A Better Way to Keep and Share Your Family Recipes

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I saw a great idea for a Photo Book recently. A friend of mine wanted to make a cookbook of all of her favourite family recipes and give to her siblings so she made a photo book with all her recipes. She incorporated pictures she took of the food or put in family photos along side the recipes—it was a nice idea. I have made up recipe books before for friends and family, but this was nice because it was more like a real cookbook.

You can use an photo book company like Picaboo or, if you have a mac, iPhoto to create it. They have great templates to use.

One thing I like about Picaboo is that they have lots of tips and samples of books people have made. There is a nice one under the “winter” category—it had pictures from an ice storm.

Checking out Picaboo’s site recently I saw that they expect to have a mac version out sometime this year.

8.5×11 custom photo book. Buy 1 get 1 free with coupon code: 1PB1GF-CB

Soft like Cashmere, Warm as Fleece: New Minky Baby Blanket Designs

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People often ask me What is Minky? Minky—or Minkee, as it is sometimes known—is a super-soft cashmere-like, 100% polyester microfiber stretch fabric. It is warm as fleece but doesn’t pill like fleece.

Minky comes in a wide range of colours and styles like dot and diamond. Minky is machine washable in cold or warm water and will not shrink. A gentle washer and dryer cycle is recommended. Ironing Minky is not recommended and could smooth out your minky-dot dimples. Minky is also not flame resistant and care should be taken around open flames.

Minky is becoming more and more popular and I have seen it in all sorts of forms at many stores. There is definitely different qualities of minky. I use a very high quality minky that I get from a supplier in the US.

New Designs

I managed to find some time yesterday and have created 3 new designs with my new fabric.

Flutterby is made from super-soft white Minky-Plush backed with a whimsical 100% cotton print with 4 different themes. One is birds on a tree, “TWEET”, the next is, “KITTY” with a very retro diva cat, then we have, “FLUTTERBY” with a large butterfly and a peace sign above it’s head then at last, “ESCAPE” which is a bird escaping a beautiful vintage, wire cage.

Poppy is a retro Orange and Green 100% cotton print that is backed with chocolate Minky-Dot.

Nothing but Flowers is also backed with a lush chocolate minky dot. The print is of pink and brown flowers on a taupe background. The material is a heavier upholstery weight fabric–the type used in duvet covers–100% stain resistant cotton.

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Little Children, Dreamgirls, and the Departed: My Picks for the Oscars

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The Departed (Two-Disc Special Edition)

I am looking forward to watching the Oscars® tonight. I have seen all the Best Picture nominees, but Letters from Iwo Jima.

Best Picture

My pick for best film is The Departed. I am a fan of Martin Scorsese and I found that he kept me on the edge of my seat until the very last shot.

Best Actress

I would like to see Kate Winslet from Little Children win best actress, although I did enjoy both Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren, who were excellent in their films.

Best Actor

I haven’t watched as many of the films that Best Actor nominees are in, but thought that Forrest Whitaker was excellent as Ide Amin in The Last King of Scotland . I would have picked Leonardo Di Caprio had the nomination been for The Departed .

Best Supporting Actress

Best Supporting actress hands down is Jennifer Hudson, she was excellent in that role and clearly stole the spotlight from Beyoncé. If you havn’t seen Dreamgirls you really should. I really enjoyed the film and I am not a big fan of Musicals.

Best Supporting Actor

For best supporting actor my pick Jackie Earle Haley from Little Children. He is probably best known from his role as Kelly Leak from the 1976 The Bad News Bears. I know that Eddie Murphy is predicted to win and I thought his role in Dreamgirls was excellent but it reminded me of his James Brown caricature from his Saturday Night Live days.

Other Awards

Best Documentary-Long Form

The only documentary I saw that was nominated was Jesus Camp. It was an eyeopener and a little creepy. If you haven’t seen it it is worth a viewing. An Inconvenient Truth is expected to win.

Best Foreign Language Film

I have not watched any of the films nominated for best foriegn film but have enjoyed previous work of Guillermo del Toro and Deepa Mehta. I am rooting for Water to win—Go Canada—but suspect Pan’s Labyrinth will take home the award.

I think the show will be funny since Ellen Degeneres is hosting. My biggest hope is that they keep the musical dance numbers down to a minimum.

Fresh New Baby Blanket Designs

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Animal Crackers Pink

There are new styles available from Snug-A-Bug Blankets. I have a couple new Animal Cracker blankets, one in very girly pink.

I have also brought back Bringing Home Daisy in a spring yellow. I have a couple of new prints: a kitchsy animal print in blue and pink, a couple retro floral prints—one in green and orange, and another in pinks and browns.

The fabric I am most excited about is an interesting modern, tattoo-art style block print. I hope to have these new styles available for sale in the next couple of weeks. So please keep checking back or add my blog to your feed reader so you can get instant updates.

Georgia’s First Sign Revisted

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Georgia was almost 1 year old when we started to teach her sign language to communicate early. She was quick to pick up the sign for “more”.

Since that time, she has learned a number of new signs including “milk”, “eat”, “change” and “dog”. She seems to go through spells where she uses her signs frequently then other times she rarely uses signs. I have found the real key to her signing is Jay and I—the more consistently we use the signs the more she uses them. Georgia is now beginning to verbally communicate—her favourite two words are “hi” and “cookie”—but is still using some of her signs.

SIGN with your BABY Complete Learning Kit: US DVD Version, Book, Training Video (DVD), Quick Reference Guide

Most studies of children who learn sign language show that they are quicker to communicate verbally and get less frustrated. I would definitely agree that Georgia doesn’t get easily frustrated and we have not had the complete meltdowns that I have seen with other babies her age. Can I say without a doubt that it is because of the early signing? No, but I am glad that we started using the sign language with her.

Read my previous post on our start with sign language, Georgia’s First Sign: How I Gave My Baby a Communication Headstart.

The two resources we used to get started with signing are:

Photo Books: My New Obsession

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This year for Christmas I was looking for a gift idea for my parents and Jay’s parents when I stumbled upon photo books. They are like scrapbooks—only they are done on your computer.

I have a macbook which comes with iPhoto. In iPhoto I can make a photo book right in the program. When you are finished creating your book—which includes style selections, image resizing and more—you upload your book to Apple and they send you out a finished book. The books come in a variety of sizes, colours and types, (soft and hard cover) and, in a wide range of prices.

I have played with different photo book software before from Picaboo and Shutterfly but I had never actually finished a book and ordered a printed copy. I was very happy I did at Christmas. The Photo Books were the favourite gift. The book was a collection of pictures from Georgia’s first year. Jay’s Dad takes it everywhere with him to show.

Since the success of the books I gave as gifts, I made a smaller softcover book of Christmas 2006. It is a nice way to showcase your photos—and in many ways is nicer than uploading your images to be printed—rather than putting them in a photo album.

I must admit almost all of my photos I have had printed in the last 10 years are sitting in photo boxes and are never looked at. I plan on scanning all of our wedding photos and making a wedding photo book as well as taking pictures of my grandparents and making a memory photo book for Birthday or Christmas presents next year.

The nice thing about the photo books is that if you are not that creatively inclined they have different themes to help you lay out your pictures. The other reason I really prefer it to scrapbooking is that it is digital. I have found that with digital scrapbooking you can easily change something you are not happy with.


While I liked the ease of using iPhoto to create the photo books, it is limited in the number of themes. Picaboo is a free program that you download to your computer and you can easily use your images to quickly make a book and you don’t need to be hooked up to the internet to create your book. The downside of Picaboo is that they don’t have a mac download.

Shutterfly also has a large number of themes and styles to choose from but you need to upload your images to their site which can be time consuming if you want to play around with more images than you plan to put in your photo book. However, since it is a web based system it doesn’t matter what OS you are using. They also carry a range of other photo gifts, prints, and free online photo sharing and photo storage.

I think the next photo book I make will be from Picaboo. They have a wider variety of page layouts and backgrounds. Unfortunately because they don’t have a Mac download I will have use my PC.

What has been your experience with making a photo books, and how did it turn out?

Picaboo – Create a Photo Book. Special Offer: buy 1 get 1 free!