Thursday, January 19, 2017

Creativation 2017

Today is the first day of the Craft and Hobby Association's Creativation Show and I couldn't be more excited!


I gave you a brief overview of my schedule here. In just the few days since I wrote that, I've added three more items to my already jam-packed calendar. It's going to be crazy, but in the best of ways.

It's unlikely I'll be able to squeeze in time for blogging during the show, but I am planning to share as much as I can via my brand-new Facebook page. Let us know what booths you'd like to see, new products you want us to check out, or anything else and we'll do our best! "Us?" you ask? Sadly, Tanya isn't traveling with me for this show... but I will have some help, specifically with social media!


Vickie is my aunt and one of those super creative people who is always crafting up beautiful stuff. She does many crafts well, but her strengths are different than mine, making her an excellent assistant for the show. Vickie is a former 4th grade teacher and a current curriculum director, so she knows kids' crafts and educational crafts inside and out. I'm very excited to have her working with me. 

I will not be running blog posts while I'm gone, so be sure to follow our adventures on Facebook and let us know what you want to see!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Switchel

May I offer you a drink? Perhaps some switchel?


As you can tell from the Christmas tree in the background, I made this switchel a few weeks back. New Year's Eve, to be specific. Usually, I make some sort of crazy themed meal for New Year's Eve. I ended up changing my plans and doing a very ordinary meal because of new food restrictions for some of my guests. So I made a crazy drink instead.

Jonna gave me a cool book called Pioneer Mixology: Switchel, Sack Posset, and Shrub. I love cooking and eating my way through history, so it was the perfect gift for me. 


Having never tried any of these intriguing drinks, I was eager to make switchel for my guests. According to the book, switchel is "a mixture of molasses, ginger, water, and a dash of vinegar, contained in a brown jug cached under the shade of a bunch of alders or partly submerged in a spring hole. On a hot day when men were mowing, raking, or pitching hay, frequent trips were made to the switchel jug."

There wouldn't be any mowing, raking, or pitching of hay on New Year's Eve (other than feeding some to Trouble), nor do I have alders or a spring hole, but I didn't let that stop me. 

The recipe starts with 2 quarts of cold water, 1/2 c. of apple cider vinegar, and 1/2 c. of brown sugar. 


Next, add 1/4 c. molasses.


Add 2 tsp. of ground ginger (I grated mine fresh), stir, and serve. 

So how was it? The opinions were mixed, but I found it weirdly tasty. I could see how it would be very refreshing on a hot day while working hard. I'm looking forward to trying the sack posset, shrub and dozens of other intriguing prairie beverages!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

MunchPak Product Review

Any adventurous eaters out there? These interesting snack foods showed up on my doorstep recently, and I couldn't have been more excited!


They weren't loose on my doorstep. They were in a box. Specifically, a MunchPak Mini. 


When MunchPak offered to send me a sample for review, I was all in. I LOVE trying new-to-me foods


MunchPak.com 

Steve and Trevor were also excited to give them a try, so I made each of us a sample plate: 


First, we tried the cacahuate estilo Japonés (Japanese-style peanuts). They're not Japanese. They're Mexican. And they're yummy. They have a slightly sweet, slightly soy coating on the peanuts. My Spanish is decent, so I was able to get some clues from the wrapper about what's in them. 


Next up... well, I don't know exactly what they are. They taste similar to Pringles but are shaped like rings. Following the illustration on the package, we ate them off our fingers. Yum!


Another mystery. The only English on the wrapper says "sour paper." There are illustrations of fizzy soda. Sure enough, this tasted like a cola-flavored fruit bar with a light dusting of citric acid. It was pretty good. 


No English on this wrapper either. It's 26 cm. of something, but what? I'm not a big fan of gummy candy, so I didn't love this, but I didn't hate it either. Both flavors were pleasant if hard to identify. The brown might have been root beer. Trevor loves gummy candy and really enjoyed this. 


Finally, the only item in the box that's both familiar and written in English - the original GooGoo Cluster. Can't go wrong with that! Delicious!


All three deRosiers give a big thumbs-up to MunchPak! We love the idea of mystery snacks showing up on the doorstep. This would be such a fun gift to give or to receive. I think it would be especially awesome to send as a care package to a college student. 

MunchPaks come in three sizes - Mini (5-6 snacks), Original (10+ snacks) and Family Pak (20+ snacks). They can be delivered weekly, every two weeks, or monthly. Shipping is free within the US.

Try something new!

People with dietary restrictions or preferences can customize each package by clicking buttons to show their preferred and non-preferred snack types. There are 15 options, so you can avoid (or request) meat, seafood, nuts, gummies, and more. Each customization adds $1 to the price. Personally, I think the randomness of what you get adds to the fun, but it is nice that people with allergies or preferences will receive foods that are safe for them. 

Good news! If you would like to try MunchPak, you can save $2 off your first box using the code CINDYSNACK. Enjoy!

MunchPak.com

Monday, January 16, 2017

One Little Word, 2017

This is my seventh year participating in Ali Edwards' One Little Word. I started in 2011 with Balance (2011), then did Celebrate (2012), Try (2013), Enjoy (2014), Relax (2015) and Share (2016). Without exception, focusing on each of these words for a year has been very positive for me.

My One Little Word for 2017 is Connect.


I want to strengthen the connections with close friends and family, and reconnect with people I haven't seen in far too long. I want to build new connections within the blogging and crafting communities. I want to make connections with other parents as Trevor transitions from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts and from elementary school to middle school this year. I want to do a better job of connecting with you, my readers, through my blog and social media. 

I thought a puzzle piece would be the perfect symbol for Connect, so I built this year's tag around that. I'm not sure what made me choose eraser pink for my tag, but it's covered with little plus signs (actually, X's) to inspire me to make connections.

Coincidentally, Connect is the same word that Ali picked this year. None of her previous eleven words match any of my six, so it's surprising that we chose the same one this time.

As always, my new One Little Word does not replace the previous ones. Balance, Celebrate, Try, Enjoy, Relax and Share will be as much a part of 2017 for me as Connect. Here is Connect with all my other tags.


Did any of you choose One Little Word for 2017? I'd love to hear what it is and why you chose it!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

If you're reading this in your email or in a reader, you may not have noticed that I've made some changes here at My Creative Life. First, I've increased the width of the blog itself so that you are able to see more content on your screen without scrolling. This meant I needed a new header to fit the larger space. It no longer features my collection of One Little Word tags. I think it is more in line with my brand and serves as a better introduction for new readers.

I've also moved some things around. The month's most popular posts now appear directly below my photo rather than hidden further down. I hope this will make it easier for visitors to get a sense of what I share on my blog.

Finally, I've added a page of product recommendations. You can see it on the far right of the navigation bar under the header. I started with scrapbooking supplies, since people ask me all the time what adhesives I like, what trimmers I use, and what cardstock is best. I'll be adding other product recommendations soon.

More changes coming. All for the better. I promise.