Category Archives: family

Ski Deals in Park City, Utah


Although I have lived in the North Carolina mountains for a spell, I’ve never been skiing. And just yesterday when I was in Chicago I went into Eddie Bauer on Michigan Avenue and saw all their ski outfits and accessories and thought how much fun it probably is to ski.

One of these days I’m definitely going skiing with the fam!

If you and your family are skiers Park City, Utah has exceptional deals for ski resort vacations.

The Canyons: Offer is valid at any of the Canyon Resort accommodation offerings and includes three of the following choices: Three-day adult lift ticket, two First Tracks passes, three-day rental equipment, full-day adult or child group ski/snowboard lesson, $150 resort dining credit or 50-minute massage at the Grand Summit Spa. Available 12/4/09 – 4/7/10. A 4-night minimum stay required in a 1-bedroom (or larger) suite. Some blackout dates apply.
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Printable Pumpkin Carving Stencils

iStock_000003004800XSmallIf you’re like me you do everything at the last minute. Have I bought a pumpkin, yet? No. Does that give me angst? A little. How do I plan on carving my pumpkin? With stencils!!

Even though I haven’t bought a pumpkin yet I have done my due diligence to find stencils to make a gorgeous jack-o-lantern whenever I do buy one. I have until Saturday, right?

witchIf you’re looking for printable pumpkin carving stencils like I was earlier today look no further than Better Homes and Gardens. They have a great page dedicated to 38 wonderful stencils that will delight your children from a flying witch to a haunted mansion.

You’re welcome :)

Holiday Baking and Bundt Cakes

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I rarely bake. No. I take that back. I NEVER bake. Bakegoods to me is whatever I pick up from Starbucks and honestly that has got to cease because Starbucks is expensive!

Now that the weather is getting nippy and the leaves are colorfully littering the streets, I finally feel the holidays coming. This Thanksgiving and Christmas I want my daughters to get that real holiday feel where they smell cakes in the oven and see pies cooling on the countertops. That’s what I grew up with. My father always cooked the most delicious cakes and pies. He took pride in it. So this year I’m going to replicate what I had as a child for my daughters. As long as I follow the recipe I should be fine, right?

I saw this beautiful Autumn Leaf Bundt cake tin from William Sonoma and I think it’s absolutely gorgeous. If I’m going to make a cake I’d love for it to at least be creative and beautiful as well as delicious. The Bundt pan is a little steep at $34.00. I’m sure it will last forever, though.

On the Net: William-Sonoma.com

Imparting Art

natural_soy_crayons_imageI am a huge proponent of teaching children art and art appreciation. I believe children should not only experiment with art in its various forms, but also be reared in art museums and galleries from a young age. I’ve always believed art helps people grow intellectually and be more attuned to their creativity and intuition. At least that’s what art has given me.

Since I let my daughters delve into art each day, I was thrilled to receive a box of soy crayons from Boulder, Colorado based Clementine Art. I have never purchased soy candles before; I’m pretty much a Crayola mom. But I must say I was thoroughly impressed by the quality of the Clementine Art soy crayons and am even more impressed by how safe they are for children.

Before I even gave the crayons to my daughters I had to test them out for myself. For some reason I thought they would feel soft like pastels and be just as messy. But I was completely and utterly mistaken. Behold: the evidence:

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Shopping On a Budget at Whole Foods? Yes, It Can Be Done

mpp0106300One of the reasons I don’t shop at health food stores exclusively such as Whole Foods and our local store, Earth Fare, is because of the huge cost of organic and non-conventional foods. Sure, you know when you shop at Whole Foods you are going to buy much better food for your family, but at what cost? It costs a lot to eat healthy and that fact deters a lot of shoppers from doing all of their shopping at health food stores. 

I didn’t know this, but Whole Foods stores now have Value Tours that will help you shop for good food on a budget. The Whole Foods Value Guru enlightens with personal money-saving kitchen tips on the Whole Story blog every other week at blog.wholefoodsmarket.com. And you can visit your local store to take a Value Tour to learn to shop Whole Foods Market on a budget and still enjoy the broadest selection of quality natural and organic products.

You can also download The Whole Deal online here to find weekly sales and coupons.

And, here’s a frugal and delicious recipe from Whole Foods.

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Tips to Prevent Foreclosure Fraud

mpp0152059I know how important it is to know your rights about your mortgage loan and whether a company is trying to defraud you out of your mortgage, even if it is close to foreclosure. A dear member of my family, even when we warned him to be careful when dealing with “foreclosure counselors” who offered deals that were too good to be true, got caught in a mortgage scam. Even though he was able to keep his house, now he has a mortgage that he’ll never be able to pay it off. That’s not what he wanted, but he got tricked. Knowledge is power, so here are valuable tips to help you detect a foreclosure scammer a mile away.

Sissy Osteen, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension resource management specialist, said to be sure the agency you are getting counsel from is on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s list of approved agencies.

“If you are approached by foreclosure counselors either by mail, phone or in person make sure they are on the HUD approved list,” she said. “The HUD Web site is www.hud.gov or you can call them at 877-483-1515. Most HUD counselors provide no-cost counseling services and some provide low-cost counseling.”

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New Study Examines Moms By Race

istock_000001799194xsmallI along with other prominent mom bloggers from Mom in the City, Mel, A Dramatic Mommy and Integrated Mother partnered with BSM Media to look at mothers by race. The findings: Although mothers are largely the same no matter race, there are still marked differences between us. 

Main findings:

  • African American moms are more likely to delay major purchases (57%) and avoid stores to reduce shopping (54%). Caucasian moms are coping by using coupons and discount codes (73%) and driving fewer places to conserve gas (62%).
  • Caucasian moms named managing the desires of their children for material things as a challenge (45%), while African American moms are battling with affordable housing (35%).
  • While online, African American mothers are more likely to read articles (68%) and experience music (45%). Caucasian mothers are likely to frequent social networks (45%) and message boards (43%).

Click here to read more about the study. It is my hope that this research helps companies better market to black moms and do more outreach online to black mom bloggers (there are tons of us) as opposed to going to traditional media like magazines and radio to tout their message for black moms.

Are these findings consistent with your experience? Do you delay big puchases as opposed to using coupons? Is affordable housing one of your biggest challenges? Do you prefer to read articles online and listen to music as opposed to using social networks and message boards?

Adventures By Disney: Eight New Amazing Family Destinations


I had absolutely no idea that families can travel all over the world through Adventures by Disney. In 2009 Disney will be adding eight thrilling new destinations bringing their total to 23 itineraries around the world. The 2009 new destinations are:

  • Alpine Magic — Italy and Switzerland, Zermatt, and Lake Lucerne
  • Beantown & The Big Apple — Boston, Newport, and New York City
  • Bella Italia — Central Italy: Sorrento and Florence
  • Gateway to the Galapagos: Ecuador and Galapagos Islands
  • Golden Path to Yosemite — Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park and San Francisco
  • Rocky Trails and Mountie Tales – Montana and Alberta, Canada: Glacier National Park and Banff National Park
  • Safari to South Africa- South Africa: Cape Town, The Garden Route 
    and Kampana Game Reserve
  • Taming the Last Frontier- Alaska: Fairbanks, Denali National Park and Kenai Peninsula

Over the course of the next eight days I will highlight all of the new Adventures by Disney destinations. Tomorrow I will feature Alpine Magic — Italy and Switzerland: Stresa, Zermatt and Lake Lucerne.

Launched in 2005, Adventures by Disney provides immersive, hassle-free and exhilarating guided family vacation experiences in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and Australia. In 2009, families traveling with Adventures by Disney can sample some of the most exotic and remote locations in the world – including South Africa, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, the Canadian Rockies, the European Alps and Alaska. Everywhere guests turn on the “Alpine Magic” trip there are new magnificent vistas to behold.

The PBS KIDS Summer Road Trip to Health

This summer, PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! invite children on a virtual road trip with a destination all about being engaged and healthy. Beginning June 2nd, kids can fuel their minds and bodies with health-themed episodes and online activities learning how their favorite character role models in ten different series live healthy and smart. See more at pbskidsgo.org and listen to They Might Be Giants sing the summer theme song “Get Up and Go!” Our first stop – CAILLOU! Caillou gets active this week on PBS KIDS!

6.2.08 (check local listings) CAILLOU #305 Caillou’s Gym Day: Caillou gets a special invitation to go to Andre’s gym class. A little intimidated at first, Caillou tries his best and ends up having great fun. When they try a rhythmic coordination exercise, Caillou discovers that some things are not that easy.

6.3.08 CAILLOU #107 Caillou Cooks: Someone’s in the kitchen; it’s Caillou! After making too much of a mess trying to help Mom, Caillou plays pretend-cooking with Sarah, and they bring Mom a bouquet of dandelions and a tasty cake made of toy blocks.

6.4.08 CAILLOU #306 Caillou the Snowman: Caillou wants to play hockey with Billy and the other big kids. He goes with Daddy to the store to get the equipment he needs, but he finds he just can’t keep up with the big kids. After Daddy gives Caillou his old hockey sweater – which is way too big for Caillou – he tells him that if he keeps practicing he’ll be really good by the time he grows into the sweater.

6.5.08 CAILLOU #302 Caillou The Sports Star: When a new, longer set of monkey bars is installed at the park, Caillou is disappointed that he can’t climb as far as Leo. He asks his Daddy how he can get bigger and stronger and finds out that eating right, exercising and getting lots of sleep is the best way. Later, when Clementine and Billy join them Caillou finds he can lift up Billy’s bike. He couldn’t do that last year! Caillou realizes he’s getting stronger every day!

6.6.08 CAILLOU #419 Games To Play: Caillou’s friend Andre has come to visit. André is a soccer player and Caillou wants to play too… only Caillou isn’t very good at kicking the ball. He wants to give up, but Andre and Dad encourage him and eventually he makes the biggest kick of the day.