Getting Crafty-Upcycled Seed Packet Favors

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a good friend’s bridal shower.

The best part? I got to get crafty and make the favors.

Now, if you know me, you know that I am not the most DIY talented person…but this favor was something that ANYONE can do.

I did a quick Google search and found these little beauties.

Again, so easy, even I was able to do it…with some help from my amazing friends Vanessa and Tina. Thanks, Ladies!

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Piles of seed packets….

Here’s what I came up with to go along with the seed packets.

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I know, super corny.

These were actually pretty fun to make and did not break the bank. A great idea for upcycling.

The best part? We get to use all of the leftover cardboard cylinders for starting seeds. Win!

What did I use?

  • Cardboard tubes from Paper Towel/TP Rolls (Free from friends!)
  • Ribbon
  • Cardstock
  • Fun Purple Paper
  • Staples
  • Glue Tape
  • Scissors
  • Seeds (Free from Farmer Ben)
  • A few different stamps and purple ink
  • A purple marker for marking packets by type

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After you have all of your pieces, just tie them together with a pretty ribbon.

And enjoy!

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Happy Things

I’m in an incredibly good mood today. Why?

The sun is shining.

It’s turning out to be a pretty nice day.

Coffee.

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In my ceramic travel mug. Love.

I finished last night’s run before it was completely dark out. That hasn’t happened in a long time. Spring is coming!

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Okay… it looks pitch black here, but it really wasn’t!

Spinach Soup for lunch. This stuff is so good and so good for you! I used Joy the Baker’s recipe, with a few tweaks (white potatoes, veggie stock and chili powder to start).

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Green Monster soup.

The hubby is at home,  on his day off, cooking and baking bread. I cannot wait to go home and try everything!

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Basil Bread (L) and Whole Wheat Mini Boules with Brown Butter, Sage and Flax… all in a day’s work. I know…I’m spoiled!

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Meyer Lemon Chicken Stock

Rutabaga Fries

Rutabaga Fries

We’ve decided to do a dairy CSA Share. Hello fresh milk in glass bottles! Homemade butter and cheese are going to happen!!! I’m super excited. I’ll give you details in a separate post.

I signed up for a couple more (free!) online classes, it’s definitely going to be year of learning! If you haven’t checked Coursera out, do it now!

I got an awesome pair of compression socks (the kind that go up to your knees!) as a gift last night…. perfect timing. I was pumped.

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Compression socks are sexy.

I also got these beauties.

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Love the color!

Both are made in the USA and made with sustainable products. Love this. Here is the website for more info.

I also got an awesome print of a photograph taken by my super talented aunt…which I didn’t take a picture of. Can’t wait to hang it up!

Anyway, like I said. I’m feeling pretty blessed today. Life is good and I am happy for so many reasons.

What brings a smile to your face? Tell me about it! 


Crunchy Quinoa Granola

I went a little granola crazy this weekend. The hubs and I decided to do snacks and foodie items for Christmas this year, so I made two batches of granola. It went fast.

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Wholesome Crunchy Gift Giving

The first was adapted from this recipe by Joy the Baker.  I also got the mason jar idea from her. Genius.

Not gonna lie, I wasn’t sure about the goji berries, but they were awesome! 

The second was something  I sort of made up on the fly because I was running out of oats. And it was absolutely amazing.  It was also super festive because I used red quinoa, cherries and pistachios. Did I mention that it was delicious?

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Totally festive, crunchy, protein packed granola. No big deal.

This is a super savory granola, but if you want to sweeten it up, feel free to add more agave nectar. I don’t think it needs it…

The quinoa and cocoa nibs give this an awesome crunch and the coconut oil gives a super savory, rich flavor. I think this is my new favorite granola!

Look at this recipe as more of a guideline than something set in stone.

Crunchy Quinoa Granola

Ingredients

4 cups rolled oats.

2 cups red quinoa, uncooked–be sure to rinse and drain it!

3/4 cup sunflower seeds

3/4 cup cocoa nibs

1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut-I like the flakes because it adds some awesome texture

1 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped (I chopped mine a little too much, you’ll want big chunks for that beautiful green color!)

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 pinch smoked salt

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup agave nectar

1 tsp. Vanilla

1 1/2 cups dried cherries

What to do:

Preheat oven to 325.

Line two baking pans with parchment paper.

Combine all dry ingredients except the cherries in a large bowl, give it a good toss to make sure it’s well mixed.

Heat coconut oil and agave nectar in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir occasionally until combined. 

Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.

Add to dry ingredients and mix well, ensuring the mixture is well coated.

Pour granola onto baking sheets, making sure to spread evenly.

Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown, pulling out twice to toss mixture (so it doesn’t burn).

Let cool completely and add dried cherries. Granola will last several weeks in an airtight container. Serve over milk, yogurt or by the handful.

Enjoy!

Happy Wednesday!


It’s Love

Good morning, Friends!

I’m currently on a bus en route to New York. We’ve been up since 3:30 this morning, but it’s all for a good cause. I love my hubs!

Tomorrow is Farmer Ben’s 30th birthday.  A day that calls for major celebration!

The hubs and I are headed to the Brooklyn Brewery to take in the food, people and beer of the Food Experiments Championship!

To be honest, finding out about this event was a complete accident but I knew as soon as I found out that Ben would love it!

So off we go. Tomorrow we have a date with the Rockettes and then an even hotter date with the Katz Deli.

Here’s to a wonderfully adventurous and delicious two days!

Oh. Also, I caved and joined twitter… find me @noellesnotebook!

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It was entirely too early for photos. He must love me!


Favorite Things on a Thursday Afternoon…

The last 24 hours have been full of my favorite things…

1. Burritos. Ben and I had delicious-ness for lunch from our favorite taco joint.

2. Foodie Penpals-I sent my package to Marcia in Florida… Anxiously awaiting the arrival of mine!

3. Farmer Ben in Chef Pants.

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He rocks those shroom pants so well.

 4. My siblings.

 

Missing Erin.

 

 5. Marriage

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Typical Thursday Night…

6. A good run.

 

7. Summer nights (and bon-fires).
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8. Go-go Juice and being on time to work.

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I have an addiction…

8. Sunny days.

9. Lunch.

10. Writing this blog.

Hope your days have been as blessed as mine. Have a great day!


May Foodie Penpal Reveal Day!

Holy Cow! How is it already May 31?!  This month has flown by and I have been aching to tell you about my foodie penpal experience and the day is finally here! Ah!
 
Before we start, a quick reminder that the Cheechako Taco giveaway ends today, please comment on the post in order to enter the drawing. I’ll announce the winner tonight! Click here to read/sign up.
 
Thank you to Nicole over at the Revved Runner for her awesome package! You totally nailed it: Pickles. Pretzels. Nuts. Chocolate. AMAZING!
 
I sent a package to Lauri P. out in Texas and am happy to report she was a fan of all of her Upstate NY/VT goodies!
 

I could barely contain my excitement.

First, Nicole sent this awesome card. The best part? You can use it again! I love perforated lines and postcards, especially in combination with recycling! Genius.

This doubles as a postcard!

 
When I opened the box, I couldn’t figure out why one side felt so much heavier. There was a large item wrapped in a plastic bag (I love that she did this, because that is totally how I package things, too!). When I removed the plastic, I got a huge grin on my face. It was a large jar of German pickles. I’m usually a dill girl, but these had the right kind of sweetness and still had a little bit of crunch. Major props, Nicole!
 
The box also contained a bag of Annie’s Organic Pretzel Bunnies. I love fun shaped foods…almost as much as I love pretzels.
 
Next, a Texas Staple-Cinnamon Honey Spread. Yum! I haven’t had a chance to crack this open yet, but I am thinking it will be divine on some homemade biscuits or popovers. I can’t wait! I love trying regional foods, so I am psyched about this spread.
 
The next few items were new to me. Sweet lord, what have I been missing?
 
Laura’s Wholesome Junk Food: These beauties come in bite form. Two bites are the perfect amount if you are looking for a little sweet…or a quick refuel after a workout. There was a whole lot of chocolatey-oaty goodness in this container.
 
Gone Nuts: This little package didn’t stand a chance in our house. It was a raw cashew almond blend with white and regular chocolate. Holy cow they were delicious! The package was instantly devoured and now I am obsessed…and trying to track down some more! If you haven’t had these, try them. Immediately!
 

So much flavor in one little box!

 Another HUGE Thank you to Nicole! I’ve enjoyed getting to know you through email and your blog…and you did an amazing job choosing all of my foodie goodies!
 
In case you’re interested in becoming a Foodie Penpal, here are some details. To sign up, visit this page!
 
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

***If you’re in Europe, please contact Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt at rocksalt@thisisrocksalt.com to get involved!


You Don’t Need a Reason…

Update: Congratulations to Liz, you are the winner!

Sometimes you really don’t need a reason other than “just because.”

As I was sitting at my desk on Friday afternoon, wondering if I would ever make it to the end of the day, my wonderful husband walked into the office and placed a perfectly wrapped box in front of me.

“What is this?!” I asked.

He replied, “Just open it.”

I carefully opened the package, trying extra hard not to destroy the pretty wrapping paper.

The box contained a brand new Vera Bradley wallet. A cute design composed of various greens and blues. It instantly brought a smile to my face.

If you know me, you know that I don’t like to spend money on things like clothing, wallets or purses. As a result, my old wallet was on its last legs. Ben, knowing this, decided to get me a “just because” gift…that I could actually use.

So, keeping with the spirit of “just because,” I am giving away a $10 gift card to a local business.

Cheechako Taco is a bangin’ taco joint located in downtown Plattsburgh. They focus on two things: Tacos and burritos. They also get major bonus points for using local produce, tricky trivia questions and crazy decor.

They have a little something for everyone’s taste, all with a unique twist and lots of melted cheese. You can view their menu here.

I highly recommend this place. Check it out if you live in the area or even if you are just visiting!

The Rules:

  • Tell me about a time when you have gotten a “just because” gift and how it made you feel by commenting on this post.
  • One entry per person.
  • All comments must be in by Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 6:30 pm.

Disclaimer: Cheechako Taco has no idea who I am (other than a customer who frequents their shop). They are not sponsoring this giveaway in any way–I am doing it because I love tacos. And burritos. And you. The end.


Ripples

It’s Monday.

I woke up this morning after what seemed like a moment of sleep and was dizzy from all that transpired this weekend. I hit the snooze button, but was still tired the next time around. Yet, here I am. Another Monday at work has ended and the day has escaped a little too quickly for my liking.

Sunday was a very weird day for me. I got a bit emotional and felt the need to do some serious self-reflection.

 It started yesterday morning at church. The sermon was on motherhood, but it also discussed how anyone can be a better example, a light in the dark, if you will. It was titled, “Leaving a Legacy.”

My pastors talked about examples from their own lives and discussed words that came to mind when someone thought of their mother, but one phrase really struck a chord with me.

“A sincere faith causes a ripple effect.”

Regardless of your religion, or lack thereof, this is heavy. Everything you do has an effect on someone, even if you don’t realize it.

This got me thinking. What kind of impact am I making? What kind of people do I affect on a daily basis without even realizing it? What sort of ripples am I sending?

I know that I cannot personally change the world. But I can work hard every day to be a better person. And to help people, whether it be a smile to a stranger, a word of encouragement or helping someone with a project…the possibilities are endless.  And if I’m not the only one doing this?

Imagine the impact.

I just… I want to show people that there is still good in the world. Even if I don’t realize it at the time.

So…I’ll write it one more time. As a reminder.

A sincere faith causes a ripple effect.


If You’re Anything Like Me…

You probably wait until the last minute (or a week after) to buy your loved ones a birthday card.

You probably look at the calendar and say “Oh crap! Mothers’ Day is THIS Sunday?!”

But I didn’t do that this year. Ben and I were all over Mother’s Day…part of her gift anyway.

Anyway, here are some suggestions, if you ARE anything like me.

One of my favorite things to do with my mother is to sit down and have a meal with her, even if it’s something simple, like this pasta dish. That quality time is a gift in and of itself and I do the dishes!

I also love bringing her baked goods, like these whiskey cookies

This year, because Ben and I are both working on Mothers’ Day, we got her some amazing Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar from The Saratoga Olive Oil Company…to start.

Out of Saratoga, NY, they just opened up a shop on Church Street in Burlington, VT. This place is amazing. When you open the door, you enter a tasting room; silver vats of olive oils and vinegars line the room and little tasting cups and bowls of bread line the tables. I thought that I had died and gone to heaven. You’ll try things like Blood Orange Olive Oil, Jalapeno White Vinegar, and Roasted French Walnut Oil. Like I said, amazing. You can also order online.

Ben and I picked up this sweet little variety pack.

Another awesome foodie item? Fat Toad Farm Goat Milk Caramel. My favorite variety is the Coffee Bean Caramel. It’s perfect to stir into your morning coffee, drizzle over ice cream or dip with fruit. If you have a caramel lover in your life, check this stuff out! Their website lists locations where the products are available, or you can order online!

Perfect Morning Pick-Me-Up!

If you’re not a foodie, handmade jewelry is another winner, at least in my mother’s book. Check out my previous post, Bling-Blingin’, to see some of my friend Kate’s work. She’s got a great eye and makes some pretty awesome jewelry. Do you have any go-to gift ideas? Or something completely different? How do you celebrate your mother? 

Anyway, I hope you have found or will find the perfect gift to thank your mother. Good luck, and happy Mothers’ Day to all the Moms out there…a few days early!


It’s Finally Friday!

Just kidding. I mean…it is Friday. But it was a crazy week-it flew by…seriously, where did it go? And why did I not accomplish 3134 of the 4231 items on my list of things to do?!

In other news, I’m pretty proud of myself; I’m down 15 lbs (11 since using mfp) and I’m ALMOST into another pair of pants I haven’t worn in a looooong time. Again, big surprise.

I’m also back to running-after I got that nasty stomache bug a week or so ago, I’ve been bad about pounding the pavement…until this week!

Also, I’m having a minor freakout-I am running a 5k tomorrow! For fun. But I haven’t run a race in a long time! I’m not expecting much time-wise (not yet, anyway!). I’m just hoping to keep my nerves down until I start the race. Gah! Seriously, thinking about this is making my stomach flip-flop and… I think I just started sweating!

Another plus about this weekend? I’m off. So is Ben. We have brisket to smoke, 5ks to run and worlds to conquer! I am pretty excited!

We also signed up to be “Foodie Pen Pals!” For more information, click the badge on my homepage. We find out who our match is tomorrow and I am completely stoked. It’s a really awesome concept and I can’t wait to join in. I love mail…I turn into a kid at Christmas when I get mail…especially packages!

Alright, over and out folks.

Have a great weekend!!!