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Tis’ the Season!  I love this time of year for many things.  One, getting lots and lots of mail.  I like seeing how my friend’s families have changed throughout the year and displaying the pictures for all to see.  I love getting to make my own photo cards and mailing them out to family and friends.

This year, I found some cute cards to pick from on Pikcal.  The process was easy, I searched through their Holiday cards, selected a couple to test out, and plugged in some of our own photos.  I was able to save the cards I worked on, so I could come back between dinner, baths and bedtimes.

And best of all, Pikcal is currently offering you all 20% off.  Plenty of time to order some cute cards of your own and mail them off to friends!  Just enter the code “blogcard20” when you order before December 31st!  Oh, and FREE SHIPPING!

 

Thank you to Pikcal for sponsoring this post.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Our second day at Disney World was spent at Magic Kingdom.  This has always been my favorite park, and I was hoping HJ would think so as well.

HJ was wearing a birthday button, and was getting birthday wishes the whole day…he loved it.  He also loved the rides.

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We started our day on the Jungle Cruise, where we cruised in a boat looking at different “animals”.  HJ was a little worried about the alligators, but loved seeing all the cool scenery.

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After that, we were just a few steps away from the Magic Carpet Ride.  HJ thought this one was fun, because he was able to control how high we went in the air.  Naturally, he made it go as high as he could.

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Also, it was really hot again.

Next on the list was Pirates of the Caribbean.  This ride was awesomely air-conditioned.

We also hit up the Haunted Mansion.  HJ had been told all about this by 2 of his friends, so he had been talking about it all day.  I was hoping it wouldn’t be too scary for him, luckily he thought it was awesome.  I had prepped him before hand with lots of “it’s just pretend”.  I am not sure if that is what helped or if he really just didn’t care :).

After a quick lunch at Peter Pan’s, we headed to Tomorrowland to redeem our fast pass for Buzz Lightyear’s ride.

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HJ loved using his laser to shoot at the targets, and asked to go on it again (unfortunately, the line was 90 minutes long…).

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There were so many rides in tomorrowland that were perfect for HJ, we spent a lot of time there.  We also went to Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor, Astro Orbitor and Stitch’s Great Escape.  All the rides were fun, except Stitch’s…don’t waste your time…even if there’s no line (which there won’t be)…this is the one ride HJ even thought was dumb.

Then it was time for a little race car action.

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The cool thing with this?  HJ was actually able to steer the car.  He thought it was so fun even if we both got whiplash.

Of course we had to go on the teacups, and Dumbo (which had an air-conditioned play area.).  After that, we headed to Goofy’s Barnstormer.  It is a really, cute and fast roller coaster.  HJ loved this, I loved this, I wish we could have gone on it 3 more times!

Next, we jumped on the train, and got off just in time for the start of the parade.

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Some people got a little too close for comfort…

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Our day was coming to a close with one tired little guy, so we went on one last ride at the carousel.

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It was finally time to hop in the car and take a rest at the hotel.  Only, some of us fell asleep instantly.

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Remember last year when I shared that I had ordered a birthday book on etsy  The Paper Lion?  I loved getting to pull the book out and interview him all over again.  Comparing the answers year to year was really funny.  Here is his interview as a 3-year-old, and now his more mature answers as a 4-year-old.

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What is your favorite color? Blue

What is your favorite toy? Cars

What is your favorite book? The Very Cranky Bear  *Here is the Cranky Bear

What is your favorite fruit? Fruit Loops (this one embarrasses me, I swear, he actually loves fruit!)

What is your favorite TV show or movie? Space Jam (he watched it just to dance to the music)

What is your favorite game? Minion Rush (this kills my phone battery daily)

What is your favorite outfit?  Michael Jordan one

What is your favorite snack? Cookies

What is your favorite animal? Tyson and giraffes

What is your favorite song? Twinkle Little Star

Who is your best friend? Carsten (our neighbor)

What are you scared of? Nothing

What do you love about yourself? That I am 4

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Giraffe-y

What is your favorite holiday? Christmas Lights

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play and see if my neighbors are home.

What is your favorite drink? Water with ice

Where is your favorite place to go? Disney World

If you could go anywhere, where would it be? Disney World

What do you want for your birthday? Flipeze and stompeze

What do you want to be when you grow up? Animal trainer for all the animals that need help.

Do any of you have birthday interviews?  I love this fun tradition!

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Check out my newest sponsor, Pikcal!  They have tons of photo cards to pick from, and I am excited to make my own Christmas Cards.  And, Pikcal wants to offer all of you 20% off…oh, and they have free shipping!  For 20% off your Pikcal order, use coupon code: blogcard20  We’ll keep that coupon code active until December 31st, so hurry on over to Pikcal now :)

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Thanks to General Mills for sponsoring todays post and for inspiring breakfast creativity in our home.219_20dd14d039584e86b82cb45e76a0154e

 Remember being a kid and trying to be the first one to dig through a box of cereal for the toy?  Well, guess what?  Big G cereals have some awesome toys right now.   HJ literally jumped for joy when he saw his breakfast being guarded by Star Wars characters…

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The collectable pen characters include: Darth Vader, Yoda, Chewbacca, Storm Trooper, Mace Windu, Obi Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Boba Fett (don’t worry, HJ was able to tell me who was who without the chart).

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Fans can look for the collectible pens in specially marked Big G cereals starting now and until supplies last (end of December 2013).

Participating cereals include: Honey Nut Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Reese’s Puffs, Golden Grahams, Cocoa Puffs, Trix and Lucky Charms.

We aren’t the only ones who have been having fun, check out the Edible Episodes on Tumblr.  HJ could have watched these over and over.  As for us, we have been making breakfast time a bit more fun.

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I love being able to come home from work and have a home cooked meal ready to go.  That is why when my local grocery store started offering a program where you could come in and make meals to freeze, I jumped on it.

My local Hy-Vee’s program is called DISH.  Basically, I organized a group of 10 people.  Each person picked out a meal they were to prepare from a menu the chef sent us (there were literally over a hundred choices).  We turned in our complete menu of 10 items a week in advance.  The day of our event, the chef had everything in the room ready for us.  All the food was lined up, freezer bags and markers ready to go.

Each person prepared 10 of their meals, that way e all got one.  Each of us went home with 10 meals to freeze and recipes in hand.  The best part?  No clean up, Hy-Vee did that.  Plus, they did the shopping for us.  All we had to do was pay for the cost of the food (not even a upcharge).  If you live somewhere with a Hy-Vee, you should check and see if they offer it!

Anyway…like I said, my lovely group of friends picked 10 meal items that were ready for the freezer.  Here is one of the meals, and my favorite I have had so far, Buffalo Chicken Pasta!

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1 Package Penne Pasta

1 T. Paprika

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder

1/2 tsp. Pepper

1 lb. Chicken Breast, cut into strips

1/4 c. Olive Oil

1/2 Frank’s Hot Sauce

1 c. Celery (diced)

1/2 Large Red Onion (sliced into quarter rings)

1 c. Mayonnaise

1/2 c. Ranch Dressing

3/4 c. Milk

 

To prepare for the freezer:

1. Place chicken and spices in gallon bag

2. Bag celery and onions in a smaller bag

3. Bag mayonnaise and ranch dressing in a separate smaller bag

4. Bag Frank’s hot sauce in a separate smaller bag

5. Label box of pasta

 

Remove items from the freezer and put in the fridge a night in advance!

 

Cooking Day:

1. Cook pasta according to directions.

2. While pasta is cooking, prepare chicken with spices and cook in olive oil.

3. When chicken is about half-cooked through, add onion and celery and sauté until chicken is done.

4. Add hot sauce and sauté with chicken for about 2 minutes.

5. Combine mayonnaise, ranch dressing and milk in a bowl.  Add to skillet and heat through.

6. Toss with pasta.

Enjoy!

 

Still time to sign up for the Ornament Exchange!  Email me at sliceofmudpie@gmail.com if you want to join in!

Happy Monday everyone!  I have a feeling this week is going to drag on…because I have super fun weekend plans that involve some of my favorite college friends and NO kids.  First time we will all be together with no kids in a few years :).

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I joined in on the Fall Cara Box exchange from Wifessionals, and had a blast getting to know my partners.  I was  paired up with Kari, from Pink Cow Mootique, who even guest posted for me a while back!  I was also paired up with Kristin from The Riches of His Love, who gifted me with a super fun Cara Box.

I loved getting to know Kari and her sweet twin girls.  She has an adorable etsy shop, that you should check out if you need Christmas gifts for the little girls in your life.  Picking out her gifts was easy, and I purchased a bit of it on etsy.  I wanted to include something for her little girls to enjoy as well.  Go check out what I got for her :).

Kristin spoiled me true fall fashion…

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I opened the package to find everything wrapped up in a cute little scarf.  And HJ was definitely not left out of the fun.

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I love all the orange shades.  In addition to the scarf, I got chocolate (yes!), some cute warm and cozy slippers, a couple of fall colored nail polishes and a warm apple pie scentsy bar (which has been making my house yummy smelling since it arrived).IMG_4653 We also were given a candy corn mix and a pumpkin carving set (which is what we used to carve our awesome pumpkin this year).  HJ’s favorite items were the skittles and a light up sword that we used during trick-or-treating.

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Cara Box exchange is a great way to meet new people, I have loved getting to know new bloggers and become friends with them.  During this exchange, I went through a job change and HJ being in the hospital, so while I was probably hard to get in touch with for a few weeks, it was nice having 2 new friends checking in on HJ and me.

 

Remember to sign up for the Ornament Exchange!  There are a handful or so people signed up and I would love a few more!

 

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It is taking everything in my power to not decorate the house for Christmas this early.  I love holiday decorations and how cozy it makes the house seem.

You know what else I love?  Sharing the holiday love with others.  Last year, I participated in a couple of ornament exchanges.  One of my bloggy friends, Ashley, not only organized it, but was my partner.  I had so much fun getting to know her and her family, I thought I would do another ornament exchange this year!

The rules:

-Once partners are made, I will give you your partners email.  You can contact them to get any info you might need (last year I told Ashley I liked sparkly things, while HJ liked trucks, told her our favorite colors, etc.).  How much you communicate is up to you.

-Exchange addresses…so you can mail the gift out…

-$10 Limit.  You may go over if you so choose.

-Ornaments are to be mailed out no later than December 5th.  This way we ensure delivery in time for the holidays.

If you are interested in participating, email me at sliceofmudpie@gmail.com with the subject “Ornament Exchange”.  Also include: Name, email, blog (if you have one).  Please let me know by November 21st if you are wanting to be a part of the exchange!

Can’t wait to kick off the holidays!

 

Were you starting to wonder about the rest of our vacation?  I didn’t want to bore you all for a few weeks straight, so I thought I would break it up.  Get ready, you are about to see lots of cute Disney pics.

We left the beach in the morning, and got t Disney around 11am.  And it was hot.  Like, super hot.  Like, 94 degrees hot.  But you know who didn’t care?  The kiddos.

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This is HJ with his older cousin, Evan.  They were wearing their matching Mickey Mouse Halloween shirts and waiting for the Indiana Jones show.  I kept telling them that HJ and the actor had the same first name, but they weren’t as impressed as me.

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I was impressed enough to make HJ pose for this picture.

After the show, we went on the Star Wars ride.  HJ JUST made the height cut off (barefoot, he wouldn’t have made it), and I am so glad he did.  HE LOVED IT!

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So much so, he went on it twice.

We ran into Goofy.

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I was concerned about how HJ would act around the characters, due to his fear of mascots.  But when he saw Goofy, he ran up, gave him a hug, a few high-fives, and posed for pictures.  For some reason, he loved it.  However, he only loved it that one time.

After going on the Toy Story ride (which was awesome), HJ noticed Buzz and Woody inside a building.  He wanted to see them so bad.  We waited in line for close to an hour, and then…

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Nope.  He wanted out of there.

He did enjoy the Disney Junior show, but the characters were much smaller.  He was a dance machine in the front row, even when no one else in the whole building was dancing :).

You ay have noticed HJ’s style choice in these pictures.  Somehow, he learned to put his sunglasses on top of his hat.  No idea where he picked this up, but it really makes me laugh.

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That night, we went to Fantasmic.  It is a light show with all of the characters.  Basically, it is Mickey’s dream and a bad witch tries stealing into it, but in the end all is well.  HJ thought this was amazing.  He talked about it for days.  If he gets frustrated (even now), I tell him to close his eyes and think of Mickey’s dream.  And he calms down.  I can definitely say this was his favorite part of Disney.  I never would have thought he would have liked it so much, even during the show he sat quietly and watched.  But, he LOVED it.

That night, we checked in late to our hotel.  We were staying at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, and we arrived to our room with a sleepy little boy and a voice message from Mickey himself.

October is one of those months full of traditions.  We have to go to a pumpkin farm.  Carve a pumpkin.  Go trick or treating.  Start hunkering down from the cold weather.  Celebrate my birthday :).  Instead of having numerous posts on all of these, I thought I would share some pictures of how fun and cozy our October was.

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HJ loved “driving” the tractors at the pumpkin farm.

IMG_0915Even better, going for a ride.

IMG_0916And yes, he was the only one on this trip.  We were lucky the pumpkin patch wasn’t packed when we went!

IMG_0921I also learned it is hard to get a good picture of the 2 of us when there is no one there to take it.  This picture makes me smile though because I think we look a lot alike.  Poor kid.

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After the pumpkin patch, we carved our pumpkin into a Cyclops.  Carving pumpkins really isn’t all that fun…I broke a knife.

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We went trick-or-treating.  How cute is this little minion?  He made it about 6 houses before the goggles and hat came off.  He said, “I’ll just tell people I am part of a minion.”.  Also, after a day, he totally forgot about his candy.  I didn’t.

I hope you all had beautiful October’s as well.  November is panning out to be just as wonderful!

 

Just over a year ago, I learned I needed glasses.  At the time, I didn’t have vision insurance.  I had always had perfect vision and figured it was a waste of money.  Then, I realized the constant headaches I was having had a cause.  In my hypochondriac mind, it was brain tumors.  In actuality, it was my vision.  I went to the eye doctor for my first ever appointment.

I left the appointment with a $350 pair of glasses and was told a bill would be on the way for the appointment.  Ouch.  And did you know contacts aren’t cheap?  I didn’t until after that appointment either.

That’s why it is awesome that there are companies like VSP Vision Care available.photo (1)

The site is easy to navigate and shows doctors available in your area.  There is even a cost savings calculator that shows you the difference between pricing with VSP and without.

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Insurance plans like VSP Vision Care provide you with a frame allowance as well as full coverage of basic lenses. They also provide discounts on different lens options.  And for frames?  They have designer frames to pick from right at the doctor’s office.  This allows you to try them on and make sure it’s the right look for you.

To recap, VSP Vision Care helps:

  • Keep your eyes healthy with doctors who provide the most thorough exams.
  • Save money – the average VSP member saves approximately $320 each year with vision insurance!
  • Get access to great eyewear – more than two dozen brands and hundreds of styles to choose from!
  • Enable your family to experience life to the fullest.

I wish I would have had vision insurance BEFORE I needed it, it definitely would have lowered my initial costs, and allowed me to go to the doctor sooner.

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.