The Top 10 Apps I Can’t Live Without

It’s no secret apps run our lives. When it comes to how i run my Instagram, I would be very little without my “toolbox” of apps to help me. Yes, my creative expression does come from me, but the editing and extra dose of magic is all thanks to the help of my applications. From things like editing photos and videos, to finding inspiration and beyond, these ten apps I’m about to share with you have truly stepped up my social media game. And I’m about to spill all of my secrets. I was hesitant at first about writing this post. I was worried about sharing too much and letting “all my secrets out” if i did. But after sitting down on the subject and thinking on it some more, I came to the conclusion…why? Why care about letting everyone know about the apps I used. Was I worried about a little competition? No. The worst thing that could come of it is that I would inspire others to step up their own games and cause them to completely fall in love with content creation, just as I have. I LOVE content creation. I LOVE teaching and sharing. It’s a part of who I am. So whether you’re looking to up your current content, or completely rebrand yourself, these (mostly) free apps could really help you in the long run. Do you need any or all of these to succeed in the social media game? Of course not! People feel inspired by you simply being YOU, showing up to the platform, and being your authentic self. So please just know that this is simply meant for help to those who find my personal feed interesting and want to learn more.


Facetune was not free. It was about $7 when I first bought it, and I would pay whatever they charged to always have it in my life. I use this app for everything from lightening a photo, to smoothing out blemishes and skin irritations, and whitening teeth and eyes. This tool is super versatile and can make every photo appear touched up by a professional. I believe there is a more updated version of the app, but I don’t have it and can’t speak to its awesomeness. This version seems perfect enough for me, and I highly recommend you download it today!

Lightroom Photo Editor

Lightroom Photo Editor is a mobile version of the desktop photo editing software. I don’t personally use the desktop version, but I know it’s a much more productive way to use the program overall. I currently use Lightroom mobile as the home of all of my presets I have bought from people who have made ones I’m a fan of. Lightroom is super cool and complex, and I’m going to be completely transparent when I say I know very little about it. The reason my feed looks so consistent is that I generally use the same one or two presets for every static photo I post. I make minor tweaks in Lightroom on lighting and color editing, but other than that, my Lightroom knowledge ends there. When it comes to presets, I swear by Teeny Edits, which can be purchased by clicking the link below:

PicsArt Photo & Video Editor

PicsArt is the closest thing to Photoshop that I’ve ever seen. I don’t know Photoshop at all, although its on my list of to do’s to master in the future. PicsArt can create absolute magic in photos. From cropping yourself into other locations and adding clip art into them as well, you can honestly do anything with this tool. I pay for the premium version of the app, but doing so in order to enjoy what it has to offer is not necessary. This is the place where I go to add my Disney characters, out of this world locations like my Star Wars post, and basically add an extra dose of magic that can’t be found in real life. I typically use this app when I want to be seriously creative, so know that editing photos in this app takes time and patience. Be willing to learn, play around with it, and keep showing up. The more you use it, the easier it will become to master.

Enlight Videoleap Video Editor

This app is video editing heaven. Take small clips and attach them together, and with a library of dozens of music clips to add behind, you can make serious magic. It also has various features like voiceover, which makes a great tool for instructional videos you need to make. Add glitches for cool adjustments in video clarity. I just love using this tool when wanting to take my IGTV videos and Instagram stories up a notch. You can post a basic video with the music Instagram provides, or channel your inner George Lucas and create an actual film moment. I’ve used things like iMovie and other video editing apps, and this one is by far my favorite.


This app may seem like a no brainer, but I have to recommend it. It’s the ultimate inspirational tool. Think of any topic you want to start creating on, and there are a ton of posts ready to inspire you! I have Pinterest boards for everything from arts and crafts ideas for the kids, to various photography related pins that I want to refer back to in the future before shooting. It could be something simple like learning to bake or cook, to growing your knowledge on flatlay execution. Pinterest is your one stop shop for all things inspiring in the social media and blogging field. Download today and get to pinning!


This app is LIFE. This app has changed my Instagram stories forever and I am forever grateful for it. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I have a ton of people ask me about my Instagram stories. About how beautiful they always look and how they can do it too. If I recommend one app more than all of the others, this one is it. I have to warn you, the process of what I do with Instagram stories is time consuming. It takes patience and consistency to push through the idea that its “all silly and not worth it.” If making your Instagram stories look clean and pristine is something that’s valuable to your brand, then I highly recommend you checking out this app to see if it’s a good fit for you.


This is another great app for more Instagram story templates. You know the cute ones with the photo collage look? Ya, it’s here. I really like mixing up my story looks, so having a few apps for stories just works for me. I don’t use this app nearly as much as I use StoryArt, but I do also highly recommend this one as well. I would suggest taking multiple photos for the same post and taking advantage of the film photo collage option in the app. Super cute and personable way to connect and inspire people in your stories!

Highlight Cover and Logo Maker

Highlight covers are becoming more and more common to see on Instagram profiles, and they normally have a consistent look and aesthetic. The highlight cover app is a great app to use for exactly that; highlight cover making. Best of all, it’s free! Before you do so, what’s the overall look you want your Instagram page to have? The app has a ton of options to inspire. Although, the creativity portion is all on you.. spend time on your page figuring out what your “vibe” is, then create cute bubbles on the tool to match. Save the image and go back to the specific story highlight you want it to match with. Click edit the photo and replace the phot with your new bubble. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with how nice and uniform it all looks when you’re done.


I love this app! I use it for creating custom Instagram story and post templates, but I mainly use it for creating things like my media kit and invoices. Are you an influencer that has your first paying gig, but need to create an invoice yourself? Use Canva. Thinking of starting the influencer lifestyle but need to create a media kit to talk about your analytics and abilities? Use Canva. Bottom line, just download Canva because you’ll eventually need it someday. This tool is also fun to use to create your own story and static post images, or use the library of pre made ones on days you don’t feel inspired. For this app, there is a free and paid for version. Because of how often I use this tool for work, I pay for the premium version, although not necessary.

A Color Story

What a great app! As soon as I’m done editing in Lightroom, I take that same photo and add a few more touches in A Color Story. If you don’t want to spend money on buying presets and wasting your time in Lightroom, “ A Color Story” is a great place to do things like edit photos and use filters to create consistency. The parts I use the most are in the “effects” section, where I have a few of my favorites saved and add a cute sun flare or bokeh to the final edit. This app is a staple in most influencer’s phones, so get familiar with it and start to fall in love!

I hope you enjoyed this small look into my phone. I use these tools daily, but not all of them, so don’t go too overboard with editing. At the end of the day, the authentic and real photo is always going to be a ton more inspiring than a fake, over edited one. It’s like makeup… we use it to enhance our natural beauty, and not to completely transform into someone we’re not. So get out there and experiment, but do so in moderation. Happy content creating!

Star Wars Day Fun From Home

May the 4th is one of the most sacred of days in our home. Why? Because it’s Star Wars Day of course! Ever since I can remember, Star Wars has been everything to me. I knew that when I had littles, I would “show them the ways of the force” through these beautiful stories, in hopes that they would gravitate towards them too. I’m still working a bit on Kensey, but Emma has been a fan of it all from the start. Kensey loves characters like Rey and Chewie, while Emma has always had a thing for the dark side, and loves Darth Vader. We usually celebrate this day like most fans do… at Disneyland Parks. With the new addition of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and all it has to offer, is there a better place to celebrate? Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we’re not able to access our precious parks to celebrate. That DOES NOT mean that you can’t have some galactic fun from home and still celebrate in style! All you need is a few supplies from the house, some imagination, and a little help from the force, and you’re on your way to having a great day! I’ve listed below some fun activities to help add some Star Wars magic, along with the links on further instructions or downloads. We hope this helps your family have a blast on May 4th, and as always, may the force be with you!

Bake “Leia Buns” Cinnamon Rolls

This one seems super easy and a no brainer. Princess Leia’s iconic hair can easily be spotted in these cinnamon rolls, that is pre-icing of course. I just snagged a can of Pilsbury brand cinnamon rolls and baked as directed on the back. I took the picture while they we’re cooling and we chatted about Princess Leia and how much of a role model she is. Brave and fearless, but had heart in all she did. A general yes, but to me, she’s royalty. Enjoy this with a side of overnight oats, and bonus points if you make the Galaxy’s Edge version!

Star Wars Toilet Paper Roll Characters

What a cute and easy project! All you need to do is click on the link below and download the free printables. After that, take your printables and glue them around a toilet paper roll. Be sure to cut the paper to fit the roll, and i would recommend using a hot glue gun to keep them down. These make great photo props, and even better figurine toys for the kids to play and pretend with! We had a blast making them and will use them for future fun days ahead!

20 Star Wars Cards Your Kids Will Love For Playdough & More!

Free Han Solo (And Friends)

Keep kids occupied for a while on Star Wars Day with this take on when Han Solo got stuck on carbonite. Take a Han Solo action figure (or any Star Wars ones you got) and stick them in a small Tupperware dish. add water to the top and stick in the freezer overnight. When you’re ready to free them, run warm water around the dish until the ice melts it out. Have kids use water to melt the ice and free the smuggler. This is a great activity for little ones to do!

Star Wars Lunch Bag Puppets

For Chewie:

You will need the following for Chewie: brown paper bag, black and white construction paper, googly eyes,brown crayon, glue, scissors, and a pencil. First, take your black construction paper and cut to create a belt. Glue down. Take the white piece of paper and cut small squares to style the belt. Cut Chewie’s mouth and glue on, as well as the googly eyes. Cut a small oval for his nose and glue on. Add silver accents to the belt with a pencil. Add fur marks overall with a brown crayon.

For Yoda:

You will need the following for Yoda: lunch bag, Green and white construction paper, googly eyes, scissors, glue, and a grey crayon or colored pencil. First, start off by cutting out all of the pieces you need. Two large ovals for the eyelids, two ears , and the head should all be green. You can wrap the white paper around the bottom to resemble his robe. Glue on the head and ears and color in the inside of the ears to give it dimension with the grey crayon. Next, glue on the eyes and eyelids, Take the crayon and add a mouth and nose, as well as some more overall wrinkles.

Pool Noodle Light Saber

A safe and fun way to have a full blown battle! We made a couple dozen of these for Emma’s 4th Star Wars birthday party, and I’m thankful to report that a few are still completely in tact! They are simple to make too! Take a pool noodle and cut in half. Use a combination of silver, black, and colored electric tape and wrap around the bottom to resemble the base. That’s it! You can also take added time to create buttons and shapes with a Sharpie marker, if detail is a thing you seriously need. After you’re done, you can conduct your own Jedi Training Academy from home!

Make Blue Milk At Home

What would Star Wars Day be without something food and drink related from our beloved Galaxy’s Edge?! It just wouldn’t be right. As much as i would love to recreate their famous Ronto Wrap or maybe even a beverage from Ooga’s Cantina, I figured it would be great to start with their staple beverage; the blue milk. Now, some prefer the green milk, and that’s totally okay. I personally think it tastes like the smell of potting soil, so you won’t find me making that here. I did however, find a copycat recipe that i linked below for both styles of milk, so you can recreate your preferred flavor. I really enjoyed making this, and thought it tasted pretty close to the original thing. Due to the pandemic and not wanting to travel to too many stops for supplies, I disregarded some of the ingredients listed, or replaced with something else. My advice if you cannot access all the stuff listed in the link is to improvise and experiment. Have fun and enjoy yourself!

Make Jawa Rocks

How cute are these little guys?! I’ve always been a fan of Jawas and these little rocks were so easy to create! All you need is some smooth rocks that have been washed and cleaned as well as some black, brown, and yellow acrylic paint and a Sharpie. Once your rocks have been cleaned and dried, paint them with a few coats of brown paint. Once dry, make a black circle of paint for the face shadow. Finally, after that has dried, add a few yellow dots for the eyes and use the Sharpie to draw a utility belt. After that, you’re all set! Use these for cute garden decor, or as a fun add on to any gift you’re mailing to a loved one.

Read Some Star Wars Books

We’ve been big fans of reading since the lockdown. It’s given us time to read some books that have been collecting dust, and the girls have found a new love for reading as well! Star Wars Day is a great excuse to bust out some of those Star Wars themed books in your bookshelf. Because of its complicated story line, the girls have been able to learn about the saga thanks to the Little Golden Books series. It has a great way of summarizing the story and has great pictures too. “The Galaxy Needs You” is also another great story of why you are so special and important to the world. I’ve linked both book options below. Reading is the coolest hobby in the galaxy!

Star Wars Coloring Pages

“But Megan, I’ve colored nonstop since lockdown”. I know, me too. But the fact is, we’re stuck at home and coloring is what we do now. In all seriousness, coloring is a great way to relax and spend some quiet time, and there are so many free coloring pages online to choose from! Just head to Pinterest or Google and search for “free Star Wars coloring sheets” and a bunch of options like the ones above will pop up.

Star Wars Activity Sheets

Just like the coloring pages, there are so many FREE printable activity sheets that are Star Wars themed online. I found both of these on Pinterest, and took Emma a bit of time to get through. You can also search for activities based on age group too by being a bit more specific in the search engine. You can also create your own game of Star Wars charades by writing the character names down and throwing them in hat for loved ones to act out and play along!

Make Light Saber Bookmarks

You will need the following supplies for these bookmarks: multi-colored pieces of construction paper, black construction paper, glue, scissors & white paint. Cut out the various colored pieces of paper into small light sabers. Cover the bottom with a black square of paper the is slightly wider than the saber piece and glue together. Take white paint and add saber decorations to the black part. Once dry, you can laminate to keep protected, or use contact paper on both font and back.

Star Wars Scavenger Hunt

This was such a fun way to incorporate the outdoors a bit! Galaxy’s Edge has its own scavenger hunt that you can participate in, so this one that I found on Pinterest was a total hit for us! I did not create this particular scavenger hunt, I found it on Pinterest and linked it below. I took the paper cutouts and hot glued them onto some cardboard and hung them by ribbon. I took them and hid them around the front yard area for the girls to locate. To add a little bit of dark side to the game, I had Dan pretend to be a Storm Trooper and sneak up on them every now and them to arrest them. Just trying to add a little bit of Galaxy’s Edge anywhere we can.

Have Fun with a Star Wars Scavenger Hunt!

Have A Star Wars Movie Marathon

The BEST WAY to actually enjoy Star Wars Day is to sit down with your favorite Disney popcorn bucket, some blue milk, and have a movie marathon! Disney+ has practically every movie available, with the addition of Rise of Skywalker being added on May 4th, 2020. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the saga as a family, or pop in your favorite one and relive the story together. Our favorite is “The Force Awakens” followed by “Return of the Jedi”. We hope you enjoyed some of these ideas to get your celebration going in the right direction! We had such fun putting it together and can’t wait to celebrate Star Wars Day in the parks next year!

Easy Homemade Dog Treats

With all of this extra time we have been experiencing, we’ve found a love for baking as a family. From pies to cookies and more, baking has been something that’s brought my girls and I together. We wanted to find a way to make a tasty treat for our dog Perla, and I think we found the perfect recipe! This is totally human friendly, and you probably have most, if not all of the ingredients in your pantry already! So get prepared for your dog to love you even more, and your house to smell delicious too!

What you’ll need:

  • 4 cups of oat flour
  • 2/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup of natural peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • Cookie cutter of your choice

Take your ingredients and combine together in a bowl. I found my oat flour at Smart and Final for under $5 and that is a steal! You can also make your own oat flour by taking rolled oats and putting them in the food processor. One cup of rolled oats equals 2 cups of at flour. Once you combine your ingredients together, take your dough and roll it out with a rolling pin until the dough is about 1/4 inch in thickness. Use your cookie cutter to cut out the treats and place them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until they start to darken on the edges and dry out. Remove from the oven and let them cool.

Once they have cooled, you can serve them to your fur baby. Our dog has a bit of trouble starting to eat her meals, so we also like to use these treats and crumble them onto the top of her meal to entice her a bit. If your dog likes peanut butter, and most dogs do, they will absolutely love this recipe! There was very little cleanup, and the kids helped me with the entire process, minus the oven parts. I hope your pup enjoys this treat, and you enjoy this fun quarantine activity as well!

The Online Shopping Survival Guide: Mom Edition

Okay, let’s face it. Things have been tough lately. With the ongoing quarantine that will last us for goodness knows how long, to this constant rain, we can’t catch a break as parents to help our kids release this energy. What can we do? The parks and beaches are closed. Play dates are a thing of the past. Yet, we still long for our children to have fun days filled with activities that enrich their minds and stretch their imagination. To be clear, I’m not one to encourage that we simply buy our children’s entertainment. There are so many free options we often forget. In this case, I’m trying to fill the void that physical education, field trips, and gymnastics class once did. So, if you’re like me and simply need a bit of help creating a more imaginative space, feel free to shop the links below! All of these items have brought a ton of joy since the lockdown. Some of them have helped burn some necessary energy, and some have helped expand the mind in a fun way! I hope you find this post helpful, and above all, stay safe. The virus can live on cardboard boxes for up to 24 hours, so be sure to leave the your goodies alone on the doorstep for a bit before opening.

Magical and Easy Fairy Wands

The beauty of our current state of living, is that we get to slow down and notice the beautiful things around us. With all of the nature walks the girls and I have been doing lately, I’ve been able to notice just how many fun ideas come from what’s around us! We’ve been collecting sticks on our frequent walks to contribute to our family fireplace. It’s been so cold at night lately, so anything helps. When we were walking back one day, the girls pointed out how they also make excellent fairy wands. I thought to myself, “hmm with a little sparkle, I think you’re right.” So we got to talking about what our ideal fairy wands would look like. Colorful and sparkly we’re consistent in the pitch. So I got to Amazon hunting and found the perfect additions you need to help make your backyard wands shine! I’ve listed a how-to below, as well as linked the places I found my supplies. The goal is to not have to leave your house to create, unless it’s to find something in nature or grab a delivery box. Let’s get to wand making!

First, you’ll need to take a nice long walk. Find some sticks that can handle some serious spell casting. It would be sad to go to all that trouble, just to have it break. Once you’ve found a few good ones, bring them home and inspect them for splinters, etc. Once they are safe, it’s time to create!

The supplies you grab are really all based on your unique taste and style. For the sake of the post, I will go through how we made ours, as well as provide links in case you want to create something similar. The following supplies are needed to create this craft:

  • Sticks found in nature
  • Glue gun
  • Glue gun sticks
  • Ribbon
  • Decorative gems

After you have gathered your supplies, plug in your glue gun and wait for it to heat up. While it is heating up, select the ribbon you would like to use as your base color, as well as a few other complimentary colors for the top. Grab your base color and start gluing it to the stick. You can make a small dot of glue and start to wrap the ribbon around the stick, gluing little by little as you go. Once you have reached the top, glue it in place, then start to add decorative ribbon around. Glue as you go. These steps should be done by an adult, as the gun is easy to burn little hands and arms.

Once you have glued the ribbon on, gather your gems and decorate however you wish! This is the fun and creative part, that if you have older kids at home, they are okay to help in this. Feel free to be creative or even customize it to make it a gift for someone special! You can also use things like glitter and sequins if that is something you have better access to.

After you’re done creating, it’s time to take your wands and do some magic! Find your cutest fairy outfit and go explore the world with a bit of magic in your hands! The girls loved their wands and played with them for hours. I hope you have fun creating magic with what’s around you as well!

Assorted Gems and Jewels:

Assorted pack of ribbon:

The Power of NOW

Truly wonderful the mind of a child is.” – Master Yoda

When it comes to our current world’s state, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the fear. Worrying about what could possibly come next, and when we can finally get back to our normal routines. For me, that involved sending the kids off to school, regular Target runs, and definitely some alone time. As those things have become memories of the past, it was a hard transition for me at first. You see, less than a year ago, I moved away from most of the things and people who brought me joy. So I was already feeling like I was living a life of social distancing. Target runs and Starbucks we’re all I had. All of the sudden, I was quarantined in the house, expected to become it ALL. Home school teacher, online shopping expert, full time mom and house cleaner. It was all too overwhelming. I found myself motivated in the morning, and struggling to keep my head above water by noon.

I wanted to motivate others with my ability to “juggle it all” and the pressure alone in that had me feeling overwhelmed. Not to mention, I had a nighttime job that kept me up until midnight, and a toddler who woke me up by 5 am every morning, i was burnt out. About a week into the stay at home orders came in by the Governor, I got a call from my employer, letting me know I was being let go. I went into sheer panic. How was I going to afford food? Stuff for the kids? Both my husband and I we’re out of a job, with no way to change that. After a restless night of sleep, I had a CLEAR picture of what was going on. God was trying to get me to slow down. To realize none of this is in my control. To appreciate this incredible gift we have all been given, and that is the power of now.

For the first time in what feels like forever, life was meant to slow down for me. To slow down for all of us. I get to spend more time with my girls, watching them grow and see the world. To be honest, most of us parents are doing activities we would never do unless quarantined with time on our hands. Looking for bugs and flying a kite was never on my list for the week, but I’m so lucky that it happened. For what will be a small part of our life story, our kids get our full attention. And for a small time in life, we get theirs. We don’t have to compete with sports schedules or play dates. Their time is all ours, and if we do this right, we will see this whole thing as a GIANT blessing. You see, perspective is everything. From their points of view, they don’t see the scary numbers. They don’t know about the pandemic and it’s worldwide devastation. All they see is that mom and dad are doing some pretty cool stuff with them lately, and they will remember that forever. I’ve gotten to learn so much about my girls in this small amount of time. I’m also not embarrassed to admit, that if our lives we’re what they used to be, spending this much time together wouldn’t happen.

So, for however this time lasts, I’m going to make a choice everyday to live in the NOW. Embrace every uncomfortable step, because I know the end of this will lead to a better me. I’ll get to finally take a nap, color in a coloring book, and look for ladybugs. I’ll finally be able to try out some of those Pinterest recipes I’ve been collecting for years but never tried. I’ll get to show my kids the world in a way I grew up knowing it. It was a slower time, but I believe it was a better time. We got outside and explored the world around us. We got dirty and scraped up. We asked questions about the world around us. I honestly can’t wait for the next few months ahead!

Does this mean we need to be completely positive all the time about our current situation? No. At times, no matter how you look at it, the Corona Virus SUCKS. Allow yourself moments to take that in and face it head on. But do NOT allow yourself to live in that space. The world has been knocked down, yes, but we aren’t supposed to stay there. We will bounce back. So for now, take it day by day and breathe. If you have children, enjoy them. We will never have this kind of dedicated time to them again. If you’re without children, find moments in the day to try something new and embrace these moments of rest. I know with the job market being as it is, it’s hard to motivate yourself to find joy. You will find work again. What you won’t find is this kind of selfish time to love on yourself. Learn a second language. Find a love for bird watching. Join Tik Tok. Before we know it, this will be all over. We’re going to be okay.

Oh, and to add, after I shifted my mindset, I received an offer for a better job than the one I previously had. All within 48 hours of losing my job in the most uncertain time in our lives. I am blessed, but I firmly believe mindset is everything. You got this, I promise. We will all come out of this thing more appreciative and loving. All we can control is what we have now. And what we have now is time to slow down and enjoy the things we would if time and money we’re not an issue.

The outbreak of the Coronavirus may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and can cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress can be easier with a little bit of help, and there is a website full of sources that can help. Just click on the link below if you or someone you know needs help coping with it all:

Toilet Paper Roll Planters

The Corona Virus has taken completely over our lives, and it’s time to turn something negative into a fun project that sparks joy. In normal circumstances, I would encourage art projects that might require an errand for supplies. With the way things are at the moment, I wanted to create projects in which the supplies are easy to order online, or you may already have them around your house. The world may not have a ton of toilet paper at the moment, but we all have a roll or two that is empty, so collect those and set them aside for this cute craft! Here we go!

For this craft project, you will need the following supplies:

  • Toilet paper roll
  • Succulent plant
  • Glue gun
  • Wooden base
  • Markers
  • Beads
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Small amount of potting soil

First, you will take your toilet paper roll and decorate it with the markers. This is where the kids can make their own unique design, and explore their creativity. You can also have them write down on the roll what they are grateful for, draw images of things they see in nature, etc.

After your toilet paper rolls are decorated, it’s time to attach the wooden base to the roll. I found a pack of wooden craft pieces on Amazon and was able to have them shipped directly to my door, so there is no need to head out for supplies. Take your glue gun and run the glue around the base of the toilet paper roll. Then stick it to the wooden base.

Once you have glued tour toilet paper roll to the wooden base, fill the toilet paper roll about halfway with some soil. If you don’t have potting soil on hand, head to your backyard and snag some soil from the ground. It’s all about social distancing at the moment, so minimizing errands is key. After it’s filled about half way, set it aside and grab your pipe cleaner and beads. Have your kid string the beads on in any pattern they like. Once they are done, take the decorated pipe cleaner and twist it around the toilet paper roll.

Now that the toilet paper planter is decorated, it’s time to add the plant to the top. Before things in the world got crazy, I headed to Home Depot and snagged a few succulent plants for another project I had planned. So I happened to have some ready to go. IF you don’t have these just laying around, don’t worry! We’ve been encouraged as a society to take walks in nature, so go take a walk! Once you come across a succulent plant, take a piece off. Succulent plants thrive, even when being broken off. So, this backup plan is more than efficient to complete this project. Take your succulent plant and gently push it down into the toilet paper roll. That’s it! Now you have a cute way to display our planet’s most prized possession: The toilet paper roll. Enjoy and be safe! Don’t forget to wash your hands.

Jell-O Pot of Gold

It’s almost St. Patty’s Day, which means it’s the perfect time for a yummy and festive treat. Kid approved as always, my recipes are never hard and always contain some element in which the kids can help. This time, we’re on the hunt for some gold! Jell-O gold coins are the easiest things to make, and along with a few inexpensive additions, you can really get creative with your setup. Here are a list of ingredients you will need:

  • Two boxes of lemon flavored “Jell-O”
  • 9×13 glass pan
  • Small glass jar
  • Shamrock stickers
  • Coin shaped cookie cutter
  • Rainbow striped candy (optional)

After you have gathered together your ingredients, take 2 1/2 cups of water and set it to boil. Once it’s boiling, remove from the heat and gently add your two packets of Jell-O. Do not add cold water. Once it’s mixed in, take the yellow liquid and pour into your 9×13 dish. For thicker coins, you can use a different dimension. Chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

Once your yellow Jell-O has firmed up, take your coin shaped cookie cutter and cut out your coins. This process can be tedious if the Jell-O isn’t firm enough, so make sure it’s completely ready before you do this step. Cut out your coins and stack them into your glass cup. I found a cauldron shaped bowl at the Dollar Tree in the floral section, but you can choose any container you like.

Once you’ve filled up your glass jar with gold Jell-O coins, take your shamrock stickers and decorate the jar. You can also add the rainbow candy strip on top as a faux rainbow by shoving the ends down on each side of the jar. At that point, you are ready to enjoy your pot of gold! The kids are capable of helping you with each step of this process, but you may want to hide your hard work and have your little leprechaun search for it! The hunt can be equally delicious! Enjoy!

The Howard Johnson Hotel in Anheim is Simply the Best!

When it comes to where our family goes to “get away for a bit,” there is only one place we head to. The Howard Johnson Hotel in Anaheim is located just a few minutes away from the Disneyland Resort. It is a family friendly hotel that is stacked with things to do! From the balloon swords that are given at check-in, to the adventurous “Castaway Cove” water playground, everything is themed around pirates! My kids love to snag a chocolate treasure coin when we arrive, along with a pirate hat. The staff is always so nice to the kids and are there to help with anything we may need. Traveling with an infant or small child? No need to worry. They have cribs available to use in the rooms for your stay. We used the cribs when Kensey was smaller and it was a huge life saver to not have to bring our travel crib!

Once you’ve checked in, you get to head up to your room if it’s ready for use. The rooms in building one are fully renovated, complete with an Alexa in every room! That means dance parties on command and that is really what life is all about, right? The other buildings are being remodeled as well, and in time the entire hotel will be modernized, but still have their throwback flair. Each room around the property has a vintage feel to their decor. Scattered around the rooms are old artwork of popular rides and attractions in Disneyland Park, as well as a Mickey or two. The bathrooms also come equipped with a rubber ducky, as the rubber ducky is a HOJO staple, and often displayed in artwork around the property.

Let’s talk water play! Castaway Cay is a pirate themed water playground that has something for every age level. Are your kids more on the smaller side? The have a one foot wading pool located to the side of the water park, along with a smaller water slide option. Got bigger and taller ones? This water park comes complete with a bigger slide and the best dump bucket around! I love watching the kids rush to the center as they hear the ticking of the bucket turning over. TIDAL WAVE! What would a pirate themed water park be without some water guns! Those babies are scattered around, making it easy to shoot your target without being caught! It’s easily the best time in the late Spring and Summer, when the temperature spikes and heading to the pools is a must! I would say, it’s a better option on those days than the parks! There are some trips where we will spend the majority of the day at Castaway Cay than head to Disney, and we love it!

Looking for a more relaxing experience at the pool? There is a second pool location that is not centered around the water park. It’s a nice and relaxing option where they have towels on site for your use, as well as many lounge chairs to take a nice nap by the pool, or catch up on a good read. There is also a Jacuzzi located next to the water park side, and both locations are open until 10pm. It is hands down the coolest experience to watch the Disneyland fireworks from the Jacuzzi in Castaway Cay, I highly recommend it! A great second option for a hotel fireworks viewing is your hotel balcony! Lots of rooms have a perfect view of the show, and weather permitting, you don’t need to be inside Disneyland to enjoy one of it’s major attractions!

Aside from the walking distance to Disney parks and great entertainment the hotel has to offer, this mom especially loves that there is a Keurig coffee machine in every room! Complete with little coffee pods, it’s the absolute best thing to have when you need to be up at dawn for a Rise Of The Resistance boarding pass. Another favorite amenity of mine is the beauty ring that surrounds the mirror in the bathroom. I have never looked more glam getting ready in my life! The lighting makes the perfect tool for getting ready in the morning and looking your best!

Whether you’re looking for a fun getaway with the family, or are trying to map out your next Disney trip, be sure to make the Howard Johnson Hotel in Anaheim your home base for it. If it’s Disney you’re there for, they have all you need to make your stay enjoyable. If you’re looking to explore other things besides Disney, they offer shuttles to fun places like Universal Studios, Los Angeles and Hollywood, and more. The hotel is also located very closely to things like the Anaheim Packing District, Downtown Disney, the Honda Center, and Angel’s Stadium. Save a ton of money by not booking at a resort property, and stay at the HOJO! To book now, click on the link below:

Photography for this blog provided by Nicole Long Photography. Be sure to book her for your next family vacation! You can visit her site at:

Easy To Make Leprechaun Play dough

It’s officially March! Time to get festive with this homemade play dough recipe that your kids can help make too! Most of these steps are completely kid friendly, but they do require some adult supervision. To begin, you will need to gather the following ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. cream of tartar
  • 2-4 drops of green food coloring
  • 1 cup of water
  • green glitter
  • gold glitter
  • festive cookie cutters

Once you have your supplies, combine the flour, salt, cream of tartar, and water, and oil and mix well with a whisk. Once mixed, add a few drops of food coloring and continue to mix well. If you prefer a more vibrant colored play dough, add a few more drops of food coloring. These steps are easy and fun ways to get the kids involved. Depending on their age and abilities, have them help pour the ingredients into the bowl, or help stir together! Not only will it be a great bonding experience for you, they will learn just what goes into making play dough!

Once you have mixed the ingredients together, scoop up the dough mixture and drop it into a cooking pan or bowl. Cook on low to medium heat, stirring constantly. The play dough will begin to thicken and form a ball. Remove the ball of dough from the stove top and let it sit out to cool.

Once the play dough has cooled, it’s time to add the sparkle! Grab your kiddo and have him or her knead the dough until the cracks and bumps start to disappear. Once it starts to resemble the store bought thing, slowly add gold and green glitter to the center of the play dough. Have your child start to knead in the glitter until it has spread to all the parts of the dough. After that, it’s time to play! I found the cutest set of St. Patrick’s Day themed cookie cutters on Amazon, and I’ll be sure to link it at the end of this post.

I had a blast making home made play dough with Emma! It completely took me back to my childhood during the Summer, where we would make it all the time! The smell of home made play dough is just something of pure magic, don’t you agree? Plus, this activity is a really fun way to get your kids involved in something crafty, with minimal mess involved. I hope you have a blast making this shamrock colored creation! Happy March!

St. Patrick’s Day cookie cutters: