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How to Host a Budget-Friendly Family Game Night

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

How to Host a Budget-Friendly Family Game Night #GameNightIn #ad

You can spend time together at home, make it budget-friendly but also bring the family closer together. From creating a special dinner plan together, desserts that feature M&M’s® products, getting comfy in your pajamas and playing a fun Hasbro® Game together, these family nights will be the things your kids will remember.

With three kids (and another one on the way) we simply don’t have it in our budget to take the entire family out on the town. Just going out to dinner could cost us $60+. A full night out with our kids could easily cost us $150+ for dinner, dessert and entertainment…what a hard hit to the budget! However we do love to have fun at home and we all look forward to our family game night that include a special meal, dessert and games played with mom & dad in our pajamas!

How to Host a Budget-Friendly Family Game Night #GameNightIn #ad

Family Game Night

We held our #GameNightIn last week and picked up the Jenga® game by Hasbro® at our local Walmart.

How to Host a Budget-Friendly Family Game NightHow to Host a Budget-Friendly Family Game Night How to Host a Budget-Friendly Family Game Night #GameNightIn #ad

The classic Jenga game is already a family game night favorite because everyone can join in and well, who doesn’t love that anticipation and anxious giggling just before the tower crashes down!

How to Host a Budget-Friendly Family Game Night #GameNightIn #ad How to Host a Budget-Friendly Family Game Night #GameNightIn #ad

Two big bowls of M&M’s® Milk Chocolate and M&M’s® Peanut to share was a sweet treat! Being able to gather together after dinner for a family game night and dessert without any hard hits to our budget helps us all to relax and just have fun together as a family.

How to Host a Budget-Friendly Family Game Night #GameNightIn #ad

Cost Comparision

Here is my cost comparison for a family night out versus #GameNightIn. It’s close to $100 that you can save by staying home!

How to Host a Budget-Friendly Family Game Night #GameNightIn #ad

As you can see, the savings of going out versus staying in are substantial. And at the end of the night, at least you still have the family game to keep and play again for years to come!


How do you host Family Night In? Check out what’s available at Walmart for a sweet evening at home and tell me which game you’d choose to play with your family during #GameNightIn!

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Family Movie Night Dinner – Disney Classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Family Movie Night Dinner - Disney Classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Yellow Loop. Today we are sharing ideas for Disney movie nights.


What better food for a Snow White family movie night than traditional Bavarian dishes just like the dwarves would have dined on?  The country in which Snow White is set in is unclear but the belief is that it is in Germany. Disney’s Snow White is based on Brother Grimm’s adaption, who are German writers and are thought to have based this fairy tale in Germany.

My husband and I traveled through Bavaria about a year and a half ago and noted how much the little villages looked “Disney” to us. It’s obvious that Fantasyland at Disneyland was heavily influenced by Bavarian culture.

Traditional German dishes are heavy on the meats. On our trip to Munich, we dined on freshly baked soft pretzels, weisswurst (white sausage) and sweet mustard. With a pint of beer, of course. And that was for breakfast!

Themed Family  Movie Night - Disney Classic Snow White

This apple struedel we shared in Germany was just heavenly. I wanted to create a Bavarian feel for our Snow White family movie night and looked online for traditional German foods that would be appealing to our kids.

2014-08-11 12.02.04-3  Themed Family  Movie Night - Disney Classic Snow White

Main Dish – German Beef Stew

To kick off our Snow White movie night, I decided to make a Pichelsteiner. This is a German stew that contains several kinds of meats and vegetables. Perhaps that’s what Snow White was preparing for the dwarfs in the large pot? I used my Dutch oven, not quite as rustic as the dwarfs giant pot in the fireplace!

Themed Family Movie Night - Disney Classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

The traditional recipes I found contained shoulder of lamb, beef chuck, veal and pork which would be quite a heavy dish for my family, who are unaccustomed to dining on such rich meats. Fortunately Food.com had this recipe for a more simple stew.

Themed Family Movie Night - Disney Classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

The stew went together quickly. After an hour of simmering it was ready to serve. I decided to make mine earlier in the day and then set in the fridge to let the flavors blend. I heated it up quickly at dinner time and mmmm, so tasty and homey…just like Snow White would have made!

Themed Family Movie Night - Disney Classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Dessert – Apple Crumble Pie

My very pregnant belly would not cooperate with me standing at the kitchen counter, rolling dough for an authentic strudel so I made an apple crumb pie instead. I used a pre-made bottom crust (I like Pillsbury pie crusts from the refrigerator case) and then followed a basic apple pie recipe for the filling. The topping is simply oatmeal, brown sugar, walnuts and some melted butter crumbled on top.

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No complaints from my family! Let’s just say that all these rich flavors certainly made my house smell warm and cozy, just like I imagine the little cottage in the woods did while Snow White was cooking!

The Main Feature

We ended the evening by watching our DVD of Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs. If you don’t already own it, it’s now available on Blu-Ray from Amazon (affiliate link).

For more Disney movie night ideas,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Yellow | Disney Movie Night – Classics Loop:

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Free Things for Families in San Diego’s Balboa Park

Free Things for Families in San Diego's Balboa Park

Free things for families to do together is always great, right? And in a location with a 100+ year history that’s full of outdoor hiking trails, culture, playgrounds, museums, art, music and dancing? It’s the perfect place for learning and exploring…or even just a simple picnic and a nap on the grass!

Check out my top 21 things to do in San Diego’s Balboa Park that are completely free. Please stop over at TravelingMom to find out more!

School’s Out, Where Are Your Kids? The Life360 App Will Tell You!

School’s Out, Where Are Your Kids? The Life360 App Will Tell You!

I previously wrote about the Life360 and how you can keep your family close at hand with this helpful free app.

What happens during the summer if your kids are home but you have to be at work? How do you know if the kids are where they say they are going to be? What about when you’re picking them up from bestie’s house but really they are at so-and-so’s down the street? You have no idea where they are, they aren’t answering your phone calls and you’re frustrated and worried.

Life360 is a free smartphone app that helps families and close friends stay in sync. With the touch of a quick app on your phone the Life360 can show you where your family and friends are on a private map. You can stay in touch with your group via one-on-one messaging, create shared “to do” lists and get help in an emergency.

This helps you to eliminate“Where are you?” and “When will you be home?” messages completely with the Life360 app. Simply open the app to find out in an instant. You can see your family on the map, just like me on this screenshot.

life360

Family schedules fluctuate during the summer months with kids off at friends’ houses. Life360 as a must-have tool to keep you connected to your family. Do you have a chore list for the kids to complete in your absence? Create shared “to-do lists” so that you and the kids can keep on top of daily activities.

Other users have to accept the app, you can’t just automatically add them without their consent. Life360 uses GPS technology with maps and chat channels built with bank-level security (Your locations and conversations will always be private, available only to people you invite).

School’s Out, Where Are Your Kids? The Life360 App Will Tell You!

My kids will be staying with grandma during the summer days, so I’m assured that they are safe. If they we going to be out and about on their own I’d definitely add the kids to our Life360 app. You can set up Places (areas you can define inside the Life360 app) so that you are alerted when a Circle member enters or leaves a location. This way you’ll know immediately if your child leaves their restricted area and goes outside their set boundaries.

55 million families use Life360 around the world. It gives parents peace of mind, while giving kids a bit of independence. Find out more about Life360 on Facebook and to get the app yourself, see the Life360 website.

This is a sponsored post. Opinions and thoughts are my own.


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What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

Considering a trip to Disneyland but you’d have a baby on board? You might be asking yourself, “What can babies DO at Disneyland?” No need to cancel your travel plans, babies are quite welcome at the Happiest Place on Earth! There are a few things you should know first and I have the answers to the top four questions most parents ask themselves before bringing a baby to Disneyland.

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

If you are planning on bringing a baby to Disneyland

  • What can babies do at Disney?
  • Can babies go on any rides at Disneyland?
  • What should we bring with us?
  • Should we just hold off any Disney vacation plans until our baby is older?

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

We took my son at 8 months old and I can attest that we all had a wonderful Disney day. Certainly it’s not the same kind of day you’d have with just older kids but it’s still fun all the same! The most important thing is to be prepared in advance so everyone in your group knows what to expect. Know that you might have to take more frequent breaks for diaper changes and feedings but Disneyland is quite well equipped to handle all Guests, babies included!

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

He has his Attraction Guide and he’s ready to go!


What can babies do at Disneyland?

Depending up on the age of your baby, you can do a lot together at Disneyland! Many babies love the character engagement, as my little one did. Dillon laughed when he met Goofy at 8 months old, giggling and waving at him!

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

He adored Minnie Mouse (and her nose!) And when he met Pluto at 11 months old, he toddled over and Pluto jumped around on his paws to make Dillon laugh.

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

Parades are fun and colorful and can be quite entertaining for babies who can sit up and watch from their stroller. Keep in mind that some rides and attractions have loud noises that might frighten your baby (Jungle Cruise gun shot, anyone?!) Just ask a Cast Member at the entrance if you have any question that the ride or show might not be appropriate. Use ear protection for your baby if you need to.

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

He loved the silly glasses at Toy Story Midway Mania


Can babies go on any rides at Disneyland?

Babies can ride nearly everything in both Parks, give or take about 20 rides with height requirements. I recommend taking both a stroller and a front carrier as you can hold baby in a front carrier on most rides. My little ones loved it’s a small world, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. The Disney Junior: Live on Stage show is fun for little ones too. Anything relatively slow moving, musical and colorful will likely be enjoyed by babies.

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

King Arthur’s Carrousel

For rides that baby can’t go on, take advantage of Rider Switch Pass, a free service. This allows those who meet height requirements to ride while one person stays behind with the baby. Then the riders “switch” places so the person left behind can ride too. The Disney Parks Moms Panel covers the topic of Rider Switch Pass in detail.

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

Loving the shiny tires in Cars Land

While we waited for the big kids and Dad when they were on faster rides, I let Dillon free of the stroller to explore and stretch his legs. There are some play areas for young ones but babies might get trampled by preschoolers so take note before you let your baby down to crawl or explore.

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

Exploring Goofy’s Playhouse in Toontown

 


What should we bring with us for the baby?

Kids two-years old and under do not need a Park ticket, so your baby has free admission. I recommend purchasing your tickets ahead of time through Park Savers (affiliate link). You’ll save a few dollars off the cost as well as save time standing in line at the gate.

Park Savers affiliate link

If you can, bring your own stroller to the Parks. The walk to the car or hotel after a long day can be hard, especially if you are lugging a sleeping baby, diaper bag and souvenirs! The basket under the stroller will be great for storage. If you’d rather rent a stroller, Disneyland Parks do have rentals but they are suited more for toddlers than small babies. Also you cannot remove the strollers from the Parks.

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

Slowing down for a nap

Pack your diaper bag with everything you would for a normal outing including food and snacks and plenty of diapers and wipes. You can buy some things in the Parks but the price will be at a premium.

I highly recommend visiting the Disneyland Baby Care Center. There are rocking chairs, microwaves for heating jarred food, high chairs and changing tables. If you’ve run out of diapers (like we did once) you can purchase them here and clean up baby after a nasty blow out (like we did!) The cast members here are sweeter than sweet about helping you!

Out and about in the Parks, there are quiet rest areas and benches where you can sit and feed or nurse your baby. Bathrooms have ample diaper changing stations but they aren’t padded, so be sure to bring your own changing pad that you can wipe down after each use.

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

Messy? Who, Me?

If baby is eating solids, bring your own spoons and baby food jars. I also bring disposable bibs because I’d rather not have messy clothes or food-crusted bibs to tote around. To hold snacks and formula, I recommend the Munchkin formula dispenser. It holds one bottle’s worth of formula in each section but it’s also a good size for shaking out bite-sized snacks like puffs and Cheerios.

Bring a lightweight blanket to drape over your baby to protect them from the sun or to hang over the stroller to block sun from hitting their tender skin while they nap. Read more about what I pack in my Disney diaper bag.


Should we just hold off any Disney vacation plans until our baby is older?

Absolutely not! There is no reason to wait for a certain age because Disneyland is a place for all ages. Going to Disney with a baby is going to be a different experience but not one to miss! Especially when you see them in Mouse Ears for the first time or take them on their first it’s a small world boat ride!

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions


Have you traveled to Disneyland with your baby? What other tips or advice do you have to share? Please comment below, thanks!

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

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