Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Reprieve for CPSIA

Back in December I posted about the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act which was set to go into effect in February, possibly causing hundreds of small business owners and craftsmen across the States to go out of business. Earlier in January, the Consumer Products Safety Commission decided that thrift and consignment sales will not be required to certify their products, which is a blessing for those of us who shop at consignment sales! Yesterday it was announced that the CPSIA has been delayed for one year, until February 2010. This is wonderful news, and will hopefully give lawmakers time to review the law and make amendments for small business owners and those who make any goods for children under the age of 12. You can read more about it here.

Living Green

As I have mentioned in a previous post, I am playing along with the "Mom Time in '09" blog party that is going on at Jolly Mom and Go, Graham, Go. In addition to lots of wonderful giveaways (you should definitely check them out!), they are asking a series of questions to those in the blogsphere, hoping that by sharing answers we are all learning from each other. The latest question is "What are some simple things you do to live green?" Below are two lists--one of what we are currently doing, and one full of ideas I hope to incorporate in 2009.

1. We use energy efficient light bulbs in all of our fixtures that we can (I have not found energy efficient light bulbs that work in one of our ceiling fans).
2. I make most of my household cleaners. Truthfully, I don't make toilet bowl cleaner--we use the little Scrubbing Bubbles flushable or disposable ones, so that is a little less of an environmental threat. I clean other things with a basic cleaner or scrub that I made myself.
3. I use cloth diapers on my infant son. We made the switch with my daughter about a year ago, but just started with my son. We were given enough disposable diapers to last until recently, so I am enjoying getting back into the cloth diapering habit. I love the fact that I am (re)using cloth on my little boy's bottom!
4. We recycle. That seems like such an easy thing, but we have not always recycled. However, we now live in a house that has recycling pick up--it is super easy to recycle now:-)
5. I try to stay home a couple of days a week. There was a time, especially when I had just one child, that I would run out every day! It is much harder to get out with two, and I find myself combining errarnds and trips as much as possible. That helps with gas and emissions.

Now on to what I would like to do in 2009:
1. Switch to cloth napkins. A friend bought restaurant quality napkins for cheap on EBay and I intend to do the same.
2. Stop using paper towels. Use cloth napkins and kitchen towels instead.
3. Switch to a mesh coffee filter.
4. Use my "real" plates more than paper plates. Paper is such an easy "go-to", but how much trash am I throwing away each year?
5. Repurpose and reuse--rinse out my ziploc bags and reuse them. Wrap gifts in newspaper comics. Regift (*gasp*) items that I don't want.
6. Make more food from scratch:-)
7. Get outside more--take walks, play in our backyard, make friends with the neighbors. Do those things instead of walking around Target (and inevitably spending money).

Hopefully, I will be able to tmplement many of these ideas this year. I'll let you know how we do!

We have a winner!

Thanks to all of you for commenting on my blog and entering to win a Joann Fabric Store gift card. I am so excited by the response I received to my first giveaway, and I am glad so many people seemed eager to win! I was just at Joann's yesterday buying shiny new supplies--and, of course, the gift card:-) So without further ado, here we go:

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2009-01-31 15:35:20 UTC

The winner is comment # 45--Annabelle, who said: "I could use this! I promised my 2 nieces that I would make them a blanket!! I need to buy the material yet!" Congratulations Annabelle! I will be sending you an email shortly.

Thanks to everyone for playing along. I hope you have a blessed weekend.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Wal-Mart gift card

Hey It's Free is a website that is always linking to freebies on the internet. Right now they are giving away a $50 Wal-Mart gift card. And you know we could all use that! Click the link to enter!

HT: Mrs. S

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Steal of a deal!

As I mentioned in a previous post, my husband is a professor, and as such, he has to wear a coat and tie most days. Just to brag a little bit, but my husband is a very sharp dresser--he can pick out clothes much better than I can. He recently sent me out to go shopping without the kids, and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to find anything without him (I did, but it took a while!). Anyway, my husband is a big fan of Joseph A Banks clothing stores. As the holidays approached, they started advertising big sales...and the deals kept getting bigger and the prices kept falling. And he just waited, and occasionally checked the website, and waited, and then, just last week, he found the perfect deal:

This beautiful sportcoat? One of their Signature line, listed at over $500. How much did we pay? Less than 1/10th of that!! The tie? Also at a ridiculously reduced price! Yippee for sales! Now, if only we had been signed up for
Ebates when we placed our order, we would have saved even more! You should sign up as well:-)

Don't forget my giveaway.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jumping on the Giveaway bandwagon

The Giveaway is closed. Thanks for all your entries!

Thanks for visiting from Bloggy Giveaways Carnival. I hope you are all having a lot of fun visiting different blogs and entering giveaways. I did not intend to participate originally, but it is just too much fun to pass up!

But onto the actual giveaway:-) In celebration of my upcoming shopping trip to Joann Fabric and Craft Store, I am giving one lucky blog visitor a $10 gift card to Joann's. To win, please leave a comment (one per person, please!) on this post by Friday, January 30. You can 'say' anything in your comment, but I would love to hear how you spend money at your favorite craft store. Please include an email address if that is not available in your blogger profile. The winner will be randomly selected on Saturday, January 31, and contacted via email that day.

Before you head back to the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival I hope you will look around a little. This blog is fairly new, so I would love to hear your feedback!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Making money online

Here are a few easy and (relatively) painless ways to make money online while you surf or shop or just vegetate.

Swagbucks pays you "swagbucks" (original, right?) when you surf the internet using their search engine. You build up the swagbucks and trade them in at their shop for different products or gift cards. You don't earn bucks every time you search, which is a negative. BUT for every friend who signs up under you, you earn swagbucks when they earn swagbucks! So check out this link, sign up under me and let's both earn some swag!

Ebates earns you money when you shop online. Simply use this site to find your favorite store, click on the link and start shopping! You will earn back a percentage of your purchase at each site. They have hundreds of sites, including Target,,, Joanns, Apple ITunes, Joseph A Banks, Shutterfly, Gap and more. Did I mention hundreds of stores? If you sign up for EBates right now, you and I will each earn $5.00!

YouData pays you to look at advertising. Register at YouData, fill out a detailed survey about your family and interests (but you don't give away any personal information), and start watching ads and surfing websites. You are paid a small amount for each ad that you look at. Your payment is deposited into a PayPal account once a week. You can't earn millions, but a little pocket change each month isn't bad. As more people sign up, the ads will hopefully increase, so spread the word!

How do you earn money online?

Speaking of Giveaways...

Bloggy Giveaways is hosting their quarterly Bloggy Giveaway Carnival this week. As of right now, Monday afternoon, there are over 700 giveaways linked to this carnival. Start playing as soon as you can, but fair warning--this will suck time right out of your day. I am going to attempt to limit myself to only a few entries a day...we'll see if that works! And though I am not participating this quarter, I intend to play along and have my own giveaway next time:-)

Giveaway at Blissfully Domestic

Check out this giveaway at Blissfully Domestic. It is the last giveaway of their "It's a Beautiful New Year" series. I think this is their best giveaway yet, with a couple of clothing items as well as makeup. Check out all of the different Bliss sites while you are at it--lots of fun!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Books I am reading

I love to read. There was a time in my life when I read dozens of books a year. And then I had kids, picked up another hobby (or two) and I don't have as much time to read. I am hoping to get back into the habit of regular reading this year, and decided I would post a list of books I am reading as well as the books I have finished. I will update this post regularly as I complete the books. It will help me remember how much I have accomplished at the end of this year!

Books I am reading
Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children --Dorie McCullough Lawson
Luke (the Bible)

Books I have finished--2009
Inkheart --Cornelia Funke
Inkdeath --Cornelia Funke
When Sinners Say I Do --Dave Harvey
Matthew (the Bible)
Mark (the Bible)

updated February 25, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I keep telling myself that I won't buy more fabric until I use most of what I currently have, or at least finish all the projects for which the fabric was originally intended. HA! I love pretty fabrics, and it seems that I just can't resist buying more even when I have plenty, or when I don't have anything "really" planned for it...

So I am going to try to be more responsible! Buy fabric for a particular project, then actually COMPLETE that project. I am posting some of my fabric below, along with my ideas for its usage. Hopefully that will help me stay on track:-)

My most recent purchase--
On the left are three fat quarters by Joel Dewberry. I love his designs! These fat quarters will make adorable diaper clutches. The fabric in the middle and on the right are half yard lengths of Amy Butler fabric (from her Belle line). I think I can make diaper clutches AND some coasters from this fabric...but I like the Kashmir (fabric on the right) A LOT and might use it for something different.

This next picture was my last big fabric purchase before Christmas, and in looking at the stack of fabric, I have used more than I realized! The top two fabrics in green were used to make an apron, the brown/cream was used to make a nursing cover, and the Christmas fabrics on the bottom were used for coasters (Christmas gifts). So I used 5 out of 7 fabrics--not too shabby! I still need to make a diaper clutch out of the remaining brown fabric, a dress for Girl out of the treed birds, and something else out of the pink. Someday I will!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cookies at any time

I love cookies. Really. I love to bake cookies, and I love to eat cookies! It is better, however, for me to give my cookies away or make them for events, so they don't sit around the house tempting me and my hubbie to overeat. Thankfully, my husband has a great job that lends itself to 'taking cookies to the office'--he is a college professor, and both his students and his coworkers have benefitted from my cookie cooking binges.

But there are times, when I am home in the afternoon, both kids are sleeping, and I just want a cookie. Or when someone comes over at last minute and I want to offer something sweet along with coffee. I don't need 3 dozen cookies--I just need a few. My remedy for this is very simple. I make a batch of cookie dough, roll the dough into balls, place the balls on a cookie sheet and stick the cookie sheet in the freezer. After letting the dough freeze for a couple of hours, I pop the dough balls off the cookie sheet, throw them into a freezer bag and put them in the freezer. Then, on those afternoons that I MUST HAVE cookies, I can pull one or two (or six:-) balls out of the freezer bag and put them in the oven. I find it helpful to separate the balls into smaller freezer bags with a dozen cookies in each bag, and then putting those freezer bags into a larger gallon bag. This works for most types of cookie dough, both homemade and storebought. You could also roll the dough into small logs and freeze the logs. I don't prefer that method, but it would work similarly.

My favorite cookies are Snickerdoodles--in fact, I just made some Snickerdoodle cookie dough today. I will make a couple dozen cookies to take to my husband's work tomorrow, and will freeze the rest. Snickerdoodles are my "trademark" cookie, and one of the few recipes I don't share:-) But in the spirit of generosity, I want to give you the recipe to my second favorite cookie, Molasses Cookies. These delicious cookies also look beautiful, which is a plus:-)

Molasses Cookies
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg well beaten
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix together the butter, sugar, and molasses until creamy. Add egg and beat well. Sift together dry ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients to butter mixture until well blended. Chill dough (can be overnight). Form dough into balls and roll in sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 6-10 minutes--6 for softer cookies, 10 for crispier cookies. Enjoy!!

For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, see Rocks In My Dryer.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Taking time for myself

The ladies at Jolly Mom and Go, Graham, Go are hosting a blog party right now--see the button on my sidebar for more information. Involved in this huge block party are tons of giveaways for moms! I told you I was addicted to online giveaways right now:-)

They are posting questions that they want moms across the blogosphere to answer, so we can all learn from each other and support each other. Today's question is "What is it that you do to take time for yourself?"

I am very blessed with a wonderful husband who seeks to serve and help me in a variety of ways. One way that he blesses me and our entire family is that he takes Girl, who is 2, on weekly daddy/daughter dates. His schedule allows him to take her out to lunch (sometimes it is a home-packed picnic, sometimes it is McDonalds) on a Friday. I get to stay at home with Boy (4 mos), and relax, or run errands without a toddler. It is the greatest blessing, and G looks forward to it every week!

But perhaps the best way I take time for myself is by giving to others. See, I am naturally selfish--it doesn't take much at all for me to want "Me" time, and to think I deserve special treatment, gifts, giveaways:-), free time, etc. That is my sinful nature. But I am a Christian--I believe the Bible is truth without mixture of error, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that the only way to God is through Christ. I believe the two greatest commandments are to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and to love your neighbor as yourself. When I am taking the time out of my day to truly love my neighbor--to serve others in some manner--I am following the commands of Christ, and am receiving blessings. Such acts do not come naturally to me, and they cause me to rely on God's strength daily. There could be no greater lesson, or blessing in my life.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Granola (Candy) Bars

I attempted to make homemade granola bars yesterday afternoon. I followed the directions, but what were supposed to be borderline healthy granola bars turned into what my hubby calls "Granola Candy Bars". Um, there's a LOT of chocolate in these bars! They are delicious, but a lot sweeter than I thought they would be. I plan to keep tweaking the recipe, and will post it as soon as I get it right.

All my friends have one...

An Ergo, that is. Don't know what an Ergo is? It is just (according to all my friends) the most amazing baby carrier around! It allows for hands free babywearing from infant to toddlerhood. Since I have both an infant and a toddler, that would be great! Seriously, my friends who have Ergo carriers swear by them, and use them all the time, even with toddler aged children. These carriers are available online from Ergo's website, and in a handful of authorized brick and mortar stores. The price tag is a little high for me, which brings me to the second part of the post: The lovely lady who runs the Jolly Mom blog is giving away an Ergo carrier and accessories! What a fabulous idea! Check it out here (and be sure to look at her other giveaways as well--I am completely addicted to online giveaways right now).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Homemade bread

Confession: I have made bread before, but it always had banana, apple, pumpkin or friendship in its title. Last week was my first attempt at a real, kneading-required, whole wheat bread. It was so yummy, and I think I may have to make it again! Doesn't it look delicious?

Care to share your favorite bread recipe?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Organizing your Christmas card pictures

I love receiving Christmas cards every year, especially the ones with pictures that show us how much the kids have grown or the family has changed. But what do you do with those pictures after Christmas? Like many people, I like to display the pictures on my refrigerator, and I would often spend an unholy amount of time arranging them to be just "so." But the tape on the back would eventually get unsticky, Girl would grab any and every one she could reach, and then there was one particular picture that would fall off every single time I opened the door!

So one day I was struck by great inspiration, and I decided to invest in these handy magnetic photo sleeves. They protect my pictures AND easily adhere to the refrigerator. What's not to like? Now the grubby fingers of Girl won't tear up these photos,and my previously cluttered refrigerator door has a cleaner look. Obviously, this is not an original thought, but it made a great transformation to my refrigerator and my sanity. And that works for me.

Front of sleeve (isn't that cute pic of Boy? don't look at the messy counter!)

Back of sleeve

My slightly less cluttered refrigerator door

For more Works For Me Wednesday tips, check out Rocks In My Dryer.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Free things

This week, I have found the following items for free (after coupons):

2 Johnson and Johnson Buddies soap at Target (used this coupon)

1 package of 4 roll Cottonelle toilet paper at Kroger (on sale for $0.99, used coupon from here, which Kroger doubled). I think I could have bought more than one roll, but I wasn't sure of the price (it wasn't advertised), so I only printed one coupon.

2 Reese's Whips candy bars at Kroger (on sale 2/$1.00, used $1.00 off coupon from 1/4/2009 paper)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Oatmeal Balls Recipe

This ingredient list is officially for a double-batch, because a 'regular batch' just doesn't last very long around here!

1 1/2 cups dry powdered milk
1 1/2 cups whole oats
2/3 cup honey
1 cup peanut butter (I use Skippy Natural)
1/2 cup (approx.) wheat germ
1/2 cup (approx.) sunflower seeds

Mix ingredients together, roll into small balls and refrigerate.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can change it every time you make it! The first four ingredients are the 'basics', while the wheat germ and sunflower seeds are 'extra'. Other ideas for add-ins:
*cocoa powder
*flax seed
*dried fruit
*mini-chocolate chips (okay, this might defeat the healthiness of the snack, but it would be yummy)

These are so yummy, and they are the perfect snack!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Nursing Covers

For when you don't want to flash the world---

Nursing covers are an excellent way to nurse your baby with discretion and style. I made my own while I was nursing Georgia, then made several for friends, and it has just cotinued from there! I love making these both to sell and to give away. Check out the montage for my covers and available fabrics!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Another Website to Recommend

Check out Womanly Excellence, a site devoted to godly womanhood. Right now she has a giveaway for Southern Living at Home mini-cookbooks! That's a lot of fun! I haven't fully perused the site yet, but I look forward to learning some things from it.