July 21, 2017

Best Things for Moms from Blogger Bash 2017

I already shared my favorite toys of Blogger Bash's Sweet Suite, but think I need a few minutes to talk about the amazing things that don't quite qualify as toys. There were a handful of things that I found super cool so they needed their own post. Rather than Sweet Suite, these mostly come from the earlier in the day Babypalooza and CE Week.


Again, in no particular order...



Kudo Banz
These things are amazing! Raise your hand if you have ever had a sticker chart for your kid? Now raise your hand if you were out in public and said sticker chart was no longer a good way to get your kids to behave? Yep. Kudo Banz works like a rewards chart except it's on their wrist so it's much more obvious way to keep them on track. Partnered with an app, it's a new lifesaver in this house.


Jojo Maman Bebe
Couple British accents with ridiculously adorable children's clothing and you basically have Jojo Maman Bebe. Basically, I'm obsessed. The charm of these clothes are amazing. I'm literally dreaming of Tyler running around in this fox hoodie all Fall.


Austlen
We all know I have a stroller obsession, but hold on to your hats-- this could very well be the absolute best stroller ever. You can buy it Day 1 and never need another stroller (as long as you only have 3 kids...). The Austlen Entourage is a stroller that grows with you, changing into 30 different configurations, that can hold up to 150 lbs total! Yikes! From a bassinet to a platform rider, it covers everything.  I barely even need a stroller but oh my gosh, do I want one!

Switchmate
Switchmate is going to revolutionize electricity bills in this house. The magnetic switchplates go over your already existing light switches and through a free app, you can control every light in your house. Gasp! Even better, in the coming months, they are releasing outlet plug covers so I canb control those plugs while I'm away too! This means no more coming home after work to fans that have been blowing on an empty room all day! I am ridiculously excited to get my house set up with this amazing technology!



Ticwatch
Another piece of amazing technology- the Ticwatch 2 http://amzn.to/2t9Fh02 is an affordable, gorgeous Smart watch that seamlessly integrates to your phone and as a piece of wearable fitness technology. So much more gorgeous than the square ones I see out now- I have seriously Santa hopes for this.


Re-Play Recycled
We actually already knew about Re-Play Recycled but it's worth sharing because they save the world and are adorable while doing so. Re-Play "rescues" milk jugs from landfills and turns them into these gorgeous plates, bowls, snack cups, and utensils (to name a few). The quality is insane and I can justify buying more, knowing how great the company is for the environment.


Armitron
Armitron is another company that I knew about previously but I didn't really pay attention to them last year, writing them off as a high end brand that wouldn't work for myself, my family, or my readers, but my mind has been completely changed. So many of these gorgeous watches are in the $50-$75 range and you can get 20% off your first order if you sign up for their emails. I mean, hello Christmas gifts! I maybe picked out a few that I loved and sent them to David already...


Tickle Water
We all know that I'm doing a lot more to be healthy (even if I can't lose any weight to save my damn life), and one of those big things was eliminating soda. I do still miss bubbles sometimes and instead have found myself drinking flavored seltzer water at times. I'm obsessed with Tickle Water because it has no added sugars and tastes good! I've already placed an order on Amazon and will be mixing some drinks up this summer!

I love getting to see so many brands and all their amazing products- which one are you most excited about?

xo, Heather

July 18, 2017

Top Toys at Blogger Bash 2017!!

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend Blogger Bash in New York City.  I've gone the past three years but the stars were just not aligning for me to go this year and I was seriously bummed. The women who put it on are, simply put, the absolute best and the interactions with brands is unmatched in any other blogging conference that I've been to.  I was beside myself when David came home and told me that he had rearranged his work schedule and I needed to grab a ticket since I was going! It really is amazing that I have a husband who is so supportive. Somehow, I was able to secure a ticket and a hotel in less than 10 minutes so it was official! I am so happy I ended up at Blogger Bash because I got to sneak peek so many amazing new toys that are hitting shelves now and will be hitting shelves in the coming weeks!


In no particular order, some of my favorites:

The LeapFrog Epic
We've always been fans of Leap Frog's tablets, with each kid having their own Leap Pad 2, but I am seriously excited for the Epic. While the Epic is already out, Leap Frog will have some BIG news soon and trust me, you'll be excited too! I love that the Epic allows me to use both Android Apps and the huge library of Leap Frog games and books that we already own. This may be the kids big present this year come Christmas time.


Mattel Enchantimals
I was most excited for these because I know a 6 year old who would be obsessed with them! Let's be honest, I'm obsessed with them. They are way cuter than the average Barbie doll and come with their own little critter friend. The line also includes bikes, sleepover set, and a Tree House Playset! I think they are perfect for my girl- inspiring creative play while still being fashion forward!


Antsy Pants
If you're looking for something to inspire creativity, Antsy Pants is it! The toys come in click and connect connectors and poles, as well as fabric covers, play tunnels and play balls! They can be constructed in any way so it's endless fun. As someone who often loses her kitchen table to the fort of the day, this makes me so excited! For less than $100, the kids could have a huge play set that will offer them hours of fun for days and days!


DreamWorks Spirit and Lucky Toys
I was so excited to see a line of Spirit- Riding Free toys since my kids recently discovered the Netflix show! My daughter loves horses and the storyline is so relatable for a 6 year old. Between the dolls of Lucky and Spirit and the plush horses of Boomerang and Chica Linda, there are so many things we'll be adding to our collection! Emma was thrilled to open up a blind box in a recent video!


Puppy Dog Pals Play set
Puppy Dog Pals is another new show that my kids are in love with! Every episode is a new adventure and Tyler just loves it! Amazon already has a few plushes and books, but the play sets and blind bags (check them out in this video!) coming soon are amazing!

Pikmi Pops
Because anything and everything blind bag/box is super hot right now, Pikmi Pops are another one I expect to be huge! Made by the same company that makes Shopkins, Pikmi pops are blind "lollipops" with a stuffed surprise character inside! These were officially released last week and will be hitting shelves soon!


Bag O Dirt
I love Play Vision's squishy substances! We loved Floof last year and while they showed Bag O Dirt at Toy Fair, I was excited to see it's for sale now!! It's a super cute way to "let kids get dirty", without actually getting dirty.  Add in a few bugs and it's a boy's dream.


Playdoh
Everyone knows Playdoh but I love that they have some very educational sets this year! A full set of letters and Playdoh is a great way to work on letters and spelling with younger kids.


Num Noms
We first played with Num Noms last year, but they are rolling out even more toys, including an awesome nail polish maker! I love when toys my kids already love go bigger and develop more creative options for them!Add some pretties to an adorable toy and Emmalee will be in love!


Glitter Girl Accessories
Glitter Girls are another super exciting, not in stores yet toy! Glitter Girls are made just like the Our Generation girls (found at Target) but as 14" dolls, rather than 18" dolls.  Emma's first doll was an Our Generation doll before getting her American Girl dolls. American Girl rolled out Wellie Wisher last year (14" dolls) and I'm excited to see what sort of accessories will be offered so that we can grow our collection!


Super Wings
We've already talked about Super Wings, but again, Tyler is in love so I was excited to see them again! While they offer great play sets and action figures, I am most excited that Jet will be joining the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year! Even more exciting: I've been toying with the idea of going (it's a Bucket List item!) and this makes it that much more exciting!

Shopkin's Cutie Cars
These are so exciting to me because they aren't released yet! Shopkin's Cutie Cars are going to be a big hit! The beloved characters of Shopkins are now cars! Again, you'll be able to collect them all!


Mini Mojis
With over 100 to collect, Mini Mojis will be another hot collect them all! You can buy them now at Jo Ann Fabrics! The kids were lucky enough to open one up already! You can check them out here:


So there you have it! A few of my favorites from Sweet Suite! There are SO many more toys and I'll be covering a handful of them in future posts as well! I imagine many will end up under your Christmas tree this holiday-- which are you most excited for?

xo, Heather

July 12, 2017

Copy Cat Marylou's Oreo Cookie Monster with Herbalife

I have to admit, I have a major addiction. I'm not a coffee person at all, but Marylou's, a local coffee shop, carries what they call an Oreo Cookie Monster and oh man.. it's my weakness. I am lucky enough to have a student whose dad runs a few of the stores so he randomly would surprise me at school with one! Amazing, right?

Except that each one is loaded with sugar and fat, even when it's made with skim milk.


Did I mention each one is close to $5!? Yikes. It's a hit to my wallet and my gut each time I order one, but like I said, I'm addicted.

I've been working hard on making better food choices. I'm not at the gym/working out part of the journey yet but that's okay. Until I get my food intake under control, it won't matter how much I work out. Needless to say, I needed to find a new way to enjoy these delicious and addictive drinks.

My friend Katelyn got into Herbalife a while back and it's changed her life. I love the shakes and I hate most protien shakes so it's a big deal for me! No gritty taste and they actually taste good. I don't have to add anything to them to enjoy them, however I thought 'what if I added a bit to the Herbalife Cookies and Cream to try and make a Marylou's Oreo Cookie Monster'?


Using Herbalife's Cookies N Cream Protein Healthy Meal, skim milk, Hershey's Simply 5 chocolate syrup, and 2 Oreos I was able to almost replicate the delicious flavor!

I added 8 oz milk, 2 scoops of Protein (1 serving size), a teaspoon of chocolate syrup, the Oreos, and ice to milk my mixer. A few second sof blending and I had a perfectly creamy, delicious, and addictive substitute!

After adding up nutrition labels, you can see how my Herbalife Copycat compares:


Amazing, right!? The sodium and the sugars are still higher than I'd like, which still makes this more of a treat but I feel a lot better drinking this copycat shake than an actual Marylou's Oreo Cookie Monster! Less than half the fat and calories and so many more nutrients and vitamins!

If you're interested in trying out Herbalife, check out Katelyn's Herbalife Page or join our Herbalicious Facebook Group! She's amazing, pressure free, and just a sweet girl! I'm so happy I have her by my side while I work towards my best me!

xo, Heather

July 10, 2017

Getting Ready for Disney - Outfits


The countdown is officially on! We're about a month away from a rather impromptu trip to Florida (less than 4 months from deciding to flying!) to visit our favorite Mouse and his friends!

After doing the important things like getting a puppy/house sitter squared away, paying for it (ha!), and planning what we're doing when... it's time to move on to the fun extras! I always start preparing outfits for the kids whole family, let's be honest.

The kids already have a ton of Disney themed clothing items so I do a quick inventory to see what is "August in Florida" appropriate. I stick to tanks, t-shirts and shorts for the kids. I really love them in t-shirts, even in the heat because I can worry less about their shoulders burning in the sun. Even though I love Emma in dresses, shorts are a much more practical option

The great thing about Disney apparel is how much there is out there if you don't have what you want! Obviously The Disney Store offers so much but there are other avenues to find Disney themed apparel! You'll notice there are NO Etsy shops on here... don't worry- they're coming soon!

Facebook Boutiques

I found adorable tunic tops for Emma from an adorable Facebook boutique called The Mocc Shop. They do flash sale type selling, where things are posted and then purchased as a group and sent out. It can take a few weeks to get something but the prices are cheap so it's worth it to me! I found the same tunic tops (referred to as Pearls) on other Facebook boutiques like Mawmaw Sally's as well.  Mirror Mirror Boutique is a personal favorite and they had the most adorable mermaid bikinis!

Disney pearl, facebook, boutique

Box Lunch

Box Lunch is a lesser known brick and mortar store but I love their mission. With every $10 spent on pop culture-themed product offerings of apparel, accessories, home goods, gift and novelty, and collectibles, BoxLunch helps provide a meal secured by Feeding America® on behalf of local member food banks. Look good and do good? Sold.
I'm super in love with the Goofy movie shirts-- super throwbacks! For David, for myself, or for one of the kids! Although.. the guys face in the picture... hmm....

Goofy Movie, Powerline music

Hot Topic

I always steered clear of Hot Topic. Growing up, it was the goth/punk store and I am neither but they have amazing hair accessories, make up, and Disney merchandise! Dave and I each grabbed a tank top from there!



Kohls

Kohls is another often overlooked but since I love the savings there, it makes sense to shop there for Disney stuff as well! Not only did I grab some great tanks to Tyler and David, but I also bought little trinkets, like lip gloss and a Mickey doll to tuck away to have as pixie presents during our stay!


Disney shirts, toys, vacation, disney world


Keds

Keds has an entire collaboration line and I'm obsessed. I had planned on buying a new pair of Sperrys but I think a pair of Keds may be what I end up with! They're adorable!
Amazon has the Minnie head pair {you can purchase through my affiliate link here}.


Minnie Mouse shoes

Vans

Van offer a much wider range of designs than the Keds, offering [aff]unisexkids, and toddler sized shoes. I love that they can be ordered through my Amazon affiliate link and are eligible for Prime which means you'll have them in 2 days!

collaboration


Dooney and Bourke

I am obsessed with the Dooney and Bourke Disney bags. Like, the Disney Sketch is my dream bag, but unless it clearances out like the Coach collaboration did [not likely], I'll keep dreaming... How awesome is the new Star Wars design?! Amazon has a ton of designs, but many are much more marked up than the Disney website.



Next up... picking out ears to match our outfits!

xo,  Heather

July 6, 2017

Fiery Tropical Sunset {A Grown Up Drink}



I'm a sucker for a good summer drink. I find that in the colder months I stay away from most alcoholic endeavors, but come summer, I cannot get enough fruity, tropical, and cold drinks. [I mean, I can, I just choose not to].

We went to go see a certain swashbuckling pirate movie last month and the special drink for the show was a very tropical concoction made with all sorts of tropical juices and some Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey. I honestly wasn't sure how it would work together but oh man... it was amazing! I came home and immediately started playing around with some combinations so now I present The Fiery Tropical Sunset.

You'll need:
a glass of ice
1 oz grenadine
4 oz orange juice
4 oz pineapple juice
1 oz Malibu Coconut Rum
1 oz Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey

Add your ingredients in order.  I started with the grenadine and then poured the juices and alcohol over the back of a spoon to help keep the colors separated.
Enjoy!

Much like the Tipsy Smores Shake, this one is best enjoyed on the back deck, watching the sun go down.

xo, Heather

July 3, 2017

Alice in the Village, Mystic CT


It's very rare that I get time with just my girl. With David's work schedule, I usually have both kids or no kids, and if I ever have just one kid, it's usually Tyler, while Emmalee is at dance, a friend's house, or at school. So, needless to say, I jumped at the chance to go out with just my girl while Tyler was at school last week.

We adventured all the way to Mystic, CT, only about an hour away, to go to Alice in the Village, an Alice in Wonderland inspired cafe.


Emma and I are huge Alice fans (even waiting in line 40 minutes last time we went to Disney!) so it seemed like a great place to go for tea.

Because it's situated in Old Mistick Village there is tons of parking and lots more to do so we decided to start with tea and then head out shopping. Entering into Alice in the Village is pretty magical.  I fell in love with the door handle-- it was perfect!


It feels like you're walking into a hedge garden and are immediately greeted by tons of Alice in Wonderland toys and memorabilia that you can purchase.

If you don't make a reservation for  Afternoon Tea or High Tea, you can order a pot of tea and a tray of desserts to bring to your table. Emmalee stocked up on marshmallows and macrons but I grabbed a lemon petite-four to enjoy.


Not only does Alice in the Village offer tea, but they also have a selection of bubble teas and "cocktails"- tea mixed drinks. The treats were delicious and we sat surrounded by wall art right from the Alice in Wonderland story. 


While we were only there for about 20 minutes, it was a great girl date with my favorite girl- we'll absolutely be heading back again!

xo, Heather

June 30, 2017

Tipsy S'mores Shakes: An Easy Summer {Grown Up} Treat!


S'mores and trips to the local ice cream joint are pretty much the two staples of summer for me.  I could be on the beach, in a swimming pool, or on a lake... it doesn't matter-  as long as I have an ice cream cone or a perfectly toasted s'mores, it feels like summer.

These super easy Tipsy S'mores Shakes are the perfect grown up drink to enjoy next to a campfire.


Ingredients:
2 oz Smirnoff Fluff Vodka
2 cups vanilla ice cream
8 oz milk
Chocolate syrup
2 graham crackers, crushed
Ice

Directions:
In a blender, add milk, ice cream and Fluffed vodka. Blend.
Drizzle chocolate syrup onto the sides of the cup.
Pour in milkshake.
Top with more chocolate and crushed graham crackers.


How perfect is this in the summer....

xo, Heather





June 26, 2017

40 in 4: #1


Remember when I started a 40 in 4? 40 by 40 seems like such a long time but as 6 months have gone by and I've barely done anything, maybe I should have made it by 40! Ha!


I did cross off my first item last week though... #5. Wear a bikini to the beach, no cover up.

Honestly, I thought I would have lost a lot more weight before i did that but at a size 16, I did it. I found a bathing suit I liked, but that wasn't really it either. I was able to wear a bikini because I feel so good about myself. Again, I haven't lost any weight; I just am happy.

It's only one but it's a start!

xo, Heather

40 in 4:

1. Run a 5k
2. Have my palm read.
3. Weekend in the Vineyard with my family.
4. Buy a bicycle.
5. Wear a bikini to the beach, no cover up.
6. Put my toes into the Pacific Ocean.
7. Go back to Disney
8. Go to Universal Studio
9. Get a job in Higher Ed
10. See another Broadway play
11. Fit into a size 8.
12. Travel to Europe, ideally London or Rome.
13. Get another tattoo (or two).
14. Be debt free, minus student loans and mortgage.
15. Put away a 4 month emergency amount.
16. Begin working on an administrator's license or a PhD.
17. Take a photography class.
18. Travel somewhere tropical.
19. Go camping.
20. Get professional head shots for the blog.
21. Sew Emma a matching dress for her and her dolls
22. Consider selling the custom shirts I've been making for the kids...
23. Take a cooking or baking class.
24. Take a cake decorating class.
25. Go to Ireland.
26. Find a local church to belong to/Baptize Tyler.
27. Get out of the minivan.
28. Take a calligraphy class.
29. Participate in Restaurant Week in Boston or Providence.
30. Go to Disney Land.
31. Work on our kitchen: backsplash, new desk, new table...
32. Buy a jacuzzi and redo the back deck.
33. Fence in our yard.
34. Landscape.
35. Finish the basement.
36. Attending the NYC Thanksgiving Day Parade
37. Create a real vegetable garden for an entire season/year.
38. Spend the day at the spa, getting pampered.
39. Splurge on our 10 year anniversary.
40. Save $10 for each accomplished task and spend it on something extravagant.

June 20, 2017

Happy Birthday Eric Carle! Celebrate with PercyVites!


Happy Summer vacation!
School let out this week and I'm already in love with beach days, trips to get ice cream, and later bedtimes. Losing the rigorous schedule of school, homework, and after school activities like speech, dance, and grading work is always a welcome respite (but to be honest, I end up missing it quickly! What can I say - I love structure!). As an English Language Arts teacher though, I never give up reading.  My kids do it for fun (gasp! right?!) because it's just so important to me.

One of our favorite authors is Eric Carle and his birthday is this weekend, June 25th! In an effort to make reading a fun past time, we decided to host an Eric Carle birthday party and invite over some of our best friends to celebrate with us!


I've written about Percyvites before so I went right back to them for this as well!

PercyVites makes it easy to organize online invitations to send to your friends and their Eric Carle collection was just what we needed!


They are super easy to create, filling in pieces step by step with the party information and recipients. PercyVites even helps you keep track of responses!

We've got a bunch of friends who will be joining us and we even made some delicious Eric Carle inspired desserts for the occasion- seriously, what's a birthday party without cake?!

We also grabbed some easy decorations from Cakes.com - the Eric Carle / Hungry Caterpillar decopac was perfect to top our cupcakes!

And as if that's not enough, we're planning a trip to the Eric Carle Museum this summer! I love a good adventure and anything that ties literacy into fun is perfect for us!

I'm so excited to celebrate this weekend-- how will you be celebrating Eric Carles birthday?

xo, Heather

June 12, 2017

Cheers to the Summer: Teacher Gift


The school year is winding down and I always find myself wondering what to get the teachers.
As a teacher there are some things that I know I'd love to get: gift cards to Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks, gift cards to Amazon, or a gift card to a book store... but I also hate giving gift cards because they're so impersonal.

I prefer doing something a bit more memorable.


How cute, right? And who doesn't love the tongue in cheek comment about the year being over!

I used plastic mason jar tumblers (similar found at these affiliate links: single, 3 pack, or a 4 pack) and some ribbon we had in our craft corner. Then grabbed some individual Crystal Light packets (buy them from Amazon through this affiliate link here) and split them between the containers.

I've even added the printable below so all you have to do is download it, and when you go to print, set it to 4x6 size on some heavy cardstock! Have your kid sign their name and it's ready to go!


Who will you be gifting them to this year?

xo, Heather



June 9, 2017

Peanut Butter Cup No Bake Cheesecake



David's birthday always comes right after Tyler's and after Tyler's birthday doughnuts, his birthday cake, and then his birthday party cake... we were caked out.

David is a huge fan of peanut butter cups so I grabbed whatever ingredients I had and ran to the store to grab the rest to surprise him with the most delicious and decadent cheesecake pie for his birthday!

It's super easy and took us only about 15 minutes to make. Another hour in the fridge and it was ready!


Ingredients:
Store bought Oreo pie crust
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces whipped topping (I used Low Fat Cool Whip, but making your own is delicious too!)
3 cups peanut butter cups chopped, divided
1/2 cup Hot fudge

Directions:
1. Cream cream cheese and sugar together. Add in peanut butter and vanilla and beat until well mixed.
2. Fold in Cool Whip until all mixed.
3. Unwrap and chop all 3 cups of peanut butter cups. Fold in 2 cups to the mixture.
4. Spread into pie crust.
5. Top with remaining chopped peanut butter cups.
6. Drizzle hot fudge over the top and place in fridge until set.



It was so delicious and David loved it!
So what are you going to make it for?

xo, Heather

May 15, 2017

Easy and Delicious Macarons



If I had to pick one food that represents the relationship I have with my daughter, it's a macaron.  She loves them and honestly, because she loves them so much, I always think of her when I see them.

Her obsession started a year and a half ago when we went to New York City in December and she fell in love with the American Girl Doll of the Year, Grace.  Grace is a baker who goes to Paris and makes macarons. Cue Emmalee being obsessed with all things Paris and macarons, Whenever we see them see asks for some...



Her birthday is coming up next month and she's asked for a tea party, complete with macarons for all her guests.  Have you ever priced out macarons? Those little things run anywhere for $2-$3 a piece. Multiply that by her entire class and their parents, plus our family members, and that's just not happening. I figured I'd give it a try and see if I could make them myself.



Honestly, I was petrified. These have a reputation of being super difficult.

I scoured the internet trying to find a recipe that looked delicious but doable and finally settled on this one from Mom Dish. I had already separated 3 egg whites and all the other recipes called for 2 so it was an easy decision.  I also loved that this one didn't tell me to count strokes or how quickly the batter resettled into itself...

To prep my cookie sheets, I used these amazing silicone baking mats I bought last year. I swear, the macarons came right off thanks to them.  (Amazon has a ton of other ones, including macaron size guide ones!)

I followed the recipe almost exactly, but added in a splash of raspberry extract before adding the dry ingredients. I decided to cook them in small batches, just in case. The most important step is letting them crust over on the counter before cooking.  The recipe said 20 minutes; I waited 30. The recipe said to cook for 13 to 20 minutes, mine took 22. They were a "constantly check" and then excitement when they'd come out right.


For our middles, we simply added some lemon extract to an easy buttercream recipe.

Emmalee was super excited to see the final product and spent the night coming up with flavor combinations and colors that she wants at her party! While I'm excited to make them for her party, I was more excited tonight to enjoy one (or three) as a small gift to myself this Mother's Day.

What flavor combination should we try next?

xo, Heather

May 12, 2017

Go on a Disney World Vacation for Free! (How I Save So Much Money)

Disclaimer: Many of the links in this post are referral links, meaning I may receive a bonus from these apps if you decide to join. However, I really do love and use the sites and want to share!

Okay, so maybe not for free but I've paid off a bunch of our upcoming trip already without spending any money from my bank account!

Free, Disney World, Disney Land, trip,


So how do I do it?

I use gift cards that I earn for free.  Now hear me out, this is not the "take 17 surveys a day" thing. I use 5 major apps that help me out, both when I shop online and in store.

Online Shopping:

SwagbucksHoney and Ebates.

Swagbucks helps me before I shop. It's a simple chrome extension that creates a little blue button. When you click on that button it opens up a search bar.  If you search from there, instead of Google, you can get points just for that! Swagbucks also has a shopping option and if you click through to the featured sites you can get anywhere from 1-20% of your purchase back in Swagbucks! As you accumulate Swagbucks, you can redeem them for gift cards to lots of places, including Starbucks, Amazon, and Target! Even if you're not a big online shopper, you can link your card and gain points while you're out and about!

Honey is the other program I LOVE for online shopping. While Swagbucks works at the beginning, Honey works at the beginning or the end. Again, it is a chrome extension, that creates a little button (see that grey H next to the swagbucks button?) for you to click on when you are shopping. You can start with Honey, and click through to stores to activate a honey cash bonus, or you can wait for check out and honey will ask if you want it to search for online codes to apply to your order! You get a percentage back as Honey Gold. Honey allows you to redeem your Honey Gold for Amazon gift cards (paypal is coming!) at a minimum of a $10 card. This morning, I cashed out for $30 worth of Amazon gift cards!

Ebates is a bit different because rather than accumulating points to cash out for gift cards, you get a percentage of your money back when you shop through the site! Like The others, you can begin by searching for a particular website through the Ebates page and find lots of great discounts, plus you'll see the cash back percentage. Shop as usual. If you accumulate more than $5.01 over a predetermined 3 month period Ebates cuts you a "big fat check" (or send it through paypal).

All of these applications are FREE and give you FREE MONEY! Amazing!

Now for when I go brick and mortar store shopping:

Shopkick and Ibotta

Shopkick is a mobile app that gives you points just for walking into particular stores! I especially love this at the mall because I can get a few hundred points just by walking the mall once! If the walk-in points aren't enough, they offer points for scanning particular items in the store and then even more points if you purchased certain products! Target is a favorite for us for scanning, since we're already walking around the whole store anyways!


Once you reach a certain amount of points, you can redeem them for gift cards! The gift cards include TJ Maxx, Starbucks, Game Stop, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, and Target! Again, free money for very little "work".

Ibotta is actually a program David got me hooked on. It works a lot like Walmart's Savings Catcher but for LOTS of stores. Before shopping, open the app and check for any available rebates, then shop as you normally would. You scan the barcodes of the products that had rebates and then snap a picture of your receipt! Ibotta deposits a bit of money back on to your account and as long as you have at least $20 in your account, you can cash it out to Paypal, Venmo, or a gift card! I love that Ibotta allows you to link up your loyalty cards as well!


So that's the secret! 

This morning I was able to withdraw $150 worth of Target gift cards that I then used to purchase Disney Gift Cards that I then applied to the balance of my Disney trip through the My Disney Experience site! That isn't even including the Honey Cash that became Amazon money! Amazon doesn't carry Target or Disney Gift cards but they have Starbucks (can be used inside the Disney Parks), T-Rex and Rainforest Cafe gift cards (both at Disney Springs), and great Disney merchandise to bring with us!

It might not be a free vacation but we usually plan our Disney vacations at least a year in advance so it's a great way to start saving up without ever taking any money out of your bank account!

What are your go to websites for saving money?

xo, Heather

April 20, 2017

Parsons Daffodil Fields, Dartmouth MA

I love school vacation weeks. Now, don't get me wrong-- I adore my job and my students but I also love time with my kids where we are not running from one thing to another, or grocery shopping, or doing chores that didn't get done all week... The week off gives us time to get everything done and relax together.

One place I've always wanted to check out but have never had the time is the Dartmouth Natural Resource Trust: Parson's Daffodil Fields.


It's literally a field full of daffodils, with paths cut between them all for great views. (Be sure to wear good shoes because the path is made of wood chips). I've always seen photos from others but Emma and I decided to adventure there ourselves.


Emmalee asked if she could take some photos and posed herself- I couldn't resist the adorableness!


There are a few rules (below) to keep it beautiful, but there was nothing that wasn't easy to do! Stay on the pathways and don't pick the flowers! There is a $2 expected donation for visiting to help with upkeep. The daffodil fields are about 1/4 of a mile away from the entrance so it's a nice little walk.



If you decide you want a longer walk, there is a long walk past the daffodil fields, marked with a blue marker. Lots of the walk are these great wooden walkways, but as you can see, a lot of the pathway is also rocky and uneven.




Emmalee and I spent an hour or so walking around looking at the daffodils and and the running water on the blue path; it was such a gorgeous walk!

Russell Mills Landing is across the street from the entrance so we stopped at the playground for a bit as well.  It's a simple park but has a tennis court, a couple of slides, and both kid and toddler swings.  Add in the picnic tables and the views of the river and it's a great place to spend some time with your kids!


Be sure to hurry soon though-- the daffodils only last until early May!

xo, Heather

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