Connect to us!!!

 photo facebook_zpsb36e5b0b.png  photo twitter_zps83612bb8.png  photo pinterest_zps47323de7.png  photo google_zpsd2b4853b.png  photo instagram_zps0dc3c120.png  photo etsy_zps1e69a31f.png

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wordless Wednesday -#1

Wordless Wednesdays, for those of you who do not know what they are, will be pictures of things that I love or like or whats been going on 'round here and they will be wordless posts! With this being the end of the month I have the newsletter for RaisedSouthern that I am working on finishing, and have no time to write, like I would like to!! Newsletter will be sent out tomorrow, sign up at! Link Up in the comments so we can check out your Wordless Wednesdays!


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Back to School Countdown! - Get the kids ready to go back to school- Post #1

Back to School Countdown! Get the kids ready to go back to school! #1


       It is that time a year again!! On one hand I am jumping for joy! On the other hand I am a little sad. I have had a busy, but for the most part, great summer with my children.  There were those moments of boredom, misbehaving, and wild and craziness and, honestly, I didn’t know if I would make it through the summer; but we all have survived, and now there are only 21 days left of summer. Let the busy-ness and rush to be ready for school begin!
     When it becomes time for the kids to go to school, there is automatically all this stuff that needs to be done to get ready. In our house we have everything from spring cleaning of rooms to buying new clothes and all the needed school supplies.  During the summer we let the kids do most of what they want -- stay up late, eat at random times including breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or even not changing out of their pajamas until maybe around 1 or 2 in the afternoon if that is what they desire. The first step for us here is getting everyone back into a routine.

     I don’t want the kids to immediately think, “awwwww mannnnnnn, summer is over,” so I try to ease them back into it. We started talking about back to school and how we were going to prepare for it about a week ago. We explained to the kids that they only had a little bit of time left before it was back to school as well as all of the things coming up. Our first step to getting them ready for school is to set a bedtime.  We do this in stages.  The first  bedtime we set is 10:00 p.m. which we follow until the first of August. At that point  they will only have 19 days left, and then their bedtime will be moved down to 9:00 p.m.  The final goal is 8:30 p.m. which is their school year bedtime.  With an 8:30 bedtime, the kids start getting ready for bed at 8:00 (showers, brush teeth, & read for 15 minutes) and then it’s lights out at 8:30. It's very important for all children to get a good night’s sleep and have a healthy breakfast every morning to help them focus and be the best they can be at school.

     In order to be prepared for the early morning rush of eating breakfast, getting ready, making sure we have everything needed and getting to the bus on time, we have to be organized. Every year before school starts we do a deep clean on the kids’ bedrooms. This helps them get organized. We make sure  we have all the necessary supplies for their desks and homework and then see what all they need  as far as  clothes and shoes. Logan and Laila hate to clean their rooms, but they know in order to get new stuff for school that this has to be done!  I really hate cleaning their rooms, too, -- I have enough to clean and do already --but  it is also a plus because once you gather all  the stuff that’s too small for them, you can go make some money by selling it on Ebay. J


So, these are the things we are focusing on this week – setting new bedtimes and getting organized.  The next step will be refreshing all of those Math, Reading, English, and Writing skills they learned last school year as  they may need some practice  with them to be ready for this new school year.  More on that later.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Walt Disney World- Savings Discovered

Disney – Savings Discovered

   When we were at Disney World in February, one of the Rainforest CafĂ© waiters told us the best times to come to Disney!  He suggested visiting Disney toward the end of January/ beginning of February and also in September right after school starts.  Of course, In my Disney-addicted head, I immediately thought, “ we’re planning a vacation for September!”
    We all love Disney World.  It’s one of our favorite vacations, and somewhere that I want to take the kids every year till they feel they are “too old” ( I’m 26 and will NEVER  be too old for Disney), and then they can go every couple of years; although I still think my husband and I will continue to go every year!

     As we returned home,  my husband and I started talking about planning a trip for September. We also decided that once a year to Disney is how we wanted to do our vacations, so of course we then decided to plan for September 2014 ( ONLY 13 months, 17 days, 15 hours, 33 minutes, and 45, 44, 43…. seconds). Being the Disney World addict that I am, of course I want to start planning our trip now  to get a general  idea of what it is going to cost us because we only have a little over a year! We like to plan ahead for trips so every vacation can be perfect so that we can do whatever we want and buy whatever we desire while we are away.  In order to do that, we need a lot of time to save!  


     In planning our Disney 2014 trip, I have already found some great information.  With the purchase of tickets and hotel accommodations for September, Disney offers a FREE DINING PLAN! That alone will save so much money!!! You will have a few options to choose from for accommodations and ticketing and that will help you determine which Disney Dining Plan is best for you as well.

-          You must stay 5 nights/ 6 days

-          You will get a Quick Service Dining Plan if you stay at a Value Resort and a stay at any of the other hotels, Moderate, Deluxe Resort, or Deluxe Villa Resort, will receive a Free Disney Dining Plan which will also give you the option to eat at some amazing restaurants that are available at Disney - even the Character Meals are included.

Now, if you aren’t familiar with the Disney Quick Service Plan or the Disney Dining Plan, check them out here- Disney Dining Plans . These are the 2013 Dining Plans but they should stay very similar.


    My family and I always go with the Disney Dining Plan because we really enjoy trying out all the restaurants and the kids love the character ones!  Without the Dining Plan, the meals for a family of 4 are always $100+. With the Dining Plan,  the cost of your meal has been covered and  a dessert is included! YUMMM!

   We usually stay at a Disney Value Resort. So far, we have stayed at Pop Century, All- Star Movies, and the Art of Animation! All of the hotels are gorgeous.  As a bonus, if you are a hotel guest on the Disney property, you can also visit all of the other hotels, take a look around  and see  what they all have to offer!
     With the Disney Dining Plan only being available at the Moderate, Deluxe Resorts, and Deluxe Villa Resorts, that is what we will be choosing for our vacation in September 2014; however, I will quote the prices for both the Value Resorts and the Moderate Resorts.

    Our last vacation for a week at the Disney Art of Animation Hotel with 5 people ( my mother went with us) cost $4500.00 which is really not bad at all given that it included the  tickets, the hotel, and the food.  This ended up being $120 per person per day that we were there and included everything that we needed.  When I began checking the prices for what it would potentially cost us in September 2014, I was astonished at the difference.
     To go during the second week  in September for 7 days and 6 nights, staying at the All-Star Movies Resort, 7-day tickets with Waterpark and More tickets, and Quick Service Dining included for a family of 4 would cost $2232.50. That is an amazing deal!!!! You could lower that even more if you wanted to drop your tickets down to less days (be careful of the special offer, make sure you stay within their limits). I highly suggest this Disney Vacation package. These really are probably the cheapest Disney rates you will find. 

   On our next  vacation we really want to stay at the beautiful Polynesian Resort. It has an amazing view of the Magic Kingdom and also of the fireworks each and every night!  Now if it were a traditional Disney trip, the above vacation package with food included would more  likely be about $4000+. In one respect, of course, I want to save money. But in another, I look at it as we could spend what we normally would yet get to stay at a hotel we normally would not be able to afford and still save about $2000+. This will definitely be a topic to discuss with my husband because it is so important to us to make everlasting memories for our family.  We also will talk about staying at other hotels, but it’s never really in our budget.  Again, this would be one way we  could enjoy a hotel we wouldn’t normally be able to stay at and still pay less than we did on our previous vacation.
     There are many other ways of going on a Disney Vacation and saving lots of money.  You just have to take the time to look at all the options available to you. There are so many extra activities availab
le at Disney also. Just plan it out and plan what is best for you and your family! I will definitely keep everyone updated on how the trip planning goes. We have several other vacations we’re planning on between now and then; however, as I said, the Disney planning and countdown have begun!
     Also, if you have any questions concerning Disney, where to stay, what to eat, what to do… feel free to ask! If I don’t know the answer, I will know where to find it or who to ask! You’re never too old for Disney, and, personally, I never get tired of seeing the smiles on my children’s faces and the sparkle in their eyes! Just wait, you will see it the moment they see their favorite character or the Magic Kingdom down at the end of Main Street.

Walt Disney World – we will see you real soon!!


Friday, July 26, 2013

Summer Activities that are In the Budget!

End of Summer Activities- In the Budget

     The movies for a family of four will cost you, your first born, an arm, and leg. Everyone enjoys the movies and of course popcorn is needed , a drink, and at least one thing of candy (cause EVERYONE is sharing) that’s going to run you about $60+  for a family fun activity. That’s a little pricey, especially if you’re a family on a budget. 
****Check your local movie theaters for updated options****

     During the Summer the kids get bored and you are constantly looking for things y’all can do as a family and not spend a fortune because  you did something over the weekend and have something planned again for the upcoming weekend.  Around our town there is a lot of things to do that are reasonably priced and free.  At our local theater they have Free movies all Summer long for the kids. At this particular theater you do get free movies but you have to pay regular price for concession and even though that is cheaper it still can put a damper on the budget.  Carmike Cinemas is offering  $4 Movies that come with individual popcorn, drink, and fruit snacks for everyone. For a family of 4 it turns out to be $16 and you receive all the necessities beginning at 10:00a.m. on the designated day.  My children look forward to this every week and frankly it is something very special and works within the budget! Who can complain about that?

Take a look at the website and see what theater is available in your area! There are still 3 to 4 weeks left for movies! Ours  are every Thursday! This week we saw Happy Feet 2!

Bowling is also a great activity to enjoy during the Summer. Most cities and towns have a bowling program where your kids can get 2 games each free. Bowling is also another activity that can get pretty pricey with a family of 4. Our local bowling alley, required us to sign up online and each week I receive a coupon for the week for my children to go bowling. We can go daily if we wanted. The bowling alley also gives you the opportunity to pay 24.95$ and you can add up to 5 adults that will also be given two games daily as well.
Check out your local bowling alleys to see what they have available in your area.

     When I was a child there was nothing more exciting  than going to the public library. To a child this is such a wonderland world of endless possibilities. Here you can just hand out with all the kids let them pick out some special books and sit down and enjoy the time together. Our Library has a huge children's area. We allow the kids to pick out 8 books a piece. My son chooses a few chapter books, and then its anything from Garfield Comics, to Lego building books, all the way to scientific encyclopedias. The kids really enjoy it because they think they are getting “new” books each week! I actually enjoy it also because were not spending money on books that they will read once or twice and then just sit on their shelves.  Again, saving money is important so we can do other things that actually will cost money.

Another fun inexpensive thing to do with children is to go to museums. Here in our town we have several museums, some that cost and some that do not. On of my favorite that I went to many times as a child was the Naval Aviation Museum. At this museum the kids get to look at all the planes and climb in a few and learn all about them. Our kids really enjoy it and its Free. We also have a Exploreum which is a Science museum for the kids. Our kids love it but it is a little expensive. That is a museum that is a special occasion type of visit. There is a new museum in Pensacola, ( it’s a neighboring town, we live right on the AL/FL state line) It is a  Children's Museum as well called Pensacola Mess Hall. It is not as expensive at all. It is only $8 per person which would be fun for a Family Activity within budget and then you could always picnic in the area. I think that is going to be a activity that gets added to our list of to do’s before Summer is out.

These are just some fun inexpensive and some are free activities you can do with your children before Summer is over. Summer is such a great (sometimes, makes you want to pull your hair out) but a great time to spend with the kids and do some fun activities. There is no schedule to abide by, no alarm clocks and books. I really enjoy the relaxation of the Summer. However, school time is coming around, and the countdown has begun!
     Take some time and enjoy one of these activities with your children. It’s time you can enjoy with them and it is absolutely time they will enjoy! Have a Great rest of the Summer!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Key Lime Strawberry Cupcakes-

Key Lime Strawberry Cupcakes!


     Key Lime Pie is one of my Summer favorites, and one of the only ways I’ve been enjoying it is through Yoplait Yogurt! Lately it has been doing nothing but raining and cloudy. Its just the time of year it is. Here on the coast, it gets so hot we usually have morning storms and afternoon storms which keep us completely cloudy. The kids and I had had enough of the Rain so we decided to do some baking! My husband and son (my picky eaters) LOVE when I bake however I usually have to bake them something special! I don’t mind, I love them! So my son and I made plain jane cupcakes! No Icing! – the way they like em! – My daughter and I are picky eaters too, but we are a little more adventurous in our eating.  I had strawberry cake mix and I bought one of the new flavor mixes of icing that you can mix your own flavor. I bought Key Lime! ( & I didn’t care that I was the only one that ate Key Lime)


I decided to do a little twist and make the Strawberry cupcakes with the Key Lime Frosting.. Strawberry goes with everything, Right?  My daughter was beyond excited! She loves to bake just as much as I do. We mixed everything up the way the recipes call for and baked and iced the cupcakes! I must say these were absolutely PERFECT!!! I prefer to make mini cupcakes because for one I can have 2 and feel like I JUST HAD TWO CUPCAKES!! WHOOOO HOOOOO and because I can have 2 and not really have two. Portions are easier to control this way.


     We also took and added the cupcakes after being iced to the freezer for the icing to set. I accidental left them in there for a little longer then I wanted but it turned out great! The frosting wasn’t frozen but at a consistency of frozen yogurt and the cake cold so it made for a nice little treat! It would be great for a summer brunch or summer afternoon snack! If your beautiful princess daughter is having a tea party the mini cupcakes would be a great treat for the girls and they are sure to love them.
                                   Not a great pic.. but didn't realize when I took it... Sorry Y'all

What You Need:
     -Strawberry Cake Mix ( We used Pillsbury)
     - Duncan Hines Frosting Creations – Frosting & Flavor Packet
     - & Of course whatever the cake mix you purchased requires (eggs, oil,etc)
* Mix and Bake the cupcakes as described on box
* Mix up the Frosting and ice the cupcakes as you prefer ( some of us like it fancy)

     If you are wanting to have Strawberry Key Lime Cupcake Treats – add to the freezer for about 15 minutes. The icing will be a little frozen but not icy.
     Perhaps Key Lime is not your thing you can also add chocolate chips to the batter and mix up regular vanilla icing in a neon green and make watermelon cupcakes! Those are cute too! You could switch to yellow or white cake mix if you prefer instead of the strawberry you would just need to add food coloring to get the correct color of red.

Hope you all ENJOY!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

S'mores Brownies - 2-in-1 Dessert

S'mores Brownies

     Just the word S'mores makes me want to go light a campfire in this awful 93 degree weather, just to have that ooey gooey yummyness! Add the word brownie to a S'more and I'm close to dessesrt heaven! I love Brownies just as much... Frankly I have a sweet tooth and love most sweets, and all sweets that are chocolate!
     I saw S'mores Brownies flash across my Pinterest feed, and I had the ingredients in the cabinet! I made them with my nieces Friday afternoon to give them something to do. We really enjoyed baking around here, so I figured lets make some for the weekend!

-Brownie mix
- Graham Crackers
- Marshmallows ( the little ones)

- Preheat oven and mix brownie mix as directed from box. Pour half of the batter into the 9x13.
     -Line the top of the mix with Whole Graham Crackers. Just sit the Graham Crackers on top of the batter that is already in the pan.
     -Add Marshmallows to the top to cover
     - Pour the remaining batter on the top!
     - Cook the Brownies as directed on the box!

THEN, enjoy those scrumptious Brownies!!! - The kids really enjoyed them and I must say they hit the spot! This is one our our favorite Deserts!

Friday, July 12, 2013

I love LOVE- Wedding Checklist

     Love can be the best thing in the world, or the most crushing! I particularly love LOVE. I love everything about it, the way it gives you butterflies, the way you feel all day and nothing can bring you down, the feeling that you would do anything to be there for that person or purpose, to make the person smile, and just brighten up their day! Love can be with anyone or anything. We love our family, friends, pets, particular products, foods, etc.  Everyone shows and has their own experiences with Love. To me, Love is the most important thing in the world. It makes you feel like there is a purpose. Now it can be debated, I'm sure, that love shouldn't be what fulfills you, but that's not where this blog is headed! Love is absolutely not easy, its a lot of work, and anyone married for any length of time can tell you that. However, to me it is so fulfilling.
     I couldn't wait when my cousin told me he was going to be asking his girlfriend to marry him! I had just met her when I was up for his graduation. I thought they were great together and I even thought, "wow, she may be the one." My cousin & I are close. Even though we both have siblings, we grew up together and spent more time together as children. My Aunt was the best. I always went on vacation with them and spent the night at her house. When I was a teenager she helped me through a tough time, where I did feel alone and not know what I was going to do. So basically they are like my second family. We live thousands of miles apart which I hate, but now that we are grown we have made more of effort to stay in contact even if its just an email or a quick convo through SnapChat.

     He asked her to marry him on her birthday and used her grandmas ring. I thought that alone was beautiful and so special. Her ring is priceless and the fact that she didn't want a million dollar diamond ring, says a lot about her. Most girls now a days wouldn't want anything less. Plus, there will be plenty of time for diamonds because they are choosing to spend their life together. I was so excited and of course wanted details right then, Date, theme, so on.. lol.. Anytime you decide to have a wedding or a special party or event you want to do all the bigger details so you can start planning all the little things. I of course didn't directly talk to Lexy about it just asked my cousin, Anthony because I didn't really know Lexy, and some women are immediate bridezillas ( Have you seen that show? OMG, its one of those shows you look at these women and think, "this is suppose to be the happiest time of your life, CHILL OUT!") but Lexy was not that way, she was actually the total opposite!
     She contacted me and asked me if I would help her with planning because she is on my Pinterest and can tell we have a lot of similar interest and would like some ideas. I of course said yes! Anyway I could help with planning out a magical day such as a Wedding, I was in! (You know I love to plan, maybe to the point of OCD about it.) So I created a Pinterest board, specifically for them and started adding ideas. However the first thing that was needed was a Checklist of what should be done and when and how long before the wedding, just to get her started. I'm sure she will find her own thing of what works for her but I figured why not include this in my blog for all the future brides and current brides to be that maybe need just a little boost! So I went on the search of course starting with Pinterest and this is what I found....

     There was no direct link to who or what website posted this, but I thought it was perfect because it starts with 12-16 Months. Most checklists that I found start at only 12 months. I think this will give brides an awesome idea of what needs to be done and when that way it is not so overwhelming!

     Ironically, on Valentines Day this year my husband brought me a new wedding set for us to renew our vows. We've talked about it and talked about it because we did not have a actual wedding. So we will be renewing our vows when we have been married for 10 years which will be in 2015! We are fixing to celebrate our 8 year wedding anniversary and we have been together for 11 years. I think that is the perfect time to renew our love in front of family and friends and celebrating our love and how strong it is! I will absolutely be using this checklist as well!!