My Book Commitment for 2012

I’ve made a commitment to read at least 1 book a week in 2012. That’s 52 books. Here are some of my ideas: The Secret Shanghai Girls The DD Warren series by Lisa Gardner A Michael Pollan book The Giver the Scarpetta books I haven’t read yet I’m grateful my parents instilled this love of … Continue reading

My three words for 2012

@ChrisBrogan publishes his three words every year. This encouraged me to create my own for 2012. My three words for 2012 are: Gratitude Network Education

Commitments for 2012

Here are some of my commitments for 2012 (in no particular order): Read 1 book a week. Keep better apprised of local events. Approach 1 new potential client a week. Laugh more. Be more grateful. Cook 1 new recipe a week. Start a weekly Twitter chat. Do 3 projects a month with the kids. Think … Continue reading

Don’t forget to be grateful!

Happy 2012! The other day I told someone that sometimes you have to be grateful for what you’ve got. That gave me pause, as sometimes I forget that I have so much for be grateful for! Isn’t this something we all forget sometimes? So, I decided to make 2012 a year for being grateful for … Continue reading

The Passive Voice

Is the Passive Voice Always Bad? Apparently. For my high school teacher told me so. So does the Internet, WordPress, and most writing professionals. But, how do you avoid the passive voice completely? I thought I was the only one with this problem, for quite a while. The more I read, from people whose writing … Continue reading

Recipe: Chicken Potpie Pockets

A chicken potpie for on-the-go families! Last week I made hand-held chicken potpie pockets. I turned to my trusty Big Orange Book from Rachael Ray to find this one. The kids love chicken potpie. I’ve usually buy frozen ones, but wanted to try something new and more nutritious. Bonus–I noticed that J-Dog ate all the vegetables, because … Continue reading

Our Earthbox is growing!

A picturesque update of our Earthbox adventure! These are the latest pictures of our Earthbox bounty. It’s very rewarding to see the fruits of our labor from the last 1 1/2 months. Gardening has proven to  be a great family activity–the kids enjoying watering the plants and checking on the plants. Anyone know what to do … Continue reading

Our Earthbox

Gardening with minimal fuss is possible with an Earthbox About a month ago, we planted an Earthbox. This has been a long time coming–I’ve wanted one of these since they were invented. Since we live so close to the inventor’s store, it seemed silly not to have one. I’ve endured countless stories about how fruitful … Continue reading

Recipe: Apple and Raisin Pasta Salad

A lunchbox-sized sweet and tangy fruit pasta salad I am on the quest for healthy lunches that my kids will eat. Princess likes fruit and pasta, so I came up with this recipe. Grate about 1/2 tsp of lemon peel. Add about 1/2 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Stir these together. (You can lessen these … Continue reading

Today’s picture and more on the Yubo lunchbox

A Bento Box with a Sandwich Today marks the first day of a sandwich in the bento-style lunchbox. I found these cute mini-sub rolls–the sweet, hawaiian-style ones. I layered Boars Head turkey, Boars Head sweet-slice ham, Boars Head baby swiss, mayo, and honey mustard. The rolls fit perfectly in the oblong container. I also added … Continue reading

Bento Day 3

Oh, the adventure of Bento! Bento Day 3 consisted of cut-up grape tomatoes, strawberry applesauce, juice box, and cheese quesadillas. I am really proud of the quesadillas because they have pureed butternut squash in them. I put tiny sheets of waxed paper between them so they wouldn’t be soggy.

2011 Sarasota Chalk Festival

Now I Know Why Everyone is Raving About the Sarasota Chalk Festival This is the first year I’ve made it to the Sarasota Chalk Festival. I was missing out! The Chalk Festival combines a lovely festival atmosphere with great artists. There’s no hotel art here. It’s a mix of fantasy, religious art, and fun scenes–all … Continue reading

Bento Day 1

A little closer to the bento lifestyle. I’m not sure how bento this is, but today I used the new bento-style lunchbox I bought for Princess for the first time today. The lunchbox I chose was the Yubo. It’s pink, of course, and has the fairy princess graphics. I researched a lot of these lunch … Continue reading

Art by J-Dog

I recently bought this set of cards that had wonderful projects on them that were similar to art that real artists create. They have some history, technique, and context for the art on each one. They are simple projects that you can mostly do from things you have around the house. We researched the artist … Continue reading

Beef Wellington

After watching many weeks of Hell’s Kitchen, my nice husband made me some beef wellington not too long ago. If you have ever watched Hell’s Kitchen, you’ll know they make this every time. I’d never had it! So we found a recipe (Tyler Florence’s from the Food Network). I think it was a little different … Continue reading


I create lots of worksheets for my business, Small-Business Media Strategies LLC. Here is the link to my worksheet collection on Scribd.

Fun in the kitchen with J-Dog

Recently we made another recipe from Family Fun magazine. Panacotta! It ended up being like a rich custard/pudding. J-Dog didn’t want the raspberry flavor they suggested, so we made chocolate. It turned out pretty yummy!

Rhodine Scrub Nature Preserve

The Stephen J. Wortham Park and Rhodine Scrub Nature Preserve was a place that my husband happened upon by accident. We took a look at it last month. I think it seems a little remote, but probably isn’t if you live near there. We had to travel about half an hour or so to get there. If you own a … Continue reading

Lithia Springs

This month I visited Lithia Springs Park in the Tampa, Florida area. It was my second visit. The spring is really nice. It’s a refreshing swim at a great price. It’s not the same ambience as a north Florida spring, but it also doesn’t have the distinct smell of Warm Mineral Springs. The picnic area is … Continue reading

Manatee Village Historical Park

This month I visited the Manatee Village Historical Park in Bradenton, FL. It was the opening day of a new exhibit that displayed women’s clothing, shoes, toiletries, and more. I’ve been there before for a special event, so it was nice to visit when we had more time to poke around and visit independently. Below … Continue reading

Inspired by Art

I’ve always been inspired by art. I love how the colors make me feel. I love trying to figure out how an artist created something and why. Finding artists that can skillfully blend their vision with the medium is exceptionally exciting (and this doesn’t always happen). I like both modern and more traditional art. I … Continue reading

Gifts That Don’t Come in a Box

Some of the best gifts that don’t come in a box are love and respect. These are two of the greatest gifts you can give someone. Here are some others I came up with: Pictures from your kids A call from a relative that lives far away A tweet from a college friend A smile … Continue reading

5 Date Ideas for Parents

Going on a date is so hard for parents to do sometimes. That babysitter costs more than the date itself. So I thought I’d post some good ideas for cheap date nights you can do with (or without the kids). Ice Cream and a Stroll Downtown Why not hit your favorite ice cream place for … Continue reading

When It All Sucks

(I liked this particular blog topic a lot…fun stuff that could go almost anywhere). So when it all sucks, what should I do? Lately, I’ve been trying to study the situation to see why it sucks. This is difficult. As my mother says, life is difficult. (I think this came from a book but I … Continue reading

How to Argue Better

This was one of those blog topics post ideas. I am not sure I am really qualified to write about how to argue better. I know I have learned a lot over time about arguing, but still not sure I am qualified to lend advice. But thought I’d tell you what I know. I’ve learned: … Continue reading

The First Time…

Sorry..had to be a bit provocative just for fun. This is about the first time I knew I need to take charge of my life.  The first time I ever knew I wanted something different came about 6 years ago. That’s the first time I started to take charge of my life. Now…that was really … Continue reading

Nice post about artist branding and websites

I thought this post on was really great in how it addressed how many websites you should have. I’ve considered this before and thought this was a great answer from Sarah. It’s called Q+A: Should I have separate websites for different types of work?

If I Started Today

So I subscribed to the Blog Topics newsletter from @ChrisBrogan and never used it, until today. I know I needed to blog more, despite being busy on other stuff, so I thought it was the perfect time to use it. So here goes… If I Started Today If I started my family today, I’d take … Continue reading

Lemon souffle

I like to rip out pages of Family Fun magazine so I can someday do the projects. Sometimes I am better at doing them than others and they languish for years in a folder. I love their cooking segments where they break down a recipe and have pictures, all so it’s easier for kids to … Continue reading

Mommy Bloggers

So I am not sure if I am a Mommy Blogger or not. I am a Mom and I like to blog. My blog is now called Mommy Does Books. And I blog about my kids and family stuff a lot. So I think I am. I think a lot of my identity relates to … Continue reading

Myakka River State Park

This weekend I also visited Myakka State Park. It was supposed to be like the hottest day ever or something, but I found it no hotter than it usually is there. Growing up here I didn’t realize what the big deal about Myakka was. I’ve since visited other parks though, and now I get it. It’s less crowded … Continue reading

Anna Maria Island, Florida

I’ve been to a lot of local beaches, but Anna Maria Island is one I hadn’t visited much until I met my husband. He says that his family went there a lot when he was young. It’s nice because it has a playground and bathrooms nearby. The water is really close to the parking, which … Continue reading

Awesome post from Mogul Mom

For all of you suffering Mommy Guilt, and who doesn’t really? Here is an article that might help some. It’s from Mogul Mom, by Charlie Gilkey. It’s called Superwoman Would Probably Have Help with the Kids.

The Perfect Score Project

I recently watched an interview with @DebbieStier and @DanBlank on I wanted to share this video for so many reasons. I’ve come across Debbie’s name on many occasions and it was great to learn more about her and her projects. It is a really cool concept for a book. She is trying to get a … Continue reading

Worksheet Wednesday

I don’t have a new worksheet to share from my business, Small-Business Media Strategies. But I thought I’d share one that I hope will be helpful when organizing pictures for your website.

Fort Myers Beach, Florida

I spent a lovely weekend on Fort Myers Beach, Florida at a resort on the beach a week or so back. I was inspired to share some links to great places to visit in the area and tell you a bit about the Pink Shell resort there. Fort Myers Beach is in southwest Florida and located near Sanibel, where … Continue reading

Goal setting

I’ve always struggle with setting goals. It’s one of those things that I always thought was a little silly. Guess this could explain a lot!!!  🙂 I have been trying to get better at it. I came across this on Twitter. It’s a fabulous link for goal setting. It’s perfect for those of you trying … Continue reading

Fort DeSoto, Pinellas County, Florida

One of my favorite places to go to the beach is Fort DeSoto, a Pinellas county park. It has gorgeous beaches, great picnic tables, a snack bard, a fort, and really nice bathrooms. What more could one want? I was sad to find out the fort was being renovated, so we couldn’t visit it. But … Continue reading

Worksheet Wednesday

I recently started up my new business, Small-Business Media Strategies. I’m consulting with clients about their media strategies and helping them figure out what types of advertising or web presence they might need. We discuss Twitter and Facebook and blogs. I’ve created worksheets for that business that I release every Wednesday. I call this Worksheet … Continue reading

Gamble Mansion, Ellenton, Florida

A few weeks back I visited the Gamble Mansion in Ellenton, Florida. This was not my first visit. It wasn’t even my best visit, as we came at a weird time when they weren’t running tours and the museum part wasn’t open. But it’s such a neat place even without those things. It just exudes … Continue reading

Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida

My first post on the Ringling Museum was about the spectacular Beyond Bling show. But the museum has tons more to offer! I think it must be fairly unique in that it has a well-stocked traditional art museum, a circus museum, gardens, and a historic home on the same property. John Ringling, of course, was … Continue reading

Siesta Beach, Florida

So Siesta Beach is America’s best beach for 2011, according to Dr. Beach!! Here’s the link to the article in the Sarasota Herald Tribune: I feel so blessed to be so close to such a beautiful area, with the whitest sand you’ll ever see. Having grown up here–it was a bit of a disappointment … Continue reading

I’ve been busy

I’ve been busy-really, really busy. And I’m proud and exhausted and chomping at the bit to do more. And yet–I know planning is key to every new venture. Sometimes I plan a little too much, or so I’ve been told. So I’m trying to balance action and planning. I started the #artofaction course with Tara … Continue reading

Baby grasshoppers video

Here’s a video of one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while. These are super tiny grasshoppers. It was hard to focus on them but I manage to catch a few glimpses of them that were in focus. Enjoy!

Twitter chats

A while back I published a post about Twitter chats on the blog I write for my day job. Something really exciting happened…it was used as a source on Social Media Explorer for conducting Twitter chats.Here’s the article I wrote (with a few omissions that aren’t relevant to the article): I took a look on the … Continue reading

Myakka Gold Honey

I decided to repost this post because I get a lot of traffic from people searching for this honey. Thought it might be easier to find if I move it up front a little. At the swap meet I told you about earlier this week I picked up some local honey. I have heard that … Continue reading

The Gulf Specimen Marine Lab

Alisson Clark, a travel expert I know, recently wrote a post about the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab on her blog. Alisson is a treasure trove of information about traveling with children and is a great resource for those of you not looking for a run of the mill experience. I thought I’d share these most … Continue reading

The Kiss Statue in Sarasota, Florida

You’ve driven by this statue if you’ve ever driven by the Sarasota Bayfront. It’s become quite a landmark with a lot a controversy. Whatever your feelings on it…it’s a pretty impressive statue. I did a bit of research on the statue and found that there are strong feelings on both side of the debate. I … Continue reading

Weeki Wachee, Florida: A guest post by Helena

My friend Helena kindly wrote this guest post about Weeki Wachee, home of the mermaids! When one has small children, it can be hard to find outings that will entertain the adults and not overwhelm the wee ones. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is just such a place, and absolutely worth the convoluted trek on … Continue reading

A Review of the Kindle, by Joy

I asked a person near and dear to my heart to review her Kindle for me. My mother is an avid reader so I wanted to get her take on ebooks.  I can highly recommend the Kindle.  However, I was reluctant to purchase one as I love traditional printed books.  Imagine my surprise to receive … Continue reading

The Boxcar Children, Book 1

I feel a little strange using The Boxcar Children as my first book review. I read more children’s books than adult books these days though, so I suppose it’s appropriate. I had never heard of The Boxcar Children until my mother bought the first four books for my son for Christmas. He finally gave them … Continue reading

The Downtown Sarasota Farmer’s Market

I’ve always been a big fan of the Downtown Sarasota Farmer’s Market. I’ve been impressed with its growth since it started many years ago. I love the various other foods they have in addition to the gorgeous vegetables. I don’t  get to the market as often as I’d like, but I try to get there … Continue reading

Local Coffee and Tea

This is a continuation of my post on Selby Gardens in Sarasota, Florida. They have a tea store called Local Coffee and Tea. This store is so super awesome that I wanted to write a post just on it. They have dozens of flavors of tea that come loose. They let you sample some of … Continue reading

Selby Gardens

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a really gorgeous and unique place to visit. It’s situated along Sarasota Bay in Sarasota, Florida. I’ve only visited a few times, so was excited to visit in early April. The whole garden is awash with color. The flowers are gorgeous and it’s hard not to take a picture of … Continue reading

Sarasota Bay

I’ve taken a lot of pictures of Sarasota Bay near Marina Jack from different angles. This part of the bay is really pretty–it’s what you see when you are driving along U.S. 41. You can see all of the boats parked along the waterfront and the skyline in the back, all situated on the sparkling … Continue reading

Myakka Gold Honey

At the swap meet I told you about earlier this week I picked up some local honey. I have heard that local honey really helps with allergies and the family is definitely in need of that lately. This is the best honey I’ve ever had. It had a really nice flavor and consistency. My husband, … Continue reading

Swapmeet at Tuttle and Ringling

I’ve always wanted to go to the swapmeet at Tuttle and Ringling in Sarasota. I’ve seen the signs but have never made it. So last weekend I made it finally! They meet at the fairgrounds and set up their booths right next to their cars in most instances. I am not sure if it is … Continue reading

Strawberries, part 2

So this weekend I wanted some more strawberries. This time I made a strawberry pie first and that was a real hit for dessert. We went to a new u-pick place called O’Brien farms. This was our first trip there. They have a cool display of a bee hive so you can see what the … Continue reading

SHIPWRECK: Pirates and Treasure exhibit at GWIZ

The SHIPWRECK: Pirates and Treasure exhibit at GWIZ is really awesome! My son has been looking forward to visiting it for a while. They’ve completely devoted the entire top floor of the museum to this fun and interactive exhibit. They have lots of actual artifacts from expeditions, along with games and movies. We enjoyed all … Continue reading

Busch Gardens (Tampa, Florida)

Busch Gardens has changed a lot in the 17 years it had been since I’d visited. I have to say the best part was the new Sesame Street area they have built, Sesame Place. This was a great idea because I found the one thing that hadn’t changed was that it is still ungodly hot … Continue reading


I had the yummiest strawberries the other day. The baby liked them too! Here’s her cute chubby hand in a bowl of them–wish the picture was better. We picked them ourselves. I so wish I had a picture of the gorgeous red berries on the hearty green plants. It was so pretty.

Spending more time outside

So one of  my New Years resolutions is to spend more time outdoors. I think I’ve been doing well. I have noticed that it’s really nice to feel the breeze in your hair and the warm sun on your body. I want to be sure my kids spend lots of time outdoors since it looks … Continue reading