Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Save on Amusement Park Tickets {Summer Fun Guide}

We love amusement parks, but the admission price for my family makes me cringe. We live just minutes away from Hersheypark and the regular admission fee ranges from free to 56.95, depending on your age. Unfortunately, my kids are past the 'free' age, so it would cost my family of 4 over $185 to spend the day at Hersheypark. OUCH! We would spend $144 at its sister park, Dutch Wonderland. OUCH!

So what's a family to do? Sit at home. Nope! Here are a few tips to help save you money on those amusement park tickets:

1. Sunset Admission

Many amusement parks offer reduced prices after dark. Check your local parks for details. The perks of riding in the evenings are that it is much cooler and the park crowd seems to taper off a bit, which makes the lines shorter. I also love to ride the rides at night under the park lights.  At Hersheypark, the sunset admission, between the hours of 5pm - 10pm, would cost my family of four $107.80.

2. Seasonal Passes

If your family loves amusement rides and lives very close to a park, seasonal passes might make a lot of sense. Using Hersheypark as an example, a season pass would cost my family of four $580. Sounds expensive, but lets do the math. We would only have to go 5 times at sunset or 3 times at regular admission for it to pay for itself. Plus, there are plenty of other perks for season ticket holders: unlimited park admission during the summer, free parking, 15% off food and merchandise, and free admission for off season park openings, such as Springtime in Hershey, Hersheypark in the Dark, and Christmas Candylane.

3. Military Discounts

Many parks offer admission discounts if you are active duty military, reserves, retired military personnel, or a member of the National Guard. Again, using Hersheypark as a reference (check amusement parks near you), show your military ID at guest services outside the main entrance for a military discount.

4. AAA Discount

Are you a member of AAA? Check AAA's site to see if there are discounts for your favorite attractions.

Does the price of amusment parks prevent you from going? How do you save on your favorite amusement park tickets? Let us know in the comments.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Grilled Chicken Fajitas {Summer Grillin'}

We love Chicken Fajitas. This grilled version is very easy to prepare and was a hit with my family.

Grilled Chicken Fajitas


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 sweet pepper, core and seeds removed, cut into thin strips
  • ½ red onion, cut into thin strips
  • 6 - 8 fajita size tortillas
  • your favorite fajita toppings, such as avocado, cheese, sour cream, salsa



1. Pre-heat grill to high.

2. Place the chicken breasts in a plastic bag or between plastic wrap and pound the chicken with a rolling pin, heavy pan, or meat mallet until about evenly ½ inch thick.

3. Combine marinade ingredients. Place chicken in a bowl and drizzle marinade over chicken covering completely. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

4. Place pepper and onion slices on a large piece of foil. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Wrap foil up into a hobo packet. (Check out my Peppers and Onions Hobo Pack post for pictures.)

5. When the grill hits at least 450 degrees, place the chicken and the hobo packet on the middle of the grill. Close the lid. I don’t let the grill go too much over 450 degrees.

6. Cook 6 minutes and flip the chicken and hobo packet. Close lid and cook an additional 4 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the chicken breast should read 155 degrees F.

7. Remove from grill and let the chicken sit for 5 minutes before cutting into. After 5 minutes, slice chicken into strips.

8. Layer the peppers, onions, chicken strips, and your favorite toppings onto a tortilla.

9. Enjoy!

Does your chicken tend to dry out on the grill? Read How to Grill Chicken Breast Without Drying It Out Like the Sahara.

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Homemade Fajita Seasoning

We love chicken fajitas. In fact we order them quite a bit when we are dining out at our favorite Mexican restaurant. As I was planning some grilling recipes for the summer, I came up with the idea of making Grilled Chicken Fajitas. We can now eat fajitas in the summer at home and I don't have to stand by my hot stove to do so.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a fajita seasoning packet on hand, so I searched online and found a homemade recipe at Food.com that I used as a guide. I altered it a bit, because there were some ingredients that I didn't have any on hand. The result--my family loved it.

Homemade Fajita Seasoning
makes approximately 2 tablespoon or 1 packet
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne (optional)

This recipe is very easy to double, triple, or quadruple so that you have it on hand when you need it. Reuse an empty seasoning or herb container for storage. Remove the old label and clean and dry the container well.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Bathroom Medicine Cabinet {Tackle that Tough Spot}

Are you one of those people who is always curious as to what is hiding behind someone's medicine cabinet when using their bathroom?

Today I am openly sharing with you our medicine cabinet. Honestly, it is somewhat boring inside and there isn't a lot of medicine either. But judging by the dates on some of the lotions and potions, it was time to purge the cabinet.

Our medicine cabinet is fairly large.

It holds a lot of stuff that gets forgotten about...or ignored.

I removed everything and wiped down the inside.

As I said above, we don't keep medicine in this cabinet. We don't use a lot of medicine and if we do have any, we keep it out of reach of our kids. What I do have is a lot of face creams, potions, and lotions. I'm a sucker for an anti-wrinkle cream. But I discarded anything that we don't use or that was outdated.

I organized the products that went back in the cabinet, by category, such as eye care, first aid, dental, my daily products, and my husband's stuff.

The medicine cabinet is now cleaned and organized and it took less than 30 minutes.

What does your medicine cabinet look like? Go tackle it now!

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Celebrate Summer Solstice {Summer Fun Guide}

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, summer officially begins Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 7:09 pm (EST). It also marks the longest day of the year. To me that sounds like a great reason to celebrate.

I've already told my kids that they can stay up extra late on Wednesday night and we have started to plan our evening.

It's supposed to hit 90+ on Wed, so we'll head to the pool in the late afternoon and stay until closing time at 8pm. I'll pack sandwiches, fruit, and snacks, although I suspect my stinker-belle's will be angling for concession stand french fries as well.

Then we'll head home and make smore's at our fire pit. My husband and I might enjoy an adult beverage while the kids play on their swing set well after bedtime.

How are you going to celebrate Summer Solstice? Let us know in the comments.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Grilling Fruit {Summer Grillin'}

Do you grill fruit? Bananas, peaches, and pineapple are surprisingly easy to grill and the reward is intensified flavor and sweetness.

Grilled Peaches with Homemade Whipped Cream

Grilled Pineapple with Homemade Whipped Cream and Toasted Coconut

Grilled Banana Splits

Grilled Pineapple and Teriyaki Turkey Burgers

What are you favorite fruits to grill? Let us know in the comments. And while you're here, link up your favorite grilling blog recipes.

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This post is linked to Tasty Tuesday and Real Food Wednesday and Ultimate Recipe Exchange.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What Are Your Favorite Organizational Tools?

Today, I'm answering a question posed to me by BlogHer's Life Well Lived Campaign, "what are your best resources to help you get organized?"

Wife. Mother. Small Business Owner. Blogger. Runner. Wannabe Chef.

These are things that dictate my time and schedule. Some people (okay, my husband) might say that I'm old school when it comes to organizational tools, but when it comes to organizing my life I still prefer some rather archaic tools: paper and pen.

I still use a paper planner:

I use a paper monthly to-do list to keep myself on task:

And I use binders to keep it all in check.

But I'm married to a tech geek who gave up paper years ago, so I have acquiesced to a few tech products. I admit that I'm madly in love with my iPhone, iGoogle, and Evernote. While I doubt I'll ever give up my paper, I also see the value in technology. And the combination of paper and tech works well for me.

What are your best resources to help you get organized? Let us know in the comments.

Also, hop on over to BlogHer to read 35 Resources to Help You Get Organized. While you are there, enter the current Life Well Lived Moments Sweepstakes for a chance to win an iPod Touch.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cheap Movies at the Movie Theater {Summer Fun Guide}

My kids love to go the the movie theater. It's fun to watch a movie on the big screen, but at $7 a ticket the whole experience can really blow the budget.

Some theaters are offering great kids' movie deals over the summer months, but do a Google search for your neighborhood to find any deals at theaters near you.
  • Hop aboard the Summer Movie Express at Regal theater this summer. They are offering selected G or PG rated movies for only $1 on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 10:00 at participating locations. Check the Regal website for showtimes and dates of movies in your area.
  • Cinemark theaters is offering 10 shows for $5 (if purchased in advance) or $1 a show (if purchased at the box office) for selected G and PG movies. Check the Cinemark website for showtimes and dates of movies in your area.
  • Cinena Center in PA is offering FREE movies on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings  at 10 AM from June 26 through August 29. Check the Cinema Center website for showtimes and dates of the movies.

Snacks are another story. Some theaters might offer a special sized popcorn at a discounted price, but that will depend on the theater.

Will you be taking advantage of the super cheap movies at the theater this summer? Let us know in the comments.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Grilled Garlic Butter {Summer Grillin'}

I grilled corn on the cob for the first time last week and it was UNBELIEVABLE. Grilling intensifies the flavor and sweetness and when you add grilled garlic butter...TO.DIE.FOR!!!

Grilled corn on the cob takes a bit longer to cook than boiled corn, but so worth the taste.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

1. Pull the husk down without removing it. Remove the silk and pull the husk back up.

2. Soak the corn in a big pot of cold water for 30 minutes.

3. Heat grill to medium, about 400-450 degrees.

4. Place corn on the grill and close lid. Cook for 15-20 minutes, turning the corn every 5 minutes.

5. Pull the husk back and remove or use it to hold the corn.

Grilled Garlic Butter
Grilling garlic is very similar to roasting garlic.

1. Cut ¼ - ½ inch off top of garlic head and remove the outer papery layers. Leave the skin on the individual cloves on the garlic.

2. Place garlic piece of foil large enough to wrap entire head of garlic. Drizzle olive oil over the exposed cloves. Wrap head of garlic tightly with foil.

3. Place the packet on the grill with the corn. The garlic will cook in 15 - 20 minutes. It is done when it can pierced pierced with a fork. Be careful not to let the garlic burn.

Once the garlic is cool enough, the cloves easily remove from their skins with a small fork or your fingers.

4. Place 1 stick of softened butter and 4 - 5 of the grilled garlic cloves in a bowl and mix with a hand mixer until creamy smooth. Slather on the grilled corn and ENJOY!

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This post is linked to Tasty Tuesday.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Tackle that Tough Spot: The Utensil Drawer

I was simply looking for a spatula. You know the one; it's your absolute favorite spatula and it is lost some where in the utensil drawer:

My utensil drawer had gotten a little out of hand, so I tackled it. It didn't take long to realize that it had been a looong time since I cleaned it out.

EWWWWWW! How does a drawer get dirty when everything that is placed in it comes directly from the clean dishwasher?

Believe it or not, this drawer is now clean, purged, and organized.

Don't believe me? Check out this pile that is headed to the yard sale box:

My kids are 6 & 4; they haven't used baby spoons in over 2 years. These spoons should have been purged long ago.

What does your utensil drawer look like? Go tackle it!

Join me every Thursday for another task at:

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Our Day at the Washington, D.C. Zoo

We took a day trip a few week's ago to the Smithsonian National Zoo.

We are fortunate to live about 2 hours from Washington, D.C., but this is the first time we have taken our kids to our nation's capital. 

The day was gorgeous and we had a great time meandering the walking paths to see all of the animals.

I loved the flamingos. Aren't they gorgeous yet funny looking at the same time?

While zoos are an awesome opportunity to see exotic and beautiful animals, I struggle with the fact that they truly are out of their natural habitat.

If you are planning a trip to the Smithsonian National Zoo:

  • The price for admission is FREE
  • Parking at the zoo is $16 for the first 3 hours and $22 for over 3 hours. We arrived to the zoo at noon and the parking lots were full. We were directed to a residential area where the parking was free, but the limit is 2 hours. We forgot about the parking limit and stayed at the park for about 3 1/2 hours. Fortunatly for us, we were not ticketed, but a car across the street was not so lucky; it had a boot on the tire.
  • You are allowed to take your own food and drinks into the park. The park offers typical park food: burgers, chicken sandwiches, fries, etc. There aren't any restaurants surrounding the park that we could see to walk to, so be prepared to either buy at the park or pack your own.
  • For more information, check out the park website, National Zoo.

Have you been the to National Zoo in Washington, D.C.? Tell us about it in the comments.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Plan a Staycation | Summer Fun Guide

I am joining over forty bloggers from all over the country in The Year of the Staycation, hosted by Toni, The Happy Housewife and Andrea, of Savings Lifestyle. We are all writing about fun and low cost summer ideas in our respective areas of the country.

Here are the links to the other bloggers' sites for you to plan out your summer staycation or vacation:


Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York :: Coupons, Deals and More

Central New Jersey :: Philzendia (formerly Oh diane)

Erie, Pennsylvania :: Growing Kids Ministry

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania :: Family Balance Sheet


Black Hills, South Dakota :: Little House Living

Central Indiana :: In Good Cents

Chicago, Illinois :: Chicagoland Homeschool Network

Cincinnati, Ohio :: Savings Lifestyle Cincinnati

Dayton, Ohio :: Savings Lifestyle Dayton

Kansas City Area :: Kansas City Mamas

Mansfield, Ohio :: The Traveling Praters

Metro Detroit, Michigan :: Saving Dollars and Sense

Mount Vernon, Ohio :: Living Better One Day at a Time

North Central Indiana :: Parenting Miracles

Oakland County, Michigan :: Bargain Shopper Mom

Omaha, Nebraska :: Mom Endeavors

Oshkosh, Wisconsin :: A Little Bit of This and That

SE Minnesota :: Everyday Notions

Springfield, Missouri :: Getting Freedom

springfield, Missouri :: I Think I can, I think I can

St. Louis, Missouri :: Our Four Letter Words

South Central

Arlington, Texas :: Grocery Shop For FREE

Dallas, Texas :: Surviving The Stores

Grapevine, Texas :: My Crazy Savings

Houston, Texas :: MomsTravelTales

South Atlantic

Baltimore, Maryland :: The Happy Housewife

Charlottesville, Virginia :: How to Have it All

Jacksonville, Florida :: Saving The Family Money

Orlando, Florida :: Orlandos Best Deals

Shenandoah Valley, Virginia :: Life Your Way

St. Augustine, Florida :: Jypsie Visions

Washington, DC :: Holy Spirit-led Homeschooling


Arizona (all) :: Mom Endeavors

Colorado Springs, Colorado :: Springs Bargains

Denver, Colorado :: Denver Bargains

Phoenix, Arizona :: Saving For Someday

Tucson, Arizona :: Desert Chica Ramblings


Portland, Oregon :: Frugal Living NW

San Diego, California :: Life as MOM

San Diego, California (The Eating Tour) :: Good Cheap Eats

Seattle, Washington :: Queen Bee Coupons

Join us next week for more Summer Funn ideas:

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