Tag Archives for " Family "

20 Free Family Date Ideas Everyone Will Love!

20 Free Family Date Ideas Everyone Will Love!

free family date ideas

Spring and Summer break will be here before you know it. That means we have to think of fun things to do with our kids! I personally love summer break. Not having to wake up early and getting to spend time with my kids makes me one happy mama. But that also means that we need ideas to keep everyone entertained and happy without breaking the bank. Which made me want to think of free family date ideas that family’s can enjoy together without having to worry about overspending! Because when it comes to family time, it’s not about the amount of money you spend, it’s about the amount of quality time. So let’s check out some great free family date ideas that I found shall we?Continue reading

Karla’s Korner: There’s No Place Like Home

Karla’s Korner: There’s No Place Like Home

Karla's Korner: There’s No Place Like Home

There’s No Place Like Home….

In 2010 Miranda Lambert released “The House that Built Me” a song about wanting to go back to a childhood home wishing one last visit to re-live or share the stories and memories that were created in that old house. The singer shares memories of where her dog was buried, the little room she did her homework in and much more. The idea of going home, to remember or possibly re-live some of those memories, a walk down memory lane if you will, seemed appealing as if going back made life better. Continue reading

Karla’s Korner: Picture Perfect Memories

Karla's Korner reminds us to take Picture Perfect Memories. To capture that life in pictures to carry your memories on forever.

Picture Perfect Memories…

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that’s the case, I probably have several hundred thousand words stored on my computer. When my children were first born, I had the camera nearby all of the time. As they got older, it seemed that the camera stayed put more often and only came out on special occasions. As they approached adolescence I was not quite sure where the camera was. Now that they are practically grown, I find myself trying to capture their picture more often, something which they find totally annoying.

When I attended my 25th high school reunion I was asked to e-mail a picture of myself from my childhood to the coordinator of the reunion. I chose one from my third birthday. I do not remember this occasion but apparently I had a good time because I was smiling. That picture allowed me to see a piece of my past; and while I don’t remember it I have proof that that moment in time was special to me. And while thumbing through a box of old pictures at my church a while back I realized that something was missing. The box, filled with pictures from the past 25 plus years is full of un-labeled pictures. There were some familiar faces staring back at me, however, the majority of the pictures in that box are just that…pictures; nameless, unidentifiable pictures.

Why do we take pictures in the first place? For me, I take pictures to preserve a special time, event, milestone, etc. Pictures are a source of unwritten memories. We take pictures to remember a moment in time that we want others to know about. But what happens if we just throw all of our pictures into a box without taking the time to label them? The memory is still preserved, but cannot be recalled by anyone looking at it. Time passes by too quickly and those boxes of pictures tend to sit on a shelf until someone stumbles across them and discovers that those memories cannot be identified; they remain nameless.

In today’s world so many of our pictures are stored digitally, which means we do not even have paper copies to write on. When I was a little girl my grandparents had a Polaroid camera. You pushed the button, the picture slid out of the camera and within a few minutes it would “develop” right before your very eyes. Then we got some new fancy cameras that used 33 mm film. We would send the film off and a week or two later, the mailman would deliver an envelope with our pictures. Flash forward to the digital age where you can take a picture, send it via e-mail and within seconds share it with all of your friends and family. While the opportunity to have paper copies printed still exists, we find ourselves not going to the trouble of having it done. What happens if we have a technical difficulty and lose our digital images? What happens to the memories? The memories will remain in our minds and hearts, but we will not be able to share them with future generations.

My challenge for you this week is to return to a time where paper pictures are treasured. If you have a box of unidentified pictures, dig them out and label them. If you do not have a box full of pictures, get clicking and fill one up. As I sat staring at the image of three year old me, I realized that there are so many things from my childhood that I do not remember. Why? Because as we grow older we tend to forget the little things from our past, however, pictures are a way to either remind us of that special time or help us take a peek back in time and see what we were like. My children are pretty much grown and lately I have found myself staring at their photo albums remembering them as my little ones. My son, who at 16 is much taller than me stares back at me from the pages of his album and it is like I have been transported back in time. My daughter, now 21, stares at me from the photos of her life wearing her daddy’s sneakers and sheepish little grin. Oh the memories, oh the joy that these photos bring to me. Fill your life with pictures. We have but one life to live, so why not capture that life in pictures to carry your memories on forever.

For me, I will continue to snap away whether my children want me to or not. I am sure I will capture quite a few shots of the back of their heads or their hands in front of the lens while trying to escape, but once in a while I will capture a memory and place it in their photo journal in hopes that one day down their life road they, like me, will pull it out and recall a special moment in time and all the love that their daddy and I have for them then and now. Take a picture, label it and share a memory.

Karla Robey


I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!

Read more Karla’s Korner, also please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.

Check out Karla’s 24 Day Advocare Challenge!

Find out how Karla transformed her life and lost over 80 lbs.. it all started with Advocare!

Karla’s Korner – My Girl: A Lesson in Inner Strength

A Lesson in Inner Strength

inner strength

My Girl: A Lesson in Inner Strength

One of the greatest joys in my life is being a mother. When my daughter was born 21 years ago I found myself in the “learn as I go” mode most of the time. As a matter of fact, I still learn as I go because just when I think I have it all figured out somebody changes the game plan. Somehow we’ve managed to learn and grow together as mother and daughter. From the time she was born it was apparent that she would march to the beat of her own life drum; I was there to offer advice, lend a hand or sit quietly and listen to the music.

In the early years of our journey together, she blessed me with her wit and humor and as she grew in size, so did the amount of love and compassion that grew in her heart. I knew early on that she was special, not because she was mine rather in spite of being mine; her love for others was unconditional, deep and full of purpose. When she was in middle school she was physically assaulted by a male classmate and instead of following mine and her daddy’s lead of wanting the boy punished she offered forgiveness and asked administration to give him a second chance. She continued to bless those around her with an unconditional love that at times filled my soul with pride and other times left me feeling inferior because quite frankly I struggled with that; she became my teacher, my inspiration.

Today my girl is no longer little; she is 21. Soon she will begin her fourth year of college, something most would think an ordinary event, and however, for her the road to year four has been full of bumps and surprises. In the past six months she has endured sickness, medical tests, emergency room visits, and a fear of not knowing what it was that holding her body hostage and making her so sick that at times she could barely move. The diagnosis finally came, a rare condition brought on by mono. Filled with relief we rejoice that in time her body will heal and she will be whole again we take each day one step at a time focusing on her, our family and how this experience has changed us; it has made us better. We are a stronger family unit appreciating the most ordinary of events knowing that each moment is a gift to be treasured.

Reflecting on this experience (up to this point) I stand in awe of my girl. Not once did she think about giving up. Her dad and I suggested she take a medical withdrawal from school, something we thought to be logical and practical. “I think I can do this”, she said “I’m not ready to give up”. She persevered, taking the necessary steps to insure that she was granted a medical extension and finished her semester with passing grades; an accomplishment I would not have been able to do. She is strong, determined and focused. To say that I am proud of her would be an understatement. Her determination and focus surpass anything I could have imagined. Nights spent in the hospital emergency room, days of being unable to get to class, studying from her bed, enduring weight loss and more, she never gave up. Once again she proved that she is made of the tough stuff.

When she entered college I couldn’t imagine what life would throw our way in such a short time. I was proud of her then and even more so today, not because of her academic accomplishments (that’s a given) but because of who she is, what she stands and for her enduring spirit that never gives up. She is one of the greatest joys of my life, the best part of her dad and I and a beacon of light for so many who face challenges. She has taught me more than I could ever imagine; sometimes those lessons were difficult to learn but necessary none the less.

I remember reading Winnie the Pooh books to my girl when she was little. She loved those stories and would often ask me to read them again and again. So in honor of her I share one of my favorite quotes from her childhood; one that I shared with her often. “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” ~Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh.

For those of you who face challenges I encourage you to reach deep into your soul to find the strength that I know you have. Embrace challenges as a gift; one that will make you stronger and allow you to overcome. We all possess inner strength; it’s up to us to find it and use in order to be our very best.



I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!

Read more Karla’s Korner , also please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.

Check out Karla’s 24 Day Advocare Challenge updates!

Karla’s Korner: Embracing Change

Embracing Change


Embracing Change: Celebrating the Milestones in Our Children’s Lives

It’s graduation season and social media is filled celebratory pictures. From preschool to high school parents are uploading scores of pictures to share with the world of their graduate. One picture posted this week settled deep within my soul as I studied it not for its pomp and circumstance but for what it wasn’t; it wasn’t celebratory rather random and simple. This photograph was of a young man who recently completed the 8th grade and is in his backyard disassembling his childhood play set. As I stare at this candid photograph taken by his father I realize that this is about more than tearing apart a play set; it’s a symbol of the changes that are taking place for this young man. He’s completed grade school; and will enter high school in the fall. The screwdriver in his hand is not only allowing him to tackle the physical task at hand but it is allowing him to make his mark, to take steps in the direction his life is leading him; a new path is being forged. He is putting his early childhood away; preparing for the next chapter in his life book.

As exciting as this time is for him, my guess is that it also brings about bittersweet emotions for his parents. The little boy who once waited anxiously for his daddy to push him high upon the swing, take make believe adventures in the backyard, or climb into his momma’s lap for comfort and a cuddle is dismantling the swing while tucking the memories in the corners of his heart where he can pull them out and remember a childhood filled with laughter, love and fun. I imagine the young man’s parents gazing at the empty space where little people once played and wonder how they are coping. This child, their third, is a reminder that along with celebrating the exciting times that lie ahead of him, their lives are changing too. Gone are the days of little kid toys, skinned up knees, piggy back rides and make believe. In the months and years ahead of him life will bring big kid challenges and adventures that will help him map out his future; one that belongs to him and him alone. Their roles as parents are changing putting them more on the sidelines as cheerleader and/or coach.

When we become parents we find ourselves at times overwhelmed, sleep deprived with little or no time to take care of our own needs believing we want them to grow up, however, quite often when these things begin to happen an odd sense of sadness settles within our soul because we are not really ready to let them go. In reality letting go of those little people is one of the most difficult things parents must do. I say must because there are no real options we have to let go. Holding them back, keeping them from reaching their potential is simply unfair. As our children work toward a new phase in their lives we must tuck away our own insecurities, fears and grief and celebrate them. Being a parent I believe is never about the parent. Being a parent means that we nurture, encourage, guide and refrain from holding on too tight; we must prepare our children to spread their wings and fly toward their own future.

If you find yourself staring at the empty spot in your yard where the play set once stood longing for the sound of little kid giggles, make believe and midnight snuggles in your bed, I encourage you to acknowledge the grief you feel as a real part of parenting while celebrating the big kid who stands in your presence ready to begin a new chapter in his book of life. Life is full of experiences, good and bad, that help mold you into the person you are meant to be. Grab hold of those experiences with everything you have and when the time comes to grieve, do it. It is okay to be sad and to grieve. But when the grieving is over, embrace the new experiences that life has given you, pick up your life book and start a new chapter, welcoming the new experiences that come your way with your big kid. In the words of teen writer and Holocaust victim Anne Frank “Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” Letting go is difficult but equally wonderful when you get to know the big kid who shows up to take on the world.




I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!

Read more Karla’s Korner , also please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.

Check out Karla’s 24 Day Advocare Challenge updates!

May 20, 2014

Stop Being a Wimp Learn How to Say NO

How to Say NO

no save thousands.jpg

How to Say No

I wrote a post about saying Why We Said No to Disney. I realized it hit a nerve with people. The purpose wasn’t to debate whether you should go to Disney or not. The purpose was to help people understand that saying “No” can lead to saying  yes to more important things. I am often faced with decisions as we all are. Decisions that I have to give an answer to and the answer reaches far more than the immediate implications. I wish to say “Yes” but saying “Yes” means I have to say no to other things. That was the primary reason I decided to open my own business and work from home. I wanted to say “Yes” to what I want and “No” to the things that didn’t matter. The problem is a lot of people do not know how to say “No”.

How to say No

I believe you can say “No”. If you have a goal in mind. If your goal is to spend more time with your family then saying “Yes” to activities that take you away from them will not work. If define who you are and what you want then you will come to a better conclusion. I recently saw this in my Facebook feed a parent was having issues with their child. Their child was used to receiving everything they ever touched. It was hard to watch the parent face a sudden job loss. The truth of the matter is they had been saying “Yes” for so long that they didn’t really plan for what would happen if their income stopped. It doesn’t matter if you have a lot of money or very little. The ability you have to say “No” will in fact increase how you look at what is important.

How to say NO

  1.  The first thing you need to do is determine five goals you have for your family. Your goals should be a mix of immediate  goals and future goals. Make sure your goals are:

a) Measurable ( I will save $20 a week  by cutting coupons and shopping the sales flyer. I will put that $20 into a interest bearing savings account. I will do this for 52 weeks. Then I will take the $1040 and put $500 into an emergency find $250 in a college fund $250 in a vacation fund and $40 into disposable income.

b) Define a time period for your goal. It can be I will do this for 30 days, a week, or 5 years. We set our college savings goal for 18 years but paid them off in less than 5 years.

c) Write down why you want to take on this goal. It will remind you later when things get tough. I carried a pictures of my kids near my credit card. The less I used it the closer I got to my goal to pay off college.

d) Offer yourself a reward that isn’t tied to money. I love to read a good book so I blocked off time to read.

e) Understand the purpose of your goal and share it with everyone that you will need to help you achieve the goal

f) Write your goal down in a place everyone can see

2) Write a list of things that you really do not need. In our case it was new cars. We bought one new car in the last 14 years. That was only because the used version was so close to the new car price that I got that it didn’t make sense not t0 buy it new. We figure by driving use cars that are paid off we save $300 a month. That adds up to almost $4,000 a year.

3) Have a family meeting and determine what you are willing to give up as a family.

4) Show the kids the outcome if you are planning to buy a new house let them look online to see new houses. If you are planning to pay off debt explain the extra money you will have each month since you will not be paying on money you borrowed.

5) Follow your plan

7) Keep Track so create a system that you can measure your achievement

8) Have weekly updates and place the amount saved on a board or the refrigerator.

9) Assign a saver of the week the person who made the biggest impact toward the goal. That person gets their free activity of choice. My kids really got into not being able to have something in order to save for college. I took them to mine and my husband’s college the University of Florida and showed them around. That was very motivating. The talk about how they are going to cheer for the football team when they get older. I also bought them each a jersey.

10) Understand that success is based on saying “NO” it isn’t what you save it is what you spend. If you spend less you will have more.

What are you going to say “NO” to so you can say “yes” to something more important?

Also Read These:

fantasyland disney world

Why we said No to Disney World

frugal ways to get out of debts

I’m Tired of Being Broke So Why am I Smiling?

how to save up money

How to Save Up Money

Topic: How to Say No