30 April 2015

Mother's Day Giveaway!

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Mothers are so deserving of our attention, not just on Mother's Day but every day!  What do you do to give your mom attention throughout the year?  One thing I like to do is call my mom on a daily basis.  We live about 3 hours apart, and this keeps me in touch with her day-to-day life.  Sometimes we miss a day, but we don't let much time pass without talking!  

I created this little subway art to share with you and your moms.  Download it to your computer, save it as the size I did on this file and you can make it into a photo (up to an 8" x 10" size), frame it and give it to your mom.  A little gift from me to you!  To get the download go HERE!

Mothers Day Subway Art; used with permission

And that's not all!  Check out this amazing giveaway we have going on!  You or your mom could win up to $140 in gift cards!  Keep on reading for more details!

MLA - Tammy Creative K Kids - Tammy

Tammy from My Life Abundant and Tammy from Creative K Kids have gotten together with a few of our bloggie friends to have a giveaway!

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We are so excited to be giving away $140 in cash prizes for Mother's Day to one lucky reader. The prize will consist of $140 in gift cards. The winner will choose the gift card(s) you want. Please choose a gift card(s) which comes from an online store. EX: Amazon, Target, Walmart, Macy's, Kohls, etc. You may ask for more than one gift card(s), but must add up to $140.

Now its time to meet our wonderful co-hosts who have made this giveaway possible.

Mother's Day {Giveaway} Co Hosts

Starting at the top row we have:

Tricia of The Good Mamma | Leticia of Desafio in the City | Audrey of That Recipe | Christie of Sparkles of Sunshine | Laci of Sequins in the South | Sahana of Vikalpah | Zan of Flourishing at Home | Katie of The Ramblings of an Overtired Mama | Terri of Our Good Life | Camille of Chicken Scratch n Sniff | Kim of The Resourceful Mama | Christine of Where the Smiles Have Been

Please stop by and say hi to these wonderful ladies and their blogs.
The giveaway will end midnight on Thursday, May 8th, a few days before Mother's Day. You will have 48 hours to respond to the email claiming the prize. If we don't hear in 48 hours, we will choose another winner. The giveaway is open to anyone over 18 years of age.


Good Luck and Happy Mother's Day,
Terri 
* * * *

29 April 2015

The Summer Secret to Enjoying Your Garden: Parties!

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Welcome to the Summer Garden Blog Hop!  At the end of this post you will find many fabulous ideas about summer gardening just waiting for you!  I suggest you visit each and every one!

 
There's a good reason why people say "stop and smell the roses!"  Gardeners know no end of things that need to be done in a garden, and my husband and I are no exception.  We hoe, weed, water, store seeds, and do anything but relax unless we make time to enjoy it.  The summer is the perfect time to sit back, invite some friends over, and enjoy the work we did in the spring!

The key to having a successful summer backyard party is to plan out the details.  There are two sets of details that need to be worked out:  the food and the maintenance of the garden.  In our house, my husband does the outside work while I get the fun task of inviting friends and planning the food!

For the backyard maintenance, my husband will mow the yard a couple of days before to have time for the dust and allergens to settle back down.  He'll carefully trim around the fence and buildings.  He will rake up the mulch and give all the plants a good watering.  I like to deadhead, so that's my role in preparing the outdoors. We'll weed out the obvious weeds, sweep under the pots, check the charcoal level if we are using the Green Egg or the gas level if we are using gas.  All seating and tabletops will get a wipe down.

I'll plan a simple menu, like Limeade Grilled Shrimp or spatchcocked chicken or Bob's Grecian Burgers, decide on a featured cocktail or drinks, invite our friends.  We like to use real plates and glasses so I make sure those are ready to go.  I like to use a lot of tea lights, so I will set those around as well.  Most of my guests ask, so I always suggest they bring a side dish or dessert and to let me know what they are bringing so I can supplement as needed.  I love to this ice cream sandwich cake for dessert.  Watermelon slices, panzanella salad, the meat, and a drink are standards for us.

Summer Garden Parties

Sitting out on summer nights, enjoying the stars, chatting with friends, listening to music through the outdoor speakers, make all the efforts in the spring melt away!

Backyard Seating Area

Looking for More Great Summer Garden Ideas?  Check these out:

Nemcsok Farms- Fantastic Foliage For Your Summer Garden /

Drought Smart Plants- Early Morning in the Summer Garden /

Sensible Gardening and Living- Touring The Garden in Mid Summer /

The Gardening Cook - Budget Front Yard Make Over /

Blooming Secrets- 4 Steps To Beautiful Window Boxes /

Our Good Life The Summer Secret to Enjoying Your Garden-Parties! /

New House New Home- Creating Your Own Garden Style /

An Eye For Detail- (It's Almost) My Summer Garden

28 April 2015

Peach Cooler

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Last night I served this refreshing drink as a punch for my P.E.O. sisters.  When they left and I settled down for a nightcap, I made it into a wonderful cocktail.  I hope you enjoy it both ways, too!

Peach Cooler

To make it as a punch:

1 2 L bottle of Sprite or 7up
1 qt of Peach Nectar (purchased at my local Dollar Tree Store)
1 bag frozen peaches

Mix gently the soda and the nectar.  Add frozen peaches.  The peaches will float to the top.  Serve with one frozen peach per drink.  The frozen peach keeps the drink cold!

To make as a cocktail:

To 8oz of punch add 2 oz Limoncello or Citrus Vodka.  Stir gently.  Serve with a frozen peach as garnish.

Hanging out with Pam at Tipsy Tuesday and Kristin at Thursty Thursday!



Hopelessly Ever After

26 April 2015

Midwest Loco Moco~#SundaySupper

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My family was fortunate to be in Hawaii during Thanksgiving in 2012.  We loved Hawaii and will be always looking for ways to get back there.  While we were there, we tried every local food we could find, and one of our favorites was Loco Moco.

Midwest Moco Loco

What is a Loco Moco?  That's the same question we had!  It is simply white sticky rice with a hamburger patty on top, with a fried egg on top of that, covered with brown gravy.  What?  You don't think that is tropical?

I can tell you that when we make it at home, I can see myself sitting in the restaurant in the open air, alongside a white sand beach, with salty breezes blowing across my face!  We had this several times, as different restaurants have different versions that they are famous for.  One even includes Spam!

So what makes this one midwestern?  For one, I have lightened up all the ingredients with the exception of the egg.  I use cauliflower rice instead of sticky rice, a ground turkey burger, a fried egg, and then vegetarian brown gravy.  It is a delicious combination of tastes and I hope you give it a try!

Midwest Loco Moco

by Terri Steffes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (2 servings)
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1/2 lb ground turkey
  • 1 t steak seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 2 t salt, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 T butter
  • 2 T onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 T flour
  • 2 T lite soy sauce
  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • 1 T olive oil
Instructions
Remove the leaves from the cauliflower head, remove the white core. Divide into flowerettes. Process in a food processor until the cauliflower resembles rice. Gently heat 1 T olive oil in a medium skillet, add cauliflower. Cover and cook 4-6 minutes, until your desired doneness. Remove from heat.
Saute onions and garlic in butter over medium high heat. Reduce heat, make a roux by adding the flour a little at a time, stir continuously to avoid lumps. While stirring, add soy sauce and vegetable broth. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook until gravy has reached the desired thickness. Set aside.
Mix ground turkey gently with the steak seasoning. Form two patties with the turkey meat. Fry in a medium skillet with 1 T olive oil until desired doneness. Season with salt and pepper, set aside.
Fry two eggs to your desired doneness. A sunny side up egg is perfect for this meal.
To assemble: scoop a cup of caulirice onto plate, pat to create a flat surface. Place turkey burger on top. Pour brown gravy over the burger, and then top with one of the fried eggs. Repeat for the second serving.
You will have some caulirice left over. This is delicious for five days in the refrigerator.
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You can find some wonderful recipes with a tropical flare by checking out the recipes below!

Tidbits and Pupus
Breakfast
Companions
Condiments and Sauces
Coolers
Main Event
Delectable Delights
Wine Pairings
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

24 April 2015

Spring in New Town

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I love our New Urbanist neighborhood!  As I was headed away to do errands, I did a photo journal looking for signs of spring.  The result was this collage.  Happy Friday!

New Town Spring

23 April 2015

Featured Blogger at Missouri Women Bloggers!

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In lieu of a regular post, I am going to send you over to The Missouri Women Bloggers page where you can see me as a featured blogger writing about Retirement as Renewal.  Happy Wednesday!

Taken in Jefferson City, Missouri

22 April 2015

Cardinal Spirits

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Bloomington, Indiana is a wonderful food environment and the same goes for their spirits.  While we were visiting with our daughter, she took us to the new Cardinal Spirits, a new distillery near the B Line walking trail.

We came for the spirits!  The waitress offered up a sample of the vodka and as a special surprise, a taste of the gin that will be featured on next week's menu. My husband, the gin drinker, really liked it and that's all we are going to say about that since it hasn't been officially introduced to the public.

The vodka sample was delicious.  The vodka has a floral aroma that hits you first before you sip.  The smooth taste ends in a citrusy bite on the tongue.  I was eager to try it in the Bloody Mary, which was my drink of choice from the menu.

I ordered the Bloody Mary, because if you can't do a fabulous Bloody Mary in a distillery, well, then...and  I have to say, I LOVED the homemade bloody mary mix that they use.  While I felt the garnishes were just ok, the drink itself was very good.  I'd come back for another easily!

Bloody Mary

The glass was rimmed with smoked paprika and Alder salt.  I could definitely tell about the paprika, but not so much with the salt.  The mix was a great blend of peppers, horseradish, celery salt and other goodies.  The tomato juice itself was delicious and the vodka added the correct punch.  A delightful Bloody Mary!

Hanging out with Pam at Tipsy Tuesday and Kristin at Thursty Thursday!



Hopelessly Ever After

21 April 2015

Chocolate Amaretto Creams #CreativeCookieExchange

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There is nothing like a sandwich cookie! My first experience with them was an Oreo. I love taking the top off (or is it the bottom?) and scraping the filling off with my teeth, letting it melt in my mouth while I dunk the first of the two cookies into milk. Ahhhh, that is the way to eat an Oreo!

These sandwich cookies, however, just beg you to take a bite with the cookie intact. Two soft chocolate cookies, with a creamy, buttery filling, coats your mouth with the essence of almonds. Delicious! Enjoy these with a glass of milk, but don't enjoy them with kids! These cookies contain a liqueur called Amaretto, so they are for "adults only."

These cookies are easy to assemble, just make the cookies, make the cream, pipe the cream on, put the cookies together!  


Chocolate Amaretto Creams

by Terri Steffes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients (15 cookies)
  • For the cookies
  • 1 devils food cake mix
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • For the Amaretto Buttercream
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter, soft
  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • 2 T amaretto
  • 1 t vanilla
Instructions
For the cookies
Preheat oven to 350. Mix cake mix and butter together. Add eggs, beat well. Drop by tablespoonsful onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool 5 minutes, then transfer to cookie rack to cool completely.
For buttercream
Cream butter until smooth. Add in sugar, a little at a time, add in amaretto and vanilla. Beat 2-3 minutes until smooth. If needed, add in drops of milk to get the desired consistency.
Pipe buttercream onto one cookie. Top with another cookie.
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The theme this month is Sandwich Cookies--any kind of cookie presented as any kind of sandwich, we’re laid back because that means more cookies for everyone! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.
You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes--be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

20 April 2015

Around the Garden: Roasted Radishes

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Over the weekend we spent time in Indiana with our daughter who lives in Bloomington.  She has been there for several years now, and one of our favorite things to do is to go to the Farmer's Market, which is probably the. single. best. Farmers'. Market. we have been to, and we've been to plenty.  Part of what makes it special is that the local restaurant scene comes out in full force so there are plenty of food options available as well as vegetables, plants, honey, eggs, meats, flowers, and even bamboo poles.

As we were looking around, I spotted this beautiful bunch of radishes.  I have always thought radishes were beautiful, but wasn't particularly fond of their peppery taste.  A little in a salad goes a long ways for me.  At a $1.25 a bunch, this was also a good economic choice as you can eat both the radish and the greens.

radishes

I had recently read about roasting radishes and I decided to give them a try.  We were picking up bread, cheese, meat and fruit at the Farmers' Market, so I decided to get the radishes as a side for our meal.

One of our favorite chefs in the St. Louis area is Chef Gerard Craft.  I had read his recipe for roasted radishes and it is the one we tried.

stages of cooking


For a bunch of radishes, wash the radishes, trim the greens, cut into halves, and wash the greens.  Pat them all dry.  Preheat oven to 450. In a large, ovenproof skillet, heat up 2 T olive oil.  Add the radishes, and salt and pepper.  Let cook until turning brown.  Put into the oven to finish roasting for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven (pan will be HOT!) and add 2 T unsalted butter.  After butter melts, add greens and continue to cook until greens wilt.  Finish with the juice of 1/2 lemon.  Serve hot.

roasted radishes

This dish completely changes the nature of the radish.  The vegetable has a sweet finish and with the slightly bitter greens, is a perfect side for our cheeses and meats and sourdough bread.  I cannot wait to make these again.

19 April 2015

Smoked Turkey Salad~#SundaySupper

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My family loves to picnic!  We picnic in the summer, we tailgate in the fall, we smoke in the winter and we al fresco in the spring!  Such a great way to enjoy nature and just being outdoors heightens your appetite!

We've learned a lot of tricks over the 37 years we've been married and had picnics!  We have a picnic basket all ready to go at all times: glasses, napkins, plates, utensils, and a corkscrew!  That got added when we turned 21! (yes, we were baby newlyweds!)  At a moment's notice, we can throw together a picnic and get on the road towards a good time!

One of our favorite recipes is this Smoked Turkey Salad that we just recently started using on picnics.  We attended the Cardinal's Opening Day baseball game and took this as our lunch. 


Smoked Turkey Salad

by Terri Steffes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (2 cups)
  • 3/4 c cooked broccoli
  • 1/4 c light cream cheese, softened
  • 2 T Italian dressing
  • 1/2 t Italian seasoning
  • 6 oz smoked turkey breast, cut into cubes
  • 1/3 c roasted red peppers, cut into cubes
  • salt
  • pepper
Instructions
Cream the light cream cheese until smooth. Add dressing and seasonings and mix thoroughly. Combine turkey, broccoli and bell peppers gently. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to blend flavors.
Serve on good bread or crackers.
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Appetizers:
Beverages:
Main Dishes:
Sides:
Soups and Salads:
Desserts:
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

17 April 2015

Spring into Pictures Sweepstakes

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With summer vacation finally here, all of us want to catch those precious memories with our friends and family. Moments like a child’s first trip to the beach, or that hilarious girls’ night out listening to your best friend make a fool of herself during karaoke. While we know our smartphones can take an amazing picture, wouldn’t it be great if you had a camera that could truly capture those precious moments?


Luckily, we know just the camera – the Nikon D3200 24.2 MP DSLR camera! With this innovative Nikon camera, you can bring all of your pictures to the next level. This compact DSLR has the power of a more expensive Nikon camera without the bulk, allowing you to take high quality images or cinema quality videos in FULL 1080p HD. Best of all, this camera is easy to operate, letting you use built in filters to make every photo look amazing in any type of light or situation. To learn more about this amazing camera, make sure to check out the Nikon D3200 on the Nikon website or watch the informative video provided below.


Would you like the opportunity to win this amazing camera? Budget Earth and some of our favorite bloggers joined forces to bring this fantastic DSLR camera to one lucky winner! All of us have pitched in to buy this camera, making sure we could make one of our readers’ summers even better. To us, nothing is more exciting than knowing one of our lucky readers will winning this awesome camera! Ready to enter? Make sure to read the rules below and then enter through the Rafflecopter!



  Spring into Pictures Sweepstakes
  • One lucky reader will win a Nikon D3200 24.2 MP DSLR camera.
  • Open Worldwide (If outside the US, prize will be cash equivalent to camera price only).
  • Winners will be chosen at random through Rafflecopter via Random.org.
  • Sweepstakes ends May 1st at 11:59pm ET.
  • Winner will be notified via email.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.
  • Budget Earth is responsible for prize fulfillment.
  • Must be 18 years or older to enter Rafflecopter.
  • Only one entrant per household.
  • Void where prohibited.
  • Entering the Rafflecopter means you agree to terms above.
  • Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This blog did not receive compensation for this giveaway. Facebook, Twitter, & Pinterest are in no way associated with this sweepstakes. Prize fulfillment will be handled by Budget Earth. Would you like to have your products featured in a giveaway event? Want to increase your social media exposure? Contact susan.l.bewley@gmail.com to see how I can help YOUR company today!

16 April 2015

#BundtBakers: Balsamic Strawberry Filled Bundt Cake

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When I joined Bundt Bakers earlier this month, I was so excited to get to bake a cake at least once a month.  Then my husband reminded me that I was watching my points.  Spoil sport.  Oh well, now my neighbors will enjoy the fruit of my labors!  Win/win for all!

The theme for April is "Hidden Surprise" - Bundt cakes with fillings or stuffing. There was no constraint on filling and flavor choices.The only requirement was that the cake be filled/stuffed inside. Anshie from SpiceRoots was our host for this month. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.



I have had strawberry cake on my list of cakes-I-do-well for a long time.  I make a layer cake that features a strawberry jam filling and chocolate covered strawberries as decoration on the top.  It is a yummy cake and so I wanted to recreate that to some degree.  I also love using balsamic vinegars with fruit and I wanted to incorporate that idea as well.  So the Balsamic Strawberry Bundt Cake was born!

The balsamic vinegar and the fresh strawberries and brown sugar create a yummy center that compliments the sweetness of the cake.  With a light dusting of powdered sugar for the top, you have a wonderful, sophisticated dessert.

Balsamic Strawberry Filled Bundt Cake

by Terri Steffes
Prep Time: 12 minutes
Cook Time: approx 40 minutes

Ingredients (12 slices)
  • For the filling
  • 2 c strawberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c good balsamic vinegar
  • For the cake:
  • 1 strawberry cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 c water
  • 1/3 c oil
  • For the glaze (if desired)
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • leftover liquid from strawberries
Instructions
For the strawberries:
Mix brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Add in strawberries and toss until coated. Let set overnight. Drain and reserve liquid if making glaze.
For the cake:
Preheat over to 350 degrees. Prepare bundt pan with shortening and coat with flour. Beat eggs. In mixing bowl, mix cake mix, vanilla, water and oil. Add in eggs slowly, beating well after each addition. Beat for 4 minutes. Pour 1/2 batter in pan and smooth. Spoon the strawberries on top of the batter, staying in the middle of the batter. Pour the remaining batter over the strawberries, smoothing over the strawberries so that they don't show. Bake for 35 minutes, check for doneness. Straw inserted will come out clean. Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes. Invert onto waxed paper, cool completely.
For the glaze:
Beat softened butter until smooth. Add in powdered sugar a little at a time until well corporated. Add in reserved liquid a little at a time until you get the desired consistency. Drizzle over cooled cake.
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#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here.

BundtBakers

You won't want to miss these other delicious Bundt Cakes this month...all with a sweet surprise in the center!


     

15 April 2015

CanvasPop GiveAway!

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**I received a free canvas from CanvasPop to give my honest opinion about their product.  The following words are my own.

I was approached via e-mail by CanvasPop to do a review of their product.  They would send me a canvas of my own photograph in exchange for a review.  They would allow me to do a giveaway of a canvas and offer a discount to my readers who would like to order one.

I received my canvas in short order after ordering it, approximately 8 days.  The canvas was a 16 by 20 of a photograph I took this winter of the farm in New Town on a cold but bright winter day.  The canvas was stretched good and tight, and was wrapped around the frame in good order.  The frame itself wasn't too heavy but did have good weight.  The frame had a wire stretched from one side to the other for hanging, which is nicer than other canvases I have ordered that just had the sawtooth holder.  The back has nice rubber feet where the frame touches the wall.  Another very nice feature.  Other reviews said that there was a sticker on the back of their canvas saying, "Lovingly made by..."  Mine did not have one.


The wire hanger

Rubber footing

A photo of my canvas


The colors were bold and bright and true to my photograph. Typically I do not frame canvas prints, but this one would be enhanced with a frame, which I believe is actually a good thing.

If you go to the website, you can do a lot of things with your photograph.  you can add text, or make it into a triptych.  That would be fun to try!

By the way, this photo was taken with my iPhone 5s.  It is a 3264 by 2448 sized photograph.  It was taken on February 17, 2015.  I think they made a pretty remarkable canvas from an iPhone photo!

I definitely recommend CanvasPop for your photo art needs.

The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.

Now for the fun part!  CanvasPop has generously passed on a 35% discount over your entire order at www.canvaspop.com.  That is a wonderful savings to share and I for one will take advantage of it! Use code OGL35 at checkout.

CanvasPop is also giving away one free canvas to one lucky reader!  You will get a coupon code good for one 16 by 20 canvas, stretched on a .75" frame depth (includes the cost of shipping) that is good for one year.  The winner will have an entire year to get the perfect photo!  The giveaway code will expire April 30, 2016.

All you have to do is sign up below.  The drawing will be May 1, in time to give for Mother's Day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

13 April 2015

Around the Garden

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Sunday was a lovely day to take a drive into South St. Louis and garden shop!  We love the nurseries along Barrett Road and make an annual trip to visit them.  Today we were pleased with the selection and we were not the only ones who were thinking about their gardens!

When we returned home, we got busy planting!  We planted in the front, side, and back gardens.  We planted flowers, herbs, trees, bushes, hostas, and vegetables.  We pulled weeds, raked mulch and finally just had to stop!  We still have a few more left to put into the ground!


I have started to love succulents!  This wreath is adorable!

Sherwood Nursery created figures from bushes!!

This one is a butterfly!


Our newest garden, cora bells, hostas, lavender.

When I saw this rosemary bush, I had to have it!


Our purple coneflowers have not liked this spot for two years.  We are trying Shasta Daisies this year!

None of the flowers in the front have blooms yet, so will save those for a later post!  Happy gardening, and I'd love to know what is new in your garden!