Thursday, June 30, 2011

Get Out and Exercise! Golf Balls For Shipping Only

For most of us, getting enough exercise can be a challenge.  This time of year (in my region) we're all trying to get outside more while the good weather is here.  Although I don't play, I do know folks who do and say golf (without a cart or caddy of course) is good exercise.  Plus you're out in the sun getting your Vitamin D too!

I caught a commercial on the Science Channel for a free sleeve of three Polara golf balls for the price of shipping.  Since I don't normally buy balls I don't know what they go for, but I put the free golf balls in my cart and without entering any address information it came up as $5.95 shipping.  So depending on the regular price of golf balls, this may or may not be a deal. 

Folks, give me some feedback - what do golf balls cost?  Is this 'free' offer worth the cost of shipping?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Play-n-Squeak Ball of Furry Fury

Our cats recieved the Ball of Furry Fury, pictured here, second item down.  It looked like such a fun toy for them.  I was disappointed to see that it is made in China.  I almost didn't give it to them because of that - we lost two cats to the Melamine in cat food horror - but it looked so fun I finally did.

The tone of the squeak can get to you if you have a headache.  The cats were initially enthralled, however that lasted all of about half an hour, then it became just another of the moutain of toys they occasionally look at but mostly ignore.

Most disappointing about this toy is that the squeaker worked for less than a week.  $9.99 is way too expensive for something that short-lived.  I say save your money, sew up a little scrap of fabric into a ball, stuff it with catnip and watch the cats have a great time.  Cheaper and you'll be recycling fabric.

UPDATE: I emailed the company regarding how fast the squeaker burned out.  They advised me to return to the store and exchange it, which I did.  This toy's squeaker seems less sensitive, so I imagine it will last longer, but the cats don't seem interested in it at all.  I appreciate the company wanting my cats to be sastified with their gift, so I give them an A+ on customer service, but I give the toy a D. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Travel Tip Tuesday: Towel Animals

 As a guest at a Disney Resort you can expect to find all sorts of towel art surprises in your room.  This is a favorite - the Octopus.  I get such a kick out of seeing how enthusiastic the Mousekeepers are in making these - adding stickers, rubber bands to hold parts in place, etc.  It really makes me smile.

A friend took a cruise a couple of years ago and told me she had taken a towel animal making class on board the ship.  I would love to take one someday.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tasty Thursday: Home Grown Herbs

This is one of the window boxes on our deck.  The chamomile on the left is grown from seed I got as a promotional offer from a tea company a couple of years ago.  Who knew it was a perennial?  It just keeps coming back.  What a nice surprise.  

On the right is organic parsley bought from our CSA a few days ago and transplanted to the box.  It is yummy.  We like to pass by and take a leaf to eat when we're coming home.  

Good stuff.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gorgeous Farmer's Market Garlic

There is a new farmer's market in my area.  After yoga today one of my fellow students mentioned they were headed over there.  I hadn't remembered that in addtion to Saturdays, it is also open on Wednesdays.

I reallly enjoyed strolling around and made a few purchases, the most delicious one of which was this fresh garlic, which I roasted in the oven with a little olive oil.  Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum.

That's some dill drying on the towel around it.  I never liked dill until I tried some at the farm.  It's amazing how different freshly grown organic food tastes as opposed to what I had been buying for most of my life.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Travel Tip Tuesday: Courtyard Portland Airport

Recently we took an overnight getaway to the lovely town of Portland, Maine.  We traveled at the last minute and arrived in Maine needing to book a room.  I had a free night with Marriott I needed to use before it expired and I like Courtyards in general so we went with the Courtyard Portland Airport

The Front Desk staff was quite wonderful.  We booked with the Marriott Rewards line while sitting in the parking lot and the gentleman at the desk was happy to give us an early check in when we walked up to him less than ten minutes later.  Now when I say early check in I mean four hours early, so I feel it was quite generous of him.  He made pleasant chit chat with us and smiled when we passed him whenever we passed through the lobby.

The Portland Airport is a typical Courtyard property, clean, well appointed rooms and lobby.  We did not visit the pool or exercise areas, but we did purchase some fruit and beverages from the convenience mart.  The prices were typical and the fruit was fresh and appetizing.  We checked out before breakfast hours, but worth noting is that breakfast is not included in the price of your room, unless of course, you purchase a breakfast-included rate, which I did not see on the list of options when we were looking for a room that particular night.

This location is about a fifteen minute drive from downtown Portland and two minutes from the airport.  We had a great stay and would stay there again based on the hotel experience, but I think if we go again we are going to try a hotel in the downtown area for the view.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tasty Thursday: South River Certified Organic Chickpea Miso

My local health food store recently began carrying South River Certified Organic Chickpea Miso.  I have been on a chickpea jag for a few weeks now so when this caught my eye, I managed to not let the $12 price tag deter me from trying it. 

While I love, love, love Miso soup, I have to admit that I haven't  tried this as soup yet.  It makes an amazing spread on crackers, wraps and sandwiches!  I have even spread it on veggies, both raw and cooked. 

The first jar lasted a week and when I asked the family if they liked it as much as I did, I was told no one else had tried it.  That means I ate an entire 16oz. jar completely on my own in a week!  I'm going easier on the second jar - it is $12 after all - but I don't expect it will last much more than two weeks.  The taste is wonderful; tangy, aged chickpea mash, just delicious.

If you are a fan of chickpeas highly recommend you give this one a try.  I just goodsearched and found the company has an online store.  Yikes!  They don't ship during the summer months.  I'm going to have to hit the HFS and pick up whatever they have on hand ASAP. 

(I was not compensated by the company for this post, I just like the stuff and wanted to share my enjoyment.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Waste Not Want Not Wednesday: Cotton Baby Ball

I made this ball on a small round wood loom with two strands of Sugar 'n Cream yarn that had been in my stash for a few years.  The ball is filled with waste from my stuffing bag such as serger trimmings. Since the tiny bits would slip out of the open loom knit stitching I loaded it up into the foot of a no longer wearable pair of tights.  The end was tied off and I put a few stitches in the knot to be extra sure it won't open when some little sweetie chews on it.  It is fully washable and I'm proud to say it kept scraps and a bit of microfiber tights out of the waste stream.

This is a donation for Online-Angels.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday's Tome: Truly Seeing

While stuck in traffic and feeling my stress level start to build, I popped in the Truly Seeing audiobook.  It was so pleasant to listen to Thich Nhat Hanh's speaking.  Although there is audio feedback a few times during the two disc duration, it is brief and well worth the blip.  The ringing of the bells at periodic intervals was very calming for me.  Well worth a listen.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tasty Thursday: Portland Lobster Company

We recently took a very pleasurable weekend trip to Portland, where as staunch as I am about eating lobster being repulsive, I really couldn't deny my spouse the pleasure.  Considerately, a lobster roll was ordered as opposed to a whole lobster, so I didn't have to see a crustacean carcass while I tried to eat my salad. 

The roll came with French fries and cole slaw and got two thumbs up from my spouse.  It is 'market price', which was $14.99 on 6/4/11.  I ordered the House salad.  It was your typical spring mix with some cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots and a Balsamic dressing served in a little paper cup on the side.  Everything was fresh and appetizing.

The nicest part of this, however is the atmosphere.  You order inside the little hut you enter from the street.  There are three or four small tables inside, but don't eat there!  You'll be given a lobster shaped pager; take it out to the seating area on the wharf.  Plenty of seating there, from picnic tables, to tall bar style-tables to bar seating along the railing facing the water, which you can see in the photo above.  We enjoyed the sunshine and got to listen to a duo playing bluesy-rock guitar music. 

Well worth a visit, even for a vegan, just for the Maine experience.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Waste Not Want Not Wednesday: Sun Tea

This might sound silly to some, but I always thought that sun tea had to be made in a huge jar.  My Mom never made it, my parents were coffee drinkers, so I only knew what I saw in recipes and those were for gallon jars or larger.

I've tried making it that way a few times but I couldn't seem to get the flavor right.  No matter what I did to try and tweak it to my liking it just never worked and the tea ended up being discarded.

Does anyone have any uses for leftover tea?  I wonder if it is good for watering the garden or something like that.  Maybe I could have done something with those failed batches.
Today I saw some interesting tea while I was picking up some groceries (have I mentioned how excited I am that our CSA farm opens this week?) I spotted some tea I thought would taste yummy as sun tea.  It is a warm day and I thought what the heck, let me try again.

This time I took a different approach.  Who says sun tea must be made by the gallon with eight tea bags?  I put my single Green Tea with Red Antioxidants in a quart Ball jar.  It is delicious!  And nothing went to waste.  Yay, me!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday's Tome: Go Green Live Rich

I recently borrowed  Go Green Live Rich: 50 Simple Ways to Save the Earth and Get Rich Trying from my local library.  I do most of my non-internet reading by CD in the car.  Several days a week, I confess, I am non-green as I have to make a 120 mile (round trip) drive.  'Reading' books during this time is an activity I truly enjoy.

Author David Bach has a nice little book here,  although I doubt anyone will get rich reading it.  I would say this book is great for someone just becoming environmentally aware or someone who needs a financial incentive shown to them in order that they might make Earth-positive changes in their habits.  For a more seasoned Greenie, give it a flip through at the library before deciding to invest in this one.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tea & Heart Lover's International Swap #3

Swap-bot swap: Tea & Heart Lover's International Swap #3
I swap with Swap-bot!

I love tea. I really love trying teas from other places so I thought this would be lots of fun. Here is what I sent my partners:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ultimate Year of Happy Mail #95

Since there is no link, here is an excerpt from the instructions:

#95 Instructions-please send your partner one set of instructions. They could be for:

a game
assembling something
any kind of instructions
Sender's choice

These swaps are intended to be sent in a small envelope with a single stamp. When I went on a mission to find instructions I could part with I came across the box from an old Ditto drive in the attic. That led to me noticing and trashing a ton of old boxes we had up there and freeing up a big space in the attic. Now my Christmas tree is no longer blocking the center path. Yay for swapping causing decluttering!

But that box also yielded an envelope with instructions, old promotional stuff from Microsoft, etc. I kept the envelope and the instructions to use for this swap. Since it was already bigger than a regular envelope and would require extra postage anyway, I decided to fill it up. I hope it was a fun surprise for my partner.