Another Snake to go down in history in Maine

About a week ago, I saw the first report about a large snake sighting in Westbrook, Maine. This is noteworthy because large snakes are not native to Maine. We also have some very cold winters that helps to keep things that way.

My family has exotic animals and used to have some snakes so I’ve handled some snakes before. I’m not a big fan of snakes. I don’t want one either, but I can touch and hold them without freaking out… but anyways…

The initial report says how a concerned person called in a report of a snake “about the length of a car and with a head the size of a soccer ball.” I have never seen one with a head like that, wow! (Yes, something tells you this person probably had a significant fear of snakes.) The story was later changed to a small ball.

I thought this might be a snake that some people might like to see. Since my brother lives in the area, I joked how maybe he could swing by and pick her up after work. (Being a part of a family with a zoo, you know how traveling to visit family sometimes goes along with strange errands of picking up and delivering animals, feed, or supplies.) Also, it was funny to me because my brother isn’t always keen on all of the animals, especially when we had snakes…

Move ahead to now, after about a week, the  Westbrook police have sighted this snake. It was said to be eating a “large mammal” at about 3:30am this morning. The large mammal was said to possibly be a beaver. Now, I’m wondering, since when was a beaver a large mammal?!

I can see the headlines “Monster Snake Eats Beaver, Westbrook Police Keep Watch” which can only be made better by this picture:

How long will “Wessie,” as the snake has been named, be on the loose? How many beavers will this snake take down? Will we see this on an episode of North Woods Law? Hopefully, this doesn’t end up like the “Mean” cow incident in Auburn last week. And, if it doesn’t, will Wessie take less bullets than Bessie? (Still hard to believe that the cow kicked open the trailer door to escape on the ride to the slaughterhouse only to get 10 or 15 rounds from police in a lot filled with oxygen and propane tanks.)

Summertime in Maine Means More Iced Coffee


Summertime in Maine brings hot, humid weather. With that, I find myself drinking more iced coffee. Don’t get me wrong though, I do drink iced coffee year-round, which is one reason why I love the Willow and Everett Cold Brew Coffee Maker that I got recently.

It makes brewing your own iced coffee at home very easy. You just load the filter with coffee (preferable course). I didn’t have course ground coffee, so I used standard ground coffee, to test it out the first time. It still came out very good and the grinds didn’t slip through the filter on me.

I had a little spillage when I put the filter in the pitcher, but that was kind of my fault, oops. (I was excited and I wanted it filled to capacity). I think the directions could be a little clearer to help first time users.

The pitcher is a good size (32 oz) and can fit even in the door of a mini fridge. This would make it a great gift for students heading off to college. It takes minimal effort to make coffee, which means if you just fill it each day, you can wake up to fresh coffee the following day. Woot!

The worst thing about this Cold Brew Coffee Maker is that you have to wait a bit for the coffee (18-24 hours), BUT when it’s ready, it is absolutely worth the wait!! Yes, this cold brew coffee maker is seriously awesome!! It cleans up easily. A twin pack or a larger option would be cool too, that way one for home and one for work, or one for you and your friend, etc.

Based on my experience, I would highly recommend this cold brew coffee maker!

Disclaimer: I received this cold brew coffee maker at a discount in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. I did not receive any other compensation.

3-in-1 Slicer Makes Pitting and Slicing Avocado Easy-Peasy


Avocados really elevate a meal for me. I love them in salads, sandwiches, and tacos. I sometimes like guacamole but it really depends on the recipe. It’s usually something that I could take or leave, and usually it’s a leave…

When I get an avocado, I’m usually trying to cut it open with a knife to remove the pit and slice the fruit. Now I have a handy tool to make the job safe and easy so I don’t have to clumsily try to remove the pit which sometimes damages the fruit. And I don’t have to worry about accidentally slipping with the knife. (I haven’t ever cut or sliced my fingers doing it with a knife but it’s always a fear and definitely a risk.)

This 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer Tool is a must-have for avocado lovers! It makes cutting, pitting, and slicing avocados easy peasy. The pitter is my favorite part of the slicer because it helps me to easily remove the avocado pit which was always the trickiest part about doing it with a knife. Now I can remove the pit without worrying about cutting myself or squishing my fruit.

And for those times when you have some avocado leftover, you can store up to one half of an avocado in the plastic storage container that comes with the tool. Using the container helps to keep the avocado from browning and spoiling quickly. It also helps you to reduce waste since you don’t have to use a plastic bag or other disposable storage options.

Disclaimer: I received this tool at a deep discount in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. I did not receive any other compensation.

Let it Go! And How You Can.

Over the years, in my personal and professional life, I have been a sounding board for many people. I have listened and listened and listened. Many of those older than me have stated a common theme and that is that life is too short, they wished they had learned things sooner, and stopped to enjoy the little things for they are the big things.

If you don’t let things go, you may be stuck in the past. Ruminating is generally not helpful. Lettings things go, on the other hand, allows you to be in the present.

I aim to continue to work towards living in the present each day. Ultimately, I want to be happy and enjoy each and every day that I am afforded and blessed with. As a person, I know that I am imperfect and my days are limited. Therefore, I would like to be able to enjoy as many moments as possible.

I would love to be one of those happy people who just enjoy life all of the time, those that exude peace and happiness. Scratch that. I want to be me, and I want to be happy, positive, and loving as much as possible. I want to give others strength, inspiration, and laughter.

Over the last year, especially, I have learned that first, I must give myself those things. I am working on building myself up again. I have started pushing myself more. Pushing outside my comfort zone. Pushing myself to do things to be healthier physically, mentally, and emotionally. Pushing myself to grow.

I am still learning to let things go. It is difficult, there are many things in the past that still bother me… far too many. But that is the past, and I’d like them to be behind me. But how do I do that?

-Acknowledge and Accept Feelings

When I have a negative emotional experience; when I feel angry, guilty, disappointed, etc, I have to acknowledge it and accept it. It takes work to name it, to sit with it a moment to accept it and not try to push it down or not feel it, or to change it.

-Move

Move to action. If there is something that you don’t like and it would be better if you changed it. Do you have the power to change it? Get a move on. Work to change it. Unfortunately, there is often no easy solution, but instead lots of hard work that will help you to make the change.

-Love

Do your best to have compassion. Everyone you know is fighting a hard battle. Tell those that you love that you love them. They may need to hear it. You may need to hear “I love you too”. Hug them (if they are not averse to them), hugs can help heal.

-Smile

Even when you don’t feel it, a smile can help. It can help you and it can help someone else. Trying to smile, can help it to become real for you. It can also improve your mood (even holding a pencil in your teeth lengthwise can improve moods per previous studies)

-Patience

Have patience with yourself. Give yourself time. Have self-compassion. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead take a moment to acknowledge some appreciations about yourself something positive about you or something good that you did. And take some time to do something good for you.

-Reflection:

This week, these things have helped me tremendously. It was very hard to acknowledge some of the anxiety, fear, shame and guilt that I experienced recently, and not only acknowledge but to also share that with a roomful of people that I don’t really know. I cried, and it was a little embarrassing. For a moment, I continued judging myself and feared that those around me were also judging me. But I continued sharing and I got through it. I was reminded that no one was judging me, I was given a tissue, and even thanked for my courage. I was able to acknowledge, accept, and let go. I even felt… empowered? peaceful? In sharing those words, I made it okay for others to open up more and to cry. Perhaps, it was brave and courageous as they said. Perhaps, I could let go and allow myself to feel that. Perhaps, I am making a new normal for me afterall.

 

A Cleaning Pen for Lens Care and Scope Cleaning


I love photography but dislike cleaning. Time spent cleaning kind of feels like good time is wasted. Fortunately, this Pentex Ultra Cleaning Pen makes cleaning quick and easy. I’ve used it on my camera lenses, filters, viewfinder, and iPhone. It can also be used on scopes, which I think would make it a thoughful Father’s Day Gift!

The red slider button reveals the cleaning brush to sweep away dust. It then retracts back into the pen with the slide of the red button to keep the brush pristine.

PentexCleaningPen1

The other end of the pen has a dual-sided cleaning head; simply pop off the cap to use it. Inside, the cleaning head can be removed and flipped over to use a smaller cleaning head. The large cleaning head is great to cleaning lenses and filters, while the smaller cleaning head is ideal for cleaning cell-phone cameras and viewfinders.

PentexCleaningPen2.jpg

I have used similar cleaning pens before, however, they had cleaning fluid in one end. The fluid would leak and dry up, so because this one doesn’t have that issue to deal with and instead is ready, perpetually for cleaning, I like this one much better! It gets the job done quickly and efficiently so I can get on with snapping clear, crisp pictures.

Due to my experience with this Pentex Ultra Cleaning Pen, I would highly recommend it for photographers, gun owners, bird watchers, selfie takers, and more.

Disclaimer: I received this Pentex Ultra Cleaning Pen for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. I did not receive any other compensation.

Scoring Some Deals and Trying New Eats

Our budget has gotten tighter with school ending for the semester, so I have been working on ways to save. One way that I have been saving, and eating better is by shopping at Trans Asian Market in Biddeford for great deals on produce! I love it because not only do I get the best deals, but I also find new foods to try.

Yesterday, I got a yellow cantaloupe to try. I didn’t know they even existed, so I got one. When I got it home, I decided to peel and cut it up for snacks. I was really surprised how easy it was to cut through the peel. It was a little challenging to distinguish how much I needed to trim off to remove the rind though because there was little color difference on the inside. The fruit itself was sweet and very juicy. If you were to arrange melons on a spectrum of sweetness, I would place yellow cantaloupe between regular (orange) cantaloupe, and honeydew melon. It almost had a hint of pear flavor.

I also scored some great deals on veggies! Some of the produce is pre-bagged for you, and some you can select yourself in different amounts. There is usually a slightly better price for pre-bagged items. I got a couple of bags of mixed peppers and when I got home, I noticed that one of my red peppers was nearly as big as the melon that I picked up!

I sliced up all of the peppers that I bought and paired them with some boneless chicken breasts that I bought on sale at Hannaford this week to make Chicken Fajitas. (Ironically, the Asian Market also has awesome burrito wraps too).

Pepper surprise #orange #prizeinside

A photo posted by Desiree (@dthompson207) on

I searched Pinterest and came across a Grilled Chicken Fajita Marinade that claimed to be The Best Fajita Recipe . Luckily, we had all of the ingredients so I gave it a shot. It had good flavor without being overpowering and I think it was better than sizzling restaurant chicken fajitas! My family loved it so I will definitely be making it again!

Tonight, I’ll be making ribeye (I saved on it by buying a whole one at Emery’s Meat Market when I made a trip to visit my dad). This time, I won’t be making my own marinade, but instead I will use a new one of Sweet Baby Ray’s. I love their BBQ sauce! My mother-in-law picked up the marinade because Hannaford was out of our usual go-to, and it turned out the new one became my hubby’s new fav (it does pay off to be Semper Gumby… even if it is only Saepe… LOL). I think I will also roast some asparagus and skewer some big, beautiful baby (ironic) bella mushrooms.

I’m not sure what else I will make since Steve is not big on asparagus or ‘shrooms and he won’t eat baked potato. (For someone who claims not to be picky… he is a bit picky… I try most to please him though. As the saying goes “the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”.)

Another way that I’ve been saving is on my gas mileage. I still can’t believe, that we were able to turn a negative into such a huge positive! Got rid of my beat up Sonata and got a brand new Nissan Altima on a lease without changing my payment!

Loving the #gasmileage I'm getting with my #nissan #altima

A photo posted by Desiree (@dthompson207) on

And my seats are so comfortable!!! I love it! And I’m loving the beautiful weather we’ve been getting, it has been so nice to enjoy some sun! There is little better than the sound of the waves! It gives me such a feeling of inner peace like nothing else. One of my ultimate goals in life would be to live near the ocean.

Growing Our First Garden Together

This past weekend, Steve and I planted our very first garden. I have helped pick vegetables in family gardens, but have yet to grow my own from start to finish. This year, I decided to just do it. We made a trip to Home Depot with my in-laws, and they happened to have seedlings on sale, so it worked out great!

I chose Boston Pickling Cucumbers. I prefer the taste and texture of pickling cucumbers and I thought with Boston in the name, it might be a hearty variety to grow in Maine with similar temperatures. I got some herbs which I will plant in a window box (Spearmint, Dill, Oregano, and Basil). I got 2 heirlooms and a black beauty tomato plant which I planted in buckets and placed on the deck. For the garden, I got a flat of Bibb Lettuce (12), the 2 cucumber plants, and a zucchini, and summer squash seedlings.

I’ve been watering and admiring them, and over the last few days, I’ve seen a significant difference in each plant’s growth. I’m pretty excited! I really the veggies do well and pests and critters don’t demolish them as they get bigger.