March 24, 2015

Easter Basket Finds at Dollar Tree

The thing I love most about filling Easter Baskets at Dollar Tree, is how easy it makes it to stick to my budget, $5 equals 5 items, $10 equals 10 items, no calculator needed and no need to add extra stress to my mom brain :) .

Dollar Tree

So, I decided to take you guys on a virtual tour and show you some of my Dollar Tree faves to be on the lookout for...

Obviously the usual baskets, eggs, and grass (Yay for paper grass that can be vacuumed up!).

I was excited to find kites. I don't expect them to be sturdy, but I don't want to spend more than $1 on something that's going to be drug around by a 3yo who doesn't care if it flies. 
And, I can't wait to watch my baby's reaction to his hopping baby chick :) .

Pool Noodles, water guns, and water balloons for water play.

Buckets, shovels, and rakes for the sandbox (wishing I'd grabbed more of these).

Along with the regular candy (which is usually cheaper than most discount stores), they also had the unique candy that I loved so much as a kid. Think fewer treats, more impact.

They had lots of puzzles and coloring books to choose from with princesses, superheroes, and many other favorite cartoon characters.

Fairy wings, wands, and crowns as well as plastic balls and bases.

We have one of these little magnetic drawing boards, they're great for on the go.

Jump Ropes

Badminton sets (might even be good for pre-teen and teenage boys???), and everything you need to chase after bugs and butterflies.

They had dozens of varieties of bubbles to choose from. Also look for sidewalk chalk, they didn't have it in the store I was in, but I hear they do have it in other stores 20 pieces for $1.

Nail stickers, nail polish, cute notebooks and pencils (pre-teen and teen girls???)

And just in case you need something for your Easter Basket, I found a good deal on the leather Ked's I got for my birthday. They're marked down to $29.95  on Amazon instead of $50.00, (when you select your size the price will drop). As usual, I have no idea how long this deal will last.
Champion Originals Leather, White

March 20, 2015

Evenflo Maestro $49 shipped!!!

On BackOrder again, click "other sellers on Amazon" just below the price and it will be the 1st one on the list.

We have the Maestro and love it. It's lightweight, easy to move, and my 3 year-old can buckle himself!
It normally costs $65-$80. $49 is the lowest price I have EVER seen.

Evenflo Maestro Silver Booster Car Seat

Here is a copy of my Amazon review:

My almost 3yo son LOVES his new car-seat, and he HATES change so that's a BIG deal.

Lightweight, makes it easy to move around and helps with installation.
Harness to 50lbs, I really want him harnessed until he's at least five, but needed to pass his convertible seat on to his baby brother, this was the right price so I decided to give it a try
Looks Good. It doesn't look cheap. I really like the black/gray w/rusty red trim, it looks good in my car.
My son can buckle himself in!
I thought I wouldn't like the elastic style cup-holders, because let's face it more than a sippy cup ends up in a carseat cup-holder, but they have held my sons cars, snacks, and other things just fine.
His head does sometimes flop if he falls asleep in the car, it bothered him the first few times, because he was used to a convertible seat which was more reclined, but it doesn't bother him anymore.

Hook style latch system. I knew it had the cheaper latch connectors, but I didn't want to spend $90 more for a carseat with premium button latch connectors. It is very easy to install. When installing, there shouldn't be more than an inch of movement at the belt path, but be careful not to over-tighten the latch strap or it will be difficult to remove. When removing, I find it helpful to push down on the seat to release the tension on the strap while I loosen it, this makes it much easier. I am able to get a good install with the seat-belt so I often install that way because it's easier to remove the seat.
The seatbelt thread isn't adjustable so it won't last very long in booster mode.

It's a great seat for the price, and I really don't feel it would be worth it to spend more for a forward facing seat, unless you need a higher harnessed weight limit or a no-rethread harness.

It's also currently available from for the same price.

You can also read more about it here.

If you're looking for a higher end, longer lasting carseat that will work well for a booster for a long time you'll want to check out the Graco Argos for $124.99 on Amazon 3/22 only.

March 19, 2015

Great Deal on Fisher Price Cradle 'n Swing

Today Only, the Fisher Price Moonlight Meadow Cradle 'n Swing is $95.99 shipped on Amazon.
This is a great deal for this swing, and since Kohl's no longer allows coupon codes to be used on baby products (congratulations if you snagged a deal on my last post), I don't anticipate a better one anytime soon.
Plus with this deal there are no hoops to jump through.

Fisher-Price Moonlight Meadow Deluxe Cradle 'n Swing

I have a Cradle 'n Swing and LOVE it. The option to have side-to-side or front-to-back movement is so nice. My babies like side-to-side when they're tiny and front-to-back when they're bigger.
The only swing people seem to like as well or better is the Mamaroo, which costs twice as much (that's also the best price Amazon's had on the Mamaroo).

There are also good deals today on the coordinating Bouncer and Rock N Play.

Sorry the Rock N Play already Sold Out. 
There are only 2 Bouncers left.

March 16, 2015

Price Drop on E-Cloth Window Cleaning Kit

I hate cleaning.
But since I have to do it, one of my favorite products is the E-cloth window cleaning kit.
Right now it's only $7.78 on Amazon.

I try to avoid most chemical cleaners for multiple reasons
Most of them give me headaches.
They're expensive.
I don't like the thought of my children being exposed to the residues they leave behind.
If they're not in my house my kids can't eat them.

I clean most things with Vinegar or Baking Soda.

I stumbled upon e-cloths just before we bought our house.
I purchased the Home Cleaning Set (also a good price on Amazon right now) and have been very happy with it, but my favorite cloths are the polishing cloths. This price drop gives you the window (and mirror) cleaning cloth and the polishing cloth for the price of just the polishing cloth. Ever heard of Norwex? This is a small fraction of their prices.
e-cloth Window Cleaning Pack, 2-Piece

I love that I can just use water and I NEVER end up with streaks. The money saved on Windex and Paper towels covers the cost of the cloths and they're easier to use.
Check them out here.

March 6, 2015

Whipped Cream- Buttercream Frosting


I wish I had better pictures of this cake, it was dark, and my camera is acting up, 
But believe me when I say this is THE lightest, fluffiest frosting, 
And Perfect for a smash cake.

Whip 1/2 cup whipping cream
until it forms soft peaks, 
Set Aside.

1/2 cup butter, room temp
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c milk
4 c pwd sugar
Beat well. Add more milk or powdered sugar as desired/needed.

Gently fold in whipped cream.

The Sugar Coma

March 4, 2015

Forest Friends First Birthday Party

I love birthdays. Especially little kid birthdays. I love having a day to celebrate one person and let them know how loved they are. I love all the little things, like balloons and treats, that make a birthday wonderful.

Easton loves being outside, and he loves animals, so this Forest Friends party was born.

I've had the big pinecones for years. We gathered them in Southern California. 
The Bunny was a thrift store find that I spray painted, it's one of my Easter Decorations. 
The Native American basket was my great-grandfather's. 
The fox is one of Easton's favorite stuffed animals. 
The buffalo-check table runner is actually my scarf.

Hedgehog Cheese Ball
Instructions and Inspo Here.

S'mores Brownie Cupcakes
 You find the instructions here.

The Ham and Cranberry Wrap instructions and Honey Garlic Lil Smokies Recipe can be found Here

The fake plant came off of my kitchen shelves, it's from Ikea.
The Rabbit puzzle was made by my grandpa.
The moccs were a baby gift to Easton from my grandparents.
The cloud is made from a wire hanger.
The bird-house was a gift to my 3yo from a kind man at the grocery store.
The big fox is Easton's very favorite stuffed animal, both foxes came from Ikea $7.99 for both.
The wheat came from the family farm.

Cute parties don't have to be expensive. The only things I purchased for the party were the balloons, the pennant banner (oriental trading) the pictures, and the food (about $3/person).

I hot glued string around pinecones to make a banner, then stuck it to the wall with push-pins.
For the picture banner I simply laid the pictures out face down, ran a piece of string across the back and taped it on with scotch tape. I can easily remove the tape to use the pictures in his bedroom or give them to grandmas.

White cake from a mix with Whipped Cream/Buttercream Frosting (recipe here)
The brass deer I found at an antique shop while I was pregnant with him.

Find my "Pin-spiration" Here

Honey Garlic Lil Smokies and Cranberry Ham Wraps

For the wraps, I mixedGarlic and Herb Seasoning, Craisens and Cream cheese and spread them on a wrap with Ham and Mozzerella Cheese.
See my inspiration Here.

Honey Garlic Lil' Smokies

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1- 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 pkgs Lil’ Smokies

Place All ingredients in crock-pot, cook on low 3-4 hrs stirring 1-2 times.

Brownie S'more Cupcakes

Forest Friends First Birthday Party.
Instructions corrected for my mistakes ;).

I made these with a box mix.

Tip: the best brownie mixes are Duncan Hines and Pillsbury.
I've tried them all.

Use 1 brownie mix for every 12 cupcakes.

Also. Brownies are sticky. Don't use cupcake papers.
It took some persistence to remove the papers.
In the future I would just grease the pan.

After the brownies are baked and cooled, remove from pan and place them on a baking sheet.
Next use a spoon to press a hole into the top of each brownie.

Then insert a marshmallow into each hole and place the sheet of brownies under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until marshmallows are golden brown (watch carefully).

If you want to frost over the marshmallows and put graham cracker crumbles on top, only place half a marshmallow into each brownie.
Otherwise the marshmallow will be too tall to frost over, I learned that the hard way.

After allowing the marshmallows to cool, frost each cupcake.
Then add graham cracker.

The Milk Chocolate Frosting Recipe I used, plus another take on the S'more Cupcake can be found Here.

My initial plan was to frost over the marshmallows and then sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs (like the two in the middle of the top picture), but the marshmallows were too tall so I ended up frosting around the marshmallows and adding a graham cracker, this was much more difficult than simply frosting the whole thing. 

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball

Stir together 
3 pkg cream cheese (softened)
3/4 c. Crumbled Bacon
2 Tbsp. Hidden Valley Dry Ranch Mix
1 Splash Worstershire sauce
1 c. Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
Form into a Ball
Cover with almond slices if desired.
Refrigerate or Serve Immediately

For Hedgehog:
See my inspiration Here.
Form into an Football shape, rounding the face. 
Press 3 Craisens on for eyes/nose.
Insert slivered almonds in rows to create spines.

It's even cuter in real life.