Monday, August 31, 2009

BONUS BLOG: Back to School Giveaway for Writers

For the third year in a row, The Writer Mama, Christina Katz, is giving away thirty books in thirty days. All you have to do to participate is answer the question that Christina will pose daily. One lucky winner will win each day. There is no limit to how many times you can enter. The drawing is for U.S. residents. You don’t have to be a mom, but of course, the event is created with moms in mind, so please tell all the writer mamas you know! See you in September at

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Service with a smile

Today my family and I will be serving with Angel Food Ministries at our church. Angel Food is a food ministry where people can purchase a box of food for less than what they might pay at the grocery store. Our church has provided Angel Food distribution for almost 2.5 years now and we love the opportunity to be in service to our community together. This is something I was praying and thinking about as the New Year's 2007 was approaching. I wanted a way for my family to serve together and start showing my son how great it is to be of help to others. Angel Food is a way we can do that.

Each month, Angel Food publishes a menu for the next month. Customers can order online or at a distribution point and the food is delivered on a set date at a set time. People come with a large box (or cooler, or laundry basket) and pick up their food.

If you are looking for a way to reduce your grocery costs, or a way for your family to serve in ministry together, consider Angel Food Ministries. If you follow the link above, you can see where Angel Food might be in your area.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Doesn't that look yummy?! Ghirardelli Chocolates! We found a Ghrirardelli outlet when we were on vacation in Wisconsin. They had a deal where you could get as many squares as you could fit in a bag for a certain amount. We stacked our chocolate squares very carefully into the narrow bag - just big enough for a square to fit flat on the bottom. We carried our bag to the counter and the clerk shook her head at us and started stuffing squares down the sides of the bag. She handed it back to us, now only half full and told us to keep going. She sent us back for more chocolate 4 times until we had crammed the bag as full as possible. The squares were just the right side for a treat. Most grocery stores will carry bags of the squares, but nothing will beat the deal we got at the outlet store. Can't wait to head back there next year!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Home Science Experiment

I found out about this site from a blog I checked out last week. Some homeschoolers used this as part of their science materials. You can order a butterfly pavillion that comes with live caterpillars that will turn into butterflies. I can't think of anything cooler to do with an inquisitive kid than this! Just imagine how fun it would be to watch the caterpillars change! When you visit the website, you can request a catalog to see what other cool things they have to offer.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Gift Potential

Think of the potential with these! Find out your kids' teachers' favorite candy and fill up a custom decorated bucket. Use assorted chocolates, like Ghirardelli's, and make a bucket for the secretaries in the school office - or YOUR office. This was another find from the U Create blog. If she keeps posting all these great ideas, I won't have time to do laundry or make dinner because I will be too busy crafting!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Felt Food

I found this at one of my favorite blogs the other day. I can't wait to carve out some time to make some of the foods referenced here out of felt. I can picture my 4 year old niece playing tea party with the cupcakes and cookies and my son making his own pizzas. So much potential for little cost!

And apparently felt food is trendy because I found another blog talking about it this week - here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sorry I missed out on this!

I started following this blog a week or so ago and caught this entry and wished I had seen this sooner.

A couple bloggers hosted a summer swap. Participants (kids) were partnered up with another child around the same age and the partners sent each other treats in the mail. I so hope they do this again next year! This is something my son and nieces would love!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Training Camp Comparison

As a Green Bay Packers fan, it has been my great pleasure to attend training camp a couple times in past years. We didn't make it to Lambeau this year, but our whole family has thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We would go up, watch the players bike over to the field, watch practice and then enjoy the two-story pro-shop and the Hall of Fame tour.

Instead, we went to training camp for the Indianapolis Colts. My son chose the Colts has his team and we thought the two hour drive was worth it for him to see his favorite players up close since he isn't really old enough to sit through a whole game.

It was clear to me early on that we have been spoiled by the Lambeau experience. The Packers have a great set up with their camp on the same grounds as their other facilities. We could watch practice for as long as he was interested and then go see the Hall of Fame and enjoy some air conditioning. We could get ice cream, shop, and my son could play in the
kids area.

There are fewer of those options at Colts camp. The practice was a walk through in shells instead of position drills, so there were fewer things going on at any one time on the field than what we usually catch in Green Bay. We chose a day when they had some extra activities on site (inflatables, etc.), but they didn't capture his attention. We watched the 75 minute practice, walked around for 30 minutes or so and we were done. We enjoyed our picnic lunch and left for home an hour earlier than I had originally planned.

I was a little concerned that my family wouldn't feel very satisfied with our experience, but my concerns were unfounded. I love any opportunity to take pictures, so I was happy to sit behind the camera all morning. My husband used it as a chance to scout out some folks for Fantasy Football. And my son enjoyed it so much that the rest of the day at home - for
hours - he played imaginary games of football.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Library Love

This is one of the libraries in my home town in Wisconsin. I took this picture on a recent vacation as a reminder of one of my "great" acts of teenage rebellion.

In my early teens, my parents still had me taking swim lessons. It was probably so I had some physical exercise since I wasn't very sporty, but I was completely tired of them. I knew how to swim and was being pushed to do things like diving that terrified me. So, when my dad would drop me off for lessons, I would watch his car drive away, then walk to the library which was on the other side of an open field/park from the pool. I would spend my lesson time reading and then walk back, wet my hair and my suit and wait to be picked up.

My parents never found out. I almost got caught one time - I was in the middle of that open field walking back to the pool and my parents were driving by on their way home before my dad would come back for me. They didn't see me and my secret was safe for over 20 years until I finally confessed. My father still looks at me and shakes his head every time we drive by the library when I am home for a visit.

In the grand scheme of things, this is a pretty pathetic attempt at rebellion. I got "better" at it when I was a little older. But I always laugh when I think about the library as my safe haven at that point in my life.... That really hasn't changed, either.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lettering Delights

Generally speaking, I am a traditional scrapbooker (even though I haven't scrapped in awhile). Papers, adhesive, stickers, etc. I have never gotten into digital scrapbooking. But I will use my computer to print "doo dads" for my pages or journalling or titles. Lettering Delights is one of my favorite sources for these sorts of things to add to my pages or use for cards.

Here is a card I made recently for a friend's son who is a HUGE Harry Potter fan for his eleventh birthday.

I used what they used to call a "journalling delight" (now they seem to be part of their "graphic" section). You buy the one you want (which for me is never just one) and install it on your computer. They have their own software to use the materials. I chose the large piece I wanted, added my text and placed it using their software. Then I printed it. Super easy!

[Hey - if you are a Harry Potter fan, check out my other blog, Bring on the Books, where I have been blogging about the series!]

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Pajama Party, Part 2

Last week I posted a PJ pillow I made for my son. I had also bought some Transformers material and decided to also try a PJ bag - something a little bigger for those bulky winter PJs, and something that he could take along when we aren't at home. It also had to be something simple that I could make with just hand sewing. So, here it is!

I cut the material at random - no measurement. I would have preferred it to have the fold at the bottom, but I didn't buy enough of the material to work that way, so the fold
is on one side.

Then I used the seam seal to make a nice edge for the tie and to enclose the tie (shoe string). Then I sewed the shoe string in place and sewed up the sides. Once it was done, the top would cinch up and tie. I was pleasantly surprised at how it turned out!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Psych Season 4

The fourth season of Psych starts tomorrow - Friday the 7th. This is one of my favorite shows. I love the interplay between the characters. Shawn is the sarcastic fake psychic, played by James Roday. Gus is the screaming straight man played to perfection by Dule Hill.

The first three seasons are on DVD. In Season one, my favorite episode is Shawn vs. The Red Phantom. The boys go to a comic book convention looking for a missing teen. George Takei guest stars! In Season two, there are a lot of great choices, including Psy vs. Psy. Shawn finds himself competing with another psychic to solve a case. In Season three, the best is Any Given Friday Night at 10pm, 9pm Central. The boys go undercover with a football team.

I can't wait for Season 4!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

U Create

U Create
U Create is one of my new favorite blogs. She does all the work, finding great craft projects on line, and then lists and links them in her blog. I have gotten some great ideas, found new blogs to follow, and been inspired to do my own creating.

If you like to create, this is a blog not to miss!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Pajama Party

I have an ongoing debate with my son about his pajamas. Rarely are they "dirty" after one night's wearing, so I would like him to wear them at least twice before washing so we can cut down on laundry (especially in the winter when the PJs are big and bulky). I started searching on the internet for pajama pillows or stuffed animals like I had when I was a kid. No such luck. So I decided to try to make my own. My fabric was around 11.5 inches square when I started.
I cut two pieces the same size and another one at around 8.5 inches. Then I had smaller pieces of the brown fabrics for some piecing that I was going to do. First I had to draw my "pattern."
Next, I used some Steam a Seam to finish the edges on the two flap pieces for the back of the pillow. Then I cut out the brown pieces, backed them with Heat N Bond, and pieced it together.
Next, I pinned the the three pillow pieces together inside out, and then hand sewed all the way around. This didn't take as long as I thought it would, but much longer than if I could sew with a machine.
Then I flipped the whole thing back the right way. You can see the flap in the back where the pjs go. Then I used some dimensional fabric paint to finish the monkey features - DONE! It is now ready to sit on my son's bed and hide his pjs so they aren't piled somewhere making his room look trashy or tucked somewhere where he will forget about them for a few days!

This was actually a pretty fun project. I have plans to try a PJ bag next because I don't think this pillow will be big enough for those bulky winter PJs I mentioned.