also benefit my family because of my hubby's allergies.

Next is her All Natural DIY Powdered Cleanser. We can get some tough stains around here and I'm thinking this powder would come in very handy!

If you've got a Swiffer type mop at home, you'll love these reusable mop pads along with a homemade solution to get those floors clean. Aileen Cooks will help you with some great natural cleaning ideas! Start off with her Homemade Reuasble "Swiffer" Mop Pads.

With the grout I have in my bathroom, I've been needing a cleaner that didn't seem like it was going to kill me while I was using it by inhaling the fumes. I think a good place to start would be with Aileen Cooks' Homemade Grout Cleaner. You can see a visible difference pretty much right away!
How about a list of homemade cleaners all in one spot? Wondering what to have on hand to make them? Living Well Spending Less has exactly what you need for cleaning the entire house with her Green & Thrifty Cleaning Products. Man, she makes it all look so easy, and it is! I think those of us who haven't made the switch make it harder than it has to be.

Having been out in the garden over the past week + I've run into a ton of weeds. I should've been more vigilant during the winter since it was a mild one. As soon as I went to clean up my gardens, I realized I was fighting a battle against all kinds of weeds. Well, one homemade household cleaner I'm going to try for outside is Two Kids & A Coupon's Non-Toxic Weed Killer. I had no idea it could be so easy to make!

I don't know if I've ever smelled a worse chemical than oven cleaner. I mean, I don't want want the pets in the house let alone the people when we have to clean the oven. Gah! One of the worst tasks when cleaning the house. What's Up Fagans? has A Natural Solution for cleaning your oven you're going to want to give a try.

I'm going to be searching high and low for more DIY cleaning products, so if you've got one, please share it with me! I'm ready to toss all of the stuff that's under my sinks right now!

What is your favorite homemade cleaner?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Waking Up The Garden

The weather has been really nice off and on for the past few weeks. It wasn't until this past weekend that I decided it was time to wake up my flower gardens. I've been spending time outside getting things ready to uncover the dirt. Yes, I said dirt. I'm not a mulching kind of gal.

That being said, I had no idea when I went outside just to get rid of some clovers that I'd end up uncovering the gardens from their winter blanket (I use leaves) and transplanting other plants. The clovers are terrible this year. I think that Fred must've seeded with clover seed not grass seed. Once I got rid of the clovers one the side of the porch, I found out that my hostas were coming back. I hope they do better this year that last year. They pretty pitiful last year. Not at all like the big ones I had back home. I'm hoping the soil is starting to improve. The worms I've been finding are a great indication that it is!

What I need to do one of these days is map out my plants. I always start off with the best of intentions to remember what I've planted and where. Unfortunately, I've got so many these days I can't keep track in my head. Not only that, I move them around or plant new ones at various times throughout the year, I can't keep track of them any more.

I was bummed to uncover the small garden next to the garage to see that only one of my Monarda (bee balm) has come back. Hopefully I'll be able to split it and they'll do better through next year. I think the Liatris (gayfeather) will be pretty big this year. I'll probably have to move them around to the back of the garden if they get too big.

The one plant I can't wait to add to my perennials is a peony. I do have one, but it's not a great one. The one I had from Minnesota grew blooms that would be as big as my son's face. Somehow it didn't make it with the move to Maryland. So very sad. I hope I can find one to replace it this year. I'll be heading to the garden center in the next couple of weeks to find just the right one.

One of the lilacs I bought last year while we were in MN came back wonderfully this year. It's already got some good growth! It'll be quite a while before it reaches maturity, but I'm happy it's making progress! Little by little.

OH, and something I'm extremely excited about is my large lilacs are showing that they're going to be blooming! Those also came with me from Minnesota. I've had these plants for probably 15+ yrs. When they didn't bloom last year I was a little heartbroken. So far I see two green bulbs where there will soon be blooms! The little ones I got from my girlfriend last year have already bloomed. They're tiny, cute little lilacs! I'm not sure if they'll get bigger than what they are, but I love that they bloom so early!

By the end of my afternoon, my little gardens were looking good as new. They looked like they were happy that spring had arrived and were ready to get their bloom on. The one last thing I need to do this weekend is bunch my daffodils together. I planted the bulbs individually in both gardens and realized as I saw other ones at other homes, I like them better in a bunch. Now I just need to find the space!

Have your spring plants come to life yet?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

InvadR At Busch Gardens

When you're invited to ride a brand new roller coaster by Busch Gardens, how can you say, "no"? I took them up on their offer to visit the park and test out InvadR, their first wooden coaster. Well, except for the fact that I don't really care for roller coasters. I figured I'd take my boys along with me and THEY could ride the roller coaster.

Eventually I searched YouTube and found videos on how they built it, and got a look at how the ride actually was. The one thing I found, mmmmmm as a nudge, to get me to ride it was when the park Sea Director, Design and Engineering said that it's meant to be a family ride. Hmmmm so maybe kids could ride it? If kids can then I could right? Also, the part that sealed the deal that I'd give it a try was when they said it didn't ride like a typical wooden roller coaster, that was much smoother!

I kind of ended up having to go on the ride because I forgot to have my oldest take the day off from work so he couldn't even go with us. Sheesh, that was a big mom fail. My youngest was able to go down, so we got a hotel room the night before, and found out our ride time was at 7:45 AM...ay em! We had to be there by 7:15 so that meant an early rise time for me and the kid.

We got to Busch Gardens right on time only to find out it was SO cold that InvadR wasn't thrilled to be running. Let me tell you, it was stinking cold! We thought it was going to be in the high 60s. Yea, no, it was around 45ยบ! By the time we arrived they were running about an hour behind. The plus was they had food and drinks for all of the people riding. There were a few porch heaters running, but not enough to keep all of us warm. Whatdaya do, eh?

When it finally came to our turn, we got there with a family whose mom didn't like roller coasters either. hahahaha We were bonding over our fears. This was one of those times I wish I had a GoPro! If you had a GoPro, they'd strap it to the front of the coaster for your own personal POV video. Of course I wouldn't have wanted to be in the front seat. HA!

When it comes to roller coasters, the thing that freaks me out are the big drops. I can go upside down or around fast corners, they don't bother me. Big drops...Aaaaaaah Watching the InvadR ride video, there was only one drop, and the rest were fast turns. I could totally do this!

The first time we rode, see how I said, "first time", I had my eyes closed with the drop. Sakes alive roller coasters freak me out. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned that. lol For the rest of the ride they were partially opened. It turned out to be pretty amazing.

We were done with nothing to do since the park didn't open until 10am. We kind of stood around, went back to where the food was, stood there warming up for a little bit, and then headed back to the ride again. I realized then that people were going back on the ride! I asked my son if he wanted to go again and he was game. I told him this time I'd try to keep my eyes open. I tried. Probably for half the drop I kept my eyes open. heh heh heh It was a lot more fun the second time through.

I can see why they say it's a great family ride. It's extremely fast, and it's constant fun, but it's not scary at all! It's not rickety like a wooden roller coaster, which I've ridden before and are rather painful to be on. Here you get the fun of being on the wooden coaster with the sleek ride of a steel one. You can't beat that.

Around 10am I noticed a line of people who were being stopped from coming into the media section of the ride, which was right in front of it. By 11am the line was super deep and they were allowed to make a line closer to the ride. At 11:30 the park president addressed the media about InvadR opening. He spoke for about 15 minutes and the next thing we heard was a ruckus! The Vikings were coming with their entourage. The head Viking addressed the crowd and by noon the crowd was released to ride the newest roller coaster at Busch Gardens! I grabbed a shot with him and off we went to hang out with the rest of the park.

Since it was so cold out, we decided we'd only ride a few more rides before we headed home. We got on Verbolten, which I've ridden in the past, but this time I wasn't feeling it for some reason. hahahaha We got on it and I started shaking. The surprise part of this ride always gets me even though I know it's coming. hahahahaha

We road the Turkish Delight (tea cups) and The Tailwind where I totally squished my kid. Man, that ride makes us laugh probably more than any other one. Who doesn't like being able to squish the person sitting next to them?

I hope we can get down there a few more times this year. We love being able to go to Williamsburg not only for the park, but because we have family there, and they're always wonderful to spend time with.

What ride to you like at parks?

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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.