Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Liebster Award!

Today I received a surprise email from the lovely Natasha over at Giggle Giggle Toot Roar.  She had nominated me for a Liebster Award.  A what?  Haha....I've been blogging for awhile now but I'll be honest with ya.  I had no idea what a Liebster Award is so of course, I asked my friend.....Mr. Google.  And to my fab discovery, the Liebster Award is an award passed around the blogging community to help get to know other bloggers and recognize bloggers for all of the wonderful things they're doing.  A sort of fab blogger spotlight if you will.  I've read that its for bloggers with only a few hundred followers but I've also read that its for blogs with fewer than 1000.  Now, I've surpassed those numbers quite some time ago but hey, its all still a good time.  My nominations aren't going to fall in those number categories because I'm just going to choose blogs that I enjoy reading and that I think you all would enjoy reading as well! 

So now that I know what this Liebster Award is, I definitely have to send a much deserved 
"THANK YOU THANK YOU MAMA".....to Natasha for nominating me! 

liebster2


The Liebster Award Rules:
  1. Each nominee must post 11 facts about themselves
  2. Answer the questions from the person who nominated you and create 11 new questions for those you nominate
  3. Nominate 5-11 of your favorite bloggers and link them in your post
  4. Go to their page and tell them
  5. Thank and link back to the person’s blog who nominated you

Ok....here it goes!

11 Facts About The Momma Behind The Bee Hive Buzz (and a lot of this you probably did NOT know about me)
  1. I am an only child.
  2. I have two Bachelors Degrees, one in Animal Ecology/ Pre-veterinary Wildlife Care and the other in Entomology with a minor in Dance (focus in Middle Eastern Dance and Teaching Children's Dance) from Iowa State University.
  3. My favorite hobbies are gardening and canning.
  4. I get extreme anxiety if my hands feel dry...(so for you PR reps out there...I'm a sure thing for lotion reviews)
  5. I'm a dyslexic blogger.
  6. I had voice training in my younger years....Opera training!  (My poor neighbors)
  7. I could eat at crappy Chinese buffets for the rest of my life and never get sick of it!
  8. I've traveled to Mexico, Argentina, China, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Tanzania, Kenya and Antarctica.
  9. I've only been to 12 out of the 50 US states.
  10. I have Tourette Syndrome and NO I do not yell obscenities.  I just twitch.  Its like an involuntary dance party of one.... and its fabulous!
  11. In college I had pet rats that had free roam of my apartment and were trained to poop in a litter box (and I also had cats in the same apartment).  We all lived together in perfect peace and lots of snuggles!


And now to answer Natasha's questions!

Why did you start your blog? 
I started my blog because I felt alone.  Sounds like an odd reason to start a blog but I needed someone to talk to.  I had just given birth to my first baby who was also premature (scary).  AND, the HR director at my job had just called me up and fired me one month into my maternity leave.  What a great way to start a morning, nursing a tiny 6 pound baby and getting a phone call like that.  Its not something I would wish on even my worst enemy.  So there I was, home with a new preemie baby, a terrified new mother now scared to death about how our family would survive on one income (we were living paycheck to paycheck before I lost my job).  To top it off, I didn't have many girlfriends and my few close friends were very very far away.  I felt alone and afraid and needed to get some thoughts out of my head and also needed something to make me feel more....well....Momish.  I needed something to build me up.  So I decided to start a Mommy Blog to connect myself with other moms.  And boy did it blow up!   I also got a little inspiration and guidance from a good friend of mine from college.  You may have heard of Baby Dickey?!  Now, my blog is certainly not huge but I'm sure proud of it.  And I'm so blessed and thankful for every single follower I have!

How would you define a good leader?
A good leader to me, has to be passionate.  You can't lead a team to victory if you don't have passion for the journey!

What’s your biggest pet-peeve?
Oh no.... My biggest?  Just one?  Well...I suppose (sorry Mr. Bee) ONE of my biggest pet peeves is when my darling hubby eats a pop tart....and then sets the pop tart wrapper on the counter NEXT TO the garbage can.  I mean COME ON!  Really?   Another foot and the wrapper could have been IN the garbage!  Love him to death but really dude???

What’s your favorite meal?
I'm a sucker for a crappy Chinese food buffet.  I'm a very indecisive person so I like buffets because if one thing doesn't hit the spot, I can try something else.  And I love Chinese food!  Now if I'm cooking at home, the best nights are always taco nights!  But if my Chef Hubby is cooking, I love his famous Carrot Ginger Soup!

If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?
I would do several things.  First, I would pay off my $100,000 in student loan debt.  Two separate bachelors degrees and 4 study abroad programs add up!  Then, I would pay off all of my parent's debts.  Then I would buy my parents a beach house in Fort Myers Beach, Florida and then I would buy us a beach house down the road.  Anything left over would get split and half would go to retirement and the other half would be saved for Emma, be it college tuition or whatever she needs when shes grown. 

Describe yourself in one word.
Geektastic!

If I spent a day in your shoes, what would it be like?
Everyday for me is something new.  Taking care of our busy toddler as shes finally walking and climbing everything in sight.  Reading books and teaching new words.  Building projects (I love building raised garden beds) and doing landscaping and gardening.  Washing cloth diapers and housework.  Playing in the baby pool on the patio and swinging on the swing set.  Washing the rest of the laundry and washing dishes.  Going to the library to get more books and going for walks.  Always working on writing and taking photos for the blog. Sorting through dozens of emails while my kid repeatedly unplugs the laptop (my laptop is old and has a bad battery so it doesn't stay on if its not plugged in).  Cooking meals, canning veggies from our garden and canning our own jams and other goodies.  Being Mrs. Fix-It because between the husband and I, I'm the handy one!  I'm also the bookkeeper and bank teller.  I take care of all of our family's financials and bills....that's no fun at all.  I'm also a Pure Romance Independence Consultant so I've usually got a party to plan for too.  I love my life but I never ever have time for a nap!

What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you?

This......

What’s your biggest fear?
Not having a healthy, happy family.  

If you could meet anyone from the past, who would it be and why?
This is a hard one!  I would have to say that if I could meet anyone from the past, I would just love to meet the woman in my family.  I'd love to spend some time 100+ years ago.  I would love to experience life as a woman in the early 1900s or 1800s to see what it was like, especially for my female relatives.   I've always told people that I was born in the wrong century.

Favorite candy?
Its between Root Beer Barrels, Snickers or Jolly Ranchers.


And now.....the moment you've all been waiting for......
I nominate:
Emily at Baby Dickey
Savannah at The Simply Me Blog
Now here are my questions for you ladies:

1. How did you decide on the title of your blog?

2. Do you have any pets?

3. If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?

4. What was your favorite cartoon as a child?

5.  Coffee or tea?

6. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

7. What are your 3 favorite blogs that you follow?

8.  What is one thing that you can't leave the house without doing?

9. What is your favorite topic to blog about??

10. What is something you do in your house to be more ecofriendly?

11. In your opinion, what is the best blog post you've written so far? Share the link!


For those of you that I nominated, please send me (or comment with) your link to your Liebster Award post when its posted so that I can read all of the answers to my questions!
I can't wait to learn more about each and every one of you!

I hope you all enjoyed this Liebster Award.
Thanks again for the nomination and I hope to see many more wonderful things from the Liebster Award blogs in the future!

Azure Naturals Ultimate C Skin Repair Serum Review


I've got skin damage.  Nothing too significant.  But its definitely obvious that my (almost) 30 years on this planet have taken its toll.  I was never great about taking care of my skin when I was younger.  I was blessed to have fairly clear skin and my skin had decent tone and texture so I never really did anything to keep it that way.  But now that I'm getting older, my skin is looking its age.  All those years sun bathing with no UV protection are starting to show and those tiny fine lines are making their debut.

So to help me renew my skin, Azure Naturals sent me their Ultimate C Skin Repair Serum.  Its loaded with good stuff to help renew my skins youth.  It contains vitamin c, hyaluronic acid, vitamin e, ferulic acid, organic aloe and amino acid complex to help protect my skin from more sun damage, helps fade sunspots and helps improve discoloration and guards against future damage. It also helps stimulate collagen production, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, helps refine your skins smooth texture while firming skin too.  I pretty much need help with all of that!

My skin tends to be pretty sensitive to a lot of products.  Especially my face!  Lots of products that I've tried have ended up drying our my face and making my skin sore.  But this worked great!  Its paraben free which is always a huge plus when I'm picking out skin care products and it doesn't contain alcohol which is usually the biggest culprit of drying skin when I have that issue with products for my face.  So this didn't dry my face at all.  It didn't feel like I was coating my face with a harmful chemical solution because is 98% natural and 72% organic.  Its also plant based with no GMOs and another plus one.....its cruelty free and gluten free.  So this is something I would continue to use and I'd give it two thumbs up.

If you're interested in trying it for yourself, it can be purchased on Amazon!


Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, July 14, 2014

DIY Arthritis Friendly Raised Garden Bed - Backyard Homesteading Series


One of my favorite hobbies.....is gardening!  This is something I learned from my mother when I was very young and is something I hope my daughter will grow to love as well.  Its a fun activity that we can do together and is a great reason to get out of the house, get some fresh air and enjoy being outside.

But the last few years have been rough.  I was recently diagnosed with early Arthritis, which explains why my body just seems to hurt and ache more and more lately.  So this year I wanted to make sure that my aches and pains would not come between me and my garden.  Plus, our backyard doesn't have the best soil quality so we needed some good, nutrient rich garden soil for our garden this year.   So I decided to build a raised garden bed.  But not just any raised bed.  This one had to be arthritis friendly and easy on my back and joints.  We were also on a really tight budget.  So I came up with a great way to not only recycle and re-purpose old materials but build a great raised garden bed!


For the walls of my garden box, we used re-purposed privacy fence panels.  The retirement home behind my parents house was putting up a new privacy fence and replacing one that had been there for at least 15 years.  We asked the crew what they would be doing with the old fence panels and they had planned to haul them to the dump.  The guys were nice enough to leave a stack of panels for us to use.   Since these panels are already assembled, cutting them for the walls of my garden box was easy!  


All we had to do was saw through the support beams on the back side and my walls were ready to connect.  I used 4x4 inch posts for my corners and at the seams where I was connecting the ends of the panels.  The pieces of 4inch x 4inch posts were reused from another project as well and for a couple of the seams in the walls, I used some pieces of left over 2x4 and those worked great as well.


I decided to build the garden in one large L shaped box so that we could utilize space and be able to reach plants from either side without taking up a lot of yard space and without having to bend or reach far.  


 I also build a second box that was a bit shorter, in the shape of a square.



For soil, I decided to use a lot of compost material.  Basically, my garden box is one huge compost bin!  We layered the bottom with twigs and brush from our yard waste pile.  I had a large pile of yard waste that needed to be hauled away so I decided to use this as the bottom compost starter.  Then after the twig and brush layer, we emptied our compost bin, which was full to the brim after a long winter of composting.  We spread all of that moist, nutrient rich compost material over the twigs and brush and then topped it off with some mulched compost.

Were very lucky!  We live in a smaller community that doesn't have a yard waste pick-up service like many towns in Iowa.  Instead, residents have a drop off site in town where they can drop off all of their yard waste.  Then several times each year, the city comes out and mulches up all of the yard waste, tree branches, and organic materials into this really great mulch.  They pile it up in rows and each year the old piles are re-mulched, broken down again and rotated.  After a while, the older piles have broken down into soft, moist soil that is great for gardening.  And if you're a member of our community, you can go out, load up and take as much as you need at no cost.

So after we layered our own compost material, we covered that with the composted soil from the city, added a bit of top soil and planted my veggies!  What I love about this box is that I don't have to bend over or be on my hands and knees and we hardly have any weeds that need to be pulled.  Plus my plants get tons of nutrients from the soil and the box helps retain moisture so I don't have to water as often!  Saves me time and saves us money!  Having a rain barrel set up also helps collect rain water for gardening which lowers your water bill too.


The large L shaped box is now home to my carrots, turnips, beets, kale, Swiss chard, eggplant, Serrano chili peppers, green bell peppers and tons and tons of tomatoes.  The smaller square shaped box has our yellow squash and zucchini!   We have cucumber patch as well and if you missed my post about how to grow the perfect cucumber patch with help from Lehman's, be sure to check out that post!  And if you're needing to order seeds for your garden, be sure to check out Lehman's gardening products.  They carry everything you need to create a great garden, including seeds!  Lehman's sent me some of their Seed Savers Exchange USDA Organic Garden Vegetable Seeds to plant in my garden and I've already had some great compliments on my Rhubarb Red Swiss Chard down at our farmer's market.  My Danvers Carrots, Kale, and Tomatoes are also grown from Lehman's Seed Savers Exchange vegetable seeds and my plants are thriving.  My Halladay's tomatoes (mortgage lifter tomatoes) and Black Cherry Tomato plants are taller than I am.  I cant wait until everything is ready to pick and Ill be sure to update you all when we're having our first home grown BLTs of the season.  We've also got some Seed Saver's Exchange Lazy Housewife Pole Beans growing along one of our fences in the yard as well and the plants not only provide us with some great produce, but the plants are beautiful growing in and out of the lattice that makes up our fence (photo update to come later).

In addition to the raised garden beds I talked about, we also have a couple of rectangle shaped boxes in our daughters garden area where we have planted mini pumpkins.  We thought these would be perfect for her tiny hands this fall!  And having her own garden is a great way for us to bond and in the coming years, shell be able to pick out her own plants and choose what she would like to plant in her garden beds each year.  I'm so excited to teach her all about gardening and so excited that my garden won't be a literal pain in the neck from now on!  I can continue to enjoy my favorite outdoor activity, pain free! 




I hope you enjoyed my garden bed and hope it might inspire you and help you create your own raised garden bed!  If you're not into building your own, be sure to check out my post about raised garden beds from Lehman's that are ready to easily assemble in just minutes!

Happy gardening!

#LehmansForLife


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Petbrosia Pet Food Review & GIVEAWAY!


Its about time we have a formal introduction for a member of our family that for some reason, isn't talked about much.  
So its about time we introduce you all to my other baby!

Meet Lady!
Our sweet, gentle giant also known as our daughter's pony!
Lady is a 4 year old Doberman that we rescued 
from a kill-shelter in 2012.
She is Emma's best friend and companion
and the most amazing dog! 


The folks at Petbrosia sent us some of their dog food for Lady to try and for me to review.  



 The first thing that really hooked me about Petbrosia, was the easy ordering process and the fast shipping!  When you order your Petbrosia pet food online, you're able to customize your pet's food based on their body and their individual nutrition needs.  You're given options in the order form to customize based on breed, age, body condition, activity level, allergies and sensitivities so you know your pet will get a formula customized for their personal needs.  I found that to be great since most of the pet food offered in specialty stores only give a few options to choose from.  For Lady, we usually only have one option and that's a Large Breed formula and theres usually not much to pick from.


The next thing that really impressed me was the fast shipping I mentioned.  After I placed my order, Lady's new 10 pound package of dog food was delivered to my door within 48 hours.  That was super quick!  We live in a smaller community with not a lot of shopping options.  Lady's usual food can only be purchased at a pet specialty store about 40 minutes away so being able to order Lady's food online and get it so quickly was a huge plus for me!


The formula we received for Lady was Petbrosia's New Grain-Free Salmon & Sweet Potato!  Petbrosia pet food is made from natural ingredients that are grown and raised in the US.  Their pet food contains NO corn, NO wheat, NO soy, and N) by-products!   And Petbrosia strongly believes that since each pet is unique, their food should be too.  The Petbrosia website offers a page stocked with info on individual breeds and their nutritional needs so I was able to read up on Dobermans and learned a bit about Lady and what she needs as well as potential health concerns that I should watch for.    After transitioning Lady over to her Petbrosia dog food, we found that she really seemed to enjoy it!   Lady is such a high energy dog, so she needs a good nutritious food to keep her going!


Be sure to use promo code BRL10
and get $10 OFF of your first purchase of Petbrosia pet food! 

Here are some great resources that Petbrosia offers
to help you learn more about their products and about your pet! 
 



Petbrosia is also offering one lucky 
The Bee Hive Buzz reader,
a chance to win a 3 pound box of Petbrosia pet food, tailored to your pet's needs!


Giveaway end 7/20/2014 .  Open to US only (excludes Hawaii and Alaska).  Must be 18+ to enter.  One winner will be randomly selected.  Winner will have 48 hours to respond to claim prize.  If prize is not claimed, a new winner will be randomly selected.  Good Luck!


Enter using the Rafflecopter form below!


Disclosure:  I was provided with a sample free of charge to facilitate this review.  I was not compensated for this review and was not compensated for hosting this giveaway.  All opinions are my own!   The Bee Hive Buzz is not responsible for prize shipment and is not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Doctor On Demand Review & Giveaway - Win a $200 Target Gift Card from Doctor On Demand

One thing Ive discovered as a first time mom, is that I've always coming up with more and more questions to ask our pediatrician.  Whether its a question about a rash, teething, tummy aches and especially questions about over the counter medications and remedies.  The only problem is that our pediatrician isn't always available.  Sometimes its a weekend and even during the weekdays, hes swamped because hes a great doctor, very well known in our community so hes always booked up and cant always answer phone calls.  So when I heard about Doctor On Demand, I was really intrigued and thought maybe this could solve some of our problems!



Here is a little bit about Doctor On Demand.  Its an app.  A free app!  It allows you to call in over the phone or via video and talk to live licensed physicians on the spot.  And all of the physicians are background checked as well.  They can answer medical questions, give advice on non-emergency issues such as mild infections, sports injuries, pediatric questions and short-term prescriptions. Its only $40 per call and you only pay when you actually talk to a doctor.  Its a free app so its free to sign up and there are no subscription fees.  Sounds awesome right?  Well I got a chance to sit down and have a call with one of their physicians to see if its really as great and convenient as it sounds.




I'm a little torn to be honest.  There are things I like about the app but there are things that I don't like.  First off, when I made my call, I decided to ask a question about my daughter.   We have had a pretty weird spring and summer and the bugs have been terrible this year.  My daughter is always getting bit up by gnats and mosquitoes and the bites are usually pretty large and red.  Much larger and much more red than the bites my husband and I get.  Hydrocoritsone cream is usually our go to remedy for itchy bug bites but it doesn't help for her.  It doesn't reduce the redness or swelling and doesn't seem to help with itch.  So when I made my call, I wanted to know what is safe to put on bugs bites on a toddler.  The doctor wouldn't provide me with any answer or advice without seeing my daughter on the video.  But my toddler was in bed.  It was late at night.  I had waited until after everyone had gone to bed in order to make my call because since I was reviewing this app, I wanted the call to be uninterrupted.  The doctor suggested I get her up out of bed.  But get a toddler up out of bed late at night?  That's definitely not going to happen!  I run the risk of her crying all night long and not getting back to sleep.  It was hard enough getting her to sleep in the first place.  My biggest problem is just that I didn't know I would have to take a video of my daughter.  

The doctor also wasn't really willing to talk to me when I told her I was writing a review about the app.  So I was connected to the doctor and the doctor didn't want to help.  I came up with a simple question for the purpose of the review.  My daughters bug bite issues have been an ongoing thing since Spring first rolled around but this wasn't any sort of big deal. I just wanted some general information about what is safe to put on a toddler's bug bites other than hydrocortisone cream.   Once I promised to leave her name out of this review, she told me to stay away from certain brands of baby washes that contain certain fragrances.  My call in my opinion, wasn't helpful but I honestly think that it was just that particular doctor.  I wasn't impressed with her.  I also wasn't happy that I wasn't able to get just general information without getting my daughter out of bed.  There should be some sort of pop up before the call connects saying something like "We see you are calling for another person.  This person is required to be present during the call in order for us to help you.  Please confirm that they are present."  Something like that.......  That would have been much more helpful.

Now aside from my particular call.  Considering the app in general and the whole idea behind this app, if you are able to connect with a doctor that you like, I think this app can be really helpful.  By the time you get done at a doctors office, you usually end up paying an office co-pay and some percentage for co-insurance just for the visit.  And half the time the doctor will tell you to go home and buy some sort of over the counter remedy anyway.  With our insurance copays and coinsurance, $40 per call is a really good deal and much cheaper than visiting a doctor in person.  Plus this way, I can do it from home.  I don't have to pack up my toddler and drive 45 minutes to a doctors office.  Yes, our pediatrician is 45 minutes away so its never a quick and easy trip and its just as far of a drive to go to any sort of after hours urgent care facility.  I might use this service again depending on the medical issue.  It seems like more often than not, my big questions seem to arrive on a Saturday when the doctor's office isn't open and I either have to rely on answers from the Internet and my mother (I love my mother's advice but as she usually reminds me, its been almost 30 years since shes had a baby to take care of 24/7) so I usually end up at the pharmacy trying to wing it on my own.

Immediately after the phone call, I received an email from Doctor On Demand letting me know that since I wasn't able to get my daughter on the phone, I received a credit for another call so that I could call again when she is up and about.  So that was really nice!  I guess the doctor immediately updated Doctor On Demand to let them know that my call wasn't successful and it didn't count against me.  So that's a huge plus and shows me that they do have great customer service!

So overall, I would try Doctor On Demand again.   Each situation is different and every doctor is going to be different.  The cool thing is that the app does give you the option of making a favorites list out of the doctors you have talked to so you can keep track of the doctors that you've had the best experience with so that you can use them again.  That's a big plus for me!  And if you're stranded on a Saturday afternoon with a non-emergency medical question that needs to be answered, I would recommend trying Doctor On Demand!

 If you're skeptical and would like to try it for FREE, 
Doctor On Demand is offering 10 lucky 
The Bee Hive Buzz readers, a chance to win a free call.  
to visit the giveaway page and enter to win a free call!


 You can
download Doctor On Demand for free on Itunes 
 and on Google Play.
PLUS... save $10 on your first call by using code 
BEE14 
after downloading the app!

And be sure to connect with Doctor on Demand on Facebook, Twitter and by visiting the website.


 We would like to celebrate the fact that you can now talk to a board certified doctor (on demand!) from the comfort of your own home, thanks to the Doctor On Demand app.... with a great giveaway.



The $200 Target Gift Card Giveaway will end on July 22nd. It is open to US residents, 18+ only.
Please use the Giveaway Tools Form below to enter!
Good Luck!



Disclosures:
This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Doctor On Demand.  All opinions expressed in this review are my true and honest opinions.  The participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment. Giveaway is open to US residents, age 18+ only. The giveaway will close at 11:59PM EST on 7/22/14. One winner will be selected randomly from all eligible entries. If you have any questions about this giveaway or would like to inquire about group events like this, please contact the Blogging Mamas Network at bloggingmamas.blog@gmail.com.

GIVEAWAY! Win a FREE CALL To Doctor On Demand... 10 Winners!


Ever been home on a Saturday afternoon with a sick kid, no doctor available on call with no idea what to do for your sick child?  I have.   And its not always an easy situation to handle!

Well Doctor On Demand is an app that allows you to consult with a licenced physician about non-emergency medical treatment, diagnosis and they can even call in prescriptions for you!

And you have a chance to WIN a FREE CALL!

Doctor On Demand is offering 10 lucky
The Bee Hive Buzz readers
a chance to win a code for a free call!

AND if you download the Doctor On Demand app
and use Code BEE14
you'll get $10 off of a call!


Giveaway ends  7/22/2014.  Open to US only.  Must be 18+ to enter.  10 winners will be randomly selected.  Winners will have 48 hours to claim prize.  If prize is not claimed, a new winner will be randomly selected.  Good Luck!


Enter using the Rafflecopter form below!



Disclosure:
This is part of a sponsored post written on behalf of Doctor On Demand.  All opinions are my own!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Grow The Perfect Cucumber Patch - Backyard Homesteading Series

I'm a proud Lehman's customer!  And if you haven't heard of Lehman's, you're missing out!  Last fall I did a review of some of Lehman's laundry products and that got me hooked.  My husband and I love getting their catalog.  Lehman's carries a huge variety of products to help families live natural, simple and self sufficient lives.  Lehman's slogan says it all......Simple products for a simpler life!



I'm a gardening enthusiast.   My summers growing up were spent outside in the garden with my mother.  She taught me everything I needed to know about loving the garden and the outdoors, growing my own food and even some canning, pickling and preserving skills that I still use to this day!   Now I would say, I'm pretty much the queen of canning.   I remember my mothers cucumber patch.  It was always beyond spectacular.  We made so many delicious pickles and had the most delicious salads from the cucumbers my mother grew.  But after I got older and moved away from home, I could never get them quite right.  I cant really say that I've been able to have a successful cucumber patch since I've been out on my own.  Until now that is!  Lehman's carries tons of products for gardening and now a days, raised beds are all the rage!  And I can see why!  The wonderful folks at Lehman's sent us two of their gardening products.  They sent us their Raised Bed Gardening Set and their Cucumber & Squash Trellis so that I could try them out and try my luck at creating the perfect cucumber patch using Lehman's products!  And I think I'm well on my way to cucumber heaven!


The season started out rocky thanks to this wonderful Iowa weather.   Theres a bit of sarcasm in that "wonderful" if you didn't catch it.   I planted my seeds indoors in early early spring to get a head start.  Then, once the weather warmed up a bit, I moved my plants outdoors to our covered porch.  And of course, you know my luck.  That very next night....we had an unexpected frost and that frost killed off my cucumbers.  But I managed to purchase some from the store and they are doing great!  My raised bed from Lehman's was super easy to assemble!  The bed came with 4 solid walls and 4 corner brackets.   The walls are 4' x 4' x 6"H when assembled so its a great size.  And the components are all made of composite lumber boards which are weather-resistant and rot-proof, so this bed is going to last me years and be able to withstand all sort of crazy Iowa weather.  All I had to do to assemble it was slip the sides into the corner brackets and I was done!  And the trellis was just as easy.  Just unfold and its ready to use!



This trellis is the perfect size for my raised bed!  I planted a cucumber plant on each side of the trellis so that my cucumber vines can weave throughout the wires and move up the trellis.  The best part is that once my cucumbers start to grow, they will hang down underneath for easy picking. And I wont have to worry about critters sinking their teeth into them or rotten spots from my cucumbers laying in the dirt.  My raised bed is great because we don't have the best soil quality in our yard so I was able to fill the box with good quality garden soil full of nutrients for my cucumbers.


And do you know another great thing about both of these products?  The price!  They are very reasonably priced and well worth the buy in my opinion.  I've been pricing garden beds and ready to assemble garden boxes for quite some time now and prices can be pretty crazy.  But you can purchase this Raised Bed Gardening Set online from Lehman's for only $49.95 and the Cucumber and Squash Trellis can be purchased for only $29.95.  Considering how easy these are to assemble, this is such a great deal!



And you can plant all sorts of things in the raised garden bed too, not just cucumbers.  As for the trellis, this would be great for squash and even pole green beans too!  When we picked out the perfect spot for our new garden bed, we decided to relocate our compost bin and place the raised bed in its place.  Well this must have been a good choice because you can see on the right hand side of the upper photo, I have a volunteer watermelon plant that decided to come up right next to the cucumbers. Its got lots of blossoms it so I cant wait for melons.  We also had a volunteer tomato plant come up in the center of the bed as you can see in the photo below.  The seeds must be finding this to be an ideal spot to grow!


I'm so excited for our cucumber patch to take off and Ill be sure to post updates once the cucumbers start rolling in! 

 #LehmansForLife


Disclosure:
I was provided with sample products free of charge to facilitate this review.  I was not compensated for this review and all opinions expressed in this review are my true and honest opinions.
Cross my heart!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Grazia Silicone Mini Muffin Pan Review...PLUS...A DIY Recycled Crayon Tutorial


I'm a baker. It's something I'm pretty good at and something that I really enjoy.  I actually vend at our local farmers market and sell a lot of baked goods.  So when I saw this Grazia Silicone Mini Muffin Pan I thought......CUTE!!!  Mini muffins would be fun for my toddler.  But then.....as usually.....the thing that always happens when I see something cool.  My wheels starting turning and the "what else could I make with that" switch got flipped on and started running at full speed.  That's when I got a bright idea.  And I mean a really.....BRIGHT....idea!   This is how I used my Grazia Silicone Mini Muffin Pan.  And it was super fun!



Ever have this problem? 
Especially if you have kids.



Tons....and TONS.....of crayons.  Broken crayons!  So many crayons but not a single one intact.  We have this problem.  Small unsteady, uncoordinated hands coloring like crazy and always breaking the crayons.  Regular skinny stick straight crayons just don't work for toddlers.

So I used my Grazia Silicone 24 Cup Mini Muffin Pan to make the perfect crayons for little toddler hands.  And it was a fun way to recycle all of those broken crayon pieces!

Step 1:
Peel all of the paper off of the crayons, break them up into smaller pieces and fill the muffin pan cups to the top.



Step 2:
Place them in the over for approximate 10 minutes 
at 250 degrees F.


Step 3:
Remove from the oven, allow to cool and POP those babies out!
You now have super fun, swirly toddler friendly crayons.
How easy was that?!


The fun thing is that you can play around with colors.  You can take all of your red pieces or all of your purple pieces and just make one big red crayon or one big purple crayon or you can combine colors to make swirly tie-dye colored crayons.  Whatever your creative mind wants to do!   You now have something new and fun for your child to get creative with and you can reuse those broken pieces.

This muffin pan was the perfect size and the silicone made it a piece of cake to pop the crayons out.   The silicone is heat resistance up to 450 degrees F, made of good quality food grade silicone, easy to clean and oven, microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe.  I originally got my crayon idea because I do a lot of soap making at home and thought this muffin pan would be good for making soaps.  Then I remembered all of our broken crayons and decided to try something new.  And I'm glad I did!

So if you're looking for a fun project that you can do with your kids, be sure to get one of these!  

Disclosure:
I was provided with a sample product free of charge to facilitate this review.  I was not compensated for this review and all opinions expressed are my true and honest opinions.  Cross my heart!
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.