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Sunday, July 28, 2019

Canvas Factory Giveaway!! *ended*

I love taking pictures.  I have so many prints that are waiting to go into scrapbooks.  But some of my favorites get put into frames so I can enjoy them daily.  I also love to have my favorite shots turned into canvas prints.  There is something special about turning your 4x6 photo into a beautiful canvas for your wall.

So....I'm excited to be working with Canvas Factory for another giveaway!

Their website makes it so easy to order your canvas.  Just pick the size you want, upload your photo (from your laptop, phone, Insta, FB, Dropbox or Flickr) and voila - you'll have your beautiful, high-quality canvas in days! The process couldn't get any easier.

The canvas on the bottom normally hangs in my son's room, but I moved it here to show both canvases. 

Close up of the latest canvas on the bottom! 
The two canvases in my pictures are both from Canvas Factory.  The top one is my kids on my daughter's graduation day.  The one resting on the mantle is the latest one I've ordered.  It is of my son and two great friends he met at the Duke TIP summer program last year.  I had to cover the girls' faces since I don't have permission to share them with the world, but you can still see the fantastic quality of the print.  The photo that was used for the canvas was taken on my iPhone, no fancy camera or anything!

I love the quality of my Canvas Factory canvases, and the care they take in shipping them.  It was packaged so carefully and I received it in perfect condition.

Canvas Factory is giving one of my readers their own canvas, too! Just enter through Rafflecopter below and stay tuned to see who wins!!
(I have a new IG so be sure to follow the new one as one of your entries, too!)

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Medieval Times Atlanta Castle Giveaway and Back to School Drive! #MTFAN *ended*

Medieval Times Atlanta Castle ~ Family 4 pack GIVEAWAY! 

photo credit ~ Medieval Times Atlanta

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament’s Atlanta Castle is dedicated to “Chivalry in Action” and in honor of this philanthropic mission, they need our help for their largest-ever back to school drive.

For the first time ever, they will be providing 750 book bags to 15 pre-selected Atlanta-Area Schools!

So how can you help?  If you are local you can drop off new school supplies at their Sugarloaf Mills location - 5900 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville GA 30043

Now through July 28th, guests who donate at least one unused school supply per ticket when visiting the Atlanta castle will receive up to $22.00 off their adult-priced tickets. Guest must show proof of donated items upon arrival at the Box Office.  Such a great way to help local kids be prepared for back to school! #ChivalryinAction

Want to win a family 4 pack of your own to visit Medieval Times Atlanta?  

Enter via rafflecopter below!! 

The person who will be donating the most supplies to this awesome back to school drive wins the family 4 pack of tickets!! Woohoo! (Minimum of 1 supply per person/ticket)

To be eligible you must be local to Atlanta, and be able to visit Medieval Times by July 28, 2019.  I will notify the winner on the 24th and you have 24 hours to confirm that you can attend.  Of course, you will need to take your school supply donation when you visit MT, too! You'll get a fun night out, and local kids will get much-needed school supplies! 

I'll be attending Medieval Times with my friend Dana and our daughters next week.  Follow me on IG, FB and Twitter to watch all the fun!! I've got some awesome school supplies to donate, too! 

Comments are not working for some reason, so please enter via Rafflecopter and I will pick a winner from there - so sorry for the issues blogger is having! 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Try My Delicious Low-Carb Recipe For Corn Fritters - Perfect Summer Side Dish!

Following a low-carb diet makes me feel so much better.  My blood sugar levels are close to normal again, and the weight is coming off steadily.  I'm excited to keep going with this low-carb way of eating! It's such a healthy lifestyle choice and my body is truly happy when I follow it.  I did take some time off last week while on vacation, but getting back to my healthy, low-carb eating plan now.

For the 4th of July, I made burgers and chicken, but I sure was craving corn fritters as a side dish. However, corn is usually avoided on a low-carb diet, as it is a starchy vegetable.

Looking in my freezer and cabinets, I came up with this recipe using the ingredients I had on hand. Adding a minimal amount of corn gave it the flavor and texture I wanted, and cauliflower rice is such a great low-carb vegetable.  Along with the eggs, the "rice" held the batter together.   Although it's not my favorite vegetable,  I'm learning that cauli rice is a great ingredient to keep on hand.  I'm so happy that these turned out to be tasty and satisfying! And the carb count is wonderful per serving size. This recipe also includes healthy fats if you use coconut or avocado oil for frying.

This recipe made approximately 16 small fritters. I've popped the extras in my freezer and hope they still taste good later!

Low Carb Cauliflower/Corn Fritters

3 eggs, beaten
1 12 oz bag frozen Trader Joe's Organic Cauliflower Rice, thawed and drained in colander
3/4 cup canned corn
1/2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 to 3/4 c almond flour (start with 1/2 cup, add more if needed, until your batter is thickened to your liking)
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Add by heaping Tablespoon to a hot skillet (I fried these in butter, but you can also use healthy fats such as coconut or avocado oil) These take a little longer to cook than traditional fritters, so wait until the edges are very firm to flip them. Cook until browned on both sides. Serve warm.

Toppings:  For a savory treat, you can add a dollop of sour cream or coconut cream with more sea salt or even a dash of cayenne pepper on top.  Try dipping in some sugar-free maple syrup if you want a sweeter treat!  I also tried a little Balsamic Vinegar on one of these and it was fabulous too!

Batter for the fritters

Still not ready to flip!

Cauliflower/Corn Fritters!

Recipe/nutritional counts calculated with first 5 ingredients only,  and calculated with 1/2 c of almond flour.

Per 4 fritter serving:

230 calories
14.1 g fat
174 mg cholesterol
308 mg sodium
11.46 g carbs
4.25 g fiber
6.23 g sugar
14 g protein

7.22 net grams carbs per serving

Thursday, July 4, 2019

My Favorite Keto products and Low Carb products!

So I'm back on the keto/low carb bandwagon.  I'm not going to let my health suffer because I make poor choices anymore!

Low carb with a lot of keto choices is my best way to lose weight, lower my blood sugar and improve how I feel.  It's been two weeks and I'm finding some new-to-me favorites that are making it easy to stick to this way of life!

Affiliate links ahead - if you choose to purchase from my link, I'll receive a small commission. 

1.  Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Quest Bars! I've only tried two of them, but these are already a must-have.  I prefer to heat them in the microwave for about 15 seconds.  Then I eat it with a fork - it's soft and a little fluffy, like cookie dough!  Edited to add: Ok - add the chocolate sprinkled doughnut flavor to my favorites - it's incredible!

2.  Quest Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies - I heat these up just like the bars.  The soft, warm cookie is such a delicious treat, and it really fills you up!

3. Slim Jims - these meat sticks made of beef, pork and chicken give you a boost of protein, a satisfying snap when you bite into them, and a delicious, slightly spicy flavor.  I usually have one or two in my purse!  If you are in a pinch, most Dollar Tree stores carry a four pack that is a perfect on the go burst of protein!

4.  Kerrygold Irish Cheddar - the BEST cheese I've ever had! Sharp, rich and smooth, it's awesome melted into eggs or eating it alone.  Super delicious! I got mine at Sam's Club.

5.  Member's Mark Oven Baked Parmesan Crisps.  I was missing the crunch of crisp crackers and these fit the bill perfectly! I got mine a little cheaper at Sam's, but if you don't have a membership, you can get them here.

6.  Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Chicken Dip - I get this at Sam's, too.  I am not linking to Amazon because their price is outrageous!! Head to Sam's or ask a friend to pick it up for you.  Really good heated up, but just as tasty right out of the fridge!

7.  Aldi Elevation Bars - these are only available at Aldi. They are really tasty and they fill you up for a while!

8.  Justin's Cinnamon Almond Butter - this is pure heaven in a little packet! Cinnamon and almond butter combine for the perfect snack on the go.

I'll be adding to this list as I find new things I can't live without on my journey to getting healthy. Hope this helps give you ideas for different snacks and food while on Keto.  I am finding the more prepared I am with easy to grab foods, the less chance for me to mess up!

What are your go-to Keto or Low Carb snacks?  Please leave yours in the comments below.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Red Oak Lavender Farm ~ Dahlonega, GA

I love using herbs, botanicals and essential oils.  Especially lavender! I have a sleep mist, linen spray, bath salts, bath bombs and more that use this flower's calming fragrance.  It's definitely a favorite scent!

Three years ago, we first heard of Red Oak Lavender Farm.  I took my son to visit in the summer of 2016 and it was all I could have hoped for!  Beautiful gardens with rows of lavender, and the most amazing gift shop with homemade goodies and more!  Spending time out with the lavender is so peaceful and calming! Butterflies are everywhere and there are so many photo opportunities!

We took lots of pictures, and I knew wanted to come back soon.  However, an allergy to bees and other stinging insects made my son nervous to come back - bees are all over the farm, doing their thing!  So I didn't get to visit for a while.

Last summer my friend Katherine visited Atlanta from Houston.  She, like me, loves lavender and other essential oils.  So I knew she would appreciate a visit there.  She traveled with her one year old, and I think he enjoyed it too - lots of room to walk and explore!

This farm is not like the huge ones you see pictured in France or the Pacific Northwest with row after row of lavender.  Georgia does not have the ideal climate for lavender, but these folks have made it possible with a lot of hard work!  They have approximately 2.5 acres of lavender - about 60 rows that are 100 feet long.  They grow over 20 varieties of lavender on the farm.  It's really amazing, considering this plant should not grow here due to our humidity, clay, and other factors.

The family that owns the farm lives in the house attached to the gift shop. Not only do they harvest the lavender to sell, they distill the oil from plants to make pampering treats for you.  There are also culinary treats like Lavender Sugar, Lavender and Pink Himalayan Salt, and Herbs de Provence.  Those busy bees out by the lavender make the most delicious lavender honey.  You can get it fresh from the farm here!

I've purchased linen sprays, lavender-filled bookmarks, bunches of dried lavender, lavender soap, lavender honey, and a few other wonderful gifts there for myself or family/friends. The prices are great and the products are lovely.  Please check it out when you go!

Here it is, summertime again.  I'm ready for another relaxing trip to Red Oak.  I hope you will give them a visit, too!  There is a $5 fee for adults to visit during June, but now that it is July, entry is free!  From my home in NE Gwinnett, it was less than an hour drive to get there.

Check out this video I made on our visit last year!

And here are some of my favorite pictures from both visits...
D back in 2016.  He's grown up since then - now he is tall and skinny! 

Baby Lennox got his picture taken in this adorable butterfly chair last summer.

Sign from 2016 - they grow double that, now! 

Bee Hives!

Parking is in the front yard or along the driveway.  For special events, they offer parking at a neighbor's farm across the street.

Don't forget to visit the gift shop!

It smells so lovely, too - the scent of lavender is everywhere.

Here's what you need to know to plan your visit!

Red Oak Lavender Farm
2882 Red Oak Flats Road
Dahlonega, GA 30533
Phone: 706-974-8230 during business hours
March 1 - December 15 ~ Wednesday - Friday 11 - 3  Saturday 10 - 4
Closed on July 3 & 4, 2019