Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Crazy Things We Said: Phrase of the Day

Sometimes people say the most outstandingly ridiculous things.

Back when we were in college, there was no shortage of outstanding ridiculousness. 

On our very first day as undergrads, one of my new pals said something hilarious...SO hilarious that I had the idea that we should write it down. 
And just like that, "The Phrase of the Day" was born. 

For two years, four semesters of know—my kooky cohorts and I sought the most striking daily absurdities to record.
Countless "Phrases of the Day" were born at this very spot. 
This week, after I nonchalantly rambled out a preposterous sentence, Lee suggested we bring back "The Phrase of the Day," all these years later. 

So we dug out the oldies, cried with laughter and resurrected "The Phrase of the Day." 

We're so excited to record the silly, adorable sayings all these lil' peanuts conjure up and, with a record of the crazy things that have been said, we know we'll revisit that laughter for years to come.

What's your favorite keepsake from yesteryear?
When I dig up treasures like this, I'm glad that I'm such a nostalgic sap.

Here's to a silly weekend, friends, full of laughter!

P.S. Congratulations to Meridith, #19 on our comment list, and our BIG WINNER of the SafeRider Travel Vest. Send us an update once you try your travel vest out & let us know what you think!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Every Single Night

Every single night, before my fella and I turn in, we pop into our girls' rooms.

Every single night, we marvel at their serene beauty, the softness of their skin and hair, the peaceful innocence in their slumber.

Every single night, we remember when they fit in the crook of one arm—when their dreams must have been of milk and heartbeats instead of tree swings and rides at the seashore.

Every single night, when we open those bedroom doors, we're reminded of what is most important.
And we go to sleep happy.

Here's to sweet dreams always, my friends.
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

P.S. Have you entered the SafeRider Travel Vest GIVEAWAY yet? Winner will be chosen tonight! Enter here to get into the game pool! Each reader has up to FOUR chances to win big.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ten Scenes of Horror: Living with Stink Bugs

I've gotta preface this with a lil' something.

It's just that, well...I'm about to show you photographs that don't really paint our home in the ol' Better Homes and Gardens kind of light, you know?

Friends, please keep coming over, okay? I promise we're working on a solution to make the stink bug horror show stop.

That...or we're moving.
Our home is warm and lovely. Just don't look at anything too closely, 'kay?
stink bug trap
Our Internet find- an attempt to make homemade, soda bottle and light traps. Results-poor. We'll modify and get back to you. 
We live with stink bugs.
Our home is their mothership.

Or their toilet.
stink bug poo feces droppings
Poo trail in my family room. Oh, the allure.
When I posted, Our House- The All-Inclusive Stink Bug Resort (catch up here), I revealed the inside story of living with the little spawn who make me scream think foul things.

This post is an additional outcry, a battle cry against their POO! Poo be gone, I say!

Dear stink bugs,
"Abandon all hope, ye who enter here!"
stink bug problem
You'd think enclosed lighting would be ideal with stink bug invasions, but alas. They find ways in there to DIE. Ugh. Lighting is a challenge when living with spawn. 
They're unintelligent little buggers, but I'm telling you, people—they LITERALLY play music in our home. Stink bugs regularly slam into the guitars and banjos we have hanging on our walls and hit the strings. Ridiculous.
stink bug poo, feces, droppings, crap
Pooping on the blinds- less annoying to clean than curtains, but really.
And then they crap some more.
stink bug feces, droppings, crap
I have to wash curtains and bedding constantly, because stink bugs crap all over everything. We're thinking our next window treatments will be wooden shutters- easier to clean the poop. Again- ridiculous. 
 And more...
stink bug feces, poo, crap, droppings
That's a dripping dump, sliding on down our lamp. The charm and allure are riveting. 
You guys know I'm a mom of two lil' peanuts and a massive beast dog, too. So you know, I have enough (actual) sh@# to deal with in my everyday life.
Looks like we really have to give lighting fixtures serious consideration now.  Spawn love to die in the light.
But living here means I have to clean up after the countless spawn who have chosen to shack up with us and use our home as their...dumping ground. Ugh. 
I have to wipe down plants regularly- because you know...the crap and all. 
I promise that our home isn't as gross as it appears in these photos.
You's not like on the show Hoarders, where you'll find a dead cat among the filth.
Just dead stink bugs.
stink bug poo, feces, crap, droppings
Poop on one of the couches. I have to treat stains constantly. So foul.
It's a nice place, and clean.
Except for the stink bugs.
And their poop.
stink bug poo, crap, droppings, feces
Note the feces dripping down this picture frame. My apologies to my sweet sister, whose photo casing got dumped on. 
So this is where we're at these days.
It ain't easy livin' with spawn, but again—we get through it by being thankful they aren't ticks, rats or scorpions.

And once we figure out how to get rid of these foul little twerps, we'll be rich rich rich. Stay tuned...

Please feel free to drop me sympathies anytime. I'll take a break to read your thoughtful words between cleaning up the poo. That will be nice.

Sending you lots of love for a stinkLESS, crap-free weekend.
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

And P.S.- see also Stink Bugs: They're Baaaaaack for more info.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

RideSafer Travel Vest GIVEAWAY!

Last week, I raved about our wonderful experience traveling with the RideSafer Travel Vest. Catch up here if you missed it.

THIS week, I'm so excited to announce that Safe Ride 4 Kids is graciously offering a giveaway AND a coupon code to YOU, my friends at From My Hearth to Yours.
You heard me right!

One lucky reader will win a RideSafer Travel Vest (up to $135 value!!!)— winner's choice of version, color and size. You'll be thrilled with the convenience and ease of use, and I know you'll feel confident with your lil' peanut safely secured with this vest in any vehicle.

And in case you've got a trip coming up and just can't wait, it gets better!

Safe Ride 4 Kids is running a sale through the end of May, offering $15 off any travel vest and free shipping, but they've kindly extended a coupon code to all From My Hearth to Yours readers. Yay!
Safe Ride 4 Kids
So compact, the entire RideSafer Travel Vest system fits easily in my daughter's backpack!
If you're not the "chosen one" to win the giveaway, you can head over to Safe Ride 4 Kids here and enter the coupon code "hearth10" to receive a $10 discount off any order placed in the month of June.

You'll love owning a RideSafer Travel Vest and can use it for everyday adventures, travel, extra security on public transportation or just to keep on hand for safe rides in vehicles without traditionally installed carseats.

Great convenience. Great safety. Great invention. Get one!
Safe Ride 4 Kids
Love the head support feature on this vest!
So, how do you nab the prize?
Click here to "Like" Safe Ride 4 Kids on FB and comment on this blog postA randomizer program will select one lucky winner from the comment list on this page to take home the goods!  (1 entry)

Wanna increase your odds?
"Like" From My Hearth to Yours on Facebook for one additional entry. Already on board? Comment separately below and, I do declare, you'll be swimming in that game pool twice! Always trying to increase the odds for regular readers here at the Hearth! (1 entry)

Or scroll down on the right side bar to join up with From My Hearth to Yours on Google Friend Connect for yet another entry. Comment to notify me on this page, stay in the Hearth's loop, and tack on one additional shot at the prize! (1 entry)

And lastly, feel free to share the link to this giveaway on FB for one more entry. Comment on this post to let me know. (1 entry)
Good luck, friends! Each entrant has up to FOUR chances to win this incredible prize!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

*Giveaway is open to ALL From My Hearth to Yours readers until Wednesday, May 29th at 9p.m. EST. Winner will be announced on Thursday, May 30th. Direct shipping is free of charge anywhere in the contiguous USA. If the prize is unclaimed 72 hours after winner is announced, the next number in the randomizer list will be declared the winner. 

P.S. Please email me here if you have any trouble entering this giveaway. I always want to make sure that everyone who wants a chance at the prize can get into the game pool.  Best wishes!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Getting Healthy: Getting Nuts

It appears I have a family history of high cholesterol.
::: sigh :::

So, in an effort to stay on top of my game, I've been trying to say no...

no to the allure of the decadent ice cream in the freezer, cheese on my sandwiches and cream in my coffee. Boo!

My problem is that I'm down with snackin'—so I wanted needed to find a healthy alternative to any artery-clogging habits I'd been feeding. 

The good news is that my new go-to's are surprisingly simple and delicious. And, obviously, I feel significantly better having chowed down on these treats than I would after a chocolate chip cookie, or two. Or more. You know.
benefits to eating nuts

I've got three super healthy favorites-
1. Fruit
2. hummus 
3. NUTS!

So many tasteless jokes could go along with the wording of post, but let's keep it together, huh? Here it comes...

-Unless you're allergic, it's good to eat nuts. 
-I'd bet you'll likely enjoy having abundant nuts at your disposal.
-With so many interesting shapes, textures and flavors, you're bound to find nuts that are ideal for you.
-Consumption of nuts can be incredibly beneficial to your health.

Aaaand I can't stop laughing.  

Anyway, getting serious—the truth is that eating raw almonds, packed with vitamins, antioxidants and protein, can help manage your weight and promote bone and cardiovascular health. Toss them in your salads or find savory new recipes and get creative. 
benefits to eating almonds
My personal favorite, pecans, help lower "bad cholesterol" LDL and increase "good cholesterol" HDL levels in the blood. They, too, are packed full of vitamins and antioxidants that protect the body from cancer, disease and infections.

And they're SO dang delicious.
Dare I say, with that buttery sweetness, pecans might be an ideal chocolate substitute?
benefits to eating pecans
Who doesn't love crackin' pistachios?
The vitamins, minerals and fiber inside those shells promotes good health for the eyes, skin, blood, immune & nervous systems and heart.
benefits to eating pistachio nuts
And the biggest powerhouse of all- walnuts are even more impressive. Chompin' on these babies, jam-packed with antioxidants, protein, vitamins and fiber, can boost your memory and lower risk of heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Well all riiiiight! Crumble them on EVERYTHING!
benefits to eating walnuts
Seriously, they're kind of the perfect snack. Worth every penny since you're literally chewing your way to better health with every bite. 

Grab yourself some canning jars and pack em' in! 
Got a favorite kind, do ya? Let me know. Because who doesn't need more nuts in their life?

Have a wonderful day, friends— and get nuts!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

P.S. Stay tuned this week for an AMAZING Ride Safer Travel Vest giveaway! Get ready to win big!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Family of Mycophiles?

Mycophiles? Say whaaaaa?
Mushroom lovers, friends. Suddenly, we've got a whole lotta 'shroom hunters out here. 

It all started innocently enough.

My husband, the outdoorsman, has always had an interest in learning about edible plants and fungi. Last year, he purchased a book about hunting, identifying and preparing wild mushrooms—and people, let me tell you...the man is into it.
A handful of morels from this season. DELISH!
At first, I have to admit that I was incredibly unnerved by his new hobby. 

Obviously, any hunter must use utmost caution when identifying wild mushrooms. But my fella is no fool. His research was extensive and thorough, and the more knowledge he absorbed, the more he began to teach our friends and family about safely hunting, collecting, identifying and (when applicable) cooking local 'shrooms.

And I have to say that, during mushroom hunting season, our dinners have been AMAZING!

Just last night, we enjoyed the GIANT morel I found on Mother's Day, stuffed with crab and goat cheese. I'm drooling with the recollection. Completely y-e-s!
mushroom hunting
My BIG score of the season so far- a 6 1/4 inch tall, 2 1/2 ounce yellow morel 
My favorites so far? Morels, chicken-of-the-woods and hen-of-the-woods have a lovely texture and are so incredibly savory. Can't wait to find some good ones! Will report for sure.

Once I got past the initial fear of the unknown, I found myself really getting into this new hobby. It's important for adults and children alike to learn about their surroundings, to respect the process of thorough research and safety when it comes to making identifications in nature.

And then there's the total THRILL of finding what you seek...

Such a wonderful excuse to get outside to enjoy the raw fruits of nature.

Morel season is coming to an end out here in eastern PA, but the mushroom hunting is only getting started, friends. You know I'll keep you posted along the way.

What's YOUR favorite kind of edible mushroom?
Happy and safe hunting everyone!

XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

P.S. Again, obviously NEVER eat any wild mushroom unless you are 100% certain you have properly identified it, that it is cooked and safe for human consumption. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

De-funk-ify: Cleaning Tile Grout

Funny how, whenever I'm about to throw a party, I suddenly notice serious funk that I've been ignoring overlooking for far too long. 
baking soda and vinegar
Funky tile grout BEFORE
While going through the motions of my standard sink/toilet/countertop cleaning the other day, I realized that the grout in our downstairs bathroom was looking pretty foul. 

As always, you know me—I got to researching.

We're a modern family, steering away from harsh STANKIN' chemicals, so I was on the hunt for a safe, natural way to take the funk outta that grout.

And I found it. Easy peasy, friends!
baking soda and vinegar
My husband always insists that I save all old toothbrushes. His hoarding came in handy here, as I grabbed an old child's toothbrush, a bowl of baking soda and a spray bottle full of a 1/2 & 1/2 white vinegar/water mixture.
baking soda and vinegar
Simply wet the toothbrush and disperse baking soda onto grout.
baking soda and vinegar
Make a thick paste by combining baking soda and vinegar and scrub into the grout.
Then spray the white vinegar/water mixture onto the baking soda. The mixture will begin to fizz. Use your toothbrush to scrub your bubbly concoction into the grout. 

For stubborn stains, I let the mixture sit for a few minutes and then reactivated with another white vinegar/water spritz before scrubbing again. 

Result? Sparklin' white grout!

I was so impressed with how safe and effective this method was, and would absolutely recommend giving it a try before holding your breath through use of expensive, harsh, noxious cleansers. 
baking soda and vinegar
Heyo white grout! AFTER baking soda and white vinegar/water treatment
Try it and report. You're gonna be psyched at the results, and the fizzing reaction makes this process kind of (dare I say) fun!

Here's to spiffing up your grout without the headache of horrendous chemical stenches. 
This method really worked—on the walls, the floor, the backsplash!

Have a wonderful, squeaky clean day, friends...and if you have any other great, safe ideas for household cleansers, send them our way!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ride Safer Travel Vest

Hi friends!

Last week, we took our 4-year-old on her first plane ride. 

Now we're minimalist carry-on-ers, so the idea of hauling a massive car seat in addition to our luggage seemed rather daunting. 

But you know us...

After considerable research, we found the Ride Safer Child Restraint System as an alternative to our standard car seat and decided to give it a go.
travel car seat
Entire contents of Ride Safer Child Restraint System
We ordered the system in advance to ensure that the restraint felt comfortable and secure. 

The Ride Safer travel vest and attachment fit easily into the bag that came with the system. We stored everything inside a backpack to carry onto the plane. No problem at all! The system is incredibly portable and easy to use.

To use, we simply strapped and tightened the vest and placed her in the center position (the safest spot) in the back seat of the car.

Then, we carefully inserted the standard seatbelt through the designated slots on the vest and secured it with the velcro covers.

After extensive research on various boosters and other travel systems, we found that Ride Safer provided the most logical security for our 32-lb. peanut. The system also includes a padded head cushion, which made us feel more secure when considering side impact protection.

The Ride Safer vest was perfectly comfortable for our daughter, wonderfully easy to use during our trip and was an ideal alternative to toting a massive carseat through the airport and onto the plane.

We are very happy with our purchase and will absolutely keep this travel vest on hand to use if we ever need to leave our daughter behind when we take the family vehicle that houses our standard carseats. It's comforting to know that the Ride Safer vest is on hand to keep our kiddo safe in any vehicle.

Our family is no easy sell, but we are incredibly impressed with the security provided by the Ride Safer system.

If you're searching for an alternative to traveling with a standard car seat and have any questions about our experience with this travel vest, we'd be happy to help in any way.

Sending you best wishes for happy travels, friends!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours
*This is not a sponsored post. Just writing about a product that worked wonderfully for our family.