Best Shot Monday – Merry Christmas

We’ve arrived at our destination in southern Kansas and are here for the next couple days to spend the holiday with Jody’s side of the family.

Since I finally got my cards in the mail on Friday, I figured it was now safe to post the finished product here. The picture wasn’t exactly what I was going for (I don’t think it ever is when more than one child is involved), but I still liked it.
Our 2007 Holiday card

Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!! 🙂

The (mostly) Green Girly Gift Guide and Giveaways

PLEASE NOTE: As of now, 12/19/07, this giveaway is now closed for entries. Thanks!

Green Girly Gift Guide

A few weeks ago I posted my holiday toy gift guide for kids, but now is the time to start thinking about yourself and all of the women (friends, aunts, grandmothers, mothers, sisters) on your list, because let’s face it, we women deserve some great gifts too! 🙂

In keeping with the crunchy spirit of reducing, reusing and recycling, I’m happy to say that most of the items in my girly gift guide are green (good for the environment). These gift ideas aren’t just for Christmas and Chanukah, they also make great birthday presents.

What could make a mostly green girly gift guide even better? How about the fact that this guide is chock full of great giveaways and coupon codes to help you with your holiday shopping or to score some cool stuff for yourself! 🙂 See the end of the guide for instructions on how you can have a chance to win one of the giveaways.

Lookin’ Good and Green

Choose happiness t-shirtTees for Change – Including positive messages like: “Choose Happiness,” “Live Mindfully,” and “Today Matters,” Tees for Change shirts ($28-$38) are out to make the world a better place. I don’t know about you, but I often need to remind myself that happiness is a choice. Rather than getting caught up in the moment or events of the day, I can decide to roll with the punches, laugh it off and choose happiness. That’s why the Choose Happiness shirt is my favorite. I love that these tees have such a great message for the person wearing them, as well as everyone he/she comes into contact with. Oh, and I’m also keen on the fact that they are the brainchild of a local mom who also had a home birth. A Boulder, Colorado-based company, Tees for Change is very eco-conscious. All of their tees are made from 100% organic cotton or 70% bamboo/30% organic cotton mix, are dyed with low impact dyes and screen-printed with water-based inks, and they plant a tree for every shirt sold. It’s a win-win and now you can win too with this giveaway!
– Coupon Code: For 15% off, use coupon code “goddess” at checkout.
– Win It! : I’m giving away (1) Tees for Change short-sleeved t-shirt of your choice

For the jewelry-lovers

  • BeadforLife unique necklaces and bracelets – “BeadforLife eradicates extreme poverty by creating bridges of understanding between impoverished Africans and concerned world citizens. Ugandan women turn colorful recycled paper into beautiful beads, and people who care open their hearts, homes and communities to buy and sell the beads. The beads thus become income, food, medicine, school fees — and hope. All profits from BeadforLife are invested in community development projects that generate income and help people work their way out of poverty.” Necklaces range in price from $10 to $30. Bracelets range in price from $5 to $15. They also sell loose beads (for use in making your own jewelry or other crafts) and gift certificates. I bought a few BeadforLife necklaces at a BeadforLife party I attended (and blogged about) a couple of years ago. I love that the pieces are beautiful, unique, made from recycled paper and are helping such a worthy cause. If you are in the Boulder, Colorado area, you can stop in the Bead for Life store to see all of their unique styles and colors.
  • Sea glass necklaceSea glass jewelry from Oceano (an Etsy store) – I remember my mom first introducing me to sea glass (broken pieces of glass that have been made smooth by the ocean) when I was a child. I always thought it was beautiful. I love that someone else appreciates the beauty of sea glass and thought of the wonderful idea of making it into jewelry. What a creative way to recycle/reuse discarded glass!


For the aspiring photographers

  • Photo cuff braceletsHere’s a unique gift idea that any aspiring photographer and/or mom would love to have – a Photo Cuff Bracelet from Mama Needs It. The Photo Cuffs are made of die cut vinyl (vegan friendly) and are a cool way for you to show off your favorite photos of your children, grandchildren, pets, whatever! I have the Chelsea Photo Cuff Bracelet and love it! Of course I have mine filled with pictures of Ava and Julian, but you can fill yours with whatever you like. I also like that you can swap out new photos whenever you choose.
    – Coupon Code:
    Receive 10% off any purchases from Mama Needs It by entering the discount code “CDGknowsgifts” at checkout.
    – Win It! : I’m giving away a $25 gift certificate to Mama Needs It
  • The holiday season generally means we moms will all be taking more pictures than usual. If you are looking for a quick and easy way to get those holiday photos printed and into an album, you might be interested in HP’s Photo Books. They are available in two sizes: 5″ x 7″ or 8.5″ x 11″ and a variety of colors. HP photo book“The HP Photo Book includes all the things you need: a professional looking hardcover photo book, easy to use layout and design software, and HP Advanced Photo Paper (12 sheets). Simply add your photos and creative touch, and you’re ready to go.” I like that they are also customizable and allow you to add more pages or mementos such as cards or invitations any time you like.
    – Coupon Code: To receive a 20% off coupon code (expires 12/31/07) for the Photo Books, visit Snap Shot Chronicles.
    – Win It! : I’m giving away 2 sets of Photo Books – (1) 8.5×11 size and one (1) 5×7 size in each set

For the Foodies on your list

  • What’s Cooking Weekly menu planning service will help you answer the age-old question of “What’s for dinner?” Each week there are five healthy meal recipes, as well as shopping lists, “Call the Kids” section with suggestions to get your children involved in the meal preparation, nutritional information and tips for eating foods in season. It is a mom-owned and operated business.
    I had the opportunity to give the service a try and was very impressed. The meals I made were all delicious and a big hit with my family. This is a great time-saver for anyone who has a million and one things to do every day and doesn’t necessarily have time to figure out what’s for dinner. The shopping lists are organized by grocery department and the recipes are easy to follow. I especially like the “Call the Kids” section to help get children more involved in their meal preparation. I find that my daughter enjoys her food more when she helps make it herself and she loves telling daddy, “I helped!”
    A What’s Cooking Weekly Subscription makes a great gift (and generates no waste – how cool is that?!). A 6-month subscription is only $35 – less than $6 per month!
    – Win It! : I’m giving away a 6-month subscription to What’s Cooking Weekly
  • BYOBagsBYO Bags – reusable mesh produce bags from What’s Cooking. These reusable mesh bags are a great way to cut down on the number of plastic bags used. They can easily be stuffed into your purse and pulled out in the produce aisle when you need them. $10 for 3 bags.
    – Coupon Code:
    To receive 10% off any purchases from What’s Cooking, enter the coupon code “Eat_Well” at checkout.

For the woman who has everything

  • Consider a gift subscription to Green Dimes – For only $15 $12 (reduced for the holiday season), GreenDimes pledges to “cut your junk mail up to 90%” and plant 10 trees.
    My mom bought me a subscription a while back and I really have noticed a reduction in our junk mail. Plus I love the fact that they plant trees for you.
  • What if there was a way to have a tree planted for every book you read? Now there is with Eco-Libris. “Every book you read was once a tree. Now you can plant a tree for every book you read” with Eco-Libris. Give an Eco-Libris gift certificate to the people you care about, with which they will be able to plant trees for the books they read. For every tree planted, Eco-Libris will send them an Eco-Libris sticker to display on their book’s sleeve. (Thanks to GreenStyleMom for bringing this cool site to my attention!)

Other sources for groovy green ideas

  • Green Feet – Green Feet is a groovy online store that is sure to have something for the women (men and children, too) on your list. bambu dishesThey carry the full Bambu line, which includes bamboo dishes, cutting boards, serving trays, baskets and more. Wonder what’s so great about bamboo? It’s durable, beautiful and sustainable. It’s a grass, not a wood, grows incredibly fast and never needs replanting. Green Feet carries all sorts of other cool things like jewelry made from a bike chain or a record, recycled sari purses, hemp bath pillows, aromatherapy diffusers, a kitchen compost crock, Coco Zum Chocolate Soap, water bottles, reusable bags and much, much more.
    – Coupon Code: 10% off your order. Use the code “Crunchy” during checkout. Not valid with other offers, sale items or memberships.
  • happy bagsReusable Bags – Reusable bags have come a long way, baby. Check out their Gift Ideas for Her and you might be surprised by the variety of hip reusable bags available. There are also some great reusable bottles, a reusable gift bag set, and a reusable bamboo utensil set.
    – Coupon Code:
    10% off your entire order. At checkout, enter the following code in the Gift Certificates/Discount Coupons section: “49c7fg” (note that it is case sensitive) – Good through Dec. 21. One use per customer.



For those who love the written word (magazine subscriptions for thinking mothers):

  • Mothering : Natural Family Living – Buy a one-year subscription at the reduced price of $19.95 (regularly $22.95) and you can order additional one-year subscriptions for friends and family for only $17 each.
    – Coupon Code: Use code X7DE in the promotional code box.
    Mothering also has a digital subscription option to help save the trees!
  • Brain, Child : The magazine for thinking mothers- A one-year subscription is just $17.95 for a full year of reading pleasure. (That’s 25% off the newsstand price)
    – Coupon Code: Use code MWX07 at the checkout.

Final thoughts

Don’t forget about Etsy: “Your place to buy and sell all things homemade” – Check out their gift guide page where you can search according to whom you are shopping for – women, men, babies, children (by age), etc. 🙂

Lastly, here are some other great places to look for unique gift ideas:

* flea markets
* closeout stores (I just saw bamboo cutting boards at Ross for more than 50% off retail)
* thrift stores (You never know what you’ll find!)

GROOVY GIVEAWAYS!

Win It!
There are four great giveaways mentioned above. You get to choose which ONE giveaway you want to enter. That’s right – you may only enter to win ONE of the four prizes. Please note that I’m doing these giveaways differently than I have in the past.

To try your hand at winning one, please send an email to cdggiveaway@gmail.com and make the subject line the name of ONE of the following giveaways:
– Tees for Change shirt
– What’s Cooking Weekly subscription
– Mama Needs It gift certificate
– HP Photo Books
(Only one email per person please)
To receive an additional five entries either post the Green Girly Gift Guide button on your blog and email me the link or tell five friends about this guide and cc me (cdggiveaway@gmail.com) on the email. The winners will be randomly selected using Random.org and posted on my blog, as well as notified via email. The deadline to enter is Wednesday, Dec. 19. Winners will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 20. Note: Prizes will be mailed after Christmas.

Good luck and happy green shopping! 🙂

Best Shot Monday – 12/10/07 – Holiday pictures

After receiving a couple of Christmas cards in the mail this weekend, I realized that if I was going to pull off my plan of having Christmas cards printed with a picture of the kids on it and actually get them in the mail, I needed to get crackin’ – like actually taking a picture! So on Sunday, with the help of 8 inches of snow on the ground translating into a lot of natural light reflecting back into the house (I need all of the help I can get in the winter), I attempted to take some pictures of the kids.

First I did Julian (while Jody bathed Ava – i.e. kept her out of my hair) and got several cute ones of him.

Next I did some of Ava, and, again, got several cute ones of her.

And finally, enlisting my trusty assistant’s Jody’s help, I tried to do both of them together. I’d like to say I got lots of cute ones of the two of them, but that’s just not how it went down. By that time Julian was tired and ready for a nap and Ava had to be bribed with chocolate chips. I don’t use bribery often, but to get a good picture I will pull out all the stops. 😉 I did end up with two decent shots of them together, but they weren’t exactly what I had in mind. (Isn’t that always the way?) Anyway, I’m not sharing those captures today, but I am sharing the only other two that I’ve edited – one of each of them individually that I am rather fond of.

12/9/07 - Ava 12/9/07 - Julian

I would love to try again for a great shot of the two of them, but I’m a realist and I know that probably won’t happen for this year’s Christmas card. So I will be happy with what I did capture. And one of these days, when I’m feeling incredibly ambitious, I need to try for a family picture with all four of us in it, since we haven’t done that again since Julian was 15 days old. It’s time.

See more best shots over at Picture This (click the button):
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NaBloPoMo burnout

Julian at the park - 12/4/07Am I the only one who’s been feeling slightly less enthusiastic about blogging since NaBloPoMo ended? I admit having the pressure of posting every day removed has allowed me to be a bit more lax in my blogging efforts, and I’m enjoying the break.Julian & Ava at the park - 12/4/07

It’s allowed me time to take the kids to the park when the temps nearly hit 70 degrees on Tuesday (fun!), and to catch up on cleaning, grocery shopping and laundry (not so fun).

It’s allowed me time to submit some pictures to a magazine photo contest – America and the Sea (crossing my fingers).

It’s allowed me more time to spend reading “Pushed: The Painful Truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care.” The book is now overdue from the library, but I can’t bring myself to return it until I finish it. Hopefully that will be in the next couple of days or I’m going to start racking up some serious overdue charges. 😉 I plan on reviewing the book once I finish it so you will hear more about it. So far though it’s been excellent!

It’s also allowed me time to work on a new holiday gift guide for women (well, many of the gifts would be great for men too), with lots of giveaways and coupon codes, that I think you will like. That should be up early next week. Yes, I know that’s for my blog, but still. (Jody’s boss has told him that’s the way to win any argument. End it with, “yes, but still.” hehe)

What about you? Are you keeping up with the daily blogging now that NaBloPoMo is over or are you taking it easy and enjoying a bit of a break?

Best Shot Monday – 11/26/07 – Julian’s 1st birthday

You know that with my li’l guy turning 1 this past week, I have a lot of pictures to share. 🙂 So I’ll put my “best shot” first, then the rest will follow if you are interested in taking a look. You may notice that I had to use my flash for the majority of the pictures. Generally speaking, I prefer to go with natural light whenever possible, but I’ve learned that sometimes I need to get over myself and use my flash to avoid grainy as heck (see the pic of Julian and his cake for an example) and often blurry pics, especially on special occasions like birthdays.

(You can mouse over each pic for the caption.)

Best shot – I just love this shot of the two kiddos rolling around the bed together.:
Good morning hugs and tumbles on the bed for birthday boy Julian from Ava - 11/23/07

And the rest of the birthday fun:
Birthday squeezes - 11/23/07New toy - 11/23/07More playing - 11/23/07Much-needed sustenance - 11/23/07Sustenance of another kind (feeding himself sweet potatoes) - 11/23/07Birthday boy and his cake - 11/23/07Whole family - 11/23/07“Tastes good, mama.” - 11/23/07“Ice cream is good too, Dada.” - 11/23/07Sharing laughs with Ava - 11/23/07Birthday tickles! - 11/23/07Cake-faced Julian with the balloon - 11/23/07Ready for bed - 11/23/07

See more best shots over at Picture This (click the button):
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Best Shot Monday – 11/19/07

NaBloPoMo – Day 19

There’s nothing like the expected arrival of house guests (my parents will arrive later today) to get my butt in gear with both a) cleaning my house and b) decorating my house. This weekend was a blur of shopping (new rugs and picture frames), printing photos, hanging pictures and cleaning. We’ve lived in this house for 7 years and there were still a number of empty walls (mostly in the basement, where our guest bedroom and bathroom are, but still). Having a passion for photography and having taken more pictures than I can possibly count, I have no excuse for not having some printed, framed and hung, so I did just that. I now have five family pictures hanging in the guest bedroom, some Anne Geddes pictures (that I cut out of a book – got the tip on Oprah no less) hanging in the guest bathroom, pictures hanging in the basementbathroom pictures hallway, nature pictures (that I took) hanging in our main floor bathroom (see pic to the right – btw, my color seems to be totally off, that’s what I get for using auto white balance), a collage of family pictures on our downstairs landing, and soon to be more nature pictures hanging in our upstairs office – including my sunset picture that I finally (2 years later) had printed. I’m quite pleased with all that I accomplished. It certainly was a long time coming.

In addition to all of the picture hanging going on this weekend, I also finally made a recipe for Pumpkin Seed Pesto Ravioli (from The Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook). It’s one I’d been wanting to make for a while now. I froze the raviolis to have for dinner this week while my parents are here, but I did take a few (OK, a lot of) tastes of the filling while assembling the raviolis and it was damn tasty. I can’t wait to eat them. 🙂

So here’s my non-standard best shot for the week – the ravioli I slaved away on for the afternoon. (It’s my first time making my own ravioli, so I’m a little proud of them. Can ya tell? 😉 Though I do have to add, thank God for store-bought wonton wrappers. I can’t imagine making all of the dough myself!)

Pumpkin seed pesto ravioli

See more best shots over at Picture This (click the button):
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P.S. Happy 35th anniversary to my parents (yesterday)! 🙂

Best Shot Monday – 11/12/07

NaBloPoMo – Day 12

I admit I didn’t take my camera out at all this week until Sunday. And even then, it was only because Best Shot Monday was creeping up on me and I had to have something to share. 😉

The kids were playing in the yard, and Julian, my baby toddler, captured my attention.

My best shot is Julian “getting away.”

Julian getting away - 11/11/07

And I’m sharing this second one just because I think he’s cute.

Cute boy 11/11/07

See more best shots over at Picture This (click the button):
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Best Shot Monday – 11/5/07

NaBloPoMo – Day 5

Since we’ve been dealing with the sickies here this weekend, I haven’t spent much time on my computer, and thus, have only proofed a couple of pics from the past week.

Here are two of Ava from her preschool Halloween party.

The contemplative lion
Contemplative lion - 10/31/07

The high bouncing lion
Bouncing high - 10/31/07

See more best shots over at Picture This (click the button):
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