Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Love Your Blog! Award

Michelle, my friend, you are too sweet. Thank you so much for this award, for your kind words in all your comments and emails, and for all your support. I am so grateful to have found your friendship. You helped inspire me to get back into creating my gift buckets, and I want to thank you for that. You are one great lady! Visit Michelle's blog at Sweet Mady's and check out her sweet creations at Sweet Mady's Paper.
And now I want to pass this award on to Heather over at "This is the day..." Ps 118:24. Heather, I love your blog, girl! I love the way you tell your stories and the fact that I can relate to them so well. I'm so glad I found you on SITs. Thanks for the many laughs!

Unsafe Halloween Candy Alert!

You may have received an email regarding Halloween candy that was made in China being unsafe. Apparently, certain candies made in China--namely chocolate pirate coins-- contain the toxin melamine. This is the same chemical that has been found in baby formula in China and is making thousands of Chinese babies sick.

With so many urban legends being sent around the internet, we usually click delete and rarely think twice about most of the email warnings and forwards we get. Well, it appears that this time around, there's actual evidence backing our reason for concern when it comes to these specific candies. Latest reports explain that the tainted chocolate pirate coins were not sold in the United States. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recalled no candy made by American companies due to melamine contamination, although some candy by Chinese makers was recalled in Canada.

The FDA has researched imported foods, including candy, and has found no instances of melamine contributing to sickness from any food products. However, it is still wise to thoroughly inspect those bags of candy your children bring home on Halloween and throw away any chocolate coins you find as well as any other suspicious or partially opened candy. "Better safe than sorry," my Mama always said. And yes, I say it to my kids too. :)

***Other popular candies made in China include Spongebob Gummy Krabby Patties and Hannah Montana Picture Ring Lollipops. (We'll be throwing away any of those too.)

Stay safe this Halloween!

If you'd like more information regarding the harmful candy, click here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wordless Wednesday--Playing with the Kiddos

Rolling around and having fun.
Kiss me Mama!
I'm gonna get you!
My sweet little prince.
me: "Super baby!" Taylor: " I'm flyin' Mama!"

Ride the horsie.

She's a squirmy little booger.

Usually I post about a craft on Wednesdays, but lately the only craft I've had a chance to work on is hair bows. Since I've already posted about those, I thought I'd do a Wordless Wednesday (well almost wordless.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More Hair Bows-Tuesday Toot

First let me apologize for some of the photos being turned sideways. I rotated them, but blogger doesn't seem to believe me. Anyway, my Tuesday Toot this week is showing off the hair bows I've made for my precious little girl. We've all been fighting a bad cold the past few days and while we were stuck in the house wiping noses and resting, I managed to make these cute bows. Aren't they adorable?
Toot tooting my horn.

Healthy Diet for Toddlers and Young Children

One of the things moms focus on the most is what goes into our kids' bellies. From the moment my little ones were born, I worried if they were getting enough milk when they were nursing. And then when they started on solids, I was careful to make sure they had the right servings of vegetables and fruits in addition to their nursings each day. As they became toddlers, I was determined to offer only healthy snacks, well balanced meals and milk or watered down juice. It wasn't all that difficult when they were very young.
However, now that my children are five and two, I have had to really stick to my guns when it comes to what they eat. Sure it would be much easier for me to just put a microwaved corn dog and some potato chips on their plate each day, but that is a habit that could be quite harmful. I'm not saying that my kids don't get their share of corn dogs and cookies. But the point is that I try hard not to make it a habit. What I do try to make a habit is healthy eating. We do that by keeping good snacks in the pantry and by my cooking as many meals as our schedule allows. I cook meals that I know are healthier than we would get if we were eating out.
Another thing that I try to keep in mind is that children have small bellies. They aren't supposed to eat as much as adults do. When a child is hungry, he or she will eat. And if what you put in front of them to eat is healthy, they will eat it if they are hungry. You don't want to fill up those little tummies with junk if you expect them to be hungry enough to want to eat something healthy at mealtime. Small, healthy snacks are best. Our family pediatrician put it best when he offered the advice-- You decide what; the child decides when. So you decide what the child eats and he or she decides when. Don't force feed your children. Making a child who isn't hungry finish his plate can be another very harmful habit. I am guilty of this as well when I think my child should be hungry. But then I have to try to remember to let my children determine when they are hungry, and I will be ready with something good for them to eat.

To help, here is a sample daily menu for my two year old:
Breakfast- 1 sippy cup full of 2% milk or orange juice, 1 slice of toast with light margarine, 2 slices of turkey bacon
Snack- 1 sippy cup full of half water/half apple juice, 1/2 cup pears, handful of goldfish crackers
Lunch- 1 sippy cup full of 2% milk, spaghetti with lean hamburger meat sauce in toddler bowl, 2 carrot sticks, 1 small butter cookie
Snack- 1 sippy cup full of half water/half apple juice, 1/2 sliced apple
Supper- 1 sippy cup full of 2% milk, 2 chicken tenderloins (baked), 1 dinner roll, 2 tablespoons of green beans, 2 tablespoons mashed potatoes, 1 sugar free popsicle for dessert

Here is a sample daily menu for my five year old:
Breakfast- 1 small bowl of cereal with 2% milk, small child's size cup of orange juice, 1 slice of toast with light margarine
Snack- snack sized box of raisins and cup of water
Lunch- 1 low fat peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich, goldfish crackers, 4 carrot sticks, 1 apple, apple juice
Snack- Sunkist fruit snacks and water or milk
Supper- 3 or 4 chicken tenderloins (baked), 2 dinner rolls, 4 tablespoons of green beans, 4 tablespoons of mashed potatoes, cup of tea, milk or juice, 1 sugar free popsicle

These menus are just a sample of what my kids eat in a day. Believe me, there are days that consist of toaster waffles at breakfast, hotdogs for lunch, and McDonald's for supper. But those days are very rare. We really do eat well and our kids are learning some good, healthy eating habits because we are modeling those habits for them. In a society that is becoming more and more obese, we need to get back on track and help our kids make good decisions when it comes to food. Moms--we need to tap back into that focus we had on what we fed our little ones when they were babies and use that to create healthy eating habits for our toddlers and young children so that they will grow to become healthy teens and adults.
Here is a link for further information on keeping your kids healthy.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Featured Blogger on Wellsphere

Hello all! I'm very excited to share with you that I have joined the Wellsphere team. I am now a featured blogger in the Parenting community on Wellsphere. I consider my health one of my top priorities. I want to show my kids (not just tell them) how to live a healthy lifestyle. If I lead by example, they will be more likely to develop and keep living a healthy life. I've always said I wanted to live to be 100 and hold as many great great grandbabies in my lap as I can. Wellsphere may just help me do that.
I've devoted my Mom Stuff blog to sharing information with moms that will help them in as many ways as possible. Mom Stuff has a little bit of this and a little bit of that--everything from parenting tips and recipes to crafty ideas and fashion finds. I hope to share with the Wellsphere community my ideas and thoughts on parenting as I do with my current readers. So please, stop by Wellsphere and check it out. It is an excellent resource to guide you as you set your goals for a healthier you.
Here's to living to 100!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fashion Friday-- Retro Baby Vintage Tees for Kids

You all know that I try to find something fabulously fashionable for Fridays. Well Grayson has gotten into Star Wars. “Gotten into” is an understatement. He is obsessed. So I’ve been doing a little searching to get ready for Christmas and was looking for a cool Star Wars tee. Now it’s just not my taste to let my kids wear cartoon character clothes. They don’t have Dora, Cars, Disney Princesses or anything like that unless it’s on their underwear where it can’t be seen. I just don’t like those clothes. So I was looking for a Star Wars tee that isn’t too tacky—something vintage looking. TAADAA....found it at the Retro Baby.

Retro Baby has adorable onesies and tees for your little ones. Grayson is going to love the Star Wars tees I’m going to get him. And whether you have a rocker babe or are into vintage prints, this shop has something you and your kids are bound to love.

Go ahead and browse the Retro Baby shop. You’re going to find some cute stuff at great prices. And with Christmas right around the corner, these tees could make great gifts.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Crafty Wednesday- How to Make Hair Bows

Well, if you got a chance to stop by here yesterday, you saw that Tuesday’s Toot was about my learning to make hair bows for my little darling. So far I have made three types of bows. One is a Pony-O, one is a Pinwheel Bow, and one is a Butterfly Bow. I am by no means an expert yet, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. It was actually pretty easy and fun. The best part is that this is a craft that is not only rewarding for me, but my little girl loves the bows too.
If you would like to know how to make hair bows for your little cutie pie, just follow these steps.

1. Find free “How to Make a Hair Bow” instructions on the internet. I used the following:

The Pony-O was so easy and turned out really cute. See instructions

Take note – the Aleene’s Stop Fraying glue darkens the edge of sheer fabric. However, once the Pony-O is in the hair, you can’t tell.

The Pinwheel Bow was the most difficult to make. I had trouble with the pinching/folding and with getting the tails to act right. It still turned out cute, but I will have to practice it a few times before it will turn out the way I want it-can’t help it-I’m a perfectionist.

The Butterfly Bow turned out really well. It wasn’t very difficult and you can use so many different sizes of ribbon. I will be making this one again for sure.

2. Get your materials. I didn’t find everything I needed from Michael’s craft store. The ribbon was reasonably priced, but they didn’t have the alligator clips I wanted. I will be buying off the internet from now on. Hair Hardware looked like they had some good deals.

3. Set aside some time and enjoy making your little princess some cute hair bows.
I have definitely found myself a new craft that I love. I’ll be sure to share photos! Have fun!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday Toot--Bows for my Cutie Pie

I may not be the craftiest person in the world, but lately I have been trying a few things. Taylor is going to be a Georgia Bulldog cheerleader for Halloween this year and I was having trouble finding a cute bow to go with her uniform. So I decided to make one. Toot Toot! Here it is. I'm very proud of it. It really did turn out cute.

Here is another bow I made to match a few of her outfits. I'm hoping to get good enough at making them to sell a few throughout our neighborhood. It is full of little girls--and little girls just gotta have cute bows.

I just got some cute pink and white polka dot ribbon and blue and brown striped ribbon. Once I make up some more bows for my little cutie pie, I'll be sure to share. And if you are interested in learning how to make bows, come back tomorrow for my Crafty Wednesday post and I'll share.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Georgia Girl Pulled Pork Sandwiches

I'm a Georgia Girl--a Southern Belle--a Georgia Peach. Yep, that's me. I'm a proud Southerner, and I know from experience that there's nowhere else I'd rather be. I've lived in the South all my life (except for a very brief time in Southern California which cannot possibly be confused with the South and right now living in Orlando, FL which may be in the South but isn't like the South I know at all--but anyway). I love the South. I love its warmth, its charm and its hospitality. I love the people, the culture, the homes and the food. Oh, the food. I can't think of anywhere that has yummier food than the South with its BBQ, fried chicken, fresh vegetables that go straight from the garden to the table, warm buttermilk biscuits drenched in melting butter and peach cobbler that makes you wonder if you've died and gone to heaven.
Well the Georgia Girl is going to share another recipe with all of you so you can have a little taste of the South-- wherever you may be.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Here's what you'll need to serve 8 people:

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
4 cloves minced garlic
8 soft sandwich rolls
Your favorite BBQ sauce if you want it, but you probably won't need it. This BBQ is so moist and flavorful, we don't use any store bought sauce with it.

Directions: Cook low and slow-- APPROXIMATELY 300 degrees for 3 hours. All great Southern cooks just know how to check it and know when it'll be done. That's something your Mama's gotta teach ya.

1. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cayenne, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper and then rub over the pork.

2. Place pork in 5 qt. Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot.

3. In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, garlic, 1/2 cup water and pour over the pork. Cover pot and place in oven. Bake until pork is very tender and easily pulls away with your fingers.

4. When done, remove pork to work surface and save the pan juice. Let pork cool enough to pull apart with your fingers. Pull pork and place in a large bowl. Toss with pan juice to moisten. You probably won't need all of it, but be sure to save the juice for moistening your leftovers.

5. Split rolls, pile on the pork and top with extra sauce if you like.

These Southern sandwiches are my family's favorites. They are simple and they are good. You just can't beat that.

I hope you all enjoy them as much as we do.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

SITS Blogathon

Are you a SITSta? Are you participating in the Blogathon Tuesday? Woo hoo! Good for you. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t worry I’ll fill you in. It’s BIG! And yes, there are prizes involved. Yay! Good prizes. Gotcha hooked now, don’t I?

The SITStas over at The Secret is in the Sauce blog has already become a big part of my new little Mom Stuff blog. I started blogging a month ago and came across that saucy little button on my friend’s blog Ready Scrap Go! I was so eager to meet other bloggers who might leave me comments and offer suggestions on design, layout, readability, the possibility of making money, etc. And several SITs girls have already started dropping by and leaving comments. I must say that signing in on SITS each day and browsing others’ blogs has helped me tremendously on my blog. I get so many ideas from reading their blogs. While I still have a lot to learn, I give credit to my fellow SITStas for inspiring me, making me laugh, supporting me and making me feel welcome to this blogosphere that is so new to me.

Please drop by and say hello to these SITStas of mine and leave them some comment love. And remember, stop by The Secret is in the Sauce if you’d like to become a part of this awesome group of blogging ladies.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sweet Surprises in the Mail

Remember when you were a kid and you'd get so excited to get something addressed to you in the mail? A birthday card, a letter from the grandparents, a postcard from a friend on vacation--you get the idea. There was and still is just something special about receiving a package in the mail that's just for you. Everyday, I go to the mail box and 9 times out of 10 it is filled with junk and bills. Rarely is there a special treat in the mail. Which is why I get so excited when I get something great in the mail--whether it is a card, a letter from a friend or something I've ordered online.

So when a small box arrived the other day with my name on it, I hopped around a little and skipped back up the sidewalk to the house. My son and daughter (who love the daily trips to the mail box) were sharing in my excitement. "What is it Mama, what is it? What's in there?" I already knew what was inside, but I was enjoying this bit of excitement with the kids so I pretended I had no idea and that it was some special gift being sent to me. So we took the package inside and opened it carefully. Inside, there was a pink tissue paper wrapped box. Inside the box, resting on pink shreds and tied with a green ribbon were the calling cards I had ordered from Sweet Mady's Paper.
They were so adorable and so girly-which made them even better. They were brown and had white polka dots with an oval outlined in pink displaying our family's contact information (like the first photo). You just have to visit the Sweet Mady's online store and browse all the designs to see what I mean-adorable, precious, elegant-are words that come to mind. Thank you Michelle. You did a beautiful job. I love my calling cards and can't wait to pass some out at the soccer game on Saturday.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Crafting Some Halloween Cheer for the Neighborhood

Ok so, we have lived in Orlando now for about seven months. We live in a nice little neighborhood where everyone waves and says hello in passing. Well now that Halloween is here, I thought it would be a nice idea to start a tradition that I came across when we lived in both Georgia and California. It's called Booing. There are many variations of this festive tradition, but basically it involves giving a small gift to a neighbor who then places a Boo decoration (ghost, pumpkin, bat, etc.) on their door so that the neighborhood knows they have been Booed. Then that person selects another neighbor to Boo and so on and so on. Ideally, the entire neighborhood will be Booed by Halloween night. It is a fun way for the whole neighborhood to spread some Halloween cheer.

So for this week's craft, I'm going to show you all how I made the Boo bucket that started the Booing in my neighborhood. If you are a regular reader, you know all about my gift buckets. If you are new to my blog--I design and create custom gift buckets (previously as a business and currently as a hobby.) Basically, I made a small Halloween themed candy bucket. (See my previous post on how to make a gift bucket for detailed instructions.)I then added several copies of paper ghosts in the bucket for neighbors to hang on their doors. I attached a cute little poem to the handle of the bucket explaining the tradition and giving the neighbor instructions on how to keep the Booing going.

For the poem, I just searched the internet until I found one that was cute. Then I made a few adjustments so that it would work for the bucket to be passed along neighbor to neighbor. Below is the text of the poem. I simply cut it out and glued it to orange paper to make it more decorative.

Since this is the time for goblins and bats
Halloween spirits and ghosts and cats,
Happenings are weird and witches make brew
The following are the things I wish for you:

May the only spirit you chance to meet
Be the spirit of love and friends that are sweet.
May the only goblin that comes your way
Be the neighborhood phantom, the breeze takes away.

So by tomorrow, pick a friend down the street
And give to them a Halloween treat.
Fill this bucket with goodies galore,
Then place it at their front door.

You only have one day to do this, so hurry
Leave treats on their door and run in a flurry
As this bucket moves along from friend to friend,
All good wishes go on and never end.


This is a fun and easy craft that is sure to get your neighborhood in the festive spirit for celebrating Halloween.

***If you are interested in purchasing a Boo Bucket or another Gift Bucket designed by me, please email me at

Happy Booing!

Proofread Teachers or I'll Grade Your Papers!

This week's "Tuesday Toot" is something that my fellow educators of the English language will surely appreciate.

Last week, Grayson was randomly selected to move into a new class at school due to class sizes being over the state limit. Now let me just say, I used to be a teacher and I know first hand how hard it is to teach when you have too many students in a class. Grayson had an amazing teacher. She really was something special--a rare gem for public schools. But his class size was huge so I was relieved to hear that they were hiring two new teachers. I couldn't help it though--I didn't want Grayson to be moved. He has had to endure so many changes this past year (moving from GA to CA to FL, changing schools, leaving family, friends, church, etc.) It's been hard on him. And finally, he was getting settled in and making friends in his class and getting into a routine. Then we got the news that he'd be changing classes.

Here is part one of the toot. I was sad, but I didn't go up to the school and demand that he be kept in his class. I did simply compose an email to the teacher and principal explaining the past year and requesting that he be able to stay. However, I told them that if he must be moved, I understood and we would just get through it the best we could. Well, he moved into his new class yesterday and is handling it like a champ. I'm so proud of him (and me). Toot toot.

Now here's part two of the toot.

Yesterday afternoon I looked in his backpack for the note the teacher said she'd be sending home. When I read it, glaring out at me, were several errors in her grammar. Yes, I was an English teacher, but normally I don't walk around with my red ink pen out editing and marking mistakes on people's letters, emails, etc. I rarely even proof my own emails, posts, etc. unless they are important so I know I make my own share of mistakes. However, this woman is a teacher and was sending out her first form of communication to parents who are already uneasy with this new change their children are going through. She should have proofread her letter. It took everything I had not to mark up her letter, walk back up to that school and show it to the principal and say, "You took my son out of a wonderful, competent teacher's class and put him in a class with a teacher who doesn't know the difference between their and there. She's a dummy!" But I didn't (although I will if she keeps on sending home poorly written letters.) I really am trying hard not to judge her too harshly. But come on!!!

Ok, maybe I am being a little harsh. But I'm only looking out for my son. He deserves the best. So Toot for me.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Fashion Friday- Fall Styles

In my attempts to update my "mommy wardrobe" as I call it, I've been searching the internet and finding so many cute outfits. Have a look...

NO I'M NOT SERIOUS!!! I can't believe people would actually wear those clothes. I'd rather look like "a mommy" than a streetwalker or a rug or a clown. But these photos are apparently the Fall Fashion trends for 2008. Um, whatever. So I continued my research and found these "classic looks" as they were called...

Yes. I can do classy. Thank you Ann Taylor Loft.

So I'm adding to my shopping list: corduroy pants, pencil skirt, tailored white blouse, fitted jacket, dark wash jeans, a new sweater and a jersey skirt. Now I've just gotta talk the hubby into watching the kids so I can sneak away to the mall.