Sunday, May 29, 2011

WINNER of Syrendell giveaway!

I was so happy to see those last-minute entries for this Silk Ribbon Streamer Stick! It really is a great toy. I remember, when I was younger, and the 1984 summer Olympics was on all of my friends' parents' TV's - we used to pretend to be the gymnasts in the backyard, and no one had one of those really cool ribbon sticks like we saw on TV. We made our own with sticks and long pieces of grass! This is so much better!

So, congrats to #78 Stacy, it goes to show that, sometimes, those late entries really do pay off! Whoever you give this to (or maybe you'll use it yourself!), will be very lucky!

Stacy said... 78 Reply to comment
Syrendell fb fan gingeroo616 at ______dot com oursafehaven
Yes, there's a coupon code! And, let me tell you, it's the coolest code ever!!!
Just used the code KARMA1 through June 30
at Syrendell to receive 15% off your order! 
You really have to check out 
all of the really cool stuff they have. 
I really love the wood people -
perfect for painting or felting!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Only Two Handmade Giveaways Left - BOTH Are LOW ENTRY!

First of all, I want to thank everyone for entering all of my giveaways. I saved up to buy the prizes myself and was surprised by the generosity of the Etsy shop owners when they all offered me something extra - whether it was a discount, an extra prize, free shipping... or, in some cases, all three!


I just want to remind everyone that there are only two Handmade Giveaways left. The one ending tonight is for a Silk Ribbon Streamer Stick Giveaway from Syrendell. It only has 75 entries right now! If you don't know what this is, PLEASE come check it out! It is a toy based on the simplest principle- give it to a kid and he or she will use their imagination and movements to make it "work"! Age and gender don't matter here - whenever Little Guy has his two streamer sticks out, all of the kids in the neighborhood come out to take turns - boys and girls from the ages of 2 to 15 spend a few hours taking turns. I love watching huge groups of kids getting along and sharing, don't you? We always put on some music (I have a CD filled with a variety of music that I made) and watch the kids do their best interpretive dancing!

The other one is the Hand-Stitched Tooth Fairy Pillow Giveaway from Laugh Rabbit Jr. This one only has 51 entries. C'mon, you guys!!! Now, I don't know whether I should begin with how cool this pillow is, or how cool the shop's owner, Delma is! I guess the pillow... Now, when I saw these in her shop, I knew that this is what I was going to give away. I mean, if you've never had to fish a teeny, tiny baby tooth out from under your child's pillow... in the dark... while not waking up the sleeping angel... well, it isn't easy! And then you have to put the money or gift from the tooth fairy back under there - all while not being found out. UGH! My oldest learned the truth by the third tooth. Oh, and did I mention that the first two visits from the tooth fairy resulted in tears because, as he rolled around in bed all night, his money got lost? It turned out OK, after I moved the whole mattress (bith times) to fish out the shiny coins, but who wouldn't rather avoid the whole mess? Get your entries in for this pillow! You can have your toothless wonder place the itty-bitty tooth in the pocket of the pillow and either hang it on their doorknob (so you actually remember to be the tooth fairy - I speak from experience!), or they can put it under their pillow - it's still easier, trust me. Oh, and did I mention you can choose the color you want?!

Now, on to Delma. When I contacted her about the giveaway, I wrote the same thing I did for every shop - I explained I was buying an item to give away and asked if they'd be willing to offer an discount for readers, add another item, etc. Delma wrote back and not only offered to sponsor the giveaway at her own expense, she also sent ME a tooth fairy pillow to check out! My niece lost her first tooth two days ago, so I'm letting my sister borrow the pillow until Little Guy starts getting a wiggly tooth. I figure, by that time, my sister will be all done with it, right? Oh, and did I mention that, although Delma is in Idaho, she used to live just 20 minutes north of where I am today. And she would drive into MY town everyday to pick up her sisters from school. Small world, huh? Plus, it seems we have a lot more in common than geography - we have many of the same ideals. I love finding an artist to support who feels the same way I do about lots of subjects! I love the internet!

LOL - Guess I kind of wrote a novel rather than a quick reminder, huh?

Anyway: GO ENTER! Good luck!

WINNER! Frozen Creek Woodworks

Man, I hated giving this truck away! I had to make sure Little Guy was out of the room or sleeping whenever I needed to get the picture of the truck for linkies, etc. But, now I can stop playing stealthy mom because I have a lucky winner...

Congratulations to #75, Anastasia!
Anastasia said... 75 Reply to comment
would really love to have the Cute Handpainted Rocking Horse! ecoblogz at _______ dot com

And (you should be getting used to this by now!), there is still a discount code available! I noticed a LOT of you really liked the ducky push toy and the train set. Hurry up before they're gone - these things are handmade, so it's not like there are 10 of them sitting on a shelf somewhere!

To get 10% off your order from 
just use MCCRENSHAW when you check out!

Friday, May 27, 2011

WINNER! Samara Fibers Giveaway

I really need to get me some of the Merino Wool Batts from Samara Fibers. Ever since I posted this giveaway, I've found a ton of really cool, extremely easy felting crafts that use wool. And you should check out the artwork people make with this stuff - it looks just like a beautiful painting, but with a ton of texture! OK... I'll quit going on about it and tell you who won already!

Congratulations to #49, Shannon W.!!!
Shannon said... 49 Reply to comment
I like you on FB. Shannon W______. shannonforpeace(at)

And, once again, don't forget about the discount that Samara Fibers is offering to my readers! Use the discount code: MCCRENSHAW to receive 10% off anything in the shop. 
I noticed that many of you really like the bags that she sells. Let me tell you, you aren't going to find anything like this anywhere else for the price. I love mine so much - it's just right for my knitting and, recently, I've even stashed the scarf I'm making in a drawer and used the bag as a purse.

And thank you to Alana for the great discount and helping me out with shipping costs. It meant I could afford to offer more giveaways to YOU!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

WINNER! ElJay Plushie - Lion and Rattle Set

Congratulations to entry #165 Hannah!!! You won a really cute fleece Lion Plushie AND a Set of Three Soft Baby Rattles!
Hannah said... 165 Reply to comment
Tweeted:)!/hgardner16/status/73426997191254016 hrhersch at ___________ dot com #3
I'd like to thank Leah for offering to add the Lion (worth $25) to the giveaway and offering my readers a discount. She has been wonderful and I hope that you'll all visit her the next time you are looking to buy a special gift for a baby, child, or even an adult. Her pieces are all handmade with lots of love!

And if you didn't win, 
but have your eye on something else you saw at ElJay Plushie
don't forget about that 15% discount! I noticed that quite a few of the mandatory entries mentioned the Monkey Rattle 
- hurry up and grab it before someone else does using the code MCCRENSHAW2011 
- you only have through May 31 (Tuesday!)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

WINNERS! Scrapin' Sara's Original Handmade Cards

My first giveaway has ended and I have two winners to announce!

Congratulations to #44, Michelle from  Wandering Still! She's won first place and will be able to choose between the two card sets!
Michelle said... 44 Reply to comment
I love the grandma's garden set!

And, Congratulations to # 63, Kristie!

Kristie said... 63 Reply to comment
Get your emails #3. kristiedonelson(at)________(dot)com Thank you.

Don't forget that you can still get yourself a discount at Scrapin' Sara's! Her prices are so low that the extra 15% off is just icing on the cake. And, she ALWAYS includes extra surprises in all of her orders, so you're getting a LOT more than you pay for!
 Use this code at checkout for
15% off your order 
until June 10th: 

A special thank you to Scrapin' Sara - she added the Thank You cards AND free shipping to this giveaway so I could offer more to my readers and have money left for more giveaways.

Finally! {Wordless Wednesday 5/25}

We FINALLY got some beautiful weather this weekend! And it ended with a storm that left us a great surprise!
Chalk Painting while I pulled weeds

Finally figured out how to swing by himself!

Had I not been busy taking pictures, I probably would have freaked out over the air Little Guy was getting!

Throwing pine cones into the river

I finally gave up trying to get him to go up the slide the right way... Why do kids LOVE going up the slides like this???
We had a late afternoon storm that resulted in THIS! If you look closely, you can see a second rainbow on the right.

This was Little Guy's first rainbow where he actually knew what a rainbow was!

***Don't forget to enter my Etsy giveaways! They're ALL Low Entry and I could use some entry-love!!!

Add this Linky to Your Wordless Wednesday Post!
get the InLinkz code

Monday, May 23, 2011

Meet Me On Monday {5/23}

Boy, am I late on this one! PLEASE - if you have a minute or two, enter my Etsy giveaways listed up above. They're all very low entry giveaways. I've invested my own money in these giveaways (except the tooth fairy pillow - Delma offered this one for free!) Each of these Etsy shops has sponsored a giveaway that I won in the past. I loved what I won and want to share the love with my readers and generate some interest in the shops as well. Also, go check out my Green Parenting Giveaway Linky (click on the page tab or the button in the sidebar.) There are LOTS of great giveaways listed. You can enter some, or link up your own!

1.  What is your favorite bagel flavor?
I love onion bagels, warmed (not toasted!) with a thick layer of cream cheese AND real butter!

2.  If you had an extra $100 right now, what would you spend it on?
Although there are a million things we need more, I'd blow it on a Little Tikes Classic Pick Up truck (or any other Little Tikes ride-on vehicle) for Little Guy. He really needs a new car - he's too big for his old one.
Little Guy's "Clown Car"

3.  What is the last thing that you felt guilt about doing?
I feel guilty all of the time! The last time? About 2 minutes ago when I had my oldest, who stayed home from school sick today, take out the trash. When he came back in, he looked awful. I felt his head and he's burning up! Little Guy is sick, too, and I've been a little more pre-occupied with his illness. GUILT...GUILT...GUILT!

4.  Soft serve ice cream or hand dipped?
Chocolate soft serve in a regular cone! I love all kinds of ice cream, but this is what I crave the most!!!

5.  Are you allergic to anything?
Nope, unless you count pollen, mold, dust, and freshly-mowed grass. It sucks, but I'm (finally) learning to live with it - tissue in my pocket at ALL times!
The South Eastern Michigan Beekeepers Assoc. has my full support! Local Raw Honey has helped me with my allergies SO MUCH!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Laugh Rabbit Jr. - Hand-Stitched Tooth Fairy Pillow {Handmade Giveaway #6 US & CAN}

A few months ago, I won one of Little Guy's favorite bed time necessities from a giveaway on Free & Frugal Mommy of One. It is a Thomas the Tank Engine pillowcase from Laugh Rabbit Jr. Now, I had no idea just how important this particular pillowcase was to him until, one night, his pillowcase was in the wash at bed time. He flipped out on me! "Thomas pillow! Thomas Pillow!" was the cry until I finally ended up in the bathroom at 11 o'clock at night, drying the pillowcase with a hairdryer (I had planned to hang it out on the line in the morning with the other laundry!)
Bedtime = Story Time, Thomas Pillow REQUIRED!

In addition to the pillowcases, you will find a plethora of handmade items for children: booties, bibs, hats, crayon rolls, finger puppets, totes... so many items that it would be easier for you to go check it out for yourself!

For this giveaway, the winner will be able to choose from the many Tooth Fairy Pillows that the shop carries (not including the Hand-Embroidered Poem Pillows.) Delma sent me one to check out, even though she didn't have to. It is so cool! She asked me what color I wanted (she's got every color you can think of!) and I asked her to surprise me. She sent a red pillow because, as she said in her note, "A quilting teacher I once had said that red was a neutral. When everyone laughed, she challenged - name a color that doesn't go with red." Can you? I can't! This pillow is great. The hand-stitching  around the tooth and edges of the pillow are PERFECT - I'd never get them spaced so evenly or at the right angles - LOL! The tooth pocket is just right - big enough to hold the tooth fairy's gift, yet small enough that the tooth your child places inside before bed won't have you fishing around for it in the dark!
And here's the great part - 
She is covering the costs for this giveaway 
so that I can offer even more handmade giveaways to my readers. 
Isn't she AMAZING?!

Let's help the Tooth Fairy find that lost tooth late at night. This little pillow is made of soft-as-can-be fleece so your little one can put it under their pillow or snuggle.
The white fleece tooth is the pocket for the tooth-money exchange. I have hand blanket stitched around the tooth leaving the top edge open. I have also hand blanket stitched around the pillow edge.
Soft batting in the middle gives it a little pouf.
There is a ribbon so you can hang the pillow from the bedpost if you prefer. I have lots of colors to choose from - check my other listings to get your child's favorite.
And, here is the excerpt from Laughing Rabbit Jr's Etsy profile (I think I'd love to live in Idaho - it's beauty is not lost on me!):
"I live in beautiful, misunderstood Idaho. A fabulous place to live if you like the great outdoors, mountains, camping, hiking, and kayaking! Idaho is a great place to raise a family! It really is so much more than potatoes!

I enjoy the creative process of putting needle and thread to material. Whether machine sewing or hand embroidering I like the whole experience - from developing an idea, to picking out the materials to putting in the final stitch. Making children's items is a special joy because they delight in something made just for them. As a mother of six I have been known to call my sewing and stitching time my "sanity time".

I hope you find something you like here - if not in my shop then elsewhere on Etsy - it's a pretty cool place to shop!"

In addition to this shop, Delma also has a shop just for Mommies, Laugh Rabbit Designs. This shop is filled with original bags, purses, clutches, and totes, and there's a style for every taste!
I am in LOVE with this faux suede purse!!!

The winner of this giveaway will receive one Tooth Fairy Pillow in his or her choice of color from Laugh Rabbit Jr. (excluding the hand embroidered poem ones.)  Open to US & Canada.
Mandatory Entry:
Go to Laugh Rabbit Jr or Laugh Rabbit Designs and have a look around. Comment with one item that you would like to have most. **Leave you email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win.

Extra Entries:
For each extra entry, leave a separate comment. (If it says +2, leave two comments, etc.)
  •  +1 entry - Go check out whichever Etsy shop of Delma's you didn't look at for your mandatory entry and tell me which item you like best.
  • +5 entries - Make a purchase from Laugh Rabbit Designs or Laugh Rabbit Jr. Just let me know you did so and the First name, Last initial you used to order.
  • +1 entry - Follow me on GFC - right sidebar
  • +1 entry - Like me on Facebook - or right sidebar
  • +1 entry - Follow me on Twitter
  • +3 entries - Subscribe (& confirm) to my emails - right sidebar under Networked Blogs
  • +3 entries – Share this giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, your blog, etc. Just leave me a direct link in the comments. ONE TIME ONLY!

This giveaway will end on May 29, 2011, at 11:59 PM EDT. Winner will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. Winner will be chosen by the widget I have embedded at the bottom of this page. GOOD LUCK!
*I received a Tooth Fairy Pillow from Laugh Rabbit Jr. to check out for this review or giveaway. Additionally, I won an item from this business on another blog giveaway and liked it so much that I wanted to get the word out to my readers about this business.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Syrendell Silk Streamer Stick {Handmade Giveaway #5}

Remember, back in March, when I participated in Code Name: Mama's March of Kindness? If not, here's a quick run-down: All through March, she had a meme based on random acts of kindness. The goal was to go above of your everyday acts and do something extra for your family, friends, complete strangers, and even yourself. I took part, attempting to help others whenever I had the opportunity. I had a lot of fun finding new ways to perform these acts of kindness! (Read about them HERE.) Throughout the month, she had giveaways here and there for those who were participating. I was so lucky to have won a $20 gift certificate to Syrendell on Etsy, donated by Zoie of Touchstone Z!

What I chose to buy with the card were two Silk Streamer Sticks for Little Guy. We head off to our free community outdoor concerts every week all summer long and I am envisioning Little Guy dancing and twirling his streamers! When they arrived, we were having a gorgeous spring day, so we took them outside to give them a "whirl", so to speak. He loves them!

And, as always, here is a bit about Syrendell from their Etsy profile:
"Syrendell is the collaboration of love, abundance, peace, health and happiness in the Tan Family. We share our knowledge and talents with others through our arts, crafts, writing, and music in order to help others have an enriched, holistic, joyful life!"
In addition to these fun Silk Streamers, Syrendell offers an abundance of other items. I ordered myself enough of their handspun Alpaca Yarn to make my sister a scarf for next winter (shh... don't tell her!) It is dyed beautifully and so soft... I've often wondered if it might just be me who's wearing that scarf when it starts snowing again! Also, there are a ton of eBooks and patterns that show you how to do things like naturally dye eggs, create felted slippers (remember this if you win my Merino Wool Batts giveaway!), and even how to incorporate aromatherapy into holistic healing and daily routine - for children!

Well, on to the giveaway: I am going to give one of you a Silk Streamer of your very own! My little guy has so much fun with his that I feel that this is the perfect, no-voltage toy for any child - girl, boy, very young, older... if they like to play, they'll love this!
Use this as a fun toy, or a beautiful decoration. Stick is about 6-8 inches in length, made from hard wood, sanded, carved, and then sealed with a coat of organic beeswax. 6 ribbons that are .5 inches in width cascade down approximately a half a yard (18 in.) each in either yellow, orange, red, green, blue, tan, burgundy, pink, gold or lavender silk, naturally dyed by hand. Colors will vary with each order.
Habotai silk ribbon edges will gently fray over time. Beautiful!

Now, in addition to their Etsy items and eBooks, Syrendell has a few of blogs. At the Syrendell Blog, you will find all kinds of posts about home learning, music, art, and nature. There are posts about craft ideas, books, and general fun here. This is MY kind of blog! And I love their tag-line and acronym: "Learn and LAPHHwith us!"

                                                                       L = Love
A = Abundance
P = Peace        
H = Health       
 H = Happiness  

Then, you can head on over to their blog, The Waldorf Way, which focuses on tips, ideas, and thoughts about the Waldorf method of learning. I really like how this blog is written. I am a homeschool advocate to my very bones, but I tend to stay with the unschooling theory. Yet, after reading quite a few of the posts here, I am learning just how closely Waldorf and unschooling are. I will definitely be following their posts closely from now on - learning doesn't begin when a child is six and my little guy is just sucking up all the information that floats past his little head right now. Any tips on how to help him find, process, retain, and use that information are right up my alley!
And their third blog, Syrendell Academy, is their site for learning! Syrendell offers private lessons, teleseminars, eBooks, and video tutorials on a variety of subjects.Painting, fiber arts (knitting, felting, spinning, etc.), aromatherapy, and drawing are just a few of their lesson offerings. 

You can get yourself a great discount at Syrendell's Etsy shop! They are offering my readers a 15% discount if you use THE coolest code ever: KARMA1 (Yeah, I told you it was cool!)

The winner of this giveaway will receive one Silk Streamer Stick.  Open to US and Canada!
Mandatory Entry:
Go to Syrendell and have a look around. Comment with one product that you would like to try most. **Leave you email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win.

Extra Entries:
For each extra entry, leave a separate comment. (If it says +2, leave two comments, etc.)
  • +1 entry- Follow the Syrendell Blog on GFC
  • +1 entry - Head over to Syrendell Academy and let me know which class sounds most interesting to you!
  • +1 entry - Like Syrendell on Facebook
  • +5 entries - Make a purchase from Syrendell. Just let me know you did so and the First name, Last initial you used to order. (Don't forget the coolest coupon code for 15% off - KARMA1)
  • +1 entry - Follow me on GFC - right sidebar
  • +1 entry - Like me on Facebook - or right sidebar
  • +1 entry - Follow me on Twitter
  • +3 entries - Subscribe (& confirm) to my emails - right sidebar under Networked Blogs
  • +3 entries – Share this giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, your blog, etc. Just leave me a direct link in the comments. ONE TIME ONLY!

This giveaway will end on May 28, 2011, at 11:59 PM EDT. Winner will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. Winner will be chosen by the widget I have embedded at the bottom of this page. GOOD LUCK!
*I have NOT been compensated for this review or giveaway. I won an item from this business on another blog giveaway and liked it so much that I wanted to get the word out to my readers about this business.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Granny T's Puffy Sugar Cookies {Recipe}

When I was a kid, every holiday - every holiday - was met with the presence of my great-grandmother's sugar cookies. This is her recipe, modified for modern times. Hers called for "lard" or "oleo" and a few other ingredients that we just don't have laying around the kitchen anymore. One note: Using Parkay in the place of butter makes these cookies extra-yummy. I use butter because, after looking into the ingredients in margarine, it's been banned from my fridge. The butter also causes these cookies to not puff up as much as the margarine. I think it's because there isn't any water in the butter.

Now, I make cookies a little differently than everyone else. I absolutely hate the two-bowl method of making anything, so I've devised a way of getting all of the ingredients into the dough without making a huge mess or ruining the chemical reactions that must take place for these cookies to be "puffy".

What you will need:
2 c. granulated sugar
2 Eggs
1 c. Butter or Margarine (see my note up above)
1 c. sour cream (you can substitute buttermilk, but you'll need extra flour)
1 tsp. Salt (I use Kosher)
1 tsp. Baking soda
3 tsp. baking powder (make sure it's not super-old!)
1 tsp. Pure vanilla extract (the alcohol will bake out)
1/4 tsp. each of Pure almond extract and Pure lemon extract
4 1/2 - 5 1/2 c. All-Purpose flour (unbleached is better for you!)

1) Cream the sugar, butter, and eggs. Then add the sour cream and mix it in, too.

2) All at once, add the following ingredients: salt, baking soda, baking powder, and all extracts. Beat WELL!

3) Add flour 1 cup at a time. You can use the mixer until the dough gets too thick. That's when I call in the recruits!
4) The dough will be pretty sticky. I usually divide it into 2-4 parts and wrap it in waxed paper. It needs to go into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. I have gotten busy and left it in for days and it's still fine (3-4 days, tops!) This is a necessary step. It allows some of the moisture to get pulled into the flour and the flavors from the extracts to get all integrated and stuff.
Oh, and don't forget to pay your recruits for their hard work by making them clean up the beaters and spoons! (I use fresh eggs from the farmer's market - I'm not too worried about salmonella!)

5) Set the oven to 400*F. Grease your pans! I put foil on them, too. Can you tell why?

6) Use lots of flour (dough will still be sticky) to roll the dough. Roll it to about 1/4" thick. You can roll it a little thicker, even. Cut your cookies, dipping the cutter into flour often to prevent sticking. I usually use a canning ring. Cookie cutters that have lots of curves and angles will be pointless - these cookies puff up a lot and the shape ends up looking like a blob.
7) Bake for around 5-7 minutes. You're going to want to keep checking on these! The photo above shows what they will look like when they're done. The photo below shows what happens when I have to clean up a potty accident and forget about the cookies! They are still good, just not super-soft.
8) Let the cookies cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack. you don't have to have a rack, though. I usually end up with way more cookies than rack space, so I just put waxed paper on the counter and put them there. Once they are completely cool, you can store them in an airtight container. They go stale after about two days so, eat them up! (Not that you'll have any problems with people not gobbling them down.)
9) These cookies are AMAZING with Wilton's Buttercream Icing. I like a nice, thick layer on mine!
Make sure that you let your little ones help decorate them. (And make sure it's not just before bedtime - the sugar will have them bouncing off the walls!)
My oldest added the piped decoration to these. It was a great time to get out my cake decorating kit!