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A Heart For Home: February 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hard Work

Tim's been taking advantage of our warmer weather to get the garden ready for spring. He's enlarged the garden again, so that it'll be about 2000 sq. feet this year. He's been adding compost and manure and tilling the soil under to prepare for planting. Yesterday he marked off rows for corn and began laying mulch in between mounded rows. Today Papa came out and helped unload even more manure.

I guess all the hard work finally caught up with him, because this is how I found him this afternoon.


He must have been really tired, the flash didn't even wake him up.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Writing for eHow

eHow is a database of over 500,000 articles and videos on how to do just about everything from How to Tie a Tie to How to Make a Budget.

We've recently begun writing how to articles for eHow in order to bring in a little extra income each month. eHow writers earn passive, residual income through ad clicks. This type of income, while small upfront, can in time produce a substantial part-time or even full-time salary. Once you write an article it is in the eHow database permanently and could potentially still be earning money 5 years from now.

Please check out our eHow articles here or by clicking on the button in the right sidebar.

Are you interested in writing for eHow? Learn how to sign up for the Writer's Compensation Program here.

Getting paid to write works for me!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Focaccia Bread Recipe

Since Tim was home last night and niether one of us had school work to finish, we decided to try a new recipe. We found a recipe for foccacia bread on Allrecipes.com, but we altered it quite a bit. In case your not sure what focaccia bread is, here's a snipet from Wikipedia.


Focaccia (pronounced foe-CAH-cha) is a flat oven-baked Italian bread[1], which may be topped with herbs or other ingredients. Focaccia is related to pizza, but not considered to be the same. Focaccia is quite popular in Italy and is usually seasoned with olive oil and herbs, topped with onion, cheese and meat, or flavored with a number of vegetables.


Here's our version of Focaccia Bread.

Dough:
1 cup warm water
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 Tbsp salt
1 tsp white sugar
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Topping:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup 6 cheese Italian shredded cheese (or shredded mozzarella)


DIRECTIONS
Dissolve the yeast in the water.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil and black pepper. Mix in the vegetable oil and water.

continue mixing until doughpulls together. Then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Punch dough down; place on greased baking sheet. Pat into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Use your finger tips to make indentations all over the top of the dough. Brush top with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt and Parmesan cheese.

Bake in preheated oven 10 minutes. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top and bake for another 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown. Serve warm or slice in half to make sandwiches.


Some Other Great Recipes:
Feta & Bacon Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Sweet Potato Fries
Freezer Crock Pot Lasagna
Jambalaya
Hamburger-Vegetable Soup
Cream Cheese Chicken Soup
Double Delight Peanut Butter Cookies
Chunky Crock Pot Applesauce
Oatmeal Cinnamon Pancakes


This post contributed to Tasty Tuesday Blog Party, Kitchen Tips Tuesday, Tackle-It Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, & Works For Me Wednesday.


Photo credit: Allrecipes.com

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fabrict Closet Giveaway Winner

The blessed winner of the 4 designer fat quarters from Fabric Closet is Meredith from Maggie Sue Designs (http://www.maggiesuedesigns.com/).

We know you'll enjoy your new fabric!

If you didn't win, you can still get designer fabric at great prices from Fabric Closet. Please, tell Krista you found out about her shop from A Heart For Home. Thanks and happy sewing!

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Etsy Shop Showcase ~ Mom's Blankies Review & Giveaway

With the cold winter still upon us, Tim and I have been getting plenty of use out of our nice and cozy slippers. We decided that Emahry also needed a pair to keep her little tootsies warm on our cool floors.

We received these adorable "Shoopers" (part shoe and part slipper) from Shaunna, owner of Mom's Blankies. Shaunna is a wife and a mom of a two year old son. She has found her passion in creating modern, stylish gifts for baby. She believes that every child is a miracle and should be celebrated. Her Etsy shop is packed full of "unique and stylish gifts for baby" like receiving blankets, burp cloths, fleece hats, hair bows and much more.

Our "shoopers" were custom made and shipped within just a couple of days. As soon as I opened the box, Emahry wanted to put them on. Over the past few weeks they've been on her feet almost constantly. Tim and I love knowing that her little feet are nice and toasty and she loves her new shoes.

Here are some more of our favorite things from Mom's Blankies (http://www.momsblankies.etsy.com/ or http://www.momsblankies.com/) Simply click on the photo to view more details.

We hope you'll check out all of the wonderful listings in Shaunna's shop.





If you make a purchase, please let Shaunna know that you found out about her shop here at A Heart For Home.


Now for the Giveaway!!
Shaunna has generously offered a custom pair of shoopers to one of our wonderful readers. (This is open to International entries also.)




To Enter This Giveaway:

1. Head over to Mom's Blankies and browse through the "shoopers". Then come back here and leave a comment telling us which pair you'd like to win.

2. Gain a second entry by browsing through the rest of the shop and leaving us a comment about your favorite item.

3. Subscribe to A Heart For Home (let us know if you've already subscribed).

4. Follow Our Blog (let us know if you already follow).

5. Post about and link to this giveaway on your blog (leave us the link in your comment).

Please leave a separate comment for each entry! (That's one with your favorite shoopers, one with your favorite non-shooper item, one telling us you've subscribed, one telling us you've signed up to follow our blog, & one with the link to your blog's advertisement of this giveaway.)

The giveaway will end February 29th, at 12 Midnight EST. We will pick the winner through random generator. Make sure you leave a way for us to contact you.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ~ All Smiles

Our son Jonathan
(4 1/2 months old)
Other Wordless Wednesday Posts:
More Wordless Wednesday posts at 5 Minutes for Mom.

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Green Smoothies

Did you know that a green smoothie can have 5-8 servings of fruits and vegetables? It is also loaded with vitamins, fiber, and even protein. We've recently been seeing a lot of information on green smoothies and decided to try incorporating them into our daily diets. It's such an easy way to get a jumpstart on our daily doses of fruits and vegetables.
Basically a green smoothie is a smoothie made with greens (spinach, kale, collard greens, etc.) and fruit (bananas, mangos, frozen berries, etc.). Most green smoothies also have added liquid like water or fruit juice to make them drinkable and some have added natural sweeteners like honey or stevia. We've been using water and no added sweeteners.

Here's a basic recipe for a green smoothie or "moothie" as Emahry calls it. You'll notice that the smoothies below aren't actually green, that's because we added frozen blueberries to this batch.

1 1/2 to 2 cups liquid
3 large handfuls of greens
1 1/2 to 2 cups fruit

Thoroughly blend greens with liquid first. Then add fruit and blend until smooth.

These smoothies are delicious, but you might want to start out with less greens and increase the amount as you get use to the taste.

Visit The Happy Foody for more great green smoothie recipes.

Green smoothies work for me!

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Coffee Meringue Cookies

These are about the simpliest cookies I've ever made, but they are so delicious.

3 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp Internationl Coffee Mix
1 cup ground nuts (optional)

Beat eggs whites with sugar until glossy and stiff.
Sift coffee mix over egg whites. Sprinkle in ground nuts and fold in with a rubber spatula. Place teaspoon sized mounds on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake in a 250 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours. Turn oven off and allow cookies to sit in oven until cool.

These are so light and airy and are delicious served with whipped cream and coffee.

Some Other Great Recipes:
Feta & Bacon Stuffed Chicken Breasts

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Etsy Shop Showcase ~ Dream Maker's Design

With the early birth of our son came a new adventure in cloth diapering. All of Emahry's AIO (all-in-one) diapers were way too large, being designed to fit a baby who weighs between 10 and 20 pounds. While Jonathan is slowing beginning to fit in these diapers, we also needed some that we knew would fit him right away. We've been trying some different companies, but we keep coming back to Etsy shops. Partly because we like supporting small, home-based businesses and partly because Etsy prices are normally just better than other online stores.

Our latest Etsy experience was with Mandi, owner of Dream Maker's Design. Mandi is a mom of three, ages 4, 3, and 1. She loves to sew and create new items for her Etsy shop and her website (http://www.dreammakersdesign.com/). Dream Maker's Design carries a large variety of items like, AIO diapers, car seat covers, burp cloths, shopping cart covers, bibs, and more.

We decided to try a AIO diaper from Dream Maker's Design for Jonathan. The AIO diapers are $10 a piece and come in a huge variety of fabric designs. Our diaper arrived promptly and we began using it right away. I love how easy AIO diapers are to use. They go on just like a disposable diaper, but are reusable and therefore a lot more eco-friendly.

All of Dream Maker's Design diapers have 2 layers of very absorbant terry cloth as well as a hidden waterproof layer. They are lined with soft flannel and come with elastic around the legs and back for the perfect fit and to contain messes. They now have tabbed velcro closers for fast easy changing. They are 100% machine washable and dryer safe.

We have been greatly enjoying Jonathan's new diaper and are very pleased with the construction. We've been out and about in this diaper many times and have expereinced very little wetness around the legs (his little legs are still so skinny). The only drawback we've found is that these diapers do not have a fold back tab for laundering. However, this hasn't been much of a problem, we simple fasten two diapers together in the wash.

Here are a few of my favorite things from Dream Maker's Design (http://www.dreammakersdesign.etsy.com/ OR http://www.dreammakersdesign.com/)

Click on the photo to view the listing or browse the entire shop. There are lots of adorable baby essentials.



If you make a purchase, please let Mandi know that you found out about her shop here at A Heart For Home.

Interested in having your shop featured in our Etsy Shop Showcase? Leave me a comment & find out more here. Do you have products that you'd like me to do a review for, but don't sell on Etsy? Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address & I'll contact you about doing a review.

Also, view all of our Etsy Shop Showcases listed under the Reviews tab.

What types of reviews would you like to see? I'd greatly appreciate your ideas, so please leave me a comment.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

FREE Coupon Booklets



Sign up with General Mills for the Dinner Made Easy newsletter, FREE coupon booklets, and Box Tops for Education programs. Click here to sign up. Offer available while supplies last.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Free Gift Cards from Swagbucks

I posted about 3 weeks ago about signing up for Swagbucks. Well, today we have enough points to get a FREE $20 Target Gift Card and $35 in Amazon Gift Cards.

Here's a brief run down of Swagbucks. Check out our full post here.

~Sign up for Swagbucks here.

~Search online using Swagbucks (powered by Google and Ask).

~Shop online through Swagbucks for more points.

~Keep an eye out for Swag Codes and enter them on your Swagbucks Home page.

~Refer friends for more points.

~Choose your gift card or prize from the Swagbucks Store.


Search & Win


Swagbucks works for me!

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Monday, February 9, 2009

A Valentine's Day Gift


I've posted before about Wordle (read about it here), but I decided that Valentine's Day was another great occassion to use this word cloud website. I've started a Wordle word cloud for Tim. I'm planning to add more to it throughout the week, but I thought I'd share the idea in case anyone was looking for a thoughtful, inexpensive gift for someone special.
(I've discovered that you can keep words together in phrases by placing a ~ between them instead of a space.)

This post contributed to Works For Me Wednesday.

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Valentine's Day Meal Idea

This is a delicious recipe that Tim and I really enjoy. It's also fairly easy, but the presentation is great making it the perfect thing for Valentine's Day (or any day).

Feta & Bacon Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS
8 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 cloves crushed garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 slices feta cheese or 1 cup crumbled feta
4 slices bacon, cooked, drained, and crumbled

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl combine the oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix together.
Place chicken in a 9x13 inch baking dish and pour oil mixture over chicken.
Stuff each chicken breast with 1 slice feta cheese and 1 slice bacon. Secure open sides with toothpicks.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes.


We like to top the cooked chicken with a semi-sweet marinara sauce and serve it with either pasta, rice, or red skinned potatoes and steamed veggies.

Some Other Great Recipes:

Photo from Allrecipes.com

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"Not Me" Monday


Welcome to "Not Me!" Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama from My Charming Kids. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I did not forget to start my mornings with a to-do list, the beginnings of a carefully planned out day, at least 4 days this week.

I did not tell our daughter that she couldn't have any birthday cake and then eat a deliciously frosted corner piece in front of her.

I did not wait until the day it was due to complete the work for my online class.

I did not forgo folding the laundry because, "I might as well wait until there are 5 loads to fold instead of only 4."

I did not feed my family homemade pizza 4 times this past week because I wanted to use up all the chopped veggie leftovers.

We did not finally join the 1980s and get an answering machine.

I did not rerecord the answering machine message 12 times!

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Fabric Closet Giveaway

At the end of January I introduced you to Krista's Etsy shop, Fabric Closet. (You can read the review here.)


Well, now it's time for another great giveaway! Krista has graciously offered one of our wonderful readers a 4 pack bundle of fat quarters. Wait it gets even better. You can choose any 4 fabrics from her entire shop.

Here's a small sample to wet your appetite.



To Enter This Giveaway:

1. Head over to Fabric Closet and browse through all the beautiful fabric. Then come back here and leave a comment telling us which 4 fabrics you would like to win. (Please, note that the winner may need to chose an alternate fabric if it is sold out at the time of the drawing.)

2. Subscribe to A Heart For Home (let us know if you've already subscribed)

3. Follow Our Blog (let us know if you already follow)

4. Post about and link to this giveaway on your blog (leave us the link in your comment)

Please leave a separate comment for each entry! (That's one with your favorite 4 fabrics, one telling us you've subscribed, one telling us you've signed up to follow our blog, & one with the link to your blog's advertisement of this giveaway.)

The giveaway will end February 20th, at 12 Midnight EST. We will pick the winner through random generator. Make sure you leave a way for us to contact you.

Hey, free fabric works for me!

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Slurp & Burp

I recently stumbled upon a great mom invention, the Slurp & Burp. Missy Reder, mother of four, created the Slurp & Burp, a unique nursing accessory that covers the breast without covering the baby, when she saw the need for mothers to be able to nurse discretely and comfortably in public.


The Slurp & Burp is a loop of layered cotton material that is worn like a sash over one shoulder of the mother and under her opposite arm. This design allows the mom to be covered not the baby. The Slurp & Burp also comes with the option of a sewn in burp cloth.

Here are a few special features of the Slurp & Burp taken from their website:
- All-in-one product for nursing and burping
- Securely loops around mom for complete coverage, no risk of falling off
- No more hassling with tucking blanket into bra straps or clipping
- Promotes mother/baby bond
- Comfortable for mom and baby—no more fussing with hot, sweaty blankets
- Machine washable/made of lightweight cotton
- Cost effective—price is comparable to the cost of just one nursing top
- Mom can keep her own style—no need to wear unflattering nursing tops
- Belly stays covered without the bulk of layering shirts or belly bands
- Made with love in the USA
- Compact, easily fits in purse or diaper bag
- Nursing can be done anywhere
- Able to breastfeed while wearing a dress

The Slurp & Burp comes in sizes XS to XL and is based on a simple measurement detailed in the size chart.

We received our Slurp & Burp a few weeks ago and have been trying it at home off and on since then. There is certainly a slight learning curve involved in using the Slurp & Burp with confidence. (Which is why you're not seeing photos of me nursing.) Thankfully, however we don't tend to nurse too much in public during the cold winter months. I expect that we'll have our act together by the time the weather gets nice enough for walks through the zoo and picnics at the park.

I was pleased with the quality of the construction and the thought that obviously has gone into this product, from the elastic loop to keep it wrapped tightly to the matching fabric bag. The Slurp & Burp also comes in a professional looking plastic pouch making it a perfect gift for a new mom.

Here's what some other moms are saying about Slurp & Burp:
Thank you so much for coming up with this!! I hated trying to use blankets to avoid flashing, as did my daughter! It's so easy to nurse anywhere no matter what I wear now. The Slurp & Burp has given me a nursing "wardrobe" and is so much cheaper than all the breastfeeding tops and dresses. When I have another baby I know I'll also appreciate the built-in burpcloth!
--Lauren & baby Sophie


"I tried your product a few times and love it! It really is discreet and easy to use. I can't believe no one thought of it already... seems so simple but perfect!"
--Cecilia & Baby


"I wanted to let you know how much I love your product! I have been using it so much more than the other nursing cover that I had purchased." THANK YOU!
--Janel & Baby Kiara


"I took it with me and everyone asked about it. Worked great, I'm really excited! Thanks so much for coming up with such a great product. I will suggest the Slurp & Burp to anyone I meet."
-- Debra & baby Jordyn Ava



Browse through all of the fabric choices at Slurp & Burp (http://www.slurpburp.com/).

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Down Shadow Lane Giveaway Winner

Our winner of the Down Shadow Lane Giveaway is Kate J. (supercows3...). We hope you enjoy your beautiful fabric!


Didn't win but still want some gorgeous new fabric? Visit Down Shadow Lane to check out their great selection of designer fabric.

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Free Valentine's Day On A Dime eBook

Are you looking for a way to celebrate Valentine's Day without breaking the bank? Check out Living on a Dime's free eBook, "Valentine's Day On A Dime" for ideas of things to do with your honey and your kids. There are also lots of great and inexpensive recipes and tips to make the holiday special.

Related Posts:
Handmade Gift Bow Tutorial

This FREE eBook works for me!

Do you have any Valentine's Day traditions or tips? Leave us a comment, we'd love to read about them.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Snow Day

Waiting to Go Outside First Steps in Snow
First Fall in SnowMy Favorite Snow Day Photo


Check out more Wordless Wednesdays at 5 Minutes For Mom.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Some Bloggy Changes

I've recently reconfigured our html to include a horizontal navigation bar. That's computer talk for that line of links you see under our blog name.

I've moved quite a bit of the sidebar information to this navigation bar. There's also some new stuff, like the About Us page. Hopefully this will help keep our sidebars from getting ridiculouly long.

If you're interested in making one of these on your Blogger blog, let me know. If there's a good response, I'll try to get a tutorial together.

Hey, it works for me!

Please, check out the new navigation bar and let us know what you think.