June 2015 - xoxo Rebecca

"My Favorite Quote"

Happy almost-Monday everyone! Welcome back. I'm joining in again for another week with Miss Monica from I Heart Grade 3 and her Weekly Summer Link Up. And this week's prompt is one I am going to love talking about. Why? Because it's "My Favorite Quote"

No joke, if you know me, you know this has been my favorite quote {and life message} since I first heard it back in good ol' 1999. I was a senior in high school that year and my all time favorite tv show was Popular. Yes, I loved that show. I still love that show. Bought the season on dvd and watched them millions of times in my mid 20's. And now it's on YouTube which is pretty cool.

Cancel My Subscription, I'm Over Your Issues!

The scene is infamous. The outcast Sam McPherson, gets a confidence boost. Shows up to her {about to be} step sister's, the ever popular Brooke McQueen, party to tell her off! I love it. 

Yes, if you know me, you know I put this as my favorite quote on everything. It is so right too. For years, I put up with so much crap and so many mean and hurtful people. People who only want to use you or people who fake friendships. That is why when I first heard this in season 1, episode 2...I have never forgotten. It really says what I should have said to those people a long time ago.

Now, I don't want to play the "mean girls" game anymore. So if you tick me off, you can cancel my subscription.... cause I'm done! I've been learning to let those type of people go a lot easier once I say this to myself. So thank you WB for airing this show to boost my confidence level a bit.

Now, doesn't that just feel better to drag away the negative people and the ones who bring you down? Not to mention, it is pretty clever! I find it comical.

Watch the clip below to see it in action :)

So what is your favorite quote? Is it from a movie, a book...the man who mows his lawn in his underware living next door? Leave a comment below!


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Homemade Bug Spray

Summer is here! I love summer. The warm weather, getting a nice tan, the laughter of children playing outside, and all the fun activities to do. One thing I do not like about summer is the BUGS!!!! Yuck...with a capital "Y".

There are a lot of products out on the market to help keep the bugs off of you. However, they are not all that safe to use. Especially on children. Many, including myself, prefer a more natural approach to anything we use on our bodies. Which is why I love this recipe for homemade bug spray. It's safe, effective, doesn't contain all those chemicals you can't pronounce, and it's very expensive to make. 

I love that I have most of these products in my home already and use them everyday. So it's virtually cost free since we don't have to go out and grab these products. However, if you don't have these, you can find them pretty inexpensive. The oils are what you will be spending the most money on.

- 2 ounces of apple cider vinegar or witch hazel
- 2 ounces of water
- 40 drops of essential oils*
- 1/4 teaspoon of castile soap to help distribute the oil better
- Glass spray bottle

Start by adding the essential oils to the apple cider vinegar or witch hazel. Add a squirt of castile soap and let it sit for just a few minutes. Then stir. This helps move the essential oils around in the liquid.

Add the water and pour into a clean, glass spray bottle. Glass is best as plastics contain chemicals and those chemicals can seep into the spray. Apply to your skin and clothing before going outdoors. Store your spray in the refrigerator when you are not using it. This will help it last about 3 months. Perfect for the summer months.

Also, not all bugs react to bug spray the same. To ensure you are keeping away the bugs you really want off of you, here's a guide to help repel the pesky ones you don't want near your skin.

citronella, peppermint, lemongrass, lemon, clove, rosemary, eucalyptus, lavender, geranium, cyprus, cinnamon, sage

cedarwood, geranium, eucalyptus, myrrh

lavender, sage, lemongrass

spearmint, peppermint, geranium, eucalyptus

*remember, not all essential oils are created equal. Make sure you are using ones that are organic and as close to pure as possible. There are a lot of great essential oil companies out there. I just prefer the brand NOW , but you can use any organic essential oils. 
* another note to consider is that children under the age of two should not be exposed to certain oils. Make sure you use ones that are safer on the little ones when applying to their skin.


Happy hopping everyone! Thanks for joining us again for That Friday Blog Hop which goes live every Thursday evening at 8pm EST. So join us each week & link up your blogs, social media outlets, or anything you'd love to share. 

That Friday Blog Hop: Join Us Every Thursday Evening

While there are no rules, we would love it if you would :::
- Stop by the hosts & co-hosts blog and follow along
- Say hi to new bloggers and leave a wonderful comment
- Grab the button and/or tweet about the blog hop as well
- Come back every Thursday evening to join in the party
- If you are interested in being a co-host for an upcoming week, click HERE

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Shopping With Groupon Coupons

Who doesn't love a deal? I know I can't pass up coupons and savings. I'm very much into coupon searching before spending money anywhere. This is why I was so excited to find out that the oh-so-popular Groupon, has gotten even better! They now offer coupons for online shopping. How awesome is that?

Now you can find great deals with Groupon Coupons to your favorite sites & stores such as Sephora, VistaPrint, Target, and thousands more! And with Father's Day just right around the corner, this would be the perfect time to find the perfect gift for any dad.

Let's just say the father in your life is really into electronics. Best Buy is offered through Groupon Coupons to get him the coolest gadgets at a price you are going to love. Now him and your wallet will be happy.

If he's more the "power tools" type of guy, there are a lot of great deals & coupons for Home Depot right now. Guys love their power tools! But if he's not into that sort of thing and not into electronics, maybe he would love a cool new shirt or a pair of shoes. Sears has just the coupon you need to find the perfect match.

But if you found a great deal for him, you can also find lots of awesome money saving coupons for you as well. So check out Groupon Coupons and see what you can save. With so many stores and so many savings, you will find something for everyone. Whether it may be for holiday shopping, a birthday present, or just a "treat" for yourself, you can't go wrong with Groupon Coupons.

This post was sponsored by Groupon Coupons.

Wordless Wednesday - Strike

I feel like it has been ages since I made a Wordless Wednesday post. These used to be some of my favorite link ups and it just seems to have slipped by me for some time now. But I'm trying to get back on the scene and linking up again with some fabulous bloggers who host WW parties.

So anyway, here is this week's WW titled "Strike"

My daughter (8 yo) and I went bowling yesterday and had a very fun time. All you could bowl for $11 was an awesome deal. We got in 5 games before we had to call it a day.

She bowled her very first strike! She was just so overjoyed by this accomplishment.

I also had a pretty good game. I bowled four strikes in a row, also known as a Hambone {though we always referred to it as a "Four Bagger"}. I used to be on a bowling league when I was little and had my share of trophies and awards for great bowling achievements. But it's been many years since I bowled and this was a pretty proud moment for me.

However, we were more amazed by the guy sharing the lane next to us. A young fellow who knew he had skills. He bowled nine strikes in a row, or as we bowlers call it "Gordie Howe". It was impressive to watch.

So all in all, it was a pretty good day for bowling I would say!

This wasn't very "wordless" but that's alright :)

I'm liking up with ----->

Photobuckethttp://www.nannytomommy.com/2015/06/summer-fun-wordless-wednesday-linky.html Real Wordless Wednesday

Opening Up About My Mom

I have always been close to my mother. Ever since I can remember, every memory I have had as a child, was with my mother. I'm honestly at this very moment starting to choke up and tear a bit and I haven't even began to write. But I wanted to write a very personal post today.

My mother has always been there for me. Even when we have gone through periods of not speaking, she still never made me feel less loved. And I thank her for that. She's a very amazing woman even when she doesn't think so. She gave me so much and love and kindness growing up. I don't ever feel I am even half that as a mother myself today. I always strive to be as kind as she was.

This is a photo of us together when I was little. I was two years old walking along the river bank in my little white shirt and pants, while she is carrying my little brother. I don't have many photos of us together sadly, as she was the one always taking the photos instead of being in them.

I wish I had more photos of the two of us together from my childhood or even as a baby. I really would have liked to see more of them.

I have always known my mother had health issues. Since I can remember, she has always complained about pains and aches. Sometimes they were mild, and other times, they were very serious. When I was little, she seemed to always be sick. But she had to push through to care for my brother and I. She would get sick from the amount of pain she was in. But I never thought anything was truly wrong with her.

It wasn't until she came down to Florida for a visit. My parents always came to Orlando {where I was living} every year for my daughter's birthday. But for this particular year, we celebrated my little girl's 4th birthday at Disney World during the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween.

During the parade, she had collapsed in the street in the crowd of people. I was so scared. She turned white and when the paramedics came through, we learned she had a mini heart attack caused by blood clots. This was the moment I actually truly got to see just how sick she really was. And it scared me.

To this day, I still cry about it. But after spending her entire vacation in a hospital bed, it was time for her to fly back home where I wouldn't get to see her again for another year. But we talked every Monday and Tuesday on the phone while I was on my way home from work. She started to get better over time and the blood clots were becoming less and less. 

This is a photo of my mother helping me on my wedding day. She is in the background lacing up my dress. The day that was so important to me and she almost couldn't make it because she had just had surgery and wasn't sure if the 1000 mile drive to Orlando would be ok for her. But she did it for me. She came and suffered through the pain to be with me.

My mom has never once, ever put herself first. She has put herself last for everyone which is why I think she has been losing the battle with her health. She never took the time to make sure she took care of her. She was too busy getting upset and stressed over my problems or my concerns or all my complaining.

And now, my mother is almost gone from me. This is the hardest part to write as I am now crying while typing this. Ever since, I finally saw first hand how bad her health was going downhill.

I noticed her saying all the time how she hurt. Her hands hurt, her feet hurt, her back and her head hurt....everything hurt. She was never comfortable and always in pain. She went to the doctors multiple times. Last year, she was told she had Rheumatoid Arthritis. I had heard of this several times. It seemed to be a lot of the symptoms she was experiencing.

She noticed her hand getting more and more painful to use and couldn't deal with it anymore. She saw a surgeon and he had told her that her hand was deteriorating. The nerves were gone and needed to be surgically reconstructed back together. So she went in to have that done. During her recovery, she saw an RA {Rheumatoid Arthritis} doctor. We got some shocking news. She did not have RA. The previous doctor was wrong about it and this doctor knew exactly what was wrong and referred her to another specialist.

So I was very relieved to hear my mom didn't have RA. However, that was the least of our concerns for what was coming. When she came back from the appointment, she let me know what she was told. We found out that she has been suffering from Systemic Scleroderma or also known as CREST. Scleroderma is very similar to RA but to me, it's very much worse.

If you have never heard of Scleroderma {like I hadn't before this}, it basically is a disease that calcifies the body....in real world terms, your body turns itself to stone. It's extremely painful, just as my mom has been describing the symptoms for years. She is in pain because her skin is hardening. Her organs are hardening and causing everything to hurt.

I didn't know how to feel or react when I heard the news. I just kind of was very stunned. I'm usually a very emotional person, but at first, I couldn't say anything. I couldn't feel anything. I just nodded my head as if I didn't really care or it didn't phase me. In reality, I do care. I care a lot. I cry a lot but somehow, I don't want her to see me breaking down about it. I don't know why either. I don't know why it's hard for me to release it out to show her now. I think because I'm still shocked.

Her back has been turning to stone as well as her hands and feet now. She has a very hard time moving her hands as they are stiff and too painful to bend most days. Which is really hard for her when my children come see her. I have two toddlers and an eight year old. The toddlers always want to be picked up and played with. And she hates that it hurts her too much to do a lot with them.

Her throat has now started to calcify and close shut. She has had her first "throat opening" already where they go in and scrape away at her throat to open it back up so she can continue breathing. Her lungs have started to harden as well. She had lots of chest pains from not being able to breathe in and out normal anymore.

At her last appointment recently, she was told her feet are deteriorating. I'm very scared she will have to end up in a wheel chair and never be able to walk again. Her face is also hardening. You can see it. She looks good though. She jokes about how she is getting a free facelift. I know it's not funny but she has to find humor somewhere in all of this. And it's true though. It pulls her face back so tight, she has been looking younger in the face because she skin is so tight.

My mother is only 54 years old. Yet, she is dying a very painful and slow death. The doctors told her that she may not live past 60. And that scares me. I do not want to lose my mother. Not like this. Not right now. Not in a few years. It is making me cry right now thinking about it. She's been a very good woman her entire life. This is not fair. I'm scared every day for my mom. I know nothing helps the pain. I know nothing can comfort her. It's been a year since finding out and she's been dealing with it well. I think she finally figured she had no choice. She knows she is dying and there is no cure, there is nothing that is strong enough to deal with the pain. It just is how she has to live until it finally completely takes over her body.

I will miss my mother when she is gone. I don't know how I will deal with it. I know it is coming and it's hard not to think about. I don't want her to miss my children growing up and missing what they will look like and become. I don't want to miss having to cry on her shoulder when I have no one else there to turn to. I don't want to miss her hugs or all the wonderful things she does for me to show me how much she loves me. But most of all....I don't want to miss her. Seeing her and hearing her.

So that is a struggle my family has to deal with until she is finally at rest. No one wants to lose a loved one. I also don't want her to suffer anymore. I know once it finally hits her, she will be at peace. But I don't want her to go. I really wish there was a cure out there for this. Maybe one day there will be. But until then, I only have so many more times my mother can hug me before she can't anymore. I am thankful I am closer to her now then I was when we lived in Orlando. I am glad we can go over to see her when we want to now. It makes it easier. I think I would have a much more harder time dealing with it if I could only see her once a year like I used to.

So please, I urge everyone to look at what Scleroderma is and how hard it is to be affected by it. I can only hope that she is a fighter and takes on a longer life than when they expect her to have. I don't really know what else to say. I'm completely in tears right now. It's so hard for me and I don't know how to tell her just how much it hurts me to have her go through this and how much I love her.


Happy hopping everyone! Thanks for joining us again for That Friday Blog Hop which goes live every Thursday evening at 8pm EST. So join us each week & link up your blogs, social media outlets, or anything you'd love to share. 


That Friday Blog Hop: Join Us Every Thursday Evening

While there are no rules, we would love it if you would :::
- Stop by the hosts & co-hosts blog and follow along
- Say hi to new bloggers and leave a wonderful comment
- Grab the button and/or tweet about the blog hop as well
- Come back every Thursday evening to join in the party
- If you are interested in being a co-host for an upcoming week, please comment below
That Friday Blog Hop

5 Tips for Saving Money When Visiting LA

Los Angeles has a great deal to offer the visitor looking for a diverse culture and entertainment prospects. From sports teams to world class dining, there are many ways you can spend your time exploring this great city. However, there are many ways you can stretch your dollar allowing you to absorb more of the experience while spending less. With all of that's available in LA, you can quickly exhaust your savings if you're not paying attention.

Doing Too Much

There is nothing that says you have to visit every site in the city in a single vacation. Make a plan or itinerary of what you want to see in the time you have. Not only will this help you save money from visiting many places over the span of the vacation, but it will also help you appreciate each experience more. You shouldn't feel rushed if you're looking to spend quality time in LA rather than covering all venues within the city.

Travel Arrangements

Don't underestimate the value of public transportation. Depending on the areas you want to visit, public transportation could save you a great deal of money while you're visiting. Car rentals, gasoline and other expenses could cut into your spending cash reducing what you can afford to experience. Even the occasional taxi could be more ideal as it could reduce your stress levels while letting someone else drive for you.

Free Entertainment
Many venues in Los Angeles are open to the public that won't cost you money. Exploring parks, recreational areas, museums and the beaches often don't cost a single dime to enjoy outside of traveling to those areas. Not everyone can say they walked along the shore of the Pacific Ocean last weekend. There are many things you can do in the city without swiping your credit card or visiting an ATM. Street performers can be invigorating to experience in Los Angeles.

Avoiding Tourist Traps

A lot of areas around LA are priced to accommodate tourism. This often means that prices are increased in order to make more money. By avoiding these areas or purchasing what you need beforehand, you can avoid spending two or even three times more than what you would spend on various objects. In some areas, the price of a simple bottle of water can be increased by nearly five times.

Weekday Visits
Often times weekends can be hectic as well as more expensive for certain aspects of the city. By visiting LA during the weekdays, you can avoid population congestion as well as price increases for visiting guests. Booking your flights on Tuesdays, for example, could save you quite a bit of money instead of flying on Friday or Saturday. Looking for flights very early in the mornings could reduce your expenses even further as less people like to travel early in the morning.

For more information about saving money and visiting, check out the FAQ on staying in LA. The more prepared you are before you travel, the easier it becomes to save money and reduce your stress levels. Try not to make the experience about what you can afford, but more of what you want to take away from the location. After all, memories of a great time may be better than souvenirs that broke the bank.

This article was contributed by Fiona Moriarty of Hipmunk, a complete travel platform that allows you to do everything from comparing charter flights and train rides, to finding the best resort hotels and Airbnb rentals.