Back To School

in , , , by Linda A Kinsman, Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Yesterday was the first full day of school for us.

watch out for buses
Watch out for school buses and school zones!

Ms. T and I start our days at 5:35a.m. It is hard to get up that early! No amount of prepping and doing dry runs can truly make you feel happy about greeting the day at this hour. But, we try.  

Ms. T is a good sport.  She sets her own alarm and then actually gets up and turns it off. Not many 8th graders do that. I didn’t. I relied on my parents. Since both of them worked, I could lay there for “just one more minute” knowing one or both of them would rouse me.

As a work at home Mom, I know I am blessed to have the ability to stand in my kitchen each morning, cup of coffee in hand, talking with my girls and husband, helping them be prepared for their day. 

It was and still is the lifestyle choice that works best for our family. I am a work at home Mom- a Hybrid, balancing both, but putting more emphasis on home than on career. Still,  I can see both sides clearly. And can honestly say:  All Moms Work Hard!  No Mom judgments’ here!

As our girls enter 8th and 4th grade this year, I know it’s not going to be all peaches and cream, but I’m trusting in the Lord and a good, solid routine. 
To me, routines are just as important now as they were when my daughters were babies. Sameness when it comes to waking, eating, homework, sleeping;   etc. is a very good thing!

Have your children started back to school yet? If so, what do you add or subtract from your routine during the school months?  Do you have a set routine, or do you wing it?

For me, I add volunteering at both schools, getting together with girlfriends for a quick coffee and going to small business owner meetings. I subtract late night movies.

Here's wishing you and your children a happy, safe, productive school year!

Mobile Mishaps- $ 40 Amazon Gift Card # Giveaway

in , , , by Linda A Kinsman, Wednesday, August 01, 2012

I have been saving for a Smartphone (and the data pack needed to thrive with said Smartphone).
 I thought I had a pretty good idea of cost and had even started thinking I just might be looking pretty smart by years end.
While I've been scanning sales and dreaming, I've also been reading and hearing some pretty funny (no wait, sad!) stories about Smartphone deaths. Some by dogs, coffee, kids, toilets, water. I realized I'm going to need to budget for replacement insurance as well, because bad things can happen to good phones!


 Like the time I washed my husband’s cell phone!

 I could have sworn I’d checked all his pockets, but obviously I hadn't. How many pockets are on a pair of cargo shorts I ask you??  I didn’t find it until I was putting that load in the dryer. Oops!

 Thank goodness it wasn’t a Smartphone because replacing one would have cost hundreds of dollars because he wasn’t eligible for an upgrade and we hadn’t opted for replacement Insurance. We didn’t think we'd need it.  When I do get my Smartphone, I will be ready thanks to Asurion.

Check out their Infographic:

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Asurion.

Win It: 

Have you ever washed your phone, or gulp, your hubby’s?  Tell me about your mobile mishap by leaving a comment and then enter the contest using the form below.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me for Asurion Influencer Network.  Writing this post enabled me to host this giveaway for you, my readers and receive a gift card for myself. Thank You Asurion.  All opinions are my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Plan A’s are Overrated

in , , , , by Linda A Kinsman, Monday, July 23, 2012

By now most of you have caught on to the fact that I like to plan things out. I like being prepared.  Sure, I can do spur of the moment… sometimes, if the Moon is in the right sign.  No, seriously, I can be spontaneous on some events, but a whole month of them?  

Welcome to our July.

plan b
We have by way of events beyond our control had to be adaptable, flexible.

 We have had to look for the silver lining as our 4th of July party plans were squashed by a no burn- no fireworks of any kind ordinance.

 We had to buck up when our road trip was put off because my husband, who was already b-u-s-y was asked to fill in for another person.  

We made peace with staying put and swimming, until our pool grew some nasty algae and needed to be treated with some major chemicals.

We completely understood when our sitter cancelled the night before our special date night at a lovely restaurant. Yes, reservations were required and I cancelled them without complaint.

Some would say this was a streak of bad luck, but I say July was a flexibility test.  And I’m happy to say, we all passed with flying colors. Who needs Plan A’s all the time? They are so boring, having every detail planned out.

I have watched with admiration and love as our daughters have taken all of this is stride and still come out happy.  A little disappointed here and there, but always game for one of our Plan B’s. They even came up with some stellar and fun ideas on their own.

They reminded me that a little spontaneity is a very good thing.

I hope your July has been all you hoped and planned for, but if not, look around for a Plan B. Ask your kids/friends/family for input.  I bet you will have fun too!

Wordless Wednesday

in , , by Linda A Kinsman, Wednesday, July 11, 2012

As I mentioned in my last post Catching Up, we have been coming up with road trip destination ideas.

We've narrowed it down and we think we want to visit...

from up high
 here again. Anybody recognize this river?

Catching Up

in , , , , , by Linda A Kinsman, Thursday, July 05, 2012

Ah… this is happiness and contentment my soul whispered just the other day.   I am so thankful that I was able feel that special moment and recognize my body and mind sending up Thank yous!
Beautiful Summer, the season to relax and slow things down. Well, the girls and I slow down.  For my hubby- summer is the busiest season of all.  Work is abundant. Nobody wants to gut a kitchen right before the holidays now do they?
So our family does things a bit differently. We don’t over-book. We don’t take a week-long vacation.  We don’t rush through every day.  We allow the word bored to be uttered.
And then we look for simple solutions.



Enjoying the bounty of summer fruits.


Taking a dip in the pool.

Enjoying summer evenings. Complete with sunsets and fireflies.

summer sky

Going on weekend Road trips.

In fact, the girls and I are busy researching our next road trip destination. Yep, we are relaxed and living our American Dream.  We are thankful to have enjoyed a happy, safe 4th of July at home.

How is your summer going?  Are you relaxed and truly enjoying this season?
If not, maybe it’s time to slow things down. Do less. Connect more. I promise, the feeling is well worth the effort!

Are you a Runner?

in , , , , , by Linda A Kinsman, Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ever thought about entering the 2012 ING New York City Marathon, but needed a little extra inspiration to get you there?  Or, maybe you tried to get into the NYC marathon through the lottery, but were one of the thousands who didn't get selected?

Well, today might be your lucky day!  The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, dedicated to curing spinal cord injury and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis, is looking for enthusiastic, inspiring and committed people to run in honor of those who cannot.

 The Foundation has 30 coveted spots available on Team Reeve for the 2012 ING New York City Marathon, taking place on November 4, 2012.  Participants are required to raise a minimum of $4,000 for the Foundation.

To apply for a spot, simply visit to fill out the application.  Applications will be vetted by the Foundation, with winners being notified within approximately one week of submission. 

Additionally, Team Reeve has teamed up with exclusive training facility La Palestra in New York City, which will provide free coaching, strength training, nutrition counseling and training runs to all Team Reeve members.  If you live outside of New York, the staff at La Palestra will provide tele-coaching.

So, to all you runners out there...Go Far.  Be Inspirational. Do Good.

This information was provided by The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation through MyBlogSpark.

Bon Appetit meals are a hit!

I served 2 of the Bon Appetit parchment meals recently for my family’s dinner.  Along with a garden salad and garlic bread, this was a quick and easy way to get a healthy meal on the table quickly.
The meals are very easy to prepare, just place on a pan and pop in the oven.

Our choices were Beef in Red Wine Sauce and the Chicken Florentine.

Both got rave reviews!

Both parchment meals provided more than enough entree.  My husband was stuffed after his meal . The rest of us had to save some of ours!

The Beef in Wine Sauce was our clear favorite! 

Bon Appetit Beef in Wine Sauce

A few statements from my family:

This is almost as good as yours Mommy! Serve this again! Or from my hubby: if a guy doesn’t cook but wants to impress a lady, he could pass this off as homemade! 

Neither my husband nor I could detect any attributes usually imparted by the use of wine (subtle earthiness in sauce/flavor or darkening of sauce), but we will definitely buy this again to keep on hand for busy nights. We are also recommending this to friends. Especially those who may be single, pressed for time or simply don’t enjoy cooking.

We give this meal an A +++!

The Chicken Florentine, while very good, didn’t get quite the same rave reviews.

Bon Appetit Chicken Florentine

We loved the healthy amount of spinach used in the creamy Parmesan sauce, which was outstanding!
We liked that the chicken remained moist and tender, but felt it required a bit more seasoning, even just salt and pepper and wished would could have seasoned prior to cooking.

My daughters both enjoyed this dish and even said it was better than some restaurants’ Chicken Florentine they’ve had!

For my husband and myself, there was just something off about the pasta. It tasted like frozen pasta.

Overall we would still recommend this product and give it an A!

Thank you Bon Appetit and BZZ Agent for the opportunity to try these products. 

Update: 6-22-12
 I'm adding a link to Bon Appetit's store locator so you can find these in your area.
 Bon Appetit Parchment meals store locator

I found mine at Walmart. :-)