Archives for May 2013

Book Review: The Big Bad Wolf Goes on Vacation

book review

My family is asked to review children’s books frequently. And frankly… most of the time… they aren’t age appropriate… even though I let them know the ages of my children. Being that summer break has started and school is already far from their thoughts… a very appropriate book landed on our doorstep. The Big Bad Wolf Goes on Vacation: by Delphine Perret.

This book isn’t chapters of wordy, educational text. It’s written in an entertaining style… reminiscent of a comic strip.

The story revolves around the Big Bad Wolf (who is more than likely just a common dog) and a boy named Louis. They go on a roadtrip with Louis’ grandpa and hi-jinx ensue. Most of the humor revolves around the Big Bad Wolf and his unwillingness to accept that being “just a dog” is ok. In the end, Louis decides that “a vacation without a wolf, is like a beach without shells”.

Both of my girls enjoyed the book very much. They’re ages 7 and 8. I could see this book appealing to boys more so than girls in most cases. Some of the humor is geared towards smelly, rowdy boys :)

So… if you’re looking for some silly summer reading fun… I’d absolutely order this book.


*Note: I was NOT financially compensated for this book review.

Fancy Business Cards: I Have Arrived!

I realize that by admitting I just ordered my very first set of personal business cards also means I’m admitting  to being about ten years behind every other blogger out there, but I don’t care because mine are SO PRETTY!  I finally have my own premium, high-quality, contemporary looking business cards (for all those blogging conferences and networking events I don’t seem to attend…?)!!

My pretty package from!

My pretty package from!

















It was hard picking out just one design over at  because I liked so many–and I was determined to throw my business to them because I’m really digging how they allow shoppers and creators like us submit original card designs and then make a little dough off of their work.  I’ve never heard of another paper company that does this.


I wrote this post because I was so impressed with the product  I got from  They seem like an innovative company with classy designs, and so I enjoy window shopping there and now I am enjoying my business cards. did not ask or expect me to to feature them on the blog again (I’ve already done that once) and is not aware that I have done so again.  I genuinely appreciate the service, selection, and look of their website and I like to share gems like Minted with my friends when I have good reason to.  Go check them out!


Cassandra can be found on Twitter @aclevergirl.  Learn more about her family’s unique challenges and why they have hope for a cure for muscular dystrophy at

Chores, chores, chores

As a busy mom of three it feels like there are not hours in the day to get done the “must dos”, much less get done the “really should dos” and “fun to dos”.   And now as the summer break from school is thrust upon us yet again, I find it challenging to put together any sort of plan of how to keep the kids busy and the household running smoothly while my sanity remains in tact.   Additionally, I am coming to terms with the fact that my oldest is a whopping nine years old now and she is ready to begin learning more independence and accept more responsibility around the house.

Enter the Chore Chart!

I am all about not reinventing the wheel, so rather than buy poster board and paint markers or create a weekly chores process flow chart, I turned to the Internet.  Turns out the Internet is full of people more talented and clever than I could ever be–chore chart templates abound!  If you are like-minded and want to leverage someone else’s creativity for the benefit of your own clean floors and refreshed sanity, check these out:

  • Keeping it simple:  the MS Office chore chart template.
  • These downloadable chore charts from Parents Magazine are ideal in my opinion except that while I can add tasks to their list I cannot delete the tasks that they included.  Also, you have to create an account on their site in order to access them–but what parent doesn’t already have an account at Parents Magazine?  (me.  i actually didn’t.  now i do.)
  • Super simple chore charts from Chart Jungle.  You must print this one and then add chores to the list by hand.  This one is pre-filled and I like it for the younger kids.  (My 9 year old is probably too old for this one.)
  • For when you have the time and the inclination for your chore chart to be a craft project unto itself, these ideas at How Does She are particularly awesome.
  • And lastly, if you prefer to enjoy looking at chore charts without actually doing anything else then check out this Pinterest page. (that’s how you Pinteresters work, right?)  (I KID!)

So, what did I end up going with?  Something super fast and immediately useable for us.  It is functional but not fancy enough for the high standards at my house (HA!).  But I have run out of time to come up with something more complicated and this will do.  Download this template here.














I know it doesn’t look like much, but I had to start somewhere. If I don’t start the summer off by being a taskmaster then I will lose all control!

The hardest part about delegating certain chores to the kiddos is knowing that newbie mistakes will happen–darks might get washed with whites and a dish here and there might get broken, but letting them mess up a little now will ensure they get it right in the future, I think.



Cassandra can be found on Twitter @aclevergirl.  Learn more about her family’s unique challenges and why they have hope for a cure for muscular dystrophy at

Instagram, Deleted Accounts and The Evil Empire

my cats

*UPDATE: A local friend… account was deleted… has been restored!

It’s happening. Instagram accounts are being randomly deleted. Or are they? Some say it’s an Internet hoax. Others say it’s a glitch. I see some not so random connections.  I’ve done a little bit of research on this since it started appearing in my Facebook feed yesterday. This morning, accounts that I follow are no longer there. These users are upset and confused. Yet… users on forums I’ve been reading… report that they do understand why their accounts were deleted. Let’s break it down.

*Note… this is all complete assumption and connecting-the-dot-iness. The deletion of Instagram accounts could be completely a fluke, a hack, a glitch etc.

1. The account is posting content that doesn’t belong to them.

I’ve seen many Instagram users post images that don’t belong to them. For example, a super awesome inspirational graphic with a quote on it. The problem with this is… the content creator doesn’t get any credit. If this were done on Pinterest… the photo would at least be clickable and take the reader to the originating blog (or whatever). On Instagram it’s now a static graphic and it’s essentially been “stolen”. That’s a harsh word. I know. But if you’ve ever had a blog post plagiarized or an image lifted… you know what I mean. Don’t post content that you didn’t create. I’ve made may fun graphics using my own photos. Give it a shot! There are tons of photo apps that will make you a graphic rockstar.

2. The account is inactive.

This is a stretch… but… word on the street is… if you don’t use your Instagram built in camera enough… your account becomes inactive. What does that mean? Well… Instagram has a camera feature. They want you to take photos and use their built in filters/editing features. There is an option to import photos from your library. To me… if you use that function… you’re still active. So this theory is a stretch but does make sense on some levels… if the account is guilty of #1.

3. The account is farming followers.

This happens a lot. We’ve all seen it. “Follow me and get 1,000 new followers!” To some people… this is tempting. Don’t do it. You’re compromising your account and your integrity. In the wake of last night’s realization that lots of people I know had deleted accounts… I was seeing re-posts of graphics stating that in order to save your account…. repost this photo and tag @abc123. Don’t do it! You’re just helping @abc123 to farm followers and take advantage of the “crisis”. A user can change their Instagram account name at anytime. by now… @abc123 is now @KittensGalore and they’re sharing photos of cute kitties and they have thousands of followers. Don’t compromise your account or your integrity as a content creator.

Bottom line?

Do your research before you flip out. If you’re worried? Get rid of anything you feel might be compromising.

Back up your photos. I use the feature that also stores the photo in my iPhone photo library. It’s free! You can also set up IFTT and send your photos to Drop Box. This will end up costing you money though. I take A LOT of photos!

Do you have any feedback on any of this? Again… I’m completely speculating. But there is a common thread from what I’ve seen and read so far.

*much love and many Huggles*


What Would You Pay For Peace of Mind?

I’m so very lucky to be a part of the blog ambassador program with Cox Home Security. I’m not sure how I ever slept at night before owning a home security system. Actually… I do know. I had a bat. Under my bed. And a dog. A big dog. And I would check all the doors and windows myself before I crawled into bed. A bit OCD… I know. I even said a little prayer that God would send tiny angels with fiery swords to surround my house and keep all the robbers and murders out! Yes. I know. *sigh*

When we moved into our new house… there was already a security system active. All I had to do was have it transferred over. And I did. It was comforting to know that there was somebody, somewhere, in some little control center was watching over the house. But… I often forgot to set it. It wasn’t user friendly. I had many false alarms where I was frantically trying to remember the password or the code… anything to shut it off! And the worst part? It was connected to my call center via a land line! Hello!? Everyone knows that murderers cut the phone lines first! Especially when it’s a cold and rainy night!!!!1!111!!

Cox Security runs wirelessly. Take that, you phone-line cutting murderers! And… if for some reason… my murderer disables my Internet… Cox Security has back up cellular connection included. They think of everything!

I’ve written a couple posts already about how my family is utilizing our new Cox Security system. The post, Home Security and Protecting my Family, focused on the specific features… like a camera at the door, so I can see who it is knocking. The kids know how to check it on the family tablet before they answer. I love this! It saves me from running up and down the stairs a thousand times a day!

It also allows us to turn the lights on or off from our phone or to set timers. This is especially handy when I’m coming home to a dark house. Creepy!

Our favorite thing to fight over to use… is the thermostat feature! Having a two story home… it’s warmer upstairs and it’s freezing downstairs. Our family control tablet is on the downstairs side table… by the couch. Conveniently… someone watching t.v. always seems to secretly adjust it!

Did I close the garage? I’m always wondering that as I pull away from my house. No worries! Let me just check my phone. Yep! I did! *whew*

What will we be paying for this awesome peace of mind (once my term is up as a blog ambassador)?

We’ll be paying the same price we were paying for the land line service with none of the awesome features our Cox Home Security has.

cox home 1

So I ask YOU… What would you pay for peace of mind? And… does your current home security system protect against phone-line cutting murders?

Seriously… tell me what you use for home security. Are you happy? Do you feel like you need home security? I want to hear all about it. Drop me a line or comment below or discuss it with me on Facebook or all of the above.

*Note- I have the pleasure of test driving Cox Home Security for a year. I have been compensated for my time. All views and opinions are my own and I value my integrity. I value YOU as my community and would never post anything that would compromise that.

That’s How She Rolls

There’s something incredibly satisfying about popping bubble wrap, isn’t there?  As a kid it was hard to resist popping the sheet of bubble wrap until there was not a single bubble left to pop.

Love you, bubble wrap! xxoo


Lauren doesn’t doesn’t have the hand strength to pop bubble wrap with their fingers–but she has a better way.


Cassandra can be found on Twitter @aclevergirl.  Learn more about her family’s unique challenges and why they have hope for a cure for muscular dystrophy at