Friday, December 30, 2016

Come Follow Me!

It's the end of 2016. Why not come follow me in to the New Year?!?! You can follow me on the following social media sites:

Thursday, December 29, 2016

FREE Kids Workshop at Home Depot: Crate Toolbox (Jan 7th)

Help kids get in to the home improvement by letting them build their own Crate Tool Box for FREE at Home Depot on January 7th. They can build it and then paint it! How fun is this! Don'tr be surprised if they want to go shop for some tools to fill it with afterwards.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Where Did We Go Wednesday? Tideline Ocean Resort and Spa in West Palm Beach, FL

My husband and I went to the Tideline Ocean Resort and Spa for 5 days this fall for our anniversary. The tide line is a part of the Kimpton Hotels and restaurants. When we arrived we found out that we were upgraded to a corner balcony overlooking the ocean. It was quite a beautiful view. The resort is right on the ocean. It is a small boutique hotel so don't expect to see a big high-rise. You can see from the picture that it is a smaller Hotel.

It does have a pool and a balcony area over the bar area that is shaded in the pool area. We did spend one afternoon at the pool but the rest of the time we spent laying out on the beach. The first couple days we were there it was a Red Flag Day so we couldn't go into the ocean. But we did get in there the last few days. They do have a prime spot on the beach in Palm Beach. They do have Waiters that come out to the beach and take your drink orders or food orders out there as well which is a nice convenience. The restaurant is nice and we did go there for happy hour one night. And like most Kimptons they do have a complimentary happy hour but we found out on the first night that their happy hour is at 4 p.m. compared to 5 p.m. at every other Kimpton that we had gone to. But because we missed it do to our flight time and drive time to Palm Beach they gave us glasses of wine and when we got to our room we found that there was a bottle of wine waiting for us there too.

The only thing that was kind of weird was that it has a glass shower that looks right in two the room so you need to be very comfortable with the person you are with because they can watch you shower and bathe from the bed.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Slow Cooker Creamy Potato Soup

Creamy Potato Soup

3 C diced yukon gold potatoes (rinsed with peels on)
2 C milk or coconut milk
2 C chicken or vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C yellow onion, diced
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 T cornstarch
2-3 pcs. bacon, crumbled
2 T fresh chives, minced


  • Saute onion and garlic in oil on the stovetop until onions are translucent
  • Place potatoes, milk and broth in a 4 Qt slow cooker
  • Stir in onions and garlic
  • Add spices (except fresh chives) and stir
  • Cook on low for 7-8 hours
  • Puree the soup using a hand blender
  • Mix cornstarch in cold water with a whisk
  • Pour cornstarch mixture in soup and stir.
  • Stir in bacon crumbles
  • Allow to cook for 10-15 minutes longer as it thickens
  • Sprimkle top with fresh chives ans serve.
  • Emjoy!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Our DIY Advent Calendar

I made this Advent calendar years ago when my daughter was very little. I had wanted to have something that we could use from year to year and not need to buy those cardboard calendars that have waxy tasting chocolate. I had also come to realize that she would get way more candy trick-or-treating then she needed. So in addition to taking out candy to make our gingerbread house I would also take out another bag of candy with 25 pieces to put into our advent calendar. Now I do that with both kids and have 2 pieces in each date.

The kids actually really like that they have a variety of candy and it isn't chocolate all month long. I made this Buy sewing pieces of fleece onto fleece. And stitching Pockets. I wanted to cover up the stitching so I just glued ribbon over the top of the stitching. I glued the red States onto each pocket and use puffy paint to make the numbers. I have a double running through the top which is what keeps it sturdy and straight. I glued thick ribbon to that using hot glue.

We have been using this for at least a half-dozen years if not more and it is holding up just fine. Maybe next Halloween when you don't want your kids to have so much Halloween candy you would like to try this and put aside some for your Advent calendar and a gingerbread house.

Also - my kids have to tell me a different thing every day that they are thankful for in order to receive their daily candy. I like that and it certainly seems to make them have more gratitude.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Where Did We Go Wednesday? Christmas at the Mall of America

Last week I met up with a friend at the Mall of America to spend some holiday time together. The mall was beautifully decorated throughout with various assortment of holiday decorations. Throughout Nickelodeon Universe there were large Christmas bulbs in SpongeBob SquarePants characters.

The Rotunda was decorated with two enormous trees and had a stage setup where different school groups would sing or perform band concerts. There were also a couple other areas with large hanging displays of ornaments and snowflakes, two different displays.

The other performance stage area was surrounded by large nutcrackers like the one you see in the picture. There were a lot of people stopping and taking their picture in front of these nutcrackers that were enormous.

And of course, Santa was there. We saw him from the second floor but if you are walking by on the first floor you would not see him because he is guarded by all of the decorated trees.

The decorations were very pretty and help to add to the holiday feel at the mall.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Last Minute DIY Christmas Gift Idea: Loom Knit "Bear" Hat

You could easily make this hat for a bear, a doll or some other stuffed animal. All you need is the small blue Knifty Knitter circle, or whatever color is the smallest knitting circle in your set. It is the size you would make an infant hat with. These make fun little hats that you can give to go with their favorite stuffed toy or doll to dress them up. Or kids can make them by themselves. My daughter made this one for her bear at the cabin.

This would also make a great last minute homemade Christmas gift as it should take you less than an hour.

#ad Review: Crabpot Christmas Trees

Guess what finally showed up on my doorstep, after telling you about them 7 weeks ago. I was supposed to have received it five or six weeks ago so I could review it and tell you about it so you could order it if you want it for this Christmas but now you just get to read about it and think about it for next year I guess.

The Crabpot Christmas Tree I received has white lights but they also have it in multicolor. The lights come in either regular Christmas lights or LED. This one is a 3 foot tree. It comes folded up in a triangle and you just easily unfold it in a circle and secure it with the green twist ties they have on it. It sets up in a matter of seconds.

The plug on it is very short so you have to have an extension cord to plug it into or some other kind of Christmas lights. It does come with Stakes so you can secure it into the ground if you like but since I receive this so late the ground is frozen and I will not be able to use those this year. I just put it on the porch and plugged it into a set of Christmas lights around the railing.

It looks nice and sets up very easy. I like that it stores flat because it will be easier to pack away when I take everything down in a week.

$ave 30% Off Pre-Lit #Christmas #Trees that fold flat & sparkle from every angle .@crabpottrees .@usfg Code:USFG16

Monday, December 19, 2016

Mexican Egg Nog

My husband came up with this idea. It is super tasty (this is coming from someone who doesn't typically like Whiskey).

Mexican Egg Nog
Large Jigger (1.5 oz) of Rum Chata
1/2 Small Jigger of Fireball

Stir together and serve over ice! Simple, quick and tasty!


If you are looking for some other holiday drinks ideas, check these out:

Friday, December 16, 2016

Gingerbread House Fun

Making a gingerbread house has been a tradition in our home since having kids. This year it was the easiest gingerbread house to make that we have ever made. It may be that the kids are another year older or perhaps it has to do with the kit I bought.

We have made kits other years and I often find that they do not include enough I see or the icing isn't as pliable as it needs to be. And often they show gingerbread houses decorated with more candy than what is provided.

I usually Reserve a good half gallon bag of Halloween candy that is brightly colored so that the kids have more candy options to decorate with and make it more colorful. In the past we have relied on this Halloween candy 2 make it look even somewhat close to what is on the picture of the kit. But this year I bought a kit at Aldi's for  about $6 and was surprised that it included plenty of icing to make the house and to frost the yard. It also had a nice platform to build the house on which we did.

We still used some Halloween candy but it actually had all of the candy in the amounts pictured on the box. We just chose to not use as much of that candy and use some of our other stuff, plus they also wanted to eat some of the Gummy Trees.

The icing was pliable enough and dried relatively quickly and held tight so we did not have any collapsing walls or roof on our gingerbread house which made it for a much pleasing experience. I will definitely look at buying this kit again next year.

I have tried making gingerbread our cells but it never seems to back up quite as easily as you get in the kids and that leads to a more frustrating experience. We have also tried using graham crackers to make them but they are not quite as 30 + armoire brittle so kids have been the way to go for us. At least for now.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

DIY Puffy Paint Christmas Table Runner

 This was a fun and easy project that the kids and I did at our cabin 2 decorate our kitchen table and have some seasonal decorations at our cabin.

Our inspiration came from having this exact size piece of blue dyed burlap left over from a different project I did. It seemed to be the right size for a table runner and because it is burlap it wasn't a sewing project at all just cut and decorate.

I have done puffy paint projects with the kids in the past but didn't have a whole lot of the colors we needed left over so I did have to go bye some more coffee paint. It is pretty inexpensive and you can pick it up at Walmart for about a dollar a tube.

The nice thing about using the puffy paint on burlap is that it doesn't soak through like it does on other Fabrics. With a little puffy paint and time we made a fun and easy table runner for about $5 and the kids can look at it and know that they helped create something

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Where Did We GO WEDNESDAY? U of M CSE Winter Light Show

This year we had a chance to check out the light show put on at the University of Minnesota by the College of Science and Engineering. I had read about it before as something to do for the holidays that was free. It is a 15-minute light show set to music. There was 5 different songs that they programmed the light show too. The video I have included is just of all of the lights on after the show was completed.

We were already at the campus and had paid to park to see the Cirque Dreams Holidaze show. Otherwise comma it is a short show and not worth paying to park to go see but if you are already going to be on campus the weekend they do the show it is just something else fun for the holidays to do. It was a bit cold while we were watching and the snow was falling which made it feel like a nostalgic Christmas thing to do.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Low Cost Christmas Wreath

One of the easiest way to keep costs down is to use things you already own. You would think that would go without saying, but often times people need a reminder to look around and see what they have. This wreath used to have different Barry and ribbons Onnit what they had seen better days. The rest of the reef looks nice still so I removed everything to get down to just a basic green wreath.

From there I decided to check out what kind of Christmas crafting supplies and wrapping supplies and decorations I had leftover from other projects. What I found was some bulbs that I did buy from the Dollar Tree last year. We had used some of the bulbs in the pack to make our own personalized ornaments but did not use them all. The ribbon was left over from Christmas wrapping from years past and worked well to drape it and hot glue it into place. And the boat was one that was left over in a pack of other bows from a different crafting project in years past. So all and all I paid nothing to make this and half a new roof on the porch this season.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Where Did We Go Wednesday? Aitkin Fish House Parade

This is our third year going to the Aitkin fish house parade. It is always held the Friday after Thanksgiving. It is a full day of events in the community. We usually kick off our time there by going to visit Santa and Mrs .Claus. Then we head over to the movie theater in town and they have a FREE showings of a kids movie. This year we watched Ice Age Collision Course and we fill up on popcorn and pop that we purchased. Before heading into the movie though we set up our chairs outside so when we come out we are all set and have spots for the parade. We also bring our snow pants and everything inside to the movies with us so the kids can put them on as soon as they are finished watching. Then we get to watch the parade which usually last 30 to 40 minutes and has a variety of interesting floats that many of them are some type of fish house or a trailer that has been decorated with some type of fish house. Ice fishing is a big thing up north in Minnesota in the winter so it is fun to see what people can come up with. They do have competitions to see what float is the best in three different categories. The parade ends with Santa and Mrs. Claus followed by a trailer that shoots colored ping pong balls. Those ping pong balls correspond with different discounts at local businesses so everyone is trying to get as many as they can. We ended up with 1 this year and it didn't save us a whole ton of money but every little bit helps.
Other things going on in town include a reception at the Art Center there and a 5K race and a soup and chili feed at an area restaurant, as well as a talent show in the evening at the high school.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Another 12 Books of Christmas at the 5th-6th Grade Accelerated Reader (AR) Levels (all.5-1 pts)

One Wintery Night by Ruth Bell Graham (1 pt)

A Pioneer Christmas by Barbara Greenwood (1 pt)
The Forgotten Helper: A Christmas Story by Lorrie Moore (1 pt)

Rose's Special Secret by Kay Woodward (1 pt)
Silent Night by Will Moses (.5 pt)
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffman (1 pt)

The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming by Lemony Snicket (.5 pt)

The Lump of Coal by Lemony Snicket (.5 pt)

Eloise at Christmastime by Kay Thompson (.5 pt)

The Legend of Saint Nicholas by Demi (.5 pt)

The Worst Twelve Days of Christmas by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen (.5 pt)

Santa Claus by Rod Green (1 pt)

Bonus Ideas:

Angelica the Angel Fairy by Dairy Meadows (2 pts)

Merry Fairy Holidays by Pippa Le Quesne (3 pts)

Monday, December 5, 2016

10 Movie Night at Home Snack Ideas

We have made a fun night in our house at least once a month, sometimes more than that and do a Family Movie Night. We don't just hang out and watch a movie, but really get in to it and enjoy a variety of snacks. Typically, we pick out a movie we haven't seen on Netflix or Amazon Prime, so it is typically a relatively inexpensive way to spend time together and everyone seems to enjoy it. Here are some ideas for snacks for a movie night at home.

Review: 3DLIGHTFX Light

This 3DLIGHTFX night light is so cool. It is a 3 dimensional light that stick ot from the wall and looks like a real Darth Vader mask. I temporarily hung it so you could see what it looks like hanging on the wall. It lights up glowing red. It does have a switch to be on off or on a timer.

I have a picture of the wall sticker that you can put on but didn't put it up for this picture because I am giving this as a present with a bunch of other Star Wars items to my son. I would say that the mask is about the size of a costume masks so this is not a small item at all.

The sticker has a film on it so right now it has a white look to it but it won't have that when you put it on the wall. The sticker makes it look like he is breaking through the wall head first.

This is cool to the touch so it is perfect for a child's bedroom. It is also battery operated, so no cords are going to get in the way and you can hang it anywhere. You will need to purchase 3 AA to put in the back side of this. It also includes the crack sticker that goes on your wall. 

This is one of a large variety of kids licensed characters that are available in this light, as well as in a mini light.

Giving this to my son for Christmas. I took it out to put batteries in (require 3 AA) and see how the light works. It has On/Off/Timer as options. The eyes glow red and only slightly light the room. The crack sticker for the background looks really neat and will hopefully be easy to apply.

Review: Hickies Shoe Laces PLUS 20% off Code

Hickies shoelaces are no tie elastic shoelaces. I was sent two packages of the shoe laces to review them on this blog. No monetary compensation was received. I received a hot pink pair that I have already put in a pair of my daughter's shoes and a black pair that will go into my son's shoes once we buy a new pair.

The kids think these look really neat compare two laces that crisscross. I did the leasing for these and didn't think they'd take any longer or shorter amount of time then using other shoe laces.

 but because these are a plastic elastic type of shoelace they will stretch when you stick your foot inside of it. If it is too tight to stick your foot in at the top you can undo the lace and reattach it around the hard clasp.

They also come with a card that shows you three ways you can lace them. The way I have them placed as for a regular fit but they also give you options to lace them if you want a tight or a loose fit.

My readers can get a 20% off by using code USFG to save. These are a great gift for the holidays and would make a perfect stocking stuffer.

Friday, December 2, 2016

15 Ideas for Week Day Holiday Fun in the Twin Cities

So, it was just in November that I wrote a post that was a long time in the making of 100 Places that Adults Want To Go in the Twin Cities and while it is a great list to find stuff to do at any time of the year it doesn't encapsulate any holiday specific fun, which is what I went in search of for December to plan a get together with a friend.

Sure there are lots of plays and musicals and craft shows to go to on weekends, but finding stuff to do on a week day can be a bit more challenging. The good news is that most of these items are also available on the weekends, as well as during the week day.

I decided since I had spent quite a bit of time looking up items, I might as well share them with my readers and then have them to reference next December when I am planning our get together.

  1. Bachman's Holiday Idea House
  2. Holidays at Flyover America
  3. Holiday Music Festival at the Mall of America
  4. Songs for the Season Courtroom Concert
  5. A Christmas Carol (one man show by great-great grandson of Charles Dickens)
  6. Weekday Matinees of A Christmas Carol at the Guthrie (currently sold out for weekday matinees, they advised calling a week or less before the show to see if anything opened up)
  7. Nordic Holidays Exhibition at the American Swedish Institute
  8. Ballet Tuesday "Clara's Dream" Excerpts at Landmark Center
  9. Holiday Flower Show at Como Park Conservatory
  10. Wells Fargo Winterskate
  11. Various Holiday Events at the James J. Hill House
  12. A Victorian Christmas at the Ramsey House
  13. Holidays at the Mill Performances at Mill City Museum
  14. "A Day In the Life of an Elf" at Macy's Santaland
  15. Holidazzle Village (Th-Sun)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December Yoga Challenges: #NaughtyorNiceYogi3 and #YogEmojiChallenge

Who wants to join along and do these two different Instagram Yoga challenges? They started today. I will probably try to find one that starts on the 15th and goes through Christmas or maybe goes to the end of the year as well. I like having to to do at one time.

So I have included my pictures for these first poses which are Lotus pose and head stand. The  top yoga challenge seems to have some different and interesting poses I have never done before. I like to do these Yoga challenges because they do give me some experience doing poses I had not tried before. And the second one I think it's just hilarious because it is emojis. I wonder if there is an app out there that I can turn myself into an emoji when I do the pose. Anyone know?

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