New Disney Gourmet Popcorn

Recently, Disney came out with a new line of gourmet popcorn, which extended passed their standard fare of caramel, kettle corn, butter toffee and confetti.  Upon my recent trip to Disneyland, I stumbled across the huge wall of flavors which included these new flavors:

Siracha Kettle Corn
Parmesan Garlic
Maple Bacon

Although I wanted to try them all, I had to restrain myself and purchased CHURRO and MAPLE BACON.  (I was really tempted to get TRUFFLE, but might try that the next time.)

So I purchased the MAPLE BACON popcorn.  I opened the package and had to re-confirm that there were no little flakes of bacon inside.  No bacon bits.  Boo.  It has a smoky, sweet and salty flavor.  I was expecting it to taste like bacon salt, but no.  I am not sure how they created the bacon flavor, but that was a miss.  The maple flavor was there, but was overpowered by the odd smoky bacon flavor.  I’d pass on this one.

I also purchased the CHURRO popcorn was a bit of a surprise to me.  I love churros and was expecting lots of cinnamon.  This didn’t have too much cinnamon, but a nice toasted balance of cinnamon and sugar.  It was pretty good, not great.  I would eat this over the MAPLE BACON for sure.

Then, I had to also get the classic… CARAMEL.  Ok, of the three, this was by far my favorite.  You can’t go wrong with the classics!!

NOTE #1: The churro popcorn was sold out at the retail stores inside of Disneyland.  In addition, they offer a smaller selection and variety inside the park.  Your best bet would be to go to Downtown Disney to the World of Disney Store and visit the food section inside the retail store– NOT the Marcelines Confectionery candy store.

NOTE #2:  Not all the popcorn are priced the same.  The prices vary from $5.99 to $6.99. The TRUFFLE popcorn was priced at $6.99 as with most of the ones with nuts.  Most of the others were priced at $5.99, so be sure to turn the product around to see the price tag.

I love the fact that Disney comes out with these new food creations.  These were perfect items to bring back as gifts for family and friends!

Disney Gourmet Popcorn
New Disney Gourmet Popcorn

Posted 7/25/16






School Supplies for $7.44?

I LOVE finding good deals.  It’s almost like a challenge that I am always up for and had to share with you all.  If you have kids, you know that back-to-school shopping can be pricey!  I like to stock up on hot deals and store them away to use throughout the year or for future back-to-school needs.  Although I didn’t get everything on my school list, I wanted to showcase some of the hot ticket items that our out there now.  For this trip, I purchase ALL OF THE ITEMS THAT YOU SEE here in this photo for $7.44!!!  That is a combined savings of $40.48!  Mind you, I live in CA and the sales tax here where I live is 8.75%.  I went to Office Max and Staples who are offering some awesome deals this week.

Check it out!  Inventory is limited, so be sure to make this a priority.

Office Depot / Office Max
$.01 Office Depot brand #2 pencils, 12/pack, limit 3 (with $5 minimum purchase)
$.01 Slider pencil box – limit 3 (with $5 minimum purchase)
$.01 Office Depot brand mini staples – limit 3 (with $5 minimum purchase)
$.25 Crayola Crayons, 24 pack – limit 3
$.25 Bic Brite liner highlighter, 5 pack – limit 3
$4.00 Elmer’s giant glue stick (Ok, this was just $1 off, but needed items to fulfill my $5 minimum and this was on my school list.)

Office Depot ad for Back-to-School Ad for 7/10/16 - 7/16/16
Office Depot door buster front page ad for Back-to-School Ad for 7/10/16 – 7/16/16

$.25 Staples pink pencil caps, 12/pack – limit 5

Staples door buster front page ad for Back-to-School Ad for 7/10/16 – 7/16/16

There are a handful more deals out there depending on what you need, but this is a good showcase of what you can get.  Check out your site for the full add or pick-up an ad when you go to the store.  It pays to shop around!  Keep in mind that quantities are limited!!!

Target will also usually offer a pretty good back-to-school sale towards the end of summer.  So you should wait for those deals if you don’t get them at the Office Depot / Staples and aren’t in a rush.

Happy shopping!

Posted on 7/10/16.




Walmart Beauty Box Subscription

If you have pondered over the idea of joining a monthly retail subscription, consider the Walmart Beauty Box.  Yes, Walmart.  They have a subscription that gets shipped out on a quarterly basis.  The items that come shipped to you are practical cosmetic or toiletry items that you could use or gift to someone else.  I have been a member for a little over a year now.  For $5 each quarter/season, this INCLUDES shipping which makes this a deal!  That’s only $20 a year.  In the past, I have received a full-sized lipstick from a notable drugstore brand line, a sample of face cream that I have seen retail for $10 and usually a full-sized sample of something… in addition to foil pack samples, travel size items and even coupons.  They feature a good mix of new and existing products with no strings attached.

The photo above shows a sample of my summer 2016 Walmart Beauty Box.  In this package, I received a total of 7 products– including 1 full-sized deodorant stick.  Pretty nice!  I love how I can take some of these items with my when I travel.

The packaging below is how the samples are sent to you in this box.  You will also receive an email confirmation letting you know that the item has shipped.

Walmart Beauty Box

Here is the link:

Posted on 7/5/16



Lego Minifigure Organizer & Display Case

My son is obsessed with all things Lego, especially the Lego Minifigures.  It’s been a challenge to try to organize them.  I have purchased and tried it all!  How do I keep the pieces and accessories together?  Group them together as a collection?  Display them so that he can appreciate it?  Create less clutter?  I searched all over and finally came up with a great find!

I found this great case on eBay.  What’s nice about this is that you can fit about 99 Lego Minifigures on this rack.  You do have to alternate a few of the arms forward and backwards so that they fit.  You can barely notice.  The rack does not have a backing as it rests against the wall. It’s light enough to hang on your wall with a few nails or screws.  So I don’t anticipate that this will fall off the wall, even with it filled as it is still pretty light.  I found this to be a good buy, especially if it frees up storage space and looks this cool!  My son loves this as he can’t wait to show this off to his friends.

Click here for the link to the eBay store where I purchased this unit.

Here are a few more views of the case so that you can see if this might work for you.  Happy organizing!


I love the fact that each row has  a Lego bump or stud (as they call it) on it so that you can easily place each Minifigure so that it doesn’t pop off.


Here is a view of one of his sets.  It makes it really easy to see which character he has.  In addition, I can easy keep each accessory attached to the Minifigure without placing this in another case.


This worked for me!  Do you have any Lego organizing tips that work for you?

Posted on 6/27/16

Chores for Kids = Practical Skills for Life & Professional Success

I came across a really insightful parenting article that made me pause and really think.  This makes a lot of sense.  Bottom line, chores for kids are more important that you think!  I am sure that your kids will have a hard time processing this, but someday they may appreciate it in retrospect.  In this article it says,

Research shows that doing chores as a child is a predictor of professional success. If we don’t teach children that life requires a willingness to do crummy stuff, we are not giving them the tools it takes to thrive,” says Julie Lythcott-Haims, the author of How to Raise an Adult, who, as Stanford University’s dean of freshmen, started noticing that her incoming students were lacking in practical skills. She discovered that parents—like her—who failed to teach their kids to pitch in were partly to blame.”

There are some other best practices along with helpful tips and tricks.  You can find the original article here in the Real Simple April 2016 magazine.  Here is a full version which also includes tips for younger kids: realsimple-april2016

Artwork extracted from the Real Simple article, by Gwen Keraval

Posted 6/24/16

Hello Kitty Sushi Promo

Calling all Hello Kitty fans!

Head over to your nearest Safeway grocery store where AFC has partnered with Hello Kitty for this special promotion.  If your Safeway has an in-house sushi counter, you can take advantage of grabbing a few of these cute soy sauce packets and chopsticks.

TIP: If you are able to get a hold of a freshly made roll that they set out, it makes a huge difference in flavor.  Sometimes you can ask them as it doesn’t hurt!

Hello Kitty Sushi 3

See?  Freshly made California roll sushi.  The avocados are NOT brown and they don’t look mushy either.  Yum.

Hello Kitty Sushi 2

Posted 6/20/16


Marvel Spider-Man K-Cup Daily Bugle Breakfast Blend Coffee

Look-out! Here’s comes the Spider-Man… k-cup coffee!  Want to rev up your “spidey senses” in the morning?  Check out this novel new k-cup offering which includes a few Marvel characters including: Spider-Man Daily Bugle breakfast blend, Hulk espresso dark roast, as well as Captain America hazelnut medium roast.  The 10-count pack is going for roughly the $6.00 mark at Walmart.  Such a fun idea to add to your Keurig for an action-packed morning.Marvel k-cup coffee

I purchased the Spider-Man blend to see what this was all about.  The packaging is super-duper cute.

Spider-Man Coffee K-Cups

Might be a cute idea small gift idea to pair with other Marvel character items.  The pods itself outside of the box aren’t that super attractive.  I was hoping to see Spider-Man’s face, but no.  Just the Marvel logo and k-cup blend name.

Spider-Man K-Cup

Ok, now for the taste test.  My first thought was that this is a breakfast blend.  It doesn’t have a lot of acidity and is very easy to drink.  Then, I noticed that the blend seems a bit more like a light-medium blend vs. a true medium blend.  I personally was hoping for something a little bit stronger, but could probably adjust on my side and use 6 vs. 8 ounces of water in my Keurig.

OH!  If you have a non-coffee drinker or have kids, then I also saw that they have a hot chocolate version.  Personally, I am a fan of drinks made with REAL sugar vs. artificial sugar that are commonly found in k-cups.  However, if you don’t mind, then this looks like it could be a good substitute for you to try.  Marvel Avengers Hot Chocolate Single Serve Cups

Marvel Cocoa

Posted 6/10/16


Crayola Crayon Birthday Party

Who doesn’t love a fresh new box of Crayola crayons?!

For my son’s second birthday party, I thought that it would be fun for him to enjoy a colorful themed Crayola crayon themed birthday party!  Here is what I did to make it come together and included a few photos, links and a download for you to be able to replicate for your little one.

Watermark Template Portrait CRAYOLA

For starters, I tried to focus on four colors to use as the party color theme: blue, red, green and yellow.  Those were pretty easy colors to find and really POP.  I also had tons of matching colored balloons hanging and tape throughout the house.

For the cake table set-up, I personalized my son’s name onto banners which I made.  I also used my Cricut and simply cut out generic HAPPY BIRTHDAY pieces so that I could carefully tape onto the walls.

Next, I went to Toys R Us and purchased these cute colorful crayon banks which stand about 43″ tall.  I was able to use these on the main table as well as throughout the house.  Talk about a focal point!  Here is the link to the crayon banks.  I was lucky enough to scour a few of the stores in my area.  Be sure to check carefully for any cracks or defects.

Lastly, I was able to use a tiered cake stand to hold the colorful cupcakes.


For the food, I wanted to keep with the colorful theme.  I tried to offer both sweets and healthier options for our guests.  It was really hard since these party colors just scream candy!  🙂


Here I made faux crayons.  Yes, they are edible!!  They are pretzels which I cut down to size, dipped each end (not the whole thing) in Wilton candy melts and then wrapped them in faux crayon wrappers and secure with tape.

I created my own wrapper which I am happy to share for your own personal use.  Just click here for my chocolate crayon wrapper template: Crayola Pretzels template  I would suggest printing the template out on colored paper since the colors will look richer and won’t bleed onto the food nor will it crack if you are using a laser printer.  Plus, colored paper is usually a tad thicker, but you will NOT want to use cardstock.   That would be too thick.


I managed to incorporate some really colorful, kid-friendly fresh fruits: green and purple grapes, bananas along with strawberries!  Yum.  And yes, there are some colored mini-M&m’s that I added as well to the mix.


I also found these oversized carnival type lollipops.  These were more for decor than anything else.  I found these at Smart & Final, but also have seen them at the Dollar Tree.  I also found a box of crayon candy and used a few for decor.


Candied popcorn which I made myself.  This took a bit of time as I had to make three separate batches to achieve this look: green, yellow and red.  First, I used mushroom popcorn for this recipe as I like how they look vs. the butterfly ones that you get at the store.  I love to keep these on hand as they look so pretty and ideal for making chocolate popcorn as well.  I purchase my popcorn from Just Poppin and just toss the kernels in an air popper.  Voila.  Commercial looking popcorn!  As for the recipe for candy popcorn, that was super easy as it’s Jell-O based.  Here is the recipe: JELLO-O Rainbow Popcorn For easier cleaning, I spread the coated popcorn onto parchment paper vs. a baking pan.

Slide4 (2)

For this party, I decided to make my own cupcakes.  Not sure that I would do that again since I think that for the cost and time, it probably would have been cheaper to go to grocery store and purchase plain ones that I could dress up myself.  In any case, I purchased these Crayola cake toppers on eBay and even found Crayon candles.  Yes!  They are actual crayon candles!!  Then I got a few small tubes of icing down the baked good aisle and drizzled them on top so they looked like scribbles.


Who doesn’t love a pinata?  I went to Etsy and had this custom made just for our party.  Super cute!!

Slide2 (2)


I purchased a few green gable boxes and then filled them with various crayon theme candies and items.  For the outside of the box, I used my Cricut to die-cut each faux crayon box using the Simply Charmed cartridge by Cricut.  I also personalized each box with the child’s name on a crayon at the top.



I personally designed the invite so that it would look like the outside of a Crayola box.  I thought that it turned out pretty cute and tried to incorporate fonts that looked the part.Crayola Invite

Hope that you enjoyed getting inspired by my Crayola themed birthday party.

Posted: 6/9/16



Disney Star Wars Tsum Tsum Graduation Lei Gift (or Graduation Lei-a)!

My littlest is graduating from kindergarten this year.  I am so proud, yet so sad.  It’s a milestone in my books.  As I prepare mentally for his upcoming last day of kindergarten, I am also reminded that he will be participating in a formal graduation ceremony.  What should I get for him to make him feel extra special?  He loves Star Wars and he loves Disney Tsum Tsum toys.  Bingo.  I will make him a Tsum Tsum graduation lei.  Here’s how I made this.

Graduation Lei 1

– clear cellophane wrap (Party City has a good supply)
– scissors
– curling ribbon
– Tsum Tsum toys (at least 7 of the mini plush ones)
– regular clear tape

Graduation Lei 2

Start by collecting all of the supplies above.   You will need to cut about 5.5 feet of cellophane wrap.  From that piece, fold it horizontally and cut it in half so you have two super long pieces.  You will only need to use one, but keep the other one just in case– so save it!  Lay one of the pieces flat on a long enough clean surface.

Graduation Lei 3

You will need at least 7 Tsum Tsums.  I selected the Star Wars collection of Tsum Tsums for this project and gift.  Since I am making this for my little guy, his torso isn’t too long so I won’t need that much as it won’t need to be too long.  I would say you would need about 7-9 Tsum Tsums for a younger elementary school aged child.  More if you have an adult.  Cut of all the tags off the Tsum Tsums and gently tape the fabric tags with a little tape under their bellies.  Once you have prepped each one, line them up on the cellophane wrap closest to the rougher edge, leaving about 4-5 finger widths in-between.  Think hot dog links.

Graduation Lei 4

Once lined up, add a little more tape to the edge of the cellophane wrap to the Tsum Tsums.  Next, you are ready to roll.  Think sushi roll.  You will want to CAREFULLY roll the Tsum Tsums over one-by-one.  Slow motion required.  Keep a somewhat firm roll, but not too tight.  If the cellophane wrap tears, just add tape!

Graduation Lei 5

Next, you will want to cut about 1.5 feet of curling tape for each break.  (See photo.)  Place these under each break so that you can start tying each section which encases a Tsum Tsums.  Do not make this too loose or too tight.  Every section should be the same.  After you are done tying each section, start curling your ribbon!  You should slowly see the lei transforming.  Feel free to move around gently and adjust the Tsum Tsums within each break.  You want them to be consistent.

Graduation Lei 6

Finally, connect the two ends with more curling ribbon and you just need to tie them together to complete the loop.


I had his older brother try this on for kicks and think that this will be a perfect fit for my 5 year old son!  He wasn’t too happy in this photo since this wasn’t a gift for him.  🙁  I may make one for him, too!  Shhh!!  I probably could have added 1 or 2 more, but think that this should work for my little guy.  I can’t wait to see the look on his little face.  I will try to post an updated photo of my little guy with his gift at the very end of this month.

May the graduation force be with you!

Posted 5/11/16