Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Hoping you and your family had a happy and safe Halloween!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Still Making Changes

I know that most of my posts are centered around being eco-friendly, healthy, and/or parenting, but not all of the changes I am making are centered around those things. When I started this blog, I knew that I needed to turn my life around because I was just not where I wanted to be or where I ever expected to be in my life. Some changes have been intentional and sometimes things change as a result of those intentional changes. 

At the root of all of this is the decision to change into the person that I want to be. That meant a change in the way I make other decisions. With every new situation, I now have a new way to look at that situation and decide how to proceed. My former self would often look at the neighbors and see what they were doing, think about what my family and friends would expect me to do, and contemplate how my husband or children would react to my decision. It doesn't take a genius to see the flaw in that line of thinking. I had left out those that should have been the two biggest influences in my decision-making: God and myself. 

I made an intentional change to base my decisions on what I think, what I know, what I believe, and what the Bible says, what God would want for me.

A small example: When I wanted a garden, I took into account the best way to keep my pets out of it, make it easily accessible for me and the kids, have it blocked off from the rest of the yard, etc. Turns out the best spot was in the front yard, just off the porch. What did the neighbors think? I don't know. I didn't ask. 

A big example: When my husband left me, I took into account the way I felt about his leaving, the way our relationship had been from beginning to present, the probable future if he came back and if he didn't, and what would make me happy. Should I plead with him to keep trying or let him go? If he asked to come back should I let him or refuse? I looked to my Bible and my Church family for guidance and I prayed and prayed. Everyone had their opinions. I listened quietly and knew that I would make my own decision. I am now a single mother. And quite happy.

My amazing daughter and I

I was reminded this morning in Church that I am God's daughter and he wants me to be happy and to be successful in my endeavors. I won't always make the right decisions, and we don't all live happily ever after. There will be bumps in the road. But if I admit my mistakes when I realize them and I ask forgiveness, I can start over and try again. At least now I am setting myself up for a better success rate by making better decisions in my life. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Winter Wonderland Giveaway Hop

Announcing The Winter Wonderland Blog Hop...


I am excited to announce the team up of Andersons Angels and Joy of Momma Joyner once again to bring you another FUN blog hop called Winter Wonderland! This event will run from 12:01am EST Saturday December 1, 2012 through 11:59pm EST Saturday December 15, 2012. It's super easy to join in on all the fun of getting ready for the Winter Season!

Sign-ups are open now, so head on over to add your blog to the Linky. Be sure to tell them that Mama Making Changes sent you!

Mama Making Changes will have a two great prizes for this giveaway: one sponsored by BeeAlive and another sponsored by Sprout San Francisco for a total of more than $100 in prizes! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mama's Green Gift Guide

Have you started Christmas shopping? 

Like me, do you tend to wait till the last minute? 

I like to do lots of research and window shopping first. Then I do the shopping in December. 

This year I have decided that I may as well share the fruits of my labor. I am working on a list of great green gift ideas to post! The Green Gift Guide will be posted on Mama Making Changes in early November so that you can start shopping in plenty of time to have items delivered to your door. 

In the meantime, if you have your own products or would like to recommend other items for the Green Gift Guide, I will be happy to have a look! Please feel free to send submissions to by 11:59pm Eastern Time on Saturday, November 3, 2012.

And stay tuned for more info on Mama Making Changes' Green Gift Guide! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Blogger Opportunity Alert

Wingsplay - Make money, with Facebook, Twitter and your blog!I'm excited about a new way to earn money with your blog. Wingsplay is accepting sign-ups now and will be launching soon. Head on over to sign up now so that you can be one of the initial participants!

Just click here.... to get an estimate of how much you could earn and sign up.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday Afternoons

What do Saturday afternoons mean to me? I work Saturday mornings, but in the afternoon, well, that's fun time. 

Saturday afternoons are great for sitting outside on the front porch, doing nothing, or watching the kids and dogs play. 

Saturday afternoons are a good time to go for a milkshake or ice cream with my daughter.

Saturday afternoon is a great time for a nap on the sofa, which I have time to do because...

Saturday afternoons mean dinner at our house is "see-food" see it, you eat it. 

Saturday afternoon in the fall means time to watch my favorite team play football and yell at the television, no matter whether they are winning or losing. 

Saturday afternoons are great for a good book or catching up on those magazines on the coffee table.

Saturday afternoons are time for casual visits with good friends. 

Saturday afternoons are lazy and comfortable and make me feel warm and smiley.

What are Saturday afternoons for you?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

$500 Christmas Cash Giveaway

Mama Making Changes is pleased to announce participation in another great giveaway event!

Christmas Cash Event hosted by Mom Powered Media

Prize: $500 Visa Gift Card OR $500 Paypal Cash OR $500 Amazon Gift Card {winner's choice}
Event dates: 11/7 - 12/5

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October Blog Carnival: Ethical Purchasing

Welcome to the October 2012 Natural Living Blog Carnival: Ethical Shopping Choices This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Natural Living Blog Carnival hosted by Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project through the Green Moms Network. This month our members have written posts about how they make purchasing choices.
Mama Making Changes is pleased to be able to participate in the Natural Living Blog Carnival for October 2012. This month's theme is Ethical Shopping Purchases. We all shop regularly, whether for groceries, gifts, clothing, or other items. What influences your purchases?

The majority of my shopping is for food. I buy whatever I can at one of the local organic farmer's markets. We are blessed to have two of these in town and I usually visit at least one of them every week. I firmly believe in supporting the local economy whenever possible, and I love that I am also supporting organic sustainable farms and businesses. At the markets I am able to get whole grains, fresh seasonal vegetables, butter, milk, eggs, chicken, beef, pork, an assortment of cheeses, breads and tortillas, honey, and more. In addition to food, there are local businesses at the markets selling non-food products like essential oils, locally made soaps and shampoos and other toiletries, aprons and other handmade sewing and knitting. I could go on, but the point is that it makes me feel good about my purchases when I can hand the money to the farmer who grew the food we are taking home, the artisan who created the purse from her old sweater, the lady who baked the bread that I am taking home to my family.

When I am at the grocery store for other items, I look for products that are healthy, while still reasonably priced. I don't mind paying a little more because I know that I am supporting the farmer whose crop was smaller due to a lack of pesticides and fertilizers. However, I am a single parent on a tight budget and prices must be within reason, not exorbitant. I also look for organic produce whenever possible and I also look at the country of origin on produce and meat. I look for products with less packaging waste and buy organic fair trade certified coffee whenever my budget permits. I also use the Better World Shopping Guide, which I have written about recently, to help me decide which companies to avoid. 

I've only recently started paying more attention to my clothing purchases. Bamboo is my new favorite fabric! How wonderful that an eco-friendly sustainable plant can be turned into a soft and beautiful piece of clothing! Organic cotton is getting easier to find, too, and only costs slightly if you shop around. 

We also make a point to buy used whenever possible. I buy used clothing, furniture, kitchen ware, and more. Ebay is a great source, but to avoid shipping (which uses fossil fuels and contributes to global warming), I try Craigslist and other local sites first.

What affects your buying decisions? What eco-friendly choices do you make when shopping? Or does price come first in your household?

Visit Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project to learn more about participating in next month’s Natural Living Blog Carnival! Please take some time to enjoy the posts our other carnival participants have contributed:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Farmer's Market Dinner

Fall brings a whole new assortment of seasonal vegetables, like sweet potatoes, onions, and greens like kale and spinach. We are so lucky to now have two organic farmer's markets locally, and my shopping trip a few days ago yielded baby onions, bok choy, sweet potatoes, greens, squash, and some farm-fresh eggs and butter.

Interesting fact: Butter and beef from grass fed cattle are better for you and can actually help lower cholesterol when eaten in moderation, versus grain fed products that raise your cholesterol. 

I was excited to put these ingredients to work. Since my daughter has been begging for breakfast for supper lately, I decided to grant her wish. She prefers scrambled eggs over omelets, but still likes to add all sorts of goodies to the eggs.

First, I put some bok choy in the wok, complete with greens and the stems, and let those cook on low with just a tiny bit of butter till the leaves were wilted and dark green.  

While the bok choy was cooking, I sliced the baby onions, using the green tops too. The only part I cut off is the very tip of the onion where the little root tendrils are.

I dropped the onions in a pan with butter and chopped up some roma tomatoes to add to the onions. Unfortunately, tomatoes are now out of season here and I had to buy them at the grocery store, but if you have some canned or frozen, feel free to substitute for the store-bought ones. I don't have many in the freezer and they are stewed so I decided against using them for this recipe. 
Next, I used the garlic press to add two cloves of garlic to my mixture. 

Cook on medium-high heat till onions are soft, and transfer to a storage dish. This mixture can be saved in the fridge for up to a week and used in eggs or on toast. My favorite use? Spread onto tortillas and top with cheese, then bake till hot for personal pizzas!

Now I mixed up some of the fresh eggs with a little cream, salt and pepper. You may prefer milk instead of cream, but I wasn't holding back! Of course, I used some more of my fresh butter to cook the scrambled eggs. It's so yummy!

Just before the eggs are completely one, add a generous amount of the tomato and onion mixture and stir together.

The bok choy was wilted and tender just before the eggs were finished, so I let it sit in the pan, turned off, to keep it warm until the eggs finished.

Now all that's left is to serve it and eat it!  This meal is healthy and delicious, in addition to being vegetarian! I hope you try it and love it as much as we do.

Find more delicious recipes each week at Delicious Dish Tuesday! Just click the link to be taken to the list of links to recipes posted by participating bloggers. If you are a blogger, add your own yummy recipe while you're there!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Giving Green: The Gift Event 2012

I am pleased as punch to announce that Mama Making Changes will be participating another giveaway hop! Just in time for the holidays, you can hop your way from one one green gift giveaway to another and learn about some fabulous gift ideas, too! The giveaways will start on November 12 and close on November 26. 

For this event, Mama Making Changes will be giving away a fantastic prize package sponsored by Bee Alive. More details coming soon!

Blogger sign-ups are now open. If you write a blog and would like to participate, just head on over to The Frugal Greenish Mama to add your site to the linky list now and tell them Mama Making Changes sent you!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cool Weather Arrives

I must say, I wasn't looking forward to the arrival of cool weather, the need for sweaters and long sleeves, the switch from air conditioning to heat. But here it is. Ready or not. 

Today, the arrival of of chilly air was accompanied by gray clouds and dreary rain. Which made me want warm food. Which made me think of homemade vegetable soup, chicken and rice soup, and chili. Maybe this Fall weather isn't so bad after all.

After work, I gathered the fixings for chili and headed home to make a pot of chili and some texas toast. Delicious and easy! And warm! Sometimes I like to make chili from scratch, but after a long day at work this easy recipe is my go-to. 

If you love chili like we do, try this simple recipe for chili in a hurry:

  • For each pound of ground chuck, add 2 cans of dark red kidney beans (drained), 3 cans of diced tomatoes (we like Muir Glen), and 1 to 1 1/2 packets of Sauer's Chili Seasoning.

What foods do you look forward to eating when cool weather arrives? 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Outdoor Gifts Giveaway Event

Mama Making Changes is joining another giveaway hop! Stay tuned for details on our prize and sponsor. 

In the meantime, if you are a blogger, click the picture below to sign up for this event! Be sure to tell them that Mama Making Changes sent you!

Outdoor Giveaway

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Mama Time

Does your family make a point of spending time together? I mean to do you actually purposefully put down your phone, your computer, your remote control and spend time interacting with each other? We rarely did this... until recently. We homeschool so I thought I was spending plenty of time with her, but it isn't always fun time. In the evenings, I am often distracted by housework, blogging, etc. while she is on the computer, watching television, or on her phone. 

Now my daughter and I have made a commitment to each other. I will spend a minimum of 30 minutes of intentional time each day with her. I will put not text or answer the phone or check on my blog during that time. I will focus on her. Maybe we will sit on the porch and talk while the dogs play in the yard. Maybe we will play cards, which we both love to do. Maybe we will watch her favorite television show. The point is that I am making a point of spending time with her that is not shared with anyone else. 

She has made a commitment of her own. She will give me 15 minutes of intentional alone time each day. I will probably just do laundry or dishes, but she will find something else to do for at least 15 minutes without calling my name or following me from room to room. 

So far it's working really well! I get a break every day and she gets my undivided attention every day. I hope we continue to do this and do it well. 

Do you have intentional time with your kids? Or your spouse? What about breaks? Tell me about it! How often and what kinds of activities do you do?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mama's To Do List

There are so many things that I keep wanting to do and never quite getting around to actually doing. There are changes I want to make, but life gets in the way sometimes. Being a single mom, homeschooling and working...well, there just isn't a lot of time left over. 

But I have an idea! 

I'm making a list! 

Something like a bucket list should do, just not quite so long term. Then I can check things off as I get to them. I can post it on the refrigerator. Actually, I think I'll post on my mirror instead! The mirror over my dresser is the place where I start my day and finish my day. Perfect for reminding me!

Let's start with a list of things I'd like to do before the end of this year...

  • Make bread from scratch. Sourdough and sandwich bread at least. With my daughter.
  • Try that recipe for homemade cheese crackers that's been lying around here for months. 
  • Can something. Anything. Canning mastery can be on a later list. Hey, ya gotta start somewhere.
  • Make shampoo and conditioner. I really am excited about trying this one. 
  • Plan and take my daughter on an excellent, educational, fun field trip that doesn't cost much.
  • Have friends over for dinner. No reason necessary except the want of good company. 
I think I better stop or it may not be practical to get through the list before the end of the year! I could keep going, but I thought carefully about what I listed and what I put off for a later time. 

What would be on your list? What have you been wanting to get to, but can't quite seem to find the time?

"You never will "find" time for anything. 
If you want time you must make it." 
-Charles Buxton