Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Guest Post

Hi guys! I am Cat from Stuff I Love and Mimi Baby Boutique and I am so pleased to be able to guest on this amazing blog! Here's a little more about me.

1. Quiet or loud? Which word better describes you?
Quiet amongst strangers and loud amongst friends. I always try to be friendly and personable, though.

2. What is your favorite blog post you have ever wrote?
I had a really good response to this post. I think sometimes we all need a little reassuring that we are not alone in our daily struggles, whatever they may be. We just need to do our best and learn to love life for whatever it brings us. And we should never ever judge someone else because we have no idea what we would do or who we'd become in their shoes.

3. If there was one thing I should buy from your shop, what should it be?
wow, so hard! I've heard people have gotten a lot of compliments on the Bella Bracelet. I also have a lot of demand for the bird's nest necklaces - they make very sweet gifts for the moms in your life :)

4. To maintain and do all that you do, you have to be inspired. What inspires you?
Well, my kids are pretty inspirational. Their creativity really blows me out of the water. And all the other blogger moms I've gotten to know are pretty amazing women. It's incredible to see what these women go through while still maintaining peace and perspective in their lives. Some days they are truly what holds me together when I'm barely hanging on.

5. A new year is here, what is one thing you hope to accomplish in 2012?
Organization! Having 3 kids under 4 can really scatter me sometimes. I'm super type-A and go kinda nuts when I don't have all my ducks in a row. I'm hoping to get my house in order, my schedule tidied up, and start working on a real plan for some discipline for these unruly toddlers of mine :p

(There's that squirmy baby girl! My kids crack me up)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Guest Post

Hello all! I'm Cat from Stuff I Love and I am very honored to be here. Today I want to talk to you about what to wear for taking holiday photos. First I'll confess that I am the queen of holiday photo failures. It seems like every year something goes wrong. So here are my tips that I've learned from experience:

1) Avoid wearing black or white. If you're doing a studio shoot, many photographers' standard backgrounds are black and white. If you wear one of those colors, you risk looking like a family of floating heads in half your pictures. Photographers can do amazing things with lighting to minimize the effect, but why make them work harder than they need to? (I can't publish it here, but I have some really odd "two headed monster" pictures of my boys who were hugging while wearing matching white turtlenecks).
Sorry guys, but you practically disappear!

2) Don't be too matchy matchy. It's great if you can get your family to coordinate - but instead of having everyone dress as clones of each other, try to spice things up a little. Try matching patterns, but varying the outfit pieces (lots of kids' clothes, like Carters brand, sell several different separates of the same fabric). Or, try different shades of the same color. Got a sense of humor? Try an 'ugly sweater' pic. This technique will also help avoid the previously mentioned two-headed monster phenomenon.

Coordinating, but not matching.

3) Time it right. I can't tell you how many totally ruined photos we've taken because the baby was hungry or needed a nap. Or the toddler was grumpy because we made him bathe first. Or I forgot to bathe the baby and her hair was greasy. Or someone had lunch all over his shirt and we had to totally rethink outfits as we were running out the door. Try to make sure that everyone is well fed and rested and not perturbed before you line up in front of the lense. You'll get a whole lot more smiles and have a much happier photographer. Along those same lines, if you know you're going to be having surgery on your face, don't schedule your session for a couple weeks later. You will be disappointed when you still look like a chipmunk and literally are not able to smile. Put it off, even if it means wearing a Santa hat in April.

Took this 3 weeks post-partum. Felt fat. Never mailed the cards. Should have waited.

4) Allow freedom of expression. Sure, it's great for everyone to coordinate and look 'picture perfect' for your holiday cards. But be sure not to squelch personal style just for the sake of 'perfection.' The perfect holiday card shows off exactly who your family is at that moment in time - bad haircuts, body jewelry and superhero capes included. In time, those are the photos you will come to treasure much more than overly coordinated studio shots.

yup, this made it on our Christmas card!

5) Be cautious with props. A photo of the whole family in antlers or Santa hats could be really adorable. Or, it could be a recipe for disaster. If you have small kids, or your son hates hats, it might be best to shelve that idea for later. On the other hand, if your daughter only cheeses for the camera if she's got on a feather boa and Audrey glasses - then by all means, ham it up!

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Guest post

Hey everyone! I'm finally all stocked up for the holidays! I've got a whole bunch of new items in the shop - here are a few samples.

For Thanksgiving, I've got some subway art wall canvases.

And for Christmas I have both jewelry for holiday parties

And decorations for trees and gifts

And all of the items in the shop would make great Christmas gifts. Also, 50% of all profits from my sales go to charity. This month's charity is The Shine Project - working to send underprivileged students to college. Keep an eye out for a more detailed post on The Shine Project coming soon. Thanks, y'all!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

guest post

Hi everyone! I'm Cat with Stuff I Love! I am honored to be guest-posting here today and sharing a fun recipe with you!

I am crazy about Italian food. And lasagna is one of my all-time favorites. I'm sharing with you my From Scratch Lasagna recipe - ooey gooey cheese with homemade meat sauce *drool* I made this for my birthday the other night and paired it with garlic bread, broccoli and chocolate cake. Yum!!

So, without further ado:

From Scratch Lasagna

1 80z box lasagna noodles
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp fresh basil, torn
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp rosemary
dash pepper
2 cans crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
1 60z can tomato paste
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 large container ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 tbsp parsley
2 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano
16 oz mozzarella, shredded

(Note: I doubled the recipe so you will see twice the number of ingredients in the photos)

In large pan, sautee onion, garlic, beef, basil, oregano, rosemary and pepper in olive oil until meat is browned through. If desired, drain fat from meat.

Add crushed tomatoes and wine and simmer 15 minutes. Add tomato paste and vinegar and stir well.

Boil noodles according to package instructions. In large bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan, parsley, oregano and basil. Drain noodles.

In 13"x9" casserole dish, layer 1/2 noodles, 1/2 meat sauce, 1/2 ricotta mixture and 1/2 mozzarella. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes (or 60 minutes if lasagna has been refrigerated). Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.

**To make a super-nutritious version, add a cup or so of shredded dark leafy greens, carrots, zucchini and/or broccoli to the meat sauce before simmering. Or, layer spinach between the meat and cheese mixtures when assembling.

It takes a little time to make, but it's totally ok to freeze and reheat so you can make ahead any time. And it is so worth the effort. Hope you enjoy!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Guest Post

Hi! I'm Cat with Stuff I Love, a little parenting blog where I share product reviews, books of the week, recipes, favorite causes, and whatever else happens to be on my mind. I am so honored today to be guest posting on such a wonderful blog! I'm going to be sharing with you a little about kids and fashion.

I've only been dressing small kids for 4 years now, but I've learned very quickly that when it comes to fashion, kids are eclectic. Before I had kids, I imagined their closets to be filled with outfits like these:


However, while my kids are still young enough that I do have some control over their wardrobes, when left to their own devices, they wind up dressed a lot more like this:

And it's wonderful to see how their little personalities emerge through how they dress. Or, in baby girl's case, inspite of how she's dressed. (All dolled up and so excited about those tools).

It isn't really any different for adults, I spose. On any given day I can be found wearing either jeans and a crazy t-shirt (for playing around the house) or dressed to the nines (for a Bible study at church). My boys are thrilled to wear their "big boy" (aka dress) shoes on Sundays - but are equally as enthused about trying on every single hat in the hat box. And to be totally honest - I'm eternally grateful that, at the moment anyway, my kids don't have designer tastes. They are totally happy with a box of Craigslist clothes (especially if the previous owner was a Toy Story fan) as long as it keeps them warm and comfortable. And I'm milking that as long as I can :)

I do hope that my kids will always include me in their fashion choices - if only to tote me along to shell out the cash - because I always feel that I learn something new about my kids through the clothes they choose to wear.

(Me with baby girl in my favorite of her sleepers)

Thanks for letting me join you today!

Monday, October 17, 2011

guest post

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and Your blog (and shop if you have one)?
My name is Cat and I write for the blog Stuff I Love

and also have a shop called Mimi Baby Boutique

2. How did you first get involved with blogging?
I first started blogging when I had my second child and had a strong desire to share with other parents my experiences with various parenting products. I have since expanded my posts to include book reviews, recipes, anecdotes from my life, and interviews with other shops and charities that I feel are relevant to other parents. After the birth of my third child I opened my shop to sell many of the handmade crafts which I make in my 'spare' time.

3. How do you come up with material/content for your blog each day, What inspires you?
I write my posts from my every day life. I love passing on information about products that have made my life easier (or warning you about things that I don't love so much) or sharing a great new book we found at the library or recipe we cooked up in our kitchen.

4. What has been the most challenging moment in being a blogger?
With three kids under 4, just finding the time to get my posts written, and written well is often a challenge. Thank goodness for nap time!

5. Everyone has a favorite/least favorite post. Name yours and why?
I got tremendous feedback about this post where I spoke about becoming "that mom." I absolutely love the family I have been blessed with, but it sure wasn't the family I 'planned' to have. Apparently, it's a common thread among a lot of women.

6. Name some of the bloggers whom you look up to and why?
I have been so blessed by all the bloggers who've helped me out in my journey. They have been so willing to help promote me and answer my myriad random questions. I was a total newby and they've helped me learn and grow. Some of my personal favorites are:
Living in Yellow
Soleil Selene
Mommas Like Me
Drops of Motherhood
Marigold Road

7. If someone was interested in blogging, what would be a few things you would suggest?
Write about what you're passionate about. It's hard work and you will burn out fast if you don't love your subject. Network like crazy. Get to know other bloggers - ask what you can do for them, and they'll be more willing to help you along the way as well. Advertise wherever you can. Whatever you can afford, find a way to get your name out there. Don't give up - growing a fan base takes time and practice (I know I'm still working on it). Be patient and remember - no matter how small your group of followers is, you still have the potential to make a big impact on another human being.

8. What Social Networks are you on?
I can be found on facebook for both Stuff I Love and Mimi Baby Boutique and on twitter @mimibabyb

9. What networking do you do, that you feel helps your blog and/or shop the most?
I advertise with other blogs. I have buttons on 5 or 6 other blogs so far and it seems to bring me a lot of traffic. I also participate in as many giveaways as I can afford to offer items on in order to grow my fan base. It's amazing how many people will 'like' you if you offer to give them a pair of earrings!

10. What has been the best thing about blogging so far, feel free to share any exciting triumphs or milestones you have had or reached! :)
I just adore getting to know other moms (and sometimes dads). It blesses me so much when someone else relates to something I've said or gets really excited to read one of my recommended books to her kids. I just love letting others know that no matter what, they are not alone in their parenting journey.

11. Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?
I love feedback! I want to make my posts relevant to what others want to know. I even have a forum on Stuff I Love where people can post questions and reviews of their own. I want my blog to be interactive, not just a place to air my opinions, but a place where we can all learn from each others' experience.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Hi Everyone! I am so honored to be here with you today. Erin has such a wonderful blog!

Let me introduce myself. My name is Cat and I married my college sweetheart, Richard, back in 2005.

We have 3 adorable, energetic little kids. (squirmy baby L has been the model for all my ventures).

Let me tell you - it has been a long, hot summer, and I am so ready for fall! How about y'all?

I am so blessed to be able to stay home full time with my kids. In my 'spare' time I write a little blog called

There, I share Stuff I Love, Stuff I Don't Love, Books Of The Week, Recipes, and whatever else (charities, events, giveaways, great deals, ideas) happens to be on my mind. We also have a forum for you all to ask questions, post recipes and share your own opinions.

If that doesn't keep me busy enough, I also sell some of my crafts at my shop

And I am thrilled to be able to give away a couple of my items to you all!
The winner will receive both this framed 8x10 sunflower print

and this purple flowered necklace

I am grateful to you all and best of luck!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

New Launch coming soon

I am finally getting some free time freed up so I'm looking forward to working more on this blog. Keep your eyes out for the big launch. I'm planning some fun giveaways along with some regular weekly posts. I'll be covering things such as Stuff I Love, Stuff I Don't Love, Author (or book) Of The Week, Best Recipes and more! Stay tuned, I'll be back soon :D

p.s. if there's anything you'd like to see me address, just let me know!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Huge giveaway!

Laura Winslow Photography is having a massive giveaway - just in time for mother's day. If you love boutiques (and who doesn't), you'll love this giveaway. And the best part is, there are 15 ways to enter!

Go to this link:

and check out all the details. Once winner will receive $6500 in boutique prizes!! Amazing!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


There's a new ebook coming out that I'm very excited to read. Organization is something I'm a little obsessed with, but definitely don't have time for these days with three tiny kids to care for. The book 31 Days to Clean – Having a Martha House the Mary Way sounds right up my alley. I could use all the help I can get in keeping my house clean - and goodness knows that sometimes my Martha personality gets in the way of the Mary hospitality I ought to have. The author is giving away free copies of the ebook if you tweet, facebook or blog about it and email her the link (tonight only). Sounds like a great deal to me! So follow the link and get yourself organized as well!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kangaroo Climber

In our house, the Step 2 Kangaroo Climber has been a sanity saver. Before we were graciously gifted this climber, my two monkey boys climbed, well, everything. The couch, the back of the potty, the dining room table, the walls.... you name it. Not only did they climb, they fell off of everything as well. Now that we have this climber, they do significantly less climbing on the 'forbidden' items and spend large quantities of time scaling the walls of their 'house' and sliding down the slide. Today, they covered the top with a sheet and have been making home repairs on and playing hide and seek in their new fort. If you've got little climbers like I do, you will not regret adding this to your Christmas list - even if it does take up a bit of space. Thank you, Step 2, for saving my sanity (and possibly a couple of limbs).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Purex Complete Crystals Softener

I was recently given a chance to try out the new Purex Complete Crystals Softener for my laundry. Overall, I was quite impressed. I've never really used fabric softeners - the soupy liquids always made a mess and I hated having to watch for just the right cycle to drop them in. These crystals, however, make fabric softening a synch.

Purex Crystals are different from your ordinary fabric softeners for several reasons. First of all, they aren't oil based like regular softeners. They come in a convenient crystal form - which means less mess when pouring. It also means that they don't coat your fabrics in oil - perfect for things like towels and flame retardant clothes that ordinarily can't be washed with fabric softeners. They are also added at the beginning of the wash cycle right along with the detergent so you can start a wash and walk away.

I haven't noticed that my fabrics really feel much softer after using the crystals but they are certainly free of static and the spicy/flowery scent is really very nice. I only used half the recommended amount, however, because the scent was a little overpowering when I used a whole dose. All in all I'd definitely recommend using these crystals for their ease and their pleasant, fresh scent.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Money Saving Sites

We all love saving money - but sometimes it's difficult, especially when we're tight on time. Here are some of my favorite sites for saving money on everything from clothes to groceries to home decor.

If you like to DIY: These sites offer great tutorials on making your own clothes and decorations as well as an occasional (yummy) recipe or two.
Make It and Love It
HoneyBear Lane

If you're on Facebook: These pages will post great deals right to your news feed. Don't forget to check out their blogs/websites for even more money saving tips.

Jessica's Coupons

Faithful Provisions
Posh on a Budget
Faithfully Free
Wichita Kids Eat Free
Rose Knows Coupons
Adventures In Savings
Saving and Giving
Wichita Coupons
Money Saving Mom
The Frugal Girls

If you like to have parties: Try joining one of these programs. You can apply to host a party in your own home - the party packs are free and you get tons of great products to try yourself and pass on to friends. You will have to provide feedback, but it only takes a minute.
Moms Meet
House Party

If you want to save on food: These sites have great printable coupons and most also have online coupon codes as well. There is some overlap among most of the sites, but each has its own unique benefits.
Mambo Sprouts has lots of organic and all natural coupons
Commonkindness donates to your favorite charities for each coupon you print,, all post lots of coupons for every day foods and household items

If you're into designer stuff: Consider joining one of these 'invitation only' discount sites. You get access to up to 70% off designer products (everything from cookware to decor to clothing to toys).
haute look
guilt group
the mini social
no more rack

If you formula feed: Sign up on the manufacturers' websites for free samples. If you join Similac's Gold program you'll receive up to 3 coupons for free formula (the big cans) among other perks.

If you spend a lot of time on the web: Check out You can earn points for surfing the web, watching videos, playing games, making purchases, using coupons, and many other activities you're probably doing anyway. 450 points gets you a $5 Amazon gift card and you can easily earn 3-5 cards/month. So check it out and sign up!
If you use this link you'll earn me some points, too - but I promise, I wouldn't recommend it if it weren't fantastic.
or check out their facebook page

If you're ok with secondhand:
Craigslist is an online classified site. Check your local listing, or anywhere in the country! (I recently found my 3 yr old's entire summer wardrobe for $65 on Craigslist - most of it in new or like-new condition).
Freecycle is a great place to find items that people are giving away for free. Sometimes it's junk, but sometimes you can score a real deal.
Shop Good Will is a site dedicated to selling donated items - much like your local Good Will store.

Happy saving, everyone!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Author of the Week: Mercer Mayer

My boys are crazy about Mercer Mayer's Little Critter series. They identify with the antics of this mischievous critter and empathize with the challenges he meets in his every day life. There is a Little Critter book for just about every major event in childhood - the arrival of a new baby, potty training, going to school, going to bed - as well as tender stories about special times with family members (Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Little Sister). There are also Little Critter stories written in several different styles for different stages of reading comprehension. Books like Snowball Soup have only a few words per page making them easy for preschoolers to read and toddlers to learn by heart. And the stories are engaging enough that even adults will enjoy reading them over and over (and we sympathize a bit with Mom and Dad critter as well). These are our current go-to bedtime stories and there are so many books to choose from that we won't run out any time soon.

Ga Ga Deals

I recently stumbled upon a fun website that's perfect for money-saving moms. Ga Ga Deals displays new products every so often and the price continues to tick down as the time runs out. The only catch - quantities are limited, so you have to make a purchase before the item sells out. It's a fun balance trying to get the lowest price you can while the item is still in stock. The items are always baby related and there's usually a carseat on the widget (see bar to the right)- so check back often!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Burt's Bees Giveaway winner

And the winner of our Burt's Bees Giveaway is Sarah O! Congratulations Sarah, I'll be in touch with you soon! And thanks to everyone for entering.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Moms that Rock

I'm always blown away by all the moms I know who manage to take great care of their families and their homes and sometimes work and run a shop or write a blog or do some other useful craft. Frankly, I don't know how they do it. So, as a tribute to all those hardworking moms, I thought I'd give them a little press. If you've got a spare moment and want to be impressed, please check out the following:

If you need an extra dose of positivity in your life, head on over to this fantastic blog for some great advice on fashion and recipes as well as some awesome art and some humorous and cheerful running commentary.

If you're looking for great advice on green living and eco-conscious parenting, check out Om....And Then Some. She has tons of articles on how to be earth-friendly along with lots of product reviews and the occasional (fantastic) giveaway.

If you're looking for a great gift for the baby or child in your life (or a great photo prop, too) then you'll love Petal Babies General Store, Dulu Designs, Sling-a-bye-baby and The Little Ballerina.

And if you also have a mommy blog, etsy shop or other online business, please feel free to leave us a link!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Burt's Bees Giveaway!

I love Burt's Bees products. Not only are they almost all natural, and therefore super gentle, but they smell wonderful, too. We've been using Baby Bee products on all three of our kids since the day they were born and it has never once irritated their sensitive skin. And I love their line of gentle face products for adults. Therefore, I wanted to pass on some of their wonderful products to one of you! I'm giving away a Burt's Bees Baby Bee Bundle of Joy basket to one of my readers. There are several ways to enter - please leave a separate comment for each. The giveaway will end Friday Feb. 18th.

1) Visit the Burt's Bees website and leave a comment telling me which product you most enjoy, or which you'd most like to try.
2) Become a follower of the Stuff I Love blog.
3) 'Like' Stuff I Love on facebook.
4) Share this giveaway on facebook. (one entry per day)
5) Share this giveaway on twitter. (one entry per day)

That's all. I will randomly choose a winner on February 19th. Thanks!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Method Baby

I am officially obsessed with this line of baby products. Not only is it 99% natural so it's gentle on my babies, it smells delicious! My kids come out of the tub smelling like big, snuggly s'mores. And they are crazy about the adorable bottle. The products come in rice milk + mallow, sweet pea, crisp apple and peach scents and they range from dryer sheets to body lotion to diaper cream (and more). And at $5-15 they're totally affordable, too. I'm a pretty die-hard Burt's Bees fan, but I may be stocking my pantry with a load of these baby products as well!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Author of the Week: Anna Dewdney

My kids absolutely adore Anna Dewdney's books. They are full of fun, fast paced rhymes and colorful, energetic pictures. The boys certainly relate to little Llama's drama in the Llama Llama series and my 3 year old regularly begs to read Roly Poly Pangolin. These books teach children about patience, bravery, kindness and love. And they're just plain fun to read!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sophie the Giraffe

When it comes to toys for tiny babies I've generally considered them to be useless. My babies were rarely interested in anything but faces and patterns until they were practically sitting up. Then we discovered Sophie The Giraffe! She is just about the perfect toy for even the tiniest babies.

First of all, Sophie is non-toxic. She is made of natural rubbers and dyes so we don't have to worry about the little one chewing all over her. Her neck and legs are easy for even newborns to grasp, and she makes a very pleasant squeaking noise when squeezed. In fact, my 2 month old has smiled more at her Sophie toy than she has at Mommy so far!

The only drawback to Sophie is that she is so adorable and squeezable the older kids keep stealing her from Baby! Fortunately, Amazon sells 2 and 3-packs so you can buy enough for the whole family!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Diaper Detergent Giveaway

Do you cloth diaper? If you do, then you know all about sour diaper smell. And gunky buildup that leads to leaky diapers. And ineffective detergents that just don't get things clean. If you're tired of the mess and the smell then head on over to Om...And Then Some for a great giveaway! You could win a bag of Rockin' Green laundry detergent - it's gentle on your diapers, your kids and the environment, but get's the job done too. Check out the giveaway, check out the detergent, and check out that awesome blog!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Author of the Week: Byron Barton

Our kids love books. They beg to climb up and read in Mommy's lap several times a day. And almost as much as books, they love things that go. Trains, cars, airplanes, boats, construction vehicles - just about anything that moves. Lucky for us, Byron Barton has an entire series of books all about things that go. Trains is the current favorite in our house, but all of his books are filled with bright, engaging illustrations and simple descriptions of the vehicles they cover. Our 3 year old has them all memorized word for word and is very proud that he can 'read' them to himself - which he frequently does. Many of his books are also compact in size and sturdy in construction and travel very well in a purse or diaper bag. If you've got a little pilot or engineer in your family be sure to check these out!
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