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Smurf Cupcakes and Family Night Ideas!

As a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community, this family date night shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study to share fun dinner and movie night ideas using featuring Tyson Batter Tenders & Smurfs 2.

By now, you guys know I love any type of theme night, right? With some creativity, a bit of DIY skill, and just a little extra time, any mom can create a really fun family date night on a budget. And for me, the easiest way to put together an easy family day {whether dinner or playdate} is to base my theme around a super fun family movie. {A couple recent examples: Monsters U lunch, Little Mermaid crafting party} This week, I decided to do a fun movie date night featuring the new Smurfs 2, and those totally yummy Battered Chicken Tenders from Tyson. Some of you might remember me whining – er, mentioning – that I’ve had the flu for 3 days now. But even being under the weather, this was an easy little evening to put together, and the kiddos had a blast. I think I’m feeling better already… :)

Family Date Night with Smurfs 2 [Read more…]


How to Make Unique Family Movie Night Gift Baskets on a Budget

I love to give movies as gifts. One – you can always score amazing deals on Amazon, like the big list I have here for you today. And, there are so many fun ways to give movies as gifts… We have an Elf Magic doll that brings little random gifts for the kids during the month of December – things like a new movie to watch that night, candy and treats, or a new holiday story book. Or, they’re perfect for gift baskets – you can go basic and make a family movie night gift basket: Use a big popcorn bowl or bucket, add a movie or two, snacks and popcorn, maybe even send it with a big cozy blanket too. Or, get creative and build a basket around a favorite movie – I’ve added a bunch of ideas below each of these awesome movie deals. {But remember – prices flip fast at Amazon, especially this time of year. I’m posting this on 11/30/13 – the further away from this date, the more the prices may vary!} So whether you just want to buy some classic family favorites for yourself at a total steal of a price, or build some fun gifts, I hope you enjoy my ideas and deals!

The Goonies

Everyone loves The Goonies, right? It’s perfect for all ages – and you can get it right now for only $4. To build a gift around this, get those gold coin candies, candy rings and candy necklaces, Baby Ruth candy bars, truffles {ala the Truffle Shuffle}, pirate eye patches and accessories, a The Goonies T-shirt or two, and pack it all into a little $3 dollar Treasure Chest gift box. Fun, right?

Princess Bride

This is one of my favorite movies – I could never watch it enough times: The Princess Bride. Right now it’s on sale on Amazon for only $3 bucks! If you wanted to make this into a giftable basket, here are some ideas of things to add: Princess Bride pub glasses, cute little love notes – “I’d come from mostly dead for you,” a bottle of Princess Bride wine, some Reece’s Peanut “Butter cups”, Pirate Sword Picks with a little ham and cheese gift set, and this awesome Storming The Castle Card Game. And just for fun, add a set of “Hello, My Name Is” Labels that you can personalize to finish the phrase – “Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die…” [Read more…]


Never watch a mediocre movie again

I love family movie night. In our family, it’s me, the Mister, and my little girl who will be three in July. A toddler makes a family night out a little more challenging… She wants to climb over the table and dump the salt shaker onto the heads of the customers at the next table if we go to a restaurant. She has a hard time staying quiet or in one place in a big movie theater. She loves to dance – but I don’t think a nightclub is quite our style, lol. So, making special movie nights at home is one of our regular weekend rituals!

movie night with family [Read more…]


Holiday Memories & Food: Save Big on Restaurant Gift Cards Now

Think about your favorite holiday memories… Most of them revolve around food, right? Big holiday dinners, birthday nights out, an anniversary event with food and drinks at your favorite restaurant. Family and food are what the holidays and celebrating are all about. For us – we do a combination of in-home and out and about… For the major holidays, we always do a big dinner at my house – Thanksgiving and Christmas we have around 50 people over here! I love having a way to give something special to all of my favorite peeps as a big ol’ special thank you each year. And it’s so much fun to see everyone in one place together – celebrating. We also love going out to eat, for breakfast. It’s awesome, in a different way – because I get to actually just sit and enjoy everyone during those times – without worrying about cooking and cleaning up!

Restaurant gift card deals

Need a last minute gift idea? Restaurant cards are a perfect pick!

So, when it comes to last minute Christmas gifts, restaurant gift cards are my fave pick! Whether they use them right away, for a great start to the new year – or wait and save them for a special birthday or anniversary – everyone makes special memories when getting together for a night out. And a really smart gift card idea is a Darden gift card – which are good as some of your favorite spots!

Olive Garden Exterior

Olive Garden is a must stop for all Italian food lovers – and has some amazing deals right now on lunch specials, as well as some super delicious limited-time dinner options. And who can resist that unlimited salad and bread sticks with every order??

LongHorn Exterior

We don’t have a LongHorn Steakhouse here in town – but boyohboy, when we find when while traveling, we always stop to visit!! Steak is pretty much Mike’s favorite food – and Longhorn gets it right, every time. {Plus, unlike some steakhouses, they have great options for non-steak lovers like myself, too.} And visit their site today to enter to win steaks for a year!

Red Lobster Exterior

Red Lobster is another HUGE fave of Mike’s – I don’t eat anything out of the ocean, and he would eat it all, in a big bowl smothered in butter, lol. But I love the atmosphere, and we go here often for big occasions to celebrate.

All of these restaurants are included in a Darden Gift Card!!!

Buy one card, and it works at ANY of these restaurants. And – what’s even cooler right now – For every $25 you spend on a card for Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, or Red Lobster – you get a bonus $5 bucks. Spend $50 – get a $60 card. Spend $100, get an extra $20 on top of that!! That is a pretty sweet bonus. If you give it as a gift, it gives you an extra bit of generosity to your gift, totally free. If you were already planning a big meal out with the family, why not plan it for one of these restaurants? Then you can buy the gift card now, and make your budget go further. Good times, good people – and good food!

 Get your Darden Gift Card today – and take advantage of this sweet bonus deal today!!

 {Disclaimer: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Darden. I received a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.}


How to Make Your Family Game Nights Epic!

Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two… You’ve probably heard of this game by now, even if you’re not a big gamer. Disney’s new Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, is on all of the “Hottest Gifts of the Season” lists this year. I’d been seeing it everywhere, so I was pretty anxious to give it a try with the kiddos here at home. I know that sometimes video games can be a challenge – none of us want the kids sitting in front of a TV all day, right? But I’m a big lover of family game nights – and a really great vide game is a perfect way to keep everyone entertained and enjoying time together. Love that, right?

Epic Mickey
[Read more…]


How To Host a Frozen Yogurt & Cupcakes Party – #TCBYGrocery

Celebrate Summer during National Yogurt Month – with TCBY Frozen Yogurt! #TCBYGrocery – As soon as the weather gets warm around here, we start entertaining a few nights a week. I love putting together a good party – creative decorations, fun games, and good food. Since this month is National Yogurt Month, I wanted to celebrate it with a little Frozen Yogurt and Cupcakes party, and what better frozen treat to use then then everyone’s favorite, TCBY!

cupcakes and frozen yogurt party

“Summer afternoon – Summer afternoon… the two most beautiful words in the English language.” – Henry James

We’ve had mostly beautiful weather lately, and are so anxious to get our pool opened up for the season. I had planned a few parties already, and have had people over several times over the past two weeks – but unfortunately, the summer grand opening of the pool keeps hitting big ol’ road blocks. Ugh. First, we were told that we needed a new pool pump, which is a big expense. We ordered one in, waited to have it installed… Only to find out that wasn’t even really the problem. Double ugh. The next week we had several repair companies here, lots of work done, and still no luck. Hopefully by this weekend we’ll finally be able to enjoy the pool at our next party! Definitely looking forward to it – it’s getting darn hot, super quickly around here. A dip in the pool sounds glorious…

TCBY frozen yogurt at walmart

Celebrate Summer with TCBY Frozen Yogurt!

I wanted to put together a fun little shindig for the kiddos, so we headed out to Walmart to pick up the new TCBY Frozen Yogurt – and as you can see, it must have been on everyone else’s list too. The selection was almost sold out – crazy, right? But, there were enough choices for me to pick out a good selection of flavors to please everyone. {Because of course, every kiddo in my house has a different favorite that the MUST have, lol.} I’m a sucker for great packaging, and I just adore the bright, clean, cheerfully designed cartons for TCBY. I also picked up a few extra goodies – candy, cupcake mix, sprinkles, and cones. I wanted to bump things up a notch, make it more fun than a typical after-dinner bowl of ice cream. So I grabbed up a bunch of good stuff, and planned out some super fun ideas.

TCBY Frozen Yogurt

“A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.” – St. Francis of Assisi

Seriously – can’t you almost taste how good this stuff is, just by looking at the picture? I love ice cream, but to be honest, I’m not too picky about the type. One thing that I do appreciate is a frozen dessert that has big pieces of chocolate or fruit in it – big enough to really taste it. And that’s hard to find. Well – take a look at those deliciously juicy fruit chunks in the Tropical Mango Peach, and the giant bites of toffee and chocolate in the other blends – Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough and English Toffee Crunch. We took a quick bite to sample each one, then I got to work on setting up a fun set of treats for the kids to enjoy after a fun day in the sun, and a simple dinner on the patio – {Salad, baked chicken, and pasta salad.} Lovely.

TCBY dipped cones

“Celebrate summer: sun-drenched days and starlit nights.” – Gooseberry Patch

I started by making dipped sugar cones – I melted down some Wilton Candy Melts in the microwave, and tinted them pink. I rolled the edges of the sugar cones in the melted white chocolate, then rolled ’em in sprinkles. Super simple, but super fun! Then I set them up in dessert glasses to cool, so the candy could harden.

cupcake display

“Be like the flower, turn your face to the sun.” – Kahlil Gibran

Next, I created these fun little cupcakes… I just used some small plastic party cups, filled them halfway with jelly beans {one of our favorite family candies} and set my vanilla bean cupcakes inside each one. Then I topped the cupcakes with the Wilton Pearl Sprinkles, and a few more jelly beans to match the holders. It was a random idea, but I think it came out really fun!! I’ll definitely be using variations on this for other summer parties – I’m thinking some ribbon around the cups next time would be a great touch…

TCBY ice cream faces

“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.” – James Dent

The kids and I enjoyed our treats out in the yard next to the patio, where we’d been playing in the kiddie pool and slip n’ slide all day. {It’s a good time, but tough to enjoy quite as much when you have a big in-ground pool in view, that you’re just dying to get to use!} See little mister’s messy frozen yogurt face? Yep, he LOVED the TCBY Frozen Yogurts!!! I wanted the total deliciousness of the ice cream to come through, so I kept them simple – a couple big scoops of TCBY in the dipped sugar cones, topped only with a few fun sprinkles. Partnered with the jelly beans and cupcakes – and of course, a big glass of ice cold milk for each of us – I have to say it was pretty much the perfect end to a summer day.

how to make candy coated cones

“Be intent upon the perfection of the present day.” – William Law

Aren’t these so fun? I can tell ya, it’s honestly not that often that we all agree on something around here… Due to a series of crazy life changes, we ended up with a big household – Me, Mike, and Abby. My brother and my two little nephews. And Grandma too… Plus SIX little dogs! So no matter how great I think an idea is for dinner, dessert, snacks, anything – there’s SOMEONE who’s not happy. But these TCBY Frozen Yogurts were a hit with of us. Epic, right? {And yes, when I say EVERYONE, I mean it. The dogs were all dying for a bite, and most of ’em got at least a lick or two that dropped to the ground…. And I saw a lot of little wagging tails :)

For more updates on cool products and promotions – follow TCBY on Twitter – @TCBYGrocery. You can also find them on Facebook too. And for more summer fun ideas like these, check out the TCBY Grocery Pinterest page – {and of course, feel free to pin any of my pics to your own Pinterest idea boards too!}

How do YOU celebrate on family night during summertime with your family? Leave me some comments!

{Disclaimer: I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and TCBY. #CBias #SocialFabric #TCBYGrocery.}


How Strategic Grocery Shopping Earns You FREE Ice Age Movie Tickets #JuneDairyMovies

So… Last week I told you about our super fun Tacos and Floats summer party that we had. I set up a big ol’ taco bar, filled with a ton of toppings {including super yummy dairy must-haves like shredded Tillamook cheese and Dairygold sour cream} – and we topped that off with super cool root beer floats for dessert. It was a great night with the family – and it was made even greater by the fact that shopping for those dinner ingredients gave me a free set of movie tickets to take my family to see Ice Age, Continental Drift next month! How cool is that, right?

how to get free ice age tickets during june dairy month

June Dairy Month at Safeway = Free Family Movie Tickets!

Pretty much all of us are moms on a tight budget, right? The economy is not-so-hot, incomes are not-as-high, and prices on just about everything are ever increasing. That makes it tough on us moms to keep up. But – some meal planning and smart shopping can help any busy mom save some big bucks. And this month, the must-have deal to grab is the free movie ticket promotion at Safeway. Here’s how it works:

  • Head to your nearest Safeway, {or affiliate store like Vons, Dominick’s, Genuardi’s, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Pavillions or Carrs} – and look for the June Dairy Month tags all over the store. #JuneDairyMovies.
  • Use your Safeway Club Card each time you shop during June, and it will automatically add up all of your participating dairy purchases.
  • Once you’ve purchased at least $40 worth of family dairy must-haves like cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and milk, the register will print out a Catalina coupon good for two free movie tickets! Sweet, I know.

The movie tickets can be printed and redeemed online, and will be valid until 8/31/12. It does mention on the ticket that you can use it for a different movie of your choice – but since Abby looooves the “funny guys” in the previous Ice Age movies, that’s what we’ll be heading out to see when it opens locally.

Dairy Month Taco Night

Our Family Night Celebration was a Hit!

Since movie nights at the theater are often a luxury around here, I knew that I did NOT want to miss out on the chance to get free tickets. So I went out shopping for our favorite taco night ingredients – and partnered with the new Just for U rewards program, I was able to save enough on all of the great goods that I bought that I could really stock up on cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and more. We go through a TON of dairy products here – {Abby loooves her string cheese!} – so these were all items I would have purchased anyway. Getting that great free movie ticket coupon at check out was a much-appreciated bonus.

ice age dairy month free movie tickets

How to get free Ice Age Movie Tickets at Safeway

You probably remember reading about my Safeway shopping trip, and our super fun Tacos and Floats party – if so, you’ll probably also remember seeing a pic of the Catalina coupon that printed out at check out. So – once you get yours too, here’s how it works – easy peasy. Just visit the online rewards site, click the store you shopped at, then fill in your info and add the code found on your Catalina coupon. Then you’re ready to print out your free tickets – and take your family on a great summer night out. Awesome, I know.

Tell me – are YOU planning to take advantage of this smart shopping strategy too?

{I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Safeway. #CBias #SocialFabric” (Feel free to add any additional wording you would like such as “all opinions are my own.}