Archive for the ‘Celebrations’ Category

Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake from

*This post is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

If you are anything like me, you are already on the hunt for easy Halloween ideas!  Today’s easy food craft is for a festive Halloween cake that you can whip up quickly to celebrate with your kids, fellow trick-or-treaters or to add to your Halloween party spread.

This can be made for under $20 and NO COOKING is required!

Can I get an AMEN?


Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake from

Supplies Needed (available at Walmart)

1 prepared cake

1 container of powdered sugar doughnut holes (I had enough in an assortment pack)

Roll of white tulle (over by the party/wedding favor supplies)

Black Decorating Icing (over by the cake decorating supplies/crafts)

Cookie Sticks (over by the cake decorating supplies/crafts)

White Twine


Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake from


1. On a rimmed cookie sheet, insert the cookie stick into your doughnut hole.

2. Cut out two squares of tulle, approximately the same size, and angle them slightly. Fold them over your doughnut hole. Secure with a little white twine, making sure to bring the tulle down snugly over the top of the doughnut hole to make a level surface for your piping.

3. Pipe two eyes and a mouth on your doughnut hole. I found that getting the icing a little warm helped make the piping easier so keep that in mind!

4. Stick your ghosts on top of your cake.


How easy is that?

Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake from

Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake from

Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake from

This cake was such a hit and I loved that it adds a homemade touch to a store-bought treat!

As you know, I’m pretty darn frugal, so I want to share a tip that might help you at your store. Be sure to check the rear of your store (over by the dairy section usually) to see if there are any reduced to sell bakery items on a rolling cart. It is there where I often spy prepared cakes and doughnuts that are perfect for sharing with guests or for rounding out a meal together with friends. If you check there first, it is possible you might be able to score these treats for a fraction of the price that I paid.

I promise to not be jealous.

I look forward to sharing more fun Halloween ideas with you in the upcoming month and hope you love this festive (and easy) treat idea!



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6 Festive Halloween Decorating Ideas

Monday, September 28th, 2015

6 Festive Halloween Decorating Ideas from

Halloween is just around the corner and with that season comes all of the fun decorating and costume ideas for your home and family. Halloween is always a busy season for Goodwill since it is considered a top source for materials and costumes for most families. Don’t forget while putting together your award-winning attire, that our store offers a lot of great materials for crafting a festive & spooky home too!

Gathered here are a few of my favorite ideas for decorating for Halloween that I think you will find both fun AND affordable!

Head on over to the Goodwill Tips blog and snag 6 Festive Halloween Decorating Ideas today!

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How to Make a School Supplies Cake

Friday, August 7th, 2015

How to Make a School Supplies Cake from

It is hard to believe that school is just around the corner! Today I’m going to show you an adorable craft you can create for your kids as a back-to-school gift, a centerpiece for a back-to-school dinner together, or as a teacher gift to get the year started off right. The best part about this craft is that you can take full advantage of all of those back-to-school sales and make this for around $20!

How cute is this?

How to Make a School Supplies Cake from

Head on over to the Kenmore Blog to get the scoop on this School Supplies Cake for the back-to-school season!

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Shrimp Boil Recipe

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Shrimp Boil Recipe from

I love a good summer dinner outside and one without a lot of dishes, is always a winner. We started a new dinner tradition this summer doing a weekly shrimp boil. Have you ever done a shrimp boil? Call it a shrimp boil or call it a Lowcountry Boil, this is a dish that is easy to entertain with, thanks to its one-pot wonder status and the simplicity of serving this dish right on a pile of newspapers in the center of your picnic table.

The history of the Lowcountry Boil is a pretty interesting one. Coastal Living Magazine shares, in this article, that this dish was once called Frogmore Stew and was created by a National Guardsman when he needed to cook a meal for 100 soldiers. Richard Gay, who learned the recipe from his family, had everyone remembering his stew. The dish was later named Frogmore, where Richard was from, by the guards who teased him about home. The postal service eliminated the name Frogmore, which changed this popular dish name to Lowcountry boil.

If you can feed a hundred soldiers, you can feed a few extra friends around your dinner table with this fun dish, which is why I wanted to share it with you today.

Shrimp Boil Recipe from

You see, I have been on a mission this summer to transform my attitudes about entertaining. This summer I decided to challenge myself and open our home up once a week to family and friends for dinners.

You know people that are natural born entertainers? The kind of people that just love entertaining?

I am just not one of them.

I want to be one of those people, but I often find the stress of preparation and wanting things to be perfect gets in the way of the relaxed kind of hostess I desire to be. By putting myself on a weekly dinner schedule with friends & family though, it has begun to feel more natural to have weekly guests in our home. Not only has it held me accountable to keeping up a bit around the house, it also has created so many beautiful memories with people we love around our dinner table.

My standards of what a perfect meal are also starting to relax a bit. My housekeeping has relaxed a bit in the process too. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s an honest thing.

I began to notice that real friends don’t care what kind of condition your home is in if you share a meal with them.

They just love being with you.

I have also found a little sangria also helps to relax your guest’s standards too. Ahem.

Shrimp Boil Recipe from

My children have come to really love this dish too. There is just something so fun about grabbing a fork, dipping, and spicing to your heart’s delight. When the humidity gets to be too much, I just nestle this feast on a cookie sheet lined with newspaper on our kitchen table. We also love to throw on a really good record that fits the mood of the evening (this was last night’s selection)!

Since we live in the Midwest, our seafood is pretty limited to frozen offerings. You can certainly build upon this dish depending upon your location and grocery budget.

I hope this dish inspires you to open up your table to others and try something new. As a reluctant hostess, I have found the experience of opening up our table weekly to be really incredible for our entire family!

Shrimp Boil Recipe
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
Call it a Shrimp Boil call it a Lowcountry Boil...whatever its name you decide upon, bask in the glory of this easy one-pot wonder! This recipe can easily be doubled for a large crowd!
  • 2 lemons, halved, plus wedges for serving
  • ½ cup Old Bay Seasoning
  • 8 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 large red onion, quartered
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 pound baby red potatoes
  • 4 ears corn, husked and snapped in half
  • 2 pounds large shrimp, (cleaned & shells removed)
  • 13 ounces kielbasa (we use a turkey kielbasa in this), cut into slices
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Hot sauce, for serving (optional)
  1. Fill a large pot with 4 quarts of water. Squeeze the lemon juice into the water and add the squeezed lemon halves. Add the Old Bay, garlic and onion. Tie the thyme sprigs together with kitchen twine and add to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes to the pot and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Add the corn and cook 5 more minutes.
  3. Add the shrimp & kielbasa the pot, cover and cook until the shrimp curl and are just opaque, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Transfer the shrimp and vegetables with a slotted spoon or skimmer to a large bowl. Add the butter and about 1 cup broth to the bowl and toss until the butter is melted. Transfer the shrimp and vegetables to a pile of newspapers. Serve with the remaining broth, lemon wedges and hot sauce, if desired.

 Have you ever done a shrimp boil? What makes your dish special? I would love to hear!!

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Raise A Hand for Teachers With thredUP (Felted Flower Dry Eraser Marker Bouquets)

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Raise A Hand for Teachers With thredUP  (Felted Flower Dry Eraser Marker Bouquets) from


*This post is sponsored by thredUP. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

As you know, since starting my fashion capsule project, I have become a huge fan of thredUP. I buy everything there from stuff for my kids (especially those one-time use special occasion outfits), to my workout gear for the gym, to our outerwear, and beautiful clothing for a fraction of retail prices. Nine times out of ten, if you see us wearing something… it is now from thredUP thanks to the affordability and how great it feels to get a pretty polka dotted box on our step filled with secondhand goodness.

That is why it was such an honor that they thought of me for an exciting campaign they are launching to support teachers and their classrooms for the back-to-school season. In honor of the Raise a Hand for Teachers Program,  I wanted to share with you our nomination for a deserving teacher and also show you a fun craft you can create for back-to-school for a special teacher in YOUR life.

Raise A Hand for Teachers With thredUP  (Felted Flower Dry Eraser Marker Bouquets) from

My daughter had a phenomenal school year this year and it was all thanks to Mr. Domonkos! I got to come in weekly to volunteer in her classroom and be a quiet observer firsthand at the kind of teacher he was and how he ran his classroom which is always a treat as a mom. I can tell you that if I had a teacher half that fun, the learning would have never felt like work. His goals were to not only teach our children the basics, but to teach them LIFE SKILLS.

Instead of just showing them math problems on a white board, he actually gave each child different roles in the classroom (like the classroom librarian or the banker) and then they would receive a salary for their jobs. They paid rent on their desks or they could save to buy their “home” and receive a deed for paying off their space.  Each week they were given the opportunity to save their money or spend it on trinkets in the classroom. They weren’t just talking about math… they were learning to use math like they will when they become an adult.

When I asked my daughter what she said that he taught her, she said it was how to manage her money. As a frugal blogger and author of my own personal finance book, this is MUSIC TO MY EARS.

Raise A Hand for Teachers With thredUP  (Felted Flower Dry Eraser Marker Bouquets) from

The joy on my daughter’s face when she purchased her desk is the indescribable joy I hope to feel one day when we pay our own house off. 

From getting our kids signed up with Google accounts and having them design web pages to Sponge Bob theme music while writing about the sea to showing the kids YouTube segments to learn new math tricks, his classroom was filled with new and interactive ways to get our kids excited about learning.

I know there are many moments I didn’t get the opportunity to witness as well. The countless hours past his job spent preparing for class as well as those moments needed to stay after to help kids who are struggling. I am sure there were many moments sacrificed from his own family to teach our children…and we are so grateful.

The hiccuping sobs as she got off her bus on the last day of school were also indescribable as a mom. They were because of the absence of her amazing teacher and seeing him each day. 

That has never happened before. The adoration was very real.

Do you want to put a vote in for Mr. Domonkos? We would love your support of this phenomenal teacher!

Raise A Hand for Teachers With thredUP  (Felted Flower Dry Eraser Marker Bouquets) from

Do you have a special teacher in your life? You can nominate them for a cash prize through their Raise a Hand for Teachers Program (#raiseahand) today! has partnered with to recognize and thank teachers for their hard work and the positive impact they make each day on our children’s lives. Why is thredUP thanking teachers? For starters, they know schools are super important to their customers. And, they discovered that 1 in 3 teachers are actually buying clothes for students (along with  school supplies) with money from their own pockets
. I have no doubt our favorite teacher has been doing this too which is why we want to nominate him for this prize today!
You can nominate your favorite teacher anytime between July 15 – August 23. Three teachers each win $2,500 for classroom supplies and $500 to thredUP. 50 runner-up winners receive $100 to thredUP.  How incredible is this? Today we nominate Mr. Domonkos for this award and we want you to help him win as well as nominate a worthy teacher of your own!  Winners will be announced on Tuesday, September 8 (following Labor Day weekend)! 
Be sure to check out thredUP for ALL your back-to-school needs. It’s a goldmine for families on a budget especially if your children have become brand-conscious or if you look for brands with longevity and that can handle your kid’s daily abuse. They have all my favorite brands including GapKids, Janie and Jack, Lilly Pulitzer, Mini Boden, Zara Kids and more! The best part is that the you save up to 90% off retail, so you don’t have to wait for the back-to-school sales to start to save a ton of money.

To support this fun campaign (and help with the school supplies problem that teachers face), we have crafted up the cutest Felted Flower Dry Erase Marker Bouquet that you can share with a teacher in your life. These felt flowers are so easy to create that even your child can make these (with a little assistance with the hot glue gun). Let’s get started!

Raise A Hand for Teachers With thredUP  (Felted Flower Dry Eraser Marker Bouquets) from

Supplies Needed

Package of Dry Erase Markers
Felt (can match the colors in your dry erase markers)
Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks
Jar for Storage (optional)
Raise A Hand for Teachers With thredUP  (Felted Flower Dry Eraser Marker Bouquets) from

Directions to Make Felted Flowers

Begin by cutting a wavy circle out of your felt. The bigger the circle, the bigger the flower, the smaller the circle, the smaller the flower. If you want them all the same size, use the first one as your template for your other flowers.
Start cutting into the circle in a spiral motion. Around and around you go with your scissors until you get to the center. Leave the little circle at the end of your spiral intact.
It should look like this long piece of twirly felt (as we have pictured above). It will not be perfect.  Just remember that you can trim and angle everything the way you want it when you start creating your flower. It will look beautiful!
Starting with the end where you begin cutting, roll the felt back up. Keep wrapping and wrapping until you get to that little circle at the end. You can hot glue the felt as you go, but I found that the felt flower holds together well if you wrap it tightly enough.  Feel free to trim if you have any bits of felt sticking out or not laying as nicely as you like.
Raise A Hand for Teachers With thredUP  (Felted Flower Dry Eraser Marker Bouquets) from
After you have wrapped your rose up, dab hot glue on the back and secure the little end flap of the flower to the base.
Apply hot glue around the end of the dry erase marker (make sure you are getting around the exterior and not into the base of the marker. Secure your felt flower to the dry erase marker, holding it into place until it feels secure.
Repeat the process with the other dry erase markers until you have a bouquet! Place into a jar or tie a few with twine and give your teacher a bouquet they can use for back-to-school!
Don’t forget to Raise a Hand for a Teachers today with thredUP! We hope we have inspired you to nominate someone special and to create a fun gift for them as a thank you for all their hard work!

Looking for more great teacher gifts? Check out this round-up of 19 Awesome Ways to Show Teacher Appreciation! Yay!

*This post is sponsored by thredUP. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!
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MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from #MinionsParty

*This post is sponsored by Universal Pictures. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

We have had so much fun preparing and hosting our MINIONS Backyard Bash in honor of the film’s launch on July 10th! Today we want to show you how we decorated for our party, the fun goodie bags we got to share with our friends, and an easy cupcake minion you can create for your very own party (no decorating skills required!).

In the new film, you get to go back to where the story of the Minions all began! Starting as single-celled yellow organisms, the Minions evolve through the ages, perpetually serving the most despicable of masters. Continuously unsuccessful at keeping these masters-from T. rex to Napoleon-the Minions find themselves without someone to serve and fall into a terrible depression. Kevin, Stuart, and Bob decide to seek a new boss to follow and decide to make a journey to find their new master. This is where they meet their new potential master, Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock- yay!), the world’s first-ever female super-villain.   They travel from Antarctica to 1960s New York City, ending in London. It is here that they must face their biggest challenge to date: saving all of Minionkind…from annihilation.

We can’t wait to see this family-friendly film together and were selected to help throw a party in honor of this film’s launch. #luckyducks

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from #MinionsParty

We got an incredible package in the mail that included all the party supplies we would need to execute our backyard bash as well as fantastic party favors that included adorable beach towels, beach balls, and PlayDoh sets for all of our guests.

The only thing we really needed was Mother Nature to cooperate with our plans.

Unfortunately, it has rained for two straight weeks in Indiana so we had to move this party indoors and enjoy the fun inside instead!

Thanks, Indiana!

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from #MinionsParty

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from #MinionsParty

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from #MinionsParty

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from #MinionsParty

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from #MinionsParty

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from #MinionsParty

We weren’t going to let a little rain ruin our party though! We outfitted our table in blue and yellow to go with our theme. I let my kids do the decorating while I prepared our snacks.  The goggles, of course take center stage in this set-up. We secured a set of adorable goggles to each of the chairs with a little washi tape for each person to take home. Our centerpiece was also adorned with goggles and we even stapled some together to make a goggle banner over our table.

Lemonade, popcorn, and cupcakes were served for a little rainy day magic together.

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from #MinionsParty

The Minions are a hit with kids of all ages so we invited our friends and cousins to join us for the afternoon. We loved sharing our Cupcake Minion with them and everyone can’t wait to catch the movie this summer!

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from #MinionsParty

In honor of the film, I’d love to show you how to create this cupcake minion for your party table!  Before we begin, I want to encourage you to make this as easy on yourself as possible! If you want to make this party treat REALLY fast, call your local bakery and ask for two dozen white cupcakes with the frosting on the side. This is what we did to save some time and our local grocer only charged $14.99. 

Supplies Needed

Two Dozen White Cupcakes

Frosting, tint half of it yellow and then other half blue (I recommend these Wilton food colorings to achieve this bold shade)

1 canning jar ring

Black licorice (if you aren’t a fan of black licorice, we tried a new chocolate Twizzler variety that worked perfectly)

1 Hershey Kiss


Cookie Sheet

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from #MinionsParty

1. Tint over half your frosting in yellow and the other portion in blue. Set one cupcake aside for your eye.

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from #MinionsParty

2. Ice as I have shown here (15 Yellow, 4 Blue, 4 Half Yellow & Half Blue, 1 Left Without Icing!!). You can pipe the icing on, if you prefer a more polished look, or you can just spread the icing on with an icing spatula, as we have shown here.

3. Cut your black licorice up in random smaller pieces and apply to the top of your Minion head to create the hair.

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from #MinionsParty

4. Trim the top off of your cupcake to expose the white cake of your cupcake for the eye (pardon our picture, we decided to do that one last minute!). Make sure to not trim it too deep, so that your canning ring will fit around on the outside of it. Place your canning ring around the cupcake top to create your goggle.

5. Invert a Hershey Kiss into the center for your eye. Place the cupcake on top of your other cupcakes in the center. Finish by tucking two pieces of licorice underneath the eye to create the glasses. Trim the licorice to fit across the cupcakes on the end. Finish by bending your licorice into a smiley face! How easy was that?

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from #MinionsParty

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from #MinionsParty

We hope these ideas inspired you for a MINION’S Backyard Bash of your own! Remember to catch the film on July 10th! We can’t wait to hear what you think about it!

Get connected with the film!

Follow on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+

Like ‘MINIONS’ on Facebook

Visit the Official Site



Check out the trailer below and enjoy a fun movie night out with the whole family this month! Yay!

*This post is sponsored by Universal Pictures. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

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4th of July Flag Fruit Dessert Tray

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

4th of July Flag Fruit Dessert Tray *This post is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

One of my favorite celebrations is 4th of July and today I wanted to share with you a fast & easy 4th of July fruit dessert platter you or your kids can make into a flag to celebrate the holiday.  Walmart partnered up with me to share a festive 4th dish and I have to say that this delivers on the red, white, & blue.

4th of July Flag Fruit Dessert Tray 4th of July Flag Fruit Dessert Tray

Since I am gluten-free, I often have to bypass the dessert trays. As an adult, it is not a big a deal. As a child, the dessert table is EVERYTHING, especially when it comes to holiday feasting. I wanted to create this cute tray just for them and I found these glutino gluten-free yogurt covered pretzels are not only a fantastic way to add the white we needed for our stripes, but they also are highly addictive and delicious. You can certainly make your own white chocolate covered pretzels, if you are feeling ambitious, but these cut down on the time invested in creating our cute tray!

4th of July Flag Fruit Dessert Tray

Flag cupcake picks can be a great way to festively pick up a berry (or ten).  I found these at a local party supplies store and they are an adorable touch to a festive spread.

4th of July Flag Fruit Dessert Tray

I think the best part about this tray is that it is not only relatively healthy, but it is also a tray that you can confidently create and know it will get eaten. After a big cookout, light desserts are a wonderful addition to the table for snacking on. Have too many desserts on your table? Save this to serve up during the fireworks. It will be gone before it even gets dark enough to see them!

Check out the instructions below on how many supplies you need to put this tray together!

4th of July Flag Fruit Dessert Tray
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
A fast & festive gluten-free fruit dessert tray your guests will flip for.
  • 2 pints strawberries trimmed, rinsed, and dried
  • 1 pint blueberries, rinsed
  • 2 packages of glutino yogurt-covered pretzels (or white chocolate regular pretzels, if not going gluten-free on this tray)
  1. On a 9x13 cookie sheet, place a small clear plastic (or glass) square container of berries to create your blue flag corner.
  2. Now alternate the red berries and white pretzels in stripes until you have filled your tray.


While you are here, these are a few more of my favorite 4th of July ideas on MomAdvice! xo

Cupcake Pick 4th of July Wreath

Make a 4th of July wreath out of cupcake picks (world’s easiest festive touch!)

Celebrating 4th of July Heroes With Your Kids

Teach your kids about the REAL 4th of July Heroes (the reason we all celebrate!)

Diy Family-Friendly Bar Cart

Turn a tool cart into a bar cart for the 4th (adorable girl not included!)

DIY slow Cooker Citronella Candles

Keep the bugs away with DIY Citronella Candles (made in your slow cooker!)

Red, White, & Blueberry Trifle

Make a Red, White, & Blueberry Trifle (another light & easy dessert!)

3-ingredient Watermelon Granita

Wow your guests with this Watermelon Granita (just 3-ingredients!)

Watermelon Coconut Lime Smoothies #recipe via

Or blend up leftover watermelon into this Watermelon Lime & Coconut Ice (I love leftovers!)

Blueberry Sangria Lemonade

Make a festive Blueberry Sangria Lemonade for toasting the holiday (cheers and cheers again!)

Berry Quinoa Parfaits

Leftover berries? Turn them into a protein-packed Berry Quinoa Parfait.

Greek Quinoa Salad

Everyone loves a good salad! Greek Quinoa Salad is yummy and gluten-free (winning!)

Lemony Spinach & Tomato Quinoa Salad

Why have one salad when you can have two? Lemony Spinach & Tomato Quinoa Salad is delicious (even at room temperature!)

Caprese Pasta Salad #recipe via

I am all about the caprese so this Pasta Caprese Salad really fits the 4th of July bill! (can be made gluten-free with a pasta substitute)

5-ingredient Caprese Pork Chops

Did someone say caprese? These 5-ingredient Caprese Chops would be delicious on the grill.

The World's Best Steak Marinade

Feeling Fancy? Try the World’s Best Steak Marinade (it makes cheap cuts taste gourmet!)

Restaurant-Style Steak Recipe

Rained out? Restaurant-Worthy Steak on the stove. In your face, rain!


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Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from

As my kids get older, we have found that they need and want less and less.  We have also found that we desire less clutter and more moments with our kids so my husband and I hatched up a Choose Your Own Adventure gift for the holidays this year that we gave them in lieu of gifts.

Do you remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books? They were my favorite when I was a kid because each time you read a book, you could make a choice that would take you down a different path. I think I reread this one a million times, returning the well-worn pages back to the library, only to to check it out again.

That idea of choosing your own adventures still lives on and I decided that this year, our family would make travel a top priority. I want my children to have big adventures and see the world so at Christmas, we gave them the unique opportunity to, truly, choose their own summer adventure with us as a family.

I tell you this now instead of in the winter because this one requires a chat with your kids about gift expectations and it also requires saving money for your adventure. 

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from

We asked our kids if they would like to do a vacation instead of gifts this past Christmas and they were so excited to do this which thrilled us to no end.

Since my husband is a web designer, he came up with the genius idea to create a retro travel brochure (complete with a typewriter smear) that would make it look like this package was designed just for them that they could open on Christmas morning. Since there would be no gifts under the tree, we really wanted to give them something to enjoy on Christmas morning and to create a new tradition of gift-giving in our family!

The Mom & Dad Travel Agency (making dreams come true since a few minutes ago- ha!) cover sheet was designed with their names on it and placed on top of the gift.

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from

The first package they opened outlined the rules of the adventure.  If you decide to do something similar, you can create your own rules, but these were the rules we set up to make sure that things went smoothly. 

Found below are the rules we gave our kids! 

Rules for Our Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Package

ONE- You must agree TOGETHER on the trip. We know that this will be tough, but it is also a great opportunity to work on your teamwork skills. Take your time coming to your decision and read through each of the files carefully. In it, we have outlined how you will get to your destination, where and who you might visit, as well as the exclusive adventure you will get to take.

TWO- Although we will do our best to book the places we have outlined for you, these will also be subject to availability. Do you know what that means? It just means, it depends on if the places or owners have space for us. For example, if the place we show you ends up not being available when we are able to go, we promise to find something as close as possible to what we have shared with you. That is the MOM & DAD TRAVEL AGENCY guarantee.

THREE- We will book the destination of your choosing as soon as possible, but the trip will be taken in the SPRING (sometime between the months of MARCH-MAY). Again, all of this will hinge on the availability and the ideal weather for wherever you select.

FOUR- HAVE FUN! Again, the MOM & DAD TRAVEL AGENCY is so pleased that you want to do something with… well…, your MOM & DAD as a gift. How many parents get to say that? We are so proud to take this trip with you and look forward to serving all of your travel needs.

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from

I designated one file folder for each package idea and my husband created retro cover sheets for each package. For our family, the three destinations were to Florida (Universal and our Mimi), Boston (renting a houseboat and seeing where my son was born), and California (to see the Redwood Forest). Each package was wrapped individually so they had three files to open in the morning.

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from

I then typed up travel itineraries that we hoped the kids would love reading together in the morning. We really wanted to make each of these special and a true gift in the morning.

Upon opening all three, they had a little conference session on their own to decide the trip that they wanted to do.  As outlined in the rules above, they had to decide together.  We knew this might be tough, but there was also the option of one picking one year and the other picking the next year.  

In fact, we are planning to recycle one that wasn’t chosen (that seemed to get a lot of buzz) and add a couple of new options.

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from

Over our annual Christmas Tree Cinnamon Rolls, they shared that Universal was the chosen holiday for the year. I am proud to say it wasn’t really about seeing the Harry Potter world at all… it was, in fact, getting to see their amazing Mimi that really sold our Mom & Dad Agency package.

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from

I hope this idea is inspiring to your family! We are so excited to take adventures with our kids this year and in the years to come and are so happy they enjoyed this gift as much as we enjoyed creating it for them!

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DIY Graduation Party Ideas

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

DIY Graduation Party Ideas from


It’s hard to believe that graduation season is upon us! Congratulations to the proud parents of those amazing grads this year! To help you celebrate (and keep that bash affordable), here are a few fun DIY graduation party ideas to try this year with items you can find at your local Goodwill store!

Head on over to the Goodwill Tips blog for some budget-friendly DIY graduation party ideas today!

DIY Money Book Page Posies

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

DIY Money Book Page Posies from

Graduation season is here and that means being prepared with lots of great gifts for the amazing grads in our life. It probably goes without saying that one of the most useful gifts to a poor college student is money. Of course, giving just money can sometimes feel less personal than I would like. So, I crafted up some adorable money book page posies that you can create out of a few supplies you probably already have on hand, to make one beautiful posy or a bouquet for the graduate in your life.

DIY Money Book Page Posies from

I created this adorable, “What’s blooming? BOOK MONEY!” gift tag that you can attach to one of these simple paper flowers! How adorable is that?

To snag this tutorial and my free printables to make these Book Page Posies, head on over to the Kenmore blog today! While you are there, be sure to check out their handy list of easy Mother’s Day DIY gifts that you can make for a special mama in your life!

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