Monday, May 31, 2010

Meditation: In Memory

Soldier, rest! Thy warfare o'er,
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
Dream of battled fields no more.
Days of danger, nights of waking.
~Sir Walter Scott
The story of America's quest for freedom is inscribed on her history in the blood of her patriots.
~Randy Vader
Today we honor and remember those who have fallen during their military service. Along with the gratitude in our hearts for their sacrifice, we also carry hope that someday we can live in a world without war. 
When we say "War is over if you want it," we mean that if everyone demanded peace instead of another TV set, we'd have peace.
~John Lennon

Sunday, May 30, 2010

3 Things I Wish Would Make a Comeback

1) Mom jeans. I am serious; I love mom jeans. I know they're hideous, but they are comfortable! And how I love comfort these days. Low-rider hipster jeans only look cute on skinny girls, while they accentuate the rolls many moms have. But mom jeans hold all that doughy goodness in and turn it into sexy curves. First it was dark denim, then skinny jeans--I know mom jeans are next to make a comeback.

2) New Kids on the Block. Not NKOTB or any of that crappy music they came out with in 2008, but the real New Kids on the Block. They were a serious boy band. Hangin' Tough, The Right Stuff, Please Don't Go Girl--need I say more?

3) Berry Berry Kix. I LOVED this cereal as a kid, but it seemed to have been on the market for just a short time. How could they pull such a beloved kid-tested, mom-approved cereal? Please come back, Berry Berry Kix. Please come back!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Oishii: Homemade Pop-Tarts

While exploring our ever-chainging urban neighborhood, we happened upon a new restaurant.  It's a cross between a diner and a bakery, with one of the bakers preparing yummy creations in the front window so you can observe from the sidewalk. 

Enticed, we stepped in to check it out and asked what they recommended we try.  The two waiters behind the counter both chorused "The pop-tarts!" 

Pop-tarts?  Those disgustingly sweet over-processed junk treats that you pop in the toaster?  But I got one anyhow.  Flaky pie crust on the outside, warm homemade strawberry jam on the inside... it was so good.  Mayumi, usually a good sharer, barely let me have a bite.  It was the perfect little treat on a misty morning after yoga.

I've been thinking about that little confection ever-since and I figured it couldn't be too difficult to make. A quick search on the internet yielded this guide, with beautiful photos and easty-to-follow instructions.  Next cool day I may try my hand at these pretty treats - let me know if you do, too!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Playtime!: Cupcake flowers

Can't make it outside to pick a real bouquet? Have your child make some cupcake flowers!

No complicated instructions needed. Just grab some cupcake liners, poke a hole in the middle and insert a pipe cleaner. Add a special touch by having your child draw on the liners for a very special bouquet that never dies.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wiggly Worms

It must be said that I am a worm advocate.  I love those wiggly little subterranean creatures.  I'm quite passionate about them - and as you may have noticed, I'm a bit opinionated so can't help but think that everyone else should love them, too.  If you need a bit of convincing, here are a few reasons why they have won a place in my heart:

Every household should have one of these:

The little black box tucked behind the plant is my worm bin.

It houses hundreds, if not thousands, of red wiggler worms.

They consume almost all of my fruit and vegetable scraps and then poop it out.

Worm poop is awesome.

There are some good books about worms.  I never knew they could be so interesting until I read Amy Stewart's The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms.  I like Amy Stewart - she is a writer, a nature lover and an artist and she has her own blog called Dirt

We've also enjoyed these books for kids:
Wigglin Worms at Work by Wendy Pfeffer and Steve Jenkins

and Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss

and Garden Wigglers: Earthworms in Your Backyard by Nancy Loewen and Rick Peterson.
I don't know why (okay, maybe because I have brainwashed her) but my daughter loves worms, too.

I don't have any more reasons. I feel as though these are enough. Let me know if I've convinced you...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I have a little addiction. Well, maybe a big addiction. I like to coupon and find deals. I wrote about it a little in this post but figured that I would write a more comprehensive post later. Well, here it is. It all started out so innocently - a sojourn with the computer and some friends' blogs during naptime got me linked to this blog, Being Frugal is Fabulous (website is now defunct). And I thought, what a wonderful idea - a blog about being frugal - now that is something that is useful and that I don't need to feel guilty about spending my time on (as opposed to spending hours on Facebook looking at pictures of old high school classmates that I haven't talked to or seen since high school or craft blogs of crafts that I will never do, but that is another post for another time).

Well, it got added to my blog roll and I checked it out whenever I was on and sometimes, there was some really cool deal that I would follow up on and other times, the posts just didn't apply to me. Oftentimes, there would be multiple posts per day so I was checking it at least daily and then noticed that in the posts, there were often thanks to other bloggers for finding the deal and a link to that blogger's blog. So I started clicking away and discovering this whole community of frugal blogs and each one got added to my blog roll. It got to the point where I was probably following 6 or 7 frugality blogs. And then I started to notice that the blogs were all posting the same things from each others' blogs! I finally whittled my following down to two of the most comprehensive blogs and subscribed to their daily e-mails and took them off my blog roll so I wouldn't compulsively check them every time I went on the computer (which is sometimes multiple times per day). I figured that once a day is enough for me and any really, really hot deals can wait until the next day.

Here are the two blogs that got me started on my addiction of deal savvyness: For the Mommas and My Frugal Adventures. They both have huge followings and I wonder if there is not some friendly competition between them. But they both make dozens of posts per day about new coupons, free samples, store sales, and everything in between. I still find that a lot of what they post doesn't apply to me so there is a lot of sifting that I do. And it can be a little overwhelming at first because there are so many deals, but you have to start off small and figure out how much time and effort that you want to put into your own frugality ventures (because there is definitely an opportunity cost to this and a pretty steep learning curve to figure out how this system works - at least for me).

I just started by signing up for free samples (I joke with my husband and sisters that I have prostituted my name and address out to the online world). Then I started signing up for rewards programs - and get made fun of by my husband and friends for being part of Pampers Village and being a fan of Huggies on Facebook and anything else on there that will give me a free sample or coupon. There are also quite a few coupons available to print that I have to be careful about too because I could seriously use up all my ink on coupons for products that I won't buy or wouldn't normally buy.

Most recently though, my biggest time sink has been drugstore deals. I used to never shop at Rite Aid or Walgreens. I actually wondered who in the world shopped at those stores because they seemed so expensive and why would you go there when you can go to Target or Walmart? But I kept seeing these bloggers get these incredible deals there. So I finally jumped in and started to figure out the system.

I can't really reasonably explain how it all works in this post because it would take a while and if you are really that interested, it's better to check out the blogs that I have listed above. But I just have to post (and perhaps boast a little bit) about these incredible deals that I have got, not just from the drugstores but from everywhere. I can't even imagine paying full price for some of these things now because you can always find coupons to stack with good sales. I still consider myself quite a deal amatuer, but it is turning into a fun little hobby although I have to constantly keep myself in check to not obsess about every deal and go chasing them unreasonably. But since I'm a stay-at-home mom, I have some flexibility to make multiple, quick shopping trips.

Anyway, on to the deals...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Coupon crazy

I have a bit of an obsession.

And true to my nature I am uber-organized (read: anal-retentive) about it.

At any given time I have dozens of coupons in my wallet, ready at my fingertips.

 I love to save money!

And I'm willing to share with you some of my secret sites where I feed this obsession; then maybe you can get addicted to and we can support each other!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

People with kids less happy

Heard this interesting piece on NPR about new research that suggests people with kids are less happy than those without. The question the piece poses is this: why do people have kids if it makes them less happy?

I can't answer the question because I don't think the finding is accurate: having kids doesn't make us less happy, it just makes us happy in a different way.

Yes, I miss my free time. I miss being able to get up and go whenever I want, to do things without having to worry about how Olive's feeding or nap time fits in. I miss my old body (funny how I used to be dissatisfied with it; now I'd love to have it back!). And it's become a serious challenge to spend quality alone time with my husband when only a few months ago we could do this whenever we wanted.

But the trade-off? This precious little life, wholly dependent on you. Watching your child grow, learn and imitate you. Feeling rewarded when they make good choices, achieve success and create their own family.

I don't believe children make us less happy. In fact, I think they give us more than happiness; they give us true joy. And while it can be stressful, time-consuming and sometimes overwhelming to be a parent, it makes the payoff that much sweeter.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Oishii: Raw Milk

For the past year or so we've been ordering raw milk products from Farmer Dan, an Amish farmer in Pennsylvania.  Both Mr. Q and Mayumi love the taste, and after reading about all the benefits of raw milk (and understanding the rare but possible dangers) we became avid consumers and advocates for it.  We hear first-hand accounts of how our friend's children exhibited allergies to regular store-bought milk, but they have no averse reactions to rawmilk.  And we feel good that we are supporting a small, local farmer who engages in humane, organic, pasture-fed practices in raising his cows.

For some reason, the FDA is not a fan of raw milk.  In fact, they have made it illegal for farmers to sell it (in their efforts to regulate and control food safety, which in some cases is a complete joke.  Anyone want salmonella with their spinach?). They've increased their persecution of farmers who sell raw milk products.  Farmer Dan's family farm was raided by federal agents at five in the morning and is now facing possible prosecution.  My access and my educated choice to drink raw milk has been denied.

One of the women in our buying club wrote these wise words:
Many years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said "Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal" While I really understand those of you who feel that signing the contract will put you in some jeopardy of following the law, please remember that it used to be illegal to help a runaway slave. Would you follow that law? It is used to be totally legal to ban people of certain backgrounds to eat at the same lunch counters as people of other backgrounds, use the same bathrooms, go to the same schools, take seats in the front of the bus, etc. And people took that really seriously and followed those laws. Would you not challenge that law? In some cases, laws are tools of mob rule. As the Declaration of Independence states: "and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." I think we all need to be aware of our own limits. At what point do you say "that is enough!" and begin to challenge the status? Perhaps an armed FDA raid of a peaceful Amish farm is not your limit. What is your limit and at what point do you stand up for what you believe is right?

I'm not sure if this is an issue that any of you care about, or are even aware of, but I just wanted to put it on your radar.  I try to conscientous about the food I put into my body and into my family's mouths, as well as the political implications of my decisions.  I will be writing letters to the appropriate leaders, joining organizations that are fighting for freedom of food, and if I ever get the chance, I'll stand in picket lines to protest these kinds of regulations that do more harm than good.  So, if you're of the same mind, mamas of the world unite!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Playtime!: File folder games

If I knew how much work this project would be, I wouldn't have started it. But now that it's done, I'm glad I have these fun file folder games on hand.

After perusing lots of different websites for free file folder games, I printed templates from They had a nice array for preschool through third grade. You can print them in black and white, then color them in yourself, but I chose to save some time and just print them in color.

Then there's the cutting. And there's lots of cutting.

My recommendation? Don't print the game with the dinosaurs--the scales on their back are a pain to cut out. But the others were fairly easy, just time consuming.

Then there's the laminating and the velcro-ing, and cutting the lid to the envelope that holds all the pieces.

Ultimately, this project wasn't that cheap. I only have a color inkjet printer and I wanted the sheets done on a laser printer, so I had the pages printed at Kinko's. Add the cost of the lamination and this becomes a pretty pricey project. But punch some holes through the folders, throw them in a binder and you've got a compact and mobile way to entertain kids for hours.

Here are the links to the games I made:

Alphabet hearts:

Cupcake count:

Alpha animals:

Dino colors:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The cost of Costco

This was my receipt from my most recent trip to Costco:

Only it doesn't include the $35 in gas. Or the $105 for my contact lenses. Or the $1.50 for the hot dog (come on, that is a bargain).

Good thing I kept my day job.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Skin Protection

It is already like summer in my neck of the woods and we've been enjoying almost every minute of it outside.  That warm sunshine feels so good on my skin, but I know better...

We lather up every time we go outside.  I'm already starting to show signs of sun damage - wrinkles, spots, etc. - from all my years of careless sun exposure.  I can't stand the thought of my fair-skinned daughter facing the same fate.  But while I hate all those chemical-laden products out there, the so-called "natural" stuff is so pricey and I wonder if it as effective?  I'm not sure, but here are a few that I've tried:

My hands-down favorite is Dr. Hauschka Sunscreen Cream for Children and Sensitive Skin (the middle tube) but apparently they don't sell it anymore.  Both the Burt's Bees and the Little Twig creams are fine, though they're a bit thick and leave a whitish film on your skin.  But they seem to work and that's the important thing. 

Is there a sunblock that you'd recommend?  I'm up for trying something new, but at $20-30 a tube, it's quite an investment!  But worth it!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Meditation: Patience

Such wisdom on the back of Mayumi's t-shirt.

A gentle reminder to not sweat the small stuff, or the big stuff for that matter.  Life is too short, and their childhoods fly by.  There's no time for discouragement, is there?  I sometimes like to rush things along and find myself looking forward rather than savoring the moment and being patient with myself and my child.  But being a wabisabi mama is all about acknowledging that everything is fleeting - the good stuff and the bad - so take a moment to enjoy what is, right now.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

We're ba-ack

Okay, so I know the last bunch of posts have been by MamaQ (I don't know where in the world she finds time to do all that blogging!). But I wanted you all to know that D and I have not fallen off the face of the planet; things have just been crazy. (I'm sure you can relate.) But we are committing to do better (right D?)!

Looking forward to being more in touch with all y'all!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Oishii: Quinoa with Broccoli

I know I've already raved about Heidi Swanson, but I found this other recipe from her website and tried it out and just had to share it. Double Broccoli Quinoa.

I love using wholegrains and quinoa is one of my favorites. She makes two batches of broccoli - the first she purees into a peso to mix in with the quinoa and other batch of broccoli.  She eats it with sliced avocado and feta crumbled on top.  Doesn't it sound divine? If you like garlic, you'll love this tasty dish. My husband is not the hugest fan of garlic, so next time I make it I will probably roast it first so it won't be so potent.  If you try it, let me know what you think!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Trialogue: Co-Sleeping

Q: It never occured to me that there was an alternative to babies sleeping in cribs until I went to visit my friend Noriko in Japan after she had given birth to her first son.  She slept with him Japanese-style on a futon on the straw mat floor.  My first concern: Aren't you afraid you'll roll over onto him?  She kind of laughed at this and shrugged her shoulders.  "Oh well!" she joked.  I later learned that it is very common in Japan (and many other eastern cultures) to co-sleep, and I remembered that my cousins had all slept with their parents as babies, and some into the elementary school years.

I was re-introduced to the concept of co-sleeping, or bed-sharing, when I met my friend Ginger.  She practiced what she called a "family bed" where everyone slept together in the same room, if not the same giant bed.  It seemed so cozy and nurturing and when I expressed my concerns, she responded with thoughtful, fact-based answers: co-sleeping promotes breastfeeding and bonding with a newborn and is actually SAFER than putting your baby in a crib.  Some excellent and more in-depth articles about this subject can be found here and here.

As I did more research in preparation for becoming a parent, I realized that my own comfort and personal philosophies aligned with the Attachment Parenting method, which espouses co-sleeping.  When Mayumi was born we slept Japanese-style on the floor with her in bed with us.  It made those night-time nursing sessions a breeze and I never really felt sleep-deprived.  Mayumi is two and half and continues to sleep in our bed, which is exactly where we want her to be.

D: So the big elephant in the room: what about sex?

Q: Oh please. Where there is a will there is a way.  First of all, the girl is usually asleep by 8:30pm.  We can make love anywhere we want in the house, though we've certainly done it in the very same bed where she is sleeping and she has NEVER woken up.  And if she did, we're not really worried about it.  We're a pretty affectionate and open family (she bathes with us and dresses with us, but that is a subject for a different post), so I don't think she'd be too shocked and disturbed, if at all.

M: The closest we ever got to co-sleeping was having a bassinet next to our bed. I thought it was a great idea because I figured I could keep an eye on baby and not wonder if she was breathing or not, and have her at arm's reach for those late-night feeding sessions. What I didn't factor in was how much noise babies make! I awoke at every movement, every sigh and coo. Plus, the genius of having her close by so I wouldn't have to get out of bed wasn't a reality; I was getting up to change her diaper anyway before feeding in order to wake her up (especially as a newborn) and keep her clean. So after two weeks, I moved Olive into a crib in her own bedroom. Hubby and I both slept better and now enjoy having our bed and our bedroom to ourselves.

D: I'm with M for the most part on this topic but there are times when I make an exception. Lucy stayed in our room for the first 3 weeks post-partum, and then we moved her into her own room. I was mostly too scared to have her sleep with us because I was afraid that we would smother her or hit her. I think that there was one time that I slept with her because she had a little fever and we did skin-to-skin but it wasn't for the whole night and I made my husband sleep on the couch so that I would have plenty of room for with her - she slept on my chest but I didn't sleep much. She started to sleep through the night around 6 weeks and after that, I didn't see the point in sleeping with her if she was sleeping so well on her own and I was getting better rest and sleeping with my husband. Like M, all the baby noise kept me up.

However, we have a spare bed in her bedroom and when she is sick or teething or just "off" for whatever reason and wakes up in the night, I often sleep in the spare bed with her as I nurse in the side-lying position. I don't get the best quality of sleep and I miss my husband but if it is just every once in a while, it's not so bad. It's easier than frequently getting out of bed. The only other time I have co-slept that I actually enjoyed was in Japan when Lucy was about 5 months old - we slept on futons on the floor and she was a little messed up from the time difference (and we were too) but she slept beautifully there with us and I didn't have to worry about her falling off the bed.

Q: It is definitely a personal decision and of course, you have to find what works best for you and your family.  One of my biggest frustrations, though, is when people are judgmental about it or when states like New York initiate campaigns against co-sleeping based on faulty information and ignorant assumptions.  The truth is, there is no inherently safe place for a baby to sleep.  There are so many factors you need to consider when making this decision, including breastfeeding needs, quality of sleep for mother and baby, and basic safety.  In my case, there are few things sweeter than witnessing my baby sleep - sometimes she softly giggles and smiles in her sleep and it makes my heart soar. I love falling asleep to the gentle cadence of her breathing and her warm little body snuggled against mine.  I feel like she is safest is there.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

3 Things: Guilty Pleasures

My guilty pleasures? Too many to name, but here are a few:

1. Reality TV: Ever since becoming a half-time stay-at-home mom, I watch a lot more daytime TV. (Hey, I need something to do while I'm nursing or folding the laundry!) Some of the shows I've watched: Keeping Up With the Kardashians, A Baby Story (I always get teary-eyed), 16 and Pregnant, 19 Kids and Counting, Kendra and, yes, Jerseylicious. Don't judge me.

2. Ice cream: I used to have a serious obsession with ice cream when I first got married. I ate a bowl literally every day. I know I was worrying my new husband with this bad habit, but somehow I was able to keep the pounds off and eventually grew out of the habit. Then I had a baby and my ice cream hormones came back. It's bad. Really bad.

3. Red pen: I majored in PR and minored in English in college, wrote for my school newspapers, have had some work published, and do a lot of writing in my job, so I consider myself a decent writer and stickler for grammar and technicality. I like reading books like Eats, Shoots and Leaves and worship the AP Stylebook. It drives me crazy when people use two spaces after a period or when they use it's the contraction and it should be its the possessive pronoun. And I like to let everyone know it. I love it when people give me writing to edit at work because I know I'll find a mistake and will get to mark up the paper, proving to everyone that I'm really smart. It's kind of evil, but I love my red pen.

And your guilty pleasures? Please make me feel better by sharing!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Love Letter

Dear Mayumi,

Today you said the funniest thing: we were talking about how much we loved Dad and when I started listing all of his admirable qualities like how he's smart, funny, hard-working, handsome, and kind, you proudly chimed in "and hairy!"  I love how you make me laugh all the time.

Love, your Mama

Monday, May 10, 2010

Meditation: Receiving and Giving

Receiving and giving are opposite energies that are inextricably linked together in the natural flow of life, like inhaling and exhaling.  If one aspect of that cycle doesn't function, the entire cycle ceases to function and the life force cannot move freely. If you can't inhale, you will soon have nothing to exhale, and before long, your body will be unable to continue living.

~Shakti Gawain

I have become an ardent advocate of breathing.

I realize that must sound a bit daft, but it truly is the essence of being.  When I meditate during yoga I focus on my breathing.  There is, of course, the physical aspect of inhaling and exhaling, but along with it is the emotional/spiritual aspect of receiving life, vitality, goodness, grace and then releasing anger, frustration, guilt, toxins.  And there is the social aspect of receiving friends and family unconditionally, as they are and then giving love, kindness, service, abundance.  

It blows my mind how so much can be meditated on just by the simple act of breathing.  Both the inhale and the exhale, the yin and the yang, are necessary for survival, in every aspect.

Just something to chew one.  Or breathe on, I guess!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all of you mamas out there. We hope your day is filled with love, gratitude, happiness and many blessings.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Trialogue: In Honor of Mother

Q: We are enormous fans of our mother. She is a figure that looms large in our collective psyche - the embodiment of all things good and comforting. She prepared our meals, sewed our clothes, gardened our vegetables and flowers, and kept an immaculately clean house. But she was never inaccessible - she was humble and ever-present. Like all good mothers, she was (and is) the heart of our family.

M: And isn't she a hot mama?! She's going to kill us for posting these pictures of her. Growing up, and even sometimes still, Wabisabi Mom would cover her face so it couldn't be photographed. Confusing, because we always knew she was so beautiful. And though it's cliche, she is beautiful on both the outside and the inside. I have never known someone who was so giving. I can't count how many times she made meals for people when they were struggling--physically, emotionally or financially. She labored many long hours in her garden only to give away most of her crop. She instilled gratitude in us kids as we constantly saw her writing notes of thanks and appreciation to those who had showed her kindness. But most of all, she was a good mother to her four children.

When I was young, I remember my mother sometimes losing her temper (understandable and expected with four rambunctious children totaling only seven years apart). But as I grew older, my mother must have matured as well. Somehow she developed infinite patience with us and gracefully handled our various stages, from hyper kid to snotty adolescent to defiant teen. Oh, that I could raise my children with the same forbearance!

D: I'm not sure when the realization hit me that my mom was totally awesome. It must have been very gradual but I think that ever since I left home for college, when I was homesick or physically sick or lonely or sad for whatever reason, it was always my mother I craved. I think that we take for granted our family and especially our mothers until we are on our own. I definitely agree with Q that she was/is the embodiment of all things comforting and good and, as the baby of the family, the yearning for her in tough times was pretty strong. We Wabisabi sisters may somewhat romanticize her role in our family but the adoration is well deserved. If I can have but a smidgen of my mother's work ethic, patience, thoughtfulness, and devotion, I would consider myself a successful wife and mother. She is the quintessence of Wabisabi and I couldn't have asked for a better example to strive for.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Oishii: Sweet Potatoes!

Occasionally someone will ask me what kinds of food I feed Mayumi, as though I have some secret Japanese magic that I'm keeping all to myself.  The truth is, Mayumi has always been a pretty good eater and we've always been good about cooking and offering her a variety of healthy, interesting food.  In general, she eats what we eat, and even if she doesn't like something, we continue to offer it to her (but never force her!) because sometimes she'll surprise us and start to like it.

But maybe I do have a few tricks up my sleeve.  One of our favorite snacks is an inspiration from my friend, Ginger, who introduced me to the wonders and deliciousness of coconut oil.  When you combine it with sweet potatoes and a bit of salt, you can't go wrong.

Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Chips
2 sweet potatoes, any kind (the orange-fleshed one pictured below is a garnet sweet potato and the white-fleshed one is a Japanese sweet potato.  we love them both.)
2 tablespoons of coconut oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Wash, peel and slice the sweet potatoes.
Spread two tablespoons of coconut oil on a rimmed baking sheet.
Arrange the sweet potatoes on a single layer on the sheet.
Sprinkle with salt to taste (you don't need much).
Bake for about 20 minutes and then flip the potatoes to the other side and cook for 10 minutes longer.
Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Homemade: Mommy Tote

It's so hard to find the perfect gift for mothers - something creative and beautiful and useful that captures your intense gratitude for the amazing sacrifice and dedication they've shown.  It's almost impossible!

But this little project may be something... 

Inspired by one of my favorite ee cummings poems (you may have seen it posted here a few weeks ago) I thought making a handy little tote with the words "i carry you in my heart" on it would capture somewhat the feelings of a mother for her children (or grandchildren).  I used about half a yard of fabric for the outside and found a complementary color for the pocket, lining and handles.  I plan to send it along to my mother tomorrow (look for it in the mail soon, mom!).

For the picture frame I simply traced a lopsided heart out of cardboard, covered it with fabric and glued on a piece of vinyl behind it to protect the photo.  Using embraidery floss, I just sewed it on to the pocket.  It was quite an easy little project - and I think it'll be handy for carrying a couple magazines or books (it's a bit more delicate rather than sturdy, so nothing too heavy!).

I know some of you have some wonderful, thoughtful, and creative gifts you've given and/or received for Mother's Day.  Please share!