Sunday, December 30, 2012

Nearly A New Year!

Due to the Christmas festivities, I haven't been around much lately. But I'm back and I'm ready to make Mama Making Changes better than ever for you in 2013! I have plans to improve the overall site, in addition to my New Year's Resolution: to post relevant material more often.  

To help me learn more about you, my audience, my readers, my friends...and thus improve your experience on Mama Making Changes...won't you please take just a moment to complete a four-question survey?

The survey can be found in the sidebar at right, or by clicking the link below: 

Click here to take survey

Thanks so much for your support in 2012. I hope we get to know each other better in 2013. Have a safe and happy New Year's holiday!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 25

Today's prompt: Good Morning!
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Photo-A-Day Challenge: Day 19

Today's Prompt: Tree

I know that a Christmas tree would have been the 
obvious post, since it is Dec. 19, but who likes the
obvious? Besides, live oaks are my fave kind of tree.
I love how the branches eventually come down all the 
way to the ground before starting to grow up again,
so that often what appears to be several trees is really
just one. We had a live oak in the front yard when we 
lived in Charleston SC. I miss Charleston often.

Little Pnuts Giveaway

Hosted By: My Four Littles                                                  Sponsored By: Little Pnuts
Included in the Age 4 December Special Delivery
Little Pnuts is a quarterly subscription box service with three to five toys that fit your 
child's age and development. This is your chance to win a box for your child. 
The winner will receive the March 2013 Special Delivery from Little Pnuts
Click HERE to learn more. Here are some item from past Little Pnuts Special Deliveries!
Included in the Age 4 September Special Delivery 
Included in the Age 2 December Special Delivery 
Included in the Age 1 December Special Delivery
Included in the Age 2 December Special Delivery
Included in the Age 4 September Special Delivery
Included in the Age 3 December Special Delivery
Included in the Age 2 December Special Delivery
All entries will be verified. Mama Making Changes is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Photo-A-Day Challenge: Day 18

Today's Prompt: Warm and Cozy

This sunset was gorgeous. Not only are the colors
warm, but the winter evening was unseasonably
warm also, which is why we were outside enjoying
it till the very last minute of sunlight was gone. 

Support our Firemen!

Now let me warn you. This really is not a post about anything green or eco-friendly, or even parenting. This is just good clean fun in the spirit of Christmas. I'm sitting here tonight playing Christmas songs and singing at the top of my lungs, while the girls are dancing and blowing bubbles. I love how Christmas songs put everyone in a good mood.

But then I came across this video. I had to play it and we all had a great time watching it, singing along, and "laughing all the way, ha ha ha!" 

Hartsville is a neighboring town in which one of my sisters lives. This is the Hartsville Fire Department's new music video. If you love it, please share it. I'd love to see it go viral!

Homeschool Materials

Where do you buy homeschool materials? I've been getting most of ours from because they were recommended by our local support group and I've found that they are generally less expensive. I'm wondering if anyone has other recommendations, however. Is there a site where we can sell back our gently used materials? 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Photo-A-Day Challenge: Day 17

Today's Prompt: Toy

We had our first Christmas get-together over
the weekend and my daughter got this toy from
her aunt and uncle. It's the Wonderama (As
Seen on TV!) and it actually makes the little foil
butterflies float in the air. It also made water move!

Photo-A-Day Challenge: Day 16

Today's Prompt: Two

Two freezing people watching the Geminid meteor shower. Their eyes look 
spooky in this photo! I told them it looked like the meteors had put them 
into a trance! Did you watch the meteor shower. There was another one the
same night in the opposite direction, behind where they are looking!

Photo-A-Day Challenge: Day 15

Today's Prompt: I Love...

I love...this ornament! My son made this and 
several more in other shapes when he was in
1st grade. He brought them home and gave them
to me as a Christmas gift. He is now soon to be 
21 years old and this is the only one of those
ornaments that has survived. AC is his initials.
1D is his room number at school. This is my 
favorite ornament!

Photo-A-Day Challenge: Day 14

Today's Prompt: Wrap It Up!

december photo a day challenge
We didn't buy paper or ribbon last year. We used leftovers from last year and
even reused many of the ribbons, tissue paper sheets, and gift bags from last
year. This package is shiny so I love it. Silver paper with glittery red and green
ribbons tied in a bow as big as the package! Merry Christmas!

Photo-A-Day Challenge: Day 12

Today's Prompt: Local

upcycled art stool
We bought this stool from a local artist. She said
she found the stool in a trash pile, cleaned it, painted
it, and recovered the seat with the fuzzy purple stuff!
It's perfect at my daughter's vanity table!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Moment of Silence

I will not be posting anything tonight. It seems inappropriate to even try to get you excited about anything on such a sad day. Please pray for the children and their families and everyone else who was affected by today's tragedy.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Photo-A-Day Challenge: Day 12

Today's Prompt:  Candy Cane

This is my sister doing her best impression of a candy cane!
What do you think? How'd she do?
Click here or the tab at the top of the page to see the other photos in the December Photo-A-Day Challenge!

Pass the Cocoa Please!

Tis the season for sweets! We all know how difficult it can be to walk by the desert table at those Christmas get-togethers and not get at least a little taste of everything! I truly believe that's why we pack on the pounds. It isn't the real food that gets us, but rather those delightfully sugary deserts! 

But there is hope for us yet! Before you get to the deserts, have a cup of hot cocoa! Drink it when you're baking, too. Believe it or not, cocoa is the one sweet you should not pass up this Christmas!

The latin name for cocoa means "food of the gods." Understandably! Chocolate is so amazing! Ever wonder how it's made? When cacao beans are pressed and 1/2 to 3/4 of the cocoa butter has been removed, the remaining solid is processed into the fine powder that we use to make chocolate. Dutch processed cocoa has been washed with a potassium solution that neutralizes the natural acids in the cocoa. I recommend natural cocoa powder, or cacao powder, which will give you a darker color and richer, fruitier taste anyway. In recipes calling for dutch cocoa, natural cocoa can generally be substituted, but not the other way around. 

Even though it tastes sweet, pure cocoa powder is low in caffeine and sugar free, and it's also high in antioxidants! So you can skip the guilt! On a diet? 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder has just 20 calories, 1 gram of fat, and only 2 grams of carbs. The only guilt is in the milk, but it's so good for you in moderation! If you prefer milk alternatives, I'm betting almond milk would make delicious hot cocoa, although I haven't actually tried it.

When mixed with whole milk (we prefer raw milk, which still has the cream!) and simmered on the stove-top, this delicious treat will satisfy your sweet tooth and leave you feeling full. Thus, the other sweets won't be so tempting! Of course, we'll still have to try a few things on the desert table (like the homemade butter mints), but maybe we'll show a little more control!

Do skip the packets of instant cocoa. They include sugar and dry milk and additives and often chocolate flavor. Even organic hot cocoa mix will typically include sugar and dry milk.

Instead, look for organic fair trade cacoa powder.  1 teaspoon per cup of warm whole milk makes a great cup of cocoa! There are several different brands available on, including the one I use, Dagoba.

Do you indulge in hot cocoa during the winter? Will you feel a little less guilty about it this year?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Photo-A-Day Challenge: Day 11

December 11 prompt: Friendship

See that cute little one in the center? That's my
sweet niece with her friends from ballet after the
opening night of their Christmas performance.
She actually got two bouquets of flowers, but
gave one to the girl on the right who didn't have
any. That's a true friend! And a sweetheart!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Photo-A-Day Challenge: Day 10

Today's prompt: Lights

Last night my daughter and I went riding around to look at lights.
One neighborhood nearby has "Luminaries" every December. Every
street in the neighborhood is lined with the little paper sacks holding
luminary candles and all the houses have their Christmas lights on.
That's where we saw the house in this picture, which was amazing.
There was music playing and many of the decorations were animated.
Afterward, we drove down Christmas Lane, another traditional place
to see Christmas lights here. It's amazing how ya never outgrow this!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Photo-A-Day Challenge: Days 7 - 9

I apologize for missing a few days. I was out of town for the weekend and didn't have the access or the time to post anything. I'm catching up in this post!

December 7 prompt: Flashback 
Oldie but goodie! I love the abominable snowman!

December 8 prompt: Green
These are new to my tree this year.
Green glitter and green sequins!

December 9 prompt: Yummy

My daughter's birthday cake. It's PinaColada Cake. Chunks of banana
and pineapple baked into it and the icing topped with toasted
coconut and strawberries. That was definitely yummy!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Photo-A-Day Challenge: Day 6

December 6 prompt: One

I love this book. It makes it easy to add
new green choices to your daily routine.
She even gives you the ups and downs
to each of the suggestions for change!
Learn more or buy it here!

Photo-A-Day Challenge: Day 5

December 5 prompt: Decorate

This is our Christmas tree. I couldn't seem to get a great pic
with the sun pouring in , but I love the glittery ornaments :)
The photo I used for the blog button is a close-up of this tree.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Photo-A-Day Challenge: Day 4

December 4 prompt: It's so cold!

I love this photo of Dean Martin. Whenever I think of it being cold outside, I hear this song playing in my mind :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

National Cookie Day

Today is National Cookie Day! 

Did you know that cookies are said to have originated as little test cakes? Bakers would place a small amount of batter in the oven to test the temperature. Remember, ovens didn't always have knobs, dials, or buttons! How blessed we are to benefit from their lack of modern conveniences! And to have those conveniences we when bake our own cookies, of course. 

Turns out the "test cakes" were tatsty! By the 14th century, cookies were sold by street vendors in Paris. Renaissance cookbooks included recipes for cookies. In the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution brought about new technologies that allowed bakers to improve recipes. In early America, the cake section of cookbooks typically included a few recipes for "jumbles" or other types of small cakes that we now call cookies. 

I found the following cookie recipe on Wikipedia, pulled from a 1596 European cookbook and thought it was too wonderful not to share!

To make Fine Cakes.- Take fine flowre and good Damaske water you must have no other liqeur but  that, then take sweet butter, two or three yolkes of eggs and a good quantity of Suger, and a few cloves, and mace, as your Cookes mouth shall serve him, and a lyttle saffron, and a little Gods good about a spoonful if you put in too much they shall arise, cutte them in squares lyke unto trenchers, and pricke them well, and let your oven be well swept and lay them uppon papers and so set them into the oven. Do not burne them if they be three or foure days olde they bee the better.

So I wish you a happy National Cookie Day! 

Go by Quiznos and get a free cookie today! 

Or better yet, get the kids into the kitchen and bake your own! 

As you can see in the picture at left, my daughter loves really gets into making cookies from scratch!

Monday, December 3, 2012

January No Spend Challenge

No Spend Month Blog Badge
Mama Making Changes has joined Growing Slower's January No Spend Challenge. 

What a perfect time to seriously monitor spending and challenge myself to be more frugal! 
Being frugal is a big part of being green and it's an area in which I still have a long way to go. I will be posting my plan for the month at the beginning of January and updating you on my progress, challenges, successes, and failures throughout the month. 

Click the button above, which is also in the right sidebar, or click the link above to find out more and/or join the challenge. Let's make frugality a New Year's Resolution!

Photo-A-Day Challenge: Day 3

December 3 prompt - Red

Nothing like a cherry red muscle car!

See the other prompts and more info on this blog hop by clicking here!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Photo-A-Day Challenge: Day Two

Prompt for December 2:  Event in 2012 that I won't forget...

20 year high school reunion ... can't believe it's been 20 years! Do you see me?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Photo-A-Day Challenge: Day One

December 1 Prompt - Smile :)

If this doesn't make ya smile, what will?!!