Archive for August 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

etc jewelry shop giveaway

We love giveaways. We also love when our giveaways can help bring some attention to a worthy cause. ETC Jewelry is a shop that was started by Beverly who started hand stamped jewelry earlier this year in hopes to start raising enough money to help support a Rwandan adoption. Here is what she says of the process, "We're currently #135 out of approx. 175 families "waiting" at the minister's office in Kigali, Rwanda. Three of my husband's sisters have also applied to adopt and two of them have already brought their sons home. We've had our dossier into Rwanda since last September. We have three boys, one age 6 and twins age 4 so we've asked for a baby girl 0-12 mos. One of my sisters-in-law has lived in Kigali for the last two years and has been a tremendous help in the process.  We're really hoping to have our daughter home by Christmas! I'm going to be working as hard as I can to try to raise the funds for our travel over the next couple of months!"

Isn't that so amazing? For more information on Beverly's story, visit this page. There is also her blog, Brownies to Rwanda that you should visit. Go take a peak at this beautiful hand stamped jewelry and support this wonderful family!



There are so many beautiful hand stamped jewelry pieces that would make such great gifts for friends and family for any occasion.


Today, Beverly is being amazingly generous and giving away two $50 gift certificates to buy some hand stamped jewelry. To enter, you need to visit the site and find your favorite item. Then come back and let us know what it is by leaving a comment. For a second entry, you can like ETC Jewelry on Facebook. This giveaway will end Sunday, September 4th at 11:59pm PT.

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quilt show-and-tell {modified bento box pattern}

I'm almost ready to move from my annual quilting mode to crochet mode (I've got a new patterns in the works for the shop!), so I'm finishing up a few last quilts that I've been working on this summer.

This Modified Bento Box quilting pattern is a little crazy--not necessarily the kind of fabrics I would normally pick. They are all Japanese prints, and they were picked especially for a very special couple. Last year a surgeon my husband was working with basically paid our way to Japan for a medical conference (after a LOT of hard work on my husband's part, but still). My husband served as a missionary there for two years and we have been talking about going back for the past 12 years. It really was a dream come true! I wanted to thank them with something special that really represented our trip. I hope they like it!

A regular bento box pattern would call for the finished blocks to be cut into four pieces, switched with other blocks, and sewn back together. (Here's a great pattern from Red Rooster Quilts.)

Since the fabrics I chose were already pretty busy, I felt like mixing up the blocks would really make things over-the-top crazy.

For the back I chose a really Japanese fabric and added a simple border.  I finished it off with stipple quilting (check out my video tutorial here).

Quilts still in-the-works: boys' bedspreads, pinwheel baby quilt, one of these two quilts from V and Co (eat.sleep.play.repeat or houndstooth) and a super simple circle quilt. All before crochet season begins. Yikes!

Speaking of Japan, don't forget about the 50+ Blogger cookbook to benefit the Red Cross! Today is the last day to order (Aug. 31, 2011) both in print and in digital copy, and they're only $10 each. Get 50+ great recipes from some of your favorite bloggers (like us!) and benefit a great cause!

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

healthy snacking {with dannon oikos}



I wrote this post while participating in a blog tour conducted by Clever Girls on behalf of Dannon. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program but my opinions are my own.

For more information and recipe ideas, visit www.oikosyogurt.com or www.Facebook.com/oikos. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Being a mom to three boys means I am constantly eating on the go. I am always on the lookout for healthy snack options. A lot of times when I am in a hurry I just grab convenient, pre-packaged food, which isn't always the healthiest option. Recently, I have been trying to pack snacks ahead of time or find convenient options that are also healthy.

When I was asked to participate in this Dannon® Oikos® campaign, I was excited! I have been hearing great things about it and wanted to try it. In the past, I have not been a big fan of Greek yogurt. Mostly because I bought the plain variety and didn't sweeten it or add anything to it.

Dannon® Oikos® Plain and Fruit on the Bottom contains 0% fat, while the Dannon® Oikos® traditional blended varieties contains about 3% fat. Both are an excellent source of protein, twice that of most regular lowfat yogurts. I tried the 0% fat variety in vanilla and it was delicious! It was so thick and creamy which I love in a yogurt. Usually it is hard to get a thick and creamy yogurt that is also nonfat, so this was amazing! Dannon® Oikos® is created through an authentic Greek straining process which gives it a rich and creamy-thick texture. I didn't even add anything to it. It had just the right amount of sweetness. It was also very filling, which is always a huge bonus with a snack. You don't want to feel like you are still starving! I also tried the 0% fat blueberry fruit on the bottom and that was fabulous as well. It added a little more texture and flavor. Both of the varieties I tried come in cups with a peel off lid. So it is a great, on-the-go snack.

You really should get some and try it. I was very pleasantly surprised. You can't beat a healthy, tasty, easy to grab n go snack that's also filling!

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Monday, August 29, 2011

fab-u-less apron sale {flirty aprons}

Busy working on a million projects right now (6 hours a day without kids is still not enough time for all the things on my list!), like bedspreads for my boys. Can I just get housekeeper and chef for a week? Anyone want to volunteer for the sake of crafting? That might help.


But I thought I'd better take a break from the sewing machine to mention the Single Layer Sassy Black Aprons Under $10 at FlirtyAprons this week. This is one of my favorite aprons they have, and it's on sale for only $9.95! You know how it goes--supplies are limited, and the sale ends soon, so don't wait! Sale ends 9/5/11.
The only difference between this apron and the regular price version is that it's a single layer of fabric instead of Flirty Aprons' usual double layer. But heck, I would make it single layer if I was making it myself, wouldn't you? I don't think I could even get the fabric to make this for under $10. Get yours here. . .

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how to make a fabric daisy flower {tutorial}

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Our most popular posts are still the fabric flower tutorials, like the fabric rosette tutorial and the organza flower tutorial. I love that this trend is still going strong! There are more ideas out there, too--we're not done with flowers. Check out this adorable daisy fabric flower tutorial from our cute friend Melynie. These are perfect to use up fabric scraps and would be adorable in a little girl's hair, or as an accessory on a bag. . .enjoy!

Fabric Daisy Flower Tutorial

Can you say cute?  Now you, too, can be the owner of an adorable little clip (you or your favorite little girl, whatever).  For this project you'll need:
  • White fabric
  • Needle and white thread
  • Scissors
  • Fabric glue (I used Fabri-tac)
  • Hair clip (and ribbon to cover, optional)
  • Yellow brad, button, or fabric covered button
  • White felt
Using scissors or a rotary cutter, cut six 2" squares.
Like this.

Now fold it once...

twice...

three times.

Fold the edges down to form the petals.


Clip the excess off,

so it's even.

Now stitch through the middle, making sure to catch all the layers.

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a-manda creation giveaway winner

It is time to announce the winner of our A-Manda Creation giveaway. The winner of a $20 gift certificate to the store is...


The Clayburn Family!!

Congrats! I have passed your email address onto the sponsor so she should be contacting you.

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

initials, inc giveaway

Initials, Inc. is a national home party plan company that specializes in all things personalized…and personalization is FREE!


Initials, Inc. recognizes that each of us was created for a God given purpose. Unique and special in our own way, this company works to celebrate that by offering customer created products that are as extraordinary as the individual who designed them.

Believing their core company message “There’s only one you”, Initials, Inc. works to infuse this belief in everything they do from the products they offer, the business opportunity for women and even down to the little things like how they approach customer service.

Take a peak at some of their great products...



Today, Initials, Inc. is offering one of our readers the chance to win a $50 gift certificate. To enter, you need to visit Initials, Inc and view the catalog. Then come back and tell us what you would spend your gift certificate on if you were the winner. This giveaway will end on Wednesday, August 31st at 11:59pm PT.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

chicken burrito pizza

I saw this recipe in Shape Magazine and my mouth started watering. We tried it recently for dinner and loved it! I love a spin on classic pizza and this is the perfect combination of flavors. It is quick to make too, especially if you use some store-bought ingredients and prepare some steps ahead of time.


Chicken Burrito Pizza

2 T. salsa (more if desired)
Pizza Crust (use your favorite recipe, or store-bought)
1 cup low fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 chicken breast, grilled and diced
4 T. black beans
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

For the Pico De Gallo
1 large tomato, diced
1 small green chili, diced
1 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 red onion, diced
Salt

For the Guacamole
1 large avocado
1 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 red onion, diced
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste

*note: to save on time you can buy prepared pico de gallo and guacamole at the store and use that instead.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread salsa over the prepared dough. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with the chicken, black beans and onions. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the edges of the crust are golden brown. Meanwhile, combine tomato, chili, cilantro and onion in small bowl. Season with salt. Set aside. Halve an avocado, remove the pit, and scoop out the flesh into small bowl. Using a fork, mash the avocado. Mix in cilantro, onion, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.


Slice pizza and top each slice with a spoonful of guacamole and pico de gallo. Enjoy!!

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

my grafico giveaway winners

Thanks for entering our my grafico giveaway! It's time to tell two of you the good news that you won!



 The winner of a  $20 gift card and 2 DIY digital party kits of their choice from the store is...

Leah

The winner of a $10 gift card and 1 DIY digital party kit of their choice from the store is...
Pinkie

Congrats! We have passed your email addresses onto the sponsor and they should be contacting you!

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fabric flower and braided leather belt {tutorial}

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Even though my boys are in school, summer is not over for me! It's still gorgeous here and I'm putting away the endless days of sunshine to remember in the middle of January when we're buried in snow and ice. But I know in a couple of weeks the warm autumn light will begin to creep in, and the air will get a little crisper. That's why I made this fun fabric flower and leather (okay, more like "pleather") belt. Little leather belts are all the rage for fall, and this one is perfect for a fall outfit, but still clings to the last little bit of summer with soft flowers and lace. {Don't mind my baby bump--this would be even cuter on another girl's natural waist!}



How To Make a Fabric Flower & Braided Leather Belt
 Supplies:
*A small amount of faux leather fabric (I found mine at JoAnn with the costume fabrics)
*Rotary cutter and mat
*Fabric glue (I like Fabri-Tac)
*Fabrics for flowers (I used lace, cotton, and a faux version of Dupioni silk)
*Clips (alligator hair clips work well, I used mini bulldog clips)
*Beads or buttons for flower embellishment (optional)
*Large clip or clothespin

1. I bought 1/8 yard of "pleather" at the fabric store and had enough to make three belts! Start by folding the faux leather lengthwise a couple of times.

Cut three 1/2" strips. 

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

13 handmade cards, 1 sheet of paper {pretty much}

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Jessica and our friend Melynie (with help from a few others) gave me the most delightful pink cupcake baby shower before I left Seattle. So many cute friends came to wish us well, and everything from the food to the decorations to the favors were blissfully perfect.
 

It's a good thing I got that pink shower in, because we found out last week that we're having ANOTHER BOY! So between the two birdies, we will have six boys. Don't worry, I have nieces, so the girlie crafts will keep coming. ;)

Anyway, I haven't had a chance to sit down and write thank you gifts to all the wonderful ladies who came to my shower, and of course I can't buy thank-you cards (that goes against my very identity), so I sat down last night to make up a bunch of quick *but cute* handmade cards. Out of one sheet of paper. Well, pretty much. Here's how it went.

I started with a pack of plain white cards and envelopes from Hobby Lobby (that cuts out a ton of time cutting and scoring all my card stock). I ran it through my Sizzix with the Small Dots embossing plate from Stampin' Up, just to give it a little texture (I am not capable of 100% simple, people). See those cute little raised dots?

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

a-manda creation giveaway

A-Manda Creation creates bright, colorful and fun digital scrapbooking kits and printables for a great price!  The digital scapbooking kits are BIG, they contain tons of papers and embellishments and for just $1.50 each they are a steal!   
 
 
A-Manda Creation also creates matching brag book pages and quick pages where you just drop your photo in and enjoy, as well as coordinating page titles, cluster frames and word art of make scrapbooking fast and fun!  The designs are very kid friendly and they put a unique spin on the traditional. 
 
 


The printables are ready to print from your home printer, sized 8.5 X 11. All you have to do is download and print.  The digital scrapbooking products require the use of software that works in layers.  Including but not limited to: photoshop, photoshop elements, gimp, storybook creator, my digital studio, my memories suite, scrapbook max, even microsfot publisher.  Digital scrapbooking products can be used for making scrapbook pages, but also can be used the same way as traditional scrapbook supplies simply by printing them out on your home printer and using them as you would any scrapbooking supplies. The great thing is your paper never runs out!  And you never run out of alphabet letter either!  You can do any paper crafts with digital kits, cards, tags, paint can wrappers, certificates, recipe cards...the list goes on and on!
 
Also be sure to visit the A-manda Creation blog! They give away freebies on the blog on a daily basis.  Each day they give out 1 5 X 7 brag book page for free! You can collect the whole set over 10 days. If you miss them she put thems up for sale in the store for just $1.50 for the 10 page brag book!
 
Today, A-Manda Creation is giving away a $20 gift certificate to her store! To enter, you need to visit the site and find your favorite kit of A-manda Creation. There is another designer so make sure you pick an A-Manda Creation and then come back and leave us a comment telling us what your favorite is! For a second entry, you can like A-Manda Creation on Facebook. Good Luck! This giveaway will end Saturday, August 27th at 11:59pm PT.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

my grafico giveaway

Have you heard of My Grafico? It is a wonderful digital arts and crafts store that you must visit!


This site has everything from clipart to crafts, patterns, templates, printables and more! Really, it's a one-stop shop.

They even have a whole section of freebies! I love the digital papers.


Lucky for you, My Grafico has partnered with us to bring you a fabulous giveaway! Two of our readers have the chance to win a cool prize:

One winner will win a  $20 gift card and 2 DIY digital party kits of their choice from the store.

A second winner will win a $10 gift card and 1 DIY digital party kit of their choice from the store.

How exciting is that? So here's what you need to do to be entered for a chance to win one of these fabulous prizes. Visit My Grafico and find your favorite product. Then leave a review/comment on that product and then come back here and leave us the link of your comment. For a second entry, you can "like" My Grafico on Facebook.  This giveaway will end on Wednesday, August 24th at 11:59pm PT. Good luck!

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Friday, August 19, 2011

chicken pesto summer salad {and other great pesto recipes}

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Oooh, summer pesto--I could eat it every day of the week. And last week we pretty much did. I have a basil "bush" growing in my backyard, so gathering up a couple of cups of the fresh herb doesn't even make a dent in my plant. If you don't have a flourishing basil plant, try hitting your local farmers market where you can usually buy a large bunch for much less than at the grocery store. Then you can make up a monster batch (recipe following) and try this yummy summer salad, courtesy of my sweet friend Melynie (with a few modifications by me), and this Creamy Pesto Pasta from my favorite cooking blog, Our Best Bites! Enjoy the last few weeks of summer!


Grilled Chicken Pesto Salad Recipe

Ingredients:
Mixed greens and baby spinach
Pesto sauce (see recipe following)
Goat cheese
Fresh, shredded Parmesan cheese
Grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
Grilled Chicken
Toasted pine nuts
Vinaigrette or other dressing (I like Newman's Own Balsamic Vinaigrette)

Make a bed of mixed greens on a dish.  Spread pesto sauce on grilled chicken, cut in strips and lay on greens.  Add halved tomotoes and toasted pine nuts. Crumble goat cheese over top and finish with a sprinkle of Parmesan.  The pesto is so tasty you might not even need dressing!

Creamy Pesto Pasta Recipe
Courtesy of ourbestbites.com



1/2 batch Guiltless Alfredo Sauce 
1/2 lb Farfalle/Bowtie Pasta (that’s 1/2 a 16oz box or a little over 3 cups dry pasta)
3.5 oz Pesto (that’s about 1/3 cup, or 1/2 of a 7oz container they sell in stores)
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
8oz mushrooms (about 3 C sliced)
3T pine nuts
Parmesan cheese
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper


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