A Different Perspective at Disney

Part of the beauty of being at Walt Disney World is walking around and taking in the world around you. Of course, this also includes looking at it from a different point of view. Wandering around the Art of Animation Resort provided a wonderful opportunity for just this purpose.

A Different Disney Perspective at the Art of Animation Resort

Focused on the Magic

What is your favorite place to stop and look at it from a different perspective? Be sure to stop by Focused on the Magic by clicking on the button above to join in the Disney magic this week.

It's Me

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Sweet Summer Treats and Savings

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser.

Making Sweet Summer Treats

Summer is here and families all around will be hosting barbecues, picnics, and grilling for their guests. Most years, my extended family has a large gathering at the lake. Since they take care of all of the kosher meats for grilling, we often bring sweet treats to share. The best part of baking is that my kids can get involved and help. When we head to our local Price Chopper, I make sure to check the ads and coupons that they offer for additional savings. This time of year, Price Chopper is filled with the House of BBQ items. You can get recipe suggestions to help with your party planning. While walking around the seasonal section, produce, and dessert aisle with Betty Crocker Brownies, I came up with two fun ideas for parties at home or on the go.

House of BBQ and Brownies

Nothing says summer fun like a soft serve ice cream cone. Of course, ice cream melts and is not always practical when at a celebration. We decided to try a new twist on an old favorite. Kids of all ages love cupcake cones. Rather than fill the cones with cake, my youngest begged to try the Betty Crocker Supreme Triple Chunk mix. We grabbed that and a few others items for our recipe.

Faux Soft Serve Brownie Ice Cream Cones

Items for Faux Soft Serve Brownie Ice Cream Cones

I followed the directions on the brownie mix which called for an egg, vegetable oil, and water that were not pictured. While my oven preheated to 350, I placed the 12 ice cream cones into a cupcake tray. Then, I filled each of the cones with approximately 2 tablespoons of batter. This fills the cones to the main line inside. These baked for 20-25 minutes until they were clean to a toothpick (if you use the triple chunk just remember there are lots of gooey chip spots). There will be extra brownie batter left. You can make additional cones or use it for the other dessert that I made below.

Once the cones were cooled, it was time to transform them into soft serve ice cream cones. The new Betty Crocker Whipped Butter Cream Frosting was an amazing shopping find. When this frosting is piped onto the top of the brownie cone, it looked just like soft serve vanilla ice cream. Top with sprinkles that match the occasion, and you are all set.

Making the Faux Soft Serve Brownie Ice Cream Cones

Dessert Kabob with Brownie Dip

Summer time means indulging in a bounty of fresh fruit produce. I still have memories of going to Price Chopper one summer and picking five pounds of cherries with my cousin who was in from California. We then sat outside devouring them while seeing how far we could spit the pits. These days, I still smile when picking up cherries, so I had to get them to garnish my summer plates. Fruit kabobs are a refreshing treat and kids just love anything on a stick. I grabbed strawberries and green grapes.  I also bought some kosher marshmallows and Price Chopper lite whipped topping.

Supplies for Dessert Kabob with Brownie Dip

With the remaining brownie batter from the Faux Soft Serve Brownie Ice Cream Cones, I made a dozen mini brownies. I spooned one tablespoon into each of the mini-muffin trays. These bakes for about 17 minutes at 350. Once my whipped topping was thawed, it was time to make the Brownie Dip. The small container of Price Chopper whipped topping has about three cups in it. I then mixed in one cup of the Better Crocker Supreme Peanut Butter mix. The peanut butter chips add a fun surprise to the dip. You could also add in mini chocolate chips or sprinkles.

Once this was ready, it was time to construct the Dessert Kabobs. I bought the smaller House of BBQ skewers. Each completed kabob had a marshmallow, two green grapes, a strawberry, and a mini brownie. When everything was ready, I plated them with some of the Brownie Dip and cherries. To make it a bit more festive, I put some sprinkles on top of the dip. The dip is really versatile and would be great with animal crackers or any other fruit that looks great when shopping.

Dessert Kabob with Brownie Dip

Be sure to check out recipes and ideas from the other bloggers participating in the #PriceChopperBBQ campaign. Lots of recipes for grilling and more for those getting ready for the 4th of July and beyond. You can also head over to the House of BBQ Pinterest Page and follow Price Chopper on Twitter where they share many additional items. If you are on Facebook, be sure to look at their page where additional coupons and money saving offers are often posted.

What is your favorite dessert to make during the summer? I would love to hear your ideas and whether or not you get the kids involved in the process.

It's Me

Disclosure: I am a member of Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and its client. I am a frequent Price Chopper customer and have written about them on my blog in the past.

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Moving Up to Middle School

Moving up to middle school from elementary school is a huge milestone for children and parents alike. I still vividly recall that time in my childhood. After being in the same school from kindergarten to sixth grade, it was hard to move forward. I remember signing yearbooks, the last week of celebration with friends, and the tears because not everyone would be going to the same middle school.

Fifth Grade Moving Up Ceremony

I have spent additional time in middle school since I moved on to high school and beyond.  As a teacher, I had an eighth grade homeroom and taught students from sixth to eighth grade. I witnessed this confusing time period from the teacher perspective. To say that it was an eye opening experience would be an understatement. I do believe it helped me a lot in my life at home.

Now, I am going to finish the trifecta of middle school milestones. My oldest will be moving up from fifth grade at the end of this school year. NHL will be an official middle school student going to a much bigger school.

Trying to get NHL ready and not scare him about the changes is the goal for this summer. We are going to make the most of the time together. He will be busy at camp for some of the days. Other times, we will frequent events at the library, museums, and other locations. The spray ground will call our names on hot days to cool off. Most important, we will all decompress as much as possible before we start this new academic adventure together in September.

For those of you who have children that have moved from elementary school to middle school, what are your tips for easing into this transition?

It's Me

P.S. A huge thank you to the amazing parents at our school that made the moving up carnival this weekend. The kids had a wonderful time and it made me smile seeing them so happy together.

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Disney Dad Time

Walt Disney World is a special place where I have magical milestones with my father. The legendary Figment bribe on Space Mountain happened there when I was really young. We spent many vacations traveling to Orlando making memories. TechyDad and I took the boys on their first magical adventure and Papa (plus Nana) were there with us. TechyDad now has special moments riding his first loop coaster with our oldest son and more. It truly is a place that is special for the two wonderful Dads in my life. Happy Father’s Day in advance to TechyDad and my father.

Disney Dad Time

Focused on the Magic

Be sure to stop by Focused on the Magic by clicking on the button above to join in the Disney magic this week.

It's Me

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Tuesday Tales – More Good Questions! Books

It’s not a secret that I am fan of picture books. Kids of all ages love to be able to read a book and see the people, places, and things that the author is referring to. In the past, I wrote a review about the Good Question! series from Sterling Children’s Books. My boys really enjoyed them at the time and I was curious to see what would come next. Sterling surprised us with seven of the latest books earlier this year, the kids ran off with them and it took me a while to get them back to review.

More from the Good Question! book series

Once again, these books are filled with fantastic questions that many will have on a variety of subjects. They are answered in a way that will leave younger children satisfied, and possibly spark older children to do additional research on the topics. The combination of photos, drawings, and diagrams complement the words written on each page. Not only are there books about science, but two that answer questions on United States History.

Mary Kay Carson wrote How Many Planets Circle the Sun?: And Other Questions About… Our Solar System (9781454906698) and Why Does Earth Spin?: And Other Questions About… Our Planet (9781454906759). Some of the sample questions from the two books are:

  • What holds our solar system together?
  • Why are there footprints on the moon?
  • How did Saturn get its rings?
  • Which planet has a cloud named Scooter?
  • Where is planet Earth?
  • What is Earth Made of?
  • Why is the sky blue?
  • What is the hottest place on Earth?

Martin W. Sandler wrote What Was America’s Deadliest War?: And Other Questions About… The Civil War (9781402790461) and Who Were the American Pioneers?: And Other Questions About… Westward Expansion (9781402790478). Several of the questions explored in this book include:

  • Who were the leaders of the war?
  • What was the first major battle of the war?
  • Why were horses so important in the war?
  • Why is Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address such a powerful speech?
  • Why did pioneer families risk it all to move west?
  • Did pioneer children go to school?
  • What did the pioneers do for fun?
  • How fast was the Pony Express?

Melissa Stewart wrote How Does the Ear Hear?: And Other Questions About… The Five Senses (9781454906735), How Does a Caterpillar Become a Butterfly?: And Other Questions About… Butterflies (9781454906674), and How Does a Seed Sprout?: And Other Questions About… Plants (9781454906711).  The focus on science is clear with the questions including:

  • How do your eyes work?
  • How does breathing help you smell?
  • How does a butterfly escape from its chrysalis?
  • How do butterflies protect themselves from enemies?
  • Do all plants make seeds?
  • Which animals spread plant pollen?

Good Question! Books by Sterling Children's Books

All of the books mentioned were published in January 2014 and will soon have new Good Question! book brothers and sisters. Yes, another review is coming soon about the five books being released this July!

What topic would you love to see for a Good Question! book in the future? As always, Tuesday Tales is all about sharing our love of books. Please let me know what you have read recently. Be sure to link up to your book posts in the comments below. Include something you read on your own, with a child, or someone else.

It's Me

Disclosure: My family received the books mentioned above from Sterling Children’s Books in order to facilitate this review. No other compensation was given. The opinions expressed are my own.

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