Celebrate Earth Day Every Day

Earth Day is officially April 22, 2008. While celebrating our planet on this day is a nice idea, it’s even nicer to implement earth-friendly ideas throughout the year, every day if possible. With spring and summer right around the corner, it’s easy to do things to help you, your family and the environment. Here are some good earth day activities and ideas.

Create a Certified Wildlife Habitat in your yard by providing food sources (such as plants, seeds, nuts, nectar), water sources (pond, stream, bird bath), covered areas (rock pile, bird house, thickets), places to raise young (pond, thick shrubbery, nesting boxes), sustainable gardening (mulch, compost, chemical free fertilizer). Once you’ve done this, you may register your habitat for certification. Visit the National Wildlife Federation for this and more to do, not just on Earth Day, but every day.

My favorite garden shoes (ok, I’ll admit it, they are my favorite summertime shoes.. I wear them all the time) are my sloggers. I bought my last two pair from Target for about $10. My daughter recently bought some similar shoes (what are they called, that have the holes in them that everyone wears?).. well, from another site (and I’ll give them credit if I come across it again – Found it – Hip Mama’s Place is where I first saw them) I found out about Polliwalks – talk about some adorable summer / garden shoes for kids!

Container gardening is an easy way to build a garden in confined areas. Try planting specific garden pots, such as a “salsa garden pot” using a pepper plant, a tomato plant and a few herbs like cilantro, basil or oregano.

Use the USDA Hardiness Zone Finder to make sure the plants you plant in your flower beds will withstand the weather in your area. Or just visit their site – National Garden Association for SO much info.

Set up a worm compost to get some of the best and natural fertilizer there is available and let those little red wigglers gobble up your kitchen waste. Setting up a worm compost is easy and doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. You can make a wooden box, or even use a plastic bin (like a Rubbermaid container).. the key is to provide moisture, bedding and your compost shouldn’t smell foul. One of my long time favorite sites for worm information is WormLady.com. She has great, simple information on worms red wigglers in particular, sells them and also has some links to further information.

If you aren’t able to plant your own garden, your area may have a food co-op or other program. These programs allow you to purchase local in-season veggies all spring, summer and into the fall. This helps the environment too as well as supporting local farmers! To minimize getting to burned out on the same veggies every week, go in on it with a friend.

Get active – meet up with your community and clean up the neighborhood. Whether it’s just picking up trash or planting flowers and mulching the local part, it all helps and this activity brings the community together.

Save energy by joining Project Switch – switch out your costly, ineffective incandescent bulbs to help reduce your carbon footprint.

Join the World Wildlife Organization for their countdown to this 2008 Earth Day – but really, Earth Day is every day – so no matter which year it is, every little bit helps. Make A Change.

If you eat meat, go free range – the meat is healthier because the animal is healthier and usually treated more humanely. Recent studies have shown free range animals contain Omega-3 (a fatty acid essential to human health), whereas contained/caged animals do not. Hmmm…

Now, for some fun activities and information, visit Earth Day at Kaboose – some terrific crafts – like coffee grounds fossils, lady bug rocks and tin can herb containers. Plan an Earth Day Dinner – Angel Hair Pasta with Asparagus and for dessert have some Mudpie Cookies.

Above all, make your earth celebrations activities you and your family enjoy. Happy Earth Day!

What is a Mandala?

I first heard about mandalas from our home school group several years ago. Unfortunately, our family missed the mandala project as it was held the year before we joined. I never did look into it, but always remembered generically what they were.

Recently, I borrowed the movie The Last Mimzy which as a side note, I thought was a cute movie – I enjoyed the kids and I really like Rainn Wilson among other cast members – the kids are adorable too!

Anyway, in the movie the boy draws perfectly an ancient mandala. See the movie or read the link above for details. My point is it reminded me I’d like to find some to print. In the process, I wanted to find out just What is a Mandala?

A mandala is loosely translated from an ancient indian language meaning “circle”. However, in modern day, mandala has come to mean a term for a geometric pattern, not necessarily circular… it represents a microcosm of the Universe from our perspectives as humans.

Though, I believe it can represent a deeper awareness into our own selves.

In my search for a few mandalas to print and color, I came across a few sites with some lovely designs.. some simple, some more intricate.

Being what I consider an earthy mom (Teigen’s birth and Ryland’s birth, not to mention my parenting style), I found one mandala I just love. I think pregnant women would find peace and comfort coloring this particular mandala:
Marie Pré represents a fetus in utero. I love the lotus flower around the tiny infant.

There are many places to print mandalas, but here are a couple more I found of particular interest. If you find others, or create and/or color any and would like to share, please leave a comment.

Sharing much info, a gallery, coloring pages as well as color meanings:
In Search of Mandalas (a translated page)
Free Mandala

And lots of fun info to be had at the Mandala Project – including a mandala made in the sand, mandalas found in nature and a mandala quilt. As well as joining a group to create mandalas.

What’s Up, Some Comments and Link Love

I have been slightly out of commission the past week and a half. Mostly due to health – Crohn’s Disease commonly causes depression, so between feeling pretty crummy and dealing with a lack of energy, I was barely doing anything internet related.

My husband is on his “required” 30 leave from work, so I’m happy to have him home, to say the least! And Easter was fun, though pretty cold… I saw where others woke up to snow – egads.. I’ll pass on the winter weather – I’m so ready to start seeing an increase in temperature.

I’ve been making some rounds this morning and trying to post some comments, but blogger seems to be having issues with their comments..

To Entrecard Favorites – thanks for all the link love! And for the raffle win. I received your credits the other day and couldn’t figure out just why, ha! Now I see. Great idea and again, much thanks. 🙂

Barrs By The Bay used (in part) my crockpot soap tutorial to make a batch of hydrangea scented soap in her crockpot. I don’t think it matters what soap making method you use, it’s fun to make!

Ok.. so.. I’m back and I have more to post… but work calls.

Entrecard Giveway

Generate New Traffic With Entrecard – New Member Contest

If you haven’t checked into Entrecard, now is the time to do it. Between March 15th and April 15th any new members will have the chance to win over 45,000 entrecard credits.

Sense to Save organized this awesome giveaway when, at about 3 months old, Entrecard reached and then surpassed it’s 5000th active member.

Entrecard is free, provides free advertising, has the potential to generate a lot of traffic (up to 350+ visitors a day), provides the opportunity to network with like-minded bloggers or to broaden your knowledge and interests with others outside your niche.

Explained simply, you upload a 125 x 125 banner to entrecard (or just create a simple one on their site) and this becomes your web 2.0 business card in which you visit other members and “drop” your card. For each card you drop (up to 300 a day), you get a credit. For each card dropped on you, you receive another credit. These credits are then used to purchase a daily ad on the blog(s) of your choice within the entrecard network.

How did this affect Momma Muse? Traffic has increased steadily over the past few years. Mostly my traffic generated from searches. Networking and building a community wasn’t something I really cared much to do. But I started seeing Entrecard ads and before long I really wondered what it was about. I joined and well.. I love entrecard. Entrecard gave Momma Muse a renewal, it bumped up the traffic – though some of it is “drop and run” and that’s fine with me! But within Entrecard, we are developing a recognition and branding of our sites, communicating through the forums and messaging.. friends are being made, comments are being left and the sense of community (for me) is becoming more important. So Entrecard brought MM traffic and Community. Two very important aspects for a blog and it’s blogger.

To quote the original contest details:
The Largest Entrecard Giveaway Ever

To help Entrecard’s community grow, we posted on the forums to rally everyone together and hold Entrecard’s largest community giveaway. The responses have been overwhelming – over 45,000 credits will be donated from 38 current members! Only new members will be eligible to win.

What would 44,000 credits mean to you? It would take nearly 144 days to build up this amount.

Here are the contest details:

* The giveaway will be held March 15 – April 15.
* Only new users that sign up with Entrecard during this promotional period will be eligible.
* Comment and mention your Entrecard username at any of the hosting blogs (listed below) on their contest post to receive a contest entry. You can comment one time on each hosting blog to receive one entry each comment.
* A 1st place prize of 34,000 credits will be given randomly to a new user.
* Smaller 2nd place prizes will be given within each Entrecard niche category.

Last, please note that Entrecard has a little something for everyone and will be worth your time. Even within the Official Entrecard Blog, users have differing perspectives about whether Entrecard is a place to gain visibility in the blogosphere or make new blogging friends . There is no right or wrong way to benefit from Entrecard.

Currently, there are 38 members participating by donating and hosting this, the “Largest Entrecard Giveaway“.

Saturday Entrecard Link Love

More Saturday link love for my entrecard advertisers. If you are a blogger and haven’t joined entrecard yet… check it out. 🙂 Spread the word about your blog, meet other bloggers and have fun.

This weeks advertisers March 9 – March 15:

Sunday – Holy Cuteness – this drop master has some cute and funny pet pics. You can even email HC to let them know about other cute pictures.

Monday – Urutora No Hi – All about Japan.. I know this post was over a week ago, but I love the monkeys bathing in the hot springs.

Tuesday – Angelika – Angelika, my apologies, but I can not get your site to load for me tonight. No fun! Sorry!

Wednesday – DietMe! – One of my favorite things about DietMe is this Australian woman gives us the goods on one specific item at a time. Most recently she talks about the goodness of tuna – and even admits to eating it out of the can at times.. mmmyummm!

Thursday – Nocturnal Blogger’s Introspect – Nocturnal must have been losing sleep from trying to get her page to load faster. 🙂 Works for me.. Now I am taking a look at my site to see what slows it down!

Friday – Jeans Women – With Spring right around the corner, it’s time to get those feet and toesies ready for sandals!

Saturday – Jenn Cooks – Jenn always has yummmy recipes, but the best part is all the pictures she takes along the way. Recently she shared Peanut Butter Fingers … oh my! and to top it off, a creamy blend of chocolate and peanut butter glaze.

Four Foods on Friday – #21, week 5

Yummy food questions! This is this weeks (#21) Four Foods on Friday meme.

#1. What’s your favorite fruit and how do you like to eat it?
I love fruit.. I can’t think of just one. I love fruit in smoothies, I love it plain… like homemade raspberry and blackberry syrup over pancakes, or banana crepes with orange sauce (must get recipe from mom). I love apple crisp (or see apple crisp pics) made with crunchy, tart granny smith apples… No.. sorry, can’t narrow this one down.

#2. What is the one spice in your kitchen you use more than any other?
This should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been reading my FFoF answers… salt.

#3. Pudding. Instant, stovetop or premade?
Instant.. I’m too lazy for stovetop.. and premade icks me out, especially the kind that doesn’t require refrigeration (eeewww!).

#4. Share a recipe using potatoes.
Me and the girls love tater tot casserole and it’s so easy to make.. not to mention versatile – you can sneak veggies in, or just keep as is. Here’s my Tatertot Casserole Recipe (or see tatertot casserole pics).

This weeks Four Foods on Friday #21.. visit, read, comment, join. 🙂

Cheescake Factory Soda

Originally uploaded by madaise.

We went to the Cheesecake Factory on Monday for lunch. Here, it’s at the “The Greene” and outdoor mall.. very nice. We like going a couple times a month, and more in the summer when the fountain is on. The boys can spend hours playing in the water there.

Ry wanted chicken fingers and fries and Tege ordered roadside sliders. I didn’t think to get any pictures of the food, other than the drink and the bread – which ended up being the only thing the boys really wanted to eat anyway. Next time I’ll just order extra sour dough bread and well… dessert, which we all opted to skip this time (and I was SO thankful to cut things short).

Here are some other Cheesecake Factory pictures I’ve taken.. this outing and another – but not all of the times we’ve been.

Heads or Tails – Green

Originally uploaded by madaise.

This weeks Heads or Tails theme is Heads, Green.

Heads means interpret the idea how you wish. Since this week is a green theme, I am choosing a picture of daffodils that I took last spring (late March). Green ivy, green stems.. the flowers are yellow I know.. but first, it’s all green.. fresh, lovely spring green.

Spring is here officially on the 21st of this month, St. Patrick’s Day is just next week… We’re coming up on a nice change of season and I’m (like many) getting a bit anxious for the outdoors.

Visit the Heads or Tails meme homepage to learn how it works… then visit Skittles Place because she IS the founder. 🙂

Saturday Entrecard Link Love

I’d like to thank these fellow entrecarders for using their hard earned entre-credits to advertise on my site for the week of March 2 – March 8th..

Sunday – Paws Awhile – I’m such a dog lover – this site is for INDog rescue and rehabilitation. Currently running a contest until March 29th.. check the site for details.

Monday – That Grrl – Laura’s blog is fun to read.. she’s very real.. enjoyed her Thursday 13 this week and reminder to make sure you have strong passwords for your accounts.. she posted about that as well.

Tuesday – so you wannabee a Domestik Goddess? – this domestik goddess (irl Rebecca) is worth visiting (read her profile, it’s worth it) lives with therapy dogs (a greyhound even… a sighthound, how could I not love this goddess, just for that?) is a freelance write, decorator and doesn’t mind some dirt on the floor.. she’s also on the last bit of her pregnancy.. 🙂

Wednesday – Kater-Bug Cakes – some cute cakes – the cat in the hat and the lady bug cupcakes are too cute .. but I *love* the mickey hat cake.. and the easter basket cake – wow!!

Thursday – Biyahilo Tourist Attractions – beautiful sights to see on this blog – lovely pictures.. makes me ready for a vacation!

Friday – Cromely’s World – as I was skimming through Cromely’s posts.. I came to one in which he’d packed for a week away from home.. and forgotten slacks.. he of course went to what he refers to as his personal storage facility – my favorite store Target and saved the week. (psst.. Cromely.. I think you should change your blogger profile answer… 😉 )

Saturday – Fitness Life Club – Get fit with Pat King.. seriously.. there is so much information on this site..

Thank you all..

And for those who still don’t know about entrecard.. it’s like a social / blog advertising site. You create a 125×125 image to represent your site (referred to as your “card”, think business card, or social card).. you “drop” your card (think hand out, if it was real life) on other sites.. for each card you drop, you get a credit.. each site you drop on, they get a credit.. credits build up and you use those credits to “buy” advertising space on each others sites… it’s really simple, fun, and you get to know other bloggers, by site and by card.

If you join, look me up – Momma Muse.. and drop me a card – I always reciprocate drops. 🙂