Friday, October 31, 2008

chicken noodle soup and garlic cheddar biscuits

In Utah, trick-or-treating often means frostbitten fingers and noses and frozen candy, but this year we're having unseasonably warm weather. You'll actually see my children's costumes because they won't be covered up by winter coats and snow boots! In the spirit of frosty Halloweens today's food for thought friday features an easy, yummy, HOT dinner for your little trick-or-treaters. (And it is yummy--I made it last night! Note: the chicken noodle soup doubles easily.)

Emi's Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
2 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 to 2 cups chopped celery
4 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 (14.5 ounce) can vegetable broth
1 pound chopped cooked chicken breast
2 cups egg noodles
2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Cook onion and celery in butter until just tender, about 5 minutes. Pour in chicken and vegetable broths and stir in chicken, noodles, carrots, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes before serving. (You can keep the noodles separate if you plan to have leftovers. Then they won't get soggy! Just add when you're ready to serve or as you serve.)


Garlic Cheddar Biscuits
2 cups baking mix (e.g. Bisquick)
2/3 cup milk
1/2 to 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Combine baking mix, milk and cheddar cheese in mixing bowl. Beat with wooden spoon till soft dough forms. (Dough will be sticky.) Drop dough by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Meanwhile, mix butter and garlic powder and brush over warm biscuits before removing from cookie sheet. Serve warm.
"Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living. For soup can do more to lift the spirits and stimulate the appetite than any other one dish." --Louis P. De Gouy, The Soup Book

Thursday, October 30, 2008

excellent Etsy find: Spoiled Sweet Couture

Spoiled sweet is what every child should be, and it's not hard to do with today's excellent Etsy find. Spoiled Sweet Couture has beautifully designed accessories for your little ones, from bibs and onesies to diapers & wipes cases and even "tinkle toppers."

I love, love, love Spoiled Sweet Couture's fabrics (Whimsy Flower is my favorite) and her embellished birthday bibs are better than that number candle you'll be putting on the cake. (Plus it will last a heck of a lot longer!) Her spittle bibs are just the right size for little droolers and with so many choices you'll have no problem finding one to coordinate with almost every outfit!

My most favorite product is probably the Custom Elegant Shabby Sparrow onesie. This super sweet sparrow is to die for and the super soft onesie has a decorative stitch around the neck and arm holes. I just might have to get the coordinating Shabby Sparrow Spittle Mink Dot bib as well!

Okay, I just discovered another favorite while writing this post. I am loving the Amy Butler Gothic Rose Chenille bib. It has a super absorbant layer and comes with a coordinating chenille backing and a pearl snap closure. Plus its size is perfect for infants and toddlers (wish it fit my 8-year-old as well).

Don't wait for the holidays to spoil your little one with the sweet style of today's excellent Etsy find, Spoiled Sweet Couture! --Emily

jot down your ideas with a ringlet jotter from SusyJack*

Post-it notes are great, don't get me wrong, but they can quickly get out of hand. You only have so much space around your computer monitor, and if a strong breeze blows through the window your ideas will scatter faster than my kids down the Target toy aisle. Plus, they're not the best way to write down your epiphanies while on the go. (The backs of receipts aren't that great either.)

So how's a girl to jot down her recently planned lunch date, brilliant product idea or overheard quote and keep it close at hand? Today's that's hot! thursday has the answer and it's the Ringlet Jotter from SusyJack*. The Ringlet Jotter was designed for keeping track of all those "notes to self" we busy women so often need. These stylish, eco-friendly books are small enough to fit in your purse and they keep your notes all in one place. They can easily go from desk to kitchen counter to bag and would be a lot more fun than your pink flower-shaped Post-it pad. Plus they make great party gifts and stocking stuffers!

SusyJack* has some other really great products such as pencil cups, wall art, boxed note sets, and my other favorite, cartlettes. Cartlettes are the multitaskers of paper products. You can use them as business cards, gift tags, scrapbook embellishments--the possibilities are endless!

SusyJack*s products are printed and hand-assembled in the USA. Recycled packaging is used for shipping and all paper used in Susy*s products are 100% post consumer recyled. I doubt your Post-its are post consumer recycled, so do some eco-friendly jotting with a Ringlet Jotter from SusyJack*. --Emily

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Where do blogging moms go? MomDot, of course!

If you're a mom blogger and would love the camaraderie of connecting with other mom bloggers then you'll want to read today's wonderful web wednesday post in its entirety. It's all about MomDot, a site started by a couple of mom bloggers "who wanted a way to reach out to other bloggers." Who better to start a mom-blogging community! MomDot lets you list your blog for free, and if you contact them you and your blog can be featured on the site. They also print articles of interest and will link directly to you on a weekly basis. Just send them the link to your post and they'll check you out. If you're a boutique owner you can talk to MomDot about being highlighted on their Feature Boutique page, where you can share your store with MomDot members and visitors alike. Or even better, list your boutique on the Boutique Listings page for free!

Our friend Trisha at MomDot is a fan of our comfy "nesting" tee. Even though she's not expecting that didn't stop her from wearing it during her recent visit to New Orleans. (See photo at right.) We of course want you to check her out in our tee but be sure to scroll down and read about her experiences in New Orleans and view the photos of her Hot Blogger shoot. Sounds like quite the trip!

Got a mom-related blog or boutique? Get listed at MomDot and join a network of mom bloggers just like you! --Emily

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Being Healthy for Busy People

Today is a take it off tuesday kind of day and I have a great new website for you! I discovered it via Twitter (@tallivansunder is a great Twitterer to follow) and am a big fan. Being Healthy for Busy People is the perfect site for most women since 99.9% of women are super busy.

The site features a popular podcast by Talli, who has a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. "She is a physical therapist by trade. She is a health fanatic by passion. She is also a wife, mom and an all around busy person." Talli has owned her own physical therapy clinic and worked as a personal trainer. She is all about bettering the lives of clients and now she is improving the health and well being of the virtual world.

You'll find a few ways to listen to the show, and if you're more a reader than a listener (though we should all be good listeners), Being Healthy for Busy People has a blog. You'll find yourself agreeing with pretty much every post and setting new goals to be healthier and happier. Talli offers common sense to combat the craziness of fad diets and weight-loss gimmicks. Here's a taste from her recent post, "Want Something to Eat?":

If someone asks if you’re hungry and you have to think about it before answering, you’re probably not truly hungry. You’re not asking your stomach if it needs more food. You’re thinking about whether it can fit any more food.
Sound familiar? Thought so.

Being Healthy for Busy People is a great resource for busy women like myself because it reminds me that even I have time for a little health and well-being in my busy day! --Emily

Monday, October 27, 2008

background check!

As mompreneurs many of us blog, whether we've tied the blog to our business or blogging is our business. If you're not a programmer the standard templates offered by Blogspot and WordPress often leave something to be desired, so today's mompreneur monday highlights a few fun sites offering free blog backgrounds and templates. Without some color your blog is just "blah!"

Blogspot backgrounds


WordPress themes

I struggled a bit to find WordPress themes so if you have a great resource please share! Happy blogging! --Emily

Friday, October 24, 2008

trick or treat! (I prefer treats!)

This Saturday is my sister-in-law's annual Halloween party and we can't wait! The kids always have a ton of fun and the adults always eat a ton of food. No better time to let the holiday eating begin and no better way than with some fun Halloween treats.

I'm bringing some guacamole dip drizzled with a sour cream spider web and served with a side of bat tor
tilla chips (recipe below) and I couldn't resist these fun bat cupcakes courtesy of Allrecipes.com (recipe also below). If you'd like even more ghoulish treats, Family Fun's Halloween Fright Site has a cauldron full. Check out the melon brain...eeeeew!

Bat Tortilla Chips
1 large flour tortilla per person
1/4 cup olive oil
salt

Preheat your broiler. Using a bat or other Halloween cookie cutter, cut each tortilla into shapes. Lightly brush both sides of each creature with oil. Arrange on a cookie sheet and broil, flipping once when they begin to brown. When brown on both sides, lightly sprinkle with salt. Serve with spider web guacamole. (Use a decorator tip to draw concentric circles on top of guacamole using sour cream. Then drag a knife from the outside circle in. Top with a fake spider or two!)


Bat Cupcakes
1 package chocolate cake mix
1 container prepared chocolate frosting
1 package fudge stripe cookies
1 small bag milk chocolate candy kisses, unwrapped
1 tablespoon red gel icing

Prepare cake mix according to package directions for cupcakes. Cool. Frost cupcakes with chocolate frosting. Break cookies in half and press two halves into the top of each cupcake for wings, stripes facing the frosting. Place a chocolate kiss in front of the cookies with the point facing forward for the body. Make two beady little eyes with the red gel icing towards the point of the kiss. Enjoy!
Eat, drink and be scary!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

excellent Etsy find: PrettyBabyBowtique


I've just decided to add a random feature on that's hot! thursdays called "excellent Etsy find." I have been stumbling across way too many fabulous Etsy shops to keep them all to myself, and I'm sure my friends are getting weary of my emails telling them about another Etsy boutique they simply must visit. So now I'm sharing them with you!

While looking for a gift for my daughter's friend I tried Etsy's "Shop Local" feature where you can enter a location and Etsy will find boutiques in that area. I search for Utah boutiques and received around 100 results. Browsing through the shops I couldn't believe the overwhelming talent found right in my backyard! After a few pages I found just what I was looking for at PrettyBabyBowtique.

PrettyBabyBowtique has the sweetest collection of "no slip" clips, flowers, and bows along with crocheted headbands and hats. All her flowers and bows are attached to no-slip clips so they will stay put in even the finest hair, and all ribbon is heat cut and sealed so you don't have to worry about fraying--a really good thing since my baby uses her clippes as teethers!

I did some major shopping at PrettyBabyBowtique and the store's owner was wonderful! She set up a custom listing as soon as I messaged her with what I wanted. (I did some early Christmas shopping so it was quite the list--those hats with the flowers are a great gift!) I was able to mix and match hat colors and flowers and she even had me check out past sales to see if there were something I'd like. But probably my favorite thing about this boutique is her prices--they are so much more affordable than the ones at the mall kiosk where I've previously purchased my headbands and bows. My custom order list was long but it didn't come close to sabotaging my budget!

Orders are shipped within 48 hours after receiving payment and even as soon as 12 whenever possible. Mine was shipped the same day! Plus if you order more than three items you'll get free shipping on your order (see store details). PrettyBabyBoutique is definitely a most excellent Etsy find! --Emily

TAYGA apron giveaway!

With holidays around the corner there's a good chance you'll be doing some serious entertaining. Today's that's hot! thursday will help you cook--and later mingle--in style. TAYGA aprons are a must-have this holidays season if you're planning to go from stove to socializing. They're great for weeknight spaghetti as well but I'd rather use my ol' standby for saucy marinara.

TAYGA's aprons are fun, flirty and fully reversible. The 100% cotton designer fabrics and flattering fit are sure to tempt your style tastebuds. I love my new Marilyn in red (my husband's a big fan too); my other favorites are the Claudia and Casandra. TAYGA also has a line of aprons for children so your sous chef can protect her family-photo holiday dress from that messy sugar cookie frosting.

Read my full TAYGA review, "Cook your holiday meals in style," at BoutiqueCafe.com and comment for a chance to win TAYGA's super sweet mother & daughter set (a $108 value). This is a fabulous giveaway so don't miss it! The deadline for comments is October 29th at midnight. Better get cookin'! --Emily

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

5 Minutes for Mom: Blogs Can Change Lives

Today's wonderful web wednesday highlights 5 Minutes for Mom's latest Blogs Can Save Lives installment, PSPs for Hospitalized Kids:

When a child gets sidelined with life threatening or long term illness, not only do they have to face pain, suffering and fears that no child should have to endure, but they are trapped inside a body that denies them their natural state of play. Fortunately, technology can bring a child who is sick a little bit of freedom.
To give these children their freedom, 5 Minutes for Mom is partnering with Sony PlayStation to bring 10 PSP (PlayStation Portable) systems to kids with life threatening or long term illnesses. To read more about exactly what these children will receive please read the entire post from 5 Minutes for Mom.

What can you do to help? Well, there are three ways you can help "blogs change lives." First, you can nominate a child or teenager you know, who is battling serious or life threatening illness and would truly benefit from a PSP but whose family is not able to provide one. Scroll down the original post to read details on how to nominate someone you know. Second, do your part to spread the word by placing a banner ad and posting about the project on your site/blog. And third, comment on the 5 Minutes for Mom's post to let Sony PlayStation see your support of PSPs for Hospitalized Kids.

We are quickly learning how powerful the online community can be when it comes to supporting a cause. Don't let this opportunity to flex your virtual muscles pass by without doing your part to spread the word. --Emily

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

is your baby a Mockstar Baby?

If you’d love to dress your little one like the rock star she is but aren’t willing to sell your front-row Timberlake tickets to do so, then Mockstar Baby is your backstage pass to rockin' baby clothes at a nosebleed-seat price.

Mockstar Baby, which offers "random deals at a chaotic pace," is similar to the popular site Steep and Cheap. If you're not familiar with Steep and Cheap, the concept is this: the site features one fabulous deal at a time until the inventory (often very limited) sells out. As soo
n as one deal is gone, another one is listed immediately. This happens 24/7 at a break-neck pace. From Hurley tees ($11 instead of $18) to Roxy hoodies (I was too slow to miss this deal--dang!), the deals are fast and furious--and fabulous!

If you find your day already filled to online capacity with Twitter, Facebook and actual work, Mockstar Baby's got you covered with their Get the Poop desktop alert. Simply download the alert and you'll receive instant alerts as soon as new products are available. If you're MIA for a while you can even find out which new products you missed. I'm not sure I need this feature--I hate hearing about what I've missed! Like when my friends went to The Police concert at Usana Ampitheater and all I got were some dumb Facebook photos...But I digress (as usual)...

Mockstar Baby also has a blog, and though it's a fun read--especially for parents who remember the first X Games--their audience is parents of infants and toddlers. They might want to rethink their recent post:

... It’s time to break out the hoodies and beanies to battle the pre-snow mornings…oh hell ya!! Got a bitchen hoody or jacket to hang on your kids? If not…we’ll hook you up!
Kind of reminds me of those 40-something moms who are trying so desperately to dress and act like their teenage daughters. But if they're determined to keep their blog's rock-star edge they could at least spell "bitchin'" correctly. ;)

Blog aside, Mockstar Baby is not just another passing fad like high-waist pants (I seriously hope this is a very quickly passing fad...). This up-and-coming site is your ticket to sweet clothes at a super sweet price. Now all you have to worry about are the groupies your new mockstar baby is sure to attract! --Emily

Monday, October 20, 2008

Jamie Bird: 'From Basement Selling to Big Box Selling'

A couple weeks ago Startup Princess featured an article by Jamie Bird of the Wet happened? wet bag titled "From Basement Selling to Big Box Selling," and the title had me hooked. For many mompreneurs, landing a big-box retail account would be a dream come true and I was anxious to learn more about Jamie's experience. The article did not disappoint!

From flying to corporate headquarters last minute to finding a manufacturer to desiging the perfect packaging, Jamie fills readers in on her journey from sewing in her basement to manufacturing overseas. Here is an excerpt from the article:

When I heard 200 stores, it seemed easy since I already sold to 50. I mean, how hard could it be to add a few more? Little did I realize that big box is completely different than dealing with boutiques or online e-tailers.
"From Basement Selling to Big Box Selling" is one of the best articles I've read so far because it gives a mompreneur's perspective on the process. Even if your dream is to have 100 high-end boutiques carry your line instead of the local big-box retailer, Jamie's experience and advice applies to you. I guarantee you will learn something from her, and learning something new is a great way to spend your mompreneur monday! --Emily

Friday, October 17, 2008

'The Mother in Me' book release party and Nie fundraiser!

Many of you already know about the fundraising efforts and support in behalf of Stephanie and Christian Nielson, author of the NieNie Dialogues, and her family. (If you haven't heard, please read our post about how the online community is rallying around this family in their time of need.) I just heard about a book release party for The Mother in Me: Real World Reflections on Growing into Motherhood, a "collection of writings [that] celebrates the season of mothering young children, illustrating its unique challenges and delights, and revealing its deep significance," and I wanted to pass the info along.

The book is a compilation of works from talented women and talks about everything from health crises to sanity crises and "the fruits of such struggles: insights gained, hearts expanded, and faith increased." The release party is
Saturday, October 18th from 2pm to 4pm at the Deseret Bookstore in Orem, Utah. All royalties from the sale of this book will go to the Stephanie and Christian Nielson Recovery Fund.

Even if you can't be there in person you can still participate by buying the book online from Deseret Book's website on Saturday, the 18th. (Please shop at Deseret Book as the fundraiser does
not include purchases from Amazon.com.) You can read more about the release party on c jane enjoy it.

If you haven't yet had a chance to donate or purchase a product whose proceeds benefit the cause, this is a wonderful opportunity to do so. The Mother in Me sounds like the
perfect Christmas gift for friends and family this season. Get your holiday shopping done early and support a worthy cause while doing so! --Emily

zucchini, zucchini and more zucchini (recipes)!

My neighbor just brought over three ginormous zucchinis, and by ginormous I mean the size of a watermelon! So I'll be shredding and freezing a ton of zucchini this weekend, and in the spirit of zucchini shredding, here are a few zucchini-filled recipes for today's food for thought friday. The first two are tried and true and total favorites in our home. The others are ones I found on Allrecipes.com that sound super yummy as well. Got zucchini? Then shred away!

Zucchini Brownies
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 1/2 c white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 ts
p baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 c shredded zucchini
1/2 c chopped walnuts

Frosting
6 T unsweetened cocoa
powder
1/4 c marga
rine
2 c confectioners' sugar
1/4 c milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven or until brownies spring back when gently touched. To make the frosting, melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa and margarine; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl blend together the confectioners' sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.


Chocolate Zucchini Bread
2 (1 ounce) squ
ares unsweetened chocolate
3 eggs

2 c white sugar
1 c vegetable oil
2 c grated zucchini
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 c semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate until melted. Stir occasionally until chocolate is smooth.

In a large bowl
combine eggs, sugar, oil, grated zucchini, vanilla and chocolate; beat well. Stir in the flour baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean.


Italian Sausage Soup
1 lb Italian sausage
1 clove garlic, minced
2 (14 ounce
) cans beef broth
1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
1 c sliced carrots
1 (14.5 ounce) can great Northern beans, undrained
2 small zucchini, cubed
2 c spinach - packed, rinsed and torn
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt

In a stockpot or Dutch oven, brown sausage with garlic. Stir in broth, tomatoes and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in beans with liquid and zucchini. Cover and simmer another 15 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Remove from heat and add spinach. Replace lid allowing the heat from the soup to cook the spinach leaves. Soup is ready to serve after 5 minutes.


Corn and Zucchini Medley
4 slices bacon
2 c chopped zucchini
1 1/2 c fresh corn kernels
1 small onion, chopped
1 pinch pepper
1/4 c shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Reserve 1 tablespoon of drippings. Drain bacon, chop, and set aside.

Heat the bacon drippings in the skillet over medium heat. Saute the zucchini, corn and onion until tender but still crisp, about 10 minutes. Season with pepper. Spoon vegetables into a bowl and sprinkle with chopped bacon and shredded cheese.


Greek Pasta Salad
Dijon Vinaigrette
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 large clove garlic, minced
Big pinch of salt
Black pepper, to taste
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Pasta Salad
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 medium yellow pepper, halved lengthwise, seeded
2 T olive oil
Ground black pepper and salt, to taste
2 T salt for pasta water
1 lb medium pasta shells
1 lb cooked shrimp, halved lengthwise
8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 c coarsely chopped, pitted Kalamata olives
1 c crumbled feta cheese
1/2 small red onion, cut into small dice
2 tsp dried oregano

To make the vinaigrette whisk together the first five ingredients, then slowly whisk in the oil for a thick consistency. Pour into a jar with a tight-fitting lid if transporting the salad.

Adjust oven rack to highest position and turn broiler on high. Toss zucchini and bell pepper with olive oil, salt and pepper and arrange on a large baking sheet with sides. Broil eight to 10 minutes, until spotty brown, turning zucchini slices and pepper halves once. Set aside in a large bowl to cool, then cut into bite-sized pieces.

Bring 1 gallon of water and 2 Tbs. of salt to boil. Add pasta; boil using package times, until just tender. Drain thoroughly (do not rinse) and dump onto the baking sheet. Set aside to cool. Put vegetables, pasta and remaining ingredients (except dressing) in the bowl or a gallon-sized zipper bag (can be refrigerated for several hours). To serve, add dressing; toss to coat.
"Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie." --Jim Davis' Garfield

Thursday, October 16, 2008

delicious stationary from PaPaYa!

Though I don't purchase a lot of stationary products, I could easily become a stationary junkie when it comes to the beautiful line from PaPaYa! I first discovered PaPaYa! in a boutique in Kauai and I immediately fell in love with their artistic, colorful, yummy designs. One look and I was definitely hooked! After today's that's hot! thursday, you'll be hooked too!

For starters, take their 2009 Birds & Blooms calendar. Each month is a work of art and a glittery, refreshing break from your standard scenic calendar. And how could their journals not inspire creativity? PaPaYa! offers everything from gift enclosures to cards to art panel prints. No matter how long I browse their site I can't get enough of the fanciful designs.

I love the story behind PaPaYa!, a "mother/ daughter team who ... share the Vision of 'Creative Abandon' by striving to bring inspiration & beauty into the far reaches of [their] business. ... PaPaYa! is intended to be [their] melting pot of ideas & curiosities with no apologies for being bold, varied, humorous. ... Everything from life is welcome."

We could all use a little more creative abandon in our lives. Me? I'm creatively challenged so I'll be turning to PaPaYa! for a little help. If you're not sure how to add creative abandon to your life, a good place to start would be by picking up a postcard, magnet or even "Love Letter" from PaPaYa!. --Emily

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

MAGHOUND: all your favorite magazines for one low price

I don't subscribe to very many magazines because I either can't keep up with the reading (Time once a week was killing me) or I get bored before my year or two subscription is up. Plus subscribing to more than one or two magazines at a time is tough on the budget, so what's a magazine junkie to do? Today's wonderful web wednesday brings you MAGHOUND, the new online membership service that lets you "choose, change, and manage all the magazines delivered to your home for one low monthly fee."

First you choose your level of membership, from three titles ($4.95 per month) to five ($7.95 per month) to seven ($9.95 per month) and up (an additional $1 per title). MAGHOUND has hundreds of magazines to choose from. To see if your favorite magazine is on MAGHOUND, click here. You can browse by top sellers, subject or search by keyword. Then you customize your package by how many titles per month you'd like. From there you can manage your account online--replace, cancel or add magazines anytime. Sounds too good to be true but the only catch I've found is that some magazines are tagged as "premium" and require an additional fee per month.

Though $60 a year sounds like a lot for a subscription, if you add up three of your current magazine subscriptions I bet they'll be close to this price or more. And I highly doubt Real Simple is going to let you change their magazine for People with just the click of the mouse.

Right now MAGHOUND is offering a 30-day free membership. They claim "no hidden commitments and no obligation to continue." You are able to cancel your membership "anytime, online, 24 hours a day, with no cancellation fees." I say it's definitely worth a try! And though they don't offer gift certificates (yet), MAGHOUND would be a great gift this holiday season. --Emily

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

what to eat before a workout

Today's take it off tuesday is all about food--more specifically what your body needs before you work out and when it needs it. In "Fuel for Your Workout: Which Foods Work Best" from the site divine caroline, Allie Firestone talks about the types of food that will give you the most bang for your bite before and during your workout...and depending on the type of workout you have planned.

The basics? Complex carbs with a side of protein is the best: "...whether it's yoga, an hour of hardcore kickboxing, or a weightlifting session ... [your meal] should ... be composed of foods that break down slowly, supplying the body with a steady stream of energy and nutrients." So basically half a king-size Twix isn't going to cut it but a ripe banana with a side of peanut butter should do the trick.

Just as important as what you eat is when you eat it. Timing depends on the size of your meal and the types of food in it:

Different factors affect how quickly the meal will break down, like whether it's liquid or solid (liquid digests faster), or if it has some healthy fats (fat needs more time to break down). ... A more snacky meal... usually takes one to two hours to digest, but a larger meal ... will need a full two to three hours.
Though natural foods are best, protein bars and shakes can be a good option if you're in a hurry or on the go. "Fuel for Your Workout" even outlines the best meals for Pilates or yoga (dark chocolate--yum!), cardio (oatmeal--yummy with a little brown sugar and a handful of raisins) and weight lifting (it's all about the protein, baby). With what limited time you have to work out, you might as well get the most out of it! --Emily

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mike Michalowicz dispels five common entrepreneur myths

Today's mompreneur monday features a recent guest post by Mike Michalowicz, author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, on The Big Idea Blog. In his post "Don’t Share Your Big Idea Because Investors Will Steal It (And Four Other Stupid Misconceptions)," Michalowicz puts to rest five common myths related to being an entrepreneur:

  1. Don’t share your big idea (i.e. investors are not lying in wait to steal your idea; they have better things to do)
  2. Go in 50/50 with your best friend (think about assigning equity based on performance; LeShan and I are happy with a 50/50 relationship but it doesn't work for everyone)
  3. Writing a business plan improves your chances for success (save a few trees and stick to three important documents: a one-page prosperity plan, a one-page quarterly plan, and the daily metrics)
  4. Count your profits at the end of the day (do just the opposite and set up a PFA or "profit first account"--I really like this idea!)
  5. Balance work and family through self-employment (ha ha! any mompreneur knows balance is about as achievable as a daily nap, but integrating the family in the business can help!)
Michalowicz gives more details on each myth in his post and it's truly worth your time to read it in its entirety (it's not very long). And when you're done you might want to read more about his book The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. After reading more about him and the rave reviews about his book, I'm thinking his book is going to be a must-have for my business library. --Emily

Friday, October 10, 2008

win a gorgeous lizzy anne quilt!

I am so glad there are talented (and beautiful) quilt makers out there because I will never be one, so it's up to these women to supple the rest of the world with gorgeous quilts and quilt designs. Daria at Boutique Cafe sent me the link to a quilt giveaway on Pigtails and Snails, a blog by Elizabeth Cranmer of Lizzy Anne quilt designs. The fabulous fall quilt she is giving away is titled "spring up" and is a Lizzy Anne original design.

The quilt is a raw-edge applique quilt, and though I don't know much about quilting, I do know this is one of my favorite techniques. It means the edges are frayed and usually already washed so they're soft. Measuring 70" x 100" the quilt is a generous twin size. You can read more about the quilt and the woman who quilted it by reading the original quilt giveaway post. She will also have 2nd and 3rd-place prizes, so you have three chances to win! You don't want to miss out on this gorgeous quilt giveaway, so enter before October 17th! Good luck! --Emily

sunday morning cinnamon rolls

With fall comes the holidays and with the holidays comes cinnamon rolls. Sure, you can eat them all year round but there's something extra yummy about eating them on a Sunday morning when the frost is thick on the ground. A good cinnamon recipe is worth more than the weight of its pan in gold, and here's a real treasure from my girlfriend Chris Rich. (Thanks, Chris!) Refrigerate, roll, raise, slice, bake and enjoy!

Sunday Morning Cinnamon Rolls
Note: Make the dough the day before

1 c water
1 c butter
3/4 c sugar
2 t salt
1 c cold water
4 eggs slightly beaten
2 packages yeast or 4 ½ t yeast
1/2 c warm water
7 1/2 c flour
1/2 c butter softened
1 c brown sugar
1/4 c cinnamon
1 recipe Powdered Sugar Glaze

In a large pot bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add the 1 cup butter, sugar and salt. Remove from heat. Add the 1 cup cold water. When mixture is lukewarm, add beaten eggs. In a separate bowl dissolve yeast in the 1/2 cup warm water. Allow yeast to rise about 5 minutes, until foamy. Stir into mixture. Add flour and stir together. Cover pan with lid and refrigerate overnight. (A 5-quart ice cream bucket with lid also works well.)

When ready to roll out, divide dough into thirds. Lightly flour surface of bread- board. Roll dough out into a 12x6-inch rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Spread each rectangle with one-third of the softened butter. In a bowl combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle 1/3 of brown sugar and cinnamon mixture over surface of dough.
Roll up jelly roll style and cut into about 12 rounds. Place on greased baking sheet. Follow same procedure with other two portions of dough. Let raise 2-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake one sheet at a time for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Spread with Powdered Sugar Glaze while still warm. Makes 3 dozen rolls.

Powdered Sugar Glaze
1/2 c butter, softened
2 c powdered sugar
2 T milk
2 t vanilla or 1 t vanilla and 1 t almond extract (her secret ingredient)

Cream above ingredients together and spread over warm cinnamon rolls. Don't forget to lick the bowl!
"I like cinnamon rolls, but I don't always have time to make a pan. That's why I wish they would sell cinnamon roll incense. After all I'd rather light a stick and have my roommate wake up with false hopes." --Mitch Hedberg

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Olive Kids character-free bedding

Because I'm especially exhausted tonight, today's that's hot! thursday is a teaser for the full Daily Dish review on Olive Kids children's bedding over at Boutique Cafe. My favorite thing about Olive Kids bedding and decor is the total lack of TV or movie characters. You won't find Spiderman on the sheets or Dora on the comforter, and for someone like me who only allows characters on underwear, it's very refreshing. Here's a little blurb from the full review:

Olive Kids was created to offer parents like me 'an affordable alternative to the character based entertainment licenses.' The company believes kids' rooms should inspire creativity and play and not serve as an advertisement for a TV show or movie. I couldn't agree more! Though my baby girl isn't old enough to realize it, she is now the proud owner of Olive Kids' Tea Party bedding set. My mom was in town when I opened the box and she and I could not stop oohing and aahing over every single piece. ...
Read the full review to learn more about why I love Olive Kids' children's bedding and decor. Don't miss the fabulous giveaway at the end of the review. Just comment on the post for your chance to win Olive Kids' awesome canvas growth chart! Good luck! --Emily

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Marshalls Shoe Mega Shop: enter to win $250!

I may love shoes but I rarely pay full price for them. If I'm not reviewing a fabulous pair of Penny Loves Kenny or Söfft shoes for Boutique Cafe then I'm shopping Nordstrom Rack or Famous Footwear's BOGO sale. But now I may have a new must-visit store for shoes; Marshalls is opening a new Mega Shop and it sounds perfect for bargain-loving shoe-lovers like me.

Marshalls' new concept is "5,000 square feet of shoe-lovers heaven, featuring top brands and the latest styles found in department and specialty stores, but for up to 60 percent less." With an easy-to-shop layout and a plethora of styles and sizes it's sure to be a mega hit!

To kick off their new Shoe Mega Shop, Marshalls is offering you a chance to win $250 in gift cards! Check out the widget below for your chance to win:



I've actually played the game a few times and it's quite fun, although I have yet to be successful at matching the shoes in all three rounds. But $250 is a tempting prize so I may have to play until I finally get it right! Good luck, and may the best shoe-lover win! --Emily

Zabitatz is THE online meeting place for homeowners

I am still getting used to this twitter thing. I almost gave up on it once or twice but am slowly getting the hang of it. Though I'm not a 24/7 twitterer I do enjoy reading what others have to say and sharing my own two cents now and then. Once in a while I even come across fun new sites and today's wonderful web wednesday is the result of such a tweet, so thank you, twitter!

If you're a homeowner in need of design advice or in need of a forum to share your fabulous design ideas, then Zabitatz is the site for you. Claiming to be "the fun, never-intimidating and always informative site where passionate members meet to share advice, insight and inspiration about everything home-related," Zabitatz is place where beginners and experts alike can ask questions and get answers on everything from painting a room to gardening to choosing the right appliance.

Collaboration is the key on Zabitatz. If you have a great idea about how to display family photos or have learned from a design mistake, share it. If you would like to know more about types of flooring or even managing finances, just ask. Members can post to forums, review products, share their favorite links, and even upload photos and videos.

Right now on Zabitatz you can enter the Wacky Tacky Home Design Disasters Contest. Just upload a photo of a crazy design distater (yours or someone else's) and if your photo wins by public vote, you could be mortgage free for a year! Zabby of Zabitatz is also highlighting her favorite pink products that support breast cancer reasearch and has opened a "pink" forum where members can discuss their favorite pink products and discuss the important topic of breast cancer.

I'm no design guru (that would be LeShan) and so this site is a great resource for the design-challenged like myself. But even if you're an ol' pro you'll still find a lot of "zabtastic" info on Zabitatz. --Emily

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Polyvore let's you mix & match to your heart's content

Even though fashion trend tuesday is usually LeShan's department I'm going to attempting one today only because the site speaks for itself. Though creativity in fashion isn't my cup of tea I might be able to brew a pot or two after playing around on Polyvore.

I first heard about Polyvore from Lena's Notebook. The site uses a unique web application that lets you mix and match images from the web. You can create full outfits from head to toe, new ideas for your living room or any collage that suits your fancy. Apparently it's highly addictive, or so the site claims and so I've gathered from Lena. (I love her To Do list!) The stats are impressive. Since the site launched in February, 2007:

  • 1.4 million unique visitors per month
  • 300,000 registered users
  • 2.2 million sets created
  • 2.3 million products

I played around a little bit on Polyvore this evening and am hooked. I started by choosing a background and immediately fell in love with the ones from aliciabock.com. Here is my first attempt. Now keep in mind I am very left brained so this isn't the coolest set you'll find on Polyvore:



If we're lucky LeShan will discover Polyvore and then we can all be seriously impressed! I admit it, I could spend a lot of time on the site but will sign off for now. One thing that's really awesome is you can check out featured sets like this one and it details every item (name and from where it came). In fact, I just checked my set above and the site had already broken it down with links to purchase the items pictured. SO COOL!

If you're like me and need a little help when it comes to creaticity in fashion, check out Polyvore's blog. I am loving the Scooby Doo Halloween costume ideas! The blog also has great fashion tips such as what to wear with argyle and how to accessorize high-waisted skirts. Fashion lovers, beware and be well rested. You'll be mixing and matching for hours on end. Have fun! --Emily

Monday, October 6, 2008

are you an overwhelmed mother?

The answer is probably yes, especially if you're a mother and mompreneur. I have many a day where I wonder how I'm going to get everything done on my to-do list, and that doesn't count the numerous unplanned interruptions (potty training fits right into that one). That thing where you run around like a chicken with its head cut off? I've used that expression one too many times. Tired of being a headless chicken I am slowly learning my world--family or business--won't fall apart if things aren't checked off the list. I'm trying to be more flexible, focus on the moment and fight the addiction to multitask every moment of every day.

I missed this week's Oprah about the overwhelmed mother who left her two-year-old girl in the car all day while she was at work. She simply forgot she was there. It was a tragic yet touching story that hit home to those of us trying to balance the daily demands of a life filled with children, groceries, laundry, invoices and emails. My first thought was, "How could she not remember her daughter was in the back seat?" And then I remembered the times when I've turned around in the car to make sure my daughter was in her car seat--I couldn't recall actually strapping her in when I left the house! Like Oprah mentioned, I too have arrived at a destination not knowing how I got there (and wondering if I ran any red lights along the way).

The message I took home from this Oprah episode was to slow down, focus on the task at hand and do whatever I can to avoid becoming overwhelmed. If you missed "An Overwhelmed Mother's Deadly Mistake" I highly recommend you read the episode (I believe it's close to the full transcript). It will help put your multitasked life into perspective. Hopefully none of us will ever have to go through something so tragic. --Emily

Friday, October 3, 2008

Handbag Planet: handbags without the high price tag

I love handbags almost as much as I love jeans and shoes. (I'd probably love them just as much if I had more room in my closet.) My friend Melissa over at Makin' Memories passed along the info about Handbag Planet, a new website that boasts "high fashion handbags without the high price." Inspired by the latest popular designer brands these handbags don't come with the designer price tag. All bags on Handbag Planet will be priced between $30 and $80!

The site launches October 15th, and to celebrate they're giving away 24 handbags in 24 hours! To enter to win simply sign up by submitting your name and email, then sselect the handbag you'd like to win. That's it. No catches (S&H fees, credit card info, membership fee, etc.) Plus if you pass along the info about Handbag Planet to your friends you'll earn extra entries. I've already registered and selected my favorite bag (7:00 p.m.). Good luck narrowing it down to one! Head on over to Handbag Planet and enter to win! --Emily

yummy deviled eggs (and the coolest way to peel hardboiled eggs!)

Though many of us love to entertain all years long, the holidays are often the busiest time of the year when it comes to crowd-friendly finger foods. One of my favorite appetizers is deviled eggs, yet I don't make them nor do I see them very often. Why is that? My guess is because of the time involved in peeling those dang eggs, and if not hardboiled just right you end up with tired fingers and less-than-appetizing eggs.

But this holiday sea
son you may see more platters of deviled eggs than in previous years, and it's all thanks to Timothy Ferriss' YouTube video "How to Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs Without Peeling." Yes, without peeling! The clip is only one minute long but it could very well change your life. Just watch:



Being women we have enough hot air to spare; we'll have a couple dozen eggs peeled in no time!

Now you need to use those freshly peeled hardboiled eggs so here are a couple deviled egg recipes from AllRecipes.com. I can't wait to try them! (If you use one before we do, please leave a comment letting us know what you thought. The same goes for Ferriss' super cool technique for peelin
g hardboiled eggs.)

Bacon Cheddar Deviled Eggs
12 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
1/2 c mayonnaise
4 slices bacon
2 T finely shredded Cheddar cheese
1 T mustard

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. (Alternatively, wrap bacon in paper towels and cook in the microwave for about 1 minute per slice.) Crumble and set aside.

Cut eggs in half lengthwise; remove yolks to a small bowl. Mash egg yolks with mayonnaise, crumbled bacon and cheese. Stir in mustard. Fill egg white halves with the yolk mixture and refrigerate until serving.


Spinach Deviled Eggs
12 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
1/4 C mayonnaise
2 T vinegar
2 T butter or margarine, softened
1 T sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

Slice eggs in half lengthwise; remove yolks and set whites aside. In a small bowl, mash yolks with a fork. Stir in the mayonnaise, vinegar, butter, sugar, pepper and salt. Add spinach and mix well. Stir in the bacon; spoon into egg whites. Serve immediately.
"Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold -- but so does a hard-boiled egg."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

this BCA month, get involved with Total Beauty -- Total Cure

What's really hot in the month of October is getting involved in breast cancer awareness. From direct donations to "pink" purchases you'll find many ways to support the search for a cure. And a cure is so desperately needed because every three minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer.

For today's that's hot! thursday I am excited to tell you about the Total Beauty blog community's month-long initiative called Total Beauty -- Total Cure, which "integrates breast cancer awareness, fundraising to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Fund (BCRF) and beauty giveaways to engage women in the quest for the cure." Tammy, our friend over at A Mom in Red High Heels, is a member of the Total Beauty blog community and has filled me in on the details:

'Total Beauty - Total Cure' is dedicated to increasing awareness about the importance of prevention and early detection, and arming women with the knowledge they need to take control of their health, bringing us one step closer to a world without breast cancer. Breast cancer information, screening guidelines, and links to available resources will be integrated throughout the campaign. And each participating blogger has pledged to raise funds for BCRF.

The Total Beauty blog community will engage its readership through daily giveaways (valued at more than $250) that require entrants to answer breast cancer trivia, making the contests both educational and fun. Giveaways will also be hosted on 'Total Beauty - Total Cure' pages on Facebook and MySpace; throughout the month of October, all visitors who become a 'friend' of the pages will be entered in a drawing to win a bounty of beauty products. Giveaway sponsors include Anastasia Beverly Hills, Benefit, Cargo, Clarisonic, Jurlique, L'Oreal Paris, NARS, Stila and Tarte.
Here is a wonderful 3-minute video from the campaign:



Breast cancer affects us all. Don't let another October go by without doing your part to support the search for a cure. Total Beauty --Total Cure is a great place to start.
Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart. ~Kahlil Gibran