Monday, October 20, 2014

Features and Results from The Great Blog Train!

God’s Growing Garden
The 22nd GREAT BLOG TRAIN was a blast! - We all safely reached our destination: COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO. It was a wonderful trip with 40 boxcars!! We (the Engineers) would like to thank all of you for travelling with us and we hope that you all had a wonderful time!
The Giveaway Winner is: E.A.
(I have contacted the winner by email)

W   A   N   T   E   D  :

The Great Blog Train by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo BlogTrainDestination_zps2925d251.jpg

(Being a "Destination Cohost" means that you get to pick our next destination!!  It also means that you will post The Great Blog Train on your blog on the first Wednesday of whatever month you will be cohosting (1 different cohost per month).  We (the engineers or hosts) will provide you with the html code for the blog hop & for the Giveaway - all you will have to do is add into that post some information on the destination that you picked (like population, known for, location etc - basic family friendly facts) and add a few pictures.  Also, if you cohost we ask that you promote it on your social media sites) (We are now scheduling for 2015).

If you are interested in being a Co-host for the Great Blog Train then please click HERE and fill out the form (THANK YOU!!)

We are now featuring the top 3 Boxcars!  (These are the links that received the most clicks)
Crocheted Cowl Giveaway & Introduction to My Etsy Store by Hope in the Healing

photo 3 (88)
My Flea Market Garden by My Flagstaff Home

Please join us for the NOVEMBER Great Blog Train
on November 5th, 2014!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

We've lost two of our beloved pets this year.  When I posted about them, sweet Linda sent me this lovely poem.  It was very comforting, so I wanted to share it with everyone. 
Hugs to you, Linda!  ((Linda))  Thank you for being so very sweet! 
I don't know if this lovely piece has a title.  Here is how it came to me.
I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep. I could see that you were crying, You found it hard to sleep. I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear, "It's me, I haven't left you, I'm well, I'm fine, I'm here." I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea, You were thinking of the many times, your hands reached down to me. I was with you at the shops today, Your arms were getting sore. I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more. I was with you at my grave today, You tend it with such care. I want to re-assure you, that I'm not lying there. I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key. I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said " it's me." You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair. I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there. It's possible for me, to be so near you everyday. To say to you with certainty, "I never went away." You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew... In the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you. The day is over... I smile and watch you yawning and say "good-night, God bless, I'll see you in the morning." And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide, I'll rush across to greet you and we'll stand, side by side. I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see. Be patient, live your journey out...then come home to be with me.
Author ~ Unknown ~♥~
;-)  -Marci

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Guest Post: Chai Tea Made from Scratch

You are in for such a treat today!  Angie of Gods' Growing Garden brings us a wonderful chai recipe just in time for Fall's cooler temps!

Chai Tea by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo 2014-10-02_zps276506c9.jpg

I am thrilled to be "guest posting" for my friend Marci! 
"Stone Cottage Adventures" has been one of my favorite blogs for many years.
Today I am going to share with you my version of Chai Tea - no caffeine!
Chai Tea Made from Scratch

This is an herbal version of the traditional Chai Tea that you might buy in a tea shop - this is naturally caffeine free.  I drink this every night before I go to sleep and it is so soothing and relaxing.  I have a pot (or pan) of this Chai Tea at the back of my stove at all times - it stores well at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.  I add a little water every night and warm it up when I want to have some - so simple, affordable, healthy and long lasting.
From the top and then going to the right: Ginger, Cayenne Pepper (or Chili Pepper), Cloves, Black Peppercorns, Cinnamon Sticks and in the middle: Star Anise

I am NOT a doctor but I have researched these ingredients and here are some of the health benefits that I have found:

Ginger Root - is relaxing, aids in digestion, it is good for your equilibrium and for inner ear issues..... and much more.

Cinnamon - is good for your blood sugar, aids in lowering cholesterol, helps relieve indigestion and colds.

Cloves - used in dentistry and helps with tooth pain, anti-bacterial, reduces joint inflammation and some even claim preventative against intestinal cancers (again - I'm NOT a doctor)

Peppercorns - increases stomach activity and digestion, it has antioxidant and anti-bacterial effects.

Chile Peppers or Cayenne Pepper - increases circulation and heart health, cancer preventative, aids in weight loss and is great for the intestinal tract.

Star Anise - this is actually the spice that they extract "Shikimic Acid" from - which is used to make the antiviral drug "Tamiflu" (which has been used to treat the Swine Flu).  It also decreases abdominal cramps and expells mucus.

The Recipe:                                                                        Printable Recipe
2 Cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon of black peppercorns (whole)
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 star anise
2 dried cayenne peppers (or chili peppers) (If you don't like spicy hot - then you may omit this pepper - it's so good for you though!)
1 small lump of fresh ginger root (washed and any bad spots cut out)

Place all of these ingredients in a stainless steel pot and cover with 5 to 6 cups of filtered water.  Boil for about 10 minutes and then turn off the burner.  Allow this tea to steep overnight on the back of the stove (Make sure that your burner is turned OFF!).  Then the next day your tea is ready for drinking - simply warm it up when you desire.  Add a little more water whenever you take some tea out and keep it topped off and ready for the next time you want some Chai Tea. 

After 2 weeks you will need to start from scratch again with new and fresh ingredients - and the initial steeping overnight is only done that first time - at the beginning of a new batch (once every 2 weeks). 

NOTE:  When the tea has boiled and you are ready to drink - just remember to strain out the spices before drinking - and then return any peppercorn or clove back into the pot for the next time that you want to have this tea.

This tea is great plain or with some half & half cream and/or some honey added!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

LINK PARTY! Tuesdays with a Twist

October has been, and continues to be, crazy-cuckoo-busy.  I am hoping some sweet, lovely, intelligent and charming bloggers will pretty-please guest post for me in October.  What am I looking for?  Well, the four corner stones of my blog are:
Gardening  Crafts  Sewing  Recipes
Any of those topics would be GREAT for my readers, but I am really open to just about anything that is family friendly.  I'd like to receive the post via email in HTML format.  I ask that you publish a little something to let your readers know we are hanging out together on the day you go live here.  The content can either be new or older than one year.  I also ask that if it is new content, please don't post it at your place for at least two weeks after it has been here. 
So, what do you get?  Well, my undying gratitude, of course!  ;-)  Between GFC and Bloglovin' my humble little blog has over 1,000 followers these days!  WOOT WOOT!  I can also give you ad space on my side bar for 60 days.
If you are interested, please email me at
Stone (dot) Cottage (dot) Adv @ cox (dot) net

Welcome to Tuesdays with a Twist!

Back to the Basics
We're your co-hosts:
Each co-host will be sharing her own picks for Features. This gives everyone a better chance of being featured.  Be sure to check all of our blogs!
 Y'all make choosing features so difficult!  There were GOBS of great links last week!  Thank you!  My feature this week is...  (drum roll please)

This darling Easy Homemade Dog Bed with Shelby showing us how to use it!  Isn't she pretty?

It is from Robin of Happy at Home!  I love it!
If you've been featured we'd love for you to grab a button.
We all love comments!  Please hop around and show some love!

The party starts every Tuesday at 7am EST and will continue until Friday at 11:59pm.  Feel free to stop back any time and "like" your favorites.  Please visit other blogs if you have a moment. 

Share older posts as well as new ones.  No limit on links!
*Pictures should be your own* 
By linking up you give us permission to use these photos
 (with proper link backs) in our features. 
And now for the party!

;-)  -Marci 
Follow on Bloglovin

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Garden Guest: Tiger or maybe Giant Swallowtail?

The north side of our front yard is a certified  National Wildlife Federation Backyard Habitat.  Really!  We have a certificate!  You can do the same by providing food, water, cover and places for wildlife to raise their young.  It is so much fun to see all of the critters that stop by for a visit.  I've begun a new series of posts to show you our Garden Guests. 

If you would like to see more, check my Gardening Page!

OK, so there is a much better photo of a Tiger Swallowtail HERE.  These photos are pretty blurred, even after editing.

I'm not sure if this is a Tiger or a Giant Swallowtail even though I've cruised several sites trying to figure out the difference by appearance.  The blue gray plant in the background is Rue.  It's a host plant for Giant Swallowtails.

This butterfly was almost completely black.

Tiger Swallowtails are usually more yellow and actually hold still while you try to photograph them.  ;-)  This one was moving frantically throughout the Rue.  'Sorry.  The pictures are pretty awful, but if there are any butterfly experts reading this, please give your opinion.  Tiger or Giant?  What makes you think so?  My vote is for Giant, but...
Have you heard Your Daddy's Boots by Dustin Lynch?  My favorite line is "Barbed wire tough, Cowboy cool"  I'd like to know when Dustin met my daddy!  ;-)
So, what's happening in your back yard?
;-)  -Marci

Friday, October 10, 2014

Guest Post: HolliWeen

What a treat to have Holli joining us today from Holli's Hoots and Hollers!  She is a sweet friend and delightful blogger!
Hey y’all-I am so thrilled to be a guest speaker for Marci.  She’s one of my most favorite loyal blogger friends, it’s the least I can do.
She asked me to write about my most favorite holiday-  Halloween which I renamed it to HOLLIween.   My love for Holliween comes easily because it was also a favorite of my mom’s.  I’ll never forget one day I came home from school after having a bad day and told Mom that I didn’t want to go trick-or-treating that night.  My mom said “ oh no you wont stay at home tonight.  You will dress up and go get lots of candy and we will have tons of fun”!  She was a single mom and didn’t have much income so we made up my costumes with stuff around the house.  I was a zombie, gypsy, a hobo,  and others over the years and never bought a costume.  Its funny because I try to stick with that now and I got pretty perturbed at my husband last year when he rented a costume and brought it home . I told him he was cheating! LOL  .  I have had to buy  a few pieces here and there to complete my costumes but never the whole outfit.
 I have a huge Holliween party every year on the weekend before Halloween. That allows all my friends with kids to have the following week preparing for the actual day.  Kids are also allowed at the party and I always try to have fun things for them too.  This year I am so excited because we don’t live in an apartment anymore. Our home we’re renting has a huge yard with big trees and I’m getting a piñata for the kiddos. I am on the lookout for a pumpkin piñata to go with my decorations.  If weather is cool enough, we want to have a fire and make s’mores too. We have an ugly fire pit that the previous renters made with cinder blocks but it will do for the purpose of s’mores.
For food and beverages at the party, I have a big pot of chili with fritos, sour cream, cheese and onions to fix up your bowl any way you like.  We get a keg of beer so that we don’t have to worry about glass or cans all over the house. I have tons and tons of wine and I am looking for a fun “witches brew” or “poison” to make and serve in a my mason jar beverage dispenser I just bought last weekend at a garage sale.  Some of my friends always bring some dips and no one goes hungry for sure. I have lots of candy that I will have placed around the house and I’m thinking of making some cookies. One thing I have to make every year that people look forward to are my drunk gummie bears.  They are kind of like jello shots but instead you literally take a bowl of gummy bears and pour vodka into the bowl where it covers the whole bottom of the bowl. I put lid on it and shake it and then put in refrigerator overnight and they vodka gets absorbed into the bears.  I don’t really like vodka all that much but they are tasty.
I decided to have a theme this year for the costumes and I think it makes things more fun and easy to come up with ideas.  The theme is to dress as any character from a TV , commercial, or movie.  That includes cartoons and animated movies as well like Spongebob or Toy Story.   Last year, a couple showed up as Sandy and Danny from Grease and another friend was the Progressive insurance lady.  Those costumes are what inspired me for my theme this year.  I cant wait to see what people come as.  When I first started having the parties a few years ago, no one wanted to dress up and I was the only one in costume.  Over the years,  my friends starting catching on and now they enjoy dressing up which is so fun!
Here are some pics of my husband and I dressed up the last 2 years.  I didn’t start doing the photo wall until the second year.  I have one now every year for sure.
 Here are some of the ideas I’ve done before or that I’m planning to do this year that are also on Pinterest.
 I am making these signs for sure:
I have been saving my TP rolls to make these: You cut out eyes and put glow sticks in them and then put in your bushes.
I have a fake pumpkin with holes like this cut out, I need to get some fake mice.
I’m doing this with candy corn in wine glasses.
I did this last year and will do again this year: I hang dozens of witch hats from the ceiling:

I have so many ideas and I’ve been so crazy busy at work that I don’t think I’m going to be able to accomplish all my crafty things I wanted to do.  Either way, I know it will still be so fun and I’m counting down the days. I am taking a vacation day the Friday before to get everything in place. 
I’m really hoping we get some trick or treaters in our neighborhood too because I love handing out candy and watching the kiddos.  Do you have any Halloween traditions ? Do you leave your porch light on or off on Halloween?
You can find me over at my blog  and make sure you stop by a few days after Holliween to see pictures of this years party. 
Happy Happy Halloween and Boo Y’all!