Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts

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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Embracing Fall in Florida with these Fun Halloween Foods: Jack-O'-Lantern Snacks & Batty Bite Sweet Potato Fries


This post is sponsored by Bel Brands USA & Mini Babybel® Cheese, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.


So... let's get real for a moment. Living in Florida has its advantages, sure - we all know the beach is great and palm trees are gorgeous. I don't take that for granted for even a second. I love it here...

We don't have Fall in Florida, but that isn't stopping me from embracing all things autumn! Go ahead, indulge yourself with these delicious & kooky appetizers and get ready for this fabulous fall season!

Which is why I never thought I'd say this, but I kind of miss "home" - which to me really is just the midwest as a whole. Having lived in both Missouri and Oklahoma, I just feel connected to those center states and all their glory... It's probably a mixture of missing family & looking over old pictures and reflecting on fond memories, but the midwest really is & always will be "home" to me and I'm missing it tonight. Ironically, one of the things I miss the most about my home and my childhood spent in the midwest is FALL.

I mean, not just fall, I miss good ol' trees-changin'-color, boot-and-North-Face-wearin', crisp-fresh-air, running-wild-through-a-pumpkin-patch type of fall. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore Florida, but I certainly do miss certain aspects of "home".
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Since we likely aren't relocating to the midwest anytime soon, we are doing our best to at least pretend it's fall here in Florida so Delainey gets a taste of all things amazingly autumn. So this weekend we turned our a/c down a little lower, made a little bonfire out back, and embraced what felt like a little breeze outside - we even have plans to set up a tent at some point and teach her about camping. Another way we are trying to bring out that fall feeling is to decorate & even eat fall themed foods.  So... along with our apple cider, we also decided to get festive with some appetizers and these little batty bites & jack-o'-lantern snacks were just too cute!

We don't have Fall in Florida, but that isn't stopping me from embracing all things autumn! Go ahead, indulge yourself with these delicious & kooky appetizers and get ready for this fabulous fall season!


Since we're huge fans of cheese in this house, when we saw the adorable Fall/Halloween themed Mini Babybel® at Target, we knew we had made some new "friends".

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Delainey is obsessed with the little faces on these guys and I'm obsessed with how delicious they are *and the fact that are 100% real cheese with no artificial growth hormones* - so it's a total win-win!




So... Whether you are having a little shin-dig or you just want to show your toddler what fall is about, you have to give these recipes a try (and you should most definitely snag the adorable Halloween Mini Babybel® from Target while you're at it)!


We don't have Fall in Florida, but that isn't stopping me from embracing all things autumn! Go ahead, indulge yourself with these delicious & kooky appetizers and get ready for this fabulous fall season!


The best part is these delicious snacks are so easy to make, not to mention SO fun! So go ahead and add these two Sweet Potato fry recipes to your must try pins, because although they are simple both of these yummy dishes are sure to wow your fall loving friends, no matter where you are:

We don't have Fall in Florida, but that isn't stopping me from embracing all things autumn! Go ahead, indulge yourself with these delicious & kooky appetizers and get ready for this fabulous fall season!

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To create both of these recipes you will need:

One pack of the Mini Babybel® cheeses - You can find these adorable Halloween packaged Mini Babybels at Target!
2 sweet potatoes
Black olives
¾ cup all purpose flour (I used gluten free, you can use whatever works for your family!)
¼ cup breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tbsp milk
High temperature Frying oil (corn, peanut, or vegetable)
Black pepper
Sea salt
Garlic
Red pepper
Parsley
Pumpkin spice
Paprika

Slice potatoes. One should be cut horizontally to form circular shapes resembling pumpkins. The other should be cut vertically to make the bat wings.

Now detail the potato slices by carving faces into the circular shapes and carving bat wings out of the longer sliced potatoes. Use half a long slice per wing for small wings or one full slice per wing for larger wings.
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PREP FOR Jack-O'-Lanterns Snacks: (after carving their faces):
Place on tray lined with aluminum foil and set oven to 425. Rub each slice and each side with olive oil. Sprinkle on the salt, pepper, garlic, and paprika onto one side then flip it and sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic, and pumpkin spice onto the other. Put in oven for 15 minutes flipping half way through or until browned on the edges. Serve with Mini Babybel® and use the jack-o'-lantern as a delicious substitute for crackers!

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PREP FOR Batty Bites:

Wings: Mix the flour, breadcrumbs and herbs (1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp paprika, ½ tsp red pepper flakes, 2 tsp garlic, ½ tsp parsley) together in one shallow dish. Beat the egg and milk together in another shallow dish. 

Dip “bat wings” into flour, then egg mixture, then flour again. Place them on a tray lined with parchment paper after being battered to wait for your frying oil to heat up to 375 degrees (I used a corn and peanut oil blend). 

Drop the sweet potato wings one at a time into the hot oil and cook for approximately 7 minutes or until they look done, then take them out and place them on a paper towel and/or rack to allow oil to drain and for the wings to cool.

Presentation: Slide a toothpick through one side of your Mini Babybel® Cheese and out the other. Attach wings onto the toothpick. Place sliced olive pieces onto cheese to make kooky eyeballs. Add a red sauce to make teeth if you want. We used a chipotle apricot sauce which was a delicious extra touch on all of the sweet potato goodness!
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So tell me, what do you miss about your hometown? What parts of fall are your favorite about the area you live in? I'm excited to hear! I also would love to hear what you think about these kooky & delicious recipes, leave me some love when you give them a try and in case you aren't stalking Cartwheel already, I wanted to mention you can score 10% off Mini Babybel Cartwheel offer that runs 10/7 through early November.


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Easily Make Your Home Feel Like a Beachy Paradise in Just One Step: Start Cleaning with Clorox Scentiva

This post is sponsored Clorox®.

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As you likely know, we live near the beach... and we love it here. Although... If I could choose any place in the world to live, it would be ON the beach with the ocean breeze and sea mist billowing through the windows - but I'm definitely not complaining about being a few miles away either, I just like to find ways to make our little place feel a bit more beachy when I can.

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From white washed walls and shabby chic furniture in our living room, to a mermaid themed bathroom - we are all about keeping this little shack of ours beachy and cozy. I have a thing for blue tones and I pretty much would call Delainey's room a shine to mermaids... so it's safe to say every inch of our house is a bit beachy...

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Enough about our house though, are you looking for ways to bring the beach to your home? Here's one way I bet you haven't tried yet --- CLEANING!

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That's right, you can start cleaning with a bit of Pacific Breeze & Coconuts. One of the most creative ways to bring the beach to your home is to sanitize and disinfect with THE BEST smelling products. Not only will your house be clean, but you'll always feel like you're taking a refreshing deep breath by the sea.

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If you're like me, coconut is your go-to scent when thinking of beach days. Maybe it's a mixture of the thought of a pina coloda or a little bit of reminiscing on how amazing sunscreen smells- but this paradise scented line of cleaners makes me feel like I'm at the beach, even when I'm at home having to do chores!

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Not only does this amazing CLOROX® Scentiva line smell like paradise, it leaves my bathroom glistening like a little piece of sea glass while also killing 99.9% of bacteria and viruses! So I'm fully on-board with a little coconut cleaning, do you want to give this coconut paradise line of cleaners a try, you can find the entire Clorox Scentiva line at Target - get the details here!

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The best part is, you can clean every inch of your bathroom with this line - using the Clorox Scentiva Multi-Purpose cleaner to wipe down the sink, the Toilet Cleaning Gel to sanitize your throne, and the Foam Cleaner to clean your tub, your whole bathroom will be refreshingly clean and smell refreshing as well!

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So tell me, are you ready to clean with coconuts and bring a piece of the beach to your home with Clorox Scentiva? Do you have any other creative ways to bring the beach indoors? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!



Improve The Future For Your Children While Enjoying Your Morning Coffee!

This post is sponsored by the Florida Prepaid College Board, through my role as a Believer Blogger. All thoughts are my own.


Every single day is BUSY for us lately. With changing up our lifestyle to be a tad bit healthier and trying to squeeze in time for the blog, my blooms, and my babes, I feel like I never have enough time to do... well, anything.

If you're in the same boat as me... well, more like "treading water" like me. You may not have much time to do much of anything, especially something as time consuming as planning for the future.

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So, I took a break from our hectic schedules to compile 4 ways you can improve the future for your children over your morning coffee:

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1. Proper Nourishment - Step one in changing the future for your children is making sure you provide their body's with the best possible food selections you can. Choose organic, offer tons of fruits and veggies, and provide plenty of variety. Being properly fed will ensure your child's health is always optimal.

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2. College Tuition - With Student Loan debt reaching $1 Trillion among Americans this year, it's a no brainer to start your kiddo's college fun now. Whether your little wild child is 16 months or 16 years old, NOW is the time to start planning for their college years.


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It's tough to imagine now, but I know I'm going to blink and it'll be time to take Delainey off to college. I don't want to saddle her with debt for years to come or have to stress about paying for tuition as one lump sum, so I'm trying to do everything I can to plan ahead and help her succeed!

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With a Florida Prepaid Plan you (and others in your family) can start to gather funds to help provide a college education for your child, at a reasonable rate per month. Interested in signing up, check out all the Florida Prepaid Plans available here and be sure to use the code LAUREN1718 to save $25 off your application fee... but go ahead & fill it out now, open enrollment ends in

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You can literally fill this baby out in minutes while sipping your coffee and then you'll have things sorted out for your baby's college years. Trust me, this is the easiest way to make sure your kiddo can get the college education they deserve! Learn more about Florida Prepaid and how it'll work for your family.

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3. Recycle - The next way I think every single family should plan for the future is recycling! Making sure your kiddo has a healthy, happy world to live in means keeping unnecessary trash out of landfills! Take a second and sort your recycling, reuse materials and do you part in keeping our planet clean! In many counties you can find public recycling bins or have your recycling picked up on the curb... and the best part is, you can teach your kiddos about recycling so they continue the tradition.


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4. Smile - The last way you can ensure your child has a happy future is probably the easiest, you just need to smile more. Whether it's forced through some frustration or a genuine smile, sometimes you just gotta grin to show your kiddo that everything is okay.

Instead of stressing about all that needs to be done, take a deep breath, listen to your kiddo tell you about their Barbie's and smile.

So tell me, are you prepared for the future? If not, don't stress... Today is the day to start planning and you can get the college funds thing sorted out now - just click here & be sure to use our code - Lauren1718 to save some cash!

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Parenthood, Adulting, and Saving for Your Child's College Education Wisely...

This post is sponsored by the Florida Prepaid College Board, through my role as a Believer Blogger. All thoughts are my own.

After Irma hit my husband and I have decided to prioritize things in our life a little more, I guess you could say we are giving this whole "adulting" thing a go. I guess it just took the threat of a natural disaster to make us "man up" but we've both been doing a lot of thinking about life and evaluating what our priorities are.


With my itty bitty baby already hitting her 14 month milestone recently, I've realized she's going to  grow up fast. Right now I'm reading her stories at bedtime and remind her not to eat dirt, next thing I know it'll be tea parties with her neighborhood friends and trips to library with classmates, and soon enough I'll be sending her off to college. I'm still figuring all this adult stuff out but one thing I know for certain is life flies by, so the reality of planning for her future is absolutely of utmost importance to us now.


With that said, I know now is the time to start saving for her future - I want to be sure she can get the higher education she wants and deserves without feeling burdened. My hubby and I have been saddled with college debt and a monthly student loan for years and that's just not something I want for her future, so we're doing something about it.


Saving for her future isn't just for her though. It benefits us too, we want to be sure we don't saddle ourselves with even more college debt and I mean, one day... someday, we eventually hope to retire... and well, that all takes planning, budgeting, and all that jazz.

While it's been great to really start to "adulting", I'm not going to lie - it's a little stressful getting up close and personal with all things finance-related. I'm sure we aren't the only millennials trying to figure out what to do about our college debt while also trying to plan how to pay for our kid's college one day.


After a little bit of research and some investigation, I'm so happy to have found the answer - The Florida Prepaid College Board Plans... and the good news for us all is: NOW is the time to enroll!

With five different plans, each with specific costs, payment schedules, and benefits which all include tuition at 28 Florida Colleges (as well as 12 universities), it's easy to see why the Florida Prepaid program would make sense for our little Florida baby.




So if you're a parent in the same boat as me trying to figure out how to save wisely, you may be asking yourself some questions... and I'm hoping I can answer a couple of them...


Let's start with the first question that came to my mind - How can you sign up for this Prepaid Plan and how much will your monthly payments be? You can sign up here... and since the monthly payment amount varies based on the age of the child and the amount you plan to save, your payment will be different than mine. Prices start at around $50 and the range of prices really varies.

When is the right time to start investing? NOW! From birth until 11th grade, you are eligible to enroll during open enrollment and should take advantage of this savings plan. After all, when we found out the cost of college has already increased 538% since 1985, we knew NOW was the right time to start investing and guaranteeing her a great education.

But why a Florida Prepaid College Plan? There's several reasons, but my top three include:

You and your family can literally fund your kiddo's college years, one month at a time. I mean it's pretty easy to pay approximately $50 a month, it's a little more daunting with a bill of $7,373 being thrown at you each semester, which is approximately the lump sum you could pay into the 1 year Florida Prepaid fund if you were able to...

Another reason we decided to save with Florida Prepaid, is the benefits and the flexibility.

What exactly do I mean by that?
Even if one day we decide to move back to Oklahoma or maybe even broaden our horizons and dip our feet in a Wyoming pond, the good news is Delainey will always have access to Florida in-state tuition while using her plan to help pay for tuition! I love that we are free to roam and she won't lose her Florida Prepaid benefits!

Even better, if she happens to get a scholarship, I love that the amount of the plan we have selected can be use towards school expenses or refunded!

What if you only have enough for the one year plan now? Well, I love that we can work towards getting her college paid for as a family. One student can have a handful of purchasers, that means grandmas, aunts, cousins, and more can help send your kiddo to college.... and it's an affordable monthly payment, if they're able to help! I love that. Instead of asking for toys this year, I think we may ask Delainey's grandparents to help pay for a year of college... maybe you could do the same?

Will my payments vary? Nope, the plans are guaranteed and the prices are locked, so no worries about price hikes in tuition or payments suddenly increasing.


With all of that said, just because these plans work for us, doesn't mean it's made for you... Don't fret. Check out how a Florida 529 Savings plan could be the answer! With no set payment schedule it may be harder to add into your budget, but the down side is the plan isn't guaranteed by the State of Florida like the Florida Prepaid plan.



No matter which plan you choose, now's the time to enroll - go ahead and sign your little one up for a Florida Prepaid Plan before open enrollment ends in February!

Super Sweet Sprinkle Sundae Baby Costume Inspiration



You know, I didn't think she could get any sweeter...


Then I put this pastel sprinkle covered Rylan Nicole Designs romper on her and I realized I was mistaken.


This little Sprinkle Sundae costume is by far the easiest little Halloween outfit ever! Why? Because Rylan Nicole Designs did all the work and sent this beauty over!


I just added the cute little cherry from Bloomology on top out of her little noggin, for the finishing touch to her Sundae costume! With that said, it's SUNDAY... which means customs open soon! I can't wait to see what custom blooms y'all have in mind!

 
Enough about bows though... Isn't this little sundae bench the cutest place ever for my Sprinkle Sundae to show off her sweetness? I am obsessed!


And... I'm not exaggerating when I say Delainey Kate stopped traffic in Clearwater Beach today to get these photos. Seriously.


Everyone that was walking on the side walk stopped, I heard a handful of people mention how sweet she looked and I heard about a dozen people say "she's so cute" as we took our photos... and Delainey ATE IT UP. She seems to be losing her shy tendencies and that makes me so proud!


My sweet girl is getting big... and I'm just thankful for moments like this.



Moments with her, being so sweet and gaining independence right in front of my eyes... or in this case, in front of my camera lens. I know in the future I'm going to look back on all of these moments... and these photos and smile.



But for now, I'm doing my best to cherish each sweet moment with this tiny sprinkle-covered toddler.