Friday, August 28, 2009

Checking In!

It has been a quiet few weeks here on my blog because our real life has just been a little, well, crazy!

On a sad note, just a few weeks after writing this tribute to our dog Jasmine, we had to make the difficult decision to put her to sleep. Of course this has been a difficult time for our family as we're adjusting to a new empty spot in our hearts and home. But we do have fond memories of our big goofy girl! And to all of the other families with large dogs like great danes, labradors, etc, please make sure that you are aware of the possibility of bloating and what steps to take if this medical emergency occurs in your pet. We were able to recognize the signs very quickly in our Jasmine and rushed her to the vet right away. Unfortunately, though, she required intensive surgery to save her life and at her age we were afraid it would just be too much. She will be greatly missed. Our munchkin still gets a big smile on her face when we come home and open the door, waiting for her sniffs and doggie kisses.

And, as a reminder, even if I don't have a new post to share, I'm almost always updating my list of interesting articles and posts that I've found on other blogs and sites. So check back often and look for the tan list over there on the right side - I usually find everything from recipes and green tips to parenting and even just plain fun. Enjoy!

Finally - for those who use the e-mail subscription service - I know that you're probably not getting any actual info in your e-mails. It looks like they are coming through as just blank pages. I'm looking into it and trying to figure out a solution. If you have any hints, pass 'em on!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Foodie Linky Love

I've shared before about recipes and cookbooks that I love, so I thought I would dedicate an entire post to some of my favorite food and recipe sites.  Fortunately, Mr. T and I both enjoy cooking and trying out new recipes!

Photo: Minted Grape Couscous from Foodie Reflections, discovered at TasteSpotting.

One of my newest obsessions is TasteSpotting, a "community driven visual potluck".  Yum!  I like to refresh the page several times a day just to absorb the gorgeous photos and exquisite recipes, foodie articles, and links, all submitted by users.

Another discovery - frugal eating recipes from Erin at $5 Dinners.  Not only are the meals inexpensive, but they are often (surprisingly!) healthy and made from natural, whole food ingredients.  Don't worry - these ideas go far beyond ramen noodles and boxed mac and cheese!  She also posts weekly menu plans, shopping tips, and coupon links.

For an interesting challenge, check out Once A Month Mom, who does a batch of "power cooking" one day a month to fill her freezer with all of the meals for that month.  Intrigued?  Me, too!  Find out more information here, or go to her current section for August.  And if, like me, you're not quite ready to commit to the idea of one crazy day of power cooking, it is also a great place to get ideas for freezer-ready recipes!  And, she even features a baby food section, all for a one-day commitment!

Feeling overwhelmed with recipe ideas?  Head over to I'm an Organizing Junkie for her weekly Monday Menu Plan, where hundreds of bloggers link their weekly menu plans (that often include links to recipes!)  Why start from scratch when you can grab ideas from other great plans?

And, since we're often making homemade baby food for Munchkin, I can't forget the baby food sites!  Wholesome Baby Food is a classic that I have referenced many, many times.  Recipe suggestions from simple first purees to toddler dishes, plus a ton of nutrition information to boot.  Definitely one to bookmark!

And a new baby food favorite: Weelicious!  Now with "big kid food", too, to help you with ideas for the whole family.  Yummy and healthy suggestions with gorgeous photos, like the one here of the tropical fruit puree.

Finally, want a site to share some of your family's favorite recipes?  Jessie at Vanderbilt Wife hosts a "Family Recipe Friday" where you can link up your favorite recipe, and find treasured meals from other families, too.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Yay for winning!

So have I ever mentioned before that I love winning things? No?? Never?

Well, one of the best things about entering blog giveaways is that the chances are good and you can actually win cool stuff!

So, announcing my two most recent wins (yay!):

- a $25 gift certificate to Passion Spice from Your Mama Reviews. Woo-hoo - sexy nursing bras finally!


- a $50 gift certificate to Tiny Prints from Happy Healthy Families. Which just happens to be one of my favorite custom paper and invitation sites, just in time for Munchkin's first birthday. Woo-hoo!

So, are you ready to join in the fun? Here are some lists of current giveaways out there in the blogging world - you never know what you will find!

All In a Mom's Life - look under the "linky"
Deal Seeking Mom - a huge list!
The "Cent"sible Sawyer - check the main page each week for a new list
A Contest Blog - a blog just about, well, giveaways!
Free Blog Giveaways - very user friendly

Hopefully this gets you started. I'll warn you - it is addictive. Not only are the odd of winning so good, but they also often feature products from small companies or crafty mamas that otherwise you would never know about. Some of my favorite finds have been through these blog giveaways!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

And the winner is...

...Abby! Congrats, Abby, for winning the Sweet Pea Central Giveaway! Abby gets her choice of a personalized "funsie", charming tutu, or sweet set of headbands from Sweet Pea Central!

And if you didn't win but still want one of Evyn's great products, check out her newly-stocked special sale opening up this Friday! If you don't see exactly what you like, send her an e-mail. I sent her a picture of Munchkin's spring dresses and she made two headbands that matched perfectly!

Thanks, Sweet Pea Central! Abby, enjoy your prize!

Fun with know you want to read it!

As you probably know, I'm not a corporation. I'm not an attorney. I'm not a PR specialist. I'm not a sponsored writer.

I'm just a mom. Wife. Person. Sometimes a teacher. Sometimes a librarian. I love to read. I love to write. I love to connect online. So I thought I would start a blog. Only natural, right?

What a time to enter the blogging world! It turns out that mommy bloggers are big business for corporations who would love to get their advertising foot in the door of your homes. So much so that the FTC is cracking down on it, according to PC World.

So a friend who is more experienced in the blogging world suggested that I add some policy statements, just to clarify who I am and what I'm doing. I thought, "Me?? Little ol' me? Who really cares about that???" Well, I guess some people do, so here goes....

In case it isn't obvious, I do have ads posted to the sidebar over there. See 'em? Pretty obvious. And obviously, the intent is to generate income. Which, if you know anything about blogging, is pretty much a pittance. I'll let you know when I've earned enough for that first cup of coffee. Posting ads is a big decision to make, and one that I didn't take lightly. In the end, I decided that I would love to dedicate more time to making this blog worth your while, so generating an income from it, however small, is one way to make that more possible. Hopefully you find the ads interesting and relevant, at best. At the very least, hopefully they are unobtrusive and unoffensive. If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns, please let me know.

This one is easy right now, because I don't use any. Just me. And I don't pay very well. Sigh. If this ever changes, rest assured that it will only be for companies that I truly endorse and believe are valuable. Just don't be on pins and needles waiting for it. :)

From time to time, I do product reviews and host giveaways on this blog, primarily because I think that they are fun and interesting for most readers. In fact, reading product reviews and entering giveaways are some of my favorite things to do in the blogosphere!

Once again, though, the line of trust gets blurred if the writer's sincerity is somewhat influenced by the perks from the corporations.

Believe me, if I put it on my blog, I mean it. Sometimes as a blogger you receive product samples to try at home for the purpose of writing a review. When this happens, I will clearly note that I did receive the products from the company for the purpose of review. And trust me, if I write something good about a product, it is only because I really believe it. I promise.

On the same note, if a company wants to sponsor a giveaway, I will gladly share it with you as long as it meets my personal quality criteria. Sometimes, they don't. For example, I teased about an upcoming giveaway in a post a few weeks ago, and yet there have been no new giveaways. Why? Because after some research, I don't feel that it was really a great product to give away. But I plan to host more giveaways that I do think you will enjoy, so stay tuned!

Believe me, I am not keeping track of your emails and selling them to cheap bidders of spam lists! The only time I share your information is if you happen to win a giveaway and I need to put you in contact with the sponsor.

Of course, this is a public site and anything that you post here can be read by many others, so only post what you are comfortable with sharing.

My site is hosted by blogger and all of its privacy policies apply. I also use Google site tools like Analytics, which does keep track of basic information similar to cookies on most public internet sites, like the internet browser that people use, or what country they visit from.

Phew. I think that's it! Are you still with me? I'm impressed! As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please let me know! I love all of your feedback!

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