Frugal Family Tree

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Shop The HUGE Safeway Anniversary Sale For Great Savings

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AHugeSale #CollectiveBias

Do you love a good sale? You can bet I do, so I'm excited to share with you about the Safeway Anniversary sale. There are so many great items on sale, including 24-can Pepsi cubes, 8-pack bottles of Gatorade, and the party size bags of Lays Potato Chips. And I'm totally loving these chicken breasts that are on sale, too!

Since Safeway opened a new store that's only a quick drive away for me, it's become my favorite place to do my grocery shopping. I can always count on finding my favorite products, gorgeous fruits and veggies, and a super friendly group of employees who are always so helpful.

Of course, if you are like me and my family, saving money on my grocery bills is pretty important. We are very price-conscious shoppers, so shopping at Safeway every week has become what we do to save grocery dollars, while still buying what our family wants and needs.

Since my daughter's birthday is coming up very soon, I'm stocking up on our favorite items for a birthday barbeque for her. I can almost taste those yummy barbequed chicken breasts. Not only will they be great for her birthday dinner, but because they are on sale, I can stock up and freeze them for other meals, too.

I live with my daughter and her family, which includes my three grandchildren. I had forgotten how much kids eat, and boy, do they! So it's great to save money on our grocery bills, which seem to get higher as the kids get older.

The Safeway Anniversary sale runs July 29 - August 11. I shopped the Safeway Huge Anniversary sale, but be sure to check out what great deals are available at Albertsons, Vons, Star Market, and Shaws too!

Since my son-in-law is such a big Pepsi lover, I was happy to get the Pepsi cubes on sale for a great price. When we have friends and family over for barbeques, I love putting lots of cans in a big tub of ice, and everyone just helps themselves to a drink.

Oh how I love Lays Potato Chips! They have been my favorite brand for many years, and I love all four kinds.

They are a big must at our house for barbeques, picnics, and just plain snacking. The Party size is a terrific value, and the Anniversary sale makes it easy to stock up on them.

Since my five kids are all grown-up, it can be a challenge to buy them a birthday gift that they will really like. Safeway offers the biggest selection of gift cards that I have ever seen, so I've been giving gift cards, which seems to make everyone happy. And no returns needed!

I can pick up a gift card here to some of my kid's favorite stores and restaurants. It's super convenient and one of the reasons why Safeway is my favorite grocery store.

We are all Gatorade fans, and stocking our pantry with it while it's on sale is a must. There are so many flavors to choose from now, and I have quite a few favorites.

Since I live in the Seattle area, it's very often cold and rainy a good part of the year. Getting your groceries into the car after shopping can mean you are soaked by the time you're finished. That's why I am so happy my new Safeway has underground parking. It really makes all the difference, and my grandchildren love taking the elevator and pushing the buttons.

Safeway is my go to grocer. Shop the HUGE Anniversary sale and stock up on your favorite brands 7/29 - 8/11.

I'd love to hear how your family will stock up!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Maintain Your Bone And Joint Health And Keep That Active Lifestyle

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone and should not be taken as medical advice. #Caltrate3in1 #CollectiveBias

I always tell everyone that I don't feel my age. I just had a birthday and turned 58 years old, which is quite honestly hard for me to believe. I don't feel 58 on the inside, and my body doesn't feel like it either.

I've been blessed with good health for most of my life, and my plan is to do everything I can to stay that way. Being physically active at my age can mean all the difference in my later years. The saying 'use it or lose it' is all too true.

For me, the one real thing that I attribute to keeping me healthy is yoga. I can't say enough about how yoga has helped me to be strong, balanced, and give me a sense of well-being. I have friends my age and younger, that are all on medications for different ailments, and they don't do yoga. I've been doing yoga for nine years, and I don't take any medications.

One of the great things about yoga is that you can take it up at any age, at any weight or shape, and begin seeing the benefits right away. I can't imagine my life without it, and I'm hoping to still be practicing until I am very, very old.

I have an easy and gentle home yoga practice that I do 4-5 days a week. I'll occasionally go to a class for inspiration, and to just hang out with other yoga lovers.

Despite how good yoga is for my body, I do have occasional pain from all the stretching and bending. I've been thinking for awhile now that I need calcium supplements to maintain good bone and joint strength. But I've tried different brands before and got frustrated at how many you have to take a day. I don't like having to take a lot of pills, and sometimes I would forget.

But when I was at Walgreens last week, I found Caltrate ®  Bone & Joint Health. This is a new simple daily tablet that contains vitamins and minerals to help support bone strength and both bone and joint flexibility.

Caltrate has calcium plus Vitamin D3 for bone strength, and extra minerals for bone flexibility. And you only have to take one tablet a day, which I'm really happy about.

I realize how important it is to maintain my bone and joint flexibility to continue doing yoga, and the other activities I enjoy. With Caltrate, it's a  simple and easy way to help me do that.

One of the other activities I enjoy is walking on the beach in all kinds of weather with my daughter and grandchildren. We live in Washington State and are blessed with many beautiful beaches near us, so we try to take a beach walk once a week.

Sometimes I'll walk through my neighborhood early in the morning, before most everyone else is awake. It's such a quiet, peaceful time and it really lets me focus on my thoughts and goals.

I always encourage everyone to walk, it's such an easy way to get your exercise and help maintain your weight.

This last spring our town created wonderful walking and hiking trails in the forest that loop around for a couple of miles. My grandchildren love going to them, and we bring our dog Chewy along, too.

It feels great to be out in nature with them, enjoying the kids company and knowing how good the exercise is for all of us. We all spend so much time on our computers, phones or playing video games, that I think we forget how much beauty is available to see and appreciate in nature.

I want to be able to enjoy all the activities I love for many years to come. Using Caltrate Bone & Joint Health gives me the confidence to keep going strong. UC-II supports healthy cartilage promoting joint flexibility and health, just what I need to help me stay active.

At Walgreens, shoppers can save $5-off with the in-store instant value coupon book available. I used the coupon for my first purchase, and I love saving money whenever I can.

And one of the main reasons I want to remain active is because of my grandchildren. I have four altogether, and I adore each and every one of them. They are a true blessing in my life. I want to be able to walk with them, play with them, and do the things they do.

I feel that taking care of my body, exercising, eating healthy, and taking my supplements, is the best way to help me be there for them in the years to come. My family is active and loves to have fun, and I want to be right there with them enjoying life, too.

 This is how I stay active and confident with Caltrate ® Bone & Joint Health. What would you do with more bone and joint confidence?


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Voice Auditions and Chadd Perry: You Can Help!

Nothing can bring me to an emotional place of happy, sad, excited or even tears like music. I feel music is in the soul of us all and when my dear friend at work told me her daughter Cara, who I also worked with before, that her son in law Chadd was going to be auditioning for The Voice I squealed with joy. I have heard recordings of Chadd and Cara singing and its beautiful! I knew I wanted to do my part to help spread the word about Chadd's efforts to get to the audition in L.A. Chadd and Cara are expecting a baby and have started an Indiegogo campaign to help him get there.

You can check it out here to donate

I find it exciting to believe in someones dream along with them and I thank you for any amount you can donate to send Chadd to The Voice auditions. With his talents, love of his family and a little help from the community I am hoping we will get to see him on the show.

Here is a bio of Chadd and how his love of music has been a life long pursuit:

Chadd was born in Florida and lived there until his parents moved with him to California. He grew up in a musical family, with his parents being founding members of a copycat band themselves. His nights were spent listening to endless choruses of Fleetwood Mac, Doobie Brothers, James Taylor and Cindi Lauper… It wasn’t until he was in his late teens that he began to enjoy singing himself. Even though he grew up with Classic Rock, Folk and Pop, he found something meaningful in the lyrics of Country music.

In his early singing career he devoted his time to singing Travis Tritt, Randy Travis, and his favorite, Garth Brooks. Although he enjoyed singing and enjoyed mimicking his favorite artists, his first form of validation for his passion came when he was in his early 20’s and was out with friends singing karaoke at a local dinner house and lounge. After singing “The Dance” by Garth Brooks, he was approached by an elderly couple whom had just attended their sons Funeral and Wake. With tears in their eyes they let him know that Garth was their sons favorite and that they had played that very song earlier that day at his Funeral. They claimed that they could imagine their son, boots up, head back and singing along with me at the top of his lungs! The ability to affect people so profoundly made a fundamental change in Chadd. No longer was he content with singing karaoke a couple nights a month while out with buddies! He wanted a career singing! Performing up on stage!

As life carried on, and bills began to amass, he quickly realized how difficult it would be to follow his dreams and still enjoy a roof over his head, food in the refrigerator, a running vehicle and all the other amenities that come from working a job where you actually get paid! Quickly a career in music began to fade into a dream.  He continued to sing karaoke and local singing competitions while mainly working construction. When he was in his late 20’s he began singing with a local band at The Valencia Club in Penryn as a walk on artist.

After several years singing with talented, and in some instances famous people, Chadd decided to take a leap and embark on an adventure to Nashville, TN to pursue his dream to get a recording contract. He quit his job, sold all of his belongings and took the 2,300 mile trip driving a 1967 Mustang packed with everything he owned; a computer, his clothes, $5,000 and three guitars that he really couldn’t play.

The drummer for his band back home, Biff Adam, was Merle Haggard’s drummer for the past fifty some odd years and one of the original Strangers band members. The guitar player, and leader of the band, Jim Baughman, was a guitar prodigy and had his own list of musical milestones, including being a studio musician in Nashville, a traveling musician, playing guitar for Merle Haggard, being great friends with Chet Atkins in the early 70’s and opening on the Grand Ole Opry before he was a teen! Between the two legends of country music, they sent Chadd to Nashville with several pages of names, addresses and phone numbers of several influential people in the music scene to help him get a foot in the door. Whether it be for fear of failure… Fear of success… Or plain stubborn pride, Chadd never called a number. He never visited an address. He never knocked on any doors. Instead he began doing what he knew best and hooked up with a local building contractor and began working 90 plus hours a week.

At the age of 33, with a long distance relationship on the rocks, he took a “vacation” back to California, and never returned to Nashville… He did begin playing fulltime with his old band mates and in the evenings played as the “house” band at the Valencia Club for almost 8 years. During this time he met Cara and the two became friends. Most nights she would get up with the band and belt out a powerful song or two then disappear back into the crowd.

Personal loss of family members for some of the band spelled a noticeable decline in desire to continue with the late nights and an eventual demise of the band altogether. They occasionally still perform together, but only a few times a year which left an open hole in Chadd’s desire to sing.

After a failed long term relationship, Chadd spent a year traveling and working long hours with no interest in music or company. He would travel with his 130 pound German Shepherd and constant companion, Thor, with  4 or 5 nights a week spent in hotels while working all across California, Utah, Arizona and Washington. At one point a tally of his consecutive days worked reached 183.

Due to conflicting scheduling and missing parts for a jobsite, Chadd had an unusual week off and took the opportunity to reach out to an old friend to do some singing. Having sung with her on stage, and sung against her in singing competitions, he couldn’t think of anyone better than Cara.

After meeting at a local pizza parlor (which Chadd was late showing up for) where his old guitar player was hosting karaoke,  and seeing each other for the first time in over a year, they fell into a familiar pattern of singing together and reminisced about days in the past… They agreed to get together again and made tentative plans for dinner… Both promising “soon.” Holding to their plans, “soon” came fairly quickly and they set a day for dinner out, and although they were just old friends, Chadd was uncharacteristically nervous about their impending date and even took refuge in the wisdom of a close friend whom he called on the drive to pick her up in an attempt to bolster his courage.

Throughout dinner, and the Sake they had to hide their obvious nervousness, they talked of the past. They talked about where their lives had led them to this point… And Briefly they talked of the future. They both left their date with unexpected attraction and unwanted desire for more. Up to this point they mistakenly believed they had a firm grasp on their lives, and neither would admit that something was missing. Both were content to be miserable in their isolation… And they both were wrong.

They both enjoyed their date, and Chadd found a local Flower Shop that would order something special… Something exotic… Something expensive!!!... So after a couple visits looking for that special flower he found the one… Ordered it… And created a card from a “secret admirer” to send with the flowers to her place of work… The flowers were a surprise, but not NEARLY as surprising as Cara’s reaction!... Without warning, she simply… Disappeared!

After some time, and with much apology, Cara sought him out. With explanations of confusion and fear, she agreed to date again… After several months of dating, it was obvious that each of their experiences with failed relationships  had given them a finite view of what they wanted from a relationship. They found a quite comfort in how they interacted in each others lives… Fast forward two years later… And a blended family of one boy, one girl, one man, one woman, two lizards, one rat, and two dogs…. Chadd remembers those fateful words from Cara extolling “Houston! We have a problem!” that signaled the sign that another baby was on the way… And all of a sudden, almost 8 months later, Chadd comes to the realization that he never would have thought he could love anything as much as he loved music… Until now… This family. His family. THEIR family!

Through discussions about not going… Not spending the money… Not taking the time away from the family… Not traveling so far, so close to her due date, Chadd realized that he ultimately had no say in the matter, and his audition date for The Voice television show was scheduled. Now, just a few weeks away from his audition he realizes several truths:

He’s not in his 20’s any longer… Not his 30’s… Not even FORTY! He’s the ripe old age of 43… He’s not been singing PROFESSIONALLY for a couple years… He spends more time swinging a hammer than he ever does playing his guitars… And no matter how much he complains… Or argues… Or tries to find a way out… He’s on his way to Los Angeles...


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Blackberry Crumble Recipe

Here in Washington State, blackberries grow wild during part of July and all of August. You can literally go outside in your yard or at the park, and pick a zillion of them if you want.

I used to pick them with my youngest daughter Megan, and now I pick them with my grandchildren. I love how this tradition continues on, and it's something I look forward to every summer.

Of course with all those picked berries, we like using them in different ways and different recipes. One of my absolute favorites is this Blackberry Crumble. It's super easy to make, and my granddaughter Ashley helped me make it. At three years old, she loves stirring things, so mixing together the oats, flour, brown sugar, and butter was her job. And she loved eating something yummy that she helped make.

This crumble can be made with other kinds of fruits, such as raspberries or peaches. You can serve it for dessert or breakfast. And as a dessert, it's extra delicious served warm and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Recipe for Blackberry Crumble


3 cups fresh blackberries
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, add the butter, brown sugar, oats, flour, salt, and vanilla. Mix all together, then with a fork, break into small, loose pieces of dough.
Divide the blackberries evenly in 4-6 (depending on size) ceramic ramekins.
Spread the oat mixture evenly on top of the berries in the ramekins. Place ramekins on a baking sheet, and bake in the oven for 25-28 minutes.
Let the crumble set until just warm and serve. Can be topped with vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Slow Roasted Tomato Pasta Salad Recipe

Even though it's still only early summer, I've been making pasta salads pretty frequently. I love them as a side dish for summer dinners, or as a main meal when meats are added to them. And they are great and easy to transport for picnics or dinners at the beach.

What makes this pasta salad one of my favorites is that it's made with oven roasted tomatoes. I slow roast the tomatoes at a low temperature for a couple of hours, and the flavor is so intensified and delicious. They can be stored in olive oil in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. I also add them to spaghetti, salads and pizza. The time spent to roast them is well worth it, especially when you consider how expensive they are at the grocery store.

I made this pasta salad for the 4th of July, and it was a big hit with friends and family. It's super easy to put together, and can be made ahead of time too.

Here's how I slow roast tomatoes:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Wash, dry, and slice in-half two pounds of Roma tomatoes.
Lay the tomatoes cut-side down on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a tiny bit of granulated sugar.
Roast for 2 - 21/2  hours, or until tomatoes are lightly dried and slightly darkened. Store in the fridge in a jar with olive oil.

Recipe for Slow Roasted Tomato Pasta Salad


3/4 pound colored rotini pasta, cooked and rinsed with cold water
1 cup oven roasted tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Italian dressing
2 tablespoons dried Italian herbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


In a large bowl, whisk together the Italian dressing, Italian herbs, and pepper. Add the pasta and tomatoes, and stir to combine. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and give it another stir.
Serve or refrigerate.

Makes 6 servings.


Monday, July 6, 2015

Recipe For A Plum Galette and Thoughts About My Mother

When I was growing up, most of the moms I knew stayed home with their kids, and were responsible for taking care of the house and doing all the cooking. That's just the way it was back then, and being a good housewife was something that my own mom sometimes struggled with.

My mother was always kind and loving to me, but there were days when I came home from school to find her laying down in her bed, with the room dark, and I could feel a heaviness in her that I didn't understand.

Of course, now I know that she sometimes suffered from depression. Depression wasn't talked about back then, you hid it because it carried shame. She did what she had to do for her family, and I know how hard it must have been to carry on as though she were fine.

You might be wondering what all this has to do with making a galette. Well, I remember my mom always being unhappy with her pies, and she thought they never looked pretty. She felt the crust wasn't right, and I remember watching her frustration as she rolled out the dough and put the pie together.

My own attempts at making a great pie crust weren't all that successful either. So when I learned how to make a galette, where you put the dough and the fruit together in a rather freeform sort of way, I thought about my mother.

I thought how wonderful it would have been for her to be released from her own judgment about presenting her family with a picture perfect pie, and instead something that was beautiful in it's own rustic way.

So now when I make a galette, it's my mother I think about, and know that she would think this was a great idea.

When I saw these gorgeous and delicious black plums at the store, I wanted to make a plum galette, even though I had never used plums before. One nice thing about the plums is that you don't have to take the skin off of them, which is a huge time saver. After you have sliced them, just toss them with some sugar and a little flour, and they are ready to go into the center of your dough.

Leave about a two inch rim of the dough all around the fruit so it can be folded up to keep the fruit inside. It's so amazing how different fruit galettes can look from each other, because they reflect the bakers own hands and how it was folded.

Most apple pies look like an apple pie, but I think the beauty of a galette is in the individual look of each one. There are no mistakes, and that is the most wonderful feeling.

Somehow, this dessert has been deemed 'fancy' by a lot of people. I have seen it in popular cooking magazines, and yes, it can seem that way. I also saw a whole mixed berry galette for sale at an upscale bakery for $36.00. Crazy, right?

But it's so very simple to make, and so satisfying to put this gorgeous dessert on the table to share with family and friends.

I wish my mom were here to have a slice with me. She would have loved the ease and freedom of this dessert, and told me how delicious it was. I miss her everyday.

Recipe for Plum Galette

Ingredients for pastry dough:

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons ice-cold milk

1 egg
1 tablespoon water (to make egg wash)


 Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk together egg yolk and milk, pour into flour mixture, stirring just until dough starts to form a ball.
Press together with lightly floured hands, and form into a flat round. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Ingredients for filling:

2 pounds black or red plums, quartered, pitted, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss together plums, sugar, and flour.

Remove dough from refrigerator. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface into an approximate
10-inch round. Place on a large, lightly greased baking sheet. Scoop plum mixture into center of round.
Fold about 1 inch of dough all the way around to form a rim. Combine egg and water, brush outside of tart with the egg wash.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool on pan 20 minutes, then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Can be served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
Serves 6.

I originally published this last summer, but wanted to share it again.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Laura's Top 5 Foods to Try this Summer

I am one of those people who LOVE to try new things! New foods are always on my radar. Nothing fancy or exotic but regular every day food that you can find at the grocery store. This summer I have found 5 foods that I had not tried but now love.

Newman's Own Limeade is delicious! We love the lemonade version of this brand and selected the Lime version for a nice summer treat. We have made them into popsicle too. Plus all of their profits go to charity.

I enjoy Nature Valley granola bars for snacks and lunches so I thought it would be fun to try their Breakfast Biscuits. I love anything with Lemon in it so I selected the Lemon Poppy Seed version. I will have to say these are delicious! I enjoyed them with my morning coffee.

I am a huge fan of Honey Bunches of Oats. My favorite one is the one with almonds. I enjoy cereal for dessert too. I wanted to try something new so I selected the Fruit Blends banana and blueberries. I really enjoyed the sweet flavor combo, the blueberry granola clusters are great.

I have read great things about the benefits of Aloe and have been wanting to try some. I found Vivaloe at my local store and have tried 4 varieties so far. My favorite is the Coconut Aloe. It contains aloe and coconut water. The chunks of aloe are amazingly delicious! A nice treat in the summer heat.

My favorite of all the foods I have tried has to be the Outshine Fruit and Veggie Bar Tangerine Carrot. They have carrot, pumpkin, pear, tangerine and apple. They have been a summer saver for us in the 100 degree plus weather. We even take them to the park to enjoy.

What new food items have you discovered this Summer?


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Chocolate Zucchini Bread Recipe

I really love chocolate, and somehow chocolate and zucchini just don't go together in my world. Except they do in this marvelously rich, chocolate zucchini bread that is filled with flavor.

The zucchini has been coming out of our garden quite regularly, and this is the first summer I've really embraced cooking with it. It's so versatile, whether you are using it for dinner, dessert, or snack recipes.

It's healthy for you too, of course, and I feel good when my family is eating their veggies. This recipe calls for a cup and a half of grated zucchini, which is about one medium sized zucchini.

This recipe calls for chocolate chips and cocoa powder, and it really packs a chocolate punch. It's moist and so, so good.

If you don't have homegrown zucchini from your garden to use, the farmers markets are still filled with them, and it's a nice way to end the summer, by making this yummy, chocolaty bread.

Recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Bread


3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 cup applesauce
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened  cocoa powder
1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups finely shredded zucchini
1/2 cup semi chocolate chips
baking spray


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at low speed until well blended. Stir in applesauce.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (through salt), stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating just until moist. Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips. Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack, and remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
I first published this recipe last summer. Since the zucchini has started getting ripe in the garden again this year, I thought I would share it again.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Dune Jewelry Handmade Beach Sand Inlet Cuff Bracelet Review

My childhood was full of trips to the beach. We have always lived on the west coast and enjoyed the Pacific Ocean all summer long. Anytime I am feeling over stressed I think of or even go to the beach for renewal. The reminiscence of sunshine filled days, the smell of the salty air and the sand beneath feet remind me of one of my favorite quotes, "life is like the ocean it can be calm or still and rough or ridged but in the end always beautiful". When I came across Dune Jewelry a company that makes handmade jewelry containing sand from your favorite beach you select from their sandbank or send in your own sand I knew it would be something special to have. I love the concept of jewelry that is connected to a memory from the beach.

 There are so many beaches that hold a special place in my heart I had a hard time choosing just one, but Redondo Beach CA was the one I selected. As a kid my family and I went to Redondo many times. My Dad grew up there and the stories he told us on the drive there about his childhood always fascinated me. He told us about how he once rescued a wounded seal and it recovered in the bathtub, how they would skip class to go surfing, and the one I now realize as an adult was not true, the climbing a big hill to school in 10 feet of snow. He did show us the big hill leading to school, but I now know it does not snow there! I had my own adventures at Redondo Beach with my siblings while my Dad and Mom watched from the shore. I remember my older brother and I being taught how to body surf by a random local surfer lady. She opened my eyes to a whole new way to see the little waves I was jumping in. I can still picture my older sister standing on the shore freaking out about how cold the water was while my brother and I dove right in.

As a teenager my Dad took my sisters and I back to Redondo where my sister and I realized there was an arcade under the pier with rides and all the whole time. I giggle a bit about that one since my parents were smart to not let us go there. I am grateful they never took us in since I think it would have ruined our true beach experiences. Hearing my Dad tell my son the "seal in the bathtub" story when he came to visit made me overwhelmed with joy. Its the stories and life experience we pass down to our children that they remember the most. As I was having this bracelet made my Dad has gotten much sicker and having kidney failure making the memories even more precious and reminding me I want my own son to stick his toes in the sand at Redondo Beach. The Silver Cuff Bracelet with the sand from Redondo Beach makes all that joy I felt with those memories right there.

I have been wearing the bracelet to work a few times a week since its simple design and silver color seem to match so much of my wardrobe. I have received many comments on the uniqueness of the jewelry and hearing people tell me their beach stories has been great. Not only do I now have a lovely piece of jewelry to wear I have captured memories in sand that I will treasure forever. Now my only problem is I want like 10 more pieces of jewelry! My birthday is coming and I already know 2 sands that I would love to have a piece made for and those both have beautiful memories attached to them.

Some information about Dune Jewelry:

  • Dune Jewelry the Original Beach Sand Jewelry Company® is very unique because their patented designs are custom made with beach sand!
  • With Dune Jewelry you have a choice of thousands of sands worldwide, spanning all 7 continents. 
  • New this year a custom wine bottle stopper!  Who doesn't love wine?  The Dune Jewelry custom wine bottle stopper is is the perfect gift for the holiday's or a special occasion you may be celebrating.   
  • All of Dune Jewelry's items have a lifetime warranty, come with care instructions and literature that indicates the source of the sand.
  • There is something for both men and women in the Dune Collection.
  • Dune Jewelry is available to purchase online and at various retail stores nationwide.

Dune Jewelry creates tangible reminders of life’s greatest moments.  Everyone has a beach memory. It could be a childhood memory, a place you and your friends met each year, it is where he proposed, it is where you had your beautiful destination wedding, or maybe it was where you spent your honeymoon. Dune's unique custom and personalized collection is something that will provide cherished memories all year long.

You can see more of the jewelry designs by following Dune Jewelry on Facebook, TwitterPinterest and Instagram.

I would love to hear your favorite beach memories, please feel free to share in comments :)


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Summer Strawberry Scones Recipe

One of my favorite parts of summer is all the luscious berries available at the grocery stores and farmer's markets. I am a big strawberry lover, and so is my family. So, I'm always on the lookout for yummy recipes that can incorporate them.

These Strawberry Scones are delicious, and if you've never made scones before, this is an easy first recipe to try. They can be made without the powdered sugar drizzle on top, but I like adding it for a little more sweetness.

Instead of using foil, I always use parchment paper for baking. The foil always sticks, so it's great to be able to just lift the scones out of the pan when their done, without sticking.

Recipe for Summer Strawberry Scones


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, very cold and diced small
1 cup diced strawberries
1/2 cup half & half or vanilla coffee creamer
1 egg

For glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk


Place oven rack in middle of oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add diced butter pieces, and with a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in strawberries.
In a small bowl, whisk together half & half, or coffee creamer until smooth. Stir cream and egg mixture into flour mixture until combined. Using your hands, press the dough together to form a ball.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7 to 8 inch circle, about 3/4 inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into 8 triangles.
Place on baking sheet, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Place on a wire rack when done.
To make the drizzle, stir together the powdered sugar and milk.
 Drizzle over warm scones and serve.

Makes 8 scones.