Monday, October 27, 2008
Bloggy Giveaway Carnival- SIX free hair clips!
I'm a little late on joining in the fun of the Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival but better late than never, right?  I love these giveaway carnivals!

For this one, I'm going to give away not one, not two, not even three, but SIX of my pretty Uptown collection clips.  That's right, six decorative hair clips that are lined with no-slip material that works in even the finest of hair!

I'm showing an example of a couple of the clips but there are 12 styles or colors to choose from.

Please visit my online boutique at  Sparkle and Charm Boutique to view the entire collection and let me know which six Uptown collection clips you would be interested in if you are chosen as the winner!

This prize will be wrapped up pretty so they'll be good to go if you're considering giving them as gifts!

Contest ends on Fri, Oct 31 and winner will be announced on Sat, Nov 1st.

And don't forget to check out all of the other lovely giveaways going on at the Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival!

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9:05 PM
103 comments


Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Parole granted.
I've just learned that Boo's mom has been granted parole.  This means that after 8 1/2 months of having Boo as a part of our family, we start all over from scratch with her case plan.  It'll be months and months before we know the outcome.

I cried myself to sleep last night. :(


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5:13 AM
15 comments


Sunday, October 19, 2008
Results from my first craft fair.
Yesterday I mentioned that I was taking my show on the road!  I thought I'd follow up and share the results of my first craft fair.  It only cost me $25 to attend the fair as a vendor, so I figured I didn't have much to loose if it didn't go well.

So, Friday I went shopping and purchased a few things.  I went to Party City and purchased pink, green, and white plastic table clothes and some balloons, to match my business colors.  

I printed out order forms and raffle tickets for a giveaway, as well as printing details from my website, since I wouldn't have access to the internet.

Friday night I stayed up late fleshing out my stock of hair bows and clips.  I had 4 tutus (two of them were sets) already made up and planned to use those as displays only.

I arrived about 30 minutes before the fair started and got everything set up.  Thank goodness I had some friends at this festival because I had so much stuff that it was hard to carry!

It didn't take me long to get set up but the first hour was really slow.  There were a lot of families present but at first there was not much traffic in the "market" area where we were all set up.   It picked up after that first hour.

There were probably 15-20 tables of people selling things, but I was the only one selling hair accessories and tutus (candles and jewelry tables seemed abound). 

I had my tutus prominently displayed on a hanging rack and eventually it was the tutus that drew little girls to my table.  

People expressed an interest in my hair bows and clips, telling me they were cute and reasonably priced, but there weren't a lot of orders in that area.

I got far more interest in the tutus.  Lots of people (parents and little girls alike) loved them!   Still, I only got 2 orders, but the orders were for tutu sets at $50 a piece, so that wasn't too bad.

I really wasn't worried about the fact that I didn't get a ton or orders because my main goal with attending that fair was to get my business name out there and talk to people.  I handed out quite a few business cards and encouraged people to go to my website to see a broader selection of my products.

Before I left, the school rep that coordinated the vendor booths approached me and asked if I'd mind her creating a flyer to advertise my business within their school!  She said she loved my products and would be happy to promote my business there.  I was pleasantly surprised at that offer.

So, although I didn't get a ton of sales yesterday, I had fun talking with people.  I got some exposure at the festival and may have even more exposure in the coming months if my business is advertised within this charter school!   

Have any of you attended a craft fair as a vendor?  How'd it go for you?

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6:00 AM
11 comments


Saturday, October 18, 2008
Taking my show on the road...
I'm taking my show on the road later this morning! :)  I'm attending my first ever festival as a vendor displaying my wares and trying to sell them.

It's quite a bit of work getting ready to set up a table at a festival.  Still, I think it'll be fun.

Best of all, the table rental was only $25 for 3 hours and I have the potential exposure to roughly 750 elementary children and their parents!   Perfect market for what I sell!

Wish me luck! :)

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8:08 AM
7 comments


Friday, October 17, 2008
Favorite Ingredients Friday (bat cupcakes)

Good Friday to you all! It's time for another Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange! I can't wait to see what you all come up with!

Upcoming 2008 & 2009 "Themed" Schedule
November 7- Holiday Cooking, Blogger Style!
November 21- Soup Edition II
December 5- Cookie Edition II
December 19- Muffin Edition II
January 2- Casserole Edition II
January 16- Pies Edition II
January 30- Super Bowl Edition III

Halloween is coming quick so I thought I'd share a cute cupcake design that I found on Allrecipes.com!



Bat Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Chocolate cake mix (prepare according to directions on the box)
Chocolate frosting (any kind you like)
Chocolate wafers
Hershey's Kisses
Red gel icing

Directions:

Bake the cake mix into cupcakes. Frost them. Break the wafers in half to create wings. Add a Hershey's Kiss and us the red gel icing to create eyes!

Cute, eh?

Now, I look forward to seeing your Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe!

Don't forget to link your specific recipe post link on Mr. Linky so I can see what's cooking at your house!

Oh, and be sure to put the title of your recipe in parenthesis! It makes it so much quicker for me to go back and search for recipes as I build my weekly menu.

For guidelines and my past Favorite Ingredients Friday recipes, click here.

Thanks so much for your participation. I do appreciate it!

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5:00 AM
3 comments


Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Need to Knead Bread Recipe Round Up Day!

It's time for Tamy's Need to Knead Bread Recipe Round Up Day! My recipe doesn't actually require kneading but I hope Tamy won't mind me submitting it anyway.

This is one of my absolute favorite bread treats!

Ingredients:

3 (12 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 9 or 10 inch tube pan.

2. Mix white sugar and cinnamon in a plastic bag. Cut biscuits into quarters. Shake 6 to 8 biscuit pieces in the sugar cinnamon mix. Arrange pieces in the bottom of the prepared pan. Continue until all biscuits are coated and placed in pan. If using nuts, arrange them in and among the biscuit pieces as you go along.

3. In a small saucepan, melt the margarine with the brown sugar over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute. Pour over the biscuits.

4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 minutes. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Do not cut! The bread just pulls apart.

Now, head on over to Tamy's Need to Knead Bread Recipe Round Up Day and submit your favorite bread recipe!

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6:00 AM
6 comments


Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Pigtails and Snails quilt giveaway!


Oh my goodness! There is an amazing quilt giveaway going on over at Pigtails and Snails!  I do believe this quilt is one of the prettiest I've seen in a while!  Take a look!

I love, love, love quilts and one day I'm going to find the time to teach myself how to make them but until then, I'd love to win this one!

If you'd like a chance to win, head on over to Pigtails and Snails to enter yourself!

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8:00 AM


Saturday, October 11, 2008
Sparkle and Charm Boutique hair bow winner!
Sorry everyone, I had intended to post the winner of my hair bow giveaway this morning but my children had other plans for me. They're napping now so it's time!


Before I announce the winner, I want to thank everyone that left a supportive comment about my new Sparkle and Charm Boutique web design. I'm glad to hear you love it as much as I do!

Now then, the winner of my giveaway was randomly selected by Random.org.

And the winner is...


#18- PisecoMom  over at Mind Games!  Congrats, PisecoMom!  You have 1 week to claim your prize or I will be forced to choose an alternate winner.

For those of you who didn't win this time, have no fear, I'm sure I'll offer future giveaways so check back.

In the meantime, I'd love it if you'd place an order! :)

I just posted some more hair bows and clips to entice you. Check them out!

Red & White Snowflake bow

Happy Birthday stacked bow

Striped triple stack bow

Pink Boutique bow

Hot Pink gerbera daisy clip

Uptown Collection clips

Within the next couple of days, I'll be adding pictures of some more tutus and a tutu dress, so keep checking back at Sparkle and Charm Boutique!

Thanks!

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3:24 PM


Friday, October 10, 2008
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Sauce Edition II)

Good Friday to you all! It's time for a special Favorite Ingredients Friday Sauce Edition II! Last year you all gave me many great sauce recipes. I can't wait to see what sauce recipes you all come up with. I do love sauces! :)

My contribution is a flavorful sauce that has many uses! Mash some of this sauce in with freshly boiled potatoes for a lovely garlic mashed potato recipe. Use the sauce for steak or instead of ketchup with sausages or burgers. Make up a large batch of it and use as a dipping sauce at your next barbeque. You can even use it pasta. This sauce is extremely versatile.

White Garlic Sauce

Ingredients
2 1 1/2 oz (45gm) Butter
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
1 Glass Dry White Wine
Salt and Pepper
1 oz (30gm) Flour
1/2 pint (280 ml) Milk

Directions
Melt 1/2 oz (15gm) butter in a pan, add the chopped onions and cook gently until soft and golden. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the wine, turn up the heat and reduce the volume by about half. Remove from heat.
In another pan melt the remaining 1 oz (30 gm) of butter. Add the flour, stir and cook for about five minutes.

Now add the milk. If you've never made a white sauce before, the key is: take it slowly. Add just a little milk, stir well, then a little more. At first the result will look like a pastry. After a little more milk it will resemble an elastic dough. Beat this smooth. Then as you add the rest of the milk a little at a time keep stirring. You'll end up with a nice thick sauce.

Mix in the onion and garlic and you're done.

Serve the garlic sauce warm.

If things go horribly wrong and the garlic sauce is lumpy, don't panic - just bung it in a food processor and whizz for a few seconds. Yes, it's cheating but no-one will ever know!

Now, I look forward to seeing your Favorite Ingredients Friday Sauce edition recipe!

Don't forget to link your specific recipe post link on Mr. Linky so I can see what's cooking at your house!

Oh, and be sure to put the title of your recipe in parenthesis! It makes it so much quicker for me to go back and search for recipes as I build my weekly menu.

For guidelines and my past Favorite Ingredients Friday recipes, click here.

Thanks so much for your participation. I do appreciate it!

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5:00 AM
4 comments


Wednesday, October 08, 2008
WFMW (FREE hair bow)
Happy Wednesday to you! It's time once again to post another WFMW tip! This is sort of a tip, as in a tip-off to a free giveaway!

To celebrate the launch of my new online boutique, Sparkle and Charm Boutique, I'm hosting a giveaway for a FREE hair bow!

For more details and to enter to win, leave a comment here.

Scoring a free hair bow works for me. To find out what works for others, be sure to check out the other links at Shannon's, the creator of Works-For-Me Wednesday!

Some of my past WFMW entries are found here.

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6:00 AM


Monday, October 06, 2008
It's been a long time coming!

It's been months of hard work but the time has come to finally launch my official online business, Sparkle and Charm Boutique.

Please be kind enough to check out my new website and let me know what you think!  And while you're there, take a  close look at the hair bows because I'm giving away one free hair bow this Saturday morning!  

All you have to do is go to my website to check them out and then come back here and leave me a comment letting me know what style you liked like to win. I'll even do a custom made hair bow to match a favorite outfit.

And if you're willing to help me spread the news, the code for my button is on the sidebar of my website!

I don't have all my products posted yet (i.e. I'll be posting a Christmas tutu soon and more tutu sets) so please stop back often to check out what's new!


As much as I'd love to take the credit for my fabulous web design, I really can't.  I'm not creative in that way.  All the credit goes to Revka with RS Designs.

Not so long ago I started researching my options to have a web designer create an online business website for me. One of the main reasons I chose Revka with RS Designs is because I was impressed with her portfolio of previous customers. Her past designs looked professional and appealing. I was also pleased with her very affordable prices. I’m so glad that RS Designs caught my eye!

Revka did a fantastic job of designing my Sparkle and Charm Boutique website! Not having any experience with web design myself, the only assistance I could offer her was to let her know the color scheme that I wanted and that I wanted textured layers. Revka took my meager input and ran with it, creating a whimsical, but functional web design for me.

Throughout the creative process, Revka kept me in the loop on a regular basis, emailing me with suggestions, asking for my input, and offering me previews along the way. Her attention to detail was most impressive and her commitment to 100% satisfaction was amazing! Even when I thought the web design was fine, she found a few more ways to make it better. She wasn’t willing to consider the design finished until I absolutely loved it, which I most certainly do!

I would highly recommend RS Designs if you’re considering having a business website or a blog designed or if your current design needs a makeover. Trust me; you’ll be just as impressed with Revka’s work as I have been!


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6:00 AM
27 comments


Sunday, October 05, 2008
Check back tomorrow for an announcement & a giveaway!
Tomorrow I'm making a fun announcement that involves a giveaway!

Please stop back tomorrow morning for more details!
8:06 AM
2 comments


Saturday, October 04, 2008
September Pay It Forward Book Exchange winners!

It's past time to pick the four winners for my September Pay It Forward Book Exchange. I've used Random.org to find my winners.

And the winners are...

# 1-yessenia, who wins a copy of Hitched by Carol Higgins Clark.

#2- Swapna Krishna, a non-blogger who wins a copy of I Choose This Day by Sharon Fieker.

#5- Jubilee at Notes of Jubilee who wins a copy of Your Child's Strengths.

# 6-Forgetfulone who wins a copy of The Divide by Nicholas Evans.


Congrats, Ladies! Please email me your mailing addresses so I can send out your book!

I'm postponing my next Pay It Forward Book Exchange until November due to my overbooked personal schedule. I hope you'll join me next month!

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6:00 AM
1 comments


Friday, October 03, 2008
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Chocolate Banana Oatmeal Porridge)

Good Friday to you all! It's time for another Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange! I can't wait to see what you all come up with!

Before we get started, I'd like to give another shout out for Tamy at 3 Sides of Crazy! She is hosting a Bread Round-Up on October 15. I'll be joining in. I hope you can too! Go visit her blog for details and help her spread the word!

Upcoming Themed Schedule
October 10-Sauce Edition II
October 24-Italian Edition II
November 7-Holiday Cooking, Blogger Style!
November 21-Soup Edition II

The recipe I'm posting is another one that I found on the Allrecipes.com.  With cold weather coming on, I think you'll love this porridge recipe!

Chocolate Banana Oatmeal Porridge

Ingredients:

2 cups boiling water
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 banana, mashed
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chip

Directions:

In a saucepan, combine water, oats and salt. Simmer 5 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 3 minutes. Stir in brown sugar, banana and chocolate chips.

Now, I look forward to seeing your Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe!

Don't forget to link your specific recipe post link on Mr. Linky so I can see what's cooking at your house!

Oh, and be sure to put the title of your recipe in parenthesis! It makes it so much quicker for me to go back and search for recipes as I build my weekly menu.

For guidelines and my past Favorite Ingredients Friday recipes, click here.

Thanks so much for your participation. I do appreciate it!

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6:00 AM
5 comments




Name: Overwhelmed

My complete profile

It wasn't supposed to work this way...Parts 1 through 10

(the story of the private, domestic adoption of our son)


(Part 1)
(Part 2)
(Part 3)
(Part 4)
(Part 5)
(Part 6)
(Part 7)
(Part 8)
(Part 9)
(Part 10- Adoption Finalization)

Fostering isn't for the faint of heart!

(our journey to adopt again through foster-to-adopt, the good, the bad, & everything in between)


Adoption #2- considering the State
More Adoption #2 thoughts
Adoption #2- Back to considering the State
Adoption #2- The Paperwork (Round 1)
Adoption #2- The Paperwork (Round 2)
Family Foster Home Licensing Prep Checklist
Adoption #2- Long overdue update
PS-MAPP class homework assignment
Our preliminary home inspection went well!
Adoption #2: Licensing update
Adoption #2- Foster Facts
Adoption #2: I love it when things go my way!
Adoption #2- The home inspection
Adoption #2- We failed our home inspection!
Adoption #2- We passed the follow-up home inspection!
Adoption #2- Still waiting
Adoption #2- We're getting closer
Adoption #2- An update & a lead
Adoption #2- The lead that didn't pan out.
Adoption #2- We're licensed!
Adoption #2- We have a tiny baby here!
Adoption #2- Update on this precious little girl.
Adoption #2- Quick update on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- Baby Bug is staying longer!
Adoption #2- Baby Bug is growing!
Adoption #2- Overdue update on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- The latest on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- Shopping spree for Baby Bug
Being a Foster Parent Does Not Make Me A Saint
Adoption #2- Another Placement Call!
Adoption #2- Placement Meeting- UPDATED!
Adoption #2- We have Boo at our home!
Adoption #2- Meeting Boo
Adoption #2- I'm angry on Boo's behalf!
Adoption #2- A Birthday Party for Boo
Adjusting to three 3 and under!
Stressful moments in fostering.
Adoption #2- Update on our foster daughters
CPS Workers Jerking Our Chain!
It's getting much worse!
Fostering: Update on Baby Bug
Fostering: Update on Boo
The effects of fostering on Snuggle Bug
The time is drawing near to let go of Baby Bug.
Good conversation with Baby Bug's dad.
Boo has a Permanency hearing coming soon!
My heart is breaking!
Bittersweet news about Baby Bug.
Next Friday is going to be tough.
Packing up Baby Bug's belongings
It's done- Baby Bug is gone.
Working on finding peace, one day at a time.
Referral to the Early Intervention Program
Baby Bug update
Home Inspection for re-licensing
Parole granted for Boo's bio mom
Baby Bug is turning 1 year old soon.
Day 2 of Boo's permanency hearing
A prayer answered today!
Attending Baby Bug's 1st birthday party
Foster news
Good news for Boo's case
Boo's bio family visits
Termination Trial date set!
A new caseworker for Boo
I've been asked to testify in court.
Court hearing for "John Doe"
Contested termination trial begins tomorrow afternoon
Boo's adoption has been finalized!

Beautiful adoption video
Date Night Bliss
Family Rules and Values
In the swing of school
It's time for the kiddos to head back to school a...
Flying home for a nice, long visit!
Baby fix!
Easing back into blogging
A shocking phone call
1 year anniversary for Boo
























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