About Me

11.18.2018

Our $160 Adventure!

This post is sponsored by Vanguard, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.


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It's funny, looking at the "bigger picture", $160 really doesn't seem like a whopping amount - but it really is. That's gas for a road trip, a one-way ticket on a train, the amount of our water bill. It's also the difference between a day spent trying to channel her energy productively at home or a day spent exploring and learning a new place.

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While there's a million ways we could have spent the day exploring in our neck of the woods, from children's museums to amusement parks, we asked Delainey what she wanted to do and she chose to go to ZooTampa!

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Our "little" zoo isn't just a regular zoo, though - it's a whole trip around the world and it's also a place where animals are rescued, rehabilitated and cared for. With 56 acres of land there's a lot to do and see, there's interactive sections, there's meet and greets, there's even 'rides' & 'rollercoasters'- it truly is one of the coolest zoos we've ever been to.

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On that note, we did a little bit of everything on our visit with our little explorer. From riding carousels & trolly trains to up close encounters with our favorite critters - our day was definitely full of fun.

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There's just something so heartwarming about watching your kiddo brush the hair of a "kid" - a goat baby that is. She lit up each time we came upon a new animal, told us about her favorites, chatted about everything she saw, and was practically running from exhibit to exhibit to see all her "friends". It was a truly great day for all of us.

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That's the thing, this $160 made for a day of happiness - but imagine how much $160 can ADD up overtime... that compounded amount could buy a whole lot of adventures, right? According to recent data, if you hold $10,000 in cash, you could earn around $170 in a year, at the current average yields of money market mutual funds. In a bank account, you'd only make about $10.* That means in a few years, you could have enough to fund a few plane tickets or even a cruise, just by switching how your funds are stored!

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While $160 may not seem like a load of cash in the short term, it can add up to a substantial amount overtime. I've been doing a lot of thinking about money and choosing a higher-yielding cash account could allow me and my little crew to experience more moments like these, more adventures with my family, more time spent exploring.

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To get the most out of our cash, it's important that we all assess our options and determine the best provider that fits our financial plan. Some companies, such as Vanguard, are built in a way that better aligns to the interests of it's investors. If you haven't looked at your cash investments recently, maybe it's time to ask yourself one vital question: "Am I getting the most from my financial provider?" If you hesitated, even in the slightest, I think it's time to learn more about Vanguard.

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*This illustration uses 1.69% average yield for money market mutual funds and 0.09%
national average yield for bank savings, both as of 9/30/2018, according to
cranedata.com and bankrate.com. These rates are not guaranteed. Vanguard is owned by its funds, which in turn are owned by their investors. All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest. Bank deposits are guaranteed (within limits) as to principal and interest by an agency of the federal government. There may be other material differences between products that should be considered before investing.

11.16.2018

Spend a Little Time Caring for YOU: What's in My Tender Love and Self Care BabbleBoxx

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com.




I can't be the only one that embraces those moments in between. The quiet ones when everyone is still asleep, when the coffee tastes a little better and the silence is a little more golden... we all know what I'm getting at here. Those sweet moments of alone time as a mom are seriously golden.

I've been doing my best to make sure I make time for me in the midst of the chaos. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love this crazy, beautiful life I lead - but sometimes it's nice to step back and take a deep breath... especially when I'm feeling under the weather. So that's what today's Babbleboxx goodies are all about, taking care of YOURSELF.



That's right, Babbleboxx sent over this package full of TLC just for me and I loved each & every second of it! From the fresh tea & coffee to the new book to dive into, I'm overjoyed to share all of the goodies that came in the box this month.

I suppose we'll start with the good stuff...well, it's all good stuff but I'm really digging the new book - Louisana's Way Home!


I mean who doesn't love a good fiction about self-discovery. Based on a girl in the midst of change, I feel like this book is a good read for girl's of all ages - and it looks like people agree, as an instant #1 New York Times Best Seller this book is obviously well-received by all. I'm loving sitting down and reading again, it's something I want do do more of in 2019 and beyond. Want to check this excellent read out? Use the code CANDLEWICK at checkout for 25% off all books!

Next on the list of goodies in the box was the Pure Synergy® Rapid Rescue® and Pure Synergy® Enzyme Power™!


These super-powered little pills are my quick remedy to fighting off illness during this cold & flu season! With the dynamic duo - the echinacea elderberry extract and eight other super powered extracts in the Rapid Rescue it's just what your body needs to bolster your natural protectors. I take one the second I feel that telltale scratchy throat, headache, uh-oh onset of the cold & flu and it definitely seems to help fight that ick fast.


Beyond these Super Powered Rapid Rescue pills, the Pure Synergy Enzyme Power is seriously a necessity for gut health. This full-spectrum digestive support is a boost to your mood, skin, health, and erngy levels. With an unparalleled array of enzymes and bromelain and lipase, this little pill helps support digestion, absorption, and nutrient utilization while also providing gut microbiome and immune system support. Not only does this handy pill help keep things healthy in your gut, it helps tame tummy woes with the perfect blend of herbs and spices - making it gentle enough for even the most sensitive stomachs and helping EVERYONE feel better from the inside out. Want to give these a try? Use the code PURESYNERGY15 to save!



After that we have the super relieving and helpful Neo-Synephrine nasal spray, something I've literally never even considered buying for myself but now that I've used it, I can see the benefits and I actually plan to be "that" family member & give these out as stocking stuffers this year - just because we all need the relief these bring. Each type differing slightly, all of the Nasal Sprays share a common goal, providing relief to sinus pressure, nasal congestion, and stuffy noses! One reason we love this brand so much is that this is actually the ONLY Nasal Spray recommended for kiddos D's age and I'm so thankful Babbleboxx sent it our way since she seems to be battling a cold this week.

Feeling that sinus pressure yourself? Check out Neo-Synephrine's website for a coupon, they always have one available!



The next item in the box is possibly the most delicious thing I've ever tried -the SMASHCRISPY Treats are my ideal way to spend time alone. Sweet & chewy, ooey-gooey - these little beauties remind me of childhood and what's not to LOVE about those sweet feelings?





Available in 3 scrumptious flavors: Cinnamon Churro, Strawberries & Cream, & Mint Chocolate Chip - these are the best little treat for our family! It's going to be hard to share these treats but we'll definitely be stocking up since they are GMO- Free, made with ALL NATURAL ingredients and completely free of gluten, soy, dairy, and nuts! That means everyone can enjoy these super tasty treats without having to stress about what's hiding in them, something you can't say about most snack foods. Want to give these a try? Use the code 'SNACKSMASHCRISPY' on SmashMallow.com to save 25% off through 11/30!



Last but certainly not least, the tea and coffee - Red Diamond Tea & Coffee to be exact! This company has been importing only the best teas for over four generations, so it comes as no surprise that the taste is superior! I love brewing up a cup of Red Diamond Green Tea each night once D goes to sleep and the Red Diamond Iced Tea is the perfect pick-me-up on warm days here in Florida.

I've always thought Red Diamond just tastes better... Each time I take a sip, I always wondered what made their tea so flavorful- but today I learned it's the LACK of stems in their tea that makes such a delicious flavor possible.



But let's not just focus on the tea, the Coffee is my true favorite in the box - which likely isn't a surprise since I practically live with a caffeine IV post Delainey. I lit up when I saw the 11oz bag of Red Diamond Colombian Ground Coffee laying there in front of me and instantly brewed up a pot! Their coffee is made with the same care and quality as the tea and they pride themselves on only sourcing the best beans - handpicking, sun-drying, deliciousness all in my cup. Truly, nothing is better.



So tell me, how do you like to unwind when you have a moment? What do you do to provide self-care for yourself? I'd love to hear in the comments below!

Overstuffed Mushrooms with Savory Crab & Real California Cheese Filling!

This post is sponsored by Real California Milk but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.



I can't even believe it's already November... I mean, this year is really just flying by.

The thing is, THIS time of year is pretty much perfection in my neck of the woods. We start out the days with a little crispness to the air and by the end of the day, it's still nice enough to watch the sunset at the beach. It's the best of both worlds... and it also makes me crave some of my favorite savory dishes.

These crab & cheese stuffed mushrooms are just like a Florida day - absolutely perfect in every way! Pairing seafood with savory, creamy goodness - it doesn't get much better than this...


I seriously can't be the only one that instantly feels a chill in the air and starts dreaming of pumpkin spice dishes, chili, mashed potatoes, and "stuffed" everything. I mean, that's what the month of November is about - thankfulness & food... and one of my favorite foods to bring back this time of year is actually one I tend to favor all year round as well - I'm talkin' stuffed mushrooms, y'all & this recipe doesn't disappoint!

These crab & cheese stuffed mushrooms are just like a Florida day - absolutely perfect in every way! Pairing seafood with savory, creamy goodness - it doesn't get much better than this...

These crab & cheese stuffed mushrooms are just like a Florida day - absolutely perfect in every way! Pairing seafood with savory, creamy goodness - it doesn't get much better than this... Except for the fact this dish is made with all Real California Milk Cheeses. That means the flavor is better and it's made with love, with the dairy coming from 99% family owned & operated farms.

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That's the thing, when your dairy comes from other families - you know it's going to be good... and the extra spectacular news is, you can buy Real California Milk Cheeses nearly everywhere! I found a huge selection at my local health food store, as well as a decent selection at Publix!

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Want to find a place by you, so you can get yours hands on the "good cheese" too? Check out this locator and find out where you can find these delicious, wholesome cheeses with the "Real California Milk seal" nearby you. After all, knowing your cheese comes from real people & it's kissed by the California sun just means there's that much more love going into your holiday dishes this year!

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Want to serve up the best of both coasts? Pair my "Floridian" recipe with their California cheese and you have a real winning combo! So... let's get to making those delicious overstuffed mushrooms with a savory crab and cheese filling!

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Ingredients:

2 cups crab meat
4 oz freshly shredded Mozzarella Cheese made with Real California Milk
1 tbsp parsley
1/2 tbsp sea salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp marjoram
1 tbsp garlic
1/2 tbsp black pepper
2 green onion stalks, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
4 large portebella mushroom
olive oil
4 oz freshly shredded Pepper Jack Cheese made with Real California Milk
1 tbsp bread crumbs


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Step one - Preheat the oven to 375 degrees & get your filling started: mix the crab meat, Real California Cheese Mozzarella, spices, green onions, bell pepper, and grated parmesan all together in a large bowl. Place to the side.

Next - take your mushrooms and apply a thin layer of olive oil to the top of the caps. Flip over & place on pan, overstuffing the mushrooms with the crab mix.

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Now - add 4 oz of Pepper Jack cheese made with Real California Milk on top. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake or 18 minutes at 375, then turn your oven to broil for 3-5 minutes.

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Garnish with parsley, if desired & enjoy!




11.13.2018

Encourage Imagination with Disney - Easy and FUN DIY Mickey Mouse Ears Craft for a Toddler in honor of Make-A-Wish's Share Your Ears Campaign

This post is sponsored by Make-A-Wish Foundation but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.


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We're definitely big fans of Mickey & the whole Disney crew in this house... let me rephrase, we are HUGE fans of Disney and all things magical. I mean, Delainey's first visit to the Disney Parks was nearly a year ago when she was just one year old and we are so eager to go again we talk about it almost daily.

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Unfortunately, we have to adult and get things done so we can't visit the parks every day, but I'm doing my best to encourage her imagination at home and I hope our love for all things magical will live on through her. From the excitement I hear in her voice when she talks about the "fiya- woks" at the start of every Disney movie, to the way she exclaims "that my disney duck" when she sees the Donald Duck stuffed animal she picked out during our last visit, it's truly wonderful to see her love for something I loved so dearly as a child too - dare I say, it's magical.

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Disney isn't just the parks and the movies for us though, it's really about a dream coming true. It's about following your passion and making something happen with hard work and determination, Walt Disney really did something inspirational. While I'm still learning the ropes in life too, one thing I know for certain is he accomplished great things with his creative, innovative thinking. I hope to foster that same love for dreaming & creativity within my daughter - and that's the magic of Disney, in my mind!

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Then, when you combine that Disney Magic, that pure creative joy, with the Make-A-Wish foundation... well - that's pretty much the most heart warming combination, most of us can agree on that!

With that said, Disney & Make-A-Wish have partnered up and we all want you to help save the day for kids with Disney wishes, yet again!


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How can you do that?
It doesn't take much - 

Just "Share Your Ears"!
THAT'S IT!


From now through November 17th, 2018, Walt Disney Parks will donate US $5 for each social share on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter using the hashtag "#ShareYourEars", up to US $2 million in donations - all of this in celebration of 90 years of Mickey Mouse & Thanks to Disney Team of Heroes!

That means, all you have to do to help those brave Make-A-Wish kids is share a photo rocking your favorite ears! Don't have a pair? I've got you covered! This DIY Mickey Mouse Ears project is so easy - it's a great way to spend time with your kiddo while encouraging them to use their "disney" magic level of creativity and imagination!

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Want to get creative with your imaginative toddler? Here's how we made these EPIC watercolor ears, in just minutes!

For this project you will need:

1 sheet of cardstock
a plain headband
white crayon
a watercolor paint palette & the works [brushes, water, etc]
pair of scissors
hot glue & a hot glue gun

First, you'll want to print off this template I've created. Be sure to hit the "fit to page" when printing!




Next, let your kiddo scribble willy-nilly all over the cardstock with the white crayon. While you won't be able to see the markings now, they look so nifty once water color is applied.

Which brings us to our next step, painting with watercolors. This part is easily Delainey's favorite. She loves showing off her epic painting skills... and honestly, I don't blame her - she is pretty talented!


Now let your painted ear template lie flat until it's dry to the touch. Then using the scissors cut as close to within the template you can, removing the black edges.

Once cut, glue the two circle parts of each ear together, allowing the length of the ears to remain attached, then slide the headband through the opening. Position the ears where you would prefer on the headband and then flatten the bottom so the opening on the ear is attached to the headband - apply a liberal amount of hot glue and let dry.

Now add your favorite bow like this one, or rock with another fun accessory, if you so desire and get ready to show off in your ears!

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