Online Giveaway Winner!

And the winner is…Danielle! Yeah, entrant #2 is the winner chosen by the number generator at www.random.org. Thanks for entering – hope you love the cookbook! Send me your new snail mail address and I’ll get it off to you ASAP. Congrats!

Square Foot Gardening

We have two raised garden beds that we build for square foot gardening. Having thought we’d be moved to Texas by now, I have ignored gardening up until now. I have the itch. Even if it’s just a few plants. When we moved to Nebraska from Utah, we had planted a beautiful garden full of tomatoes and zucchini and other wonders and the people who moved into our home there didn’t even like tomatoes. C’est la vie! Since we’re not so sure we won’t be here sans husband (he might have to travel back and forth), I might as well get my garden on!

These gardening books by Mel Bartholomew are fantastic (we have the original but I hear the revised version if great, too!).

Here’s a link to a blogger – My Square Foot Garden – with some other great resources and insights into gardening. Thanks, Diana, for the link!

Speaking of getting my garden on – did you see that $5 Dinners has a giveaway right now for a $50 Home Depot gift card? Be sure to tell your friends & good luck!

New Knitting Magazine: Knitscene

I have a thing for magazines. Even if I never get all of the projects done! This new Knitscene magazine looks interesting – I love the cover project! Wish I were 18 years old again so I could wear most of the stuff!

Stephenie Meyer Takes Top 4 Slots

Never been done before. Stephenie Meyer takes the top 4 slots of the Top 100 Books of 2008 from the USA Today’s best selling books list (photo courtesy of USA Today). You can check out the article here. Personally, I’ll admit that I started reading them skeptically – I was pretty darn sure I would hate the books. I mean, come on, vampires?! As I turned each page, though, I kept annoying my hubby by saying, “Wow. This is really good stuff.” I couldn’t believe how much I liked the books! They’re not really good vs. evil books. More about free agency and choice. Loved them. Even hubby has read them and likes them as much as Harry Potter. Surprise! Other books on the list that I have read this year: Wrobleski’s “Edgar Sawtelle” and Grogan’s “Marley & Me” — both great. Now, off to read some of the REST of the top 100 books…I’m sure some of those are even better…without the teenage groupies.

Reading Piles & Don’s Birthday

I am loving this Christmas break. Lots of staying up late playing games and then sleeping in and staying in bed and reading. There is nothing better than reading for an hour after you wake up but before the day really begins. Normally, I would read scriptures and then hurry off to start the day but this Christmas break, Don and I have been waking up late and catching up on our fiction piles — such a nice treat. I am thoroughly enjoying the 2000 edition of the Best American Short Stories edited by E.L. Doctorow and Katrina Kenison. My favorites so far are a Utah author Ron Carlson’s “The Ordinary Son” as well as Amy Bloom’s “The Story” and Percival Everett’s “The Fix”. You can see more reviews at Goodreads . I do think it’s ironic Don is reading Twilight and going to donate blood to the Red Cross on his birthday. Makes me chuckle. He says he’s going to take it to read “in the chair” on-site. He’s closer to 50 than 30 today but I can guarantee you he doesn’t act like it. He will always be a boy at heart and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And The Online Giveaway Winner Is…

TeresaB who said, “I just found your site through the City Farmgirls Blog. Fun fun!” Yes, it is fun! I think I like offering giveaways even more than winning (who’d of thunk it – I only wish everybody could win)! We had a peek at her etsy site here and she has some great ideas for your swiffer or sh-mop so be sure to take a look. Prepare yourselves for the next giveaway – it is going to be FANTASTIC and I’ll announce it tomorrow. Really. I-was-gonna-keep-this-one fantastic.

Online Giveaway – Mary Engelbreit Cookbook!

I was waxing a bit philosophical late yesterday so, let’s have a little fun! After all, Thanksgiving is just around the corner and you might need a good cookbook. What is it about cookbooks? I love them all. I have an entire chicken-coop-turned-cabinet in my kitchen full of ’em. That is why I’m parting with this one as an online giveaway; it’s a great cookbook, I just have not had a chance to try any of the recipes and I thought someone else might really enjoy this just in time for Turkey Day (aka Thanksgiving)! This is Mary’s “Queen of the Kitchen” Cookbook and it includes biscuits, wafers, chowder, ribs, lamb, turkey, shrimp, waffles, pineapple cake. The pies alone include: Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie, Farmhouse Walnut Pie, Apple Cinnamon Crumb Pie, Strawberry & Lemon Tart, Deep Dish Apple Cranberry Pie, Nectarine & Blueberry Cobbler, Caramel Baked Pears and Double Pear Crisp. Ooooh, there’s Peanut Brittle Fudge Sundae…oh, crud, did I really want to part with this one??? It’s up for grabs! Rules: One entry per email/person, just make a comment on THIS post. Winner will be chosen by random.org in two weeks. Last day to enter will be midnight on Wednesday, November 19th. Value of this giveaway is approximately $19.95.

Slow Morning, Anti-Consumerism & Pam Houston

I’m having a slow morning. Can’t think of anything to write or recommend — in fact, I’m kind of on an anti-shopping kick right now. I read a quote yesterday something about ‘everything I have is all I need’ and I couldn’t help but agree. Since I don’t have any good shopping to recommend, I figured I’d share with you a line from a funny article from one of my favorite writers, Pam Houston (you know, author of Cowboys Are My Weakness and Sight Hound, to name just two books), from this month’s Women’s Adventure magazine. There were a couple of passages so funny that I had to read them out loud to my husband (apparently men can also enjoy women’s adventures, well, at least I think he did!). One of my favorite lines from the article is, “What treatment naturally follows an exorcism in a health-and-wellness plan?” You simply must read Pam Houston’s past articles here. I don’t think the current one is available but probably will be after the next issue is published. I think I would really like her sidekick, Cindy. If you’re interested in the mag, you can subscribe here. Don’t forget to check out the giveaways here, too!

Middle School Curriculum Rant #1 (I expect there will be more)

I just finished a 1970 copy of a MIDDLE SCHOOL text called Close Up: A Collection of Short Plays. I enjoyed it immensely! It was better than a magazine – each play was short enough that I could read it in little bits of time but feel liked I’d watched an entire drama. These one act plays are fantastic. If you’ve never read short drama, I highly recommend it. It leaves so much to the imagination and is a very cunning and concise craft. What bothers me is this: Why is this textbook withdrawn and why are our children reading much less interesting and much less thought provoking, easier texts today? I visited my son’s 7th grade reading classroom at the middle school’s open house and discussed what was going to be read this year with his reading teacher. I was delighted to see Shakespeare’s Hamlet among the reading list. I was not delighted to see the dumbed down version they were reading. I was appalled – the original text on the left hand side with the easier, new version on the right hand side of each page. What?!? This is someone’s interpretation. It is not Shakespeare. Every nuance, vocabulary, contextual usage, etc., will be completely lost. What kid is not going to prefer to read the easy side? This makes it seem that Shakespeare must difficult to understand since we’re being provided a comprehensible version. Nothing could be further from the truth (this reminds me of the Barbie that said, “Math is HARD!”). Give ’em the real deal and I don’t think the reader will let you down but you have to let them discover and help them through discussion – NOT replacing the text. We truly demand so little of our kids these days; whatever happened to excellence and enlightenment? Nah, it’d be easier just to excel for them and make it easier on them because we love them, right? Geesh. Rant over, for now.

What I Designed Today: Which Cover Did My Client Choose?

Photos attributed to: Big Stock Photo (see right hand column for links and info).

I designed both of these mockups for a client recently. We were feeling green. So — which cover do you think my client chose? The one with the girl or the one with the leaf? Vote for your favorite by leaving a comment and then we’ll compare those results with the one my client actually chose! Could be interesting…

Online Giveaway – Blissful Brownies Cookbook!

I love entering giveaways online so I thought I’d finally host one of my own. BLISSFUL BROWNIES is a fabulous cookbook, published in 2007. More imporantly, here are some of the different types of brownie recipes: Chocolate , Fudge , Pecan, Double Chocolate, Sticky Chocolate, White Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Cappuccino, Mocha, Ginger Chocolate Chip, Sour Cream, Walnut & Cinnamon, Banana Cardamom, Black Forest, Toffee Apple, Rocky Road, Apricot, Marbled Chocolate Cheesecake…just to name a few. It also includes an entire section at the back on bars, e.g. Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars, Almond Bars, Macadamia Nut Caramel Bars, + MORE! All you have do to be entered to win is leave a comment on this post before midnight on Sunday, October 19th. The winner will be randomly drawn from the comments. Oh, and, shipping is on me (contiguous 48 states, please).

Apple Treats for Kids

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Yummy “candy” centered apple circles!

I have a bushel of apples so I’m getting good at thinking up treats for my kids. We exhausted the caramel apple dip recipe over the weekend and here is another.

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Mix 2 T. peanut butter with 1/4 c. uncooked rolled oats and about 1T. honey (or to taste).

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Core your apples and stuff ’em with the mixture.

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Slice into desired thickness and eat – it’s like having a “candy” center! My kids love this. I used my Pampered Chef Crinkle Cutter today but it’s absolutely not necessary – but cute.

Stephenie Meyer’s Midnight Sun

I am so sad. Somebody illegally distributed Stephenie Meyer’s latest book she’s working on via the internet. This book is really interesting, too, it covers Twilight but from Edward’s perspective — very thought provoking to go back and hear the same conversations from his thoughts! To combat the illegal copy she has posted her own online copy here. Read about it and weep. We may never see the book in print!

UK Pub: Photoshop Creative

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Field trip to Barnes & Noble last night. Always dangerous, pocketbook-wise. The kids each got to choose a book and I walked out with two issues of a British pub: Photoshop Creative. Very nice! At $15 each, not cheap but great content. I was looking for ideas for a catalog cover on my plate this week. I don’t scrap but, oddly enough, found some of the best cover from the latest issue of Digital Scrapbooking magazine. Who knew? Fun stuff!

Calling all Crafters – Knitting, Beading Etc.

Book Sale!

If you know me at all, you know I find the BEST SALES online so I just had to share this one! I don’t even do jewelry but there were some gorgeous looking wire wrapped bead things in the lot. If you love any kind of craft-ery you will love this sale. The books are NOT pristine but have a nice discount. If your books look like mine when you’re done with them, the newness will not matter to you, either. I already purchased a few…I can feel the smooth pages in my hands now… If you want to get some for yourselves (or just browse the titles), click on the pic above and enjoy!