Sunday, November 8, 2009

Not So Silent Sunday

It's been a long time. Over a month and nothing from this self proclaimed "loud mouth." I've missed blogging but unfortunately have not found the spare minute in the day to devote to it.

It's been a strange year. In earlier posts I've shared what I am seeing in my community secondary to the recession. Yesterday I received another dose of reality while participating in a health fair that my staff coordinated and sponsored.

It was held in our statellite office. An area that just 18 months ago was considered very up and coming, with multiple coveted zip codes, affluent areas, promise of the American dream. Today it has one of the highest foreclosure rates and unemployment rates in our State. Today it is an area that hurts visibly.

In the land of plenty, the land of milk and honey that is America, it is difficult to comprehend the inability to provide yourself with basic needs--food, shelter, being able to provide and care for oneself, etc. That is what I saw. That is their reality.

There are no words to describe the response we received from those that attended the health fair. It was pure gratitude and I cannot begin to share what that looks or feels like. But I can say to anyone reading this blog that if you have an opportunity to assist in community events in your area take the time, do it, make a difference in someone's life. Right now, it is needed.

My deepest appreciation and thanks to those who made this possible for our community. Ursula, Ron, Tim, Terri, Claudia C, Claudia J, Yvette, Isaiah, Pacia, Connie, Jayne, Melissa, Wendy, Dawn, Ramona, Carol, Eva, Hugh, Luz, Marlene, Taymi, Brenda, Debbie T, Debbie D-M (and Buddy), Valarie, Linda (and her wonderful Volunteers), and Paul--thank you! Your dedication and committment to our organization, your community and the people that we serve is a source of inspiration. I am blessed to be a part of this "Dream Team."

Until next time,


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Growing Up Spanglish

My sister and I are slightly damaged, I say that in a loving way. We grew up just a little different than our friends. We grew up Spanglish.

Now you might ask what exactly is growing up Spanglish? Well if you take the best of American culture and mix it with the best of Spanish tradition you have growing up Spanglish. Our parents did not speak English as we were growing up which now in retrospect has led to some of the funniest moments (and memories) of our lives. We recall parental language faux pas and can laugh for hours not only at the way they were said but at the subtle innuendos associated with what they said.

Our parents never said thank you very much, but did mange "sank ju' berry mush." Our friends shopped at Winn Dixie Qwik Chek we cut to the chase and went to "Winn Chek," our grandmother's favorite store. Most of you probably have had a bucket of the Colonel's Kentucky Fried Chicken hmmm at our house that would be "Ceeken Leeken." And then there was the bus driver who insulted our mother (according of course to our mother) the man simply asked her to "Put the fare..." in the toll machine and pointed. Our mother insisted that he had called her " ugly lady of the evening."

As we grew up we learned the American translation for our "secret language." Now after so many years we crack up when we hear friends and acquaintances discuss their "secret languages." It seems they might not have been as "secret" as any of us thought. There are so many common factors that we are beginning to wonder if it wasn't a master plot thought up by our parents.

Growing up Spanglish was amazing. It prepared us for what life had to hold. If nothing else it did teach us to think on our feet, to question the spoken word, and to stand on what we know to be right for us. Case in point, I was going out on a first date many years ago when my mother turned to me and the young man and uttered, "Don con hon lader." A huge smile emerged on my dates face, to which I responded "zip it, you can't begin to understand."

Have a great weekend and until next time,


Saturday, September 19, 2009

We're Back~~Silent Saturday

Back in the shop in a multitude of colors, just in time for your holiday shopping. Pin on your lapel or slide a ribbon or chain through the pin's back for a unique look this fall.
Back in the shop in a multitude of colors, just in time for your holiday shopping.
Length adjusts from choker to full 30" can also be used as eyeglass holder
Grow flowers of gratitude in the soil of prayer~V. Woods

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Wishes Do Come True

If a pig can fly, are any words necessary? Hope you enjoy the new additions to our shop.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Please Pardon our Dust...

I've always loved this sign in department stores. It's always been encouraging to me to see growth and to know that there exists planned chaos. I've always secretly wanted to hang one of those signs up myself.

Sumpin Else is our little dream. We hoped for a "Please Pardon our Dust..." sign of our own one day. Ahhhh, one day that was the key. That day came a little sooner; not a complaint just a joyful realization.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be working on reorganizing our growing "little" business. For which our kitchen tables, living rooms, dining rooms, and families thank us. We in turn thank you!

We are not as savvy or well equipped at this as Bloomingdale's or Macy's. So in order to fulfill our local and custom orders while we revamp we will be on hiatus until September. If you have placed a Sumpin Else order (through 8/7/2009) your order will be shipped in the same timely manner as it always has been. If you are placing an order 8/8/2009 or after please note that orders will be shipped on August 27th.

Again, thank you for making our dreams come true. Next blog entry will be August 27th in the meantime: Please pardon our dust while we regroup to serve you better.

Until next time,


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Oh, GROW UP Already!

We've been talking a lot about kids moving out, moving on, and getting married . . . and, as a mom, I know you have to let them go at some point, BUT (and that's a big but) what if you're not ready? What then?

My daughter decided it was time to spread her wings and fly, and fly she did! All the way to New York City! It's not like I can hop in the car and be there in an hour or two. Even if I fly it's still more than a few hours out. I remember being her age and getting in my car and going and going. . . albeit it was only for the weekend. Then, I'd come home. My weekend trips never took me out of state (okay, once)!

Nick just popped the question and as happy as we are about it . . . he's spreading his wings and flying, too!

My mind rewinds and I remember all of them as little kids (Carmen's and mine) . . . the day Nick (his sister's interpreter - they're a year and half apart) decided he could no longer understand what she was saying so we were up the creek understanding her . . . the day Carmen got stopped by the cop and Amanda and Alex (still in their car seats) started singing "Bad boys, Bad boys, whatcha gonna do . . . " . . . Alex removing every stitch of clothes and running around saying, "I'm cold!"

The kids have grown up . . . but I still remember these moments (and MORE), and I thank God each and every day that I was able to share times with them when they were little.

But to the youngest of the clan, my Derrick, I say . . . take your time.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Beauty in a Grain of Sand

Sumpin Else

Glass Pendant--Glass Ceiling--Bellagio I
Sumpin Else

"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." Michelangelo
Have you ever looked at a tree and noticed the sun shining through the leaves? How they glimmer and become almost translucent? How the color is alive and vibrant? Or have you walked on the beach and marveled at those tiny little grains of sand? How they shine as if each were a diamond just ready to be plucked?
Man has been awed by the beauty of nature since the begining of time. The great masters saw more in a piece of stone or a stretched canvas something that needed to be released. The beauty they saw in their raw materials was much more than words could describe, so they set them "free."
Each one of us has the potential to do that; if not with our hands, with our minds. This power uplifts and transcends us. Next time you find yourself in the garden or on the beach, find the beauty in a grain of sand.
Until next time,

Saturday, July 25, 2009

For My Children

MorningsideThe old man died
And no one cried
They simply turned away
And when he died
He left a table made of nails and pride
And with his hands he carved these words inside
"for my children"
Neil Diamond Morningside
(for complete lyrics and to view Morningside click on Morningside above. You will be directed to the site and the appropriate page. The youtube video is available on the left.)
The first time I ever heard this song my eldest son was not even a glimmer in this mother's eyes. I can't begin to express how deeply the lyrics touched me and the commitment I vowed to make for my children at that time.
Decades have since passed, but the whole time, the lyrics have lived within my head and my heart. Their haunting beauty pulled me through some of my darkest moments, moments when I could not find it in myself to lift up by the boot straps and go on. They were constant reminders of why it was important to me to be there for my children. They helped me to focus on what I held to be important and what I believed I needed to instill in them.
For Mom's (and Dad's) every where, your job (raising your children) is the most important work you will ever do. You are molding their futures, yours, and that of the world. They are our legacy. They are our hope~~raise them with all the love and compassion that you hold within.
Until next time,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Writer's Block related to Healthcare

In keeping with the summer schedule of blogging every three days today would be the day. My only challenge is that try as I might nothing has popped into my mind for tonights post. My entire day has been filled with so many other things that little time was left over to even consider what to write so I will briefly share with you what is troubling me. Healthcare!

As I've stated before, I am a nurse. Although I have been in Administration and not at the bedside in over 11 years I am still a nurse. Due to the current economic crisis I am starting to see first hand what I learned about in graduate school--the phenomenon of the emergency room as the point of entry to healthcare. How sad it is to watch and how deeply distrubing it is to know that so many are in need of care and unable to afford it. They put off seeing their doctors often until it is too late. It is not bad enough that so many are now out of jobs and underinsured or uninsured we must now add Medicare and Medicaid cuts on top of that as well.

I still have hope. Hope that we will lead ourselves out of this crisis and that we will find a more lasting and workable solution to our healthcare woes. A country's greatness can be gauged by how it takes care of its children, elderly and infirmed. Are we slipping?

Until next time,


Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Psychology of Color the Color Mood Connection

Glass Pendants--Jewel Tones Color Me Wonderful $8.00
Have you ever walked into a room and wondered why you feel so anxious, relaxed, motivated, or even tired? Have you ever dressed for a special meeting and chosen the red blazer or the black and wondered what it is about that blazer that makes you feel powerful and in control? Why do we dress baby girls in pinks, and baby boys in blues? And why do attorneys tell clients what to wear for their "day in court?"
The answer is both simple and complicated. Color effects our affect, moods, perceptions, and feelings. It also effects others affect, moods, perceptions, and feelings about us when we wear them.
Much research has been done on the effects of color. So much so that many articles and writings are now available to the general public thanks to the Internet. One of my favorites Color: Meaning, Symbolism, and Psychology can be found at
So next time you wonder why you feel anxious whenever your boss wears "...that red blazer." Look it up, you might just have the answer at your fingertips!
Until next time,

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thilent (Corny Yes) Thursday

Original Sumpin Else Photo
Sample: Maggi's "Little Man" Derrick
Firsts are Custom Items
Sample: Our friends Ron and Ursula
Firsts are Custom Items
Until next time,

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Trying New Things

I remember as a small child often sitting at the dinner table with what looked like who knows what in front of me. I also remember my grandmother Mimi encouraging me to try whatever the flavor of the day was. Whether it was food, games, books, or activities it was always Mimi encouraging us to try something new.
Later on when Mimi was not at our side every minute of the day, her voice would pop into my head whenever I faced a new challenge. Thanks to Mimi our sense of adventure was developed and cultivated. She may have been a little woman but she was packed full of spunk. Mimi passed away on December 17, 2004.

As I was looking in our shop the other day I thought to myself how much I would like to try my hand at glass pendants. Up until this point I had always been fearful to give it a try and then there she was "Try it" I heard her distinct but tiny voice in my head. Of course I had to follow it.
Mimi, it is the first of hopefully many, this magnolia is for you. I love you and miss you, thank you for staying in my heart and in my head.
Until next time,

Thursday, July 9, 2009

An Idle Mind

is the "playground of the devil." I'm not agreeing with that quote these days. Well my mind really hasn't been idle, but it has been taking in way too much HGTV. Oh, the new ideas I have for this house . . . not that we need to do anything more to our house at the moment, but WOW!

I'm thinking of demo'ing the wall between the kitchen and the dining room. Really, it's not a major task. The problem starts with the re-wiring of the electric for the fridge and stove. I guess I shouldn't mention the air conditioning duct is encased by a soffit. Seriously, it looks great in my head! Mind you I'm not an electrician, plumber or carpenter nor do I play one on TV . . . but I'm loaded with ideas!

Next, the laundry room . . . it just needs to be a bit bigger. It's not a problem that the only way to expand the laundry room would be into the garage. Ha! Just a little bump in the road.

Tomorrow I'm Lowe's or Home Depot bound . . . now that is truly the playground for the devil!

(just kidding Babe!)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Congratulations Nick and Carri

Nick and Carri
Engaged July 4th 2009

I had good intentions today. I was going to bring our readers up to speed with what's going on in our shop. BUT as you can see our blog is a little bit of this, a little bit of that. We not only want to tell you about Sumpin Else, we want to establish relationships with you as Carmen and Maggi.

So here is a Carmen moment to share. Last night during the fireworks my son Nicholas and his girlfried Carri set off some fireworks of their own. They got engaged a wonderful text this morning confirmed it! To both of them we (Paul and I) say "Congratulations and best of luck on your journey together, may it be filled with joy and love."

I once read one of those internet chain letters that touched my heart and soul. And even though the legends site says it probably didn't happen the poem at the end always stays with me. I wish now that its true author was known so as to give them credit because if there is one thing I wish for Nick, Carri, and all of our children it is "I wish you enough..."

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright,
enough rain so you can appreciate light.
I wish you enough music to raise your spirits,
enough silence so you can hear it.
I wish you enough happiness to make you glow,
enough pain to make you grow.
I wish you enough intelligence to make your way,
enough innocence to enjoy the day.
I wish you joy. I wish you love. I wish you peace. I wish you enough.
Until next time,
Carmen (aka Mom to you)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Fourth Of July

Happy birthday America, land that I love. Thank you for giving me a roof over my head, bread to eat everyday, the shirt on my back and the opportunity to exercise my rights and defend my beliefs. With all your wrinkles and your warts you are still a jewel in our eyes.

Please remember the young men and women who are away from our shores. Thank you for your great sacrifice in the name of Freedom.

Until next time,


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Somedays You Give It To God

My sister and I were raised Catholic. Long before it was fashionable to be Christian, we attended Catholic parochial school and Catholic high school. She was the lucky one that got to go to a boy/girl school; I was the ground breaker and was promptly enrolled in an all girl school.

The beauty of growing up Catholic is that there was a dogma, a creed or a prayer for each one of life's hurdles. Everything in life had an associated mystery and mysticism. There were prayers for lost items, for rain, for sunshine, for impossible obstacles, for blessings, and thanks. Life was simple with St. Anthony, St. Joseph, and St. Jude.

Unfortunately as one ages we want more of an explanation to all of life's trials. This was not spared on us. We too looked for answers were the only answer is and was because it is so. However, life does have a way of bringing you back to where it wants you to be. Always at the crossroads and making decisions and faith is what sustains you.

No matter what your belief system is faith is at the root of it. Let faith work for you and move your mountains.

Until next time,


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Time to Make the Donuts

the Dunkin' Donuts commercial goes through my head everytime Carmen tells me it's time to update the blog. (Don't ask me why, it's just the way my brain cells are wired . . . )

We are going to have an opportunity to market our custom frames to a softball league. A friend of mine has a daughter whose team is going to be playing in the All Star games in Alabama over the 4th of July weekend. Congrats, Alivia! Alivia is going to be receiving her customized frame as our "thank you" and "congratulations" gift. We'll be sure to post Alivia and her frame right here on our blog as soon as we finish it up for her this week!

Don't forget! We can customize any of our frames in your favorite colors, colors that match your school, your room or any other occasion!


Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I try very hard to stay optimistic. Not Pollyanna hiding her head in the sand but upbeat looking for the silver lining in each cloud, the good that comes out of the bad, etc. I have my dark side don't misunderstand but it is usually kept well under control by the optimist who sets my "cruise control."

I am also a nurse. Again, given my profession the optimist springs eternal. Although it is difficult to witness there is good that comes from human suffering although we don't understand it when it is happening. We as humans aspire to make things better for others. Life is held in the highest esteem and people are an end not a means to an end.

Not that I am giving up on these beliefs or practices, but even for Pollyanna it is hard at the moment to hold on to them given the difficult economic times. It is heart breaking to see what is happening in communities all around the United States. With layoffs and downsizing we are beginning to see more and more Americans who for years have been healthy due to benefits that allowed them to stay healthy become infirmed with no where to turn. No job, same bills, health issues and no coverage--never a good combination.

We as a country need to be cognizant of what is going on all around us. Tonight at 10 p.m. President Obama will be holding a Town Hall Meeting. Even for those of us that consider ourselves as being not politically active or mildly interested this meeting will be important. This meeting will discuss healthcare and may set precedent for upcoming legislation. You don't need a soapbox just good listening skills and a voice that you are willing to exercise.

Until next time,


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Steve we love you--Happy Father's Day

Paul we love you--Happy Father's Day

Pipo te queremos--Feliz Dia de los Padres

Father's Day 2009 as we reminisce today on past Father's Days, we hope that you have a wonderful day, one that will be filed in your vault of great family memories. To our father, our husbands, and their fathers we wish you all the joy this world can hold as seen through the eyes of your children.
To those who have gone before us, Big Guy and Dad Demos, we love you and miss you but we know that your watchful eyes are over us. Say "Hi" and a big "I love you" to Joan and Connie.

Until next time,

Maggi and Carmen

Friday, June 19, 2009

Don't Forget Dad

It's easy to shop for my Dad, really. He loves coffee table books on Cuba, Baseball, and History. However, this year my Mom said he might like something homemade. Well, that's right up our alley. It seems that he's gotten very "emotional" in his old age.

I gave my Mom a little cheesy Hallmark poem many, many years ago (I'm almost positive I was in 3rd grade) and she still has it on her wall. Right next to it hangs one I gave my grandmother. My Dad made a comment to my Mom about her and my Grandmother having one, but there wasn't one for him.

So this year, I thought I'd listen and make him something. I found a poem from Mother Teresa that had been translated into Spanish and started there. It's a bit difficult to find masculine embellishments, so I kept the frame monochromatic and used ribbons, flowers and a butterfly. I'm pretty happy with the end result.

Yep - that's Carmen and I in that picture, and here's a closeup of the embellishments.

I'm hoping he likes it. He usually does, but just in case . . . I got him a back up gift . . . Maybe next year, I need to get him a new, bigger coffee table!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Breakfast for Dinner

This is a busy Mom fix ahead dinner that can be used all year round, my family loves waking up to this one on Christmas morning. Makes approximate 8 GENEROUS servings, recipe can be doubled allow additional 30 minutes cooking time.

12 slice of bread cubed
6 eggs
3 cups of milk
1 small to medium chopped onion*
1 small green, red (or both use ½ of each of using red and green) pepper
One of these (if desired; for vegetarians forgo this step):
½ cup of crumbled bacon
1 cup of chopped ham
1 cup of sliced hot dogs
1 regular package of Jimmy Dean Sausage (cook and crumble before using in dish)
½ cup of cheese (Sharp Cheddar or Mild depending on your personal taste)
1 tsp of nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste

If making the same day preheat oven to 350 degrees. If making ahead remember to preheat oven.

In a mixing bowl beat eggs as if to make scrambled eggs, add milk, nutmeg and beat. Spray 13” x 9” inch rectangular pan with non-stick spray or grease with margarine or butter.
Place bread, onion, pepper, meat product of choice, ½ of the cheese into pan and mix to distribute evenly. Pour egg and milk mixture over top and allow same to soak into bread; you can do this by giving the mixture about 5-10 minutes before baking or by allowing it to sit in the refrigerator overnight.
Bake for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out dry. During the last 15 minutes, sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Hope you enjoy!

Until next time,

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Technology What a Wonderful Thing

I love the Internet on most days, however, the last two days have not been most days. The last two days have been filled with trials and tribulations.

It all started Saturday. I thought everything was running a little slow. Our Facebook RSS was not feeding (should have considered force feeding it but did not want to infringe on its rights). Ok, I figured, I did something wrong--bad Carmen, good Internet. Next Twitter started hiccuping (not a pretty site when you have to refresh your screen every 20 seconds or get 75 updates dropping in all at once).

By Sunday, it was so slow, I could have written a letter and hand delivered it to the receipient in the same amount of time that it took me to send an email. Then yesterday it happened the dreaded no email and "rocks" in my Outbox syndrome. I was getting nothing in and if I tried to send anything out it just sat there, smiled and ignored my commands.

I consulted the expert, my son Alex. Ok, not really an expert but a third year engineering student. BY GOSH with all the money I've paid to that school he should know something about computers! He tells me to clean my cookies and cache. I say "Ok, should I use Windex or Pledge." For heaven sakes if I knew what my cookies or cache were and where I might find them I could have had a chance!

As I stated previously, I love the Internet on most days, however, the last two days have not been most days.

Until next time,


Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Birthday Party

The photographer takes refuge

Let the games begin
At the staircase waiting for his guests
Derrick's (my nephew) birthday is this week. He will be seven years old. Seven is a magical age for a boy. It's not quite big enough to have full control over one's life BUT old enough to know that one has their own opinion and are allowed to express it. Every now and again your opinion is acknowledged and you get what you really wanted.
Well this year what he really wanted was a pool party and he got his wish. This child had "...the bestest day of..." his life. He swam and played and played and swam until he finally wore himself out. Which is a first for Derrick and a sign of his advanced age (seven--haha).
There is one more surprise for Derrick. One that will again give him the biggest smile on his little face and the greatest joy that he will remember (until the next time because he has a short attention span and has a tendency to forget major life events another sign of his advanced age--seven). Derrick does not know it yet but there is a date with a magical mouse in a magical kingdom. It will be the "...bestest day of..." his life. Happy Birthday Baby, may it be the first of many joyful celebrations, I love you!
Until next time,
Aunt Carmie

Friday, June 12, 2009

Talked, Typed, Text'd, Twittered and Tuckered Out

Tealight Party Favors Baby Shower Themed
See listing for price points
Tic Tac Toe Brooch---$20.00
Seedi Beadi Maze Brooch--$20.00

Rainbow Brooch---$20.00

From the bottom of my...
Set of 10 cards---$15.00
Individual Card---$2.00

It's been a loooooooonnnnnnnggggggg week and rather than ramble on senselessly please enjoy this Feature Friday. All of the items posted here will be available in our Sumpin Else shop by the end of the weekend. To view the shop just click on Sumpin Else (here or above). As always thank you for dropping by.
Until next time,


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

School's Out for the Summer

School’s out for the Summer, words that send waves of fear through any Mother’s heart—right? Not, if you just do a little planning and employ the work and reward method. The what? The work and reward method.

Work and reward was something I used with my children as they were growing up. Now that they are young adults I wish it were that easy. If they wanted to do something special they would place their request on the Reward list. The reciprocal of the Reward list was the Work list on which I would place what I wanted them to accomplish. In order to gain the reward they had to complete an item (listed for them) on the work list. It was a sure way to get them motivated without argument or plea bargaining, the lists spoke for themselves.

Rewards included extra TV watching hours, trips to the pool, day outings of their choice, etc. All were simple things that you would have done normally but were considered a treat. Work would include helping with the grocery shopping, picking up the bathroom after younger members of the family, or picking up after yourself after playing, eating, etc. Again simple things that if repeated enough become life-long habits.

The only caveat to the Work and Reward method is that it needs to be age appropriate. If they can’t read it requires a little more effort on your part BUT it can work. Try Work and Reward and see what results you obtain.

Until next time,


Monday, June 8, 2009

Thoughts from a Weary Traveler

One of a kind handmade brooch
Over the past few months, I have been contemplating a few things. Based on Erickson’s Stages of Development this girl is entering Middle Adulthood and facing Generativity vs. Stagnation--ouch. Oh well, given the alternative not a bad stage to be entering.

From nursing school it would appear I am manifesting all of the symptoms of this stage; including but not limited to am I leading a worthy life. As I was sitting in a hotel room in San Antonio last week this thought kept creeping into my head. I found it difficult to shake since when I wasn’t at work, I was alone in the hotel room.
I thought about growing up, my relationship with my birth family, my husband and the family we have formed. I ran through my mind all of the friends and acquaintances that I have made in my life. After it was all said and done I was pleased and revitalized with the self knowledge I had acquired.
Through the strangest of places; i.e., Twitter, Facebook, Etsy, I have reconnected with friends that had been lost to me for years. It has been a blessing to find them again. So to Erickson I say generativity is so much more than how you describe it, a little pig (Ella) gave me wings to fly. Life is good and I’ve been blessed.
Until next time,

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Crock Pot Day

Busy Mom’s know the kind of day we are talking about when we say a Crock Pot day. It’s usually one of those that starts out early and is chocked full of events and commitments almost from the time your feet hit the floor until you return to bed and your head hits the pillow. A crock pot meal is truly a welcomed thing on days like that.

Crock pot meals are great home cooked meals that can be prepared for cooking the night before and left to slow cook all day while you go about life. One of our favorite crock pot meals is Crock Pot Stroganoff. To complete your dining experience, prepare a salad and some egg noodles during the last 20-30 minutes.

Crock Pot Stroganoff (Recipe can be doubled or tripled, limited only by the size of your crock pot)
1 lb beef cubed as for stew
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can French onion soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ cup sour cream (reserve for last 30 minutes of cooking time)
Place all soups in crock pot and stir until combined. Add beef cubes and stir until covered with soup mixture. Turn crock pot on to low setting and cook 8-10 hours. During last 30 minutes of cooking time, add your sour cream. Serving suggestion: Ladle over egg noodles or rice.

Hope you enjoy!

Until next time,


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Even Good Pigs have Bad Days!

Everyone has one of those days. We've all had them. You know the ones where from the moment you pull the covers back everything goes wrong. Your slippers aren't next to the bed, your toothbrush has toothpaste deposits, your coffee pot doesn't cooperate, your hair gel has been replaced with shellac and you gained 15 pounds over night. That's just your first 5 minutes and then your real day begins.
I have usually resorted to prayer in instances like this. I pray ALOT!!!!! Did I mention I pray ALOT!!!!!!
Well on the heels of a 9 day stint of bad days, it finally got to me. Yes, I had a SNARKY kind of day and I allowed my inner pig to speak! It was not pretty but I have to admit it was liberating and hilarious.
People are not used to seeing my inner pig. I am usually a very composed, compassionate human being. No, not today. For every action there was a reaction. For every comment there was a gutteral response (not foul just pulled from the inner recesses where it had been lurking and waiting for years).
I have come to the end of my 9 day run and have vowed that tomorrow will not follow suit. So, if you are wondering what happened today don't analyze it too much. It won't happen again for at least another 5 years. And when you need to, pray, or look at the poster above from some wonderful Etsian who unfortunately was not credited on the Internet (and I thought I was having a bad day) and carry on!
Until next time,

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

“Gee Mom Do I Hafta”

Derrick's 7th Birthday Pool Party Invitation
(each individually hand cut)
Surf's Up at this Lil' Guys House

Amanda's Bon Voyage Party Invitations
Thank You Cards

As I have shared with you before (it seems like a million years ago) I used to make my children’s cards and invitations when they were growing up. On the back of each card, I would painstakingly type (in an arched arrangement mind you) "Another Gee Mom Do I Hafta Card." Yes, you read it correctly “TYPE” because we did not even own a word processor much less a computer back then. My first attempt to do this took about 2 hours and 2 bottles of White Out.
As I was looking through some of Maggi’s most recent works I wondered how many Moms might be out there wanting something a little different for their child’s birthday (or even their own adult party). I wondered if they realize how simple it is to customize invitations and thank you’s for themed parties. At Sumpin Else, that is our specialty and although we don’t have a separate listing for this type of order, your unique requests can be discussed, developed, designed and listed just for you with one simple “convo.”

Summer’s coming have you considered your 4th of July, Labor Day, and Back to School party needs? We'd love to assist with these and any party stationery, favors, or other party and party planning needs.

Until next time,

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Little Shameless Self Promotion

Scrabble Tile Brooch--Mt. McKinley

One of my favorite Forum topics on Etsy is “A Little Shameless Self Promotion.” I will often read this section because it is one of the best ways to get acquainted with newly listed items. To reach the forums once you are on the Etsy site, click Community, then, click Forums. If you have an Etsy account (this is free see posting for April 15, 2009 “Oh but I want that…Etsy purchasing made easy” for instructions) you can even participate in the Forum and share your opinions with buyers and sellers alike.

A word of caution, prepare to stay for a while. Once you are in the promotions section you will find quite a few reasons to stay there.
Above please find our own examples of “A Little Shameless Self Promotion.” This is a new item in our shop, Scrabble Tile Brooches (STB's for short). STB's are customizable. Have a favorite picture of your son, daughter, husband, wife, or pet? Send us your "Conversation" and your .JPEG for a one of a kind STB. As always we never charge extra for custom items so the price you see is the price you’ll pay.

Until next time,

Friday, May 29, 2009

Amanda's Amazing Journey

A few weeks ago, my niece (Maggi’s daughter) moved to the Big City, New York City to be precise. This was a move we had been expecting since she dropped the “BOMB” on us in November of last year. However, we always viewed it as an “empty threat,” one of those things that “she’ll soon forget,” and last but not least she’ll “change her mind about 1,000 times before May gets here.” Well May came and Amanda was not swayed, and on May 9th, true to her hopes and aspirations, Amanda moved to NYC.

Although it has been painful for all of us, especially for my sister (her first to leave the nest) I have to say how much I admire Amanda for staying true to her dreams. At nineteen, few people have such a keen vision of what they want to do. Here’s to an admirable young lady, who has no idea how much she is loved, missed and admired. May your dreams all come true and may every road for you be paved with joy and happiness. I know it will be if you have anything to say about it.

Aunt Carmie

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Heidi’s Handmade Soaps Review

At Sumpin Else, we are always on the lookout for an amazing product, an item that would be of use and interest to our customers. Most of the items we present here are listed on Etsy. The reason for this is that as Etsians we know and understand the quality of the goods listed there and the professionalism and pride that goes into making these items.

One of our favorite soapmakers on Etsy is Heidi’s Handmade . Starting with customer service all the way up to your first encounter with her soaps in the shower, it is an amazing experience.

I first “convo’d” (short for conversation a feature that allows buyers and sellers to communicate during the transaction and beyond) Heidi in early January. I was looking for a rich lathering soap with no vitamin E and something that would be “kind” to my middle age skin. After reading the description for several of Heidi’s soap I decided on her Lavender Lemongrass Glycerin Soap (shown above). I sent a convo to Heidi to check on whether or not the soap in question had vitamin E to my amazement my response was almost instantaneous.

Being the skeptic that I am, I decided to purchase one bar and give it a test drive. That was over 4 months and repeated orders ago. I have never gone back to store brought and have no intention to even try.

While producing some of the most amazing lather I have ever experienced, Heidi’s soap has been gentle to my skin. The scent (which you can choose, I happen to love lavender and lemongrass together) is unbelievable. From the moment you open the envelope it arrives in to the last little sliver in the shower it is a feast for your senses.

You can check out Heidi and her amazing soaps at Although Heidi is currently on vacation please go back and visit once the shop reopens, it is well worth the click! Thank you to Heidi for allowing us to review her soap and her shop.

Until next time,


Monday, May 25, 2009

Reflections on Memorial Day

Although no sculptured marble should rise to their memory, nor engraved stone bear record of their deeds, yet will their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored. ~Daniel Webster

Memorial Day 2009, we laughed, BBQ'd, chatted with family, watched our children swim and squeal with joy as water wings and floatties filled our pools. For most of the country it was a pleasant day, warm enough with just the right amount of rain, blue skies above us for the most part. No complaints from the adults or the "peanut gallery."

A world away our young men and women continue to fight for our freedom. Did they have enough to eat today? Are they rested as we are? Was there a pool or a swimming hole where they are? Did they have the opportunity to chat with those they love?

If you have not done so already, in the last hours of Memorial Day 2009 give thanks to those young men and women who have defended and continue to defend our home land. We are a country built on a foundation that believes in fundamental rights. The most important of these is freedom. Thank you to all who have served and have given their lives so that we can continue to live free.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Wedding Rememberance

Customize with your Wedding Colors
Customize with your Wedding Colors

I often see questions from brides to be about how to remember loved ones who have passed. They want to honor those who have gone from our sight but just don't know how to incorporate that into their special day. The most common suggestion is to place a rose or other flower on the empty seat where they would have sat.

As I read the suggestions I always think to myself is there more that they can do if they chose to. What other wedding rememberance options are out there? Here are just a few:
  • Single flower on seat
  • Single flower with loved ones name placard on seat
  • Photo, single flower, loved ones name placard on seat
  • Single flower per family member to place on seat
  • Single flower per family member with loved ones name placard on seat
  • Photo, single flower per family member with loved ones name placard on seat
  • Prior to the ceremony the bride or groom could assign a family member or friend with a special relationship to the deceased to collect the flowers, place them in a vase and bring them to the reception. A side table close to the gift table could be set up for the vase and photo (if there is one).

Remembering loved ones does not have to stop at the church door.

Until next time,


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sumpin Else Reviews and Features

Reviews, they are often a topic of discussion on Etsy. Too many times, unfortunately, sellers are misused, with multiple requests for "free product to be reviewed on my blog." At the risk of alienating others I feel I need to put this out there. How unbiased can you be when you are receiving free product from a vendor? How many "samples" does one person require to provide a good review?

At Sumpin Else we believe in using versus sampling what we promote. Although it would not seem like there is a difference using requires us to take a deeper look at the product and believe in what we are promoting when we do. There is no trade off and no influence because it was not acquired "gratis." All products reviewed are purchased and used by us.

Whenever you see a review in this blog please know that the following caveat applies. We will not review any product for our readers and customers which we have not used ourselves. When you see a Sumpin Else review we have a "history" with that product.

Features on the other hand are our attempt to "expose" you, the reader, to many artists, craftsmen, etc. to assist you to increase your purchasing horizons. Features are not reviews, nor are they endorsements. They are mini-catalogs that lead to endless possibilities with a mere click.

We take great care when choosing artists for our features and although it would appear random it is quite a process! Artists are chosen based on the particular type of feature that we are considering. Their Etsy (or other) feedback is read carefully and an item is selected. Once this is done, we ask the artist for permission to feature them on our blog. Only when we have their approval do you see their items featured here.

We take great pride in our blog, our artist friends and their amazing products. We also take great pride in bringing our customers fantastic items.

Until next time,


Monday, May 18, 2009

The Silver Lining

There's always a silver lining . . . sometimes it's just more obvious than others.

I'm sitting here at my computer . . . and it is pouring outside. Great weather if you're a frog, and from the sound of it, the frogs are absolutely loving it! Thank goodness I didn't have much planned for the outdoors today. (Tomorrow + outdoors = a different story.) So, today I sit at the kitchen table plowing away at the accounting - YECH! Don't get me wrong, I love numbers (algebra, calculus) . . . I just hate credits, debits, and balances. The Silver Lining - we could really use all this rain because of the wildfires we've been having here in Florida, plus I'm forced to stay inside and catch up on my work.

Back to tomorrow and the outdoors . . . my youngest is going on a field trip with his first grade class and guess who volunteered to be a chaperone? You betcha! Not only that but after spending the day at the zoo with the entire first grade class, I get to spend the evening with the Cub Scouts! Yea, me! The Silver Lining - I know that he'll remember these "special" times that Mom came along with him on his field trips.

So if you can't see the silver lining, stop and take a good look. Maybe the silver lining isn't about you or your situation, maybe it's meant for the frogs.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Gift for You . . .

I'm sitting here working on a "special" gift. (I've been working on it for a couple of weeks to be exact). I still have plenty of time to work on it, so I've been working on it here and there. I love working on things to give away. I especially love to watch the recipient's expression when they open it.

This past Christmas I made my mom and dad an album. My mom had a favorite song that reminded her of my dad. She said it made her cry when she heard it. I switched the words some, so it would pertain to the two of them and added pictures! Lucky for me, my mom had pictures of the two of them back to when they were dating in Cuba!

So the last present handed out this past Christmas was the album. All our family sat around as they opened it - the two of them sitting in one chair - going down memory lane. My dad cried. My mom cried. The kids cried . . . I clapped - because this was the exact reaction for which I had hoped. This meant that they not only liked it - they loved it!

So, as I work on this "special" gift, I hope I receive another "tear-filled" thank you! That way, I know for sure they love it!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What's In Your Wallet?

You are probably wondering what could she possibly have been doing that prompted this post. Simple, I was cleaning out my purse and decided to extend it to my wallet. Silly little thing but necessary.

As I started the task, I went through the usual credit cards, licenses (had 3 RN licenses in there, the current one and two expired), driver's license (awful picture, stopped and pondered WHY they are always awful pictures). Then it happened! I found my favorite THINGS in all the world my current collection of fortune cookie fortunes and my lucky dime.

My lucky dime is my reassurance that all will be right with the world. It started shortly after my brother in law passed away. When we went to close up his home shortly after he died, my husband found a dime in the exact place where he was found. I had been vacuuming and found multiple dimes throughout his home. When we returned home I found a dime on my husband's chair in our dining room. No one had been in our home, neither one of us had change in our pockets, and no one had sat in my husband's chair. We both looked at each other and said "Jimmy's telling us that he's ok!" The dime from Jimmy's house became my husband's lucky dime and the one from our house became mine.

In the years since Jimmy's death, during our hardest times, there has always been a dime to be found. He has always reassured us that no matter how bad things are it will all work out. I have a large collection of dimes that I've found but the one that I carry in my wallet is still the first and the most meaningful of all. Today I was reminded that all will be right with the world if I give it half a chance and believe.

What's in your wallet?

Until next time,


Monday, May 11, 2009

As Promised--New Line--Tweoples

A few weeks ago I shared how I finally broke down and joined Twitter. Well little did I know that I would not only enjoy it but that I would learn to speak a whole new language.

For those of you familiar with Twitter you know all about the Tweeps (Followers), the Tweets (the little messages you send) and the Twibes (the groups with similar interests that our connected by that interest). Got all that? Really very cute if you stop to think about it. It's like high school only global. What more could I ask for?

Well, I kept wondering what would some Tweeps look like if you did them in beads for all the world to see. I became fascinated with the idea (it really doesn't take much for me to entertain myself). So if you are wondering what those pictures up top are, meet the first of the Tweoples, Leila and Redmond.

Until next time,


Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Stages of Being a Mom

I remember when my oldest was born. I could barely contain myself the first time he uttered "Mama." Life was good, he was small. I controlled his world and he controlled my heart.

Soon after that my daughter was born. I had changed in my son's eyes and became "Mommy." To her I was "Mama." The sun rose and set in their eyes. I watched them revel at the world and found new meaning and joy in the simplest things that life had to offer. Their joy was my joy, their challenges caused me pain. It was the happiest time of my life and the most stressful. If I could have stopped the world to shelter them, I would have.

About the time my daughter transitioned to "Mommy," my youngest was born. There would still be "Mama" in my life but it came with the realization that this would be the last go round of "Mama" for me. For my youngest I never became "Mommy" somehow I evolved into "Mommom" a name that he still uses today.

As I was sitting in the family room this evening with my three adult children gathered around me I realized how fleeting the time that we have with our children really is. I also realized how much I miss "Mama" and "Mommy." I recalled the pain of being called "Mother" in anger or embarassment when they were teenagers or "the Mom" when they were in college. As my mind was rambling, my youngest turned to ask a question. His first word was "Mommom" and I heard nothing else. I was back in another place, another time, with toddlers and juice and toys all around.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you out there. Relish those moments no matter how bad or how good. Children are gifts that reassure us that the world with all its craziness is still a beautiful place and that life goes on.

Until next time,


Thursday, May 7, 2009

...and how have you been?

This week found me away from home on a regular post day. Try as I might I could not connect to the internet. I was sitting in a hotel room cross country trying to connect using dial up. Dial up! I have never used dial up and I don't know that I would be as addicted to the internet if I had to use it on a regular basis. For those of you who connect in this manner every day, my hat is off to you--you are amazing.

I did manage to get on once and stayed on for all of about 20 seconds before I got booted off. Patiently I went through the process again. Finally after about 30 minutes and the loss of all the patience I could muster, I gave up. I called the Front Desk and after 15 minutes with them, I gave up (again) ordered a brownie and a glass of milk and called it a night. Sorry I short changed you but the brownie and milk were delicious.

Maggie is preparing for Amanda's move to the big city. All of her boxes have been shipped and the big day (Saturday) is right around the corner.

We have been "cleaning" and prepping our Etsy shop to roll out new products. We have been diligently working on some projects and are excited to complete, photograph and list them. For right now it's a surprise but I will share that it is quite different from our regular shop items. We are hoping that our friends and customers will enjoy these "little ditties" as much as we are enjoying making them.

Until next time,


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Your Momma Shops Etsy 9 and 10 of 10

Wow, it feels like we just started this journey through Etsy and here we are at the end of the ride. With more cases of H1N1 (Swine Flu) being reported and interruptions of normal expected services, I have combined 9 and 10. Hopefully this is just over planning on my part BUT I want to insure that any purchases made from these wonderful Etsians arrive to you in time for Mom.

Until next time,

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