New Halloween Costumes For 2015

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Halloween will be here before you know it – and that means parties and trick or treating! If you’re still looking for that perfect costume, BuyCostumes has you covered with all new costumes for 2015, featuring all of the hottest characters. These costumes were recently released and are for all ages, whether you’re shopping for the kids, or are just a kid at heart :) Plus, BuyCostumes is offering 15% off sitewide! Check out a few of my personal favorite costumes below and don’t forget to use coupon code AFCBC15 at checkout to save on your whole purchase!

New Halloween Costumes For 2015

Disney’s Descendants: Deluxe Maleficent Costume For Women

Star Wars: Episode VII – Boys Stormtrooper Deluxe Costume

Browse the full selection of all of the hottest costumes for the entire family at!

Let’s chat: Leave me a comment – do you dress up for Halloween? Any plans on what you’ll dress up as this year? And what was your all-time favorite Halloween costume? I’d love to hear from you guys!


7 Tips for Creating Easter Baskets on a Budget

Welcome to another edition of the #ChosenChixHop, where I partner with 7 awesome bloggers to bring you 7 posts, each filled with 7 fun things! This week is all about Easter – I’m sharing 7 tips for creating Easter baskets on a budget, then at the end of the post you’ll see links to all of the other fun posts too. Be sure to check them out, and share if you find some posts that you love.

Easter egg hunt ideas

I grew up celebrating Easter in a big way. My great aunt used to put on a HUGE Easter egg hunt and lunch out at her house. A lot of the other family all lived on the same street, and all of the yards connected with no fences, giving us lots of room to run and play. We probably had 100 of us each year! We’d divide into age groups and wait our turn while the grown-ups hid the eggs for each group. They were empty plastic eggs, and at the end, they’d count how many each of us got. Everyone got an Easter bag, bucket, or basket as a prize – plus some coins and dollars depending on how many eggs we found. When you’re 5 years old, a baggy full of change and a dollar bill makes you feel like a millionaire :)

Polka dot Easter basket and outfit

After my aunt passed away years ago, that tradition went away too. I realized how much I missed it when we were preparing for Abby’s first Easter. So many of the cousins have all lost touch, moved away, etc. But I have quite a few friends who are like family, so I decided to create my own Easter celebration! We do it every year on the Saturday before Easter, since many of them have other family obligations on the real holiday. Last year, I had 40 kids coming, and wanted to create enough prize baskets for all of them, just like we had when I was a kid. I had every parent bring at least a dozen filled plastic eggs per kiddo, so there’d be lots of them to find – but needed a way to create the prize baskets, buckets, and bags on a budget.

Prizes for Easter egg hunts

So, here are some of the tips and tricks that I use each year to create a huge assortment of Easter baskets and gifts, without emptying my wallet. Hope you find a few to help you too! {For more frugal ideas, see my most popular post of all time: 10 Ways to Make Money from Home.}

  • 1. Containers. For our main Easter baskets, the ones that I make for Abby and my two nephews, I use a more substantial container – but not a traditional style Easter basket. Those don’t really have much use after the holiday, right? A few favorites: Easter pail or a character-themed bucket like this Jake and the Neverland Pirates one. Buckets are handy all year – playing in the yard or at the beach, holding bath toys, or playing in the pool. Another idea, even though it might seem funny since it’s more expensive than a traditional wicker basket, is something like this Fabric Bucket Tote. You can personalize it, it’s super cute, and you’ll use it all year too – making it totally worth it! And my other go-to is the dollar store. Any type of bucket, those collapsible fabric baskets, storage totes, etc – those are all things you’ll actually use later on too! I also will use things like dollar store gift bags jazzed up with some ribbon and glitter too, for smaller gifts, or to make something look more special before adding it to the main Easter basket.
  • 2. DVDs. If you check Amazon, you can find loads of deals, with so many kid’s movies at around $5 bucks. I made a list awhile back of 14 kid’s movies under $5, but prices change constantly on Amazon. As of this minute, they’re all really close in price – and you can see other suggested movies in this price range too. They’ll get a lot more use out of a $5 movie than a $5 chocolate bunny.
  • 3. Books. The dollar store is another amazing resource for this. I find so many fun board books for Abby here! Plus coloring books, crayons, markers, stickers. When the board book is only $1, I let her use craft supplies like that to decorate her books, which totally makes her happy :)
  • 4. Hair accessories. If you go to the craft store {Michael’s is my personal favorite} and buy a bundle or two of fake flowers, you can usually get them on sale for just a couple of bucks. Then grab a package of Alligator Hair Clips, and some ALEENES 15599 All Purpose Glue, 8-Ounce. {Or use a hot glue gun if you have one.} You can simply attach the flowers to the clips, or even embellish them a bit beforehand by adding a little glitter or rhinestones. And bam – super inexpensive but SUPER cute flower hair clips for little girls! Love it.
  • 5. Bracelets. Little girls LOVE this. I buy some inexpensive beads, string them on some elastic cord, and in less than 5 minutes have a pretty bracelet for a special someone for less than a dollar. Bonus if you buy a set of beads with letters to personalize it – Little girls LOVE seeing their name on a bracelet!
  • 6. Toys. Since I’m on a budget, most of the toys I buy for Easter are from Amazon, Oriental Trading Co. where I can buy in bulk, the dollar store, or Walmart. They’re the “cheapy” type of toys. But, I make sure that they are things that – while they’re not high-quality and won’t last long – won’t be a waste. Meaning, they’ll help create fun memories during our party. Sidewalk chalk, bubbles, jump ropes, foam airplane kits, plastic whiffle ball or golf sets. Things that get them all playing and having a good time. Another favorite: Playdough. I’ll get something like this 101-Piece Cookie Cutter Set, plus a Play-Doh Case of Colors, and use some of those cheap gift bags I bought to divide them up into sets. Cookie cutters are awesome tools for designing with Playdough, and the kids have a blast.
  • 7. Candy. Yep, while there’s been more of a trend lately to have “candy-free” gift baskets, which I totally support… Easter wouldn’t be quite the same to me without some candy :) The best way to save is to buy in bulk. There are times of the year that kiddos can get picky about the brand of candy they eat – but at Easter, there are so many themed candies that come in great big ol’ bags – it’s definitely a way to save, especially if you’re entertaining a lot of people.

Easter basket ideas on a budget

So – there you have it. After 4 years of putting on Easter egg hunt parties for 25-50 kids, and creating Easter baskets and prizes for them all, these are the things that have worked for me, and lead to a giant field full of happy kids. If you have more tips to share on Easter basket ideas, definitely feel free to share in the comments! I love to hear from you.

And, for more great Easter posts, be sure to check out my fellow Chosen Chix bloggers, and follow the #ChosenChixHop hashtag on your fave social media sites:


Mason Jar Valentine’s Day Craft

I love me some holidays. Any of them. I’m what you would call…. A Holiday-a-holic. So since we’re in mid January, and it’s getting close to the holiday of looooove, I am busy putting together lots of fun Valentine’s Day gifts. Like this super fun and sparkly mason jar gift… Check it out…

Mason Jar Gift [Read more…]


Cherry Sparkle Cocktail Recipe

This week I made my Sweet’N Low Cherry Sparkler Valentine’s Day drink recipe as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars #SweetNLowStars

I’m not always a big fan of Valentine’s Day – although I do love me some love. :) But, I had quite a few Valentine’s Days ruined by silly boys, in my early 20’s…. One went on a road trip with friends to Seattle, stayed a few days longer than he was supposed to, and called me on Valentine’s Day from- wait for it….. Hooters. That was nice. Another boyfriend, a few years later, bought me PJ’s, which I’d mentioned I was wanting…. But bought them for me in a mens size XXL. And I’m not that big. Sheesh. Even if was, how rude, lol. But even with some unfortunate Valentine’s Days behind me, I still get excited to celebrate. And with a 4 year old, and few options for babysitting, we have a lot of date nights at home. So, I came up with a fun little drink to make the evening more festive. Hope you enjoy it too.

Cherry Sparkle Cocktail for Valentines Day [Read more…]


Free Countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar

I think just about everyone by now has heard about this whole Elf on the Shelf trend, right? Where you get an old-fashioned looking elf, tell the kids he’s there to watch over them and report to Santa whether they’re being bad or good, leave treats, and get up to silly shenanigans during the night? Everyone I know is kind of 50-50 on how they feel about this tradition; it’s definitely a love it or hate it kind of thing. Personally – I love this idea. Anything to bring more fun and wonder to the holidays for my little girl is a win in my book. But, we went with a different type of elf…

Elf Magic - alternative to Elf on the Shelf [Read more…]


Celebrate the Dads Who Care

“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” – Clarence Budington Kelland Father’s Day is almost upon us. A time to think about all of the fathers who have made a difference in our lives – our own, friends, or our kiddo’s dads. As much as us women kick butt on a daily basis, there are some amazing men in our lives that need some appreciation too, right? :)

Disney with Mike

One dad that I want to talk about is my Mister – we’ve been together for almost 9 years. He’s the best dad to Abby that I could ever ask for. He works with me in my online business, he does almost all of the cooking {and even the dishes!}, and helps and supports me so much. Love this guy – we make a great team. <3 The picture above is from when we visited Disneyland for the first time, for #DisneySMMoms – it was awesome to have my family with me at an event. And Abby had the most fun I think I’ve ever seen her have! During conference day, he and Abby got to spend a lot of father-daughter bonding time, riding the rides and seeing the sites. It was so great seeing them both smile so much!

So to celebrate all of those real amazing dads out there, and recognize all the ways that they show that they care -Dove Men+Care has launched a really moving new campaign. Check out the video below…

[Read more…]


5 Epic Father’s Day Gift Ideas

I have been compensated for this #GreatestDad Father’s Day gifts idea post in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

I would share a photo of here of my Mister, but he’d kill me. He might let me photograph an arm while it’s showing off a recipe he’s making on the grill. Maybe a foot that accidentally gets into the photo. But he’s not much of a fan of fame, lol. So – instead, I’ll just have to tell you about my favorite guy, and some of the awesome gifts he helped inspire as I put together this epic Father’s Day gift ideas list.

Epic Father's Day Gift Ideas for the Entertaining Type Dad

There are a lot of different types of guys – gizmo gurus, fitness fanatics, memory makers – but my Mister falls into the entertainer category. We don’t go out much, and have been working on creating some pretty awesome spaces here at the house, since we entertain a lot. We’ve got a bit pool, a sweet patio space, a huge “man cave” style shop where he and his friends work on race cars, and a giant back field filled with a garden and kids play area. And I’ll admit it – while I want to get him a Father’s Day gift he’ll love, I want to spend my money on something the rest of us will enjoy too :) So here are a few of my FAVE gift ideas, and why. And I’d love comments later on which one you think I should get – it’s such a tough choice when I shop at Best Buy, seriously.


Krups BeerTender: This would be the perfect addition to my Mister’s “Man Cave” out in the shop, for just a little over a hundred bucks. And, it would be super fun to bring out when we have pool parties, BBQs, and… well, any other darn time we entertain. It has an LED temp indicator to let you know when your beer is frosty cold enough. The sleek design works in your kitchen, den, man cave, movie room, anywhere. And it fits perfectly with DraughtKegs you can buy at most stores. [Read more…]