Pineapple Banana Smoothie

My kids love smoothies. I love that I can get all kinds of fruits into them in a yummy tasting drink and they seem none the wiser. Smoothies are perfect anytime. They are a great refreshing drink when the weather starts getting warmer or a healthy side or breakfast. This is an easy smoothie to make and you can feel good about serving it to your family. 
homemade, fresh, orange julius

Easy Red, White and Blue Berry Dessert

Summer is by far my favorite season, especially summers here in the Pacific Northwest. That is, when the sun is shining. I do love the sun. I'm fickle like that. One of my favorite things about summer is all the fresh fruit. I could eat my weight each week in fresh fruit alone, which is why I love this easy berry dessert that combines some of my favorite red, whites and blues. It can be put together in just a few minutes, which makes it especially great so you can spend more time enjoying more important things like the outside and good friends and family!

red, white and blue, raspberries, blueberries, pretzels

I knew exactly what I wanted to share with you as part of this Wayfair sponsored red, white and chew challenge. I hope you enjoy it!

red, white and blue, raspberries, blueberries, pretzels

Dresses With Pockets All Under $30!

Last month, I went to a blog conference in Orlando, Florida. It was so much fun and required me to dress up several days in a row. I'm so used to wearing my normal "uniform" of jeans and a sweatshirt, that breaking free of the usual outfit choices was kind of fun. Know what I found that I loved? Dresses with pockets. Growing up my dad always made the comment "well isn't that handier than a pocket in a shirt?" But now I think that the saying should be something like "handier than pockets in a dress," because, duh, they are amazing! I really think there should be a whole website committed to dresses with pockets {I'm claiming this idea and putting a copyright on it!} so until I launch that bad boy, try out some of my favorite finds from Amazon all of them are under $30!

fashion, my style, budget

Sick Kids on Vacation-5 Tips to Help You Cope

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hertz. All opinions are 100% mine.

If your family is like ours, you plan for months to prepare for a family vacation. You make reservations, plan activities, research the area you will be visiting. You've probably even been talking about your trip in eager anticipation with the whole family. No one prepares for that much-needed family time by planning on having a sick kid. There is nothing worse than being far from home on a long-awaited trip dealing with an illness. With the help of Hertz, I have some tips on Coping with a Sick Child on Vacation.


Red, White and Blue Ideas for your Patriotic Celebration

Welcome to another week of the create, link, inspire link party. I hope you find inspiration here every week and that you check back often for ideas. I'm always impressed with what gets linked up and I always add a handful of crafts, DIY's and recipes to my to do list.  

This week, I'm getting ready for the 4th of July with some patriotic red, white and blue snacks, desserts and craft ideas. Come check out some of the great projects linked up last week and see what creative recipes, crafts and DIY's have been linked up this week.

patriotic, veteran, holiday, party ideas, appetizers

It's time to party!


Upcycled {Sweet} Tea Tray

This post is written on behalf of Southern Breeze Sweet Tea. All opinions are 100% my own. 

One of my most favorite things to do is to upcycle things that I find at garage sales and thrift stores. I have a drop down menu full of DIY projects and crafts that I have made using things I've found at garage sales. I don't usually change the items so much, I just give them a little update or add some personalization or character. When I heard that my favorite Southern Breeze Sweet Tea was getting an update, I knew I wanted to help them celebrate their new look by updating something I had. I took a plain tray I bought for a dollar and added some black vinyl to make it not quite so boring. I'm sharing the full tutorial with you on the blog, plus I'm also letting you in on a fun giveaway you won't want to miss!

southern breeze, vinyl, silhouette, kitchen giveaway, kitchen makeover


Probiotic Foods or Supplements...which is better?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Activia Probiotic Yogurt. All opinions are 100% mine.

I consider myself to be fairly health conscious and do my best to take care of myself, but the older I get, the more I realize that there are things that I should be doing {after years of my dentist hounding me I am now flossing, so you can rest easy on that one!} that I'm not so that my body can be functioning properly. I want to make good choices that make the least disruption to my already over-booked lifestyle. If you are like me, you have heard about probiotics, but the word has gone in one ear and out the other. In case you missed it you can find out What the Heck Probiotics Are and Why You Should Care.

If you have even spent a second looking into probiotics or talked to your girlfriends about it, you may be confused about what is the best way is to add probiotic foods to your diet.  Is it better to consume probiotic Foods or Supplements? Let's take a look.


Easy Framed Sign Tutorial

You guys know how much I love to shop at thrift shops and garage sales. Heck, I even wrote a book about it.  You can usually pick up frames quite inexpensively {like for under a dollar}. There is usually an abundant supply of them in all shapes, sizes and colors.  I love the current wood frame sign trend and while you can make your own frame, I know I couldn't pick up the lumber for the frame for a quarter like I picked up each of the frames I used from the Goodwill Outlet. Curious about the Goodwill Outlet? Here's how you can shop if you are a first-timer. Love the sign trend? Keep scrolling for the full tutorial.

wood frame, farmhouse, diy, silhouette cameo, vinyl project

Fasting for the Famine in East Africa and Resources to Take Action

We read a lot of Dr. Seuss in our house. My husband grew up with the stories and the legacy has lived on as we read them to our children. The large hardcover books have made their home on the book shelves of every one of our three kids and even though the youngest is in middle school, we still find ourselves flipping through our favorites from time to time. 

dr. seuss, hunger, famine, world vision, africa

There is one book called "Horton Hears a Who" that is a family favorite. The elephant named Horton is splashing in a pool when he hears a speck of dust talking to him. Horton vows to take care of the voices he hears on the speck because after all "a person's a person, no matter how small." And while I love that profound statement, that's not why this book came to mind.


Summer Fun Ideas PLUS Create Link Inspire Party

Welcome to another week of the create, link, inspire link party. I hope you find inspiration here every week and that you check back often for ideas. I'm always impressed with what gets linked up and I always add a handful of crafts, DIY's and recipes to my to do list.  

This week, I found some pretty amazing ideas that will make this summer fun. From no-churn ice cream recipes, to goody bags filled with poppers, you are sure to find something in this round up that you will enjoy.

It's time to party!


How to make boot shapers with a pool noodle

How to make boot shapers with a pool noodle

Now that I have this fantastic new closet,
I have been doing my best to come up with good organization methods to keep it clean and tidy.

I found a simple solution for my boots.
This is how they looked before.

I bought three pool noodles at a garage sale for a quarter.
My husband helped me out and did the manual labor.
Not because it's hard, but because I was busy.
Measure out the noodle and cut just below the top of the boot.

Here is the closet after.
With the pool noodle boot shapers in place.
Pretty awesome right?!

DIY boot shapers

Total cost, 25 cents
Totally worth it!

What You Need to Know About the East Africa Hunger Crisis

I was only seven, but I still remember how I felt in 1985 when I memorized every line of the song "We Are the World." I have very vivid memories sharing a snack with a friend that summer while talking as deeply as any elementary-aged child could about how there were children dying and that we needed to eat our freshly-picked cherry tomatoes with the idea of starvation in mind. My heart broke then for Ethiopia and the nearly million people who died because of the famine in those years and it's breaking now. 

Did you know that there is a famine happening in East Africa right now? Millions of people are experiencing unprecedented hunger and famine in Africa and it feels like no one is talking about it. No one. But for these mothers, these children, these families, it is important that you hear their cries. That you see them. That you know. 

Photo: ©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren

This mother and children are trying to suck the marrow from the donkey bones that litter the landscape in their village. There is nothing to eat or drink and their last cow died in the night. Fathers have begun hunting for vulture and hyena-the animals that scavenge the bones from other animals. They dry the stomachs of the hyena to eat. The malnutrition rate has spiked and according to Nanaam Health Center nurse John Cheruiyot, "it's the highest I can remember." He says, "this is a very serious problem."

So today, I'm taking some time to share about the East Africa Hunger Crisis because so many of us don't know. And then, I want to tell you how you can help. I want to give you a chance to respond and share this so that other people can hear, because we need to do something to help these people.

Did you memorize "We Are the World" as a child too? Do you remember the first lines? The ones that say "there comes a time when we heed a certain call. When the world must come together as one. There are people dying, and it's time to lend a hand to life. The greatest gift of all." The time is now. 


DIY Three Tiered Serving Stand

You all know how much I love my garage sales. I even wrote an ebook about it. I'm always looking for new uses for old things. I have had my eyes on the three tiered stands that are so popular right now. I knew I could make my own and started looking at pans I was finding at garage sales a little differently. 

3, springform pan, how to, tutorial, farmhouse, fixer upper, magnolia market

I ended up deciding to use these three different sized springform pans and some candlesticks and came up with this fabulous DIY project. I'm sharing how you can make one too!


Save Money on Airport Parking 5 Tips to Get you on Your Way

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Park ‘N Fly Airport Parking for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Several years ago my husband and I came to the realization that the kids would be out of the house soon and so we created a family travel bucket list. We wanted to be able to expose our kids to parts of the world that we loved and give them the gift of travel. Since we have older kids, traveling during the low season is difficult for us. While I don't mind my kids missing school to travel since there is so much value in it, important school instruction is often sacrificed, and it's a balance to decide what trips are worth missing school for and which are better to be done when they have breaks during the school year. Traveling during the busy season of the year often means that we pay more money on airfare and hotels and we do our best to save money whenever and wherever we can without sacrificing quality. One of the ways we are able to do this is by saving money on airport parking. Here are 5 tips that will get you on your way.


10 Home Improvements That Will Pay You Back

This is a sponsored post written by me for Sears Home Services. All opinions are 100% my own.
We bought our first house when I was just 22. We purchased the smallest home in a desirable neighborhood. Everything about that first home was builder grade but through the nearly ten years that we lived there, we made improvements that we loved, but more than that, they were improvements that paid us back. It's inevitable that as you are looking for a home, you will have a critical eye open looking for things to change. Not only do home buyers want to put their own personal touch on a home, they also want to make sure that they see the return on their investment when they go to sell their home. I've got 10 home renovations that will add value to your home. Even small projects like replacing your front door will provide great value when you go to sell. You can enjoy the improvements that you are making and know that they will be improvements that will be paying you back in the long run.



How To Pick the Perfect Watermelon Every Time!

Our family LOVES watermelon. We go through at least one a week when they are in season. I think I've gotten pretty good at picking the perfect watermelon either at the grocery store, at the Farmer's market or at a roadside stand, and I want to share my knowledge with you. I've been using these tips for the past year and I haven't had a bad watermelon since! I can almost guarantee that you won't ever pick a bad watermelon again!

fruit, summer, picnic


Fresh Flowers-How to Enjoy Them, Arrange Them and DIY Vases and Planters for them PLUS Create Link Inspire Party

Welcome to another week of the create, link, inspire link party. I hope you find inspiration here every week and that you check back often for ideas. I'm always impressed with what gets linked up and I always add a handful of crafts, DIY's and recipes to my to do list.  

We had such a wet winter that it seems like my spring flowers are a little slow to bloom, but they are in full bloom now and I have been cutting and enjoying fresh flowers in nearly every room of my home. I've got ideas that were linked up at the party last week to help you enjoy fresh flowers in your home too. You can learn how to arrange them and create DIY vases and planters to enjoy flowers and plants around your home.
It's time to party!


My thoughts on Pre-school and Kindergarten may not like them

Should We Really be Celebrating Pre-school and Kindergarten Graduation?

My personal news feed on Facebook has been blowing up with pre-school and Kindergarten graduation pictures and it's been driving me nuts!

Mostly because I don't see the point.
Seriously, were you worried that your child wasn't going to pass?

I just saw a friend post this very comment beside a graduation picture of her admittedly very cute four year old son  "Well done buddy!!" followed by comments from family members saying "we are so proud of you" and "way to go!".

It hasn't been that long since my kids went to pre-school.
All three of them attended various pre-schools for at least two years each.
Not one of them had a pre-school graduation.
Maybe that makes me bitter?

Or maybe it makes me relieved.
I didn't have to buy overpriced professional portraits of my kids dressed in cap and gown,
bring balloons and flowers as congratulatory gifts or have a special dinner because by golly my kid graduated from a school where the only requirement is that their parents pay a monthly tuition to send them and that they show up.

Wait, they don't actually even have to do that!
Pre-school and Kindergarten are not required.

It was hard to find
{because there is no such thing!} 
as a statistic for a kid who didn't walk with their peers for Kindergarten or pre-school graduation.
There are no flunkies.
So what are we doing it for?
Don't get me wrong, as a parent, I have celebrated plenty of my children's milestones.
However, I don't think that every milestone in a child's life requires pomp and circumstance.
If we stop to celebrate every small detail of a child's existence, does the line get blurry between those things that really are important and should be celebrated?

Graduation should be special.
It should be a moment in time that is celebrated.
Once, twice even, and if you are super crazy smart {or just crazy!} maybe three times.
These times should document a completion of hard work, effort and a new chapter in your life.
Not just a blip in time where you are expected to just move on.
Kids are expected to move on to Kindergarten or to first grade.
Must we stop and treat this expectation like it's some major achievement?

Summer Books for Kids Ages 8-14

I'm a HUGE fan of books. I love nothing more than escaping with a good book for a bit. I remember as a kid spending summer days swinging in the hammock that was tied between two trees in our backyard reading every Babysitters Club book in order and then moving on to Sweet Valley High. I love seeing my kids pick up books to read for fun too. When I was substitute teaching, I always loved recommending books for kids and getting them excited to read. It really is the best. Maybe I should have been a librarian...Anyway, as the summer starts and kids begin their chorus of "I'm bored," here is a list of good books that I would recommend for kids from about the age of 8-14. 

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