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Green and Healthy Picnic Ideas for Summer

Green and Healthy Picnic Ideas 2

Today is my kids last day of school and I am torn between excitement and dread for the coming months.  I love those kids like you would not believe but two teenagers at home all day every day is enough to stress out any mom!  I find that the key to maintaining my sanity over the summer is two fold.  Keep them well fed and get out of the house occasionally.  Both of those things can be accomplished by taking a picnic basket to the park.  You think teens don't like parks?  HAH!  We take scooters and skate boards and watch the dogs at the dog park … [Read more...]

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5 Things Your Daughter Should Know About Her Period

Things your daughter needs to know about her period

I am sharing these things your daughter should know as part of a Playtex® Sport®  sponsored campaign for Socialstars #PlaytexSportSquad. As a child, my daughter was obsessed with babies.  She wanted to know how she could get one for herself.  Why does that 16 year old girl at church have one and she can't?  If she asks Santa, will he leave her one under the Christmas tree?  She was intent on figuring out how we could get a new baby.  *I* can honestly say that there was no way in heck I wanted one of those little buggers in my life again!  … [Read more...]

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The Many Uses for Rosemary Besides Cooking!

Uses for Rosemary besides cooking

I have quite an extensive herb garden in the back yard and herbs are the one thing I can actually grow pretty well.  Not because I am a good gardener but because they are incredibly 'idiot tolerant' when it comes to my gardening abilities!  I have yet to find a bug that actually attacks most herbs.  They are very drought tolerant, meaning that when I forget to water them they don't care in the least.  And they also have very few nutritional needs beyond plain old dirt with a little bit of manure mixed in.  I have been growing rosemary for quite … [Read more...]

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My Holiday Wishes Just for You

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December is a hectic time of year, whether you choose to celebrate Christmas, Hanuka, Kwanza, the Winter Solstice or whatever else your chosen holiday happens to be.  There are gifts to buy, cookies to bake, parties to attend and obligations to deal with.  More so than any other time of year, we get caught up in our never ending to do list.  There are things we wish for during this time of year but never vocalize because there is too much else going on.  But wishes will never come true unless we work hard to MAKE them happen.  I don't believe … [Read more...]

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Setting Financial Goals to ensure Retirement Security #RetireHappyNow

Retirement security and financial goals

My husband and I have always been goal oriented people.  Within a year of dating, we knew we wanted to get married and started planning the 'where, when and how' of making it happen.  We both wanted to have our children while we were still young so we set a goal of 2 children before I turned 30.  We bought our first house with the understanding that it was a 5 year ownership before we upsized to something in a better school district.  And we have a very firm retirement security plan because our goal is to retire by the time my husband is 58 (in … [Read more...]

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What to Put in Military Care Packages #BICMerryMarking #DeepSeaBlue

What to put in miliary care packages

When I was little, my father was in the Naval Reserves.  I have fond memories of him in his shiny black shoes and spiffy white hat.  I was too young to understand much about war or what military men and women were dedicating themselves to.  As an adult, I have a better understanding of the sacrifices of these brave men and woman.  They dedicate so much of their lives to protecting and serving our nation and that commitment doesn't get to take a Christmas vacation.  One of the service projects that our church participates in is putting together … [Read more...]

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Sweet Potato Pie and Washi Tape Note Card Make a Nice Teacher Gift

Sweet Potato Pie and DIY Washi Tape Notecard

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of BIC® for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine. Ever since my children were in Kindergarten, I have volunteered in their classroom.  I was the mom cooking with them on Friday mornings, reading to them on Earth Day, chaperoning the field trip, and organizing holiday parties.  I loved every moment I spent with them and I learned something very important about myself.  I discovered that I do NOT have the patience to be a teacher!  Seriously, after an hour of volunteering I was about ready to … [Read more...]

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Thrift Store Treasures and a DIY Washi Tape Picture Frame

Thrift Store Spoons

I have been spending the last couple of weeks browsing around a few thrift stores and antique shops in my area.  I love finding second hand treasures at affordable prices.  The first few places I went to were 'antique shops' and I found that the prices were much higher than I was willing to spend.  I like old things...I just don't want to spend a fortune on them just because they are OLD.  I also don't want to buy things that I am just going to look at.  I find that most antique shops have things that you would not actually use...old dolls, … [Read more...]

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Tips for a Happy and Healthy Pet this Holiday Season

Happy and Healthy Pet this holiday season

I can honestly say that some days I feel like I'm living in a zoo.  Yes, the teenage boy smells slightly like a wildebeest some days, but I live with a few too many ACTUAL animals as well.  There are feathered things and scaly things and furry things that need tender loving care on a regular basis.  Most days, their care fits right into my normal everyday schedule without any problems.  We have a routine that works and everyone knows what to expect.  However, with the holidays rolling around soon, our schedules are bound to get out of whack.  … [Read more...]

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8 Things We Need to Teach our Kids about Food

Teaching kids about food

This post about things we need to teach our kids has been sponsored but all opinions expressed here are my own. Last week I took my children to the grocery store to shop for a church service project. The goal was to provide a Thanksgiving Day feast in a box for our local food pantry. We were provided a list of items that we were to buy so there was really no creativity or substitution allowed. As expected, the list of foods contained things like 'instant potatoes' and 'canned gravy'.  My daughter asked why we were buying all these processed … [Read more...]

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Skip the Cafeteria’s School Lunch and Start #LunchingAwesome with Applegate!

Applegoate HALFTIME

This school lunch post has been brought to you by TapInfluence and Applegate but all opinions expressed here are my own. My children have always hated the food offered through the school lunch program. The grilled cheese is soggy, the canned green beans are squishy and many of the offerings are not readily identified as food. Needless to say, they don't buy school lunch very often. What does that mean for me? Basically, it means that I am awake every morning at 5 AM packing three lunches...every sing day (two kids, one husband...they eat a … [Read more...]

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National Self Improvement Month means Checking Your Credit! #LifeLockHealthyCredit

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This self improvement post is sponsored by LifeLock but all opinions expressed here are my own. Over the summer, I don't have much time to do anything for myself.  The kids are home from school, the pool is open, and vacations need to be planned.  I'm lucky I find time most days to get the beds made and dinner cooked.  Once September comes around,  I finally feel like I can breath again and that means there are a number of things that need to get checked off the to do list.  Organize the medicine chest, take piles of stuff to the thrift store … [Read more...]

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Tune in to Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage Tournament

cutthroat kitchen

This post about Cutthroat Kitchen has been sponsored but all opinions expressed are my own. My husband and I love to watch the Food Network together and there are always great cooking shows on for us to watch.  We enjoy seeing hosts travel to far off lands to eat exotic foods, cook mainstream favorites in their own kitchen, and compete against each other in a brutal cooking competition.  One of our favorite TV food personalities has always been Alton Brown. We even have a few cookbooks of his and they have some great recipes in them!  Last … [Read more...]

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How to Save Money at the Pharmacy

How to Save Money at the Pharmacy

I spent almost 15 years working in a retail pharmacy and it broke my heart every time someone told me they couldn't afford their medications  Healthcare is so very important but there are many people that struggle with rising medical bills and are looking for any way they can to save money at the pharmacy.  Medications are not generally cheap but there are a lot of ways that you can cut your pharmacy bills.  If you find yourself spending a fortune for your medicine every month, here are just a few ways that you can start saving a little bit of … [Read more...]

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Your Back to School List Should Include Identity Theft Protection #LifeLockUltimatePlus

Back to School Identity Theft Protection for your Child

This back to school discussion has been sponsored by LifeLock but all opinions expressed here are my own. Every year before my kids go back to school I have to register them with the county at the school they will be attending.  I have no idea WHY I have to reregister them every single year but I do and it is a huge pain in the neck.  I go online to the school's website and have to fill out a ridiculously long online form with all the required data.  This year as I was filling out the back to school form I came across a question I don't … [Read more...]

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Genealogy Tips: How to Start Researching Your Family Tree #surnameproject

Genealogy Tips and How to Start Researching Your Family Tree

These genealogy tips are brought to you by Ancestry.com but all opinions expressed here are my own. When I was young my father discovered the joys of genealogy.  What did that mean for me?  It meant that we went to every family reunion armed with paper and pencil to interview everyone that was willing to talk to him.  It mean that we spent a LOT of time wandering around old grave sites and doing rubbings and taking photos.  It meant that the basement started to gather a huge collection of old books and an impressive photography setup.  Dad … [Read more...]

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Identity Theft Risks While on Vacation #LifeLocksafety

travel and identity theft

This post about identity theft has been sponsored by LifeLock.  I am a LifeLock ambassador but all opinions expressed here are my own. For the last 2 weeks I have spent a great deal of time planning my family's upcoming vacation.  5 states, two weeks, and a whole lot of miles in the car with 2 teenagers.  I think we may be just a tad bit insane.  If not, I can guarantee we will be by the time we get back from this road trip!  Since I leave nothing to chance, I made our hotel reservations over the phone for the places I know we want to stop … [Read more...]

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Credit monitoring is not the same as identity theft protection! #LifeLocksafety

Identity Theft

I am a LifeLock Ambassador and this identity theft post has been sponsored but all opinions expressed here are my own. Last month I wrote about my experience with identity theft.  Someone had used my personal information to open a fake bank account and bounced a $300 check.  I was shocked!  A business had disposed of my personal information incorrectly and as a result, I ended up with a huge hassle to deal with!  If I had identity theft protection at the time, I would have known the moment that account was opened!  While credit monitoring is … [Read more...]

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Bare Necessities for a Tiny Purse #PoisewithSAM

Bare essentials for a tiny purse

This post about fitting the bare necessities into your tiny purse is brought to you by Poise but all opinions expressed are my own. When my children were babies, I never left home without a diaper bag or backpack.  It was filled to the brim with everything we could possibly need in order to survive the apocalypse.   Honestly, I had enough toys, food, sippy cups and diapers to outfit an entire baby army.  When they got older, I *STILL* packed like we were going to be lost at sea for a month.  Crayons, snacks, changes of clothes, etc all got … [Read more...]