How to Save Money on Sports Equipment

My son has played baseball, football, and basketball since he was big enough to throw a ball, hah! He loves sports! Now he’s in high school and it seems like we’re constantly investing in new sports equipment of one type or another! If your kids are active in sports, you already know how expensive sports equipment can be. Because children are always growing and often outgrow their gear, the chances that you need to replace that sports gear often is also likely. If you want your family to stay active through sports but don’t enjoy the hefty price tag that comes with buying gear, take a look below at some helpful tips on how to save money on sports equipment. When you follow these tips, you will find that keeping your home stocked with the sports equipment you want can be a frugal endeavor. Here is how to get started!

Ways to save on sporting equipment

1. Know the best time of year to buy.
You will be able to snag the sports equipment you need for less when you buy the items during the off season. This is the perfect time as retailers often put items on clearance once the prime season for that item is over.
For example, the best time to buy soccer equipment isn’t right before the season begins, but after it is well under way if not over. The trick here is learning to plan ahead. If you can anticipate what you will need for the next season, you can buy it on clearance the season before.

2. Learn more about second hand buying.
Not all sports equipment needs to be purchased brand new. In fact, if you are open to using gently used and second hand gear, you can find what you need for a fraction of the cost. There are several options you can choose from when you buy sporting gear second hand.

First, you can try shopping at a second hand sporting goods retailer such as Play It Again Sports. They carry gently used sports equipment for a fraction of the cost of new. Through a consigner such as this you can also sell the sporting goods you no longer use in order to get cash for what you can use.

A second option would be to browse social media sale sites such as Craigslist and Facebook. Check out garage sale or classified groups to see what sports equipment people may be getting rid of. This is a great way to find gently used items right in your area.

Finally, consider eBay, the online auction place for gently used an even new sporting gear. You can bid on items and if your bid is the highest, the item is yours. Some merchants will even ship for free.

3. Consider using coupons.

Coupons aren’t just for groceries anymore! To find out if the sporting goods shop of your choice offers coupons, just ask. You can also follow them on Facebook or their other social media sites to see if they offer coupons or specials. Sunday circulars are also a great source for coupons, as is the coupon code site retailmenot.com, which is ideal to check if you will be buying sporting goods online.

4. Develop a sports gear swapping system in your area.
To ensure that you and other parents will have access to gently used and reasonably priced sports equipment in the future, why not develop a swapping system in your area? Creating one is a cinch and only takes minutes. Creating a social media group on a site such as Facebook is ideal and quite easy. Simply start the group up and invite other parents who may be interested. Give members directions about posting, which will generally include a brief but thorough description of the item as well as a clear photograph. Interested parties just need to leave a message in the comments and then arrangements can be made for pick up.

5. Take care of the sports equipment you own.

Take care of the sports gear you own keeping them clean and well mended. Not only will they last you longer and prevent you from having to buy new, but when you do need to buy new your items will carry a nice resale value.

Sports equipment can be expensive, but when you give these tips for saving money on sporting goods a try, you will find that keeping a little extra cash in your pocket can be a cinch. Whether you wait for the right season to shop, buy secondhand, or organize a swap in your area, you will find that a little effort goes a long way, getting you the sporting goods you need for less. Give these tips a try!

Homemade Cinnamon Roll Recipe For a Crowd

Whether you are making cinnamon rolls for an Easter morning brunch, a potluck or just to tuck away in the freezer, it doesn’t take much longer to make a big batch of sweet cinnamon rolls than a small one, and is definitely worth the effort.

Cream cheese in the dough gives it a smooth, light texture. The butter and cinnamon filling is delightful alone, but the addition of raisins or toasted chopped pecans will take the flavor over the top. Wrap a few of these well and keep them in the freezer for a quick breakfast or blissful afternoon break.

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls RecipeHomemade Cinnamon Roll Recipe for a Crowd
Makes 36 (or 24 taller rolls)

Homemade Cinnamon Roll Recipe
 
Ingredients
  • Dough:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup sugar plus 1 teaspoon (divided)
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ cup very warm water
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 6½ cups bread flour
  • Filling:
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Raisins or nuts (optional)
  • Glaze:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons whole milk or half & half
Instructions
  1. In a medium pan over medium-high heat, scald the milk until it is just beginning to bubble around the edges of the pan. Remove from heat and add ½ cup sugar, butter, cinnamon, and salt. Stir well and pour into a large mixing bowl (a stand mixer is best) to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl combine the warm water and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Add the yeast and stir to combine. Let it sit until foamy, 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add the yeast, cream cheese, eggs, and 2 cups of the flour to the warm milk mixture in the bowl and beat well.
  4. Switch to a dough hook and stir in the remaining flour. Knead by machine for 6 minutes or by hand on a floured surface for 8 minutes. The dough should be slightly sticky and very elastic.
  5. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat the dough. Cover with a cloth and allow the dough to rise for approximately 1 hour, or until doubled.
  6. Punch dough down and separate into two pieces. Working with one piece at a time on a lightly floured surface, roll it into a 12-inch by 18-inch rectangle, with a long side facing you.
  7. Spread 2 tablespoons of softened butter over dough.
  8. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, flour, and salt. Sprinkle half of the mixture over the buttered dough. Add raisins or nuts if desired.
  9. Beginning at the long side facing you, roll dough, pulling towards you slightly as you work to keep the roll tight.
  10. Pinch the long edge to seal the roll. With a sharp knife, cut 18 1-inch slices and place them cut side down in a jelly roll pan that has been greased or covered with parchment, about 1 inch apart. (You can also cut the slices 1½-inches wide and tuck the 12 rolls into a 9-inch by 13-inch cake pan for taller rolls.)
  11. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
  12. Cover with a cloth and let the rolls rise until they are puffy and touching each other – about an hour.
  13. Heat oven to 375 F.
  14. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the rolls are a rich golden brown.
  15. Cool in the pan on a rack.
  16. Combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl, and beat well. Add additional liquid if necessary until the glaze is creamy enough to spread easily on the slightly warm rolls.

Cinnamon Roll Recipe

 

 

7 Tips for Organizing Small Toys

The holidays are over, and now there seems to be even MORE toys and stuff around the house! Eep! Every parent knows the headache of owning small toys. They seem to multiply and spread all over the house, creating a clutter that is at times unbearable. If your children love Legos, doll accessories, puzzles, and other small piece toys, take a peek below at 7 tips for organizing small toys. When you give these tips a try, you can make organizing small toys easy without breaking your budget on expensive storage containers. Here is how you can get started!

tips for organizing small toys

1. Gather up your egg cartons.
Egg cartons are perfect for organizing small toys. Simply drop beads, blocks, Legos, and other small parts into the compartments and close them up. The egg carton will store easily in drawers or on shelves until needed.

2. Utilize shoe boxes.
Did you get new shoes for Christmas? Save the boxes and use them to hold doll accessories, craft supplies, puzzles and m ore. Secure the lid with some washi tape and store on shelves or closets. You can even decorate the boxes if you wish.

3. Zip them up.
Put small toys in zip close baggies. Zip them up and then clip them to magnetic clasps or even close hangers. Skirt hangers work perfectly for this. You can then hang them up until needed.

4. Utilize door space.
The vertical spaces on the backs of doors are often overlooked storage spaces. Use over the door shoe holders or hooks to keep small pieces organized. Place them in the shoe compartments or gather them in bags and hang them on the hooks.

5. Utilize labels.
Whatever container you decide to use to store your toys, label it clearly. This way, each toy has a space as defined on the container. This can also help children take part in putting toys away and keeping them organized. You can find various labels at your local craft or dollar store.

6. Save jars.
Pickle and relish jars are perfect for keeping small pieces organized. Just rinse them out, dry them and label them. Jars are great for doll shoes, game pieces, miniatures and anything else you can think of.

7. Try some magnet magic.
Attach magnets to small bags. Place small pieces and parts in the bag and then attach them to a cookie sheet or any other metal surface. This is a great way to keep small toys organized and at your fingertips.

Keeping small toys organized can be easy and inexpensive. Just give these tips a try and see what results you can achieve!

2015 Top Disney Movies

I’m always excited to check out the movie lineup Disney has coming out, and this year is no different! Whether you’re a Marvel fan, or you love Cinderella, Disney has a movie premiering for you in 2015! Check them all out for yourself!

2015 Disney Movies

January 23, 2015~ Strange Magic (Touchstone Pictures / Lucasfilm)

Strange Magic

“Strange Magic,” a new animated film from Lucasfilm Ltd., is a madcap fairy tale musical inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Popular songs from the past six decades help tell the tale of a colorful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their hilarious misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion. Lucasfilm Animation Singapore and Industrial Light & Magic bring to life the fanciful forest turned upside down with world-class animation and visual effects. Directed by Gary Rydstrom (“Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation,” “Lifted”) from a story by George Lucas, “Strange Magic” will be released by Touchstone Pictures on Jan. 23, 2015.

February 20, 2015 – McFarland, USA (Walt Disney Studios)
#McFarlandUSA

McFarland USA

Based on the 1987 true story, “McFarland, USA” follows novice runners from McFarland, an economically challenged town in California, as they give their all to build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), a newcomer to their predominantly Latino high school, with whom they ultimately bond to build not only a championship cross-country team but an enduring legacy as well.

March 13, 2015 – Cinderella (Walt Disney Studios)
#Cinderella

Cinderella Disney

A live-action feature inspired by the classic fairy tale, “Cinderella” brings to life the timeless images from Disney’s 1950 animated masterpiece as fully-realized characters in a visually-dazzling spectacle for a whole new generation.

April 17, 2015 – Monkey Kingdom (Disneynature)
#MonkeyKingdom

Monkey Kingdom DisneyNature

Life is an adventure for Maya, the clever and resourceful blonde-bobbed monkey in “Monkey Kingdom,” Disneynature’s new feature film set among ancient ruins in the storied jungles of South Asia. Maya’s world is forever changed when she welcomes her son, Kip, into her complicated extended family. Like all families, Maya’s has more than its share of colorful personalities—and she’s determined to give her son a leg up in the world. When their longtime home at Castle Rock is taken over by powerful neighboring monkeys, Maya’s whole family is forced to relocate, where she uses her street smarts and ingenuity to lead them to untapped resources amidst strange new creatures and unsettling surroundings. Ultimately, they will all have to work together to reclaim Castle Rock, where Maya can hopefully realize her dreams for her son’s future. Featuring a rich cast of characters, including a mischievous mongoose, simple-minded langur monkeys, predatory leopards and monitor lizards, “Monkey Kingdom” is directed by Mark Linfield (“Chimpanzee,” “Earth”) and co-directed by Alastair Fothergill (“Chimpanzee,” “Bears”). With music from award-winning composer Harry Gregson-Williams (“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” “Shrek” movies), Disneynature’s eighth True Life Adventure—the follow-up to 2014’s “Bears”—swings into theaters April 17, 2015.

May 1, 2015 – Avengers: Age of Ultron (Marvel)
#Avengers
#AgeOfUltron

Avengers- Age of Ultron

Marvel Studios presents “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the epic follow-up to the biggest Super Hero movie of all time. When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.

May 22, 2015 – Tomorrowland (Walt Disney Studios)
#Tomorrowland

Disney's TOMORROWLAND..Casey (Britt Robertson) ..Ph: Film Frame..©Disney 2015
From Disney comes two-time Oscar® winner Brad Bird’s “Tomorrowland,” a riveting mystery adventure starring Academy Award® winner George Clooney. Bound by a shared destiny, former boy-genius Frank (Clooney), jaded by disillusionment, and Casey (Britt Robertson), a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity, embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as “Tomorrowland.” What they must do there changes the world—and them—forever.

June 19, 2015 – Inside Out (Disney / Pixar)
#InsideOut

Inside Out- Disney Pixar

Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.

July 17, 2015 – Ant–Man (Marvel)
#AntMan

Ant Man

Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

October 9, 2015 – The Jungle Book (Walt Disney Studios)
#TheJungleBook

The Jungle Book

Directed by Jon Favreau (“Chef,” “Iron Man,” “Elf”), based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, “The Jungle Book” is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear Baloo (voice of Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (voice of Scarlett Johannsson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (voice of Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire. The all-star cast also includes Lupita Nyong’o as the voice of the fiercely protective mother wolf Raksha, and Giancarlo Esposito as the voice of wolf pack’s alpha male Akela. “The Jungle Book” seamlessly blends live-action with photorealistic CGI animals and environments, using up-to-the-minute technology and storytelling techniques to immerse audiences in an enchanting and lush world. The wild adventure swings into theaters in 3D on Oct. 9, 2015.

October 16, 2015 – The Untitled Steven Spielberg Cold War Spy Thriller (DreamWorks Pictures)

The Untitled Steven Spielberg Cold War Spy Thriller

November 25, 2015 – The Good Dinosaur (Disney / Pixar)
#TheGoodDinosaur

The Good Dinosaur

December 18, 2015 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Lucasfilm)
#StarWars
#TheForceAwakens

Star Wars The Force Awakens

7 Educational Lessons Learned Building a Snowman

We’ve had plenty of snow here the last couple days, and it sounds like it isn’t going anywhere soon! One of my son’s favorite winter activities used to be snowman building! Do you wanna build a snowman? If so, be prepared for some cool and snowy fun. At the same time, did you know you can also enjoy some educational fun in the process? Take a look below at 7 educational lessons learned building a snowman. Who knew building a snowman could teach so kids much?

snowman2

1. Geometry.
When you build a snowman, take note of all of the shapes involved. You will have round snowballs for the body, square coal for the eyes, a triangle nose, and more. Point out all of the various shapes you see when you build your family snowman.

2. Symmetry.
When you build a snowman, you will see how important it is for the shapes you use to be symmetrical. It will be hard to stack the snowballs if they are not somewhat even. Uneven snowballs won’t balance as well, so take this opportunity to talk about symmetry and what it is.

3. Weather and Climate.
The weather has to be just right to build a snowman. It should be about 30 degrees or below, and you will need a good 4-5 inches of snow. Use this opportunity to talk about weather conditions, forecasts, and reading a thermometer.

4. Teamwork.
When building a snowman, you will need to work as a team. This means planning your snowman together, assigning jobs to each person, and completing the project. Working as a team is a great lesson to learn as a family and there is no better time to practice than when building!

5. Fine/Gross Motor Skills.
Your children will get excellent fine and gross motor skill practice when building a snowman. Whether they are rolling snowballs, packing snow, placing embellishments on it, or dancing around it, they will be strengthening their fine and gross motor skills.

6. Colors.
When building your snowman, talk about all of the various colors you are using. You will have snow, a hat, eyes, nose, mouth, scarf, etc. all to identify. This is a great way to talk about colors and how they play into our daily activities.

7. Hard/Soft
Hold a handful of fluffy snow and talk about how soft it is. Now take that same handful and pack it into a snowball. Feel how the snow is now hard. This is a great time to talk about density and how the feeling of the snow changes on how tightly it is packed.

So what are you waiting for? Build a snowman and see all of the educational experiences that are waiting for you!

Ideas for New Year’s Eve Party Games and Entertainment

New Year’s Eve definitely calls for fun and games, but coming up with ideas to entertain a mixed crowd until the ball drops can pose problems for many.  Thankfully, Jennifer Carver, of Spaceships and Laser Beams, has rounded up a few of her favorite ideas to help you master games and entertainment for your New Year’s Eve party this year.

ideas-for-new-years-party-games-entertainment

Idea #1:  Celebrate with a karaoke sing-off.  Music plays a big part in our lives and can add a lot of fun to a party. Research the top songs for the year and allow guests to sing their hearts out!  To add a little more excitement, list song titles on slips of paper and have guests draw their song from a bag or box.  Arrange for a prize for the best and worst renditions.

 

Idea #2:  Play “name that tune”.  In a similar vein as idea #1, put together a cd of top songs from the year or even the decade.  Play a few seconds of each song and challenge guests to “name that tune”.  Give away a copy of the cd to the winner!

 

Idea #3:  Play a year in review trivia game.  Compile a list of the top news stories for the year and devise a trivia game from the details.  You can approach the game month-by-month or do a general trivia overview.  Questions can come from sports, politics, Hollywood and entertainment, medical news and more!  Depending on the news awareness of your guests, you can do open ended questions or multiple choice.

 

Idea #4:  Play favorite board and card games.  Invite your guests to bring their favorite card or board games to share.  Set up a few card tables and chairs and let guests enjoy some friendly competition.

 

Idea #5:  Set up some interactive video games.  Adults and children love playing video games.  Set up group games like Guitar Hero, Wii Sports or Just Dance and arrange for a little “play off”.

 

Idea #6:  Incorporate a bake-off or cook-off.  Challenge guests to bring samples of their prized appetizers and desserts to be shared during your party, along with copies of the recipe.  Give each guest tickets for recording their favorite dishes and award a prize for the best snack and treat.

 

Idea #7:  Arrange for ice breaker games.  If you are inviting a crowd of people to your party who don’t all know each other, help break the ice by playing a few whole-group games.  Ideas can be simple.  For example, prepare Bingo style cards requiring guests to find someone who meets certain criteria like:  has blue eyes, has the same number of children, shares your favorite color and so on.

 

These seven ideas are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to planning fun and interactive entertainment for your celebration.  With a little creativity and pre-planning, your guests will be having so much fun at your New Year’s Eve party that they won’t want to go home!

 

Photography Gift Ideas From Best Buy

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

I’m totally obsessed with photography and cameras! In fact camera gear topped my holiday wish list this year! I have quite the list of accessories I’d love to have. My husband’s also been playing around with photography. His favorite camera is a Nikon DSLR so I’ve been thinking we should update his camera. Maybe for Christmas? I’ve been eying the Nikon D5300 from Best Buy. I’ve also been eyeing a couple other cameras, um… for myself. I’m a big Samsung Galaxy fan. I have a Samsung Galaxy 5s phone, and I think it would make a great pair with the Sony Alpha A6000 for on the go images. I’m sure the two of them could pair seamlessly to create and share fabulous images!

The Best Buy Holiday Gift Center  is the ultimate destination for the latest cameras and camcorders to capture your high-stakes memories. If’m excited to share these three cameras from Nikon, Sony and Samsung, all equipped with built-in Wi-Fi so you can share amazing photos with ease. There’s still time to upgrade your camera and capture all those precious holiday memories, or to share the gift of a camera with a loved one so they can capture fabulous memories for a lifetime!

3 great cameras for your holiday gift guide:

Nikon D5300 DSLR w/18-55mm VR Lens

DI multi Nikon D5300

Nikon D5300 features:

·         A DSLR with built-in Wi-Fi so you can capture high quality photos and share them instantly

·         This Nikon D5300 DSLR camera comes with an AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II lens that enables you to capture sharp photos and video footage. Optical image stabilization helps prevent blurring to ensure image clarity

DI multi Nikon D5300back

·         Also available in red or gray

·       Looking for more info?  Nikon D5300 Product Details

Sony Alpha A6000 Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera

DI Multi Sony a6000

Sony Alpha A6000 Features:

·         A compact system camera with the World’s Fastest Autofocus

·         This Sony Alpha A6000 features a 24.3-megapixel, Exmor APS-C CMOS sensor that makes it easy to shoot scenes in stunning clarity. Built-in Wi-Fi lets you share stored content across devices.

DI multi Sony a6000back

·         Also available in White or silver

·     Looking for more information?  Sony Alpha A6000 Product Details

Samsung Galaxy Camera 2

DI multi Samsung Galaxy Camera 2

Samsung Galaxy 2 Features:

·         A digital camera that allows you to shoot, share, and use Android Apps

·         This Samsung Galaxy 2 digital camera’s 16.3-megapixel, 1/2.3″ BSI CMOS sensor allows you to capture sharp images and high-definition video footage. The 4.8″ touch screen simplifies operation, and built-in Wi-Fi makes sharing stored files easy.

DI multi Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 back

·      Looking for more information?  Samsung Galaxy 2 Product Details

Visit the Best Buy Holiday Gift Center to see more great cameras, whether you’re giving as a gift or upgrading for yourself.

Never miss a moment. #CamerasatBestBuy

Print

 

31 SWEET HOLIDAY TREAT RECIPE IDEAS

The one thing everyone wants to see the most during the holidays are those big platters of yummy food coming from friends and family.  Fudge, cookies, candies and special desserts are the hit of the season and these 31 Sweet Holiday Treat Recipe Ideas are perfect for you to make for friends.  Grab some supplies, an apron and your favorite helper to make the easy cookies, complicated cake pops or always popular fudge and toffee!  Make sure to make double batches of your favorites so you don’t run out before you get them delivered!

31 Sweet Holiday Treats

31 SWEET HOLIDAY TREAT RECIPE IDEAS

  1. Christmas White Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods
  2. Candy Cane Cookies
  3. Peppermint Marshmallows
  4. Hot Cocoa Cookies
  5. Christmas Crack
  6. Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies
  7. Candy Coated Winter Oreos
  8. Wintertime Cake Pops
  9. Hot Chocolate Spoons
  10. Fake Turtles Candy
  11. Cinnamon Polar Bear Cookies
  12. Fruitcake Cookies
  13. Nutter Butter Reindeer Cookies
  14. Grinch Punch
  15. Santa Legs “Oops” Cupcakes
  16. Peppermint Popcorn Bites
  17. Candy Cane Brownies
  18. Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge
  19. Peanut Butter Balls
  20. Grinch Fruit Poppers
  21. Krispy Wreath Treat
  22. Saltine Cracker Toffee
  23. Buckeye Bark
  24. Candy Cane Oreo Santa Hat Cookies
  25. Mint Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball
  26. Peanut Butter Popcorn Munch
  27. Chocolate Covered Mint Patties
  28. Christmas Sugar Cookies
  29. Reindeer Cupcakes
  30. M&M Holiday Cookies
  31. Double Chocolate Peppermint Chex Mix

Grab some simple inexpensive tins, platters and jars to load up with your homemade sweet treats for the holidays.  Not only can you customize each tin for the family you are taking the sweet treats to, you can give them something that can be used again in the future.  Plastic containers, fun holiday tins, mason jars and more are perfect for putting almost all of these yummy treats in.  Pop the popcorn, get out the melting chocolate, sprinkles and of course the green and red food coloring to create your favorite sugar cookies, popcorn, fudge, mint patties and more!

My Christmas Wish List: A Canon Camera From Best Buy

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

I’m definitely a Canon girl! I love my Canon DSLR camera, but it’s several years old, so I’ve been eyeing a second camera body. I do plenty of food photography, but I’m also constantly taking action shots of my son playing baseball, or football. I’ve even done a couple weddings. I would love to have a back up camera to take along when I’m photographing, just in case! Plus I’d love to have a newer Canon model! I added it to my Santa gift wish list this year!

Canon Holiday Image

I love my Canon camera because it’s so easy to use! I’ve had other DSLRs and they were all difficult to figure out. With my Canon I just studied it and the handbook that came with it and I figured out how to use it on manual and take some terrific photos! That’s why I’d love to have a second, the bonus is I could use the same lenses for both.

Best Buy is the ultimate destination for the latest cameras to capture your holiday memories. The Canon EOS Rebel T5i is one of the best-selling DSLRs. This camera makes advanced photography easy and fun, and gives you exceptional image quality, along with a host of features to enhance your creative expression.

Canon Holiday Image 2

  • Capture Hollywood caliber full HD video
  • Continuous autofocus while taking HD video
  • Features an 18.0-megapixel CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 5 image processor to ensure vivid, crystal-clear images.
  • The 3″ vari-angle touch screen simplifies navigation.

Are you a photography fan, or do you have a Canon fan on your gift list? Right now you can save $150 on the Canon EOS Rebel T5i at Best Buy*. Visit Best Buy to learn more. *offer valid 12/7-12/20

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Snowflake Photo Christmas Cards: Tiny Prints Holiday Collection

I may make a commission if you click on some of the links in this post.

Have you ordered your Christmas cards yet? I’m always the procrastinator so I’m just getting mine ordered this week! Did you know that this Sunday is the busiest holiday card shopping day of the year? I love snowflakes, but I also want to include a family photo or two on our Christmas cards to personalize them. I found a couple sumer cute snowflake photo Christmas cards at Tiny Prints I really like.

My favorite is this chocolate snowflake photo Christmas ornament. It’s so elegant! It comes in other colors and shapes, but I really like the pattern on this one.

chocolate snowflake photo christmas card

I love this lightly frosted snowflake Christmas card with just a touch of “snowy frost” around the edges.

frosted snowflake photo christmas card

Here’s a super cute tri fold snowflake Christmas card. I love the tiny snowflakes on this one! The tri fold leaves plenty of room for family photos to share with friends.

Snow flurry Christmas tri fold card

Here’s the best part! Tomorrow thru Sunday you can take advantage of an amazing offer from Tiny Prints.

For 24 hours only, you can get 40% off your order of ANY size plus get free shipping!

Here’s how to take advantage of this offer:

1. Go to Tiny Prints and select from hundreds of holiday cards.

2. Personalize your card with your pictures, your text, etc.

3. When you checkout, use the promo code TPCARDS40FS to save 40% and get free shipping.

This promotion is only valid from 12:00pm PT on Saturday 12/6 to 12:00pm PT on Sunday 12/7, so act fast!

How to Score BIG on Black Friday

Black Friday has been around for a bit of time now, and people are really starting to maximize their holiday savings by purchasing Christmas presents and more on the huge sale day! You’d be surprised to find that some of the sales can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on Christmas presents. Although sales used to start at midnight on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, many of the companies that participate are bumping their sales to start Thursday evening to keep up with the competition in hopes that you’ll spend your hard earned dollars there rather than anywhere else.

How To Score Big On Black Friday Deals

With Black Friday shopping, one of the most important things to do is to prioritize your needs and wants. Because you’ll likely hop around a few sales, it’s important to decide which one or two are most important to you, so that you can guarantee a snag of your most valued item. Lots of the advertisements for Black Friday come out a week or two early so you can scope out the sales and decide where you’ll be headed.

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Many people stand in line for hours (some, even days) and you’ll want to make sure that whichever is most important to you, is where you stand in line first. After that, you can travel to other stores and hopefully the other items you want will still be there, but no harm no foul if they’re not, because at least you’ll have gotten your first item!

Another thing that’s extremely important to note is that people can be somewhat aggressive at these sales. For this reason, it’s not a good idea to bring small children or toddlers who can get lost in the shuffle. Black Friday shopping should be, if possible, restricted to adults and young adults only. Of course, try YOUR best to be kind and maybe people will follow suit around you!

Additionally, don’t fret if there are some items you didn’t score big on for Black Friday. If you’re one who loves to shop online, you might be able to score the same sale on Cyber Monday, the Monday following Black Friday! Typically, retailers do the same or very similar sales for their online websites and you get to avoid the crowds and the hassle!

It’s a good idea to look into electronics on Black Friday if you’re planning on buying any anytime soon. These are typically the largest sale products and you can score pretty big on Black Friday if you grab a TV or even a laptop. So if you’re in the market for any kind of electronic, definitely scope out the sales ahead of time!

Have you ever gone Black Friday shopping? Would you do it again?

Cranberry AppleSauce Recipe

Cranberry sauce is a holiday favorite at our house! I love the tart flavor of cranberries, it’s one of my favorite flavors this time of year! Today I have a cranberry applesauce recipe to share. This recipe combines the perfect balance of sweet and tart for your holiday lineup. The applesauce provides a natural sweetener without adding too much sugar.

homemade cranberry applesauce recipe KidsFun

Cranberry Apple Sauce Recipe
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Cranberry apple sauce combines the perfect balance of sweet and tart for your holiday line up.
Ingredients
  • 4 Red Delicious Apples peeled, cored and sliced
  • 12 oz Fresh Cranberries
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • ¼ cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 cup Water
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Cloves
  • ½ tsp Nutmeg
Instructions
  1. In a large sauce pan add Water, lemon juice and sugars.
  2. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
  4. Add cranberries and apple slices.
  5. Bring to a boil and then reduce hat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Do you have a favorite holiday flavor or recipe? What special dish do you look forward to every year?

Best Buy For Holiday TV Gift Ideas

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

A couple years ago I got a new TV for Christmas. It’s one of my favorite gifts ever! Before I got my Christmas TV we only had one television in the house, which of course was usually controlled by my husband or my son. Now I sometimes get control of one TV, hah! This holiday season I think we may be in the market for another new TV.

We love to watch TV, we actually just got a new satellite system this fall, we also have Netflix so we’re definitely into our screen time and watching with the ultimate display.

If you or someone on your gift list who’s hoping for a new TV, check out the selection of LG OLED TVs now at Best Buy!

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Why the LG OLED TV? Can you believe it’s only 0.21″ thick at its thinnest point? Even ultra thin the picture quality is spectacular! The colors are stunning with Infinite Contrast and color that ranges from the bright whites to the deepest darkest blacks. They also feature LG’s exclusive 4 Color Pixel technology delivers bright, vibrant colors. You can learn more about these fabulous TVs at LGOLEDatBestbuy.com

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Your wedding. Your child’s birth. The Grand Canyon. Some things in life just have to be experienced to be believed. It’s the same way with LG’s latest display technology. It’s so fabulous, seeing is believing! The deeper and richer colors, stunning contrast and ingeniously curved screens make these TVs unlike any technology you’ve witnessed. I’m all in for the latest technology!

Why do you need the LG OLED TV from Best Buy for your TV viewing pleasure? Here are some of the key features.

  • Infinite contrast ratio and stunning color – delivers more natural, lifelike viewing.
  • 4 Color Pixel technology enhances color range and accuracy.
  • Super thin design (consider how to show visually)
  •  Find content faster with webOS

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You can find your LG OLED TV for Best Buy’s everyday price of $3499.99 (save $500).

12 Fun and Festive Holiday Appetizer Ideas and Recipes


I can’t believe the holidays are almost here! I was just discussing our holiday menu with my sister in law earlier today while we were walking. For my sponsored Foodie collection this month I thought I’d put together some fun and festive holiday appetizer ideas to share. You can check out the full collection by flipping through and clicking on the recipes you like in the widget below or by going here: Fun and Festive Holiday Appetizers.

Check out Fun and Festive Holiday Appetizer Recipes

by Linette Pierce Gerlach at Foodie.com

This collection includes some of my favorite holiday appetizer ideas! From dips to breads and everything in between! You’re sure to find a recipe or 2 to add to your holiday appetizer menu.

Fun and Festive Holiday Appetizer Recipes and Ideas

Some of our favorite holiday appetizers include:

  • Cranberry Pesto Layered Dip~ Love this idea with it’s festive red and green colors, plus cranberry~ one of my favorite holiday flavors!
  • Snowman Cheeseball~ This is such a fun idea for your holiday cheese ball, and fairly simple to create!
  • Snowman Eggs~ Instead of deviled eggs this holiday season, why not try this fun and festive twist!
  • Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms~ A fun twist on a classic favorite!
  • Buffalo Chicken Bites~ Easy to make finger food that your guests are sure to love!

Do you have a favorite fun and festive holiday appetizer recipe? We’d love to hear about it!

Holly Jolly Gift Guide Giveaway

I’m super excited to be participating in the Holly Jolly Gift Guide Giveaway! You can check out all the great sponsors and prizes included in the prize pack below! There are over $750 in prizes for one lucky winner! Scroll down for the details and for the Rafflecopter form to enter. Good luck!

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It’s Time! It’s Time!

The Holly Jolly Gift Guide Giveaway is LIVE!

Welcome to the Holly Jolly Gift Guide Giveaway hosted by Mimi, of Woven by Words and Kay, of The More The Merrier.

Christmas is a time for love and sharing. Mimi & Kay love their readers, and they wanted to find a way to give back a little something. They have decided to do a few of these giveaways through out the year, so you can look forward to more wonderful, huge giveaways just like this one!

Mimi & Kay collected over $750 in prizes to give away to one very lucky winner!

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Please visit our Sponsors!

Eli’s Cheesecake – $34 ARV * Zingermans – $65 * TrackR with App - $30 ARV

Minted – $100 Gift Code * Old Factory Candle Gift Set – $25 ARV * SOL Republic Headphones – $80 ARV

Viatek Plush Pal – $30 ARV * Libre Tea New Life Glass – $27 ARV * Jamberry.com nail set – $25 Gift Code

Tervis Tumbler – $20 ARV * FamilyChristian.com – $25 Gift Code * Fathead.com – $100 Gift Code

Sports Chocolates Stadium – $35 ARV * The Roaming Reindeer Deer & Book – $35 ARV * Hallmark Ornament – $30 ARV

Sunday Drive Designs Tea Towels (2) – $30 ARV * Nice by Design (Goldie Cablekeeper) – $13 ARV * Creekside Farms Wreath – $79 ARV

The Holly Jolly Gift Guide Giveaway runs from midnight November 17th to midnight December 10th, 2014. Open to the US only. Distribution of prizes is the responsibility of the sponsors. Neither Kay (The More The Merrier) nor Mimi (Woven by Words) are responsible for the distribution of prizes.

Now go to the Rafflecopter and enter to win!

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Big Hero 6 Printables ~ Activity Sheets and Coloring Pages

Big Hero Six is making quite the splash in theaters! Today I’m excited to have some fun Big Hero 6 free printables to share with you! I have all kinds of fun Big Hero 6 activity sheets and coloring pages you can download and work on with your kids. They’re perfect for a Big Hero 6 party, for a classroom, or just because before or after you head out to see the movie.

Big Hero 6 Printables- Coloring and activity pages

Check the Big Hero 6 printables and download them by clicking on the images or the descriptions below.

big hero 6 hidden objectsHidden Objects Printable~ Spot the hidden objects in the image.
Big hero 6 coloring page

Big Hero 6 Coloring Page~ Color your favorite hero!
big hero 6 printable hero scramble

Big Hero Scramble Activity Page~ Match up your favorite Big Hero with their supersuit piece.

big hero six origami printable

Big Hero Origami~ So cute! Make Baymax’s face in origami!

big hero 6 maze printable

Big Hero 6 Printable Maze~ Help the Big Hero 6 characters find their way through the city maze.

Big Hero 6 is in theaters now! Have you had a chance to check it out yet? If so we’d love to hear what you thought of the movie! If you haven’t checked it out yet, print out these Big Hero 6 printables for your kids to enjoy before or after the movie!

 

 

Hot Wheels For The Holidays Rewards Race Program

Disclosure: Post sponsored by Lunchbox but all opinions are my own.

Can you believe Christmas will be here in less than 2 months? It’s never too early to start thinking about the holiday season. When my son was younger one thing that topped his holiday wish list every year was Hot Wheels. He still has many of those little vehicles in his room today! If you have someone with Hot Wheels on their Christmas wish list you need to know, with the Hot Wheels Race Rewards program you get instant rewards for your purchases of qualifying Hot Wheels products at your local Walmart store! You can get rewarded every time you shop. You can earn exclusive rewards like the Monster Jam Monster Mutt 1:64 car collectible, and the Hot Wheels Straight Track 4 pack and one mystery 1:64 basic car.

Hot Wheels Moms

Hot Wheels Holiday Bundle Pack

You can make your Hot Wheels fan happy and bundle up this Holiday Season when you’re the master of your own track with the Hot Wheels Race Rewards Holiday Bundle Pack! The best part is more points you earn, the more you can reward yourself and give the gift of speed for the holidays! Kids will love the Straight Track 4 Pack! It includes nearly four feet of strips of classic orange track, for some fun racing times. Plus, your bundle pack also includes a mystery 1:64 basic car!

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More Rewards? Monster Jam Monster Mutt

Celebrate the legacy of the original Monster Jam Monster Mutt with the Hot Wheels 1:64 car collectible. Kids can re-create favorite Monster Mutt moments and send your opponents to the doghouse!

You can find more information on the Hot Wheels Race Rewards program at HotWheels.com, but hurry! The rewards program expires December 31st.

Disney Planning Toy Story 4 Movie!

It’s been nearly two decades since Pixar Animation Studios created the world’s first computer-animated feature film with “Toy Story,” it revealed plans for Disney Pixar’s “Toy Story 4,” an adventure that returns audiences to the world of the studio’s signature characters on a planned release date of June 16th 2017.

John Lasseter, director of the original “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2,” will direct the film, which opens a new chapter in the lives of Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the “Toy Story” gang. The story was dreamt up by Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter and Lee Unkrich, the storytellers who have been the driving force behind all three “Toy Story” films.

Toy Story 4

“We love these characters so much; they are like family to us,” said Lasseter. “We don’t want to do anything with them unless it lives up to or surpasses what’s gone before. ‘Toy Story 3’ ended Woody and Buzz’s story with Andy so perfectly that for a long time, we never even talked about doing another ‘Toy Story’ movie. But when Andrew, Pete, Lee and I came up with this new idea, I just could not stop thinking about it. It was so exciting to me, I knew we had to make this movie—and I wanted to direct it myself.”

The Toy Story writing team Rashida Jones and Will McCormack are in on the project, and Pixar veteran Galyn Susman (ABC’s “Toy Story OF TERROR!” and “Toy Story that Time Forgot”) is producing.

To infinity and beyond!

7 Kids Math Lessons Using Pumpkins

Pumpkins are all around us this time of year, which makes them great for decorating and even baking with. But did you know you can teach some important math lessons with pumpkins too? Take a look below at 7 kids math lessons using pumpkins that you can try. They make for a fun, fall filled way to teach these important math skills!

Math Lessons Using Pumpkins

1. How much does it weigh?
Teach how to use a scale and read weight measurement when you find out how much the pumpkin weighs. You can do this by making estimations first about what you think the weight is. Write your answers down on a chart. Then, place the pumpkin on the scale. How close were you? Read the weight out loud, and use this opportunity to talk about weight in pounds and ounces.

2. What is the circumference of the pumpkin?
Take a tape measure to find out the circumference of the pumpkin. Make estimations before you begin. You can even unravel the tape measure the amount you think the pumpkin will be. Use this opportunity to talk about measuring circumference in centimeters and inches.

3. How tall is your pumpkin?
Use a ruler to measure how tall the pumpkin is. Make estimations before you begin and compare the pumpkin to other objects that are similar in height. This can be a basketball, toy, etc. Use a ruler to measure and write down the answer. Use this opportunity to talk about measuring height in feet and inches.

4. Seed estimation station.
Have you ever wondered how many seeds are in a pumpkin? Estimate how many seeds you believe to be in the pumpkin. Then, cut it open and remove the contents onto newspaper. This is a fun time to get messy and count the seeds as they come out. How close were you?

5. Pumpkin seed snacks.
When done with the seed estimation station, bake your seeds for a fun and tasty snack. Use this opportunity to talk about units of measurement in cooking such as teaspoon, tablespoon, cup, or the degrees the oven is set at. Let the kids prepare the seeds by sprinkling them with oil, salt, garlic, pepper, or other seasonings of your choice. They can also help with setting the timer to control cooking time.

6. Geometry fun with pumpkins.
Pumpkins come in so many shapes. Use this time to talk about the various shaped pumpkins you see. Some are spherical, some are oval in shape. In the book Spookly the Square Pumpkin, he is a cubed shape pumpkin. Try drawing pumpkins on a piece of paper in all different shapes. Can you imagine what a triangle pumpkin would look like?

7. Pumpkin story problems.
Try writing your own story problems using pumpkins. You can add the imaginary seeds of two pumpkins; you can add how many pumpkins can be picked in an hour if one is picked every 5 minutes, etc. Have children write their own story problems where the pumpkin is the star!

See how easy it can be to use pumpkins when teaching math? Give these ideas a try and see how much fun pumpkin mathematics can be.

Enter To Win @$25 Family Dollar Gift Card

We have another $25 Family Dollar gift card up for grabs for a lucky Kid’s Fun reader! The $25 Family Dollar gift card is sponsored by Family Dollar (of course)! All opinions are my own! What could you purchase with your Family Dollar Gift card if you won? The holidays are coming up quick! Family Dollar has some great holiday decorations, candy and gift ideas for the whole family!

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Giveaway open to US residents only, void where prohibited. One of each entry per person unless noted otherwise.

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