Well, it’s been a busy week and a half since we last chatted. During this time, we had some crazy weather here. This past Monday, it was in the 50’s in the middle of the afternoon, in MAY! Thankfully, during that time, I remembered and learned about some great programs, so I wanted to share with you before the business of Mother’s Day is fully upon us (Hi, Mom!). Hopefully, you’ve got your plans already in motion for your mom(s), so you can take advantage of a few of these. We’ll start with the littler things and finish with all the neat programs you can join.
It’s been 6 1/2 weeks since I planted all my seeds, but last week, I added some forget-me-not seeds that a friend gave me. Unfortunately, I’ve also had to start dealing with some annoying bugs that are trying to eat my zinnias. Someone suggested that I spray the plants with soapy water, and, since I started doing so, I haven’t seen any of the bugs. Hopefully, my plants will start to look better soon, but I am excited because today I noticed the first few forget-me-nots popping up. Take a look.
(Update: sadly all of these plants died. I seem to be horrible at growing flowers; they never bloom. However, I do currently have some basil and chives that are a couple of years old and doing well.)
I also recently got to try a delicious recipe for S’mores Muffins. Though I don’t have a jumbo muffin pan, they worked just fine in a regular muffin pan. They are best served warm from the oven, but, if you have any left over, they also taste nice if nuked for 15-20 seconds in the microwave. I thought they tasted almost exactly like s’mores, but I wouldn’t have minded more graham cracker crumbs and chocolate chips as the marshmallows kind of dominated and they’re my least favorite part.
S’more Jumbo Muffins (from Taste of Home)
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. veggie oil
3/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 c. mini marshmallows
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine the egg, milk, and oil; mix well. Stir the wet mix into the dry mix til just moistened. Fold in the chips and 1 c. marshmallows
2. Fill greased jumbo muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/4 c. marshmallows. Bake them at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes or til a toothpick inserted in the center removes cleanly. Cool 5 minutes in the pan and then remove to finish cooling on a wire rack.
There are also a few deals that I wanted to let you know about. Like I mentioned last time, Haagen-Dazs is having a free cone day from 4p-8p on 5/10. If I had a store nearby, I would love to take advantage of this. Also, starting today through 5/15, Starbucks is having Frappuccino Happy Hour with half-priced frappuccinos from 3p-5p; it looks like they’re launching a new Mocha Coconut flavor as well. Sounds yummy! (Update: The Mocha Coconut is tasty, but I feel like the mocha overpowers it.) If you go to Wal-Mart’s Sample Section of their website, you can currently request a sample of shampoo and conditioner from John Frieda. And lastly for the deals, if you like Redbox on Facebook, you can get a code for a free movie on 5/12.
Finally, there are three really cool programs that I highly suggest you look into and possibly join. First, I suggest you sign up for the free daily sample e-mails from All You. It’s the site for a magazine that is partnered with Wal-Mart. I also signed up to be one of their “Reality Checkers.” The daily sample e-mail is pretty straightforward. For being a reality checker, they occasionally send e-mails with questions about trying a new product or giving them a story for the magazine. A while back, I did a quick survey about trying out some new tweezers. They never said if I got in, so I thought that was the end of it. Imagine my surprise this past week, when I got a small package in the mail with a brand new pair of Sally Hansen Perfect the Arch tweezers to try out. I get to keep them, and all I had to do was fill out a short survey that took literally 5 minutes. I was so excited, and I can’t wait to sign up for another product trial. About the tweezers, I like them, though I don’t think the tip works as well as they advertised. Still, it’s a really good pair of tweezers for free that normally run from $10-$13. I’m not complaining!
The second program I highly recommend you join, is the World Market Explorers program. It’s a free program, and I think all you have to do to sign up is give them your contact info. I LOVE this program (partly because I LOVE the store). For being a member, they’ll give you special sales, special coupons, and last year for my birthday, I got a $10 off a purchase of $10 or more coupon. YAY!!! Free stuff! Generally, they’ll send you a coupon every couple of months for $10 off a $30 of more purchase, which comes in very handy around holidays like Mother’s Day (hint! hint!), Father’s Day, and Christmas. While we’re talking about this, let me take a little rabbit trail that will lead to one of my favorite reasons to go there. I am a spice fiend! I love buying and using all sorts of spices and herbs. I am particularly attracted to ginger, peppers, chives, and salts. Unfortunately, spices in the grocery store can be insanely expensive (I’ve seen $5 for 1/2 oz. before). World Market sells bottles of spices (generally holding about 1 1/2 – 2 oz. for spices or 1/2 – 1 oz. for herbs) for a flat $3. That is amazing! And they carry spices that are hard to find elsewhere, like pink Himalayan salt, cardamom, etc. They also sell refill bags for the bottles that are very reasonably priced (prices vary depending on the size of the bag and the spice, but I’ve bought several for just $1 apiece). Whoo! I get worked up about cooking, so we’ll switch subjects now.
The last program I wanted to tell you about is called BzzAgent. It is a great program where you receive products to try in exchange for telling your friends your honest opinion about them. I just recently got free full-size packages of the new Cover Girl Natureluxe Foundation and lip balm which I’m excited to try out on Sunday (and then I can tell you what I think about it). They also send you coupons to pass out to your friends when you talk to them about it. Pretty easy, huh?
Well, that sounds like enough for today, I’ll keep searching for fabulous things to share. Have a good weekend and call your mom on Sunday to tell her much you love and appreciate her!