Thursday, October 30, 2008

See You at the Craft Fair!

Hi all.

I am hoping that all my local friends, family and readers (friends I haven't met yet) can come visit me this Saturday at the Annual Holiday Market by the Sunshine Club for Children. Here are the details:

Holiday Market
Sat, November 1, 2008
9am - 5pm
Anah Shriners Hall
586 Main Street, Bangor
Lunch / Supper served in Cafe
Door Prizes!

$1 admission to benefit the Children's Transportation Fund to the Shriner's Hospitals

I will be selling my upcycled vintage blank books, upcycled vintage magnets and pins, handsewn goodies, some photography, and various other lovelies. All at discounted fair prices. I will continue my "2 for $20" sale on upcycled blank books as well as my "2 for $10" sale on upcycled magnet and pin sets.

I look forward to seeing some of you there. Thank you for your support :)


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Snow Goodies.

Thinking about snow? Not if you're in California, Australia, or Bermuda, eh? Well, here in Maine, we are nearly always thinking about it. It is coming soon, there is not doubt. But, it is not here yet. The snow that Isaac and his *future wife* are playing in was found outside of the UMaine Hockey Rink ... compliments of the super cool zamboni machine.

These photos got me to thinking about some more great winter related sewing and crafts tutorials (some to be added to the Alternative Gifting List to come). November is just days away ... and winter will soon begin ... so no time like the present to think about creating some of these great goodies ...

Patchwork Scarf Tutorial sewing

Winter Cardinal Tutorial stamping, painting, papercraft

Cashmere Cowl knitting

Snowglobes basic crafting



P.S. For those who have been wondering, my friend Shannon had an amazing meeting with Isaac's birthfamily in Haiti. All went SO well and we have lovely pictures of their day together. We choose not to share them here for the sake of privacy. But thank you all for your prayers and well wishes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

#08 and a Giveaway!

The above shot (my new fave) serves as my second entry in the Digital Photography School Scavenger Hunt . This fits category #8: Candid Portrait. It was taken at the Bangor Raceway this past Saturday (just as my first entry was).

Are any of you giving this scavenger hunt some thought? Please share your entry links here. So much fun.

ALSO ... I am so happy to share with you all that On The Dot Creations is hosting a giveaway from my etsy shop. We are giving away a sweet $25 Gift Certificate to my shop. This is my first "cross promotional" giveaway and I am very excited to see what traffic this may draw to my shop. So, head on over there to enter. And Good Luck!

As for today's Holiday Gifting Tip, you may want to check out this awesome tutorial: Quick Monogrammed Tutorial Gift by Nina Makes. So many uses!

Enjoy your day.



Monday, October 27, 2008

Photography Scavenger Hunt ... and some holiday gifting tips.

I have always wanted to participate in a photo scavenger hunt ... but never thought I'd have the time. Well, I still don't have the time ... but what the heck ... there is no time limit :) I saw it here and thought it looked like great fun.

So, do you want to skip some laundry and other household chores in order to join me on this photographic venture?

Please check here for the guidelines and here for viewing submissions by participants. There are 25 items/scenes to search for. I am submitting the above photo for #21 - "Something Moving". (I took this photo on Saturday when Isaac, Sydney and I enjoyed watching some horse racing in Bangor).

I am looking forward to #6, #7,#19, #23 and #24 .... but am dreading #14 (you'll have to take a peak at the list to see why).

And now those Holiday Alternative Gift Giving Tips:

I have been doing some research on all areas of alternative gifting ... looking for goodies that fit into any of the following categories: handmade, environmental, fair trade, locally made, recycled, economical, and gift deeds (frequently overlooked, but most appreciated). Each day, I will do my best to post some new & exciting tips for you all. And as I do, I will create an ongoing, frequently updated list for reference. (Please feel free to offer tips of your own).

To begin, here are some great links. Enjoy!

The Magic Cabin - wonderful toy company with environmental, locally made goods.

Family Fun Magazine - give the gift of a yearly subscription to a great family magazine. Just $10!

The Everything Bag Tutorial - a gorgeous bag that you can make for yourself or a loved one.

Clever Cape for Toddlers - make the littles on your list some capes that will turn them into super heroes!

Berkley Illustration - one of my fave etsy shops. GORGEOUS prints for very little dough. Handmade & inexpensive.

SO much more to come. Enjoy.



P.S. If you would like me to check out your own shop for a possible feature here, please contact me.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mostly Wordless Friday.

Isaac and his best friend / cousin / girlfriend / future wife, Sydney.

Gotta love everything about fall. Really. What is not to love?
I am so excited about the enthusiasm for my last post. I look forward to organizing holiday gifting lists for the blog and will begin to post some great tips beginning Monday. Thank you all for your comments and e-mails.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Holiday Gift-Giving Alternatives.

If my family and friends are any indication of the mass population of Americans ... then it is safe to say that we are all thinking about the upcoming holidays. Many of us are thinking of ways that we can celebrate these holidays in less "commercial" ways. Others are thinking of how in the world they can afford to gift give and still pay bills. And some are thinking of ways to hand make their goodies, buy handmade / locally produced, or purchase fair trade goods that make a significant difference in the lives of others around the world (all wonderful goals to be sure).

Ever since our son came home to us, one of our priorities was to give him as natural and "greed-free" a childhood as possible --- leaving out the over abundance of toys, the commercial television, the pop culture, etc. I hand make many of his goodies, as he watches, so that he can appreciate the love and work that goes into a handmade product. We shop at thrift stores together so that he sees the value of purchasing previously loved items. We don't watch commercial television so that he is not bombarded with ads that tell him what he "can't live without". But don't get me wrong ... we have been known to indulge him ... believe me. He has every Pixar Cars metal car toy there is ... sometimes 3 of the same one. All bought new from Amazon ... and all made in China. Hey, we are trying ... but we aren't perfect!

Anyway, due to various economic, humanitarian, environmental and political circumstances, it seems that so many of us Americans are trying to change our consumer habits. We are beginning to examine the impact of our purchasing choices ... on our wallet, on our local economies, on the earth, etc. It is with all this in mind that I would like to use this blog as a means to promote some alternative gift-giving choices for the holiday season. I have done some research already, but would love to have readers input as well.

The holidays --- Hanukkah, Christmas, Ramadan, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa --- are all spiritual holidays. And though they all share a tradition of gift-giving, we would do well to remember that these holidays are so much more than that. Celebrating them should be a joy ... not a struggle.

I have already posted about some alternative gift-giving choices in the past, and will begin to assemble a convenient and ever-changing "list" ... please stay posted for tips and treasures.

Thank you all for reading & sharing.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Let it Be.

When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be. Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer, let it be. For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see, there will be an answer. let it be.

Let it be, let it be, .....

And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me, shine until tomorrow, let it be. I wake up to the sound of music, mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Let it be, let it be, .....

In their youth, Momma was a "good Catholic", while Daddy was a "bad boy troublemaker". The perfect match (they have been married for over 35 years now). Lately, I have been revisiting both sides of my upbringing ... the French/Catholic heritage passed on to me by my Mom ... and the European/Agnostic heritage passed on by my Dad. Mom raised me on Elvis gospel hymns while Daddy raised me on the Beatles' White Album. Mom told me that Catholic faith was the only true way to God. Dad told me she was dead wrong. Mom laid down the rules on how to stay out of trouble. Dad showed me how to break them. Mom wanted to keep up with the Joneses. Dad thought the Joneses needed therapy.

"Let It Be" was my favorite song growing up. "Hey Jude" was my second ... and the rest of my faves were all Elvis ... for sure. But I think "Let It Be" is more than just a favorite song. I think it is more of my life's creed ... a sort of combination of my parents teachings.

Lately I have been attending Catholic Church in order to get back in touch with that side of myself. It has been a good experience ... and I think it has helped me to heal some of my Catholic school wounds. But, true to the nature of my ying/yang family ... I am still a member of the Unitarian Universalist church as well. (You know ... those heritics who believe you can choose your own path to God). Ahhhh.... tis funny when I think about it. We really can't shake our parents out of us, can we?

Let it be ...

Monday, October 20, 2008

First Craft Show.

This weekend, I finally set up my very first craft show booth at my very first craft fair! It was a great success. I sold several goodies, received lovely compliments, and took in a few special orders. My spot was great, the company of my fellow crafters was enjoyable, and the food that was served there was to die for (fresh doughnuts made to order ... seriously). So, I plan to do this again and again and again. I have at least 4 more shows lined up and am looking forward to more. I think this could get addictive.

Anyway, here are some photos of my booth. Please remember that I am an amateur at the whole "set-up" thing and have already begun improving my marketing style. I am trying to go for a vintage look, so will need to shop around the thrift stores for some ideas. (I would love to hear ideas from you as well).

Thanks for reading & sharing.



Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Meme Tag. Wanna Play?

I am not the biggest fan of blog tagging, but some of them are sweet enough ... and do help us to get to know one another, and sometimes ourselves :)

My friend Mitzi at Artful Spirit tagged me with a new meme. I have only known Mitzi for a few months, but feel like we might have grown up together. She is a lovely woman, super cool Mommy and devoted wife. She just started selling some gorgeous wares in her new Etsy shop and I know that I will have to pick up one of her felted items. This is a favorite. Anyway ... on to the meme...
Here are the tag rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random or weird facts about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here are my seven random facts...

1. I love to eat Spaghettios straight out of the can. No cooking needed. It is my comfort food.

2. I despise "play groups" and "play dates". Really. I just don't get it. I hang out with my son everywhere we go ... and we meet lovely people and have great experiences. I just don't get making a "date" for a bunch of kids to play together while their mommas try desperately to try to find eachother interesting. I have been told this is a bad attitude that I have. Oh well.

3. When I have high anxiety in any given situation (i.e. airplane rides, public speaking, etc) I repeat the following mantra in my head over and over ... "Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixon, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitxen" ... over and over until I calm down.

4. I LOVE airports. I could sit in one all day and just watch people come and go from their recent adventures. I love watching folks hug their returning loved ones ... or say tearful goodbyes. I love all the raw human emotion. It gives me hope for all of humanity. When soldiers come home, when babies come home from their adoptions, when a teen goes off to college, when a married couple returns from an amazing honeymoon, when an uncle drops in to visit his newborn neice ... its all good stuff. It's all real.

5. I would love to live in a world where everyone was naked. Total freedom. No judgements ... since beauty would not depend on body parts or clothing. Personally, I don't get why men can walk around without shirts, and women can't. Maybe we could just start there. A shirtless revolution for all woman kind. Then boobies wouldn't be so sexualized. Who's first?

6. Growing up, I always wanted my name to be Melissa. Now it is the name of my very best friend. Maybe I knew something growing up?

7. I want to own my own photography studio someday. Among other business ventures :)

Did you learn anything new about me?

Well, according to the rules, I need to pick 7 more unsuspecting victims to be tagged with this meme. Hopefully, they don't have a huge objection to such things ...

6. Perla's Parlor (when she returns from her trip)

7. You. If you have a blog, go for it :)


Friday, October 17, 2008

Mom-Prenuer Shop-A-Thon: because the holidays are coming.

Chances are that since the weather has cooled and the days have gotten shorter, you too have thought about holiday gift giving. And chances are that since the economy is in big trouble and the corporations are receiving bailouts, you too have thought to make your purchases from hardworking "Mom & Pop" shops. And chances are that because you have heard so many horror stories about the horrendous manufacturing processes of all those toys that are made in China, you too have thought maybe it is best to buy locally made and/or handmade goodies.

Well good. I have an idea for you ... head on over to the Mom-Prenuer Shop-A-Thon to check out all the wonderful handmade, non-toxic, no bailout, goodies that these hard-working Moms (and sometimes Dads) have put together for your holiday shopping (me included). You will be glad you did. Yummy, yummy goodies galore.

And if you still need some holiday shopping help after that ... always check out your local craft shows. I will be presenting at one tomorrow in Eddington, ME. I'll let you know how it goes.

Enjoy your weekend.



Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Good News.

I have great news. Really great news.

As you may remember, I have been quite worried about my son's BirthFamily in Haiti. After the intense hurricanes and floods that recently devestated much of their country, I had hoped to connect with them to find out how they weathered the storms. My current liason to the family, a wonderful man named Isson, tried to reach them on a couple of occassions only to find that the phone lines were down. It pained me deeply to worry about them. Deeper than I realized ... because one day, while talking to a stranger at Borders Bookstore, I went on babbling about my son's "missing" birthfamily ... and began to cry over it right there in the store. I am sure that my raw emotion shocked me as much as it did her ... as I had no idea that my fears were that intense ... and that close to "the surface" of my subconscious. But such is the nature of the connections that can be formed through adoption. As long as I am Mommy to Isaac (forever), I carry his BioFamily with me.

Well --- I am so happy to tell you all that Isson was finally able to connect with them. They are safe and well. Amen! And furthermore, they are going to be travelling to PetionVille this weekend to meet with my very dear friend Shannon --- who is travelling there with some of the Haitian Roots team to assist in enrolling several Haitian children into schools --- including my son's biological siblings! Halis and I were able to sponsor Isaac's biological sibs to attend school in their local community through the Haitian Roots sponsorship program and are thrilled beyond words that they are able to meet with Shannon in order to make this happen.

And because my dear friend Shannon is also an adoptive Mom, (and an incredible human being), she "gets" how huge it is for me that she will have the privilege of meeting with the woman who gave my son life. I hope to one day share this privilege, but until then, I am so thankful that it is Shannon who will hug and kiss her for me ... and tell her how much our Isaac is loved. Shannon will also be bringing Marjorie (her name) a photo album of recent pictures of Isaac as well as a gift from our family.

This all means so much to me ... it is a journey that has come full circle ... as Shannon was the woman who led me to Isaac. Several years ago, while Shannon was visiting Haiti, just before Isaac was born ... I asked her to whisper to the wind ... to my "Isaac"... that Mommy was going to find him soon ... and that we would be together forever. She did. I did. And we are. Of course there is so much more to our adoption story. But Shannon is in nearly all of it. And for her to meet the woman who gave my son life is just incredible to me. It is perfect.

(Halis and I visiting with Shannon in Utah, 2005)

I am SO looking forward to their meeting ... I am nearly crawling out of my skin with anticipation. I pray that Marjorie and her family are able to make it safely to the meeting. I pray that they are pleased, content and confident in the life and love that we share with Isaac. I pray that Isaac's BioSiblings will enjoy a wonderful school year. And I pray that Shannon's trip to Haiti will be fruitful and inspirational. Amen.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My Birthday.

I was born 35 years ago today. At 3:15 to be exact. On a Sunday. Daughter of an 18 year old girl and her 21 year old husband ... who are still married to this day :)

I love that I was born in October. I love that the day was beautiful, full of fall foliage, and crisp fresh air. I love that I was born on a Sunday (as is considered a special day according to my Catholic heritage). And I especially love that I was born to two young people who were very much in love.

Every year I like to enjoy the great outdoors in celebration of my birthday. Halis and I have usually travelled somewhere special the weekend before Bar Harbor, Salem MA, Boston, and various spots along the Maine coast. But this year, we decided to stay "home" and play some soccer by the Penobscot River. Perhaps in my "old age", I am less of a wanderer and much more appreciative of all that is local.

So, we hung out at Webster Park in Old Town. We played soccer, ate goodies from The Store at Ampersand, and enjoyed one another immensely. Life is good.

And as I enjoyed my two favorite people in the world, I reflected on whether I was where I wanted to be at the ripe age of 35 ... and I decided YES, yes, yes. I am so enjoying my life right now, as a Mommy, as a teacher, as an artist, as a wife, as a human. I used to have such lofty expectations of where I would be at 35. I was going to be a world famous Marine biologist and photographer. My work would rival that of the infamous Jacques Cousteau. I was going to live on an island off of the Pacific Coast, spending my days watching the migration patterns of Orca whales. I would have one daughter, and a husband who lived away and visited when he could. I would write journals that would later become best sellers. And I would attend high class gala events in honor of my photography. Etc...etc...

And although I wouldn't mind living on that island, and watching those orcas swim by ... I much rather be there with Isaac and Halis ... without any desire to be famous ... or to have a title other than Mommy or Babe (aka Wife).

There are many things I still want to learn and achieve, many ways in which I still want to grow ... but I guess what I am most grateful for on this day is that I am able to appreciate where I already am ... and to embrace it. I have come to learn that that is where happiness lies ... in appreciation and gratitude for what you have, for who you are, and for who is taking the journey with you.

So, on my special day - the day of my birth into this world - I want to thank those who are taking this journey with me - and to tell you how much I love and appreciate you. Hopefully you know who you are ... because if you don't, I am not doing a good job of reminding you how much I love you ... and I will get working on that right away :)

Happy Day to All.



Saturday, October 11, 2008

Feast Away on the Inexpensive Fabric Goodness ...

Ok, I know it's a Saturday ... and its beautiful out ... and I should not be in the house blogging or doing anything computer related ... BUT I just had to drop in to let you crafty folks that I have lowered the prices of several of my fabrics / fabric bundles on Etsy. As much as I adore fabric, I don't think I will continue to post any on the "This Handmade Life" etsy shop. Perhaps another shop and another time ... until then, feast away my friends on the goodies ...


Friday, October 10, 2008

A Typical Unschooled Day.

Yesterday was lovely in so many ways. The weather was wonderful. And how we made our way through the day felt so right. Here is how it went (more or less):

* We woke up when we felt like it.

* We ate fresh, hot brownies for breakfast.

* We put together a few puzzles on the floor.

* We went for a walk outside to "check things out" (as Isaac says).

Fall foliage, a plane jetting across the sky, various bees on a fall bloom.

* We visited with Bobo and Poppy on their back porch - and were showered with even more chocolaty goodness.

* We counted the chickens and chased our dogs.

* We played a long game of soccer and a quick game of baseball.

* We came in - I did laundry and other chores while Isaac watched "Max and Ruby".

* We worked on our counting skills and color recognition with visual aides.

* We made supper for Daddy ... and chatted with him about our day over the dinner table. (Baked Beans for Isaac and Beefy Cheesy Pasta Casserole for Mommy and Daddy).

* Lastly, we read lots and lots of books --- long into the night.

This is how I like to spend our days ... to ebb and flow in whichever ways feel good ... to have Isaac learn from life itself (I taught him how to pat Bees in the fall ... as they are so tired and cold that they just sun themselves on the flowers ... and you can pat them without getting stung. He thought it was amazing!) ... and to find the time to fully appreciate every action that we take (from soccer to reading). Sometimes we share our days with friends. Sometimes we spend much of it in the car. But a day like yesterday is my favorite - spent at home - learning, loving, playing and sharing. Good stuff!

I hope you are enjoying your favorite kind of day :)



Thursday, October 9, 2008

More Fall Giveaways.

I'd love to begin posting other bloggy giveaways as a weekly feature of this blog. I'll do the research on "who" is giving away "what" ... and you just need to follow the links to the goodies. Sound good? Please let me know what you think in the comments section.

And here are this weeks giveaways:

Little Secrets Locket Bracelet by Out of the Blue

"MomSpit" by Momma in Flip Flops 2

Palin / Biden Debate Mugs by Our Name is Blog

Vintage Halloween Goodies by Vintage Trifles

TTV Art Photo Sets by Crafty Ninja

Good Luck!



Wednesday, October 8, 2008

13 is a Wonderful Number.

13 years ago today, I was scared out of my mind. And so were you. We knew that we were wildly in *lust* with one another ... with enough love mixed in to make it plausible that we could last a lifetime. But we worried whether it would be enough ... as we were such different people ... from different backgrounds ... with different outlooks on life. All we truly knew was that we wanted to give it a shot - to create a life together that was completely of our own making. There were folks on both sides of the aisle who thought we might be better off seeking out some other relationships ... as we were just 21 ... and had been together since Junior year of high school. Could we really make it having never really dated others? We didn't know either.

But as we stood before one another to make our vows, something felt right. You stared at me in awe of my beauty on that day. I stood before you in awe of your devotion and your tenderness. And we both knew that the commitment we were making to one another was amazing. We honored it and knew how important it was to live up to.

Surely we have made our mistakes along the way --- these past thirteen years --- but we are no longer scared about the commitment we made so long ago. Time has shown us that we can weather any storm ... that we are more in "love" than in "lust" (though lust is still good:) and that our differences complement one another.

I look back and realize that on that day I could never have realized how great a decision I had made in marrying you. On that day, I could not have realized what a dedicated provider you are, what an honorable man you would become, what an incredible father you would turn out to be .... or that you would still give me butterflies whenever you entered a room. But I must have sensed something --- because I knew you were the one. That I always knew. From the moment you kissed me on April 15th, 1989 .... I knew there was something about you that had the potential to last a lifetime. There was something about you that challenged me yet completed me at the same time. You felt / feel like home.

I love you Halis. Happy Anniversary. And may we give one another goosebumps and butterflies for the remainder of this lifetime and throughout the rest.

~ Jodi

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Baseball Helmet.

I love buying "dress up" clothes and accessories for Isaac. He has an entire box full of all sorts of gear that one might need when looking to role play a character: pirate scarves, princess dresses, fireman hats, a construction belt, wigs of various colors, magic wands, etc. And when I saw the baseball helmet -seen above - at our local Goodwill, I knew it would be a welcome addition to our collection. What I didn't know was that Isaac would want to wear it everyday and everywhere. Or that this helmet, in addition to the thrifted leather baseball glove that we bought a few weeks earlier (also at Goodwill) would spark a rich enthusiasm for baseball in my little man.

Just last night Daddy and Isaac played "baseball" catch in the garage for well over an hour. It was such a pleasure to listen to the encouragements, giggles and praises. Then they came inside to finish watching the Red Sox game together (the Sox won that series - hooray). And as I watched the game with them, I reflected on how important baseball is to an American father/son relationship. I remember my Dad coaching little league for my brother's team. I remember him taking my brother to baseball games and buying him loads of baseball cards, etc. As a little girl, I tried hard to get into their inner baseball circle --- I collected the cards too, I watched Sox games, I wrote fan letters to Wade Boggs (its true), but sadly, I never was truly welcomed into their baseball world. But I am quite sure this time will be different - if I want it to be. I am sure that Isaac and Daddy would be glad to have me share their enthusiasm for the game ... to play catch ... and to root for the Sox. But maybe I will just watch from the sidelines and let this be their "thing".

I think Daddy is now looking forward to the time when I find a youth-sized football helmet at Goodwill. After all, the season has already begun and the Dolphins are 2 -2. Its fall - the perfect time to throw around the ole pigskin.

Enjoy the day.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Monday, Monday ...

Hi all. I hope you enjoyed a wonderful weekend.

Now we are back into our Monday routines ... and as I update this blog today, I feel as though I have a bunch of "loose ends" to tie up as well as some special "announcements".

* First, congrats to Mitzi over at My Artful Spirit for winning my surprise giveaway from last week. I will be sending her some handmade goodies asap. Thank you all for participating, and please let me know if you win any of the giveaways that I posted from other blogs. I will be posting more again soon ( I hope to make it a weekly habit).

* Secondly, I won a giveaway! Tara, over at Tara's View of the World, hosted a giveaway for the Good for The Kids online shop. The prize was a $50 gift certificate. Not bad, eh? I was so excited, as that shop is full of great wooden toys for my Isaac. I spent the gift certificate right away ... and was able to purchase 5 really nice items because they are having a GREAT sale right now. I encourage everyone to drop by. Enjoy.

* Also, (and perhaps this should have been my first bit of news), we sold our house! In less than 5 days. My realtor rocks. The closing is Nov. 7th ... and then I'm going on a shopping spree. Okay, not really. But I do have my eye on another camera. The new D90. And there is always good use for my money over at Haitian Roots.

* Speaking of Haiti, I haven't forgotten those school bags that I was seeking donations for. They are still very much in the "works". Sadly, Halis was unable to go to Haiti this fall (as we had hoped) so we are looking for someone else to bring them to the children who need them. We are working on it. We are no longer in need of donations --- thank you to all who participated. I will let you know when these goodies make it to Haiti.

* I just got word today that after several chemo treatments, etc ... my uncle is cancer free. Alleluia! (Nic - if you are reading this, please give your Dad a kiss from me :)

* And finally, I am excited to announce that I have opened my own little shop. This store includes many of the books, cds, dvds, and other items that I have reviewed or recommended in the pages of this blog. As I have mentioned before, when you make a purchase from Amazon using a link or links from my blog, my family gets a 4% return in the form of gift certificates that we use for homeschool products. We are so thankful to be able to do this - and honored that some of you have chosen to do your Amazon shopping through us. Thank you.

The link to the store will always be on the right hand side bar of this blog. And there is another link just under that for items you are searching for that may not be in my shop. Using either link will earn our family *much appreciated* credit with Amazon. Thank you, thank you.

I hope you all enjoy your Monday. Don't forget to take a walk outside if/when possible. I hope to be out there too.


Friday, October 3, 2008

The Sisters Grimm.

If you don't know by now, I am a lover of children's literature ... especially the fairy tale variety. And I am a HUGE fan of the "series" ... you know ... books that come out in a chronological order ... tales that build upon one another ... tales where characters are so well constructed that they begin to feel like family. I read every Harry Potter book (who didn't really?), every one of the "A Series of Unfortunate Events" novels, and several in between. Now, I am hooked on "The Sisters Grimm"... and for good reason.

These books are ingenious. Imagine throwing every childhood fairy tale character into their own little town ... where they cannot leave from ... mix in some human neighbors ... force the "everafters" (that's what fairy tale characters are called) to try to lead normal lives (Snow White is a teacher, the Three Pigs are all policeman, etc.) ... and let the chaos ensue. It is hilarious, adventurous, and a trip back into my own childhood fantasies.

The Sisters Grimm ... and their whole Grimm family ... serve as fairy tale detectives in this crazy little town. I don't want to give anything away, so I will just leave it at that. These tales are told from their perspective. Each story unravels a mystery... and perhaps I am a little naive, but I do not see the endings coming. They each have their own little twist that keeps them fresh and exciting.

I highly recommend these books for independant readers ages 8 and up. Or for parent/child bedtime readings for the younger child. Knowledge of basic fairy tales is not totally essential (Jack & the Beanstalk, The Three Bears, Snow White, etc) but will make the stories all the more fun and interesting.

The author gives some great commentary at the end of the books, as well as questions/answers about the reading and offerings of additional information regarding fairy tales around the world. Good stuff.

And - of course - I highly recommend this series for those adults who are young at heart. Just read the reviews on They are mostly written by adults who have enjoyed these books right along with their kids. Gives you and the kids that much more to chat about ... and to relate to.

At $5.95 each - they are well worth the investment. ENJOY!


P.S. Please remember that if you do wish to purchase these books through, you can do so through the little box to the right of my blog. By using my link, Isaac will earn 4% of your sales in gift certificates that he and I can use toward his homeschooling books. THANK YOU!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

If All the World Could See My Son ...

Like every Mom in the world, I think my child is the best looking, most photogenic, wonderfully spirited child anyone could ever know. And I figure that every human being could benefit from seeing his picture on the cover of magazines, in a Gap ad or plastered across the back of a city bus. What joy my son's face could bring to the world, right? I'm glad you agree (humor me here,ok?).

So naturally when I discovered that Gap was looking for some new child models for their 2009 ad campaign, I thought "Hello? My son is right here, thank you!". Then I submitted 5 shots to them via their website. And because you are likely thinking that the world could also benefit from seeing your little bundle of joy ... you can send Gap your shots as well :)

You don't have to stop there either. You can also send your child's pictures to the following:

Kids Talent Network
New Faces
Ford Modeling Agency

To the best of my knowledge, these are all reputable agencies who make their money from those who are seeking talent ... not from you. It is my understanding that if someone requests money from you in order to be a part of their database, they are not a true, reputable modeling agency.

Two of my nephews have done some small modeling jobs in the past. And it was a fun experience for both of them. My nephew Patrick will forever grace the front of a toy package. And my nephew Devon was in a sweet Bob's Store ad. All in good fun.



Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October, How I Love Thee.

October --- you make me happy. Long ago, you saw me into this world ... on a cool crisp afternoon. The first air I breathed came from you.

You have continued to nourish me throughout my life ... inspiring me with your rich autumn colors, enriching my body with your earthy scented air, calling me to reflect on the cycles of life, encouraging me to walk the earth in search of all the beauty that surrounds me. The colors of your sky are wondrous. The way you call animals to harvest and to hibernation is simply awesome. I feel the pull of it also. I want to stock my cabinets, to pull out the quilts, to hibernate a bit ... but not before I explore all your amazing beauty and wonder. Not before I watch the does eat up the last of the grasses. Not before I watch the squirrels harvest the acorns and the leaves explode in gorgeous colors that could never be replicated by anything other than you.

So, I will walk. I will reflect. I will cuddle up at night with my family ... with windows open to your delicious scent.I will rejoice in you ... and savor every moment.

Thank you October.


P.S. Blogger friends, please don't forget that today is the last day to sign up for my giveaway. Good Luck!