Top Ten Ways To Make Money From Home

After careful research, I’ve come up with a list of  “Top Ten Ways To Make Money From Home”. Having been a stay-at-home-mom, I completely get the whole ‘short on cash’ thing. It can be hard to come up with extra ways to save, when you’ve got mouths to feed. Not to mention often times it’s cheaper to stay home, then it is to pay for daycare! That’s actually why I didn’t leave the house for around 14 years.

So without further delay, here’s my list:

SWAGBUCKS – essentially, SWAGBUCKS pays you to watch videos, check your email, take surveys, play games  and browse the net. It’s a rewards sight with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Sign up here and get 5$ from SWAGBUCKS. (Link opens in new tab).

WRITE AN ARTICLE – Content sites generally pay well for well written articles. 

*The Dollar Stretcher: Articles on ‘Living Better for Less’

*MATADOR: “original writing and visual storytelling about travel, culture, and political commentary


thredUP – Sell your stuff! Specifically clothing.    


Have a some amazing pics? Good enough to sell? Try FOAP. FOAP buys photos for companies to use in their advertising.


Try AMMAS. Whatever you’re an expert on, can get you cash! Just sign up.


This one is actually kind of fun! Find freebies anywhere and everywhere. Curbside, Free-Cycle sites,  Craigslist etc…Then flip them for cold hard cash! One man’s junk is another man’s treasure!


The best sell site for crafts,  is ETSY. However AMAZON, while not specifically a craft site, may be another option. But Amazon charges 3.99$ a month to sell. I don’t mess with EBAY anymore. But that’s my own personal choice.


Write books for Kindle. 


Try LISTVERSE. This site pays for nothing but lists! Seriously. Lots and lots of lists!


YOUTUBE pays! Seriously. As long as what you video is something others will actually want to watch. Simply click on the Creator Studio under your YOUTUBE handle. Just don’t include any licensed songs or copied material. It must belong to ONLY you.

I could actually make this list quite a bit longer, but I need to call it quits for tonight. I’ll add more when I can. But currently I have a house full of 12 year-olds…oh…yay…



Just because it’s hilarious…

This was at Tower City in Cleveland, Ohio. Included are photos of the Cleveland Public Square Ice-Skating Rink. But the true comedy was the Choo Choo Train.

As a giant toddler at heart, I  wanted to ride the Christmas train with my kids.  My daughter is  a teenager, so I naturally had to force her. And…it went well…yeah ok. She’ll probably run away screaming the next time I ask.

Just keep replaying it…for some reason it gets funnier :D:D (For the record, that isn’t my kid in the back…I have no idea whose kid it is…but the whole thing was hilarious. Just a little guy, enjoying the trip!)

…the ENTIRE trip…. Click here for the Instagram Video. It will open in a new window. WordPress may not allow the EMBED feature without premium, but I still want you guys to see it.

If you don’t see the video below, just click the link above. And keep scrolling for the pics of Tower City and the Public Square Ice-Skating Rink.

#lmao @http.courtneyyy #video @towercitycenter #christmas #train 😁😁😁😁😁 The WHOLE RIDE!

A video posted by D.s. (@homefreekids) on Nov 27, 2016 at 12:24pm

Here’s a few more pics from that amazing day….



She loved the view. At Christmas, Tower City is absolutely stunnin.


Naturally, the little musician found her spot.


He was in awe of the height.


Of course….


Large Jawbreaker…


Tiny Jawbreakers



My daughter & I


He was dancing…


Getting their skates on.



Hallelujah! #coffee !!!!!


A fabulous end to the perfect day!


To keep up with our travels:  #homefreekids @homefreekids


His Painting

He finally finished. I posted last week about giving him his first large canvas. It took him a bit. But he has poured his heart, soul and mind into this lovely picture.

Initially, it started with the birds. Then the shark. Followed by  the abstract idea of a brilliant red tunnel slide, jetting into the ocean. To add emotion, he created a storm.


His painting is very thought provoking. There are multiple ways to interpret the grand design. Two simple birds, sitting on a perch, surrounded by an ocean. They’re seemingly oblivious to the danger below. With a storm kicking up, the eager predator is circling beneath….waiting to swallow them whole. And what of the tunnel? Humans sliding elegantly between both worlds.   Walking a line between eminent thrilling danger and a brilliant soulful beauty.

Again… his painting  could be interpreted in so many ways. But if you ask him….“I just like sharks and birds”.


“Art & Chocolate”…and maybe wine…




My dog…



This was taken at a catering venue….


Also part of the insanely artistic catering venue…


This one was done in jest. It’s often said that my neighborhood is like a quirky version on Desperate Housewives. That’s me, rolling around with a box of wine, protesting the idea of clueless PTO moms.  This photo was taken by my friend, Charlene.

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Two of the paintings I’ve been working on…



This one, my daughter took as that’s me in the photo.



This tree is in the family cemetery. We buried my grandfather this year. His initials he carved during childhood…are on the tree.




Cheese, Meat and Biscuits: Don’t forget the taters!


After spending a majority of the day at the waterpark, the kids came home with a need to feed! 

This recipe is tried and true. Many have modified it and odds are your mother has made it. One tip: If you have it, add some flax. Use a coffee grinder to maximize digestion. I add flax to almost everything, so I can assure you…it can be done. Mix it in with the potatoes in this particular recipe.

Unground Flax Seed

Unground Flax Seed


Freshly made mashed potatoes. I prefer them from scratch, but if need be, use the boxed variety.

Fresh chopped potatoes. Boil, Mash, Add Milk and Butter (Flax is optional)

Fresh chopped potatoes. Boil, Mash, Add Milk and Butter (Flax is optional)

Cooked Ground Beef

Brown in a Skillet

Brown in a Skillet

Mushroom Soup: Add milk to thin.


Start by layering your basic ingredients:


Mix the cooked ground chuck with the mushroom soup mix. Spread evenly over mashed potatoes.


Add a layer of Velveeta Cheese


For the topping, basic biscuit mix or tube biscuits work just fine.


Place the unbaked biscuits as so:


Since every ingredient but the biscuits are already cooked, the casserole only needs to be cooked as long as the biscuits require. In most cases, it’s at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.


Simple, quick and filling: As always, feel free to tweak!

One idea could be to mix in some fresh garden herbs…..

I harvested these fresh from the garden this morning.

I harvested these fresh from the garden this morning.

Have a fabulous day!

The PARCC: Well, that was rather unexpected..

The PARCC..yeah. The abbreviation we’ve all come to know and love ~ yes, that would be sarcasm. Yesterday was my daughter’s turn. You know, the one I wrote about in the post just prior to this one. 13 with the weight of the world on her shoulders, never one to make waves, she pulled a mind scramble on me and created her own little tsunami yesterday.

Yesterday morning, I woke her at the usual time. 5:30 am… I know…rather early isn’t it? Anyway, she had to catch the bus by 6:30 am. Upon glancing at her disheveled appearance, I naturally asked what the problem was. And true to her empathetic nature, she unleashed a whirlwind. She explained that the PARCC was to be given that morning. As a studious pupil…and she is (we’re talking tears over a B on a test, hours of pondering over one single algebra problem and multiple trips to library in any given week…She  has never  NOT been present at an honor roll ceremony and her principal informs me, she won’t be present for her senior year, because she will have graduated prior to) this child of mine, she had concerns for her teachers. She said she knew the PARCC wasn’t a test for her, but for them. And while she’s always scored well above average on state tests, this test  was different. Now she had reached the age of understanding. She knew the meaning behind it. With the pressure she puts on herself (I swear…it’s not me. I BEG her to put down the homework and go to sleep!), she was feeling even more pressure to do errors… for if she did, she felt her teachers whom she adores, would lose pay or even their jobs.


I was floored. Here’s a girl who at the ripe old age of 13, knows work ethic, has dreams of an ivy league college, has thrown the word ‘memorization’ to the wind and actually bothers to LEARN her subjects…she never goes against the grain and as middle children everywhere do….her race to perfection…to stand out, has always prevented her from voicing an opposing opinion to an authority in any way, shape or form.

While I knew that as some point, her heart would finally collide with her brain, I didn’t expect it to be at age 13. Although, truly, I was hoping it would happen sooner, rather than later. An education is pointless, if you don’t have the courage to use it.

We discussed the test for a bit, as she rushed around trying to get herself together. Finally, after the tears started to flow out of fears of not doing well enough, I said “Lil Miss, there are times in life when you need to make a judgement call. I see your struggle and in this moment I’m so very proud of you. I see you. I see who you are and I’ve caught a glimpse of who you will become. You aren’t an unruly kid looking for a way out of a test. For a mini-vacation or just anti-authority. And it’s children like you, who will grow to change the world for the better. The choice is yours. I trust you to make the best possible decision for you. Ask yourself…what do you want YOUR world to be like, when you have children?”

She asked what would happen if she just refused to take it. The question sort of stunned me. I hadn’t filled out an opt-out form. I hadn’t filled one out, because doing so would imply that I needed to get the states permission to exempt her from a test, that I hadn’t given permission for her to take in the first place.  The state uses HER hard work on the PARCC to do what is supposed to be THEIR jobs…which in turn = free child labor…hey…isn’t that illegal? oh…my bad. Hypocrisy is perfectly legal now.  And  I don’t recall voting in yet another way to add pressure to an already overflowing pile of bureaucratic bullshit , to begin with. Why? Because we only vote in the people (after listening to their endless charade of fairy tales, and  promises of goodness and light), not the load of horse-dung they produce after the fact. I mean sure…there are lots of bills and nonsense put before the heads, however, a vast majority never see the light of day.

I told her she basically had several options. Don’t lift pencil to paper, fail it…on purpose or just take the test. Whatever her choice, I’d back her up. I even gave her my work number and told her, if there was any sort of trouble, give the paper to the teacher.

Now here’s where it get’s…interesting. Actually, I didn’t even believe her! When she said she was going to refuse it, honestly… I laughed. I said “You?!? You who never makes even a ripple? You’re going to refuse it???”....I just KNEW I would never get a phone call, because I KNEW she wouldn’t do it.

And WOW, was I wrong….

So yesterday, I get home from work and my husband (who was completely in the dark as to our earlier conversation) says to me “Ummmm…so, you know what I never expected?”  Me: “No…what?!”  He replies “A phone call from the principal about C~~~~~~  …….   WTF did I MISS????

Here’s the point where I dropped everything and my jaw hit the floor. And honestly, I just started laughing. I was absolutely floored! LIL MIss??? Are you kidding me? She actually did something ‘wrong’???

Naturally that flipped over real quick to “Oh no! What did you say? Did you back her up???”

To which he said “I’m so confused. I have no idea what’s going on here!  ( Wise decision) The principal called and said C~~~~ had filled in EVERY SINGLE CIRCLE on the PARCC, and while the school was not angry, they had concerns, because it was so unlike her and that she had been sweating and shaking so badly in class…..they had to send her to the restroom!”

Again….my jaw….yeah…at this point, it had made it’s way to the basement. Followed quickly by…”I better call the school”…

After a wonderful chat with the school principal, who again, was not angry in anyway….was very cordial  and made it clear that he knew C~~~~~  had never been any sort of trouble maker… was a fabulous student and he’d only wanted to verify  what C~~~ had said. And what C~~~ had said was that I had told her she had my permission.

About 10 minutes later, Lil Miss walked in the door. She had never even been confronted by any school staff, so she didn’t even know about the phone call. So I  asked her…”how did it go?”. She said she filled in all the dots…I asked why she filled in ALL the dots and didn’t just mark random answers. She said “By filling in all the dots, I don’t throw my teachers into the frying pan. They’ll know I did it on purpose. They won’t think I simply didn’t know the answers, thereby…my teachers don’t look like bad educators.” 

ummm….ok….I really can’t argue that. Then she said, she did however do the essay portion. But instead of the writing what was expected, she wrote the reason for her behavior. She wrote, she wouldn’t participate in the PARCC, because it wasn’t the states job to judge her teachers, based on the scores of the masses. It was her job and her parents…and she and her parents,  thought  her teachers were great. ( I removed awesome here, because I can’t recall if she’d written the word awesome or said it. It could have been ‘great’…she’s at school now, so I can’t ask)

I suppose…I really can’t argue that. Funny thing is, she still took a test…just not the PARCC. This was a test that I hadn’t expected. I can’t even decide if it was hers or mine? I suppose for her, it was a test to see if she had the courage to stand up for herself and those around her (although again…no child should be put in a position, where they have the pressure of knowing, that THEIR own abilities, may or may not cost an adult…a raise, a dip or their jobs altogether. An adult that they respect and care about. That’s not a child’s job! SHAME ON YOU BIG BROTHER!)

And I guess for me…the test was one of conviction….was I raising sheep or human beings? Amazing, articulate, logical and yet curious to the point of breaking through boundaries, empathetic, compassionate and with a wealth of knowledge and zero indoctrination…knowing that a beautiful mind can only  thrive in an open one. Learning all sides prior to making an informed decision, regardless of the subject matter. From religion, to politics, to education, to expression….from the emotional need to override our brains, to shutting off the hysteria and letting a cooler head prevail. Sure…reaching perfection is a goal, just like any other….but knowing when to let it go, when to screw up, when to color outside the lines…that’s simply flawless.

PS: How did she find out what the PARCC was for?  We hear the words ‘critical thinking’ on a daily basis. We say we want them to use it. We preach about it’s importance and slam anything that goes against it. However, critical thinking requires not only the written resources, but the ability to research, understand and put to use all that we have learned. Taking the knowledge you have gained and using it to create an informed opinion, is at it’s very core. Her teachers have never mentioned the  purpose of this test, only asking that they eat a good breakfast and focus. And if it’s believed in anyway, that this child was swayed, know this….critical thinking is not the goal, if the idea is to raise a follower….critical thinking, in it’s true form, raises leaders. We shouldn’t  tell our children they need to be brilliant and score high…and then tell them to shut-up when they tell us  all they’ve learned.  My child’s teacher’s,  don’t require the PARCC to prove that they’ve succeeded. They’ve already proven that in spades. So how did she find out about the true meaning behind the test? Her teachers did their jobs….they taught her to read…

How Do You Catch A Cloud And Pin It Down?

“She climbs a tree and scrapes her knee
Her dress has got a tear
She waltzes on her way to Mass
And whistles on the stair
And underneath her wimple
She has curlers in her hair
I even heard her singing in the abbey”

~ The Sound Of Music, with  Rodgers And Hammerstein, How Do Solve A Problem Like Maria

My youngest daughter….the curious sprite. In so many ways, she boggles me and yet delights me, all at the same time. From her requests for an endless supply of journals and assorted writing materials, to ‘Mom…what does it feel like to be a sunflower?’


(I imagine it feels better then having dried paint stuck to your face, while on the quest to find out….)

Always watching, always trying to work out the grand design…she’s quite the riddle. From music, to books, to art….


I can’t recall a time that she EVER had any interest in dolls! It wasn’t that I didn’t buy them….I did. She just found them boring. Especially Barbies….even at 10, she said they were an  ‘unrealistic depictions of girls’. So naturally, we just stuck with the journals. I can’t even tell you how many there are. And the words….so teeny tiny. She says it’s so she can fit more on the page.

This child who spends endless hours trying to solve algebra problems…ummm…for fun! It used to leave me feeling perplexed, however, now I find that algebra is a rather nifty skill. Her constantly calculating mind,  came in handy when we were measuring for the garden.


“But Mom…it’s a ‘natural’ red…”   yeah…that’s the look. The one that comes about if I question her ‘freedom of expression’. And honestly, I do encourage self-reflection and experimentation on the way to discovering one’s inner self.

Her ability to see my own vision and mesh it with hers, for the sake of art…astounds me….

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She who adds so many  goofy quirky mismatched moments of sheer gentle madness…


Everyday there’s a new strange glorious path. Filled with music, poetry, math, art and ‘through the looking glass’ moments.


There’s always a song, radiating from beneath her bedroom door.


Or a masterpiece on the horizon.

And a question about her current reading materials typically leads to a debate on the Constitution….


And an outward expression of her thoughts on the matter.

For the record, I don’t censor books, unless they’re ‘too adult’. However, when I tried to voice my opinion on War and Peace, I was met with “Your argument is invalid”. Mmmmkay.

As I walk the path of her childhood, steady at her side, I know without a doubt, she’s been an absolute influence on my life. And while it’s my job as her mother, to help mold her into some politically correct, fit for society model of human social adaptation….It’s a curious thing….she’s the one molding me. That whole “what would mom do???” voice, that I pray is somewhere in her brain….is paired with “what would my daughter do?”, deep inside my own.

I realize….yes…I am completely aware, that this is of my own doing. Let’s face it…I was always waist deep in my own head, maybe I still am. So it stands to reason, that this child of mine, would inherit a bounty of reasons not to flow with the status quo.


For instance, keeping the ER docs in stitches, yes…I do see the pun there.


She never does anything halfway. It’s complete or not at all. When she decided to take up archery, little did I know….she’d go and go and go and go…until she hit that mark. Summers around here, are marked by trips to the sporting goods store to get more arrows. And I’ve never been big on cramming a child’s day chalk full of so many activities, they have no time to explore their own minds. In a way, that’s a dangerous game. They need to figure that out while we’re there to watch safely from the sidelines. Too much, too young, creates conflict when they finally get to venture out into the world all on their own. She chooses her hobbies, nothing is forced.

I don’t think she’s met a hobby she didn’t like. Especially on the water….

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If I had to pick my favorite part…the best of who she is…I could not. There are so many. I love her humor, her curiosity, her argumentative way of getting that darned point across, those eye rolls I get if I try to add mushrooms or tomatoes  to her food…the constant…NEED…to try something new. The casual tossing aside of  the laptop or phone, for an interesting read. The outer beauty that she doesn’t know  she has….

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Combined with an inner beauty that would  overshadow a  Paul Ce’zanne, GEORGIA O’KEEFFE or Vincent Van Gogh . She knows when to hold back and when to push forward. Her heart isn’t plastered on her sleeve, but it’s not hidden in the shadows either. With just the right amount of emotion and logic, the ease with which one can listen to and comprehend  her constantly changing complexities…it’s absolutely flawless.

For this child, my hope is a life of adventure, love , questions, knowing when to go against the grain, when to lead and when to follow. With a child like this one, it’s not the  parents job to lead, it’s only ours to follow.  Knowing how to quiet her mind and when to let it explode with everything she has. Fire and snowflakes, her mind collides and yet does not collapse. It has a meter, a tempo….an unwritten song waiting to be played out. And oh how I hope I’m there to hear the finished ballad….

Between Legos and LOLs


“What’s a conundrum?” …..”ummmm, ask your sister“.


So my youngest turned 10 this past December. He’s in that ‘inbetween’ world. The one where fantasy begins to slowly slip away into reality. Mind you, there’s still plenty of fantasy….but not quite as much. I’d say around a 10% decrease in the past year. Functioning at a good 90% and still roaming the maze in ‘the Labyrinth’, along with Sting (yes…I’m that old), my son still clings to his childhood. And somewhere between legos and trading lols with his bff, there’s a tiny glimpse into his future…lurking…..

For quite some time, I’ve been quite aware of his ‘all boy’ psyche. Caution to the wind, shoes unlaced, to heck with the proper safety gear, ‘Mom, you’re paranoid!’, ‘this is gonna be AWESOME!’, ‘Mom…has anyone ever died skydiving with an umbrella?’, barreling full speed ahead, who really needs bones anyway? and…

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Organizing the Laundry Room

So my orders came in today  and….I love them! Since the remodel, I was a little nervous at first about the new color scheme. But I’m really liking the whole ‘spring’ thing. Lime green, teal, pink, yellow…everything spring. Sure helps take the misery out of winter.

A couple weeks ago, I hosted a Thirty-One Gifts party for my daughter, Katie. Honestly, I’m not big on purses, but I thrive on organization tools. I didn’t even know that company  had those. And lucky me…all in my colors! These are the ‘snap pockets’. They can attach to each other in a string or they can each hang separately. There’s also the tiny ‘snap bin’. That’s the circular pink one. I’m using it for belts. The kids never seem to remember to remove them, prior to dumping their clothes in the baskets for the  ‘magical laundry fairy’ to do.

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I still have quite a bit to do. I’d like to replace the laundry baskets with large totes, as well as large bins for my cleaning products. But all in all, it’s a great start. Who says the laundry room needs to be boring?! Mine is right off the kitchen. You come in the house, through the laundry room and into the kitchen….it must have color! It’s funny how the smallest room in the house, is currently keeping me the most entertained.

Once I have the totes in place, I will of course, post more pics. I also need to get some sort of hanging hooks for the steam cleaner. I’m not real thrilled about leaning it up against the new paint job. Basically, it’s a work in progress….


And for my other daughter, I grabbed a string bag. Those seem pretty popular with the kids these days.


Katie’s Thirty-One Page

My goal is to have the entry look similar to this:


Now I just need someone to build me that shelving unit…if wishes were horses…..although, I may be able to find one to refurbish for next to nothing or even free…free is always better….and normally, I’m not big on spending money on ANYTHING. But let’s face it, the bags are cute and they match.