Oh What Fun We Have – Easy and Free to Low Cost Summer Break Ideas

Summer break has been here for about a month or so now, the kids and I are no where near ready to kill each other. I have been enjoying the Summer break quite a bit, sure the lack in routine can occasionally be a bit of a challenge for my son Aj, but overall things are going awesome! As a Mom who has been a penny pincher for as long as she can remember, I wanted to share some tips on how our family has a blast without spending any money, or maybe just a little tiny bit of money some days … I know you can do this too!

Having Summer Break fun Without Breaking the Bank

I am a huge advocate for being happy within, I truly believe if you are not happy within your own self that no one around you will be happy either. That is where Summer Break comes into play, I see every day how happy I truly am because of how happy my children are in response to my deep inner happiness. We love spending quality time together, and they trust me to work a couple hours every day from home because once my work is done, the day is OURS.

Happily Blended Summer Break Fun

Some Things that the Kids and I enjoy Doing During Summer Break Are:

  • Sitting on the deck chatting about whatever or telling funny stories to each other.
  • Taking a trip to Walmart or some other local store and having a look around, it’s always fun to check out new toys.
  • Take a scenic ride somewhere; one day we hopped in the vehicle and drove 2 hours to the ocean.
  • Make blanket forts, play with musical instruments, dress up, pick berries, or play with the ever huge collection of toys in house.

Summer Break Fun

The best part of our summer break days is that we just laugh and laugh and laugh. We are a lively bunch together, and more often than not, you can hear music playing in our home while we do chores together as a means to ensure we are doing our part to keep our household running smoothly. We laugh together, we do chores together, we are family.

What are you doing this Summer break with your family that simply makes you SMILE?

Giveaway – Candy Containers is Giving Away $100 Visa Gift Card

I am writing today to share a giveaway that is going on and providing the form to enter the $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway, this is in no way a giveaway that I am in charge of hosting, getting winner for, etc.

Having a daughter who loves to bake and create new things such as desserts and candies, means that in the future she may decide to venture down the path of having her own bakery or candy store. All Candy Containers is a website I found that really would benefit someone setting up shop with a bakery of their own. Such an elegant and simple variety of containers for you to display your baked goods in so that customers will just flock to purchase their own choice of dessert. I, for one, personally love the candy dispensers that are listed on the website. If we ever become a brick and mortar type family business in the future, a dream in which I sometimes share with my father, I can say having candy dispensers would be a must!

Also, to think outside of the box, beyond a family run business or a bakery; our local sports groups have a snack bar set up for use at each game event. I think local sports groups and schools could benefit from the wide range of candy containers on All Candy Containers website. To give you a boost in the right direction, for whatever dreams you may have in life, I am sharing this chance for someone to be chosen to win a $100 Visa Gift Card.

Enter for Chance to win $100 Visa Gift Card

Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

Remember, Happily Blended Blog is not responsible for prize fulfillment.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cake Pop Creations with Tween Daughter Take 1 and Take 2

Just before Christmas I went out shopping with my Mom for presents and while we were at JCPenney’s we happened upon their kitchen area where cake pop machines were on sale. I exclaimed, “oh my gosh, Ki wants one of these so bad” and it was a sealed deal, my Mom took a peek and for only $15 it was a steal of a deal. Miss Ki was about to open up a cake pop machine and cake pop mix on Christmas Day. It took us awhile to actually get to use the cake pop maker, but finally we made some cake pops one day, just for fun. This is our story of making Cake Pops for the first time …. and the second time!

Happily Blended Blog Cake Pop Creations With Tween (5)

It was a challenge to get the cake pop mix just the right texture and then the frosting mix too. We were super impressed with how well the Cake Pop maker worked in all honesty. We had perfect, cute little circles of cakes. This was exciting!

Cake Pop Creations with Tween Daughter Take 1 and Take 2

As you can see in the picture above, we failed miserably with the frosting this first time around. It was certainly a learning experience. Once I posted these pictures on Facebook, my friends were happy to give some advice. After all, a lot of my blogger friends work with Wilton and have been making Cake Pops long before I even knew what they were. Some examples of what we should have done for frosting was to use those candy melts or melted chocolate.

Cake Pop Creations with Tween Daughter Take 1 and Take 2

So this second time around, we decided to make Red Velvet cake pops for my daughter’s school Valentines Day Party. Shown above are our picture perfect circles of red velvet deliciousness.  The cake part came out great and so next was to put to work some tips on how to decorate these babies.

Happily Blended Blog Cake Pop Creations With Tween (2)

While I was unable to purchase the candy melts everyone recommended, I did purchase a container of vanilla frosting and some chocolate chips to melt. My daughter, who is taking cooking classes for Winter program, had a way to thin out the frosting better. Apparently if you take a normal can of frosting and mix it with a beater/mixer it helps to even out the fat content. I love baking with this girl, she is always teaching me new things. So Ki mixed up the frosting and melted the chocolate chips over the stove, not together of course.

Happily Blended Blog Cake Pop Creations With Tween (3)

Look at that proud face! My daughter created a chocolate covered red velvet cake pop and to compare this with what we did our first go round, you can probably see why she is beaming with pride! Then, all by accident, she happened to drizzle some chocolate over the frosting she placed on the top of the cake pop using a frosting bag decor thing and thus created her covered covered red velvet cake pops with a dab of vanilla frosting on top and chocolate drizzled over. She was proud. I was proud. I am raising a little chef here.

My daughter is at home in the kitchen, she is a natural baker. I advise anyone to encourage their kids to be a part of the kitchen so that they too can find their way in the kitchen, baking can certainly be a great stress reliever. For my daughter, baking was a way for her to come up with new blog post ideas for her soon to be public blog, House of Bear Hugs.

 

Will we Be Back to School Soon? #schoolvacation #happilyblended

My children had 12 days, that includes weekends scheduled off for school vacation. My fiance also had the same 12 days off from his work place, it was great – the idea of having a second adult around during school vacation. I was looking forward to school vacation regardless of my fiance being off from work or not because I enjoy extra time to hang with my children. It amazes me just how fast they grow up … no matter how much they grow up, they still enjoy doing a variety of activities with their siblings and this Mama …

Bead Crafts Happily Blended

Our first idea of something to do, during this school vacation, was to get our bead collection out. My fiance’s aunt sent over some beads, something that everyone enjoys doing something with. My five year old son went to work making a necklace for me and a necklace for himself. It was a fun time with us all around the table putting together jewelry from the beads and strings.

Happily Blended Reading Books and Paper Crowns

We are avid book readers in this house so it was certainly true that we got some reading in as well, one of our Christmas time favorites is Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star. The boys also had an idea that they wanted to be kings of various countries so I went to work helping them make crowns out of paper. They loved saying they were the King of Greece and King of Egypt like King Tut, etc etc. Such a fun time!

Popiscle Crafts Board Games Happily Blended

We spent so much time together between playing an occasional MineCraft via the demo on the PS3 or the full creative version on my laptop to Popsicle stick crafts like God’s Eyes shown in the far right in above picture to the jewelry box made out of Popsicle sticks and board games like our favorite, Monopoly Empire.

While the 12 days of school vacation were fun and we enjoyed being together as a family, when January 2nd came, it was surely a time for the kids to be back to school as they were scheduled to be so that the regular school year routine could resume. Then it happened, ,we got hit with a bad snow storm January 2nd into January 3rd leaving the kids with no school both Thursday and Friday. So we spent time hanging out and staying warm in below zero temperatures. Now, as Monday approaches, I look forward to having routine back so I can work and the kids can attend their regularly scheduled school sessions.

What did you all do during school vacation?

Sharing the Tradition of Cutting Down a Real Christmas Tree 2013 #happilyblended #family

Christmas has come and gone so quickly, even the 12 days of vacation from school that my children had just flew by too fast. I wanted to share our Christmas Tree story because, well it’s a bit late but a fun story to share.

Oh Christmas Tree

For years my children and I, up until last year, my ex husband was included too – we go and cut down our Christmas Tree. It’s a family tradition. Last Christmas (of 2012) was the first year my ex husband and I did things separately, as our youngest was starting to have issues realizing Mommy and Daddy are not together even though we do a lot together as a “family unit”. The traditions of our prior family had to stop being shared together as adults, but separately with our sons for each household. It was important for us to do that for our sons to move forward.

So this Christmas, 2013, was the first year we celebrated with my fiance and his children. The kids and I really want to make the fiance and his kids realize that they are a full part of our family here, the children of my fiance now have two homes – one with their Mom and one here with their Dad and me. It’s important to everyone here that the children feel at home while they visit every other weekend. Sharing our picking out and cutting down of the family Christmas Tree was important.

Little Human Christmas Tree

We all headed out in two vehicles to the place just near our house to get a tree. Basically this place cuts the tree down for you and the five kids and us walked around until we found a tree that we wanted.

Human Christmas Tree

You see picking out a tree was half the battle, getting it into the house and on that little human tree stand was another story. The boys and my step daughter had a fun time being all cute pretending to be the real Christmas Tree.  We did finally get that tree up on our tree stand and it was ready for the annual tradition of Brandy and Kiara to go at it while attempting to put garland and lights on the tree… now that was entertainment for the remainder of our family.

Christmas Tree 2013

It all started when Kiara felt the need to report that I totally suck with winding of the garland and/or lights. Each time I attempt to wrap anything like she does in the picture above, I end up with tangles and knots. She is great at this  …. I am not. I am simply a pawn waiting for Kiara’s next command, or idle threat of hoping the garland is around my neck as she pulls to wrap it around her arm. She’s a sweet child, I promise!

Happily Blended Tree Cutting

Then the arguing commences over who wants what where and why. This is ridiculous to me, but the five children placed various decorations on our first time Blended Family Christmas Tree with little mishaps. Us adults, had the job of cleaning the decorations because my over 10 year old candy canes melted and got all over the decor leaving us with no candy canes on tree this year.

Christmas Tree Tradition

Finally our first Christmas tree together as a family was complete and we enjoyed looking at it every night until about 2 days after Christmas when I had enough and took it all down! It’s important as we plan for a 2015 wedding that we remind our children that all 5 of them are our family, together always. They are all to be included, loved and made to feel a part of our lives whether with us or the other parent. We love our five combined children and would do anything for them! I was a merry, happy evening this particular evening and it’s a memory I will hang onto for years.

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