Homemade and Fair Trade Goods Links

I love handmade products. I always prefer shopping through a person rather than a huge store. Most people are very aware of Etsy but there are a couple other places I check to look for the handmade things I like to get, from jewelry to soaps to cards.

Zibbet - A community of artisans with unique and wonderful shops

Buy Handmade - Allows people to post a link to their handmade goods website

Art Fire - Artisans around the world craft these fine works of art

For more, click this link to a list of other venues for buying and selling crafts and homemade goods.

Also, I love organic and free trade - nothing is better than from the earth and from well-treated hands. Don't know much about fair trade? See this link. And then this one. And here are FT myths! There are a lot of places to buy fair trade!

Fair Indigo - Stylish and organic clothes for men, women, and children

Anyway, happy shopping and have a great weekend!

Amanda & Cubs


Elijah is Sick

Elijah woke up the night before last with a cough and the sniffles. He started to get a fever before I gave him medicine.

It's so sad when kids are sick. They don't want to play as hard and they are constantly bothered by their stufffy nose or sore throat.

Only mine doesn't complain with words. Since he's not exactly talking yet, all he can do is look at me with his huge brown eyes and point sadly to whatever part is bothering him.


He needs so much rest and I get bored without him. He tosses and turns as he sleeps. It's so painful for him...
he has no idea how painful it is for me.


6 Months Since You've Been Gone

It's been about 6 months since I'd learned my uncle Erin had passed away. I thought I would never get over this. As soon as I heard, I couldn't believe it. And once it sunk in, I cried every night before I went to sleep for months.

Erin was my uncle. He was 11 years older than I was and he was my everything. I was raised by my grandparents and Erin was like my sibling when I was little, and like my parent later on.

My grandparents were alcoholics. They were functioning, can-hold-down-a-job alcoholics, but emotionally abusive all the same. Erin built me up as they tore me down. I can never repay him for what he has been in my life. When my grandparents were not in attendance to something special I was doing, whether it was the talent show or high school graduation, he was there and always supportive. When they said unkind words, he was there to scream in my defense, take me out and talk me up. I know he is the sole reason I became a normal person and am able to raise a family.

Erin was 36 when he passed and in another state. He missed us terribly and was going to visit family when he died. I miss him terribly and wish he could have met my children. He would have loved them so much.

Anyway, here's to you Erin and my many thanks for all that you did for me. I can only hope to help someone else a fraction of the amount that you helped me.


Signs of Spring: Spring Pics

I have been reading so many blog posts about signs of spring and it is just making me depressed! Here in Alaska it is getting warm enough to maybe take a quick walk but the slush and dirt deter me from even doing that! Our car is so dirty you can't see out the back windows. Everything is just gloomy - makes me feel like Eeyore.

Spring pictures for the schools we service is coming up however, and that has cheered me up. Jeremy made a tan background and bought a couple of flowers for the children to hold. I didn't think it would come out so darn cute!

This is a mom and her daughter:

I love it - so simple and elegant. Jeremy is going to offer color manipulation to parents too, which looks like this:
I wish I had pictures done like this when I was little. My school pictures always came out silly and unappealing.

A couple were done with our kids but I'm saving the next pro photo op for their birthdays! Cannot wait!


iPhone Apps for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Elijah loves Jeremy's iPhone, as you can see. It's so bad but he doesn't use it that much. Well, that, and we cannot resist his cute face when he signs for it.

We bought a few games for him to play, and I thought I'd share after reading an article on Babble.com called iPhone Apps for Distracting Young Children the ones we thought were worth the money, because some games we have bought have been disapppointing.

1. Giraffe's Preschool Playground - Tomato Interactive - 99¢ - Elijah loves listening to the music and identifying the letters, numbers and animals. I love that there is more than one game and that there are Junior Explorer and Ace Adventurer levels of difficulty, so I  know this game will grow with him.  I don't think this will stay 99¢ for long!

2. Monkey Preschool Lunchbox - THUP - 99¢ - Elijah likes this one for its monkey character. He is challenged by few different kinds of puzzles and indentification games. I love that it rewards him with a sticker - keeps him going.

3. Preschool Connect the Dots - Touch Screen Preschool Games - 99¢ - Elijah knows his numbers but this makes him practice tapping them in order to solve the puzzle. I like that the pictures are of things he really likes, like trains and animals.


He Got That From YOU!

In the past few weeks, Elijah has picked up how to trick us! He'll do a few funny things everyday, but his favorite is to have Daddy follow along while he signs his letters, then sign the wrong letter to confuse Daddy, and then laugh at him!


I just had to share that because how bad is that?! How long do kids do that...?


Progress in Elijah's Speech Delay

Elijah has a speech delay for those of you who were not in the know. He'll be three in less than a month and he says about 20-30 words. So far, I've been able to accomplish with him:

~potty training (that was a research process - maybe some day I'll explain my method - it was genius - I should have it published) and he takes himself to the toilet and calls me
~entire alphabet in sign language (ASL)
~he can say all of the letter sounds and identify them when asked e.g. What makes the fff sound? He points to 'F'
~he signs about 20 other words including milk, gorilla, and airplane
~he traces all the letters and numbers 1-10 with his finger
~he knows the order of the alphabet and can type it on the computer
~he knows that 'big' letters are different from 'little' letters
~he understands a lot of words, probably between 300-500, and can point them out
~he can say each sound of a letter in a word, like p-puh, i-iii, g-guh (just can't put them together)
~he can follow commands without gestures e.g. go put that on the table, go get my water bottle

But what is better than all of that?
The love he shows his sister in wanting to share with her what he has learned...love is all that counts anyway.


Monica's Walking All About

Monica's is 11 months and walking everyday now! She cries when she falls and she can't run yet, as hard as she might try when Elijah is running his "laps" from the kitchen to the bedroom and back again!

I love this little dress that we got over Christmas! She is just my little precious!


Train Set Fun

Thanks to Jennifer and Body, we have ourselves a little train set good for some classic indoor fun! Elijah loves it and is figuring out how to set it up better and better, with a little help from mom. It gets a little aggravating when I think, "Again! That's already three times today!" but I'm starting to see results in his critical thinking and manipulation of the objects, hand-eye coordination and all that - very great! Great gift! Anyway, I thought this post would be better than a thank-you card! ;)

However, Monica likes to play Godzilla, messing up everything and Elijah is racing to fix everything behind her before the train comes. She looks like Godzilla too (not in the green reptile kind of way), toddling and towering over the little tracks, knocking over bridges, and picking up the trees and eating them - very funny. Well, not to Elijah.

Anyway, off to more train fun...


Elijah Kneeling in Church

Elijah knelt in church for the first time yesterday. It was a little embarrassing to take the photo since those darn phones make that clicky obviously-a-camera kind of noise, but worth it. He didn't stay there very long after all.