Clever Gift Giving: Works for Me Wed

23 09 2009

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I always like to spiffy up a simple card or a gift card gift with something handmade. Adding a small personal touch makes the recipient feel special.
A mini-clipboard from the craft store decorated with scraps of nice paper makes a fun and useful gift card holder. Why not add a strong magnet to the back and the recipient can put it on the fridge? More about this particular clipboard here.

aug 2009Recently, we had the honor of attending a friend’s Eagle Court of Honor. Boy, did we ever have a hard time finding an appropriate card! I ended up making a card by printing the image of an Eagle on magnetic paper and affixing it to the card stock with dimensional dots. He’ll (hopefully) be able to use the magnet long after he’s thrown out the card and burned through wisely spent the cash gift.

Visit Works for Me Wednesday this week here at We Are THAT Family.


Personalizing Bean’s Totes

19 09 2009

tote 2Bean loves carrying things around in bags, so I bought a package of small, colorful tote bags at the craft store to make some Christmas gifts for her.  But, she didn’t forget about seeing me purchase them and I couldn’t wait to try out some ideas, so we’ve already made two together. Maybe I’ll get some of my cloth bags back from her now!

The blue one has a iron-on from Simplicity and a twill black ribbon which I ironed on with stitch witchery. The felt pieces on the yellow bag were cut out freehand from scraps. They were too thick to iron-on, so Bean helped me glue them on and I’m slowly finishing sewing the edges down. It’s a picture of her in a leotard (although she calls the girl Maisy) with Maisy’s Panda sitting on the balance beam (it was going to be Little Black Cat, but I couldn’t find a visual reference). They’re playing with the bouncy balls and the purple slide/beam/cheese/scrap that Bean found. She couldn’t decide what to call it, but insisted that it be part of the design! Bean also didn’t want the little girl to have a smile on her face. She’s saying “ta-da” with her arms in the air, so she must be happy!tote 1

Insert plug here: If you’re looking for a handmade, personalized gift for your super star, I’d be happy to help! Email me or convo through Etsy with your ideas and I’ll send you a quote. I could also put together a kit for you to assemble together…

Guacamole Day

16 09 2009

Today,  Sept. 16th is National Guacamole Day! Who knew? Well, the occasion wasn’t lost on Wholly Guacamole who sent me an update this morning in my in-box. I’ve never had much success with store-bought avocados, so occasionally, I’ll get my guac-fix with their pre-packed stuff. Time to scoop up some of the green stuff and toast the noble avocado! Or just play some guac-related games here. (I found some more recipes here too.)

Meal Plan Monday in MA

13 09 2009

Today I’m planning out a week+ of dinners with some inspiration from some borrowed cookbooks. I hosted a little lending-library cookbook playdate for our playgroup. A few of us love reading new cookbooks, so it worked out well. Everyone who came brought some cookbooks and cooking magazines and went home with new ones. I have a few tasty-sounding recipes from those books I borrowed. So here is my plan with my thinking-aloud notes!

Monday: Cassoulet Quickly (from The Working Parents Cookbook)

I just love the way the word “cassoulet” rolls off the tongue; cah-sue-lay, ka-soooooo-lay, caaaaa-soo—okay, enough! I haven’t had a decent cassoulet since a random visit to the home of the aunt of an acquaintance when I lived in Lyon. I’m not trying to recreate an authentic cassoulet and I’ll probably be using a combination of chicken sausage and breakfast sausage from the freezer. I also adore the accompanying illustration in the cookbook that shows a bunch of smiling beans doing the backstroke in a casserole dish.

Tuesday: Homemade Spaghetti-O’s

I found these ring-noodles from Ronzoni on sale last week and thought they’d make fun spaghetti-o’s without all the sodium & MSG. I had never seen this dry pasta shape sold before and, funny thing is, I can’t find them on their website! But, Ronzoni is hosting a contest to win free groceries for a year, so enter here!

Wednesday: Navy Bean & Bacon Chowder (Fix-it & Forget It Entertaining Cookbook)

Okay, no story for this recipe. It just sounded easy to make and who can complain about eating more beans when there’s bacon involved?

Thursday: Highly Secretive Chicken Recipe Trial #2 for the Taste of Home Chicken Champs Cooking Contest

I could tell you what I’m making, but then it wouldn’t be a secret! I’m trying to create a recipe from the memory of a meal we had with friends over 5 years ago. It seems like I’m on the right track. I just need to clarify a few ingredients and quantities.

Friday: American Salad Nicoise (from The Working Parents Cookbook)

Bean’s favorite jingle is from the Bumblee Bee Tuna commerical on the radio. She sings along every time it plays! And I loved the picture next to this recipe: An olive, a potato, and a bean fishing for tuna. It isn’t called “American” in the cookbook but I added that since I’m going to sub regular yellow mustard for the dijon in the house vinagrette or hubby won’t touch it.Or maybe I’ll just use some caesar dressing from the fridge.

Saturday & Sunday: Leftovers
Need to take a break from meal-making and maybe go out to a festival or apple picking…

Monday: Creole Black Beans (Fix-it & Forget It Entertaining Cookbook)

Well, not sure if I can call it creole because by the time I finish subbing out some of the ingredients, it will surely be something else. I have the beans, but I think I’ll cube some beef instead of using smoked sausage since that’s what’s in the freezer. I think it’ll still be tasty served over rice.

Tuesday & Wednesday: Sammies and Leftovers
Going to leave the fridge empty while we go camping for the weekend. Hurray for yurts!

For more meal plans and lots of dinner ideas, go to I’m an Organizing Junkie.

Pink Olive

12 09 2009

Want to share some happy thoughts about NY today. Here is Pink Olive, a beautiful, friendly boutique with locations in Park Slope and the East Village. They have a wonderful collection of artist-created baby clothes like these fun tees:


I’m also smitten by the cheeky onesies for fashionista babies like “Pradada” and “Gucci Coo

The cuteness runs over into other categories too. I’ve contemplated these kitty crayons before at the artist’s Etsy site.

I don’t have a superstar budget, but maybe I’ll window shop the next time we visit NYC. Meanwhile, I’ll be stopping by the Pink Olive blog here.

Food goes stylish

10 09 2009

May 2009 006Flipping through channels today, I saw part of the Food Network’s Challenge Something Long Title Food Styling Event. It seemed like a foo-foo sport, and their location on the beach didn’t help the seriousness much either. But, I was intrigued!

Later this evening, I stumbled on this photo in one of my folders. It doesn’t look that great, but I’m quite proud of my little food styling techniques and just wanted to share my little fan of snap peas and a mound of rice with you. Enjoy!

Miracle Blanket

9 09 2009

April 2009 029Mighty Man loves being swaddled and cuddled. Here he is in a Miracle Blanket swaddler quietly laying around with his big sis before dozing off. These are perfect for the swaddling-challenged since they are very easy to use.

Want your little one to enjoy one too? Miracle Blanket is giving a swaddler to a Thrifty & Chic Mom reader. To enter, visit Thrifty & Chic Mom here. Don’t forget to wish her congratulations on the newest member of her family—Baby girl #3 born today!

See Kai Run and Run and Run

7 09 2009

Alright, if you know me, you know I love shoes! Kids shoes are especially cute and now here’s another contest to win an adorable pair from See Kai Run.

See Kai Run Shoes

See Kai Run Shoes

Go check out the Back 2 Blogging Bash on Jabbering Jessi.  She is giving away a pair of shoes from See Kai Run.

As, I’ve said just a few weeks ago here, “I’m loving the Sadie Mary Janes over at See Kai Run. I like their tagline too: “Urban footwear for first steps.” Well, Bean is far beyond her first steps, but not beyond adorable footwear! And they have the sweetest shoes for boys too which are very tempting as Mighty Man has hardly any hand-me-downs in the shoe department.”

Is it September or December?

6 09 2009

The weather starts turning a bit chillier and my thoughts automatically jump to Christmastime. Well, I’ve already begun a little crafting in hopes of restocking our Etsy store and hanging out at few craft fairs this year. But what about the family? I can’t really give them any of my unsold crafts, since they’ll think  they’re getting “seconds” even though I put lots of love and time into each and every item! Not sure how many ideas Jennifer & I can share here, since some of our family members sneak around and visit us here every once in awhile. But we will be showing off our new ideas as the months turn into days before Christmas.

24/7 Moms are already thinking about December on their blog too. They offer a few suggestions for planning ahead to make your own Christmas gifts.

Allrecipes has a collection of make-your-own food gifts too, like this recipe for homemade Limoncello. Yum! There’s also this recipe for Friendship Soup Mix in a Jar. Sounds good, as long as it doesn’t multiply like the friendship bread starters.

Are you thinking about December already too?

Bouncy Bean

2 09 2009

Thank you, Grandma!

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