Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Five

Later this evening I'll be back up at school for Fun Night. This is a twice a year fundraiser for the Enrichment team (music, art, PE, and computer). The parent pays for their child to come up to school for three hours of dodge ball, board games, and a movie. It's a lot of fun for the kids, and is cheap babysitting for the parents. :) So today's Friday Five is all about children's games. Enjoy!

First is a fun felt play mat from One Mom to Another. She has several styles to choose from in her shop, but this particular mat is custom made for your child. Send her a photo of your daughter, and the dress-up doll on the felt mat will have your daughter's face! (Princess Dress-Up Felt Play Mat, $30.00).

Next is a personalized I Spy sachet from Chicks & Chickadees. She carries many varieties of I Spy sachets, but one of my favorites form her shop is the Green Flower Pillow. Each Sachet can be customized for your child. You can have the sachet personalized, either words or pictures on the ID card, and if your child has special interests or hobbies, she will do her best to include those. Fun and educational! (Personalized I Spy... My ABCs... and My Colors Sachet - Green Flower Pillow, $25.00).

The last three items are all beautifully crafted from wood. From Sherri Crafts 4U From Me, a wooden doggie memory set. Each wooden disc is hand-stamped with dog-related images, and comes in a cotton fabric bag for carrying. Due to the small size of the discs, this game is not recommended for children ages 4 and younger. (Memory Matching Game - Dog Edition, $12.95).

What collection of handmade children's games and toys would be complete without building blocks? It's the classic children's toy. Christopher H makes all of his blocks from reclaimed wood pallets, from a variety of wood types. This particular set includes six different sizes, and the different varieties of wood give the blocks different shades and textures. The blocks are packaged in a plastic bucket with a snap-on lid for easy storage, and currently has free shipping. (Solid Wood Toy Blocks - 50 pieces, $43.00).

Finally, a unique children's game - story starter dice from The Small Object. Maybe it's the teacher in me, but I think this is a wonderful idea. Each set comes with three wooden hand-stamped dice, a Match + Write notepad, index sheet, and a muslin bag to store the dice in. A great way to help your child to be creative! (Tell Me A Story Set, $35.00).

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hump Day Humor

Since I've spent the last two days home sick, I thought this picture was very appropriate. :) Enjoy!

Funny Pictures of Cats With Captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Monday, February 22, 2010

Music Monday

Over the weekend I finally watched August Rush, and seriously, I don't know why I waited so long to see it. Some of my fourth graders had told me that I should watch it earlier this school year, and I had it on the Netflix queue, but didn't move it to the top of the list until about a week ago. This movie is WONDERFUL. The music is pretty good too. :) And according to IMDB, Johnathan Rhys Meyers actually performs the songs that his character Louis sings. Bonus points for that.

This song combines classical with rock, which they do a couple of times in the movie. The two main characters, Lyla and Louis, are musicians. Lyla plays classical cello, and Louis is an Irish rocker. So when they're playing at the same time, their music plays together too. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Spotlight

Welcome to my new Sunday Spotlight. Each Sunday I'll spotlight a few handmade items from one crafter. Today's Spotlight is Blossom's Wild Herb Lavender Farm. At Blossom's Farm, they grow all of their herbs and plants on a 12 acre farm in northeast Ohio. I bet it's beautiful, and it probably smells great too.

Not surprisingly, since I'm a soaper, we're starting with a bath and body gift set. This particular gift set includes one lavender linen and body dew, one lavender lotion bar, and one lavender essential oil blend soap. Your shipping is included with the price of the gift set, so there are no surprises at checkout. (Lavender Lavender Gift Collection, $21.90)

Blossom Farm also makes a delicious-sounding Lavender Honey. Lavender blossoms are infused in local honey. I think this would be great on a biscuit or toast in the morning, and Blossom Farm recommends it for ice cream and tea. (8 oz. Lavender Honey, $12.90)

Finally, let's look at one more gift set. This one is full of spices and seasonings. The Wild Spice gift set includes Lavender Pepper, Herbes de Provence, Tuscan Lavender Bread Dip, and Lavender Wild Steak Shake. I'm especially interested in the bread dip. Add some of the seasoning to your olive oil, and dip your crusty Italian bread in it. Sounds yummy! (Lavender Wild Spice Blend Gift Collection, $19.90)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Five

This week marks two changes in my blog staples. I'm changing my Friday posts from a Friday Feature to a Friday Five. One subject, five wonderful handmade products. Oh, and be sure to stop by over the weekend to read another new weekly feature.

Today's Friday Five is all about the Olympics. I love to watch them, even though I'm not remotely athletically coordinated. For example, when I do the balance games on Wii Fit, it asks me if I often fall over while standing up. Yes, but since when is that a crime...

Let's start with beautiful Vancouver. One of the best parts of watching the Olympics is getting to enjoy the scenery. Canada is definitely on my list of places I'd love to visit someday. This lovely photograph comes from Shane Kelly (Vancouver Whistler Mountain Peak and Huskies, $25.00).

Next, let's look at an inspiring art carving from solamar7. This Inukshuk carving looks like a rock, but amazingly enough is carved in foam! Which means it will be lightweight and easy to hang on your wall (Believe Inukshuk Carved Styro Art, $42.00).

I'd like to end with some snowboarding. To me, it's one of the more exciting sports to watch. I loved watching both the men and the women's runs. If I could pick any sport to do, I really think snowboarding would be it, because it looks like so much fun. But I also know it takes balance, which I don't have... So I'll stick to watching it, and enjoying beautiful artwork like this one, found in Ussher Art's Etsy shop (Free Flow, $225.00).

Speaking of snowboarding, watching Shaun White the other night was exciting. The best part was when he had already won the gold before he even did his second run, and he asked everyone with him if he should just go down the middle. While I loved seeing his new trick, that would have been awesome too. From CraftinaT, a 5" felt Shaun (The Red Zeppelin, $39.00).

And finally, what better way than to support your future Olympic skier or snowboarder that with a shirt? From coup, a baseball-sleeve raglan shirt (Youth Olympic Hopeful, $20.00).

Monday, February 15, 2010

Music Monday

Ben and I have been watching the Olympics, like I'm sure some of you have been doing. (He even didn't change the channel when the pairs skating came on last night. *gasp*) I love Sarah McLachlan's music, and enjoyed listening to her perform during the opening ceremonies on Friday.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fresh Off the Curing Rack

Let's give a big welcome back to my Carbon soap! It's the first soap made by me in 2010. Yay!

We like to use Carbon on our faces in the morning. It contains bentonite clay and activated charcoal, plus a blend of lavender, tea tree, and lime essential oils. You can find my Carbon soap in any of my three shops (Etsy, 1000Markets, and ArtFire. Carbon soap, $5.00)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Feature

For today's Friday Feature I'm doing something different. In the North Texas area we had record snowfall yesterday, which resulted in a snow day, at least in my own school district. (Thank goodness, car rider duty was bad enough yesterday with just a couple of inches of snow and slush.) So today's feature is the snow. :)

Here was Booger yesterday afternoon around 4:15 tromping around the backyard. Look at his tiny footprints. :) At this point the snow was tummy high for him.

During the night we had a even more snow. The satellite kept going out because of snow buildup in the dish. Ben went out twice with a broom to brush it out, but eventually gave up until this morning. Our backyard is now just a sea of white. Our poor brush trees at the back are bowed over from the weight of the snow.

The snow is now as tall as Booger, so this morning he won't go out in it at all. He's sticking to the part of the yard that's in the shadow of the house, where there is about 6" wide of space not snowed on. It's so pretty outside!

And we apparently had a bunny friend earlier this morning. There are bunny tracks all over our driveway and front yard. :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I've Been Featured!

Grevious Angel Designs has included me in a wonderful Celtic treasury. Take a look at all of the Celtic-inspired items, including my own Irish Tweed Soap. Hurry though, the treasury will end Friday morning!

I'm also a spotlight in the Etsy Veg Team blog sidebar. Yay!

In other news, it's snowing here in DFW. Usually we don't get much snow, but I think this is our third snow/ice since November. Crazy! But it's been snowing since sometime during the night, and we have quite a bit of accumulation. I'm hoping to take a picture when I get home. It's beautiful outside!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Soup's On!

Since it's cold and wintry this week, it seemed like a good time to make some soup. So last night I made Hungry Girl's Southwestern Surprise soup. It's a whole lot like the taco soup teachers at my school make, which is just fine by me. I used Boca veggie crumbles instead of the meat (of course), and a packet of Chipotle taco seasoning. I also added a bell pepper and some spinach. Tasty! And since the recipe makes so much, I put one container of it straight into the freezer. The second container will make a lot of yummy, warm, lunches the rest of the week. Yay!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A New Month...

... a new cookbook!

This week I made the difficult choice of which cookbook of mine to cook from during February. I really had a hard time picking one, but the choice was made a little easier since I had to make soup or salad for our luncheon at school yesterday. I knew how yummy the Sassy Salsa and Pumpkin Soup from Hungry Girl: Recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World, so I went ahead and made that. So this month I'll actually be using a cookbook that I've cooked from several times, as opposed to last month where I cooked from a new one that I hadn't used before. Of course, it had been a Christmas gift, so it makes sense that I wouldn't have used it already.

So, back to the soup. The last time I made it with a chipotle salsa, and this time I used Joe T. Garcia's medium salsa. Joe T's is one of my all-time favorite restaurants EVER, and their salsa is sooooo good, but I think I liked the chipotle salsa better for the soup. It really added to the overall flavor. Next time I'm saving my Joe T's salsa for my baked Tostito Scoops. :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Calamity Jenn Strikes Again

Last night as Ben and I were cooking dinner, it happened. I made (once again) a huge mess in the kitchen.

We were making sloppy joes, his with ground turkey, and mine from the Vegan Sloppy Joes recipe in my January cookbook, How it all Vegan! I had made the tomato sauce for mine in the food processor, and it was looking pretty good--all nice and tomato-ey. Ben had put the food processor out for me, around the corner of the counter and down at the end... not where I usually put it, but a decent spot, since we don't have a ton of counter space in the kitchen. So I'm turning to grab the tomato sauce so I can mix it with all of my veggie goodness in the skillet, and my arm knocked the bottle of olive oil off the counter and onto the floor.

I wasn't looking as I turned, but I must have been wild with my arms, because I know I didn't put the olive oil near the edge of the counter. And of course, the dog was already in the kitchen with me, so as I'm trying not to move and step on glass shards in my sock feet, I'm also trying to pick up the dog, so he doesn't step on the glass or go to town licking up the oil.

Did you know that it takes a REALLY long time to clean up a shattered bottle of olive oil that was more than 3/4 full? Ugh. Ben was really nice and did all of the sweeping and moping so that I wouldn't hurt my back (yes, I'm such an old lady... bad back and all). I helped by putting the dog up and fetching soapy water, clean water, rags, etc. Ugh. By then, our food was cooled off, since Ben had turned off the burners. Good thing, too, because it definitely would have burned, and then no sloppy joes for us!

Mine turned out really good, though. If you're a fan of veggie sloppy joes, definitely try it out. I used Boca veggie crumbles instead of TVP like the recipe called for. It's what I had on hand, but it worked just fine. Leftovers were pretty tasty at lunch today too! :)

Stay tuned, because a new month means a new cookbook to use! I have no idea which one to go with, there are so many in the cabinet.... ;)