Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Crafty Bunny Delivery: Jelly Bean Prayer

March 31, 2010

I am so thankful for the amazing ideas I have found from wonderful moms this Easter season. I love that I have been able to do (and will be doing) fun things with my girlie to celebrate the gift that we all have been given at Easter, a savior!

We have been working on a craft for an Easter party she was invited to this week. They will be putting together their own bunny basket first.

The construction paper basket instructions I found here, but I only used how to do the paper basket. I am giving them this piece put together already.

For my bunny parts, I was not exact here, I just made paper patterns for the circle head, feet, white ears and then the pink ears to lay on top of the white ears. For the eyelashes and the little black toe marks on the feet I used sticky felt with a sticker back. Again, I wasn't exact, just went the width of the felt to cut narrow pieces and then across cut in one shot to separate them from the rest of the felt sheet.

First the kids will take their circle for the face and glue on the google eyes, sticker on the eyelashes, glue on the nose (little pom poms from the craft store), and then draw their mouth.

Setting the face aside, they will then choose their ribbon handle and we'll staple that to the basket.

I have foam stickers of flowers, bugs, butterflies and such that they can then cover the staples with and add some extra decoration. My hubby had a cute idea that they could use a flower sticker on the bunny face like it was a flower in her hair!

Next they will glue the four feet on to the bottom of the basket. I already added the black toe marks for them to save some time.

We have a cotton ball for the tail on the back of the basket to glue on next.

The pink felt is also a self stick with a sticker back. They will stick the pink on top of the white to give it those cute bunny ears.

Then they will glue to ears to the front of the basket. And finally glue the face to the front overlapping the ears a bit.

They can pick a color of crinkle to add to their baskets. What will they put in their basket?

A bag of jelly beans with the Jelley Bean Prayer attached:

Red is for the blood He gave,

Green is for the grass He made,

Yellow is for the sun so bright,

Orange is for the edge of night.

Black is for the sins that were made.

White is for the grace He gave,

Purple is for the hour of sorrow,

Pink is for the new tomorrow.

A gift of jelly beans, colorful and sweet, is a prayer, a promise and a special treat.

I found the cutest candy bag labels for this to fit the 3 inch wide craft bags here!

I plan on putting together some bags with the jelly bean prayer for Sunday School too because I love this idea so much!

Remembering the meaning of Easter and sharing it with my girlie and others with something so simple works for me! This post is linked with We Are THAT Family for Works For Me Wednesday. Hop on over and check out the other great tips today!

I hope you have a blessed Easter!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pie

Chocolate, good! Peanut butter, good! Together, what's not to like?

I tried a peanut butter pie recipe for the holidays that was a huge hit with my peanut butter, chocolate loving family! We thought it was THE peanut butter pie...then I tried a new recipe and since there is also chocolate in the crust it is now THE peanut butter pie!


  • N0-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 7.4 oz Martha White Chocolate Chip Muffin Mix
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup salted peanuts, chopped


  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 3 oz cream cheese (shhhh hubby doesn't like)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed


  • chocolate syrup (I used Hershey's)


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat pie pan with no-stick spray. I put the peanuts in a baggie and let my girlie hammer them (practice for when we make Easter Story Cookies on Saturday). Combine the muffin mix, butter and peanuts in a bowl, until crumbly. Press evenly in bottom and up sides of pie pan. Bake 13-16 minutes or until set. My crust was puffy so when it came out I pressed it down with the back of a spoon as the resipe suggested. Let it cool.

Beat peanut butter, cream cheese and sugar in a bowl on medium high. Beat in milk. Gently fold in whipped topping. Confession: I only had 1 cup of whipped topping and realized this little fact too late so that's what went in! It still tasted yummy! Rich, but yummy! Spoon filling in pie crust and chill in refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

When I served the pie I added the chocolate syrup. Yes, that is a paper plate! Did I mention that I am guilty of using and buying too many convenience products! You can click here to see Martha White's pretty version of this pie!

This post is linked up with Blessed With Grace for Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Balancing Beauty and Bedlam for Tasty Tuesday, and Mom Tried It for Try And Tell Tuesday! Hop on over to meet some new friends and find some new treats!

Blessed with Grace Beauty and Bedlam >


Sunday, March 28, 2010

In Him: Baptized

March 28, 2010

Today was amazing! I had to start I'll explain why!

I remember hearing about people getting baptized as "adults" when I was in my teens and twenties. Growing up around a family of Catholics the only baptisms I was familiar with were the ones for new babies. I had an uncle who our family considered a "born again" Christian and I thought these adult baptisms were something he would be more familiar with. My uncle stands out in memories from my childhood. He had a fire for Christ that I was curious about. I am thankful to him for the foundation he gave me as a child, that it's all about the relationship you have with Jesus, not the "religion."

I carried that message with me, but had a tough time finding a place that helped me relate it to my daily life. Am I the only one that tends to continue to do what I already know and am therefore comfortable with?

Evidently not, because the year before we got married, my soon to be hubby and I enrolled in pre-marriage classes at our local Catholic church (he was raised Catholic too)! We attended church regularly and dedicated our marriage to God, knowing that as long as we had faith, prayer and Jesus we could make it through any problems. We moved a few times since we've been married and often drove to a church at least 30 minutes away because we wanted to feel that we came out understanding how we could apply what we heard to our lives that week. We are attending a church now, for the second time in our marriage, that is not Catholic. Both churches we were invited to come to on a Sunday for church and never left...well the first one we left because we moved! I am thankful to those friends (SB & AW) for not worrying about what others thought, but instead cared more about sharing the relationship they had with Jesus!

Thanks to my friends I have had the opportunity over the past few years to see these "adult" baptisms. Every time I heard the testimonies and witnessed them getting baptized I was overwhelmed with emotion! I need the Holy Spirit to fill me, to help me, I want to make the commitment now, as an adult, to be salt and light, to be an example of His love and honor Him in how I live, what I do & say.

I have read and marked my copy of The Power of a Positive Mom by Karol Ladd a ton of times. This poem that she has in Chapter 15: Living Lesson Books attributed to Edgar Guest summarizes why I need Him to help me to raise my girlie:

I'd rather see a sermon,
than hear one any day.
I'd rather one would walk with me-
than merely tell the way.
The eye's a better pupil-
more willing than the ear.
Fine counsel is confusing,
but example's always clear.
And the best of all the people
are the ones who live their creeds,
For to see the good in action
is what everybody needs.
I can soon learn how to do it
if you'll let me see it done.
I can watch your hands in action,
but your tongue too fast may run.
The lecture you deliver
may be very wise and true-
But I'd rather get my lesson
by observing what you do.
For I may understand you,
and the high advice you give,
But there's no misunderstanding
how you act and how you live.

I know that I cannot do this on my own. As my pastor shared with us, when someone says you use Jesus as a crutch, you respond I am a broken person in a broken world and I need help standing up!

Last weekend my Pastor gave an open invitation for people to get baptized. The night before church I had read the story of John baptizing Jesus to my girlie from her princess bible! We talked about how she was baptized as a baby, but that when she is older she can make the commitment and get baptized again. God's timing is perfect...and thankfully He is patient and persistent! I was too nervous to go forward last week. I did share with my girlie after church that they did baptisms and her friend's mom got baptized. She asked if I did and I admitted I was too nervous but wished I just listened to my heart. She told me the next time I need to just go!

My cousin emailed me this week:

When I say that 'I am a Christian', I am not shouting that 'I am clean living.'
I'm whispering 'I was lost, but now I'm found and forgiven.'

When I say 'I am a Christian' I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not claiming to be perfect.
My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner who received God's good grace, somehow!

After reading this, I was like OK God, I am listening!

Today they offered another open invitation and I was ready! Ready to commit, receive the Holy Spirit, to re-dedicate my life to Jesus. He died to give me life, and rose to give me hope. My girlie knew as soon as she saw me, smile on my face and wet hair, she squealed "You Got Baptized!" This is a Palm Sunday I will treasure always, a fitting beginning of this Holy Week and a new beginning for me!

In Him,

Friday, March 26, 2010

Entertainment Budget: Room For A Splurge?

March 26, 2010

There are two words that don't sound very fun together...entertainment & budget! If you are living with a budget though, it should include everything, right? Right!

We are blessed to live in Central Florida...entertaining theme parks are everywhere! But, as we all know, they have the potential to be, food, trinkets!

As a family we analyzed our theme park choices, what percentage of attractions appeal to each of us, special events throughout the year, and of course compared and weighed the costs. For us, we decided Disney's four parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom & Hollywood Studios) offered something for each of us throughout the year.

At first glance the cost of Disney's four park annual pass (which includes parking) is higher than other local theme parks. My hubby likes to calculate the "true cost" of something based on how many times you use it/wear it/whatever. We take advantage of our passes...whenever hubby has a day off, we have free time, or there are special events at the parks we are there!

I look at our entertainment budget first from the cost of our annual passes, since they are the biggest expense, broken down to the monthly cost to our budget. $1,000 for our three passes divided by 12 months is $83.33 per month...about $20 per week for the three of us! Sounds like a lot of money?

Think about this...a trip to the snack bar at the movie theater costs more than $20 for three people, not to mention the tickets! We opt for Disney & Netflix!

It's all about choices right? We can't do everything we want, so we choose what can fit in our budget. You can choose a big ticket entertainment item like annual passes to a park, but you have to be willing to make sacrifices in other areas. So our annual splurge of passes we make fit in our entertainment budget by limiting the movie theater and eating out. It is definitely worth it for the family time we enjoy at the parks!

Yesterday we went to Epcot! The International Flower & Garden Festival is going on there now. My girlie loves flowers! Her favorite for the past couple of years has been the Fairy Garden!

The Fairy Garden also had a butterfly house that she loves too!

Hubby & I enjoy the topiaries!

There is still so much more to see and learn! Good thing we have our passes to go back a few more times before the Flower & Garden Festival ends!

I would love to hear what you use your entertainment budget to enjoy! Leave a comment and let us know how you manage your dollars to include family fun!

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

FREE Commemorative Busch Gardens Preschool Pass

March 24, 2010

To commemorate the opening of Sesame Street Safari of Fun at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay they are offering a FREE Preschool Pass good through December 31, 2010!

Your child has to be 5 or younger at the time you register for the free pass online. You MUST register first online here then print and take the e-ticket with proof of valid date of birth of your child to the front gate. You need to be a Florida resident.

Look here for answers to frequently asked questions.

Have fun,

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

SPIEDIES...It's What's For Dinner!

March 23, 2010

I am curious, who knows what spiedies are without reading any further in my post? Leave me a comment and let me know!

I was introduced to spiedies by my hubby. He is from upstate New York, Binghamton area, which seems to be the only place people know about these! OK, they did originate in Italy, so I suppose they know about them too!

Spiedies are marinated cubes of meat that you grill using skewers. They can be made from chicken, veal, pork, father-in-law has used venison and tried to tell me it's chicken! I have made mine from chicken and pork.

These are super easy to make since there are two major companies that have spiedie marinade in a bottle! My mother-in-law has made her own spiedie marinade, but I go for the bottle! Lupo's and Salamida are household names upstate. My family has sent us some for Christmas gifts and you can also order it online. We always bring some back with us when we visit too! This picture is from Lupo's.

If you want to try your hand at your own marinade I found this one with great reviews from upstate (expert) people!

You simply cube up the meat of your choice and pour a bottle in the bowl of meat, give it a stir and cover. Keep it in the fridge for two to three days to marinate, giving it a stir once a day. Skewer it up & throw them on the grill (my hubby is the grill master).

In their purest form, when they come off the grill, you put the skewer on a piece of fresh Italian bread, squeeze the bread around the meat and remove the skewer. Savor the flavor and eat as is! We have also used spiedies to top a nice green salad or on a hoagie roll.

I hope you enjoy finding something new to make for dinner like me! I am linking up with Blessed With Grace for Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Balancing Beauty And Bedlam for Tasty Tuesday to find some new meal ideas! I am also linking up with Kim at Mom Tried It for Try And Tell Tuesday...a great place for Moms to share something they tried (recipe, craft, activity, tip) and learn something new for you to try too!

Blessed with GraceBeauty and Bedlam


Plan A Luau Party...Hula Without Spending A Lot of Moola

March 23, 2010

This year for my girlie's birthday party we had a luau! We had fun planning it as a family, decorating and enjoying the party! It was three days ago though and I am still tired...but it was worth it. I did learn a few things I hope I'll remember for future parties.

Lessons Learned:

  • Plan sooner: you may be able to pick up items on end of season clearance. I also would have liked more time to make the stuff I planned and shop around at a slower pace.

  • Shop/Compare at all party/stores: I had skipped going to the smaller independent store that was closer to my house, I assumed the prices would be higher. When I went in there last minute to see if they had luau music I discovered their prices were .40 - $1.00 cheaper on a few items I bought at the larger party store chain!

  • Write down what you want to accomplish the day of the party: I thought I was doing good in this area, I even had a timeline from when guests arrived, when/what games were played, etc. I felt like I was forgetting something about 25 minutes before the party started, I had nothing to do? 30 minutes into the party I realized there were some housekeeping items I forgot to make our bed! I also later realized that I did not get a group picture with all of the kids!



  • Ask friends and family if they have any tropical decorations you can borrow. This is a popular theme and you may be surprised what you can borrow.

  • Check out discount stores like Big Lots and Dollar Tree. Those are my hubby's favorite stores so he happily went shopping: 3 & 6 leis for $1, 18 Hawaiian plates for $1, 20 Hawaiian napkins for $1, hibiscus coasters three for $1.50, Happy Birthday (with flowers that matched the theme perfect) centerpiece, banner, cups, plates for $1 each, matching flowered treat sacks 18 for $1, plastic coconut cups $1 get the idea! He also found rafia table skirting that looked like a hula skirt for way cheaper than online or at the party store that he covered the top of my girlie's outdoor play house with to make a tiki hut.

  • Oriental Trading has great stuff at inexpensive prices: kid's grass skirts with leis $3 each, Hawaiian table runners $3 each, luau rubber ducks 12 for $5.99 (that's .50 each and they match the theme).

  • We have Party City here and they had a coupon out that helped. Do a search for your local chain party store to see if you can find a coupon before you shop. I found themed cups for .49 and 1.99. I splurged on the 1.99 cups as the kids take away gift and they added great decoration during the party since they looked like palm trees. They also had pretty lolly pops shaped like flowers for .33 each. I bought 12 and put them in a little pink vase for a centerpiece. I also found a hibiscus table cloth for the food table for .99 and a matching veggie and dip tray for $3. They had toys for the treat bags and prizes for .25 each, but also found some on clearance for .10 each! Don't jump at the first items you see, really look around the store, we found two foot blow up palm trees for $2.99!

  • I got lucky at Target, their dollar area had summer stuff! I bought a pretty little pink vase to put the lolly pop flowers in and a pair of pink flip flops with a flower on them for my girlie to wear for $1!

  • Walmart's party area had solid pink table cloths for $1.50 for my tables, clear treat bags 18 for $1.50 for a craft that I did, plus brown plastic table cloths for $1.99 and poster board for the volcano we made. We made a tube with the two pieces of poster board and set it on the top of my girlie's princess tent. Then we covered it with two brown table cloths, stuffed red tissue paper in the top to look like lava. The kids put the presents in the volcano as they arrived!

Name Tags:

  • I used name tags for a few different reasons. On the left side of the tag I had their name, hello, thank you and take care. On the right I had the Hawaiian translations. I found a Hawaiian name translator here. In the middle of the two columns I had a seashell on half of the tags and a palm tree on the other half. I used the pictures to divide the group into two teams for the relay (this saved time and confusion). I also used the tags for our craft. It was also fun using Hawaiian names and sayings during the party!


  • Buy a couple of real pineapples. I used one in the middle of a fruit tray I made with mini skewers (toothpicks) of pineapple and strawberries and the other on a table as a centerpiece.

  • Multi-colored Goldfish are a bright addition for your Hawaiian food table. I had some pretty bowls a friend gave me from Hawaii to put them in.

  • "Hawaiian" Punch: sherbert, sprite, Hawaiian Punch with an ice mold of sprite in the middle (I used my bundt pan to make the ice mold).

  • I also cut some carrots and celery for my $3 hibiscus tray and put crackers and cheese on some hibiscus plates I already owned.

  • We had pizzas for the may want to consider doing Hawaiian pizza with pineapple and ham!

  • We bought the cake from our local grocery store, Publix, Mickey surfing and Minnie on the beach!


  • Pass the Coconut: I planned on using the plastic coconut my hubby found at the $1 store for this game, but we ended up using the real coconut that my girlie had (it was drained and cleaned). Remember to tell the kiddos to pass with care! You simply start and stop the luau music CD, whoever has the coconut when the music stops is out!

  • Limbo: We found a blow up limbo stick (safer for the kids and stores away easily) for $2.99 at Party City. The luau CD had Limbo Rock on it and the kids loved this one so much they played again on their own later during the party!

  • Hula Relay: We used my girlie's water table to float the Hawaiian ducks in at one end of the yard. Next to the water table we put one hula hoop on each side (one for each team). My hubby found them for $1 each at Dollar Tree! At the other end where the two teams lined up (see my name tag idea above for splitting the teams) they each had a sand bucket ($1 each at Dollar Tree) and a hula skirt ($2.99 each from Oriental Trading). The first person had to put on the hula skirt, run to the water table, pick up the hula hoop and do a hula, grab a duckie out of the water table, run back, drop it in the bucket and then switch the hula skirt to the next person on their team. Moms helped and the kids had fun!

  • Hit The Tiki Guy: I bought 100 water ballons for $1 at Walmart and filled them the day before the party. I put them in a pretty bucket we borrowed from a friend that looks like a beach bucket for ice and drinks. My hubby held up a tiki mask we found at Party City for $3 and wore a green leis set that came with a headband, leis and ankle leis for $1 at Dollar Tree. Then, you guessed it, they hit the tiki guy with the water balloons! He was a good sport and the kids had fun cutting loose!

  • Beach In A Bag: I used the clear treat bags I bought at Walmart for $1.50 for this one. The day before I put the name tag label for each child on one side and on the other side I put a label I made that read "K's Birthday Luau 2010 Beach In a Bag" with cute beach pictures on it. I used a couple of folding tables for the craft set up with measured cups of pink and blue sand (we only needed two tablespoons of each color), sea shells (we had a ton we brought back from the beach), mini umbrellas (drink umbrellas), foam stickers, confetti of flip flops and beach balls. I showed them the one I made the day before and let them go to making their own. When they were done I folded the bag down and then put a few staples to keep it closed. This was a big hit with the kids!

Creating fun, unique memories without breaking the bank works for me! This post is linked up with We Are That Family for Works For Me Wednesday. Hop over there to find ideas and inspiration!

I hope you got some good ideas you can adapt for your parties. I would love to hear your ideas and things you love doing at parties too...leave a comment below I need all the help I can get!

Malama Pono,

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Follow: Aloha!

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Happy Friday Follow! We are having so much fun getting ready for my girlie's Birthday Luau tomorrow! I will be sharing how we planned, what we made and how it went next week! I can't wait to see who I meet today!

Malama Pono, Mikala
Take care,

MckLinky Blog Hop

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

MORE Honey Baked Ham Coupons

March 17, 2010

Earlier this month I posted about Honey Baked Ham coupons for larger hams here.

Now they have a coupon on a mini ham (4.5 to 5 lb) here.

I hope these coupons help save you money if you're planning on limiting your kitchen time to spend time with family and friends this Easter!

FREE Sample UnderJams

March 17, 2010

Click here to get your FREE sample of UnderJams Night Wear from Pampers!

More freebies on my FREEBIES page are waiting for you!

Works For Me Wednesday: Super Secret Message

March 17, 2010

My girlie loves spelling, puzzles and craft time so I combined them into one activity...Super Secret Message! She was so excited to decode the message from me!

I simply took three pieces of white paper and numbered each in the upper corner (1,2,3). Then I took three pieces of construction paper and numbered each in the upper corner (1,2,3).

I thought of three words that she knows how to spell that would form the message: Mom Loves You!

On the construction paper numbered 1 I made bubble letters in a jumble: O M M

On the construction paper numbered 2 I made bubble letters in a jumble: V O L E S

On the construction paper numbered 3 I made bubble letters in a jumble: O U Y

When it was time for her to decode my secret message I gave her scissors, a glue stick and spread out in a row the white papers in number order 1-3. I gave her the construction papers and explained that she would start with 1, cut the letters out, unscramle them on the table then paste them to the white paper numbered 1 spelling the first word in the message. Then she would move on to number 2 and finally number 3.

She was so proud of herself when she finished decoding the message! I was super proud of her too! This was easy to took me longer to type the instructions than it did to make this activity for her! Easy for me, entertaining for her, that works for me!

This post is linked with We Are That Family for Works For Me Wednesday. Hop over there to see other helpful tips & ideas!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

$5 Rebate GP Everyday Essentials

March 16, 2010

Get your $5 Rebate Check from GP (Georgia Pacific) when you buy $20 of participating brands!

Good on purchases through 4/18/10.

Click here for brands and rebate form.

Click here to find more rebates on my REBATES page!

Pineapple Up-Side Down Cake

March 16, 2010

I have never been brave enough to attempt to make Pineapple Up-Side Down Cake...until last week! I found a recipe at Craving Comfort (she has beautiful pictures of her cake too) that sounded like even I could make it. We all gave it a thumbs up and I added the recipe to my make it again notebook!


  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 20 oz sliced pineapple
  • 6-8 cherries sliced in half
  • 18 oz Duncan Hines Pineapple Cake Mix
  • 5 oz box vanilla instant pudding
  • 1 cup pineapple juice (from can & add water)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Pour butter in 9x13 pan
  • Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter
  • Drain canned pineapple in measure cup
  • Cover bottom of pan with pineapples
  • Place cherries in pineapples cut side up
  • Combine rest for 30 seconds with mixer
  • Beat on medium for 2 minutes
  • Pour batter in pan
  • Bake 45-55 minutes (until knife comes out grandma always used a knife instead of a toothpick)
  • Cool 5 minutes then run a knife around the edges, turn cake out on platter

This post is linked with Blessed With Grace for Tempt My Tummy Tuesday...check out other tummy yummies here!

Hungry for more? I also linked up with Balancing Beauty and Bedlam for Tasty Tuesday. Treat your family to something new on the menu by checking out more great recipes there!

Blessed with Grace Beauty and Bedlam


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