Monday, November 24, 2014

Organic Thanksgiving Centerpieces

Growing up centerpieces were huge in my house. 
My mom created beautiful centerpieces that adorned our dining room table all year round. We would joke, because some were so big that we couldn't  even see each other during dinner,  but they were always beautiful and she loved designing them. 
 Now that Michael built us our own dining table, I can't wait to create a centerpiece for the holdays.  For Thanksgiving I want to stay away from the typical pumpkins and autumn flowers and try something simple and organic that I can carry over to Christmas. I came across these beautiful pieces which combine lots of greenery with nature. I definitely want to use acorns since Tommy loves to collect them and they are everywhere right now!  Maybe a little project we can do together. Check these beautiful pieces out!

Acorns and tea light candles
Sage and pine cones
Pine cones, pine needles and mason jars with tea lights. 
Painted white mini pumpkins and any greenery of your choice. So pretty!

Which would you choose? Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

My "Sly" little Two Year Old

You are Two!
I mean how is that even possible? Happy Birthday little "T!" 
Two is a significant age. You have surpassed many preemie milestones with flying colors. Two years ago when you were lying in that incubator struggling to breathe, I would never have imagined the "sly little fox" you would become. A neighbor mentioned the other day that you have a mischievous little smile, and you do. I am hoping to stay one step ahead of you in life, but I'll admit it's going to be a challenge!

My heart just sings when you scream,"MOM," at the top of your lungs each morning when I enter your room. You blow me kisses, and sing and dance all day long. You point up to the sky at airplanes in awe, chase butterflies and pick flowers. Flowers that aren't intended to be picked, but we're working on that. Looking and smelling but not picking the flowers that is; but when you turn to me with such a proud smile and flower in hand, I must admit it's a hard rule to enforce. Perhaps there should be an exception to that rule for little boys who want to pick a flowers for their mothers. Yes, I think so!
You love to be outdoors, and can make anything as simple as picking up acorns or playing with rocks an adventure. Letters are kind of a big deal right now, and you know them all. No matter where we are, or what we're doing, you make sure to point out each and every letter we pass by. So proud of yourself you are. We're proud of you too. ( :

Happy 2nd Birthday sweet Tommy! Keep embracing life with such gusto and you will a happy little camper for many years to come. Oh, and one last thing. Please feel free to skip the "terrible twos" stage. Seriously! It's no problem at all, We love you no matter what.

MOM! and Da-deeeeeeee

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Fall has arrived!
The spiced candles are burning, the house is decorated, I've got a pumpkin bread in the oven and Mike and I are watching "Chef." Have you seen it? It's GREAT!
I just love the Fall. It's my absolute favorite season and what makes me miss living up north the most. Well, that and my family of course!
Florida has been so HOT. A cold front is supposed to be moving in, and I'm hoping it lasts. I am longing for some boots and sweater weather around here.

I took Tommy to the pumpkin patch today, and he was in pumpkin heaven! He ran around those pumpkins for an hour, and I gladly let him. I'm sure we'll return a few more times before Halloween.

Speaking of pumpkins, have you ever seen these adorable "pumpkin branches?" When I laid my eyes on them I thought they couldn't be real. But they are, and they are perfect on my mantle. I got them where else? Trader Joe's!

Started making roasted veggies last week. I've been making huge batches and passing containers off to friends because they are so easy, and just SO GOOD!
Take sweet potato, zucchini, brussel sprouts, mushrooms, red onion, califlower, a can of chickpeas, yellow squash, cherry tomatoes, EVOO, sea salt, pepper, and dried basil. Chop, mix together, and toss with the olive oil in a large pan. Heat at 400 degrees. Just keep watching and stirring every 15 minutes or so. Again...... SO GOOD!

Tommy's Halloween costume arrived and to say he is thrilled is an understatement! I mean....... could you die?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hope everyone has a fun Halloween!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Secret Winter Weapons

Flu season has arrived, and I know this, because every single grocery or drug store I walk into is offering the Flu shot. Some are even offering coupons for shopping if you get one. Wow!
Anyone who knows me, knows that I'll go the more alternative route whenever I can. I'm not a big fan of the flu shot, and while it is beneficial for some, I don't feel that it's necessary for all. The only two times I received the Flu shot, I GOT the Flu, so I steer clear of it. But.... to each his own. I figure the best way to avoid the Flu is with preventative measures, so if you are interested in staying healthy this season the natural way, please read on. 

I've stocked my medicine cabinet with the above products and I am ready to go. I swear by these products, along with lots of handwashing, and avoiding situations where the likelyhood of picking up the dredded Flu is a possibility. I avoid the mall like the plague. I mean..... why tackle the annoying crowds anyway when you can shop online in the privacy of your own home right? Thank you Amazon for carrying just about anything known to man kind! I also avoid flying (at least until my preemie boy is past the age of 2) and I use the grocery store wipes like they are going out of style!

So, are a few of my "Secret Weapons!"

-OSCILLOCOCCINUM- Try pronouncing that! Okay, this is sort of a best kept secret. I'm almost afraid to let you in on this one with the fear if will go flying off the shelves and I won't be able to get it! But trust me, this stuff is nothing short of a miracle! Michael introduced it to me years ago, and it's not cheap, but it works. The second you feel Flu-like symptons, pour a capsule of these miracle beads into your mouth and I can pretty much guarantee you won't get it. If you do, this stuff will knock it out FAST. I had a bad cold a few weeks ago and it was completely gone within 3 days. I know! They make it for kids too. I get mine on Amazon because they seem to have the best deal. 

-VITAMIN D3 (10,000 IU)- We load up on D for the winter. During Flu season, Michael and I take 10,000 IU of Vitamin D3 a day, which has also done wonders for Michael's skin. I give Tommy the D3 drops which can also be purchased on Amazon.

-SIN JIN BAU A.I.R. Tea- I discovered this miracle tea from Tommy's peditrician. It's not sold in stores, but you can get it online HERE.  I had a friend whose two sons had the flu last year and she and her husband both avoided it by drinking this tea and taking the Oscillococcinum. I bought 3 bottles. It's made for children and adults. Tastes good too!

-BURTS BEES ALOE & WITCH HAZEL HAND SANITIZER- I love this stuff. I have a bottle in the car and one in my purse. If you can't wash your hands, hand sanitizer is the next best thing. Make sure whichever sanitizer you choose contains at least 60% alcohol.

and lastly.......

-SAMBUCUS ELDERBERRY SYRUP- This is a new remedy for me and I am so excited! I started Tommy on 1 teaspoon a day last week, and Michael and I are starting with 2 teaspoons a day soon. Google it! Elderberry is the only herb proven to fight the flu and prevent replication. I have read nothing but amazing things when it comes to Elderberry syrup and it's success preventing and healing the flu, or common cold. There are plenty of recipes on the internet where you can make your own. I'm going to try that next. I bought mine on Amazon HERE.  Read the reviews, they're great!  They also make one for kids which I also bought on Amazon for Tommy. Can you tell I love Amazon?

Stay tuned for a blog next week on oils. I am just starting to touch on that, but I am intrigued! Hope everyone stays happy and healthy this winter!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tommy Boy

Tommy is 22 months (19 adjusted). 
 I can't exactly pinpoint when it happened, but he seems to have turned into a little boy overnight! 
A strong willed little boy! 

From the moment this kid wakes up, he is running, running, running! We call him "Tommy the Terror," and he graciously lives up to the name. He's outspoken, full of energy, and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. I've been known to walk out of many a store with a screaming Tommy in tow, and I think to myself..... ,"Really? Is this really happening?" All you can do is laugh. Laugh out of pure embarrassment.

Michael and I joke and say,"Who is this young man named Tommy living in our house?!" 
 I'll admit, he IS a bit spoiled but don't babies deserve to be a little spoiled? I mean this kid works his butt off at living life to the fullest and you have to reward him for that! 

In all seriousness, we are in love with this kid! The kisses and hugs he hands out make it all worth while and he's fun, smart, happy, and healthy and we couldn't imagine our lives without him. 

Well,......we could imagine more sleep. But that's about it! ( :
Love you T! Keep being YOU and
Keep growing and dancing through life!

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Good Laugh and LINKS

It's Friday, and this made me laugh! 
I'm pretty frugal, but when it comes to handbags, it's the one luxury I won't apologize for. My Birthday's coming up, and I already have my eye on one. 

What are you doing this weekend? We're still recovering from Mike's 50th, so we'll be relaxing, getting the house back in order, taking Tommy to the pool before it closes for the summer, and maybe enjoying a movie or two. Suggestions???


-Eggs Benedict is my all time favorite breakfast, but I've never poached an egg myself.  I'll be following THESE directions, this weekend to master the PERFECT poached egg.

-Do you love domino magazine as much as I do? Buy the Fall issue HERE.

-THIS woman is smart, beautiful, inspiring AND almost 43! To top it off, she's a fellow Virgo! What was "Dancing with the Stars thinking? Seriously!

-I need THESE.

-Whenever I'm feeling overwhelmed or stressed, I go HERE. Try it! You'll love it!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Man Of Fifty Years

Michael turned 50 this week. I know, crazy!
 A few months ago when I asked him what he wanted to do for his 50th he said that he wanted a birthday dinner to be "Roasted" by friends. Only my husband would want to be "Roasted!" Anyway, the planning began. We contacted high school friends, college friends, ex girlfriends (yup,) and those who have been in Michael's life the longest who would guarantee a good "Roasting!" 

We had 7 people fly in from out of town who all stayed in a rental thanks to Is that not the BEST thing ever invented? It was nice to have them all in one place, and of course I got in early to make sure they all had welcome baskets! I love a good welcome basket! Each basket included......
Fiji water
Roasted almonds
Blueberry breakfast bars
Chocolate covered pomegranite seeds
Blondie brownies
and I made sure all the packaging was a shade of blue.

A good friend recommended a quaint little Italian restaurant (CafĂ© Trastevere) for the "Roast," and they agreed to give us the upstairs dining area to ourselves, so that's where we had the party. 

And it was a BLAST!

The party was a success!
Michael had the time of his life, and I think everyone else had fun too.
Check out the "Host with the most" (below) while friends were at our house the following day.

Yup! Love that guy! Not as easy to recover when you're 50 I guess. I wouldn't know. ( :

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Labor Day Weekend

Long time! 
I feel like I say that everytime I write a blog post now, but it's true. SInce having Tommy, blogging has been put on the back burner, and I hate it so I'm doing something about it.
A few weeks ago, I decided to make a "To Do List," of things that needed to be done that I've been putting off. Don't get me wrong. I'm pretty organized, but I'm also the most organized procrastinator you'll ever meet!
My goal was to cross one thing off my list a day, and I'm happy to announce that I succeeded. 
The biggies? I did almost a years worth of company accounting, painted the kitchen, planned a party, cut and bathed Jake (this was a big one), vacuumed the stairs (another big one), and finally had my hair colored after almost 6 months! I know, crazy right? So I'm feeling pretty accomplished. And in between all of it, I got to chase after "Tommy the Terror" and catch up with friends. Not a bad life I tell ya. So, that's where I've been. Any big plans for you this Labor Day weekend? I'll be taking advantage of the pool, chilln' with my boys and baking some blondies.
 Hope everyone enjoys the long weekend!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Life, Floaties and Trader Joe's

I call this "pool snacks.'

Life at the Andrew household has been jam packed! Little "T" continues to keep us busy, but I discovered the neighborhood swimming pool, so now he now takes 2-3 hour naps! Seriously! I take him for a few hours in the morning, then "BAM" it hits him like a ton of bricks and he's out!. More incentive to get a pool!
But seriously, check out my sweet little angel buoy boy! I just love this kid! I can't believe he's all mine to kiss and squeeze and I don't have to give him back! Ugh! Love him!
Are the floaties too over cautious? Naaaaa!

What else, what else.....
I managed to prime the kitchen, and can already tell I'm going to LOVE it. But I'm still torn about which white to use. White paint shades are tough. How could there be so many whites?

The BEST news right now? Drum roll please. My dream table is DONE! Thank you to my sweet husband who always makes my dreams come true. I'm devoting an entire blog to the table because it's THAT AMAZING!
Check out this sneak peek pic.

And the biggest news? The opening of Central Florida's first Trader Joe's! It actually opened a few weeks ago, but seeing how people are driving from hours away (I know crazy), to stock their carts, I thought I'd relax and wait for the excitement to die down. It hasen't really, but I finally conquered it the other night!
My review?
I was a bit underwhelmed. The Trader Joe's in NJ are big and beautiful. Yes, once again Jersey rules! This Trader Joe's is a bit small and annoyingly crowded. But don't get me wrong. I'll take it! The organic produce, flowers, prices and  Cookie Butter will keep me a loyal customer.

That's about it for now. Time to get little "T" all suited up for pool time. Hope everyone has a great week, and thanks for your patience with my sporatic posts. I really do appreciate everyone who follows Free to be Lea.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Life and Links

Life has been busy which is not surprising with a toddler who is nonstop, and the many home projects going on at Chez Andrew. Example above. These are just half of the 75 Tiki mugs I handwashed from Michael's Tiki collection!
This weekend my goal is to prime the kitchen so I can FINALLY paint it! Michael has been working hard in the Florida heat, making my "dream farm table" from reclaimed wood. It feels like Christmas  and I can't wait to have my first REAL dinner party to celebrate! 

My DREAM TABLE that Mike is basing his creation on. Ours will be a bit more rustic but will follow this design. 

Just bought THESE pants in charcoal. How could I not? They're called "LEA pants!"

Another thing on my agenda this weekend is THIS movie. I hear it's fantastic!

Want beachy hair for the summer? Check out this home made SEA SALT SPRAY  from the Free People Blog.

Too hot to cook? Check out these 25, EASY NO COOK RECIPES over at Real Simple.

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!