Wednesday, May 27, 2009

In sympathy

There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go. ~Author Unknown

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Etsy Twitter Shop of the week - Silver Mountain Originals

Tammy Gross, of, also known as SILVER Mountain Originals, creates “an eclectic mix of unique fabric jewelry, the occasional art doll (and a couple of original sewing patterns for those), purses, totes and wallets – many of those 'upcycled' from repurposed fabrics.” She also has a few woven ribbons for sale that are quite unique.

“Everything I make comes from a creative burst of energy and is one-of-a-kind. If I’m inspired enough to make a handful of items that are similar, no two will ever really be the same. Sometimes I wish I could be more consistent, but that hasn’t happened yet and I’ve been creating art for 20 years. I love to try new things and experiment – not everything comes out as planned and it’s back to the drawing board until I get it right, which can sometimes mean weeks until I get things just the way I want them to be.

Why ‘Tamdoll’? In the 90’s, when I learned to sew, I started making fantasy art dolls - – and did that for quite a while selling them in local boutiques. Beading dragon wings led me to experiment with beading and jewelry making, but my passion was with the fabric and soon enough, I figured out how to blend the two into fabric jewelry!”

What inspires you to create? “So many things inspire me to create - a color, a scrap of fabric, a funny story even - there isn’t anything that doesn’t inspire me, my brain never rests, and I can’t predict what I’ll come up with next. Seriously, sometimes it’s almost a disadvantage. I have scribbled ideas EVERYWHERE. My purse is filled with ideas written on scraps of paper along with the notepad that I always carry. My desk has piles of half-filled notebooks. Even when my mind is winding down, right before I fall asleep... I’ll see a color combination or shape in my mind and remember it for the next day. The problem begins when I start all these projects. I start so many, get inspired again and begin another before the first is finished. The excitement of something new keeps me going and going. And keeps my workroom a mess. This explains also, why my shop is updated with new, completed, items so sporadically!”

What are your Twitter tricks of the trade? "I joined Twitter to connect with other crafters – and for a while I tried to stick with just keeping things all ‘business’. But I just couldn’t. Connecting with the people that are behind the avatars is so much more rewarding than just announcing when I have a new item listed, or a new blog post – I certainly don’t want to follow someone impersonal like that! I love to chime in on interesting Twitter topics and tweet when I find something unique or useful that other creative people may enjoy. (Ok, when I’m up at 3am you may find a silly tweet or two.) It’s pretty satisfying to hear ‘Where do you find this stuff?’ – then you get known as a resource for creativity. Oh, and Twitter would be useless for me without TweetDeck. With following so many, I’m able to categorize my interests and see updates clearly.”

She shares many of her works-in-progress on her blog and at and invites everyone to stop by and say hello. Follow her at Twitter @tamdoll!

Special for the Week: Free domestic shipping on non-ribbon items. You will receive a PayPal refund for items not already specially marked as part of the sale. There are some items sprinkled about the shop that have SALE in the title and are specially priced through the springtime.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Eating Disorders in Kids

This is such a hard issue to find out about, we feel for anyone who has ever had to endure an eating disorder or dealt with a loved one who went through it. While it can be full of agony, you can pick up on many of the symptoms along the way. Listen, we'll give you a list of the tips, tricks, and methods to learning more about your child's eating habits in hopes that it helps you in your situation or keeps it from happening all together.

The Sports Athlete

We understand that it's great to get your children involved in extra curricular activities. However, there are a few sports that require you to watch your weight. Wrestling and gymnastics are just a couple, but you only need one to have a change occur. So if you can, keep them out of these sports and if you can't, at least sit down and discuss the possible problems. Keep in mind a good solid meal three times a day can keep them at an ideal weight.

The Disorders from Disorders

It's bad enough that we have things like anorexia, bulimia or others like binge eating. The biggest problem associated with any of this is they can create other disorders and continue the spiraling effect further damaging the body. So it's important to overcome the obstacles before they get too far out of hand. Where do you start? Finding the symptoms as soon as possible is the key.

If you see your child skipping meals, have this uncontrollable knack for excessive exercising, or see a substantial amount of weight loss then you should be concerned. There are other symptoms as well like noticing this binge eating happening or an odd realization that they are counting calories during each meal. All of them are symptoms, and even if you don't see them yet, talking about them could bring things out into the open.

Oh, and we didn't mention any of the other disorders before because we didn't want you to be distracted from the information. However, you do need to know about them so you can get educated on as much as possible. There are many, but we'll just give you a few. Dehydration, hair loss, gum decay, tooth decay, muscle loss, and even death. Routine check-ups are recommended if several of these are noticeable.

The Discussion

When talking with your children about eating disorders you will soon realize it's not easy. If they may become defensive which you will want to tread lightly. An easier way to deal with the situation is to call your family doctor ahead of time and talk about the concerns. You don't want your child to drift further away, especially if there is a situation. So take precautions so the end result will be a successful one.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Calories and Kids

Hey, wouldn't it be nice if your kids automatically ate healthy and you didn't have to teach them? Too bad most of the adults don't eat healthy either, but if you fall into the category of wanting too, then you've come to the right spot for help. Teaching your kids about calories is essential to their health, which is obvious. However, we aren't just talking about in the next couple years, but the rest the rest of their life. Heck, you might even learn a few things along the way and be healthier yourself.

The first thing to understand is that counting calories is generally not advised by nutritionists nor is it healthy for your children. So if you're out there doing it right now, or making a meal for a child and keeping track, then stop. To be honest, an active elementary child can easily burn 2,000 calories a day. If you have one that isn't very active, they can still burn around 1,500 a day.

See, when we are fighting to give our children healthier bodies, there is a lot more at stake. Obesity is becoming a major concern in children and we are partly to blame. If you're one that likes to look at a calorie chart keep in mind that there is a difference in the food you consume. Getting the same calories from soda and fast food as fruits and veggies is one thing, but there is a such thing as bad calories so stick with the latter choices.

Sometimes we will be worried about overeating and if that's the case then have a discussion with your child about moderations. Even though the body has "craving sensors" you can turn them off by offering substitutes. Plus, since children eat different then parents, if you aren't consuming empty calories then they will be easier to burn throughout the day.

All of this is serious to think about, but if you take one thing away from this article it's going to be the following. If your child consumes 500 more calories then they will burn each week, he/she will gain an extra pound of excess body fat in a week. You would be surprised at how often this occurs throughout the world. Below you will find a nice little chart that portrays a proper intake for both gender and age. You might want to utilize it the next time you are preparing meals throughout the week.

Average Nutritional Recommendations for Children

?1000 - 1400 for a 2 to3 year old
?1400-1600 for a 4 to 8 year old
?1600-2000 for girls 9 to 13 years old
?1800-2200 for boys 9 to 13 years old
?2000 for girls 14 to 18 years old
?2200- for boys 14 to 18 years old

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Is Your Picky Eater Getting All the Nutrients They Need?

As a parent you want what is best for your little guy or gal, especially when it comes to their health and the foods they eat every day. That is pretty easy to control when your child is a newborn who relies on you for 100 percent of their meals and snacks. IF you’re breastfeeding, you make certain your eating the things you and your baby need. If you’re formula feeding, you make certain you have the best formula your baby can have in order to get all the healthy vitamins and minerals they require.

At this point in your child’s life, everything is all great and well because you supply and make sure they have everything they should. That is until you hit the time they start to develop their own likes and dislikes when it comes to food.

Whether you’ve got a picky toddler or a stubborn teen or pre-teen, once a child has learned they control what ultimately goes into their stomachs, you may just have a problem getting all the recommended food groups into their diet. So, if like many parents you wonder if your picky eater is getting all the vitamins and nutrients their body needs, keep reading to learn more.

Here are some signs your child may be lacking in one or more areas of nutrition and things to do if he or she is.

Poor or Slow Growth – One of the reasons children have so many appointments when they are young is to monitor their growth rate. If your doctor notices your child isn’t growing at a normal rate or suddenly starts slipping away from their prior rate of growth for their current age, they may very well ask you about the child’s dietary habits. From there, they’ll make a decision as to how to proceed to make certain the child is getting all the nutrients their growing body and mind needs.

Developmental Problems – Some children who are not receiving adequate nutrition will start to show slowing or no progress in certain developmental areas.

Energy Levels below Normal – Deficiencies in iron, found in red meats, spinach, beans and more, can usually be a cause of low or decreased energy levels. If your child seems to be less energetic or more sleepy than usual, think about how their diet may have changed. Most problems with lack of iron can be corrected by adding iron rich foods to the diet. Others may require a supplement in order to maintain proper levels of iron in the body. Talk with your pediatrician if your child refuses to eat foods with iron in them or shows signs of an iron deficiency.

While most cases of vitamin and nutrient deficiency are pretty easy to spot, realize that certain ones such as calcium may not be as obvious. If you have concerns about whether your child is getting everything they need from their finicky choices, talk with your child’s pediatrician first. They may be able to suggest a multi-vitamin or other option to help you see that your child gets the things their diet is lacking.

Keep in mind, if your child suddenly experiences a lack of interest in foods they once enjoyed, it could be something more serious. It’s not uncommon for a child’s eating habits to change when there is a sudden alteration in their lives, such as parents divorcing, an illness or another significant event.

If you’re concerned about your child’s eating patterns or whether they are getting all the vitamins and minerals their body needs, don’t hesitate to get help. Your pediatrician can help put you on the right path with tips and suggestions for getting your child the foods they need. They can also determine if supplements or multi-vitamins are necessary to get your child where they need to be health wise.

To purchase my Healthy Family Eating book, please click on this link: Healthy Snack and Meal Ideas For Your Family Ebook

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Make the Most Important Meal of the Day the Healthiest Too

When trying to help your family eat healthier, like anything else in life, the best place to start is at the beginning. The first meal of the day is also the most important because without it our bodies aren’t fueled and ready for what the day may bring.

By starting out healthy you’re paving the way for more healthy meals throughout the day as well. Even if you, or your other family members, are prone to grab a high calorie snack or fast food style lunch, you’ll be one step ahead by eating a healthy breakfast. Just remember, skipping breakfast is one of the worst things you can do for your health. Instead of omitting breakfast or filling up on sugary foods each morning, try some of these ideas for a healthy breakfast menu in your household each and every day of the week.

1. Bagels – Low-fat cream cheese or your favorite natural fruit spread make bagels a quick breakfast when you’re pressed for time. You can even take them with you if necessary, but beware eating them in the car might be a little messy depending on the toppings you choose.

2. Smoothies – Blend your favorite fruits with a bit of low-fat milk or yogurt and drink your breakfast in the car or on the bus. The possibilities are endless as far as flavors go. You can even add some of your favorite vegetables to help get in the recommended 5 servings per day.

3. Non-Fat Yogurt – With fruit or without fruit, yogurt is a great addition to just about any breakfast. It’s full of calcium and fat free yogurt can actually work as a substitute for higher fat content foods such as mayo and cream cheese.

4. Fresh Fruit – Mix it up in a salad. Cut it up in your cereal, or eat your favorite kind by itself. Fruit is great no matter how you eat it. For those who like cottage cheese, mixing it with your favorite fruit is a great breakfast option that doesn’t take forever to prepare.

5. Cold Cereals – Whole grain cereals are what you want here. Skip the sugary coated kid cereals. The benefits include a healthier heart and decreased risk for diabetes, among many others.

6. Oatmeal – There’s nothing quite like a piping hot bowl of oatmeal on a cold winter day to get you started on the right foot. Top with your favorite fruit and enjoy!

7. Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Toast – Peanut butter is a great source of protein and the whole wheat is a healthier option than white toast. Most kids love peanut butter and will jump at the chance to eat it for breakfast instead of with jelly for lunch.

8. Omelets or Scrambled Eggs – Eggs are a great source of protein and mixing them with your favorite veggies or peppers give them a boost compared to just eating them plain or worse, frying them. Sprinkle with a bit of cheese for added appeal to little ones.

9. Granola – Granola is a great source of fiber and other essential vitamins. Be careful though some granola can be very high in fat. Eat in moderation and you’ll be just fine.

10. Muffins – Muffins are great because they can be made ahead of time saving lots of hectic mornings from become even more rushed. Mix fruits or vegetables in the batter and you’ll not only receive the grain from the muffin but your fruit and veggies too.

Start your family out right each and every morning with a healthy breakfast. It’s the most important, but it can also be the healthiest without a lot of hassle or time. Enjoy the variety that the options above, along with others give you.

To purchase my Healthy Family Eating book, please click on this link: Healthy Snack and Meal Ideas For Your Family Ebook

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Healthy Eating Starts before Birth

Did you know that your preference for some foods could very well have started before you were even born? According to various studies over the years, babies develop the senses of taste and smell during the second trimester of their mother’s pregnancy. It’s also been shown that babies have a distinct preference for sweet things and can even tell the difference between certain flavors of food as it passes through the amniotic fluid that surrounds them during the time inside the mother’s womb.

Some might even go so far as to say that children develop their eating habits from the moment of conception, which may or may not be true, but it sure wouldn’t hurt to assume that what mama eats baby will too. So, here are some foods expectant mothers should be sure to include in their meal plan.

Fruits & Veggies – It’s no secret than many kids develop a bad taste in their mouth (pun intended) when it comes to eating fruits and especially vegetables. While a lot of the problem lies in the texture of these foods, if you want a better shot at having kids who actually enjoy them, eat lots of them during pregnancy.

Iron Rich Foods – Iron is a necessity for pregnant women. Most associate iron with red meats, but even if you’re a vegetarian, you can find iron in foods such as:

• Salmon
• Eggs
• Dried Fruits
• Tofu
• Dark Green Vegetables
• Grains

Calcium – We all know calcium is vital for healthy bones, teeth and skin. When you’re pregnant, you not only need this for yourself, but your little one as well. Great sources of calcium include:

• Low Fat Milk
• Pasteurized Cheeses and Yogurt (avoid raw or fresh cheeses during pregnancy)
• Almonds
• Spinach
• Kale
• Calcium Enriched Orange Juice

Folic Acids – Foods rich in folate or folic acid are what will help your child’s brain and spine develop correctly. It’s actually recommended that all women of child bearing age get plenty of these. Many doctors will prescribe a prenatal vitamin with folic acid just to avoid the possibility of neural tube defects that can cause things like spina bifida in the unborn baby. Some foods that supply this much needed nutrient are:

• Leafy veggies
• Poultry
• Nuts
• Grapes
• Oranges
• Beans and peas
• Whole wheat foods

Water – Water is extremely important to a healthy pregnancy. As a mom, you need more water to help you deal with the extra blood your body needs to make. Not to mention, it helps avoid dehydration which is not a good thing for you and can be even worse on your baby if it’s too bad. Many kids don’t like water and if you get him or her used to it before birth you might be able to stop that issue before it ever starts.

Whether you believe babies know what they like and dislike when it comes to food before they are born or not, you can’t argue how well the mother takes care of herself while pregnant has a direct effect on a child’s development. Although food cravings of pregnant women can range from what those of us who aren’t expecting would call simply gross to disgustingly sweet, it’s extremely important for an expectant mother to maintain a healthy diet for the sake of herself and her unborn child.

If you’re expecting a baby now, want to give your future children the best possible start, or know someone who is, it’s important to eat healthy in order for your children to do the same.

To purchase my Healthy Family Eating book, please click on this link: Healthy Snack and Meal Ideas For Your Family Ebook

Friday, May 1, 2009

Shop of the Week delivers! Tamara Garvey

A sense of humor is something we all could use more of these days and this week’s Shop of the Week delivers! Tamara Garvey, of, has some really cute and beautiful illustrations. Her style is quirky and fun! For example, the drawing pictured above, "Burglars and Russian Nesting Dolls", actually made me laugh out loud.

“I draw fun, whimsical, pen-and-ink scenes, usually involving at least one animal and/or tree, as these are my favorite things to study and draw! I sell them as prints in different sizes, including ACEOs, as well as note card sets.

I'm really inspired by the classic pen-and-ink artists Edward Gorey and Aubrey Beardsley. My drawings are made with care in my cute home studio, usually with my dog snoozing on the floor nearby. I'm saving up for a large-format printer of my own so that I can have complete control over my prints (that sounds diabolical! mua ha ha), but in the meantime I have them done at a print shop nearby that does an awesome job. My prints have great color and are printed on nice quality card stock.

My drawings are inspired by my walk to work through Savannah, Georgia's squares, magazines, other artists/crafters on Etsy, color combinations of a stranger's outfit, tattoos, particularly cute dogs at the dog park...anything really!”

Tamara has a degree in Illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design and a B.S. in Biology from Mary Washington College. Her biology background comes through in her piece titled “Enchantment under the Sea” – it’s like looking into a microscope and seeing all sorts of neat little creatures swimming around in the pond water.

When asked about her Twittering: “It took me a while to get used to Twitter, but now I am really into it! I try hard to maintain a mix of promotional (whether self- or other-) tweets with replies or random thoughts, to keep a personal touch to things. I love keeping in touch with my Etsy team members, seeing what they're creating, and what's new with them. I have made some great connections with other artists and crafters especially. One girl in particular, a freelance illustrator, has pretty much become my mentor as I develop my own illustration career! I think it is amazing that a new site can have such an effect.”

She ships everywhere and all her illustrations are shipped wrapped in a waterproof cellophane sleeve, sandwiched between pieces of thick, non-bending cardboard.

Follow her on her blog and on Twitter!

Special for the Week: Put “EtsyTwitter” into the “Messages for the Seller” box and await a revised invoice with a 15% discount off any of her items! (If you forget, just send her a convo.)