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!