Free Preschool Pass SeaWorld San Diego

Sea World Preschool pass

Free Preschool Pass SeaWorld San Diego

Yes, that’s right! Sign up for a free preschool pass for SeaWorld San Diego and your preschooler can enjoy Sea World through the end of the year.

SeaWorld San Diego is delighted to offer a 2017 SeaWorld Preschool Fun Card to the first 10,000 registered preschoolers, a $10 Fun Card will be available after that. This FREE Fun Card grants kids ages 5 and younger complimentary admission to SeaWorld San Diego through Dec. 30, 2017*.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Sign your child(ren) up for their free pass by clicking on the link below. Make sure to go through the whole checkout process. Registration ends March 17th, 2017.
  2. Redeem your FREE preschool pass by March 31st, 2017: Simply go to any Sea World ticket window with your printed e-ticket, a valid photo ID, passport, or certified copy of their birth certificate. This is required for verification of age and preschool pass redemption – no exceptions.

To sign up your preschooler for their free Sea World San Diego Preschool Pass head here and fill out the form.

*San Diego and Orange County CA residents only. Valid only at SeaWorld San Diego only for children 5 years old and younger at time of redemption. Unlimited admission through 12/30/2017. Does not include free parking, separately ticketed events or other discounts. Bring Preschool Fun Card Voucher and valid form of ID (a copy of a certified birth certificate or travel passport) to Tickets and Reservations at SeaWorld San Diego. School IDs or children’s security IDs will not be accepted. The SeaWorld Preschool Fun Card offer is not available at the park; advance online registration required.

Offer valid for limited time and subject to change and/or cancellation without notice. Blockout dates apply.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pecan Fat Bombs

These Chocolate Peanut Butter Pecan Fat Bombs hit the spot when you’re craving something sweet and help increase your fat macros. Plus they’re super easy to make! 

chocolate-peanut-butter-pecan-fat-bombs-recipe

I’m hopping back on the LCHF way of eating and have successfully been on plan for the past week. That means I’ve been able to get through a mini vacation up to Palm Springs AND our annual Cookie Christmas celebration + brunch on New Year’s day with my family. Now that I’ve tackled this first week, I know I can keep it going.  As I continue this journey I’ll be sharing over on my other blog, Low Carb San Diego. I’ll include great recipe ideas, tips and tricks, as well as my personal journey. I hope you follow along! 

These Chocolate Peanut Butter Pecan Fat Bombs hit the spot and help me increase my fats (something I always have a problem with). It’s a great treat for the end of the night or for when I know I’m going somewhere with lots of sweet treats. Bringing a fat bomb and one of my favorite low carb bars helps me say no to temptation and press forward. 

chocolate-peanut-butter-pecan-fat-bombs-with-monkfruit-in-the-raw

Find the full recipe here

Rethinking Cable TV: Upgrade Standard Cable to Internet TV

rethinking-cable-tv
 
When we moved two years ago we signed up with a new cable provider taking advantage of a new customer promotion that was priced very well. Sadly all good things must come to an end. Here is how we dealt with the promotion ending and embracing the emerging world of internet based cable providers mixed in with a little old fashion technology.
 
The biggest problem we face is that there is little competition and choices when it comes to buying cable and internet. The city we live in is roughly divided in half with Cox Communications to the south and Time Warner to the north. Throughout the city the old phone company ATT is still kicking around with U-verse in some areas. Sadly our neighborhood really only has one option that offers decent Internet speeds, Time Warner.
 
The next problem we encountered is cable TV equipment rental fees. It used to be that you could attach the cable to your TV and get all the basic channels. For this to work a cable company uses analog signals which are sent in the clear over the line. The drawback is that analog signals take up a lot of bandwidth and that space is shared with your internet. In order to provide faster internet speeds the analog channels were converted to digital and now required a special digital adapter or cable box to receive TV channels. Unfortunately these devices cost $5-11 dollars a month to rent. Luckily the cable company does offer an app for Roku, Android, and iOS. We used the Roku app for a bit and thought it was pretty good. Another cost saving move was to request a cable card which costed us $2 dollars a month. Combining the cable card with a Samsung cable box that we bought ourselves from Amazon provided an inexpensive avenue for getting HD channels to our main TV.

 

Rethinking Cable TV – Time to cut the cord? 

The motivating moment to reevaluate our cable TV setup was when the 2 year promotion ended. Our costs went up from ~$100 dollars a month to ~$160. It was pretty steep. We called and lowered our internet speed tier and that saved a few dollars. They even confirmed we had a never expiring $20 dollar a month discount on our TV service , but still it felt like this was too much to spend for only watching a handful of channels.
 
We worked out our requirements as getting all the major broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, CW, and one local independent station along with HGTV, Food Network, Disney, Nickelodeon, and possibly ESPN. We architected a solution that consists of a TV antenna in our attic for the broadcast networks and Sony Playstation Vue service for the cable channels we wanted to watch running on Amazon FireTV boxes. Of course like most households we also subscribe to Netflix and Amazon Prime. The total cost per month would pencil out at ~$110 dollars a month with $80 dollars of that being internet costs as well as some up front equipment costs at around ~$200 dollars. Yikes! internet costs are still high, but we work from home so we opted for a higher service than what we really needed at 200Mbs/20 vs 60Mbs/10 so we could save even more, about ~20 dollars a month if we dropped down another tier. Another important note is we are currently not subject to data caps.

 

TV Antenna? 

Installing the TV antenna was tricky because of the topology of our city. There are lots of canyons and hills/mountains. To further complicate the installation, ABC and CBS broadcast from a different location than the others. This makes pointing the antenna difficult as you would normally have all the broadcast towers in one spot. Luckily there are a few websites that help you orient your antenna. We used tvfool.org (antennaweb.org is another) by entering our address. The site returns the number of channels you should receive along with the size of the antenna needed. Best of all it provided a chart with the direction to point the antenna. We were able to use a compass and the chart fairly easily. 

 

Broadcast Locations

Okay so what to do about the different broadcast locations? Well one option is to get a antenna rotor which physically spins your antenna to the correct position to receive one or more channels. The drawback with that option is that if multiple TVs are trying to watch different channels that require different antenna positions someone is going to lose out on their show. So there must be another alternative and it turns out that there is: two antennas. Point one antenna toward CBS and ABC and the other toward FOX, CW, and NBC and tie the signals together with a splitter/combiner. We ended up using an RCA yagi style antenna for CBS and ABC as this type is a little more directional, meaning when you point it toward the broadcast tower it tends to “ignore” the other signals being broadcast from other locations. The other antenna we used was a Channel Master METROtenna 40. Finally you need to use the exact same length of cable connecting the antennas to the splitter/combiner. Connect RG-6 coax cable from the splitter/combiner to your TV and run a channel scan for over the air (OTA) channels.

 

Solution: Playstation Vue with Amazon’s FireTV

Our research of Playstation Vue led us to Amazon’s FireTV. The box,not the stick, is actually pretty powerful/fast/smooth and gave one of the best experiences using the Vue app. The first FireTV was picked up at the local BestBuy so that we could do the free 7 day trial. Then later on prime day we were able to pickup another device on sale, score! Finally we got a refurbished Fire Stick for the TV in the upstairs toy room. They are all currently connected using a wireless internet connection.
 
Playstation Vue TV viewing is different than traditional TV/cable boxes. Its based around favorites and what’s on now which you navigate by scrolling left and right through tiles similar to Netflix’s interface. There is a traditional channel guide, but it is somewhat out of the way in the interface. We subscribed to the basic package, called “Access Slim”. It actually turns out that they included our local NBC and CBS channels which was kind of nice and unexpected. The slim package hit all of our desired channels and some others that we like, but don’t watch constantly like Bravo, TLC, TBS, FX, and AMC. Another cool feature is the cloud DVR. We have not used this much yet, but we did not have a DVR before so we are not accustomed to relying on it. Other features of note, some channels let you rewind to the beginning of a show or stream other episodes. 

 

Our Experience

Overall the Vue TV watching experience has been pretty great. The picture quality is fine. On live events, like football games, we noticed a almost 1 minute delay between broadcast (antenna) and the Vue app. A strange quirk is that some channels don’t play commercials! Instead a screen saver’ish screen is displayed saying your program will be back shortly in eerie silence. We have to think that this will eventually change at some point to behave more like traditional TV. The other thing of note is the Vue app on the Fire Stick works,but it is slow to respond and would be frustrating to use on your main TV.
 
Alright so putting it all together here is how we use both the antenna and Vue app. On our TV we connect the coax cable into the tuner input. The FireTV connects via an HDMI cable. To go between we use the input button on the remote of the TV to select whether we want to watch broadcast TV or Vue cable channels. One downside is you as a viewer just need to know that there is something on one of the broadcast channels (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, etc) that you want to watch. There is no unified guide, you are on your own. On the plus side when we wanted to cancel TV service with Time Warner we had to wait on hold for about 25 minutes, but with Vue you can cancel online at anytime.
 
We have been using this setup now for about 4 months and no real deal killer complaints. We feel good about getting our monthly TV costs down and retaining the channels we liked most.
 
Rethinking Cable TV and Cutting the Cord

Have you cut cable? 

Ringing in New Years with Kids

Ringing In New Years with Kids

New Years Eve is not the same as it once was. Now that we celebrate New Years with kids, we’ve changed things up to make things more kid-friendly. Including starting a little earlier than we once did.

Below are a few great ways to have a rockin’ New Years Eve with kids. From fun mocktails and food to fun and games, everyone will have a good time!

Start the Party Early!

There’s no need to wait till midnight in your timezone! Consider starting the party early and celebrate when the kids are still awake by choosing a different time zone. My brother in law hosts a GMT New Years Eve party every year where we count down to 4pm PST (0000 GMT).

The kids get the full experience of New Years Eve without having to force themselves to stay awake. Then the adults can celebrate how they’d like afterwards. Or go to bed with the kids at their normal time. I’m pretty sure I do the later every year even though I make an effort to stay up.

New Years with Kids Mocktail

Get Creative with Mocktails

Grab some bottles of bubbly… bubbly apple cider and grape juice that is and start mixing up some fun concoctions (or let the kids make their own). All you need is some sparkling juice or sparkling water and a variety of other juices. Then let the kids have fun mixing them up

Consider adding a few mix ins like maraschino cherries or fresh fruits. And for dessert create an ice cream sundae or ice cream float bar!

Mini Corn Dogs with Ketchup

Serve Up Kid-Friendly Foods

Miniature or small finger foods work best with the littles. Consider cooking up some mini corn dogs or sticking with a simple cheese, cracker and meat platter. And snacks are a must so consider a variety of bunnies, pretzels, fish, and grahams. And I’m sure the kids would go crazy for this Inside Out Garlic Cheese Bread.

Need something for the adults too? Grab a few bags of Pretzel Crisps, and whip up this delicious hot pizza dip. It’s a crowd pleaser!

If you’re looking for more traditional fare, consider making a batch of black eyed peas to bring good luck with you into the new year.

New Years Eve Countdown Boxes - Play Party Pin

Have Some Fun

It isn’t a new years eve party without fun and games! Check out these great ways to ring in the new years with kids in style! From homemade balloon drops to creative ways to count down each hour, these bloggers have you covered!

In Southern California? Check out these kid-friendly New Years Eve parties hosted around town!

How do you celebrate New Years with kids?

ringing-in-the-new-years-with-kids

This post was originally featured on December 26, 2013.

Pfeffernüsse Cookies To Share The Holiday Spirit

pfeffernu%cc%88sse-cookies-to-share-the-holiday-spirit

This time of year is magical, isn’t it? The holiday cheer, the smiles on everyones faces, and the loads of treats and goodies around every corner. We continue the holiday season even after Christmas is over by celebrating our own Christmas with my husband’s extended family. And that celebration has been dubbed Cookie Christmas. 

Why? You ask? Because we get together the day before the event and bake up 10+ different kinds of cookies to serve the next day. My husband’s aunt spends countless hours the week before the event making all of these doughs to bake up together. And then we all come together on Cookie Christmas to enjoy them all (and bring them home in tubs and bags to enjoy for weeks after). 

Each year there’s one or two recipes we try out to see if it can earn it’s place in the Cookie Christmas line up. We have our classic chocolate chip, our snickerdoodle, yummy sugar cookies decorated by the kids with frosting and sprinkles, etc. This year I thought I’d try out a new recipe or two to see if I could put it on the list of maybes to introduce to Cookie Christmas. And this recipe? It’s a winner! 

pfeffernu%cc%88sse-cookies-to-share-with-friends

Pfeffernüsse Cookies

  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Stir the molasses, honey, shortening, and butter together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until creamy, stirring consistently. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Add the eggs and combine.

Mix the flour, white sugar, brown sugar, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, pepper, and salt in a large bowl. Add the molasses mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Roll the dough into quarter-sized balls. Arrange on baking sheets, spacing at least 1 inch apart.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Move to a rack to cool. Dust cooled cookies with confectioners’ sugar. Or get the kids involved and dump 1/2 a cup of confectioners’ sugar into a bag, then add a few cookies, seal the bag and shake shake shake! 

pfeffernu%cc%88sse-cookies-to-share

Interested in trying out some more new cookie recipes? You need to check out the #HousefulofCookies recipes being shared all month! YUM! 

pfeffernu%cc%88sse-cookies-a-fun-spiced-holiday-cookie

Tips For Gut Health + a Bacon Brie and Sauerkraut Egg Cups Recipe

Tracking Pixel
This past week I hosted an event at my house sponsored by Renew Life Probiotics. We enjoyed delicious food, tried new things (kombucha!), and had a frank discussion about gut health. Yup. We went there. But one thing I learned was that I’m not alone in my gut health issues. And there are a lot of things I could be doing differently to take better care of myself. So I’m sharing a few tips for gut health along with a recipe for delicious Bacon Brie and Sauerkraut egg cups. Yum! 

bacon-brie-and-sauerkraut-egg-cups-renew-life-probiotics

All of my life I’ve had stomach issues. And I always assumed it was related to the ulcer that first developed when I was a pre-teen. Heartburn, tummy trouble, and digestive issues were always something I dealt with. And to be honest I just assumed it was normal. Didn’t really think anything more of it. Then I got older, I read more about our body and how everything is connected, and tried to see if there was something else going on. 

Fast forward about a decade and I’ve finally figured out a solution to my issues. Probiotics

No, seriously! While I only used them previously alongside antibiotics (for both myself and the kids), I’ve now started taking probiotics daily and boy have I noticed a difference. But that’s not the only change I’ve made. Probiotic rich foods, plenty of water, and healthy changes in diet can also play a huge role in gut health and one’s comfort. Opening the conversation with my guests allowed to me to learn more about how I can be proactive and focus on self care in the new year.

bacon-brie-and-sauerkraut-egg-cups-kombucha-traybacon-brie-and-sauerkraut-egg-cups-renew-probiotics-partybacon-brie-and-sauerkraut-egg-cups-plus-juice-and-infused-water
Tips For Gut Health

The “gut” is considered the core of your body’s overall health and well-being and can affect your entire body, including immunity, digestion and more. So that means paying attention to your gut health should be pretty high on your list of priorities.

Here are a few ways to do just that:

1. Start taking probiotics –

To help keep your complex digestive system thriving and restore good bacteria, Renew Life Ultimate Flora Probiotics deliver unique, potent formulas that contain tens of billions of cultures, and multiple probiotic strains to help achieve better digestive and immune health.*

2. Drink plenty of water –

Drinking enough water is so important for healthy digestion. Water helps break down the food you eat and allows waste to pass more easily through the intestines. It also helps boost nutrient absorption. Water also softens stool, which helps to prevent constipation. Yup… we’re getting real! If you aren’t a huge water drinker, you can infuse your water to make it taste delicious. 

3. Talk about your gut health –

Whether it’s with friends, your doctor, or family, don’t be shy about speaking up about your gut health. If something doesn’t feel right, you more than likely need to change things up. Nearly two in three women (64 percent) aren’t willing to talk about gut issues with their friends. And with almost three quarters of women (72 percent) experiencing a digestive/gut issue in the past 12 months with gas/bloating (53 percent) being the most reported issue, you aren’t alone.

Nearly a quarter of women (22 percent) don’t consider the status of their digestive health when they think about their overall health and wellness, but it can affect your entire body, including mood, memory, immunity, digestion and more. By being proactive and talking about your issues, as well as taking probiotics regularly and getting enough water, you can help increase immunity, lessen the negative effects of gut issues, and find relief.

bacon-brie-and-sauerkraut-egg-cups-gut-health-food-spreadbacon-brie-and-sauerkraut-egg-cups-yogurt-bar-ideas

Gut-Friendly Probiotic Rich Foods

In addition to taking probiotics, you can also find them naturally in these probiotic-rich foods that are hosts to the good bacteria our guts need: 

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso Soup
  • Kimchi
  • Tempeh
  • Kombucha
  • Pickles

While some of these are easy to enjoy in our diet, others need a little… sneaking in. You can only eat so many hot dogs with sauerkraut. So finding other dishes to make with probiotic rich foods can give you more variety in your diet. 

The Renew Life blog also has some great recipes as well! We made the fresh carrot, cabbage, and apple medley juice and quick and easy whole wheat pumpkin muffin recipes for this event and they both tasted so good! 

bacon-brie-and-sauerkraut-egg-cups-plus-pumpkin-muffinsbacon-brie-and-sauerkraut-egg-cups-with-renew-life-probiotics

Probiotics 101

  • A proper functioning gut, containing a delicate balance of both good and bad bacteria, helps with digestive and immune health.
    There are more than 100 trillion bacteria of many diverse strains inside your digestive tract which need to be balanced in order to keep your body healthy.
  • 70% of the immune system is located in the intestinal tract, therefore, maintaining gut health is a key part of maintaining your overall health.
    Signs that your gut is in need of replenishment and balance can include occasional bloating, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, headaches, and weight gain among others.
  • Experts agree that taking a probiotic supplement like Renew Life Ultimate Flora Probiotic is a good way to help support balance in the digestive tract and replenish the good bacteria found in a naturally diverse and healthy gut. It is reported that a person typically feels a difference after taking a probiotic supplement for 7-14 days.

bacon-brie-and-sauerkraut-egg-cups

Bacon Brie and Sauerkraut Egg Cups

A variation of this recipe

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cubes frozen sauteed glazed onions (or 1/2 an onion, diced)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 6 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sauerkraut
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 container 16oz cottage cheese
  • 1 8oz package of shredded cheddar
  • salt and pepper
  • 2oz brie cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add oil to large skillet and heat on medium high on the stove. Once hot, add onions to pan and saute 2-3 minutes. Then add spinach and cook until slightly wilted. Toss in bacon and sauerkraut and set aside to cool. 

While spinach/bacon/onion mixture is cooling down, add eggs, milk, cottage cheese, and shredded cheddar to a bowl and mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper). Drop pieces of brie cheese into the mixture and fold in. Then add spinach/bacon/onion mixture to eggs and combine. 

Line 2 muffin tins with baking cups or spray well with cooking spray if not using baking cups. Using a large cookie scoop, scoop mixture into the muffin tin wells filling about 2/3-3/4ths of the way up. 

Baket at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until top is starting to turn golden brown. Let cool 2-5 minutes and serve. 

Makes approximately 24 but could get more if you scoop less into each cup. 

bacon-brie-and-sauerkraut-egg-cups-plus-probiotic-rich-drinks

What are your favorite gut-friendly foods? 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

**This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Renew Life Probiotics from November 9-11, 2016 among 1,127 U.S. women ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Katie Young at Katie@pdcpr.net.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Renew Life Probiotics.

Last Minute Minecraft Gift Ideas

 We have been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card in exchange for sharing our favorite last minute Minecraft gift ideas from Best Buy. 

last-minute-minecraft-gift-ideas

We’ve been a Minecraft crazed household since early last year. And just about any wish list my son brings to me has at least one Minecraft-inspired item on it. So if you’ve started hearing about Creepers and Ghasts and other weird sounding things, you may be introduced to Minecraft soon. And you may have seen a few Minecraft-related things on your child’s list. But don’t worry! It’s not too late to pick up some last minute Minecraft gifts with the help of Best Buy

Build and explore exciting new worlds with Best Buy’s assortment of Minecraft games and collectibles. If you aren’t familiar with the awesome world of Minecraft, it is a game about placing blocks and going on adventures. Explore randomly generated worlds and build amazing things from the simplest of homes to the grandest of castles. Play in Creative Mode with unlimited resources or mine deep in Survival Mode, crafting weapons and armor to fend off dangerous mobs. Do all this alone or with friends. The games are very family-friendly and great for kids. 

And even after you’ve started playing the game, there’s still fun to be had! The toys and collectibles make great gifts for anyone already into the game. Best Buy carries a large assortment the assortment of Minecraft products – this includes an Xbox One S console bundle, additional Minecraft games and Minecraft toys and collectibles. Check out our top picks below (each of these items is on my son’s wish list)! 

Grab all of the Minecraft goodness here: http://bby.me/e7cb. And make sure to take advantage of FREE 2-day shipping to get it by Christmas or pick it up at your local Best Buy store by selecting store pick up. So convenient! 

Last Minute Minecraft Gift Ideas

minecraft-1

1. Minecraft RC Flying Ghast

At the top of my son’s list is this awesome Minecraft RC Flying Ghast. You get to bring one of the key mobs to life with this quadcopter! Using the remote control, you fly this Ghast quadcopter through the air as in the game. 

The flying Ghast can move forward and backward, left and right, and up and down. Special features include 360-degree turns, automatic landing capabilities and a stunt button take the fun to new heights! This is a great gift for any Minecraft fan. 

On sale for $20 off at $59.99! Killer deal. With free 2-day shipping, of course.

2. Minecraft Motion Movie Set

My son is really into watching YouTube videos and has been asking if he can set up his own channel. While I’m not quite ready for him to be in front of the camera, his ideas for some stop motion fun sound right up my alley! With this Minecraft Stop-Motion movie creator set you can make your own movies come to fruition. It comes with a movie stage, six different background cards, four exclusive figures and over 18 accessories to help you bring your stories to life. This Minecraft Stop-Motion movie creator lets you animate with your smartphone or tablet in just three easy steps. Pretty cool, right? 
 
Only $19.99 right now with free 2-day shipping. 
 

 

minecraft-2

3. Minecraft Minifigure Collectors Case

Minecraft Minifigs are perfect for stocking stuffers or present toppers but you need somewhere to put them all! This Minecraft Minifigure Collectors case holds up to 32 figures and allows you to display and transport all of your little guys. 

Organize and display your favorite Nether explorers in this Mattel Minecraft collector case. Flip it over to discover a Minecraft world complete with a playtime portal for entertaining creative minds. This lightweight Mattel Minecraft collector case includes six starter characters and a convenient handle that lets you easily transport up to 32 figures.

$39.99 right now with free 2 day shipping! 

4. Minecraft Card Game

Play your favorite hit video game anywhere with this Minecraft card game. Mine, craft and reserve resource cards, but watch out for TNT and Creeper cards in this game full of action and adventure. Crafting points with wood, stone, iron, diamond and gold resource cards lets you position yourself for a win in this Minecraft card game.

A great stocking stuffer at $12.99 and free 2 day shipping. 

 

minecraft-3

5. Microsoft XBox One S Minecraft Bundle

Upgrading your gaming system? You gotta check out the Xbox One S Minecraft Favorites Bundle (500GB), featuring everything you need to build, survive, and explore! Get full game downloads of Minecraft for Xbox One and Windows 10, plus thirteen fabulous, community-favorite content Packs, including Halo Mash-up and Festive Mash-up. 

Craft new Minecraft worlds together with friends on Xbox Live, the most advanced multiplayer network. And now with the new Xbox One S, you can even watch 4K Blu-ray™ movies, stream Netflix and Amazon Video in stunning 4K Ultra HD, and play a growing library of Xbox 360 games. With all the biggest blockbusters this year, there’s never been a better time to jump ahead with Xbox One.

And right now you can score this bundle for $249.99 ($50 off)!

What’s on your Minecraft fan’s gift list? 

Grab all of the Minecraft goodness here: http://bby.me/e7cb. And make sure to take advantage of FREE 2-day shipping to get it by Christmas or pick it up at your local Best Buy store by selecting store pick up.

Aloha Hawaiian Baby Shower: Ideas for A Hawaiian Baby Shower

aloha-hawaiian-themed-baby-shower-2

My sister welcomed her 4th bundle of joy into the world about a month ago and we are so happy to have another niece! But before her arrival we started to celebrate her (and her momma) by hosting this Aloha Hawaiian themed baby shower. My sister’s husband is of Hawaiian and Mexican descent so it was only fitting to bring some flavors of his heritage into their celebration. And who doesn’t love some kalua pig or mac salad? 

aloha-hawaiian-themed-baby-shower-10

The Decor

I used simple colors and decor when planning things and based everything on the invitation that I created in Canva using a template. I used that template to then make the other signs for the party including a welcome sign, lei sign, and food signs. 

The leis were perfect for the leg crossing game – whoever sees another guest crossing their leg gets to take their lei. Normally it’s played with safety pins but this was more fitting for our theme. 

We also played a baby word scramble and a word search.  Since it was guys and gals I didn’t want it to be too girly. The guys, however, did score the least amount in both games but I’m not naming any names! 

Looking for more baby shower games? Check out the Disney baby shower games here

aloha-hawaiian-themed-baby-shower-1aloha-hawaiian-themed-baby-shower-3

The Desserts

When I called up my sister and asked what kind of cake she wanted she said vanilla or chocolate. And I had to laugh. Really? I’m getting you a cake and you want plain vanilla or chocolate? So she jokingly said she wanted haupia cake, a Hawaiian cake. I then surprised her by ordering not only a beautiful ombre chocolate cake but haupia cupcakes. I suggested this recipe to a local baker and she ran with it! 

Here’s everything I ordered for the decor: 

aloha-hawaiian-themed-baby-shower-4aloha-hawaiian-themed-baby-shower-5aloha-hawaiian-themed-baby-shower-9

The Menu

Like my decor, I wanted to keep things simple with the menu. And I wanted to feed a large crowd without being left with tons of food at the end of the party. So I paired it down to two main courses – teriyaki skewers and kalua pig in the pressure cooker, rice in the rice cooker, mac salad, a green salad, and Hawaiian rolls. Because who doesn’t love Hawaiian rolls? 

The kalua pig recipe I found was one that everyone in the instant pot community raves about. And now I know why! It’s so good. Like melt in your mouth good. And the Hawaiian red alaea sea salt totally is worth it. 

By cooking the kalua pig in in the pressure cooker, skewers on the barbecue, and the rice in our rice cooker, we didn’t have anything cooking in the oven or on the stove. And I was able to make the mac salad recipe the night before so it could soak up all of the flavors. It really was the most simple menu to date at an event I’ve hosted. But so good! 

aloha-hawaiian-themed-baby-shower-6aloha-hawaiian-themed-baby-shower-7aloha-hawaiian-themed-baby-shower-8

The party took about an hour to set up beforehand and everything was prepped the night before for easy set up. Simple and pretty was my goal and I succeeded! Everyone had a great time and left home stuffed (I even sent home leftovers with my sister!). Definitely the sign of a great party! And now we get to love on our new niece. 

aloha-hawaiian-themed-baby-shower-11

Want a sneak peek at one of the newborn photos I took of her? 

dsc_1128

Awwww! 

What’s your favorite Hawaiian food? 

aloha-hawaiian-baby-shower

Top 10 Gifts for 8 Year Old Boys

review affiliate link disclaimertop-10-gifts-for-8-year-old-boys

I’m not sure if it’s just me or it my friends are also having this same problem but as the kids get older I’m finding that it’s harder and harder to find out exactly what they want for Christmas. Or, as I’m experiencing with my son, things change from week to week so the one thing you thought was at the top of their list is now just eh. Frustrating, right? 

Well this year I did a bit of research and if you’re like me and have an 8 year old boy, I’ve got you covered! Different price points, different types of toys, and all perfect 8 year old gifts. 

stickbot-zanimation-studio

Stikbot Studio

Create , Animate and Share! Stikbot Studio Pro is the perfect way to get kids interested in stop motion video. This set include 1 tripod , 2 stikbots (solid red and solid orange color, 2in1 stage green and blue screen. With green screen , you can capture the best photo and video and save time editing. Easily cut and edit footage to create the sequence you need by using green screen. You can digitally recreate the background of your scene

Buy here on Amazon (Prime available): http://amzn.to/2guca5u

LEGO Sets

What 8 year old doesn’t love LEGO sets? From Minecraft to LEGO City to Superheros, LEGO sets come in all themes, sizes, and price points. Perfect for boys or girls. 

Video Games

My son is obsessed with video games. But of course he loves the ones that aren’t actually available to purchase easily. Top of his list? The Isle, Subnautica, and Terraria.

i-do-3d-vertical-pen

IDo3D Vertical

IDO3D uses a cool blue LED light and soft, squeezable 3D pens that enable you to easily draw 3D objects! The IDO3D Vertical light attaches to each pen by clicking firmly into place. The light can easily be removed from one pen, and placed on another by simply pulling it off, and popping it onto another. It’s a snap!

With IDO3D Vertical, you can draw vertically, straight into the air. To do so, turn on your light, and simply draw upward by squeezing your pen and moving the tip vertically, away from your drawing surface. You can also make solid sheets of material by drawing on flat or curved surfaces, first with the light off, and curing afterward by shining the light on your art. Draw on non-sticky textured materials or objects like coins or buttons, and then remove for very cool effects. 

Buy here on Amazon (Prime available): http://amzn.to/2hjPMeN

Osmo

Osmo is an award-winning hands-on game system, fosters creativity & problem solving skills. The starter kit incldues 4 games – Words: puzzle form spelling, Newton: creative problem solving, Tangram: expand your visual thinking, and Masterpiece: supercharged drawing and is designed for kids 5-12. So siblings can play along as well!

From coding to tangrams to everything in between, my kids are obsessed with Osmo. Their current favorites are the Osmo Coding and Osmo Pizza Co

Cosmo

Now this is one of those gifts my husband checked out before the holiday season and purchased as a joint gift for himself AND the two older kids. Yeah, you read that right. A gift for him and the kids. But boy were his instincts right! Cozmo is a real-life robot like you’ve only seen in movies, with a one-of-a-kind personality that evolves the more you hang out.

Cozmo expresses real emotions in response to your actions. He requires a free app and the processing power of your compatible mobile phone/tablet to access high level robotics functions that brings Cozmo to life. New games and upgrades are unlocked the more you play.

Cosmo may be hard to get now but keep an eye on when he comes back in stock: http://amzn.to/2gqt3sY

dart-zone-covert-ops-magnum-superdrum-blaster

Dart Zone Magnum Superdrum Blaster

One way to get my kid out of the house (and off his video games) is to start a fun game of war. And this Dart Zone Magnum Superdrum Blaster is the perfect accessory for a friendly competition. 

Grab yours here: http://amzn.to/2hjHEKY

Minecraft anything

What kid doesn’t love Minecraft, right? My son is still just as obsessed with Minecraft now as he was last year. And while he has the game, he still wants all of the toys, t-shirts, and stuffed animals out there. So many options for a Minecraft lover! 

Magic Treehouse Box Sets

One thing I love finding for each kid is a good book for them for the new year and the Magic Treehouse series is one my son enjoys reading with us and by himself. Anything that will get him to read is a win-win in my book! 

Grab books 1-4 here (more available if you’ve already read these!): http://amzn.to/2hk2DuC

Little Live Pets

I don’t know what it is about these little guys but both my 6 year old and 8 year old are obsessed with them. There are turtles, frogs, and mice available and each has their own little habitat they come in (or you can purchase them separately. 

Check em out here: http://amzn.to/2htBjxg

little-live-pets

What are your kids asking for under the tree? 

Birthday Party Tips: The Lazy Mom’s Guide to Hosting A Party

This shop featuring the lazy mom’s guide to hosting a party has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WipeAwayHolidayMess #CollectiveBias

the-lazy-moms-guide-to-hosting-a-birthday-party

My gorgeous little girl is turning 6 on Wednesday. Yup. 6. I remember when she was first born. She came so fast. Like she was ready to be here after waiting 5 days after her due date. Always on her time. And always like a whirlwind. 

She insisted on a Shopkins themed party and I had to deliver. I mean come on, you only turn 6 once, right. In the 6 years of throwing parties for her, I’ve come to learn a thing or two about throwing together a party. And each year has gotten simpler and simpler with a few easy tricks I’ve learned. 

Throwing a birthday party doesn’t have to be complicated. Or expensive for that matter. it just takes some creativity and a little bit of prep. And if cleaning isn’t your thing, I have some tips for that too! 

the-lazy-moms-guide-to-hosting-a-birthday-party-party-decor

The Lazy Mom’s Guide to Hosting A Birthday Party

1. Pick a theme

Now I normally leave themes up to the kids, but then I work on coming up with a basic color scheme to go along with that theme. In an effort to keep costs down, I only select a few character or themed items and coordinate those with solid color decor. I try to stock up on solid color plates and napkins, etc when I see them on sale so I don’t have to spend too much right before the party. 

2. Do any prep work ahead of time

About a week out I like to do the simple things I may not find the time to do on the day of the party or the day before. I fill goodie bags, make sure I have the pinata ready to go, and do a quick cleaning of the main areas of the house. I also print out any printables I’ve made or found and assemble anything that needs to be assembled (like when I make my own happy birthday signs). 

the-lazy-moms-guide-to-hosting-a-birthday-party-cupcakes

3. Only commit to making 1-2 food items

My biggest time saver and stress reliever is to only make 1-2 of the food items I serve at the kids parties. This year it was hot dogs and pasta with two different sauces (alfredo and marinara). We purchased the pizza, fruit, veggie tray, and cupcakes from the grocery store. And I added a little flair to the store bought cupcakes by purchasing some character rings and cupcake decorations online. Way cheaper than custom cupcakes or cakes! 

4. Set up the night before

So that everything is ready to go, I always try to set up everything the night before. I lay out platters, make little notes about where I want things to go, and come up with a day-of game plan so I don’t forget anything. That way there’s less stress on me the day of. I also make sure my husband is in charge of picking up all of the food on the day of so I’m home to do any last minute tidying and to greet any early guests. 

the-lazy-moms-guide-to-hosting-a-birthday-party-scotch-brite

5. Don’t clean up during – or right after – the party

My biggest suggestion when hosting a party is to not worry about clean up. Especially when there are guests still at your home. We set out trash cans outside and inside so that guests know where things go (including recycling). And sometimes guests are so inclined to help pick up here and there. Let them! But don’t you dare pick up that piece of trash! This is your time to enjoy the fun your child is having with their friends. 

When the party has ended, I simply put away any food items that are still left out. And that’s all I do. I leave the mess for the morning. Because by then I’m exhausted and why work more when it’ll all be there in the morning? The next morning I conquer and divide. I have one kid with a bag to pick up trash and the other with a bag to pick up recyclables. 

Then I go around clearing any plates or dishes that may not have been put away. Next up is the dishes. Now you may be worried that because you didn’t clean up the night before, you might have some leftovers stuck to the dishes. That’s nothing a handy dandy Scotch-Brite® Scrubbing Dish Cloth can’t handle. The scrubbing dots on the one side of the dish cloth allow you to take on tough messes in the sink and across a variety of surfaces. Squeaky clean! 

Then I unleash the best tools of all! Our dogs. We let them search around and find anything we may have missed. And it works like a charm! 

the-lazy-moms-guide-to-hosting-a-birthday-party-cleaning-up

So the next time you’re hosting a party remember to keep it simple! Choose a theme, but use solid color accents, do some prep work ahead of time, only make 1-2 items for the party and purchase the rest, and come up with a day of game plan (including NOT cleaning). Looking for some help in the kitchen? Just grab some Scotch-Brite Scrubbing Dish Cloths to help you out! 

What are your tips for making party planning easier? 

scotch-brite-at-ralphs

Head over to your local Ralphs to score an In-Store Clip Strip Offer for $1.00 off a 1-pack of Scotch-Brite Scrubbing Dish Cloths starting on 12/4! We found our Scotch-Brite Scrubbing Dish Cloths in the cleaning aisle. 

birthday-party-tips-the-lazy-moms-gude-to-hosting-a-party



© A Crafty Spoonful - All Rights Reserved
It is OK to use one of my photos provided a link back and/or proper credit is given. It is NOT ok to copy and paste a whole post including instructions. Please do not remove watermarks or alter images in any way. Please contact me with any questions at danielle@acraftyspoonful.com

.