Erin Condren 2015 Life Planner Review

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Do you struggle with organization? I struggle BIG time. The main reason I struggle is because I have ADHD. My brain simply doesn’t work the way a “normal” brain does. Some people find organization calm and peaceful. It makes everything about their day smoother and streamlined.

Not me.

The very act of keeping things organized stresses me out! My brain is constantly focusing on 15 different things at one time and to hone in and really focus on making sure things are neat, tidy and orderly is so stressful to me. This is not to say that I don’t have my OWN version of an organized life however. I’m one of those people who can have a giant pile of items in a box and I can remember every single thing that is in that box.

My mess (in real life and in my brain) just makes sense to me. Maybe not to anyone else, but to me.

All that said, there is one area of my life that I really really strive to be organized with. That is my TIME! A schedule for me is what helps me feel peaceful and calm. I know what I need to do and where I need to go and how much time it will take to get there and that is the equivalent of a well organized file cabinet and color coded recipe cards to me.

Of course, my ADHD can make this difficult as well. With a cluttered brain, appointments are tough to keep up with. Deadlines…quickly come and go without a single thought. Now, the secret for me is to WRITE THINGS DOWN. Not in my phone…although I do that too (it helps to have backup), I need to write things down on PAPER.

The problem is, I write things down all the time. Then I lose the paper I wrote those things down on!

In my school days, I would just write on my hand. However there is something about a 32 year old women with an inked up hand that is just NOT attractive. So last year I set about finding a solution to my time management woes. I stumbled upon Erin Condren planners on Instagram.

I was the type that purchased a cheap calendar at the dollar store previously and could not understand why anyone would spend more than just a couple of bucks on something you would only use for one year (and in my experience…one week was probably being generous).

Gee golly though, these planners were PRETTY. I mean…oooh, ahhh, ooh lala pretty.

I was chatting with my SIL one day and she had heard of them as well! She is a teacher and NEEDS to keep a paper calendar to stay organized. I am a business owner, busy mom and active volunteer with PTA and other various organizations. We both needed something that would work!

I ended up getting the opportunity to review the planner last year (read last years review here) and had high hopes for it.

Those hopes were FAR exceeded. I am here to excitedly tell you…I stuck with that planner ALL YEAR LONG! Sure there was a period in the summer where it collected some dust. We didn’t have much going on and there wasn’t much to write. But the entire rest of the year, it was my trusty sidekick.

I used that planner y’all! I was SO proud to pull it out. It was beautiful. It had a picture of my beautiful children on the front (I always set it down with the cover up, it made me happy!) and was bright, colorful and cheery! I have large handwriting and I could write out a whole day’s schedule and still have room for more.

I now have my 2015 calendar headed my way and I just can’t wait to fill it out! I’m saving the old one so I can look back on it one day as a journal of sorts. I mean, what planner is actually SAVEworthy after the year is completed? These Erin Condren planners are!

I highly recommend Erin Condren planners and I’d love for y’all to check them out!

Click here to check out the website, plus be sure to check them out on social media:

Facebook

Pinterest

Twitter

Instagram

Finally, I am going to be GIVING away an Erin Condren Life Planner + New You bundle on Pinterest!

In addition to your gorgeous Life Planner, Your Happy New You clutch includes:

  1. Monthly Budget Book
  2. Wellness Journal
  3. Snap-In Meal Planner
  4. Snap-In To-Do List
  5. set of Elastic Bands
  6. Perpetual Calendar
  7.  Pen Holder
  8. Free Designer Clutch

Here’s how to enter to win:

1. Head over to Pinterest and follow Erin Condren on Pinterest (be sure you are following me too!)

2. Make a new Pinterest board and title your board Erin Condren – 2015 Favorites!

Click the + sign on the bottom right to create a new board

3. Repin the pins from this board and add some new pins from the Erin Condren site as well! Use the hashtag #ECNewYou on your pins!

Come back here and comment with a link to your new board!

The giveaway ends on 2/11 at 11:59 PM CST!

The winners will be notified by email, and will have 48 hours to verify their email address. If the winners do not respond within 48 hours, I will pick another winner. 

Prizes will be given out by Erin Condren and not by Family Friendly Frugality. 

This giveaway is not affiliated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. 

I have received compensation in the form of product/gift cards to facilitate this giveaway. All opinions are my own. 

 

Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort on South Padre Island Review and Trip Recap #BeachHoliday

Recently, we had the opportunity to spend some time at Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort on South Padre Island at the very very southern tip of the great state of Texas!

We are big BIG Schlitterbahn fans already, so we knew we were in for a treat as we took the 6 hour drive (*cries*) down from Houston to South Padre.

We arrived pretty late in the evening, but the kids were SO excited and so were we! We headed to our beachfront room and crashed for the evening. The room was awesome. The artwork was pictures of the park. Very neat!

The next morning, we woke up and headed down to the Seaside Grill for an awesome breakfast that we took back to our rooms. First though, the kids had to run down and check out the beach! It was SO cold, but so pretty!

I’m telling you, this breakfast was awesome!

Next we got into our suits and headed over to Schlitterbahn! Since the hotel is actually part of the waterpark resort, we did not have to go far. In fact, during the summer months, the waterpark is literally right outside your room!

Since we went during the winter though, we went to the part of the park that is completely covered and heated.

We spent all day playing in the lazy river (not so lazy!) and going down the slides and playing on the fun pirate ship. They also have a carousel and a playground as well.

That evening, after lounging for a bit in our room, we headed over to the Shrimp Haus restaurant which is over on the main waterpark property. It was wonderful!

We also checked out a Turtle Rescue place on the island. It was such a great experience.

The next day we were back at the waterpark for some more fun. First though, we ate some breakfast tacos at the little eatery right beside the lobby/waterpark. Those were HUGE!

At the waterpark, we stayed all the way until dinner time since we knew it would be our last chance to enjoy it. The kids were so in their element. They LOVE waterparks.

That evening, we headed out to try a restaurant that had good reviews on Yelp and were not disappointed!

The next morning it was time to head back home. I was a bit disappointed because it was SO foggy! We could barely see the beach from our room. On our way in, it was too dark to look around on the bridge into South Padre and on the way out, it was too foggy! Oh well, more motivation to go back again 😉

We had so much fun having our winter vacation at Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort on South Padre Island. The rooms were wonderful, the beds were comfy, the waterpark was a blast and the food was great!

To book a stay, see more pictures of the resort, or to check it out, click here!

Have you ever been to South Padre Island or to Schlitterbahn? Comment below! 

Disclaimer: We were provided rooms to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own and truthful! 

South Padre Island Schlitterbahn Water Park and Resort – Indoor Water Park!

Thanksgiving break is coming up…quickly followed by Christmas break!

Maybe you are already getting started with your spring break or summer vacation plans (if so, bravo to you!)

If you are looking for something to do with the family, be sure to check out the Schlitterbahn Beach Water and Resort  on South Padre Island!

We love Schlitterbahn, and have been meaning to make our way down to this new park on South Padre Island since it opened!

This beach paradise features a 221 room resort hotel, indoor waterpark, full service restaurants and more!

I mean, just click here and check out the pictures on the site. I love it!

Nestled along South Padre Island’s beautiful beaches, accommodations feature in room refrigerators, microwaves, safes, free Wi-Fi, large screen HDTV, Denver mattresses, Wolfgang Puck coffee and free onsite parking. We even have a 1950’s era Grand Carousel to enjoy! You will enjoy seeing the use of the Loblolly Pines, reclaimed from the 2011 Bastrop wildfires, which form everything from furniture to paneling on walls.

The best part? They have an INDOOR water park! So this truly can be a holiday vacation for your family!

You can check out their yearly schedule here. Check out how to get hooked up with season passes here.

And the attractions…so many attractions!

From mild to wild, Schlitterbahn Beach features relaxing rivers to tidal wave rivers, FOUR uphill water coasters, swim-up bars, plenty of kid’s play areas, a five-story interactive Sandcastle, the world-famous Boogie Bahn inland surfing ride and coming soon – Cenote, Texas’ first underground water slide!

Check out all of their attractions here.

Be sure  to consider Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort in South Padre Island, TX for your next family vacation.

Disclaimer – This post is not a sponsored post, but I am hoping to get a trip to South Padre Island Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort by posting it! All  opinions are my own. I truly truly want to check this place out! I promise, I’ll tell y’all all about it!

Arbor House Gallery in Clear Lake TX Review and Discount! – Local Deal

I’m sure by now, most of you have seen those “group” painting places. You and your girlfriends/spouse/children pick a painting from the website, make a reservation and head off to an instructional painting class!

I’ve done several and they are always so fun! Recently a friend of mine invited me to her painting studio to paint the gorgeous cross pictured above!

The studio is called Arbor House Gallery (Soon to be The Urban Easel) and it’s fantastic! This studio is located in Clear Lake TX on the southeast side of Houston.

We started off in front of a blank canvas.

( The Gallery is BYOB so some ladies there brought refreshments and apps and were gracious enough to allow everyone present to have a bit! )

Jay Ybarra was the instructor on the evening I was there and he was great!

Each technique is explained and the painting is constructed in layers. I promise you can be a complete novice and you will have a good time. Plus you walk away with a gorgeous one of a kind piece of art for your home!

You can follow along on their Facebook page for their calendar and you can also call them ((832) 880-6899) if you have a specific idea in mind for a party/painting!

They do offer birthday parties, children’s parties as well!

You can also do a couples paintings.

Be sure to check out the website for Arbor House  here (soon to be The Urban Easel!).

As an aside, this gallery has also begun offering  private music (guitar and percussion) and art lessons (age 5+). Your first private lesson is FREE!

Right now, Rachel (the owner and my friend) has graciously offered $10 off two BYOB Paint Parties or $24 off of 4! This is a great deal!

I hope you’ll check out Arbor House Gallery, I enjoyed my time there so much and have plans to go back again very soon!

Here’s my finished painting!

Disclaimer: I was given a free painting session in exchange for promotion. All opinions are my own and genuine!

Quaker Chewy & Nerf Team Up to #FuelBackyardFun + Win a $25 VISA Gift Card!

This is a sponsored campaign with Mums the Word Network and Quaker Chewy. All opinions are my own.

It’s summer! Which means summertime fun. Playing in the pool, playing at the park, playing ’til dark!

Throughout the summer, I find having a good stash of snacks on hand makes the in between meal “I’m hungry!” cries a bit easier to placate.

One of our favorite snacks to have on hand are Quaker Chewy Granola Bars! Quaker Chewy helps gives kids the energy they need to play. That’s why Quaker and NERF are teaming up to fuel backyard fun, helping families get out and get active together, right in their own backyard.

When you buy three specially-marked boxes of Quaker Chewy, you can enter the codes online at fuelfun.quakeroats.com to get a free Nerf sports item.

The available items are:

  • Nerf N-Sports Weather Blitz All Conditions Football– With a Bash Ball, your backyard’s ready to take on family dodgeball, volleyball, soccer, and plenty of other games to a new level of fun. This flexible all-purpose ball has three hand holds, making it easy to grip. Ages 5 and up.
  • Nerf N-Sports Pro Grip Football– This durable ball is tough enough to take on mud, being left out in the rain, getting caught in a tree, and everything else your kids want to put it through. Ages 5 and up.
  • Nerf N-Sports Nerfoop Set– The Pro Grip Football has laces just like a pro football, fueling your kids’ big league fantasies. Have your kids take their game to the next level with the Pro Grip football! Ages 4 and up.
  • Nerf Sports Bash Ball-You can hang the Nerfoop backboard almost anywhere you want for your kids to shoot threes, practice lay-ups, and even dunk if you hang it low enough. Ages 4 and up.
  • Nerf Super Soaker Tidal Tube Blaster 2-Pack– Cool off on a hot day with these two water blasters. They let you unleash a giant wave of soakage on your target from up to 23 feet away, which means your kids won’t even see you coming! Ages 6 and up. 

I don’t know about your family, but my family would have a blast with ALL of those awesome NERF toys!

 

Quaker Chewy bars aren’t just for kiddos though!

Here is my personal favorite Quaker Chewy bar…

What is your favorite?

The Giveaway

Guess what? Quaker Chewy and FFF have teamed up to give one lucky FFF reader a FREE box of Quaker Chewy bars AND a $25 VISA card!

As usual, you must be an FFF email subscriber and Facebook fan to enter. In addition you can earn an entry by tweeting daily and by following FFF on other social media channels.

Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter to WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway will end on 6/27/14.

Be sure to follow Quaker on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with product news and potential coupons!

Disclaimer: I received product to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own. Giveaway fulfillment will be done by  Mums the Word Network and Quaker Chewy.

Pretzel Crisps: Great for Dipping and Lower in Calories!

I received Pretzel Crisps® to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own.

I love my snacks salty and with some crunch!

I tried Pretzel Crisps® a few months ago and fell in love.

Pretzel Crisps® are a thin and crunchy pretzel cracker that forces you to Rethink Your Pretzel.

My favorite way to eat Pretzel Crisps®? With hummus. It is the perfect snack and I’ll admit at times it actually is my lunch!

(I’ve been known to eat it for dinner as well, oops!)

My favorite is the Classic Pretzel Crisps® flavor, but there are soooo many Pretzel Crisps® flavor options now!

I was recently able to review ALL of the Deli Style Pretzel Crisps® and they are all amazing!

These are perfect for dipping or just for eating on their own.

Pretzel Crisps® are also lower in calories than pretty much any other chip out there!

You can try Pretzel Crisps® with some of the great dips I have posted over the past few years:

Queso Blanco Recipe – Compare This to Your Favorite Mexican Food Restaurant!

Creamy Salsa Dip: Easy & Quick!

Cheesy Ground Beef Bean Dip-Perfect Appetizer for the Holidays!

Spinach & Artichoke Dip Recipe: Make It Better At Home!

Be sure to like Pretzel Crisps® on Facebook for savings and recipe ideas!

Make Your Own Spring/Easter Themed Candy! #SpringFling #goodcookcom

Disclaimer: I received product to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

Are you looking for something special and unique to make for friends, families and teachers for Easter?

Check out this homemade candy we made!

This recipe is SO super simple.

You really only need a few items.

I was sent this awesome Spring Silicone Bark and Chocolate Mold and spatula from GoodCook. It’s from their Sweet Creations line and isn’t it just absolutely DARLING?!

We decided to make some fun layered candy with this great Sweet Creations Spring Silicone Bark and Chocolate Mold (scroll down for coupon code!) and decided to use some fun edible markers to make the candy unique and special!

Making this candy was pretty much as simple as melting some candy melting wafers, letting it cool and then melting some Kroger Chocolate Bark and letting that cool.

Then I just let the chocolate set and BAM! It popped out of the mold so easily!

I was a bit nervous when it came time to break the candy into individual squares, but honestly it was super simple and everything broke nice and neat!

This  Spring Silicone Bark and Chocolate Mold is also heat safe, so you can make brownies, cornbread, etc. Really whatever your heart desires!

I think next time, we will make some chocolate candy topped rice krispy treats!

Do you want to make this fun and easy Spring Easter candy? It’s a GREAT gift idea!

Here is the ingredient list:

  • 1 bag Ghirardelli white melting wafers (you can use any white chocolate, just make sure you have at least 12  ounces to fully cover the bottom of the mold)
  • 1 package of Kroger chocolate bark (once again, you can use any chocolate bark, just make sure you have enough to cover the entire mold)
  • Edible Food Dye Markers
  • Spring Silicone Bark and Chocolate Mold and Spatula

Directions:

Start off by melting your white chocolate in the microwave according to the package directions.

Pour the white chocolate onto the  Spring Silicone Bark and Chocolate Mold so it fully coats the entire mold. You want to be sure all of the pictures are well covered so the darker chocolate won’t peak through the front (which could mess up your pretty designs!)

Let the white chocolate set and harden.

Melt the chocolate bark and pour over the white chocolate.

Let set.

When the chocolate is hard, pull the silicone away from the candy slighty and then flip the candy over onto a flat surface.

You should be able to break the candy along the provided lines at this point. It was super simple for me!

Go ahead and get to coloring! Let your kids get in on the action and enjoy!

Be sure to check out all of the great GoodCook products available by checking out their website.

Want to grab this awesome mold yourself? Use the coupon code SpringFling to get 25% off your purchase! Click here to check out all the fun Spring Fling products from Good Cook. 

Disclaimer: I received product to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

The Book Thief On DVD and Blu-Ray – WIN the Blu-Ray!

I am a voracious reader. I will read just about anything I can get my hands on.

That doesn’t mean everything I read is awesome though ;).

The Book Thief though? Awesome!

This book is amazing. Set in the time of WWII, and narrated by Death himself, The Book Thief is about a young girl adopted by a German couple when her mother can no longer care for her.

The girl, Liesel, comes to her adoptive family illiterate and throughout the course of the story, the world of words and books is opened up to her.

Throughout the story, you see how her family deals with living in the thick of WWII Germany.

It’s not what you might think though. These are not Germans who support the war effort. In fact, they place themselves in a very precarious position that makes the story even more suspenseful and at times even more heartbreaking.

When I heard that they were creating a movie based upon this book, I was so excited!

Since I do not actually get to go to the theater very often to see “grown up movies”, I knew I was going to have to wait until the film came out on DVD.

Well thankfully, it is now available on DVD! Not only that, but Fox Home Entertainment has released a Discussion Guide to go along with the film.

Click here to print out the discussion guide.

You can pick up The Book Thief at any local store that sells DVD’s/Blu-Rays (Amazon has it right now).

Your Blu-Ray and/or DVD will come with the following special features:

Blu-ray Special Features

  • Deleted Scenes
  • A Hidden Truth: Bringing The Book Thief To Life
  • Theatrical Trailer

DVD Special Features

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer

Here is the official synopsis of the film:

Based on the beloved best-selling book comes an “extremely moving” (Leonard Maltin, Indiewire) story of a girl who transforms the lives of those around her during World War II, Germany.  When her mother can no longer care for her, Liesel (Sophie Nélisse) is adopted by a German couple (OSCAR® Winner Geoffrey Rush* and OSCAR® Nominee Emily Watson**).  Although she arrives illiterate, Liesel is encouraged to learn to read by her adoptive father.  When the couple then takes in Max (Ben Schnetzer), a Jew hiding from Hitler’s army, Liesel befriends him.  Ultimately, words and imagination provide the friends with an escape from the events unfolding around them in this extraordinary, acclaimed film directed by Brian Percival (Downton Abbey).

Would you like to see The Book Thief?

Fox Home Entertainment Insiders has graciously offered to giveaway a Blu-Ray copy of the movie The Book Thief to one lucky FFF reader!

Here’s how to enter: 

1. Make sure you are a Family Friendly Frugality Facebook fan and email subscriber. Only fans/subscribers are eligible to win FFF giveaways.

2. Fill out the rafflecopter below to enter (if you do not see it, be sure to come directly to the blog post)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway will end on April 4th at 11:59 PM CST. The winner will have 48 hours to verify their email address before I choose a new winner.

This giveaway is not sponsored by Facebook. The prize will be dispersed by the FHEI. FFF is not responsible for prize disbursement.

Disclaimer: I was given copy of the film to facilitate this giveaway/promotion. All opinions are my own.

Giveaway: Try Out House of Blues New Crossroads Menu by Aaron Sanchez with $100 Voucher!

This giveaway is over, please read the review to learn more about the new CrossRoads menu from House of Blues!!!

The winner is rebeckyn******@gmail.com

We recently took a fun Spring Break vacation across the bottom half of the country. We roadtripped from Houston to Destin and from Destin to Orlando.

Our ultimate goal was Disney, but our first stop was actually a super famous restaurant in the fun filled Downtown Disney area (accessible to the public without a paid ticket).

House of Blues!

When was the last time you visited a House of Blues?

I’ll admit, I have never been!

When I received an email recently about the new menu at House of Blues, Crossroads by celebrity chef Aaron Sanchez, I knew I wanted to check it out. I had watched Aaron Sanchez on Food Network and was always impressed by him.

 Like the diverse music that graces the House of Blues stage each night, Sanchez has used his imaginative take on classic American dishes to create something for everyone, with over 10 choices for seafood lovers, a dozen different entrees, 4 signature burgers, vegetarian options and of course classic southern favorites to make your taste buds sing!

Crossroads at House of Blues is truly the place where food, music and art intersect. Relax and enjoy great tunes while sampling new Hand-Stretched Flatbread Pizzas, or settle down with something more sumptuous, like Lobster Mac & Cheese or Jambalaya! Sanchez gives veggie lovers reason to rejoice too – you won’t find sad salads under his watch! Sample cheesy Street Tacos or Portobello sliders – just two of the delicious vegetarian options on the new menu.

We arrived at Downtown Disney just 30 minutes before our reservation via a Disney Resort shuttle bus. House of Blues is all the way at the other end of Disney, so we had to quickly run to the restaurant to make our reservation. We made it with time to spare and the staff was super accommodating about getting my kiddos something to drink quickly!

Our waitress was amazing. She was knowledgeable about the menu and seemed to love her job! The manager also came by our table and we chatted about the Houston House of Blues location for a bit, which we definitely want to check out soon!

Now onto the food, because I know that’s what you want to know about!

First, for an appetizer. We are from Texas and the Street Tacos immediately intrigued us.

Let me tell you…best tacos I’ve ever had. We shared, but I could have easily eaten all 3 all by myself. The crunchiness of the cabbage in the tacos just put the whole flavor wheel over the top!

Our entrees took a bit more thought. There were so many great items on the menu and we wanted to try them all. We ended up going with our wonderful waitress’s recommendations and ordered the Lobster Mac and Cheese and the Juicy Lucy.

Unbelievable. That burger was so amazingly juicy and delicious!

The kids got in on the action as well. My son ordered a cheeseburger (he inhaled that thing!) and my daughter had her very own kids cheese pizza! I had a bit of each of their meals and they were great.

For dessert, the kids each received a sundae with their meal. My husband and I decided to share the Triple Chocolate Cheesecake…it was intense and delicious! Did you know House of Blues has locations all over the country?

You can find a House of Blues in:

  • Anaheim – Serving Crossroads Menu now
  • Atlantic City – Serving Crossroads Menu now
  • Boston
  • Chicago – Serving Crossroads Menu now
  • Cleveland – Serving Crossroads Menu now
  • Dallas – Serving Crossroads Menu now
  • Houston – Serving Crossroads Menu now
  • Las Vegas – Serving Crossroads Menu now
  • Los Angeles – Serving Crossroads Menu now
  • Myrtle Beach – Serving Crossroads Menu now
  • New Orleans – Serving Crossroads Menu now
  • Orlando – Serving Crossroads Menu now
  • San Diego – Serving Crossroads Menu now

This menu is filled with flavor and style. I’m so glad we were able to check it out during our visit to Orlando!

Be sure to follow House of Blues on Social Media for their latest news, specials and events. Each location has it’s own Twitter and Facebook accounts, so go to the homepage and scroll down to the bottom right to pick your favorite location.

Do you want to try out the new Crossroads menu at House of Blues? House of Blues has graciously offered one Family Friendly Frugality reader a $100 Crossroads voucher to use at the House of Blues of their choice!

Here’s how to enter: 

1. Make sure you are a Family Friendly Frugality Facebook fan and email subscriber. Only fans/subscribers are eligible to win FFF giveaways.

2. Head over here and check out the new menu (just click on the restaurant near you to pull up the menu). Let me know in the comment section what you would like to try! Be sure to leave a valid email address so I can contact you if you win!

This giveaway will end on April 3rd at 11:59 PM CST. The winner will have 48 hours to verify their email address before I choose a new winner.

This giveaway is not sponsored by Facebook. The prize will be dispersed by the PR company for HOB. FFF is not responsible for prize disbursement.

Disclaimer: I was given a voucher to try the new Crossroads Menu at House of Blues. All opinions are my own.