Keeping Up

Fun With The Fam

Easton Christmas Lighting Ceremony

My family and I have found the perfect Christmas season starter tradition and want to share it with you. Every year we attend the Easton Lighting Ceremony. It was by chance that I saw it on the schedule of events on their website one year, it sounded like fun so we went. It was such a magical evening that we decided this was definitely our go to event each year to start off the Christmas season! And it has always been a hit ever since. Tonight is the night and, although it is last minute, I hope I can catch a few parents out there looking for some Friday night fun just in time!

Easton is a small town center of shops, both of high end and lower value, as well as both upscale and reasonably priced restaurants. Easton has beautiful grounds with fountains which, in the summer, children can play in. During the warmer months they also have free live Jazz and move nights on the lawn. My husband and I also enjoy going to the Funny Bone and dinner at any of the many restaurants as our favorite date night choice. Easton is a must when in Columbus Ohio! The source of our yearly school clothes and Christmas shopping.

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The Lighting Ceremony starts, in the dark, at 6:30 PM with one of the most energetic and fun parades I have ever witnessed. With acrobatics, stilts, nutcrackers, dancing ballerinas tucked inside clear globes, elves, huge blow up characters like Rudolph and Frosty (that look like they came straight from the Macy’s Day Parade) and at the tail end, an old fashioned fire engine with Mr. and Mrs. Claus themselves!

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The parade circles around the huge Easton Square, ending right in the center at the ginormous tree where Santa gets on stage, welcomes us all, and gives a small speech followed by a countdown to the lighting. At the end of the countdown, fireworks go off and the entire town center of Easton lights up with Christmas lights everywhere, all at once. It truly is a magical moment that you can’t just smile and laugh at, feeling like a child again yourself! The kids just love this moment!

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After this night, Santa and his elves are available throughout the rest of the season for photos and to share your Christmas wishes with. Stay after for carriage rides, continuing through the rest of Christmas season after tonight as well! The best part is that my children always write Santa a letter with their Christmas wish list at the bottom. Every year Easton Santa takes his time to not just snap a quick photo, but read their letters and talk to them. All the while you get to snap or video away and then you can go view the images their photographer took as well. The photos to purchase are a very reasonable (I think $5) cost for a 5 x 7, with other package options as well.

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The stores and restaurants even keep the party going after the Lighting Ceremony and if you text “easton” to 313131 you will be notified of specials and receive offers on your mobile device! Tonight is their 20th grand illumination or “Whobilation” as they call it – it is sure to be a great time this evening!

It is going to be a cold one tonight, but we really hope if you go that you will have as much fun as we always do! Bundle up warm and maybe we will see you there!

Another fun day that we always attend is Superhero Day. There is always something fun going on at Easton, check out their schedule of events here.

Book Club

The Broken Girls – Simone St. James

 

“Broken Girls” by Simone St. James was quite the terrifying read. Filled with murders, secrets and ghostly tales, this book is a mix of stories from the past to solve two completely separate crimes, but they all were committed on the same, spooky grounds of a private school for girls, Idlewild.
Each of four girls sharing a dorm at Idlewild have their own tragic story to tell as to why their path ended up there. They confided all of their secrets with one another and became inseparable, until one of them mysteriously goes missing. The girls left relentlessly search for their friend and roommate, to no end. It has consumed their lives.
Years after their friend went missing, another crime happens on the same school grounds. The sister of Fiona Sheridan, our main character, was brutally murdered and left on display. Fiona is a writer, as well as her father. So she has the ability to research and dig up dirt, which she devotes her life to, in order to prove that the person convicted of her sister’s crime was in fact the killer.
When the school is abruptly purchased and is being restored, Fiona takes it upon herself to dig into the backgrounds of the family taking over. As she researches and finds out about the missing schoolgirl, she digs into school files hoping to help solve that case along the way. In all of her research she comes across yet another crime that potentially ties to her sister’s. With the town hunky cop (Jamie) as her boyfriend, this dynamic duo attempt to solve all the crimes and give peace to so many that have been hurting and searching for answers for years, and even decades.
VIP

Understanding your VIP Flex Ship Order

 

Flexship is the most convenient way to receive our products, and each qualifying Flexship ships free!

Each qualifying Flexship also includes a FREE product . It’s called Only For You, and you can’t them get any other way.

As a VIP Customer, we ask that you have two qualifying Flexship orders of $84 or more after your enrollment order, and we do not set a deadline by which they must be completed.

Product usage and needs vary from person to person. Some will want to order every month, while others don’t need it as frequently, especially if you’re taking advantage of our flash sale offers.

When you enrolled as a VIP Customer, you set a date for your first Flexship order.

Before it ships, you’ll receive an email from us. This gives you time to adjust what is included in the order.

Or, you can also push out your Flexship, up to 60 days at a time; there is no requirement to receive an order before you push the order again.

These two videos show you how to adjust the timing of your Flexship and the contents.

Thank you again for becoming part of the MONAT Family!

 

Fun With The Fam

Pigeon Roost Farms

OPENING SOON for the season!

So, it is no secret that my favorite season of all times is Fall! I love the pumpkins, cool weather, leaves turning colors, jeans with sweaters, bonfires, football and chili contests amongst my friends and I. Nothing beats the fall season! To top it off I have found the best family friendly place EVER to play and enjoy all things Fall!

Pigeon Roost Farms is located in Hebron Ohio and has everything you could ever look for in a fun fall setting! Lots of great fun for the whole family, with giant slides, challenging mazes, a new fort, and some of the most fantastic displays of pumpkins you’ll ever see, this place has it all!

We always have so much fun that we probably go 4-5 times a season, easily.

PumpkinFest, as they like to call it, is open every day from Saturday September 14th to October 31st 10am to 7pm (last entry at 6 p.m., you’ll need at least one hour to enjoy all the fun they have in store for you!)

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The Great Pumpkin Fun Center (open daily) includes:

•Fort Pigeon Roost•2013 Corn Maze – “Aliens Among Us”
•Hop-a-Long Corral
•Pigeon Roost Football Throw
•Spinning Wheel of Fortune
•Giant Gerbil Wheels
•The Enchanted Forest with Obstacle Course
•Hillside Rooster Racers & Turkey Tube Slides
•Fall Frontier – Pumpkin Express Train, Creepy Teepee Tunnel & Conestoga Corn Box
PumpkinFest Weekends also include:
•Wagon Rides and Face Painting
•Crafters and Demonstrations
•Kettle Corn
•Lots of Delicious Food from The Grill Family of Restaurants

There are also farm animals and exotic guests to check out!

The pumpkin patch includes: pumpkins (mini, regular and giant!), Indian corn, corn stalks, straw bales, apple gourds,12 varieties of squash, hard-shell birdhouse gourds, and all the fall décor your house and yard could hold!

Also, don’t forget to stop and let your little one pick out their Halloween costume and get their face painted while you check out all of the crafts and small shops before picking up your bag of fresh popped kettle corn or freshly made cotton candy!

Pigeon Roost is a fun time for ALL! Don’t miss out! Hope to see you there 🙂

Check out their website or their facebook page for up-to-date info!

Fun With The Fam

Want to go Larping?

Don’t ask why, but I have always have a soft spot in my soul for a good old fashion renaissance faire. I know, I really don’t seem the type to go larping (life action role playing – for those of you that have never indulged) in some other realm from long ago, but alas….I love it. It probably has to do with the fact that I grew up (for 5 years or so) in a small little town outside Chicago called Oregon, IL. In this town, even though it only had about 3,000 residents, there were a lot of cool things to do and see.

One of those being Stronghold Castle of Oregon,IL. The castle would have an “Olde English Faire” every fall that my parents would always take me to. I loved it! The people all dressed up from a different era, some of it fictional, some not. Fairies and creatures along with princes and princesses all talking funny and eating huge meat-sticks…it was something to behold!

Fast forward about 25 years and now I have my own children. So a few years back when my first child was about 2, I began searching for something similar around Ohio. I found many different events to go to and went to the one that seemed to have the most entertainment and such.

The Ohio Renaissance Festival is such a treat! My husband had never been to anything quite like this. And was pretty humored (or maybe mortified) when I decided to dress up as Maid Marian to attend. But he was a good sport and didn’t make fun of me too much. Going here each fall has become a family tradition. Our son gets a new sword every year we go and our daughter got to take her first visit there a few years back, walking away with a hair garland. Wasn’t she adorable?

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We always have a blast, with plenty to do! There are several spots with many types of hearty food and drink, a huge artisan marketplace, craftsmen of great skill, amazing feats of skill, interactive comedy shows, skits and adventure, live jousting, merriment and romance, rides, games and more!

Kids will have a blast interacting with the people here and there are so many fun trinkets to bring home or make as souvenirs. From molding your hands in wax to making magic wands, the kids will find so much to entertain them!

Open from the last weekend in August for 8 weekends – Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day Monday from 10:30 am – 6 pm. Every weekend has a different theme (pirates, Irish, Romeo & Juliet, etc), so be sure to check here to see what you’ll be getting into! The last weekend of the season is the best because they have a ton of great trinkets and gifts on sale for those who are on your “nice list” this year.

Keep in touch for specials or deals on tickets or even giveaways ORF may be having by following them on Instagramtwitter or Facebook. Or, check out what you will be seeing at ORF by viewing their YouTube channel.

Hope you enjoy!! Don’t forget to dress the part, most do! It’s more fun that way!

DIY Crafts at Home

Kid Customized Kicks

Are your kids that perfect combination of creative and stylish? Need a new, cheap rainy day activity that will keep them entertained for at least an hour, maybe more? Better yet, it’s an activity that you could do again and again without boredom ever creeping in!

A few weeks ago we had a bout of 3 rainy afternoons in a row. The hubs was already at the store and the kids were over watching the movies I had rented the day prior. With the pool and trampoline out of the question, I decided I was time to bring out the big guns and come up with an entertaining craft for them to focus on.

I quickly called the husband, hoping he hadn’t already left the store, and asked him for 2 items – a pair of white sneakers for each child and a large pack of colored sharpie markers (as our daughter refuses to color with any other kind and has dried our current stash out). The sneakers were a mere $3.97 per pair (in kid sizes and $5.98 per adult) and the large pack of sharpie markers was around $18.00 (but well worth it!).

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The kids were so excited when Daddy got home and I sat them at the table letting them know they could create their very own pair of original shoes! Design away they did and we ended up with some really fun and funky sneakers! They made sure to wear them that very night and show them off at dinner with the grandparents!

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The one thing you will want to be sure to do is take out the laces. I decided to join in with the kids and chose to leave my laces white. But my older two decided to color their laces individually as well. You really can create whatever you want! Which is super fun for them, and you!

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Check out the finished looks below, didn’t they do a great job? They certainly had a blast creating their own unique, custom-made kicks.

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After seeing how much fun the kids had, I decided to create a pair of my own. Check them out below!

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Why not create a pair or two of your own inspired and custom shoes? Use quotes, favorite images or even something super memorable. Mine were inspired by my peacock-themed wedding, my beliefs and my daughter (who LOVES flowers, dandelions and making wishes!). If you create a pair as well, please share them with me so we can see your creativity. You can share on my facebook page, tag me on instagram or even on twitter!

MONAT

Quench Your Thirst

Has this summer heat got your locks feeling lackluster? Maybe the salty beach trip did you some good, but not quite the story for your hair.

Well don’t stress, as usual we are ahead of the game and have just the thing in the nick of time.

Today Monat announced TWO new products that will hydrate the heck out of your tresses. And to kick them off we have an amazing sale going as well. For more info on these items visit my site to view the details, or get your order in.

For the Foodie

Crispy Kale Chips

I love kale!

I love it in salads, steamed, especially in smoothies and most recently, during my low-carb/Keto diet, I have become fond of it as the perfect substitute for chips or popcorn, or any other salty or savory snack.

I snacked on a handful of these rather than popcorn during our Harry Potter marathon this weekend and imagined how good they would taste as “croutons” on a salad or alongside and sandwich even (lettuce wrap in my case).

I used an entire full 1 lb bag of organic kale, which produced roughly 8 servings of this salty, low carb (6 net carbs per serving) treat. If you are on a low carb or keto diet, not only does the carb count benefit you, but so does that salt for your electrolytes. Plus, sometimes I just want that crunchy snack and other than Wisps, you won’t find much of that on the low carb diet. Win, win and win!

So on we go with the recipe! Please note, this will make your kitchen odorous. I honestly did not mind the smell but my husband was NOT impressed!

Also, one addition I would add to this recipe (but did not this time around) would be shredded or grated parmesan, I can imagine that gives an even more savory taste! I would suggest grated over shredded and I would add it in during the oil process, I will note it below to be clear.

What you will need:

  • 1 lb bag of organic kale
  • 4 tablespoons of organic unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • Himalayan pink salt (roughly 1 tsp)
  • Black ground pepper (roughly 1 tsp)
  • Garlic powder (roughly 1 tsp)

What you will need to do:

Set the oven to 350 F and grease the baking tray. As I refuse to use cooking sprays (did you know they can get rust off your bike chain or bugs off your windshield? Many contain additives and GMOs – yuck!) I made sure to smear a bit of coconut oil across the pan.

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Be sure the kale is washed and dried. I am able to get my kale pre-shredded, but if you do not you will need to remove the center rib and stems from each leaf and discard. Cut or tear them into bite-size pieces. These will significantly shrink during the baking process so you can make them a little larger.

Place the kale into a large bowl (with the 1 lb bag, I had to do this in a couple of batches) and drizzle the melted oil over it and then massage or toss the kale around to get evenly covered. Now is when I would add in the grated parmesan next time as well. You can go ahead and toss all of the seasonings on now as well or do as I did below.

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Once coated, lay the kale out onto the baking tray in a single layer and top with pepper, salt and garlic powder.

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Bake the kale until crisp and the edges are slightly browned, roughly 12-15 minutes. Toss into a large bag or bowl and enjoy!

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Book Club

Behind Closed Doors – B.A. Paris

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris is a twisted psychological thriller about a couple that is seemingly perfect. Living a life of luxury and filled with love and admiration for one another, Jack and Grace seem to have it all. But not every couple, or person for that matter, is perfect.

Jack is an extremely handsome, successful and wealthy prosecutor that fights against one of the worst types of criminals, abusive men. He has the manners of royalty to boot. It is no wonder that when Grace meets him she is extremely taken by him. He sweeps her off her feet and caters to her, surprising her with trips and houses. He is wealthy enough that Grace no longer needs to work, even though she’d like to stay busy. But he insists on taking over all of the breadwinning.

To their friends eyes, Grace has it so easy and has the most attentive husband. But is he too attentive, too controlling? Grace soon finds that the man she married is not the man she thought he was. And in reality, the work he does has a twisted meaning to him.

Grace has a disabled younger sister that will soon be coming to live with them and Jack could not be more happy. The plans he has are much less than loving.

Will Grace be able to save herself and her sister? Will she get away? Or is she as crazy as he makes her out to be, and imagining it all?

This book will make you second guess those “perfect” relationships you see in others. Everyone has their own secrets and issues behind their doors.

For the Foodie

Sweet Treat Flag

Fourth of July is fast approaching and I am sure, as I do, you have plenty of parties to attend. I really wish that this year we were back in the hills of Tennessee, like we were last year. There is truly nothing better than celebrating the holiday in Gatlinburg, TN. What a fantastic time we had!

Since we had all the kiddos in the cabin, I came up with the perfect (and easy) dessert treat to make with them all one of our evenings. It turned out adorable, and the kids had such a fun time making this. It will surely be a beautiful and patriotic addition to any of your family gatherings!

 

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Ingredients you will need:

  • Large puffy marshmallows (roughly 30)
  • Toothpicks (or tiny fingers will do)
  • Red & Blue sugar sprinkles (white too if you want to be perfect)
  • scissors (or a knife)
  • butter or Crisco
  • Baking dish (9×13 or 7×11 will do)
  • Hershey Bars (chocolate chips could be substituted)
  • Graham Crackers

Here is what you’ll do:

First you will want to grease the baking dish with butter or Crisco and set the oven at 450 degrees F.

Then I poured the sugar crystals into separate bowls, set out a bowl of water as well and cut all of the big marshmallows into halves.

While I completed those tasks I let the kids break up the Hershey bars and lay them down to complete the first layer of our delicious dish.

I then let the kids each take turns getting their marshmallow halves dumped into water and then into the sugar colors we needed for our second layer. Little fingers or toothpicks can be used for that step.

Let these dry on wax paper before placing them onto the chocolate bars, should be about 20 minutes. Once dry, you will place these, cut side down, onto the chocolate bar layer, making sure to get your flag in the right order. The kids had lots of fun making a pattern with these!

Top off the dish with the extra sugar crystals on any lacking areas and place the dish into the oven to bake for 7 to 9 minutes, just until the tops of the marshmallows start to brown. We let the kiddos eat the leftover crystalized marshmallows while they waited!

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Take out and let cool a little. Serve with graham crackers or pretzels and enjoy this sweet and salty treat! The sugar sprinkles form a perfect crystallized topping to the dip so you get the most divine combination of chocolate, cream marshmallow and sweet crunch. Best served warm and with a glass of milk!

Your kids will feel extra special being able to create this masterpiece on their own too!

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Need another great (but healthier) treat for Memorial Day or 4th of July parties? Check out this patriotic fruit “cake”. Yum!