Monthly Archives: May 2012

Trader Joe’s

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I feel that this is a “hot” subject to write about as most of the people I know, that have visited this store, have very strong feelings about their favorite foods from Trader Joe’s. The bottom line though, everybody loves this store.

Trader Joe's next to the Hampshire Mall Hadley...

Trader Joe’s next to the Hampshire Mall Hadley Massachusetts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today we made the trip out to Trader Joe’s. We are lucky enough to have one relatively close. The only thing is that, it’s not easy to get to, so we only make the trip out there about once a month.

It took me a while to check it out. I have heard many people talk about it and how wonderful it is. I have one VERY picky eater, which is part of the reason this trip is worth it for me. My 4-year-old will only eat Trader Joe’s cheese sticks and fruit snacks, he also really likes their breakfast bars and mac and cheese. One of the reasons I love shopping there, aside from their great prices, is their promise to offer quality products. (this is quoted directly from their website – http://www.traderjoes.com/about/product-faq.asp)

“If you see Trader Joe’s on a label, then you can know that the product contains NO artificial flavors, colors or preservatives; NO genetically modified ingredients; NO MSG; and NO added Trans Fats.”

They have a great selection of “gourmet” frozen foods. These are great if you need a quick meal, especially if you are “cooking” for one. Their frozen mac and cheese is the closest I have found to “homemade”. They use a mix of cheeses including Havarti and Gouda making it stand out from your normal microwave mac and cheese.

Unfortunately I live in Pennsylvania so the liquor laws here don’t allow the store to sell alcohol. Have you tried their $2 wine? I believe it’s nicknamed “Two Buck Chuck”. It really isn’t bad, especially considering it’s only $2!

Have you been to Trader Joe’s? What are some of your favorite Trader Joe’s foods?

These are some of our favorites…

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Until next time!

Mariel

*Please note that this review expresses my personal opinions on this subject. Trader Joe’s in no way sponsored my shopping trip today.

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The Library

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Have you discovered all the wonderful things your library has to offer? I love our library, but I must say it took a while for me to realize how wonderful libraries are.

Growing up the only library I knew was the one at my school. I found it so intimidating and somewhat uninviting with rows and rows of tall stacks full of all kinds of books. If I thought that was intimidating I should not even mention my college library. There are even super spooky stories of the basement stacks being haunted by the ghost of a girl whose murder was never solved. Not to mention librarians patrolling the aisles making sure we are being quiet.

That being said my feelings about the library changed after I had kids. The library is truly a wonderful place to spend cold winter days with your kids. They have everything from toys to story time, and while the librarians still like some level of quiet, they don’t mind kids being kids. Our library has such a big selection of children’s books that we rarely walk out with the same book twice.

Libraries have everything from the newest movies (VHS, DVD and Blu-ray), CDs, magazines and audio books to the classic novels. The best part is, at least in most cases, you can find the book online from the comfort of your own home and if it’s not available at your library you can request it and pick it up when it’s ready. They will even send you email reminders when your book is ready for pick up or when you need to return a book and you can renew your books online.

The newest thing I have discovered is that I can even borrow Kindle books from the library. This process is all done from home, all you need is a Kindle and a computer.

If you are not sure what the closest library is, here’s a link that lists every library by state and city.

http://www.publiclibraries.com/

So needless to say, I’m in love with our library! My kids love the big fish tank and the little hamster that lives in a tank in the children’s section. They have a table with printouts and crayons for them to color, a kitchen and a puppet theater area. I love all the wonderful programs they offer the kids from story time to craft time.

When was the last time you visited your library?  What’s your favorite thing your library offers?

Until next time!

Mariel

Puzzled by the Puzzle

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So today we were puzzled by a puzzle, imagine that.

So far all the puzzles I have put together with my kids have pieces that that are all the same size. My daughter got a Disney princess  puzzle for Easter. I believe it was one of those dollar ones. It was made in China and the company is called Cardinal. On the box it says it’s a 50 piece puzzle.

When we started putting together the outside border we noticed it was 9 pieces by 6. According to our math it was NOT a 50 piece puzzle, then I decided to count them all. Turns out that this puzzle does indeed include 50 pieces. They made the outside border pieces smaller than the inside pieces.

Very strange indeed, but I’m glad we solved that mystery! Have you been puzzled by a puzzle lately?

Until next time!

Mariel

Super Mama vs the Applique

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Today I am happy to introduce you to… Blinky!!!! Blinky is the robot applique that I created for the infamous blanket. This is very good, means I making progress.

Do you have any tips for applique that you don’t mind sharing? Do you use a zigzag stitch? If so, what do you set your machine at?

Ladies and Gents the moment you have all been waiting for, here is Blinky!

I think my 4 year-old will get a good laugh out of this blanket.

Do you have any fun projects that you will be working on over this Memorial Day weekend?  Have a fun and safe holiday.

Until next time!

Mariel

Super Mom vs Double Fold Bias Tape

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Last night, while my kids were playing super heroes, I got to work on the double fold bias tape I decided to make for the blanket I promised my son.

Do you ever wonder why you make your life more difficult at times?

The store sells perfectly good double fold bias tape. If you do decide to make it yourself there are wonderful tools out there. Mine isn’t even that special, it is just plain brown cotton. Now for the disclaimer, I am by no means a sewing expert. I would say I am a beginner. I am also no Martha Stewart. I am not a craft goddess and I am not a perfectionist.

My love for sewing started when my friend asked me if I wanted to make quilts for our boys. It was great having her mom there to help us through the process. Since then I have bought my own sewing machine and have found that blankets are my favorite things to make. My daughter has a few blankets that I have made for her. My son of course has the quilt, which I’m so glad he loves, but no “cuddle on the couch” blanket. I decided to make him one.

This is the quilt that started it all:

Now back to the bias tape…

Since I like to make my life difficult I decided to make my own and not use any tools. I bought some plain brown fabric which I cut myself. (Probably not quite “on the bias”.) About a month or two later I finally decided I had to make it into what it is supposed to be. So while the kids were playing super heroes last night, I became the super hero of the bias tape. (Or so I tell myself) So basically I ironed the fabric in half so I had a good guide then folded each side in and ironed again. Here are pictures of the finished product.

The folding and ironing:

The big mess of bias tape:

The “beautiful” finished product, now I just have to make the blanket to go with it:

So, how do you bias? Do you buy it pre-made? Do you have the fancy tools to make it? Or do you sweat over a hot iron to turn yards and yards of fabric into beautiful bias tape? Ok, I might be a little dramatic at times.

Until next time!

Mariel

Well Hello Blog World!

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Well hello blog world! For quite some time I have been looking forward to sharing my crazy life with you! Today I publish my first post! Yay me!

It’s a beautiful May day here. The kids and I are very excited because today we got to go strawberry picking… in our own backyard!!!! While I did forget to take pictures of the kids having fun, here are some of our strawberry plants.

I by no means have green thumbs and we have a small yard. But we like experimenting with our small garden. So far we have planted tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and strawberries. This is our second year for our strawberries and they have produced a ton more than last year. Do you have anything in particular that you love to grow in your garden? I am also looking for ideas on what to plant in a full sun, full heat, not the best soil and windy area. Let me know if you have any thoughts for this novice gardener!

And now I will go enjoy my strawberry!

Until next time!

Mariel