Thursday, October 20, 2016

Awesome Life Friday #83

Welcome to Awesome Life Friday!

We're so looking forward to seeing what you've been cooking, creating, growing, decorating, reviewing, giving away, and thinking about this week!

While you're here, leave your posts at the other link up we co-host here - Party in Your PJs!  It starts on Tuesday evenings, and runs through Sunday.  I hope you'll join us there as well!

Here's what some of us have been up to here:
We hope you'll check them out if you haven't already!  Don't forget to peek at the sidebar and check out what other giveaways we currently have going.

And now our favorite part - the FEATURES !  This week we are all about the pumpkins! If you're one of our featured posts, we'd love it if you'd grab a button, and thanks to all of you who shared with us last week!

The Paranoid Man Pumpkin Craft // The Boondocks Blog

Banana Pumpkin Pancakes (GF/Vegan) // Strength & Sunshine

DIY Galvanized Pumpkins // Savvy Apron

Honey Sweetened Pumpkin Cake // Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth

DIY Sugar Skull Pumpkins // The Ramblings of an Aspiring Small Town Girl

Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies // Gluesticks

If you are one of our FEATURED bloggers, this button is for you!

Thank you all so much for sharing your awesomeness!

Are you all ready to party?  If you like, we'd love it you'd help spread the word by grabbing our button:

Here we go!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

No-Sew Chunky Crocheted Socks


My sister-in-law recently sent me a picture of some crochet socks that she found on Pinterest and asked me if I could make her some.

I instantly agreed, especially since I was getting really really tired and bored with my current project – a king/queen sized Star Wars C2C blanket that consists of way too much black, white and grey!

I spent the rest of that evening just looking at free and paid patterns and just couldn’t really find the right one and I did not feel like sewing a whole bunch of pieces together.

When it comes to socks I am usually a knitting person, but she definitely wanted the chunky look of crochet, so I just kept trying out different ways and styles until I came up with my own pattern.

After sharing it in one of my favorite Facebook crochet groups, I was so overwhelmed with the responses that I got that I ended up making another pair to double check the pattern to share it with everyone – For Free!

This pattern is made to fit my own shoe size (and my sister in law luckily has the same!!).

Size 6 No Sew Crochet Socks

As with every pattern that I have shared so far, I would like to ask a few things of you.

These are just some basic ethical  standards that I hope people will follow for other crafters who share their work, too:

Don’t tamper with it and then go around claiming it as your own. It’s a bitch move and I am probably in every crochet group that exists and I will find you!

Do not copy and sell this pattern. Just don’t. Don’t be that person. No one likes that kind of people.

Please let others know where you got it from and include a link to this blog when sharing the pattern. Sharing is great! And if you want more free patterns, this is how you get it. Share the blog link and I will find the motivation to type up that huge folder that I have laying right next to me.

What you need:    
  • Yarn
  • Crochet Hook (I used an I hook)
  • Yarn darner
  • Scissors
  • Patience
>Magic loop with a chain 2 and 10dc                                                                   =11
>Increase every one                                                                                              =22
>18 rounds of dc                                                                                                   =22/each
>18 dc for the next 6 rows                                                                                    =18/each
>1dc, 8 dc decrease, 1 dc                                                                                      =10
>1 dc, 4 dc decrease, 1 dc                                                                                     =6
>join with a slip stitch into the beginning loop of the row                                   = n/a
>chain 2, 1dc in same spot, 7 dc, 2 dc increase, 4dc, 2 dc increase, 7dc, join     =28
>chain 2, 9dc, 1dc increase, 9dc, 1dc increase, 7dc                                             =30
>2 rounds                                                                                                              =30/each
>chain 2, 4dc, 1dc decrease, 20dc, 1dc decrease, 1dc                                          =28
>20 rounds                                                                                                            =28/each
>chain 2, 6dc, 1dc increase, 8dc, 1dc increase, 11dc                                           =30
>3 rounds                                                                                                              =30/each
>chain 2, 7dc, 1dc increase, 11dc, 1dc increase, 9dc                                           =32
>1 round                                                                                                               =32
>chain 2, 8dc, 1dc increase, 13dc, 1dc increase, 8dc                                           =34
>6 rounds                                                                                                              =34/each
>chain 2, 11dc, 1dc decrease, 13dc, 1dc decrease, 4dc                                        =32
>chain 2, 13dc, 1dc decrease, 8dc, 1dc decrease, 6dc                                          =30
>1 round                                                                                                                =30

It is really simple. The decreasing at the heel will form a natural cup like shape for the heel. Then you can just work your way up the leg.

Now, like I mentioned above, this pattern was created to fit my feet, which are a Size 6. If that would be too tight or too loose for your own, you should be able to simply adjust it by starting with more dc or increasing or decreasing more.

Happy Crocheting!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Party in Your PJs #128

Welcome to Party in Your PJs!

Happy Tuesday!  Welcome to the Party in Your PJs Link Party, where your posts will be seen on four different blogs each week.   In addition to Kim from The Cookie Puzzle, you'll also find Party in Your PJs every Tuesday evening at Grandma IdeasWood of Bell Trees and... here!

You'll also find the Awesome Life Friday link-up here at RCHReviews, every Thursday evening at 8pm ET so we hope to see you there as well.

Are you ready to party? I can't wait to see what you've brought to share!

Kim ~ The Cookie Puzzle | Facebook | Pinterest 
Nina ~ Grandma Ideas | Pinterest | Twitter
Lynda ~ Reviews, Chews & How-Tos | Facebook | Pinterest
Heather ~ Woods of Bell Trees | Facebook | Instagram

 Meet the Co-Hosts

Kim @ The Cookie Puzzle 

Kim is a small town girl who love simple things. Simple cookies, simple crafts and simple people. She is a wife, mother to one son and two adorable fur babies. Slightly addicted to reality TV and sitcoms, but she loves curling up with a good book or a good walk while listening to podcasts. You can find her at The Cookie Puzzle, where she shares her love for cookies and crafting. 

Nina @ Grandma Ideas 

How is this: Nina is wildly in love with her grandchildren. She delights in doing activities with them that strengthen their relationship –- playing games, doing crafts, snuggling, reading stories to them, and cooking together. She enjoys reading, technology, and traveling. (Tahiti is her most favorite place on earth!)

Lynda @ Reviews, Chews & How-Tos 

Lynda lives outside DC with her husband Michael and elderly beagle, Sadie. She and her daughter Jackie started RCHReviews as a way to spend time together in spite of living across country, and along the way they've added several friends as regular contributors. Between them all, they bring together many different perspectives and lifestyles with one common philosophy - try new things, have fun, and remember you are awesome!

 Heather @ Wood of Bell Trees

Heather is a wife of a peanut butter fanatic and mom of one silly human and one furry canine, wrangling life on 2nd shift and glitterizing everything as she goes!

The rules for the group board include:
1. Limit of one pin a day.
2. Just like the party anything goes, but clear wonderful pictures with great descriptions are most successful.
3. Please no Spam ( Spammers will be deleted without warning)
4.  If you pin to the Pinterest Board, please link to the Party in Your PJs Party also, the party runs from 7 pm Tuesdays-Midnight Saturday (Central Time)
5.  Finally have fun and share this group board  with blog friends and followers!  The more success the group board is the more success you will see from your pins.

Want to be added to the group board?  Follow our Party in Your PJs board and email Kim at

Features from Last Weeks Party!

 to see their features - we each pick our own!

Were you Featured? Grab a button!

All links are pinned to a Party can follow the board on Pinterest...feel free to follow the board, there is lots of inspiration to be found there.

Ok...let's party!

Rules -Link to post, not your home page
-Link to something YOU made, wrote or thought
-No Etsy or Business Pages
-Link Parties, Roundups and Giveaways welcome
- Don't Link and Run! Please visit other links, make friends, learn something new, leave a comment, we all love comments
-If you were featured, grab a"Featured" button, found below.
-Consider adding our Party button to your Party Page or Post.

Review/Giveaway: Furious Sauces (with Recipes!)


I'm not a wimp when it comes to spicy foods, but I will admit that I have a strong preference for flavor over heat. A food that merely has the ability to peel off the top layer of skin inside my mouth is not going to cut it.

For this reason, I regard the whole extreme-sport challenge of trying to survive the highest Scoville heat rating possible with extreme suspicion. I like food, and that means I like flavor, and burned off tastebuds can't taste anything! (If you read regularly, you know my co-writer Daniel does not agree with me!)

So, at first, when I heard about Furious Sauces, a Harrison, VA based small business that produces artisan hot sauces, I was hesitant - but then I read on their website that their stated purpose is "To create unique and delicious hot sauces that pair great with any kind of food without overpowering the taste."  And with that, I was in.

I received a bottle of each of their five hot sauces for review, and the first thing I did was open each one so I could taste them, and start planning how they might be used.

I was very excited once I'd gotten a taste - yes, these are good and spicy, but each one has a wonderful heady taste all its own that shines through.  I was full of inspiration for how to use them!

The first two are straight up hot sauces, with a good bit of body (that is, they're not watery and full of vinegar - these are actual sauces).

The Angry Assassin is a tomato-based Habanero sauce with a bit of smoky flavor that makes  the heat rich with flavor, and should be a reasonable enough level of heat to please all but the most bland palates.  We've been using this on almost everything, from eggs and hashbrowns to tossing a few dashes on top of a taco salad.

I am avoiding using it in any large quantity at a time, though, because the label notes that it includes bell peppers in the tomato blend, and I'm sensitive to them.

Yes, I know - weird. I can handle hot chiles, but not sweet peppers.  In any event, I did not notice any negative reaction to a small dash here and there.

The Dragon's Smoke is also tomato-based and replaces  the habaneros with ghost peppers, the infamous insanely-hot chile that is currently enjoying so much of popularity.

I was, frankly, afraid of this one, for all the reasons mentioned above - but they've managed to make this powerfully hot, but still flavor-rich. For the first time, I felt I was able to actually experience a little of what ghost peppers taste like, instead of just experiencing their heat.  After giving it a taste, I was even brave enough to try this is a mess of sauteed greens (see recipe below), and it behaved beautifully.

The next  three are flavored hot sauces, and since they aren't tomato based (meaning, no bell peppers),  I was able to use these with great abandon - and I have been!

Volcano Sunrise is a mango - habanero blend that is incredibly delicious!  It is a perfectly balanced blend of hot and sweet that I used as a cooking sauce with chicken (see recipe below).  The only downside with using it that way was that I quickly had no more Volcano Sunrise to enjoy - this was one of my two favorites.

Monstera's Agony is similar, except it is a Pineapple-Habanero blend. Like the mango, the fruit flavor comes through clearly, while the chiles provide a spicy foundation that is perfect for anything that would be served well by some tropical heat - we used out on some pork chops and, at Furious Sauces' suggestion, we'll be trying it soon with fish.

Saving my favorite for last, GoldenElixir is a Maple-Habanero Sauce that is so good that every time I taste it, my eyes roll back in my head.  I've enjoyed it with everything I can think of - the other night I brushed it on some bacon-wrapped kielbasa bites and it was amazing (did I take a picture? sigh.. no.)!

I also found it made a wonderful autumnal dipping sauce for sweet potato fries!  The recipe (such as it is):

Spicy Maple Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise (if you have a homemade recipe, use that!)
1/4 cup Furious Hot Sauces GoldenElixir Sauce

Mix together until well blended.

Serve with sweet potato fries or as a sauce to go with salmon, etc. The flavor will be warmly savory-sweet with rich maple notes.

Above, I mentioned a couple more simple recipes I wanted to share!  The first one uses the Volcano Sunrise Mango Habanero Sauce:

Mango Habanero Chicken
(serves 4)

8 chicken thighs, bone in & skin on
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup butter
5 oz (one bottle) Furious Sauces Volcano Sunrise Sauce
2 Tablespoons vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1 teaspoon Worchestershire Sauce

In a large ovenproof skillet, heat olive oil and brown chicken 4-5 minutes per side, until lightly browned.  (It will not be cooked through yet.)

Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 375F.

Add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan, stir and cook for a few minutes until butter is melted and the sauce thickens slightly.

Return chicken to the sauce, turning to coat all sides, ending with the meaty side up.

Place the skillet in the oven (make sure your pan is oven capable! If not, put everything into a shallow casserole dish), and cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

You may notice that this is quite similar to Buffalo Chicken Wings - any of Furious Sauces flavor blends would make great chicken wings!  We found this version to be delicious and flavorful and surprisingly, given that we used the entire bottle, not overwhelmingly hot.

I can't wait to get more of the Volcano Sunrise Hot Sauce, nor am I alone in loving it - this past weekend it was announced that this took a 3rd place award at  the Scovie Awards!

The last recipe I want to share was put together on the fly after our weekly produce box included both Rainbow Swiss Chard and Collards, and I needed to do something with those greens, and was not in the mood to go hunt up a bit of fatty pork to braise them in for hours.

For this, I used the Chard, and wound up with a quick side dish to serve along with some sausage.  And I decided to be brave and use the Dragon's Smoke Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce (gulp!):

Ghostly Hot Sauteed Swiss Chard

1 bunch of rainbow swiss chard
1/2 red onion, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2-3 Tablespoons Furious Sauces Dragon's Smoke Sauce

Mince the red onion and set aside.

Wash and dry the swiss chard.  With a sharp knife, cut away the leaves from the center stem.

Finely slice the stem, and saute in the olive oil along with the onion until softened.

Stack the leaves on top of each other, roll them up, and then thinly slice. Slice through them again to create small bite sized pieces.  Add these to the onion mixture, and continue sautee'ing for a few minutes until all is softened.

Add the ghost pepper sauce to the pan, blending well.  Serve hot as a side dish.

If you're fortunate enough to live in the Harrison, VA area, you may find Furious Sauces at your local Farmer's Market. Otherwise, you can purchase Furious Sauces from their website for $5.98 per 5oz. bottle, plus shipping via USPS.  If you're interested in trying something really different than the usual heat-first hot sauces, I highly recommend them!

If you'd like to give them a try for free, Furious Sauces is allowing us to give away one of their Tropicana 3-Packs to one US winner!  That's a bottle each of the GoldenElixir, Monstera's Agony, and Volcano Sunrise - you won't want to miss this one, so read on to see how you can enter to win!

To enter the giveaway, you must leave a comment in this entry as instructed by the Giveaway Tools Entry Form below. This will open up additional optional entries to increase your odds of winning.

This giveaway is open to US RESIDENTS ONLY and will end just before midnight ET on 11/1. 

The winner(s) will be notified by email within 24 hours after the end of the giveaway. In order to claim the giveaway prize, the winner will need to respond within 24 hours of notification, or an alternate winner will be selected.

Once the winners have responded and confirmed, their first names will be posted on our Giveaways  page.

Good luck!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Awesome Life Friday #83

Welcome to Awesome Life Friday!

We're so looking forward to seeing what you've been cooking, creating, growing, decorating, reviewing, giving away, and thinking about this week!

While you're here, leave your posts at the other link up we co-host here - Party in Your PJs!  It starts on Tuesday evenings, and runs through Sunday.  I hope you'll join us there as well!

Here's what some of us have been up to here:
We hope you'll check them out if you haven't already!  Don't forget to peek at the sidebar and check out what other giveaways we currently have going.

And now our favorite part - the FEATURES!  We missed the party last week, so these are from two weeks ago.  If you're one of our featured posts, we'd love it if you'd grab a button, and thanks to all of you who shared with us last week!

Mini Halloween Pillows // KBB Crafts & Stitches

How to Make Over an Old Wooden Bed Frame // The Boondocks Blog

Pumpkin Hoop Fall Banner // The Country Chic Cottage

Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets // Strength & Sunshine

Simple Country Fall Dining Room Decor // Forsynthia Farm

Slow Cooker 40 Clove Garlic Chicken // Simply Stacie

If you are one of our FEATURED bloggers, this button is for you!

Thank you all so much for sharing your awesomeness!

Are you all ready to party?  If you like, we'd love it you'd help spread the word by grabbing our button:

Here we go!

LEGOLAND Deutschland


Prior to this past year, we lived in southern California for about 3 years. On the daily, thanks to cable commercials, I was begged to go to LEGOLAND by my oldest daughter. Unfortunately it was just never in the budget.

Fast forward to this most recent summer, and here we are living in Germany. Now that we have two kids, close in birthday but 5 years apart, we were on the hunt for a great weekend getaway that would suit both ages and cover as their birthday.

There are a fantastic array of options here luckily, and I do hope to get a chance to tell you about many of them during our time here!

What we eventually decided on was LEGOLAND Deutschland! We gave my daughter the printed out tickets on her birthday, and it was an agonizing 21 days of counting down for her.

It was a pleasant two hour drive from our home, and we got there around 11am. With check in not until 3pm, we were unsure if we were to park at the entrance or the hotel. Amazingly, they let us check in early, get our room keys and park at the hotel – but we had to still stay out of the room until 3pm.

After we parked the car and loaded the stroller we were ready to get on the walking path to LEGOLAND! Luck of lucks, it then starts pouring rain!! Ugh, we were all so disappointed but no looking back now. The walking path was through tree coverage, so luckily we didn't get too wet and by the time we got there, less than ten minutes later, it had stopped raining.

Our first stop was a Panoramic Observation ride. We were actually surprised that from up there the park didn't actually look that big (but trust me, it is!). We loved starting our day with something even the two year old could participate in.

The second ride was something we now realize we should have saved for closer to last. My daughter talked a big game that month about how fearless she was going to be. While we were encouraging we definitely knew she was unlikely to walk the walk.

When she said she wanted to go on a coaster, we certainly weren't going to tell her no. This was the smallest elevated track coaster at the park, with a minimum of 4 years old cut-off. Suffice it to say my 7 year old was less than impressed.

From that point the next two hours became a very expensive Pokemon Go trip. She didn't want to get on anything, no matter how slow or kid friendly it was. It's a great thing that there is a lot of fun to be had without rides!

The amount of parks at Lego Land is incredible! Also, there is what they call “Mini Land” where complete towns and noteworthy landmarks are constructed using hundreds of thousands of Lego bricks.

Our favorites were Venice and Neuchwenstein Castle.

One of my husband's favorite parts was the Lego Factory where you got a comprehensive look at how the Legos are made. The whole place smelled like his 3D printer!

Luckily after lunch (yummy pizza!) she opened up a bit more.

We were really proud of many of the things she was willing to try. She did a Pirate Ship with Daddy and although she still screamed, she admittedly didn't hate it.

Hailey also was really looking forward to Technik TeaCups and I'm so glad that there was no line when we happened upon it, because if she had she seen it first, that'd be another experience that never would have happened. It went incredibly fast about half way through! I had to teach her my 'focal point' trick of looking directly at something, she chose my paint chipped thumbnail, and then it didn't seem as fast or nauseating.

Speaking of lines, it being a bit of an overcast day worked fantastically in our favor! The longest we waited was about 15 minutes in a line. Most were much less or none at all.

The first day ended with an overpriced buffet back near the hotel. I think we paid something like $65 for the four of us, and it had very minimal choices. What it did have was quite tasty, however.

We were so tired and so sore and really questioning how we were going to possibly make it through a second day of fun at the park!

In fact, back at the hotel there is a HUGE ropes course for an additional cost that we were hoping to do with my daughter, but there was just no way we could handle anymore fun.

The hotel room was surprisingly anti-climatic. It was certainly more aesthically interesting than the average motel 6, but for what we paid and for what the online pictures portrayed, I don't think it was quite worth the money. I did, however, think it was super cute that instead of a mint, they left a Lego Brick on our pillows!

The walls were not boring, I'll give it that. But it was pretty cheap looking up close. The random Lego decor finds were fun for the kids, too.

I'd say the coolest part was the big box of Legos in the kids' room for them to play with – what a nifty touch! However, the bed was horribly stiff for our taste, especially on such tired bodies. Also, I will never understand how a room made for kids has a glass stand up shower and not a tub for bathing....

The next morning we cleared the room, left the keys inside (what an easy checkout!) and headed down to the complimentary breakfast. I was crossing my fingers for more than cold cereal and a few muffins.

Boy was I pleased! It was a full buffet complete with fresh meats, fruits, eggs, breads and beverages. It was fantastic and gave us the energy we needed to go at it a second day. This time, since we were checked out of hotel, we got to drive all the way down to front entrance.

The second day was much warmer, therefore much more packed. But even still, I'm happy to report that the vast majority of lines maintained a 20 minute max wait.

By the end of the day there was only a small handful of things we missed due to lines longer than we were willing to deal with.

My daughter was pretty sad about having to skip the peddle cars that drive high above but it had the longest line with an estimation of 60 minutes.

Another attraction my oldest had to miss was not due to line times. We researched the park ahead of time to hold us over for the weeks long wait, and she was so excited about the Hyundai driving school for 7-13 year olds. It was going to be a 45 minute excursion complete with lessons and 20 minutes behind the wheel of these mini cars.

However, what we didn't anticipate is that the instructions would all be in German. So instead we told her to pretend she was only 6 and do the younger kid version, that required no instruction and was just a oval track with much slower cars. Luckily that sated her.

There wasn't a TON that my youngest could do, but I think we still got her money's worth.

Easily her favorite part was the Aquarium! We went both days, but she fell asleep before we got in the first day and missed it all.

The train and safari ride was also a good time for all. Otherwise she really enjoyed laughing, and watching Sissy on the silly rides was more than sufficient for her.

I do think we will go again, but next time we will stay in one of their much more humble lodgings, I think.