Family Calendar

Made-a-move #22: Online Family Calendar

As our lives are getting increasingly busy with the conclusion of the school year, my move for this week is to better utilize (and share with you) the online Cozi Calendar that I found out about from The Flylady – last Summer.






So what is a “Cozi Calendar”?  For us, it is an amazing (and free) tool to coordinate schedules of a busy family!  It has all kinds of available tools for sharing information with each other – to-do lists, shopping lists, a family journal…  but the one we mainly use is the calendar!  Just for starters, Cozi allows us to:

  • add calendar items and specify which family members each pertain to
  • select a color dot to represent each person on the calendar to easily see
  • choose to have a reminder sent to each person’s mobile device or email
  • set appointments as repeating or singular
  • access our calendar wherever we are – (rather than only when we are within sight of the one on the fridge)
  • add downloadable internet calendars to include in our calendar – I added a Jewish calendar that even tells us when the Sabbath candle-lighting time is each week

Any one of us in our family can add an appointment to the calendar for all of us to see, set up reminders of events, or have a message sent to the rest of us to our phone or email.

It is a great tool for families and one that I plan to make much better use of for mine as we continue to grow and face new challenges.

Have a great a successful week!

- DebBee

Advance planning and preps

Made-a-move #21: Extra planning and effort early, for more sanity later

Yes, I know – it is Tuesday… but since the move happened before Monday, I’m still counting it as a Made-a-move Monday.  My blog; my rules to bend ;)

Almost half of the first night’s work

Having taken on waaay too much to do last week, I did make the move to, uncharacteristically, make a plan in advance and get things done ahead of time rather than my usual fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants last minute rush.  Yes, after staying up til after 4am Wednesday night/ Thursday morning, I got less than 3 hours of sleep before getting up for getting kids off to school and me to work… followed by another night of less than 3 hours of sleep Thursday night before getting up at 4am for making so much bread (with the help of incredible friends) that took over 100 lbs of flour and about 9 hours to make .,,, followed by carpooling and cooking for the next 5 hours.   My candle burns at both ends now… 

So, in such a seemingly insane schedule, how can I say I made a move of improvement?  First of all, I took the time Thursday afternoon to take a 2 hour nap! (I cannot even remember the last time I have done that when not terribly ill!!)  I planned out my menu for the Friday night – Monday night holidays on Tuesday, did my grocery shopping on Wednesday, and started my cooking on Thursday – wayyyy unheard of for me!  Needing to bake lots of challah breads (over 20) at home, I divided the task into 2 nights rather than trying to do it all at once and did some of the holiday cooking while the breads were rising and baking (with the help of my DD who also shaped the breads for me on the second night).  The end result was: I got nearly all of the cooking done before the 3-day holiday began and, though my body was rather stiff and sore from the rigorous schedule on my feet 3 days in a row, I was able to relax and enjoy the holiday with my family rather than spending so much of it preparing meals.

Old habits and routines don’t break easily.  It is so good to see them transforming into healthier patterns.  More moves to come.   Have a great week!

- DebBee

Getting “it” together

Made-a-move #20.

Divided file foldersTwenty weeks of moving. Hard to believe.  And the direction I am moving is even more surprising.  Years of dreaming of developing my own business have come full circle as the winds of change are bringing me back in the direction of OT (that is ‘occupational therapy’, not ‘overtime’ – I already put in more than enough of the latter ;)   Words I avoided for so long are now sounding exciting to me once again… sensory-motor, visual motor…  And with it I feel brain cells coming out of dormancy.  As I am adding to my juggle of school information for my kids, financial aid applications for next year’s tuition for them, school decisions for my kids who will be moving on to new schools, and now also keeping track of my OT reinstatement requirements and continuing education, I pulled out divided folders, adjusted my hole punch to the right size, and took one small (but big) step towards being more organized.

And, what of my business dreams?  Time will tell. Perhaps they will have an occupational therapist running them some time in the future.  In the mean time, those ideas have helped spark creative juices and launch some of my kids in the direction of developing and working towards their own dreams.

Keep moving.  Keep growing.  Lets enjoy our journey in life together.

- DebBee

Happy Mother’s Day!

Made-a-move #19

My move for this week – with the guidance and help of my family, was connecting to and celebrating “Momness” on Mother’s Day.  Taking a step away from even thinking about the long list of would-should-could to-do’s, to instead focus on my place in my family.

As I went out of my room to wake my daughter for a lesson, I discovered that she was not only up but busy getting ready for surprising me.  I quickly got dressed and came out of my room to the greeting of this:

Which was soon followed by:

Instead of dining in my room I opted to go down to be with my family.

My oldest son cleaned up the living room and dining room and presented me with a hand-made gift of his own to go with the hand made gifts of his brothers.  Such was the start to a beautiful Mother’s day.  After taking my youngest DD to her morning lesson, I came home to a plateful of delicious snickerdoodle cookies and beautiful card from my middle DD:

No to-do’s were going to interrupt this day!

Of course a very important part of ‘Momness‘ is supporting the interests of the kids – which included going to a grand opening of a LEGO store, but with the added bonus of going with MY mom (who kindly hung out with the kids in the store while I went to sit a few minutes with my DH).

Shopping malls are NOT my thing!  One of my teen DDs was very happy for the rare opportunity to go to her favorite stores while the boys were happily surrounded by Legos :)

Next stop, in being immersed in the ‘Momness day‘, was to take my mom to a plant nursery to pick out a fun new flowering plant for her yard while my DH picked out hanging flowering plants for his mom.  After a quick stop to pick up my other 2 DDs and BBQ supplies, we went to my DH’s brother’s house to wish Happy Mother’s Day to his mom and hang out a bit at their house on a lake.  I finished the day off with helping one teen DD feel better from a major sinus attack that was making her miserable and trying to reassure the other teen DD of her ability to complete overwhelming homework. (Not that I actually succeeded in reassuring her, but I tried.)

My “Momness” celebrations carried into the week as I joined my youngest son Monday morning in the Mother’s Day events that his class planned of a bagel snack, personally made gifts, and planting flowers in their play-yard before I jumped into the workday of making lunches for his school.

Beautiful flowers bloom and abound around our Honey Tree!  It is so good to take the time to notice and appreciate them!  Wishing you personal growth as well as much beauty blooming around your efforts… and the ability to take time to notice and appreciate them.  Please feel free to share them in the comments to this blog.

In Honor of Mom

Made-a-Move # 18

Every year there is always the question of ‘What to get Mom for mother’s day?’  Another craft book of things I would love to do if I had time that maybe she could find time for…?… flowers, again…?  Treats that will be enjoyed, but gone as fast as an empty sink gets refilled with dirty dishes ..?..  I know how about I stand up in front of a room full of over a hundred people (most of whom I don’t know) and tell them what a great mom she is :)

Ok, it was a week early and wasn’t really for Mother’s day.  But I did do the speech.  How many people get the opportunity to use a microphone to tell their mom how great she is?!  Moms do so much to contribute to the successes of, and make a positive impact on, so many people’s lives.  Some more visibly than others.  Each in their own, unique, way.  So, in celebration of my mom’s ways, here is most of the speech I said at a luncheon she was being honored at yesterday as a “Woman of Achievement” for her many years of contributions to her Synagogue:

When my mother first told me about the event, in her humble way, she was hoping at least I and a couple of my girls would come.   Like so many others who are here because she is being honored, my whole family is here today.  And, my brother, who lives in Germany and cannot be here today sends his warmest wishes and lots of love.  Who is Honored?  The question is asked and answered by Ben Zoma in Pirkei Avos (4:1) He who honors others.

Everyone who meets my mom sees how respectful she is of others.  She is ready to help others, but always in a quiet, unassuming and supportive way.  Rather than jumping in and taking over, she waits for direction of how and where they want her help.

When our first child was born, my mom came to help us.  As eager as she was to meet her new granddaughter, she waited (on our request) until we came home from the hospital and were settled before she came to St Paul.  Mom was there to help any way we let her, but managed to not step on toes as the nervous new parents insisted on changing all of the diapers and bathing the tiny baby themselves those first few days.

And when my husband reluctantly went back to work when the baby was 5 days old, Mom was there to help her crazy daughter surprise him by bringing the baby to his work so he could show her off to his co-workers.

While my mom keeps herself busy with exercise to take care of herself, activities with friends, working as a substitute (including being a very much loved Morah at her grandson’s preschool) and volunteering at her synagogue in so many ways, she clearly lets us know that she is always here for us when we need her.   Both for sharing life’s challenges and for sharing our accomplishments and simchas [joyous occassions].

She has mastered the balance (that seems to allude me) of taking care of herself, giving of herself, recognizing her limits, and maintaining the ability to help others in their time of need.  From driving across town to take an ill grandchild home from school in the middle of the day, to helping her daughter with a big fundraising event.  Without ridicule, and always with a loving smile.  :)   Albeit sometimes a tired one.

Honoring Parents is such a major mitzvah [Jewish commandment] that it is included in the 10 Commandments.  How can I give honor to my mom?  It says in the Torah that the way to know if a tree is good is by looking at its fruit.  So, I think it is, in part, by leading a life by her examples of how to treat others and making sure the fruits of her labor are sweet.  I think that is what the concept of “nachas” [mixed feeling of pride and joy] is all about.  Tasting the sweet fruits of your labor – seeing the growth and successes that stem from your efforts – be it the success of the Sisterhood activities she takes part in, or of the children and grandchildren she had a hand in bringing into this world and nurturing.

I’ve always been uncomfortable with receiving compliments – except for one.  Over the years, whenever anyone told me I was like my mom in some way, I always took that as a compliment.  She is one of the strongest people I know.  Like everyone, she has her own set of challenges in life – but she has the fortitude to control her reactions to those challenges and go on to enjoy life, greet everyone with kindness, and be there for others.

We love you, Mom, and I am still growing up trying to be more like you.
Mazel tov to you on receiving this much deserved honor, and thank you for inviting me to be a part of this very special event.  May you continue to be blessed with health and strength, love and respect from family and friends, and nachas from your children and grandchildren.

Taking action… at the first signs of smoke

Made-a-move #17: Taking action and being more proactive

My usual mode-of-operation tends to be one of ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ at the last minute.  It all gets done, though often with a flurry of activity at the finish line.  Always focusing on the fire at hand.  Don’t get me wrong – I still do that, but there were some glimmers of a more mature and sane way of living that came through this week ;)

This week my move was to be more proactive rather than wait until a full-fledged fire was in need of putting out before asking for help.  Totally contrary to my personality, I actually let people know that I needed extra help when I realized I was going to be short handed and when I was too weak to do some necessary grocery shopping.  (I usually would push myself to do it anyways).  With a very sudden bladder infection, I called for medical help first thing in the morning and went to see a doctor before going in to work.  Granted I am still myself – I did work every day and ended up sick during the weekend… but, even then I broke out of my constant buzz of activity and stayed laying down most of 2 days to recover. 

And I took notes throughout the week putting thoughts together for a speech I am not even giving for another week yet!  I finished writing the speech!  But, that will be for another posting.  As a hint, here is a picture my DD made that captures a bit of the subject matter:

Artwork by Shoshana

Have a great and successful week!

- DebBee


Moving Forward with Charm(s)

Made-a-move #16

This week was filled with lots of accomplishments.  But, as far as a tangible thing I can point to and know that I am continuing to move forward for myself, as well as for others, I have added charm… or rather charms to my purse.   I fell in love with the charms and bought them several years ago, seeing their messages representing the qualities I have valued in myself (patience, happiness, kindness, love, peace and joy) and wanting the tangible reminders of these qualities as I sought to move forward in the direction of following my drive to Dream, Create and Soar.   Up until now, I had not found a good way to carry the charms with me.  Now (or at least until I get tired of carrying a purple purse ;) ) I have them securely attached wherever I go.  A point of stability.  A non-electronic GPS so I don’t get so lost again.  A reminder of who I am as I step out of my comfort zone to embark on new journeys of further personal growth.

Move along with me with Made-a-move Mondays.

Much continued growth and success to you in your journeys!

- DebBee

Drop-Down Menus!!

Made-a-move #15

Hooray!  I figured out how to make drop down menus thanks to the WordPress Support Forum, Jentelo for asking my exact question, and wperic and leftbank for answering it :)

My crazy menu titles now have meaning when “moused-over” :)

If you are just starting out, here’s how – or at least how I did it:

First off,  I am using the WordPress theme Twenty Eleven.  I don’t know what the different layouts may be if you are using a different WordPress theme.

When I decided to set up my blog, I had ideas of what content I wanted to include and an outline of how I would organize the content.  So, I first set up the different categories that my postings would fit into.  As I make a posting, I label it with the category I already have set up.  Accessing “Categories” is found in the “Posts” option in the WordPress left sidebar of the admin control pages.  Once on the Categories page, setting up your categories is as easy as inputting the Name, a description (optional), and press “Add new Category” – see green arrows below:

If you input your main categories first, you can later assign the other categories you set up as being subcategories to a “Parent” while you are inputting them by clicking the “Parent” drop-down before clicking “Add New Category”.  You can always assign or change the categories later by going to the Categories page in the Posts sidebar option and Edit the one(s) you want to.

Having categories for your posts is not the same as having menu titles across the top of your page yet.  To set up your menu bar, look at the sidebar  and find “Appearance”.  In the Appearance options, go to Menus (red circle below.)

At the blue arrows below, input A the menu title (you can create different menus, but WP Twenty Eleven theme only has one location for a customized menu so you will only use 1 menu at a time); B save the menu title, C choose the menu you want to use, and D click Save.  You now have a menu – next to add the Menu titles.

Towards the bottom of the Menu page are the categories that are set up.  The default is to show the Most Used, but clicking the View All (green arrow 1) is more useful.  You can pick-and-choose the categories you want in your menu or you can choose to Select All (green arrow 2).  Next, click Add to Menu – this will make them show up in the menu list shown below in the purple circle.  At this point they will be all aligned along the left edge of the menu list.  Be sure to Save Menu by clicking the button in the bottom right!

Rather than having so many menu items across your menu bar, you can make some of them be sub-topics that will show up as drop-down when mousing-over the “parent” categories that will be in the menu bar.  To do this, drag and drop the sub-menu item below, and slightly to the right, under the menu topic you want it to be in.  The final look is what you see in the purple circle above.  Be sure to click Save Menu (bottom right) when you are done!

At any time in the development of your blog you can add additional categories using the same process above.  Under Posts, go to Categories and add the New Category.  Then, under Appearance, go to Menus and, in the View All listing, click the category you want to add to your menu (see left image below).  When you click Add to Menu, it will add it (where the green arrow points) at the end of the menu list.  Simply drag-an-drop it to where you want it to go (right image below). Again, be sure to Save Menu when finished.







But, there’s more…

You also have the option to add descriptions of your menu item that will be visible when the mouse lingers over that item.  To do this, click the little arrow next to the menu category (point 1 in red circle) and then type the descriptive Title Attribute in box at the arrow 2.  Be sure to Save Menu when finished (arrow 3)

If you later decide to get rid of a category in your menu, you can do that through that menu item’s Category drop down arrow (see below).

If rather than just deleting the menu item, you choose to delete a category all together on the Categories page, any postings you had in that category that do not have any other labels would be transferred to “Uncatagorized”.

Thank you for coming to my HoneyTree Buzz Blog – much success to you in the growth of yours!

- DebBee

Leaving Slavery

Made-a-move #14

Artwork by Shoshana

My move for this week has been preparing for and celebrating Passover with my family – a holiday that commemorates the Jewish people leaving the slavery of Egypt to be free to fulfill our purposes in this world.  The participation and help of all of my family has been immense, each in their own way, and greatly appreciated!

The special Passover “Seder” meal the first night(s) of Passover are filled with symbolic items and actions that help us walk through the history of our people’s experiences as being slaves, of crying out to The Creator for help, and His rescuing us and bringing us to freedom.  As is said during the seder, “In every generation, a person is obligated to regard himself as though he had come out of Egypt… It was not only our ancestors whom the L-rd redeemed from Egypt, but He redeemed us with them as well.”   The symbolism presented on the table in front of us during the meal (and all of the hard work preparing for the holiday) set the stage, but to truly feel the redemption, we need introspection.

Artwork by Shoshana

So often we feel like we are “A rose among thorns.”  That harsh conditions around us limit our freedom.  Passover is a time to look inside ourselves and realize how much we are “a slave to ourselves.”  I’ve heard that in the process of training elephants, the baby elephants were chained, at their ankle, to a post when young.  As they grew big, they could easily have escaped the chains through their great strength, but didn’t even try out of memory of not being able to when they tried in their youth.  How much are we held back by our perceptions of our limitations?  Are the thorns really there?  Maybe yes, and maybe no.  Either way we need to realize that there is a way to get past them, blossom to our full potential, and share our beautiful contributions with the world around us.  We need to not allow past experiences blind us to the possibilities now and in the future.

Artwork by Shoshana

As we conclude the Seder with the words “Next Year in Jerusalem”, it is my heartfelt wish that this be a year that we break out of the confined image we have ourselves.  That we realize that we can call out to, and tap into, the infinite strength of The Creator.  That we recognize the incredible potential we have within ourselves.  And, that we can live fulfilling our purpose in this world – be that in Jerusalem, in our world, in our communities, in our family, in our jobs, or, and most importantly, in ourselves.

Health, strength, happiness, and success to you in all of your worthwhile endeavors!

- DebBee

Multiple Image re-sizing

Made-a-move #13





As I have been doing more and more with putting images on the web, I’m learning the importance of resizing images.  I’m getting better at it, but it has been tedious for the quantity of images I’d love to put up – especially with adding images to my DD’s online artistic portfolio and my aspirations of posting online demonstrations.

Not wanting to let my lack of training [college education in occupational therapy didn't exactly cover this area ;) ]  to hold me back, I did a little searching and found a great freeware program for resizing multiple images: Fast Image Resizer Thanks to for the info and for the confirmation that it is a good (and safe) program.

Resizing a batch of pictures was as simple as selecting them in their folder and drag-drop a copy of them to the resizer – it automatically set up a ‘resized’ folder for them and resized them in seconds.  Wow!  Online picture stories and tutorials, here I come!