Unique Gifts and Silver Jewelry from NOVICA + #G!veaway

Have you heard of NOVICA?  If you have, you already know how amazing the site is for so many reasons, and if you don't, you're at the right place to learn more.  It is one of the leading fair trade artisan websites out there!  They work with National Geographic to give amazing talented artisans around the world a place to express their artistic talents and provide access to the world market.  The pieces are unique and plenty to choose from; clothes, home decor, accessories, jewelry and more. I was intrigued by the Unique Gifts section were you can easy find gifts for him/her, home decor, and even search gifts by price.  NOVICA has so much to offer, after a long time browsing through the many great items, I found myself browsing through the Silver Jewelry section.  Again, I was in love with how easy it is to search for your favorites and narrow down to your specifics.  A site that has so much to offer, and one that also knows how to make it convenient for us to shop on.
As I checked out jewelry on the site, I found myself finding many dangle earrings, in which I'm a huge fan of right now.  If you like dangle earring like me, be sure to check out the Garnet Dangle Earrings, and the Amethyst Dangle Earrings sections.  You'll see many beautiful pieces like the Garnet floral earrings pictured below called the 'Crimson Leaves.'
Here are some of my favorites that I'm looking to purchase from the Silver Jewelry section:
This sterling silver dangle earrings known as 'A New Leaf.' 
And the sterling silver button earrings called 'Prosperity.'   

One of the great things about the site is that it offers such a variety, if you are able to and wanting to spend you will find tons, and if you are looking for reasonable prices on unique pieces, you will also find a great variety to choose from.  If you aren't looking for earrings, there is still silver pendant necklaces or silver cocktail rings to choose from to say the least.  Variety and choice is one thing you don't have to worry about while browsing.  I'm finding trouble deciding what my favorite pieces are! :)  Here are some more pieces that I love and have on my wish list! 
Leather heart necklace, 'Hear Fossil'
Sterling silver ring, 'Frangipani'
Sterling silver cocktail ring, 'Exotic Denpasar'

Another thing that stood out to me while browsing was that you get to see who the artisan is that created the piece you are looking at as well as a small details about it.  They will also enclose an artisan story card when you order along with the free jewelry box.   
Are you loving all the beautiful gifts and jewelry as much as me, and loving that you get to support artisans worldwide just by buying beautiful unique pieces?  Well, NOVICA has recently launched NOVICA Live, their new gifts and jewelry home party division.  You get to become a consultant and showcase the pieces through home parties in a fun way.  You can learn more here on their Home Party Opportunities page or if home based selling is what you're interested in, then view their Home Party Consultant page.   The starter kits are only $199 and have over $400 worth of samples and $150 in business materials.  If you decide this is something you want and register to buy a starter kit, make sure to tell them "day to day MOMents" sent you!

Support NOVICA by following them on twitter as well as on facebook.  

~ ~*GIVEAWAY*~ ~
Enter to win a gift code of $37.50 that can be used anywhere on the site.  Your only issue will be deciding what you want to spend it on! :)
Enter below using the Rafflecopter.
Good Luck!!  

*I received a gift code for purpose of review, all opinions are my own.  No other compensation was provided.

"Crab Hunting" Makes Our Day!

I'm on a mini vacation with my family right now.  Enjoying a few days on the beach in Hilton Head Island, SC.  So far our trip hasn't started so smoothly, only because we were supposed to arrive in the afternoon today but instead got here after 10 PM.  We've already lost a day out of our short getaway, but we are about making the best out of it all.  My son was amazing through out the very long trip, an adventure it has been to get here.  He took a two hour nap during the day, and was energized, talkative, and friendly with everyone all day.
So far the whole day it has taken to get here, has all been worth it.  We arrived at our hotel very late, but we still wanted to squeeze in a little fun before we went to bed, so we went to take a walk around the resort.  We walked onto the beach in the dark to find others walking along the shore.  The water wasn't freezing cold, the sand was soft as we held hands walking along with a slight breeze in the air.  We ran into a very nice family walking with flashlights and little nets, they told us they were "crab hunting."

They walked in the dark on the beach, and would run into little crabs coming out of the sand, catch it in the net and then let them go as they rush into the water or dig themselves back into the sand right before us.  It was a dad with his three daughters, visiting from Alabama, coming to their yearly summer vacation destination.  My son was so excited to meet them and wanted to see a crab.  We luckily got to see a few crabs, my son even got to catch one, and "dance" with one.  He does what he calls a "crab dance" that he made up and spoke of dancing with a crab if he sees one on vacation.  Who knew that would be the first one "to-do" off our checklist! ;)

I loved growing up in NYC and enjoy living there, but the more I get to see other states and meet many from different places, the more I want to move for a better family life.  It has been a very long day, I didn't get to take any pictures, but will try to share some of our getaway in the days to come.

As for now, time to join my family fast asleep next to me.  Instead of thinking of how long it took us to get here, and how many headaches we had today to just get here, I'm going to sleep with a smile as I picture how my toddler danced with a crab in the dark on the beach...  ;)

Allergy Friendly Pasta Dish

As easy to make as it was for my toddler to eat up!  I made a bowl for my son and my niece.  They both loved it.

I used Nathan's Hot Dogs that my son is okay with.  There is a risk of cross contamination risk there though, just FYI...  Substitute with any kind of meat/poultry or skip it entirely-will work great either way.

Daiya mozzarella cheese.

Tomato sauce I made from scratch, nothing like a fresh tomato to start it off.

And the Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta- Spaghetti, learn more about their products here.
They both finished the bowl of pasta, and asked for more the next day for lunch again.  I made it with grilled chicken the next day as they both seriously insisted I make it for them again.  My son has severe multiple food allergies, my niece has none; they both loved it.  I always go for simplicity in the meals I make for my son, and it works.  It is healthy, freshly made, and that makes this mom very happy.

Wordless Wednesday - First Little Items for Baby

My sister in law sent me these, and I think it is so cute.  
You see three bodysuits and a little ducky towel, I see something so special.
The first little things dedicated for my baby #2.
A little baby we were scared to try for... :) 

Bob's Red Mill's Spar for the Spurtle 2 Recipe Contest + G!VEAWAY

Do you have a unique recipe that you use Bob's Red Mill's Steel Cut Oats?  Or are you up for the challenge to create a contest winning one?  Bob's Red Mill's Spar for the Spurtle 2 Recipe Contest is live and you have until July 20, 2012 to submit a video demonstrating your unique recipe.  You will have the chance to be one of the three from all entrants to be flown to Portland, Ore. to compete in a a live cook-off.  The winner of the cook-off will receive an all expense paid trip for two to Scotland, including spending cash $2500 of it, to help represent team Bob's Red Mill in the 19th Annual Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship!

Find out more information and real time Spar for the Spurtle updates now through October 6, 2012 here on contest website, also make sure to follow them on Twitter and become a fan on their Facebook page.
You never know you might just have the recipe to give you this opportunity of a lifetime!  So get experimenting or go into your grandma's recipe box (with permission ;P) and submit today!  For added encouragement Bob's Red Mill has been generous enough to offer an amazing prize pack for the first five readers that enter and comment here letting me know you've entered.  The prize pack includes:
·         Honey Oat Granola
·         Cinnamon Raisin Granola
·         Scottish Oats
·         7 Grain Pancake Mix

Which means there is no losing in trying here.  If you enter, your recipe could be one of the top three or the winning recipe like this one from last years contest.  The Black Bean Porridge Patties was the winning recipe from last year’s Spar for the Spurtle cook-off, this was the recipe that BRM prepared in the Specialty category in the World Porridge Making Championships in Scotland.

So go ahead click here, learn the specifics and enter! :)  Remember to come back here and comment below so you can win, FIRST FIVE who enter and let me know will get an awesome Bob's Red Mill prize pack!

*I will receive a similar pack to that of the giveaway prize pack, all opinions are my own- no other compensation has been provided for this post.

You Do What You Can - Allergy Friendly Pizza #foodallergy

sorry for the dark picture-was a quick shot during a busy morning
but I promise it looked better in person and tasted great! ;)
Where have I been all this week?  I have been visiting my sister, out of state, getting together with old friends and family I hadn't seen in more than a year.  My laptop has been acting up lately, and internet hasn't been available to me as much as I wish it was.  But today, I bring you a quick update.

One of the main reasons we came this way was because of my nieces birthday party.  We usually try our best to make it a point to at least get together for holidays, and our kids birthdays.  I'm usually the one put "in charge" of organizing games during the party and anything extra for entertaining the kids.  This year, we did one of the simplest birthday parties we have ever put together.  We invited a few of her friends, and had a pool party.  My brother in-law is an amazing cook, very creative, and makes it all looks so easy, but we planned to give him a break this year.  They decided to order pizza in for the kids, which worked out great.  My niece requested ice cream cake, and that's what we got her. ;)

The party was great, but it required for me to do a little bit more, as usual.  My son cannot have anything ordered in, and definitely none of the ice cream cake, so I had to think of alternatives for him.  He was so excited about his cousins birthday, and was telling me how he looked forward to pizza that morning.  Since I wasn't home I didn't have my usual pantry full of items I could create from.  I went for a quick drive to pick up King Arthur's Gluten Free All Purpose Flour, some tomatoes, and Daiya cheese.  I would usually use more, like "egg replacer" and maybe some xanthum gum, but I couldn't go purchase everything I needed for half a teaspoon of an ingredient since I was away from home.  I attempted to create something that tasted good and used the logic I would use if I wasn't cooking allergy friendly.  I was totally "winging it" and just hoping it comes out good using what I had, and was so happy when it turned out great.  My son was so happy - and that makes me so happy.

Total time about 30 minutes:
I made a quick sauce with the tomatoes, onions, meat, and a pinch of salt & pepper.
Mixed together water and the flour until I kneaded it together.
Flattened the dough thin into a mini pizza pie shape on a foil.  
Placed it in the oven for about 10 min.
Placed the sauce and (dairy free) Daiya Mozzarella cheese on top.
Kept in oven (350) for another 10-15 minutes.
*I'd use a baking sheet, more ingredients-measured but I had to make it work with what was available. 

My son and my niece wanted to eat it right away because of how good it smelled.  I was so excited about, I just had to share.  It worked out, and he ate the whole little pie when everyone else had their slice of pizzas at the party.

As for the ice cream cake alternative, I couldn't bake for him but I did make sure he had a sweet treat.  I bought dairy free, allergy friendly ice cream, cut it out of the little pint in a triangle shape.  Placed little pieces of Enjoy Life Foods chocolate bar on top.  He knows it was all different, but he was so happy to not be left out, and that makes it all worth it.  Sometimes you do what you have to, I was planning ahead for my little boy the whole time, from snacks, food, pinata candy, to desert - so happy it all worked out.  It isn't always easy being a "food allergy mom" but I will always do all that I can for my little boy.  I hope that this simple recipe is something that might help you, let it be a starting point to something different, or try it as is.  :)

Delicious Allergy Friendly Donuts!! #foodallergy #glutenfree

Found an awesome recipe from http://www.cybelepascal.com/gluten-free-vegan-baked-cake-donuts/ and adapted a little to work with what I had in my pantry.  In the original, you will need:

"¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons rice milk
½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup Authentic Foods GF Classical Blend , or my Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix (recipe follows)
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon double-acting baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/8th teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8th teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ cup Spectrum Organic Vegetable Shortening
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 2 Tablespoons rice milk
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Sprinkles (Edward & Sons makes GF sprinkles)"

I didn't have ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg so I just left it out.  I used hemp milk instead of rice milk, which I think works if you use any kind of milk of your choice.  For the instructions I followed everything she said to do on her post that I linked above up until for the baking part, I just used my "mini donut maker" that made things so much easier and faster!  

The donuts came out great, and best part of it all, my son can have donuts!  I was not surprised, because I love love her recipes, her recipes have been the answer to all my baking troubles as a food allergy mom.

My son had been asking me for donuts for a while so when I ran into a donut making machine while out shopping, and just had to buy it.  I had been eyeing Cybele's recipe for baking donuts that I had been wanting to try.  Was always thinking how I needed to buy the donut baking tray, but found an even easier option.  Here's what I bought at Walmart.  There are so many of it's kind out there, and I'm glad to tell you it works great.

 I used my simple hand mixer, it all must have took less than 30 min. to make!  My son kept dipping his fingers to eat the batter, and insisted I try it, it actually tasted good. :)
Super easy to make, you place the batter into the little cups (if you try it yourself, put less than I did on the left picture, that was my first batch- I over filled it.)
Decorating is as fun as mixing it all up with my son, probably a little more fun.  If you can keep everyone from eating it as is- warm, you'll love it as much after it is all decorated.
Although I did find out after all this, that when my son was asking for donuts, he was actually asking for pretzels.  He pointed it out while we were out in downtown Manhattan when he pointed to a pretzel stand, and said "that's the pretzels I want next time mommy."  I guess I have another goal now.  ;)