Thursday, May 31, 2007

Cool Scrapbook Business Opportunity!

Do you dream of owning your own business? Is scrapbooking your favorite hobby and now you think you're ready to take this hobby to the next level? If you answered "yes" to these on.

A colleague of mine, Vera Raposo, the queen of scrapbooking, is going to knock your socks off with her brand spanking new Scrap Venture Coaching System.

This is a 7-week program that will take your scrapbook business to new levels. Don’t take my word for it. Here’s the scoop on what you’ll get during this coaching session with Vera:

1. Laying the foundation for your business
2. Building your website
3. Locating scrapbook products
4. Using auctions as business-builders
5. Marketing techniques
6. Mastering Internet marketing
7. Planning for your future

This coaching package is very exciting! Not only does Vera provide the weekly lessons, but you also get one-on-one coaching with her, a members-only forum, and feedback every week on your completed lesson. Now, where can you go to get this kind of personal business mentoring at such a reasonable price? Nowhere!

I am excited to share this with you because I know there are tons of moms out there searching for legitimate business opportunities. Vera is a trusted and highly respected work at home mom, too, so she understands where you’re coming from. Plus, the advice she gives is backed by years of experience in the scrapbook industry.

If you are considering starting your own scrapbook business, I implore you to grab this remarkable opportunity before you take the plunge. Let Vera guide you with her expansive knowledge about the scrapbook business. Hurry—the first round of coaching begins Monday, June 4th!

Make sure you reserve your spot now.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Unique Father's Day Ideas

What? Father's Day is coming soon?

Can you believe it? Half the year is almost gone...and yes, it is time to honor your Dad. If he's sick of receiving that same old tie as a present...check this cool stuff out! is a cool new site I discovered with some unique ideas for Father's Day!

Hit the Sauce - This cool gourmet basket (shown left) has a great assortment of grilling and barbecue sauces from Jack Daniels, Maker's Mark, Jim Beam and Beefeater. There are also some flavored coffees in there for good measure!

Cigar Sampler - This 20 piece sampler contains 4 each of some of the highest rated cigars produced today.

Beer of the Month* - Each month, dad could receive a 12-pack of 4 different types of hand-crafted microbrewed beer in 12 ounce bottles.

Tour of the Wine Country Gift Basket* - Is your dad a wine lover? This basket is a great choice that includes 3 different California wines, meats, cheeses, crackers and some Ghirardelli chocolate to top it off!

These are just a few of the cool gifts that are available from These gifts are unique and convenient for you too!

* Alcohol related purchases can only be shipped to certain states, please make sure you make sure dad is able to receive this great gift before you purchase!

Tips for Sticking to Your Family Budget

You have a family budget in place. Now the hard part begins—sticking to your family budget. With the demands of all the wants and needs of kids, it can be challenging to keep a close eye on your money matters. Here are some simple tips to save money and help you stick to your family budget:

  • No satellite – On average, the least expensive satellite package can run anywhere from $35-$40 per month. Multiply that times twelve months and you end up with a whopping $420-$480 per year! Do away with this single bill and your family can save almost $500 every year. Now that’s an incentive!
  • Limited video rentals – Many families choose to rent movies for a family night instead of going to the movies. While rentals are a huge money saver, it can still get expensive if you go overboard. Limit your rentals to two every two weeks, for example.
  • Return videos early – Another cost that adds up quickly is overdue rental fees. For the cost of a few past due days on one movie, you could purchase that movie and watch it forever if you wanted to. Write yourself a note so you won’t forget to return your movie rentals on time. Even better, try using an online video rental service like Netflix. You’ll pay the same each month, pay no late fees, and get new movies every time you return one.
  • Plan meals before shopping – Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. You will want to buy everything you see on the shelves. You may think it’s silly, but you will be amazed at the results if you try it.
  • Buy off-brand products – Most off-brand products taste much the same as their counterparts. There are a few, like mayonnaise for example, that taste slightly different. For the most part, if you are trying to stick to a budget, buying off-brand products can save you a lot of money. And don’t forget to clip and use coupons, too!
  • Bring your lunch to work – Once again, let’s do the figures. If you spend a minimum of $5.00 per day on lunch (that’s a cheap lunch!), at the end of the week, you’ve racked up $25.00. With gas prices on the rise every day, that extra $25.00 could come in handy if you drive to work, too. Instead of eating out, fix your lunch to bring with you.
  • Drink water – Sodas are easy to grab and run with, but water is much healthier for you. Instead of spending money on canned drinks, buy a family-size pack of bottled water. You’ll save money and drink healthier.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The History of Memorial Day

Memorial Day was first celebrated on May 5, 1866 at Waterloo, New York. This was due to the fact that the town commemorated Memorial Day yearly with the entire community engaged in events, including decorating the graves of soldiers with flags and flowers.

Originally named Decoration Day in honor of the soldiers who died in the Civil War, it was John A. Logan, General of the Army of the Republic who, on May 5, 1868, declared that May 30th would be a day in which flowers who decorate the graves of those who died in defense of their country. In fact, at the first celebration of Decoration Day, then General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. honoring the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who fought and died. It is said that over 5000 people helped to decorate these graves with flags and flowers.

Since then, Memorial Day has since become a day of reflection and observance. All businesses are closed for the day, as well as government buildings. In addition, all members of the armed services, from World War I to today, have been so honored. Memorial Day spawned Veteran’s Day, which is observed on November 11th. Subsequently, Congress declared Memorial Day as a national holiday and is celebrated during a solemn ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. One of the most important events is the placing of the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, which is usually done by the President or the Vice-President.

The tomb contains the remains of unknown American soldiers from all of the wars American fought. Moreover, every solider was given the Medal of Honor at the time they were interred, and you can see these medals at the Memorial Amphitheater. In addition, the tomb is guarded every day of every year by special members of the Old Guard. It is a fitting tribute to these men, and every year thousands of people visit this site to pay homage to these great men.

Memorial Day has become especially significant, as we have our troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Honoring them and those who died before them is not only fitting, but reminds us that freedom comes at a price, and any soldier would tell you that fighting for their country is worth the sacrifice. Remember the men and women who are in far away lands protecting the freedom of others, as well as our own. Light a candle in their honor; send them a message of thanks or a care package of homemade cookies; let them know you are thinking and praying for them. It’s the least we can do to ensure our Memorial Day history is not merely read from a book, but practiced every day.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Summertime Peach Freezers

With summertime fast approaching, I thought you might want a fun drink that is great for the whole family!

1/2 c. milk
1 c. sliced peaches fresh or canned
1 tsp. sugar

ice cube tray
serving dishes

Pour milk in ice cube tray and freeze solid. Once frozen, pull from tray and place in blender. Add peaches and sugar to blend on high speed until smooth. Serve immediately.

***Of course, if you want to make this a fun, adult only drink, just add a little rum before blending ;)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

7 Camping Essentials for Families

Memorial Day weekend is here - one of the biggest camping weekends of the year! If you're heading out and want some help getting ready, here are 7 camping essentials every family should have.

  1. Tent, bedding and tarp
  2. Clothing fitting for the season and area
  3. Camp stove, charcoal and other cooking supplies
  4. Food, water, paper plates, cups, flatware, napkins
  5. Personal hygiene items
  6. Cell phone, and flashlight
  7. First aid kit

Is this your first camping trip? Your kids must be so excited! After all, taking a vacation where you can sleep under the stars; explore; have some home cooked meals; sit by a campfire roasting marshmallows, and tell ghost stories or sing; not being cooped up in some hotel – this is as exciting as it gets!

Ensuring that you are fully prepared, these 7 camping essentials every family should have are mandatory. However, you may wish to bring along other items such as a camera; fun games for the kids such as card and board games, or fishing rods (if you’re near a lake); and all of the necessary items you would need to cook; clean; as well as extra blankets and pillows. Additional matches and batteries would be preferable.

Camping has become more popular than ever, and it’s no wonder! Communing with nature; discovering new sites and sounds, but more importantly, spending time with your family without all of the modern conveniences and electronics which inevitably interrupt quality time spent with kids at home.

Another good way to prepare for your camping trip would be to ask questions at the camping store to ensure you have all of the items you need to make this a successful adventure. Who knows, this may be the beginning of a new vacation tradition for you and your family! There are so many places to see and experience; natural wonders which mesmerize kids, and give them a better appreciation of nature. Be sure to take lots of pictures! They will make a great addition to your family vacation scrapbook. Be safe and have a great time!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Time to Open Up the Swimming Pool!

Pretty soon it will be time to open the swimming pool and/or bring out the vinyl pool for your kids. In order to ensure any pool is safe and prepared for summer fun, here are some tips you can utilize.

If you have a vinyl pool, check for rips and tears. If there are any, you can easily purchase a repair kit from any pool dealership. Follow the directions in the kit, and the kids will be set to go!

If you have a larger pool or built in pool, there are additional steps you will have to take:

  1. Ensure you have all of the chemicals you need to properly prepare your pool for the summer. Get rid of any outdated chemicals you may have on hand.

  2. Remove the pool cover and clean it; fold, and store for the summer.

  3. Get rid of all debris from the pool floor using a leaf net.

  4. Adjust the pH and Alkaline levels of the water.

  5. Use chlorine to get rid of any bacteria in the pool.

  6. Get the pump and filter in working order. Reassemble the ladders to the deck of the pool.

  7. Remove all of the plugs and replace the return outlet fittings.

  8. Fill the pool up to its normal level.
    Check all of your electrical components to ensure they are working properly.

  9. Start the circulation equipment and clean the pool.

  10. Check the chemistry of the water as well as the levels to ensure they are up to speed. The rule of thumb is to run the circulation system for three days until the water is completely clear.

  11. Get out your tire tubes and water mats; inflate and give them a good cleaning before they are placed in the pool.
When it’s time to open the swimming pool, the kids become excited and can’t wait for the first warm day. Ensure their pool is not filled with too much water. Make sure it has been cleaned, and most of all, make it as safe for them as possible.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bladder Infections Can Be Dangerous in Children

While bladder infections are somewhat common among women, they can affect children as well. In fact, studies have shown that urinary tract infections are common around the age of three, during the time the child is being toilet trained.

Why are bladder infections dangerous in children and what can be done to prevent them?

According to research, cystitis or inflammation of the bladder occurs in children who may have an abnormal urinary tract. What this means is that they may be predisposed to infection time and again. For the very young, this is especially dangerous since it could cause kidney damage later on in life. Therefore, it is recommended that any child who has a history of two or more urinary tract infections should have x-rays and ultrasound tests, especially if the infection is accompanied by fever, pain and vomiting. Neither girls nor boys are immune to this condition, so it is important to see your child’s pediatrician to determine what can be done to properly treat the condition.

Make sure your child's genital area is clean by:

  • wiping from front to back after each bowel movement
  • drinking lots of fluids
  • wearing cotton underwear
Bladder infections can be painful. Some common symptoms may include:
  • the need to urinate but nothing comes out
  • a burning sensation as you urinate
  • not being able to control your bladder - It is very important to ensure your child urinates completely and goes to the bathroom as soon as he or she needs to, and not hold it in.

If your child exhibits any of the above symptoms, it is important that her pediatrician be informed so that if it reoccurs, he can then perform the necessary tests to ascertain if your child is predisposed to this condition.

Are bladder infections dangerous in children? Yes, but fortunately, they can be effectively diagnosed and treated.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Garmin StreetPilot GPS Navigator

Product Name: Garmin Street Pilot GPS Navigator
Submitted by: Marie Ynami; Redlands, CA
Rating: 9
Where to buy:

Description: It is a small, convenient, portable and easy to use automotive GPS navigator. It has three-dimensional map graphics, is voice-prompted and tells you turn-by-turn directions through a built-in speaker.

Review: I love this gadget. I feel more confident leaving the house knowing that I will not get lost.

I like the fact that I do not have to stare at the map while I am driving as the "voice" tells me if I need to make a left or a right, get on the freeway or which exit to take. It also tells me the distance and my estimated time of arrival.

We have 2 cars and since this is portable, I can move it from one car to the other with no hassles. I simply un-mount it from the windshield of the one car and mount it onto the other car - so easy!

Now, my husband and I do not need to stop and ask for directions! The driver can choose from either a three-dimensional mapping perspective or the standard overhead bird's-eye view.

It has a neat touch-screen which allows for quick access to features such as addresses, recent locations, food, and lodging and it automatically puts you back on course when you make a wrong turn or run into traffic problems.

It includes a SD card slot and 128 SD card and Map Source City Select street data on CD-ROM. You can upload detailed maps using your computer and the Map Source City Select street data on CD-ROM.

It can be charged too because it has an internal lithium-ion battery. It also includes a vehicle suction cup mount w/integrated power cable and PC/USB interface cable.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

7 Tips for Lowering Your Risk for Heart Disease

Heart disease is one of the number one killers of women. Though women suffer fewer heart attacks than men, they are less likely to survive when they do have a heart attack. Men and women should be mindful of the risks of heart disease and take steps to reduce their risk.

  1. Stop smoking. Smoking increases the risk of heart disease. If you are having trouble, try using a nicotine patch or the gum.
  2. Know your blood pressure. When the arteries of the body and the heart are narrowed due to plaque buildup in the vessels, blood pressure will increase. When blood is under such pressure, it can dislodge pieces of arterial plaque into the bloodstream. This could lead to a heart attack if the plaque lodges in a coronary artery or a stroke if the plaque lodges in the brain.
  3. Have your cholesterol checked. High blood cholesterol leads to plaque deposits on the walls of arteries. As more plaque builds up, the vessels will narrow. There are three main components: HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. HDL lowers total blood cholesterol by removing plaques that have been deposited on the walls of arteries. LDL causes the plaques to stick to the arteries in the first place. Triglycerides are a fatty substance in the blood. High triglyceride levels have been linked to heart disease. The doctor may prescribe medication to lower your blood cholesterol. A number less than 200 mg/dl is desirable.
  4. Lose weight if necessary. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential to lowering your risk of heart disease. Carrying too much weight, especially around the midsection, increases the strain on your heart, not to mention your back and your legs.
  5. Start an exercise program. Performing an exercise for at least thirty minutes most days of the week will increase your cardiovascular health and your oxygen output. Aerobic exercise also helps you sleep better at night and maintain an overall good mental attitude.
  6. Check for diabetes. Developing diabetes puts you at risk for developing heart disease down the road. If you are diabetic, get your blood sugar under control with insulin shots or a change in diet. Your doctor will determine which is better for you.
  7. Change your eating habits. A healthy diet consists of whole grains, vegetables, fresh fruits, and low-fat dairy products. Lean beef, chicken, and pork will provide daily protein along with fish and seafood. Invest in a good multivitamin to provide the nutrients that you may miss from day to day.

Heart disease doesn’t have to affect you. Know the warning signs and the risks. Work with a doctor to lower your chances of suffering a heart attack.

Monday, May 21, 2007

What is Scoliosis?

How many Judy Blume freaks are out there? If you were like me, you couldn't get enough of her books when you were a kid. Anyone remember the book, Deenie? This book was about a young girl diagnosed with scoliosis and the trials and tribulations she went through wearing her brace. This book was an eye-opener for me because I had been through the screenings at school and had been warned about this condition, but through Deenie's eyes, got to know how it felt to have scoliosis.

What exactly is scoliosis? Simply put, it's a curvature of the spine. While everyone’s spine is slightly curved, scoliosis patients have more obvious bends to the side; not in or out like with osteoporosis. While mild cases of this disease may go undetected and without symptoms, severe cases can cause significant physical problems. Scoliosis can occur at any age in childhood, so it’s important that your child gets regular screenings, even if they haven’t had a problem before.
While the root cause of most scoliosis cases isn’t known, we do know many of the risk factors for curves becoming more severe.

Some risk factors include:

  • Growth. Curves in children’s spines almost always worsen during a growth spot. Pay careful attention to your child’s spine when they’re growing the most.
  • Age. If your child was very young when the curve was first discovered, they are more likely to have a severe problem because their spine has more growing to do. Babies who are born with scoliosis are especially at risk.
  • Placement of curve. Curves in the upper portion of the spine are more likely to become problematic and should be monitored more closely.
  • Angle of curve. If a curve is more dramatic to begin with, it is also more likely to increase in severity.

The most important part of treating scoliosis is early detection. Here are some steps you can take to make sure you find the problem as soon as possible.
  • School screenings. Find out if your child’s school does regular screenings. If not, talk to school administrators. Encourage them to start regular screening programs.
  • Look for the signs. If no one else is checking your child for symptoms (or even if they are) look for signs that your child may have a problem. These include: uneven or elevated hips, prominent shoulder blades, uneven shoulders, and leaning to one side. You child’s stance and body should be fairly symmetrical.
  • Yearly physical. Talk you your child’s doctor about checking for indications of spinal curves. This is particularly important if you’ve noticed signs on your own.

Many cases of scoliosis simply require monitoring to see if the curving gets worse. If it doesn’t, then no treatment is usually pursued. If your doctor observes an increase in the problem, they may give your child a back brace. This will help keep the curve from progressing, but shouldn’t interfere too much in your child’s life.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

No Babysitter = Chaos in our Household

That's right, my sitter is away this week. She had a family emergency and had to go out of town.

I've been wandering around all week trying to figure out how to get my work done, do the laundry, clean the house and entertain my 3 yr old.

We are SUCH creatures of habit! I'm used to having my routine of getting up, doing about an hour's worth of work, grabbing a shower, getting the kids off to school and the sitter and having a 5 or 6 hour chunk of time during the day that I get all of my work done. Then, when the kids come home, I take care of the housework (of course, with their help) and cook dinner. Since, my sitter has been away, I am lost without my routine!

So, after much deliberation (and feeling worthless because I am having trouble with this simple change), I decided not to fight city hall and: let my daily blog turn into an every 3 day blog; get only the work done that absolutely HAS to be done during nap time and the early morning hours; let a little bit of laundry slip (we can all wear those shorts ONE more time before they need washed, right?); and PLAY with my little girl.

Hopefully, things will be back to normal next week, but if they aren't - I'm not going to sweat it!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

9 Great Tips for Teaching Your Toddler to Share

Toddlers are, by nature, self-centered. Everything has been taken care of for her since you brought her home from the hospital as an infant.

When your child becomes a toddler and can begin to communicate, this is the perfect time to teach them the importance of sharing with others. It may take some time, but with continuity and positive reinforcement, your child will become very adept at playing with others!

Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. If your toddler doesn’t want to share, explain why it’s an important thing.
  2. Tell your toddler that not sharing may mean his friends will not want to share with him either.
  3. Take the toys in question away. If your toddler doesn’t want to share – then no one will play with the toys.
  4. Never yell at the toddler, but be firm in your reprimands.
  5. If other toddlers are invited over, ask your toddler to pick out some toys to put away. But also remind him the toys left out can be shared with everyone.
  6. If your toddler screams and carries on, give the toddler a time out.
  7. Teach by example. Show your child how you are willing to share something you own.
  8. Thank your toddler for sharing his toys with others.
  9. Teach your toddler to think of others.

If all else fails remember this is probably a stage your toddler will outgrow. However, it is important to instill in your child that sharing and giving is important. Try not to give in to everything your toddler wants or buy your toddler a present every time you give another child or their sibling a present. Even though she is still very young, your toddler needs to understand the importance of the basic skill of sharing.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Hope you all have a very Happy Mother's Day! I've had a great one...did exactly what I wanted...nothing at all!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mother's Day Coconut Coated Chicken Strips

NOW you've got enough information to make a complete Mother's Day Dinner. Print off all of the recipes that I've posted throughout the week and give them to your husband or kids who are old enough to cook and...ENJOY!

3/4 cup pineapple juice, divided
1 cup cream of coconut, divided
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rice-wine vinegar
2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
6 eggs, beaten
1 (2 pound) bag shredded coconut
3/4 to 1 cup peanut oil
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

In a large bowl mix 1/4 cup of pineapple juice, 1/4 cup of cream of cocunut, soy sauce, brown sugar and wine vinegar. Add chicken strips and allow to marinate, covered in refrigerator a minimum of 4 hours or overnight. In a pie plate, combine flour, salt and pepper. In a bowl beat eggs and mix with 1/4 cup cream of coconut. In another bowl pour shredded coconut. Coat chicken strips first in flour, next in egg mixture and finally in shredded coconut. In a deep skillet, heat peanut oil (enough to just cover the bottom of skillet) over medium heat. Once oil is hot, cook chicken for 5 minutes on each side, taking care not to over cook coconut. Remove chicken and drain any leftover oil. Place 1/2 cup pineapple juice and 1/2 cup cream of coconut and heavy whipping cream in pan. Cook until thick, scraping drippings from bottom of the skillet. Pour sauce over chicken strips.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Mother's Day Fruit Salad

1 can prepared lemon pie filling
12 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 - 15 oz. can tropical fruit salad, drained
1 - 15 oz. can pineapple tidbits, drained
2 - 11 oz. cans mandarin oranges, drained
2 cups fresh strawberries

Mix lemon pie filling and whipped topping together in a large bowl. Add fruit to mixture and chill in refrigerator from 4 hours to overnight. When ready to serve, top with fresh strawberries or fruit of your choice and whipped topping.
Serves: 8

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mother's Day Roasted Carrots

9 medium-sized carrots, peeled and trimmed
2 Tablespoons olive oil
dash of pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (2 teaspoons dried)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves (1 1/2 teaspoons dried)
1/4 cup pulp free orange juice

Cut carrots in half. Take the bigger half and cut again from top to bottom. Heat oil in a skillet on high. Lay carrots side by side in a layer in skillet. Sprinkle carrots with the onion and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook carrots for 30 minutes, turning at 15 minutes. Once carrots begin to carmelize and the liquid evaporates, remove from skillet. Place carrots in a bowl and sprinkle with thyme, rosemary and orange juice. Toss together coating well and serve.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Question: How Many Moms Does it Take...

to finally upload a video link? Answer: 1
Question: How long does it take? Answer: 3 months

You heard me bragging about being on TV and promising a look-see back in February.

Well, I got the DVD, I even had a friend isolate my portion of the broadcast (about 4 minutes long) and send that file to me electronically...that's when I hit a brick wall. The file was about 36 MB and was way too big for me to upload on my website.

I couldn't figure out what to do so I let it sit.

Then it hit me...what's this YouTube thing all about? You know, I usually consider myself pretty "hip" and up-to-date on things - especially the internet, right? You need to keep on top of this stuff. It hit me that I was starting to sound like my mother, but that's a conversation for a different time.

So...last week I checked out YouTube and joined. Today, I uploaded my first video - the one that I promised 3 months ago :)

Now, I'm going to attempt to embed it in my blog post - hopefully the technology gods are shining on me today. Here it is...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Mother's Day Coleslaw

Okay, okay - Mother's Day doesn't have to be all about breakfast in bed, does it? Here's a great coleslaw recipe...

2 heads cabbage, shredded
1 small head red cabbage, shredded
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 - 2 large carrots, peeled and grated
2 cups mayonnaise
2 Tablespoon mustard
2 Tablespoon sugar
4 Tablespoon wine vinegar
2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoon dried cilantro
2 teaspoon basil
2 teaspoon parsley

In a large sized bowl, mix cabbage, red cabbage, bell peppers, onion and carrots. Combine mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, vinegar, pepper, cilantro, basil, and parsley in another bowl. Pour mayonnaise mixture over vegetable mixture and stir well, coating vegetables completely. Cover coleslaw and chill overnight.
Serves: 16-20

Monday, May 07, 2007

20 Gifts from the Heart for Mother's Day

Unless your kids have been saving their allowance religiously, they may not be able to afford to buy an expensive gift for Mother’s Day.

However, there are inexpensive ideas for Mother’s Day gifts which they can utilize. Here are 20 gifts that come from the heart and not necessarily the piggy bank:

  1. Set the table for dinner
  2. Give her a red rose and place it in her favorite vase
  3. Make her a special breakfast
  4. Take her to the park for a picnic lunch
  5. Bake her a cake and sing Happy Mother’s Day To You
  6. Buy her favorite scented candles
  7. Burn her favorite CD
  8. Offer to do a specific chore for a week such as washing the dishes
  9. Make a huge Happy Mother’s Day Sign
  10. Give her a picture of you in a specially decorated frame
  11. Make a bag of potpourri using dried flowers from the garden
  12. Put together a scrapbook with her favorite recipes
  13. Make a jewelry box for her using spring ornaments
  14. Buy packs of herbs or flower seeds your mom could plant in the garden
  15. Clear out the flower bed for mom to prepare for spring planting
  16. Rake the leaves and make a compost pile
  17. Make mom a bracelet using beads from a craft store
  18. Make a sign for a t-shire that says “I love my mom” with an arrow pointing to the right or left
  19. Wash the car
  20. Clean your room

There are so many inexpensive ideas for Mother’s Day gifts, all of which will be appreciated no matter how small. The fact that you took the time to make a present or buy something really special says it all. So whatever you decide to do, know that it will be a keepsake mom will treasure forever.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Mother's Day Breakfast Muffins

Go ahead Mom, take the morning off and enjoy these wonderful breakfast muffins!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
8 oz. can crushed pineapple, undrained
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2/3 cup finely chopped Canadian bacon (about 3 1/2 oz.)

Preheat oven to 375 degress. Coat muffin tins with cooking spray. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl and set to the side. Beat eggs, oil and sugar in a bowl. Stir in previously set aside mixture, pineapple, cheese and bacon. Fill muffin tins 3/4 full and bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of muffins (approximately 30 minutes). Serve while still warm for best results. Makes 12 muffins.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Mother's Day Oatmeal

Hope you're hungry Mom! Here's a great oatmeal recipe to make for her this Mother's Day.

3 1/2 cups skim milk
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 Tablespoon butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped, unpeeled apple

Boil milk in a saucepan and stir in oats. Once oats and milk are mixed well, add the butter and salt and continue cooking over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove oatmeal from stove and add the maple syrup, raisins, walnuts and apples. Stir to mix well. Serve with a tablespoon of brown sugar.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Mother's Day Strawberry French Toast

Over the next week, I'm going to give you some recipes that you can treat Mom with on Mother's Day...enjoy!

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
8 slices bread, white or whole wheat
3 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
3 eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoon milk
4 Tablespoon butter, optional
2 Tablespoon powdered sugar

Mix until smooth cream cheese, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Spread on one side of bread. Top with sliced strawberries, covering the spread completely. Spread more of the mixture on another piece of bread and place on top. Press sandwich together gently to enclose strawberries inside. Mix eggs and milk together and set aside. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and place in oven. Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter in a skillet. Take sandwiches and place in egg and milk mixture covering both sides. Lay sandwich in the skillet and cook until the first side is lightly brown. Flip sandwich and cook the other side. Once both sides have browned, place it on the baking sheet in warm oven. Before serving, top french toast with remaining strawberries and powdered sugar. Drizzle with maple syrup or Strawberry topping below.
Serves: 4

Strawberry French Toast Topping
1/2 C. maple syrup
2 T. orange juice or Grand Marnier
3/4 C. pureed strawberries

Combine all ingredients in a small pan. Stirring constantly, heat mixture over medium heat until it begins to thicken (approximately 5 minutes). While still warm, pour over french toast and serve immediately.

Cinco de Mayo - I Stand Corrected

I get a lot of reader email and comments on a weekly basis.

I received one today after I sent out an email "blast" to my newsletter list regarding a couple of new Freebies we have available for Cinco de Mayo and Mother's Day. Here it is in it's entirety:

Dear Tracy,thought I'd let you know that Cinco de Mayo IS NOT Mexican Independence Day. I am some what bothered that a web site that provides so much info wouldn't research first their info. F.Y.I. Mexican Independence Day is the 16th of Sept.

In my email, I had indicated that Cinco de Mayo was, in fact, Mexican Independence Day. I stand corrected (thanks to Margaret Puente). She's correct, Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day, but - according to Wikipedia "is a national, but not federal, holiday in Mexico which is also widely celebrated in the United States. It commemorates the victory of Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin over the French occupational forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862."

I like to keep my readers informed with CORRECT information and I appreciate when a mistake is brought to my attention. My sincere apologies if my error offended any of my readers.

Thank you, Margaret, for keeping me on my toes - I promise to be more diligent in my research and presentation :)

Since this has come about, I decided to begin a new policy. I'm calling it the "Take Your Foot Out of Your Mouth Tracy" award. I'm going to reward anyone who will bring to my attention an error in facts or research that has been published on this blog or the Mom's Niche website.

Margaret will receive one of our Mom's Niche prize packs filled with all kinds of goodies.

Thanks again Margaret for bringing this to my attention and congratulations for being our first award recipient!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Two New eBooks in Time for the Spring Holidays!

Here are a couple of new FREEBIES offered by Mom's Niche. Just in time for Cinco de Mayo and Mother's Day. These books are free to download. Just right click on the title and "save target as" to download to your hard drive.

Cinco de Mayo - Celebrate this Mexican holiday with style! Learn the history, crafts, songs and 15 recipes to have a great party!

Mother's Day - this eBook is full of great crafts and recipes to treat Mom to a great Mother's Day!

I hope you enjoy these free books and please, pass them along to your family and friends!