Saturday, January 11, 2014

Poll Closed ~ AND NEW Poll

I thought I'd come up with the perfect plan after so many wonderful facebook suggestions for naming a cookbook. I'd let readers decide what to call it. Guess what? There's a TIE. So, I'll be putting up a poll just with those two. (And hoping to not have another tie. In the event of another, we'll just put each name 5 times in a jar and let one of the kids draw lol).

So please take a moment and look at my left sidebar and cast your vote :)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Inspirational Quotes

How about some of m favorite quotes today? These are some that I try to repeat often to my kids.

The first is from the Notebook ~ one of my favorite romance stories of all time...a love like theirs would be a wonderful gift.

“The reason it hurts so much to separate is because our souls are connected. Maybe they always have been and will be. Maybe we've lived a thousand lives before this one and in each of them we've found each other. And maybe each time, we've been forced apart for the same reasons. That means that this goodbye is both a goodbye for the past ten thousand years and a prelude to what will come.” 
― Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.
- The Buddha

Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth, and if a man does not know what a thing is, it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not.
- Carl Jung

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.
- Mother Teresa

I've never felt Marilyn Monroe should be a "role model" of sorts. I'm against role models period, but I do like this.
“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” - Marilyn Monroe

Never, not ever, give up
“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” - Thomas A. Edison

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” - George Eliot

Kindness will always speak louder than hate.
”An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” - M.K. Gandhi

”Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em.” - William Shakespeare

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” 
― Paulo Coelho

“Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.” 
― Lance Armstrong

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Ignite Your Senses 2 Announcement

Prize Packages TBA (by 2/7):
Prizes will all focus on the five senses (Taste, Touch, Sight, Smell, and Hearing)!!!
Hosted by:
Make Our Own Network
Sign-ups close 2/7
Click HERE to sign up and for more html info.
M.O.O.N. has now added several perks/discounts for frequent participation in our events but you must be a member of our Facebook group to be eligible.  Please visit the M.O.O.N. group if you are a blogger and would like more information regarding these perks and other group events.

**If you are a company and would like to see your brand advertised in a M.O.O.N. event similar to this or a Blogger interested in working with M.O.O.N. please contact

Fall in Love Fairy Tale Style Announcement

Make Our Own Network
Disney Princess Beauty and the Beast Exclusive Limited Edition Doll Figure Belle
Hosted by:
Gone Sweeping
Make Our Own Network
Sign-ups close 1/25
**The blogger with the most referrals will receive the additional links at no cost
Click HERE to sign up and for more html info.
M.O.O.N. has now added several perks/discounts for frequent participation in our events but you must be a member of our Facebook group to be eligible.  Please visit the M.O.O.N. group if you are a blogger and would like more information regarding these perks and other group events.

**If you are a company and would like to see your brand advertised in a M.O.O.N. event similar to this or a Blogger interested in working with M.O.O.N. please contact

PR Friendly ( #stat update)

It was time to update the stats and repost for those interested. 


Stats update ~ January 9, 2014

Facebook ~ 260 (profile) + 2361
Twitter ~ 3103
Pinterest ~ 168
GFC ~ 6
BlogLovin ~ 2
Triberr ~ 1 Million
Google + ~ 19

All links are also shared on
StumbleUpon ~ Digg

Alexa Rank Global ~ 2,071,157
Alexa Rank US ~ 176,838
Google Page Rank ~ NA

Monthly Unique Visitors ~ 249
(I'm not certain as to why my Google Analytics has a different way lower number, I'm hoping this fixes itself as the blog gets older.)

About My Blog ~ I'm always looking for kid friendly products. I'll be featuring reviews of many children and teen items during 2014. I'm moving into a brand new home and taking nothing with me. I'll be sharing my purchasing expenses, trial and error, decorating tips and finds and more throughout the year. I'm all about a happy family and home. My goal is to share my experiences with my readers. You'll find reviews, DIY Projects, baking from scratch, cooking from scratch, recipes, decorating, crafts, and so much more here. Also in 2014, I'll be opening my own shop (soaps, candles, cleaning supplies and more).

About Me ~ I've been a stay at home mom for over 10 years. I love my children, my home, and searching out the inner peace that being a mom and homemaker allows for. Previously, I home schooled (including to one special needs child). I love crafts, DIY, home products, natural items, and so one. I seem to always be finding something new to try out or some new adventure to lead everyone on. (My latest is Christmas 2014: (1) My children will all hand make personal gifts for one another ~ Gifts from the Heart (2) My children (and hopefully the school they go to) will be lead by me in creating at least TWO Christmas cards each for soldiers.)

Advertising ~ (Check back often as prices are subject to change - these are introductory prices)

Top banner - 1 available (above posts - center) $15/month or 3 months for $40
Left or right side bar ad - 1 available per side - $10/month or 3 months for $25
Left or right side bar bottom ads - 3 available per side - $7/month or 3 months for $15
Bottom of page ads - 3 across, 2 rows - 6 available - $5/month

Sponsored Posts - $10-$50

Additional Review Policy Information ~

  • I abide by FTP policy
  • Reviews are always free of charge as long as materials for product(s) are provided to me free of charge (full size items, shipping paid by sender).
  •  Please let me know if you wish a certain date for your review. Otherwise, please allow up to 4 weeks for your review to be posted.
  • Reviews are always promoted on all of my social networks.
Giveaway Policy ~
  • I will do giveaways without doing a review of the product.
  • Giveaways will run 2 weeks.
  • If you would like giveaway options to include a specific facebook, twitter or pinterest account, please be sure to let me know.
  • I will provide winner details to you, please do NOT ship me the winner's product(s).
  • Giveaways are always promoted on all of my social networks.

Giveaway ~ SkinnyJane "Quick Slim Kit" (closes 1/31) #giveaway #weightloss #diet

Win a Skinny Jane Kit (89.99 value). To enter, please do the following:

1. “Like” Skinny Jane on facebook and follow us on twitter. ( (
2. Submit an email to explaining why they should win the trial Kit. (weight loss struggles, hard ships, etc.)
3. You will need to include the following on your entry email ~ Tomoson Reviewer: Hallie Grace
4. Deadline will be January 31, 2014.
5. The winner will be given a code so they can purchase the kit on Amazon for free. (they just pay for shipping)

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

#Obamacare Part 2 #Concerns #fears

Yesterday I made an initial post about Obamacare. Not long after, my mind filled with more concerns.

Yes, there's the missing out on visits and medications that some will have to face because of larger co-pays.

But what about this ~

Refusal of treatments?

You go into the hospital, need to see an ER doctor. It's been that hospitals couldn't turn away those that needed aid (I think private hospitals might have been able too, but I'm not certain).

I think hospital refusal of treatment will become a very real thing. Why?

Your child needs to see the doctor, however, that doctor visit co-pay is $50 that you don't have. But you don't want him to get sicker. So, because you don't have the $50 for the doctor's office, you take him to the ER because they can't refuse you.

The ER are going to wonder why he's not just at the doctor. What will you say? Be honest and tell them you didn't have the $50?

If you do or don't ~ they''ll eventually catch on.

That's when the ER will be demanding money up front or refusing to treat anyone that could just go to their own doctor.

This really scares me. If I don't have $2500 for the ER/hospital, they could possibly refuse to treat my child?

Now, I'm not saying the hospital part will happen ~ but I truly believe that it will. And I am not happy about it.

Wordless Wednesday 2 ( #WordlessWednesday )

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

#Obamacare - Am I over reacting?

Recently we lost our health insurance. With my youngest's conditions, it's something we really need. I wasn't worried about the pre-existing conditions because, Obamacare doesn't allow you to be disqualified. So, for once, even with the bad I'd heard, I thought maybe this was a good thing.

However, here is my experience from a bit ago.

I fill out the form on the internet. Only to see that I HAVE to talk to someone on the phone. Then why did they waste my time?

I call in and answer the same questions I had filled out on the form. (Again, wasting my time.)

I'm told there's a perfect policy for my family of 2 adults and 4 children with wonderful benefits. And affordable. I breathed a sigh of relief only to hear:
"It's $320 a month. You have to pay $50 per doctor or office visit. It covers 50% on certain medications and 20% on others. You also have a $2500 hospital/ER deductible."

By this time I'm in panic mode. My previous insurance cost LESS and covered MORE.

Guy on the phone tells me "Well, there is another option that is $261 a month. Everything is the same except you hospital/ER becomes $7500 instead of $2500."

Keep in mind, I have a husband and child on medications and both need regular doctor visits. My husband was also just in the hospital a few months ago.

Some months I could barely scrape up the $5-$10 co-pay on medications. With doctor visits, how do I come up with $50 for each one? My youngest sees at least TWO MONTHLY.

Our kids now have to skip appointments? Do without medications? How does the government think this is beneficial?

How about we stop giving things to other countries? How about we stop bailing out the other countries and start bailing out our own people?

Keep in mind, you can now be fined ~ PER PERSON ~ for no health insurance.

Do you have a better opinion of Obamacare? Have you experienced the same? Anyone with solutions?

Wonderful Mr. Obama, all families now have health insurance. Now who will put food on their tables?

The Kindness Project ( #KindnessProject #homeschool #kindness #TogetherTime )

The kids were overly motivated this morning, so I had to try to catch up. (Me? I'm still freezing and trying to type with cold fingers.) We covered Math and Science and History this morning. Right now, they are reading up on their music lesson (I incorporate skill sheets and information sheets into hands on depending on what area I have them focus on.). So, after that, they are going to be doing some together time. The topic of this together time is - The Kindness Project.

I don't know if there's anything out there called this, because I didn't feel like googling this morning. (Shame on me.). But the concept is that they need to brainstorm ideas that they want to try to accomplish this year that involve big or small acts of kindness. There is a slight catch though (isn't there always fine print?) ~ At least ONE act of kindness each month must go unnoticed. Which means, that they can't know who did this act of kindness.

Admittedly, I'm excited about this myself and will be joining in with them. They're already sneaking in discussing it while working on t heir music. Thrilling for me that they're excited about it too.

#Homeschool Step- By Step #2

Have a Jr High or High School student that you'll be homeschooling? Read on (this won't really pertain to grades below 6 or 7).

Jr High:
Some areas consider this grades 5-8, others 6-8 and still others only grades 7-8. As a homeschooling parent, it's really up to you and your child(ren).

Even though the school my children attended this year considered 5-8 Jr High, for my purposes, it will be only 7 and 8. However, it works fine as my middle two will be in seventh and eighth grade when we start this fall. (NOTE: after Christmas break they'll be back on full homeschool. There are pluses and minuses to both and we've determined, as a family, they belong home for the best education.)

Now, the big thing is to remember to introduce at least one elective your child(ren) will enjoy. For example: The did electives on Friday's only, in the afternoons, at the current school. They were allowed to pick (first come first serve) two electives per each quarter.

My son picked: Art and Small Animals the first semester and Art and Spanish the second semester.

My daughter picked: Quilting and Art the first semester and Quilting and Health the second semester.

To be fair, it's a small school and only a handful of items are options there. I'd love to expand that for them this coming year. 

High School:
Of course, this is always grades 9-12. However, the big thing with high school is that you have to work with credits, in some format, to accurately keep records for your child(ren)'s future. (It's also a grea tand simple reference so that you can plan from it as well.) In many states, you have to have so many hours per subject in order to earn 1 credit. Keep in mind, hours put in can include:
book study
educational films on topic
field trips
hands on practice
reading books on the topic

Don't forget electives. I know we're often so focused on core requirements, that we forget special interest. Besides, almost everyone in public high school graduates with credits over the minimum number required. I see no harm in homeschool students doing the same. 

Back to the credits -- The standard, no matter your state, that I seem to come up with no matter where I look, is 120-180 hours per credit. Why such a huge range? Well, it's topic dependent. Electives could be on the lower 120 hours, lab sciences would be closer to the 180 hour mark. A course, such as English or History, that will go on through the entire year, should average about 150 hours per credit. In the end, it is up to you. But be certain you're within your state guidelines and don't short change your child and his/her learning.There are times that less is more, I just don't feel education is one of them.

You'll also want to be certain they meet the standard credit requirements for your state. How terrible would it be to have a high school entrance counselor point out your child is short one math credit? Or one history credit? There's a 50 state information site that breaks down the "have to have" per state HERE. (You can view my state example below-- Mine does seem to get a little "sticky" as it seems they're changing final credit numbers. The current listing that was sent home from the high school is 24 required credits for graduation, where this lists 20 and some notes that change to 22 and other notes of potential further changes. So always be sure to read the fine print and when in doubt, contact your local boards.)

Also, in order to have a nice "line up" for the college applications, you'll want to carefully document all volunteer work, special hands on work done on anything that might relate to profession choice and so on.

You'll also want to start making connections that will stay with your older children. They'll need letters of recommendation for some colleges. While most will accept one from a parent when the student has been homeschooled, it's still nice to hear from those that aren't mom and dad.

Monday, January 06, 2014

#Notebooking & Little House on the Prairie ( #homeschool #LittleHouseOnThePrairie )

When I originally homeschooled, I didn't think much on notebooking. However, now that I'm working on setting up next year for homeschool, I'm seeing it everywhere. It seems that a lot of people are having success with this option.

So, I'll be looking into Notebooking and found a site that I think may be one that I use (I'm also planning on making some of my own, as some of the things, especially involving history, I can't always find what I want on). Anyway, if you haven't checked out Notebooking Pages, head on over and give it a look.

Another neat thing I came across while searching the above link is Mom's Tool Belt. I absolutely am thinking about this binder and membership. I love that there's forever access with no renewal fees.

As far as Little House on the Prairie, I'm considering ways to work this series into my homeschooling year. I found some great options on Amazon and now just need to sort out my thoughts/plans for it. I did see it listed with the ages at the top and they go no higher than 12. I'm hoping I can use it a little past that.

There's also the Anne of Green Gables Set. I'm not real familiar with this set, but I've been told that some homeschool families use it as supplemental reading for their curriculum. (By the way, you can get a discount buying the two sets together.)

And let's not forget E.B. Web. I think, no matter how we schooled....we all read Charlotte's Web. Well, Amazon has this neat little box set of three available as well.

If you've used any of these books/sets in your homeschool, I'd love to hear about how it worked for you.

#Fabric #Recycle #Crafts ~4

For those of us without a craft room or real crafting area....these comforter and blanket containers are great.
They're see through so you can view a large amount of your fabric without having to open it.
they're plastic, meaning water proof :D
Also, have the zipper close at the top.

I decided to do this instead of throwing away the containers for the comforters I recently bought (along with the new sheet packaging from an earlier post).

Do you have a fabric or craft recycle tip you'd like to share? Email me, I'd love to feature it here.

Sunday, January 05, 2014


On my Facebook Page, I mentioned that I'd been struggling with something that I was finally ready to share. Here it is. (For sneaks and early details, special offers and special FB only items, stop by and like my page)

How many people have been lucky enough to adopt?

How many have wanted to and began research and looking at places and children?

How many have then been disappointed at the cost?

I know I can't afford it. To me, in these instances, they aren't seeing to the well being of children. They're seeing to their own greed. There are many WONDERFUL people who would love to have more children to love. However, $25,000 - $100,000 is unreachable for many of us. We live week to week, month to month, pay check to pay check.

Does that mean we're bad parents?

Does that mean we're unable to provide a stable home, clothing, food and unmeasurable amounts of love?


I can no longer have children. I had my tubes tied 10 years ago after having my youngest. They almost lost both of us and had to do an emergency C-Section. My son was born not breathing. For me, the choice was clear. Even though I wanted more children, I couldn't risk not being their to raise the four I already had.

But I would love to adopt. However, it seems it will never be in my financial capabilities. I always wonder how people have thousands of dollars just set aside. We are a one job family, as my job is with the children so they are raised by me and not by a stranger.

Anyone have an adoption experience or thoughts to share? I'd love to hear them.

The #Grateful Jar ~ Lessons on #Caring #Appreciation and #NotTakingForGranted

I came across a post on Facebook that I shared yesterday. Take a few moments to watch the Video of this man HERE.

I thought about this. I watched it a second time. My comment on the post when I shared it was:

I can never walk by a homeless person. I always give them money and a meal. I know some say they scam ~ but what if it was you or one of your children? Spare a little kindness. You never know. Be thankful for the food in your pantry and the blankets you have to cuddle with. Not everyone is as fortunate.

I watched it a third time and then really looked at my children sitting next to me. I was on my laptop while they were snacking and watching a movie. I then thought about having a television, a DVD player, and cable in each room of the house. Each of their bedrooms have them.

My oldest daughter thinks she needs $100+ jeans. She wear Hollister, Areopostle and so on. She never says thank you. I hear "Mom, I need another pair of shoes, I don't like these anymore."

I've been trying to determine how to cut the budget this year as we're moving into a new home. A home that we're furnishing from top to bottom. We're taking clothes and that's it from our current home.

All I hear is "I need" - "I need" - "I need"

More than a few times over the last year, I've heard a few of my children make fun of other children who didn't have what they have. Someone who got one video game as opposed to their six. Someone who wore the same pair of pants several days a week. Someone else who wore clothing with holes in them or shoes with holes.

I never taught them to be this way. But, I imagine, during the short period they were back in public school (5 months and I pulled them back out), I thought maybe it was a phase. I'd explain how terrible they were being to others and hope it didn't happen again.

Once we move into the new home (I don't have  a set date yet), each one will be getting a "Grateful Jar." In this jar, each day, they will have the option to slip in a piece of paper that either lists something they are grateful for OR lists something they wish for the world, country, state, city, or neighbors.

I'm hoping that with this, I'll have some more appreciative children when they read and share their "snips" on New Year's Eve this year.

#Fabric #Recycle #Crafts ~3

In continuing on the recycle "thing." I thought, on this one...hey, why not?
That old pair of favorite comfy pants - that old pair of favorite pajamas - that old favorite sweatshirt or T-shirt.

So, this poor pair of paints had had it. They were so comfortable. So, I turned the top part of them into a pair of shorts and the bottoms i cut up for fabric scraps since really only the bottom was totally in need of burial.

This will get properly cut and added to my fabric scraps.

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