Sunday, August 31, 2008
Shortly thereafter, it was announced that the website owners were looking for the ultimate Holiday website. The winner would receive a brand new computer from Dell, and 10 runners up would receive scanners. The idea of a new scanner was enticing to me (I already had a computer) so I started a new website and poured my heart into it, working around the clock for days. The site had appeal to both young and old. There was a family greeting, a memorial to my Grandfather that had passed away just before Christmas the year before, children's activities, holiday recipes and more.
The deadline to submit the website for inclusion in the contest was drawing closer. When I viewed the other websites I was up against I certainly didn't feel I stood a chance of winning and held off to submit. In the final hours before the contest entry deadline I came to realize that it wasn't about winning, but rather the satisfaction that I had successfully built the website and had fun in the process. The website was subsequently submitted for inclusion in the contest, never dreaming I would stand a chance of winning.
Several days prior to the announcemnt of the winners, I received official notification that my site had been selected as the overall winner in their contest which meant I had won the grand prize ~ a Brand New Dell Computer. I had to pinch myself several times to make sure I wasn't dreaming. When the realization hit me that I had actually won, I started hooting and hollering and jumping up and down chanting "I won! I won! I won!!!"
My winning website no longer exists after the site owners eliminated the "free" websites. Regardless, I will never forget the experience that gave me such deep satisfaction and a very large boost of self-confidence.
This topic was inspired by the Etsybloggers Blog Carnival for September 15
A very Special Thanks to our Gracious Host ~ Storybeader who asked us to Choose one of these two topics to write about:
1) pick a favorite color, and show it in your work
2) tell about a challenge or contest you've been in, how it's done, and what kind of reaction you got
This is just one of our yummy Body Lotion Parfaits. Smells every bit as yummy as it looks. Chock full of skin loving goodies and layered with aloe vera gel...what can be better than that? These yummy parfaits come in a variety of scents and will be listed in our shop first thing tomorrow morning.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
I am intrigued by this Bizarre Holiday because I have had to restrict my intake of sodium due to Hypertension. I have never been one to load the salt on foods, so I thought it would be easy breezy to reduce the amount of sodium intake. HA! The simple foods we consume are laced with sodium, counteracted many times by sugar so you can't taste the salt overload. Becoming a label reader sure has been enlightening both in my job and personally.
For instance, take a bottle of low fat dressing off the shelf, and compare it to the full fat bottle of the same type of dressing. When they take the fat out, they have to use something to bind the dressing and add flavor. And what do you think they use? Salt and sugar. In my mind, the fat is the lesser of the "two evils" if you use it in moderation.
I am really excited because I recently purchased an excellent cookbook, "It's About Thyme (and other Herbs and Spices)". These ladies spent many hours researching and cooking with different herbs and spices, then compiled the fruits of their labor into a wonderful cookbook. The price for the book is quite a steal for the wealth of information it contains.
I've already ordered a second copy to give as a gift. You can find this wonderful cookbook here.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
And in honor of my 6 month Etsyversary I'm getting closer to sending off another free 8 ounce jar of Body Parfait Lotion in a yummy fall scent to the person who orders #100 in my shop. Oh, and did I mention that person will also receive 10% off the entire order! See shop announcement for details.
On to other matters...In-Service at school started Monday morning bright and early. The entire District converged upon my school for breakfast that I catered. The day was long, but productive. On my way home I stopped to have the stitches removed from my head and I could not wait to get home and scrub my head real good...particularly where the stitches had been. Relief...and back to hair product (my BFF) and a hairdo once again.
Today was the return of the students for their first day of school. I swear most of them grew 2-3 inches over the summer. New haircuts, new clothes and lots of exciting stories about summer adventures. Many new faces...some happy about their new environment and some not so happy.
What are the chances that on the first day of school the Health Inspector would show up for his first of two visits this school year. He normally doesn't start school visits for another week or two but he had a cancellation elsewhere today and knew I would roll with the punches. We got a 97, which is pretty darn good, considering the hurdles I've had to overcome to get the kitchen ready this year. The hood vent was included on the summer cleaning and maintenance for custodial staff to complete but unfortunately it was not done so there was one point off on my inspection. Not my fault, so it now becomes a matter for Administration to address with the custodial staff. Until funds permit to have a 3 bay sink installed in the kitchen, we will always be marked off 2 points on our health inspections for not having one. We have a portable "work around" that the Health Inspector is agreeable to should we encounter dishwasher issues. Not something I have control over, the last two equipment grants I've obtained were used for other more pressing equipment purchases (stove that doesn't bark flames at you when you turn a burner on, and new counters that aren't falling apart, cracking, not sanitary, etc.) I also had to replace the dishwasher last school year without a grant...very big chunk of change. The 3 bay sink tends to fall further down on the totem pole in the line of upgrades to the kitchen. However, it is inching closer to the top of the list.
All in all, the school year is off to a good start.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Summer is quickly coming to an end...and sadly so! I have seen some trees already starting to change colors. I love the vibrant colors of autumn but not so much the thoughts of having to close up the house and turn on the heat.
So, to celebrate the end of summer I'm giving away some awesome goodies for your skin. All you gotta do is post a comment on any of my blog posts between now and September 1, 2008 to be entered in the giveaway. The winner will be announced on or about September 2, 2008.
Oh, so you wanna know what I'm giving away.....WELL...I don't wanna spoil all of the surprises for my fall and holiday line up before they are officially launched in my shop. But, the lucky recipient will receive an assortment of skin loving goodies in a top secret fragrance that I've been working with for over a month now. Winner gets to test drive this new fragrance (and some new products) before it is officially launched in my shop.
Just so you know...Mr. Moo latched onto the end pieces from this stash of soap so it's one of those universal fragrances.
What a nice surprise in my mailbox today! A big Thank You goes out to one of my sweet customers, What's That Smell, who sent me 3 fabulous soy tarts as a gift! It was unexpected and lifted my spirits immediately. The Key Lime is to die for, and I've had to keep an eye on that one because my DD is attempting to snitch it away from me. Party Cake (love the sprinkles!) and German Chocolate Cake...YUM-O! If you get a chance, stop by her shop and sniff around.
Growing up in Illinois where it is flat as a sheet of paper and mostly cornfields and farms you wouldn't believe the hidden charms and beauty the state has to offer. When most people think of Illinois, they think of President Lincoln or Chicago,not prime farmland and rural tranquility. It is unfortunate that the northern part of the state is losing prime farming land to large developers of carbon copy housing and urban sprawl.
Surprisingly, Illinois has some of the most unique State Parks with waterfalls, caverns, lush trees and breath taking views. The one place I remember the most is White Pines State Park in Oregon, Illinois. The trek over to the park took well over an hour from where we lived at the time. My grandfather, a retired farmer, enjoyed the leisurely jaunt to the park as he marveled over the farmland along the way. Close by was the John Deere Historical Museum and historic sites rich in Indian History and Chief Blackhawk.
Once we arrived at the park our first stop of the morning was the White Pines Inn where one could dine on an all you can eat feast called The Paul Bunyon Breakfast. This breakfast included: Two country eggs, two buttermilk or blueberry pancakes, toast, American fries, two sausage links, and a strip of bacon. If you were still hungry all you had to ask and they'd keep the food coming!
We would eat until we groaned, then it was time to hit the hiking trails to work off all of the food we had just consumed. After several hours of getting lost on trails, laughing and enjoying each other's company, it was time to hit the gift shop to purchase some trinkets as a momento of our time together before heading home, which always included a stop along the way for another meal.
The inspiration for this blog post was inspired by the September 1, 2008 Etsybloggers Blog Carnival which is graciously hosted by our dear friend Lily at Tulip's Treasure Box. We were asked to Choose one of these two topic to write about:
1. "Something You Did When A Child That You Will Always Remember"
2. Labor Day Weekend: What you do on this holiday in honor of you, the American worker? Do you have plans, traditions?
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Big special Group hug and thanks to donnapool for snagging this screen capture and sharing it with the team!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Thankfully there are no broken or fractured bones to speak of. I've been told my bone density is excellent for my age, which is reassuring. Or perhaps that means I'm just a tough buzzard? The pain in my hip persists and I'm looking at physical therapy but I've chosen to at least hold off until the stitches are removed on Monday(hoping the pain will let up).
Did I mention there won't be any more WWE ladder tricks for this chick? If I can't reach it from the floor, it ain't gonna be reached! And that doesn't lend much distance considering I'm 5' 2"! Someone taller and/or much braver than I can do the ladder tricks.
Fortunately I was able to bring paperwork home to make final preparations for the new school year. Much quieter at home, less distractions, anyway. The Intenet is a wonderful tool linking home to work in a matter of a few clicks. Amazing!
The menu planning for the first month of school took longer than normal as more of the 2005 dietary guidelines are implemented and taken into consideration ~ lower fat, sodium, sugar and higher consumption of fresh fruits, veggies and whole grains AND targeting specific nutrients and vitamins to ensure they are being served the appropriate number of times per week. I spent two days earlier last week in training classes to help create this menu. This menu will be compared to the menu I had planned for September 2007 to see how well I have "changed" my menu planning techniques. More time and thought was put into this menu plan but now that it is finished I will be able to copy and paste (for the most part) and eventually put these daily items into a "cycle" menu in a creative way so it doesn't appear to be as such.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
The squash has suffered some issues with all this rain.
Out of all my pepper plants, this is the first hint that peppers are going to be coming along...maybe in time for the first frost?
My poor flowers have suffered dearly as well. This is the only bloom on my Hydrangea, and it is only about the size of a 50 cent piece.
The only thing thriving in all this rain is the kale.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
This past Sunday hubby and I attended the Whole Hog BBQ and Music Festival with enthusiasm and big appetites! Live music was great, and we enjoyed the day until taste testing time when the skies opened wide and we were soaked from head to toe. We weren't alone, hunderds of other spectators stood in the long lines to sample every entry and place their vote for the People's Choice Award.
Having watched the Memphis BBQ Network contests on TV, it was a thrill to be present. Someone commented that the portions weren't very large at each tent. Ahem...2 ounce portion cups, multiply that by NINE participants...and you gotta figure if you visit every tent, you will have consumed over a pound of pork in samples...hardly a cause to cry world famine! Just goes to show you that you don't realize how much food you consume when you "graze".
And now, on to the highlights before the skies opened wide with rain....
Decorating the pig in anticipation of the judges arriving...
There we are, all decorated and pretty for the judges...
A good thing to display so the judges see...
And finally, the judges get to do the taste test...
Who won? We don't know yet...we left because we were cold, soaked and in need of dry clothes and warmth. LOL
★ SALE!! EtsyBloggers 1st Anniversary SALE!! *5 DAYS ONLY* 8/13 thru 8/17 ★
We are the official street team for those who love to blog abut their craft, the creative process, and other Etsians! In the EtsyBloggers team you will find a global group of talented artists who offer a wide range of items which are handmade, vintage, and supplies.
Visit these EtsyBloggers shops from Wednesday 8/13 thru Sunday 8/17 and celebrate our team's 1st Anniversary with us!!
Original Digital Illustrations, Photography and Note Cards
All items except custom orders:
Spend $10-19.99 save 10% on your order
Spend $20-29.99 save 20% on your order
Spend $30 or more save 30% on your order
Free domestic shipping (US) on all orders over $50
*If paying with PayPal, I will refund your savings after purchase.
Handcrafted Limited Edition Jewelry
But One, Get One 1/2 half off (of equal or lesser value - no custom items, please)
20% off all orders
Jewelry for animal lovers!
10% off all items (excluding shipping) with code "Bloggers sale!"
Breastfeeding jewelry, necklaces & bracelets
Free priority mail shipping on orders over $25
See sale section for specials.
Free shipping on all orders
A free gift with all orders over $10.00 (before shipping)
25% Most Items
Pillows, Cases, Cards and other Fabric Goodies
I will refund 20% of purchase price to all sales from August 13th to August 17th.
(excluding shipping which is flat rate fee by Priority Mail no matter how large the order)
250 free business cards with a pre-made or custom design package.
Free shipping and an extra 10% refunded if you mention that you heard about the sale from etsy bloggers!!
All Pocket Mirrors and Puzzle Ball Toys & Christmas Ornaments 50% off
Unique handmade lampwork beads
FREE SHIPPING on all purchase...
Special SALE section with already Reduced Priced items
Natural dolls and playthings
10% off items in sale section
Inspiration and supplies for the homeschooling family
Free shipping on all items
Accessories, Luxury Lounge Travel Wraps
10% off all items with code Bloggers10%
See special sale section in my shop
See Sale section in my shop
Super cool baby and children's clothing...monster onesies, monster jeans, Ankle Biters...
FREE SHIPPING plus 10% OFF everything in our shop!!
"Handmade Items for Everyday Use."
See My Special Sale Section.
Many items on SALE now, plus get FREE SHIPPING on orders of $40.00 or more.
(Custom orders not included.)
25% off in SALE section, free shipping on orders of $50 or more using promo code EB08 in notes to seller!
Take $2.00 off any boxed blank note or thank you card set!
See SALE sections in my shop for all the designs to choose from
Buy any two items and get the 3rd half off! (Valid on all items except blankets, item of lowest price will be discounted)
Refund to be issued through PayPal, if paying by money order, convo first to confirm total price.
"Fraternal earrings" and dragonfly suncatchers
Free priority mail shipping on orders over $25
Buy one Custom Name/Word Album, get $5 a second album.
Buy two Custom Name/Word Albums, get $15 off a third album.
10% off everything in my shop, to be refunded through paypal.
Hand Stitched Paper Art for You and Your Home
Vintage inspired clothing for kids and their dolllies too
Gemstones, beads and more!
Free Shipping on orders over $20
Free Shipping and 10% off - jewelry.
10% off on all orders.
Discount will be refunded or you can convo to have price adjusted prior to checkout.
cute fingerless gloves
Handcrafted soaps & toiletries, Crochet Bath Accessories, Soy Candles & More
Check out our sale section for reduced price items.
Special EtsyBloggers 1st Anniversary Sale
Great jewelry and beaded items, ½ off regular price
Look in Section: Anniversary Sale
FREE shipping on orders of $10 or more.
Your choice of a FREE pair of earrings with order of $20 or more.
Free shipping on all greeting cards
See sale section for specials
Free shipping on all orders
Original art, photography, hand painted bags, and more..
Free shipping during sale!
Free domestic and international (Australia, Canada, Europe) shipping on orders $40.00 and more.
See my EtsyBloggers 1st Anniversary Sale Section
Free shipping on all items
Specializing in all things zany for babies including: blankets, bibs, stuffies and clothes.
Boutique Baby Essentials, Blankets and Baby Carriers
Buy one item, get the 2nd of equal or lesser value for 50% off!!!!
See special sale section in my shop
I have an assortment of items on sale, including purses, totes, wristlets and clutches.
♥ You can always find the beautiful items from our team members by searching for "etsybloggers team":
Got a blog?
Check us out!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
They also happen to make some of the most excellent Hot Sauce ~ Macanero Hot Sauce to be exact!
Now, I love heat but so many hot sauces on the market have entirely too much salt and vinegar in them that it sets my mouth on fire and I can't enjoy the experience. This sauce doesn't do that! It's a sweet heat that is out of this world. A delightful combination of Macintosh apples, maple syrup and a nice assortment of hot peppers. Splash it in a bowl of chili to kick it up a notch (yum!), or on a pile of scrambled eggs(yum!). Either way you won't be disappointed when this sweet heat delivers a treat on your taste buds. Stop on over to Yellow Dog Farmand say hi to Zeke. He'll set you up with some of the best hot sauce in Vermont!
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
A hairstyle again! YIPPEEE!!!! I don't regret living without a style, it was for a good cause.
And now my hair is being combined with both of my daughter's hair donations and we're sending our bundles to Locks of Love!
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Well, of course I had to buy boy and girl booties because I don't know what she's going to have!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Fast forward several years and I now find myself anticipating the start of the new school year not only as a parent but also as a school employee. You see, I am a School Food Service Manager. I spend countless hours in the weeks prior to the new school year beginning making sure the computer system is set up, menu planning, food orders, overseeing/scheduling kitchen & equipment maintenance. Most every year I am asked to cater special events at the beginning of the year for both the school and the district. I don't mind, as I enjoy cooking.
The first day of school marks the busiest weeks of the school year for me as I wade through the mountains of free/reduced paperwork that ends up on my desk for approval. With the economy the way it is, the number of applicants keeps increasing.
School Food Service workers are under appreciated. The work environment is extremely fast paced. Often schools cut food service staffing to save a few dollars, whereby increasing the work load of the remaining staff. When I took over the program four years ago I had six employees, I now have four. Working in a school kitchen has nothing to do with opening a can of food and heating it. We have evolved into nutrition specialists and attend ongoing training to keep up to date on new regulations and federal requirements.
In these four years, the amount of federally unfunded mandates and paperwork that the USDA requires us to complete on a daily basis has increased. Food Safety is at the forefront of our job, which has also added an incredible amount of time and paperwork to complete each day. There is increased pressure from the USDA and locally by parents to feed more fresh produce and whole grains to students (items that cost more to put on the plate)...and all to be done on a very tight shoestring budget. Where can you get a balanced meal that is low in fat, sugar, and sodium that includes fresh produce & whole grains (and pay for maintenance/repair/replacement of equipment, staff wages & benefits) for less than $2.75 per meal? School food service workers are asked to do just that each and every day.
Lest you misunderstand, I do love my job. The staff, the students, and their parents are all fun aspects of my job. I zero in on the Kindergarten students because they are the prime target for change to healthier eating habits. Changes I'm implementing today won't be widespread and visible for at least ten years.
The job holds many challenges...difficult students, parents, staff. But the job can also be very rewarding. The stress levels of this job can be quite high at times, as is the case with most fast paced jobs. On stressful days it is a relief to come home and bury myself in fun projects like soapmaking and crochet ~ my extremely fun job!
August 18 Etsybloggers Blog Carnival
Choose one of the 2 topics to write about:
1. "Back to School" What does it mean to you?
2. "Tools of the Trade" Tell of your favorite tool or a tool you use in your craft.
Monday, August 4, 2008
I can't think of anyone any more deserving to be the featured member this month. Very soon after becoming a member of the Etsyblogger Team, Lily and her great sense of humor and joking lured me right in. We share a lot of fun both on the Etsy forums and on the team forum as well. Aside from all of the fun and joking, Lily is always there with an encouraging word to everyone and a true team player that is well deserving of a place of honor this month.
I admire the beauty of all the beading projects Lily creates. She must have the patience of Job to sit for hours on end and just bead away. I know I couldn't do it! Please do visit her blog and be sure to check out her Etsy Shop as well!
(¸.·´ (¸.·`¤~♥ Welcome to the August 4, 2008 edition of etsybloggers Blog Carnival. As host of this carnival I asked participants to choose one of these 2 topics to write about:
1. Favorite Grill Food Recipes or if you are not a grilling enthusiast, a recipe for your favorite picnic food will be fine.
- OR -
2. Book Review...with all of the talk about Shelfari, I thought it would be great if we could get some book reviews....What are you currently reading? Tell us the title, author and give us a short review of the book. Would you recommend others to read the book, or not.
World's Greatest Marinade...really! posted at Ametista's Etsy Shop - Artistic Offerings Inspired by You
Lily Wrey presents
etsyBloggers Team August 4 BLOG CARNIVAL Hosted by: posted at TuLips Talking.
knitting dragonflies: Inspirational book: Intertwined by Lexi Boeger posted at dizzydragonflies.
FAT TUESDAYS--Grilling Recipe and Weight Management posted at TOTE-N-TOTS.
This concludes the August4, 2008 edition of the Etsybloggers Blog Carnival. Submit your blog article to the next edition of etsybloggers using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.
(¸.·´ (¸.·`¤~♥ A Big group hug to all my Etsyblogger Friends and lots of love to all who participated in this very fun Blog Carnival!