Monday, December 29, 2008

Suzi Homemaker's Cream of Potato and Bacon Soup

Ever since my husband and I first met, we have acted out these characters for each other when either of says or does something profoundly stupid or embarrassing that warrants immediate, but loving, ridicule. I like to refer to his character as Bobblehead Steve who speaks in a condescending tone while bobbling his head from side to side (we won't address my character as it is not pertinent to this story). I don't know how we got on the subject, but Bobblehead Steve threw down the gauntlet recently.

"You know it's not that easy to make a good cream of potato soup."

Now, come on...I am Suzi Homemaker. Of course, Cream of Potato Soup comes naturally to me as does just about any other soup recipe you could possibly imagine. In some social circles, I am often referred to as the Soup Nazi or Soup B---h--titles that I don't take lightly. I will attribute my husband's momentary lapse in confidence to some kind of backhanded ploy to get me to make him some soup.

Well, here you go, Bobblehead Steve, and anyone else who wants a simply delicious and easy Cream of Potato and Bacon Soup Recipe.

1. In a large pot, melt 1/2 stick of butter or margerine.
2. Add one medium onion, diced, and brown.
3. While cooking the onions, microwave seven strips of bacon (either regular or turkey).
4. When bacon is done, add one to two tablespoons of bacon grease (or you may wish to eliminate the grease altogether) to butter and onions. Set bacon strips aside.
5. Peel and dice 5 large potatoes and add to onion mixture. Salt and pepper to taste. Saute until potatoes are translucent.
6. Add 32 oz. of chicken or vegetable stock.
7. Bring to boil, reduce heat and then simmer potatoes until cooked through.
8. Add 1 pint of half and half (you may substitute skim milk or soy milk).
9. Simmer a few minutes more then add crumbled bacon strips.
10. Serve with crusty rolls and topped with shredded cheddar cheese.

Can you believe that after I made this delicious soup nearly a week ago that Bobblehead Steve had the nerve to say I could never do it again? We had Cream of Potato and Bacon Soup for dinner tonight and it was quite delish--even better than the first time! Why must we play these games, Bobblehead Steve? If you want the soup, just ask for it!

Suzi Homemaker teams up with Grandma Rocks

A little while back, I received an email from Robin from Grandma Rocks about teaming up with her and Grandma to develop some personalized gifts for Grandmas and their grandkids. If you are not familiar with Grandma Rocks, you must visit the site and learn more. Grandma Rocks is a CD of 13 children's pop songs that were written and created by Grandma (EMMY AWARD-winning composer Elissa Oppenheim Schreiner), and performed by Grandma and other well-known (and some not so well-known!) instrumentalists and vocalists.

According to the website, Grandma set out to make an album that would entertain both children and adults alike. She found that adults become almost immune to some children's songs by artists that utilize the same sound for every song. Although those songs are easily identifiable by children, adults become bored and tune out the music, creating a disconnect from what otherwise could be a positive musical experience with their children.

To overcome that disconnect, Grandma created a more adult sound with different rhythms, and used lyrics that everyone can relate to resulting in a mixture of sounds that represents many different musical genres.

I don't know about your kids, but my kids can DANCE! They are particularly fond of shaking their little dupas (Czech for bottoms or butts) in time to the beat. Whenever I have Grandma playing on my computer they stop what they're doing and come into my Dojo and start to MOVE! So you not only have my endorsement of Grandma's music but my kids', too, and we all know that that is what is most important.

So be sure to check out her site and sample some of her tunes, and then pop into Grandma's Shoppe and pick out some great gifts for Grandma and grandkids alike.

Suzi Homemaker giveaway on Mom Made That

Amy from Mom Spark has been working hard (while everyone else has been partying!) creating a brand new site called Mom Made That which is designed to promote Mom-owned businesses, especially ones where the moms make the products themselves! What a noble cause, huh?

I was lucky enough to get in on the very first giveaway for a monogrammed overnight bag from none other than moi! All you have to do is visit my retail site, look at all of the hip, fashionable and highly-personalizable stuff, then cruise over to Mom Made That, and leave a comment about what items you like on the site and you will be entered to win an overnight bag of your choosing. Extra entires also are available by tweeting about the giveaway, following Mom Made That, and signing over your first-born child (kidding, of course, but there are plenty of chances to win). Contest ends January 11 and the winner will be announced on January 12. I will be in Atlanta on those dates (shopping the latest trends at the Atlanta Gift market!), but I promise I will get your prize stitched up and on its way to you once I get back!

Good luck!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Suzi Homemaker logo now is officially trademarked!!!!

The other day I received a Certified Letter from my attorney's office (always a scary thing even though I hired him to file my trademark paperwork--had to think whether or not I had paid my bill recently!). The envelope contained a Certificate of Registration from the United States Patent and Trademark Office--my Suzi Homemaker logo is now a recognized Trademark!!!

I filed for the trademark in March 2007 after the girls at Eden Design Co. finalized the design. Now, almost two years later, it's official!

What's next? Well, my big dream is to start a franchise for SAHMs or WAHMs who have transitioned from the corporate world to stay at home and raise their families. That's a ways down the road (after I win the Lottery!), but for now, I'm content knowing that I have left my mark in this world!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas


I am just finishing up my last internet orders and packaging them up to take to the Post Office. I cannot believe how much business I have had since Dec. 1! I did not know what to expect this year with the dismal economy, but I am thrilled to report I had my best retail month since I began my business over two years ago. Thank you to everyone who has supported me in my little stitching endeavors--I so appreciate each and every one of you!

The hottest selling item this season by far was the collapsible market tote. One customer bought five of them and told me she will be coming back for more after the holidays. Another one received her order for three and promptly ordered three more! I still have some left in stock and also have found a new vendor who makes the same totes but with a drawstring closure on top of them so nobody can peek at what's inside your basket!!!

Now I must confess what an awful mother and wife I have been for the past few weeks. We still do not have our tree decorated--we put it up on Sunday to find it is only partially lit. I had to go to Target to get more lights. My house is in ruins because I have Babycapes and product strewn about, yet I continue to yell at the children if they leave their socks or toys on the floor. I did manage to get some Buckeyes made the other day, but only after Sophie had been begging me for weeks to do so. I still have fudge to make for Mr. Brown at the Post Office and the ladies in the office at Sophie and Max's school.

Christmas cards? Let's just say the picture you see here was from last year's "Holiday Card" that never made it in the mail. I have been using them to write lunch box notes to Sophie. Cookies? Hopefully this weekend. Presents wrapped? Santa does not wrap presents in our household. Pumpkins removed from front porch? Maybe next year we'll have a pumpkin patch in our front yard. Santa's lap? Tomorrow or Sunday.

One thing I have accomplished (which I am so very thankful for!) is I have found a church for our family to attend. We had been shopping churches all summer and finally attended a service with a neighbor several weeks ago. It is Covenant Baptist Church in Shepherdstown. The first service I attended I knew I had come to the right place! The music was INCREDIBLE--it moves me to tears each week! And the Pastor is very down-to-earth. We feel at home there and the children are fitting right in. We asked Max what he did in Sunday school a couple of weeks ago and he said, "I prayed and prayed and prayed!" Sophie is learning a lot and has a lot of questions about God. And Carly...well, we take crayons and doodle pads with us and take turns running her to the water fountain.

All in all, it has been quite a year. We had some rough patches, but our family is as strong as ever. I am praying for a safe, healthy and Happy New Year for all! Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Max-ism #489: The cotton candy is controlling me!

On Sunday, I had taken Sophie to The Parade of Horses in town while Steve set up our Christmas Yard Art and tree with Max and Carly. On the way home, Sophie convinced me to buy a bag of cotton candy.

When we got it home, she graciously shared it with Max and Carly. A little while later, Max was getting a little rowdy. When Steve told him to settle down, Max stuck his tongue out at him and blew him a raspberry. Steve picked him up and carried him up to his room where he sat for several minutes. When Max's timeout was finished, Steve went up to talk to him.

Steve: "Max, you know you're not supposed to stick your tongue out at people, especially Mommy and Daddy."

Max: "I know. Something got in my head. It's the cotton candy. It's controlling me!"

Friday, November 28, 2008

The mix tape

I was talking to my long distance BFF, Christi from mint. sweet little things (she's the one who makes all of those wonderful little bags that I sell on my retail site), and she had me taking a major hike down memory lane. She was burning some CDs with music hits from the 80s to give to some of her clients. We had a blast running through all of these tunes from the Big Hair era and it got me thinking back to some Mix Tapes I received in my teen years.

Mix Tapes were the ultimate expression of love when a boy just could not bring himself to whisper those three words. My first serious boyfriend courted me with tapes he made that contained his favorite songs from his favorite artists. Never mind my favorite songs or favorite artists, these songs spoke to him and he thought they would speak to me, too. I really hated The Cars and was not a big Beatles fan--I was more in to funk music and was just getting into punk and classic rock (I have an eclectic taste in music), but he really didn't care. He thought if he loved this music he could package it all together, present it to me and make me love it, too.

Well, he was wrong. The relationship did not last a year out of high school--not because of the music, mind you, it seems we really did not have much else in common either.

Now, my next boyfriend did his homework. We worked together at a newspaper and he was privy to my changing the radio dial and could tell if I really liked a song. He painstakingly made his tape in a time when you had to use a dual-tape recorder with a fast forward and rewind button--timing was a skill. If you could manage to get a disc jockey to play a dedication on the radio and capture it at the precise moment, well, that was a major coup. Some of the songs that found their way on to that tape still ring in my ears...Sheila E's "Love Bizarre"; Bryan Adams' "Cuts Like a Knife"; and Van Halen's "Why Can't This Be Love?" I LOVED that tape! I lost it when a jealous boyfriend from college found it and demanded that I destroy it. It seems he was well aware of the power of the Mix Tape.

Another guy I dated in college worked at a music store and had every song that ever existed in the universe at his disposal. Now that guy could make a Mix Tape--hits from Steely Dan, Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Boston were prevalent on his tapes.

Of course, now, music is all digital and mixes are done on computers or ipods or MP3 players (and I am the first to admit I know NOTHING about ipods or MP3 players!), but
it's just not the same.

I miss the Mix Tape. Indulge me -- if you were to make a Mix Tape, what songs would make the cut?

Suzi Homemaker recommends trendy teacher gifts

'Tis the season to recognize all that your little ones' teachers have done for them thus far this school year and Suzi Homemaker has some great recommendations for teacher gifts at reasonable prices. Check out this darling collapsible market tote! These market totes will let your teachers get to class in style with plenty of room for all of their teacherly supplies. And when they're not schlepping all of their stuff to and fro school, they can use it to go green at the grocery store. I just stitched out about 30 of these for a couple of friends--this is their go-to gift this season. Limited quantities of each color are in stock, so do hurry to place your order. Did I mention they are a bargain at just $22.50 including embroidery?
Another option is the gorgeous Diva Tote, pictured here in a lime green damask print with brown embroidery in the Classic Curlz font. What teacher wouldn't love to take home their papers for grading in this trendy little number? They come in three colors: lime green (I seem to be on a lime green kick today), hot pink and black--all classy and all just $18 including embroidery.
Some other ideas for teachers include: cosmo bags for pencils and pens; travelers or mini dopp kits with a big fat initial on them; trifold makeup bags; and train cases--all embroidered and all completely special. Remember, nothing is more special than a personalized gift and it is my mission to provide such gifts at reasonable prices.
Well, it's back to the embroidery machine here at Suzi Homemaker HQ. Hope you had a fabulous turkey day!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Suzi Homemaker placemat review and giveaway

Jamie from Momto3Angels is hosting a review and giveaway on those cute little placemats I told you about earlier this month. All you have to do is visit her blog, the visit my retail site and look at all of the cute, AFFORDABLE personalized gifts I have available, go back to her blog and write a comment about which product you like best on and you will be entered to win a placemat of your choosing! I'm getting ready to add holiday placemats, so you may want to get one of those if you win (or maybe even if you don't!)!
Contest ends Dec. 1 so scoot on over there!

Babycapes wins iParenting Media Award

Babycapes—Innovative Outerwear for Little Ones has won an iParenting Media Award in the Safety Category for its patent-pending design that makes traveling in a vehicle with infants and small children easier and safer., a Disney Internet Group media property, is a premier media site focused on parents. The award-winning network includes more than 40 websites devoted to the entire family lifecycle and Points on Parenting radio show.

Babycapes are produced in West Virginia by Martinsburg-based Babycapes LLC, owned and operated by local businesswomen Elizabeth Hostler and Suzi Crowder. Babycapes combine the best aspects of a blanket, coat and bunting while eliminating the drawbacks associated with all three. It’s unique, patent-pending design allows parents to transition babies and small children from house to car seat to stroller or front carrier without unbundling or interfering with the security of the harness straps, as federal safety guidelines instruct.

“We are thrilled to receive this honor,” said Hostler, who created the initial garment after learning that strapping her own daughter, Andy, into her car seat over a bulky coat put her at greater risk in the event of an accident. “Babycapes has made our lives easier and our children safer and we are on a mission to bring it to parents everywhere.”

As part of the iParenting Media Award process, three outside reviews were performed on Babycapes, including a licensed childcare facility/school, a child safety expert and a parent. One product tester stated Babycapes was “so easy to put on…Love the convenience, and it’s so nice to adjust all kids car seats to them without puffy coats. Really keeps them warm.”

In addition to the outside reviewers, Babycapes was evaluated by the iParenting Media Awards Executive Committee and is now considered an iParenting Media Awards award-winning vendor.

Babycapes are available for purchase at and at select retailers. One size fits newborns to preschoolers. Babycapes are available in a variety of luxurious, machine-washable fabrics to suit all climates.

For more information call 304-582-8070 or email

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What have I done?

I got this from my friend Dawn's blog--d'blogala...You’re supposed to bold the things you’ve done. Here's what I have done:

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo

11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelos David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

What have you done?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The bucket and the mop

(The names and dates in this post have been changed to protect the identity of Sophie's classmates.)

Today when I picked Sophie up from school I saw something no parent ever wants to witness: a bucket and mop outside of the classroom.

"No, no, NO!" I thought to myself. I usually walk to her class to pick her up and made my approach with much trepidation. Her teacher dismissed her and I began my interrogation.

"So, Sophie," I started. "Did someone get sick in class today?"

"Hmm?" she was lost in her thoughts at the end of the long school day and thinking about what snack she was going to get out of the machine.

"Did someone get sick today?" I repeated more firmly.

"Oh, yeah," she said, unconcerned.

I knew it!

"Who?" I asked.

"Megan spit up all over the floor and had to go home," she said matter-of-factly.

I immediately ran over the class seating chart in my mind. Megan sat on the other side of the room from Sophie--we still had a chance.

"Sophie, this is important," I said as I turned her to face me. "Did you come within a five foot radius of Megan today or in the past 24 hours?"

"What?" she was confused.

"Did you play with her today? Eat lunch with her? Sit next to her in assembly? Share lip balm? You didn't share lip balm with her, did you?" I was in major panic mode.

"No," she was still unfazed.

"Who cleaned up the mess? Did you go near the mess? Was it projectile? Did you get any on you? You said the floor--was it the floor in the bathroom? Was it properly sanitized before anyone else used it? Did you use the bathroom after Megan puked? Sophie!!!!"

My heart was racing as I thought of the ramifications this vomitous incident could have on the Crowder family--first Sophie, then Carly since they share a room, then either Max or myself. Steve usually is immune. Max puked directly into his face last year and he never got sick...oh, the horror!!! Should I quarantine Sophie? Put her in a bubble? Line her bed with plastic sheets and hand her a bucket when I tuck her in? Lost in my neuroses, it took me a minute to realize Sophie was staring at me.

"You need to relax, Mommy," she said.

She was right. It was out of my control. There was nothing I could do--the damage had been done. Another lesson learned from my six-year-old. I just needed to sit back and let the chips--or chunks in this case--fall where they may.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Max's take on the weather

This morning while I was finishing getting ready for the day, the kids were lying on our bed looking at a toy magazine trying to get their lists together for Christmas. Max saw a map of the United States and said, "We could get a map then we can change the weather!"

I guess his only exposure to maps so far has been on the news when the weather forecast is on!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Gleen Green Cleaning Cloth Review

I was cleaning out my kitchen drawers last week and I came across a little box that had a little Gleen Green Cleaning Cloth in it. I had purchased it several months ago and decided to give it a try. I'm always buying little cloths, like Pledge wipes or Lysol wipes, that I swipe around all of the dirt and dust in our house (I must confess that Suzi Homemaker does not have the cleanest house on the planet--I know you're shocked!), hoping that I will conquer the dirt without that much effort, but usually to no avail.

When I gave this little gem a whirl, I could not believe how well it worked! According to the Gleen website:

"GLEEN, combined with the power of water, safely and effectively cleans hundreds of surfaces. This unique 16 x 16 inch cloth effortlessly cleans windows, mirrors, marble countertops and more, with only water, for a streak free gleam. No need for expensive sprays, harsh chemicals or paper towels. Just dampen GLEEN with water, wring it out and experience easy cleaning, every time. The patented fiber technology leaves behind absolutely no streaky residue or scratches and cleans the following materials: glass, ceramic, chrome, plastic, marble, fiberglass, stainless steel, leather, granite, acrylic, vinyl, wood, porcelain and aluminum."

Well, I have just about all of those surfaces in my house, so I set out to prove them wrong! I am happy and amazed to report that the Gleen Green Cleaning Cloth lives up to the hype! I cleaned and cleaned with it by just wetting it with water and wiping down countertops, appliances and glass. Even the glass cooktop that I have struggled to keep gunk-free came clean! After a lot of scrubbing, I had to merely rinse the cloth and it was good to go again! Lo and behold, no streaks! How can this be?

I think I purchased the cloth at Weis Market for about $6--not too shabby considering all of those Pledge and Lysol Wipes are about the same and they don't last as long and aren't nearly as versatile--plus my kids mistake them for baby wipes and that is not a good thing. They also are available for purchase on the Gleen Cloth website.

Now I can rest a little bit easier knowing that I am doing something good for the environment and cleaning my house at the same time! I wonder if it works on grubby faces and dirty little butts?

Sophie is my new Favorite Child!!!

Did I get your attention? Of course, I am kidding, but she did bestow upon me a great compliment the other day...

"Mommy," she said, "How come you look 32 but you're actually 41?"

"That's just the way it is, Soph," I answered. "I don't feel like I'm 41, but all of the records indicate that indeed I am. How old do you think Daddy looks?"

"45," she said, matter-of-factly. And he is 45.

Sophie's Special Banana Bread

I hate to waste food, especially when it is so expensive to shop these days. I don't know about you, but we buy a lot of bananas. Some times my kids are all over them and a bunch won't last a day, but other times, they sit on the counter and get all brown and mushy. Instead of throwing the overripe bananas away, we started making banana bread.

Here is a simple recipe for banana bread (Sophie's favorite, so I named it for her) that we make here at Suzi Homemaker HQ a couple of times a month.

1. Take three medium ripe bananas and mash in bowl and set aside.

2. In another bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of baking soda and set aside.

3. In a third bowl, cream together 1/2 cup of butter and 1 cup of sugar.

4. Add two eggs and three tablespoons of milk and mix until creamy.

5. Fold in bananas and flour mixture. (You may also add 1 cup of chopped walnuts, but my kids don't like them, so I usually make it plain.)

6. Pour batter into two greased loaf pans (I know that technically you're not supposed to let your kids lick the spoons because of the raw eggs, but, heck, we did it as kids, so I let my kids have at it!).

7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes until bread is a dark brown. Serve plain or with butter or jelly.

It's so easy to make, there's no reason to waste anymore bananas!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Suzi Homemaker's recession-busting gift ideas

I am busy stocking my online store with all kinds of new, unique and INEXPENSIVE personalized gift offerings for the upcoming holiday season. Expect a lot of posts over the next couple of weeks touting new products for everyone on your holiday shopping list.

I just finished posting some adorable personalized placemats, made of 100 percent cotton. They are nice and sturdy and a bargain at just $12.50 each! I also have some canvas wall hangings in the same styles as the placemats but they are mounted on wooden frames (couldn't get those on my embroidery machine, but you know I tried!) and I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to personalize them, but I will. I have some stencils and have tried fabric markers, but now I'm leaning toward puffy pens...I'll keep you posted...

Within the next week or so, I hope to have some children's embroidered growth charts posted and some tote bags along the same styles of the wall hangings and placemats. Also in the near future: some cute, whimisical Christmas stockings; holiday wine wraps--the alternative to the boring wine gift bags (but I'll have some of those, too!); holiday baby stuff like onesies and burp cloths; I'm also looking into some napkins for elegant table settings; tree skirts; and so much more!

Here is my pledge to you: I will keep my prices low so you can afford to give truly special personalized gifts to your loved ones this holiday season without breaking the bank. If you think of something you want, but cannot find it on my retail site, just email me at or leave a comment on my blog and I will try to help you out!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

101 uses for embroidered cosmo bags

I just finished up an order for my e-friend, Julie, from Inkredible Stamping. Julie is an Independent Stampin' Up Demonstrator-Manager. She contacted me a while back to embroider some cosmo bags (from mint. sweet little things) with her cute little logo on them for her team in which to put their scissors, adhesives and other supplies. I did several bags for her at the beginning of the summer in the now extinct Lime Zebra pattern pictured above.

She just placed another order and this time mixed the colors up (since the lime green zebra sadly is no more), so I changed her logo around to match the trim on the bags. I had to blog about them because they are really darling and they demonstrate yet another use for these cute little bags.

The cosmo bags make great affordable gifts--an important caveat given our current economy. Around the holidays, when I'm doing some local craft shows, I usually stitch out a bunch with simply "Crayons" or "Busy Kit" stitched on them. Then I stuff the bags with little notepads, a package of crayons, a glue stick, stickers and little scrapbooks I make out of brown paper lunch bags. Last Christmas, I made a bunch of the kits for Sophie to give to her friends.

Cosmo Bags also can be used as everyday makeup bags that you can just toss in your purse in case you need to freshen up while out and about. I've also used them to tuck personal hygiene products (a.k.a. tampons and pads) in so they don't spill out embarrassingly when rummaging through my purse for the 30th time in a day.

So, if you are in need of a cute, unique gift this holiday season and don't want to spend a ton of money, keep these little cuties and Suzi Homemaker in mind! Remember, nothing is more special than a personalized gift!

Suzi Homemaker product review/giveaway on Blessings Abound

I have met the most wonderful lady via eversations! Jacqueline from Blessings Abound emailed me a while ago about the possiblity of doing a review/giveaway on her blog. She is such a wonderful and amazing woman that I absolutely agreed! Jacqueline is a stay-at-home mother to four children, whom she also homeschools, a devoted wife and a Christian. All of her correspondence was so uplifting, I really enjoyed working with her! So I hope you will take the time to visit her blog and learn more about her.

While you are there, check out the Suzi Homemaker review and giveaway. Jacqueline reviewed a number of my products (including handmade blankets, cosmo bags and brand new train cases) and is featuring a $25 virtual gift certificate toward merchandise from Suzi Homemaker as part of the Bloggy Carnival. Just visit my retail site, check out all of my reasonably-priced merchandise, then go back to her blog and leave a comment on what you would use the gift certificate toward. There are also chances to earn extra entries. So check it out and good luck! Contest ends on Sunday, Nov. 2 at 11:59 p.m. Alaska time!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Panty lines: The bane and bum of my existence

I just want to take a moment to thank all of the wonderful people that I came in contact with today that took the time to tell me that the belt from my long sweater was twisted inside my thong and that part of my left butt cheek was exposed.

First of all, some of you (especially my mom and sister) may be shocked to learn that I, a 41-year-old mother of three, wear a thong. I have struggled with panty lines my entire life--they are the bane of my very existence! I cannot stand the thought of having that line of demarcation spread across my fanny. Besides, wearing briefs or bikinis just exacerbates the appearance of flab above and below where the undergarments fit.

I do realize there are some benefits to wearing the briefs, the extra room allows me to tuck in the "built-in pencil pouch" I gained by having three Cesarean sections (I'm thinking of adding a zipper to this pouch to allow for extra storage). And I do wear briefs when I'm wearing athletic pants to cut down on the amount of jiggle. But with jeans or other five-pocket pants, I wear a thong. And, up until today, that was my business.

So, once again, thanks to the staff at my daughter's school who watched as I chased after Max and Carly, bending several times to catch Carly before she rang the bell on the admin desk for the umpteenth time, and to the teachers that had taken the children out to enjoy a brisk autumn day who greeted me, as usual, with a smile, but provided no information on the appearance of my nether-region. Thanks to the ladies at the bank. And a big fat thank you to my buddy at the Post Office, for it was right after I left your company, ass akimbo, that I discovered the error of my ways while getting back into the car.

I hope you all had a great day! And, next time I see you, I will hold my head high and my sweater low.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The innocence of youth

My darling, Sophie, is such an accomplished reader at six-and-three-quarters! Each weekday she brings home a Wonderful Exciting Book (W.E.B.) from school which she is to read aloud and then Steve or I will read it back to her (along with her constant companions, Max and Carly). It is so amazing to watch and listen to Sophie read, as she sounds out unfamiliar words. (I do not recall being able to read and comprehend stories so well at her age--the times they are a changing!!!)

This evening she was reading and stumbled upon something troublesome to her.

"Hey!" she exclaimed. "This book has a bad word in it! Do I have to read it?"

What on earth could the word be?

"No," I told her. "You don't have to read any word you don't feel is nice. Let's see if we can substitute another word."

I looked at the page and saw the word, "stupid."

Oh, my sweet girl!

"That's not a very nice word is it?" I asked.

"No," she said.

"How about we use 'not a good idea' instead?" I suggested.

"Yes," she smiled. "That's better."

This further reinforces our decision to move to the country. I so vividly recall walking outside our townhome development in our old neighborhood and hearing five-year-olds cursing and having the police come to shake down residents on a semi-regular basis. Isn't that sad? We wanted our children to be children as long as possible without being exposed to everything that is evil and bleak in the world. Sophie was just three and Max not quite a year when we decided to hang it up.

I wanted my kids to know the innocence of youth that I knew growing up, and not be exposed to violence and foul language. So we gave up having three Starbucks in a three-mile radius, a big promotion for me, gourmet grocery stores, restaurants with cuisine from around the world, movie theaters with stadium seating in 14 theaters, a shopping mall with big-name stores such as Old Navy, Gymboree and Lord & Taylor--and on and on. It really doesn't compare to preserving the innocence of youth.

So the choice for us was simple: To stay in that environment...not a good idea.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Babycapes Giveaway on

Yes, it's true, another opportunity to win a Babycape--this time from blogging giant Janice wrote the sweetest review and included the most darling photographs of her youngest, Olivia, in an embroidered pink sherpa suede Babycape.

To enter to win, just visit 5MinutesforMom and write a comment about Babycapes--it's that easy! The contest ends Nov. 8. As an added bonus, we are offering a bonus to 5MinutesforMom readers, just enter the the code "5 Minutes for Mom" in the comments section at checkout on BabycapesOnline and you will receive a free hat, valued at $18. This offer is good through the end of November with your Babycapes purchase.

Uh, Donny...did you forget about us?

So, after Elizabeth and I sent out a blast email to just about everyone we know asking them to watch CNBC's "The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch" last night, the show with our segment did not air! Bummer!

We had so much fun in D.C. the other day!

We arrived at noon and were welcomed by Stephen Clark, President of Liveshots DC. Stephen was so nice to us! He took us to a waiting room and brought us ginger ale for our nervous tummies and offered us cookies and biscotti. He asked about Babycapes, and was genuinely interested in the product and our story.

The studio was beautiful and was housed in the same building as the Washington bureaus of NBC, Fox News and CNN, to name a few of the biggies. After about a half hour, Elizabeth was taken back to have her makeup done and then we played The Waiting Game for about an hour-and-a-half. Finally, Elizabeth (I'm now going to refer to her as "E") was taken into the studio for filming and I got to watch everything on a lovely flat screen TV in the waiting room. Shauna Tesser, one of the producers, came on speaker and was giving E some suggestions for doing her 30-second pitch. Shauna knew all about the product and told E that she would be pitching her idea to Donny and an angel investor--okay, we weren't looking for an angel investor, but as long as Babycapes gets exposure, what the heck!

I'm not going to tell you what happened, except to say that Elizabeth did a great job of pitching Babycapes--I am so proud of her! She had been rehearsing her pitch and wound up switching it up at the last minute because of Shauna's suggestions. Hopefully, the show will air tonight. I checked the website and they have not listed the guests for tonight's show, so we may know later on today.

I'm kind of glad the segment didn't run last night because Jim Cramer of "Mad Money" was on and he was really depressing--kept telling everyone to move back in with their parents...I wouldn't mind that, Mom runs her home like a Bed and Breakfast...

So, sorry for the confusion everybody. We may be calling on you to vote again, as there will be an online poll of which of the three products pitched was the best--we, of course, believe it's Babycapes, but feel free to judge for yourself!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Babycapes heading to D.C. to be on "The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch"

I'm so excited! We got the call from the producers of CNBC's "The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch" to go down to D.C. today and film a segment on Babycapes for the show which will air tomorrow night!

I'm trying to wolf down a sandwich and am hoping that it doesn't come back up! We have been working so hard for this!! This could be the Big Break we have been waiting for! Elizabeth and I so believe in this wonderful product and this is a tremendous opportunity for us to make some money for our families!!! Who would have thought a chance meeting in a consignment store would lead to this wonderful product, burgeoning business and a great friendship?

Keep your fingers crossed for us!!!! We'll keep you posted!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Babycapes giveaway on

We have partnered with the ladies at to give away a luxurious Babycape. (At right, is my little Carly in her cape--she LOVES her Babycape!)

To enter, visit our retail site at, look at all of the beautiful styles we have to offer, then go to, read the contest rules and leave a comment about Babycapes. There also are plenty of chances to earn extra entries by blogging or twittering about the contest.

This is your chance to keep your little one warm, stylin', comfortable and safe while traveling this winter. Contest ends October 23! So what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Striking a balance without dropping the ball--or the baby

My husband and I are perfect complements in our child-rearing practices. He's the laid-back, easy-going parent and I tend the be the high-strung, neurotic one.

He thinks it's perfectly okay to let our six-year-old watch our four- and two- in our unfenced yard on the street, while he ducks inside to catch a few holes of golf on TV, whereas I'm the one who's always hovering and shouting, "Not too high!", "Get away from the road!", "I'm not going to push you as high as Daddy does, I don't want your head to hit the playset!", or "You know our doctor said to never let you guys on a trampoline so I would appreciate it if you would get off now!"

I know our neighbors think I'm wound too tightly (especially because of the trampoline paranoia--the contraptions are ALL over the neighborhood and most of them don't have the netting on the sides!) when it comes to our kids, but I can't help it. I just want them to be safe. Not that my husband does not, he just feels that they will be fine, because he did the same things when he was a kid and nothing bad ever happened to him.

He's perfectly comfortable taking all three out to a crowded event. He always leads the way, paces in front of the kids, surveying the scene, looking at everyone and everything but our children while I'm pulling up the rear with my internal BPS (Baby Positioning System) keeping track of all three kids at once. It's exhausting for me, but it's my job.

Whenever I venture out by myself, I always say a little prayer that God will keep them all safe long enough for me to run and get my hair done or to do an unencumbered trip to the market. (And I'm not ragging on my husband--he is a GREAT father and he loves the kids and I trust him and all--I just cannot reiterate enough that I am NEUROTIC when it comes to my kids!) This past Sunday, I went to the grocery store and left the kids with their Daddy. They were in the basement playing and my husband was in his Man Cave in the next room watching football.

Better shut the garage door just in case Carly tries to make a run for it while Daddy's shouting at the Redskins. And better lock the front door just in case someone attempts a home invasion while I'm at Martin's.

When I came back from the store about an hour-and-a-half later, the garage door still was closed, so I opened it and began unloading the groceries. I was heading out for my second trip when I heard Sophie yelling outside, followed by Carly just wailing. I ran outside and Steve had Carly in his arms and the other two were in their wagon.

"What happened?" I yelled.

"Carly fell out of the wagon...oh, God, she's bleeding!" Steve exclaimed.

"I want my Mama!" my little one cried. Then I looked at her and saw blood all over her face.

I quickly grabbed her and ran inside to survey her injuries. Big fat, bloody lip, blood gushing from her nose (that nose has hit the pavement so many times my Mom has told us to start saving for rhinoplasty in her teen years), scraped up cheeks, tears streaming down her face, sobbing uncontrollably. I got a towel and started cleaning her up.

I could hear Sophie and Max giving Steve the riot act.

"I told you to stop the wagon, Daddy!" said Sophie. "Carly was trying to get out!"

"I know," he said. "It's all my fault."

Max started yelling at Steve, "You hurt my baby sister! You made her bleed!" and then he started crying. Steve was tending to him, all the while taking all of the blame.

They all came in to the kitchen to check on Carly, who, at that particular time wanted nothing to do with her father. Steve felt horribly and I know it was the last thing he wanted to happen. No need for accusations or I-told-you-so's.

Carly was a little beat up, but from what I could tell from reading every child-rearing book on the market, she did not require any stitches. She fell asleep while I held her and watched her nose swell up, telling myself if the right nostril closes completely I will take her to the ER. Are her pupils dilated? Hard to tell with her eyes closed. Should I wake her up to make sure she doesn't have a concussion? When she woke up a bit later, she didn't seem to be in any pain, but still wanted nothing to do with Daddy.

Now, mind you, this was an accident and it could easily have happened to me (except I probably would have made all the children wear their helmets in the Radio Flyer--might need to look into one with a face mask for Carly...). I just wish there was some way to strike a balance between mine and Steve's parenting know, so I can loosen up enough so that my kids don't grow up thinking I'm no fun and that they wouldn't think Steve somehow irresponsible because this accident had occurred on his watch.

I had hoped this would not have a lasting effect on Carly, nor the other two, for that matter.

My fears were put to rest yesterday morning. Carly had woken up in an especially good mood. Steve took her in to her room to get her dressed. She has this morning ritual of lying on her changing table while we change her Pull Up and get her dressed. She always stands up and turns to the mirror and starts putting on the "Carly Crowder Show."

This particular morning she had a different greeting.

"Hi! I'm Carly Crowder," she said as she turned to face the mirror. "Hey! What happened to my nose!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My new friend, Peri

Meet my new friend, Peri--Peri Menopause.

I recently turned 41 and thought I was a bit young for my new acquaintance, but, alas, she has struck up a relationship with me at the same time she greeted my mother and sister. I thought I could stave off her appearance since I had my children relatively late in life, but that did not derail her.

I'm not sure what to make of my new friend. She seems a bit obnoxious--finds it amusing to keep me up at night, thwarting my quest for a good night's sleep (tho she cannot shoulder all of the blame for this, as my children delight in waking me up throughout the night). She likes to crank the heat up, leaving me sweaty and flushed at inconvenient times. She also manages to get me all fired up and filled with murderous rage over the littlest thing, such as a dirty sock thrown on the floor. Need I mention the facial hair that recently appeared around my mouth--in particular the little billy goat hair on my chin that pops up during social occasions and the two little hairs that keep resurfacing on the bulb of my nose? (I must remember to always carry a pair of tweezers).

Peri has emboldened my already tumultuous relationship with my old friend, Flo. Flo's monthly visits now come more frequently (I have yet to pin down her schedule) and her stays are getting longer. Flo, once mild and manageable, now makes the Vietnam War look tame. She has yet to meet a personal product she couldn't take in a fight--not even the new Ultra.

Peri and Flo, I must ask of you--what is UP? Are we not sisters gliding through this grand dance of life? Did I not serve you well, bearing three children and nursing them until their cheeks and legs were so fat that the youngest earned her nickname "Biscuit" because of the oh-so-delicious doughiness of her thighs? Have my annual doctor visits and monthly self-exams gone unnoticed? Did I not keep up my end of the bargain?

If I ply you with chocolates, chamomile tea, the finest of wines, myriad fans, black cohosh or other herbal concoctions will you retreat?

And, Peri, I don't want to seem an ungracious hostess, but how long were you planning on staying?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Suzi Homemaker's sure-fire stain remover

Recently my sister, Vicki Homemaker, came to the Sew DoJo with a problem all of us have encountered at one time or another--a stain on one of her favorite shirts. Vicki lamented over the fact that this particular shirt was an expensive knit from Chico's in a very complementary shade of blue and that she had only worn it a couple of times before she spilled something on it, rendering it only suitable for what we call "makeup-free, not-for-public-consumption chore days."

Well, Vicki had come to the right place.

We went through several of my design catalogs searching for the perfect "stain remover," and settled on "Fashion Lady," as pictured here. I just embroidered the image over the stain and now Vicki can wear her shirt--with makeup--out in public again.

So the next time you get a stain on one of your favorite shirts, just send a shout to Suzi Homemaker and she'll make the old new again!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Custom embroidered Trick or Treat buckets from Suzi Homemaker

I just yesterday loaded the most darling Trick or Treat buckets on my retail site, The bags are 100% cotton canvas, are large enough to accommodate a candy haul from the largest of neighborhoods and a bargain price of just $16 (includes personalization with this particularly ghoulish font pictured on Max's bucket at left).

I stitched out Max's bag and took the picture, loaded it on my site and set about finishing up some shirt orders, when Sophie came in and wanted to know when her bag would be done. Of course, I had to do it right away because I am Suzi Homemaker Keeper of the Peace and Enforcer of All Things Fair and Equitable When It Comes to My Children. Sophie chose the bag with the bat on it and then Carly got the one with the spider on it. The kids loved their bags so much they carried them around all evening and Sophie wound up sleeping with her bag.

Check back on my retail site early next week as I will be loading some Halloween tees and sweatshirts, including the "Don't scare me I poop easily" style--last year's hottest seller at the fall festivals.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bad blast from the past

Something happened the other day and I am having a hard time processing it.

I have been doing a lot of social and business networking of late, trying to promote my blog and my two businesses. I recently signed on with LinkedIn to try to connect with other business people who might be interested in doing business with me. I hesitated joining for a while because I was afraid someone from my past might try to re-connect with me.

You see, I have a dark secret.

I was in an abusive relationship while I was in college. For two years I allowed myself to be controlled by an awful man who seemed to take immense pleasure in belittling me. I often look back and wonder how I got involved in such an unhealthy relationship, but the truth is, it happened so gradually that I didn't even realize how bad it was until it started taking a tremendous toll on my health--both mental and physical.

I don't know how, but I managed to get out of it. It was a long, vicious cycle of breaking up, him promising he would seek help, preying on my then non-existent self-esteem, getting back together only to have his behaviors resurface again and again. I wound up fleeing, running home to my parents, like a wounded little bird. My last contact with him occured after my sister encouraged me to go on a date with a man whom she knew. I hesitated, but finally relented. That man treated me better in one evening than I had ever been treated by my abuser. I decided that I wasn't going to put up with it anymore and broke it off with my abuser for good.

It was no happy ending--yet. In my weakened emotional state I wound up going from one bad relationship to another, always being the doormat for the person with whom I was involved, never sticking up for myself. Not wanting to rock the boat, I endured abuses on a smaller scale. Finally, I sought treatment--six years of weekly therapy turned my life around. I had finally decided I would not tolerate anything but the best of treatment from a man--I DESERVED the best!

I had gotten involved with another man and after a couple of months, he started exhibiting controlling behavior. I was out of that relationship in no time. I told myself I DESERVED better and was perfectly content being single. Then, shortly after that, I met my future husband. My husband got the Real Me. Strong, confident, witty, with my own opinions that I'm not afraid to voice. The exact opposite of my former, abused self. He jokes that he sometimes wishes he would have gotten a little bit of the old me--but I know he is only joking.

My husband and I have been happily married for seven years, have three beautiful children, and are enjoying a healthy relationship. We have our ups and downs, but we respect and love each other and work through the rough patches.

So, what did I do when I received this request? If you're not familiar with LinkedIn, you receive emails from people inviting you to join their network. I did go to his page--out of curiosity and a little bit of incredulity. I was presented with the option of accepting the invitation or clicking on a button that says you don't know the requestor.

I clicked the latter. Maybe the Other Suzi knew him, but not this one. He doesn't DESERVE the privilege of knowing me.

If you have witnessed abusive behavior in your partner, please seek help. provides a wealth of information on domestic abuse as well as other forms of abuse, including alcohol and drugs. If you feel you are in physical danger immediately call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-787-3224.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Suzi Homemaker Review and Giveaway on My Life With Little Girls

It's time for another product review and chance to win $25 toward merchandise from none other than moi!

I know I had said I was going to slow down on the giveaways, but Regina from My Life With Little Girls was so sweet in her request that I thought I would help her out. She is a relatively new blogger and this is her first review and giveaway so you better scoot over there and get while the gettin's good!

Just visit her blog, then visit my retail site (take your time, look around, make note of all of the new stuff I've added recently, make out your Christmas lists, tell all of your friends about all of the cute stuff), then go back to her blog and write a comment about what you would use the money toward should you win. The contest ends at noon CDT on Oct. 2, so scoot on over there and submit your comment. Winner will be chosen by

It is getting close to the holiday season and I do need to start earning some money to pay for presents for the fam, so I may need to slow down on the reviews for a bit and start actually selling some merchandise. I try to keep my prices reasonable, so I hope that you will keep Suzi Homemaker in mind when it comes to gift-giving this year!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My daughter's going to juvie

I am at my wit's end. My littlest one, Carly, is on a fast-track to pre-school juvie! She has become what I have feared most--a bully! (At right is a picture of her in her panty do-rag, ready for lock-up.)

My daycare provider called me today to let me know that Carly was on a bullying rampage, taking out every baby who got in her way. After being sent to the "Time Out Chair" on several occasions for pinching, poking and swatting at other kids, she did the unthinkable--she forcefully pushed a little guy, still getting used to his sea legs, into a cubby with both hands, resulting in the dreaded Incident Report.

OMG! What has gotten into my little angel? She has always been stubborn and headstrong, always trying to keep up with her older brother and sister and never shying away from letting us know when she's unhappy, but it's just lately that she has been resorting to biting, pinching and hitting.

She is two, but my other children never behaved this way. In fact, she's been biting, hitting and pushing them, too. They are almost afraid of her. Is it Little Sister Syndrome? Is she frustrated because she has trouble using her words to tell us what's bothering her? I just don't know.

My daycare provider is going to consult a Behavioral Therapist and ask her for advice on "re-directing" Carly. Does she need therapy? For the most part, she is a happy, loving little girl. It's just at odd moments she gets a wild hair up her Pull-up and acts out.

I hate to think she's becoming the Preschool Pariah and that I'm going to have to lower my head in shame at drop-off and pick-up while enduring knowing, disapproving glances from the other parents. I don't want her to get the reputation of being a miscreant--that's a hard rap to shake at any age.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle my little girl before she spirals out of control and winds up in military preschool?

Vote for Babycapes on

Babycapes LLC is a contestant in 2008 StartUpNation Home-Based Business Competition in the Glamorous and Innovative Product categories! My partner, Elizabeth, and I have been working so hard on this product for more than a year now and would really love your support—plus we would love to win this award!

If you have a moment, please visit and cast your vote. All you have to do is click on the “Vote” button and we’re good-to-go!

Also, we’re putting the finishing touches on our brand-new website: --it’s not quite finished, but should be complete by the end of this week.

Please forward this to anyone and everyone you know, ask them to vote, and help a couple WV moms reach their goal of making Babycapes a household name and help turn us into Godzillionaires!!!!

Vote and vote often! You can vote once a day!

Thanks in advance for your support!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

WV moms combat bulky coats with innovative outerwear: Babycapes

No responsible parent would ever knowingly put their child in harm’s way while traveling in a vehicle, but this winter, many parents will do just that merely by dressing their children for cold weather.

Martinsburg, WV, mom, Elizabeth Hostler, was shocked to learn that she was putting her daughter, Andy, at risk every time she put her into her infant seat.

“You want your child to be warm and comfortable, but, most importantly, you want them to be safe,” said Hostler, who also has a seven-year-old son. “Every time I went to put Andy in her car seat during the winter it turned into a battle. She hated being confined to her seat in a heavy coat. When the car warmed up, Andy would just wail because she was so uncomfortable and helpless to do anything about it. What I didn’t realize was that she also was not safe.”

Hostler had read an article that children fastened into car seats over bulky garments could be at risk in a crash as the force of a collision could cause the coat to compress and actually eject the child from the seat.

The non-profit organization generally does not recommend a child wear a winter coat while in the car seat, since the car seat harness straps must remain tight on the child’s shoulders regardless of any clothing.

“I thought there had to be a better, safer way to travel with my children,” said Hostler.

With limited sewing skills, Hostler immediately began constructing a garment out of a fleece blanket. The goal was to provide protection from the cold, while keeping Andy comfortable and safe while strapped into her car seat or stroller.

The garment she created was much easier to put on and take off. Putting Andy in her car seat also became much easier, as Hostler could flip the garment to the side, adjust the straps and then drape the garment over the car seat. If Andy became too hot, Hostler could easily lift the garment off. Hostler also realized that Andy was more secure in her car seat since there was no bulky barrier between her and the harness straps.

Every place Hostler went with Andy and her “cape” people commented on the ingenuity of the garment, including Suzi Crowder, mother of three and owner of Suzi Homemaker Custom Embroidery, whose youngest daughter, Carly, is just a few weeks older than Andy. Crowder encouraged Hostler to obtain a patent for the garment. The two joined forces and together made several practical and innovative modifications, including a clever back opening and interior foot pocket, and that is how Babycapes began.

Babycapes are simple to put on or take off, even while holding a squirming child.

From your arms to the car, there is no need to remove Babycapes. In the car, babies can move freely. When the car warms up, Babycapes can be removed or replaced without unstrapping the child.

When you arrive at your destination, easily remove the child from her seat and place in stroller. The front cozy feature works as a bunting to cover up and protect wiggly toes. And Babycapes innovative design is great for babies in front carriers as well.

One size fits newborns to preschoolers. Babycapes are available in a variety of luxurious, machine-washable fabrics to suit all climates.

For more information email or visit

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The carrot, the egg and the coffee

A dear friend of mine emailed this little story to me today and I thought I would share it...

The Carrot, the egg, and the coffee

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee...You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up, she was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose..

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ' Tell me what you see.'

'Carrots, eggs, and coffee,' she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take
an egg and break it.. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, 'What does it mean, mother?'

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same
adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

'Which are you?' she asked her daughter. 'When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?'

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat?
Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial
hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my
shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain.. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.
When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.

Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

This sounds like my mother. My Mother is the consummate coffee bean.

My Mom has always encouraged me to think positively. Most of my life I resisted positive thinking, always affecting the "woe is me" attitude. Very much a carrot.

Through bad relationships, bad break-ups, missteps at school and work, natural and not-so-natural disasters, flooded basements, financial difficulties, and on and on, my Mom has always been there like a strong cup of coffee encouraging me and kicking me in the carrot-orange pants to get me back on track.

My husband, also, is a coffee bean. That man has overcome so much adversity (including living through several fires, being abandoned by his father when he was six, losing his mother just prior to our marriage) in his life, you would think he would be a carrot or an egg, but, no, he always has a smile on his face, is never in a bad mood and always manages to put a positive spin on things. He, too, has done his fair share of pulling me out of the dumps.

I have probably been more of an egg of late. I no longer wither and go limp, I lost that attribute long ago. Now I get hard and angry.

It's the times when I listened to my Mom and husband and approached a problem in a positive manner without wallowing in self pity or anger that I've actually been able to turn the situation around.

From this day forward I will strive to be a coffee bean with every fiber of my being (I resisted the urge to write "fiber of my beaning").

This morning provided the perfect opportunity to stretch my new-found bean-ness, if on a smaller scale. I dropped my little Carly off at her preschool (aside: the other two are staying at my parents' for a few days), and when I went to leave, she accidentally slammed the door up against the side of my face--OUCH!

Shake it off, Little Latte...I went on my way.

A little while later I was stitching out an order and noticed that the little bag I was embroidering had slipped a bit so I reached in to adjust it and darned if I didn't stitch through my finger--YOW!!! I started thinking, "It's going to be one of those days when everything goes wrong."

Whoa. Back up. That's exactly how an egg would see things.

What would a coffee bean do? (I can see the bumper sticker now, "WWACBD?")
After the small adversities I faced this morning, I decided I would channel my inner bean and go purchase some scratch off lottery tickets. I won $27.

I think I'll go buy a cup of coffee.

Another Suzi Homemaker giveaway

Okay--this is getting ridiculous! I keep giving stuff away...what's wrong with me? I've had a number of requests for reviews/giveaways from mom bloggers lately and I can't seem to say, "No."

The latest request was from Amanda at A Window to My Crazy Life . She has reviewed a couple of products for me and is now hosting a $30 giveaway. Just visit her blog, then visit my retail site (take your time, look around, make note of all of the new stuff I've added recently, make out your Christmas lists, tell all of your friends about all of the cute stuff), then go back to her blog and write a comment about what you would use the money toward should you win. The contest ends at noon CDT on Sept. 4, so scoot on over there and submit your comment. Winner will be chosen by

It is getting close to the holiday season and I do need to start earning some money to pay for presents for the fam, so I may need to slow down on the reviews for a bit and start actually selling some merchandise. I try to keep my prices reasonable, so I hope that you will keep Suzi Homemaker in mind when it comes to gift-giving this year!

P.S. I do know that there will be two more contests in the very near future, so I will keep you apprised of those!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Suzi Homemaker goes to the Democratic National Convention

Kind of, sorta.

Actually, I am finishing stitching up a rush order for the Federal Aviation Administration Emergency Operations division. They wanted some shirts to take to the Democratic National Convention with their logo and "DNC '08" stitched on the right sleeve. I was more than happy to oblige.

Make sure you tell all your friends where you got your cool shirts, FAA dudes! But leave out the part that says Suzi Homemaker is a Republican!!! Kind of, sorta...

A Wrestling Addicted Mommy helped out Suzi Homemaker

I wanted to write a public acknowledgement and thank you to Gina (a.k.a. A Wrestling Addicted Mommy), who took pity on poor bloggily-challenged Suzi Homemaker and made her a fancy new banner (see above) and button (pictured at left).

Gina took time out from her own blogging duties to craft these little cuties (did you notice that rhyme?) for me so my site wouldn't look so lame. Let me know what you think!

Have a great weekend and thanks, again, Gina!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Back where you belong

I want my boobs back.

I have been either pregnant or nursing my entire marriage--a little more than seven years. My youngest is 28 months old and she's still going strong.

My friends always told me that most babies will quit nursing on their own--lose interest, usually between nine and 16 months. My kids apparently missed that section in their handbooks. I think my oldest would still be nursing if we hadn't had to put the kibosh on it when I was pregnant with my second child.

In fact, when I was in the hospital after my son was born, he was having trouble latching on and my then 27-month-old said, "No, it's easy, Max...let me show you..." and she started going for my nipple.

So why, you ask, don't I put an end to it? Well, part of it's nostalgia--I know this is my last child and the last time I will experience the closeness you get from holding a child to your breast. Part of it, I'm ashamed to admit, is vanity: I'm afraid what my boobs are going to look like once they lose the fullness from the milk. And they don't look that great now.

I never thought I would consider plastic surgery, but my chest is a mess. If I want to wear a knit top to bed, I need to wear a bra or I get disgusted every time I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror. My boobs don't just hang, they kind of migrate toward the middle of my back. Ick. I don't want anything added--no implants, or transferring of fat from my tummy to my bust--just move the things back up to where they once were.

A friend of mine whose husband is in the military told me that Tricare--the military health care system--will pay for one cosmetic surgery for either active duty or retired military or their spouses. I asked Steve about it (he's retired Air Force), told him I deserved that surgery if there was one to be haggled over. Afterall, I'm the one who put in the time nursing all three kids. He started talking about having some scar removed or having his gynecomastia (translation: man-boob--which he doesn't even have anymore since he's lost a little weight) removed.

I quickly put that argument to rest.

One morning I was getting out of the shower and toweling off while Steve was at our double vanity shaving.

He glanced at me briefly, then resumed shaving.

"Maybe we should look into that surgery."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Gearing up for Back-to-School

My embroidery machine is constantly humming here at Suzi Homemaker HQ as I'm gearing up for back-to-school. Not only am I working on uniforms for The Country Day School, but also I am getting together a bunch of great new products (from my favorite vendors as well as some new ones) to send your kids back-to-school in personalized style!

Parents--please don't send your child to school with a brown bag lunch--that is so 1982! Pack their lunch in an oh-so-stylish personalized snack square or lunch box from my friends at mint. sweet little things. Back-to-school? How about back-to-COOL with a matching backpack and pencil case? Did I mention most of these necessities are on sale, too?

New to Suzi Homemaker is an assortment of goodies from Room It Up, including monogrammed messenger and laptop bags, storage cubes and monogrammable notebooks--are you kidding me? These items are especially appealing to the hard-to-please tween. Later this week, I will be posting more items for the home, such as over-the-door organizers, hanging sweater organizers and handy hold alls for all of your bags.

Within the next couple of weeks I will be posting some sassy shirts and sweatshirts for Halloween and gift items for the upcoming holiday season. It's hard to believe summer is almost over!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Suzi Homemaker's Fresh Tomato and Cucumber Salad

We just finished a very light and refreshing meal here at Suzi Homemaker Central! This week's bag of produce from Redbud Farm included a huge allotment of tomatoes and a few cucumbers, as well as fresh basil (I cannot get enough of this stuff!) and three super star sweet onions.

This recipe is so simple, it's ridiculous, but it was so tasty, I had to share!

4 large tomatoes, diced
3 cucumbers, peeled and diced
3 super star sweet onions (or use 1 large Vidalia or other sweet variety), chopped
8 large basil leaves, chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, minced (or use garlic salt)
Sea Salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons ExtraVirgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

Mix everything together and serve as a side salad or as a topping on grilled chicken, fish or steak. We had ours as a side salad to roasted chicken breasts and put it on Wasa sesame seed flat bread. I had mine with a nice cold glass of Barrel Select Chardonnay from the Cellar Club at Breaux Vineyards.
What a great summer meal!! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Max-ism #412

My son, Max, has a way with words.

At four, he is wise beyond his years.

This afternoon, my husband, Steve, came home and immediately heard Max calling to him from the basement.

"Daddy! I need you to come wipe my butt!"

(His timing was impeccable. I narrowly escaped Butt Patrol--yeah!)

A few minutes later, Steve came upstairs and said, "That was the funniest thing I think I've ever heard."

When Steve walked into the bathroom, Max was holding up his right hand, fingers covered in poop.

"Oh, no!" he cried. "There's poop on my fingers! My fingers are RUINED! Mommy gave me these fingers!"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Another review and giveaway from Suzi H

I LOVE my blogger moms! They are so nice and when they email to ask to do a product review and giveaway, I'm more than happy to oblige!!!

The latest contest is from Kristle at Stir Crazy. Just visit her site and click on any of the links to my retail site, review the goodies and then write a comment on her blog about what product you would like to win. Kristle also is offering ways to get additional entries, so be sure to visit her blog.

Contest ends on Aug. 27, 2008. The winner will be drawn by

There are lots of back-to-school items on my site that are on sale, so $30 will go a long way in outfitting your little one(s) for the first day of class!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Does this phone make me sound fat?

In this age of blogging, email and cell phones, we're often left to speculate what the people we're communicating with on a regular basis look like. Blogger is nice, because you can post photos on your profile, but are those accurate representations? Take my photo, for example. I HATE having my picture taken, so when I come across one that is decent I tend to glom onto it and use it over and over. A photographer friend of mine took that photo of me--under protest--when my youngest daughter was just four months old. I was surprised how much I liked the picture. That was more than two years ago. I'm a little bit older, more tired looking and the skin on my arms, among other things, is starting to gravitate toward the floor. I will be using that photo until I'm 90.

I met someone I had been emailing at a trade show promoting Suzi Homemaker and they told me they thought my hair would be more red, like my business logo. It's a cartoon! As soon as they convert pantone colors into hair dye I will be all over the I Love Lucy red, but for now I prefer a more natural look.

When I talk with my digitizer on the phone or via email, he reminds me of my Uncle John, who died about 15 years ago. They have the same dry sense of humor so I always picture my uncle with his hip glasses and mod hair sitting, eternally young, on the other end of the line, chatting me up. I hope I never meet my digitizer in person.

My long distance BFF, Christi, and I have never met in person. She sounds like another friend of mine--also named Christy, so I always pictured Christy when I was talking to Christi or emailing her. I don't know who she pictured for me, or if she pictured anyone at all...I digress...I sent her a Christmas card in April with a picture of the whole family on it--another rare photo that I actually liked. I've seen a picture of her that was in a newspaper and it was of the left side of her face, so now I know what half of her face looks like. When we meet in person I'll have to be sure to sidle up to her on the left so as not to mistake her for someone else.

I hired a subcontractor through ifreelance last year. We had emailed back and forth a number of times and the tone of his emails was very smug, very New England. The first time we talked on the phone I was shocked to find out he sounded very brother-in-law, very Kentucky.

I used to work on a news desk with an openly-gay friend, Mark, and we were always confused on the phone. People would call the desk, I would answer and they'd say, "Mark?" and vice versa. So that would mean that I sounded like a homosexual male and he sounded like a heterosexual female? There are worse things, I guess.

Several years ago, I met my roommate's boyfriend after speaking to him numerous times over the phone. I remember him looking quite surprised when we shook hands and I asked him if there was something wrong. He brushed aside the confused look and said, "It's just that you're not what I was expecting. You sounded fat on the phone." How was I to respond to that? Well, you sounded like you had chest hair.

My Babycapes business partner, Elizabeth, has been on CNBC's "The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch," several times now promoting Babycapes and always remarks how she sounds like an 80-year-old grandmother on air. To ease her self-consciousness, I told her she sounded very slim.

When I was working for a municipal government, back in the day, I had been speaking with an advertising sales rep on the phone. When I hung up, I told my friend that the guy sounded exactly like George Clooney! He was coming by to pick up an ad contract, so I went into the bathroom and freshened up a bit. A while later, the receptionist buzzed me to tell my guest had arrived. I hurried out front. Let's just say not George Clooney.

One time my imagination was dead-on.

Before my husband and I met, we had emailed and spoken on the phone several times--the first time while he was in Ireland on a Presidential trip (he used to work at the White House--do you like how I slipped that in?). He had worked up enough nerve to call me after visiting an Irish pub and imbibing in a bit of the drink. He sounded like the funniest, most handsome man in the world, albeit a bit tipsy. When I met him in person a couple weeks later, wouldn't you know, I was right?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

'Contest! Prize Package worth OVER $2000.00'

Fellow bloggers can enter to win a $2,000 prize package from Moms United in Business!

Contest Deadline: Friday August 15, 2008 11:59pm EST

Winner will be chosen via random drawing and announced Monday, August 18, 2008
Prizes have been generously donated by members of Moms United in Business.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Enter to win $30 in merchandise from Suzi Homemaker

My new friend, Heather, is hosting a Suzi Homemaker product review and giveaway on her blog "A Daycare Life". Just visit my site and then post a comment on her site about a personalized product you would like to receive and you will be entered to win $30 worth of free merchandise from Suzi Homemaker! Winner will be chosen randomly at Get your back-to-school checklist ready and enter this great contest!

Breaking bread

Today I was a victim of produce abuse.

I still am trying to come to terms with the harsh reality of the events that occurred today, so bear with me as I work through this as the emotions are still quite raw...

I will be the first to admit that I have some--how shall I say this--anal-esque practices. (I can picture my husband reading this post and nodding his head vigorously.) Grocery shopping is no exception.

In my defense, I am a mother of three small children and I run two businesses. I try to maximize my time.

Today I embarked upon a "Speed Shop"--a very purposeful, carefully-planned excursion to a local market. I had precisely 45 minutes to drive into town, shop for the week, drive back home, unload the perishables and then head back out to pick up my kids from camp and nursery school. I would worry about the dry goods later--or so I thought...(more on this in a bit)

I rarely use a list, making mental notes of larder shortages, checking them off as I cruise through the store plucking the items from the shelves. I was making record time. I ran into a comrade who had two of her children in tow. We barely acknowledged each other--I greeted her and told her I was doing a "Speed Shop," prior to picking my oldest up from camp, she winked knowingly--I could tell she was doing the same. We respected each other's timeclock and moved on.

I don't know about you, but when I shop, I group everything in the cart according to category, paying careful attention to refrigerated and freezer goods. When I go to check out, I unload my cart keeping like items together so that they can be bagged together. I also sort according to weight--heavy items first, as they will be placed in the bottom of the cart so as not to smoosh the lighter items.

When I approached the cashier, I was particularly thrilled to see my favorite bagger at one station. She once had commented on how nice it was that I sorted the items based on temperature, said it made her job easier, wished everyone did that--she is the penultimate professional. I happily made my way to her station and started unloading my items onto the conveyor belt.

Wait...what's this? About a quarter of the way through my cart, my Bagging Guardian Angel was called to another register and another--dare-I-say lesser-skilled--bagger took her place. I was appalled at her immediate mistreatment of my groceries. She was fast and rough, rifling through the items and throwing them carelessly and thoughtlessly into bags.

In the confusion of handing the cashier my bonus fob and swiping my ATM card, my focus strayed from my groceries. A commotion ensued. Lesser-Skilled-Bagger apparently did double duty as a Lesser-Skilled-Cashier. One of her former clients had come up with her register slip to complain about being charged twice for an item. I saw my opening and swiftly moved to the bagging station.

What did I see in my shopping buggy? Oh, the horror! Moist, cool, sweaty dairy products were placed in the same bag as my children's Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Cracker pouches. Two half-gallon containers of apple juice were placed in single layer bag along with a five pound canister of coffee. Other bags bulged and split uncomfortably, obviously filled beyond capacity. I felt dizzy. I quickly began re-bagging the items, looking over my shoulder all the while.

And then she came back.

I continued to bag the groceries and re-sort. I could feel her glaring at me.

"Oh, " I said innocently. "Did you want me to help or just step out of the way?" There I go being polite again.

"Well, it will be faster if I do it, " she parried.

I wanted to scream, "FASTER DOES NOT MEAN BETTER!" but all I could muster was a feeble, "Very well," and I stepped back, defeated. I barely recall the cashier telling me how many bonus points I accrued or how much money I saved in coupons and bonus savings. What did it really matter? My whole afternoon had been thrown off by this careless young lady.

I made my way to my car, muttering under my breath about Lesser-Skilled-Bagger's incompetence. It wasn't until I got to my minivan that I realized the full extent of the abuse. There in the bottom of my cart was the piece de resistance--a cantaloupe nestled alongside my baguette.

You won this time, Lesser-Skilled-Bagger. Next time I will use self checkout.