Saving Up for Disney

Budgeting Tips for Your Entire Life!


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DIY #DisneySide Stamp Craft Projects and Giveaway

Audra of Dragonfly Curls on Etsy so sweetly sent me three hand carved rubber stamps for me to use in my #DisneySide @HomeCelebration party planning.

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I received the classic Mickey Mouse Ears silhouette, Mickey Mouse Balloon and the Fairy Tale Princess Castle stamps. Each stamp is custom cut by hand which makes them unique. Stamps are mounted on foam and wood for easier use. Every stamp is hand made to order, brand new, and is tested before it is sent out. You can tell that Audra puts a lot of love into her craft!

   

Check out some of these other fantastic Disney-inspired designs. I’m kind of thinking that the Jack Skellington is going to be a must for Halloween crafts!

   


This is what I did with the stamps that I received

Handstamped Tee

I prepped a white shirt for my daughter by pre-washing without fabric softener. I lined the inside with cardboard so I’d have a flat surface for stamping (an old cereal box is good for this). You also don’t want the paint bleeding from the front to other parts of the shirt.

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I used red, black and yellow fabric paints. Starting with the first color, brush on a small amount of paint directly onto the Mickey head stamp.

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Set the stamp down on the shirt (I started at the top and worked my way down), press gently but firmly on the stamp, rolling slightly side to side. Lift and voila! An adorable stamped Mickey!

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Continue down the shirt using the same color in a spaced out pattern. Clean the stamp by stamping off the extra paint onto a rag or paper towel. I wiped mine off with a cotton ball and rubbing alcohol before starting with the next color.

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If part of the stamp doesn’t come out clearly simply dab a little paint on the tip of a brush to fill in the missing space.

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When you’re all done, let the shirt dry flat for at least 24 hours. Toss in the dryer to heat set the paint and you’ll be ready to wear your creation!


Stamped Favor Bags

Using plain kraft bags from The Bakers Confections on Etsy, I made a simple stamp in the center of each favor bag. I picked up these stamp pads at the craft store and gently pressed the stamp onto the ink until they were well coated. Firmly press straight down onto the paper, then rock gently up and down and side to side.

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Lift it up and reveal a lovely stamped image!

After filling with favors we sealed the kraft bags with a bit of polka dotted washi tape for that extra special “Minnie” touch!

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CONTEST IS CLOSED – Congratulations to the winner, Heidi E.

Would you like to win your own stamp from Dragonfly Curls?

Audra is offering my readers the chance to win their choice of one stamp from her Etsy shop!

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE!

Open to USA only; prize will be shipped directly from Dragonfly Curls.


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Resolution Series – “I Want To Eat Healthier” – Making Changes in the Kitchen Towards a Healthier You!

Resolution Series - Kick Start the Year Towards a Healthier, Wealthier and More Organized You!

I am probably the last person on earth who would ever have given healthy eating advice. Several years ago, before I remarried I was a self-confessed fast food addict. There were days when I ate fast food meals three times a day. Needless to say I gained quite a bit of weight and felt sluggish. Getting off the fast food drive-thru track wasn’t easy. It was a die-hard habit and I absolutely went through withdrawals.

Do I still have pizza or burgers on occasion? Yes, but it’s the exception and not the norm. That’s one of the most important thing to remember when choosing to eat healthier. There are a few things that kept me sane and yes, it does get easier to eat healthfully!


One thing at a time

Changes like this are hard to make overnight. It’s ingrained in you that you go out for breakfast after church each Sunday. Or that you always buy cookies for the kid’s lunches, because well, you’ve always bought them. Take things one at a time. Best to make a list of changes that you’d like to make and be specific. Several years ago my list would have said, “Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, eat out less, control portions, eat a better breakfast, quit drinking Diet Coke”. I started with the portion control which is probably the best and easiest place to start. Then I moved towards eating out less simply by packing lunches each day and preparing a dinner plan so I wasn’t scrambling each night. I definitely eat more veggies and am still working on getting more fresh fruit (I do aim for an apple a day!) And I am proud to say that I am one month free of my Diet Coke addiction. Those resolutions took me several years, nothing happened overnight. Choose one thing off your list and start now. When you feel like you’ve hit your stride in that area, work on the next item!

Cast iron skillet cornbread with Walt Disney's Chili

Walt Disney’s Chili


Have someone who holds you accountable

There are times now when I’d love to pick up burgers and fries for the family instead of cooking. And I’ll admit it, sometimes we do hit the In n’ Out but those moments are few and far in between and not the norm. My husband helps to hold me accountable for what we choose to eat. Do I think he’s a meanie sometimes when I really want to order a pizza and he says he’s grilling chicken instead? Yep! But that’s okay, because he has our family’s best interest at heart. And I know if I didn’t have him holding me accountable I’d be eating all sorts of junk that I shouldn’t. Do I still go out to pizza with my girlfriends? Yes, I do but I temper the heavy-calorie days by packing my healthy lunches and eating lots of fresh greens the rest of the week. Who in your life can hold you accountable for your meal choices? Choose someone you’ll still love and respect, even after they’ve given you that look when you reach for a second helping of dessert!

Choose freshly prepared

I grew up in a household that thrived on boxed rice mixes. You know the kind with the sodium-laden seasoning packets? I used to buy them too until I got my rice maker and realized how easy and inexpensive it was to make your own rice. A huge bag of brown rice from Costco is so cheap and our $25 rice maker stops when the rice is done so it doesn’t over or under cook. We add chicken broth or our own seasonings to the water when cooking if we want additional flavor but most of the time we eat it plain. Consider all of the boxed, canned or frozen convenience foods that you could be making in bulk on your own. It’s wonderful to know exactly what ingredients we are eating too. I’ve started mixing up our own salad dressings, cooking beans from scratch and only baking treats like cookies from whole ingredients.

DIY Creamy Pesto Salad Dressing (Old Spaghetti Factory recipe) - My favorite dressing, and so easy to make at home!!

Creamy Pesto Dressing


Take it with you

I’m not a leftovers lover. I don’t really want to eat last night’s rewarmed meal but I often do. Some foods are better than others the second time around, naturally. Given a night in the fridge, meatloaf, lasagna and salad dressings have had time to let their flavors develop and meld. To avoid the temptation of hitting the fast food drive-thru or the office snack machine, make sure you are well-stocked with healthy snacks. Pack your lunch the night before so you only have to grab and go in the morning.

Every few hours snack on a little fat, some protein and a carb to keep up your metabolism (a cheese stick, a few almonds and a small piece of fruit is appropriate). Snacks should hover around 100 calories. Pack things in a cooler lunch bag if you plan on being out and about. My husband makes it a point to keep snacks with him at all times, usually a small bag or nuts to nibble when hunger strikes. It’s nice to have when we’re out running errands and we aren’t close to home. Having the snacks with us helps us resist the urge to stop at a convenience store for treats.

Take it home

I love eating out. It’s nice to get something that you don’t prepare at home and to have someone else clean the dishes. But do I really think that it’s worth the $15+ plate of food when that could easily be enough to feed my entire family several meals at home? I very rarely eat out because it’s expensive, portions are too large and it’s unnecessary when we have food to prepare at home. When you eat at home you know what you’re putting in your food, how much salt or butter has been added to the vegetables and you can control the portions.

Little swaps

Switch out things in the pantry towards healthier choices. White rice for brown. Whole wheat bread instead of white. Fresh oranges instead of processed orange juice. Vegetarian night instead of a meat dish once or twice a week. Not adding butter or salt to the steamed veggies. A dollop of Greek yogurt in your taco instead of sour cream. Fresh fish instead of steak. If your family is used to doing things a certain way, you may hear some grumblings. Believe me, I was a big time grumbler when my husband brought home a huge bag of uncooked pinto beans. I’ve never liked beans but after preparing them fresh, I actually enjoy them (don’t tell him that!) Think of little swaps that you could make in your meal planning that could remove fat/calories/cholesterol and move your dishes into a more healthy zone.

Crock Pot Pinto Beans...cheap & easy! {Saving up for Disney}

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans


Cook in bulk and your leftovers will be your own “fast food”

When making things like beans, biscuits or soups, I tend to prepare double and freeze the leftovers. On those days when your cupboards are bare or you just know that you aren’t going to have it in you to cook dinner that night, simply pull out a bag and let it defrost. Voila! You’ll just have to reheat when you get home and have a hearty meal that’s healthier, cheaper and just as fast as anything you’d find in the drive-thru.

Eat at Home & Save - Recipe for using leftovers - Turkey & Rice Soup

Use Those Leftovers! Turkey and Rice Soup

Love the slow cooker

Toss in fresh ingredients in the morning and have a healthy meal when you get home. Pair it with freshly steamed veggies and you have a balanced dinner (hopefully with leftovers to eat at lunch the next day). We never seem to have leftovers with this amazing dish by Fabio Viviani! A small amount of meat is perfect when cooked in a hearty sauce so you won’t need much to satisfy. Resist the recipes that call for a bunch of canned ingredients as this is going to increase the sodium intake and calorie count. A search for Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes on Pinterest revealed tons of fantastic looking recipes!

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Start the morning on a good note

I am a terrible breakfast eater who is trying to reform herself. In the old days a “good” breakfast was either a slice of pastry that my dad had bought at the grocery, a breakfast sandwich picked up from a drive-thru or a doughnut from the convenience store (with a Diet Coke, of course!). Talk about a major blood sugar spike that would have me crashing by 9:00 am! I have started waking up about 15 minutes earlier to cook my kids a healthy breakfast. Sometimes it’s scrambled eggs with a little cheddar cheese, toast and a half a banana. Sometimes they have oatmeal with apples and a glass of milk. I like to make myself a fresh fruit smoothie or just a single piece of wheat toast with a thin spread of peanut butter and a half a banana. I still sometimes forget to feed myself breakfast but it’s getting better!

Log each bite 

Definitely a great place to start, especially if you are a mindless in-front-of-the-computer nibbler like I am. Are you eating right now? *wink* Get a tiny note pad and log your food every day, even the small bites of your kid’s leftover mac and cheese. This is just to give you an idea what you are consuming and put your intake in perspective. At some point you’ll want to figure out the calories to see where you’ll been falling approximately each day. I’ve personally used the Lose It! app on my phone and love how I’m able to plug in my calories, scan barcodes, add in exercise and search for foods. It’s a helpful food log that you can check through the day to make sure you’re staying on track.

Portion Control

One of the “tricks” that I learned right away when I started on the healthier eating bandwagon was to drastically cut my portions. It really snapped things into perspective when I started serving myself half of my normal portions…and I was completely full and content! If you’re used to serving yourself two slices of toast with breakfast try just one. You can still have a cookie, just have two instead of four. Do you find that you’re still hungry? Double the fruits and veggies and continue to half the other portions. Serve up meal plates in the kitchen and promptly refrigerate leftovers to resist the temptation to go back for seconds.

Summer Pasta Salad recipe {www.savingupfordisney}

Summer Pasta Salad


I still struggle with certain aspects of healthy eating. But I’m human and I know that “slow and steady wins the race”. Any changes that I make have to be implemented slowly in order for them to stick! I am a work in progress and I’m happy with the changes I’ve made so far.

What are your healthy eating tips? Anything helpful that keeps you on track? Share below in the comments!


 

I am not a doctor so please consult yours before trying any of these tips.

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Eat at Home and Save – Christmas Cranberry Cake

Christmas Cranberry Cake

A friend of mine recently made this cake and was kind enough to share. When she told me it only has six ingredients, I was intrigued. 5 of the 6 I already had in my supply and only the fresh cranberries would need to be purchased. Imagine my delight when I found a bag of whole cranberries at Costco for the low, low price of $1.99! And get this, that one bag is enough to make four batches of this heavenly cake! I made one cake (9×13″) and froze the rest of the cranberries to use when I make the cake again (and I will be making this cake again!)

Cranberry Christmas cake

The recipe goes together in a jiffy. I absolutely recommend using real butter (I don’t think it will come out the same if you substitute). Make sure it’s whipped long enough as this is what will make the cake moist and fluffy. The slightly sweet cake offsets the tangy taste of the cranberries in this festive and delicous cake that is perfect for holiday parties!

Cranberry Christmas cake

This is a fantastic cake that is easy on the budget and great for sharing. The pieces can be cut small and hold their shape nicely. You really don’t even need a fork, just pick up the slice like a brownie. Recipe found on Barefeet in the Kitchen, Cranberry Christmas Cake. Better print out a few copies and take them with you because your friends will definitely ask for the recipe!

Cranberry Christmas cake

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