Author Archives: Gina Young

Northeast Ohio Christmas Lights Display: Magic of Lights

Northeast Ohio Christmas Lights Display: Magic of Lights

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

Every year, we try to fit in fun Christmas activities and events leading up to Christmas.  It is easy to get busy with all of the things that have to get done, that actually relaxing and enjoying the holiday can get overlooked.  So just taking a family night to go and look at Christmas lights is a lot of fun!  This year, we chose Magic of Lights at Victory Park in North Ridgeville for our night out.

Magic of Lights features a variety of festive scenes celebrating the holiday season.  This light display is drive-through– which is great, because it was cold and snowy the night we went!  To add to the Christmas mood, it is suggested that guests tune into Cleveland’s Star 102.1 FM and enjoy Christmas music on the drive through the lights.

Magic of Lights  offers a winding 1-2 mile course through the park to view sparkling LED displays depicting the favorite characters of the season, including animated snowmen, elves, poinsettias, candy canes, and more!

It was pretty cool to find out that the light displays were actually created by local STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) students!  That had to be a fun learning activity!

The lights display even ends with a drive through tunnel!

You can pay at the gate, but you get a bit of a discount if you purchase your ticket ahead of time online at MagicOfLights.com.

 

Merry Christmas!

Package from Santa: a review

Package from Santa: a review

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

My youngest son is six years old… and has two older brothers, so keeping Christmas magical for him can be a bit of a challenge.  His older brothers are really good, though, about keeping the secret and helping to make things fun for him while he is still little.  So, this year, I thought it would be fun to surprise my little guy with a Package from Santa.

At packagefromsanta.com You can get personalized LETTERS, PACKAGES, CALLS and VIDEOS from SANTA!

As a parent, it is truly a joy to see your children’s face light up with excitement.  And it seems like Derek really thought his package from Santa was pretty cool!

One of the things that I liked the best is that there were several themes to choose from:

This way, no matter what your current situation is, there is a letter that would be just perfect!  Once you choose a theme, you are still able to fully customize the letter to make the specific wording just the way you want.

Every package also comes with a FREE personalized CALL and VIDEO FROM SANTA that can be scheduled any time– so we chose to get a call from Santa on Christmas Eve!  I think he’s going to love hearing from Santa and knowing that he needs to get in bed so Santa can bring his gifts…

Review:
  1. Quick Service–Once ordered, our Package From Santa arrived within a few days.  Emails were sent confirming the order and letting me know when the package had been sent.
  2. Affordable pricing options– there are different packages to choose from, so it is easy to find one to fit your budget.
  3. Easily Customizable– I really liked all of the themes to choose from, and that each theme was fully customizable.  Having the ability to make the edits that I wanted to make it personal for my son truly made it more meaningful!

 

Get one for your child:

Click here to see a video to learn more about this very special Santa memory service that will be a part of my family for years to come!

The Silver Package ($24.95) comes in a red box & includes:

  • Personalized Letter from Santa
  • BONUS! Personalized Video from Santa (retail $9.99)
  • BONUS! Personalized Phone Call from Santa to a cell phone OR land line! (retail $9.99)
  • Personalized Nice List Certificate
  • Autographed Santa Claus Photo
  • Autographed Rudolph Photo
  • Genuine North Pole Stamp
  • …and so much more!

It also comes with a 60-Day money-back guarantee because they are THAT confident your child will LOVE it!

There are 3 different packages offered, so you can choose a price point that works with your budget. I will be reviewed the Silver package ($29.95).

 

How to order:

Order this holiday must-have for your child at PackageFromSanta.com and save 25% OFF your order when you use code: FAMS17 at checkout.

 

Peppermint Candy Cane Christmas Sugar Cookies

Peppermint Candy Cane Christmas Sugar Cookies

Here’s a fun twist to a Christmas cookie classic!  These peppermint sugar cookies are a great way to make festive-looking Christmas cookies without having to take the time to frost and decorate…

Of course, you can add icing and decorate with sprinkles, but these candy cane sugar cookies are beautiful on their own…

If you’ve ever made cut-out cookies, there are only a few extra steps that you need to take to make these beautiful, candy-cane striped cookies.

  1. Separate cookie dough into two parts
  2. Add red food coloring to one of the parts
  3. Refrigerate 15 minutes before using
  4. Take small pieces of each color and start rolling into long “ropes”
  5. Alternate color strands
  6. Roll out
  7. Cut out in candy cane shape

Here’s a quick video to walk you through the process:

Full recipe:

Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

Candy Cane Sugar Cookie Recipe

  • 3¾ cups sifted, all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Red food coloring
  • *Optional* Peppermint extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, stir together flour and baking powder.

In another bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy and light.

Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Stir in flour mixture, a third at a time to make a stiff dough.

Separate dough into two equal parts and add red food coloring to half.  *Optional* You may also choose to add some peppermint extract.

*For best results, refrigerate for 15 minutes before rolling out cookie dough.

Take a small ball of dough and use your hands to roll into long cylinder (you know, the way you used to make a “snake” out of Play-doh?!)

Make several of these long ropes of cookie dough.  Alternating the red and white pieces, place close together and roll out, using a piece of wax paper between the dough and rolling pin.

Roll dough out on floured counter-top.  Make cookies approx. 3/8 inch thick.

You should be able to reuse the dough that remains around each cookie and still separate the colors if you keep it refrigerated between each use (if you let the dough get too warm, you two colors of dough will stick together and you probably won’t be able to re-use it).

Bake 8-10 minutes.

Icing
1 Tbsp butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla (or peppermint)
2 ½ cup confectioners sugar
3 Tbsp milk
Beat butter, vanilla, and confectioner’s sugar until smooth.
Add in milk 1 Tbsp at a time.

Make Christmas Magical for Your Child with a Package from Santa

Make Christmas Magical for Your Child with a Package from Santa

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

Start a new and memorable tradition this Christmas with a Package from Santa.  You can get personalized LETTERS, PACKAGES, CALLS and VIDEOS from SANTA!

As a parent, it is truly a joy to see your children’s face light up in amazement.  And this is sure to happen when they get a personalized letter from Santa Claus!

This not just a letter from Santa. It’s an amazing experience – it’s joy, memories, wonder and happiness in a box! You can choose a specific letter theme and then customize it yourself to include details that only Santa would know!

Every package also comes with a FREE personalized CALL and VIDEO FROM SANTA that can be scheduled any time. I have a feeling me little guy is going to be absolutely amazed to receive a call and video from Santa!

Here are the details:

Package From Santa has an A+ Rating with the BBB due to their unmatched, high-touch customer service so you can be confident that you are making a wise purchase. They have real people on the phone ready to help answer questions.

Click here to see a video to learn more about this very special Santa memory service that will be a part of my family for years to come!

The Silver Package ($24.95) comes in a red box & includes:

  • Personalized Letter from Santa
  • BONUS! Personalized Video from Santa (retail $9.99)
  • BONUS! Personalized Phone Call from Santa to a cell phone OR land line! (retail $9.99)
  • Personalized Nice List Certificate
  • Autographed Santa Claus Photo
  • Autographed Rudolph Photo
  • Genuine North Pole Stamp
  • …and so much more!

It also comes with a 60-Day money-back guarantee because they are THAT confident your child will LOVE it!

There are 3 different packages offered, so you can choose a price point that works with your budget. I will be reviewing the Silver package ($29.95).

Order this holiday must-have for your child at PackageFromSanta.com and save 25% OFF your order when you use code: FAMS17 at checkout.

‘Warm Up with a Cup of Cheer’ DIY Rustic Christmas Sign

‘Warm Up with a Cup of Cheer’ DIY Rustic Christmas Sign Tutorial + FREE Printable

The weather is getting colder, the days are shorter, snowflakes are starting to fly… it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!  And there is absolutely nothing better to do on these cold, overcast days than to warm up with a cup of cheer (aka coffee!), turn on some holiday music, and decorate for Christmas!

I love decorating for Christmas… and I love getting new items that I can add into my holiday décor.  But sometimes it can be pretty costly to buy new decorations or home décor, especially at the beginning of the season.  Of course, you can probably load up on everything Christmas on December 26 when everything goes on sale… that is, if you can find the items you wanted because things are pretty well picked over by the time the after-Christmas sale rolls around.

So, if you don’t want to pay full-price before Christmas, and you don’t want to wait until the after-Christmas sale, what should you do?  Well, you can make your own beautiful Christmas décor and it costs a lot less than paying before-Christmas prices to buy something already made!

Watch the video tutorial here:

Here’s what you will need:
  • Canvas
  • Paint Markers
  • Tracing Paper
  • My FREE Printable Design

I chose a burlap canvas with the middle painted white this was the rustic, farmhouse look that I was going for.  But you can use the canvas of your choice…  You will also need tracing paper.  It doesn’t matter if you choose a light or dark canvas, just make sure that you get the right kind of tracing paper.  I bought the dark tracing paper because I was working with a light canvas.  Obviously, if you are working with a dark surface, make sure you get the light tracing paper…  If you have paint markers in the right colors, you are ready to go!  (Just in case you are wondering, I used a chisel point paint marker for the lettering and a medium point paint marker for the wreath).

Here’s my FREE, printable design.

If you have a color printer, you can just print it out and use it as is (or crop it to the size that you need):

Email my {free} printable!



 

Make a Sign using the Color Printable:

Print out the sign in color (using cardstock), cut it down to the size needed, mount on some red cardstock, and hang it up using twine and small clothes pins… super easy!

Beautiful… and interchangeable.  Which is nice too because now I can just print out another design and keep the same sign as part of my décor even after Christmas.

Are you ready to Warm up with a cup of Cheer?

Love this design? Why not get your own mug and warm up with your own cup of cheer?! Great for gifting too!

 

Merry Christmas!

 

Don’t Waste Money on Christmas Gifts that No One Wants

Don’t Waste Money on Christmas Gifts that No One Wants

Have you ever opened a gift and had to try to grin and say thank you when you have no idea what it is?  Or it was so atrocious—like the pink bunny pajamas that Ralphie got from Aunt Clara in A Christmas Story—that you know you will never wear it or use it.

Perhaps you received a gift, like a $30 canister of gourmet popcorn and thought, “I would have rather had the money that was spent on that instead.”  You know, the nice gift that you really didn’t need or want.  The one that may never be used… I think that we’ve all received them, and probably even given them.  So this year, if you aren’t sure about what to buy, give something that is more meaningful… and here are a few ideas:

For new parents or parents of toddlers

Offer babysitting as your gift.  Seriously, any new parent or parent of a toddler knows that free babysitting is pure GOLD.  I guarantee they will love this gift!

For grandparents

Make a keepsake ornament from the kids.  Grandparents love anything that is made by their grandchildren, so whether it’s a handprint ornament, craft, or special card, it will be way more meaningful than a sweatshirt that says “World’s Best Grandpa.”

I’ll let you in on a secret… No one really wants to wear these shirts.  Ever.

For mom and dad

Dad doesn’t need another tie.  Mom doesn’t want kitchen utensils.

They probably just want some extra time with you.

So, instead of spending money on something that they don’t really need, invite your mom out to lunch just because, and make time to go on that hunting trip with dad that you have been too busy to take… they will appreciate this much more…

For your kids

As parents we want to make sure that our kids have a HUGE pile of gifts to open.  Because what is better than the joy on their faces and they run downstairs on Christmas morning to see all the wonderful packages that Santa left?!  But, we all know that joy only lasts as long as there are more gifts to tear open and when the dust settles (or, in this case, the wrapping paper and bows), the kids play with their new loot for about 5 minutes and then life goes back to normal—and all those big bucks you spent to fulfil every Christmas list wish are seemingly wasted.  Talk to your kids about the true meaning of Christmas and find a way to have them learn the joy of giving… that will last for them a lot longer than getting the hottest, most expensive toy of the season…

Make Christmas memories for them.  How do you make a memory?  Give them experiences to remember:

  • Bake Christmas Cut-Out Cookies with them
  • Make Christmas Ornaments
  • Go on a Christmas outing with Grandparents, cousins, or friends— go see a Christmas light display, visit a LIVE nativity, go Christmas caroling, take a train ride with Santa…

Your kids may not remember what they got for Christmas two years ago, but they probably will remember that time that they got to walk through a million twinkling Christmas lights with their cousins…

Buying the Perfect Gift is Not an Excuse to Overspend | Money Savvy Living

You probably noticed that these gifts don’t actually cost you any money either.  They only cost a little time and thoughtfulness.

So before you go into debt trying to splurge and buy the perfect Christmas gift, think about what your family and friends would truly want…

Check out one of my posts, 10 Ways to Avoid Overspending This Year for Christmas and find out even more ways to get the perfect gift without overspending and going into debt.

10 Ways to Avoid Overspending this Christmas | Money Savvy Living

How I Get Free Gas for my Car Just for Buying Christmas Gifts

How I Get Free Gas for my Car Just for Buying Christmas Gifts

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GiantEaglePerks #CollectiveBias #ad

Can you believe it’s already less than two months until Christmas is here?! So that means it is time to start Christmas shopping… Ok, I have to admit, I already started! When I see a good sale and I think that it’s something one of kids would like, I just go ahead and get it—and save it for Christmas. For those that are a bit harder to shop for, I typically go with gift cards—and that’s how I am able to get free gas for my car just for buying Christmas gifts!

Free gas… for shopping?? I know, I doesn’t make sense. But trust me, it is not a typo. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: almost everything you buy at Giant Eagle gives you points in the Fuel Perks Plus program! So whether I am buying my weekly groceries, a yoga mat, nail polish, shampoo and conditioner, laundry detergent, a book, stationary, or gift cards—I am earning points towards free gas or groceries!

How to get started:

More Perks, More Places, More Savings. Learn how the Perks Program works and get 100 bonus perks by clicking here!

You need a Giant Eagle Advantage card to keep track of all your points. It’s free to get, and besides keeping track of your points, being a Giant Eagle Advantage customer gives you access to extra savings and weekly specials. If you’d like to sign up for one, you can visit the Customer Service desk at your neighborhood Giant Eagle where you can register for free in less than five minutes! Or, you can register by phone—just call 1-800-553-2324.

Once you have signed up, you can also view perks status on Giant Eagle’s new mobile app available for iOS and Android devices.

*If you don’t have an advantage card and would like to sign up to track when you earn and redeem perks, you can visit the Customer Service desk. Or, you can register by phone—just call 1-866-620-0216.

Exactly how does Fuel Perks Plus work?

Start earning points. Every time you shop at Giant Eagle, make sure to scan your Advantage card:

  • You earn 1 perk for every dollar spent on groceries, health and beauty, gift cards, and more in-store.
  • You earn 2 perks for every gallon of gasoline you purchase at the GetGo.
  • You earn 50 bonus perks for every 5 qualifying prescriptions that you have filled at the Giant Eagle pharmacy.

*Check out the Fuel Perks Plus program details, terms, and conditions here.

What can you earn?

There is no limit to the amount of perks that you can earn! For every 50 perks accumulated, you can redeem them for 2 percent off on groceries or $0.10 off per gallon of fuel. You can redeem them for up to 20 percent off any single grocery order or up to a FREE tank of gas (up to 30 gallons of fuel)! If you have earned more points than you can redeem in a single visit, no problem, those points will roll forward and you can use them on a future visit.

On my last trip to Giant Eagle, I was able to redeem my Fuel Perks points and save $0.30 per gallon when I filled up my car.

And the best part is that I was even able to earn more Fuel Perks points on the purchase of the gas!

I have been stocking up on gift cards to use for Christmas gifts, but Giant Eagle also offers a nice selection of gifts for occasions year-round. So it doesn’t really matter what holiday or event is coming up, I can shop at Giant Eagle and save money on groceries or get FREE gas for everyday items that I was going to purchase anyways!

So what are you waiting for?  Start earning your Fuel Perks on the things you buy everyday!

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie

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

Do you love mint chocolate chip ice cream or Thin Mint cookies?  If so, this smoothie is definitely for you!

This is just one of the ways I love to use the mint that I grow in my backyard garden (you can also check out the creamy mint and avocado sauce that I make for veggie dip and use as a burger topping).  Any time fresh fruit and herbs are in season, I try to incorporate them any way I can to give my morning breakfast routine a bit a variety and this is my newest way to do that!

 

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie

In a blender, add the following:

 

Blend until smooth…and enjoy!

 

What is your favorite smoothie flavor?

 

*This post contains direct links to my JP+ Virtual Franchise. Should you choose to buy a product through here, I would receive a commission.

 

For more smoothie recipes:

Blueberry Mango Smoothie // Money Savvy Living

Blueberry Mango Smoothie

 

Chocolate Caramel Chia Smoothie

 

Orange Julius Copycat Strawberry Banana Smoothie

 

 

 

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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http://moneysavvyliving.com/2017/10/16/healthy-pumpkin-oat-cookies/

*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!

 

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