Mar 31, 2011

Foolin' Around

Tomorrow is April 1st, aka, April Fools Day! Do you have a plan?

I LOVE a practical joke, and I must say I have been successful at quite a few. I can't wait for tomorrow morning because I have a few fun things planned for our girls.

What are your best practical jokes?

Are you planning anything super fun for your kids tomorrow?

If you need some idea's, click here for a great website that has lots of them! Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy it, and that the joke's NOT on you tomorrow!

Mar 30, 2011

Free Movie for Spring Break!

My friend, Jan, passed along this info. to me, so I wanted to pass it along to you! It seems that Rave Movie Theatres is playing Despicable Me for FREE at 10 am (Tues/ Wed/ Thurs/ Sat): Dayton South (by Home Depot) 3/29-4/2 The Greene 3/29-4/2 Huber Heights 4/5-4/9 Click here for details. Hope you can take advantage of this great deal!

Mar 28, 2011

Adjusting The Plan

In my Spring Broke post, I mentioned that we were going to try and make it to CoCo Key during our Spring Break. We have never been to CoCo Key, and when I started researching it, I realized that the week my girls are on break is just about the only week that they don't have a discounted package for the night. UGH!!!

It physically pains me when I have to pay full price for something that I know I could be getting for a discounted price. But I was beginning to think that I would just have to cough up the money and do it. But then I started thinking through the plan and decided that we didn't have to spend the night at CoCo Key. Yes, it would have been fun, but I would rather spend that money doing other fun activities.

So then, I searched day passes, and wouldn't you know...I FOUND A DEAL! For the Thursday evening that my girls are on break, April 7th, they have buy1, get 1 free passes. They are for 4-9m, and will only cost my family $16 for ALL 4 OF US to go!!!! Now *That's* what I'm talkin' about!

It is a reminder to me that sometimes if I'm willing to adjust the plan a little, I can save my family money while still having a great time. And the money I save will help us to enjoy other fun activities, (like going to The Indy Children's Museum that Saturday!).

CoCo Key also has other Thursday's that they offer this same deal. If you are interested in checking it out, click here

Mar 27, 2011

Board Games Keep the Boredom Away

I think that I mentioned before that our family likes board games. I have loved them since I was young and can remember evenings at our house growing up playing Yahtzee and Monopoly among others.

I couldn't wait until our oldest, Addy, was 3 so that I could get her Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, and Hi Ho Cherry-O. Right away, she was hooked also.

One of the things I like about board games is that it brings the family together and focused on one important thing...WINNING! We are kind of a competitive family. Especially when it comes to games.

So what if I hold a grudge?!

So what if my 7-year-old likes to yell "Take That!" as loud as she can when she beats her 4-year-old sister?

So what if I won't allow certain games to be played anymore because I never win them?

The point is, even though it's competitive, and even though we may get a *little* over-sensitive about certain things, we are having FUN.

Today we pulled out the Disney Kid's Edition Rummikub and SORRY!. What I like about Rummikub is that it is easy for Faith (who is 4) to play, and she doesn't really need a lot of help. It also holds their attention for the whole game. Plus, the Disney characters make it extra fun for them to match up.

SORRY! is definitely a family favorite also. The thing I love about it is that while it is easy enough for the kids to play, it keeps Jeremy and I interested too. In fact, we have been known to pull it out after the kids have gone to bed to play by ourselves.

Don't be jealous.

I know our life sounds fabulously exciting!

If you haven't already started playing board games with your kids, or maybe have put them away and kind of forgotten about them, go ahead and pull them out. Your kids will love playing against mom and dad, and you will enjoy spending time with them in a fun and relaxing way.

Okay, maybe not so relaxing if you play like we do...but you get the point :)

And if your family likes board games too, share with us some of your favorites!

Mar 26, 2011

Morning at The Movies

This morning we woke up early, (for a Saturday), and headed out to catch a movie at The Danbarry Dollar Saver. The company my husband works for had a free day at the movies which included admission, popcorn and a drink for each family member.

For our girls, going to the movie theater to see a movie is an extra special treat. Partially because spending $50 for our family to see a single movie is NOT my idea of fun. Also because, in the past when our girls were younger, the TEN trips to the bathroom during a movie, (usually just to check out the facilities), were kind of a hassle.
Moms everywhere know what I mean.
So, usually we try to wait for movies to come out on DVD. I must say, however, today was a lot of fun. First of all, Danbarry is a great bargain for families. The normal cost is $3 per person, (and on Tuesdays, it's only $1.75). But today it was FREE, and you can't catch a better deal than that! Plus, our girls are a little older now, and don't care as much what the bathrooms looks like. :)

The movie we saw today was Yogi Bear. This movie was great for kids because it had lots of silly humor and a cute ending. There were definitely a lot of laughs throughout. And of course, getting yummy treats like popcorn and candy can only add to a fun experience!
If you have been avoiding the movies becuase of the higher prices, I encourage you to check out Danbarry and give them a try. And I hope your family has as much fun as mine did today :)

Mar 25, 2011

15 Places Kids Should See...

15 Places Kids Should See Before They Turn 15

My friend posted this story from on her facebook and I knew it would be perfect for my blog! I loved the article and I definitely want to check out most of these places with our girls before they turn 15. I encourage you to read the article and let me know your thoughts.
Is there a place NOT on the list that you want your kids to visit?
Have you been to any of these places with your kids, and if so, what was your experience?
What's your #1 pick for a wish vacation with the fam?

Mar 24, 2011

Disney FamilyFun Magazine Offer

Check out this GREAT offer from Mamapedia, but do it QUICK! It expires at the end of today!

It is for a One year subscription to the Disney FamilyFun Magazine for half off ($5). You can also choose to get a 2-year Subscription for $10. I have taken advantage of it, and it sounds like a great resource for families. You can also buy one as a gift for a mom you know!

The link is:

A little bit about the magazine: For a busy mom, a little boredom is a rare luxury—but it’s every kid’s worst nightmare. When you’re in need of creative ideas to keep children entertained and engaged, Disney Family Fun is your ultimate source of inspiration. From crafts and recipes to vacations and holidays, it’s jam-packed with tips and articles to help keep your family active, happy, and learning. Whether your kids are preschoolers or preteens, the pages will serve up plenty of practical guidance to help make parenthood easier and more fun.

Mar 23, 2011

Right in our own backyard...

Today started out beautiful, (Note: There is a Thunderstorm Warning and a Tornado watch right now. Not turning out to be my favorite kind of weather day...)
When Faith came home from Preschool, she decided to go outside to play, which I was more than happy to allow. (When else is a mom suppose to watch all of her DVR'd shows?)

You see, out in our backyard, we have this swingset that came with the house when we bought it 2 years ago. The set is by no means new, and it doesn't have a lot of the bells and whistles that some of the newer/bigger/more expensive sets have, but our girls LOVE it. To them, it couldn't be better. And I love that.

It totally brings out their creativity. Some days they are on a pirate ship. Other days, they are sliding down a mountain, (aka- slide). It has also been a princess tree house, a rocketship, and a jungle. But sometimes, it's just a swingset, and that's okay too.

I am so glad that we have this little space in our backyard where our girls can be anything they want to be, go anywhere they want to go, and just enjoy being the fun little girls they are.

I know that at some point, (probably MUCH sooner than I am ready for), that set will sit in our backyard untouched. No children will be swinging, laughing or playing on it. It won't be fun or cool, and our girls won't be interested. But for right now, it is a beloved piece of our landscape, providing endless hours of joy, and for that, I am thankful.

Mar 22, 2011

Spring Broke

Everywhere I turn, people are talking about the fun places they are going for Spring Break. Hilton Head, Jamaica, New Orleans, DISNEY...the list goes on. I am happy for all my friends and family that get to go on all of these fun vacations.


I am.

The only problem is, I wish I were going with them. Well, that, and the fact that we have no money for vacation this year.

So we will be spending our Spring Break at home. Some like to call it a Staycation.

I won't lie...that word kind of annoys me.

All moms knows that staying home in NOT a vacation (of Any kind!).

But I am trying to get in the spirit of things. I am already searching out fun and different things to do that week so that my girls will feel like they really did have a Super fun break! Some of the things on our list are the Cincinnati Museum Center (Children's Museum), Magic Castle, and CoCo Key Water Resort.

Are you traveling to a fun place for Spring Break or will you be at home also?

What are you doing to making your Spring Break fun?

Share your ideas...we WANT to know! :)

Mar 21, 2011

And The Winner Is.....

The winner of the Disney Giveaway, the New Bambi Blue Ray/DVD Combo pack, is Marcella! Thanks everyone for the comments and for following the blog..I really appreciate it. And who doesn't love a giveaway?! I know I do, and that's why I will be doing them periodically. So stay tuned to the blog posts for the next one, and of course for more fun ideas for your family!

Happy Spring!

Mar 19, 2011

Sometimes, It's The Simple Things

Yesterday we headed over to Books and Co. at Town and Country Shopping Center to check out their free Saturday Story Time. This week's theme was Barbie stories, and since my girls own just about every Barbie movie ever made, plus a gazillion Barbie dolls, I was pretty sure they would enjoy this activity.

We got there a little early, so we had some time to check out the kids section of the store, and I have to say, I was pretty impressed. They have lots of little nooks and benches for kid's to browse through their favorite stories, and of course, my girls found a few.

They also had a train table available to play on, which is great for the little ones who may not read yet or be interested in looking at the books, (or older one's who have an attention span of about zero :)

After a few Barbie stories, the reader handed out Barbie coloring sheets for the kids to color while she finished the rest of the stories, which was a great way to keep the their attention focused.

After the Story time, we strolled on over to W.G. Grinder's which is attached to the Baskin Robbins at Town and Country. It was awesome because kids eat free everyday with an adult meal purchase, so were all able to get lunch for a great price! Plus, I had a buy 1 cone, get 1 free coupon for the ice cream, so the girls were THRILLED to be able to get ice cream, too!

As we were leaving to head home, my girls thanked me for such a fun Saturday afternoon. Often times I feel like I have to "WOW" them with doing big adventures, and spending lots of money, and sometimes, that's fine. But today, they were just as happy to have this pretty simple and very inexpensive afternoon with mom and dad. And that makes me happy!

Rah Rah Rah

This week my 7-year-old participated in a program at our local High School called Cheer Madness. It is actually a fundraiser that the High School Cheerleaders do to raise money, and they invite all girls, Kindergarten through 8th grade to come for three evenings and learn cheers and a dance. On the last evening, the parents are invited to come and watch the girls perform what they've learned.

All the girls who participate in this program really have a good time. They think it's super cool to be able to hang out with the high school girls and to learn new cheers. Plus, it gives the girls a chance to try out cheerleading before committing for a whole season.

I LOVE finding stuff like this for my girls to do! It keeps them active and exposes them to stuff they may not have been able to, or wanted to try before. Often our school sends home opportunities like these, and as long as they are not too expensive, I really try to take advantage of them.

I encourage you to look into the opportunities that your school district or community has for your children to get involved in. Chances are, you'll be surprised at what's available and will really be glad you did!
The first and second graders

Mar 18, 2011

Weekend Fun for Kids

What are your family plans this weekend? If you are still undecided, check out the Upcoming Events page to the right. There are lots of options in the Dayton area this weekend, and I just know you will want to get out and enjoy this warmer weather with the kids!

For us, I am thinking that we are going to take advantage of the free Story time at Books and Company at Town and Country, (It's a Barbie Stories Theme this week!). Then, I have a buy1, Get1 coupon for Baskin Robbins (which happens to be conveniently located just in back of Books and Co.), so I will treat the girls to ice cream. Also, I am pretty sure my kids will be asking to hit up another park, (They have really missed them this winter), so I am sure that will find its way on the agenda as well.

Feel free to comment on some of your family's weekend plans, and don't forget to enter to win for the Disney Giveaway for the Bambi Blueray/DVD combo pack! You only have until Sunday! There are several ways to enter:

-Comment on the Disney Giveaway Post about your love for Disney
-Comment on some of the ways that you save money when doing a Disney Vacation
-'Follow' the Family Fun Mom blog
-Link the blog post on your Facebook page (make sure to leave a comment below letting me know you've done so)
-Link the blog post on your Twitter page, (again-comment below so I know you did!)

Winners will be chosen Monday, March 21st and announced on the blog! Good Luck!

Mar 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day- Family Style

Happy St. Patrick's Day...and it is a happy day for me! The sun is shining and the temperature outside has warmed up considerably. I took advantage of the warm weather by heading out to the park with my youngest daughter, Faith, and we had lunch there with some friends.

I love going to the park when the weather allows it. The kids get to run and get out all that (endless amount of) energy they have. They can meet new friends, (we met some today!), and also work on developing those social skills that occasionally get lost when they are cooped up with only their parents and siblings for too long. (Note to self: when your child picks her nose and tries to rub it on her friends's time to have a special talk about manners.)
I also love it that our community has SO many great parks to choose from! It keeps things fresh and the kids don't get bored from playing on the same equipment all the time. And, the best part of all, it's always FREE! It doesn't get better than that :)
Some other ways that we enjoy St. Patrick's Day as a family:
-Somehow, each year during the night before St. Patrick's Day, a leprechaun shows up and makes a mess of our house! When the girl's get up and realize he has come, they love it! Somehow, he never gets caught :)
-We ALL wear green! It is fun and silly to all be dressed alike.
-We make sure there are LOTS of green treats throughout the day. Green eggs, Green Jello, Green Kool-Aid...really you can make just about anything green with a little food coloring :)
Hope you enjoy your St. Patrick's Day, and that you get to enjoy the "Green" of the outdoors today!
P.S. If you haven't yet checked out yesterday's Disney blog post, make sure you do, and enter to win the Giveaway for the Bambi Blueray/DVD combo!

Mar 16, 2011

Disney Giveaway!

Those who know me know that I am kind of a Disney dork.

(I really love Disney)

(I really, really love Disney)

(I really, really, really love Disney)

(You get the idea...)

We have been to Disney World several times and my husband and I both agree that it is by far the best vacation place for our family, and for the money.

Now I know that you are probably laughing right now and thinking that it is NOT a good deal for your money. But maybe that's because you haven't really looked into all the ways to save at Disney, and how to get the most for your money.

First, you need to keep an eye our for when Disney is offering a special. Usually this is in the fall and winter months, but the last few years, they have been offering good deals even into June. And speaking of keeping an eye out, you will notice a new tab to the right for Disney Deals! Yay!!! Now you can check back here whenever you are interested and find what deals Disney and other companies are offering on Disney World Vacations!

Also, if you are planning to do character meals while you are in the park, (which I HIGHLY suggest), make sure you check into the Disney Dining Plan, It is an add-on to most of the vacation packages (aka, Magic Your Way Package), but well worth the cost, Here is a link to more info. about the Dining Plan:
***A special Note: If you are planning to eat at ANY of the character meals, or sit-down restaurants, make sure to make reservation well ahead of time. You can make them up to 180 days in advance and they fill up quickly!

Another great tip is flying! You may think that driving would be much cheaper, but with gas prices these days, flying can be much more economical. AND, if you live in the Dayton area, Airtran often has non-stop flights from Dayton to Orlando for between $150-$200 round trip per person, (and Non-Stop is a lifesaver for parents with young kids!). Disney also has a service, (Magical Express), that will shuttle you from the airport to your hotel, and then back to the airport when it's time to go home, and take care of all your baggages etc.. Did I mention this service is completely FREE?!?

Below I have listed some other things we do to save money when we go:

-Buy Disney shirts, toys etc. at home ahead so you won't be tempted at the parks.

-Sign-up for a Disney Rewards Visa and purchase your vacation on it, (it is usually 0% interest for the first 6 months...just make sure you pay it off!). It will give you a $40 credit back on your card after your first use (your vacation purchase), plus 10% off merchandise purchases of $50 or more at the Walt Disney World Resort, 20% off guided tours, PLUS, you earn Disney Reward points and those points can be used towards free stuff in the parks!

-Pack snacks for your kids and pack them into your bags while your in the park. That way, you won't be tempted to spend big money for a small snack when the kids need something between meals.

-Plan your meal times so that it can cover more ground! Example: Do a breakfast buffet meal at 10:30am, which will cover both breakfast and lunch with a few light snacks until dinner.

-Buy cool Disney pens and autograph books at home before you go to the park! All the kids there have them and your kids will want me!

-Buy ponchos at home and bring them with you every day to the park. It rains for a little bit all the time at Disney (for a short time!), and purchasing ponchos for your whole family can get pretty pricey!

I really wish we were going back to Disney this year, but we are waiting until next year to go back. I think. Okay, so maybe there is a *small* chance that will change. No. We are waiting until next year. Oh my word I need to stop talking about all this before I get online and make reservations right this moment...

ANYHOW, since I *can't* go to Disney today, and I LOVE sharing all things Disney, I am going to be giving away the NEW 2 Disc Bambi Diamond Edition Blue-Ray Combo Pack (Blue-Ray Plus DVD in BD Amaray), a $25 Value!

There are a few ways to enter to win:

-Comment below about your love for Disney

-Comment below on some of the ways that you save money when doing a Disney Vacation

-'Follow' the Family Fun Mom blog

-Link the blog post on your Facebook page (make sure to leave a comment below letting me know you've done so)

-Link the blog post on your Twitter page, (again-comment below so I know you did!)

Winners will be chosen Monday, March 21st and announced on the blog! Good Luck and Have a Magical Day!

Mar 15, 2011

Rainy Day Fun

This has been a long and cold/snowy/rainy winter, and I am beyond ready for spring. I long to be able to wear short sleeves and shorts. I need to be able to keep my windows open and let the fresh air in. I am craving the sunshine and the energy it gives me.

Today is chilly and rainy. No short sleeves, no open windows, no sunshine, and very little energy. (Big Sigh)

But part of being a parent is finding a way to entertain the troops even when you're stuck inside. Some of our favorite 'rainy day' activities include playing board gamed (SORRY! is one of our family favorites!), snuggling up with a good movie, (Tinker Bell is playing now), and a snack, baking a yummy treat for daddy when he gets home, playing dress-up, and coloring/writing stories (We have been known to act out a few of those stories as well. American Girl dolls make a fabulous audience!).

I have also been known to venture out into the cold/rain to find a little fun. Chick-fil-a play areas, Chuck E. Cheese, or Bounce U are great places to go when the cabin fever sets in and your kids MUST get out!

What are some of your favorite rainy day activities? What keeps your kids entertained indoors when all they want to do is be outdoors? With the way this season has been going, I am *sure* we could all use some fresh ideas!

Mar 14, 2011

Check Out the Upcoming Events

If you look to the right, you will see that I have added an 'Upcoming Events' Page! I am SUPER EXCITED about this, (can't you tell?!?)!!!

The idea is that you won't have to spend hours searching the papers and internet for things to do with your family...I'll do all of that work for you :)

If you know about an event that is not listed, and you think it would be a great fit for the blog, then use the 'Contact Me' page to email me your just might see it added soon!

Spread the word...this is gonna be fun for all of us!

Tea Party Time

My oldest daughter, Addy, turned 7 in January and we had promised her an American Girl sleepover for her birthday party, (my girls LOVE American Girl Dolls!). Unfortunately, that didn't get to happen because we had unwanted visitors. The visitors showed up on January 1st and didn't leave until about a week and a half later. Are you wondering who would show up at my house unannounced and uninvited?

Yes, you read that correctly. And I am still just as horrified as you are right now reading it, (and I KNOW you are scratching your head now because I brought it can thank me later for that).

Lice was going around our daughter's school and she got it from a friend, and being the giver she is, shared it with the rest of the family. Obviously, there would be no sleepover at our house anytime soon.

-BTW, I am an EXPERT at getting rid of lice now, (Yay for me!), so if you ever have the problem and need to know how to get those gross little critters out of your hair and house, give me a shout out.

Anyhow, after the lice had been gone for about a month, we decided instead to have an American Girl Tea Party. I got this idea because we really wanted to go to the American Girl Place in Chicago and have the birthday experience there, but it just wasn't going to happen this year. So, we decided to create our own experience at home!

Since I did the party, (and posted about it on facebook), I have had a TON of questions on how I did it, so I am dishing on it here so that you all can have your own little tea party with the lovely little girls in your life.

I started by sending an evite and asked all the girls to dress up and bring their American Girl Dolls along to the party (if they didn't have an American Girl Doll, we just asked them to bring their favorite doll or stuffed animal).

In preparation for the party, I wanted to get together some pretty serving platters etc. so that it would look as fancy as possible. I decided to check out my local Goodwill store and I am SO glad I did! I found gorgeous crystal serving trays and they were cheaper than buying disposable ones. Plus, I was able to get a crystal punch bowl and twelve cup set for UNDER $5!! I knew the girls would love it. (I also purchased hats from there that we would use in our Tea Party Hat craft!).

Luckily, I was able to borrow a lot of the items I used, including a silver tea serving set, china tea cups, glass garden party plates, and a cupcake stand. I highly recommend borrowing items instead of buying whenever you can!

I did end up purchasing a white table cloth and napkins because in our house, most occasions are pretty informal and I knew it would make the table look extra special. I also purchased fresh flowers for the centerpiece...GORGEOUS! (If you live in the south Dayton area, you MUST try the Flower Man in Centerville! Great Flowers for unbelievable prices!)

On the day of the event, I think I was more excited than the girls! We set the table in a very formal style and even set a small table for the dolls so that they could have their own little tea party. When the girls arrived, they were seated and once everyone was there, we began the first of our three course tea. The menu was as follows:

First Course
Kanani’s Fruit Kabobs
Kristen’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Scones

Second Course
Rebecca’s Cheese Cubes
Molly’s Carrot Sticks with Ranch Dip
Kit’s Garden-Party Sandwiches with cream cheese and cucumber
Kaya’s Egg-Salad Tea Sandwiches
Felicity’s Patriotic Roasted Turkey Sandwiches with American Cheese

Third Course
Addy’s Birthday Cupcake
Julie’s Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Bitty Baby’s Bite Sized Cookie’s

Warm Berry Tea
Chilled Strawberry Lemonade

After the meal, we had the girls make Tea Party Hats using the hats from Goodwill, feathers, stick-on jewels, flowers, and ribbon. We also made paper fans with construction paper and doily's. The girls felt like true southern ladies when they were done.

They also got to introduce their dolls to the other guests and then we did a game of musical chairs where the girls had to put their doll in the chair instead of sitting themselves. It was a great way to incorporate the dolls into the afternoon.

And finally, as a gift to the girls who came, Addy had chosen butterfly necklaces instead of the obligatory 'goodie bag' (that I am NOT a fan of!), to give them. We had placed them in pretty silver gift boxes and placed them at each girls place setting, (so they got double use as a decoration also!), and the girls adored them! I am SO glad we did that, and it actually was less expensive than purchasing a bunch of candy and plastic items that would be lost or broken within a day.

All in all, I would say that this was definitely one of my favorite birthday party ideas! It created wonderful memories, and was certainly a unique and fun experience for all the girls who came.

We will be hosting that sleepover at some point in the near future, though, and I am sure I will be blogging about that as well :)

Mar 13, 2011

Let the Fun Begin...

I am SO EXCITED to enter the world of blogging! Well, to be honest, I have actually tried blogging once before...
(It was about dieting)
(It lasted about 3 weeks)
(Let's not talk about it anymore)
But I am REALLY excited to start this blog! If you know me, you know that I love finding fun things for my family and friends to do. I am all about creating memories, and I truly feel like this is one of the best gifts I will ever give my (two) beautiful little girls.
And that is what this blog is about for me; sharing the experiences my family has, and helping others to experience that same kind of fun!
So I hope you'll join me in my journey of blogging about all that life has to offer, and that it brings you a little fun of your own.