Thursday, May 22, 2008

Summer Arrives... In the Mail!

I was so thrilled today to open my (large) mailbox and find my order from the best outdoors store ever -- REI!



I got a khaki-colored North Face cap, and two organic cotton tanks, which are so soft, and nice and long! (don't you hate the ones that show your back when you bend?!) I now feel like I am ready to shoo my kids outside and get some sunshine! Park day anyone?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My best Mother's day idea yet!

Each year I struggle to find something creative and personal to make my kids 3 grandmas. Usually I include a handmade card with a photo of my kids. But this year I decided to use Mother's Day as an excuse to make my first photo-books.

Now I do love scrapbooking, but I hadn't done digital scrapbooking before. I guess I was afraid I'd become addicted to it (I love Photoshop!), and getting 12x12 pages printed is so expensive! Well, instead of doing actualy digital scrapbooking, I used Picaboo. It was very much like Smilebox, which I love, and use to send photo "postcards" (e-cards) and put together slideshows for my myspace page. I really liked Picaboo, though, because they allow you to choose whatever background you want, upload your own, or choose from tons that other people have uploaded already. They also have about a million photo layouts, including with and without text boxes. It was very simple, but gave me pretty much any option I wanted for how to make the layout look.

When I had the books made, they weren't very expensive; less than it would have cost me to have individual photos printed and made them into scrapbooks, and I'm not even talking about buying the book to do the scrapbook in!

Now I did hit a glitch when I tried to send them to 3 different addresses. They are only set up to ship to one address per order. BUT, they did have an online chat support person that was able to guide me through what I needed to do, and make my coupon code work, and he even worked a deal for me to help with the shipping costs. So with the coupon code, and the shared shipping, I think I paid about $13 per book, which was the least-expensive one they offered.

But I was so thrilled because all three of them called me, when they each got theirs, and said how cool it was and how much they loved it!

Now I just have to come up with something as equally spiffy for Fathers Day! Hmmmm.....


Picaboo

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Yam-Fries

Yams (the cousin of sweet-potatos) are grown in abundance where I live. Also being in the South means that people will come up with a way to fry just about anything. (deep fried Twinkie, anyone?) And so the yam fry was born! I first tried these delicious babies at the annual Gilmore, TX Yamborie Fair, which of course was founded in celebration of the yam. Here is a little healthier version (baked) with a few flavor variations to help you get through that huge bag of yams you bought from your local farmer!

Yam Fries

1 large yam, cut half across the middle, then into about 3/8 by 3/8 inch fries.
1/4 cup canola oil
Salt to taste.

Preheat oven to 450. Line a cookie sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil. Put the fries and oil into a big zip-top bag and get them good and coated. Spread the fries out on the pan and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 10 min, then stir/turn fries and bake about 10 more minutes, or until they are crispy on the outside, and soft in the middle. Remove them from oven and transfer them to a paper towel covered plate and enjoy!

Sweet Variation
Sprinkle hot fries just from the oven with 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1Tbs cinnimon (about enough for 2 yams)

Hot Variation
Sprinkle hot fries just from the oven with some cajun seasoning and pepper.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Renee Loux

You may already be familiar with Renee Loux. I don't watch television, so I haven't seen her interviews, but she is fast becoming known as a whole foods and green living guru. She's also written several books that look like they will be a treasure trove of tips and ideas for creating a healthier lifestyle for you and your family.






Today on her website I found a wonderful table of household cleaners, what is wrong with them, and what can be used instead for a more healthy home solution. You can view it HERE.






Great Givaways for Mom!



There's some great Mother's day giveaways going on at 5 Minutes for Mom, including a Kodak ESP all-in-one printer, some snazzy flash drives, and a $75 gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse. Go getcha some free Mother's Day goodies!

Mother's Day in my thoughts

Mother's day is a pretty big deal to me. I have many wonderful women in my life that I owe deep thanks and appreciation toward. But it's also a time that I like to ponder for a little while just what my life is about, and what all of this diaper changing, floor mopping, and tiny sock folding really means in the big picture.

I've made a big commitment to my small people to be there for them at all times and in all seasons. While I was pondering the meaning of that, I was thinking especially about my little boy who is two and a half. And just the amazing person he is. I can already see so many creative expressions, oppinions, fears, joys, desires, curiosity, and a sense of humor just boiling up in his little body. Like the seed of a great tree just beginning to sprout. I see those things in my baby girl too, but somehow the magic of two and a half, not really a toddler any more, but a little learner, explorer, helper, and questioner, makes the revealation of what a big person he will become somewhat more deeply real and tangible
Love Song for a Son


I love that my name
Is the first thing on your lips
In the morning
---------------------------
I love that your laugh
Is my favorite sound
In the world
--------------------------
Your smile is like
A rainbow through a storm
And your kiss could melt
Any heart of stone
-------------------------
Every day I try to tell you
What you mean to me
But somehow I can't seem to grasp
This simple mystery
-------------------------
You are, and will always be
My child
My Child
I love that you're my Child.
-----------------------------
I love that your eyes
Are what they see
Of me in you
---------------------------
I love that your spark
Is always Shining through
---------------------------
You are, and will always be
The special one God chose for me
----------------------------
You are my child
My child
I love that you're my child