Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Fun: Sacramento Gold Rush Days

 I hope everyone is having a great Labor Day weekend. Its warm here in Northern Cali but that could not keep us away from the Sacramento Gold Rush Days. I have heard so much about this event I knew we needed to go this year.

This was the first time my family and I attended the Sacramento Gold Rush Days. I have to say it was really fun. Much more than I expected. I can see why it is a Labor Day tradition for many families. There was so much to do we did not get done everything we wanted to. We now have more to look forward to next year.

 We took a fun train ride along the American River. The train ride was bumpy and fun. My son loved the train whistle and watching the river as we passed by. We even saw cowboys doing a Wild West show.

I would recommend attending this event next year for Labor Day weekend if you are a Northern CA local or plan to be in the area. There were so many live action shows going on, hands on activities, great food, lots of stores to shop at, all the people were nice and it really did feel like we were back in the 1800s.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Frugal Reading: Free Magazines

I love all the FREE magazines I get each month. I get to read tons of articles get tips and learn a lot of helpful info. Every topic of magazines from parenting, home and gardening, current news and events to business I get to read many things. Plus when I am done with them I get to do fun little collages with my son, paper airplanes and I love to pull out the pages of things I like. Then recycle it of course!

I found some free print and online magazines for this month I wanted to share:

Enjoy a free 6 issue subscription to Working Mother magazine. No strings attached. You'll never receive a bill. This subscription is yours, compliments of Working Mother is the only national magazine that helps moms with careers balance their personal and professional live. Sign up before Sept 16th.

Signup to get AmericanBaby Magazine for Free! 

Enjoy 1 free Bridal Guide issue. No strings attached. You'll never receive a bill. This 1-issue is yours, compliments of Bridal Guide is for the contemporary bride-to-be focusing on current trends in fashion, beauty, home design, and honeymoon travel. You'll never receive a bill.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Fall Event Launch: $50 Shabby Apple Giveaway

 We are so excited to be hosting a giveaway of a $50 gift card from

That's right $50 from Shabby Apple so you can browse, shop and choose what ever you want from their site!

What we love about Shabby Apple is their ability to make women feel feminine and beautiful. They have beautiful dresses, blouses, jewelry and accessories, maternity and kids and more.

We have been checking out the New Arrivals in Jewelry and Accessories and came across The Charleston, a vintage marquis rhinestone necklace. Love it and it's only $50!

Oh and how about this Navy Circle Skirt they call the Curiouser and Curiouser? This would be a great addition to your wardrobe!

Cascading rows of fine black lace create a blouse so elegant, it's worthy of Hollywood's most glamorous event. Constructed of a smooth liner in black satin topped with a sheath of intricate black lace, the  lace sleeves extend a few inches beyond the liner to allow for a dramatically delicate overhang of lace on the arms. The bottom edge of the blouse follows suit, creating a scalloped hem that stands out  beautifully against jeans or a fitted pencil skirt and tucks in just as easily. With an award-worthy top like this in your repertoire, all you need to come up with is your acceptance speech. Hand wash cold.

How about the Oscar Shirt? On sale now for only $37!!

The list of things we love goes on and on.....

Enter to win the $50 Gift Certificate in the Rafflecopter Giveaway Below: 

 You can enter on either of the sites hosting this giveaway.
Popcorn and Pearls or Frugal Family Tree

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 *Limited to US residents 18 years old and above. Giveaway starts Sept. 1 2012 and ends on Oct. 1, 2012 at midnight EST. Winner will be emailed and has 72 hours to respond before another winner is selected. I was not paid for this giveaway or post. The opinions on this item are 100% mine and may vary from others. The sponsor is responsible for providing the prize

Friday, August 31, 2012

Farewell Hamilton

 Well its official I have broken my Hamilton Beach Blender. This is a somewhat sad small appliance to break. I have had this same blender since my husband and I lived in our first place place. We bought it right after my 21st bday to make drinks for parties we hosted. I bought it for the Ice Breaker function. I loved making smoothies, home made coffee drinks and mixed drinks. Oh the memories a small appliance can have!

You dont realize how sturdy something was or how long you have had it until you break it. I am sure that blender would have kept going if not for me and my multi tasking. This morning I was making a smoothie like I always do. Instead of holding my hand on top of the container as it blended I wanted to put a pizza in the oven just really fast. Well my loyal blender got mad at me ignoring him during his shining moment of turning frozen fruit into a smooth as silk drink. The container shifted a bit causing it to come up from the spinning gears and it spun like crazy against the bottom of the container. There was a lot of smoke, my son yelling Oh No! and me baffled as to why did I have to take my hand off it.

I broke my Hamilton and now must say farewell to my loyal blender who for 10 years has kept up with whatever I threw at him and made it awesome!

But guess what?!??! This means I need a NEW Blender. I must get over the loss of my old friend with a new one!! What blender do you recommend??

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Books! We Love Them

Pinned from Kellie Durbin on Pinterest

I live in a family that treasure books. I love it. As a kid when we moved books were packed and carried with the care of fine china. I grew up knowing the value if a good book and to pass the admiration of books on to my own kids. My son is a book lover too, I smile proudly about that. He loves to curl up on my lap like a cat and listen to me read, then "read" it back to me when he declared its his turn. The first "grown up" book I read as a teenager was The Horse Whisper, I still love that book to this day. I love Martha Stewart from reading her books from my Moms book shelves as far back as I can even have memories. The books my Mom put in our home I think helped shape my personality. I have books that are expensive and ones I have bought for $0.25 at a yard sale and I treasure them all the same. As a busy Mom it seems I do not read chapter books as much as I would like to but I do love the kids books I get to read with my son.

I like the The Catalog and The Mountains Crack Up by Jasper Tomkins, not just for the story but the memories of reading it with my family as a kid. There is a value you dont see until you have your own kids how much your parents influence your like or dislike for books. I encourage you to grab a book, sit with your kids and get lost in the story, even if its one you have read hundreds of times lol.

What books are you reading? What books are your kids loving right now?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

3 Days Left to Enter $500 DownEast Basics Fall Fashion Pinterest Contest

3 days left to enter the DownEast Basics Pinterest $500 Fall Fashion contest (ends Aug 31)! More details at:

To help you get into the fall spirit, DownEast Basics is kicking off their “Fall Back to Basics with DownEast Basics” sweepstakes, our first-ever Pinterest contest! One lucky winner will receive a $500 gift card to help bring in the cooler temperatures with a new, fresh look.

I am off to enter! I love the creativity of a Pinterest contest. Good luck and let me know if you win!

Let's Bake Love! Kitchen Product Ideas

As soon as the weather cools and September is here I turn into a bake a holic! What better way to show someone you love them then with a hug and a serving of a delicious baked goodie right?!? I like to shop Cost Plus World Market for the variety of unique items they carry in store and online.

1. Keep Calm and Bake On Apron When I saw this apron I giggled a little to myself. It really is my attitude. When things are rough keep calm and bake something.  An apron is a great start to a theme to build a kitchen decor around. I love the red!

 2. Vintage Measuring Spoons Love these for my kitchen. All bakers know you need good measurements on ingredients. A slight too much or too little of a dry ingredients can throw off the recipe. Why not have your measuring spoons be as beautiful as these.


3.  Citrus Colors 3 Piece Mixing Bowl Set - I like the handles and pour spout on these. Makes it easy to pour your mixtures into your baking pans. I love the citrus colors on these, so bright and cheerful.

4. Mini Metal Baking Molds - How cute are these! They make it easy to make a mixture of cute designs for baked goods. I can picture a cute mini cake using these shapes stacked on top of one another frosted with different colors for each layer. Who would not love that!!

5. Cake Pop Baking Pans - These have been on my must make list for a year now. I have been so impressed with the cute ideas and themes I see for these I have to get some to make for the upcoming holidays. I know my son will love them and they make a cute gift.

6. Green Silicone Mini Muffin Cups - I love the color and that are reusable. I like to serve my muffins without the papers on them and its such a waste to use it one and toss it. These are really a "green" solution. They could be used for jello and ice cubes too!

All of those items from World Market would make it much easier to Bake what I love and share with the people I love.

I love to cook, bake, shop and eat, who doesn't right! World Market is hosting a sweepstakes for you to be able to do all that! The Gourmet Getaway Sweepstakes is going on now until 9/21/2012.

Grand Prize package includes:

-A trip for two to to Santa Fe, New Mexico (this is a 5 day Trip for 2 to Santa Fe which includes airfare and hotel)
-Hands on Southwestern Cooking class with Master Chef
-Personally signed glossy cookbook
-Multi-course dinner at the acclaimed Geronimo
-Southwestern Foodie Tour with a cultural kick
-A $1,000 World Market gift card
** There will also be 3 runner up prize winners that will each receive a $500 World Market gift card!

**The Gourmet Getaway Sweepstakes runs from August 18, 2012 until September 21, 2012.
**If you share the sweepstakes with 5 of your friends (via FB share or email) you can receive 5 additional bonus entries. This is part of the registration process when entering. Users can also enter daily for more chances to win.

I have found fabulous decorating and gift ideas from World Market online. You can get great ideas by following them too.

World Market Twitter
World Market Facebook
World Market Pinterest

*This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™, but all my opinions are my own.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Online Shopping Deals

REAL free shipping with NO minimum purchase. Guess what? Now you can snag some of those awesome deals you have been eyeballing at and receive free shipping. No minimum purchase!Here is the deal Get FREE shipping now thru 9/3 w/ no minimum purchase @CookiesKids w/ code "WOW"
French Toast brand jeans for $4.99 size 2T-4T

Ink Garden-12 Free Note Cards plus Shipping (Shipping is $3.79). 12 Free Note Cards shipped for $3.79!

Vistaprint - Back To School Calendar. Get a FREE Photo Calendar! Perfect for back to school! Customize with icons, text, photos and themed designs for a unique calendar. Add up to 13 of your favorite photos for FREE and receive in as few as 3 days! The product is FREE, just pay shipping and processing.

Summer is coming to a close with a new and exciting school year just around the corner. But don’t worry! You can prepare for the busy months ahead while keeping those summer memories alive with Vistaprint’s photo calendars.

Upload your favorite summer photos and reminisce all year long. You can also add text and icons to highlight your family gatherings, birthdays, anniversaries, school schedules and sporting events.

In addition to a variety of great designs, these calendars come with some great features and upgrade options:

- Choose from a variety of themed designs for the perfect look
▪ Customize individual dates with personal events: birthdays, anniversaries & other occasions
▪ Add fun icons and text
▪ Upload up to 13 of your favorite photos for FREE
▪ Select your starting month and year
▪ Order today and receive in as few as 3 Days

CuteKid Creations Buy 1 Get 1 Free Personalized Kids Books. Cute for upcoming Holiday Gifts.
Get 2 Personalized Kids Books for only $19.99 (Plus Shipping). Choose from Cars, Toy Story, Spider-Man, Elmo, or Dora.

Pampers and Shutterfly are giving a free photo mug, you pay shipping with code

I have one of these of my husband and son when he was a few months old, I need to have some new ones made.

$1 Shipping with orders of $25 or more with code AUTUMN25
Some items are 50% off in the Clearance section. Mens lotion for $2.75


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Family Fun with Family Game Night #DipDipHooray #CBias

With fall and back to school just around the corner, that means everyone in my family will be much busier. It also means less time for family togetherness. My five grown children lead busy lives, and frankly so do I.
While I'm sad we don't see as much of each other as we would like, when we are together we like to laugh and enjoy each other's company.

So I decided that before the summer ended, we were going to have a Family Game Night. We have always loved playing games and can get pretty competitive. Our favorite thing to do after Thanksgiving dinner is to get out the board games and play for hours.

I got together with my oldest daughter, her husband and children to have a game night and dinner. My youngest daughter was coming over too, though her boyfriend couldn't make it because he had to work. But she was excited to see her two nephews and her niece. We love playing Monopoly and it can get pretty funny and intense when we play. We love it, and playing games is such a great way to share family time.

I went to Walmart to pick up a few things for our game night. I was trying to think of something we could all have for dinner that would be quick and easy to fix, and that we would all enjoy. Chicken nuggets, of course!
My family and I love Tyson Chicken Nuggets. I love how they make getting together with family and friends at the last moment so easy, and takes the stress out of cooking.

The less time we needed for cooking, the more time we would have for game playing!

While I was at Walmart I had to get french fries to go with the chicken nuggets. We love them together. Our favorite brand is Ore-Ida Seasoned Crinkles. My grandsons adore french fries, and they love dipping then in ketchup. Lately they have been dipping everything in ketchup! I got a 40 oz. bottle of Heinz Ketchup to make sure there was plenty for dipping all those french fries and chicken nuggets.

I also needed to get a new Monopoly game. After years of playing, our old game was getting pretty ragged and a couple of the pieces were missing. A few bananas and a yogurt treat were all I needed to make this family game night fun . #DipDipHooray

Everyone is here and it's time to put in the chicken nuggets and french fries. My grandsons keep asking when  it will be time to eat. Luckily it won't take long. I had forgotten how hungry little boys can get!

It was such a gorgeous evening that we decided to eat dinner and play Monopoly outside on the deck. We were all pretty hungry and the chicken nuggets and french fries were going fast. The boys loved dipping theirs in ketchup of course. I know the game will last much longer that the light out here, so I'm sure we will have to take it inside to finish it.

We stopped playing the game while we were eating. I bought my grandsons some new play-doh to play with after dinner, and hopefully they will be happy doing that.

We are trying to stretch out our beautiful weather before the rain up here in Washington begins. It is perfect weather for our Hasbro Game Night. My daughters were pretty happy eating and dipping too!

We had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs, and I can't wait to do it again. Family game night is a great way to bring your family together and share some quality time. #DipDipHooray

If you and your family love Tyson Chicken Nuggets, Ore-Ida French Fries and Heinz Ketchup like mine does, then be sure to enter the Dip To Play Sweepstakes. At you sign into the site and enter the UPC codes from Tyson Chicken Nuggets, Heinz Ketchup, and Ore-Ida products to unlock the games to play. We entered out UPC codes and you can too. You can win a $1000 Hasbro Family Game Night or 1 of the 250 Hasbro Game Prizes. Good Luck I hope you win! You can read the official rules for the sweepstakes at rules.

To see more of the fun games available at Walmart you can read my Google+ story to see my shopping trip at Walmart.

You can connect with the brands of Dip to Play for recipe ideas and more:
Heinz Twitter
Heinz Facebook
Tyson Twitter
Tyson Facebook
Ore-Ida Facebook

*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 BiasTyson and Heinz #CBias #SocialFabric All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Frozen Bananas with Chocolate & Sunflower Seeds

I love bananas that have spots on them. They are so very sweet. Just like this they are a treat and so good for you. I have been wanting chocolate but not wanting it to be too much of a goodie. So I thought I will dip something good for me in chocolate. If I add sunflower seeds its even better for me right?! lol

First cut the banana in half and stick a kabob skewer into the middle. I cut the pokey side off my kabobs to leave a flat end on both sides. Place them in the freezer minimum 1 hour in a freezer safe dish.

After the bananas were frozen I was ready to add the chocolate to them. I melted my chocolate chips in a bowl that I set in a sauce pan of hot water. Stir the chocolate chips until melted. Have your other items ready since the chocolate chips will get stiff if you let them cool.

I did not want to dip the whole banana in chocolate since I am trying to still define this as fruit :)

I gave them a nice topping of chocolate then rolled them in the sunflower seeds.

Place your dipped bananas back into the freezer for 2 hours. I made these before I cooked dinner and they were ready for dessert.

I let my frozen bananas sit for 5 minutes then enjoyed. If you have not eaten a frozen banana it is sooo good. Almost like a frozen yogurt flavor. Do not let them sit out too long or they will get mushy.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Toddler Perspective

My son has had his picture taken since the second he was born. I think its possible I have a million pictures of him! Digital is free right?!? So I take pictures of him all the time, everywhere we go. I have hard drives full of his pictures that I love to look at.

For the last few weeks my son has been asking me to take pictures of him. He will pose or grab something to hold and show me. But this week he has asked if he could take a picture. He told me my turn, then put his little hands together in a plea of Please! How can I resists those big blue eyes when he says Pllleasssse!

So I turned on the camera for him and he knew exactly where the shutter button was! I was surprised how easily he could take photos. He is only 2 years old! I have let him snap one of two photos then take the camera away in fear he will chuck it like a baseball. Today he went to the closet where I keep the camera and said he needed to take some pictures. This made me laugh since he did not ask but inform me of his need to use my camera. I said what do you say, his little "please mama" was all it took for me to hand it to him.

This is his first photo shoot of my very messy office:

His cute feet as he tried to take a pic of his BFF Giraffe

His new ball and his fav blue blankie he has slept with every night since he was born

this made me laugh he turned it around to capture himself like I do with he and I

His monkey pillow pet  we won on a blog before I was a blogger

Loved this one! His snack he was having

This one is called Mama Puter Work (my laptop on my desk)

This made me laugh he said oh no Mama ate my chips. I had my own pretzels but what is mine is always his. lol

Funny that he took a pic of my Huggies Rewards points I set aside to enter

Him being so VERY mad I took the camera back. He is saying NOOOOOO! 

Do I have the next famous photographer, cinematographer or a epic blogger? Only time will tell. I took my first pictures in 3rd grade on a field trip to an aquarium my mom let me take our 35mm camera and film was expensive to develop. Thanks Mom for letting me take photos! 
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