Thursday, August 29, 2013

Make Your Own Pepper Flake Mix- For Those Who Like It Hot

Oh hey there, hot stuff!

Feel like spicing up your grub this week?
A pepper-gasm with every meal?
make your own pepper flake mix
Last year, when I posted Spice It Up- Friday Night Pepper Project...and Contest, we realized that we were onto something smokin' HOT out here.

Now that our CSA peppers are back in abundance, we've been dehydrating again to create more lip-tingling deliciousness. This pepper flake mixture is just beyond, my friends. 

Lately, we have been pepper-dusting EVERYTHING—eggs, sandwiches, chicken, Mexican meals, seafood. Zing! 
make your own pepper flakes
Catch up here to make some of this bomb-diggety spicy pizazz for yourselves this season. 

And if pepper handlin' ain't your thang, hit up the Bowers Chile Pepper Festival next weekend to grab some pre-made HOT STUFF to start the new season right.

Dare you to enter the Jalapeno eating contest!
See you there, friends.

What's your favorite way to spice up grub? Share your tips. I'm a sucker for hot stuff!
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Monday, August 26, 2013

Stuck on a Limb? How to Rescue Animals Trapped In Trees

After tearing off into our yard, I heard Beast Dog barking, maniac-style...
at a tree?

Looking up, I spotted the problem.
Twelve feet in the air, holding on for dear life, Mr. Groundhog was in a definite jam.

And as ridiculous as this scene was, that spry rodent made a smart choice—
because groundhogs that encroach on Kaine-dog's turf are up against horrific odds.

This land beaver was "hanging around" our property for more than five hours when we realized that we couldn't, in good conscience, let him starve- stuck up in that tree. We did some brainstorming to make a rescue.
home made catch pole
Pushing rope through a long pipe, my clever fella created a makeshift copy of an animal control catch pole.

After clearing our disappointed Beast Dog from the scene, my hub carefully wrapped the catch pole loop around the groundhog's body and pulled him down so that he could safely hightail it outta here.

Set a groundhog free to roam our property?
Kaine lives here. He won't be back.
Even the simplest minds learn to stay away when they meet the ol' jaguar patrolling this plot of land.
While researching a plan to get this groundhog down, we found this hysterical story of a NYPD police officer who got HIMSELF stuck in a tree while trying to rescue a cat.

Simplify your rescue with a homemade catch pole!
Beast dogs on-duty will prevent repeat occurrences. 

Any other tips for rescuing animals that have gotten themselves into sticky situations? 

Have a freeing week, my friends.
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

I've Got Beef with Tinker Bell

It kind of kills me that Tinker Bell is a kiddo favorite.

As much as lil' peanuts love the original 1953 movie, Peter Pan, that diva fairy belongs with the Mean Girls "Plastics" for sure. Tinker Bell is definitely NOT role-model material.

What's her problem anyway?
Parental neglect?
Inferiority complex?
For starters, that little sprite spends one of the movie's opening scenes stroking and adoring herself in the mirror before she humphs that her hips are getting too wide.

Tinker Bell, your body is slammin' (albeit ultra-petite), so get over yourself, girl. Really.

Vain Miss Thang then brattily lashes out at sweet, innocent Wendy, calling her "a big ugly girl."
Some people.

Our dear twinkle-toes has an attitude that is just stankin'!
Ratting out her man over jealousy, trying to murder innocent children- girlfriend has issues.
Maybe she's overtired from all that fluttering?
Fairy P.M.S.?
Low self-esteem.

Whatever. Homegirl is mean.
And crazy jealous—traitorous and self-absorbed.
She's the kinda girl who would freeze your bra at a sleepover.
Or drown you instead.

Gotta just feel sorry for grumps like that— the mean, vindictive ones, you know?

It must be hard for Tink to find a companion...with the size issues and all. She probably gets rolled over on all the time. 
Twinkling problems.
That or she's strung out on pixie dust. 
So what gives? How does Tinker Bell get named "the unofficial mascot of The Walt Disney Company" and "a symbol of the magic of Disney?"

I just don't get it.
Help me out here, people.
What's Tinker Bell's allure?

Who's YOUR favorite Disney character? 
I'd totally hang out with Cinderella and Belle. Now they're good people. I'm steering clear of grouchy sprites.

Have a magical day, friends!

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Song to Set the Mood

Have you heard Sam Cooke sing That's Where It's At?

Seriously, if this is a first for you, sit down and spend 2 1/2 minutes melting away...
Such a siren song.
Playing it will probably get you laid.
That's Where It's At
Photo Credit
This has just gotta be one of the smoothest, sexiest jams ever recorded.
Don't see how you could hear this groove and not wanna get loose. Gotta let those shoulders roll.
If you find yourself fixin' to set the mood, give ol' Sam some volume. He'll take over with soul that's where it's at

Get to swaying with Sam, Marvin or Al
All three? The perfect triumvirate to make any day better. Or night. 
:::high fives

And a slow-dancing shout out to our sweet homies, who added extra sentimentality and romance to this soulful tune by choosing it as my now #1 favorite wedding song. 'Twas the perfect choice, guys. 
Loved it. 
Love YOU.

Go listen, friends.
And have yourselves that same, sweet, slow-dancin' kind of day. Or night...
'cause that's where it's at.

What are your favorite songs to set the mood?
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

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Monday, August 19, 2013

HELLO Godiva Martini

Today, we're going to talk about booze...sweet, chocolaty booze—
because it's Monday. 
So obviously.
If you feel like kickin' it chocoholic-style tonight, or if you're in the mood to make your lady friends drool, swing out to pick up some Godiva martini ingredients on the way home. 

The traditional recipe calls for a shaken mix of-

Godiva chocolate-flavored liqueur (1oz)
Vanilla vodka (2oz)
Amaretto (2oz)
Kahula (2oz)
Bailey's Irish Cream (2oz)
Creme de Cacao (1oz)

...but that there is a whole lotta bottles, friends. A delicious mixture, but sheesh!

Subtract to make one sweet, simpler concoction that won't break the bank.
Cut down your ingredients and shake up, with ice-

Godiva liqueur (2oz)
Vanilla vodka (2oz)
Kahula (2oz)

Add a bit of Hershey's chocolate syrup to your glass for an extra kick and a bit of aesthetic richness, if desired. 

Satisfy that sweet tooth with a decadent, end-of-the-day, treat. 
A choco-boozey tag team? Positively yes.

What's your favorite drink recipe? Send us some new ideas! 

Bottoms up, friends. 
Have a happy week!

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Shark Week Scam- The Megalodon "Documentary" BITES

Are you guys suckers for Shark Week, too?
Image Credit- (fakey fakey, friends)
We've been watching for years, marveling at these extraordinary creatures and at the progress of scientific discovery.

Because isn't that what the Discovery Channel and Shark Week are supposed to be ABOUT?
Awe-inspiring truth supported by scientific fact, right?

As 4.8 million viewers watched this year's season opener, Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives, we became enrapt in the notion that scientists might really have reason to suspect this creature could still be chowin' down out there.
Image Credit- megalodon jaws
Hard to believe this claim was being aired on Discovery Channel during Shark Week, a time when I'd foolishly trusted I'd be presented with factual, scientifically supported information. Tsk.

About halfway through this "documentary" my fella and I started to smell the BS bubbling up to the surface, so we grabbed our laptop to start Google-ing.

Pfffffft! We KNEW that marine biologist was too young and sexy. Homeboy doesn't even EXIST! And there is absolutely no report of any mysterious South African charter wreck from April of this year.

Turns out, the whole (2 bloody hour) "documentary" was nothing but a bunch of chum.

How in the Seven Seas could the Discovery Channel get away with this?
Image Credit-Megalodon tooth
According to this article,

Discovery Channel kicked off Shark Week by taking a bite out of their fan support. The networked opened their 26th week-long series dedicated to sharks with a riveting documentary . . . that turned out to be fake.

On Sunday, Aug. 5, Shark Week debuted with the two-hour special, Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives. As noted by Gawker, the following disclaimer was briefly flashed onscreen at the end of the show: "None of the institutions or agencies that appear in the film are affiliated with it in any way, nor have approved its contents. Though certain events and characters in this film have been dramatized, sightings of 'Submarine' continue to this day. Megalodon was a real shark. Legends of giant sharks persist all over the world. There is still debate about what they might be."

You've gotta be kidding me.
Image Credit- (another fakey)
I've got a pretty furled brow over this one. This was one of the only channels I really respected—in full support of fascinating information being presented in a clear, scientific light. But this stunt is a harpoon in the eye for me. Lame.

Why'd they do it? According to this article from NPR,
Shark Week executive producer Michael Sorensen tells Fox411 that "we wanted to explore the possibilities of Megalodon. ... It's one of the most debated shark discussions of all time, can Megalodon exist today? It's Ultimate Shark Week fantasy. The stories have been out there for years and with 95% of the ocean unexplored, who really knows?"

What are we gonna do, you know? Guess we should be grateful that we have the resources to investigate on our own to determine that it was bogus. And now we know, right? Now you know.

What do YOU think about the Discovery Channel airing this fake documentary?
I'd love to hear your opinions.

Have a fishy-free day, friends!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Three Reasons to Donate Your Hair

Ever thought about donating your hair?
:::double high fives:::

Here's why you should totally do it!
hair donations
When my hair reaches the bottom of my shoulder blades, I know it's ready for the big CHOP.
1. Had the same hairdo for as long as you can remember?
Now and then we all need a change.

Forcing ourselves out of our comfort zones once in awhile often proves to be healthy and inspiring. How can we truly move forward without coming to terms with change?

It's hair. We all know it grows back. See if you're strong enough to ROCK the confidence of a drastic length change. Because you are. You're smokin' hot no matter what. Duh.
hair donation
My hair grows quickly, so I have been able to cut off 8-inches every two years.
2. It feels so exhilarating to take all that "time" off your hair, kind of like an emotional purging.

The chop is an all-around sensory trip—running your hands through shorter hair feels so light and clean, it's an exciting visual change, and the way the hair falls on your body is fresh and thrillingly different.

So many exciting new styling tricks and opportunities inspire creativity. You get awakened to cute new styles you might have previously overlooked.

New possibilities, shorter styling time!

3. What good is cut hair when it just gets tossed in the trash? What you lop off can help someone gain the strength and empowerment to make a brighter day. 

It makes my heart so incredibly happy to be able to give women who are up against cancer the chance to feel confident in their fight. 

My past two donations have been to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. They accept a minimum of 8-inch hair donations to make hairpieces for women with cancer, but hair cannot be (more than 5%) gray, dyed, bleached or processed in advance. 
Pantene Beautiful Lengths
Ponytail is in the mail! Add a return address to receive confirmation of delivery and a feel-good thank you letter.
Locks of Love makes hairpieces for financially disadvantaged children and adults under 21 with long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis and takes colored or permed hair (not bleached). The donation minimum is 10-inches. 

There are many other places that accept donations, though I have not found any that accept less than 8-inches, so take some time to research to find the program you'd most like to support. 
hair donations
One of my sweetest besties (and her darlin' sister, too) made donations to Pantene Beautiful Lengths and Locks of Love this year
Choose your cause and get passionate about your bold and thoughtful contribution. 
Every donation makes a difference. 

If you have already donated or DO decide to make the admirable move to donate in the future, drop me a line! I'll happily feature your story. Let's work together to help contribute to making hairpieces for those who have genuine need.

You can totally do this.
And you'll feel so great about it when you do. 
Chop! Chop!

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Monday, August 12, 2013

When Lightning Strikes...SEVEN Times

world record lightning strikes
Roy Sullivan with one of his ZAPPED hats
Shenandoah National Park ranger Roy Sullivan was struck by lightning seven times before he committed suicide.

Seven times.
Yeah, that's the world record. Obviously.

Sorry, but you've gotta be freakin' kidding me.
I mean, what are the odds there, people?

In actuality, we're lookin' at about 2,187,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1.
What even IS that number?!?
For real.

Have you ever seen what a lightning strike can do to human skin? Holy bagonzos!
Old Roy Sullivan must have looked really interesting when naked, huh? Like a coral reef, maybe?
NBC News Report "Here's What a Lightning Strike Can Do to Your Skin"
I mean, seriously, what was going ON here?
Was Roy the most unlucky man alive or what?
Too much iron in his diet?

While reading up on poor Mr. Sullivan, I learned that he often thought that ominous storm clouds were stalking him.

Sure, this would sound crazy under normal circumstances, but dude was hit by a horizontal bolt crossing from one tree to another while he was in his car, so Roy was obviously entitled to a little (cough) suspicion when it came to Mother Nature.
Human Voltage- NASA Science
Who gets struck in their car?
And (on two separate occasions) inside a building?!?
I mean these ODDS are just nutso.

The man's head caught on fire so many times that he was rumored to have carried a pitcher of water around with him everywhere he went. Because damn!

And suicide at the end of all this? Double damn.
After playing the role of Fate's human lightning rod so many times, guess the guy wanted control of his final chapter.

I'm surprised his body hasn't been studied, in depth, for science.
There just had to be something going on with Roy that made him one hell of a great conductor, huh?
Lightning Strikes Man Twice
Don't know about you, but I'm feeling extra lucky today.
Won't be complaining as much if, you know, I stub my toe, the kids spill their cereal or the lawnmower won't start again.

Because at least my head isn't on fire.

Hats off to you, up there, Roy.
If there's such thing as second chances, I sure hope the odds are in your favor for smoother sailing the second time around, buddy.

What do YOU think was going on to cause Roy to get struck so many times?

Here's to happiness, health and good fortune, my friends.
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ladder to the Moon

Can you see it...that tiny white dot up at the top there?
When we rolled in from running errands the other day, the moon was just chillin' up there—in broad daylight. 

Don't you love when that happens?

When kids see it, too? Magic.

Our girls hopped out of the car and tore off towards the moon above the yard, arms stretched high to the sky.
R E  A  C  H  I  N  G.  .  .

And then, leaping UP with all her might, I heard my littlest peanut shout, "I can't reach it! I need a ladder, Mommy!"
"Ladder to moon" by Pille Heero
Oh sweeties, you might not be able to catch that moon with a ladder, but you'll always have a firm hold on my heart.

Unless these darlings become astronauts, they'll have to settle for holding the moon in their room. But I feel some serious lunar lessons coming on around here.
In the meantime, I've fallen in love with THIS print by yellowbuttonstudio on Etsy!
Why CAN we see the moon during the day sometimes? Time to start researching!

May you reach all your goals today, friends!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Teaching Math with Shut the Box

Have you seen this game?!?

When we were on vacation this summer, we discovered our first Shut the Box board and got hooked. 
How did we miss this when we were kids? So much fun!

As soon as we got home we purchased our own board at our local Folk Festival!
teaching math
Shut the Box is a great game for teaching math to children!
The object of the game is to roll the dice and eliminate their sum by shutting any combination of numbers on the board. If you are able to close all boxes, you win!

Easier said than done...
There definitely IS a bit of strategy in this game. 

As your playing advances, you'll learn to consider the "odds" of throwing certain numbers and combinations. 

The whole family is loving having Shut the Box around the house, and the girls are learning various math skills with every game. 

What a fun way to teach basic number recognition (for our 2-yr-old) and addition, strategy and probability for the older kids! 
teaching math
For extra learning opportunities, we've created an option where we allow subtraction of the numbers on the dice. For example, if a 6 and a 2 are rolled, the kids can either shut boxes for the sum (8) or the difference (4). More options=more mathematical practice and discovery!

Not gonna lie, my fella and I often throw a round while we're waiting for coffee to brew. We compete for best score, for sure. Homeboy just gets lucky, I tell ya. Should send him to Atlantic City STAT. 

You can search for your own version of Shut the Box online or in stores. 
Such a fun, simple game to help develop number sense and skill.

Factor this one into your list of great games for the wee ones! 
If you know of any other games that promote learning and discovery, drop us a line and tell us about them.

Have a lucky day, friends!

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