Friday, January 30, 2009

Suzi Homemaker's Kielbasa and Cabbage Recipe

This is a recipe I learned to make about 20 years ago. I am part Czechoslovakian and a dear friend at the time who knew my family history introduced me to this simple dish, which is Polish in origin. In its original form, it is not the most healthy dish, but you can make simple substitutions that will cut down on calories and fat. We eat this only occasionally (just yesterday as a matter of fact), so it's nice to splurge every once in a while.

6 slices bacon
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 pound Polska kielbasa, sliced diagonally or in bite-size pieces
1 large head cabbage, cut into small wedges
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 pound package Farfalle (bow tie) pasta, cooked according to package directions

1. In a large frying pan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon to plate and reserve drippings. (You may cook bacon, either regular or turkey, in the microwave to eliminate pan drippings. As a substitute, use 2 T. Olive Oil)
2. Add chopped onions and garlic and saute until onions are translucent.
3. Add kielbasa (I use turkey kielbasa) and heat through.
4. Add cabbage, seasonings and water and bring to boil. Once it boils, turn the heat down and simmer until cabbage is soft.
5. Add cooked pasta and toss. Crumble bacon on top and serve.

Makes about six large servings. (Steve had three last night! This is one of his favorite recipes. He never cared for cabbage until he had this dish.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Today is CPSIA Blogging Day

Reprinted with permission from Buy By Mom.

Today is CPSIA Blogging Day. Another big push to get the laws changed and prevent thousands of small business owners — artists and crafters making beautiful handmade items for children — from going under. Bloggers across the country are posting today about this important issue.

So, what can we do?

First, learn everything you can about the CPSIA. Here and here are really good places to start. (Please take a moment to check both of those links. They are certainly worth your time!)

Next, make your voice heard! There is an ACTION KIT made by the etsy administration that contains sample letters you can use to contact all the pertinent representatives. Do not be afraid to contact your representatives. They must become aware of the impact the CPSIA could have on thousands, if not millions, of mom-run businesses.

Then, help spread the word! Put up a post today about CPSIA Blogging Day. Send an email to all of your friends. Tell your best friend or your sister when they call. Shoot a text message to the moms in your local playgroup. Tweet your heart out about it.

So many companies that Buy By Mom loves to feature and support (including Suzi Homemaker and Babycapes) will be affected by this new law. In most of the cases, the testing fees required will put these small businesses and WAHMs in bankruptcy and/or force them to close their doors forever.

I don’t want to imagine a world without etsy, ebay, or WAHMs who use their amazing talents to make wonderful items for children. I want to be able to continue to support *all* WAHMs and their businesses.

Please help spread the word about the CPSIA. Every day I am shocked at the number of people who don’t know about the CPSIA or don’t think it’s any big deal. This is a big deal. Something must be done to change this law. Take a moment to read up about it, and then do something. It won’t take but a moment. Let’s unite together and make our voices be heard!

--Angie Vinez, Buy By Mom

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Good news for a change!!!!

Reprinted from the Babycapes Blog.

Despite all of this CPSIA crap, marketing of our product goes on. So instead of whining about stupid laws, let's celebrate some of the good press we've been receiving lately.

Babycapes is featured in this week's edition of Tot Trends Weekly. The magazine is theme-based and features Babycapes as its #1 pick for items that will keep your little ones warm and stylish this winter.

We've also had some television exposure of late thanks to our publicist at Orca Communications who landed us a feature spot on "Sonoran Living" in Phoenix. The video segment features top safety products for children that were invented by moms. Babycapes also was featured on Jan. 20 in many southeastern markets on the syndicated program "Daytime." Erin Taylor from The Mom Buzz presented Babycapes in a segment that featured top products for children. The show was blacked out on our television affiliate, so we were unable to view it, and, as of yet, Erin has not seen it either. Hopefully, someone out there was able to record it for us and we'll be able to view it and share it soon.

Babycapes received a glowing review from one of my favorite bloggers Jacqueline of Blessings Abound. The picture she has posted of her daughter in her front carrier wearing her Babycape while at a zoo in Alaska is priceless.

Angie of 5 Vinez Monkeys and Buy By Mom, two more of my daily reads, also gave Babycapes a rave review! She loved the cape for her son so much that she purchased one for her darling little girl, too! Angie also has Elizabeth and I as her Featured Moms for the week, so if you haven't read "Suzi and Elizabeth: A Love Story" yet, now's a good time to check it out!

Another thing to celebrate is our new President Barack Obama! In honor of our new President we are holding an American Economic Recovery Sale on our retail site! We are so looking forward to the Change that President Obama has promised throughout his campaign and are going to do our part to help stimulate the economy one Babycape at a time! Please check out our deep discounts--nearly 40% off retail pricing for a limited time only and while supplies last!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Most children's items on sale at Suzi Homemaker - 25-50% off

I just finished marking down most of the children's items on my retail site--some by as much as 50 percent off! I am cleaning house (and inventory), making way for new items that I will be bringing back from the America's Mart in Atlanta.

Already low prices are even lower!

Check out the Hoohobber's Bibs and Munch Boxes on sale for $6 (regularly $12.50) and $12 (regularly $24) respectively. Limited quantities of most items are available as some are being discontinued by the manufacturer and some I am choosing not to re-stock. Quantities of items that are discontinued are listed in the drop down color/style menus on each item page. I will be out of town Jan. 11-13, so if items run out while I am away, I do apologize. Every attempt will be made to honor your requests! So scoot on over to and get while the getting is good!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Suzi Homemaker reviews/giveaways on Buy By Mom and Barefoot Mommies

Enough of all of this serious CPSIA stuff--let's get back to some fun, free stuff! There are a couple of Suzi Homemaker reviews/giveaways going on at the moment. The first is for a $30 Suzi Homemaker Virtual Gift Certificate at Barefoot Mommies--usual rules apply, visit my retail site, then go back to Barefoot Mommies and leave a comment on what you would use your gift certificate toward. There are all kinds of chances for extra entries, so be sure to read the rules so you get a good shot at winning. This giveaway ends on Jan. 17.

The second review/giveaway is for a $25 Suzi Homemaker Virtual Gift Certificate at my dear friend Angie's newest blog--Buy By Mom. Angie started a new website called Buy By Mom to promote and support Mom Made and Mom Owned businesses. If you make and sell your own products or run your own business, be sure to check the site out. There are free listings available, as well as reasonable paid advertising and sponsorship opportunities. She also has an accompanying blog where she will conduct reviews and giveaways. Angie wrote the sweetest review, and, once again, all you have to do is visit my retail site and then go back to the Buy By Mom Blog and post a comment about what is your favorite Suzi Homemaker product. Angie also offers a gazillion other chances for extra entries by blogging about the contest, subscribing to the feed, and adding the fabulous button (pictured above) to your website. If you meet all of those requirements, you are eligible for UNLIMITED EXTRA ENTRIES merely by writing a sentence about Suzi Homemaker (be nice, please, I'm sensitive!). Angie's contest ends on Jan. 23.

Additionally, don't forget about the chance to win a personalized overnight bag at Mom Made That, another wonderful site that was formed to promote Mom Made and Mom Owned businesses and products. Details of that giveaway are available in a separate post below.

Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

CPSIA trying to put Suzi Homemaker out of business, but I'm not going down without a fight!

A lot has been written around the blogosphere about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which was passed in August 2008 and will go into effect on Feb. 10 of this year. The law, although its intentions were good, could, in effect, wipe out an entire cottage industry in this country. Small businesses that produce/sell children's products (like Suzi Homemaker and Babycapes) are going to be required to implement extensive and expensive testing on all products that are used by children under the age of 12.

Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in children's products, mandates third party testing and certification, and requires manufacturers of all goods for children under the age of 12, to permanently label each item with a date and batch number.

As I interpret the law (and I have seen many different interpretations of the law because it is so convoluted), I will be required to conduct third party testing on all products that I sell that could be used by children under the age of 12 even if I am merely embellishing products that I have purchased from another vendor (the rationale being that I have altered the product by adding thread which was not present during initial testing).

Products that have not undergone testing, such as ones among the hundreds of products I have in my inventory, will be considered contraband after February 10, 2009. According to the website, "It will be illegal to sell or give these items away to charities, and the government will require their destruction or permanent disposal, resulting in millions of tons of unnecessary waste, and placing an enormous strain on our landfills."

This is starting to sound a bit like Nazi Germany, and I don't know about you, but I enjoy the freedoms that have been provided to me in what once was a great country. That I could decide out of the blue to start my own business from home in order to augment my family's income and allow me the freedom to spend time with my children is an amazing gift. Congress, please don't take that gift away from me and other moms out there who have set upon similar missions.

I could go on and on about this topic ad nauseum, but, in the interest of time, I have added a button to my sidebar that will take you to the Ideas for Change in America website.

Ideas for Change in America is a nationwide competition to identify the best ideas for change in America. The top 10 ideas will be presented to the Obama administration just before inauguration day and form the basis of a nationwide advocacy campaign to turn each idea into actual policy. If you want to help save handmade and mom-made businesses, click on that little button and vote to change this law. Currently, this cause is #8 on the list.