Saturday, June 30

Foodie Penpals - Wisconsin Wonderfulness

I stumbled upon Foodie Penpals, the brilliantly created and organized food exchange among bloggers (and readers!) across the US, Canada, and internationally!  For more detailed information about the Foodie Penpals exchange and to find out how to sign up too, go to Lindsay's page.

So, for my very first penpal exchange, I was matched with Nicole from Apples and Arteries.  She's from Wisconsin and sent me some amazing stuff, some of which was local (super awesome!).

I brought the trail mix (amazing with marion berries and golden berries, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, and more goodness) with me when we went fishing.  PERFECT snack food!  In fact, just about everything she sent is great for traveling about this summer.  It's like she knew I had several fun little trips planned where having easy grab healthy snack food would be the just what I needed!

I had the the Passion tea one morning and it was not only a super fun pinkish-purple color, but also delicious!    I usually have chai, spice, or mint tea, so it was really nice to try a fruitier tea!  I forgot that I like them. :o)

Also included were dark chocolate Mounds (I had no idea they came in dark chocolate!) that were consumed over several trips to Lowe's and Home Depot.   There is a Wisconsin brand whey protein powder that I am REALLY excited to try (but afraid I will love so much that I will be so sad to see it go),  some small peanut butter packets, bars (always great for a girl who is perpetually running late in the morning), and some fun spices (Bragg's and a local spice company) that I'm excited to try in some recipes.  I have a feeling the local steak seasoning might end up in a tofu recipe...  Thanks again Nicole!!!  :o)

So, first Foodie Penpal experience goes down as a success!  It was a great way to get to know new blogs and bloggers, makes you skip like a 4 year old to the mailbox knowing that something other than bills awaits you, and is a great way to be introduced to new foods!   I'm already excited for next month!

**If you know me, you know I get even MORE excited to give gifts than receive them, so check out what I sent Kristen at This Radiant Life!  :o)

Thursday, June 28

Saving Money on Shampoo

So, I have really long hair.  

But it had never been so long that it was at butt-length.  Of course, until this summer.

I've grown my hair out and cut it three times to donate it to Locks of Love.  Apparently my scalp is a super fast hair growing machine.

I didn't really realize my hair was THAT long until I saw it in pictures.  Turns out it was longer than I thought (kind of like the whole I don't realize I'm as short as I am until I see a picture of me next to someone and it turns out they are like 8 inches taller than me and not the mere 3 inch different I perceive...).  Guess that explains why it gets caught in seat belts, sat on by dogs, gives ponytail headaches due to its massive weight...

My FAVORITE thing about long hair...  You just twist it...

And then stick a pencil through it.  It stays up so much better than a ponytail, works fabulously with wet hair, and can make my drowned rat look at work (because there was a 97% chance that I woke up at the last minute, hopped in the shower, then ran out the door with dripping wet hair... in January...) look more professional.  So easy.

But then, one Monday night, I got a bee in my bonnet (figuratively of course, I do not have bees nor did I have a bonnet on, although, remarkably, I do have a bonnet in my possession...  weird.).

So one thing leads to another...

Then $13.95 (I went to a school and had a super awesome student) and a complimentary Americano (woohoo!) later...

I haven't measured it yet, but I'd guess I had about 12 inches cut off in the pony tail, plus a bit more during the styling process.

Then things got silly while I sat in put-your-car-in-park-and-take-a-nap construction traffic (seriously, like 10-15 minutes)...

So, four ponytails later, I do believe I may have contributed enough for a wig for some kiddo through Locks of Love.  :o)

I do believe I lost about 5lbs of hair.  Ah so nice and light!  Well there you go, a haircut post.  How's that for keeping things random?  :o)

Wednesday, June 27

Tofu Tuesday - Hot Stuff!

I found this recipe on a friend from high school's blog, Squirrels n Sweets.  Here's her recipe I followed.  I made modifications per what I had in my pantry & fridge.  :o)

Tofu & Sweet Potato Red Curry


  • 1 T peanut oil
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 T freshly grate ginger
  • 1 t lime zest
  • 1 1/2 T red curry paste, divided
  • 1 package semi-firm tofu, drained and crumbled
  • 1 can coconut milk (I used lite)
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 t crushed ginger
  • 3/4 t black pepper
  • 1 T cilantro
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
To be honest, I kinda sorta didn't follow her step by step instructions, and I probably should have.  Mine turned out fine, but may I suggest just following the link above and follow her how to?  :o)  

Here are the pictures though!

Grain base instead of rice.

Threw in some shredded coconut, just because it sounded like fun.

Decided to add some crushed peanuts on top, ya know, because I had them and it sounded like a good idea.  :o)

Deeelicious recipe Michelle!  Only thing I'd maybe do different is add a bit less cayenne next time.  Woooo was is spicy!  

Tuesday, June 26

Backyard Stage #2

Here's a little update on the backyard (and a bit on the front!) :o)

It all started with the roof...

We decided to do it ourselves.

See Mom!  We were being safe with our rock climbing gear.  :o)

Ovi was SUPER helpful and stripped the front half of the roof at warp speed.

Rudder was really helpful.

I think I need a roof top deck.  180* views of the Chugach and Talkeetna mountains.  Bliss.

We were doing an awesome job, in my opinion.  We were even MORE awesome at making a mess! :o)

However, with looming rain clouds and a tight schedule, we ended up hiring a roofer/contractor to help us out.  Worst. idea. ever.  Well, it wasn't a bad idea per se, it was a bad roofer.  I think I may have known more about roofing than he did... Scary!  Lots of money later, the job STILL isn't done (he offered to come back and finish it for free, we said no thanks).  We have reputable professionals coming out [hopefully] this week.

So we started another project, naturally.  :o)  This one is going much, much better!

Super handy guy.

The super excited supervisor of our building efforts.

It is rather huge, but it's going to be beauuuutiful!  I don't have a garage, so I'm excited to have the storage space!  It'll be nice to have usable furniture in the two back rooms that aren't covered in tools, outdoor gear, and scrap wood.  :o)

Roof coming soon.  :o)

Here's how the rest of the yard is coming along:

Greens coming up in the garden.  

"Alley" way, on the to do list.  Oh and the neighbors sweet dog, Shatzie.

Don't you just LOVE the satellite!  Just imagine an English garden inspired bed there.  If you squint [really hard] can't you see it?? ;o)  Yeah, me either.  Oh, and those are the raspberries from the lovely Melody!

Side garden (gets the most sun) with peppers, beans, and rhubarb.

Nasturtiums popping up in the front boxes.

Cleared the suckers from the base of the tree and have plans for some kind of greenery/flowers around it.

Still a long way to go, but definitely progress from this (ok, minus all the roof related trash on the deck...):