Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ahoy! Scrapbook Page

For Father's Day this year, I dressed the baby up in one of my husband's old baby outfits.

She didn't like it.

But at least she stopped crying long enough for me to get one decent photo. (I put it on a mug, which I'm sure will be only the first of many Father's Day mugs to come.)

Because this layout used an old photo of my husband wearing the outfit as a baby, I liked the vintage look of the patterned paper and larger matching film reel. (I've had those in my stash for a LONG time just waiting and waiting to be used.)

The green letter stickers are American Crafts Thickers.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

9 Best New Products at the Secaucus GFAF Expo 2016

This year's GFAF Expo in Secaucus, NJ, sponsored by Glutino, Enjoy Life Foods, and Udi's, was really great! If you weren't there, you missed out on a lot of great new gluten-free and allergen-friendly companies! It was nice to see some of my favorite brands at the Expo, but it was also really neat to discover all-new brands! And that's just what this Expo is about! So without further ado, here are the nine new products that I thought were the best from the 2016 Secaucus GFAF Expo.

1. Gluten-Free Brazilian Cheese Buns
I don't know if you've ever had Brazilian Cheese Buns, but they are AMAZING. I have a recipe for these that I made occasionally, but it's so much easier if they're basically already made for you! Enter the big trend from this year's Expo: Gluten-Free Brazilian Cheese Buns. (I actually think Brazilian Cheese Buns are naturally gluten-free. Correct me if I'm wrong...)

We've got Brazi Bites, who you might have seen on Shark Tank, and its cheese buns come in four flavors. I got to sample the cheddar and parmesan (YES!) and garlic asiago. These were so good!

Then there were the cheese buns from Forno de Minas. Also very good and ready to go for you with little effort on your part.

But if you want more of a "I made these" feel, then there is the cheese bun mix from Chebe. This comes as a box mix that you whip up yourself. Still easier than buying a bunch of random gluten-free flours that you'll never use again unless you plan on making Brazilian Cheese Buns from scratch every night for two months.

2. True Made Foods
I tasted this ketchup and immediately said, "This is the best ketchup I've ever tasted." But True Made Foods doesn't just make ketchup. It has BBQ Sauce and Veracha Hot Sauce. These sauces are all about using fresh vegetables and less sugar.

3. Dedicated Table
You've probably heard of food-delivery services such as Blue Apron or Hello Kitchen, right? They deliver fresh ingredients right to your doorstep, and then you prepare the delicious meal. Well, those places don't often offer gluten-free menus. So that's the void that Dedicated Table hopes to fill. If the idea of a food-delivery service appeals to you but you need gluten-free options, then you might want to check this out. There's a two-person plan and a family plan.

4. Sweet Megan's Cookie Dough
Cookie dough that is safe to eat right out of the jar. I don't even think I need to say anymore. But I will. Sure, you can use Sweet Megan's Cookie Dough to bake actual cookies. There are three varieties: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Sugar Cookie Dough, and Brownie Dough. But because there is no egg in any of this dough, it's all safe to eat raw!

5. RP's Pasta Gluten-Free Fettucine
Gluten-free pasta sometimes gets a bad rap. So if you're skeptical, look no further than this O Magazine-endorsed gluten-free pasta! That's right. OPRAH. What I like about this pasta is that you can get gluten-free fettucine and linguini, not something that every gluten-free pasta company makes! I even have a hard time finding gluten-free fusilli (possibly my favorite type of pasta - just love the swirliness)! RP's Pasta has it all!

6. 88 Acres Seed Bars
I know what you're thinking. "Seed bars? That sounds gross." No, you guys! Not at all! The gluten-free seed bars from 88 Acres are delicious and would make a great breakfast-on-the-go or mid-morning snack. There are three flavors: apple and ginger, chocolate and sea salt, and triple berry. In quite possibly the only time in my life when I have passed up anything with chocolate and sea salt, I sampled the triple berry bar and it was REALLY good! All flavors are also available as granola.

7. Delights Gluten-Free "Hot Pockets"
So here's another time when you guys are going to think "Gluten-free Hot Pockets? That sounds gross." But again, NO. These stuffed sandwiches from Delights taste really good, plus they are made with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. I don't think that real Hot Pockets can say that.

8. Still Riding Gluten-Free Pizza Crust
We are pretty loyal to one particular brand of pizza crust (that shall be left unnamed), but I think we might have to switch to the gluten-free crust from Still Riding Foods. This baked up so crispy; it didn't get soggy at all underneath the sauce as the other pizza crust brand we buy does. And you can get the crust in two sizes for your own pizza or a pizza to share with your family.

9. Mikaela's Biscotti Cookies
I love biscotti, but sometimes it can be a little hard on the teeth when you bite into it. But what if the crunch you love were in a cookie? It is with biscotti cookies from Mikaela's Simply Divine. Available in Luscious Lemon, Chocolate Chip, and Chocolate Mint (the two chocolate ones are my faves), these cookies are lighter than traditional biscotti and gluten-free, of course! The perfect accompaniment to a nice cup of tea.

So, there you have it! I encourage you to click on the links and check out all these great companies. And if you were at the Secaucus GFAF Expo this year, share some of your favorite finds in the comments below!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Mini Me Scrapbook Page

Let's finish up the week with another scrapbook layout! (My GFAF Expo recap will go up next week! It's been really hard whittling down my list of all the best new gluten-free finds from the Secaucus Expo!)

Here's a layout that shows me as a baby and my baby! All of the products on this one came from my stash. There's random Snugglebug, Echo Park, Scenic Route, and Basic Grey on this one.

The journaling reads: From the day Daphne was born, everyone said she looked like me. And it couldn't be more obvious in this photo that Mom and Dad took of Daphne, staged to look like one of me when I was around her age.

In the hospital, the nurses always had to scan my hospital bracelet to make sure it matched up with the baby's whenever they were returning the baby to my hospital room. And one time, the nurse said, "I have to scan your bracelet. Even though I know this baby's yours. She looks just like you." Ha ha. Well, "ha ha" was what I said on the outside. But on the inside I was thinking, "LEAVE ME ALONE. GET OUT OF MY ROOM AND LET ME SLEEP. WHY DID YOU BRING BACK THE BABY?????"

It's very tiring being in the hospital after having a baby. Especially when you have a migraine... but I digress.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Uncle and Aunt Scrapbook Page

Here's a layout of my brother-in-law and sister-in-law holding the baby WAY back when she was just 3 months old. (Seems so long ago.)

This page came together in such a fated way. I found this patterned paper in my stash and said, "Well, I'll use it for a picture of the baby and her uncles." So then I had these pictures and I had some letter stickers in my stash that fit with the color scheme of the patterned paper so that I could spell out "aunt" because my sister-in-law was in the pictures, too. And then I had the chevron patterned paper sitting out on my desk, and it seemed to fit. Same with the heart patterned paper underneath the bottom picture. I grabbed the yellow cardstock from my paper stash, and then I found the dark green cardstock in a recently discovered 8.5 x 11 paper pad, and wouldn't you know it? The dark green fit with the color scheme of the "uncle" paper! The "adorable" tag and the flower were in my random embellishments bag, along with the journaling tag.

The journaling reads: "There's no turning back now." That's what I said to an expecting Pat and Meg after Daphne cried while they held her. Daphne forgot that she had met Aunt Meg and Uncle Pat before - and that was probably because she slept through that visit.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Stroll Scrapbook Page

I got a few more scrapbook pages done for the baby's album the other night. No close-up detail photos to go with them. I took pictures of each finished layout about as quickly as I scrapped them!

This one is of my mom, me, and the baby on a walk in our neighborhood back at the beginning of the summer. (Yes, it was summer. Yes, we were wearing sweatshirts. It was actually cold that day!)

This layout used up the last of my Basic Grey Offbeat collection. I have some paper scraps and embellishment stickers left over to make one or two cards, though, so I'll probably do that at some point. I need to get my card stash back up to snuff!

The sticker letters are old American Crafts Thickers, and the circle journaling spot was just something random I had in my stash.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Cool Minds - Book Review

Whether it's this election season, the upcoming holidays (67 days until Christmas???), or a big presentation at work or test at school, there are a lot of things that can throw our minds into turmoil, making it hard to focus and hard to feel confident in our abilities. But that's where the new book Cool Minds: 11 Easy Ways to Relive Stress, Boost Self-Confidence, and Improve Concentration in School, Sports, and Life comes into play.

Written by David Keefe, this book is actually targeted to young adults, but I think it's a great beginner guide to meditation for just about anyone!

Back when I was still practicing yoga (I need it back in my life!), meditation was a big part of the practice. I wasn't always good at silencing my mind, but even just attempting to meditate seemed to bring huge benefits. And that's why it's called a practice - because you have to practice at it!

This little book (perfect for throwing in a purse, backpack, or gym bag) gives you some background at how meditation can help you, and then offers some techniques that you can use as you begin your meditation practice. Are you looking to relax? Do you need help focusing or getting a confidence boost before a performance? How about changing a negative attitude? All of these things and more can be achieved through the practice of meditation.

I really liked this book and hope to put into practice some of these meditation techniques into my daily life. I have to say it again, this book is labeled as being "young adult", but I think it's a great book for people of any age who want to learn how to meditate.

Cool Minds is published by Shambhala Publications and is on bookstore shelves now. I received a free review copy for my honest review.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Nesting Scrapbook Page

It's hard to believe that there was a time when the nursery was unoccupied. Now there's a little human playing and sleeping in there! But last December, the baby was still cooking and we spent my birthday setting up some of the nursery furniture.

This uses Crate Paper patterned paper, Martha Stewart letter stickers (on clearance at Michael's), and Recollections embellishments (also on clearance at Michael's).

I actually saw the letter stickers and the Recollections embellishments and realized that they would be great additions to this Crate Paper paper pad that was in my stash!

And then I already had some baby stickers from a long time ago doing a baby shower page for a friend, so I was able to add some of those to this two-pager, too.

And yes, of course there are pandas! I didn't use black and white paper or anything with pandas on this layout, though I did think about it. I just decided to let the pandas in the pictures take care of that!

One of the reasons those pinwheel embellishments were on clearance was because the buttons in the center had fallen off. But that's nothing that small glue dots couldn't fix!

And while I was scrapbooking about setting up the nursery, the little baby was taking a nap in her crib. There were so many things I had to do during her naptime, but I decided to scrapbook instead.