Monday, July 13, 2009

In The Cage 4 Cancer

Inthecage4cancer is a group of mixed martial artists/cagefighters who have made it their commitment to bring attention to children's cancer and somehow fight cancer from the cage, one fight at a time!

Chico Santiago is the brains, brawn, heart and soul behind inthecage4cancer, but his beautiful son, Diego is the inspiration. Diego lost his courageous battle with a cancer known as Wilms' tumor three years ago. Diego was only 6 years old.
Wilms' tumor is a rare kidney cancer that primarily affects children. Also known as nephroblastoma, it's the most common malignant tumor of the kidneys in children. The peak time of Wilms' tumor occurrence is at age 3, and it occurs only rarely after age 8. Wilms' tumor may arise in either or both kidneys.

In Chico's words "After a long 3 years of missing my son and sitting around feeling sorry for myself. I've decided to do something about it..." and boy did he ever! Chico gathered up a group of his mixed martial artist friends and they started fighting..... literally - to bring attention to children's cancer. Their plan is to take every opportunity to bring much needed attention to this terrible disease thru fighting and planting a seed of awareness in every crowd who goes to see us fight.

Not only do these men and women give and take beatings to bring awareness -they volunteer their time, energy and money by visiting children's hospitals to bring a smile to the face of a child who is ill, volunteer their time to Ronald McDonald Houses and donated money to families to help ease the cost of hotel fees, meal and even overdue utility bills. In my humble opinion , these fighters are heroes! This is the opinion of my 10 year old son "Inthecage4cancer is cool and they kick butt". Let's all try to help them "tap this illness out in kids"!!

The Fighters

Friday, May 1, 2009

May's Giveaway Beach Daisy Limited Edition Soy Candle

May has two holidays close to my heart: Mother's Day and Memorial Day! As most of you know, if you keep up with my blog - I lost my mom a few years ago to lung cancer (see post below) so Mother's Day is a bitter sweet holiday for me. Bitter sweet because I miss my mom terribly, but at the same time I am a mom with all the joy and love that comes with that.

Memorial Day is a time to remember all our heroes that have gone on before us and those who are still out there fighting this crazy war. It seems to me that as this phase of the war winds down and we don't hear about it in the headlines continually that we don't think of those still over there as often and the sacrifices they make on a daily basis for us to live free.

So, I dedicate this giveaway to our moms and our heroes. Thank you for all that you do for us.

To enter to win this cute Beach Daisy Limited Edition Soy Candle -simply leave me a comment about your mom telling me what you love most about them and say a special thank you to all our heroes (or the one special to your heart).

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sweet Pea Candle & Soap Giveaway

Thanks to everyone for entering the contest. I so enjoyed reading them all. The winner of this contest is Nickolay!! Congratulations Jason !!

Spring is my favorite time of the year. For me its a sign of renewal and new beginning. So, in honor of Spring I am giving away a Sweet Pea & Rhubarb Shea & Mango Homemade Soap bar and matching 4 oz Soy Candle in Travel Tin.

To enter simply tell me in the comment section what your favorite thing about spring is. For an additional entry follow me on my blog. If your already a follower, just leave me a note and I'll add your name to the hat a second time. Don't forget to leave me contact info in case you win. Contest ends April 30.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I Just Adopted...

No, I didn't adopt another child nor another pet... I adopted Darrel, a 31 year old, 6'3" 200 lb full grown man. Not just any man, mind you, Darrel is a soldier- on his second tour in Iraq.

I "met" him through a wonderful organization called Soldier's Angels.

Soldier's Angels is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization founded by the mother of two American soldiers. They have over 30 different teams supporting all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. You can get involved in so many different ways. You can do as we have done and adopt a soldier, or baked homemade treats for Angels Bakers, Blankets for Comfort & Gratitude for our wounded men & women, Hero packs (care packages), K-9 support, Memorial Portraits or so many more wonderful ways to help our men & women in uniform (and their families) feel supported and loved.

May no soldier go unloved.

May no soldier walk alone.

May no soldier be forgotten,

Until they all come home
Patti Patton-Bader

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spirit Jump

CANCER is such an ugly, scary, heartbreaking word. One you hope will never touch your life but, inevitably ,will is some shape or form. It touched my life three years ago when my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. Unfortunately, my mom lost her battle with this horrible disease in October of 2007. I wish I had known about Spirit Jump when my mom was fighting the fight of her life-it would have made her day to receive some small gift or card. Because of and for my mom I am now a proud Spirit Jumper. In loving memory to my mom, June Ownby. I miss you more than words could ever say.

What is Spirit Jump? Spirit Jump is a project that directly connects the gift giver with a person battling cancer. When someone you love is fighting cancer or some other terrible disease you always wonder what will help make their days a little brighter. It could be any little thing - a card, a phone call to say I'm thinking about you or a small gift. If you would like to help brighten someone's day (and your own) Spirit Jump will match you with someone who needs to have their spirit lifted.

Today, I am sending an Easter spirit jump package to two little girls who are suffering from Duchens Muscular Dystrophy and their mom. If you would like to read more about them and Spirit Jump check out their blog . For each little girl ,I am sending an Easter basket with an easter egg soap, bath fizzy and lip balm and for mom I'm sending a daisy soap, candle and a lip balm.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Backyard Veggie Garden

We had a busy weekend in the veggie garden. We made 3 more raised bed. The beds are 4x4 and made with untreated lumber. We planted one with a variety of lettuce (head lettuce, romaine mix & butterhead mix)and spinach, one with broccoli and one with carrots and radishes. We also planted older raised beds of cabbage, brussel sprouts and we planted 3 rows of potatoes.

Head lettuce in corners, Romaine Mix & Butterhead between head lettuce and spinach in center.

Broccoli in a squarefoot bed . Plants should be one per square, but I had a few extra plant so a few are planted two per square.

This bed is seeded with alternating rows of carrots and radishes. My plan is that the radishes will be gone and give more room for the carrots to grow.

Cabbage planted in one of my existing raised squarefoot bed.

I planted Brussel sprouts in this bed. This is my first time growing brussel sprouts, so we'll see how well they do.

Oh, look the peas are finally sprouting!! I was about to give up on them.

Our container potato experiment: We had extra seed potatoes when we finished planting the rows and decided to try an experiment by trying to grow potatoes in flower pots to see what happens. I planted two containers each with kennebec, red pontiac and yukon gold.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Signs of Spring

Ahh Spring. My favorite time of the year. The days are getting warmer, the grass greener , flowers are starting to bloom and the trees are starting to bud.

Oh and its time to start thinking about getting the garden ready for planting. Some of my seedlings are starting to sprout. Here is some of my tomato seedlings peeking out...

and my cucumber seedling have gotten large enough to transplant into a larger container.
It was so nice yesterday that me, the kids and Pop planted some onions in one of my raised beds. We planted Sweet Georgia sets(on the right)that I'm hoping will make larger bulbs to store and use over the winter and some white onions (on the left) to use as green onions (scallions).

I'm hoping to keep a blogging journal of our backyard garden and it progress and all the yummy veggies that we (hopefully) will get to harvest, eat and preserve.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New Featured Artist and Giveaway

AND THE WINNER IS: Rosemary. Congratulations.

Laurel from Ellemardesigns is our new featured artist. Laurel is generously giving away this simple yet striking year-round Mountains & Pines Ornament . This ornament was hand-decorated on a hollow ceramic circle that is 3" wide and 1 1/8" thick, then fired to cone 06. It is quite light weight. The front of the ornament features a mountain landscape with trees in the foreground, while the back of the ornament is glazed in glossy dark brick red. It is totally one of a kind, and would make a great gift for yourself or someone special in your life.

Laurel has been creating art for most of her life and enjoys creating intricate freehand black and white glaze patterns on ceramics, as well as more naturalistic designs.Like this great expresso cup and saucer.

I recently had a chance to "talk" with Laurel via email and ask her a few questions about her inspirations, work and being a WAHM, homeschooling mom.....

What inspired you to begin creating your ornaments?The ornaments are a fairly recent endeavor for me – as of last November, actually, when I saw some in my local ceramics studio and wanted to try doing them. Certain shapes are a real pleasure to work with, and give me a variety of small “canvases” to be creative on. I've only been seriously working at my art for the past two years or so, although I've always enjoyed drawing and painting. The drawings came first (my college notebooks are full of the abstract stuff in the margins – it's a good thing I can listen and draw at the same time!). I started decorating ceramics about a year ago, and was hooked. Here is one of her stunning drawings...

What inspires you?The natural world, with its patterns of symmetry and texture, inspires me more than anything. But I like to see and learn from all kinds of visual art. My work has echoes of some Native American design (like Acoma Pueblo pottery, which I greatly admire but would never try to copy), and I love textiles and ceramics. Finally, my Christian faith inspires me to share the Gospel through my life and art.

Why do you homeschool? And what lead you to that decision?Oh, that's hard! It's been a tough year, I can't give a pat answer. I home school mostly because it's the best environment for my kids to learn and grow. I started home schooling after our son was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (usually called a mild form of autism) in an Early Kindergarten program. He had some sensory issues that made being physically in a school very trying for him, and we realized that teaching him at home would relieve many of his difficulties. Socially, home schooling allows him to learn with and from a wide range of kids and adults, in many situations. It also allows our kids to explore their own interests through school activities – unit studies have been very useful to us.

How do you balance running a home-based business and homeschooling your children?My Etsy shop is very new (opened just last October), so this is a learning process for all of us. Since I haven't had a large number of sales, I'm not spending a lot of time away from schooling. I work on my art projects mostly in the evenings, after the kids are in bed, and I do the administrative/networking/chatty Etsy stuff on a catch-as-catch-can basis during the day.

What has been you biggest handmade "oops"?Probably just the learning curve of decorating on ceramics, using different techniques. I have quite a few “seconds” at home because I only want to put my best work up for sale. I have high standards for what I sell, and if it's not something I would buy myself, I won't sell it to anyone else. So, I have NOT made a profit on my shop - yet.

How do you spend your time when you are not creating?Besides taking care of my husband and kids, I'm an avid gardener, a total bookworm, and a history nerd. If I had cable, I'd be sure to have the History Channel on every evening while doing my art. Before staying home with my kids, I was a Special Education teacher. We are in the process of moving since my husband recently started a new job in another part of our state, so life is a bit unsettled now, to say the least.

To enter the giveaway simply visit Ellemardesigns shop, comeback here and tell us in the comments what your favorite item in her shop is (please don't forget to leave contact info). This contest ends on March 12.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Featured Artist & Giveaway

I recently met Donna ,a WAHM homeschooling mom through our ETSY She team (a group of homeschooling mom's that own home-based business on Donna has two wonderful shops CellChic and Huebsch Designs and she is generously sponsoring this week's giveaway of a beautiful Cell Phone Charm similar to the one seen below. Donna will let the winner choose which charm they prefer from her CellChic Shop(9.99 value).

I've had the pleasure of talking with Donna via email and got to ask her some question on running a homebased business and homeschooling...

What inspired you to begin creating cell charms and open your homebased business? I've always loved crafting of all sorts. I started beading about 5 years ago, and it really stuck! I made and gave away all the bracelets, earrings, necklaces and jeans jewelry that I could, and then I discovered the little straps for making cell charms...I was hooked! I made and gave them away until everyone I knew had one of my charms. I was interested in selling my crafts, but knew that weekend craft shows didn't mesh with our lifestyle. I placed my items in several boutiques, but having to sell them at wholesale prices made it difficult to make a decent profit.A few weeks ago, I discovered Etsy and thought I had died and gone to heaven! It was exactly the venue I wanted. It's like having your items in a 24/7 craft show with the entire world as potential customers, and you never have to leave your house!

What inspires you? Almost anything - I'll see something where the colors catch my eye, and think about how I can use that in a piece of jewelry or a decorative accessory. For example, I was making a pumpkin pie yesterday, and when I had dumped the sugar, ginger, and cinnamon in a bowl, I thought, "Ooo-o-oh! Nice colors. That would look great in a cell phone charm." Check my shop - I'll be adding a charm called "Sugar and Spice" soon :o)

Why do you homeschool? and what lead you to that decision? We homeschool because we feel it offers the best educational oppotunities for our very bright child. I guess what led us to that decision was the experience of having our child in public school for grades K-5, and realizing that we wanted something different.

How do you balance running a home-based business and homeschooling your children? With our eclectic style of homeschooling, it all kind of blends together actually. Starting the home-based business is giving lots of opportunities for practical, real-life educational experiences.

What has been you biggest handmade "oops"? There are probably lots! The first to come to mind is when I decided I just HAD to try working with PMC (precious metal clay). I made one attempt at a pair of earrings -- the clay dried way too quickly as I tried to work with it. I finally fired the pieces in my little "hot pot", and then promptly broke one of the earrings in half as I tried to finish them. Before I could try a second project, I broke the lid to my hot pot, so I have shelved my interest in PMC for awhile!

How do you spend your time when you are not creating? We love to camp, so every now and then we pack up the people, the 3 dogs, the cat and the Abyssinian guinea pig and head off to the wild blue yonder.

To enter the giveaway simply visit both of Donna's shops CellChic and Huebsch Designs and tell us in the comments section what your favorite items from her shops are. Giveway ends February 23.2009.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Baked Hamburger Stew

Soups are one of my favorite winter comfort foods. Baked Hamburger Stew is one of my faves. Its easy and quick to put together and is loaded with wonderful veggies and flavor. This is great to make ahead and freeze for a quick dinner or lunch.


3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

3 medium carrots, sliced

3/4 lb lean ground beef

1 can(14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

1/2 cup frozen peas

2 medium onions, sliced

2 tablespoons of butter

Salt and pepper to taste

In a greased 13"x9" baking dish, layer potatoes and carrots. Crumble beef over carrots. Layer withe the tomatoes, peas and onions. Dot with butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degree for 1 1/2 hours or until meat is no longer pink and potatoes are tender.
Serve with homemade French Bread or grilled cheese sandwiches.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


New York Memos!!! Congratulations on winning BatCat Jewelry's Pink Stacked Earrings!! My daughter, Sarah chose you name out of the hat.I will ship them as soon as I get your shipping information.

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest! Keep checking I will be having another giveaway soon!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Brownie Layered Dessert

I found this wonderful dessert in a Taste of Home Magazine and just had to make it. Brownie Layered Dessert is a yummy brownie layered with cream cheese and chocolate pudding.

Ingredients: 2 boxes brownie mix

Filling: 2 packages cream cheese
(one 8 oz and 1 3 ounce), softened
2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 cups whipped topping
Topping: 2 cups cold milk
1 package (3.9) instant
chocolate pudding mix

Make brownies per the box directions. Pour into a 13x9 inch baking pan and bake per box directions 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese and confectioner's sugar until smooth. Fold in whipped topping: spread over brownies.

In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Spread over filling. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until served.

Cut into squares, garnish with whipped topping and nuts , if desired. ( my kids won't eat it if nuts are in it, but walnuts would be a great addition.

This would make a great make-ahead dessert to take to family or church gatherings or office potlucks.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Featured Artist and Giveaway

My featured artist this month is Bad Cat Jewelry from San Antonio, Texas. Bad Cat Jewelry offers stunning handmade jewelry using sterling silver, vintage beads, lampwork, Swarovski crystal, and textiles. You can find Bad Cat Jewelry on Etsy, Artfire, 1000Markets, twitter, which links to her *new* blog:, and Flickr. If Bad Cat Jewelry is typed into Google, she will turn up. Bad Cat is also in the process of increasing her stock to sell at a crafter's market in February.

I recently spoke with Bad Cat via email and asked her a few questions...

What inspired you to begin creating jewelry? I needed an outlet when my husband was deployed. I put all the blame on my sister-in-law who got me back into beading (I did a little in college). Then I found out that our friends' child had been diagnosed with brain cancer, and I couldn't help them since I was so far away. So I decided to set up a little tiny business online and donate 10% of the profits to Specially for Children in Austin, Texas.

Where did you start and how did you learn to make the products you are creating today? I am totally self taught. I took one class, but it was basically what I had already taught myself.What are your favorite products to make? Anything that has been in my mind's eye. I love seeing an idea come into fruition and working.

What inspires you? Color and symmetry. I love playing with colors. Symmetry is very important to me. You probably won't see me using chips or oddly shaped stones in my pieces. I just can't do it.
What was your biggest handmade oops? Ummm...really just messing up with some sterling. That always irks me. I'm too impatient at times and just jump into a project without a practice run on some cheap wire.

How do you spend time when you are NOT creating? I would love to say I am an incredibly organized person who runs a perfect household. Its just not true. In my spare time I am trying to coax my active preschool boy into clothing, finding matching socks, and making sure shoes are on the correct feet. I am also trying to fix whatever toy is broken, building train tracks (I should have an engineering degree), cleaning up from little "helping" hands (Pinesol gets crayon out of the carpet), and explaining why the cat doesn't want to be dragged around by his tail.

I will be giving away of a pair of Bad Cats beautiful Pink Stacked Earrings, which are constructed using two fabulous, faceted pink stones on sterling silver headpins and attached to earwires. These earrings would make the perfect Valentine Gift for yourself or someone you love. To enter the giveaway simply go to Bad Cat's shop and to then leave a comment on this blog (please don't forget to leave contact info or I will have to choose a different winner because I won't be able to reach you) to tell me what your favorite item is in each shop is. The contest begins January 21 and will end February 4. I will have one of my lovely kiddos choose the lucky winner. The Earrings will ship in time to give as a Valentine gift.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Just wanted to share this heartfelt poem written by my beautiful 15 year old niece, Libby.

Now help me God
And listen well
This secret I'm about to tell
Is not the daily normal strife,
But about the truth of teenage life.
We teenagers think we know it all
We doubt that we will ever fall
But on our knees we find ourselves
On the paths of truth and heaven and hell.
Now the followers will take the path
Where Satan laughs his evil laugh
One more down he seems to say
As he goes looking for more prey.
Now the logical will take the path
Where there you stand as strong as staff
And bow our knees beneath your robe
And do exactly as we're told.
Now God my prayers just begun
We have the moon up until sun
I've got a lot my friend to say
In this bed of which I'll lay.
Now God we still have parents to
They tell us not and what to do
But we don't always listen right
We're all out getting drunk and high.
Cigarettes are a crime too
The ring of smoke that he just blew
I guess its just T.V these days
We've all become they're money slaves.
Now lets not forget those STD's
Where condoms failed to be the sleeve
Mommies and daddies at age of 12
Wow this world is going to hell.
So everyday we hear the news
Some drunk boy; hung up on booze
And tons of weed in the back of his car
Who knows who all he's sold it so far.
Now God come on are you kidding me?
Is this how life is supposed to be?
Now whoever knew it'd be so hard
For a teenager who's life's turned into shards?
So listen God and listen well
The secret that I had to tell
Is not about the normal strife
But the truth about a teenagers life.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A New Year and We've got New Products

Wow! Can you believe another year has passed? The older I get the faster they go by. Smokey Mountain Scents will be offering some new products this year. I thought I would give you a Sneak Peek at some things to come.

Margarita Dead Sea Salt Spa Bars will be available on February 1.

Salt Spa Bars are amazing. The produce a creamy lather while they gently exfoliate your skin to a smooth, polished sheen. These Salt Spa Bars have the added benefit of Dead Sea Salt.
Why are these types of salts beneficial?Because of all the wonderful minerals they contain.

* Magnesium is important for both combatting stress and fluid retention, slowing skin aging and calming the nervous system.
* Calcium is effective at preventing water retention, increasing circulation and strengthening bones and nails.
*Potassium energizes the body, helps to balance skin moisture and is a crucial mineral to replenish following intense exercise.
*Bromides act to ease muscle stiffness and relax muscles.
* Sodium is important for the lymphatic fluid balance.

You can see why I'm so excited about these wonderful soap bars!

I will also be introducing a new line of vegetable wax free standing Candles. I will have a variety of pillars and votives. These are in the testing phase and should be available in a few days.

Tulip Mottled Vegetable Wax Pillar

Stay tuned....I will be adding lots of new goodies this year!

We are expanding also. You will still be able to find Smokey Mountain Scents at our etsy shop and at our new studio at and also at our market in . Hope to see you there.