Monday, December 22, 2008

Mistletoe Kissing Ball

This Mistletoe Kissing Ball is my own adaptation from a Martha Stewart creation. Though it's similar, the biggest difference really is that I made mine on a budget, choosing denim leaves instead of Dupioni silk, etc. saving quite a lot of money. (Estimated cost: 48.00 for the materials for six balls, $8.00 per ball.)

These mistletoe balls are especially perfect for hostess gifts for all of the many parties you are visiting this holiday season. They do take a little time and since it's already last minute and they are very detailed (but they are terribly gorgeous!)... so, craft! Craft like the wind!


Materials Needed:

4" styrofoam ball
Silver spray paint
Cup hook
Craft glue
12 Miniature pine cones with floral wire tied at the bottom (to attach to ball)
Silver glitter
White glitter
Miniature ornaments or 2 Beaded branches (I purchased discounted champagne-colored beaded twigs from Michael's Craft, marked down to $.59/each)
Wire cutters
1/4 yard light green denim
Floral pins (with white pearlescent heads)
Floral tape
Decorative ribbon in the color of your choice (for hanging)

Directions:

Begin by spray painting silver your styrofoam ball and cup hook. Allow to dry according to directions on paint can. Attach hook to ball using craft glue.

Prepare pine cones by dotting the edges with craft glue and sprinkling with silver glitter. After they dry, attach each one to the ball at random with glue on attached wire.

Pinecones attached to painted styrofoam ball.

Prepare miniature ornaments. If you purchased a beaded branch, remove beads using wire cutters, and allowing for at least one inch of wire to attach to ball. Separate beads evenly into two separate piles. Leave one pile plain, while glittering the second pile of beads.

Beaded branch in a champagne color, purchased from Michael's Crafts.

Wire cutters and plain beads removed from branch, leaving a one-inch wire stem.

To glitter the beads, first coat each bead with a thin layer of craft glue using a dot of glue placed on the tip of your finger. Roll in a bowl of white glitter and set aside for at least an hour to dry.

Glittered beads using craft glue and white glitter.

Once both groups of beads are ready, coat their wires in craft glue and attach at random to the styrofoam ball until almost completely covered (leaving a few small holes is fine).


Ball with beads and pine cones attached.

To create the leaves, first draw a leaf on a piece of paper, about one inch tall. Cut your denim fabric into strips and layer four at a time. Use clips to keep them from coming apart while cutting. Holding your template in place, carefully cut around template through all four layers. Each ball will require about 40 leaves, or to your liking.

Use a floral pin as the mistletoe berry. Use 1-3 pins for every two leaves. Wrap together using floral tape. (Pull floral tape taut to activate its glue to keep it in place). Randomly place mistletoe into ball, coating the floral pins with glue first.

Mistletoe leaves made from denim. Place two leaves together, secure with pin (left). Wrap bottom with floral tape (right).

Cut ribbon to desired length and tie with a bow at the top. Attach to cup hook on ball.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Great deal on 'All You' magazine

Cheryl Hinton is a Southern Living at HOME consultant that has a current deal right now where you can purchase a 2-year subscription to the popular All You magazine for only $19.95. 'All You' is only available for purchase in Wal-Mart stores, and the shelf price is more than $2. Cheryl is able to get us 24 issues for only 83¢ each! I am passing along this information with her permission.

Cheryl has set up a way to place your orders online with a credit card. If you'd prefer, she can also call you directly to place your order over the phone. You can pay via credit card or personal check over the phone
.

To order online:
Click HERE.
Type 40776 into the Product Search box
Click "All You personal subscription"
Click "How to Purchase"
Enter "Kim J" into the Hostess Name boxes
Click the first name link to access Kim's December 15 party
Type 40776 into the Product Search box again
Click "All You personal subscription"
Click "Select this Item"
On same page, click on the "Finalize and submit your order" link
Your subtotal should be $19.95. If it's more than that, double-check the number of subscriptions in your cart.
Click "Continue to Checkout"

Fill in your personal information and follow the directions for payment. Make sure to use your MAILING address. The confirmation statement about items being shipped to the hostess only applies to PRODUCTS, and NOT MAGAZINES. There is no additional charge for the magazine to be delivered directly to your home. The $10 charge mentioned is only for the direct shipment of products. **PLEASE do not check that box!**

If you wish to purchase a Gift Subscription, just place an order using the name and address of the person you are buying the subscription for. You can then use your credit card information to pay for it.

Cheryl has made herself available to answer your questions or address any problems you encounter during the ordering process. Her contact information follows, or you can fill out and submit this simple form.

Cheryl Hinton
813-504-5788
Independent Consultant
Southern Living at Home
finallylarrys@yahoo.com

www.southernlivingathome.com/hinton

~Cheryl just emailed me and said the ALL You deal will be going on after the first of the year. I will post again in January with updated 'party information' if you'd like. Thanks!~

Monday, December 8, 2008

Hipster Holiday Music

If you're one of those types that greatly dislikes the same old Christmas songs year in and year out, we have just the suggestion for you!

Enter Pandora!

If you haven't heard yet, Pandora.com is a free online service that allows you to listen to specific genres you enjoy. You simply enter in your favorite band as a "station", and it generates an endless play list of suggested similar artists, so your favorites, along with some new bands you may not have heard of yet are being played.

For Christmas, we suggest entering in "Sufjan Stevens (holiday)" as a new station... it's hip, young, and unique Christmas music from bands like Relient K, Jars of Clay, and of course Sufjan Stevens!

Just in case you needed a break from your mom's Christmas music...

(Thanks, Jamie!)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Eggnog Pancakes

This delightful and delicious recipe has just the right amount of eggnog and a healthy dose of Christmas cheer! Excellent topped with a bit of butter and maple syrup!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cup eggnog
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk, add until desired consistency

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine eggnog, oil, and egg.

Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour wet ingredients into well. Whisk together. Add milk until you reach your desired consistency and mix.

Cook on griddle or stove top until the middle is cooked through.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Check out Weefinds and Win a Toys R Us Gift Card!

Introducing Weefinds - a new site run by three moms that tells you where the best online deals are! Christine, Debbie, and Sherri are moms of young children and are always on the lookout for cheap deals. They've gathered them here on their new website. Right now they are having a giveaway - just post a comment sharing your favorite Christmas gift idea for under $25, and a winner will be randomly chosen on December 7th. I just popped over and there are some good ideas there already - hmmm...that reminds me, I better start making my Christmas list!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pine Cone Wreath

This wreath is SO cute! Check out the Brightwood Living blog for more details.

She doesn't have step by step instructions, but it sounds like she attached the pine cones to the wire form with floral wire & the last row looks like small pine cones attached with floral wire to the center to hide the floral wire that attaches the larger pine cones to the wire form.
Hopefully that makes sense.

Check out the blog post & her pictures.

One suggestion - she mentions the sap gets all over, so wearing latex type gloves (like your Dr/Dentist) may be a good idea. (maybe not, so don't hold me to it ;-)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I found your Camera.com

I heard about this site Found cameras & orphan photos if ever you find a lost camera you can email this site two photos on the camera or memory card and send a description of the item found and they will post it to thier blog and hopefully it will be a wonderful reunion with the memories you photographed and thought you lost...

I think that it is an awesome thing to do.. I will tell you that a great friend of mine went to California with her family and it was her boys first trip to sea world, Disneyland and DCA ... She happened to set her camera down in a bugs life show at DCA... about a half hour after she left the camera she went back and asked a cast member about if anything had been turned in and well the answer was a NO... We then went to file a claim with lost and found and nothing... She checked back at the close of the day and still nothing... so I hope that someone with some sort of moral code will post onto this wonderful site so that way my wonderful friend can obtain her photos of  a lot of firsts for her kiddos...

Please pass the word about this wonderful site... maybe just maybe the more people know about this site the more photos will be returned to thier rightful owners... Thanks all for letting me ramble...
 I just want a happy ending... cause the trip really shouldve been a magical one... and for the most it was...
Thanks again all...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Another Headband Giveaway!

The Orange Plum is having a headband giveaway...check out their blog for the details & check out their Etsy store for fun new patterns & colors AND their new Baby Blankets!
(the drawing will be Nov 16th @ 4:30 MST)Two of the reasons these headbands are so great is because they STAY where you want them, and they don't hurt your head...no more "headband headaches".

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Paper Doll fun:

Feeling a little bored? Have a daughter who needs a little entertaining? In the mood for some brightly coloured, awesomely charactered virtual paperdolls?
Check out the Cartoon Doll Emporium.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Creative Pumpkins

Want to do something a little different with your jack-o-lanterns this year?  Here are a few ideas.

Stalloween.com has a step by step tutorial on how to make these creepy pumpkins from papier mache.  {link}


If that's a little too scary you HallmarkMagazine.com has a how to for a variety of fantasy pumpkins.  {link}


However, if you're itching to do something completely different this year you can print out these patterns for Campaign-o-Lanterns from the Associated Press.  {link}


Enjoy! And happy pumpkin carving!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Spider Cupcakes

How fun are these cupcakes?


Blogger NG at Alice's Adventures Underground has a series of pictures showing how she made them.  Though perhaps a tad time consuming, she promises they are easy to make. 

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Don't forget

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month so remember to wear pink and get the girls checked.

Breast wishes for Healthy Boobies :)


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Catch All Shelf

I wish I'd thought of this when we were looking for a shelf in my daughter's room.  

This great little shelf is made from a wooden magazine holder sold at IKEA.

I absolutely love it! 

You can find instructions on how to make your own at Design*Sponge.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Drum Roll Please

It is time to announce the winner of the Joy in the Journey giveaway. 

And the winner is  richi and elissa who said, "I would love this!  Sounds amazing... :)"

I hope you do love it!  I just need your to give me your contact information.  Please send me and email.  You can get my email address from my profile page here http://www.blogger.com/profile/02350563639002868719  just click the email link in the contact section.  

Congratulations!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Find Joy in the Journey Giveaway

I'm so excited to do this giveaway.  I've been using the Success Choice Planner for 2 months now and I love it.

It has a monthly overview as well as a section for each week.  There's even a place to keep track of the phone calls you need to make.    

Every month has a list of regular monthly tasks (like fertilizing the lawn) and section for goal planning.  

Each day has a health tracker.  There is a chart that makes it easy to record how much water you are drinking, what you are eating, and how much you are exercising.  

The planners are broken into quarters so you only carry around 3 months at a time.  This way you don't have a big bulky planner to keep track of-- just slip it in your purse. 

You can check their website out here {link}

Their website says "It's not just a day planner -- it's a life planner" and I totally agree.

We will be giving away one 4th Quarter (October - December 2008) Success Choice Planner.  If you want to enter this giveaway leave a comment on this post.  The deadline is Sunday 21 September 2008 at midnight.  The winner will be announced on Monday.  Good luck and happy planning!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Glow In The Dark Yarn


Bernat has just come out with a line of glow-in-the-dark yarn (link) .  It is only available for a limitied time and can be purchased at Micheals.  

I am going to buy some to knit a hoodie with a glow-in-the-dark Transformer logo.  However if you don't have a child who is interested in Transfomers, Bernat has provided free downloadable patterns for a glow-in-the-dark trick-or-treat bag, ghosts, alien head bands, and more.

What are you going to do with your stash of glow in the dark yarn?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Simple Carpet-Cleaning Solutions: Baking Soda or Hydrogen Peroxide

I'm not sure how many people out there are as sensitive to the fragrances found in most carpet-cleaning solutions as I am, but I was happy to discover recently that you can easily find alternatives by doing a simple internet search.

The two I was happiest to find were one article on using baking soda, and another on using hydrogen peroxide. I've used baking soda before and was pretty happy with it, but I'm always glad to get more instruction. Baking Soda is included in this link: Clean Carpets without Dangerous Chemicals.

I am a little wary of the "sprinkle on, vacuum off" method, though, so finding out from a friend recently that you can use Hydrogen Peroxide sounded great. This one, "Using Hydrogen Peroxide," mentions combining Hydrogen Peroxide with simple Castille Soap, but I watched a friend clean stains off her carpets recently using simply water and hydrogen peroxide alone. Just make sure you follow the instructions for the correct ratios of hydrogen peroxide to water.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Couponizer

I've become one of those mommies. Not only do I have zucchini squash coming out of my eyeballs, freezer jam in the fridge, and several bread recipes out while I bake and bake, searching for the best one - I've also started couponing a little. I haven't fallen off the deep end and become completely obsessed with it yet, but I have to admit there was a small thrill when I got some 64-ounce Juicy Juice for 88 cents each, 'bought' some makeup for free, and made 60 cents on some new cereal for Grayson (sure hurts less when he refuses to eat it if it didn't cost anything in the first place!).

Anyway, if there are any of you venturing out into the coupon world, a coupon organizer might be helpful to have. I don't really have a system yet, so I entered this contest to win one. It sure looks like a good system to have if you're a serious couponer. And who knows, this system just might convert you!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Got expired coupons?

Please don't throw them away. Here's a link with a few addresses of overseas military installations that can distribute them to service member families. Commissaries will accept manufacturer's coupons for up to 6 months after the printed expiration date.

http://www.grocerysavingtips.com/expiredgrocerycoupons.htm


I have heard that it's helpful to separate food and non-food coupons into ziploc bags marked as such. I think the best way to send them would be to gather from a few people (maybe have everyone from church put them together) and send them in a fixed rate box. The addresses are APO boxes, so you have to send them via USPS.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Plastic Bag Alternatives

I have often found myself thinking about this subject. When grocery stores around me started selling reusable bags for 99 cents, I purchased 4 from my regular store. I have since added more to my collection- 3 from another grocery store and one from Ace Hardware (it was free with purchase- bonus!). I have come across coupons from various stores giving them away with purchases and offering discounts. In fact, I save 5 cents for each bag I use each time I go grocery shopping. But now I have an additional incentive to start using the reusable bags- not having to pay for plastic bags.

Seattle will start charging 20 cents a bag in January (story at this blog). The City Council recently voted 6-1 to approve charges for grocery, drug store and convenient store paper and plastic bags. That cost can add up quickly.

But I LOVE my reusable bags. I have learned that I can fit what might take up 3-5 plastic bags into one of those reusable bags, meaning less trips to and from my car. In addition, the straps are more comfortable carrying than the straps on plastic bags. And the bags are very durable. I just empty them out and put them back in my trunk so they're handy when I need them.

However, I have found it a little uncomfortable at times to pull out a bag for a store like Albertson's when I'm at a store like Target. So I have started looking for other reusable bags that are more universal (and no one has commented at all about my using bags from their competitors or other stores other than to thank me for bringing in a bag).

Some of my favorites I've run across at Amazon (because of their low prices) are these and these. What are your favorites?

Are you already using reusable bags? Do you plan on using them in the future? I'm thinking that this trend will continue, and it's best to be prepared.

Mini Carmel Apples

Everyone loves caramel apples-- which is why I was so excited when I saw great tutorial for mini caramel apples! It has great photos and easy to follow instructions!

Click Here For Tutorial

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lullaby, and Good Night

I often find myself singing nursery rhymes and lullabies my mother sang to me when I was a small child to my own son now, only to replace forgotten lyrics with the word "something." My husband has also picked up this habit - it's pretty sad. Thank goodness a simple internet search turned up this website for us to remember and relearn some favorites we've long forgotten.

KiDiddles is the offspring of
Terry Kluytmans, a single mom who lives with her daughter, Tiana, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The idea for KIDiddles came about after Tiana joined Terry's family through adoption in May 1994. She wanted to sing to her daughter -- just as her father had done with her -- but was having a difficult time remembering the complete lyrics to any given song. She went online to see what she could find, and came up empty-handed. She started her own collection of songs through visits to garage sales and second hand book stores, and decided to share what she found. And so the KiDiddles site was born.

KiDiddles is super easy to navigate. You can search by subject, song title or even lyrical excerpt. You can sign up to print out song sheets of most songs to put into your own personal songbook. And if you can't quite remember a tune, many songs even include a midi file of the tune on the lyrics page to help refresh your memory.

If you do run over to KiDiddles and fall in love with it the way I have, please read and follow the copyright rules before using it in an inappropriate manner (no reproduction, no redistribution, and no commercial use).

*Image and website creator information courtesy KiDiddles.com

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Just Click to Give; then maybe shop


One of my longtime favorite websites is The Hunger Site. All you have to do there to help donate food to the needy is visit the site once a day and click where it says, "Click to give." Sponsors do the rest by donating on your behalf.

The site also has five "sister sites" that you can get to simply by clicking on their tabs at the top of the page, and, you guessed it, by clicking on their accompanying "click to give."

The fun part: you can also give by shopping on any of the sites (Hunger, Breast Cancer, Child Health, Literacy, Rain Forest, or Animal Rescue.) I picked out some of my favorites to show you. Their items are a bit like having Pier One and Etsy shops all rolled into one, with the added bonus of giving back at the same time.

The Hunger Site









Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How to Cut a Watermelon

Summer just wouldn't be summer with out watermelon. Here are two links that will help you enjoy your watermelon to the fullest.

The Old Farmer's Almanac's Nine Ways to Tell if Your Watermelon is Ripe www.almanac.com

Instructable: How to remove most of the seeds when cutting up a watermelon
www.instructables.com



Photo courtesy of the US Agriculture Research Service

Friday, July 18, 2008

Etsy, RookieMoms & BlogCoach

Ok, I have 3 *great* finds today...


The first one is a blog for local Utah Etsy sellers. I love Etsy, and I love supporting locals.
So as I'm writing this, I'm thinking...there must be other local Etsy groups out there...
Sure enough there is!
Check out the etsy sellers near you or groups of etsy sellers that have something in common (like Vegan Etsy or the Jewelry on Etsy Team)



My second great find is RookieMoms.com
I found this site because I went to High School with Heather & she found me via Facebook yesterday. So I checked out her site, blog & BOOK (all co-written with her friend Whitney). There is so much great info, I kept thinking, who do I know that is a new mom, or will be a mom soon that I can share this with....well, the answer is: possibly you.

In a nutshell, "RookieMoms.com is more than 300 activities for new moms that are more fun than wiping someone's tushy."

Their blog is more personal, "about pregnancy, babies, toddlers, preschoolers and the products that go along with these experiences".

And their book, The Rookie Mom’s Handbook: 250 Activities to do with (and without!) your baby, was "inspired by the enthusiasm their website readers had for their activity suggestions", and contains 250 activities which are organized by the baby’s age.

If you're at the BlogHer conference, Heather and Whitney are there...tell Heather I said Hi :-)...her gorgeous curly red hair will be hard to miss!

Which reminds me of a story...bear with me...
I was on a cruise with my family & my 6ft tall brother with red curly hair says to me "how come the guy that cleans our room knows who I am?"
I looked at him and said "seriously?...how many guys with red curly hair & a goatee do you think are on this ship?!"


Ok, one last cool site....if you're looking for tips on how to make your blog better, check out TheBlogCoach.org. "At BlogCoach, you'll find helpful, informative articles about blogging, blogging resources, and a friendly community full of plain-talking bloggers and web publishers eager to help you grow your blog."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Modest Maven

One of my favorite things about the Hip Homemaker is that it's provided a venue for several of my favorite things: writing, homemaking, crafts, and especially networking! (If you ask any of my close friends, they'll tell you that I'm a "networking addict," if such a thing exists. Why re-invent the wheel when it comes to finding good ideas for things? Save it for what you do best.)

After my somewhat verbose "Modest Magazines" post, I was ready to start in on reviewing some of the modest clothing links that the two magazines provide. With the limited budget I've been living on the past two or three years, I couldn't have done it justice. Then Modest Maven stepped into the picture with her new blog:
Modest Maven: "All your modest clothing news." So far it's mostly a review of the websites. And what a list it is...and a list of links as well.

MM's Blogroll
A Simply Modest Blog…
All your modest clothing news
old fashioned lady
Pretty/Modest Blog

modest clothing company
Be Precious Clothing
Christa-Taylor
Downeast Basics
Funky Frum
Layers
Modbe
Sexy Modest
Shabby Apple
Shade Clothing
Stop Staring
Taqwa Iman
The Mod Bod
The Soon Collection
Vintage Hem

(please, MM, keep it up! And anyone else who orders from some of these lesser known places...like the ones so many of Laurie's HH bloggers tell us about.)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Review: Hippychick Hipseat

I am obsessed with baby carriers. I have tried many different kinds: the basic fabric wrap, the Mei Tai carrier, the New Native sling, the Baby Bjorn, the Hip Hammock, and the Ergo. So far the Ergo is my favorite but my only complaint is that it's very bulky and doesn't fold down small when we're not using it. But it definitely is the most comfortable for me.

Well, I just bought myself a Hippychick Hipseat. I've been wanting one ever since I saw it on Babygadget but the price (about $70 plus $16 shipping) seemed a bit much for something so basic looking. But then a couple weeks ago I saw a used one on eBay and ended up buying it for $18 (plus $9 shipping).

My first impression is that it is pretty high quality. It is very basic but it does look well made. It kinda looks like one of those hip packs. I was surprised at how hard the seat is... the website says the seat is made of padded foam but mine, at least, doesn't seem to be very padded. You can remove the foam piece and throw the outside part in the washer.

Wearing it is very comfortable. So far I have only worn it around the house, but it is very easy to use and feels natural. Slipping the kid on and off is so quick without any straps to deal with. It's definitely easier carrying my 2-year old on it because he helps by holding onto me. I have to use more effort when carrying my 10-month old, but it's still a lot less effort than just using my hip. I will probably use it a lot more for my older one since he can never decide if he wants up or down. This should make my life easier when we're out and about.

Overall I really like this carrier. I don't know if I would pay full price for a brand new one, though. I definitely recommend it if you can find a cheaper used one on eBay or Craigslist.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Giveaway: Cute Headbands!

I'm always on the lookout for cute things to keep my hair out of my face, off my neck in the summer, or just to add more personality to my look.

Check out these fun headbands! Not only are they stylish, but there are 7 reasons why these headbands are "The Best":

*VELCRO: So they won't slip off your head!
*RIBBON: No headaches with these headbands!
*WASHABLE: They are durable!
*QUALITY: They have hidden stitching!
*2 IN 1: Each 2"-3" headband can be worn Thick or Thin!
*VERSATILE: They can be worn with anything!
*AFFORDABLE: Awesome Prices ($3 - $7)


Enter to win a FREE headband!
To enter the drawing,
leave a comment on
this Orange Plum blog post,
It ends July 15th at 9:30am MST.






check out TheOrangePlum.blogspot.com
and TheOrangePlum.etsy.com

If you don't win a free headband, place an order by 7/31/08 and get a FREE GIFT if you order $7 or more from their Etsy store!
*When checking out, you must enter "Blogger Special" in the message to seller section to receive your free gift!

Don't see a fabric you like, or need a different size? Just ask!
They will custom make headbands for you!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Sorting Out The New Airline Fees

I'm restraining myself from getting on my soapbox about all the new airline fees. Instead, I'll just offer some help in figuring out how much your flight will REALLY cost you. All of this info is available on the individual airline websites, but having this handy-dandy chart is nice because you can see at a glance who charges how much for what. If ticket prices are comparable, the extra fees could very well be the deciding factor in choosing which airlines you fly. It's also a good idea to double check the fees a few days before your trip, to see if they have increased. Here's a list of what you may have to pay for before or during your flight:
  • Making your reservation via the phone
  • Checking 1 or more bags
  • Oversize or overweight bags
  • Choosing a seat
  • Beverages
  • Snacks
  • meals
  • Traveling with Pets
  • Unaccompanied Minors
  • Curbside Check-in
  • Changing your ticket
There are other fees, like purchasing headphones, watching TV/movies, etc but those aren't listed since they generally haven't changed recently.

Airline Fee Chart

I've flown my fare share on Southwest, but never really loved flying with them. I have to say, I may be flying them more, since so far they don't charge extra for anything except Business Select.

You may also want to check out the carry-on size & weight restrictions. This past week I have heard a lot about the airlines cracking down on the carry-on restrictions that they have only half-heartedly enforced in the past. I for one will be taking the largest carry-on possible to Hawaii in September. Hopefully by packing as much as possible in my carry-ons, I'll be able to avoid the $50 (round trip) fee Delta charges for a 2nd checked bag.

Carry-on Baggage Chart

Thanks FareCompare.com & Rick Seaney!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Reading to your children just got easier.

I was searching the website for our local library when I came across the kids section. They have a whole website on Early Literacy! You may not be in Maryland, but you can take advantage of this wonderful information.

They have booklists for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Most of them are books that I've never seen before, but my 20 month old would love them.

There's even a list of tips and activities for each age group.

I also found a section just for parents and caregivers. There is information about behavior, homework help, and resources for family fun.

PS - Don't forget to add your personal children's book recommendations to this list!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Granola. Green. Natural. Etc.

I’ve been thinking lately about trying to be a little healthier. I’m not about to stop eating candy and fast food, but I started looking into chemicals and things that are in our cleaning products and personal care products. The more I read, the more grossed out I get. Finally I decided to start replacing the chemical-filled things I have with some less deadly products.

Nature Clean - That might be my favourite company in the world right now. Their website is super easy to navigate, very pretty, and there’s lots of information that even a jerk like me can understand. I’m totally into their cleaning products. They have a ton, and now that I know they work, I’m going to go tomorrow to pick up a whole bunch more.

Green Beaver is pretty sweet too. They have a really informative website as well that really helps me understand what all the commotion is about. I’m wearing their deodorant today, and I’m happy to report that I don’t stink at all. Yay! (Well, I smell like lemons, but I like that smell.)

Desert Essence is another one I’m liking. Probably easier for you Americans to find their products than the other two. I use their shampoo, conditioner, and face wash, and they all didn’t cause me to get cancer - yet. They also worked very well. That's important too.

Anyway, I wouldn’t claim to be an expert on any of this crap. It’s all new to me, but so far so good. Oh, and it was shocking to go into The Body Shop and find that every single product I looked at had ingredients that those Green people say cause cancer and such. I thought Body Shop was supposed to be so good for us. I had a gift card to spend there, so I just bought headbands and facecloths. Yep.

Anyone have any tips for other less cancer-giving products? I found Mexitan for sunscreen, but I haven’t been able to find a good sunscreen for my face that doesn’t include chemicals. I’m looking to avoid benzophenones, PABA, cinnamates, salicylates, digalloyl trioleate, menthyl anthranilate, and avobenzone. I'm also looking to avoid acne, so....

Oh, and did you know about Triclosan aka Microban aka triclocarban aka quaternary ammonium compounds? That’s the stuff in anti-bacterial products. It’s…well…bad! Look it up. It's in half the stuff I had in my house. Sick.

I have this handy-dandy list of ingredients to avoid in general.
Triclosan
Paraben, hydantoin, or quaternium preservatives.
Sulfate detergents including SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate)
Artificial aromas, fragrances, dyes.
Phthalates, propylene glycol, or pertrolatum.
EDTA

(Every Body Shop product I checked had at least one of those.) This is hard work!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

fairly new "Modest Clothing" magazines




I can be slow to contribute a promised blog entry (I promised one earlier on this subject), but eventually I do deliver...


So..


I've been intrigued over about the past ten years or so with what seems to be an increased demand for modest clothing: or more correctly, also, a backlash at times at what seems to be a lack of "modest" clothing. And no worries....I won't present opinions on that here. I'm hoping to share two of my favorite resources of late: Eliza and Jen magazines. Now, to be sure, what can be defined as "modest" is fairly subjective.
But even including what could be a very broad definition of "modest", I applaud the efforts of what continues to seem to be a growing number of fashion industry professionals who are willing to help us out with the search for modest clothes.

Today I'm going to be brief and, instead of trying to tell you everything I've found out about over the past year while trying to learn more (as a non-industry professional), I'm just going to post links to them. From both of these magazines, you should be able to continue finding all kinds of fun new online stores and other links pertaining to fashion, which will include most of what I'd found on my own anyway; and much more, of course. Jen Magazine (online) and Eliza Magazine (online, subscription, and at select Barnes and Nobles and other retailers listed here). And yet another favorite find, today I discovered the Eliza blog.



One note about Jen magazine (a free online magazine): the front "page" calls it "A Modest Fashion Magazine for Young LDS Women," but quickly adds, "*Jen* is a free online magazine. We welcome anyone who shares our (modest) values." values.

*Jen* has a page, which I believe is only accessible once you register, of dozens of links devoted entirely to online clothes shopping. As with what you see in Eliza, the links include clothing from major retailers and smaller online boutiques. Both magazines, though still well in their beginning stages, (they've been around just a little over a year each) show a lot of potential, and I hope they'll be around a while.
The photography in Eliza is excellent, and the spreads and articles include both professional models and articles featuring "real-life" people sharing, say, their favorite skirts; or a fashion designer wearing her favorite dress. The designer in Eliza's spring issue looks more like a person in the supermarket than like a contestant on America's Next Top Model, which makes me a bit more comfortable reading it for some reason. It makes Eliza a bit more like a Dove ad with clothes. And no offense meant to professional models, of course, but it's always nice to see that someone in the clothing industry finds beauty in more than one kind of reality. ;-)

TypeRacer

This site lets you "race" other people by typing lines from movies, books, and songs. I am so addicted right now. You can also have a private race with your friends by sending them a code or link.

Simple & Enchanting and Beautiful

For all you women who may be interested in "interesting mom products," you may want to check out the blog Simple Reviews. This is a new blogspot site I just discovered and already love because of the ease of navigation and plethora of wonderful information (not to mention give-aways and coupons).

And recently, they reviewed (and raved about) a product made by someone I know. I haven't yet tested the shampoo & conditioner, but I have sampled the wonderful (and natural, which is even more wonderful) lotions made by the company, Enchanting and Beautiful. There is currently a give-away for free shampoo & conditioner, so check it out.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Free Printable Owl Envelopes

We found this darling printable owl envelope over at Rubbergob! Head on over there for printing directions and to check out the rest of their chic crafting blog.
Our suggestion: Brighten the day of someone special by enclosing a hand written note expressing how much you love them!

Update:
I don't know about you, but my printer keeps cutting off parts of the envelope... so if that is happening to you too, you can click here to download a smaller pdf version!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Quick and efficient way to fold laundry, the Chinese way!

I came across this video some time ago and ever since then it's how I've folded all our shirts. It works a lot better on men's shirts than on women's, which are more curvy.

The video is in Chinese, but it is easy to follow, I didn't understand what he was saying either (my Chinese is incredibly limited). It really is very easy and it's second nature to me now. It has also cut my laundry folding time in half!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Recycled Denim Fiesta Skirt: A Tutorial

I love this tutorial from Crafty Daisies and I am sure to find the perfect pair of pants to try this with when I clean out my daughter's closet next week. Recycled Denim Fiesta Skirt: A Tutorial

Children's Books

One of my favorite things to do is read to Grayson while I'm feeding him. I feel like it creates an even deeper bond between us, as well as benefits his mental and language development. I have accumulated a very small collection of children's books over the years and they currently sit on the bookshelf in his bedroom. Among them are classic Dr. Seuss books, several by Max Lucado, and of course Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. But how many lesser-known authors am I missing out on?

I'd really like to expand Grayson's library. Tell me, what were your favorite books as a child? What are your children's favorite books? What is the one (or two or three or...) book that no child should live without? All books are welcome - boy books, girl books, board books, educational books, religious books, or just plain silly books! Please leave a comment with the book title and author's name. I want to hear from you lurkers as well! Thanks!

RECOMMENDED BOOK LIST:
1. I Like You by Sandol Stoddard Warburg
2. Fanny's Dream by Caralyn Buehner
3. The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein
4. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
5. Just In Case You Ever Wonder by Max Lucado
6.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I thought this was awesome!

Plus, it saves money on having to buy clips that break all the time!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Online children's journals

I stumbled across a website I really like last week. Kidmondo is still a baby, as it was only publicly launched in April, but it's a wonderful site for sharing your children's growth, 'big news', pictures, videos, and stories with friends and family. My favorite part is the Growth Chart, where you can input your child's weight, height, and when their teeth come in. You can even choose to track this information in pounds and inches or kilograms and centimeters! And the growth charts provide you with your child's percentile information for weight and height. No more trying to recreate what your pediatrician gives you at the office - just print it out from this site and paste it into your baby book.

Kidmondo has three types of accounts available for use. The free account allows you to record information for up to three children and gives you 25mb of storage, but requires your account to allow online advertising. For just $5.00/month, you can go ad-free, track five children, and up your storage to 100mb. The max account costs $10.00 per month and allows you to track unlimited children and gives you 500mb of storage.

The site is simple - there are only four color schemes to choose from - but it gives you a separate url for each child's journal for easy sharing with friends and family. Toggling between different children and journals is very easy (just use the drop-down box in the upper right corner). Subscribers can choose when to receive updates about your child, but you get to choose those subscribers, and decide who sees what information about your child.

So check out Kidmondo if you have a few minutes. Even if your children aren't brand new, the online diary is a great way to start keeping a journal for them if you haven't already begun, or if you want to share stories or names you don't feel safe sharing on your blog.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Great find!

Flame Decals for Kitchen Aid mixers.



I think I want the purple flames.

My black Artisan is already pretty dang pimp. But can you imagine the PIMP FACTOR of a black kitchen aid mixer with flames?

I think it would make my bread and cookies ever more awesome.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Digital Scrapbooking

If you are a digital scrapbooker, or want to start, check out the 50% off sale at PeppermintCreative.com
For 5 days only, save 50% off their 50 best selling products of all time. (sale ends Friday, June 20th at midnight EST)

Also, I have to give a shout out to TangieBaxterDesigns.com Her digi-scrap items are some of my favorites ...
& not just because she's one of my very favorite people in the whole world :-)

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