Scavenger Hunt Ideas

I really enjoy a good scavenger hunt with the kids. They get a kick out of it and I love listening to them work together, laugh and run through the house to find the next clue and gift.

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I decided to look up a couple Ideas for scavenger hunts and these ones seemed like fun. I think I am going to try one of these backyard or nature ones on our vacation in Cape cod next weekend.

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These are a couple that I am going to keep to try for the next birthday scavenger hunt and then maybe try a Christmas one too. I hope the kids don’t outgrow this cause I think I enjoy it even more than they do!

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Cigarettes and me

When I was in 7th grade I did a science project. “The effects of smoking cigarettes on your lungs.” We tested filtered vs unfiltered, we attached a cigarette to the top of a plastic soda bottle and breathed through a cotton pad.
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The cotton pad turned brown in both cases and not surprisingly, the unfiltered cigarettes were worse for you. Even more surprising, we conducted this with cigarettes purchased by our parents in the science lab at middle school.
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Even less surprising, I smoked the rest of both packs and continued till I was pregnant with my first baby. From 12-27 years old.
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There was a couple gas stations that would sell to kids and sometimes I would just flat ask my mom to buy cigarettes for my friend and she would. I would of course smoke them myself. It was $2.50 a pack back then. This post is making me feel really old. Haha.
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After I had my son, I picked smoking up again socially (only when I was with a friend who smoked)  till I was pregnant with my second. By then it was becoming too expensive to smoke. But a dirty little secret of mine is.
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I love the smell of smoke. I will sit on you lap and inhale you after you had a cigarette,  if you let me. If you had a cup of coffee prior to that, I will melt in your hand. That is one of my favorite smells in the world. I have no idea why because I know that it’s gross. I also like the smell of a gas station.
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Anyway, now I barely smoke at all. I did vape a couple times but now I am scared to do that with all these people getting really sick, really fast. I do miss smoking though. I miss the feeling of smoke in my lungs. I won’t start smoking again because I am really cheap and I can’t spend $12.00 on one pack of cigarettes. That would make me angry. So I just miss it. Plus, it’s been a decade since I quit.
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There you have it. There is my gross little not so secret, secret.
What about you? Are there any smells that are gross to other people but you love them?

Happy Birthday to Me!

It’s my Birthday week. I’m turning 38 (how?) on Friday.
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I will be celebrating by probably going out to dinner and then cuddling husband on the couch and watching Netflix while enjoying some kind of spiked seltzer.
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Next weekend we are going to Cape Cod with my mom, sister, niece and my family. I am really looking forward to that. I looooove Cape Cod in the fall. I am really excited to show my mom, sister and niece how pretty it is too.
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It’s been quite a year. I wrote a few books, and really wrote and promoted my blog. I met a ton of cool new people on twitter and WordPress and I am really happy with my new hobbies! I have always written but now I am actually putting my stuff out there… Which has always been really hard for me. But it’s been an overall good experience for me.
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Thank you so much for stopping by and supporting me and if you want to be entertained for a couple hours, please consider buying my newest book “Little me Big World”. It’s $2.99 on Amazon and free on kindle unlimited till November.  I am very proud of this book. I am currently working on the next book and hope to publish that in a couple months.
Little Me, Big World by [Acosta, J.]
Happy Birthday to me!
If you want to buy me a present, please consider buying my book! You get a few hours of entertainment and I will feel like the happiest person ever.

Weekend Update

Good Morning Lovely People! I haven’t done a weekend update in a while mostly because there isn’t much going on now that school is back in session. This weekend is pretty much the same. I will be grocery shopping and cooking and Fall cleaning tomorrow.
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I really have to go through everyone’s drawers to donate what doesn’t fit anymore and see what the kids need for the fall/winter. I know that they need new snow gear.
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 I am taking my daughter out for a manicure at some point on Saturday.
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Sunday we are heading to our friends house for some air fryer roast chicken and cheese fries. I am looking forward to that! And then we’re back to work and school. The weekends are short and the weeks a long for little bit, but that’s okay for now.
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What are your plans for the weekend?

Makeup and Me!

I don’t know why but this year I have just stopped wearing makeup on the weekends. I just don’t feel like applying it so I stopped.
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I thought I would be so self conscious about it but I’m actually not.  And my skin just feels better. I’m breaking out far less than before.  I added a vitamin C serum and upped all my vitamins. I got these great new vitamins from Thorne (see my review here: https://sambelstories.com/2019/07/30/thorne-vitamin-review/ ) . A daily vitamin, Vitamin D and fish oil. I just feel like I glow more without makeup right now.
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I went to a bridal shower a couple weeks ago. It was a Sunday and I was running around all morning. I actually thought about putting some kind of makeup on but before I knew it was time to go and so I didn’t get around to it. Afterwards I heard that the mom of the bride said “Jess is so sweet and pretty but why doesn’t she wear any makeup?” And my friend said “if she’s so pretty why does she need it?” And her mom said “yeah, still?”
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This didn’t really bother me because I know this girls mother since I was 12 and she usually finds something to say about everyone, so I wasn’t really offended but it did get me thinking about why I use to wear makeup. I used it to cover my face, not to highlight it. I started when I was around 13, it was brown lipstick and lip liner. Purple eye shadow and a mess all over. It was the early 90’s, give me a break! I decided that I much preferred my own lip color so I stopped using lipstick all together and opted for lip gloss or chap stick.
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I liked the neural look so I eventually toned it all down to full face of foundation, pink eye shadow and mascara. I never learned how to apply eyeliner.. I try once in a while, but it doesn’t look right to me. I love it on other people, just like lipstick, but I always feel like I don’t look right with it. So put it on and wipe it off. (Wax on, wax off)
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A few years ago I went to a summer party at a friends house and I was talking to a girl I hadn’t seen in a while and we were talking about makeup. She seemed surprised when I told her I wore makeup at all. I said “Yeah, I do but I blend it to look natural. So I use foundation, eye shadow, blush, mascara and sometimes eyeliner..” And as I was telling her how much makeup I use but saying I didn’t really wear much, I was thinking “Wow, I wear this everyday?!” That is a lot.
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I started to notice how makeup looked on other people. How they wore it. I started to adjust how I wore it too. Now to work I wear light foundation only where needed to even everything out with a swipe of eye shadow and one swipe of mascara. On the weekends and vacation I wear nothing. Just moisturizer and sunblock. Honestly, I do get self conscious sometimes. Do I look okay? But I personally feel better and more confident over all not wearing makeup.
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So for now, makeup and me is a pretty minimal thing. I love sephora. I love lotions and masks and serums. But I love natural and feeling natural and I am working on finding the right things that work for my skin to make it glow.
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I know that it’s an ever changing thing with me and I am pretty sure I will change my mind in the future and maybe add some eyeliner or maybe even lipstick, who knows? For now I like myself barefaced the most.
What’s your feeling on makeup? What are your favorite products?

Therapy – My most recent session

I told him I wrote a book. He asked how I was going to promote it. I was like I don’t know. I don’t want to be annoying. I am trying to write my blog and hopefully that will catch people’s interest.  He said I really need to rebuild my confidence. I should promote my book because I worked hard on it.
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He said I should try to create a positive thought when I have a negative thought. Hmmm. Okay. Why does that feel so hard?
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We started talking about how I always second guess myself and I told him how I always think back on what I said or did and wonder if I was wrong or stupid. He asked why or when I started to do this and it occurred to me that it was much more noticeable to me around when I became a mother.
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I never felt like a natural at being a mother. I really thought I would with all my years of babysitting. I always felt like things that people just did, I would have to think about it. I read a lot. One of the first times I ever brought my baby out of the house, my diaper bag was so unprepared for anything. I had like one diaper in there and one extra bottle. Of course I learned after that trip but still, sometimes I feel like I am never going to get it. Haha. I think every mother probably feels like that at some point. Even as the kids get older there are new things that happen every year and I always sit and think  if I made the right decision.
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Then I am always wondering if I am messing up. Or if I am doing it all wrong. I’m not sure but I think that is where some of this stems from. I really started to second guess everything. Everything I did. Every decision I made. I never really did that nearly as much as I seem to now. I think I have been doing it for so long at this point, I don’t even realize how often I do it.
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I apologize for everything. Things that aren’t even my fault. You bump into me and I will say “Sorry.” .  I’m not really sure when it just became something I seem to do all the time now. Without even knowing it. My coworkers say I’m so nice. I’m not nice. I just don’t say what I think.
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I am trying to work on this now. I know that I am a good mother. I will always be there for my kids, I will always listen and have their back and stand up for them when they need me. I also have to lead by example though. I want them to be confident and I would like to demonstrate that for them. I am working on this. I am not sure how but I think I will start with trying to replace negative thoughts with positive.
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What makes you feel most confident?

My Jonas Bro’s Dream.

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It’s weird to me that I would dream about the Jonas Brothers because I usually just see them on the entertainment news and sometimes I read it if I am bored. Anyway. In my dream Ray (my for real husband) and his brother were step brothers with the Jonas people. We were invited to spend a weekend at a lake with them in between their touring dates. So we went.
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We all went hiking during the day and then lay around and watched movies at night. It was really fun. The last night there we had dinner and I started asking about them growing up. Like how close they were? Not very, but they did go away during the summer together. How they were step brothers? No one really answered but I looked at the eyebrows and I was like ohhh, they all have the same eyebrows. I get it. Then Joe or Nick, I’m really not sure who is who, told my husband that they really missed him and they wanted us to come live in their compound ” you and your wife, Alice!” he said and I thought, who the hell is Alice? My name is Jess. But my husband said “No, thank you” before I could even tell them my real name.
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After dinner we all spread out around the house for the last night of staying at the lake. I went to go open the front door to let some of the cool air in. When I opened the door I saw a man parking his old two door beat up jalopy. I watched him reach into his back seat and pull out a machete and a bag of dog poop. I thought, Fuck, one of our dogs must have pooped in his yard and he looks pissed.
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I closed the door and locked it and told everyone to call 911. Joe or Nick or whoever went to see what the man wanted and they started arguing. I ran upstairs and told Ray to call 911 and he ran down the hall and left me. I ran into the closest bedroom and locked the door and called 911. I left the phone off the hook and realized I was in my parents bedroom of the house I grew up in. I heard the arguing get louder and then silence. I was like FUCK! Joe or Nick died! I remembered that there were pull down stairs in the closet to the attic and I could escape through that. I got up to the attic and then….
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I woke up. I actually spent a few minutes wondering what was going to happen next. Would I get help? Would I die? Would everyone die? Why did my husband run the other direction? Who’s dog pooped? I guess I will never know.
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What a weird ass dream… I told my husband about it over coffee and he laughed and said I should blog it… Here it is!
Have you had any weird ass dreams lately?

September Goals!

Happy September! Seriously, how is it September already?
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Goal for my blog this month will be to just keep going. Just to keep writing and keep trying to grow. What about you? What are your goals?
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September… Goodbye summer. I will miss you!
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I am back to work, summer Friday’s are officially over and I am actually feeling sad today. I usually love fall, it’s my favorite season. Besides the crisp weather that’s perfect for jeans, t shirts and a sweatshirt (my favorite outfit of all time), my birthday just happens to be in the beginning of Fall too.  This year I am not loving it.
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Fall means winter is around the corner and I feel like this winter will last FOREVER. Once the clocks change I feel like I will be living in the dark for like 5 months. I wake up, it’s dark. I leave work, and it’s dark. And then it’s cold, who wants to go outside and freeze? Ugh.
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I am just really not looking forward to this winter. I have been feeling so much better physically and mentally and I am honestly scared that I’ll fall back into that dark hole I was in this past January. I am going to try to keep that in mind and I also spoke to my husband. He’ll check me if he sees me slipping. I feel like I have more support this winter, but I also feel like I am just over this weather in general. I don’t want New England winter anymore. I think I need a change.
What’s your favorite weather?

Blogging. Why? How? What I have learned in 10 months.

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When I first started blogging I did it to make money and I did a really bad job. I was totally inconsistent. I got tired of what I was writing about. I started this blog about 5 years ago. It was going to be travel, then food, then kids stories. and then I finally decided I would just write about whatever I wanted to write about.  I had written a couple short books (find them on the buy my book page!) and I wanted to find readers for them. I wanted to find my audience.
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I decided to write everyday. And I challenged myself to write one blog a day, every day that I had to work, for a year. After a month I looked back I noticed I was pretty repetitive in a lot of my stuff. I could see how I would have something on my mind so I would write a couple times about it. For example, Thanksgiving. I don’t know if I needed to have 3 blogs about who was coming, what I was planning for the menu and then a recap of how the day went. Maybe I could have done it all in one blog. And thrown some pictures in.
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In the beginning I didn’t think about pictures. I was mostly just focused on building content. Just keep writing, more and more. I started in November and by December I had a couple followers and a few views. It was a little discouraging. I felt like I was investing a lot of time in this and nothing was really happening. My husband suggested I try twitter to promote. I signed up and attached my blog to my twitter. Then something amazing happened. Someone from the writing community became my friend. They put me on his list of Authors and introduced me. Within a month I had 1000 twitter followers and I also found the blogging community. I was thrilled. I was still writing. I was checking out other peoples blogs I realized I needed to add some pictures. I read that some bloggers get a lot of traffic from pintrest. I signed up for pintrest. Attached my blog to it and started pinning all my pictures from my blogs. I actually do get a couple views from pintrest now a week. I think my problem is that I need to reorganize my boards. So I need to do that next and then figure out how to get more followers and join more boards.
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I signed up for Instagram and Linked In and Facebook. I joined a bunch of writing groups and added my blog to publish on my page. I also promoted it on some of the blogging groups and then I got reported as spam. I guess there are a lot of rules in these groups and I broke one. Someone reported my blog as spam and now I can’t post my blog on Facebook anymore, anywhere. Not even on my own page. It’s been 6 months. I know I have lost traffic from this and the problem with Facebook is that there is no one to talk to about it. I have looked all over and I reported the problem and I have received no answer at all. I actually think I am going to delete Facebook this weekend. It’s just frustrating at this point because there are no answers. I have had emails open for review since February. They’re still all open. I don’t think anyone reviews anything. They just mark your website as spam and that’s it. So at this point, Facebook doesn’t help me at all.
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Linked In hasn’t done much for me but I just post my blogs to there as well under my Author account. I think it can’t hurt. Instagram will be my next thing to look at. I see a lot of people promoting a follow me and I’ll follow you back thing on twitter. I might try it. I don’t know yet. Across all platforms there seems to be a lot of follow me and I’ll follow you back and then they stop following you so it looks like they have a lot of followers… It’s really dumb. If you follow me, I will follow you back. If you unfollow me, I will unfollow you too. With Pintrest and Instagram I really can’t see who does this so I have stopped following anyone at the moment because I’m following all these people and my number of followers is staying the same. … This brings me to my next point…
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A few things I have learned….
I stopped looking at the numbers so much. I used to track views, followers, friends, everything across all platforms. I stopped that. I was getting upset when I stalled, or lost followers. I would think there was something wrong with me or my content. So I stopped. I still check the monthly views but I don’t get down on myself for not hitting the same or better as the month before. Some months are just slower.
I stopped trying to make myself write something new everyday. I do write everyday still but sometimes it’s just nothing. I keep writing. Sometimes I start writing and it triggers something and off I go to write a blog about it. Other times I write nothing all day and just check twitter a couple times and drop my link to a previous blog a couple times and I read a couple new blogs.  It still brings traffic and I am not killing myself to come up with something. It also feels less like a job to me now. I am enjoying it again.
I try to check out everyone who supports me and likes or comments. I try to return the favor. This also helps me see what other blogs are like and what interesting things they are writing about.
I have stopped comparing myself to other blogs in terms of numbers. I see people promoting how they get 100,000 views a month from Pintrest and they make a couple hundred dollars. It made me feel discouraged. I would like to get that too but I also have children and a full time job and I know will get there in time, maybe. But maybe I won’t and I am okay with that too.
Find your people and join some support groups. Support other people and learn as you go.
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I am currently using WordPress and I upgraded to the premium plan thinking I could monetize it and make some kind of money. The thing with keeping them as a host for my blog is I have to upgrade to the Business plan in order to use plug ins. You need a plug in to add google adsense or other ways to have your blog make money. I am currently trying to decided if I should try that for a year or just go to a different host. I have heard that there are a lot and they are cheaper and you can add all the plug ins to help with getting people to find you and also getting a better ad service that will actually pay you. I have the WordPress ads and I have made a grand total of $2.50 since November. It’s pretty lame and totally discouraging.
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I like Blogging though. I like meeting new people and reading what other people write about so I’m going to keep at it to see what happens.
I did get one free sample of a CBD product to try. That was pretty cool. I had to try it for a few weeks and then write something about it and then promote it for a week or longer. That I actually kind of liked and it made me realize I could write and then promote that blog for a couple days while I write something else.
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For me, the main thing that I have learned so far is to relax a little. It’s not always about numbers. This isn’t my job, this is my hobby and I should enjoy it. If I end up making some money off it, that’s great! If I don’t, at least I enjoyed myself.
What is the most important thing you have learned so far?

End of Summer and I’m back!

Hey everyone! I hope everyone is good! Vacation was good. We went to Williamsburg, VA with family friends. We had a lot of fun but it was HOT.
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I didn’t even know I could sweat so much or out of so many places. My shoulders were sweating, my legs were sweating.  I have never felt so hot in my life. We had a blast though. We spent the morning or the afternoon at the resort in the pool mostly and then we went to the water park or Busch gardens or into Colonial Williamsburg to walk around.
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The town was really cute and pretty. People were dressed up in period costumes, they looked hot but they said they get tot take a lot of breaks, so it wasn’t that bad.
Busch Gardens was fun and once we got the layout a little we learned how to work the train and the sky ride so we could visit everything we missed and it also gave us a little break from walking.
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The Water park was fun but I was a little disappointed how the layout was. It was just such a long walk to get anywhere, or that’s what it felt like to me. Like you had to walk back to the middle to get from one part of the park to the other. We rented a cabana and to get to that we had to hike all the way across the park. I will post a review of everywhere later.
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We went to the outlets a couple times and got the kids shoes and some clothes for back to School. I would sign up for the rewards programs while in the store and get extra money off so I feel like we got some really good deals.
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I was actually a little sad when the vacation ended. I missed our dogs though and we ended up cancelling an overnight trip to visit another friend on the way home just so  we could come home Friday instead of Saturday. Also, my husband got swimmers ear so he wanted to just go home too. I am really happy that we did that because I got to do laundry and grocery shop and I didn’t feel like I needed to rush.
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I am a little sad that the summer is basically over.
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Kids start school tomorrow and then we are back in school and things will kind of get back to the regular routine.
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I did have a great summer though. We started in San Diego and ended in Virginia. We have one more weekend get away this year, Cape Cod for my birthday. We’re taking my sister, niece and mom with us this time. I think it’ll be fun. I love Cape Cod in September, I can’t wait.
How was your summer?