Mom

My Current Coffee Crush is…

You can tell by the well worn travel coffee mug in this photo that I use it… A lot;)   I’ve written about my favorite beverage before in  A Perfect Cup of Pour Over Coffee.  Starting my day with a great cup of joe just puts me in a good mood.  It’s one of life’s simple pleasures.  That being said, I’m also very picky about my beans.  So, when I post about finding a coffee I love, you can bet it’s got to be good!   My current coffee “crush”  is from a local roaster in Smyrna, GA just north of Atlanta, called Rev Roasters Coffee.   In fact, I’m drinking a cup now, and I’m in a great mood!

I hadn’t heard of Rev Roasters until a few months ago.  They had a booth at the American Crafts Council show I attended in Atlanta.  (A note to organizers – coffee at an art or craft show is always a good idea;)  Rev Roasters was serving samples of a very dark roast at the show, and although I’m really not a super dark-roast person, as a coffee lover, I’m always up for trying something different.  I think coffee is a lot like wine –  so many different beans, grown all over the world, roasted in special ways to bring out the flavors.  Hmmm….is coffee sommelier a job? I’d probably never sleep again, but it would be a lot of fun;)

The dark roast from Rev was honestly excellent – strong, dark, acidic, with notes of burnt chocolate.  If you like dark coffee you’d probably have loved it.  I’m more of a medium to strong, rich and creamy coffee girl.  So, I decided to check out the different coffees they had displayed in the booth and chose one to take home. I selected their “Silver Bullet blend”.  The bag listed “the components” as “Brazil Cerrado and Guatemala Antigua” and the flavor as ” Creamy and Balanced with a bit of Black Cherry”.   Their website says,”with flavors of sweet black cherry that accompany a creamy and rich body, the Silver Comet was made to be a favorite among those who need flavors that stand up to the test of time.”

So…a ten second grind in my burr grinder, grounds placed into the Chemex filter, three quick pours of “just off the boil” H2O and…WOW!  Honestly this coffee is incredible!  Smooth, medium roast, strong, not weak, (have I said I don’t like weak coffee?) and full bodied.   I finished the first bag I bought at the show and took a ride over to Rev a few weeks ago and bought two more bags.  It’s that good!

If you find yourself in North Atlanta, take a ride over to Rev Roasters in Smyrna and check ’em out.   The shop is the epitome of what a coffee house should be.  Bonus – it’s only a mile or two from Sun Trust stadium.  Although,  in my opinion, this coffee is not inexpensive (a 12 oz bag will run you $14) it will also make you about 20 6-8oz cups of coffee.   For 50 cents a cup, and a guaranteed good mood, it’s totally worth it for me.  I’ll have to check to see if they offer discounts for repeat buyers;)  If they do I’ll share with an update.

Here is a link to Rev Roasters.  You can also follow them here on instagram.  If you’re a coffee lover take a minute and check out their site.  If you are in the North Atlanta area stop by their shop and try some one of their blends.  Let me know what you think.

-Kate

Foot Powder? – The Best Deodorizing Foot Powder!

Are you looking for the best deodorizing foot and shoe powder?  I found myself Googling foot powder a few months ago.  My daughter was in Boston dealing with lots of snow, heavy layers of clothing, and several pair of boots, that were great in the cold, but too hot sitting for hours in a lecture hall.  I told her to make sure to put some foot powder in her boots so they would stay fresh smelling.  (I grew up in the north. I know what can happen to boots over a season.)  She asked me what she should buy.   Hmmmm -it’s been so long since I bought it, I’m not really sure. The nerd in me decided to do a little research online and see what she should pick up.  That’s when I stumbled across Rocket Pure.

 

foot powder - managedbymom.com
My Daughter’s Winter LL Bean Boots

What caught my attention and made me visit their website was the fact that they use natural ingredients in their  deodorizing foot and shoe powder.  I consider myself “natural-ish”.   I try to use natural ingredients whenever possible, but I buy what works the best.  To this point I had always bought foot powder for shoes like Dr. Scholl’s, but I was intrigued. I read the product information. Here is what their website says about the foot powder:

Natural Lemon Deodorizing Foot Powder – Rocket Pure

“Fights foot and shoe odor, freshens feet, sports shoes, and sneakers. Deodorant powder can go directly on feet, or in shoes and socks.  Made in the U.S.A. of natural ingredients, no harsh or toxic chemicals, paraben free. Made of cornstarch, bamboo stem powder and essential oils of cedarwood, clary sage and rosemary. Rocket Pure Guarantee: 100% Satisfaction for the Lifetime of the Product, or 100% Refund or Replacement.”

Image from Rocket Pure Website
Photo: Rocket Pure Website

After reading the reviews it seemed lots of people liked the “lemon” scented powder. Lemon scented deodorizing foot and shoe powder? I don’t know. Doesn’t that seems like a strange scent? I decided to send an email to the company asking about the scents they had available and if they had samples. I had a response within hours from the founder of  Rocket Pure – Alex.  Talk about great customer service!

I explained I wanted to find some foot powder for winter boots, and although their lemon scent had great reviews, I couldn’t imagine it.   He said he would be happy to send my daughter a sample of a couple of the scents at school and she could see what she liked.  She had the samples within just a few days.  He even followed up with me via email that week and asked for my feedback on the product – positive or negative.  Okay, I thought, I’m already loving this company.  I hope the product is good because I wanted to buy it just because his customer service was so great.

My daughter tried the lemon and cedar scents, one a deodorizing foot and shoe powder and one a spray, for a week.  She really liked the lemon scent and said she thought the powder worked better than the spray for her winter boots.  I was really grateful that he had sent the samples because it saved me money, and the hassle of returning or exchanging a product she may not have liked.

foot powder - managedbymom.com
My Husband’s Running Shoes

We purchased the Lemon Foot and Shoe Deoderizing Powder for her in Boston and I decided to try the Eucalyptus Foot and Shoe Deodorizing Powder for my husband’s running shoes here in Atlanta. Both have worked great!  I am super happy with their foot powder!  The bonus for us is that, since the ingredients are natural, I’m sure we’ll also be using it all summer inside our flats (here is an article you may be interested in if you wear flats) and sandals because it can go directly on our feet, not just get sprinkled into our shoes.

I also bought the Tea Tree and Lemon Grass Natural Hand and Food Balm.   I like the clean scent of tea tree oil and the website mentioned it was great on dry heels (which truth be told we all get a bit of in the winter, right?)  I honestly haven’t used it on my feet yet, but promise I will try it soon.  What I have used it on is my hands, specifically  dry areas on the back of my hands, and around my cuticles to keep my nails looking nice. It comes in a convenient little tin, and when you open it you just have to swipe a little of it because it smells so nice and looks so smooth.  Its convenient and super moisturizing.

Anyone who reads this blog should know that I only share information here that I’ve personally tested.  I do not receive compensation for any of my opinions, and I’m very picky;)   Rocket Pure is really a great product.  The foot powder works great for northern winter boots, stinky running shoes, and it feels nice on bare feet.

If you haven’t tried Rocket Pure Deodorizing Foot and shoe Powder yet, and you’re a runner, have kids (or a spouse ) who are athletes, or have kids with sweaty little feet (LOL) consider giving it a try.  I love that it smells fresh and clean without heavy perfumes and that we are using natural ingredients and not a bunch of chemicals on our skin.   I also love that my laundry room, where everybody keeps their smelly shoes, doesn’t smell like a high school locker room anymore – bonus!

Here’s a link to Rocket Pure.  If you’re looking for some foot powder give them a try – and let me know what you think!

-Kate

 

Kate’s Breakfast Cookies

Today I want to share my original recipe for Kate’s breakfast cookies.

Did I say breakfast cookies?

Yes. I. Did.

When my kids were little we always joked about how they wished they could eat cookies for breakfast.  I toyed around with recipes I found, or was given,  but if they were actually healthy, they never really tasted very good.  Or if they tasted good, they were not actually very healthy.  The eternal conundrum.

 

Fast forward a “bunch” of years.

If you read my blog, you know both my kids are now in college (sniff…sniff…I miss you guys!)   Last month I sent them each a few dozen shortbread chocolate chip cookies for Valentines Day.  A few weeks later I was talking with my son at OU.  He said he liked them so much he’d been eating them for breakfast – and had just finished his last two. I literally burst out laughing!  Some things never change.

So, I decided maybe it was time to give breakfast cookies another try.  There are so many healthy ingredients readily available in the grocery store these days, and I’ve discovered healthier alternatives and new techniques over the years.  I created a recipe this past week that I think they – and you – will love!  I’m going to send some to the kids at school…and get their brutally honest opinions.  The husband gave me a two thumbs up;)

Now…this is not a Toll House chocolate chip cookie.  This is a healthier, higher fiber, protein packed treat!  And, honestly, I think it tastes awesome (but of course I’m a little biased.)  The key to these cookies is the ground oatmeal and the brown sugar.  I’ve found a few recipes over the years that use ground oatmeal and only brown sugar seem to allow baked goods to keep their “softness”.

These are super easy to make!  The only ingredient that may be difficult to find is the wheat bran.  If they don’t have it at your local grocery store make a Whole Foods run – that’s where I get mine.  Or get it online – Amazon also sells it.

Grab two of these for breakfast on the go.  They’re great with milk, tea or coffee.  (I’m eating one right now with a cup of coffee from Rev Roasters – will tell you about them another time.)  Or pack a few in a baggie and throw them in your purse or backpack with a water bottle.  I packed two of them in my purse for a snack while my friend and I walked around the  American Craft Council show last Friday.  They were delicious and they kept my hunger at bay.

Because of the oatmeal, wheat bran, cranberries and pecans, this is also a great way to get some much needed fiber into the diets of kiddos (or grown ups) who…shall we say…need a little extra…ummm….help.   Let them eat one or two a few days in a row and they should feel better.  The best part is they will have no idea that the delicious cookies they ate were what helped.

Please give this recipe a try and let me know how you like them.

XO

Kate

Kate's Breakfast Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
I hope you will love these!
Author:
Serves: 24 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Quaker "Old Fashioned Oats" - ground into powder in your food processor
  • 1 Cup Wheat Bran (I use Bob's Red Mill Unprocessed Miller's Wheat Bran)
  • 1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ cup of butter ( 1 stick) softened
  • ½ cup of brown sugar firmly packed
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 2 Eggs
  • orange zest from one orange
  • 1 Cup of chopped pecans
  • ½ Cup of dried cranberries (I used the lower sugar ones )
  • 1 Cup of mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Put the 1 cup of Quaker "Old Fashioned Oats" into your food processor and run it for about 3 minutes or until the oatmeal no longer looks like oats, but is a slightly grainy powder - like flour;) Leave it there for now.
  2. Put the ½ cup of softened butter and the 1 cup of brown sugar into a large bowl and mix for several minutes - until light and fluffy.
  3. Add two eggs to this mixture and continue to mix for another one to two minutes.
  4. Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla and mix until well incorporated
  5. In a separate bowl add the ground oatmeal powder from your food processor, then add the wheat bran, the whole wheat flour, the baking soda, baking powder and salt. Use a whisk to mix them all together well.
  6. Add the orange zest to this mixture of dry ingredients and whisk well to distribute.
  7. Add the dry flour mixture to the large bowl containing the butter/sugar/egg mixture and mix well to incorporate. Scrape down the sides if using a stand mixer to make sure you get it uniform.
  8. Add the 1 cup chopped pecans, the ½ cup of dried cranberries and the 1/ cup of mini chocolate chips all at the same time and mix just until incorporated - about 30 seconds.
  9. Put parchment paper on your baking sheet and roll dough into small balls - approximately 1.5- 2 inches in size. Place 12 balls onto the cookie sheet and press down balls with your fingers or the bottom of a floured glass to make 12 flat disks about 3 inches wide;).
  10. Bake in 350 degree oven for approximately 12 minutes - just until bottoms of cookies start to look golden...not dark brown please;)
  11. Cool and enjoy with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee or tea! SO YUMMY right out of the oven!
  12. Makes approximately 24 cookies. Leave out what you will eat in a day or two. Put the rest in a zip lock bag, seal and put in the freezer. Take them out when the first batch is gone. Voila! Fresh cookies at your fingertips!

 

2018 American Craft Council Show – Artists I loved!

The 2018 American Craft Council Show and Artists I loved!

Are you an art lover?  A crafter? A jewelry lover?  Have you been to an American Craft Council Show yet?  If not, you need to find one in a city close to you and GO! Here’s a link to find a list of show locations.

A close friend invited me to go with her to the “2018 American Craft Show” on Friday (going on all weekend at the Cobb Galleria Center in Atlanta) and it was FANTASTIC!  I’ve never been before.  This is not your run of the mill craft show.  I would consider this a high end art show with exhibits by incredibly talented, some very highly trained, and prolific artists from across the country.  There was something for everyone!  There were 230 artists/booths at this show and it was $13 for admission for the day.  For the price of a movie ticket my friend and I spent 4 hours viewing some of the most incredible glass, jewelry, furniture, ceramics, fashion wearables, fiber, wood and metal art pieces available and talking to artists.

I met several artists who’s work I really loved.  I hope to give you a taste of their art via this post.

CHIE HITCHNER:

The first artist I want to highlight is a woman whose exquisite hand-loomed wall hangings, with timeless and intricate designs, literally stopped me in my tracks.  I had  to get a closer look.  She is a textile artist named Chie Hitcher from Montgomery, AL.  I’ve included a link to her website below so you can view her biography and look at her gallery.  I just love her work!  When I asked her about her pieces and her process she had such a kind and quiet demeanor she simply drew me in. The amount of work that goes into each piece is mind-boggling!

Her exquisite wall hangings have clean and timeless, even modern, designs. They are incredibly beautiful and detailed and I found the colors she uses in many of the designs she creates to be very soothing.  Her process is painstaking.  The pieces she was exhibiting at the show were mostly made from silk fibers, but she also works in linen and wool.  She hand dyes all her threads, mostly with natural dyes that she creates with organic items like onion skins, and plants from her yard.  The threads are either dyed uniformly, or dyed multiple colors, in multiple stages.  The multiple colored strands, when added to the loom, gives the piece a variegated or polychromatic look.  Simply gorgeous!  It is hard for me to fathom the patience it must take to add each strand to the loom one piece at a time.  It can take months for her to complete a piece depending on the complexity.

Chie won an “Award of Excellence” at the American Craft Council Show in San Francisco (August 2017) for the piece she is standing with below, and was awarded “Best In Show” at CraftBoston Holiday (December 2017.)  The pattern in this piece reminded me a little bit of a quilt pattern, but this is far different, and much more time consuming than quilting.   The detail honestly must be seen in person.   It is impossible to appreciate the intricacies of this design from a photograph.   When the fabric is lifted you can see each tiny strand that was added to create the design on the front.  This is not embroidery by the way – this is all done on a loom.  Chie uses a  “technique called nuki-tori, a form of weave lacing where she manually inserts extra weft threads in the weave to create a design or image.  Its’ effect is often similar to that of embroidery, but the image is created during the original weaving process.” I believe she said it took her more than 3 months to create this piece!  When you get up close you can actually see designs within the design that are not visible from far away, or in this photo.

From her website: “Chie’s work is a modern reinterpretation of Japanese weaving and dyeing techniques that are hundreds of years old.  Many of her pieces use Japanese ikat weaving techniques including tate-kasuri, in which the warp (vertical) threads have been dyed more than one color prior to looming; weft kasuri, in which the multi-dyed weft threads are placed into the fabric with each pass of the shuttle; and zurashi-kasuri, in which these multi-dyed threads are intentionally offset from one another to create a dreamy effect or a specific design.”

UPDATE:  Chie Hitchner was one of two artists at the ACC Atlanta show awarded the “Rare Craft Award of Excellence,” which was sponsored by The Balvenie US.

You can follow her latest posts on instagram @chiehitchner.textileart or check out her website by clicking this link https://chiehitchner.weebly.com

KEN and JULIE GIRARDINI:

The second artist I want to highlight is actually a husband and wife team – Ken and Julie Girardini of Girardini Design.   I primarily had the opportunity to speak with Ken, as Julie was out of the booth when we stopped by.  However,  I met her briefly on our way out and I think it’s safe to say she has a great sense of humor and was clearly just as engaging at Ken.  I wished I’d had more time to stay and chat.  The couple have been married for 30 years.  That in itself is a beautiful thing;)

Above is a photo of Ken with the pieces that first caught my attention – to his left on the wall.  They are made of aluminum and the designs are created on the aluminum with acrylic that has been added in layers. Images are sometimes added between the layers and then more layers of acrylic are applied.  The result is modern, light, even ethereal.  Each piece is unique and can be purchased and hung separately, or they can be purchased in multiples and hung together to create a gallery wall as seen to his left.  I enjoyed the colors, complexity and organization that goes into this work.

Below is a photo I took from Ken and Julie’s website of one of Ken’s “Moving Series” image sculptures.  He did not have this piece at the show, but has several pieces online that I thought were incredibly unique.  They incorporate art and sculpture.  I  really enjoy color, design, organization in modern pieces.   The piece below has a little bit of all the things I like.

Wind Message

My friend noticed a bike wheel hanging on the opposite wall of their booth at the show.  Ken told us it was actually a modern bike rack he designed and sells on his site. I’ve taken a picture of the business card he gave me (below)  so I could share it here.  You can get a sense of the minimalist design – a modern and artistic piece that is both unique and useful!  What a great item to add to a small city apartment!  I think every apartment dweller in the city needs to consider one of these!  Based on some of the designs he had at the show, including the bike rack and a hanging rack, I asked Ken if he was by any chance an engineer.  He smiled and said, “Kind of.  I worked at NASA”.  It’s interesting how often art and science complement each other.

 

From their website: “Julie and Ken Girardini are the principal designers at their small studio in rural Maryland. They specialize in designing metal objects for the home: furniture, lighting, clocks, candleholders, as well as sculpture and fine art.  We are self-taught and pride ourselves on creating each and every piece by hand. We have deliberately chosen to make a living with our hands and minds and have done so for the past 28 years. Our primary medium is cold rolled steel, but we add curiosities like glass, brass, copper, paper and wood to keep it interesting.”

You can find more information about Ken and Julie and their designs on their website Girardinidesign.com

JEFF PENDER:

The last artist I’m highlighting from the show is Jeff Pender.  As we approached Jeff’s booth, but were still at a distance,  I could see white blocks, with a pop of color, stacked upon each other.  To be honest the Mom in me thought,  “I’m glad I don’t have small kids with me, they might knock them over!”  As we got closer it became clear they were a singular pieces of art – ceramic totems – incorporating multiple ceramic blocks that could each be turned 360 degrees, mounted on sturdy wooden bases.  Very cool!

As an art-lover, and and a mom involved in education, I thought these totems are not only interesting pieces for adults, but they would make an incredible interactive art exhibit for younger people.  How many times have you told your child, “don’t touch”?  I can hear my kids asking me to please buy one of these for our house.   I liked the minimalism and simplicity of the white ceramic blocks, along with the clean lines Jeff etches in black onto each of the blocks, and the pop of color the glass he embeds provides on other sides.

Jeff explained that some of his pieces are created almost like a puzzle.  As you turn the blocks there are points at which the lines of the designs, on the individual blocks, connect into a single design.  I  shared with him that I thought these would be great in a modern hotel…or even better…a display of them at Disney World! ( Kids LOVE interactive art).  He said  he was actually recently commissioned to create a custom piece for a hotel in the southeast region.  I think they are very lucky.  It’s going to be very popular!

Below is another picture of one of Jeff Pender’s “ceramic totems” taken from his website which I have included a link to below.    He also creates unique wall hangings and sculptures that can be seen on his site.

Interactive life-size Totem in motion. Made of clay, wood, steel, glass.

 

For more information about Jeff Pender here is a link to more of Jeff’s website and interactive totems.

There were many more artists whose work I enjoyed at this show.   I took cards from the booths of others I enjoyed but did not speak with and will be checking out their art online.  My friend found several folk artists at this show that she loved and purchased a beautiful piece for her home.   Everything at the show is cash and carry.   Cash, credit cards and checks are accepted.

I’ll definitely be at this show again next year!  Hope to see you there!

XO

Kate

The BEST Way To Get Rid Of Ants…and pictures to prove it!

So you want to know the BEST way to get rid of ants and you want proof?  Well you’ve come to the right blog my friends!

I currently live in the south, where there are more bugs than you can shake a stick at.  Unlike New England, where we freeze the crap out of bugs to make sure and kill a few million every winter, the south stays balmy enough to keep them all alive.  Lovely.

Can you see the little critters crawling up the side of the window moulding below?  (This was last week when the spring rain started driving them indoors.)  So, I’ve been in Atlanta a while now, and I clearly understand that the term is not “extermination” it is “management“.

Every three to four years or so a band of “Argentinian” ants finds there way into my house, and into my neighbor’s houses, (cuz Lord knows we don’t want anyone to feel left out).  These guys are teeny tiny.  I have tried every way to fix this problem over the years, from expensive professional bug treatments to home made Borax solutions I found on Pinterest.  I am finally an expert😉 and I have the photos to prove it.  Are you ready?  Above you see them?  Below you don’t! (Well, you can see a few dead ones on the paper if you look closely.)

I finally found something at Home Depot a few years ago called Terro Liquid Ant Baits.  Yes, the packaging says the active ingredient in these is from “Borax.”  But… buying a box of Borax, making a solution and soaking cotton balls, etc. was never this effective.  I promise. I’ve done it.  HOWEVER… you have to know how to use this stuff properly…so keep reading…because these directions are not on the package. This is a Managed By Mom (from experience) exclusive.

 

DO THE FOLLOWING AND ANTS DISAPPEAR!

#1.  When you see ants…don’t kill them!  I know.  This seems counterintuitive, but it’s important. Watch them.  Follow the trail to determine where they are entering the room.  This might take a minute or 10 minutes.  I promise it’s worth your time.

#2. Once you’ve figured out where they are entering (probably through a wall, a crack, a door jam) put down something you can throw away – I like wax paper.  Cut open one of these baits, and if it’s possible, dribble a little of the Terro liquid at the beginning of the trail right where they are entering.  You don’t want these suckers walking 20 feet cuz they leave pheromone trails which is how they follow each other…and probably how they keep finding their way to my house every few years.  In the photo above I put some on the tiles next to the window moulding which is why you see so many congregating there.

#3. As close to the entry point as possible put one or two of these bates with a little bit of the bait sprinkled leading up to it.  I don’t take any chances people.  Lead them to the poison.  Then wash your hands very well with soapy water, whether or not you think you got any on your hands.  (Sorry…Mom here…can’t shut it off.)

#4.  Now, spray a paper towel well with Windex and wipe all around the perimeter of the area with the bait – if it’s a wipeable surface. Think – you are creating an invisible fence.  Windex is one of the few things that can literally wipe out the ant pheromones they follow.   I’ve been told it’s the ammonia.  This way the ants only smell the bait and the pheromones left by other ants leading up to it.  Very few will wander past it.

#5. Now the hard part…walk away.  Yes.  Just leave it, because watching this will give only you the willies.  No lie – I get goosebumps watching this little suckers multiply as they make their way to the bait.  It’s like they send out a freakin’ SOS.  So walk away and let them eat.  They won’t die while their eating it.  They take it back inside their bodies to all their friends in the nest and wipe them out where they live. (Thank God, cuz I would not want to clean that up.)

#6 Within 24 hours you should see the number of ants dissipate and/or stop.   This year it took about 36 hours till I didn’t see a single ant.  A day and a half of goose pimples…wondering if they were gone..but they are!  Yippee!!

#7.  You’re not done yet.  Now you need to plug or seal that tiny hole, crack, door jam, or however they got in.   This year at my house it was literally a pin sized hole in the caulk between the tile and the window moulding.  So I sealed it.  Also throw away your wax paper and carefully wash off any residue that’s left with soap and water with paper towels and throw them away.  (You don’t want this stuff on a sponge you’re going to wash the dishes with.)  And wash those hands again. Then wipe over the area with Windex to erase any pheromones.

The problem should be over…at least for another few years.  But if (or when) it happens again – you’re ready!

Let me know how it works for you!

 

XO

Kate

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