Happiness in Middle Age means Mountains and Motorcycles!

This post about Happiness in Middle Age was sponsored by DePuy Synthes as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. While my job keeps me at home and on the computer, I wouldn't say that my chair is my happy place.  And as I have gotten older, I have come to appreciate moments of happiness more than ever.  I see so many people my age suffering from illness or injury, dealing with the death of loved ones or the stress of job loss.  Happiness is fleeting and not something to be tossed … [Read more...]

How to Prepare for a Camping Trip to Stay Safe and Have Fun

Camping is a wonderful way to spend time with the family.  Getting outdoors and unplugging for a few days is a great way to reconnect with each other while you have some fun.  Once you invest in the right gear, it also becomes a very inexpensive way to go on vacation.  You can rent a campsite for significantly less money than you can stay in a hotel. Knowing how to prepare for a camping trip can make or break your outdoor experience.  Heading into the woods unprepared can leave you with soggy socks and unhappy memories!  Check out my hiking … [Read more...]

Balancing a Plentiful Life with Community Volunteering Keeps Kids Grounded

This post about balancing a plentiful life with community volunteering has been sponsored by Reward Volunteers.  All opinions are my own. I look around the area I live in and am both awed and slightly shocked by the wealth that surrounds us. My teens’ friends have homes with actual media rooms in them. Many had the newest iPhone by age 8. They often get brand new cars for their 16th birthday. This is not the way we raised our children. I don't want them to think this is common for most people. My husband and I are financially stable but … [Read more...]

Make Time for Music No Matter What Your Age

 Thank you Fender for sponsoring this post about why you should make time for music. Learn guitar at home with Fender Play! One of the first formal classes I joined with my children was a small music class at our church.  The kids were babies and toddlers at that point.  The instruments they used were wooden maracas and brightly colored shaker toys.  We sang and we clapped and generally had a grand and glorious time for a solid hour.  As the children grew up, they brought home the dreaded recorders from school.  We signed them up for formal … [Read more...]

Teach Kids to Give Back to the Community this Christmas

Ask your kids what Christmas is all about and most of them will say it is all about Santa, Christmas trees, presents and tasty holiday cookies.  If you are at all religious you will probably get 'the birth of Jesus' as an answer.  But whether you believe in Jesus or just really like candy canes, teach kids to give back this holiday season.  Give gifts, give love, give hugs...just give of yourself to others with no thought to what you will get in return.   Teach Kids to Give Back Giving back is a hard message to teach children. The … [Read more...]

Professional Family Holiday Photos for a Simple and Memorable Season

This post about Professional Family Holiday Photos has been sponsored by Portrait Innovations.  All opinions expressed here are my own. Over the years, I have taken a lot of really bad photos of my family.  While they are amusing to look at, I don't want to send them to family and friends on my holiday card!  I love looking back on the professional family holiday photos that I have had done.  The lighting is right and they are in focus.  The backgrounds are pretty and some of the special effects are truly beautiful.  When I was contacted by … [Read more...]

Giving My Kids Music Gifts Makes Us All Happy!

Thank you, Fender, for sponsoring this post about kids music gifts. Learn guitar at home with Fender Play! Like most teens, my kids have a long list of 'wants' when it comes to birthday and holiday gifts.  Some years, I have to say, NOPE, you can't have that.  Like the baby sister my daughter asked for several years in a row.  That one wasn't going to happen!  I'm always happy to give my kids music gifts, however, and there have been many!  Our home contains a piano, flute, piccolo, clarinet, about 5 guitars and a ukulele.  And probably a … [Read more...]

Tips for Creating a Fire Safety Escape Plan with Your Kids

This post about creating a fire safety escape plan has been sponsored by First Alert.  All opinions expressed here are my own. When my children were young, they had a fire safety lesson at school.  There was a mobile 'classroom' that came to the school and taught them how to escape from a room if the house was on fire.  They learned things like staying low to the ground to avoid smoke and to feel the door before opening it to see if it was hot.  When they came home from school that day, they brought home knowledge that could save their … [Read more...]

Cheap Halloween Ideas for Loads of Frugal Fun

Halloween is coming up soon and WOW, is it not a cheap holiday!  Have you seen the price of some of the costumes?  Not to mention the cost of that Halloween candy!  A mom could seriously go broke trying to give her kids a fun Halloween.  If you are working on a budget and looking for cheap Halloween ideas, I thought I would put together a few that may help.  Some of these you will have to implement this year to save on NEXT YEAR's Halloween fun.  But, over the long term, these Halloween ideas will help save you money on an evening of spooky fun … [Read more...]

Simple Fall Activities to Celebrate Cooler Weather

I am a very simple creature.  I don't decorate my bathroom for every holiday, nor do I create elaborate weekend getaways for my husband and me. In my mind, simple is better in just about all cases.  If you are looking for simple fall activities to welcome in the cooler weather this month, I have a few you might enjoy.  Check out a few of my frugal fall decorating ideas and embrace simplicity in all its many understated ways!  Many of these fun fall activities can be enjoyed by children as well as adults so make sure you get the whole family … [Read more...]