Easy Crockpot Potato Soup

*This post may contain affiliate links. That means I may receive a small commission if you purchase something off my link at no extra charge to you.

It’s been much cooler here finally, which has had me wanting all the fall comfort foods. Not only are so many fall and winter comfort foods easy, so many are crockpot friendly which makes life much easier for this Mama.  

One my favorite go to comfort foods is potato soup. There is just something about it that’s so good. This recipe is far from healthy, but it’s one I keep going back too. One day I’ll figure out how to replace the cream of soups in here. 

You need:

A bag of frozen hash browns (I prefer the square cut ones but the shredded ones work fine too) 

32oz of chicken broth

1 can of cream of chicken or mushroom soup 

1 can of cheddar cheese soup (you can use 2 cans of the chicken/mushroom if you prefer) 

1 block of cream cheese 

Salt, Pepper, Garlic 

Crockpot liner 

Optional: 

Shredded Cheese 

Bacon

Corn bread 

Place you crock pot liner into your crock pot. You can get them here they are lifesavers and make for easy clean up! Dump in potatoes, chicken broth, cream of soup and cheddar cheese soup and stir. Add 1tsp each  of salt, pepper and garlic. You might need to add more to taste later. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. 

One hour before serving add the block of cream cheese. It will start to melt in and I usually stir it a few times in that hour. Add any extra seasoning you may need during this time. Once the cream cheese is melted you are ready to serve. 

We love cheesy potato soup, so I top with shredded cheese, crumbled bacon and corn bread. And then I mix it all together, and enjoy. 

Like most soups in my opinion it usually taste even better the next day! What’s one of your favorite comfort food go to’s? 

If you try out the recipe let me know what you think! 

12 Dates of Christmas

Christmas is a busy season. From parties, to family get together sans trying to “do it all”. I often found it became very difficult to really enjoy the season. Then one day I watched the movie on what’s now Freeform called the 12 Dates of Christmas and while it’s repeat dates it sparked an idea. 

So for at least the last 6 years at Christmas my husband and I have done the 12 Dates of Christmas. The last 2 years we have incorporated a mix of family dates with just Mommy and Daddy Dates.  This all started when we lived in Orlando and I worked at Walt Disney World where it was really easy to come up with so many Christmas dates. One of my favorite dates was when we left for Chicago Christmas night the first year we had off at Christmas, and we did many of our Christmas dates while there. 

I’ve had to get a little more creative over the years, but that is all the fun in it. While I will say last year we didn’t get to 12 Dates as between the 3 of us we spent a lot of December sick we tried the best we could. This has truly become one of my absolute favorite Christmas Traditions. My best friend and her fiance started this tradition as well a few years ago  after we did and got engaged on their 12th date of Christmas last year! Even though it wasn’t my date it is one of my favorite 12 Dates of Christmas stories. 

 

So how do we come up with all our dates, and are they all actually going out  and spending money on  dates? No definitely not we actually do a lot of free dates. So here are some tips for planning the 12 Dates of Christmas for your spouse and family.

1. Think of things you already do at Christmas 

  •  pick out a Christmas Tree
  • decorate the tree 
  • movies you watch 

2. Look for events in Your Area 

  • Christmas Parades 
  • Tree Lightings
  • plays or shows in the area

3. Get Creative 

  • are you traveling for the holidays? Look in the local area festivities 
  • service projects/ giving back
  • Church Services

Here are some ideas of some of our favorite Adult only Christmas Dates 

Ones for the Whole Family

For anyone spending any time at Disney 

I will say we do try to start this before Thanksgiving sometimes, and may go up until New Years. I love Christmas, I decorate early because it takes me a while to do and I want time to enjoy it, and that’s the same for all the activities. When we lived in Florida we started really early because Disney Christmas starts early. It was fun last year to incorporate a few  Disney things in again, and this year we will do the same with more!  

One thing we always incorporate is Christmas Eve service at Church. It’s super important to make sure we are truly celebrating the reason for the season. 

We truly value our family time, and time together. So slow down this Christmas season and spend more time with those you love. Cherish the moments and Celebrate the Season together. I’ll be sharing some new things we are doing this season over the next few weeks here and on my social media (follow me here) and I want to hear  about your dates too so tag me in your post or email me for a chance to be featured. 

Have a Cars 3 Family Movie Night!

*This post may contain affiliate links. That means I may receive a small commision if you purchase something off my link at no extra charge to you.

Now that my daughter is almost 2 and will sit for a bit and watch a movie, I was super excited to plan a themed family movie night for the whole family. Y’all the Pinterest Mom in me (I’m half Amazon Prime too)  has been waiting for this for so long. 

With the release of Cars 3 I knew it was the perfect first one. I didn’t go crazy over the top but definitely enough to make it fun for all of us. 

My daughter hasn’t seen all of either of the first two Cars movies (because she doesn’t sit all the way through movies) but she loves her Lighting McQueen car, and  her Cars 3 bath toys I snagged this summer in the Target Dollar Spot. She was excited to watch Cars since we left Target with the movie.

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I love Free Printables, so I headed over to one of my favorite blogs Hostess With the Mostess to see what they had, and of course they delivered. I’ve used their printables for my Kentucky Derby Party for years and they have the best party ideas! 

I also found these printable coloring sheets for my daughter to color while I was getting dinner ready from Mom Junction. We only use color wonder markers so the great part about finding the printable sheets is you can print them right onto blank color wonder paper. I can not recommend Color Wonder enough for you s kids. You can find it here, and the printable color sheets are from which can be found here

For dinner we had sliders, and Kraft Cars 3 Mac and Cheese. Super simple but themed great for the night. 

For dessert we had a cozy cone filled with tires (mini chocolate donuts). I made the Cozy Cone myself with just a 12×12 sheet of orange card stock. And then glued taped the side. You can see the steps below. 

I had found some cute Cars suckers at Target right after Halloween and thought those would be a fun addition to the night as well. My daughter also wore some of her favorite pajamas from the Baby Gap for Disney line which are sadly sold out but you can grab some similar ones here

My husband and I have even Cars fans since the first movie came out. We have been itching to get out to Disneyland to Cars Land since it opened. Cars 3 was better than Cars 2 in my opinion, and I absolutely fell in love with Cruz Ramirez. I’m not going to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t seen it but Disney and Pixar did a great job with this movie, and I have to say it’s a must see! Grab your copy here while they are on sale. 


Did you like Cars 3 as much as the other two in the franchise? Which one is your favorite? 

5 Ways to Earn Cash Back and Save Money this Holiday Season

*This post may contain affiliate links. That means I may receive a small commision if you purchase something off my link at no extra charge to you.

There are several ways to earn extra money, gift cards or save money just by doing very little this holiday season. If you’re shopping online, buying groceries, things for a holiday party or Christmas gifts why not use some of these things to save or get money back. 

Ebates

If you do online shopping and you aren’t using Ebates you should be! This is a great way to earn money back on online purchases from 1000’s of merchants, even small businesses on Etsy. Cash back could be anywhere from 1% and I’ve seen it up to 15%. During the holidays they are great at offering bigger cashback promos, and  even have merchant discounts listed on their site. You receive a check or can get a direct pay pal deposit quarterly so it’s nice to get that extra cash back after the holidays.  If you don’t have an account sign up here and receive a $10 Credit on your first qualifying purchase. Ebates now has an app if you tend to find yourself shopping on your phone often like I do. Why not earn a little cash back while doing your online shopping this season.

Ibotta

I’m hit or miss with Ibotta. Sometimes I can do really well and they have tons of things I purchase and other times I forget to look all together. When I’m consistent I do really well earning $20-$25 a month back. They also now have online shopping for cash back on their mobile app so it’s not all scanning your groceries. Join here and when you sign up you get a $10 signup bonus, plus you will be on my team which is also important for bonuses! 

Drop 

 I discovered Drop not long ago. This is basically an app where you link one of your cards and pick 5 merchants you shop from. They know when you purchase and you start to earn points from those merchants. I use Amazon, Starbucks, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Target. I’ve never earned from Target because I have a Target Red Debit Card and I didn’t think of that when I signed up but I have already cashed in for my first $10 Amazon gift card (there are many others to choose from), and I’m halfway to another. They often send me bonus offers for the merchants I chose and other random merchants on occasion. They use a completely safe server. Join here and get 1000 drop points to start, and download the app! 

Swagbucks 

I’ve done really well with Swagbucks and I’ve had months I kinda forget it exists. I’m a busy Mom so this one takes a little more work. Swagbucks has surveys, videos you can watch, offers you can do, and also cash back options. If you like to try different subscription services its great to get cash back. I tried an Honest Beauty Box, got it when it was 50% off so $25 , and earned 2500 Swagbucks which is $25. If you really want to learn the ins and outs of Swagbucks their are Facebook groups and lots of articles online. I typically cash out for Target gifts cards and I find myself using Swagbucks a little more when we are saving extra for our Disney Trips. Signup here and get a sign on bonus. 

Target Red Card and Cartwheel

While this isn’t a cashback deal it is a great way to save a little extra money. We have a Target debit card and it’s the best thing we ever did. Who doesn’t love 5% off every single purchase as well Free Shipping on all online orders. Plus if you are ordering online you can also use Ebates for cashback.  When the holiday rush of shoppers sets in this is really great to have. Target also runs some amazing sales in November and December, on toys, and various other items so I always make sure to check the weekly ad, and cartwheel. When you combine the two things you really can get some great savings.

The Holiday season can get expensive and stressful, so why not earn some cash back or money you were already spending. What are some ways you love to save during the holiday season?

Gap X Disney Favorites- It’s Friends and Family Weekend!

Gap X Disney Favorites- It’s Friends and Family Weekend!

*This post may contain affiliate links. That means I may receive a small commision if you purchase something off my link at no extra charge to you.

I have fallen in love with the Disney x Gap collaboration and since its release over a year ago it honestly just keeps getting better. Gone are the days of basic cartoon characters just being thrown on clothes, they now have really become stylish. Gap’s friends and family sale is this weekend and I wanted to share some of my favorites from the current collection. Get 40% off your purchase instore and online, and 50% off if you use your Gap card. Plus shipping is free on all online orders so it’s a great time to grab a few cute things!

We love Minnie Mouse in this house, and I just love how cute these pieces are. We have an older style of the leggings with Minnie and Daisy on them and they are soft, wash so well and just make my daughter happy when she has them on. I am obsessed with the overalls, I just think overalls are so cute on kids but on the brink of potty training I don’t think they will be completely practical for us.

 

Gap has so much cure buffalo plaid right now and I couldn’t be more in love, but the fact that they added into their Disney Collection is just the icing on the plate! There is some cute stuff for the little boys too!

These were some of our favorite tops from the Beauty and the Beast collection they had this Spring.

 

While we aren’t in that next stage yet I often find myself admiring the selection in the older girls section at many stores. Gap Kids in one of them. They really have done a fantastic job at creating fun Disney pieces for little girls moving to that next stage of life. They have a fit line for older girls!

I’m a girl mama, but the clothes for little boys at gap are so cute! I have friends expecting twin boys and recently purchased them the cutest 7 Dwarfs sleepers and hats. When I was shopping for them I wanted to buy all the things. I just love how cute and classic some of these pieces look without feeling super cheesy. 

Probably one of my favorite parts about the Boys collection is all the Star Wars things. They have really done a great job with these pieces. I also know several smaller adults who buy some pieces in the boys section to add to their Disney Style. Sadly I’m just too tall or I would do the same on a few pieces. 

 

 

 

We have many sleepwear pieces, and I really love them. They wash well. don’t shrink much and are so soft. That is one thing I love about Gap’s sleepwear.

These Snow White pajamas were our first pair, and my daughter literally wore them out.

Before I became a Mom I kinda vowed my kid wouldn’t have the character sneakers, and shoes. However with brands like Mini Melissa (we love ours get them here), Vans and Baby Gap making them so cute now I guess that’s changed. But honestly all the new cute ones look nothing like character shoes used to. My favorites are the girls Mary Janes and high top sneakers. Both at such a good price during the sale!

 

 

Disney accessories are some of my favorite things. Gap has created such a great line of hats, bags and other items for this collection. I love the Minnie Mouse Ears because they fit my daughters head so much better than most others. 

 

There is not a ton of things for adults but there has been a few here and there. However I have been eyeing the joggers below since I saw them in the store. They are so soft and I could see myself wearing them around the house all the time.


It is the season, so why not stock up on some super cute Christmas goodies during the sale. I love all the pajamas, but there are some cute tops for kids too!

So what are you thinking of grabbing this weekend? Do you love this line for your kids as much as I do?

My Top 10 Disney Halloween Costumes of 2017

My Top 10 Disney Halloween Costumes of 2017

I’ll be honest I’ve never been that crazy about  Halloween. I do love making, creating, dreaming up costumes. Of course I love the candy, Hocus Pocus, and Halloweentown. But I’ve never been into the scary movies, haunted houses kinda thing. 

When I worked at Disney it definitely changed my feelings for Halloween and so did becoming a Mom. I fell in love with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, the Boo to You parade, the music, the special events, the more fun side of Halloween again! There are so many great Disney Halloween costumes out there and I want to share my top 10 favorites of 2017from some of my Disney friends with you! 

  1. I’ll start with a few throwing it back to the 90’s. I couldn’t love these Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers costumes from Magic Kingdom Mamas more! This was one of my favorite shows as a kid and it just brings back all the good feels from Disney Afternoons. Magic Kingdom Mamas are Disneyland bloggers who know all there is to know about Disneyland make sure to check them out here and on Instagram @magic_kingdom_mamas.

2. Next is this Zenon Girl of the future costume from Claire over at @cvdoss. Zetus Leptus, another Disney Channel Classic. I just love seeing people throwing it back this year and getting creative. One of the things I love most about Halloween. 

3. Amuck Amuck Amuck! Ok what’s not to love about these costumes of my 3 favorite witches. You can’t go wrong with Hocus Pocus! 

4. I do have to say Disney Channel does still have it with some their original movies. Even I have enjoyed the Descendants movies and these costumes from Descendants 2 are just fantastic! 

5. When you have 2 to dress up it’s so fun to pair them together. I just love this WallE and Eve brother sister pair. 

6. With sweet friends expecting twins soon I just loved @twinthusastics Cruella and Dalmatians costumes. I mean how adorable are they! 

7. Star Wars is ever so popular, and I love this mother son duo of Princess Leia and Kylo Ren. Hilary has even shared her DIY of her no sew costume here over on the Anaheim Moms blog. 

8. You can’t beat this Mermaid family, it’s a classic but I just love it!  The Little Mermaid is my absolute favorite and I can definitely seeing my family doing this in the future as I have another Ariel fan in my house these days. 

9. This is probably one of my favorite costumes I’ve seen this season from Raven over at the Disney Dorm. The Live action Beauty in the Beast was a huge success and I think I might love it more than the original animated version. Raven made a fantastic Provincial Belle. You can find this costume over at Fun Costumes, the purse at Hot Topic, and the shoes at Forever 21. Make sure to also check out Raven’s instagram page @thedisneydorm.

10. I’ve saved the BEST for last because this costume is just so creative and amazing and you will only understand if you have been to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party before. This may be one of the best I’ve seen. Mel did a fantastic job creating these costumes. They are the wristbands, and wristband distribution for the party. I always love seeing people get extra creative just like this! 

What is your favorite Disney Halloween Costume? We are being pretty simple this year with Minnie Mouse because that’s what my Minnie obsessed daughter has requested. 

How to Update an Old Pair of Minnie Ears in Under 5 minutes

How to Update an Old Pair of Minnie Ears in Under 5 minutes

Planning Disney outfits are always so much fun, and one of the best accessories to a Disney Day outfit is Minnie Mouse Ears of course. I’ve been doing Disney for years so I have quite the collection of ears. My older classic black sequin ears just needed something new as the old bow was flimsy and didn’t hold in place. Of course I could have bought a new pair but I actually love the way the older ones fit my head vs. the new ones. I actually had 2 of the same ones so I went with 2 different colors.

This is so simple. You need 5 in sequin bows or the bows of your choice. You can get them here or also Etsy depending on what you want. You will also need scissors and a glue gun.

I cut the bow off my old ears to get started. Then i opened the back of my bow because I really like the look of bow being wrapped on the headband and I also wanted to hide the left over glue. I wrapped it around the headband and glued it in the back. There you have it, fresh new fun Minnie Ears for about $2!

I love saving some money and sprucing up old items! Giving something  a fresh new look is so much fun for me and I am always thinking of things I can do that for. Go dig out those old ears and add some new fun to your Disney Style!

 

Disney Parks Inspired Mickey Rice Krispy Treats

Disney Parks Inspired Mickey Rice Krispy Treats

One of my all time favorite Disney treats are their Rice Krispy treats. I don’t know what the secret is but they are just so good! You can get rice krispy treats in the park in a variety of shapes and sizes. I mean have you ever seen the giant mickey head rice krispy treat? I love how the designs can change from season to season. When we did our Magic Kingdom inspired date night, you can see the details here, I knew these yummy treats just had to be a part of it!

To make these treats you will need :

3 tbs of butter

1 bag of marshmallows ( I prefer to use the mini ones)

6 cups of Rice Krispies

1tsp of vanilla

baking sheet

wax paper

Mickey Cookie Cutter ( I use this one http://amzn.to/2gXRR0I that is actually a sandwich cutter)

Popsicles sticks (optional)

melting chocolate, sprinkles and M&Ms for decorating (or whatever you choose)

Melt butter and marshmallows in a large pot, once melted add in vanilla and  then rice krispies. Stir until the rice krispies are fully coated. Because I used a cookie cutter for shapes I spread these onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper. You will need these to be a bit thicker so they hold the cut shape. You will want them to be about an inch thick. Once its spread out let it set for about 5-10 min so you can cut it into shapes. I did this just like I was cutting cookies. Once cut through and the sides  are left roll it back up and smooth it back out. The sooner you do this after they are made the better. The trick to doing it with these was to spray my spatula with cooking spray to keep it from sticking. Transfer all cut out pieces to fresh pieces of wax paper for decorating. I didn’t want to waste the extra which is why I rolled it back out.

If you’re using popsicles sticks you will want to add those in after you have your pieces cut. Melt your chocolates according to the directions. The easiest way is the microwave. To make my favorite M&M’s one just like at Disney I used milk chocolate and M&M’s. Pour melted chocolate onto a flat plate (or melt a pretty deep bowl) and dip the front of the rice krispy treat right in. Have another plate full of M&M’s to dip it in after the chocolate. Then take a spoon and drizzle chocolate over the top of that and set on wax paper to dry. I also melted some white chocolate and did the same thing as well as added Sprinkles on some. You could seriously add anything!

In Disney Springs you can visit Goofy’s Candy Kitchen and create a rice krispy treat with the toppings you want, just like you can at home. Do you love Disney Rice Kripsy Treats? What is your favorite Disney treat?

 

How to Plan a Star Wars Themed Date Night

How to Plan a Star Wars Themed Date Night

 

Today is the final date night of my Date Night in series. Its long over due so thanks for sticking around!  These have been really fun to share with you, so this series will be continuing one every month! 

This one was fun. We have recently really gotten into Star Wars, and we wanted to start rewatching again so a Star Wars Date Night In was perfect. When Disney acquired the franchise I decided it was time to at least watch them and to my surprise I enjoyed them. I actually remember seeing one as a kid with my Dad and falling asleep in the theatre. I can follow them so much easier now. 

I fell in love with all the droids in the movies but my favorite is the newest droid the the franchise BB-8. Our cocktail for the evening was inspired by him. Because of our entree choice I went with a Margarita. I wanted a blood orange margarita but had a hard time finding a mix. So I went with Bai bubbles Jamaican blood orange. Here is the recipe I used, it makes 2 drinks. 

3oz tequila

1 oz triple sec 

Juice of 3 limes 

3oz of coconut water 

1 can of Bai Bubbles Jamaican Blood orange 

Mix all the ingredients except for the Bai into shaker, and mix. Pour into glass and top with the Bai Blood Orange and serve. These were really good but I’m not sure it tasted like blood orange. Actually they almost had a peachy flavor which I liked but my husband wasn’t a fan of because he doesn’t care much for peach. 

For dinner we created Dark Side Nachos.  Blue Corn Tortilla Chips, Seasoned ground beef, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and taco sauce. We are kind of picky but of course you can also add lettuce, tomato, salsa, onion whatever you would like.  I tried to create a storm trooper out of the sour cream and I failed miserably so this was the end result.

We also enjoyed light saber Churros and Edible Ewoks. The churros were the other half of the bag from Trader Joe’s. I used red sugar mixed with cinnamon for these. You can never go wrong with a churro and they were the perfect dessert to the nachos. To add another fun movie treat we enjoyed some “Edible Ewoks.”

 

We made it through 2 of the movies the day of our date. We watched Episode 1 The Phantom Menace during nap time and then had our date night with Episode 2 Attack of the Clones. If we had an entire day we might have been able to make it through several more. We have the others ready to watch as we recorded them all on May the Fourth. We are hoping to get to sit down and enjoy the rest over the next few weeks. Life with a toddler is for sure busy so it may take a while. Which of the Star Wars movies is your favorite?

 

How to Make the Perfect Cold Brew Coffee at Home

How to Make the Perfect Cold Brew Coffee at Home

It’s summer and sometimes I just don’t crave hot coffee in the warmer months but yet still want my coffee. Everyone always says, oh just our your coffee over ice. NO, this is just not the same as what you get at Starbucks and I actually think its kinda gross. When I discovered cold brew several years ago I knew that did that trick! In the last year Starbucks has actually released at home cold brew packs. They are really great, however at a $11.95  price point to make 2 pitchers it still wasn’t as budget friendly as I wanted it to be though I do still buy them on occasion. If you want to go that route however you can find them here. 

I started reading up on the cold brew process, looked at special pitchers and things and decided I would just make my own. It it actually really simple and only take a large jar, mesh strainer and cheese cloth, most items in which I already had at home. 

I’ve been using the Seattle’s Best Dark Roast and we have been really big fans of it, but you can use any brand you choose. For us we like darker more full bodied coffees. 

Pour your coffee grounds into a large jar. You will want a jar that can hold about 160-200oz. I’ve been using already ground coffee but if you buy whole bean don’t grind it super fine, leave it more coarse it will work better. After coffee is the jar add 10.5 cups of water and stir. The coffee likes to build up at the top so you need to mix it around. Place jar, closed in the refrigerator for no less than 12 hours and no more than 24.  

Once coffee has set overnight you will need another container to strain it. I use a large bowl that my strainer fits nicely on. Place strainer on bowl, and then top with 2-3 layers of  your cheese cloth. Begin to pour contents of the jar slowly  into the strainer, allowing the liquid to seep through. I sometimes have to stop half way and empty my full bowl. You can push and squeeze the coffee in the cheesecloth to get in any extras. Pour your liquid into an airtight container. I use Mason jars. 

This is is a coffee concentrate so unless you love super super strong coffee you will want to make sure to mix with water. We drink this every day so I like to make pitchers of it. You can also make it by the glass. My concentrate filled 4 of my mason jars. 

To make a pitcher I poured 2 Mason jars of the concentrate into the pitcher and added equal parts water. If you still feel that’s too strong or not strong enough you can do less or more. One batch I added more because it tasted extra strong. 

The concentrate can last about 3 months if sealed in your fridge. If you make a pitcher it’s good for about 6-7 days. It does tend to separate some so I stir it good each morning. I like to enjoy it over ice, with stevia in the raw and Califia Farms vanilla almond milk creamer.

Coffee comes first thing each and every day in this house, does it in yours?

I like to enjoy it over ice, with stevia in the raw and Califia Farms vanilla almond milk creamer. Coffee comes first thing each and every day in this house, does it in yours?