~This review was made possible by iConnect and Luvs. I was provided compensation to facilitate this post, but all opinions stated are 100% mine.~
You know this mama loves saving money anytime I can. When it comes to buying diapers for my toddler, saving money is no exception. And to be honest, I can’t even tell you the last time I purchased diapers and didn’t use a coupon of some sort.
That’s why I’m super excited about the upcoming diaper coupons for Luvs, the official diaper of experienced moms. In this Sunday’s newspaper (April 30th) keep your eye out for a $2 coupon off any one pack or box of Luvs diapers (expires 5/13/17).
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*Thank you to Luvs for sponsoring today’s post and helping me save on baby essentials. This is a sponsored post in which I will receive compensation. My opinions are still 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand. Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.
~I received a Carlucci’s Waterfront gift card to help facilitate my review. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~
To end our family’s staycation in Mt. Laurel, NJ this past weekend, we decided to have a nice sit down dinner after checking out of the hotel and before heading home. I searched around online to see what restaurants were in the Mt. Laurel area and came across an Italian fare, Carlucci’s Waterfront.
Carlucci’s Waterfront is just one of six of Carlucci’s family of restaurants, and is owned and operated by the Capuano family. When the Capuano’s came to the US from Italy in ‘83, they brought along with them some amazing family recipes and are sharing those recipes in their restaurants.
As adults we enjoy the food, atmosphere and overall experience of fine dining, but as parents, kid-friendly dining is imperative. Carlucci’s Waterfront is the perfect combination of the two – fine dining for families – and was a perfect way to end our family weekend.
Upon pulling into the parking lot, which is fairly large by the way, you see the restaurant sitting in the distance. At the moment, Carlucci’s is doing some renovations, but luckily is still open for dining.
As we walked in, we were immediately greeted by the hostess who sat us right away. We arrived just after Carlucci’s opened at 11:00 am on Sunday, so the restaurant was pretty empty. But it didn’t take long before guests started rolling in.
And lucky for us, we were seated at a great table right next to a set of sliding doors, and had an amazing view of the outdoor seating and the waterfront. While it was a very nice day out, it was still a bit too nippy to eat outside on the terrace which I would have loved, but I’m glad we were still able to enjoy the view.
After being seated, we were each poured a glass of water, and brought out a plate of bruschetta and basket of bread. You’d think my family hadn’t eaten in a week because the bread was gone before I could blink. The bruschetta was delicious and I could have eaten the whole plate, but I was generous enough to share with everyone else even though they hoarded the bread.
We then ordered some additional beverages and our meals. I want to add that Carlucci’s Waterfront offers a lunch menu on Sunday’s, which in my experience is rare, so that was a nice little surprise. And before we knew it our dishes had arrived.
I started with a Caesar Salad and then moved on to my Seafood Duette. The Seafood Duette is a combo of scallops and shrimp tossed with spinach, cherry tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil with a touch of lemon, white wine and zafferano, all served over a plate of linguine.
Ooohhh maaan, my taste buds were in heaven! My daughter even had a few bites. I’ve had “Italian food” before, but this was real and it was love at first bite.
My other half started with some Lentil Soup, one of the soups of the day, and then enjoyed some Broccoli and Shrimp Pappardelle. This dish consists of homemade pappardelle sautéed with broccoli, shrimp and cherry tomatoes, in garlic and extra virgin olive oil.
It looked very appetizing on my end and his favorite part of the dish was the shrimp and sauce. He didn’t much care for the pappardelle, but simply because it is a larger sized pasta. Any other pasta and he probably would have cleaned his plate, so it’s just a personal preference. But he enjoyed trying something new!
The kids enjoyed some typical children’s menu favorites. My son, the picker eater, had his usual Chicken Fingers and French Fries, and my daughter had some Penne Alfredo.
I tasted the Penne Alfredo and I have to say, I would be very surprised if the alfredo sauce was not homemade. It was like no alfredo sauce I have ever eaten before. It had a bit of a sweet taste to it and was very distinctive. If my daughter didn’t eat it, I certainly would have had no problem finishing it for her.
The food was absolutely delectable and the overall ambience was delightful. Carlucci’s Waterfront also features a fully stocked bar for any type of adult beverage you may want.
While we were dining, a group of guests strolled in, ordered some drinks from the bar and then enjoyed some conversation on the terrace before coming back inside to dine. Carlucci’s really is a great place to just come and hang out, and enjoy some amazing food.
Carlucci’s Waterfront also offers banquet and event dining, including wedding events. The restaurant itself is beautiful and then open up the sliding doors that lead to the outdoor terrace, and you’re all set for your next large event.
It just so happens that while we were there, a group of guests were preparing to host a baby shower and I was thinking to myself Carlucci’s was a great choice. I would love to hold a party there!
I can say with confidence that if we are ever in the Mt. Laurel area again, we will definitely be dining at Carlucci’s Waterfront. Quite frankly, I can’t wait to go back!
Do you have a restaurant in your area that offers fine dining for famlies?
*I received a Carlucci’s Waterfront gift card to help facilitate my review. My opinions are still 100% my own and in no way influenced by the restaurant. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the restaurant. Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.
~Thank you to CoCo Key Water Resort for providing complimentary passes to facilitate this review. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~
This past weekend my family enjoyed a short staycation in the Mt. Laurel, NJ area. It was nice to get out of the house and explore what the state has to offer and there were different things about the weekend that each of us enjoyed, from shopping, to dining, to a little indoor water park fun.
Yeap, you read that right. We had water park fun in NJ, in April! It was cold and rainy ALL weekend, but it didn’t stop us from splashing around at CoCo Key Water Resort like it was summer.
CoCo Key is an indoor water park that offers family fun for all ages. Guests of The Hotel ML can purchase passes to visit anytime during their stay, or the general public can purchase a daily pass and just spend the day splashing around.
My kids absolutely love playing in the water and since moving from FL to NJ, the only water play they’ve gotten is during bath time. So I knew CoCo Key would be the perfect getaway for them and they ended up having a splashing good time! The water park was their favorite part of our staycation and my son is already asking to go back.
We ventured over to the water park, which is accessible via the hotel and also has its own entrance, sometime early Saturday afternoon. As you walk in, there’s a counter for purchasing your passes and another counter for cashing in your arcade tickets.
Not only does CoCo Key offer an indoor water park, but also has a nice little arcade. If it weren’t for my son wanting so badly to play in the water park, he could have spent all day in the arcade.
Just beyond the entrance area are doors that lead you into the water park, which is two levels. You enter on the upper level and can either walk down a flight of stairs or take the elevator down to the lower level.
Dip-In: This is a kiddie play area that’s perfect for the littlest swimmers. A one foot deep wading pool, Dip-In features a pirate ship in the center with double slides, as well as a baby bungee corner, and is lots of fun for toddlers and smaller kids.
The weekend we were visiting, the hotel was offering special movie nights that took place at the water park at 9:30 pm. This was after the water park closed at 9:00 pm, so it was only available to hotel guests. Friday night we went to check it out and the movie, Shrek the Third, was actually playing on the sail of the pirate ship! I thought that was pretty fun and a little added perk for the kids.
Coral Cove’s Slam Dunk: A three foot deep circular pool where you can enjoy a little water basketball.
Coconut Grove Lazy River: A three foot deep lazy river where you can hop in a float and take a relaxing 300 foot ride, but be sure to watch out for the splashy surprises along the way.
Lily Pad Adventure: A fun water activity that tests your balance and strength, the Lily Pad Adventure is like something you’d see in an obstacle course. With the help of an overhead rope to hang onto, do you think you could keep your balance long enough to cross the pool on floating “lily pads” without falling in?
Palm Grotto Indoor/Outdoor Spa: This one is for adults only. While the kids splash around, sit back and enjoy a hot, relaxing dip in the whirlpools of the hot tub spa.
Parrot’s Perch: In the center of it all is Parrot’s Perch. It’s like a big water playground and jungle gym that everyone can climb on, shoot water cannons, slip down the slides and get drenched when the 300 gallon water bucket at the top fills up and tips over.
Large Water Slides: If you’re looking for a real thrill, take a ride on one of the three large water slides – Pelican Plunge, Barracuda Blast, and Shark Slam. Grab a raft and make your way to the top by climbing the indoor stairway. The slides themselves twist, turn and wind outdoors, but they’re all completely covered and protected from the elements. The entrance and all three slide exits are indoors so you never actually step foot outside.
If you plan to spend the whole day at CoCo Key, I can guarantee you’re going to get hungry. But never fear because you can pick up pizza, burgers, chicken nuggets and more at Gator’s Grab & Go, or grab a cocktail at Wet Rooster’s, a full service bar.
There are lifeguards, on lifeguards, on lifeguards at CoCo Key. They’re everywhere and they actually pay attention to ensure everyone stays safe. There was a lot of whistle blowing during our visit, haha.
If something were to happen though, there’s also a first aid station. And if you need a life jacket for your little swimmer, they’re on hand too.
What to Bring
For a day at CoCo Key you’ll definitely need to bring your own towels. We just used our hotel bathroom towels since we didn’t bring any from home.
And since I know you’ll want to preserve some family memories, I’m sure you’ll bring along a camera or take photos with your cell phone. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get any photos of my kids playing around, for fear of dropping my phone in the water and the shear fact of having to wrangle two small kids, I really needed both of my hands available. I did see a lot of people who were wearing waterproof cell phone holders around their neck, so I would recommend bringing something like that along so your phone isn’t far out of reach, but is still protected.
And for anything else you bring along, lockers can be rented ($10) to keep those items safe. There is plenty of space on both the upper and lower levels to sit, but if everyone in your party is enjoying the fun, you will not want to leave your belongings just sitting around. So the lockers are plus and you can access them at any time you need to.
Since we were visiting on a Saturday, I think the water park was a little more crowded than if we had visited another day. The kids had a really great time and we did too, but there are a few things I want to note.
The first thing is the smell of chlorine is pretty overpowering, which I totally understand given it’s a water park, but it kind of smells like a dirty chlorine. Not that fresh, super clean, dive right in kind of smell. And for as strong as the chlorine smell is and as much as they must be using, the water was pretty murky. I don’t know if this is just a result of all the traffic that comes in and out, or if it was intentional to give kind of like a natural outdoor look to the water.
The thing that really bummed us out was that Dip-In, the kiddie area on the upper level, was closed off and reserved for a birthday party. Birthday parties are a great feature that CoCo Key Water Resort offers, and there are a handful of private rooms near the resort entrance for facilitating them, as well as a large sitting area on the upper level where these parties can also be held.
But at the same time, this really hindered how much freedom we could give our one year old. Since we couldn’t access the kiddie area, we were forced to stay on the lower level.
Let me preface this a little bit so it makes more sense as to why this bummed us out. So once you get wet, you better stay in the water because – You. Will. Freeze. After getting wet our daughter was literally shivering in our arms so it was either keep her in the water or wrap her in a towel, which she was not about to sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else having fun.
The water in the Parrot’s Perch area is very shallow. We sat her down and it barely covered her legs, so this wasn’t going to work for us. The only other option was to sit in the water that was at the entrance to the lazy river. The water was warmer there and it was deep enough to keep our daughter decently submerged so that she wasn’t shivering. The problem is that this was not a very safe place for us to be, or anyone else for that matter.
There was traffic coming in and out for those visitors who wanted to ride around the lazy river, and not only that but there were bigger kids hanging out in that area as well and their splashing around and rough housing was not safe for our kids. So not having access to the kiddie area on the upper level was a bit of an issue for us and we actually only stayed for a little over an hour.
The other thing I want to note is that the day we checked out (Sunday), the water park was only open until 3:00 pm due to a private event (normally open until 6:00 pm). Since we had our passes, we could have stayed after checking out of our room and enjoyed the water park until it closed, but we chose not to. And I’m all for private events like this, but as a visitor who’s paying to enjoy a full day of water park fun, this would upset me. I’d hate to show up promising my kids a full day of fun, only to find out that’s not going to happen.
So I suggest calling ahead of time to ensure there are no special events taking place that could hinder your family’s fun. So long as there’s nothing going on that would have certain areas closed off, or affecting the park hours, I think you’ll have a good time.
Overall, my kids didn’t know any different and they had a ton of fun playing in the water. At CoCo Key Water Resort you won’t have to worry about sunscreen, but it’ll still wear you out like a day in the sun. Just the little amount of time we spent at the water park wore me out and I was ready for a nap as soon as we returned to our hotel room.
*Complimentary CoCo Key Water Resort passes were provided for purposes of facilitating this review. My opinions are still 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand. Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.
~Thank you to The Hotel ML for hosting the Making Time family at a discounted rate. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~
It’s been a while since my family has taken a vacation, so it was time I took action and planned something fun for us. Rather than going all out and traveling far, I decided to find something that was a little closer to home.
Since moving to NJ last November we haven’t really ventured out of our immediate area, so I thought a short staycation would be a great way to get out of the house, explore the state and enjoy some time together.
Just about an hour and a half drive from our home, The Hotel ML is situated in Mt. Laurel, NJ. The hotel itself is very beautiful. The entrance is gorgeous and very inviting. As soon as we stepped foot into the hotel lobby, I was blown away.
There’s obviously the front desk, two sitting areas and a lounge where you can enjoy some beverages and watch a little TV. Everything appeared to be new and modern, and if it’s not new, then they’re doing a good job of keeping it up.
To the right of the lobby area there are meeting rooms for private events, such as conferences, wedding activities and other social events. In fact, I believe someone was hosting wedding activities the evening we checked in. I overheard their party talking about it while passing through the lobby the next day.
To the left of the lobby area is the elevator and rooms. Our third floor room at The Hotel ML was a very nice size. It was probably the largest hotel room I’ve ever stayed in and the kids were able to run around to let out a little of their excitement. With two double beds, a lounge chair and ottoman, office desk, dresser with TV and mini fridge, and full bathroom, it was a home away from home.
After arriving we headed to the closest store to pick up a few snacks and drinks to stock our mini fridge. This was great because the kids are always wanting something, so having the mini fridge helped save us some money on food and drinks throughout the weekend.
While it was a spacious room, there were a few things that could use some improvement and it’s mostly all aesthetic. I was told the room was newly renovated, but the only thing that looked new was the bathroom sink and counter.
There were marker lines on the window curtains, most likely caused by kids during a previous stay. But it’s a kid-friendly hotel, so things like this are to be expected now and then. The furniture and mini fridge were also pretty dinged up. Again, this is something that can be expected with the traffic that comes in and out, but it was very obvious and immediately noticeable.
Another issue was the mattress or bed springs on one of the beds was broken, I think. I didn’t even notice it until the day we left because I had been sleeping on the other bed, but I sat on it while getting ready to leave and drastically sunk down.
So again, nothing in the room really stood out to me as being renovated besides the bathroom sink. While I’m on the topic of the bathroom, I also want to note the toilet was lower to the ground than an average toilet. Not a complaint, but just something to mention. This is actually great for the kids, but as an adult you better make sure you have your squat game on point.
After being blown away at the entry and lobby area, I was expecting a bit of a nicer room. Overall, the room was okay and I’d consider it pretty average. Nothing too over the top and fancy, but it was suitable for our weekend stay.
If you get a little hungry, you can always order room service or head down to Talia’s. Situated just behind the lobby lounge is Talia’s Restaurant and Bar. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to dine at Talia’s, but they serve up-scale comfort food all day.
In the morning you can enjoy a breakfast buffet, and for lunch and dinner you can order dishes like Short Rib Grilled Cheese, Portobello Sandwich, half pound Black Angus burger or Cajun Seared Salmon, just to name a few.
If you’re just looking for a snack, sweet treat or cup of coffee, I suggest heading to The Little Shop of Coffee, located between the elevators and front desk. You can find snacks, ice cream treats, a variety of coffees and a table or two to just sit and enjoy some conversation.
There’s also PLENTY of off-site dining options, too. Starbucks, Ale House and Bob Evans are just across the street from the hotel. And in the general area, a short ride will take you to any restaurant you can imagine. It would take me a while to list them all, but during our stay we dined at Don Pablos, Cracker Barrel and Grand Lux Cafe.
So, you’re probably wondering what’s so great about The Hotel ML that we chose to spend our weekend family staycation there. The answer is simple – CoCo Key Water Resort! The kids had a blast and I can’t wait to tell you all about it – tomorrow, haha.
Sounds like fun, right? I’ll give you a little info now, just to be fair. CoCo Key Water Resort is on the same premises as The Hotel ML. It’s housed in a separate building towards the back of the property, but can easily be accessed from the hotel.
As soon as we left the lobby area and walked to the elevators, we could smell the chlorine so there’s no missing the fact it’s there, even if you’re not visiting the hotel for purposes of the water park. To get there, just take the elevator down to the first floor (the lobby is on the second floor) and walk your way through the halls.
There are rooms on the first floor, so I would assume if you’re staying on the first floor, you’re probably going to hear a lot more noise and traffic as hotel guests utilizing the water park make their way through the halls. But just a short one to two minute walk and you’re ready to enjoy some indoor water park fun!
Aside from the on-site fun of CoCo Key Water Resort, there are also some fun things in the general area to do. Want to do some shopping? Head to Moorestown Mall or Cherry Hill Mall. Want to do something fun with the family? There’s a bowling alley right down the road or spend a few hours at Sky Zone Trampoline Park. Still not enough? Make your way to The Funplex for bumper cars, laser tag and more!
I had no idea there was so much to do in the Mt. Laurel area. It was nice to get out of the house and have a mini family vacation, while exploring what our new home state has to offer. I can’t wait until our next staycation!
*This hotel stay was provided at a discounted rate for purposes of this review. My opinions are still 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand. Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.
“Schoooooooools out for the summer!” Okay, maybe not quite yet, but summer will be here before we know it. And it’s never too soon to start planning fun activities, right?
One of my favorite (and cheap) activities to enjoy with my kids is the Summer Movie Express by Regal Cinemas. Every Tuesday and Wednesday, various movie theaters show some of the year’s best family movies. The best part is admission is just $1/person! Now that’s something I can afford.
Some of this summer’s features include Trolls, Kung Fu Panda 3, Storks, SING, The Secret Life of Pets, Monster Trucks and many more.
Kung Fu Panda 3
Ice Age: Collision Course
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked
Penguins of Madagascar
The Secret Life of Pets
Kubo and the Two Strings
Ratchet and Clank
The Spongebob Square Pants Movie: Sponge Out of Water
The Adventures of Tin Tin
Happy Feet 2
Cats & Dogs 2: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
The LEGO Batman Movie
You’ll need to check your theater’s schedule because the dates vary by state and region, all depending on when school is officially out for summer and when it starts back up next year.
As if the cheap admission wasn’t great enough, a portion of all ticket sales goes to the Will Rogers Institute, too!
What movie are you most excited to see with your kids?
*This is not a sponsored post nor did I receive any samples. I am only sharing my own experiences and opinions are 100% my own. Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.
My kids have tons of energy. Where it all comes from, I have no idea, but it’s certainly way more than I have. To help them get all that energy out (and save my sanity), we’ve gotten them into sports and are expanding their interests.
My son, in particular, loves playing soccer and has been playing for two years. And now that he’s old enough for our local t-ball program, he recently started with that too.
Today I want to focus on t-ball and exactly what you can expect when your child starts. I know programs are different depending on where you live and what is available to you, but in the beginning there are some things you can bet are all going to be the same.
1. Why did I buy you a glove if you’re not going to use it?
We’re talking about kids here, so you have to understand their skills and abilities aren’t yet perfected (no matter what they’re doing). That’s the whole purpose of getting them started!
In our t-ball program of four teams, I’ve yet to observe any child who catches everything that comes their way. Some kids, including mine, would rather lay a smack down on the ball with the glove, or not use the glove at all.
2. There will be absolutely NO outs!
Because the kids have trouble catching the ball, or in most cases, get the ball in their glove as it rolls to them, the batter is likely to make it to first base before the outfield can get the ball there. Which also leads me to number three –
3. Teamwork? What’s that?
When the ball heads towards the outfield, EVERY kid out there is going to go get it. It’s more like a game of everyone pile on the ball because that’s exactly what they’re doing. And whichever kid comes out victorious, holds the ball up like a trophy and looks around at his subjects admiring his victory. Forget the batter, I got the ball!
4. Batting is tricky.
Batting requires a lot of hand-eye coordination, just as catching does. You can expect some kids will only need to swing once, but others will need to swing three or four times. There will be a lot of hitting the tee versus hitting the ball, but this all part of the learning process of t-ball.
Not to mention, none of the kids understand what it means to be right- or left-handed. The coach can’t really help them properly set up at bat without knowing this info, so that can also hinder how well the kids do at bat.
As a side note, my son is left-handed and throws as such, but when it comes to batting, he’s a much better right-handed batter. We actually realized this while practicing at home and had always assumed since he was left-handed that he’d bat the same. We were wrong. Just something you might want to take notice of to help your child better succeed at the game.
5. Bases have no order.
Who says I have to run to first base first? After the batter hits the ball, there’s a handful of things that could happen.
Run to first base.
Run to second base.
Run to third base.
Just stand there watching the outfield try to get their ever-elusive hit.
Help the outfield retrieve the ball. (Haha! I’ve seen this first-hand.)
There’s no guarantee where the kids will end up! Running the bases takes some extra coaching. Since t-ball is the first some kids are experiencing of the game, they aren’t going to know exactly where to run and when to run. Even once on first base, they’ll need to be guided to second and so on.
6. Every child will score.
One of the good things about t-ball is that every child will score a run. The whole point of t-ball is to start practicing and understanding the basic skills and concepts of baseball. It’s a fun, non-competitive atmosphere. By allowing every child to score a run, it builds their confidence in the game and hopefully they will want to continue in the future and further learn and understand the rules and concepts.
No matter how your t-ball program runs, it’s still a lot of fun to see the kids playing together and having fun themselves. And it doesn’t hurt to get a laugh here and there. I’ve gotten some pretty good morning laughs watching my son play t-ball.
Does your child play t-ball?
*Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.
~This post contains affiliate links, in which I will receive compensation for your purchase.~
My kids LOVE anything and everything Disney, and I’m right there with them. I can’t wait until they’re old enough to actually remember a fun trip to Disney World so we can go. I’ve experienced the joy of the parks, even as an adult. Ya know what we did to celebrate my 23rd birthday (many years ago)? We spent the day at Animal Kingdom!
Until my kids are an optimal age for a trip to Disney, we’ll do everything we can to enjoy our love of Disney at home and in everyday life. One way we do that is by throwing Disney themed parties and to make them extra-special, I go all out with decorations and party supplies.
If you’re looking to create a mouse-ka-mazing Mickey and Minnie themed party, consider getting some of these supplies!
~This post is sponsored by coupons.com. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.~
If you have a Kmart in your area and you’re not taking advantage of its grocery selections, you are truly missing out. Most people tend not to think of groceries when they think of Kmart, but I oftentimes shop there for household supplies and yes, general groceries. You know I love saving a buck or two anywhere I can and Kmart happens to be one of the places I can do that!
Easter is just two weeks away and is one of the holidays that my family gathers together for a big family feast. This year I’m helping prepare for my family’s big Easter dinner and have been tasked with table settings and centerpieces. Can you guess where I’ll be shopping? Kmart, of course! And I’ll be saving along the way!
Before I head to the store, I decided to do a little browsing online. I know they’ll have everything I need, but I wanted to get a head start because I tend to be a bit indecisive. I’m one of those people who picks something out, puts it in the cart, does some other shopping and then loops back around because I’ve changed my mind. By looking online, I can at least see what I might be able to expect in-store and ponder my final decisions beforehand. Otherwise, I might be in the store ALL day.
I’m starting with the centerpieces and the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Easter, is Easter eggs and the Easter bunny. How can I incorporate these into cool centerpieces that are more than just pleasing to the eye? I want centerpieces that people can really enjoy and won’t just be stored or trashed after the holiday.
I think it would be cool to make them tasty! In the spirit of Easter, why not have some centerpieces that feature candy shaped like Easter eggs and Easter bunnies? My family loves chocolate, so I certainly know a centerpiece with chocolate will not go to waste. This week, Kmart has Easter 6-pack candies and Lindt Gold Bunnies on sale for just $2.50 (ends 4/8)! And next week Easter Packaged Chocolates will be just $1.50 (4/9 to 4/15). These deals are totally worth two trips to the store!
The candies will all be perfect for my centerpieces (and a snack while I’m putting them together, just saying). If I arrange them all in cute little baskets, with some grass filling (that can be reused next year, I might add), nothing will go to waste and my family will get a little extra surprise at Easter dinner this year!
So with the centerpieces all planned out, I need to decide on coordinating table settings – plates, utensils, cups, etc. Since I’m going to Kmart, I want to look at the store’s own Smart Sense brand.
I already buy Smart Sense products on a regular basis so I know they’re worthy of my family’s Easter dinner, but a special little added bonus is that when I spend $10+ on Smart Sense items, I’ll earn 25% back in Shop Your Way Rewards Points (ends 5/1). It’s a win-win!
Look at these cute and decorative plates and cups I came across! The design and colors are great for an Easter celebration, and I love that they match. I’ll be getting dinner plates, salad bowls, dessert plates, cups, napkins and utensils. Lots of utensils! My family likes to eat, toss their dishes, take a break and then come back for more before hitting the dessert table.
On top of the centerpieces and table settings, I think I’m going to put together a host gift for my mom, since she’s hosting everyone this year. I know after having all of us crazies in her house, she’ll need a little something special for herself. She loves snacking so I’m thinking a few Smart Sense snacking nuts and trail mixes will do the trick!
So you see? Kmart’s grocery selections are worth visiting! All the candy and tableware for my family’s big Easter dinner are going to be perfect and I think my mom will be overjoyed at her host gift. On top of that, this is one holiday my wallet won’t feel the wrath!
What will you buy at Kmart in preparation for Easter?
Need to do a little Easter prep yourself? One lucky Making Time reader will win a $100 Kmart gift card! So get those entries in and start planning your next trip to Kmart!
This giveaway is open to US Residents, ages 18+ and ends on April 16, 2017 at midnight. Random winner will be notified via email and must respond within 24 hours or prize will be forfeited. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment.
*This post is sponsored by coupons.com. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand. Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.
~Thank you to Kidz Gear and Thomas PR for providing a set of Bluetooth™ Wireless Stereo Headphones for review. As always, opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand.~
Race car engines revving, Transformers crashing and fighting, gun fire blazing, soccer game commentary. These are just a few of the sounds that fill my living room on any given day. Can I just get a little peace and quiet, please?
My son loves playing video games (as does daddy) and while I do my best to limit his game time, I get tired of hearing the same noises over and over and over. On the few days I actually decide to do a little work, the sounds can be quite distracting and make it difficult to concentrate. It literally flushes my productivity down the toilet.
Just recently my son got the opportunity to try the Bluetooth™ Wireless Stereo Headphones from Kidz Gear and they are a total game changer (no pun intended). Immediately upon opening the headphones, my son connected them to the PS4 controller just like daddy does and for that matter, couldn’t wait for daddy to get home from work so he could show them to him.
Connecting the headphones to the controller redirected all game sounds to him and the living room became silent. Finally! He’s occupied, the room is quiet and I can actually be productive at a little work.
What makes the Kidz Gear Bluetooth™ Wireless Stereo Headphones unique?
Use with audio cable connection OR use Bluetooth wireless connection.
Rechargeable battery via USB cable.
Up to 10 hrs listening time when fully charged.
Speaker diameter of 30 mm is optimal for small ears.
Each earbud is labeled with L or R so kid’s know which side is which.
Detachable boom microphone for hands-free calls or video gaming.
Headset controls on right earbud.
Convenient carrying case.
When playing video games, the headphones connect to the controller using the audio cable, but the headphones can also be used wirelessly on any device that has Bluetooth capability, like a tablet or cell phone. Obviously with the audio cable, it’s as simple as plugging them in. But connecting the headphones wirelessly to a device is super easy, too.
Turn the Bluetooth function switch from off to on.
Hold down the play/pause/answer button on the right headphone until the LED indicator blinks continually between red and green.
Visit the Bluetooth settings on the device you want to connect and select “BTKG1.”
Voila! You’re ready to listen wirelessly!
One of the fun features of the Bluetooth™ Wireless Stereo Headphones is the detachable boom microphone. It can be used for talking on the phone and even for taking some online tests and gaming. I’ve discovered that the boom mic only works when the headphones are connected wirelessly to a device, but not when connected with the audio cable.
Unfortunately, when I tried connecting the headphones via Bluetooth to our PS4, I received a message that the PS4 doesn’t support Bluetooth audio devices. Really, Sony? This bummed us out because we thought my son would be able to use the talking feature while playing his games.
But boy he loves taking phone calls with the boom mic. It’s literally hands-free calling for kids. I cringe every time my kids are on my cell phone talking with grandma and accidentally drop the phone. My heart skips a beat when it hits the floor, but with the Bluetooth™ Wireless Stereo Headphones I can put the phone on the counter and they can still talk wirelessly to grandma while playing.
The only downside of the Bluetooth™ Wireless Stereo Headphones is that even though there are built-in volume controls, they don’t work (they do work on the standard, wired set). But never fear! Simply adjusting the volume on the device will adjust the volume output in the headphones. So when my son’s using the headphones with his iPad, adjusting the iPad’s volume settings also adjusts the volume output of the headphones.
Yes, other headsets can be used for these same exact things, but because of the size and make of the Kidz Gear headphones, they’re much easier for kids to use and keep on their ears. Earbuds, in particular, are pretty much a no-go when it comes to kids and their small ears, and other headphone sets that have microphone capabilities can get pretty pricey.
Just imagine how upset you’d be if you spent a pretty penny on a set of headphones and they just ended up destroyed. Yeah, no thanks! This wireless set is just $29.99 and even comes with a nice little carrying bag.
In the end, I get a little more peace and quiet from video games and my son gets adult quality headphones made just for kids. Not only do I see him continuing to use his Bluetooth™ Wireless Stereo Headphones at home for his iPad and gaming, but they would be great for long roadtrips in the car, airplane rides and even in waiting rooms. We have a weekend vacation planned next month and I will definitely make sure these are packed for the car ride!
*Thank you to Kidz Gear and Thomas PR for providing a set of Bluetooth™ Wireless Stereo Headphones for my review. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand. Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.
~Thank you to I See Me! for providing a personalized book for my review. As always, all opinions are still 100% my own. This post also contains affiliate links, in which I will receive compensation for any purchase made through them.~
Now that we’ve covered Easter outfits, let’s get into Easter baskets! I love putting together collections of fun and learning for my kids, no matter what holiday it is and Easter is no different. It just so happens that I’ve been planning this year’s Easter baskets since last year!
Yeap, you heard me right. After the holiday last year, I purchased plastic eggs, straw filling and even the “baskets” on clearance, and have held on to them even through our move. I’ve also collected swimsuits and summer shoes during various end of season sales. I sized up and now a few of those will fit, so they’re perfect additions to my kids Easter baskets! And with Easter almost here, I’m excited to pull everything together.
Here comes Peter Cottontail.
Hopping down the bunny trail.
Hippity, hoppity, Easter’s on its way!
So what all goes into an ultimate Easter basket? I love to incorporate my kids favorite candy treats, which they only get on special occasions or as rewards, fun toys and activities they can enjoy indoors and outdoors, and even a handful of things that help spark their imagination and learning processes.
Like Christmas, I typically do one larger or more pricey gift along with smaller, less expensive ones. The special feature in my son’s Easter basket this year is a personalized book from I See Me! It’s personalized to include a picture of him, a special dedication and the book is ALL about him. The only thing more fun than reading an exciting story, is when that story is all about you!
In “Terrell’s Very Own Trucks and Things That Go!,” a variety of transportation vehicles and vessels work together to build “the perfect name,” my son’s name. On each and every page, a “thing that goes” brings in one letter, until they’ve collected every letter needed to compile his first AND last name (and it’s a long one, haha).
It’s such a fun rhyming book and at the end, my son can learn a little bit about all 64 “things that go” – trucks, cars, planes, trains, boats, cranes, diggers, tanks and more. My little car fanatic will be over the moon to see his favorite transportation vehicles working together to build his name.
Not only does I See Me! offer personalized books and stories, but they also have stickers, lunch boxes, puzzles, coloring books, placemats, growth charts and music, all of which can be personalized for your little one. I mentioned a few of these in my ultimate Easter basket idea list above! How cool would it be to have an Easter basket full of personalized fun?
To get you started on your ultimate Easter basket, I have the chance for you to win an I See Me! personalized book of your choice! There are so many great options to choose from. Simply enter using the giveaway form below.
As for the smaller, less expensive items I include in my kids Easter baskets, Target is one of my go-to solutions. Never underestimate “The One Spot” located at the entrance of the store. You can find all kinds of fun things there for $1. Just last week I got bubbles, coloring books, a small pair of Disney socks for my daughter and even some writing tools for my son!
What do you like to put in your kid’s Easter basket?
One lucky Making Time reader will win an I See Me! personalized book of their choice! GOOD LUCK!
This giveaway is open to US Residents, ages 18+ and ends on April 5, 2017 at 11:59 pm est. Random winner will be notified via email and must respond within 24 hours or prize will be forfeited. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment.
*Thank you to I See Me! for providing a book for my review. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand. This post contains affiliate links, in which I will receive compensation for your purchase. Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.