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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Hippo Suave


 Looking suave in his mint green bow tie, Hippo knows he's the life of every party and the center of everyone's attention.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Snails A Plenty



Cats and snails ... nothing but perfect silliness. Check out this new cat and kitten bow tie available in the shop.

And thank you to Hippo, once again, for modeling.

Snail cat and kitten cotton bow tie, perfect for a pet photo prop

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Thin Blue Line Bow Tie

Because I'm Me Thin Blue Line law enforcement support cotton bow tie

We at Because I'm Me thank and support our men and women who put their lives on the line for us every day.


Purchase this wonderful bow tie from our shop and $5 from each tie sold will be donated to C.O.P.S. (Concerns of Police Survivors), an organization dedicated to supporting families and friends of officers killed in the line of duty.

And, please, let's all be kind to each other.

Because I'm Me law enforcement support bow tie

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Jude Harbor


 A few months ago Because I'm Me branched out and created a second shop named Jude Harbor.

Jude Harbor is your small town gift shop brought to the internet. Currently, the shop is carries camera straps, camera strap covers, crayon and pencil holders, small quilts, coasters, handbags, and fabric pieces.


The reversible cotton camera straps are the newest addition to the shop and are decadent and well worth checking out, whether for yourself or to give as a gift. They're reinforced with nylon strapping on the inside to prevent any stretching and the ends are all stitched multiple times so there won't be any risk of breakage.


Opening this second shop allows Because I'm Me to focus solely on ties and accessories and to add in our new pet line. Over the next few months look at Because I'm Me to expand both the traditional ties lines and the pet tie lines.

To introduce our new shop and welcome you to it we're offering a 20% discount on all purchases made through the month of July. Simply use coupon code JUDEHARBOR20 when you make your purchase.

Jude Harbor can be found on Etsy, and be sure to follow us on Instagram (JudeHarbor) and Facebook to be the first to know about new items, sales, and contests.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

When Your Cat is the Cat's Meow



Hippo meowed me this joke the other day:

How do you catch a unique bird? Unique up on him.
How do you catch a tame bird? The tame way.
  
ba dump bump 

(yes, if you follow us on instagram and facebook you've already heard that one, but doesn't it get better and better with age?)


Super exciting news for cat and dog lovers everywhere:

Because I'm Me now carries cat and small dog bow ties and collars.


And stuffed lion bow ties and collars? Sure, why not?

The collars can be sized for 8 week old kittens on up to full grown Hippo sized cats. These collars can be made to fit small dogs too, just add measurements when you make your purchase.


This is Willie:


He came to my house with a group of four foster kittens from our local animal shelter. I went in to the shelter to drop off an application, before I handed the application to anyone I was handed a carrier with four five-week old crazy adorable kittens. My father saw pictures of the kittens on the internet and fell in love. Now he and my mother will be the proud servants to Willie, their little prince, who is also madly in love with them.



And the other three sweethearts:


And the public service announcement: Get your pets spayed/neutered. Adopt from a shelter. Foster from a shelter if you can. Our shelter currently has 131 kittens/cats available for adoption and about 300 out in foster care. I have no idea how many dogs they have, but it's more than a few.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Florida Keys and Bahia Honda State Park


Before I go further I have to mention this ...

Do you have Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturing Scouts, or Sea Scouts? In Florida? Or out of Florida? Just north of Big Pine Key, in the Florida Keys, is a key called Scout Key. On Scout Key is a boy scout camp called Camp Sawyer. Troops, packs, crews, ships can camp there. On the water. Seriously. For $15 per person per weekend. Amazing! So go talk to your unit and get down there. Oh, here's there website.

The camp itself was terrific, small with 5-6 large group sites. The restroom/shower building was nicer than any I've seen at a Boy Scout camp and the host was very helpful. The camp is on the water with it's own dock and swimming area as well as canoes/kayaks to rent for far less than any of the other rental places. Big Pine Key is around the corner and Key West is less than an hour's drive. Sadly, I have no pictures of the camp, we were too busy in the water all weekend.


So, yeah, we went to Camp Sawyer - and will be going back.





Our troop decided to travel down to Camp Sawyer and decided to do it over a three day weekend to ease the challenge of the 5-6 hour drive. My family, being extra Keys-loving headed down Thursday with the camper to avoid some of the holiday traffic - which we did, we had no traffic at all and really felt like we had the roads to ourselves. With me were Adam, Kaden, and River. Our first stop was Long Key State Park, a new to us campground. This was our "check it out" visit to this campground to see if we'd like to stay there again.

All the sites are on the water and all looked nice and spacious. The water is super shallow, allowing the kids to go out almost further than I could see them clearly while still touching the ground. We brought a blow up raft so they could raft to wherever they wanted to go, and that worked perfectly at this park. As did water shoes. Gotta have water shoes in the Keys - I wore mine out the week we were down there, but saved my feet from cuts and other "weird stuff in the water (plants)". Our one night at this park was terrific, the restrooms were very nice and clean, and I won't hesitate to go back.


After our night at Long Key we headed down to Scout Key to meet up with the troop. We spent three nights there and, I won't lie, it was hot. Being on the water helped, but it was hot. The saving grace was the ocean, for sure. And we appreciated it very much. River and I stayed in the camper while we were there but had no hook-ups so no AC (note to self: figure out how to use the battery). To cool off we drove places - to get ice, to the grocery store, etc - and the AC in the car provided the perfect respite. We met up with my oldest daughter a few times, to go snorkeling and to go to dinner, spending time with her really made the trip extra special.



On Monday the troop headed home and we headed to Bahia Honda State Park, our FAVORITE place to camp in the Keys. We spent two nights there, mostly snorkeling and exploring the water right off our campsite. When we stay at Bahia Honda we always stay on the water. There are two areas with waterfront sites - one is tent only (some truck camper and pop-ups) and on the ocean, the other is the trailer/rv area on the gulf side. We favor the trailer/rv area because there was dredging done there, so a few feet into the water there's a nice drop off that provides some great snorkeling. Personally, I float with my pool noodle and let the tide carry me wherever it wants to go, like a huge "lazy river".

One morning we headed up to Home Depot in Marathon. On the way back to the campsite we stopped at the old Seven Mile Bridge walkway, which is a 2 mile walkway to Pigeon Key. As we were walking the sky clouded over with imminent rain but we keep going. Over the side of the bridge we saw so much - sharks, star fish, dolphins, sting rays, big fish, sea turtles (seriously, real sea turtles!), and so much more. After our two mile walk we discovered that the bridge to Pigeon Key was closed and we had to walk right back. Had it been sunny (and hot) that would have stunk. but we were loving the overcast sky and the breeze so we walked our way back. Despite the island being closed that walk was a major highlight of our drip and I highly recommend it.




.
Another successful Keys trip in the books. Yes, the next trip is being planned already.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Chick-fil-A One is here :)

Just a quick head's up ...

The wait is over! Introducing Chick-fil-A One! The app that truly makes smart phones smarter! Tap into the ultimate Chick-fil-A experience, download the Chick-fil-A One app today and you'll receive a free sandwich. One app. Endless awesome.

http://bit.ly/1P5fyde

Enjoy!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Review and Giveaway: Mother and Son, The Respect Effect book by Emerson Eggerichs, PhD

As a mother of four boys I know there are times I just don't relate to them. When my teen girls come to me in tears for no reason I can relate, but when the boys face struggles and make choices that seem "wrong" to me I'm often at a loss. As a single mother I don't have a husband to turn to in these situations so I have to wing it and do my best.

I was recently given a copy of a new book to review. Mother and Son, the Respect Effect, by Emerson Eggerichs, PhD, explores the relationships mothers and sons have, and the needs sons have for respect from their mothers. The book teaches that boys need their mother's respect even when they're misbehaving. While girls and women are more apt to  crave love during times of stress and conflict boys and men are more likely to seek respect. The key to this book is that mother's need to respect their sons and sons need to know they are respected by their mothers.

Having a son who can present some real discipline challenges I was eager to find new ideas in dealing with him, to help him find ways to grow into a happy, adjusted young man prepared to love himself and corral his own emotions.

After reading the majority of the book I realized that the information presented provided a very new-to-me point of view and that I didn't necessarily agree with everything in it. However, I was able to try a few different strategies the book presented and while I'm not yet sure how successful these strategies will be, but I think they're certainly worth trying. I did appreciate the author's point of view and he certainly gave me some things to think about.

The book, Mother and Son, is available through Love and Respect as is a sneak peek of the book.

To get your own free copy leave a comment on this post sharing a parenting joy and a winner will be randomly chosen for a free copy of this insightful book. Good luck!

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Review and Giveaway: Purex plus Clorox 2 detergent

*The Purex brand provided me with a sample of Purex plus Clorox 2 detergent in exchange for a product review. However, all opinions expressed here are my own.

My son Ian graduated from high school at the beginning of May (go Ian!). The evening before his high school graduation he graduated from college with his AA degree (go Ian!!). Icing the cake, he graduated near the top of his class with a perfect 4.0 GPA. He's a smart cookie.


In addition to celebrating Ian's graduation I wanted to use the opportunity that event provided to take a family picture with my parents. Of course, that meant dressing the children in decent clothes when 90% of their wardrobe is swimwear and the other 10% is casual clothes (at least that's how it feels to me). Anyhoo ... dress clothes meant shopping. New clothes were purchased for Adam and Kaden, including a nice solid white polo shirt. Oh, and aren't those neckties fantastic?


After graduation and pictures we went out for pizza. Guess who wore pizza sauce? Yes, the boy in the white polo shirt.

After washing the shirt in my regular detergent the stain was still there.

I was given a bottle of Purex plus Clorox 2 detergent to try and review, with specific instructions to take a before and after picture of a stain. Up for a challenge, this shirt presented either a perfect opportunity to do that before/after picture or a perfect opportunity to tell you the detergent didn't work - after all,  this was an already washed shirt and the stains hadn't budged.

So we have a before shot (sorry for the really bad picture, yikes!):


I pre-soaked with a tiny bit of the bleach free detergent, then about 5 minutes later tossed the shirt into the washer with the rest of the laundry load.


After:


I'm not kidding. It worked great. I had to find my before pictures to figure out where the stain had been to take the "after" picture.

Overall, my whites got whiter with the detergent and it removed set in stains. I couldn't be more impressed and, because it's Purex, the price is right too. As if that weren't enough it smells good and two scents are available - Sunny Linen and Original Fresh.

I'm loving this new detergent and what it's done for our clothes.

Convinced? Want to try it yourself? Enter to win your own bottle by entering below! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oh, Aren't I the Crafty One

Salad and a craft. What a win!

When Chick-Fil-A asked me and some other moms to try their new Spicy Southwest Salad and create something from the container I got pretty excited.

First of all, the salad. It's really good. That "spicy" word at the beginning of the name? Yeah, they mean it. It's spicy. Like, "have a drink handy and plan to refill it" spicy. But it's oh so good that I couldn't stop enjoying it even as I guzzled my water. The chicken is delicious and the little chili lime pepitas are a real treat.

Chick Fil A upcycle project #chickfilamomsdiy

And then the craft. We have a little girl in our care during the weekdays. She's going on 9 months old and is a non-stop bundle of energy! I thought the container would make a great drum for her, since banging stuff is the best and playing with "real" stuff, not baby toys is the way to go (her favorite toys at my house are a set of measuring cups and a tin cup).

Because I'm Me free upcycled toy drum, baby toy

I began by spray painting the inside of the container a metallic silver that I had on hand from a home project. Then I filled the container with dried beans and a variety of pretty little things, so that as she moves the container she'll be able to spy new items. A little glue and tape and she's got a new drum.

Of course, right now she uses it more to bang than drum, but that works too.

Total cost: $0.00 because I was able to use materials I had in the house and the upcycled Chick-Fil-A container. The containers stack really nicely so I'm planning to add a few more to the collection to use to store her littler toys, and for use to use as a stacking toy.


Isn't she cute? She's crewing on a frozen cloth because she got 7, yes 7, teeth at once!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Review and Giveaway: The League and the Lantern by Brian Wells

Many of my kids are voracious readers and love finding new books to read. We've found, though, especially with the boys, that once you get past the Hardy Boys and Harry Potter you enter an adult world of books which often have a little more romance and graphic violence than middle school kids need or can really relate to.

I was recently introduced to Brian Wells' new novel The League and the Lantern, and I have to say it really fits the bill for middle school boys (and Moms ... I really enjoyed this book) by being entertaining, suspenseful, age appropriate, and a whole lot of fun.



I'll be the first to admit that when I heard it was for middle school boys I was, as is my usual, very skeptical. I was expecting a bit of brain candy with no real substance. Before opening the package I told my son, Kaden, that I needed him to read the book, but inside I was cringing a bit thinking I was giving him something he'd feel was beneath his abilities and maturity.

My bad. This book nails it. It begins with adventure and adventure happens on every page of the book. The words aren't small and simple, with the top 140 works middle schoolers need to know subtly blended into the text, and neither is the plot, full of twists and surprises. The book is very, very engaging, and even I was hooked from the first page.

The book begins when we meet Jake, a seventh grader starting a new school, who is in the midst of recovering from a near drowning in a local fountain. Jake doesn't have the best of luck in social situations and being the new kid doesn't help. But he perseveres as best he can. He and his 7th grade class are having a sleepover which is invaded by a dangerous organization. What follows is 48 hours of excitement as Jake and his new classmates TJ and Lucy fight to survive on the streets of Chicago with new adventures meeting them at every turn of the page. The three unlikely companions learn to work together and develop a strong bond and friendship through understanding, humor, and compassion.

Brian Wells wrote The League and the Lantern to fill a void, seeing a need for great engaging entertainment options for his own kids. To get the book to print and distributed he created a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10,000. That goal was met in the first four hours and amount raised in 30 days was a crazy $62,000.

Kaden, 13, gives the book a thumbs-up, and he's already looking forward to a sequel. He really devoured the book and is excited to have River read it when he's old enough.

You can get your own copy of this book from LeagueandLandern.com, $16.99 plus shipping for the hardcover book and $7.99 for the e-book. The book is written for ages 9-14, but will appeal to older kids/adults as well. You can also find a preview of the first six chapters of the book at that site.

I'm really excited to share that I have a copy of the book to give away! Just leave a comment below (any comment at all - makes no difference what it says, but something fun would be great!) to be entered to win and I'll choose a winner next Saturday morning, May 21st. Good luck!!


"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last Day of Our End of Year Storewide Sale


This sale ends today!

Hurry in before this offer becomes last year's thing.

http://www.becauseimme.etsy.com

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Because I'm Me End of Year Sale, going on NOW

Monday, December 7, 2015

Fishes and Crosses

Monday, November 30, 2015