Saturday, August 30, 2014

Shop Local ~ Calm-a-Mama

by Mommy

Moving is stressful, no matter which way you slice it. If you've ever moved with four children under the age of eight, then you know how my summer went. With apartment hunting, job hunting, school registration, and transferring medical records, life has been just a little overwhelming. So when I passed a booth for Calm-a- Mama outside of whole foods, it immediately caught my eye. Mom got excited because Calm-a- Mama follows I {heart} Rhody on Twitter.

When reading their product description, I thought it was too good to be true! Could 4 drops of flower essences really help with all the levels of chaos my family experiences? In a word, YES! I was completely blown away by how quickly and effectively this product took effect.

I received my sample in the mail last week, and not a moment too soon. It was midday and I had a couple of screamers on my hands. Wren is 20 months old and she is non-stop action. She hadn't had an afternoon nap in over a month, no matter how hard I tried. Poor Peppy (3 months) suffers from yucky gas that prompts fits of frustration and pain, making it impossible to nurse her.

So here I was with two unhappy babies and a little blue bottle of what has quickly become a household go-to remedy. Peppy got hers first, four drops, right on the tongue. Within a minute, I was able to breastfeed her, and six short minutes later, she was down for a 2 hour nap. But she is the easy one. Babies always sleep.
The real test was Wren. She took her drops and went from a wild animal to a sweet sleeping Angel in under 20 minutes. Nothing short of a miracle.


It's been great for me too! In moments of stress and anxiety (like this morning, the first day of school), I feel much more Calm and together.

Calm-a-Mama comes in different blends, for new moms, stressed moms, fussy babies, school aged kids. Even daddy gets one! There are custom sessions to create your own blend.

The only issue we have found with the product is that it is preserved in diluted brandy. It's not a concern in terms of alcohol content for babies and nursing mommies, but the toddler spits it out. It can be made with glycerin, which is also very safe, and I will make that request with my next order.

Long story short, visit . My family love love LOVES this product and wishes there was a way to have it delivered by the gallon, milkman style.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Big changes at I {heart} Rhody

Meet Papi, Mommy, Pappo, Peeper, Wren and Peppy.
Papi, Wren, Peppy and Mommy

Pappo, Wren and Peeper

Mommy is my middle daughter (Bear's sister), and the rest are her husband and children. They've just moved to Rhode Island and are jumping into the I {heart} Rhody gang.

With the addition of four children under age eight, we'll have more kid-friendly activities and product posts, and how restaurants, sights and venues handle the needs of the quite young. We'll also continue with the grown-up stuff. We'll be looking at some old favorites with fresh eyes, too.

We hope you enjoy sharing our adventures. See you around Rhode Island!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sights ~ St. Thomas Church ~ Providence

St. Thomas RC Church
65 Fruit Hill Ave.
Providence, Rhode Island

Church and grounds

I had the opportunity to stop in at St. Thomas Church and tour the sanctuary. I've seen this church lots of times, and have even been into their community area to donate blood, but I'd never gone into the sanctuary itself.

The people there were very welcoming, and happy to let me wander and take pictures. One gentleman even showed me around a bit.

I wasn't able to get any history from the church's site, but I do know the church was founded sometime before the cornerstone of the present building was laid in the late 1800s. A second cornerstone is dated 1913, which may be the date that the current building was erected.

cornerstone 1913

The interior has an almost mid-century feel to it, except for the apse, which is more gothic.

Sanctuary from choirloft
This view is from the choir loft.

sanctuary from altar
And this is from the altar.

The sanctuary boasts lots of stained glass windows.
stained glass windows

stained glass 4
I wish I knew more about styles of stained glass. These are mostly square panes with the occasional insert.

Below is the detail from the trio of windows in the choir loft. The choir no longer uses the loft, however.
Front Gothic stained windows from indoors

Instead, the choir performs to the side of the altar.
Choir area

You might notice behind the altar is some more stained glass. That's part of the "crying room," a small sanctuary behind the altar that's set aside for parents with crying babies, so they can hear the mass without their children disturbing services. It's also used for weekday masses, which are lower in attendance.

"Crying Room"

Even the crying room has a smaller, private space for contemplation.
meditation room

In common with many churches, there's some lovely statuary as well.

St. Thomas seems to enjoy a very active parish life. Aside from a Catholic school, they also have frequent activities, blood drives, craft and holiday sales, etc.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Dining ~ The Cookie Tray ~ Johnston

The Cookie Tray
620 Killingly St.
Johnston, Rhode Island
(401) 752-9813

I hadn't been on Killingly Street in awhile, but happened along recently and saw a sign for The Cookie Tray, advertising crepes. I love a good crepe, so I stopped in. It's a cute place, with lots of white and hot pink, and plenty of cookies, cupcakes, muffins and treats filling the display cases.
Cookies and favors

I started with a breakfast crepe - egg white and spinach with cheddar (they were out of feta)on a buckwheat crepe, then ordered a half dozen cookies to share at the office.
Egg white, spinach and cheddar crepe

The crepe traveled well to the office. It was huge and held me from breakfast through lunch. It was also very tasty, and the flavors blended well together.

After lunch I stingily broke my cookies into 3 pieces, one for each of us.

Pecan pie cookie: We agreed that it looked like it would be soft, but enjoyed the crunch. I would have liked to see a little more pecan pie filling.
Pecan Pie

Pistachio chocolate chip: Light pistachio flavored soft cookie, nice chunks of chocolate chip and pistachio pieces. J had a hard time distinguishing the pistachio flavor, but liked it.
Chocolate chip pistachio

Coconut macaroon: sweet, nutty with a firm coating that gives a bit of a snap as you bite into it. The inside is moist, yet the coconut stays crunchy. D declared it "very coconut-y, light and fluffy." J, who is not a coconut fan, also liked it.

Maybe the one I was most looking forward to, but a bit of a disappointment, was the chocolate walnut fudge. The cookie tasted a little musty, although the bright side is that I think I detected a little pop of bourbon in the recipe. J said that the chocolate flavor was lost behind the nuts. D liked it, saying the texture was smooth.
Fudge brownie

Nuts weren't a problem in the Chocolate Nut Nutella cookie. It was nicely balanced, crisp on the outside, fudgy on the inside, with crunchy pieces of walnut. I almost didn't want to share. J preferred it to the brownie as well. This one's a winner for the chocolate/nut enthusiasts.
Chocolate chip Nutella

Lastly was the butterball. It was very dry and crumbly inside the shell. I liked the crunch of nuts. The guys, who are more familiar with this type of cookie than I am, said it was lighter and less dense than the typical butterball, which they also know as an Italian wedding cookie. They liked it, though of course J likes his mom's better.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Events ~ Foo Fest ~ Providence ~ August 9, 2014

Foo Fest 2014
August 9, 2014; 1:00 pm - 1:00 am
Empire Street
Providence, Rhode Island

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Artists ~ Heather Hawkins ~ Smithfield

Artist’s name: Heather Hawkins
Shop name: XHeatherLaceX (I came up with the name when I was 15, I know it's ridiculous!)
Twitter: @Hawkalyptica

1. Tell us about your work
In the past I've done custom paintings of creature silhouettes, and at one point I was framing skeleton keys. Neither garnered much attention despite how much fun I thought they were, so I kept trying new things.

My latest project is called "Home Is Where Your Collection Is." Originally the title was going to be "Home Is Where the Heart Is" which was the more obvious choice, but I was using my shop as a catch-all for selling my "Home Is.." project plus posters and comic books. Most people have an amount of love invested in their collections, thus the title. In any case, I basically paint a background onto an 8x10 canvas and add a silhouette of a state onto it. I mostly do Rhode Island, since it's my home, but I've done a couple of Massachusetts and Connecticut, as well as the United States. Then I add a little heart on top of your hometown to complete the custom piece.

2. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
I wouldn't call myself a professional just yet; I do still have a day job doing matting and framing to pay my bills. I've always been creative though, ever since I was a little kid. My mother could attest to that, coming into the living room with all of my craft supplies strewn across the entire carpet. My husband could tell you I still do that, except now it's at least on a table. I create art because it makes me happy, and if I can make other people happy and maybe eventually make a living out of it, all the better.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration?
Inspiration comes from everywhere. I paint the backgrounds based on everything I see: nature, other art, license plates. But I guess the inspiration for my Rhode Island pieces is really just that it's a place that I love. I grew up in Tiverton, I've spent time in my husband's hometown of Wakefield. I've lived in Providence, Johnston, and Smithfield. It's such a diverse and beautiful place that I truly feel is my home. I feel that way and I want to share my art because I'm sure others do too.

4. What’s your favorite item to create?
My favorite changes every day. Some days all I want to do is create collage backgrounds, other time I just want to paint like Van Gogh for days. For a while though, it's always finished with a state on it!

5. What’s your best seller?
So far the Rhode Island painted with a ripple effect around it has been a favorite. If there isn't one in my etsy shop you can see it in my icon.

6. How long have you been in Rhode Island?
Born and raised, 25 years so far. At one point I was planning on moving down south. While I was there trying to find a job and an apartment I realized it could never be my home like Rhode Island is. So I stayed.

7. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
How can you pick one thing?! The beaches in South County are the best. We've got Del's Lemonade and Autocrat coffee syrup. There is an amazing array of colleges to choose from. Restaurants here are amazing, like Loie Fuller's and the Red Fez in Providence. What's not to love?

8. Please include anything else you’d like to add:
Just a thanks for the opportunity to show people what I do, and I hope you love it as much as I do!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Other Blogs ~ Ellen Welty ~ Becoming a Real Rhode Islander: Learning to Clam

Rhode Island Monthly's blog has just added a new feature:

Ellen Welty will try some Rhode Island-specific skills and write about them.

Her first effort is clamming:

Becoming a Real Rhode Islander: Learning to Clam - ridaily blog - July 2014 - Rhode Island

photo via RIDaily blog
I've never been clamming, in Rhode Island or anywhere else, so it's on my list. This post just made me more excited.