Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pillsbury's Ham and Cheese Crescent Roll-Ups

Last night I was strapped for time and needed to get dinner on the table quick.  I had some Pillsbury crescent rolls in the fridge and thought I'd check their website for recipes that I might be able to use.  Right away I found the Ham and Cheese Crescent Roll-Ups.  They only required 3 ingredients (which I had) and about 15-20 minutes.  It was super simple to make and my family loved them.  It was an instant favorite and my kids even asked if I could make it again!  This will definitely be a regular dinner on our table. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Best Disney World Resort Hotels

The affordability and convenience of staying at a Disney World Resort Hotel is wonderful but deciding which one to to choose can be difficult.  I wanted to make sure we made an educated decision.  So, I spoke with family and friends who had recently stayed at Resort Hotels, I searched message boards and read tons of reviews.  And after all that, these are my top choices:

  • Pros: very affordable, bus transportation is not shared with other resorts, newest feel of the value resort, easy walk to main building, large character statues kids love
  • Cons: far from Magic Kingdom, small rooms (approx. 260 sq ft)
  • Pros: affordable, beautiful scenery, boat trip to Downtown Disney, large rooms (approx. 314 sq ft), sit down dinner services, comes with small refrigerator at no extra cost
  • Cons: lots of walking, complicated bus transportation
  • Pros: Chef Mickey onsite and other great dining options, monorail station inside resort, walking distance to Magic Kingdom, less walking within resort, larger rooms (approx. 436 sq ft)
  • Cons: more expensive, atmosphere is not so kid friendly 
  • Pros: most desirable pools in Disney World Resort (including Stormalong Bay), full kitchen, lots of space (1 bdrm villa - approx. 726 sq ft), walking distance or boat ride to Epcot, close to the Boardwalk, boat ride to Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Cons: not on monorail system, dated decor

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Quick Tip: Free Disney Customized Maps

While planning our families Disney World vacation I discovered that you can create your very own Customized Disney World Maps for your family.  Just select the attractions and rides your family is most interested in at each park and it's highlighted on your map.  You have to option to print it out on your computer or order them to be delivered to your home for FREE! 

We just received ours in the mail yesterday and they are awesome.  The maps are printed on thick, durable paper and they have your name on them.  They also provided suggested places to visit and stickers to add locations to your maps.  My kids were so excited.  They were pointing out were we they want to go and how to get there.  This is especially great because my oldest son just studied maps in school.  So visit the Walt Disney World website to take advantage of your free customized maps of the most magical place in the world.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Best Time to Visit Disney World

Disney World is a magical place no matter when you go.  However, there are a few factors to consider when planning your Disney World Vacation:  Price, Weather, Crowds and if you have kids, School Schedules.  Here is the information that helped me and maybe it will help you decide what time of year is best for your family to go to Disney World: 

Price - The Disney World Resort Hotels run on seasonal prices.  Disney World has five designated seasons:  Value, Regular, Summer, Peak and Holiday Seasons.  Peak Season is on the high end, the least expensive is the Value Season and the Holiday Seasons are usually the busiest and most expensive times to go.  The least expensive times of the week to go are Sunday through Thursday.  However, with the help of Disney World's Special Offers, prices may not be a worry.    
    1. Weather - Since Disney World is in Orlando, Florida it is hot there for most of the year.  So, if you are traveling with young children or senior citizens, cooler weather may be a a priority for you.  For monthly temperature averages click here.  If you are thinking about a Disney World vacation during hurricane season, be sure the read their Hurricane Policy before booking.
    2. Crowds - Long lines and crowded parks may not be your thing.  There are certain times of the year that are less intimidating than others.  Intercot is a website about Disney World and they have a great list of dates to help you decide When To Visit Disney World.  (Friends of mine have suggested the best times to go are in October and Superbowl weekend for cooler weather and shorter lines.)
    3. School Schedules- Most parents with school-aged children decide to wait until school is out for spring break and summer before heading to Disney World.  However, spring break has peak season prices and it's probably the busiest time of the year.  And summers are very hot and humid in Orlando.  Consider choosing an early spring week that your children's school has a day or two day when it is closed.  This way they only miss 3 days of school instead of 5.
Whenever you decide to go, be sure to take sunscreen and lots of water.  You'll be outside a lot and walking tons.  Happy planning and safe travels!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Disney World Savings

If you are like I was, you might think you a Disney vacation cannot fit in your budget this year.  However, Walt Disney World Resort currently has a few "Special Offers" that your family may be able to take advantage of this year.  Check out these special offers and see which one suits your family best.  You will find that a family vacation at a Disney World Resort Hotel may be more affordable than you thought.

Disney World's 2011 Special Offers
  • Tickets for Members of the U.S. Military - "Walt Disney World Resort is saluting U.S. military personnel by offering 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets for just $138 each, now through September 28, 2011."
After checking out all of these offers, my husband and I realized we are able to take our family of five to Disney World this year.  With the help of one of their special offers we can afford to stay in a Disney World Resort Hotel and get a Disney Dining Plan. It’s a dream come true for all of us and we can't wait!  

I have done plenty of research and plan to do more for our vacation.  So, keep an eye out for upcoming Disney World posts to help you plan your very own Disney Vacation.  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Simple Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs

For some reason it seemed like my kids were the only ones that didn't like the spaghetti and meat sauce dinner that I grew up with.  I tried to to change it without meat and a different kind of sauce but, they still didn't like it. 

Well, one day I decided I was in the mood for some spaghetti and meatballs.  So, I made it for dinner expecting my kids to hate it and refuse to eat it.  However, to my surprise they loved it!  They even ask me to make it "every day" but, I'll stick to once every week or so.  So here's my simple recipe for spaghetti and homemade meatballs:

  • ground chuck hamburger meat
  • 1 egg
  • Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • Italian seasoning
  • garlic salt
  • pepper
  • Prego Traditional Italian Sauce
  • spaghetti (cooked and drained)
  1. Put hamburger and egg into a bowl.  Fold the egg into the hamburger with your hands.
  2. Add bread crumbs and spices to taste and mix into meat.
  3. Form equally sized meatballs with hands by rolling gently.  Then put aside on a sheet of wax paper.  Spray deep non-stick frying pan with non-stick spray and add desired amount of meatballs.  *Keep extras on wax paper for freezing.
  4. Cook on medium to medium-high heat uncovered.  Be sure to turn frequently to cook thoroughly.
  5. Once meatballs are cooked, add Prego sauce.  Lower heat to low/medium-low and continue to cook for 10 more minutes.
  6. Pour meatballs and Prego sauce over spaghetti and serve. 
  • I like to serve it with garlic bread and green beans. 
  • Do not press firmly when making the meatballs or they will not cook evenly.
  • Flash freeze extra meatballs on wax paper lined cookie sheet for 10 minutes.  Transfer to freezer bags to enjoy this meal again with less work.  Just thaw in the refrigerator the night before cooking.
Simple Recipes from Prego

Monday, February 7, 2011

Quick Tip: Preserving Graphic T-Shirts
Preserving graphic t-shirts is essential in my house.  I have two young boys close in age.  So, when my oldest son outgrows his favorite t-shirts I know they are in good shape for his little brother to use next.  The key to preserving images on graphic t-shirts is:  wash and dry them inside-out.  Most people know this and may have read it on the label but, most people don't do it.  It really does work.  It will help prevent the images from cracking or peeling.  So, next time you do laundry, take the time to turn all your graphic t-shirts inside-out and you will be extending the life of your or your child's favorite tee. 

Quick Tip: Sending Hubby to the Store

If you are like most busy women nowadays, you probably have a dry-erase board somewhere in your kitchen.  Mine is on the fridge with a running list of groceries our family needs.  This list is very helpful when asking my husband to pick up some things while he's out.  One day my husband came up with a great idea.  Instead of rewriting the list on paper, he took a picture of the dry-erase board grocery list with his phone.  Genius!  It saves time and he is sure to get everything we need. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why I Got Rid of the Changing Table
So, I was a bit suspicious that 22 month old daughter might be climbing on her changing table during nap/bedtimes because she had turned on the light in her room once during nap and she can't reach the light switch without being on top of something.  But, she could easily climb on top of the trashcan (right under the light switch and next to the changing table) to turn on her light too.  Well, today, I now know for sure how she’s doing it. 

This afternoon I put my daughter down for a nap and soon after I could hear her playing around in her room.  I just let her go and figured that she would eventually fall asleep on her own (like usual).  Well, I soon heard a *THUD* and then screaming.  I ran to her room