Polish your wood floors with coconut oil


Yesterday, I was putting coconut oil on the ends of my daughter’s hair to condition it before she took a shower. In that process, I accidentally dropped some on our kitchen wood floor So I just rubbed it in with a rag. Looking at it throughout the day yesterday I realized it created a beautiful shine and took out the water spots that have been there through many moppings.

So, this morning I woke up and plopped a heaping tablespoon of coconut oil on the floor, wetted a flat bottom mop with hot water and rubbed that oil into my entire wood floor. Careful to keep the kids and dogs out during this part so they won’t slip.

After mopping the floor with the oil and hot water mixture, I took a big dry cotton rag and buffed the floor with the rag under my foot. (Yes, NOT on my hands and knees). The floor buffed out beautifully with a nice even shine, corners are clean and previous water spots are gone!

wish I took a before and after – completely thrilled with the result.

done in 10-15 minutes!

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Green Produce


Living in the Northwest, many times our produce is not quite ripe when available. Pears and avocados can be hard and green, especially from Costco. To nicely ripen them up I throw them into a pretty covered candy dish on my table or counter top. It’s a beautiful display and the natural gasses the fruit gives off will gently ripen up any fruit within a couple day.

To stop this natural ripening process, just take them out or open the top. Ready to eat in a jiffy.

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Spring Lights


Put some LED lights in our flowering trees right before they flowered so we wouldn’t disturb the buds.  What a beautiful way to enjoy spring dinners outside here in Seattle.

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Stinky Dishes


Well, I know gross but, the other day I was unloading the dishwasher and happened to smell the inside of a glass to see if it was clean. To my surprise, even though it ran through the washer it smelled like a wet dog!

So the next night, I poured about a 1/2 cup of clear vinegar into the dishwasher once the washing cycle started. YES!  After that, my dishes smelled clean, and looked more sparkly than ever before. It even took off a good portion of that white you get on certain clear classes after awhile.

Way better than running those chemical infused Jet Dry packets that probably stay on your dishes.

Have you ever smelled your ice water and it wasn’t so pleasant? Give this a try.

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Make Foam Soap


If I keep a bottle of dish soap at my kitchen sink it’s gone in about 8 minutes. My kids pour way too much in their hands and on dishes. So this is my quick fix.

You know those foamy dispensers that you get when you buy Method hand soap? Once you use that up, reuse it by adding 1/3 dish soap and the rest rubbing alcohol. The foam dispensers need a watered down version of soap to work properly so why not use alcohol and kill more germs while you’re at it?  I do it all the time, works great, kills more germs, and saves soap.


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The Time for Giving


Christmas is the time for giving and there’s no exception to my little friends outside. This weekend I made little edible ornaments for my feathered friends that look great on the little tree outside.
You’ll need:

• outdoor bird seed
• cranberries (optional)
• string, ribbon, or yarn,
• cupcake baking sheet
• spray oil for pan
• egg whites

Preheat oven 300 degrees. 2 cups birdseed in a bowl, dump in some cranberries and about a quarter cup of egg whites then stir together. Coat a cupcake pan with oil then fill each rounder 1/2 full of the seed mixture. Add a string with a big knot at the bottom of the ends to hold inside the seed area. and then fill the rest of the way with bird seed, so the string is secure inside. Press down the seed to make sure it’s compacted inside the pan rounders. bake in the oven for 10 minutes, turn off the oven and let sit for 30 minutes so the egg whites will sit, dry and cool.

Once cool, carefully pop out the ornaments and hang on a pretty tree. GREAT TIP: If you have star or heart shaped cupcake pans that would be even better!

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Delightful Mocha Cream Pie


Last weekend, our daughters were at camp, so I wanted to make my husband a nice brunch, sit outside and enjoy the shade together.

My husband is a big time coffee lover, he has no less than 4 to 5 cups a day. Because this was just for us, I wanted to make something my husband could appreciate. A kind of grown-up dessert, so I came up with this Delightful Mocha Cream Pie recipe. He loved it so I thought I’d share it with you.

A new twist on the classic chocolate cream pie, International Delight iced coffee and creamers make this recipe a snap and delicious!

My go to place for ingredients is our new Neighborhood Walmart. I picked up International Delight Chocolate Carmel Creamer (yum!) and also the Mocha Iced Coffee. So simple!

The first time I made this pie, I bought a pre-made graham cracker crust but this time I made one from scratch. It really makes a difference.

Here’s the yummy mocha custard. If you want, you can bake it just like this in about 10 minutes and skip the Meringue topping, then just top with whipped cream when serving.

Be sure to serve it completely chilled. DELICIOUS! Here’s the recipe! Thanks to International Delight, this recipe is super easy.

4.0 from 1 reviews

Mocha Cream Pie


If you like Coffee and chocolate, you’ll love this mocha pie.
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup International Delight Iced Coffee – Mocha Flavored
  • ½ cup International Delight Creamer – Chocolate Carmel Flavored
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten slightly
  • ½ tablespoon of butter
  • Meringue ingredients:
  • 3 egg whites
  • ⅛ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Crust:
  • 1 graham cracker pie crust

  1. Whisk all filling ingredients together except vanilla and butter without heat. Once ingredients are whisked and there are no lumps, turn on the heat while stirring on medium until it bubbles and thickens, about 10 minutes. If it becomes lumpy, just stir out the lumps. (make it very thick since it won’t get any thicker in the oven)
  2. Remove from heat and stir the vanilla and butter.
  3. Meanwhile, brown the unfilled pie crust lightly at 350 until it’s brown, about 5-8 minutes.
  4. Beat your egg whites with salt and when they start to get fluffy add the sugar very slowly white still beating. Pour the mocha custard into the baked pie shell and top with the beaten egg whites and dust with cinnamon. Bake until the peaks on the meringue are lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Chill thoroughly before serving.
  6. Or, to make things even easier, skip the Meringue topping, and top with whipped cream and cinnamon at every serving.

Facebook Sweepstakes:  http://on.fb.me/IgQhxH

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ <http://www.collectivebias.com/> and International Delight #IcedDelight #CBias #SocialFabric”  This recipe was a delight to create and enjoy!





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Amping Up Your Iced Coffee


Summer is a time when my exercise routine really kicks in to high gear and I need a pick me up on warm summer mornings. I like to wake up before my kids to get in a quick 3 mile run and here’s how I put a bounce in my step and protein in my muscles all in a yummy caffeinated drink!

There’s a fantastic new Walmart location right near me in Bellevue, WA and that’s where I got my variety of International Delight iced coffee and creamers.

First time here at this Bellevue location and loved it!

You can’t go wrong here. Oh, the possibilities… so many wonderful great drinks waiting.  This is my coffee flavoring of choice because of it’s great taste with NO Hydrogenated oils. for just 3 bucks you get a huge bottle.

I used the Mocha flavored International Delight Iced Coffee for this particular drink but vanilla would be delicious too.  – Recipe below

Super simple ingredients and you’ll have everything you need for a refreshing morning workout. Cheers!

Amping Up Your Iced Coffee 

Yummy Caffeinated Protein Drink
1 cup International Iced Coffee – Mocha
2 tbsp International Delight Creamer – French Vanilla
1 tbsp Powdered peanut butter or creamy peanut butter
1 small banana
1 cup ice

Throw it all in a blender for 1 minute and enjoy.

Save the date and join me for the #IcedDelight Twitter Party! On July 12th from 1-2pm EST you can come and chat with me about amping up your coffee creations! You can follow along using the hashtag #IcedDelight and the Tweetgrid for the party. RSVP below for your chance to win one of 4 Walmart gift cards up for grabs during the party!

Facebook Sweepstakes:  http://on.fb.me/IgQhxH

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and International Delight #IcedDelight #CBias #SocialFabric. I was so excited to be part of this opportunity because I needed a pick-me-up and I LOVE International Delight.
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Summer Reading/Fitness Challenge


Every year my kids sign up for the summer reading challenge at the local library. This year, the prizes weren’t so motivating and they weren’t so excited so I came up with my own reading challenge.

My daughters love to read, so I needed a way to make their life more balanced with fitness too. So I came up with a reading challenge and a fitness challenge  – they have to do both equally to win a prize.

“A balanced life, a healthy life”

Here are the forms, feel free to do it too! The size is perfect for a bookmark either fold in half or cut apart.

Reading/fitness challenge

Boys Reading/fitness challenge

Girls Summer Reading challenge

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Spring in the Northwest


Yes, it rains a lot in Seattle, so much that if it doesn’t rain in a full week it’s pretty much a top news story around here. But, when the sun comes out this time of year it seriously brings a new life to all it touches.

I could say my favorite place to be is the San Juan Islands, Pike’s Market Place, or the forest, but really if you want the truth, it’s my own backyard. It’s cool and shady with dapples of sun and splashes of color.

Just thought I’d share the lovely perennials that have finally came out to say “I’m back to brighten your day.”




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No Stir Parakeet Feeder


We have parakeets and they’re really quite easy to take care of but one problem, they have flat beaks and when they eat they eat over the top of their food bowl and then seed shells drop on their food and because of their small beak, they can’t stir it so you have to stir it for them -so they can eat.

If we leave for 3 or 4 days at a time, we need someone to come over and stir our birds’ food.

So I went to PetSmart and got a small outside bird feeder and put it in their cage. It took some time for the parakeets to not be afraid of this new apparatus in their cage so don’t take out their food bowls right away until you’re sure they’re using it.

DAY 1: I just put it in there with seed in it and they were afraid of it so I kept their food bowls in too.

DAY 3: I took out the other food bowls.

I watched them for about a 1/2 day and noticed they were staying away from the feeder so I smeared some peanut butter on the feeder and pressed some seeds on it and found that they were eating off the outside of the feeder.

DAY 7: I poured out the seeds, cleaned the outside of the feeder and then poured the seeds back in and now they understand it’s a feeder!

I love this concept for Parakeets. It keeps the floor around the cage cleaner and all I have to do it refill the feeder like every 3 weeks. NO MORE STIRRING! and now then they eat they pull their head away from the food hole and the shells go on the bottom of the cage.

Please always make sure you have plenty of fresh water in the cage and healthy treats like carrot strips and dark green lettuce too!

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Costco Dog Food – WARNING!!


(This email was sent to me by my Portuguese Water Dog Club)

The truthaboutpetfood.com site cited below is a very interesting site.

At the end of December, a local kennel donated 12 cases of Kirkland canned Lamb and Rice dog food. They said it was too rich for their dog because they all got sick. Did not think any problem with the food. I fed to my dogs, and to visiting dogs. Diarrhea for all dogs, puppy threw up 15 times. She survived…Tesla and Dino did not. I contacted the company on Jan.3 to say all dogs got sick. They said they did not produce that food. Four weeks later, one dead dog, next week, another dead dog. Finally got a response with…tell Costco. I contacted Costco, and then they contacted the manufacturer. Who wants a sample of the food. Mind you…this similar food was recalled in 2007-2009 for melamine contamination. Over 400 dogs died. I filed a report and waiting for request for the sample of food.

I need to put out a warning of possible food contamination. …is not verified yet…but the vet and I feel it will be. The *Kirkland Canned Lamb and Rice with expiration 2013. The cans I have say June 23, 2013*. Please let your friends know. It would have been purchased in Nov.-Dec. 2012.
Please anyone that has a can to contact me directly. Do not return to Costco. We need to let everyone know so more dogs don’t die.

FDA Testing of Jerky Treats

I’ve been provided with a document sharing what the FDA has been testing for – since 2007 – on jerky treats. Up to mid-November, 2011, the FDA had received 353 reports of illness or death believed to be related to the jerky treats (in 2011). From mid-November to present, the number of complaints reported to FDA has almost doubled to 596 (in less than three months). And this is what the FDA has been doing…



Reports of possible problems with Kirkland Dog Food

Word is spreading fast of possible links to Kirkland canned dog foods (sold at Costco) to sick and dying dogs. No independent laboratory testing has been done on the food – yet. However I’ve emailed with one pet owner who lost two dogs believed to be linked to the canned food and have heard of several others.



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Make Homemade Pasta Tonight


Who doesn’t already have everything you need to make fresh pasta? It’s really super simple so here’s a recipe to make homemade pasta in the food processor.

When making fresh pasta dough, keep in mind that the amount of flour the dough will absorb varies according to the flour, the freshness of the eggs and the weather. You may need a bit more flour on a rainy day and a little less on a hot, dry day.


Fresh Egg Pasta Dough

2 1/2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting

4 eggs

2 Tsp. extra-virgin olive oil


Add the flour to the work bowl.
Fit a food processor with the metal blade. Add 2 cups of the flour to the food processor work bowl. Set the remaining 1/2 cup flour nearby; you’ll use it later to adjust the consistency of the dough.
Add the eggs and oil.
Crack the eggs against a flat surface and drop them into a small glass measuring cup. Check for shells, then add the olive oil to the measuring cup. Pour the egg-oil mixture into the processor.
Mix the dough.
Process the mixture until the flour is evenly moistened and crumbly; this will take about 10 seconds. Pinch the dough to test its consistency.
Adjust the consistency.
If the dough seems excessively sticky, add the reserved flour 1 tablespoon at a time, processing until just incorporated. Process until the dough comes together to form a loose ball on top of the blade and feels moist but not sticky when pinched, about 30 seconds.
Lightly knead the dough.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly until it feels damp without being sticky and is an even yellow color with no streaks of flour, 1 to 2 minutes.

Let the dough rest.
Shape the dough into a ball. It will be quite elastic at this point and would spring back on itself if you attempted to roll it out. Cover the ball with a large overturned bowl and let it rest for 30 minutes before rolling.


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Healthy Face Scrub Recipe


The best face scrub product that I’ve ever used is my own recipe.

Simply mix together

1 part coconut oil, and 1/4 part Emerge-C to create a healthy rejuvinating sandy blend that scrapes off old dead skin cells and then delivers a punch of vitamin C, nutrients, and moisture into your newly buffed skin. (don’t worry, it doesn’t sting)

Rub it all over your face, making sure to get the creases of your nose and staying away from your eyes. Finish by splashing a little water on your fingers and rubbing again to activate the vitamin C crystals. Leave on for a few minutes to 1/2 hour. Wash off with a towelette you’ll have the smoothest, nurished skin you’ve had in a long time.

Keep the unused portion in a cosmetic tub and use it every night for the next 2 weeks, then make more!

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Rental Movie Review: Little Manhattan


My two daughters, my husband, and I sat down at couple weekends ago and watched this super cute, funny, and well organized movie. Even my husband loved it! I highly recommend it if you have kids, ages 6 to 60. Really adorable.

Set against the backdrop of the Big Apple, director Mark Levin’s (Wimbledon) quirky tale of first love puts the spotlight on pint-sized passion as young urbanites Gabe (Josh Hutcherson) and Rosemary (Charlie Ray) explore their budding emotions. And there’s one thing that makes them perfect for each other: They’re both in the fifth grade. Cynthia Nixon and Bradley Whitford co-star in this winning comedy that proves bigger isn’t necessarily better.
Cast: Josh Hutcherson, Bradley Whitford
Director: Mark Levin
Genre:  Children & Family
Format:  DVD
Rated PGParental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
You can find it on Amazon Movie, Net Flicks, and rent it on Amazon Fire

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Shopping Made Simple

It’s Free. Get Started Now!

ZipList is so much more than a grocery list. It’s like your personal assistant.

Everything You Need to Get In & On With Your Life

At ZipList, we want to make grocery shopping quick and simple. So we’ve put all the tools you need to effortlessly organize this weekly chore in one place. What does that mean? It means having your personal recipe box, shopping list and grocery coupons all on one place, at ZipList.com. Check out our Shopping List, Recipes, Checklists, Store Management, and Coupons and get started today.


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Free Stuff for Blogs


Looking for free sources for images and other creative things?  Bookmark these links!

Morgue File – Usually my first choice to search because it’s easy to use, has a nice library and includes a tool to crop and resize the photos you want to use right on the site.

Stock.xchng – Big selection of images, terms vary from photo to photo.

Every Stock Photo – Library includes photos from NASA and the Library of Congress.

Dreamstime – This is a royalty free (paid) photo site but they also have a collection of free images.

Free Digital Photos – Love the way the categories are setup here, easy to browse.  Includes photos & illustrations.

Creative Commons – Here you can search Flickr, Wikimedia, and other sites for Creative Commons licensed images.

Wigflip – Wigfip allows you to generate various graphics with your own text on them.

Wordle - This site lets you create a “cloud” of words from any text or feed you’d like.  You can choose the colors, fonts and style.

Flaming Text – Set your text on fire, make it brushed metal, or try one of dozens of other effects.

Cool Text – Similar to Flaming Text but also allows you to put your text on buttons like this panic button.

Fake Magazine Cover – Put yourself (or any photo you’ve got) on the cover of dozens of different magazines.

Unprofound – Here you can search images by color, which is very cool if you need something based on color.

Free Range – Very nice selection of free photographs.

Image*After – You can find free images and free background textures here.

Photogen – Another nice catalog of photographs.

NOAA – Lots of landscapes and nature photos from NOAA.

Public Domain Photos – If you’re looking for clip art style images, try this site.  Also has photos.

WP Clipart – More clip art style images.

Uncle Sam’s Photos – More free to use photos from the US Government.

Hassle Free Clip Art – Large selection of cartoons and clip art.

Link Source: http://michelleshaeffer.com/20-totally-free-image-sources/2011/11/05/

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Cake Pops Recipe


We had a ball making Cake Pops last month for a friend’s birthday. Get the book here…

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Have a happy and healthy


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Day 28: Loads of Candy


Halloween and the upcoming holidays sends loads of candy your child’s way. There’s many theories on what to do with all that sugar. One is to give it away after a week, give it to charity, or let the kids chow down for a week straight until it’s all gone.

My kids get to keep their candy but we have a few rules. When they were toddlers, I’d put it on top of the refrigerator and they would have a piece or two for dessert eat day. Now they have a big candy jar in their room and they go days.. weeks… months without even thinking about it. I think because originally, they had to ask for a piece, they still do! (even though they keep it in their bedroom) There’s still candy in there from the last holiday and I think they’re just conditioned to not binge on it, which is a life-long lesson.

So this is what worked for us starting from when they were toddlers:

  • Have them ask before having a piece (no candy before a healthy meal)
  • Just a piece or two at a time/per day, no binging
  • Be sure to notice if they’re grazing on candy, but never make them feel bad about themselves, just say, “Oh honey, so much sugar can make you sick”
  • Take out the hard candy and gum for toddlers


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Day 26 : Eat something that’s alive with every meal


It’s simple for your kids to grab a bowl of cereal in the morning, peanut butter and jelly sandwich with crackers for lunch and mac-n-cheese for dinner. We’ve all had those busy days when you just have what’s there.


Pop a banana on the cereal, and/or 1/4 cup of frozen blueberries on the side (they’re like tiny popsicles) for lunch, put a couple baby carrots and celery sticks with the sandwich, and for dinner get your kids used to a small dinner salad with that meal. Make sure EVERY meal has something “alive” in it and as they get older build on the live part and lessen the processed portion. Make sure your kids know what you’re doing… ask them  “What’s alive on your plate?”

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Day 25: I Love You


When I was growing up in my family, it would have felt strange to say “I Love You” to my sisters. We had this sort of tough skin that was unbreakable. It was a matter of survival with 3 girls in our family. That always bothered me. I love my sisters very much but I was unable to show that with my words.

Make it a family habit to say those 3 sweet words to each other. It shows them how to connect on a deeper heat-felt level. If there’s a disagreement, someone gets hurt, or someone is leaving for camp, it’s normal for our kids to say to each other “I love you” and of course, from parent to child too. It just breaks a tough barrier that brings us all back to what family is all about and that… we really, love each other.    .•*¨`*•. .•*¨`*•.


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Day 24: When to Quit


Joining activities is a big part of childhood and as parents we want to give our kids the opportunity to try anything that’s healthy. Try this, try that, but be sure to teach your children to follow through and finish the season or class. (Of course there’s always bad situations that just didn’t work out) However, for the most part, teach them what commitment is all about for themselves and for others.

Make the most of it and don’t be a quitter.


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Day 23: Scary Food


Liven up any party with healthy snacks. Click on the photos to go directly to the recipe or click here to see more.

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Day 22: The Polite Advocate


I really do too much talking for my kids. They’re on the shyer side and they appreciate it when they can just relax and let me handle everything. Woops, that’s a mistake.

From the time that your kids are able to talk let them talk for themselves. Teach them kindness and manners and teach them to be their own advocate. Not afraid to politely ask for what they want, talk to adults with ease, speak in groups of people…. It all starts when they’re very young. Don’t do all the talking, be quiet when you can and let your child learn how to politely negotiate.

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Day 21:: Have Some Halloween Fun


Have some fun during the holidays. I will never grow out of Halloween or any other holiday for that matter. It bring friends and family together and makes us smile. Keep it simple, relax, get creative, and enjoy! Halloween is creeping us on us, just 10 days away.

Click on the photo below to go to a fun free interactive Halloween card…




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Day 20:: Be Inclusive Not Exclusive


Kids playing in 3′s can always have more arguments than kids playing in 2′s. Someone’s always left out, feelings hurt, the list goes on. But, when kids are getting together for a party, special occasion, or holiday, be careful to teach your child to be inclusive, not exclusive.

No one likes to hear about a wonderful party but then not get invited by a very good friend. If you can possibly invite your child’s closest friends you’ll create a more caring child.

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Day 19: Lean Ground Turkey vs Lean Ground Beef


Get your kids use to the taste of turkey instead of beef. It’s high in protein, “extra lean” is of course lower in fat, and you can add all the things you would to a regular beef burger to pump up the taste. Once you’ve found the recipe your entire family loves, no one will ask “Where’s the beef?”

photo source: janet-healthandfitness.blogspot.com



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Day 18: Getting There On Time


Whether it’s getting to school, heading to the bus, or anywhere, there are two important elements that are imperative on getting your kids somewhere on time.

  1. Figure out what time you have to leave, not what time you have to be there. Once you know what time you have to leave, keep that time in your head (more importantly, make sure your child understands what time they need to leave)
  2. Have your child get completely ready before they watch TV, play online, or play with toys. Get them in the habit of waking up, getting dressed before they come downstairs, eat breakfast, brush teeth, brush hair, and collect the things they’ll need to bring. Only after all of those things are completely done, then they can relax and have some down time.

Those are two things that I’ve started since the my girls were toddlers and it’s really worked for me. There’s no yelling, no panicking, no stress and the kids have time to relax and go on FreeBeeGamz.com



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Day 17: Who Got The Money?


Mom… Can I have this? Please….? It seems if it’s your money, it’s easily spent, if it’s their money, they will budget and buy only what they really want.

If you’re going on a family vacation, have them bring a portion of their allowance, or give them maybe $20 to spend. Let them know they can buy what they want but that’s their limit.

You’ll be surprised what intelligent shoppers they become, budgeting and carefully picking just the right thing.


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Day 16: It’s Like Any Relationship


Hug your child everyday. That’s what it says on the sign board at a church in my town today and it’s so true. They need to know you care, they need to know they can count on you and trust you. How do you build this confidence and your relationship with your kids, and keep it?

Well, it’s like any relationship. You have to nurture it over time. You can’t walk in the room, ask if they did their homework, and then get on your computer or watch TV. You have to spend time talking even if it means having dinner every night and adding dessert, going on a long drive without ipods. Find time to connect and enjoy each other’s company. Be in The Now, as they say. Everyday, no less than 5 times per week.

Say you’re dating someone… Would you find real time to talk with that person? Would you ask questions, tell stories, laugh? Of course, your relationship with your child should be just as focused. Start now, never stop. It’s a life long relationship and it’s worth your time.

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Day 15: Getting All of Your Colors


Yesterday I talked about the new “My Plate” program and just what your child’s plate should look like nutritionally. Now, one more note on that. In our family we call it “Getting all your colors” Make sure your child’s plate has orange (carrots), green (dark lettuce or broccoli), yellow (squash) brown (whole grains), etc… These are healthy colors from natural foods. Not from food coloring, of course      •.¸¸.•´¯`•.♥.•´¯`•.¸¸.•.


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Day 14: My Plate Pyramid


Genius. Simply genius. The food pyramid was always confusing. I could see what I needed to eat more of, and less of but what did that look like per meal?  They now put it all on a plate so we can see just what a healthy meal should look like.

Another little tip, use a smaller plate for both you and your kids. That smaller lunch plate is all you need and don’t go back for seconds.

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Day 13: Tasty Flowers


Whenever we receive a basket of Edible Arrangements my kids devour it within no time. Something about the pretty display of fun that gets kids eating fruit. We always have every kind of fruit in our house that’s in the arrangement but it’s just not the same until it’s shaped into a delightful piece of art.

Edible ArrangementsI found this great blog that helps you do it yourself. Who in your family would be able to resist?

(Click on the photo above to go to the Super Healthy Kids blog)


Posted in Healthy Kids in 31 Days! | 1 Comment

Day 12: Finding Kind


Both of my daughters have been bullied. Both in different ways but -what is bullying? There are very different levels of bullying and sometimes it’s even hard to put your finger on it.

What do you do if your child is being bullied? If you tell the bully’s parents be warned, they will ALWAYS side with they’re own child and that will create tension between the two groups of parents.

Talk with your child and teach them what bullying looks like. Sometimes it can be someone at school looking to gain strength and power through humiliating others. Sometimes it’s a “friend” that wants to be more popular and ends up being “two faced”. Anyone that overtakes your child’s emotions in a negative way and then doesn’t seem to care -that’s bullying.

Teach your child to be independent, self confident, and coach them on how to find new friends at school. Help them know what to look for in a friend like kindness and honesty. Let them know that a friend should act very much like they do. Do unto others…

If your child does not know the bully, tell the office at school and have no further contact with the bully. The bully will find no excitement from someone that doesn’t make them feel more powerful.

If the kid that bullies your child comes to your home and you see them bullying your child tell them yourself. Calmly and straight forward let them know what you saw. Don’t raise your voice, don’t threaten, just let them know what you’ve noticed.

If you have a daughter you should see this movie with her. Click on the logo below to go to the trailer…


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Day 11: TRUST


What is the most important thing in a relationship? Is it sense of humor? Excitement? Understanding? Well, yes. Those are all important beginnings to the structure. But if there is one thing that defines whether or not you want to continue that relationship it’s trust. Honesty. Truth.

Teach your children to be truthful. It could start out with small things. Let them know that lying is really “Being ashamed of what you’re done.” Teach your children to be true to themselves and others. If you don’t want to do things that you are ashamed of, you’ll have no reason to lie about the things you’ve done. Let them know that you have to trust them and they have to trust you. Relationships are based on trust and the most important ingredient in family, friendships, and relationships. Teach your kids to be truthful. Don’t lie.

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Day 10: Caring


Teach your kids to care and teach them to care for animals. Caring for animals is a basic respect for another life. I’m an animal lover so I don’t want to go completely overboard on you here but I hate to see kids chasing birds, squirrels, dogs… with no regard for the quality of life they’re taking away from the poor animal.

One day my daughter brought to my attention that animals are living in fear from monsters and those monsters are us!  Teach your kids to respect animals, handle them carefully, and make sure they’re well taken care of. This will translate into thoughtfulness towards people too, I guarantee it.

photo sourse: http://www.tadoz.com/tag/cute-puppy
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Day 9: Bad Words at the Table


I have this saying “If you can’t read it, don’t eat it.” I’m a label reader and I try to keep it natural. But, if labels aren’t your thing then just watch out for one simple word in your food “Hydrogenated oil or partially hydrogenated oils” It’s usually in bold on the ingredient list since it’s been outed to consumers.

The thing that most people don’t know is, your arteries are the size of spaghetti. Small, right? You think they’re the size of straws and think it would take some time to muck ‘em up, right? But really, it doesn’t take much to clog them. Keep yourself and your kid’s arteries clean and if you decide to watch out for one thing in your food stay away from the hydrogenated oils.




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Day 8 : Homemade Granola Bars


My daughter loves to make these granola bars for her school snack. They seem to come out different every time but it doesn’t matter, they’re always wholesome and healthy.

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup honey or a portion honey and a portion molasses
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup raisins, or cranberries, dried blueberries, etc (optional)
  • slivered almonds
  • chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup flax seed
  • chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Generously grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, raisins and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the honey, egg, oil and vanilla. Mix well using your hands. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm. Cut bars when still warm, or they will be too hard to cut.
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DAY 7: Hearing Loss


The number one cause of hearing loss is excessive noise and the duration of that noise. Once your hearing is gone, it’s irreversible. So many times I’ve gone to concerts and my ears rang all night after that. Yes, that’s an indication that I damaged my hearing that night and it’s not coming back.

ipods, stereos, and even sporting events are all pretty tough on our ears. Consider wearing ear plugs that soften noise at sporting events, and definitely wear them at concerts. If your child can’t hear you and their ipod at the same time or they feel they have to yell over their music to talk with you, that ipod it way too loud. Show them how high the sound should be and if they can’t live with that, explain to them that they’ll want to enjoy music their entire life not just some of their life.

Here are some warning signs of hearing loss:

• Often misunderstands what you say  • Turns up the volume on the TV or radio to hear it  • Has a hard time paying attention because of background noise  -May already have hearing loss.



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DAY 6: Hide the Veggies!


Of course you know, Jessica Seinfeld has a great blog “Do It Delicious” and cookbook that shows you how to hide healthy veggies inside your kids’ meals. I’ve checked that book from the library many times and it has got me through many healthy family dinners. But one recipe in particular caught my chocolate crazed eyes. She was on Anderson and talked about this recipe…. Chocolate Brownies with Spinach and Carrots. Here’s the recipe. Yum!


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DAY 5: Slip-Slap-Slop


Slip-Slap-Slop!  SLIP on a t-shirt, SLAP on a cap, and SLOP on the sunscreen. This was a sun awareness campaign that ran in Australia a number years back because of huge concerns of kids, sun damage, and skin cancer. You child’s skin is very prone to damage early in life that leads to skin cancer later in adult life.

Remember, that big fire ball of radiation is in the sky EVERYDAY. Keep your child safe. Think of the sun as a disease and keep your child protected from it. Yes, we need vitamin D from the sun but if you’re getting a tan, you’ve had too much. This ain’t the 80′s and there’s no such thing as a healthy tan.


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DAY 4: Who’s the Manager?


I guess I singed up for the manager position the day I gave birth. Throughout your child’s life you’re the time keeper, accountant, tutor, chef, house cleaner… and the list goes on.

The business plan is to slowly delicate your duties to members of your family as time goes by. I’m not talking about child labor here, I’m talking about responsibility, and training. No one wants to send a child off to college that can’t be responsible with their time, cook, clean, and do their own wash, and even get a job. If you don’t have them get on the helping-out program, when will you all the sudden pull the rug out and make them help?

Have them help you through their entire life. My friend has a saying, “They’re not guests in their own home” which means, they help out, it’s the only way to not have to abruptly change their world sometime.

And while we’re talking about “managing” You’re the manager, right? It’s important to have your child make decisions and learn to manage their time but remember your child does not necessarily know the direction of their life yet. “Billy doesn’t want to go to soccer today” “Sandy doesn’t want to do her homework until 8 o’clock tonight.” It’s your job to keep them in an organized schedule that makes good habits stick. Set a schedule. It’s simple to create an organized child. They get home from school, have a snack, and get the homework behind them and then they don’t have to think about it -or learn to procrastinate. If they sign up for a program, stick with it until it’s over, and if you don’t want to sign up next year, fine. Just stick to commitments with a good attitude.  Help your child be responsible, not flaky.

You’re child is navigating their way through childhood and they really don’t know where they’re headed. You know. You want to raise a responsible, caring, organized, less stressed adult. Start now by setting organized patterns.


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DAY 3: Cook With Your Kids


Measuring, chopping, kneading… If your child helps you make a meal you’ll be surprised how healthy they’ll eat. It’s your chance to explain why you put certain things and a variety of ingredients into the recipe. And of course, cooking from scratch with natural ingredients is the best way to ensure just what’s inside your family’s food.

A great program came to my daughter’s school on Mercer Island and the kids loved it because they learned about a lot of strange things that get into our processed food.

As part of the program, the kids made this great chili that can be made entirely by your child, you’ll need to help a bit if they’re under 4th grade. This recipe is a true indicator that if they make it, they’re more likely to eat it. All the kids in my daughter’s classroom loved this chili and many went back for seconds and thirds…



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DAY 2: Bad to the Bone


Bone density concerns are not just a heads up to seniors. Throughout all stages of your life it’s important to get a fare amount of daily activity that includes high or low impact exercise. You may know that a big health concern with astronaughts is the amount of muscle and bone they lose while in space which is called muscle/bone atrophy.

So, let’s take a look… your kid rides their bike 20 minutes to school and walks the dog everyday. Sounds good right? Not so fast… Your child needs to build bone mass through some sort of high or moderate impact exercise to keep their bones properly building, growing and strengthening.

Since kids can’t lift weights until 12-14 years of age (ask your pediatrician) they need to get out there and run and jump. I don’t care if they’re running down hill, they need to get some pounding impact to build bone density. This is a never ending battle and your bones and muscles are never off the hook so get out and run, jump, dance, and hop your way to better long term health along with your kids.





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DAY 1: The Power of Suggestion


Today’s the first day of my 31 day segment on raising healthy kids. From nutrition to psychology, let’s meet here for just a minute through the next 31 days. It’s the little thing that make a difference in your family.


We’re startin’ out easy here. It seems simple enough… Never suggest anything you don’t want your child to materialize. For example, I have a friend that says things like “Oh, she doesn’t want her dorky mom coming to the barbeque too” or something along the lines of her child being humiliated by the sight of her mom going somewhere with her. I have been hearing this from moms since elementary school and every time, I see the child looking up at her mom with her little brain thinking, “Should I be thinking that?The power of suggestion! Good or bad, it will be remembered if said. Always be positive, never put negative words in your child’s mouth or it will grow like weeds coming out your ears.

Always be positive and show respect about your relationship with her, your family, and your time together. As Oprah would say, You get back what you put into the universe.

See you tomorrow for DAY TWO

Brought to you from The Nester and


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Renuzit Your Home for Fall & Winter


Renuzit is launching a new air care product.  This stylish new product comes in a satin nickel finish, featuring a versatile 2-sided design so it will blend well with your décor while freshening for up to 30 days.  The best thing is that it looks great anywhere in your home but it retail for only around $2.00!  Cute isn’t it?

I’m going to open the berry scent now for fall and save the other starting in November for the holidays. The scratch and sniff tester on the front of the packaging smells great and I can’t wait to open it. My house will feel new again!

Oh so nice, beautiful scent, cute design, easy to work into your decor anywhere!

And look, you can turn it around to see the other side too. I’m so happy with my new little wonderful smelling air freshener.



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Healthy Kids in 31 Days


Starting October first, I’ll be writing for 31 days on a topic that’s very near and dear to my heart.  Ideas for raising nutritionally healthy, organized, mentally strong, and caring kids. Each day, I’ll post a small step that you can use today to make a difference in your child’s life. Please join me, I have some wonderful ideas that definitely work in our family.

This idea comes from The Nester. She does this every year and this year she’s inviting other bloggers to get involved and write their own    … in 31 days how to. So please join me starting October 1st.

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QR Code Generator


You see QR codes everywhere. They’re on ads, products, even business cards. So I thought, Ah… business cards… I can use one too!  How great to make a QR-Scan sticker to add to my business cards. You can adjust the code to scan from a smart phone right to your phone number, directions to your business, website, or even business address. Here’s how you can make your own personal QR-Code thanks to Google.  Click on the generator below to get it:



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Make A Simple Fire Pit


Did you know it’s very simple to make a fire pit with something as simple as a terra cotta pot? When we lived in San Diego, I continually saw fire pits for sale that were made from terra cotta.

So I went through my pots and found this bowl shaped pot and immediately turned it into a fire pit by placing it on my backyard tile coffee table. If there’s a hole in the bottom of the pot just first put down a piece of tile or flat stone to keep the bottom sealed. Drop in some charcoal or wood chips and your family will be thrilled.

I stopped by Home Depot and picked up a simple round grill for the top and turned it into a barbeque! I wanted to grill salmon last weekend so I just added my flat iron grill so the fish wouldn’t slip between the grill bars.

Still had that great smokey flavor.  I’ve been using this same terra cotta pot as a grill for over 4 years now and I couldn’t be happier.

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Cute FreeBees


I visit this blog and website every so often and really have fun soaking in the whimsical art that they come up with. You can scrapbook, blog, make gift tags, make cards, and you’ll see you can come up with lots more just click on this photo below to go to to their blog and then scroll all the way down to see all the wonderful freebees.

Also, click on the photo below to go to the Shabbyblog website for lots of free clip art and buttons for your blog. Lots of these graphics can also be used for scrapbooking too!  Take a look, you’ll love it.

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Drive-in Movie Birthday Party


Do you remember sitting in the back seat of your parent’s car and seeing a big drive-in movie screen on the freeway? You’d Watch as long as you possibly could until it faded to a tiny far away spot while trying to call out what was playing. If you grew up in the 70′s or before you definitely remember drive-in movies.

I recently told this story to my 13 year old daughter and slam, her laptop came out and she was googling “drive-in theaters in Seattle”. We found the Valley 6 Drive In Theater A cute family-friendly theater that plays all the most current selections.

As for the party, we needed a cake. Something that went with this fun movie theme.

I made a chocolate cake and frosted it. Then made a popcorn bag to put around the cake to make it look like it’s a bag of pop-corn. The pop-corn was small marshmallows tinted yellow with yellow food coloring. Or you can use butter for coloring. Then I just dropped about an inch worth on top of the cake to make it look like a full bag of pop-corn.

Here’s the invite my daughter and I designed. I took off the wording in case you want to download it and use it yourself. Just put all the party info in the rectangular movie screen area.

We brought lawn chairs and blankets, parked our SUV in backward and they found a comfortable spot both inside and outside the car. It was something out of the ordinary and fun for all. Here’s one for the ol’ classics!






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Monday Morning Rental Movie Review :: True Grit


It was interesting to me why the Coen Brothers decided they needed to redo this move. But while watching this “new and improved” True Grit I guess they wanted to bring a new audience, an audience that would have not taken the time to go back and rent John Wayne’s true classic. This new version was well done, well cast and kept you listening to the mumble and drawl of the well written content. Kudos to Hailee Steinfeld, a job well done. Jeff Bridges was so believable that I had to just take a deep breath so I wouldn’t be caught up in his unhealthy clumsiness.  My husband liked it and I like it too. RENT IT.

Fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross’s father has been shot in cold blood by the coward Tom Chaney, and she is determined to bring him to justice. Enlisting the help of a trigger-happy, drunken U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn, she sets out with him — over his objections — to hunt down Chaney.

True Grit is a 2010 American Western film written and directed by the Coen brothers. It is the second adaptation of Charles Portis‘ 1968 novel of the same name, which was previously filmed in 1969 starring John Wayne. This version stars Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross and Jeff Bridges as U.S. Marshal Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn along with Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, and Barry Pepper.

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Free Online Games For Kids!


Some of you have wondered why I’m called “FreeBeeMom”. It all started when I wanted to put together a safe list of online games for my kids so they don’t have to search endlessly online.

Together with my kids, we rated online games for safety and fun and continue to find the best kid friendly mother approved games out there. The list is ever growing and my kids are ever changing but one thing stays constant, here’s where you can find fund games that won’t make a mother cringe.

I’ve added my FreeBeeGamz & FreeBeeGames sites to my blog menu. Please keep coming back for more!

Yours Truly, FreeBeeMom

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Rate Sony Bloggie Touch (Works with Mac!)


At Bloggy Boot Camp last weekend I was a very lucky winner of the Sony Bloggie Touch. After winning I was a little sad because the outside of the box said “not compatible with Mac”  But for some reason I just had to give it a try and… It worked!  It worked! It worked! iphoto popped right up on my screen as soon as I plugged it in. So get it and enjoy!

If you’re obsessed with social media, you’ll be obsessed with Sony’s Bloggie and it doesn’t require all lot of time to operate. Switches easily from camera to video.

Go big

Okay, 8 gigs sounds big, but what exactly does it equate to? Well, the Bloggie will hold 80 minutes worth of Full HD (12M) video, 160 minutes worth of 6M (1280 x 720) video, and 240 minutes worth of 4M (1280 x 720) video. If still photos are your bag, you can squeeze a good 290 images onto the internal flash memory.

Get full coverage

We know there’s nothing worse than trying to navigate a small device with a small screen. Luckily, the Sony Bloggie Touch has an ample 3″ Touch Screen LCD that provides 100% coverage for playback and is self-orienting.

Comparison Specifications

  • Resolution: 12.8 megapixel 1/2.5 Exmor CMOS sensor
  • Memory: 8GB internal flash memory
  • Zoom: 4x digital zoom
  • Still image mode: JPEG
  • Still image size: 16:9 (3840 x 2160, 1920 x 1080) / 4:3 (4128 x 3096)
  • Movie mode: MP4 (MPEG-4 AVC) / 360° panorama mode / 80 minutes max. Full HD recording / dual record
  • Advanced features: Face Detection / SteadyShot image stabilization / Auto Macro focus (4″ min.)
  • Viewscreen: 3″ Touch Screen LCD with 100% coverage full-screen playback
  • Interface: HDMI mini / USB (flip-out arm)
  • Convenience features: Self timer (2 sec., 10 sec.) / date and time stamp / erase protect / battery indicator / power save mode

It’s a great camera, fits in your pocket and super easy to use without reading the directions. If I didn’t win it, I would have bought it.


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Bloggy Boot Camp!


This weekend I had the opportunity to go to Bloggy Boot Camp, Seattle. For weeks, I’ve been so excited to finally be around other girls that like blogging. Not only do these girls like it but it was a total love fest. We learned, we laughed, and we ate our way through this insightful Saturday.

“The beautiful” Tiffany Romero -The founder and driving force behind these Bloggy Boot Camps was so funny, very informative, and organized. She would grab the mic for 5 or 10 minutes between speakers and just talk with us about on the spot social media ideas that was quite valuable in itself. “You know, you should be doing this…” Great conversations and insight with other bloggers that I just can’t get from anywhere else.  I’m so happy I went. Here are a few things that Tiffany said:

  • Don’t only advertise on Facebook and Twitter. Make sure your readers know you’re human
  • Get clients by helping them with their brand via social media
  • Pay attention to legal information when conducting a giveaway on your blog, always get a contract and make sure the product and your readers are a good match
  • Write a story, let people get to know who you are
  • Buy your Child’s name .com

I also met one of my American Icons Lisa Leonard, from Lisa Leonard Designs. She spoke to us about her heroic story of quitting her job to stay home with her special needs son and to start her passion for jewelry making. With the goal of $200/mo income she now hires 20 employees. She built her business on integrity and kindness and markets only through online social media. She was so inspiring. Her advice for starting a product based business was to:

  • Good photography is key
  • Have a story
  • Be honest to what you really like
  • Be kind
  • Don’t worry about the people who try to copy you, just keep making great products and people will notice

Then, can you believe it, me, FreeBeeMom won a Sony Bloggy Touch!  Sony was there giving away 3 Bloggy Touhes and I won one!

It’s amazing!  It digitally stores 2 hours of video and also takes photos. It’s small handy and super easy to use. After Bloggy Boot Camp I went to the U2 concert that night and took amazing video on this simple video camera that I kept in my front pocket.  I’ll show you video on that tomorrow, I can’t wait!

But, to round things up. If you have the opportunity and you’re a blooger or thinking about becoming a blogger, go to a Bloggy Boot Camp near you!



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Our Migrant Duck Friends


Every year for the past 4 years we’ve had a friendly husband and wife couple fly in for a daily visit. They always arrive the first week in March and stay all the way until the first week or two of June.

How do they remember where we are?  Don’t they fly hundreds of miles per year? Well yes, we live on an island, so maybe that narrows things down. But we have no pond, no real landmarks, no real reason to visit except for that yummy whole wheat bread that’s sure to follow their long desperate flight.

Today, two males came by – quacking in pure desperation for a tasty snack while their wives must be somewhere awaiting the arrival of their little bundles of fuzzy love.

How could anyone shoot these wonderful warm blooded animals? They’re obviously intelligent and create a strong family bond. It’s the best feeling to come driving up to my house and see them lying down on our lawn in the shade together, side by side.

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Free Green House


Here in the Northwest we’re still experiencing cooler temperatures and may still all the way through July 4th. So it’s pretty tough to get seeds going with our short summers. For the past 2 years I’ve made this seed green house out of Costco apple packaging and it really works great!

Fill up the bottom of each round bulb with potting soil and plant your seeds. Close the lid and put it out in a sunny area and within 2 weeks you’ll have beautiful seedlings.

These are sunflower seeds. The year I tried to grow sunflower seeds without this great green house, the squirrels ate all the seedlings right after they came up. This keeps them as snug as a bug in a rug!   …Next, basil. Yum!


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Duct Tape Fad


I was wondering why Michael’s sells all of that duct tape in every color imaginable. I had no idea of the incredible usable items you can make using duct tape!

Here’s a really cute wallet how-to -Click on the picture below to see how to make this  multicolor wallet.

Better yet, after you have her cute color idea above, look at this instruction below, it’s a little easier to follow. Just click on the picture below…

I want to make a tote bag for the farmer’s Market. Here’s the basic instruction on that, then you can add your own ideas like an outside and inside pocket, velcro “snap”, etc. Go on YouTube and just type in “duct tape” and see the fun possibilities…

flowers, pen/pencil tops, purses, head bands… what can you come up with?

I must say this Juice drink wallet is very smart. Click on the photo to see the how-to…

Love this juice box tote! What a great way to reuse/recycle…  Click on the photo below to learn how to do it…







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San Juan Island


Sunset Magazine wrote an article (in the new May issue) about luxury adventure tent camping on San Juan Island here in Washington.

I didn’t know they offered those right here in my own backyard so immediately, I went online to reserve a luxury canvas cabin for our summer vacation.

The ferry lets you off at Friday Harbor on San Juan Island and you go to this great camp site called

Lakedale Resort

They also have log cabins, regular tent camping, and a hotel style lodge.  If you want to bring your dog you can stay in a log cabin so we ended up booking that option.

The island is glorious with 3 fresh water lakes nestled in the middle of Puget Sound. The resort offers, hiking, fishing, swimming , paddle boats, row boats, and canoe rentals plus a bunch of other fun activities including games and crafts.


While there, we’ll cruise over for Whale watching which is one of the most popular pastimes in the San Juans. Resident killer whales (orcas) play in the waters off the west side (Lime Kiln) of San Juan Island providing a fulfilling experience for visitors watching from the shoreline or a boat.

Lime Kiln Point State Park on San Juan hosts the only whale watching park in the world. More than 100,000 people visit the site each year in hopes of catching a glimpse of the orcas,

There are three whale families that can be found right near the islands each summer. Their families are called pods and range in size from 17 whales in K-pod to more than 50 in L-pod.

Roche Harbor

Located on the north end of this island is Roche Harbor. My daughter boated there with some friends a couple summers ago and she really had the time of her life. It will be fun to check it out as a family this summer.


Posted in Travel | 2 Comments

Coo-Coo Birthday Cake


I have two daughters and we have a tradition in our family -that the sister has to help make the birthday cake for the other sister. In March we made a Puffle cake for my 11 year old and now we had to come up with an idea for my 14 year old.

My daughter is obsessed with keeping my coo-coo clock from Switzerland running on time and she can’t wait for the day when we take her there to get one for herself. So what does she need now? A coo-coo clock cake!

First we needed to go to the candy store and get the clock face decorations.

Then I frosted a chocolate cake and placed it on the upper half of the plate so I’ll have room to put the pendulum.

Next, add the top roof to the cake -that was cut from the sides so that the cake from the pan wouldn’t be square. A coo-coo clock should be a little rectangular.

As you can see, this could also go in the direction of a bird house if you have someone that would like that.

Then decorate to your liking. I found the maple leave candies at World Market and the time on the clock is when my daughter was born which was 2:34 on 4/23.

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Buzzing Around :: How to write a children’s book


As you may know, my American idol is The Pioneer Woman. She writes cookbooks, is coming out with her own show on The Food Network, developed Tasty Kitchen, and now has written a children’s book.

On her recent blog post, she gives us step-by-step instructions on how she did it (put together the children’s book). Now all I can do is think, I want to write a book!

Speaking of that, did you check out The Nester’s site on writing an ebook?  I really love the information here. Maybe I’ll take The Pioneer Woman’s advice on how to write and illustrate the book and then turn it into an inexpensive ebook!  I am so on that!


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Drive-In Movie


Usually, Monday mornings I blog about the movie I rented the weekend before but not this week. This weekend was my daughter’s 14th birthday and she wanted to go to a drive-in movie.

How could I not jump on this great family fun idea? We went to Valley 6 Drive-in Theater (established in 1968!) About 25 minutes from Mercer Island (mid-Seattle). It’s a clean, family friendly theater. There was plenty of staff around to help get your car properly hooked up with sound and the snack bar and restrooms were clean. (Really, the staff was great)

The movie starts as soon as the sun goes down (dusk)

It’s fun because you can bring your dog, pillows, blankets, munch on pizza and popcorn, slurp your drinks, and talk all you want. They show double features but you can leave after one movie -we stayed for both movies. We watched Rio & Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2. I think I actually preferred Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2. I must say it was funny. Anyway, everyone had a great time including our dog.

If you go, please support the theater by buying your food at the snack bar. I hope this theater can manage to stay around for many more years to come.

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Unexpected Flowers


My 13 year old daughter is thoughtful. Today she brought me a wonderful bouquet of the biggest yellow “mums” I’ve seen. They’re a plentiful, bright, yellow flower and that’s all Kylie needs to know.

In a few days just think of all the wonderful wishes I’ll have…

Maybe secretly, she’s hoping I’ll win the lottery.

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Buzzing Around :: Cooking Music


Today is my buzzing around day and I wanted to share a blog with you that I really like. (It’s mainly about family cooking)

by Jessica Seinfeld (yep, Jerry’s wife)

When I’m making dinner or an afternoon family lunch, the first thing I do is reach for Itunes song mixes. Sing, hum, dance, close the drawers to the beat… What a difference a good cd can make on the energy of the house.

Jessica came up with a really good set of songs that I really like. Check it out: Click on the photos collage below to go directly to her blog and the list of songs, they’re perfecto! …


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Mall Scavenger Hunt Party Idea


If you need an idea for a birthday party and you have a safe inside mall in your area you may want to try a mall scavenger hunt.

It was my daughters 11th birthday last week and we sat down and came up with a bunch of great scavenger ideas. The kids at the party LOVED it. Please feel free to take these ideas and tweak them so they’ll fit the stores in your mall.

Here’s the check off list that I gave them when we got to the mall. I asked them to bring a cell phone and camera to the party then at the mall, I gave them the check off list, a small pencil, bottle of water, and a snack, plus the $10 each for shopping for the scavenger items.

I partnered them up and between the partners I made sure they had a cell phone. They called a lot with questions and shopper’s excitement!  It was really fun.

Now, here’s a blank invitation and scavenger hunt list if you want to try and print on it yourself.

Then to top it all off, the party came back to our house for cake. I have to show you the cake I made -it looks like a shopping bag. The girls loved it! Hope you give this all a try.

Posted in FreeBees!, Kids | 6 Comments

Country Strong :: Rental Movie Review


Country Strong  {Drama – PG-13}

A drama centered on a rising country-music songwriter Beau (Hedlund) meets Kelly (Gwyneth) in a rehabilitation facility where he works.

Gwyneth Paltrow as Kelly Canter
Tim McGraw as James Canter
Leighton Meester as Chiles Stanton
Garrett Hedlund as Beau Hutton
Marshall Chapman as Winnie 

First off, I love Gwyneth Paltrow, I love her blog (Goop), I love her husband and his band (Coldplay) so I was determined to love this movie. My husband suggested it last night and I was ready to sit back and enjoy. It started out great and I just kept thinking, what a perfect night, I’m going to love this movie…

I’ve seen other reviews that Kelly’s husband was having an affair with the young and rising character in the movie but that’s not how I saw it. I think he was dedicated to the industry and his work. He related to the young character and his wife more in a business way instead of a personal way.  I think that’s why his wife struggled because she was just a business deal instead of a wife to be loved.

Then the reality hit that I didn’t care about Gwyneth’s character. This movie was very much like the movie “The Rose” do you remember that movie with Bette Midler?
… I cared about the main character in The Rose. but, with Kelly Canter I felt a disconnect even though they tried to show her softer side, we just didn’t get that warm and relatable attraction that we needed to give our full attention to her character and therefore the movie.
I was a little intrigued with the two upcoming stars Leighton Meester as Chiles Stanton and Garrett Hedlund as Beau Hutton. If the movie was only about them it would have been a better movie.
Then there was that thing with the baby quail. Really? Can you tell me how a quail lives in a tiny box, is caried everywhere, and doesn’t grow any bigger than a chick in 3 weeks? This is the immature directing of this movie that showed up throughout.
He Said: Don’t rent it
She Said: Rent it with your girlfriends and without your husband
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For My Favorite Peeps


A friend of mine here in Seattle (Sarah) was buzzing around and found this super cute blog Your Home Based Mom. I hope you’ll checkout this cute Peeps Easter treat idea.

Click Here for details Your Home Based Mom

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Activity Cube


Are your kids on spring break and not a lot planned?  Or, do you want to reward your kids for good grades or for doing their chores?

Here’s a cute little activities game cube. Let your child roll the die and see what you’ll do together.

Simply click on this graphic below and then drag it to your desktop and print it.

Cut it out and fold at all lines

Tape it together, with tabs inside the cube.  Then let your child roll the die for a fun hour or two with you!

Or, here’s a blank cube if you want to write your own ideas in the squares that fit your lifestyle.

Here are a some other suggestions:

couples fun

shots and drinking games

sports & fitness or workouts

outdoor adventures

arts & crafts

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Seattle :: Seattle Library


Going to the library is not always an exciting experience unless you go to the Seattle library -it’s pretty out of the ordinary.

Yes, that entire building all 197 million dollars worth is the Seattle public library.

Located at 1000 4th Ave. right off the Madison Exit

It’s well organized and quite a piece of art. Do you see all of the shelves are a stainless steal color and the rugs are with large graphics in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

When visiting the Seattle library you have to go up to the 4th floor. It’s the meeting room area and everything on that floor is red and I mean everything

The walls, the ceiling, the stairs, doors, door nobs …..

and yes even the bathroom. Wouldn’t you love to film a movie here ?

Or the teen area the stainless steal and glass window beams stretch from one side of the building to the other

Every square here is a window where you can see all the way down to the street.

Then don’t forget to take a quick elevator ride up to the 10th floor for a spectacular view downward onto the city through these square windows.

My kids had a ball and of course found all kinds of great books. If you’re planning a visit to Seattle please take time to stop by this architectural wonder.

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Seattle :: Pike Place Market


Today we took Lucy (my Portuguese Water Dog) on a short ride to Pike’s Market  in Seattle.

You know, it rains a lot in Seattle but you can always enjoy Pike Place Market in any weather since most of it is inside and covered.

Today I was on the lookout for flowers, fruits and veggies, and balsamic vinegar and the market did not disappoint. I took these photos so you could come along and see some of my favorite places.

It was quiet there since it’s a Wednesday and how nice it was. How do they go through all of that produce? The same vendors have been there year after year so I guess it’s all selling. Really beautiful mouth watering produce.

The flowers were just beautiful. Wait, I have to show you these tulips…

Look at that. After moving here from San Diego, it always surprises me to see the tulips come up in my yard every year, no winterizing needed in Seattle.

This is a cute little shop called Chukar Cherries at Pike’s. They offer local Washington cherries dried naturally with NO preservatives • NO sulfites • NO trans fat • NO gluten • Nothing artificial and very good!

Here’s the Pikes Place Fish Market, where they throw the fish.

Okay wait. If you have a baby you have to check out these hats. They are the cutest hats ever. The hats are made by the mother and daughter that work here. Love this store! It’s located right behind the fish market (where they throw the fish)

There’s a stop I always make at Pike’s and that’s Pappardelle’s Pasta. They sell a wonderful variety of freshly dried pasta including chocolate pasta, spicy chipotle, herb, naturally flavored fruit pasta and lots more. But the real reason why I needed to stop there was for their Balsamic Vinegar. I love the fig and the heirloom I also love the Thai Sesame Ginger bread dip all made by Bistro Blends. Delicious.

And finally, there’s an all natural bakery there right on the corner across from Beecher’s Cheese (where they make a huge vat of cheese right there before your eyes. Anyway, the natural bakery is so good I want to kick myself for not remembering the name. If you go to Pike’s please check out that bakery. I know you’ll find it. Today my daughters and I shared a big (natural, no sugar added) chocolate chip cookie and loved it.

And lastly, have you heard about the pigs at Pike’s?  This is Rachel. Rachel is popular with the kids who climb all over her and is a working piggy bank. The funds collected from Rachel are used by the Market Foundation for various social services. When you drop in some money, it’s customary to rub Rachel’s snout for good luck.

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The Nester :: Spring Giveaways


One of my favorite blogs is TheNester.com and right now for Spring, she’s offering a whole slew of giveaways from the vendors that advertise with her.

She has also highlighted giveaways from Lisa Leonard Designs (who I love)

And, super great bags from Pocket Full of Posies at The Blessed Nest

There’s more too so I hope you log onto The Nester’s site and good luck on winning some of these creative items.

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Buzzing Around :: Uncommon Goods


Today I was buzzing around and found this cute little online store called uncommongoods.com

It’s a cute store that buys products from small sellers but unlike Etsy.com it does not offer an individual store for each product designer. If you want to have them carry your product, you send them information on your product with a photo and they’ll let you know if they want to carry your product for sale. The concept is very much like a department store business model.

Here are a few things I found that were cute …  And of course there’s much more, I hope you’ll check it out.

Cupcake decorating kit

Wallet tool wrench

Fortune Cookie Booties

The site is clean and easy to navigate. Enjoy.

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Tangled :: Rental Movie Review


Tangled, Disney’s take on the folk tale classic Rapunzel, hearkens back to the hayday of Disney pictures.  A princess, in dire straights.  A handsome lead.  And an evil witch/stepmother/etc.

  • Starring the Voices of: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Ron Perlman, M.C. Gainey, and Delaney Rose Stein
  • Studio: Walt Disney Studios

We have a guest speaker for this addition of Rental Movie Review and that’s my 13 year old daughter.  Here we go…

This was a classic Disney princess story which followed the typical movies that I have watched over and over. It entertained my parents and me alike. It had twists and turns but near the ending I was upset with what happened to her locks. Not to say it was a bad movie choice, I just couldn’t get over it. My mom thought it was shocking but she liked the outcome.

I loved it, my parents liked it. You should see it! I’m sure your kids will watch it over and over again.

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Puffle Cake


My daughter loves Club Penguin and it was her 11th Birthday last Sunday so she needed a Puffle cake.

I gave this task to my 13 year old daughter and she did a great job!

First get a Wilton ball cake pan from Michael’s

then make the puffle hair out of a Rice Crispy squares recipe

ad the sticks to the bottom to push and hold into the sides of the cake {we didn’t have skewers so we used hard spaghetti pasta}

Frost and use black licorice for the mouth and M&M’s for the eyes

Be sure to give the right color Puffle the right smile or attitude. Your child will know the expression that color Puffle should have. See below…

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The Next Three Days :: Rental Movie Review


Life for John and Lara Brennan (Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks) is miserable after she is convicted of a murder she says she did not commit. Three years later while struggling with the demands of work and raising his son alone, John is still trying to establish her innocence. When her final appeal is rejected, John has only one option left: Break her out of prison.


I really don’t have a lot of bad things to say about this film but first off, some of the parts are a little over the top like the scene with her friend at dinner during their double date. Then a few parts here and there where they test the intelligence of their audience by having too many unbelievable coincidences.

Other than that, the acting was very good. I especially liked how Russell Crowe looked at his wife with sincere hope and pity (very believable here) while planning a huge breakout for her on his free time.  The story was good and kept our attention -the movie had heart.

My husband liked it. I liked it too. I think you’ll like it. Rent it.

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Washington Wildlife :: Pileated Woodpecker


If you hear a loud hammering sound in the woods, you may be listening to a Pileated Woodpecker. It’s one of the largest woodpecker species in North America.

Since moving to Washington state, one of my favorite things to do here is to keep an eye out for wildlife. In San Diego we’d see dolphins, coyotes, and hawks but in Washington I’m seeing an abundance of eagles, especially lately. But for some reason, these pileated woodpeckers are one of my favorite treats to see.

This photo was taken by my daughter as we watched him jump from tree to tree in our front yard forest. His pounding can be heard throughout the neighborhood and it’s mind boggling how he can hit the wood so hard with his face.

These woodpeckers drum to attract mates and to establish the boundaries of their territory—warning other males away.

The pileated woodpecker’s body is 16 to 19 inches long. Its wingspan is 26 to 30 inches wide. It weighs between 8.8 and 12.3 ounces. It looks as big as a large parrot on the side of the tree.

What a wonderful planet this is.

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The Fighter :: Rental Movie Review


Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Amy Adams

A look at the early years of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward and his brother who helped train him before going pro in the mid 1980s.

I’ve been following “Marky-Mark” since the early 90′s when I had a poster of him in Calvin Klein’s on my bedroom wall and he still never disappoints.

There’s a side to us all that feels we’ve seen it all, with our dis-functional family and friends. However, this movie completely takes the cake. You see the mom “Alice” with her 2 sons and 9 daughters (from different fathers) and you can’t help but smile and shake your head.

But don’t be judgmental. It’s easy to get lost in the “I can’t believe it” Just enjoy the movie and then count your blessings that this is not your life. This is not a boxing movie it’s a glimpse into a certain small town American culture.

Amy Adams was perfect in this movie. A far reach from anything she’s done in the past. All the actors contributed greatly to the film.

My husband liked it. I liked it. Rent it.

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Fluer de Lis


March, hum, March…. Isn’t that spring time yet?  I’m thinking of my yard and how nice it would be if it were in bloom. Okay, is that wishing too much? How about green? Just green. Last year I was cruising around my yard and I came upon a Fluer de Lis right there in my backyard.

Don’t you think that’s where the French got the idea? It’s the new leaves of the Hydrangea plant. Brilliant.

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Introducing My Newest Blogs


I know, I’ve been gone for awhile. Well, not really gone, just busy working on 2 new sites. First is my IslandKids.info site.

It’s  an activities directory for families on Mercer Island. It’s been in the works for sometime now and I finally have it ready to roll. This site will be forever growing but I’m really excited about it’s state at this point.

Then I was hired to put together a logo and website for MIParentEdge.org. It’s a non-profit organization that brings education to parents on Mercer Island.

What was really fun was to add all the plugins like Facebook, gave them a Twitter account, and also hooked them up with Mail Chimp. I hope you’ll check out these new sites and see all the bells and whistles that will keep them marketing their important programs for many years to come.

If you need a blog please let me know, I would love to help.

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The Social Network :: Rental Movie Review


It’s Monday and time for my Monday Movie Rental Review!

This weekend we watched The Social Network.

Rated PG-13 (2010) Director: David Fincher

Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake

To me this was a fascinating story. Fascinating because I think we all saw this website happen within the last 5 years. It makes you think, what was I doing while those billions upon billions of dollars were made in a very short amount of time? I used to hang around with computer friends just like these guys in Southern California and loved every minute of what I saw and learned.

But anyway, back to the movie. I felt this was a fair story from both sides of the argument on who came up with the idea, did the work, and saw it through. I thought this movie would be cut up like a 20 something music video, but it wasn’t at all. It was clear, detailed and it kept me and my husband interested throughout the entire story. True story? Probably not entirely but we think the main outline was there.

I felt like Mark Zuckerberg had many ideas rolling around in his restless brain and time to do something with his talent. The twins that talked with him about working with them really had no talent they just wanted a work horse. He kind of listened to the idea and ran his own direction with it while the twins were wondering why he wouldn’t be their free slave. That was my thought.

My husband (apparently he’s nicer than me) thought: He had a deal and a deal is just that. He should of seen their idea through and then worked out his own idea after that. He probably would have been where he is today but it just would of took longer.

My thinking: Everyone knows Windows quickly looked a bit like the Mac, and Annie’s macaroni and cheese is very much like Kraft, just healthier, etc. Most ideas come from something you’ve seen or heard of and then you make it better… I’m getting off track again.

He liked it, she liked it  ::  You be the judge. Rent it.

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An Old Fashion Valentine’s Day


This vintage clip art brings me back, way back. I love this site and all the classic cute clip art. Click on the photos above to download free!

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Free Valentine Cards


Here’s are some simple printable cards for your kids to deliver at school…

Click on the above photo to get started.

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Wall Street – Rental Movie Review Monday


Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (PG)

To take down a merciless finance executive, a young trader agrees to a disgraced Wall street legend’s proposal in exchange for the man to be reunited with his daughter, the trader’s fiancée.

Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Michael Douglas and Carey Mulligan

Wall Street happens to be a movie that I loved back in 1994 (rental of course). I’m not one of those film critics that says a bunch of bad stuff just to feel superior. I want to give you my honest and relaxed “she said, he said” review.

I really liked Shia. I felt he played the roll of a gentleman very well. Michael Douglas, I felt was all over the board. Arrogant, father figure, trustworthy, untrustworthy… Just what was he?  It was almost silly at times. Carey Mulligan, hum maybe a little too over the top. Who really turns down $100 million dollars when you’re barely trying to provide for your family? Can she at least take 3 million? Anyway, was not my 10 ten was not even my top 34. See it for pure entertainment but you won’t spend your time thinking about it the next day. (my husband felt exactly the same way about it)

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Make a font of your handwriting FREE!


I love this site! You can easily make a font from your own handwriting, or your doodles for free. Just click on the photo below to get started.  I’m going to do it too right now…

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Recently, I was asked to design a logo and blog for a parent group here on Mercer Island. I’ve been working on that and I haven’t found time to blog like I want to blog. So please check back, don’t forget me, I’ll show you what I came up with in a couple days…

If you’d like me to help you design a logo or blog please drop me an email and I can easily give you a quote.

mail (at) freebeemom (dot) come

Below are some other blogs and sites I’ve done recently






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$10 OFF Groupon!


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This morning I started P90X. You know that infomercial that plays every hour on the hour about this time of year.

I noticed that since I don’t live near a LA Fitness® Sports Club (my favorite club) I was missing my motivation, the friendly faces, the energy.

Initially I was intrigued by P90X for the “muscle confusion” theory. I taught aerobics for 12 years and understand the importance of cross training for optimal results.

I don’t believe that your best workout will happen in your living room but I did like Tony’s personality which made me feel like I had my own personal trainer. This may be the personal training I need to motivate me for real results.

I ride my elliptical every day and that’s fine. I watch a favorite TV at 10am and ride. But what was the problem? Why wasn’t I seeing results?  -Not enough of a varied workout to help me see full body results.  Check back next week and I’ll let you know how it’s going.

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The American :: Rental Movie Review


The American (R)

An assassin hides out in Italy for one last assignment.

Starring: George Clooney, Paolo Bonacelli and Violante Placido

Since I decided to add this new (Rental Movie Review) segment to my blog, I had the opportunity to watch 2 movies this last weekend because of the New Year holiday. I’ve been biting my nails and dying to write about The American. A movie starring George Clooney.

I thought okay, it’s a Clooney movie. He’s smart, he makes good movies, right?  My husband thought it’s about an assassin, it must be interesting, right? So we decided to watch it.

We watched… and watched… and watched. but, NOTHING HAPPENED. nothing. The movie was pointless, boring, and predictable.

I’m sure the book that this movie was based on is very good. The Character is very quiet and he holds many thoughts in his head (I think) and would give us insight to his deep thoughts which I’m sure are intriguing — this was not translated in the movie.

This is not the handsome Ocean’s 11 or 13 George Clooney. To top it all off, he had a girly butterfly tattoo on his back and they kept calling him “Mr. Butterfly” Which was never really explained. Yuk!

The movie had nothing to say. It could have been over in 10 minutes and we wouldn’t have missed a thing.

A NOTE TO GEORGE: Please, don’t do what John Travolta did George, read the script and don’t be afraid to “just say no”.    I can not trust John movies.

My review: DON’T RENT IT. Your husband will hate it as much as you.

The only part of the movie that made me happy was the 30 seconds that this song was playing when he was sitting by himself in an Italian restaurant.


Next week’s Rental Movie Review: Wall Street -Money Never Sleeps

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Rental Movie Review – The Town


Every Sunday night my husband and I rent an On Demand movie and have “Date Night ” Here’s a “real person” review of this week’s movie.

Movie: The Town • (rated R) • for him and her • Directed and screenplay written by Ben Afleck

A gang of bank robbers who pride themselves in stealing what they want and getting out clean, briefly take a hostage–bank manager, Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall). Though they let her go unharmed, Claire is nervously aware that the robbers know her name…and where she lives. But she lets her guard down when she meets an unassuming and rather charming man named Doug (Ben Affleck)…not realizing that he is the same man who only days earlier had terrorized her. The instant attraction between them gradually turns into a passionate romance that threatens to take them both down a dangerous, and potentially deadly, path.

Do you ever watch a movie and you can’t get it off your mind the next day? This movie draws you and makes you think you’re watching real life. It’s well made, realistic, and keeps you on the edge of your couch. Don’t you hate it when you find yourself rooting for the “bad guy”? You get emotionally involved in these characters until you truly believe you would break the law yourself to help them.

Jem played by Jeremy Renner is nothing short of amazing. Gives a performance that makes you believe he is what his character is.

Ben Afleck and all cast members do a phenomenal job in this film.

My review: RENT IT. Watch it with your husband, he’ll love it as much as you.

Ben Affleck … Doug MacRay
Jon Hamm … Adam Frawley
Rebecca Hall … Claire Keesey
Jeremy Renner … Jem
Chris Cooper … Stephen MacRay
Blake Lively … Krista

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Resolution Confessions


What are yours?  I tell you mine.

1. Exercise 5 days a week

2. Eat less sugar

3. Clean out my garage

4. Unclutter my house

That’s it. Simple as that.

What are yours?  Leave a comment.

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Free Food Journal


The age old question… “What did I eat today?” You know it, Oprah said it, so now we better do it – FILL OUT A DAILY FOOD JOURNAL. I’m such a muncher and it’s really hard to keep track of when to say “that’s probably about enough for today.” So, if you’re thinking the same thing, print off this Food Journal, laminate it and write on it with a erasable marker everyday. You can decide to use this two different ways: write in your plans before the day starts and just check off as you eat it. Or, check off as you eat. The only suggestion is to set in stone your weekly workout plan. (There’s no negotiating on that) Then just check it off as you do the workout.  Let me know how it goes… Cheers to your New Years health!

Click on the link below to download your free food journal

food journal.pdf

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Buzzing Around


I was buzzing around and found this wonderful original piece of artwork on Etsy. Isn’t it purely fantastic? I hope you’ll check out this site if you’re looking for artwork for children. It’s affordable, simple, and wonderful.

Or for yourself, pick these cute bunny cards.

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Give the Gift of a More Comfortable Life


Do you ever do your laundry and stop and understand the privilege of just that? Do you ever run your kitchen faucet and are thankful for the safe drinking water available right there for you? We’ve become accustomed to these wonderful amenities in our daily lives.

If you have someone in your life that’s really hard to buy for because your small gift is a drop in the bucket to the things they can buy themselves. Or, consider a teacher gift, or a group gift for a boss.

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.

This is the organization that can help you buy chickens, goats, etc., for families to start their own businesses or help feed their families and communities. You know the saying that basically says, “Show someone how to fish and they’ll eat for a lifetime.” I believe in that philosophy and if you do too, consider these fine gifts for someone special.

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Today’s Show – Jill’$ Steals & Deals


Click on the graphic photo above to go directly to the TodayShow.com webiste and learn about these 5 great offers that are only available for 24 hours!  HURRY, they really are great deals…

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Where’s the Fashion?


Last night I was at a NCAA Volleyball game in Seattle. I like to casually watch people from time to time and gazed upon a women in the crowd with a black wool sweater, black sweat pants (yes, open leg sweat pants) a hounds tooth scarf, and her short blond hair pulled back into a loose pony tail. I thought look at that, she’s comfortable, very simple, and somehow well pulled together.

I base my entire wardrobe on comfort. I always have but somewhere along the line I lost that element of surprise. I run from kid’s activity, to kid’s activity sometimes on my way looking down at myself wondering if I took time to even change from my pajamas.

I’m thinking this winter, if I could swing a cute bag on my arm.

An element of surprise like a cute scarf, a piece of interesting jewelry, and a cute pair of comfortable boots

I’ll feel just a bit more… charismatic ?

Yes, I can continue to be comfortable but do I have to sacrifice cute style? No way.

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Cake in a Cup


My daughter came home from school yesterday with her friend and they were craving chocolate. My daughter’s friend said “Hey, have you ever heard of cake in a mug?” And right away they took off on a crafty cooking project. It’s simple and smashes your will-power into bits since it can be made anytime within 5 minutes with a small amount of ingredients.

The girls put all the ingredients in the one mug and cooked it in that same mug. But, if it were me, I would have stirred up the ingredients in one mug and then poured the batter into a new clean mug so it would have been a cleaner final mug especially if you’re giving this mug and cake as a gift. (the cake can also be popped out of the mug and given without it)

You’ll need a microwave oven

A large microwavable mug

4 Tablespoons flour

9 Tablespoons hot chocolate mix

1 pinch of salt

1 egg

3 Tablespoons water

3 Tablespoons oil

3 teaspoons chocolate chips (optional)

Cooking Spray

The cooking spray is to keep the cake from sticking to the mug but other than that just pour all the ingredients in, stir lightly, and cook in the microwave for 3 minutes.

Seriously, this took 5 minutes total.

QUICK IDEA: If someone is coming over for coffee, make this in a small pan, cut it up and serve it as a quick sweet delight on a small cute serving plate with the coffee.

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A Family Shrine


There’s a tree party going on at Thrifty Decor Chick and the thought of sharing our family’s very personal memory holder engulfed me with delight. Christmas trees are personal, artful, and delightful, a sort of shrine if you will. As I get older, I could easily find myself slowing down on the excitement of our Christmas tree. But nope, I don’t do it. I’m right there with my girls unwrapping each ornament as if it were a Christmas gift in itself. Unpacking each memory, each photo, each piece of valuable elementary school artwork as if they were original Picassos.

I couldn’t imagine having a tree that my kids can’t help decorate. Having a “matchy-matchy” tree with blues and greens, or red and whites. Where’s the imperfections of our family? Where’s the love?

My husband has his silly little ornaments that do something for his state of mind. Those Santa surfer ornaments that we bought on vacation will always have a home here and I think dearly of him while I unwrap ‘em for the season.

Or the ornaments I got with my mom while in Switzerland one summer. My kids know how special these are to me.

I have antique bulbs that belonged to my mom from her early days of marriage. This ornament is over 50 years old. Simply priceless.

And then of course there are those “bloopers” this is my daughter in preschool, not exactly understanding the importance of a smile in a photo that will be forever remembered every year.

Another little ornament and the only one that’s always new is the Christmas card photo from the year before. I get or make a little ornament frame and place the last year’s photo inside. A sweet collection of beautiful little photos of the wonderful times that have past. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

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Coinstar Promo Courtesy of La Costa Mom


My friend posted this on her blog about a great offer from Coinstar change machines. I really thought it was great information since I live on nothing but spare change.

In fact, I’m going to go through my pockets and my husband’s night stand now…

Click on the above graphic for details

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Holiday Home Linky Party & our Christmas Mantel


Happy Holidays – welcome to the Holiday Home Linky Party!

My mantel is always changing and this Christmas it’s changed since last Christmas. Every year I try to clear my head of how it looked the year before and even though I use the same stuff year after year I try to find new ways to show it.

I wish I could go out and buy the latest and most modern decorations but I just can’t do that because for one, my kids are too attached to the memories we bring out of the boxes every year and two, it would be a terrible waste.

When you display your holiday decor think in stories. For example -

Embrace the true meaning of Christmas with a nativity/religious table.

Have some fun with a touch toyland table where kids are welcome to come play with anything there.

Create a memories table holding all of your photo frames just from the holidays. I put away all of our regular photos during Christmas time and only show photos taken during Christmas.

Don’t go out and buy holiday frames just paint some old frames white or barn red.

Re-look at your holiday decorations and reinvent them, re-purpose them, and even paint them. What was once considered beautiful in ornate gold may now look better in shabby barn red.

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Posted in Holiday | Tagged holiday | 8 Comments