Entitlement Trap Giveaway

In May, I attended a great Power of Moms retreat at Linda and Richard Eyre’s home. The retreat was perfect for me. Among other things, I came away with an increased determination to be a deliberate mother.

The Eyres discussed their soon-to-be-released book, The Entitlement Trap, which helps parents raise children who are responsible and do not feel entitled. By teaching this principle, we help our children develop the motivation to work for what they want in life.

The book will be released on September 6th and today, the Eyres are reaching out to parents by establishing a National Entitlement Awareness Day. They are hosting a giveaway where, if you pre-order the book for about $12, you can email your receipt and receive:
1. a link to a free audio children's book about honesty;
2. the chance to win amazing prizes like two tickets to a Power of Moms couples retreat, or dinner with the Eyres.

Sounds like a wonderful book and opportunity for prizes as well. You can read more about the giveaway here.


Shrimp Cobb Salad

For Mother's Day, Jeremy made this delicious Shrimp Cobb Salad, which can be found in Cooking Light Magazine. He made a loaf of No-Knead Bread to go with it and Belle surprised me with a fun Spring cake. The only thing I'd add to the salad would be more dijon mustard in the dressing and maybe a little garlic. Yum.

Shrimp Cobb Salad

  • 4 slices center-cut bacon
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 (10-ounce) package romaine salad
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (about 2 carrots)
  • 1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
  • 1 ripe peeled avocado, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; cut in half crosswise. Wipe pan clean with paper towels. Increase heat to medium-high. Sprinkle shrimp with paprika and pepper. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shrimp to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt; toss to coat.
  • 2. While the shrimp cooks, combine remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, juice, oil, and mustard in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add lettuce; toss to coat.
  • 3. Arrange about 1 1/2 cups lettuce mixture on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with about 6 shrimp, 1/2 cup tomatoes, 1/4 cup carrot, 1/4 cup corn, 2 avocado wedges, and 2 bacon pieces.


The Power of Moms

A few months ago, I was lamenting to my friend about how I couldn't seem to get it all together. Having five little kids ages 2-8 can be a little crazy at times. She mentioned that her good friend had started using Mind Organization for Moms, which can be found on The Power of Moms.

I have implemented a few of the ideas so far (love it) and am considering attending their retreat on May 20-21 in Park City. I just learned that my friend, Emi Edgley, will be speaking at it. She'll be fabulous, as always.

The Power of Moms is dedicated "to inspire and empower you to become the mom and person you are meant to be while giving you the opportunity to help other mothers grow into the mothers they are meant to be." Sounds like something from which we can all benefit. I'm happy to see a new organization with the purpose of supporting women in their most influential role.


Saving the earth one less Ziploc at a time

I want to buy my kids reusable sandwich bags for their lunch boxes. So I did a little Google search and spent waaaaaaay too long looking through options.

I think I've decided one of these at the Container Store:

But you can see others at The Might Nest, Lunchskins, Reusies, WasteNot Saks, SnackTaxi, Jaq Jaq Bird, Itzy Ritzy, Kid Konserve, Wrap-N-Mat (or here), EasyLunchBoxes.com, Goodbyn, and Lock & Lock Lunch Set.

And, this is a great blog post on Stephmodo about going trash free.


Thank you and a look ahead...

Where has the last month gone? I meant to finish up posting about The Hope Project weeks ago. Alas, I'm finally getting around to a final update.

What started out as this:

became this:
Most of the bags, packaged and ready for delivery.

Our final total was 51 gift bags for women at the following hospitals:

University Hospital in Salt Lake City
St. Mark's Hospital in Salt Lake City
Intermountain Medical Center in Murray
McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden
Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo

Each bag had an attached tag and "I can." necklace. The tag read:

Merry Christmas
from mothers, daughters and friends
who hope this small gift
lifts your spirit.

We wish you
peace and comfort
during this difficult time.

You can do this.

Trust us.

The week of Christmas, I found out that St. Mark's would like gift bags for their moms. I had already given out the last of the bags so I made these bags with fabric I had in my stash and filled them after a quick trip to Target.

A few hours before I was going to St. Mark's, I found out that they had one more mom than I had bags. I picked up a few more things at the store and packaged them into the basket pictured above. I didn't have time to sew that mom a bag. I ended up meeting the recipient of this basket and having a really memorable visit with her.

During our conversation, she said, "This just made my whole Christmas." It made my my Christmas too.

Thanks to everyone for helping to make The Hope Project possible. I met many of the women and they were very appreciative of the gifts as were the staff at the hospitals.

In addition to many of my friends and family members, the following businesses contributed to The Hope Project:

Amy Butler Design
- fabric
Contempo Tile - tiles for the quotes
OPI - nail polishes
The King's English - books
Ruby Snap - cookies
University of Utah Young Alumni - chapsticks, fans, and t-shirts
Kelly Anne Sansom - necklaces
Cactus & Tropicals - poinsettias
Pilot Pens - pens

I know you're not thinking about Christmas 2011 yet, but I hit a couple of post-holiday sales and picked up cards, Sudoku books, mugs, and notebooks for the 2011 bags.

I emailed Deseret Book about the book, The Mother in Me: Real-World Reflections on Growing into Motherhood. It is on sale for $2.99 (down from the original price of $20). I loved this book and included it in about 35 of the 2010 bags. However, since they are clearancing the book out of their inventory, I knew it wouldn't be around next Christmas. They were so generous and donated 60 books for the 2011 bags! I'm so thrilled.

During my communication with Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, I became aware of ongoing service opportunities for their hospital's pediatric patients. Their greatest needs are:

- gowns for the buddy dolls that they give to kids to explain their upcoming procedures
- pajama pants for the kids
- craft kits

I loved the positive energy at our girls' nights out and wondered if anyone was interested in coming to my home for a night of service in February. The projects are really simple. I'm still looking over dates and hoping to gather more supplies. Please let me know if you are interested.

Thanks again for making The Hope Project 2010 a success!

Girls just wanna have fun...

At least that's what we were saying before we struggled through the vinyl. We had no experience peeling vinyl and we had a few problems. But, we seemed to get the hang of it after awhile and really enjoyed chatting while we did it.

Contempo Tile donated the tiles and my sister mailed us the vinyl quotes from Atlanta. When we struggled with some of the transfer, two other women provided more vinyl to help us finish them.

The finished product. The quote says:

Once you choose hope,
anything's possible.

- Christopher Reeve

Cute mother-daughter duo, Andrea and Olivia, with one of the completed tiles.

Packaging the lotions, body washes, nail polish and chapsticks.

Many women brought their daughters to help. It was so much fun to have a mix of people. Here the girls were putting the toiletries into little cellophane bags and tying them with ribbons.

The last of us were working hard until midnight. Thanks, ladies!


More goodies for the bags

I've needed to wrap things up for weeks but until this weekend, I haven't felt like my life has slowed down from the Christmas rush.

Here are the final goodies that were put together for the ladies...The King's English graciously donated thoughtfully-chosen books and a gift certificate which I used to purchase another book for the bags. It's difficult for small businesses to donate to a cause that isn't an organized charity (501(c)3) because they can't take their donation as a write-off. I appreciate The King's English's kindness and willingness to help.

And, Dawn, the woman I talked to, gave me great advice about setting up a charity and told me about a charity she founded called, The Book Wagon, that provides books to children living in low-income housing in Salt Lake City.

One lucky mother received this cute Simplify frame in her bag. Most bags received a Sudoku book and about 35 women received copies of The Mother In Me: Real World Reflections on Growing into Motherhood. It's a collection of essays about young motherhood, on topics such as infertility, adoption, birth, and raising children up to age 5. I read it while I was on bed rest with the twins and found it to be so uplifting.

Cactus & Tropicals donated six beautiful poinsettias. I gave them to the moms I saw at the U in early December. Have you ever been to Cactus & Tropicals (located in Holladay and Draper)? Every little detail of their store is so inspiring.

Two kind women sent me checks. I held onto them until the very end so I could fill in the bags with whatever we needed. I purchased 20 great picture frames from Wal-mart for $2.50 each! I know I loved having a picture of my family nearby when I was in the hospital. These frames had "LOVE" in large cut-out letters, and short phrases like "Laugh out loud" and "Live in wonder".

Contempo Tile donated these 6x6 inch tiles and my sister, Ali, sent me the vinyl from Georgia. When we struggled with the vinyl transfer, two women stepped in to help us cut more vinyl. Thank you!!

More donations of cards, notebooks, nail files, and slipper socks from kind friends. Thank you!!

More body washes and lotions were donated by fabulous friends. They were then packaged into these little bags below.

Each bag had nail polish, lotion/body wash, chapstick, and a nail file.

Ruby Snap donated delicious cookies for each bag. Thanks to Megan for working with Ruby Snap for that generous donation. I bought a dozen cookies when I went to pick up the donation. It's hard to pick a favorite but I'd probably go with the Virginia, which on their website, is described as:

"They’re REAL good, so says Virginia. Robust ginger and dark molasses in a chewy cookie, rolled in raw turbinado sugar."

That's one seriously amazing cookie.


My Quote of the Day

Wherever you go,

no matter what the weather,

always bring your own sunshine.

~Anthony J. D'Angelo


"I can." Necklace

As soon as I saw this posting on the talented Kelly Anne's etsy site, I knew it would be perfect for the gift bags.

The "I can." message is what I hope these women will gain from this gift. Each of these women is unique. They each have a story. They each have challenges unique to them.

Some of these women come from out of state and have no local support. Some may lose the child they are carrying. Some may spend months supporting their baby in the NICU. Some may know that their own lives are in danger during their pregnancy. I hope they know that they can.

Just as Kelly Anne put it on her etsy listing, "Whatever it is, you can do it."

Because this beautiful necklace was completely out of my price range, Kelly Anne offered to donate all of her time to make necklaces for these women. What an amazing gift of time.

What do we have?

My dear friend, Camille, sewed bags too. S and B wanted to be in the picture with her.

Here's a list of what we have so far for the gift bags:

Updated 12/5
- 43 gift bags handmade with Amy Butler fabric
- 43 "I can." necklaces
- 43 slipper socks
- 43 tiles with vinyl quote (Need to be assembled. I will post about these.)
- 43 cookies (Thanks to Megan for helping to get these donated!!)
- 45 draw-string bags with granola bars, bookmark and magnet
- 43 fans, chapsticks and t-shirts (I will post about these.)
- 43 card sets
- 43 nail polishes
- 35 pens
- 43 notebooks (Need a little work.)
- 43 bags of candy
- 43 lotions / body washes
- 29 books (post to come about these)

Wow! Thanks to everyone who has helped me with this. It's been a truly amazing process.

What do we still need?

Kind friends have asked me what still needs to be done.

Here's a brief list of what I'm still trying to gather:

Updated on 12/3:
- 14 books (Sudoku, novels, etc.)
- 43 Poinsettias or live plants

A few things I was considering but will probably drop:
- Picture Frames - When I was in the hospital, I loved having a picture of my family next to my bed. It made it feel like home and when the medical staff asked about my family, I could show them. There are many picture frames at Ikea in the $1-2 price range but I haven't made it down there to check them out.
- Knit Hat / Headband - Many of these women will only leave their room once a day for a wheelchair ride. It's their only chance to be outside and since it's cold, a cute hat would be both fun and practical. I think I'll learn how to knit these for next year. Anyone want to learn with me?

Another project night - 12/2

I still have a few things that need to be assembled and finished. I know December is really crazy but if anyone is interested, I'd love extra hands on Thursday, December 2nd (7 PM) at my home.

Here's what I have planned:
- group chapstcik, nail file, nail polish and lotion/bodywash into the same cellophane bag.
- attach pens to notebooks.
- cover initials on some of the notebooks.
- put the vinyl on the tiles - By far the biggest project of the night. Then place in cellophane bag.
- sew handles on 6 bags.
- put necklace and card into cellophane bags.
- put everything in the bags! Done!

Slipper Socks

When I was in the hospital, it was cold so my mom brought me some warm slipper socks. One night, my feet warmed up too much and I discarded them in the middle of the night. The next morning, while I was in the shower, the aide came in to change my sheets. Unfortunately, she didn't notice my slipper socks and by the time I came out and saw my newly made bed, my socks were long gone and not retrievable.

Since these moms are in the hospital during the cold winter months, I thought a one-size-fits-all slipper sock would be helpful. My friend, Andrea, and my mom donated these. Thank you!!

Wal-mart had these slipper socks $3 for 2. Not bad. I should have picked some up for myself to replace the ones I lost in the hospital!

Lotion and Body Wash

When I was hospitalized the first time during my twin pregnancy for pre-term labor at 29 weeks, I didn't have any toiletries with me. I had rushed from my doctor's appointment straight to the hospital.

When I was admitted, a nurse kindly gave me baby wash and that's what I used for soap and shampoo until I remembered to have Jeremy bring me my toiletries a couple days later. It was not great, to say the least.

So I wanted to include body lotion or body wash in the bags. I used a $10 Kohl's cash card to purchase two sets of assorted body lotions and body washes! Since they were $6 each, it only cost me $2.

I still need 29 more body washes and lotions but I think I'll check out the Black Friday ads tomorrow and brave the crowds (Yikes! I've never done that before!) on Friday if I see a deal somewhere.

Pilot Pens

A month ago, I sat at my computer and brainstormed about what kinds of companies might donate to this cause. I emailed Pilot Pens and received an email back saying that they couldn't help me but would send me a "complimentary writing sample".

I smiled when I opened the package a few days later and found not 1 but 12 complimentary writing samples!" That puts a nice pen in almost 1/3 of the bags!

Notecard Sets

My friend, Shellee, is a Stampin' Up rep. She kindly helped me with 150 custom, unique, handmade card fronts. During our project night, we made them into cards and packaged them in sets of 4 or 5.

The Talented Darcy

I love to sew but after the twins were born, I didn't have any time to even consider sewing. I needed new pillows sewn for my living room last year so I turned to KSL (more popular than Craigslist here in Utah) where I found Darcy's listing for sewing. She has helped me with my sewing and mending ever since. Darcy is a fabulous seamstress and she's fast. For me, she has made pillows, a custom tablecloth, matching clothes for my daughter and her American Girl doll, and many more projects.

She's darling and I really enjoy her friendship. I think I'm busy with my 5 kids... Darcy has 11 children!! She truly is amazing.

Darcy not only donated her time to make 6 bags, but I learned that she is a poet too!

She made this Simplify poem into a fridge magnet:


Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

Return to the life of days gone by,

Feed our souls, as well as ourselves,

Reduce the things we have on our shelves

Return to Nature, from whence we came,

Find honor in life and bring no shame.

A great accomplishment it would be,

To hunger for less of the luxuries we see.

To value our friends, to see beauty in skies,

What we need to do is to simplify.

Darcy H. Jacobs

This Ripples poem she made into a bookmark.


Drop a pebble in the water, just one plop and it is gone,

But there’s half a hundred ripples going on and on and on.

One loving act of kindness, one caring smile, and it’s begun,

Then, as one life affects another, God’s love goes on and on and on.

Darcy H. Jacobs

Then, as if that weren't enough... Darcy made 43 draw-string bags for the magnet, bookmark and a granola bar.

Thanks Darcy!

Friends + Projects = Fun

After I received the fabric from Amy Butler, I emailed my friends, told them about the project, and invited them to join me for a night of sewing and card making.

What wonderful support from amazing women!

Candice was at the cutting table.

Andrea and Tracy ironed and surged.

Megan loves to sew. She's really good and fast.

Megan, a fellow twin mom, holding the first completed bag!

My daughter was so thrilled to help with the sewing and stuffing the candy bags. She even got to stay up waaaaaay past her bedtime! Marcy, my darling mother-in-law came and helped too.

The ladies put together bags of candy donated by Amy.

The completed bags of candy. They're filled with my favorites... m&ms and other chocolate goodies.

Kristy, Amy, and Linley worked on assembling cards.

The finished product was 35 sets of unique handmade cards. Shellee was so kind and gave them to me at less than cost.

We'll have another project night to finish up the bags.