What is your favorite holiday to celebrate? If I’m being honest, I actually think every holiday is my favorite. I will say though, that even as an adult, I get giddy and excited about upcoming holidays, especially Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I love the family togetherness that comes with Thanksgiving and Christmas and I love the fun and party like atmosphere that Halloween brings with it.
I am not really a big drinker typically, but like I said, I do enjoy the party environment that Halloween brings with it and I often imbibe on Halloween. Plus, the drinks at Halloween parties are seriously the best! I mean, look at these cocktails, how fun are they?!
Vampire Kiss Cocktail by Sugar, Spice and Glitter
Green Goblin Cocktail by Plum Crazy
Shimmering Purple Bat Cocktail by Sugar, Spice and Glitter
Love Potion #9 by Big Bears Wife
The Raven Coffee Cocktail by Amanda’s Cookin’
Hard Caramel Pumpkin Cider by Fearless Dining
Eyeball Punch by Olivia’s Cuisine
Specimen Jar Cocktail by Shrimp Salad Circus
Spooky Sangria by Kleinworth & Co
Spooky Skull Cocktails by Pizzazerie
Black Widow Cocktail by Happy Hour Projects
Spooky Sour Fuzzy Navel by Organized Island
If you end up making any of these, let me know, so I can decide which drinks I will be having this year!
If you have a little one in a Booster Seat or other car seat, you know what kind of messes can be hiding underneath those seats. This is especially true if you haven’t moved the car seat from its position in a while. Seriously, you will find toys, food crumbs and honestly, terrifying stuff that you can no longer even identify. It’s truly frightening and often disgusting what you will find. That’s why an auto seat protector is so beneficial.
We all know I have a toddler, right? He is an extremely messy toddler who loves fries and I am that mom who lets him eat in the car, which means I have a lot of messes to clean up often. A while back though, I got an offer to try this Daffadoot Auto Seat Protector and it is awesome. It goes under the car seat and protects my upholstery from the ground up food and mystery stains that have always come with the car seats. It fits perfectly underneath the seat, doesn’t affect the seating position or the integrity of it since it doesn’t get in the way of the LATCH system. Plus, it even has storage pockets on the lower part of it! I use it to store a couple of diapers and a pack of wipes so I no longer need to have a diaper back in the car with me. I have black upholstery so the black color of the protector doesn’t bother me at all. Best of all though, when I recently took the car seat out to clean it, I didn’t have to clean the seat underneath it! The auto seat protector kept it completely clean and free of yuck!
Overall I have really loved this thing and I am thinking about ordering a second one for my husband’s car (he tends to be a little more OCD than I am about the cleanliness of his vehicle, so I may give him this one and wait for a second for me now that I think about it).
If you are interested in getting an auto seat protector, Amazon currently has a 20% off coupon available, which makes it just $15!
Disclaimer: Okay, here’s the deal: I was provided with this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions, thoughts and reviews located herein are mine and mine alone and were not influenced at all by the company or its affiliates.
Fall is rapidly approaching my friends and you know what that means?! ALL THINGS PUMPKIN! Pumpkin Spice, Pumpkin Lattes, Pumpkin scented candles and PUMPKIN PATCHES, so many pumpkin patches. I may be biased since I live here, but I honestly think that Oregon has some of the best pumpkin patches in the entire country!
My family and I love pumpkin patches and have visited a lot of them, so I think we are kind of pros in making this list. If you are ready to have some fall-filled fun? Here are some of the top pumpkin patches in Oregon, according to my kids and family.
- Roloff Farms – It’s a pumpkin patch meets Hollywood, y’all! If you have ever watched Little People Big World on TLC, you are familiar with this family, but you might actually get a chance to see them in person if you visit Roloff Farms. Plus, their awesome pumpkin patch features wagon tours, pony rides, Kiddy Train, Giant Sling Shots, Petting Zoo, Exotic Animals, Putt Putt Golf, Maze, Hay Pyramid, Pumpkin Catapult and more!
- Bauman Farms – Bauman farms is a family favorite of ours! With a huge pumpkin picking field, several mazes (corn, straw and hay bale), tractor rides, face painting petting zoos and more this is a really fun pumpkin patch for the entire family.
- Heiser Farms – At Heiser Farms, you can shop for pumpkins in the field, at their farm stand or in their shop, they also offer several mazes (corn, hay bale and straw), tractor-pulled hay rides, haunted house and more!
- Smith Rock Ranch – If you are in Central Oregon, you just have to go to Smith Rock Ranch for your pumpkin patch experience. Full disclosure, I have never been to this pumpkin patch, but I have a lot of friends in Central Oregon and every single one of them recommended I check it out. They have a very elaborate Maize (see what they did there?) and each year their maize has a different theme, 2018’s theme is Cars! It also features a pumpkin patch of course, and pumpkin cannons, harvest festivals, playground for the kids and more.
- Green Bridge Gardens – Green bridge gardens is an adorably quaint little pumpkin patch. Here you will find hay slides, a corn maze and a hay maze, a tractor-pulled hayride, play tunnel for the kiddos, petting zoo, duck races and more!
- Airlie Hills Pumpkin Patch – Airlie Hills Pumpkin Patch was the first pumpkin patch I ever took my kids to so we revisit this one almost every year. They have a little pedal-car tractor race track, hay slides, a grain box, petting zoo, corn maze, hay maze, pumpkin patch, strawberry patch and more!
- Vince Woods Farm – One of my favorite things about Vince Woods Farm is how affordable it all is. Just $0.50 to enter the maze, $1 to enter the pumpkin forest and caboose and only $0.20 per pound for pumpkins! In this day in age where everything costs an arm and a leg, sometimes a nice, simple, inexpensive activity can make all the difference.
- E.Z. Orchards – When you think of pumpkin patches, E.Z. Orchards is exactly the kind of place that you think of. The entire place is cute. Here you will find a petting zoo, pumpkin patch, horse-drawn hay rides, pony rides, live music, ring toss, steer roping, corn maze, hay slides and just about the best shortcake that money can buy.
- Sauvie Island Pumpkin Patch – The Sauvie Island Pumpkin Patch is a classic in the Portland area. Here you will find super fun typical pumpkin patch activities such as a huge corn maize, Hay Rides, an animal barn, giant pyramid and more.
- Plumper Pumpkin Patch & Tree Farm – If you tend to like guided fun than the Plumper Pumpkin Patch & Tree Farm is the one for you! You will get to take a tour of the entire farm, learning about the pumpkins and all of the farm animals. Then you get to check out the pumpkin patch and the farm itself on your own. While there you will find play structures for the kids, tube slides, mazes for adults and kids alike, hayrides, and you can even check out the Christmas tree farm while there!
Have you ever been to Madame Tussauds in Las Vegas? My hubby and I are planning a Vegas trip this Fall and I think we are going to go! I would love love love any tips and reviews that you have of your visit there because it looks so cool! Or, if you have any other tips of places I should go see in Vegas, let me know.
My husband and I have both been to Vegas before, but for both of us we were not yet adults so we really haven’t experienced Vegas at all. I NEED HELP, my friends. 🙂 Tell me where to go!
Anyway…back to Madame Tussauds! I found that we can score $5 off each ticket and you all know how much I love a good discount.
Who wants to start making a sweet side income? Does the idea of being your own boss excite you? Well, my friends, you may like the idea of becoming a Virtual Assistant! I have been a Virtual Assistant since 2012 and have made a pretty decent income each year. As a matter of fact, until having my baby last year, I was making more than a full time living while working not even close to full time. Now that he has gotten a little bit older, I am planning on increasing my workload again and I am excited! If you are interested in becoming a Virtual Assistant, or VA as we say in the biz, check out these great resources:
Rocking VA Course (Sadie and David are experts at this….I know Sadie has acknowledged making six figures last year and she knows what she is talking about) I highly recommend this course. Typically it costs just shy of $300, but right now, it is just $27!! THIS IS A HOT DEAL FOLKS, SIGN UP NOW!!!! And yes, I have taken this course and I loved it.
Here are my favorite books that are related to becoming a VA:
The Bootstrap VA (Seriously the BEST book I read regarding becoming a VA)
Becoming a VA: The Key to Unlocking the Virtual Assistance Industry
Virtual Assistant: Take a Leap of Faith And Start a Virtual Assistant Business (Your Guide to Establishing a Successful Business As a Virtual Assistant)
You all know I have a toddler at home right? That often means I am busy cleaning up mess after mess. Because of this, I have been looking for a protector for the seat of my car to go underneath the baby’s carseat. I am tired of finding food ground into my seats everytime I go to clean it out. While scrolling around Amazon I spotted this Auto Seat Protector from Daffadoot and I think I am going to try it out. Have you ever tried anything similar?
While we are on the subject of Daffadoot, you can currently get 20% off of the following Daffadoot products when you use promo code HWBLFYLE:
Auto Seat Protector
Crystal Clear Rear Facing Baby Mirror
SecureLift Baby Crib Wedge Pillow
Have you used any of these items yet? Let me know what you think! I will keep you posted on my auto seat protector as soon as I get it.
Spring has arrived here and brought with it some awesome weather. This weather, of course, has me thinking about summer and all of the fun that it will bring with it. For us, that means lots and lots of camping. We love camping in this family and as of early May already had 3 different camping trips planned for late spring, early summer.
Our camping trips tend to be very focused. As in, though we like to be one with nature, we also like to make sure we actually have something to do while we camp. Before we had children, my husband and I liked to go camping at OHV campgrounds and ride dirt bikes and atv’s, or boating with friends. Since having kids though, many of our camping trips have been based solely on how kid-friendly the campground is and it has served us well because we have had lots of fun over the years staying at some of the top kid-friendly campgrounds in Oregon. If you are looking for some good ideas on where to stay, I highly recommend checking out this list of my favorite kid-friendly campgrounds in Oregon:
- Camp Dakota – We love to yurt camp with our kids (it means less stuff to pack with us) and Camp Dakota has some awesome yurts to rent! They also have teepees to rent too which is fun in itself. Other kid-friendly amenities include zip lines, paintball, rock climbing, gold panning, disc golf, pizza delivery, treasure hunting and more.
- Loon Lake Resort. Our family loves Loon Lake, while they don’t have an in-ground swimming pool, they do have a sandy beach along the lake with a roped off area just for swimming. They actually trucked the sand in for this and it turned out wonderfully. The lake is not too cold and the area roped off for swimming doesn’t get too deep. At the resort, you will also find paddle boat rentals, a volleyball court, a cafe, a store, free wifi, an ice cream stand and more. You are also quite close to Florence so the beach isn’t too far away.
- Astoria / Warrenton / Seaside KOA Resort. This KOA resort isn’t your typical KOA! It is located near Fort Clatsop for all of my Lewis and Clark enthusiast friends, it is near the beach and it has so many kid-friendly features that it may be hard to fit them all in a paragraph. Here you will find 2 pools (1 indoor and 1 outdoor), a mini-golf course, cable tv, free wifi, vike rentals, Jumping Pillow, playgrounds, an activities building which houses movies, an arcade and game room, basketball court and more.
- Pacific City RV & Camping Resort. The Pacific City RV & Camping Resort features awesome, kid-friendly amenities such as a swimming pool, playgrounds, game room, basketball, mini-golf, easy beach access and more.
- Bend/Sisters Garden RV Resort. If you have never been to Sisters before, this is a great way to experience it for the first time! The Bend/Sisters Garden RV Resort features its own fishing pond, a playground, miniature golf course as well as a pool and spa. Sisters itself is a very kid-friendly destination in itself (it’s my 14-year-old daughter’s favorite place to visit). Oh, and don’t forget to visit Sister’s Bakery while you are there, it’s totally worth it!
- Kah-Nee-Ta Resort. Kah-Nee-Ta Resort isn’t a typical campground and I don’t believe you can bring a tent, but you can camp in a teepee or bring your RV! Here you will find some amazing kid-friendly activities such as a swimming pool, arcade, mini-golf, kayaking, bike rentals, horseback riding, basketball, volleyball, and tennis.
- Whalers Rest RV & Camping Resort. If you are camping at the beach, be sure to check out Whalers Rest RV & Camping Resort! Here you will find fun, kid-friendly amenities such as a pool, clubhouse, game room, disc golf, mini golf, and more!
- Beverly Beach Campground. Just miles from Newport and the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the Beverly Beach Campground is a favorite for many people. This campground doesn’t feature any swimming pools or other fancy amenities, but there is still plenty for the kids to do and have fun! You will find a playground, one of my favorite beaches on the Oregon Coast which is perfect for kite flying, sandcastle building, hiking trails, bike trails, visitor information center and more!
- Wallowa Lake State Park. The Wallowa Lake State Park Campground is a great place to stay if you are interested in exploring the Wallowa Mountains. When you are not out exploring nature’s wonderland all around you, you will find some great kid-friendly amenities at this campground like a playground, an amphitheater, events, and even a junior ranger program.
- Silver Falls Campground. If you feel like visiting one of Oregon’s largest parks, Silver Falls Campground is for you! Here you will find kid-friendly amenities such as bike paths, miles of hiking trails featuring 7 different waterfalls, a 177-foot wide waterfall that you can walk behind, playground, a swimming area, an amphitheater, horse trails and more!
I love Oregon, don’t you? Yeah, the rain gets old, but it makes for some really great landscapes. One of my favorite things about Oregon is how many things there are to do here, many of which are free or very low cost. My family and I are outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hiking and time on the water, both of which are pretty cheap activities. We don’t stop there though, we love experiencing all of the activities that Oregon has to offer.
If you live in Oregon, or if you are planning to visit soon, check out this list of 10 free (or low cost) things to do in Oregon and find yourself something great to do this spring break or summer vacation.
- The Beach. I have lived in Oregon my entire life (save for a couple of years I lived in Texas when I was young), and I just recently learned that in many other states you have to pay to go to the beach?! Is this true? I have never in my life paid to go to the ocean, I’ve never even paid for parking to go on to the beach. If you live in Oregon and haven’t visited the beach, I implore you to do so at the first opportunity. We have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world here. Bring a sweatshirt though! It can get windy on these beaches.
- Silver Creek Falls. For just a nominal parking fee, you can check out some of Oregon’s most beautiful waterfalls. You can complete the 7+ mile hike and view all 10 waterfalls, or you can walk among the shorter, easier trails and view just some of them. Plus, at the main park, there are plenty of picnic tables available and a great family-friendly swimming hole. This is one of my favorite places in Oregon to visit.
- Salem’s Riverfront Carousel. The Riverfront Carousel in Salem is a non-profit attraction. It is also very unique to Oregon in that all of the characters on the carousel were handcrafted and made with the theme of symbols important to Oregon. Additionally, all of the carousel animals have been sponsored by people and companies that are local to the area. The carousel costs just $1.50 per ride.
- Mt. Hood. Yeah, it is going to cost money to ski or snowboard at Mt. Hood, but you can take a drive to visit and see some amazing views of this beautiful mountain.
- Water play. Kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding are all wildly popular activities in Oregon. If you already have the equipment, these activities are super cheap and Oregon is full of awesome lakes that you can park at for free and spend your day on the water.
- Jamison Square. Jamison Square is a park in the Pearl District that is located in the middle of high rise condominiums. There is a fun tiered fountain that runs non-stop that is a blast for the kids to play in, plus there are tables available for picnics or just to relax for us grown-ups.
- First Thursdays of Portland. If you are in the Portland area, First Thursdays of Portland is a great event to attend if you enjoying visiting local artists and vendors. At this event you will find booths featuring artwork, food, wine and beer tastings and more. The vendors charge, of course, but you can see a lot of local flair for free just by walking around. This event happens monthly, on the first Thursday.
- Oregon Zoo. On the second Tuesday of each month, the Oregon Zoo offers discount days. On these discount days, it costs just $5 for admission to the zoo. If you have never been before, the Oregon Zoo is amazing. On our recent visit with a family member from out of town, they commented on how beautiful our zoo is compared to other zoos throughout the country.
- Brewery and distillery tours. Okay, so this one isn’t exactly child-friendly, but this is a fun way to spend a date night or day out with your spouse or friends. Oregon is a treasure trove of breweries, distilleries and wineries and most tours are free.
- Tillamook Cheese Factory. Tillamook Cheese is well known throughout the country for being among the best cheese and you can actually watch it being made! The Tillamook Cheese Factory opens their doors for free tours where you can watch cheese and ice cream being made. They also offers lots of free samples of their cheese varieties. As of this date of this post (early 2018), their visitor center is closed because they are building a new one that is scheduled to be opened later this year.
What are your favorite things to do in Oregon when you are on a budget?
I love strawberries, they are hands down my favorite berry and have been since I was a small child. They are what I like to think of as nature’s candy. I also love iced tea (in case you hadn’t seen my Blackberry Tea recipe, I basically live on iced tea during the summertime) so I am always looking for ways to use them! Here is what I did to make this delicious and refreshing beverage:
- First, combine the 2 cups of fresh strawberries and 3/4 cup Sugar. Stir together and either mash or puree in a food processor. My family prefers to taste the fruit pieces in our drink so I typically just mash ours with our fruit masher.
- Mix with 1 gallon of unsweetened Ice Tea (I used Lipton Tea this time, but I also really like it with the Lipton Green Tea)
- Serve over ice, garnish if desired and enjoy!
I don’t live in the south, of course, but I love me some good southern style iced tea. Although I am not big on super sweet beverages though, so you may want to add more sugar to your tea than I have here in my recipe. I also think that all good teas deserve to be served in a mason jar because, well, they just taste better that way! I bought this case of Kerr Mason Jars a while back specifically for our iced tea drinks.
With summertime fast approaching, I am very excited for our family summertime BBQs. During our BBQs we always serve either this tea or the Blackberry Iced Tea (depending on how late into the Summer it is) and they are both always a hit. Oh, and if you could use some tips on throwing the most awesome BBQ, check out this post.
Refreshing Blackberry Iced Tea
Easy Ways to Workout When You are Short on Time and Money
Frugal Fitness: Hiking, Nature’s Best Workout! My 3 Favorite Oregon Trails
How I Got Rid of My Migraines for Good!
Refreshing Strawberry Iced Tea
*45 calories per 8 ounce serving.
Refreshing Strawberry Iced Tea
*45 calories per 8 ounce serving.
So, do you remember how I told you all about my decision to go gluten-free and how I am now migraine-free because of it? Overall, it has gone well and it hasn’t been too hard to go gluten free (except for the occasional sandwich craving…but that’s what gluten-free bread is for, right?).
My main problem was how busy we have been. Both of my kids were in competitive basketball, which meant for the last 3 months, we have been on the road every single weekend for tournaments. Some days we would be gone from sun up til sundown and some days we would have to rent a hotel and be gone the entire weekend. This doesn’t leave much time for healthy eating, which meant a lot of trips through the drive-through.
Honestly, I’m still fairly new at this gluten-thing. I thought as long as I avoided breads, buns and breaded meats I would be doing ok. I drove through McDonald’s one day and got a chicken breast with guacamole and lettuce and some french fries. I woke up the next day with an awful migraine. The kind of migraine that keeps you in bed the entire day and I was so upset. I mean, I have been doing great with my diet have been migraine free for over 3 months. Once my migraine began to subside a little bit I wrote down everything that I had eaten the day before and knew that it had to have been McDonald’s because the rest of my diet that day consisted of eggs, veggies, fruits and cheese, all of which I have had before with no issues. So, I started doing a little bit of researched and discovered that, the McDonald’s fries were the culprit. Yes, that is right. McDonald’s uses gluten in their fries. 🙁 Some of the things I have read say that they use a coating that is designed to make their fries crunchier, some say that it is in the beef flavoring that they use on their fries (I didn’t even know this was a thing).
I have since learned that many other restaurants use a coating on their fries as well, so it is always important to request gluten free fries when ordering at any restaurant.
Good luck to you my gluten-free friends! I would love to hear about any other sneaky gluten inclusive foods you have found.