March is a very busy card month in our family. There many joyous occasions like birthdays, anniversaries and this year; Easter. I love sending and receiving special occasion cards and want to pass this love on to my teen daughters, so this weekend I pulled out some cards, our family calendar and a bunch of new Pilot pens I’d received from to use and share my thoughts here with you. While I did receive complimentary products all opinions, love of a good writing pen and cards are my own.

Assortment of special occasion cards

When talking with my daughters about writing special correspondences, I learned that sometimes it’s the very act of writing, putting pen to card-stock that stalls their creative process and I can understand that. 

Sometimes a pen doesn’t feel right in your hand, or it doesn’t glide across the writing surface, or worse, it leaves blobs of ink behind! I’m happy to report; you’ll find none of those issues with Pilot Pens! If you want your teens to love writing, give them a great pen and these easy to follow steps!

Pilot Pens- great for writing

 1. Pick Your Pen by doing a writing test:

We each chose a different type of pen from the very nice collection we’d received. After you pick a pen to try, hand out lined notebook paper to practice writing on first, that way you won’t ever ruin a card again! Don’t worry about what they write now. Just let them choose a pen solely on how it feels and how the ink looks to them. We’ll get to the wording in another step.

Do a writing test to see how pens feel and ink looks

We all loved the cool pastel color of the Dr. Grip pen that’s light weight and has a cushioned barrel which feels good in your hand. Personally, I found it to be a little too thick for me, but I know my senior mother in law would love this pen as her hands bother her, so I’m gifting this pen and a set of all occasion cards to her.

My teen daughters preferred the fun and sleek looking Acroball pure white pens with their fine points for their writing styles. Both are right handed with a light grip and so they enjoyed the feel and flow of the ink.

I’m a lefty, who turns her paper and tends to bear down on a pen, so if I’m not using a good pen, I’ll either smudge my previous sentence or find a glob of ink at pause points in my writing. I had no problem at all with the Acroball color medium point pen.

My husband chose the Acroball Pro medium point in blue to sign his card and liked how it felt in his hand and how it didn’t drag on the card stock.  To learn more about any of these pens, just click on their links and you’ll be taken to where you can find them on sale along with a large variety of office supplies.

2. Let your Teen pick the card:

Congratulations card ready to personalize

Whether you buy for one special occasion, or keep an assortment of cards on hand like I do, it’s very important that you let your teen choose the card, not just for the visual aspect, but for the statement inside if any. 

3. Give your Teen Privacy and Time to write:

In other words parents- don’t hover! Nobody likes to write under pressure with somebody watching them, so be patient!  If you want this to be an enjoyable endeavor for your teens and if you want them to ever go beyond a short sentence or two, you must allow time to gather their thoughts and then, allow them to practice writing it out on scratch paper before writing anything on the card.

5. Help your teen address, stamp and mail their cards:

My girls have seen me do this countless times in their lives, so they can do this step on their own. The very best way to make it second nature is to let them take the lead. Give them your address book for cards going to family friends and relatives, or help them look up a friends address with the old school way with the phone book or their preferred way, Google it.  Allow them artistic freedom here as well. If they want to use print instead of cursive writing on the envelope, let them.  It’s their mail to personalize how they choose. 

With a good pen, a nice card and a healthy dose of patience and understanding from us, we can instill a love of writing not only cards, but other correspondence that will serve our teens well from middle school and beyond!

Comments Please:

Do you send out special occasion cards often? 

Happy Friday! As I sit here typing this post this morning, my daughters are sitting in their homerooms at their respective schools ready to learn.  I’m betting they are feeling a sense of privilege to be doing something so ordinary after watching He named me Malala last night. As their Mom, I felt honored to have the ability to share this special pre-screening movie with them, all because I work in this great digital industry in this great country, where women and girls and their educations have value.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Review Wire Media for 20th Century Fox. I received information to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

He named me Malala stand #withMalala

Global Broadcast of He Named Me Malala Monday, February 29th, 8 pm EST/7 pm CST on National Geographic Channel.

About the Movie:

HE NAMED ME MALALA is an intimate portrait of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, who was targeted by the Taliban and severely wounded by a gunshot when returning home on her school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. The then 15-year-old was singled out, along with her father, for advocating for girls’ education, and the attack on her sparked an outcry from supporters around the world. She miraculously survived and is now a leading campaigner for girls’ education globally as co-founder of the Malala Fund.

Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman) shows us how Malala, her father Zia and her family are committed to fighting for education for all girls worldwide. The film gives us an inside glimpse into this extraordinary young girl’s life – from her close relationship with her father who inspired her love for education, to her impassioned speeches at the UN, to her everyday life with her parents and brothers.”

My Thoughts:

Stand #withMalala

Watching this movie with my teen daughters was an amazing opportunity! I was moved by Malala’s love of learning, her sweet and funny interactions with her brothers, her adoration for her father and her respect for her mother. But what moved me most, was how my daughters reacted to this powerful movie.  Upon learning that today over 60 million girls are out of school globally, we all shook our heads and asked how can that be? How can this type of discrimination be allowed to continue?

It was not okay for one girl from Pakistan, so she raised her voice for herself, for the girls in her village and now- for all girls around the world. 

Malala said at one point in the movie that if she had not been shot by the Taliban, she would probably have 3 children and a husband by now. She is 17 years old! I cannot fathom this! My oldest daughter will turn 17 next month and she is thinking of exams and spring break with friends and in the near future; college. She certainly isn’t thinking about being a wife and a Mom.

He named me Malala takes us on a journey of a family living peacefully in a small, beautiful village in Pakistan. We learned about peace and faith and hope from Malala and then, we saw ugliness and oppression of not just women and girls, but those who stood up for them.

The documentary offers a look into the life of Malala Yousafzai both before and after the attack. She was just 15 when she, along with her father was singled out for advocating girls’ education. The shooting sparked an outcry from supporters around the world.

Here is a special movie clip of Malala with her father for you to enjoy:

My daughters and are were moved to action and have joined our voices in support of the Malala fund and the NGC and 21st Century Fox social initiative to raise awareness for girls’ education. We Stand #withMalala! 

Want to learn more about the movie before watching it? Please visit the movie website here.

Get involved:

Leading up to the television debut, Facebook fans can show their support by changing their profile picture using a custom animation found on their Facebook page. On Twitter, users can contribute by tweeting with hashtag #withMalala and be sure to follow the Malala fund! For ever profile picture change and each tweet sent with that hashtag, 21st Century Fox will donate $1 to the Malala fund, for a total of up to $50,000.

Free Education Resources Available:

Malala fund education

There is a robust education program on National Geographic’s website for the film that includes free education resources, discussion guides, a service learning toolkit, books for change, a map maker interactive and more here

If you believe in education, in girl power, in hope for the future- please join us and stand #withMalala! 

Please share in comments: What was the last movie or TV show you watched that moved you to take action?

Sunday dinners hold a special place in both my husband and my hearts. Memories of dining at our grandparents homes, surrounded by lots of family members; tables stuffed with so much good food it was certain no one left hungry or without leftovers!  Even though time and distance keeps us from having Sunday dinners with our extended families often;  we preserve these family traditions and pass them on to our daughters with home-cooked Sunday dinners. Thanks to today’s post sponsor: Publix #PublixVivaItaliaSale, I whipped up my tasty take of Chicken Cacciatore last night and my family loved it!

Sunday dinner: Chicken Cacciatore w/veggies and french bread

Let me say right up front- this is not a traditional Italian Chicken Cacciatore recipe. This is one I’ve changed and perfected over the years using as many ingredients as I have on hand. For instance, in summer, I’m looking for dishes to use up my zucchini and yellow squash so there would be no need for me to use frozen bagged vegetables like Green Giant's in my Cacciatore dish.  

Raid your pantry for Sunday dinner ingredients

Sunday dinners are perfect for “raid your pantry” type meals, so don’t be afraid to try out new flavors or products in a dish. That’s how I found out that adding Progresso reduced sodium creamy tomato with Basil soup to my sauce imparts a light and flavorful creaminess my family enjoys with less calories and sodium! To make this an even healthier dish, I use chicken breasts rather than skinned chicken thighs.

Serves 6
  • 2 cups dried pasta of choice (I used Farfalle)
  • 4 medium to large boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 cups fresh zucchini, squash, cauliflower chopped (use 2 bags frozen veggies if you don’t have fresh)
  •  ½ to 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • ½ yellow or white onion
  • 2 14.5 oz. cans Hunts Diced Basil, Garlic & Oregano Tomatoes (use juice)
  • 1 19 oz. can Progresso reduced sodium creamy tomato with Basil soup
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 sprig Rosemary
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste


In large, lightly oiled skillet brown salt and peppered chicken breasts till cooked. I cut my chicken into medium bite size pieces for faster cooking time.  
While chicken is cooking, chop up mushrooms, garlic and onion.
Once chicken breasts are cooked, pull from pan and set aside. Deglaze pan with red wine, then add onions, garlic and mushrooms. Lightly brown.
Next add fresh or frozen veggies to pan, sauté till al dente, about 10 minutes.
Put water with a bit of oil and salt on to boil.

Simmer Chicken Cacciatore veggie sauce till bubbly

Now that veggies are mostly cooked, add to pan tomatoes with juice, Progresso creamy Tomato and Basil soup.
Add chicken back to sauce. Stir until well covered.
Add Rosemary and any additional salt and pepper needed.
Simmer sauce for 15 minutes while pasta cooks.
Drain pasta, drizzle with olive oil. Cover.
Plate pasta, cover with Chicken Cacciatore Sauce.


This hearty Italian style Chicken Cacciatore dish is a delightful Sunday family style meal! I served a loaf of Pillsbury French bread with our dinner that I’d picked up while shopping at Publix. You can save a $1.00 off any 3 Pillsbury breads and $2.00 off Publix fresh chicken and more when you shop the #PublixVivaItaliaSale in store and by visiting to download coupons. Be sure to check out their great recipes while you are there too and you’ll be serving up smiles with your Sunday dinners as well.

Win it!

Thanks to our Sponsor, Publix, one lucky winner will receive a $10 PayPal cash transfer so they can go shop the #PublixVivaItalia sale and serve up something Italian soon.


No purchase is necessary to enter using the Rafflecopter from below.  My WAHM Plan is responsible for prize fulfillment.  To win, you must have a valid PayPal email account. Winners will be notified by email used on entry form and have 24 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.  This giveaway is not associated with nor endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, or any other social channel. 

Good luck!

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Wordless Wednesday: Old Treasures

in , , , , , , by Linda A Kinsman, Wednesday, February 17, 2016
As I was going through my photos for this Wordless Wednesday, I came across a file full of delightful photos taken by my 16 year old daughter on one of our many "junking" trips we take. I hope you'll enjoy some of the old treasures pics from her collection.

Underwood Typewriter

Ornate vintage light

Vintage  Dolls

Please share in comments: Do you like going to look for old treasures too? What is your favorite local shop?
Even if Pantone hadn't announced two colors of the year, one being Serenity Blue and the other Rose Quartz, I still would have chosen a shade of pink for my February color of the month because it works and shows up everywhere this time of year. I thought so last year as well when I chose Sunset Pink for my February color of the month!

February 2016 Color of the Month: Rose Quartz

Rose Quartz is a universally flattering color to wear, decorate or accessorize with in my opinion and if you love Pinterest, you know I'm in good company!

Here is my Pinterest Board for February. I hope you enjoy it and find inspiring ways to use Rose Quartz in your daily life.

Follow Linda A.'s board Color of the Month- February 2016 Rose Quartz on Pinterest.

Please share in comments: Would you rather wear, accessorize an outfit or decorate your home with Rose Quartz?

Wordless Wednesday: Good Eats

in , , , , , by Linda A Kinsman, Wednesday, February 10, 2016
 We cook, we laugh, we love, we eat together. #Family

Grilled burgers and fries
Grilled burgers and fries

Beef Broccoli Noodle Stir Fry
Beef Broccoli Noodle Stir Fry

Pork Shoulder Roast
Pork Shoulder Roast

What do you cook with your family? 
Happy Friday dear readers! Have you been enjoying my giveaways this week? So far we’ve talked about chocolate cookie bars (divine!) about the newest Nicholas Sparks book and movie The Choice and so it felt fitting to end this week with some Hallmark Valentine’s Day cards and collectible love! My sincere thanks to #LoveHallmark for the precious box of complimentary products you sent me to facilitate today’s post and giveaway.

Hallmark #Valentine's Day greeting cards #giveaway

Receiving a card on Valentine’s Day makes everyone feel special whether you’re in a romantic relationship or not. I love the vast array of greeting card choices you can find with Hallmark like the Signature collection cards here or the all new itty bittys valentines cards! So cute! 

Speaking of cute- look at these adorable itty bittys from the beloved Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat book! 

 Dr. Seuss Thing 1 and Thing 2 itty bittys #giveaway

“Thing 1 and Thing 2- They ran up! They ran down!”  I can’t count how many times I read this book to my girls when they were young, or how many times we’d get up and run just like Thing 1 and Thing 2 and now they both own their very own itty bittys collectible! If you have a Dr. Seuss fan in your life, you are going to want to enter to win these cuties below. Or you can purchase them now by clicking on their links above and if you order by tomorrow, they'll arrive on time for Valentine's day!

If you need another gift idea for a special cutie, I recommend you check out their brand new Love-a-Saurus Techno Plush!  

Hallmark Love-a-Saurus

We received Love-a- Saurus and instantly fell in love with his soft, huggable, loveable self! This little guy brings big love, a bigger roar and some serious dance moves as he dances and sings along to the tune of U can’t touch this by MC Hammer! His tag has his own lyrics so you and your little one can sing along! You can learn more about Love-A-Saurus here and again, if you order by February 6th, you'll receive him by Valentine's Day. 

Win it!
Thanks to #LoveHallmark, one lucky reader will receive a pair of Thing 1 and Thing 2 itty bittys, along with a pack of Valentine’s Day greetings and an extra “every day” itty bitty to share a little love with someone special whenever they’d like!


No purchase is necessary to enter using the Rafflecopter from below.  My WAHM Plan is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Winners will be notified by email used on entry form and have 24 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.  This giveaway is not associated with nor endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, or any other social channel. 

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway:

And the winner is...

 Rachel H.
February is the month for love and I was excited to be selected to host a giveaway featuring the latest book and movie from Nicholas Sparks: The Choice.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Review Wire Media for Lionsgate. I received information to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

The Choice: This is all I need, the moon and the stars and you.

Nicholas Sparks, #1 New York Times best- selling author, is known for his easy to relate to heartwarming stories like The Notebook and I can’t wait to read this book just in time for Valentine’s Day and hopefully, see the movie which opens this Friday February 5th!

About The Movie: The Choice: Presented by Lionsgate studio/a Nicholas Sparks/Safran Company/POW! Production

“When feisty medical student Gabby Holland moves in next door to perennial ladies’ man Travis Shaw, they embark on a surprising romantic journey neither imagined possible. Travis has always believed a serious relationship would cramp his easygoing lifestyle, while Gabby is preparing to settle down with her long-term boyfriend—until an irresistible attraction between the unlikely couple upends both of their well-planned lives. Spanning a decade and tracing the evolution of a love affair that is ultimately tested by life's most defining events, this story features a memorable ensemble of friends and family in Sparks’ beloved North Carolina setting, culminating with the question that every couple must ask themselves: how far would you go to keep the hope of love alive?” 

The Choice movie scene:You're just sassin' me because you like me.

Being a southerner, I love movies set in the south and North Carolina with its charm and pristine beaches make a perfect back drop for this love story as you can see from this photo :

The Choice North Carolina beach scene

and see more stunning scenes by watching this movie clip!

Doesn't this movie look good? I think Benjamin Walker (Travis) and Teresa Palmer (Gabby) are perfect for their roles! You can learn more about the movie setting, cast and more by visiting #TheChoice website and by following along on Facebook and Twitter using hashtags #TheChoice or #ChooseLove.

It may be too cold to head to the beach now, but we can do the next best thing and spend some time with Nicholas Sparks by going to see The Choice in theaters and by reading the book which one of you can win!

Win It!

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks paperback book

Thanks to today’s sponsor, Lionsgate, for Review Wire Media, one lucky reader will receive a paper back copy of The Choice by Nicholas Sparks, The Choice book mark and a sea-shell wind chime and a $25 Visa  e-Gift card sent to your email! 


No purchase is necessary to enter using the Rafflecopter from below.  My WAHM Plan is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Winners will be notified by email used on entry form and have 24 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.  This giveaway is not associated with nor endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, or any other social channel. 

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway:

And the winner is...


Make snack time unwind time for your kids

in , , , , , , , , by Linda A Kinsman, Monday, February 01, 2016

Every Sunday I sit down with my teen daughter’s- planner or family calendar in hand and touch bases with them on their upcoming activities.  If you have school age kids, then you know that their schedules can rival any busy adults these days! 

Both my daughters are active in choir, theater and clubs, so it seems like all of their waking hours are gobbled up by studies or important obligations. That’s why I schedule a daily snack time for my kids.  They expend a lot of energy in their daily lives, so it’s important that we allow kids time to unwind and decompress and thanks to today’s sponsor, Betty Crocker, my girls will get a #MySweetRewards cookie bar to enjoy after school.

Betty Crocker Sweet Rewards Chocolate chip cookie bar

My daughters are usually famished by the time they get home from school each day, even more so if they’ve had an after school activity, so I try to serve them something healthy first like fruit or cheese sticks with milk and then, if they have a sweet tooth, I’ll give them a small serving, like a cookie or half one of these delicious Betty Crocker Sweet reward bars.

These bars are a new item from Betty Crocker and are on sale now at Publix, where you can  save $ 0.50 on any one box of Betty Crocker Sweet reward bars by downloading the coupon from They come in three flavors: Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar, Caramel Brownie Bar and Butterscotch Blondie Bar.  

Betty Crocker Sweet Rewards Butterscotch Blondie Bar

My Publix store had the boxes on sale 2 for $4.00, so we bought the Chocolate chip cookie bars, which have little chocolate chips on top to add to that chocolate goodness and Butterscotch Blondie bars that have little rainbow chips on top.  Each bar is so thick and flavorful, with a layer of chocolate on the bottom, it would be a challenge to eat it all anyway.

Betty Crocker Sweet Rewards bars

For those days when you are picking up and dropping off your kids, just toss a couple of these yummy Better Crocker sweet rewards bars in your purse to share with your kids in the car. Be sure to turn off the radio and ask then to not listen to their music so you can chat about their days while they unwind and re-fuel. 

Melissa likes the new Betty Crocker Sweet Rewards Bars!

Win it!

Betty Crocker Sweet Rewards Bars

Thanks to our sponsor Betty Crocker #MySweetRewards, one lucky reader will receive a $15.00 PayPal cash transfer, so you can purchase your own sweet rewards. 


No purchase is necessary to enter using the Rafflecopter from below.  My WAHM Plan is responsible for prize fulfillment via PayPal transfer. You must have a PayPal email address to enter.   Winners will be notified by email used on entry form and have 24 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.  This giveaway is not associated with nor endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, or any other social channel. You must have a PayPal email account to enter. 

Good Luck!

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