Green Mountain Fair Trade Coffee

October 15th, 2013

Disclosure: I am a BzzAgent and received these products from BzzAgent.com for review at no cost to me. I receive no monetary compensation for my open and unbiased review. The purpose of BzzAgent is to generate word of mouth sharing of information – both good and bad – about the products offered by both familiar and unfamiliar companies.

Coffee is about the only thing keeping me awake and functioning some days.  I’m not quite to wanting it via IV, but close.  Thanks to my Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Certified BzzCampaign, I’ve been looking into what Fair Trade means.  I mean, you see it on packages, but what does that really mean?  I had no idea, so I did some research.

Fair Trade means that farmers are paid a fair price for their beans, ensuring that they have a relatively stable income to count on and giving the farmer’s a higher quality of life. They don’t have to struggle to make ends meet wondering what price they will get this year and if it will be enough to cover the cost of growing the beans.  Buying Fair Trade adds to the farming communities – putting money back into education, healthcare and sustainability because they are given a social premium that goes back into the community.

According to Green Mountain Coffee:

The funds guaranteed through Fair Trade Certified™ programs allow farmers to invest in their farms, support their families, protect the environment, and plan for their future. Fair Trade supports farmers by:

  • Ensuring a fair price for their harvest

  • Providing access to consumer markets, cutting out unnecessary middlemen

  • Helping farmers gain affordable access to credit

  • Promoting sustainable farming practices

  • Supporting community development such as roads and schools

Basically, you get better coffee by buying Fair Trade coffee.  That’s something I can get behind!  And I’ll tell you, I liked the coffee sample they sent me.

2013 – A New Year and New Goals

January 1st, 2013

I have a few goals this year. I’m not calling them resolutions, since most of those fail.

Action Goals:

  1. Get the garage cleaned out. For once and for all. To make it a usable space.
  2. Spend more time working on the blogs.  This should be easier as the girls are getting older – Islay’s in school 2 days a week and Iona is able to play more independently now.
  3. 1 act of kindness a week.  This seems like a doable task.  Now to make a list of kindness acts for inspiration.
  4. 2012 was a year of not seeing our friends very much.  It just happened – small children, life, work, school. But for 2013, I want to make an effort to see everyone more than twice a year.  Part of my plan is a quarterly party or get together.  First one of 2013 – Burns Night!

Aspirational Goals:

  1. Focus on the positive things – I need way more positivity in my life.
  2. Embrace the insanity. Life with two toddlers is going to be crazy.
  3. Live a healthier life.

And I feel like that is enough to keep me busy but motivated in 2013.

 

22 Days of Thanksgiving 2012

November 11th, 2012

I’m going to do 1 “I am thankful for” for each day in November until Thanksgiving. I’ll update this post each day (or couple of days! :) )

Day 1. I am thankful for my husband – who quite frequently puts up with me, who keeps his distance when he’s sick, who sweeps & mops the floor, and who handles all the litterbox duties. I love you, Jonathan.

Day 2. I am thankful for my beautiful girls – who have infectious smiles and adorable giggles, and who are my greatest blessing and joy.

Day 3. I am thankful for my family – who have given me support and love and encouragement.

Day 4. I am thankful for my health and my family’s health.

Day 5. I am thankful for my friends – who are always there for me, who make me laugh and remind me that I am completely normal.

Day 6. I am thankful to live in a country where I have the privilege & right to vote and make my voice heard.

Day 7. I am thankful that we are able to provide for our family, that we are never hungry and that we have a solid roof over our heads.

Day 8. I am thankful for weekends and family time.

Day 9. I am thankful for amazon keeping me supplied with reading material.

Day 10. I am thankful for free babysitting so we can visit with friends.

Day 11. I am thankful to my grandparents for passing down things and teaching me things I wouldn’t appreciate until years later and that I hope my children someday appreciate.

Day 12. I am thankful that this year I can teach my children about giving to others and doing for others. Our church is doing projects for Samaritan’s Purse and AngelTree and Islay’s school is doing a food drive.

Yet Another Post About How I’m Still Alive

November 2nd, 2012

Seriously, I have neglected the crap out of this poor blog. The good news is I haven’t neglected my children! I don’t know how other moms do it. It’s been like a year since I posted on here. I thought the mobile app might help, but I find that when writing I like having a proper keyboard.

Well, I’ll keep the site, even if that means posting infrequently, but I’m not going to try to stress myself out by doing any regular posting. Honestly, when I’d have the time to do it, I’d rather be sleeping. Iona, though 10 months now, still isn’t quite sleeping through the night. I feel like I’m tired all the time. I think I could sleep for days and still not catch up.

My wish to do list

February 23rd, 2012

1. Clean up the back yard. Here’s hoping the good weather holds out making this possible.

2. Clean out & reorganize my pantry.

3. Rearrange my office. Gotten nowhere on this.

2012 Projects List

January 1st, 2012

I thought making a list of projects I want to do might make me more motivated for actually completing those projects.  So here goes!

  1. Finish the advent calendar I let slide last year.
  2. Make a taggie blanket for the baby.
  3. Finish the baby bib I started last year but haven’t sewn up yet.
  4.  Make a sock animal from the book I got for my birthday.
  5. Make the mustard I didn’t get done for Christmas.  This should actually be easy-ish.  December 2011 was a bear of a month for me.
  6. Do my Insurance license.  Possibly a maternity leave project, not sure yet.  I have the study guides and work is paying for it.
  7. Rearrange my office.  This is another put off due to pregnancy project.
  8. Put up shelves in the girls’ room.
  9. Get the big antenna installed and connected to the TV.  It’d be really nice to have CBS & ABC back.
  10. Red Pear & Lavender Jam!  It’s been almost impossible to find red pears, so I had to punt on this too.
  11. Take 2 at a garden.  The drought last year just killed everything.  Hopefully 2012 will be better weather wise!
  12. Clean out the garage.  For real.  This bugged me for most of last year.
  13. For the love of all that is good & holy, get the toy box fixed and in the girls’ room.

 

10 things I’m thankful for, because it is Thanksgiving

November 24th, 2011

I’m thankful:

  1. For my beautiful daughter. She is a delight every day. I will make everyone I know listen to her say “cock a doodle doo” repeatedly as it is the most adorable thing I’ve ever heard.
  2. For my unborn daughter, who though a surprise is extremely welcome and a complete blessing. In two months I will get to see her face to face and for that I am indescribably thankful.
  3. For my husband, who takes on the tasks I refuse – including cat duty and bug removal. Who agrees with my longing to become more self-sufficient. Who thanks me when I cook him dinner. Who does laundry and watches our daughter and works all night. Who is in home tech support and in home moral support.
  4. For my family and for my friends.
  5. I have a job when so many do not.
  6. Learning new skills – I made jam this year and have managed to can enough salsa and spaghetti sauce for my family for the next year. It’s not easy work, and would be more convenient to buy, but I have a great sense of pride in opening something I made and giving that to my family.
  7. We have all been relatively healthy – and pray that my father continues to stay mostly healthy as we wait for his new kidney.
  8. That even when things don’t turn out the way we want or plan, they still turn out okay.
  9. That I have been so blessed to travel and I truly hope we continue the tradition with our girls.
  10. That we have everything we need and aren’t truly lacking as so many people are struggling with these days.  I will continue to remind myself of that every day.

Things I’d like to Learn and do Revisited

November 10th, 2011

Things I’d Like to Learn/Do

Update: November 10, 2011
I made jam for the first time this week.  Just a small batch of Food in Jars Strawberry Vanilla Jam. It is delicious, and I feel very proud of myself for trying something new.  I think small batch is the way to go for me.  From start to finish it was only an hour!  I managed it while the child was sleeping.  That’s what I call a project I can handle.    Now I just need to get started on the projects I have planned for Christmas!
Originally Posted: August 1st, 2008, Updated 1st: January 28, 2011

This list has taken more consideration than I initially thought it would.  But here it is:

  1. Make my own jelly/jam.
  2. Grow a vegetable garden. (We tried this & failed due to the drought.  We’re going to give it another shot next year.)
  3. Can my own veggies.
  4. Learn to sew.
  5. Learn to crochet.
  6. Compost.
  7. Learn to knit.

I originally wrote this post in August 2008 and nearly 2.5 years later, I can cross something off it!

In November, my sister and I canned 50 pounds of tomatoes.  While they weren’t grown in our own garden (thank heaven for Farmer’s markets), since I’ve never canned anything and she’s never pressure canned anything, it feels like a huge accomplishment. We made 8 jars of spaghetti sauce, 8 – 10 jars of salsa and (I think) 12 jars of just quartered tomatoes.

I have also gotten closer to the Learn to Sew goal.  I have a sewing machine now and I actually made a pillowcase.  But I don’t have the workspace to really use it the way I want.  Hopefully that “De-clutter” portion of my Resolution List will get that issue resolved too.

This weekend I’ll be tackling that goal of getting things listed on eBay.  I have pulled some of the things I’m going to list and will start with that pile.  Brand new baby clothes with the tags still on.  So my goal is to get the photos done tomorrow and start working on the listings.

Canapalooza 2011

August 15th, 2011

I got a 25 pound box of tomatoes from my father this week. So of course, I had to can salsa & tomato sauce.  We’ve used up all our tomato sauce from November, so it was timely.  Canning tomatoes is hard work.  Seriously.  Just prepping the tomatoes & other ingredients took me an entire day (with a few breaks, I am pregnant after all).  Prep work took most of my Saturday.  That left the cooking & canning part on Sunday.  I started with the salsa, since it cooked shorter & processed shorter. I used the Fresh Vegetable Salsa recipe from the Ball Book.  I got 8 1/2 pint jars from the recipe.

Price Breakdown:

Jalapenos                           $0.64
Green Bell Peppers           $0.75
Extra Roma Tomatoes     $3.24
Onion                                  $0.77
6 pint jars                           $3.66
2 lids & rings                      $0.56

Total Cost for 8 1/2 pints = $1.20 each

For my tomato sauce, I used this recipe from Pickyourown.org.  I needed a water bath recipe, so although Ball has some good ones, but they require pressure canning. I’ve added a pressure canner to my wish list so maybe for Christmas. :)   This one is more time consuming in that the sauce has to simmer for 2 – 3 hours and it has to process for 40 minutes in the water bath.

My sauce ended up yielding 9 pints plus an extra 5 – 6 cups that I’ve put aside for the freezer.

Onion $0.77
Pints jars $6.12

Price per pint = $0.77

I didn’t count the 25 pound box because my father bought it and never told me how much he paid.  I offered him a jar or two of salsa & sauce in return.  I do know he bought it at the market at Canino in Houston, so likely he got it for a good price.  I left them a few of the tomatoes, which is why I bought some extras from the store.

(un)Adventures in Gardening

August 7th, 2011

Well, we picked what could possibly be the worst year ever to start our vegetable garden.  You may have noticed that record levels of heat in Texas.  Combine that with a near complete lack of rain and you’ve got a bad combination for gardening.  I tried.  I really did.  Then my water bill jumped – significantly. We just haven’t had enough rain to compensate.

So I think I’m call it done for this year.  Maybe I can plant in the fall.  Maybe these constant high pressure systems will finally stop hovering directly over Texas.  I’ve even given up on my grass, which is also dying.  Our yard is a rather sad sight.  But there are things I’d rather spend money on that water to keep my grass alive.