Monthly Archives: October 2017

Glow in the Dark Trick-or-Treat Tote for Halloween

Glow in the Dark Trick-or-Treat Tote for Halloween

This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content.  Please know that all opinions are honestly conveyed and are mine alone.

 

Halloween is only a couple of weeks away, and if your kids are like mine, they already have costumes picked out!

And even though it may not be part of the costume, the candy collection bag is a big deal at least for the parent.  Because if that candy bag breaks and your kid has candy all over the ground, you know there will be tears!  We have tried the plastic pumpkin buckets and foil bags with handles, but all have ended up braking.  I guess you could say that my kids get a LOT of candy when they go trick-or-treating!  So, finding a bag that won’t break is a must.  That’s where Colortime Crafts and Markers comes in!  We got this cute Halloween Tote, made out of canvas:

 

My oldest son didn’t actually want to dress up for Halloween this year, but did opt for one of those huge Maskimals monkey heads because he thought it was funny… tweens…
My two younger sons still wanted full Halloween costumes, so they went with a Star Wars theme: Darth Vader and a Storm Trooper

 

Of course, my youngest son loves to keep trying on his costume, and is so excited for all the candy!   He was thrilled to find out that I got him a glow in the dark trick-or-treat tote this year! Even my older two sons wanted to help him decorate:

Review:

The canvas is nice and thick, so it seems pretty sturdy (like it will last for several years to come!) and the fabric markers were easy to use.  They were even able to color over the marker with another color (like on the T and R, so that the piece of candy and candy apple showed up a little better).  The markers didn’t even bleed through although they do suggest putting a piece of paper towel inside.

And the real test:  Yes!  It actually glows in the dark!

 

One of the reasons that I love this glow in the dark tote so much is because it will help me keep track of my little guy in the dark! Every year, we always have some sort of glow sticks, bracelets, or necklace that we give the kids to wear because it is easier to see where they are at.  Might sound silly, but it is so helpful!

So, as a parent:

  • I love that it glows in the dark so I can more easily keep track of my child when the sun goes down
  • it is sturdy so it should be reliable and not break part-way through the night (like previous bag and buckets have!)
  • it was a lot of fun for the kids to decorate!

 

 

Colortime has a lot more than just crafts for Halloween though.  You can get party supplies at reasonable prices for birthday parties and sleepovers with Colortime Crafts and Markers coloring pillowcases, t-shirts, backpacks, permanent fabric markers, and more. New special glow-in-the-dark ink items available! Clean, easy, and affordable crafts activity that doubles as a unique keepsake! For savings, join our “Birthday Club” and receive 20% off and a free backpack, with your order at Colortime.

 

Here’s to getting no tricks and lots of treats!

Happy Halloween!

 

Healthy Pumpkin & Oat Cookies

Healthy Pumpkin & Oat Cookies

This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content.  Please know that all opinions are honestly conveyed and are mine alone.

It’s mid-October.  The air is finally getting cooler ironically, we’ve had quite a warm fall!  So even though it hasn’t really felt like fall much yet, I am starting to get in the mood for some yummy fall treats.  And what better way to do that than with pumpkin and oat cookies?!

But these are even better because they are actually healthy for you too!  So, they truly are guilt-free cookies well, almost guilt-free!

I have to say, the thing that I like most about these cookies is that they are not sweetened with sugar… raw honey is used instead.  Of course, there is a bit of sugar in the semi-sweet chocolate chips, but you really don’t even have to add these unless you want to.  And you can even add a little glaze to the top if you really want to indulge…

 

Healthy Pumpkin & Oat Cookies

Healthy Pumpkin & Oat Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup real butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 medium banana, mashed
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup all purpose gluten-free baking mix (**or for a bit of a healthy boost, replace the baking mix with Vanilla Juice Plus+ Complete)
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 3 Tbsp raw honey, melted (warm in microwave until liquid)
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Glaze **optional**
  • 1 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tbsp milk (add one at a time and stir until proper consistency)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Cream together: butter, vanilla, sweet potato, and banana.
  4. Add egg, honey, and baking soda, stir until combined.
  5. Add in oats, baking mix, and chia seeds, stir until combined.
  6. Add in chocolate chips (optional)
  7. Spoon onto cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until lightly golden.
  8. ** Drizzle with glaze while cookies are still warm.
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*to order Vanilla Juice Plus Complete for a nutritional boost to this recipe, click here.

 

These cookies truly are delicious… and it’s a sneaky way to get your kids to eat something that is actually good for them and they won’t even know it!

Enjoy!

 

How Credit Score Affects Your Monthly Bills

How Credit Score Affects Your Monthly Bills

This post has been sponsored by CreditRepair.com.  All opinions are honestly conveyed and are mine alone.

You probably know that how you pay your monthly bills affects your credit score: on-time payments will increase your credit score, while late payments will cost you extra in fees and lower your credit score.  But did you realize that your credit score can also impact the amount that you have to pay for your monthly bills?

image: via CreditRepair.com

What is your credit score?

Your credit score is basically a numerical way for the credit bureaus to express your creditworthiness.  Credit scores range from around 300 to 850.  The higher your credit score, the better your credit.  A higher score tells potential lenders that you are a low risk consumer and will likely payback the credit that they extend to you.  A low score tells creditors that you are a higher risk borrower.  There are several factors that go into calculating your credit score:

  • Length of credit history
  • Payment history
  • Balance of accounts as compared to credit line
  • Amount of times you credit has been pulled within a certain time period
How does your credit score actually affect your monthly bills?

Your credit score will have an impact on the rates that you qualify for when obtaining financing.  So when you apply for a new credit card, auto loan, or a mortgage, creditors base the programs and rates that they offer to you based on your credit score.  If you have a high credit score, you are going to qualify for a lower rate, which will give you lower monthly payments.  If your credit score is low, creditors will give you a higher rate because creditors look at lending you money to you as more of a risk, and this will cause you to have higher monthly payments.

What can you do to improve your score?

If you have a credit score that is less than perfect, or don’t have much of a credit history—don’t worry, there are steps that you can take to help improve your score.

Determine why you need to raise your credit score. Is it for lack of a credit history or because you have a bad credit history?

Lack of credit history

If you lack a credit history, the best thing you can do to build credit is to actually open a credit card and use it to pay monthly bills.  Because you are trying to establish a credit history, expect that the credit card that you get approved for may have a small line of credit and a high interest rate.  But that’s ok.  You don’t have to carry a balance on it from month to month, you can pay it off each month to avoid interest, but every month that you use your credit card, it will report to the credit bureaus.  Make sure that you pay the credit card bill on-time each month, and that will also report to the credit bureau—this will build a solid credit history for you.  So if you are accustomed to using cash, realize that you will have to utilize credit in order to build a credit history.

Credit repair

If you need to clean up a less-than-perfect credit history, there are several steps that you can take:

Start paying your bills on-time.  If it is at all possible, get your bills caught up and current.  Sometimes, when you are making late payments, fees may be added in and your next month’s payment isn’t fully going toward that month; in fact, it may be keeping your payments in a consistent cycle of carrying forward an unpaid amount from each month.

Close any old accounts.  If you have an old credit card that you no longer use, make sure to close it—as long as it is in good standing and has a zero balance.  If you leave old accounts open, it could be a risk for potential identity theft.

Clean up your credit report.  Sometimes old collection accounts, liens, or other derogatory information show up on your credit report.  Even though creditors are supposed to report when items have been resolved, it doesn’t always happen.  So how do you do this?  Using services from a company such as CreditRepair.com can help you identify old or erroneous items showing on your credit report, work with you to resolve those issues, and contact the credit bureaus to make sure these items are removed or updated.  Getting these incorrect items off your current credit report can increase your score quite quickly.

image: via CreditRepair.com

Haunted Halloween Activities for the Whole Family

Haunted Halloween Activities for the Whole Family

This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content.  Please know that all opinions are honestly conveyed and are mine alone.

Fall is probably my favorite time of year.  I just love everything about it: the hayrides, apple picking, and trips to the pumpkin patch so many things that my family  enjoys together every year!  But of course, with Halloween just around the corner, taking in a few haunted Halloween activities for the whole family is a lot of fun too!

And recently, we did just that.  We took a weekend trip to Lake Erie Shores & Islands and had a blast!

Our reason for going, was for more than just a family get-a-way, this was also a celebration of our oldest son’s 12th birthday!  Instead of having a birthday party this year, Chase wanted to go to Cedar Point.  Living in Ohio, we have been to Cedar Point before, but I wanted to make this visit a little more special, since this time we are celebrating a birthday, so I started planning… that’s when I found Lake Erie Shores and Islands Welcome Center.  Even if you are familiar with this area, you may not know all of the great events and destinations that are available.  I was so glad to work with the great people at the visitor’s center to find out about other attractions that we could visit on our weekend mini vacay.  While I got a lot of the information online at ShoresandIslands.com, there are two visitor centers in the area as well, so we decided to stop by…

There are lots of brochures, maps of the area, and of course, very useful information from the local perspective by those working at the visitor center.

 
Play…

To really get in the haunted Halloween mood, we kicked the weekend off by heading to Ghostly Manor Thrill Center.  This thrill center is probably not like any other that you’ve ever been to; this family entertainment center has been featured in The Travel Channel’s “Best Places I’ve Ever Been.”  And if you are brave enough, you can journey through one of the scariest haunted houses in the country— rated one of Forbes top 10 haunted attractions (this is only recommended for ages 10 and up).

Chase wanted to go through the haunted house, so my husband went with him… and I took our two younger sons to the not-at-all scary play zone.

So in case your family has some younger ones that don’t want to be scared, there are lots of other activities too!

We watched a 3D movie in the XD Theater, played 3D black light mini golf, and the boys even went through the new laser maze!  Oh, and they also have an Escape Room that is now open!

 

Stay…

After we had a few hours of fun at Ghostly Manor, we decided to head back to the hotel for the evening, so the kids could swim.  We don’t have a pool at home, so anytime we are on vacation, we always have to stay at a hotel with a nice pool!  The Comfort Inn Sandusky had an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, a sauna, and hot tub— so the kids were in heaven!  And as great as the amenities were, the room is probably what the kids liked the best.  It was a huge open room with three double beds!  This may not sound like much, but when you have a family of five, someone is usually sleeping on a roll-away bed or a pull-out sofa— and we all know how uncomfortable those can be!  So for everyone to get to sleep in a comfy bed was really nice.  And the rates were very affordable (only $100/night this time of year)… as a money savvy mom, that was probably my favorite part!

Amusement for the day…

Cedar Point is probably the best place I can think to go for thrill rides.  Roller coaster after roller coaster awaits!  According to Golden Ticket Awards, Cedar Point has four roller coasters that rank in the top 25 steel coasters in the world!  Yes, we’ve ridden them all—and they don’t disappoint!

 

But the thrills don’t just stop with the coasters.  In the fall, you can visit Cedar Point for Halloweekends—and experience scary thrills as well!

During the day, you won’t really see it, but at dusk, the spooky starts to happen, as costumed cast members dressed-to-scare begin appearing throughout the park.

Halloweekends Cast Member. Photo courtesy of Joe Schaaf

If you have little ones with you or just don’t want to have a cast member jump out at you after dark, you can buy a green light-up pumpkin to indicate that you don’t want to participate in the scaring…

There are also lots of fun fall decorations and a parade in the afternoon featuring your favorite characters from the Peanuts, so there is plenty for the kids to enjoy all day long.

 

What haunted Halloween activities will you and your family do this year?

 

#TravelOhio #LakeErieLove