Disney here we come...{again!}

As many of you know we are quite the fans of Disney World.  The hubs and I have both been 5 times...when we were little, then once a few years after we were married and 3 times since Little Bit was born!  Now we are gearing up for another trip in about a month!  This time we are going with my mother in law and sis in law.  We are all super excited and have been planning the trip since forever ago it seems.  I know there are tons of blogs out there with tips and whatnot but I thought over the next couple of weeks I'd share some of the tips and tricks we have learned over the years!

First up is planning your trip...start as early as you can.  If you plan on doing any sit down dining in the parks you can make those reservations as early as 180 days before your trip!  So you will want to pay attention to your dates and get reserving as soon as it's possible.

If you are buying a 3 day pass or higher to the parks, you can save a little bit of money on your tickets by going through undercovertourist.com.  

Check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World from your local library...or purchase a copy if you must.  This is a great resource for helping you get an idea of which parks you want to go to, which rides to do when and so forth. 

Some helpful websites to definitely check out are touringplans.com and easywdw.com.  They both have great information on crowd calendars, customized plans for each park, character locators and much, much more!  Once we pick the dates we will be at Disney, we look at the crowd calendars to see how busy each of the 4 parks will be those days.  Then we decided which day we will go to what park...trying to pick the least crowded park each day.  It is also nice to see what rides have the longest wait times, so you can plan where to head first, fast passes, etc. accordingly!


{leftover} Easter candy?

Little Bit got to participate in several egg hunts this year so we had quite the haul of Easter candy.  One thing we came away with lots of were little foil wrapped chocolate eggs.  I was making a batch of pumpkin spice muffins last week and I usually add some chocolate chips.  BUT I didn't have any on hand, so I decided to chop up some of the chocolate eggs to use in their place.  It worked great! 

Here are a few other uses for Easter candy that look fun to try...

Peep smores | I have totally made these in the past and they are pretty yummo.  You don't want to overcook them though cause the sugary coating can get kind of tough.  

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup cookies |  I love these...especially the eggs at Easter time!  Don't know if I would have any leftover to make these cookies but they sure look good!

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
chocolate bunny dipped strawberries |  Melt those chocolate bunnies down and dip some strawberries in it for a yummy snack!  ;)  These would be great to make for a teacher appreciation gift or mother's day!!!

White Chocolate M and M Cookies
white chocolate M&M cookies |  I have some of these just sitting in the cabinet waiting to be eaten...might have to give these cookies a try! 

Do you still have Easter candy left?  If so, how do you use it up???


quit {clowning} around...

A few weeks ago we had a couple weeks of fun with CIRCUS as our theme!  It was so fun using all the bright colors and things involved in a circus.  I know I'm not going to be able to share everything we did here but I'll give you a few highlights! 

We wanted to make our rooms more Circus-like, so one thing we had the kids do was cut lots and lots of triangles.  Then we hung them up all around the room for banners.  I also hung up some streamers and plastic table cloth to make a tent like focal point area.  Balloons were another fun element of the decor!

One of the first things we had the kids do was color acrobats.  Then we cut them out and hung them hanging from straws and yarn from the ceiling. 

We made these shape clowns, using a paper plate and foam shapes.  The kids cut out the large triangle for the hat.  We had them pick 2 shapes for eyes, a red pom pom for the nose and then 3 shapes to create a mouth.  My kiddos love to use dot markers, so we used those to add some hair and red cheeks.

We even had dress like a clown day!  I do love getting to dress up fun and playful...and the kids had a great time with this!

We talked about animals in the circus....one being elephants.  This elephant headband was super easy to make and oh so cute!  Little Bit was in my class this day so she proudly modeled her headband for me!

Blogger rotated this pic...ugh!  I made this fun circus sensory bin for the kids to play with.  I included some bright colored pom poms, pipe cleaner rings to jump through, animals and a little boy eating ice cream!

This was a color matching activity.  The kids were to use the tweezers to pick up a pom pom and then place it on the correct clown nose. 

Other activities...
We used packing peanuts and dropped them into buckets.
Acted out a circus...each kid got to pick what character, animal, they would be in a circus and then acted like them.
Sang some fun circus themed songs.

We enjoyed some fun circus snacks too!  We tried cotton candy and circus peanuts.  Also, I made up this circus snack mix that the kids really enjoyed.  I used this idea on Pinterest as my inspiration and went with what I had on hand.  We are peanut free so I couldn't add those and we can't have popcorn with the 3 year olds so this is what I included...

Circus Snack Mix
clown hats...bugles
tight ropes...pretzel sticks
hoops...fruit loops
animals...frosted animal crackers
clown noses...red m&ms

I used about 1 cup of each...and had plenty for 12 kids with some leftover.

Circus Books...
C is for Clown by Stan & Jan Berenstain
The Circus Comes to Town
You See a Circus, I See... by Mike Downs
Tightrope Poppy the High Wire Pig by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen


Menu Plan Monday

Monday ~ fish fillets, cheesy rice & broccoli, sliced strawberries
Tuesday ~ chicken fajitas, refried beans, chips & salsa
Wednesday ~ apricot pork chops, corn on the cob, sweet potato fries
Thursday ~ french toast, sausage patties, fruit
Friday ~ orange ginger tilapia, green beans, mashed potatoes

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


{winner!} & a super CEREAL sale!

First off....the winner of the Meijer Math giveaway is....

Dana M, who said "I love checking the M Perks and making sure I'm getting best deals that are available. I also always try to use my coupons with sales to enhance my savings."   Yeah Dana...send me an email with your address so we can get your prizes out to you!!!

Now onto more Meijer savings for you all to enjoy this week!  April 14-20 Meijer Brand Boxed Cereal is 50% off!!!  {If you are in the Chicago or Indianapolis markets, the sale runs April 18-28}.  They are expanding their line of cereal.  A few of the new varieties are pictured below.  I've only tried the Blueberry Muffin Squares so far but they are super yummo!  I am adding them to my shopping list for this week while they will be on sale!  I'm anxious to try the Fiber Complete cereal too.  It is packed with high fiber and probiotics. 

We love cereal in our house, so I am looking forward to stocking up on some of our favorite Meijer brands as well as trying some of the new varieties.  I honestly love the Meijer brand...I don't think I have met a Meijer cereal I didn't like...lol!  ;)

To celebrate the release of their new cereals, there is not only a sale all week, but an in-store cereal party on April 20 from 11 am - 4 pm.  You can sample new flavors, make cereal crafts and pose for fun photos.  This sounds like a great family day activity to me! 


mini apple pies

I saw these quick and easy apple pie treats while I was blog browsing one day and quickly pinned them!  So one night for dinner I whipped them up for a quick low-cal dessert.  I couldn't believe how quick and easy they came together....and with ingredients that I almost always have on hand!

brown sugar
cream cheese
graham crackers
I started with an apple and chopped it into small bite sized pieces.  Then I sprinkled on some cinnamon, sugar and brown sugar.  Microwave for about 1 minute and stir.  Check to see if they are warm and softened.  If they need more time, microwave for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. 

Take a graham cracker square and spread on some cream cheese.  I had Laughing Cow Cinnamon spread that I used and it was super tasty!  Plus at only 35 Calories a wedge, this helps keep it a low-cal snack!

Top with apples and enjoy!  The original poster drizzled caramel and chocolate on some of theirs but I think mine were fine just plain!  ;)


sickness, soccer & seating...

Here's a random Thursday post for your reading pleasure ;)...

I didn't get around to making a menu plan this week because I have been feeling under the weather.  So we have just been winging it.  We may have had frozen pizza two nights this week....but you'll never know for sure cause I didn't post a menu on Monday!  ;) 

Sinus pressure + sore throat + cough + headache = blah!  Today was the first day this week I didn't feel like I needed to collapse on the couch when I got home from school though....so things might be on the upswing. 

Two positive things did happen this week though.  Little Bit's soccer season started on Tuesday night!  She had a blast and is looking forward to the next game tonight.  There are only 2 girls on the team and they have the same name!  Also, 4 of the 6 boys have the same name too!  How crazy is that?!

Here are a few shots of Little Bit at her first game...
 Doing some warm up drills during practice. 
 Patiently waiting her turn! 
She played goalie for 1 of the quarters.  Here she is getting ready to throw the ball back in after she stopped it!

The other fun thing from this week was getting some seating for our back patio area!  We have been looking for a while and just not knowing what to get.  Well since spring has sprung...or kind of at least...we decided it was time to get serious about our search.  We want to enjoy eating and just hanging out on our new patio while the weather is pleasant. 

Here is the glider we picked out for our covered deck. 

And here is our table...which I love!!!  The chairs we picked out for around the table match the glider. We found all these pieces at Menards.  
Now we just need the rain to blow over and the sun to come out so we can enjoy some meals outside! 


Become a Meijer Mathlete...and another giveaway!

Meijer recently kicked off a Facebook contest that is super simple to enter.  All you have to do is submit how you are using "Meijer Math" to save money.  Each week, a winner will be picked and receive a $100 Meijer gift card and a Meijer Mathlete shirt.   You have until April 24th to enter the Facebook giveaway.  


What is "Meijer Math" you ask?  Essentially, it's all about using Meijer's everyday low prices and combining those with weekly specials, sale prices, mPerk digital coupons, etc. to get the most savings.  

Here are some of the Meijer Math deals I used this week to save money...

Sargento Shredded Cheese, 5-8 oz... $2.00
-$0.55/2 Sargento printable coupon
$1.73 each when you buy 2 with coupon

Kellogg’s Eggo Waffles...$1.67
-$1.00/2 (previously printed)
$1.17 a box when you buy 2 with coupon

General Mills or Kellogg’s Cereals select varieties...$1.99
-$1.00/2 General Mills printable coupon or $1.00/3 Kellogg’s printable coupon
$1.49-$1.66 after coupon

I love the Meijer brand products and so this was a great savings bonus since I buy alot of the store brand anyways!...
Get up to $5 off instantly when you purchase Meijer brand products. Limit 1 offer per transaction (3/31-4/6). *Excludes Meijer gift cards, prepaid debit cards & reload packs, prepaid phone cards, produce and baby food.

  • Buy 5 Meijer brand items, get $1 off
  • Buy 10 Meijer brand items, get $2.50 off
  • Buy 20 Meijer brand items, get $5 off
Not only do you have a chance to win on the Facebook giveaway but Meijer has generously given me a $25 Meijer gift card and a Meijer Mathlete shirt to giveaway to one of my blog readers!!!  Just leave a comment on this blog post letting me know your favorite ways to save at Meijer.  You have until April 12th to enter! 


TWO more down...

Well I have knocked 2 more items off my Pinterest Challenge list!  So that makes 4 out of the 6.  I hope to get to the other 2 at some point...1 of them is a card so you think that would be fairly easy to accomplish!  ;)
I have been wanting a flat iron holder for quite some time now.  When I came across this pin on how to make one from a pot holder I was sold on making one.  Well I finally got around to doing it the other day!!!  

Here is the pot holder I started with.  I found it at Wal-mart for about $3.  It came with a towel, spatula and recipe card! 

All I did was fold it in half with the pocket on the outside and stitch from the pocket down all the way around the bottom.  I did have to take my foot of my sewing machine for it to fit in there.  Even then it was a tight squeeze.   But I got the job done!

Here is my straightener....snug as a bug in a rug!  The cord even has a nice snug home in the pocket!

Next up was some elephant art.  I had this one on my list to do but changed to this as my inspiration.   It will work double duty for me.  First as a welcome to guests on the entry table at my sisters baby shower.  Then as art work on the wall in her nursery! 

I loved the giraffe picture that I took my inspiration from.  I just went to my friend google images and searched for a profile picture of an elephant head.  Then I cut it out and traced it onto decorative paper.  I hand sketched the "hello" at the bottom.  I am loving how it turned out!

The other pins I finished for this challenge were patches for jeans and cinnamon roll waffles.  


The Winners...

and yes, I said winners, plural....of the Burt's Bees giveaway are...

Lisa and Kris!!!  

I had so many wonderful lip goodies that I decided to giveaway 2 prize packs.  You will each get 3 different Burt's Bees lip products to try!  I hope you love them as much as I do!!!


Menu Plan Monday

Monday ~ chili, peanut butter sandwiches, apple slices
Tuesday ~ fish fillets, broccoli & cheese, baked sweet potato
Wednesday ~ eggs in clouds, english muffins, cantaloupe
Thursday ~ pizza night
Friday ~ pesto pasta w/mushrooms, salad, fruit

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.